§ 3.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Gaitskell (Leeds, South)
The debate today concerns the Central African Federation, its development, its problems, its prospects, but let no one imagine that these issues are narrow or local in their significance. The way in which the complex, difficult and even dangerous situation in the developing territories of the Federation is handled will have an impact far wider than the boundaries of the three territories concerned. This, incidentally, is part of the answer to those who sometimes claim that because they are on the spot they know best and, therefore, they should be left to settle their own affairs without interference from the United Kingdom.
I understand how they feel, but the fact is that the world today is so closely knit together that what happens in Central Africa is not just the affair of those who live there, still less just the affair of the Europeans living there, but something which closely and inevitably concerns the whole Commonwealth and, for that matter, British foreign policy as well.
When, after considerable discussion and argument in this House, and against the will of the Opposition, the Conservative Government carried through the scheme for Central African Federation, in 1953, they had high hopes of what it was going to achieve. Mr. Lyttelton, then Colonial Secretary, described the scheme during the debate of 24th March, 1953, asa turning point in the history of Africa,and went on to say:If we follow this scheme, I believe that it will solve the question of partnership between the races."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th March, 1953; Vol. 513, c. 675.]I do not think that even the most sanguine enthusiast for federation, looking at the situation in Central Africa today, would claim that those hopes had been realised or, indeed, were yet in sight of being realised. To be sure, there has been economic development in these last years, especially in Southern and Northern Rhodesia, but how much this has helped the African cultivator, especially in Nyasaland, is, as yet, much more 1284 doubtful. And economic development, when all is said and done, has taken place in the last six years in a great many other countries as well. Moreover, it is at least arguable that much of what has happened would have occurred in any case even without federation.
It is no part of my case to claim that racial discrimination against Africans has become worse in the territories during those years. On the contrary, I recognise that there have been certain improvements, most noticeable, in the establishment and development of the new multi-racial university at Salisbury. But there existed in 1953 a colour bar situation in Southern Rhodesia which, to most of us on this side of the House, and, I think, on both sides, appeared barely tolerable, and the advance, welcome as it is, is still only a very small movement along the long road to genuine racial equality.
In the political field progress towards any kind of equal rights has been painfully slow. May I take the territories one by one? In Southern Rhodesia to-day there are about 2½ million Africans and rather more than 200,000 Europeans, but 55,000 Europeans enjoy the vote and only 1,800 Africans have it. In the Legislative Assembly there are 30 European members and no Africans. Moreover, the rights of the Africans are specifically limited by the fact that if the number of voters on the Special Roll—which is more or less designed for them—exceeds one-fifth of the Ordinary Roll, which is designed chiefly for Europeans, no further enrolment on the Special Roll will be allowed. Thus, for the moment at least, the path towards further democratic Government as we understand it here is firmly blocked. Of course, we are not responsible in this House for the franchise arrangements in Southern Rhodesia, but it is part of the Federation nonetheless.
In Northern Rhodesia, there are about 2 million Africans and 70,000 Europeans, yet, while 23,000 Europeans have the vote, only 8,000 Africans have it. In the Legislative Council there are 14 elected Europeans, apart from the Official Members, and eight Africans. Here, too, as I shall explain a little later, by the decision of the Colonial Secretary the prospects of further advance appear to be obstructed.
1285 In Nyasaland, there are 2½ million Africans and 7,500 Europeans, yet the franchise exists only for Europeans and not a single African even now has the vote. The Legislative Council consists of 12 Official Members—six non-African elected members and only live Africans—indirectly chosen by the Provincial Councils.
Finally, in the case of the Federation, where the population as a whole is 7 million, of whom some 6,800,000 are Africans, 86,000 Europeans have the vote and at the most 6,000 Africans. Out of an Assembly of 59, only 15 are Africans and several of these depend for their seats upon the European electorate.
We consider it a normal feature of democracy that parties should be free to make propaganda, to criticise and to put their point of view before the electorate, not only during elections but between them. Yet, in both Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia the leading African political organisations are banned, as is also one of the two in Northern Rhodesia. Many of the leading members of these organisations are in prison or detention camps. In Southern Rhodesia, a detention law has recently been passed which is so illiberal that it was opposed by even Right-wing elements in the Assembly and met with widespread criticism in this country.
Behind all this lies the regrettable fact that the hostility of Africans to federation is even more resolute and more widespread than it was six years ago. Not only that, but the attitude of Africans in Nyasaland at least, and to some extent in Northern Rhodesia to the British Colonial Government, which they quite rightly regarded as their protector, is far less friendly than it was a few years ago.
To sum up, the Government in the Federation and the three territories which comprise it rests today even more upon force and less upon consent than in 1953; the relations between Africans and Europeans in the Federation are, if anything, worse than they were; and African opinion is even more strongly opposed to federation than ever. I do not think that I have exaggerated. This is the sombre background which confronts us today as we look ahead to the time when the Federal Constitution comes up for review.
1286 If we are to have any hope of finding the right solutions to admittedly complex and difficult problems, the first thing is to discover why the situation has deteriorated during the last six years. I have no doubt that one basic reason for this is the original decision to impose federation against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Africans. Goodness knows, the Opposition gave enough warning of this. Time and time again, we argued that despite the merits and potentialities of federation, which we have never denied, it should not be imposed against African opinion. This was one of our two major arguments, the other being the belief that the Constitution did not provide sufficiently for the protection of African interests.
We can say that the Africans did not really understand what was involved. We can say that many of them were indifferent or ignorant. The fact remains that the overwhelming majority of those who were vocal, who could provide leadership, especially in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia, were undoubtedly opposed to the whole idea. I should like to quote some things said on this subject, not in this House, but in the Legislative Council of Northern Rhodesia at the time, in 1952, by Sir John Moffat. He said this:Granted in full measure all the substantial benefits which can be expected from federation, has the European minority a moral right to impose its will, in a fundamental issue of this nature, on the vast majority of the African people who have indicated their opposition to it in terms which cannot be misunderstood? I would ask hon. Members to bear in mind the lessons of history in similar situations and also to bear in mind that we have the added complication of a racial problem as well. In the final analysis the fact of African opposition is the whole issue.He went on to say:A number of efforts have been made to get round this factor of African opposition, by declaring, first, that the opposition does not exist, or is greatly exaggerated, secondly, by suggesting that African opinion has been gravely misled, thirdly, by suggesting that it is completely uninformed. Sir, these devices carry no weight with me because, on the evidence that I have available to me, the first contention is not true, the second one is not material, and the third one could be remedied by instruction.A little later, in this same remarkable speech, after speaking of the dangers of 1287 a line up on a racial basis, Sir John Moffat said this:Hon. Members may be wondering what all this has got to do with federation. It has, Sir, a very great deal to do with it, because for the first time in our history Africans are banding together in opposition to this proposal and the for prime reason that they are African. The danger which I have mentioned, Sir, is, to my mind, now a very real one. If that is so, then I do wish to plead with hon. Members that there is a moral issue here which far transcends even so enormously important a matter as federation. I am not so stupid as to suggest that if federation is forced through there will inevitably be a permanent cleavage on racial lines for racial reasons, it is even possible that if federation is administered with full regard to the rights and advancement of the African people a great number of them will come to accept it. It is possible, but what is certain is that for the first time a major issue will have been settled on this racial basis—an issue that the African people will lose, because the Europeans have the political power to force it through. We shall have given ammunition to that element in the African population which is already preaching the doctrine that racialism is the only salvation for the Africans in Central Africa. These persons. Sir, will never forget this matter, nor will they ever forgive you.These were, indeed, wise and timely words—prophetic words—and I can only regret that the British Government at the time did not pay more heed to them.
It is however possible, as Sir John Moffat himself said, that the hostility of the Africans to federation might have gradually diminished had not a number of errors been made, particularly by the United Kingdom Government. The first and most serious was their failure to introduce any significant constitutional advances in those last six years either in Nyasaland or Northern Rhodesia, together with their acceptance of changes in the Federal Constitution, despite the fact that these were declared discriminatory against African interests by the African Affairs Board, a body set up specifically for the protection of Africans.
May I enlarge on this point? It is difficult to understand why Her Majesty's Government did absolutely nothing to extend the franchise and participation of Africans in the Government in Nyasaland. It was certainly not from lack of prompting from this side of the House, and not only from this side. The Report of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Delegation of September, 1957, specifically 1288 urged that more should be done. It said:It is quite clear that to the Africans and to the Asians the term partnership is not yet a reality. In our view if the races in the territories are to live together in amity the African community must be made to feel that it has a high political stake in the Federation. This would mean an increase in representative Government in the territories, together with a substantial widening of African interests in the election of members to the Federal Assembly. These steps appear to us to be essential if African opinion is to be won over to full support of the Federation.That Report was signed by four Conservative and three Labour Members of Parliament and the Leader of the Delegation was the present Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour.
As to Northern Rhodesia, a change was made, but it was too little and too late. It involved, to be sure, some increase in the number of African voters and an increase, too, in the number of Africans in the Legislative Council, but any impact which these changes might have had—and, of course, they were far too little to satisfy African demands—was offset by the announcement of the Colonial Secretary that the number of voters on the Special Roll, designed largely for Africans, must not be allowed to exceed those on the Ordinary Roll, designed for Europeans, so that if this came about the qualifications for the franchise on the Special Roll would have to be adjusted. It seems to me that nothing is more likely to convince intelligent Africans of the utter insincerity of the British Government than this flagrant pretence of offering advance to democracy at one moment and then withdrawing it at the next.
As far as the attitude of Africans to federation is concerned, the determined opposition of the Federal Prime Minister to the presence of even two Africans in the Executive Council seemed only one more indication of his hostility to African political advancement.
Then there was the treatment of the African Affairs Board. The constitution of this body was one of the central features of our debates in 1952 and 1953. Eventually, despite great misgivings on our side, it was set up as a Committee of the Federal Legislature, but although, in consequence, it was not nearly as independent as we should have wished, it 1289 pronounced the 1957 proposals for the reform of the Federal franchise as discriminatory against Africans.
The matter came to the Colonial Secretary in accordance with the Constitution. It seems to me extraordinary, in these circumstances, and bearing in mind all that had happened in 1953, and taking into account the importance of trying to convince African opinion that here in Britain we wanted to protect their interests, that the Colonial Secretary should have decided to brush aside the African Affairs Board and, in so doing, undermine still further any remaining confidence which Africans might have in federation.
Then there was the agreement made in 1957 between the British Government and the Prime Minister of the Federation. This, too, was calculated to increase African hostility to federation. The promise that the constitutional review would take place at the earliest possible moment—i.e. in the autumn of 1960—needs to be looked at against a background which included many statements to the effect that the Federation Government wished, through this review, to obtain a greater degree of freedom for themselves, and not only for themselves but for the Governments of the other territories.
The further pledge by the United Kingdom Government thatin the present stage of constitutional evolution of the Federation it would not initiate any legislation … except at the request of the Federal Governmentwas even more serious; and the understanding that civil servants, whether Federal or territorial, would eventually have to look to the territorial Government as their future employer was taken, as it was bound to be taken, as yet another sign that the British Government were contemplating handing over more of their responsibilities to the Federal Government. Even today, I cannot for the life of me see why it was necessary to make this agreement with Sir Roy Welensky. It has certainly made our task and that of the Government far more difficult today than it need have been.
Then there were the measures of suppression following the riots in Nyasaland. I do not propose to discuss these today. We can do so, I think, more profitably when we have seen the Report of the 1290 Devlin Commission. Whatever the justification of these recent acts of locking up hundreds of nationalists in detention camps and sending others to remote areas with their freedom restricted, without bringing any criminal charges against them, it is hardly the way to secure African confidence in the rule of law or in British justice. As on so many other occasions in our recent history, these people who are now being made into national heroes by the Government will, sooner or later, be the leaders with whom the Government will have to negotiate.
Let me remind the House of one other factor of immense importance in these last six years. It is not as if we could treat the basic foundation of African attitudes as something constant. The world outside has been changing all the time, and in few ways more striking than in the advance of nationalist, anti-colonialist movements throughout the world, including, especially, parts of Africa. At a time when Ghana and Nigeria were moving swiftly to independence, when, in Tanganyika and Uganda, important developments in the franchise were taking place, when Somaliland—not exactly an advanced territory—was being promised some form of democratic government, when the French and Belgian Colonies suddenly began to take giant strides towards independence, there were certain to be repercussions in Central Africa. Demands for more rapid advance to the same goals than would otherwise have come forward were bound to be made.
We must never forget that in this matter time is of the essence We have only to look back to consider what has happened since the war. In India, the vital decision to grant independence was taken, I believe, just in time to preserve friendly relations between Britain and the peoples of that great sub-continent. The same can be said of other advances which have been made, including those made by a Conservative Government in Ghana, in Malaya, in Nigeria and in the West Indies. But there are other territories, notably Indo-China and Indonesia, where the vital mistake of the French and Dutch Governments was that of delaying too long.
We have often discussed in the House the real significance of our Commonwealth. For my part, I hold that this 1291 lies, above all, in the fact of the peaceful advance from colonial status to independence and freedom, the peaceful advance which has enabled friendly relations and the ties of the Commonwealth to be maintained with the mother country, albeit in a different form. But if that has been possible in the cases which I have mentioned, it is only because our decisions have been taken in time.
If this is the background—and, at any rate, it is the background as I see it—we have to ask ourselves now how we should proceed. I think that in a debate as comprehensive as this we should ask what are our fundamental aims. What do we in the House of Commons want to do for these peoples whose destiny, to some extent, has been entrusted to us? We are principally concerned, of course, not with Southern Rhodesia, which received de facto Dominion status many years ago, but with Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and at least to an extent with the Federation. In the light of the history of these territories which, let us recall, were handed over and entrusted to us by agreement with tribal chiefs so that we might look after the peoples in those areas, I do not think that there is any doubt what our objective should be. It must be to look after the interests of those peoples who were entrusted to us in precisely this way.
If that is the basic object, what comes next? I readily agree that we wish to see economic development in the interest of the peoples concerned, but this is not just to enable copper to be mined or Europeans to earn high salaries or large profits. Our object must be to benefit all the African peoples, who are the overwhelming majority of the population.
I do not believe that this necessarily involves a clash between African and European interests, as long as these are properly understood. On the contrary, economic development is a necessity, and it is not to be denied that it cannot be achieved, at any rate at anything like the necessary pace, without European investment and techniques and personnel. Equally, on the other side, it is not in the interests of the Europeans who live there and who have capital investment there that this Territory should be the continual subject of political upheaval.
1292 Nevertheless, we should be making a grave error if we assumed that economic development was either enough in itself or would be regarded by the African peoples as in any way a substitute for political freedom. Indeed, the attempt to present it to them in that light is almost certain to lead to its rejection. Our second specific object, therefore, must be quite simply the establishment of political democracy and self-government in the territories for which we are responsible.
Surely there is no doubt at all about the third object. It must be the establishment of the friendliest, most natural, race relations between the races who live in this part of the world.
I may be asked what all this has to do with federation. My answer is that federation is not an end in itself. If it is anything, it is a means to an end. My second answer is that, if there is to be any chance whatever of achieving support for federation among the African peoples—we must face the fact that it will be very difficult now—it must be, and can only be, by following the principles which I have just outlined.
We hear a great deal about partnership. It is a fine word, but it is becoming a little fly-blown. It is being used in all sorts of queer ways. I propose to say how I understand it. To my mind, if it is to mean anything, partnership must be based on equal rights and equal status, and it must not be regarded or treated as a device to justify de facto white supremacy.
If we agree that "partnership" means equal rights, we had better face the fact straightaway that the only ultimate principle which is possible in the political field is that in these territories eventually the Constitutions and the Governments based upon them must rest upon the foundation of one man one vote. No other principle as an ultimate object can be accepted. It cannot be said that it is right that there should be universal suffrage in Ghana, but wrong that there should be universal suffrage in Central Africa. We on this side of the House regard it as imperative that the British Government should make that absolutely clear.
I am not much impressed with the attitude of those who claim that one must 1293 first be "civilised" before one has the vote. "Civilised" is not a very easy word to define. I have known so-called educated people behave in a highly uncivilised manner and I have known people with no education at all behave in a most civilised manner. How can we say that we will grant an expanding franchise to the civilised Africans of Tanganyika and refuse it to the uncivilised Africans of Nyasaland? Distinctions of this kind just will not do as a matter of principle.
Nevertheless, I am not claiming that we can move at once to universal suffrage in these territories. It is undoubtedly true that here, as in some other places, a scarcity of Africans capable of carrying out the necessary political and administrative work involved is all too marked. At the same time, let me repeat the warning I have given already. Time is not on our side. Events are moving fast elsewhere in Africa and they will have their impact in Central Africa.
I may be asked what precise proposals I would put forward. I believe that in this problem of African confidence and its relationship to political development there is a certain turning point. Perhaps "the hump" would be a better metaphor. If one wants to get the confidence of the Africans, one has to get past this point; one has to get over the hump. One has to make them believe that the road to democracy really is clear, even if the pace at which one travels is slow.
If I were to be asked what kind of test I would apply to decide whether the hump had been surmounted, I would say that one possible indication of this is whether European candidates for the Legislature depend upon African votes for getting there. This has been most obviously carried out already in Tanganyika, in consequence of which I think that we would all agree that there is a more harmonious situation. We certainly have a better prospect of further political advancement and racial harmony there than we do in any other East African or Central African State.
Therefore, we say that in both Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland there must be a serious effort to get past this point by appropriate changes, swiftly carried out, in the franchise arrangements. We say that, as a consequence of this, we believe that the Constitution should ensure a majority of elected Africans in 1294 the Nyasaland Legislative Council and the appointment of African Ministers equal at least in number to those of other races. We say that in Northern Rhodesia there should at any rate be parity of representation between African and other races in both the Legislative and Executive Councils These we hold to be the immediate minimum steps necessary if African opinion is once again to have any confidence in our ultimate intentions.
There is another special reason why we must press on with political advancement in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia and in the Federation. If the conference to review the Constitution is to have any real significance, it is essential that Africans should be properly represented there. But since it is a conference between Governments—this is laid down in the Constitution—the Africans must and can only be represented through their Governments. We take such a serious view of the necessity for this that we say that political advancement in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia must come first before holding the conference.
I admit that since it will very likely, owing to these long delays, take more than fifteen months to carry through the necessary political reforms and the changes in the Assemblies and Governments involved, if need be the date of the conference should be postponed. I can see only one possible disadvantage in that. There might be, meanwhile, some further encroachments by the Federal Government upon the territorial Powers, but this can be avoided easily enough if only there were a firm declaration by the British Government that they would not in any circumstances make concessions of that kind.
I must mention one further matter in connection with political advancement. Particularly in Nyasaland this advancement is bound to be obstructed so long as the politically active and, on the whole, best-educated Africans are locked up in prisons and detention camps, because it is certainly no good to try to have Africans represented at the conference through their Governments by those who are simply "stooges" of either the Government of the United Kingdom or the Federal Government.
1295 I know that some hon. Members may say that we are asking for too much, that European opinion there will not stand for it and that the Africans are not yet ripe for these advances. I can only repeat what I said before. It is no part of our desire that Europeans should be driven out of these territories. I believe that their continued presence is essential. We want them to live there in peace and harmony with the Africans, but if they are to be able to do this they must recognise the need for coming to terms with rising African nationalism and they must accept swift African political advance.
The second argument, that the Africans are not ripe for these political advances, is the usual one which has been put forward throughout history when any extension of democratic franchise has been proposed anywhere. I do not deny that there are risks in this course, but experience can be won by the African people only through responsibility. Even if giving them responsibility involves risks, even if it means some degree of inefficiency, even if, perhaps, it retards economic development a little, I am convinced that it is, nevertheless, essential and abundantly worth while.
There is another reason for it. I think that we all wish to see the end of racial discrimination and colour bars. We may try to do what we can by specific and direct legislation, but I believe that the best way of tackling this is, once again, by substantial political advancement for the Africans. It is, indeed, the experience of the West Indies, of Ghana and of India that once the people in question have a substantial measure of political power their feeling and position in the State are radically transformed.
I turn now, if I may, to the specific question of the preparations for this conference, which was raised by the Prime Minister's statement yesterday. He mentioned the talks between some members of the Opposition and some members of the Government, and during our interchange after Question Time I think that it was agreed that there was no reason for refraining from disclosing what then took place.
These talks were first proposed by the Opposition. It will be within the recollection of the House that during the 1296 second debate that took place following the Nyasaland riots and the state of emergency we offered to refrain from voting if the Government would accept the appointment of a Parliamentary Commission to go out there and investigate. The Government refused to do that, but we thought it so important that we decided to urge upon them in private that they should, nevertheless, follow this course.
We had, first, under the chairmanship—if I may so put it—of the Lord Privy Seal, a series of talks about that. We did not succeed in convincing the Government that a Parliamentary Commission should investigate the Nyasaland position, and the Devlin Commission was, in consequence, appointed. But, during the course of these conversations—and largely as a result of the arguments around the initial proposition—the possibility was mentioned of a preliminary preparatory inquiry before the 1960 conference.
I must make it plain, Mr. Speaker, that in so far as we gave a welcome to that idea it was because we believed it essential—and, indeed, this was the reason for our proposal of a Parliamentary Commission on Nyasaland—that some overt step should be taken by this Parliament to convince African opinion in those two territories that we had not abandoned our responsibilities. That was our main motive in this.
The talks were not unsuccessful, and I had hoped that the Government might agree to the fairly early appointment of the kind of Commission that we had in mind. Then the Commonwealth Relations Secretary went out to see Sir Roy Welensky. There was a pause, during which we heard nothing from the Government despite repeated inquiries as to what was happening and whether we should see them again. When we did see them again, we were confronted by a proposal for a Commission totally different from that which we had originally envisaged. In certain respects, it was very similar to that just announced by the Prime Minister. It was a proposal of a Commission of the representative kind, with nominees from Central Africa, in various proportions but broadly the same in total as those from the United Kingdom. It also involved only a relatively small representation of Parliamentarians.
1297 We told the Government straight away that we could not possibly accept that proposal and that we regarded it is likely, frankly, to do more harm than good. Our reason for saying that was that we felt that the impact on African opinion would be precisely the opposite to that which we wanted. Why was this? We must have regard to the relationships—which, unfortunately, exist, and which I described in the earlier part of my speech—between the African people today and the Governments of all the four territories. In the light of that, a Commission, half of whose members are nominated by these Governments is, to say the least, not likely to prove very convincing or attractive to the African people.
We disliked it for another reason. We felt that it would anticipate too much the 1960 conference; in other words, that instead of postponing the date of the conference—for which there was a great deal to be said—until African reperesentation was properly secured, it was actually bringing it forward and that that, again, was bound to react adversely on African opinion. Finally, we felt, as I said yesterday, that the United Kingdom Parliament really should be given much more adequate representation.
We therefore made the alternative proposal of a Parliamentary Commission. To be fair, we did not insist that it must be composed 100 per cent. of Members of Parliament. We were not averse from having some outside members, and it was we ourselves who put forward the suggestion that those outside members might come from the Commonwealth. We had in mind—let me say so once again—that if this were to be the case it would be desirable to draw them from those countries in the Commonwealth which consist of coloured persons, because we felt that this would be some reassurance to African opinion; and drawn also from countries that had recently, or fairly recently obtained independence or were, perhaps, not fully independent yet—The West Indies, India, Malaya—even Ghana and Nigeria. Unfortunately, the Government did not see their way to accept this proposal. They came forward, finally, with the suggestion, the proposal—the decision, as I understand it—that the Prime Minister announced yesterday.
1298 We recognise that in two respects our views have, at least to a limited extent, been taken into account. It is true that there are to be two Commonwealth representatives, and I will say a word about that in a moment. There are also to be on the Commission, specifically, five Africans. That is not really new because, when they first put forward their earlier proposals, the Government certainly did not give us the impression that there was to be none.
The question we have to ask is what exactly the Government have in mind under this heading. It will make a very substantial difference. For example, if the five Africans on the Commission—and I think that the number is, in any case, far too small, and I proposed, I believe, at one point during the proceedings that if half the members of the Commission were African it might be of some significance—were drawn from the leaders of African politics—most of whom, I must say frankly, are at present under detention—that would be one thing. If we have them drawn from the ranks of those people who are known and recognised simply as stooges of the British Government and the local governments it will be quite a different thing—[Interruption.] I beg hon. Members opposite to face up to this problem. It is a very real one.
At the moment, we do not know. The Prime Minister hinted that, perhaps, times might change, and although it was at present impossible to appoint anybody who belonged to a banned organisation those organisations were not necessarily banned for all time. Hints are not enough in this matter. It is not enough to say, "Possibly—you never know. We might be able to do this, that and the other." The matter is far too important for us not to be clear about it, and if it is impossible for the Prime Minister to be clear about it at present it would be much better to delay the whole thing.
It is very much the same with the Commonwealth representatives. I have the highest respect for Canadians and Australians, and have many friends amongst them, but I believe that in this instance there would be immense advantages, as I have said, in drawing the Commonwealth representation from the newer Commonwealth countries, which 1299 happen, also, to be those with darker skins.
The Prime Minister, again, was asked whether India was or was not to be included. He did not seem able to give a clear answer. Yet, surely, in considering the matter, he must have made up his mind whether or not India was to be treated as a country that had experience of federation. I repeat—hints are not enough; and I could not advise my hon. Friends to be satisfied with them, for fears and suspicions continue.
There is one other aspect of the matter that is, perhaps, not quite so serious, but which I think I must mention. We are told that there is to be a General Election before long. There are to be six Privy Councillors appointed to this body. The Government may, in present circumstances, decide to appoint certain Privy Councillors, presumably from their back benches, but before long they will very likely have a far wider selection to choose from, and we, for our part, could have quite a wide selection at the moment but may, after the election, have a much narrower selection. The point is that it is really very difficult to see how serious appointments can be made unless they are delayed until after the election. If that is so, I repeat I cannot see the purpose of bringing forward this proposal at this juncture.
I should like to conclude by trying to state once more the principles with which we approach this great problem. We are not opposed to federation as such. We recognise its advantage in a number of parts of the world—Malaya, for instance, in the West Indies, and in other places. We still recognise its potentialities in Central Africa. But it will never succeed except on the basis of consent by the African peoples.
In order that there should be some chance of this consent, these things must be stated. First, once more, the British Government—and this will not be difficult for them. I know—must reaffirm their strict adherence to the words of the Preamble in the Constitution. Secondly, in consequence of this, there must not be any change in the powers of either the Federal Government or of the territorial Governments as against this United Kingdom Parliament unless and until there are proper democratic 1300 constitutions and franchises established in these territories. Thirdly, we should make it plain that any idea of Dominion status as a result of the 1960 conference must be excluded.
I do not think that this is difficult. Sir Roy Welensky's latest remarks on this subject show that he seems to have excluded it. But we should make it plain, on the other hand, that the agenda of the conference will not be so circumscribed as to rule out discussion of the continuance of federation itself.
This was a point that I put to the Prime Minister yesterday and he gave an answer which was not entirely clear. He said:In reply to the second question, the terms of reference, I think that it will be clear to us—the review is laid down in the Act—but if questions were put about the possibility of secession being within the purview of the Advisory Commission, I would say that it was clear to me that the Commission would be free, in practice, to hear all points of view from whatever quarter on whatever subject although, of course, we thought it right to give it terms of reference which accord with what we regard as the object of the 1960 review."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st July, 1959: Vol. 609, c. 1079.]Does that mean that they can consider but may not under any circumstances decide in favour of secession?
Sir Royal Welensky, as announced in this morning's newspapers, does not seem to have quite the same idea as the Prime Minister, for he said:Nor would it "—that is, the Federal Government—have associated itself with anything that called into question the continuance of the Federation itself.I hope that the Prime Minister will be able to clear up this ambiguity. It is of considerable importance, for if we accept that consent must be the basis, for my part I cannot see how, ultimately, the right of secession can be denied. But I believe that if this right is conceded it is far less likely to take place.
Finally, we say that there must not be a second imposition. That means that the conference should not take place until the Governments of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland at least are properly representative of the African peoples who live there. We believe that at the very beginning of this episode the wrong decision was taken. We believe that this initial wrong decision was 1301 made worse by a series of subsequent blunders, most of them committed by Her Majesty's Government. We believe that these have resulted in the present dangerous situation, especially illustrated by Nyasaland. I think that we now have the chance, just a faint chance, to recover.
I believe that the key to success here is the establishment of African confidence in the rights of the African peoples to ultimate democratic independence and self-government, and that the way to achieve that confidence is to bring about practical and immediate political reforms. I pray that the British Government, after this long story of misjudgment, errors, misunderstandings and lack of imagination, may, even yet, recognise what is to be done before it is too late.
§ 4.25 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
This debate is one of those occasions upon which what is still known as the Imperial Parliament is charged with a high responsibility, and, not for the first time in our long history, we are faced with a problem of constitutional development of great complexity and signal importance. I fully recognise the need for holding such a discussion before the end of the Session.
I hope that the House will bear with me if I have to speak at some length. I am grateful for the forbearance of the Opposition in postponing the debate until after the visit of Sir Roy Welensky here and after the Government have been able to reach the conclusions which they announced to the House yesterday.
Before entering upon some of the wider issues with which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition dealt and which, indeed, underlie the whole problem. I think that it would be convenient if I were to deal with the two main proposals of the Government and the criticisms which have been made concerning them: first, the 1960 review; and, secondly, the proposal that there should be an advisory commission of some kind before the review.
In considering the 1960 review it is right to say a few words about Central African Federation and the purpose of the review. The right hon. Gentleman gave his own account. The first concept 1302 of federation was put forward as long ago as 1938. In 1950, the party opposite revived the idea and a conference of officials was held in 1951 which recommended unanimously in favour of federation. Later in that year a conference was held at the Victoria Falls, where the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), then Colonial Secretary, presided.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly) indicated dissent.
§ The Prime Minister
I beg pardon; he did not preside, but he was present.
This was one of the last acts of the Labour Government and the Government that succeeded accepted the broad conclusions of the conference and proceeded with that task. I am, of course, aware that when the actual proposals came before Parliament the Labour Party voted against them, but then they were the Opposition and not the Government.
§ Mr. Griffiths
If the Prime Minister is to give the history, I hope that he will endeavour to give it accurately. The Conference in 1951 adjourned, having agreed to consider federation further and having agreed, also, to embody as basic principles the principles which are now generally referred to in this House as the Preamble.
The Preamble came from the Victoria Falls Conference and not from the Bill. Before the Bill was introduced, two things occurred. First, the Conference was reconvened by the then Colonial Secretary. The Africans refused to come. We urged the Government not to proceed with it in the absence of Africans. Later, we had another debate on it and we then urged the Government to discuss the matter further in Africa and not to proceed against the wishes of the Africans.
§ The Prime Minister
I quite accept that. I said that the idea emanated during the period of the right hon. Gentleman's office, and I give him full credit. He says that he suggested the ideas in the Preamble and I am happy to say they were passed into law by this House on the proposal of the Government of the day. I think that we might accept the fact that we both have a certain responsibility and a deep interest in the future of federation. The Federation has now been in being for six years 1303 and, as the Leader of the Opposition said very fairly, in the economic field it has certainly made great progress.
In 1950, the total national income of the three territories amounted to about £150 million. In the last year for which I have statistics, 1957, it was £325 million and, no doubt, it is still going ahead. In Nyasaland, the annual inflow of capital has increased four times, while expenditure on health and education has trebled. It has, therefore, brought benefits and the development of modern social services of all kinds. All these things have made great strides, especially in the Northern Territories.
I agree that economics are not enough, but they are a very good basis, all the same. The Federation has succeeded also in developing, at least to some extent, on however limited a scale, a multiracial political life. There is an African Minister. There are 12 African members in the Federal House out of 59. What is more important, they do not sit as an African group, but they belong to different political parties. This is of the greatest importance for the future of multi-racialism.
The Constitution newly introduced in Northern Rhodesia at the beginning of this year has produced a situation in which there are not only Africans in the Legislative Council, but they are there as members of political parties once more, not sitting by reason of their race. Out of the 22 elected members, 8 are Africans. Four have party affiliations and four are independents. In the Executive Council, in which unofficial members are in a majority, one elected African of the majority party and one nominated African have accepted portfolios.
We ought to be fair, therefore, in giving an account of what has happened in these six years. There has been considerable economic development. There has been some political development, though I agree that it is not enough. It is right to pay a tribute to the work of the Governments concerned and to the work of Sir Roy Welensky and his predecessor. The task to which they have had to set themselves is one demanding immense courage and imagination. We do not always agree with them, but I do not think that we serve the interests of either Europeans or Africans by a steady 1304 stream of denigration of their efforts. Naturally, as everybody knows, any form of Federal constitution is a quite difficult system to work, especially in its early days. But the economic and political arguments were thought sufficiently compelling to justify, in principle, the Federal experiment. It is not right that we should turn away from that decision because of immediate difficulties or out of a sense of weariness or despair.
The purpose of the 1960 review is well known. It had to come under the Statute within nine years, and it has been brought forward to the seventh. It is to review the Constitution in the light of the experiences gained, to agree on any changes which may be desirable, and, of course, to consider the ultimate problem of the position of the Federation in the Commonwealth. At the same time, the British Government have made it clear throughout that, if there were proposals which at any time involved the two Northern Territories ceasing to be under the direct protection of a United Kingdom Government, then the pledges contained in the Preamble to the 1953 Constitution and solemnly given to Parliament would necessarily be brought into play. That means that it would be necessary to ascertain whether the peoples of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland desired the change.
I repeat what I said yesterday, because it concerns a point of great importance. The Preamble is there, and we have to have the review. Whatever may be settled as to the method, I would say that, although the two Legislatures of the Northern Territories are, for the moment, well able to conduct their ordinary affairs, they could not, in the present state of development—or, I am bound to say, in any immediate stage of development—be more than one element in any machinery which may subsequently be used for the purpose of obtaining the opinion of the inhabitants.
Of course, it would be foolish to deny that there is great opposition, great doubt and uncertainty about the Federation in many quarters. That is well known. It has been confirmed by the tragic events in Nyasaland in the early months of this year. There is, at present, a current of opinion, particularly evident in the African Congress, against federation as such. Whether it is against federation 1305 or it is an expression of other feelings is not always clear. But let us not prejudge the work of the review. Let us, rather, having reaffirmed our pledges as I have done today, try to take steps which will make the review more informed and more fruitful. The review, when it comes, will be a difficult task for whatever Government are in power.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) suggested yesterday that the review might be postponed, and the Leader of the Opposition repeated that suggestion today. There are arguments for it, but I am bound to say that I think that it would be a very grave decision to take. In the first place, it has been made perfectly clear by all the Governments concerned that the review is to take place at the end of next year. To postpone it now would seem to raise the maximum of suspicion for the minimum of advantage. For those to whom federation appears as the most constructive line of advance, confidence would be destroyed, with all that that would imply in economic as well as political matters; and it would mean a great deal.
Even those who feel that, in the present state of constitutional development in the Northern Territories, no great advance is possible would be left in doubt for another two years. Those who feel that the break-up of the Federation—what is called secession—is the right course would be encouraged by three years of uncertainty to do everything they could to break up and frustrate the life of the Federation without having the opportunity of attaining their purpose. Equally, of course, the design of federation would be frustrated by any movement towards amalgamation.
In my view, therefore, the postponement of the review would be a decision by the United Kingdom Government alone to try to freeze the position. It would be a decision not based on any principle, but based merely on an unwillingness to grasp a difficult problem. It would not be standing up to the danger but, rather, running away from it.
It is quite possible that, as a result of the review—this is a point of great importance—no changes, or no substantial changes, will be proposed. I cannot prejudge that issue. There may be certain amendments or changes agreed, or 1306 there may be none. There may be alterations in the Federal functions proposed, perhaps, to reduce them in some spheres or to increase them in others. It may well result from the review, therefore, that there will be a decision to maintain something like the status quo in regard to Federal powers and, of course, in regard to the protecting functions of the United Kingdom Government. It is one thing to make a decision of that kind in that way as a result of the review.
Both the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition have another purpose, I think, which the right hon. Gentleman developed today. He said that there was a possibility that there might be sufficient constitutional development in the Northern Territories to allow our pledges under the Preamble to be carried out by the Legislatures in those territories themselves. [Interruption.] Enough advance, anyhow, in two years to make the review at a stage when they had self-governing Legislatures.
I am as anxious as anyone in the House—indeed, we are all anxious—for constitutional advance to proceed as rapidly as possible, but I hardly think that enough advance could be made in those two years so to alter the situation as to justify a delay. If the delay is to be based on some sort of general hope that something might turn up, then I do not think that it would be right to avoid the issue. To leave things as they are by the negative act of refusing to consider them is one thing. That may create chaos. Of course, to leave things as they are by a positive act which may well be a decision of statesmanship acceptable at the review is another thing, and it would be acceptable because it would be based upon agreement and not upon evasion.
I will now turn to the Commission, the second main point. It is clear that if the review is to take place, whether it is to take place in 1960, 1961, or any other year, much preliminary work needs to be done. I believe that everybody agrees with that. The only question is: how best can it be done? After much consideration, the Government decided upon the plan which I announced yesterday. Of course, I knew that it would be subject to criticism. That was clear to me from the private and preliminary 1307 talks which I had with the right hon. Gentleman and his two hon. Friends.
However, since they were, or were supposed to be, wholly confidential, I hoped then, and still hope, that in the House as a whole, as well as in the country, the Government's genuine effort to deal with this problem may receive a little more sympathy than I was able to obtain from the right hon. Gentleman and his two supporters. However, I do not wish to go into the details of these discussions, because they come out in the points which the right hon. Gentleman made.
The right hon. Gentleman made three major criticisms. First, he expressed grave doubt as to whether the Commission would command the assent of the African peoples. That, of course, is an important point. [Laughter.] It is a vital point. But I should like to know by what method, except by selection, Africans can be selected for such a Commission, and in making the selection every care will be taken that they are likely to command the confidence and respect of their peoples.
§ The Prime Minister
There was one passage in the right hon. Gentleman's speech which seemed to me rather depressing, namely, the insinuation—I have spoken of the Africans now holding office—that Africans who try to assist to build up multi-racial institutions in a multi-racial community are to be written off as "stooges".
§ Mr. Gaitskell
What I said was that it would certainly serve no useful purpose if persons who were regarded by their fellow Africans as "stooges" were supposed to represent the Africans.
§ The Prime Minister
That is the well-known Parliamentary way of trying to make an insinuation indirectly instead of honestly.
The object of this Commission is to obtain men who will command confidence, and I believe that those chosen will do so. I think that it is utterly unreasonable to believe that a Commission as broadly based as the one which I proposed to draw from all parties in the House of Commons, with representatives 1308 of the Commonwealth, with distinguished independent members and with no fewer than five Africans, will be regarded as other than people who will try to approach the problem objectively and without prejudice.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby) rose——
§ The Prime Minister
The right hon. Gentleman spoke for nearly an hour and nobody interrupted him.
It is true that, apart from the selection, it will be possible and right for the Commission to hear evidence and to make contact with all representatives and all members of the various sections of the population, political groups or movements.
The second point that the right hon. Gentleman made was that we must not anticipate the 1960 review. I have dealt with the question of postponing the review, and I would only say this. I do not quite see the power and logic of the right hon. Gentleman's argument. I suppose that any form of Commission, whether Parliamentary, mixed or any other, could be criticised as anticipating the review. Therefore, the logical outcome of the argument is that we should do no preparatory work, whether by Parliamentary or by any other form of Commission. Yet, I do not believe that this is really the view of the right hon. Gentleman, and I will therefore pass to his criticisms about the character and composition of the Commission.
Before I come to the question of the composition, I should like to repeat what I said yesterday. What are its main objects? To my mind, they are twofold. First, we must try to dispel the widespread ignorance of the working and purposes of federation which clearly exists both here and in Africa. There are misconceptions everywhere. They are the basis of fears and must be removed. Unless there is a complete and authoritative analysis of the facts, we shall be in danger of making grave mistakes.
Secondly—this I regard as of real importance—we must try to create, both here and in the Federation, a common mind as to the next stages of political evolution, both for the territories as they move towards self-government and for the Federation as a whole. If I am right in believing that the imaginative and creative course is to try to bring about 1309 the common mind, any inquiry must be upon a wide basis. I do not propose that any other Parliament or Legislature shall be represented on this inquiry. That is right, for the prime responsibility rests on the United Kingdom Government. But it is surely right and proper—and here I appeal to hon. Members in all parts of the House—that Europeans and Africans, both from the Federation and from the component territories, should have a say in matters which are vital to their future. After all, it is their life and future which are at stake. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]
There are those who say that since the ultimate responsibility rests with the United Kingdom Parliament any preliminary work of investigation should be undertaken only by a British Parliamentary Commission. Of course, there is nothing to preclude visits of our Parliamentary delegations at any time. [Laughter.] Such visits are always useful.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)rose——
§ The Prime Minister
If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to finish this part of my speech, I will willingly give way later.
The work for the Commission which I had in mind is of a much more detailed and onerous character. There is nothing new in the idea of a Commission of a mixed type, for as long ago as last March my right hon Friend the Secretary of State told the House that the Government fully understood that Parliament would wish to be associated in an appropriate way with any machinery which was set up.
I think that we have gone a long way to try to get agreement. We have not achieved it altogether, but I think that we have a measure of agreement—a mixed Commission with Parliamentary representation, widely based. That is our plan. The chairman must be an independent-minded man and a personality commanding general respect.
As regards the Parliamentary representation, we thought that the Privy Councillors would be suitable to mark the importance which Parliament gave to this great issue. But if everything could be agreed and if this was the only hurdle left to jump, then I would certainly consider lowering the top bar so 1310 that we could clear it. Similarly, if some variations in the proportions allotted to the Commonwealth and United Kingdom independent non-Parliamentary members would be of assistance, such as three and three instead of four and two, that would not be a barrier to general consent; but I think that the general balance must be maintained between the thirteen members from Central Africa, eight Europeans and five Africans, and the thirteen United Kingdom and Commonwealth members upon the other side.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
In view of what the Prime Minister has said, is he prepared at the 1960 talks to take away from the Federal Administration power over immigration in order that Members of this House can fulfil their responsibilities towards these territories and so that other citizens of the United Kingdom—for instance, professors and former provincial commissioners of Northern Rhodesia—may be able to visit the two Protectorates, which are still the direct responsibility of this country?
§ The Prime Minister
The point which the hon. Member makes is one which he may be willing to give evidence about before the Commission, and which might well be studied at the review.
I very much regret that the right hon. Gentleman has taken the line he has about the Commission. I do not regard the door as completely closed—I am always hopeful—but I think that he faces a very great responsibility. All I can say is that Her Majesty's Government will not be deterred from their purpose or duty. I believe that in its heart the House and, indeed, the country believe that a Commission of this kind could do nothing but good.
I now turn to some of the wider issues which the right hon. Gentleman raised in the earlier part of his speech. It would be foolish to deny that immense problems lie ahead. In the first place, on the constitutional side, the Federation consists of three territories in very different stages of development. Southern Rhodesia has been more or less—and really rather more than less—independent for thirty years or more. Northern Rhodesia was later in starting, but the recent constitutional changes have set her upon the road and she is today clearly poised for a new advance. 1311 In Nyasaland, the constitutional processes have hardly begun, but we must proceed upon the line we have taken in so many other territories all over the world. My right hon. Friend will have something to say about those special points later on.
Of course, on the constitutional side it is clearly difficult to combine territories so diverse, and to resolve this problem rests not only upon the Federal Government but also upon the Government of the United Kingdom. It is our duty—and I agree with the right hon. Gentleman in this—to proceed with constitutional progress in the territories for which we are responsible as rapidly as is practicable. That is, perhaps, the most important contribution we can make to the future of the Federation.
We have to think of increasing the constitutional responsibilities of the Territorial Governments, as distinct from the Federal Government, so that the position of each component Government can gradually approximate to that of the Federation itself, and as this determination becomes known it will do a great deal to remove the fears, suspicions and uncertainties in Africa. This is not a question of the Federal Government trying to grab some powers—even if they wished to do so—over the other territories; it is a question of our trying to lift the political life of the independent territories to something much nearer to equal status with the others. In other words, we want to make it abundantly clear that the purpose of our policy is, as soon as possible and as rapidly as possible, to move towards self-government in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. This was publicly accepted by Sir Roy Welensky and welcomed by him and both territories. It is a good thing that they should have the same feeling as we have. We therefore hope to see a broadening of the electorate and the functions of self-government exercised on normal party political lines.
Of course, all this is a very difficult task. The right hon. Gentleman did not underrate it, and he was right. I thought that his description of the difficulties and problems was a fair one. We have to face the fact. Meanwhile, there is the question of amendments, changes or alterations in the Federal powers. It may 1312 be that in some spheres they will be reduced and in others increased, and it is to information on these as upon all other aspects that we want the Commission to direct its preliminary work.
With regard to the position of the whole Federation in the Commonwealth as an independent unit, I fear that the word "independent" has acquired many shades of meaning. The British Government will certainly not withdraw its protection from Nyasaland and Rhodesia in the short run, and in the long run our object is to advance these territories to fully responsible government. Then they will be able to dispense with our protection and stand entirely on their own feet as components of the Federation. When all the units are in a position to agree, and are agreed that British Government protection is no longer needed-then, and only then—can the whole Federation go forward to full independence and full Commonwealth membership. Meanwhile, for practical purposes there can be independence in the Federal sphere, as such, and in respect of the Federal functions transferred to the Federal Government.
Although the right hon. Gentleman did not go quite so far, I have heard it said by some people that Federation should be abandoned forthwith. If we were to announce our intention now to disband the Federation, or form a new one, or to divide it into different units without waiting either for the Commission or for the 1960 Review; if we were to tear up, without further thought, an experiment which is only seven years old and which was started with a good deal of good will on all sides, and an experiment which has made very considerable progress, we should be guilty of an act of treachery towards the high ideals and purposes which we set ourselves.
§ The Prime Minister
I am glad that nobody has suggested that. It is a difficult task, for in these territories Africans, Europeans and Asians claim the right to live and make their homes, and if the justice of these claims is admitted—and I do not see how they can be disputed—there is only one goal both within the territories and within the Federation. 1313 It is a word which the right hon. Gentleman said he thought was rather flyblown, but I do not agree with him about that. It is the word "partnership", by which I mean not the supremacy of one race over the other but the co-operation of all. In any country of a multi-racial character, whether it be the French and British in Canada, in the early days, or the Chinese and Malays in Malaya, or the different races living together in many other territories of the Commonwealth, we have this problem. It must end either in partnership or in disruption. In terms of social and economic progress each race is indispensable to the other. The choice in Central Africa lies between partner-Slip and chaos.
To state the goal is one thing; to make it a reality is very different, for added to the ambitious task of creating a common life for two peoples of very different origins and races is the difficulty that one has been equipped for generations with education, wealth and experience in administration while the other is only just beginning to take the first steps upon the road. Anyone who has seen the partnership in agriculture and industry and has marked the progress of the African in the increased responsibility he is daily being able to assume must believe that partnership can be made a reality.
I agree that it cannot be limited to the economic field. It must be political. The structure which we have deliberately provided for the multi-racial area of Africa is Parliamentary democracy. We believe it to be the best form of Government. We know that it is the most difficult and perhaps the most complex. If it is not to lapse into something very different, as it easily can, there must be—and I believe the right hon. Gentleman admitted this—some apprenticeship in learning the balance of rights and responsibilities. I believe that this can be done, with patience, but where two peoples are so different in habit and achievement and so unequal in numbers, it would be much to be wondered at if there were not acute and sometimes dangerous situations.
§ Mr. Callaghan rose——
§ The Prime Minister
The hon. Gentleman can speak later.
We often hear about fears, and I believe that they are there. There is the 1314 fear of the African that the European may use his wealth and influence to hold back unreasonably the African's political advance, and there is the fear of the European that if the African is given political power before he has had time to learn the responsibilities of democracy he may use his numbers to evict the European from his rightful home. It would be folly to ignore these fears, but it is surely our task not to fan them, not to work them up, but to try to devise constitutions which safeguard beyond doubt the position and the rights of both races and of both communities.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. The question I wanted to ask him was this. I think it is a question of fundamental importance. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that in these difficult conditions of partnership, the partnership, if it is to be successful, must rest upon the consent of the partners whether it be an arrangement between the States themselves—Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia—or the relations between the people inside the States?
§ The Prime Minister
Of course a partnership must rest upon confidence in each other, and consent. But the hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do that in the task of building up that confidence and building up and trying to achieve that consent, we, too, have a possibility of breaking it down or building it up by our own efforts. I think we have a duty not only to talk about these things but to act in such a way as to promote them.
I thought I must warn the House that this would take a little time—the right hon. Gentleman was quite right in developing his theme—and I have not very much more to say, but what I would like to say——
§ Mr. Stonehouse rose——
§ The Prime Minister
Do sit down.
What I would like to say I will venture to put before the House as calmly and as sincerely as I can. I have thought a great deal about these matters and I do, perhaps, in a variety of ways have some little experience of them. In the space of two generations the old Empire has developed into the new Commonwealth, and it is difficult for many to 1315 realise how rapid and how recent this development has been. Only after the first war did Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa take their position of full nationhood. The Statute of Westminster was passed only 28 years ago, and even in these countries grave constitutional problems had to be faced in the process of constitutional growth.
In Canada there was the problem of the two races as well as the creation of a federal structure. This was successfully met by the founders of confederation and still depends upon the pillar of the British North America Act. Even in Australia, it is worth while recalling— I think every hon. Member will remember it—that only 25 years ago we in this Imperial Parliament received a petition from Western Australia demanding secession from the Federation. It is also worthwhile pausing a moment to recognise the irreparable damage which would have been done to a great and growing nation had Parliament yielded to that demand.
In India, to which the right hon. Gentleman has rightly referred, eventual self-government was the set purpose of the British; from the time of the Morley-Minto reforms in 1909 until the final Act of 1947 this was the objective. But happily in India, as in Pakistan, both countries have decided to remain in the Commonwealth, as I am glad to say has Ceylon.
In more recent years, largely under the guidance of my right hon. Friend, to which the right hon. Gentleman paid tribute, we have seen the same process in Malaya, Ghana and now in Nigeria; and we hope soon for the full development of the Federation of the West Indies. In all these developments we had to face a wide variety of circumstances. Sometimes, as in Ghana, we have been able to deal with homogeneous States, but this, on the whole, has been the exception rather than the rule. In Nigeria, as the House well knows, there have been great divergences of interest between different races, different religions and different civilisations.
India herself, of course, is the greatest possible example of a multi-racial community. But, of course, India has its own long history, in which the concept 1316 of Mother India as an all-embracing idea long preceded the British rule. But—and this was the inestimable advantage that British rule gave to India—the principle of a strong central Government was recreated and maintained.
In Malaya we have two races, the Chinese and the Malays, almost equally divided, with wholly different backgrounds, character and tradition. [HON. MEMBERS: "Three races."] Three races. In Singapore, where we have just made the last forward movement, we have the same division. But in Central Africa we have two special difficulties in an acute form. First, the problem of the creation of a federal structure of Government and its development consistent with the guarantee of the rights of the component territories. That is the normal problem of federation. Secondly, we have the racial question, since both Europeans and Africans—and indeed Asians—claim the country as their home.
I hope the House will not mind me saying this, but I feel it right to say it. In all these discussions about Central Africa and the multi-racial problems it is easy to forget how the development of these great territories came about. Whatever we may think about the so-called "race for Africa" which took place between the European Powers at the end of the last century, I do not think that even the most hostile and doctrinaire critic of colonialism would deny that the advent of the European, perhaps I would dare to say especially the British, has transformed the life of Africa.
When the first explorers, missionaries and administrators arrived in these areas they found a countryside devastated and depopulated by ceaseless tribal war. Many of the warrior tribes devoted all their energies to plundering their neighbours and selling them into slavery. The power of the African rulers was absolute, their justice arbitrary, and their mercy small.
The population of the two Rhodesias and Nyasaland was estimated in 1911 as about 2½ million, whereas today it is 7 million. The population when we arrived was, of course, illiterate. There were no schools, no roads and no hospitals. The natural resources of the country were not being developed and the agriculture was primitive.
1317 I do not think that the dispassionate observer would feel that up to now the African has lost by his contact with the European. People sometimes speak as though the European settler in Africa was a parasite, only interested in an easy life. This is an utterly false view. Men and women have gone out from these islands, humble men and women, too, from every part of our country, to make their lives in Central Africa. They have been adventurous and hardy. By their labour and their inventiveness they have made possible all the great advances which the Africans have enjoyed over the last 50 years.
These are but a foretaste of the benefits which can come if only we will all together do what we can to create a fruitful partnership between the European and African. It does no service to the cause of either to attack the other. In this complex of difficulties—I take the phrase which the right hon. Gentleman used—in Central Africa, I would venture to say let us try and pursue the same broad purpose that we have followed throughout the Commonwealth with, as far as possible—we cannot have it altogether—a joint approach from our political forces here.
Above all, let us eschew the temptation to make it a subject of party dispute or party gain or loss in our domestic struggles. Let us press forward with reforms, but be patient with administrative difficulties or setbacks or even outbreaks of violence, however regrettable. Let us not prematurely judge the final decisions that we shall have to take. In a word—I venture to say this—only so can the House of Commons in its words and actions match the level of events.
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
We have heard a curiously muddled speech from the Prime Minister. Indeed, his extreme reluctance to give way and to depart from his brief was not the only evidence in his speech that this was a subject which he knew very little about. He gave us a lecture on the desirability of a multi-racial society. In that, many of us share at least his desires, but our conception and, it may be, our understanding of this problem is more thorough.
The difficulty about a multi-racial society is this. If we are going to get a 1318 multi-racial society to work somebody must hold the ring till those who are going to be partners are in a position to take up their partnership. That is an essential preliminary to a workable, multiracial society. We shall not get a multiracial society if we take one race, give them the authority, and make the objective of the other races the revolutionary objective of turning over the race in authority. That seems to me the fundamental problem here and to be the fault the Central African Federation is falling into.
The Prime Minister says—and this seems to be one of the odd and muddled irrationalities of his speech—that it would be running away to postpone the review at this period. Why in the world would it be running away if we were to say to the Federal Government that the whole point of review was that when review came there would be an African representative voice? Owing to their conduct of affairs, there is no African representative voice. Till that representative voice emerges, there can be no review. That is the attitude which, I think, we of the Opposition take here. In fact, the only representative voice of the Africans is in gaol. It is a representative voice which has emerged not through the Federation but in spite of the Federation, and it is at the moment in gaol. Is that the time for review?
Again, the Prime Minister said—and this seemed to him to appear to be a large concession—" Of course, it is important that the Africans on this Commission should be representative. But how do we get representative people except by selection? "Of course, nobody can get representatives selected except by selection. The all-important question is, selection by whom?
If these Africans are to be representative they have to be selected by Africans, and no machinery at this moment exists for that selection. That is the problem here. I mean, if the Commission merely says, "We will have five Africans," it may as well say, "Well, five members of the Commission will in deference to the multi-racial principle paint their faces black." It makes no greater difference than that. These have got to be representative people. That is not available now. If we are going to have a multi-racial society somebody has 1319 got to go on holding the ring between the races till the more backward race is in a position to take its place in that partnership, and it is the function of the Government and of the Colonial Office.
As to the present set-up, let me say at once of the sort of rotarian club ending of the Prime Minister's speech about all that had been achieved since the European came, the sort of thing which probably has been heard in a better atmosphere of greater conviviality in which to stand that sort of thing at the end of dinners—as to that aspect of the matter let me say right away that I am certainly proud of the Imperial record of Britain in Africa. I believe that where our flag has gone it has overwhelmingly been to the benefit of the people there. In Africa, I myself think that is beyond doubt. It is very much within the areas which voluntarily sought our protection that that is so. Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland are countries which did not come to us through conquest but countries which really voluntarily came to us and sought our protection. And to those Africans morally and in honour we owe that protection.
I myself am not so concerned with the question of representation. I am not even vitally concerned with the question of African consent. Although I regard that as tremendously important, I would go to the length of agreeing with hon. Members opposite that it may be possible that Whitehall knows best. However, I do feel that what one must put first when one is dealing with this matter of trust and honour is to whose authority are our wards to go. What is the record of the Federal Government? Are Sir Roy Welensky and his friends fit and proper people to be entrusted with the government of such subjects? We must look at them on their record.
Upon this I would say right away that the people who are fit to be entrusted with the government of subject human beings, since all power corrupts, are really quite exceptional people. I think that for part of our history, maybe a century, Britain produced those people. Through our Colonial Office, through our tradition, we did produce people who were fit to be entrusted with the government of such subjects, who governed without being corrupted by 1320 power, and returned from great provinces which they had ruled unenriched.
One thing which one can take for granted is that it is amongst few peoples and for short periods that the phenomenon of fitness to rule has arisen. It has arisen, perhaps, amongst the missions who, in Nyasaland at any rate, carry out what in a very real sense has been government, though, if we go into the Pacific, the capacity of power to corrupt even missionary societies has been pretty evident. As I say, it is a fairly exceptional thing, and it is upon the record of this Government in simple, everyday things that I would judge whether this Federal Government possesses this exceptional virtue.
First, what seems to be a very simple fact is that the staple food of the African is mealie. That is what he lives on, that is what his family lives on; that is what stands between him and starvation in the reserves. The price of the mealies to the African in Rhodesia, maintained by the Federal Government, is approximately 50s. a bag. The world price of mealies is 20s. a bag. As simple a factor as that affects me much more than the question of which Africans are allowed into which hotel. These are the vital bread-and-butter things.
These mealies are produced by the big Salisbury farmers, and the marketing board is holding that price up to a level at which it comes to over 50s. to the consumer. But that is not the price for the African producer. The African producer, as against the European producer, gets only between 18s. and 20s. a bag. The European producer gets a guaranteed 38s. plus a bonus of over 2s., and the handling charges, and so on, take the price up to 50s.
What is the excuse for this difference? It is partly the handling and transport cost. That is said to be 9s. or 10s. a bag but if the African says, "I will do my own handling and transport and packing" he still gets only 18s. to 20s. The balance goes to what is called the Native Development Fund. Money for that fund is deducted from the price which the African receives for his product and it is used for building roads, bridges, dams and schools, and for building in the native reservations. But the roads and the bridges are used by the white man, too, and the cost of the bridges, schools and 1321 dams built in the white man's area comes out of the general tax fund. In the native area the native must pay for them himself.
It is said, of course, that the white man, as the richer man, pays the majority of the taxes, but this would be like having a special levy in the poorest areas of our towns to pay for the services there because most of the taxes were paid by people who did not live in slums. That is what the Federal Government are doing in this area. Most important of all, the African produces the mealies at 20s. a bag and, presumably, it pays him to do so. If that is the real and effective cost of production, what conceivable right is there to maintain the cost of that vital food at 50s.?
Meat production is also vital to the African, because cattle is native wealth. Native cattle were sold and could only be sold by grade, but only the lower grades were available to the Africans. The three top grades, Grade A, the Imperial Best and the Rhodesia Best, were not available to them. This caused great dissatisfaction. Two commissions of inquiry were set up. The report of the first one was torn up, but when the second Commission, the Turner Commission, had reported to the same effect its report had to be put into operation.
The Commission recommended that open sales should be held for African cattle just as for anybody else's cattle, except that 17 per cent. should be taken off the price and used for the African Development Fund. That was bad enough, but the sales were immensely popular and a great success and the African began to get far better value for his cattle. Then the Cold Storage Commission, which is, owned by the Government, set about making a ring to break up these sales. It first persuaded the Northern Rhodesia Government to keep away from the sales. It then formed a ring with Liebig's, the other big buyers, and undertook to give them their requirements at certain prices provided that they kept away from the native sales.
The ordinary butcher did not get storage facilities if he went to the native sales, The native cattle sales were broken up and a return was made to the system whereby only one person was present at a sale by tender. That position has been 1322 maintained, and the three good grades are, once again, not available to the African.
One could go on naming item after item of similar practices in the matter of taxation. Whereas taxation in this country is slanted to put the higher taxes on luxury goods, the opposite applies in the Federation. The items which the African uses are those which carry the highest proportionate tax. One item perhaps is worth mentioning, because it is the sort of fraudulent practice of which we complain. The subsidy on the mealies was removed in the last Budget and it was said by the Government that the removal would be achieved by increasing the Grain Marketing Board's selling price for maize. It was added that there was bound to be a small effect upon the price of mealies, the burden of which would fall mainly on the employer of labour. The increased price to the consumer represented the whole subsidy cost, plus an added percentage.
This was done during a year when the Government said, in effect, "We have got to switch over and bring their minds to a money economy." Employees ceased to receive food. Instead, they were supplied with money. All the Government agencies have done the same, and everybody, except the miners, who, by law, must be supplied with food, is supplied with money. Then, having switched the liability for the purchase of food from the employer to the worker, the subsidy on the food was removed, and, to throw dust into people's eyes, it was suggested that the burden of the subsidy fell on the employer.
These people who in the economic field treat the poorer members of the community in this way are simply not fit to govern. I say quite frankly that on no terms would I go on with federation. I would not insure a man whom I thought would burn down his house. That is the sort of risk against which one cannot insure at any premium. I would not give these people authority to rule subject people on any terms, because I do not trust them. Their record is not a trustworthy one. We should be firm about it and come out quite straight. This is a matter of honour and trust, and our position as a 1323 party should be clear about it. Federation may have had something to be said for it at the time, but it needed to be proved. It has been proved and has been found wanting because of the actions of the Federal Government. That should be enough for us.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
I have a very great respect for the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), but after listening to his speech I felt that he was the last Member to criticise my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister for giving, as he said, a muddled dissertation to the House.
The hon. and learned Gentleman said that it was our job in this country to hold the ring in the Northern Territories of Central Africa. Surely, that is very much what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said. The hon. and learned Gentleman referred to the necessity of obtaining the representative views of Africans. Would he not agree that there are now three Federal political parties, all of which have African members, some of them representing the parties in the Legislatures of Central Africa, while there are many other African members of the parties in all three territories? Would he not agree that these parties have the right to claim that they represent large sections of African opinion?
The hon. and learned Gentleman went on to speak of the record of the Federal Government. I will not follow him in his economic researches, but what I would say about mealies is that it is the employers of African labour who pay for the Africans' food. Africans working in their own homes grow their own mealies. Therefore, even if there were the gerrymandering he suggests the increased price would fall on the European employer more than on any other section of the population.
The value of African cattle sold in 1948 was approximately just over half a million pounds, and the latest figures which I have had, those for 1957, show that the value of African cattle sold was over £2 million, which is surely indicative of the increased value of Africans' holdings and the increased standard of living of the African people.
1324 I will try to show that the record of the Federal Government is just the opposite to that which the hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned.
§ Mr. Wall
I would say that the products of the sale, in cash, went to Africans, which shows that their standard of living, on the basis of cattle, has risen from half a million pounds in 1948 to over £2 million, an increase of four times. I think that that is a fairly good record.
I believe that our fundamental difficulty in considering the affairs of Central Africa is that we give the appearance to the world of not having made up our minds on what we want to achieve. We give the appearance of not having quite decided on our objectives in Central Africa. Is it our objective to create a strong British but independent multiracial member of the Commonwealth? Do we want that? If this is our aim, we must recognise that it will take time and patience. It will take far longer for a multi-racial State to stand on its own feet, drawing support from all the races in that community, than it would for a uni-racial State, but the result will be far better for all concerned.
Alternatively, do we want to see an African State in Central Africa similar to Ghana, or Nigeria, or the other West African States, which, so far as we are concerned in Westminster, could be created extremely easily and quickly? But the result would not be a British member of the Commonwealth nor a strong member of the Commonwealth, and the imposition of any such idea would be strongly resisted by the Europeans, and, I believe, by a very large number of the African population in Central Africa.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Surely the question is whether either party in this House should wish to impose the Federal system upon large masses of unwilling people? That is the question.
§ Mr. Wall
I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman, but I want to develop this argument.
We on this side of the House are quite clear. We want, in due course, for the good of Central Africa and all races in 1325 it, and for the good of the Commonwealth, to develop a strong, multi-racial independent member of the Commonwealth.
§ Mr. Wall
Yes, with consent and we acknowledge that it will take a very considerable time. I believe that a large number of hon. Members opposite subscribe to the same idea. I would refer to the official statement of policy, as I gather it is, of the party opposite, called "Labour's Colonial Policy." I read on page 10 a reference to the contributions made by all races in Central Africa towards a multi-racial society, and the summary is as follows:The primary problem was, and still is, to keep what is of value in all these contributions, while enabling the African peoples to develop a status equal with that of the others.In other words, we want to retain the good will of the Europeans and raise the status of the Africans. I do not think that hon. Gentleman opposite would quarrel with that.
Again, I would read one particular sentence on page 35:If an attempt were made to abolish all racial considerations immediately, the result would inevitably be a sharpening of racial tension, militant revolt against a policy felt to be imposed by Britain, and political chaos which would delay advance for many years.That is a statement of principle with which we on this side would thoroughly agree. Therefore, it seems to me that there is perhaps not so much difference between hon. Members on this side and the majority, and I believe the leaders, of the party opposite.
The next question is: how far and how fast do hon. Members opposite want African advance to go? We got some definition when the Leader of the Opposition said this afternoon, as I understood him, that he wanted an African majority of elected members in Nyasaland, with, presumably, the officials holding the balance, and equality of elected members in Northern Rhodesia. There, again, I do not think that there is very much difference on this side of the House, given a few years for that situation to develop. It is not these views of hon. Gentlemen opposite, however, which are headlined in the Press throughout the world, and rot the views which are recognised by the 1326 mass of Africans in Central Africa as being those of the Socialist Party.
Unfortunately, there are a number of hon. Gentlemen and hon. Ladies opposite whom I classify as racialists—the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse), the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle), and the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway)—who, whatever their real belief, give a totally different impression. From their speeches, from newspaper headlines, people abroad conclude that they want the establishment of an African State immediately, with universal adult suffrage, and African majorities in all the Legislatures.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Surely the question is that the points that we are making are just as much in the interests of the white settler as of the Africans.
§ Mr. Wall
That is a curious statement. I thought that the hon. Gentleman was getting up to deny that his section of the party wanted universal adult suffrage at once, because he would agree that if we got that now, it would mean African domination, and that at this point of time that would be a disaster. He knows that it would be disastrous to all members of all races in the Federation. It would mean the collapse of the economy. It would mean that no more European capital would come to the Federation and it would result in a drastic lowering of standards. It would be a disaster for the Africans. It might possibly benefit a very few of the African leaders, who would live in Government houses and have Government cars, but for the vast mass of the Africans it would be an unmitigated disaster, and I believe that the hon. Gentleman knows it.
What has been achieved in the Federation since it was established? Two years ago, I had the honour to be a member of a Parliamentary delegation, which has already been referred to this afternoon, and which was led by my hon. Friend the Member for Bridlington (Mr. Wood) and the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan); and may I say that I know of no other two people under whom I should prefer to serve on a Parliamentary delegation. The Report was unanimous, and it was signed by four hon. Members from his side and by three hon. Members from the other side. I will 1327 quote one or two short extracts. The Report states, on pages 26 and 27:It is perfectly clear to us that the economic case for federation cannot be seriously challenged.I think that the leading opinion of the party opposite will recognise that as a fact. The Report continued:On the political plane there is a sharp division on the future of federation between European and African opinion. … The nature of the objections to federation among the Africans vary in the three territories, but, broadly they can be summarised as follows: first, there is a fear that land … will be taken away from them. … Secondly, there is a strong fear that the political advance of the African people towards representative government will be handicapped by the existence of the Federation.Further in the Report it speaks of a fourth fear which is that of racial segregation and failure to integrate with other races. The Report was written two years ago. Since then the Federation has advanced enormously towards racial partnership, and I shall attempt to show why I believe this to be a fact—though I recognise that there is still a long way to go.
The first fear we mentioned in the Report was the fear of the Africans that their land would be taken over by the "wicked" white settler from Southern Rhodesia. Yet in Southern Rhodesia just under 50 per cent. of the land is in European occupation and just over 50 per cent. will be in African occupation. In Northern Rhodesia, European ownership is only 9 per cent. and in Nyasaland 3 per cent. Since the delegation went to Central Africa enormous strides have been made in African urban housing, not only for the individual African male, but, what is more important, for the African family, which is a contrast to what is going on in South Africa. Home ownership has been made easier and Africans can now own their own homes in urban areas. They can obtain credit from building societies on exactly the same terms as Europeans. In agriculture, African production has increased by some 50 per cent. since federation, and an African middle class is rapidly arising.
The second fear referred to was the fear of the Africans that federation might impede their political advance. In the last two years large numbers of Africans have received the vote. Until recently, 1328 and since the Report was written, no Africans in Northern Rhodesia or Nyasaland had the vote. Now a large number could have it if they registered. There is double the number of Africans in the Federal Legislature and an increased number in the Northern Rhodesian Legislature and the same would have applied to the Nyasaland Legislature if the disturbances had not broken out.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Is not the hon. Gentleman playing with words? The Africans had a vote in their own provincial councils which, in turn, elected their own people for their own reserved seats. That is not the vote the hon. Gentleman is talking about now.
§ Mr. Wall
I am not playing with words. Hon. Gentlemen opposite complained bitterly of the representative councils. They said that it was not democratic that these should elect African members of Parliament. Now the Africans have a direct vote for Africans, and in many cases for Europeans, as well. I maintain that this is a considerable advance and makes each race, to a certain degree, dependent on the other.
I think that the Leader of the Opposition was somewhat unfair in the construction that he gave a certain paragraph of the Report. I will quote the final paragraph on pages 30 and 31, where we stated:The proposals in the Constitution Amendment Bill for the first time give qualified British Protected Persons the vote and will, therefore, enable a greater weight of African opinion to be expressed. As and when the Legislatures of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland become more representative through the participation of a substantial number of Africans it will be easier to obtain the expression of view to which the Preamble refers.Since that Report was written the Legislature of Northern Rhodesia has become much more representative, and a similar advance would have been made in Nyasaland had the recent disturbances not taken place. I think that hon. Gentlemen opposite will not deny this.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that those disturbances might not have taken place had the constitutional proposal been made earlier?
§ Mr. Wall
I think that had it been made clear two years earlier, as it has 1329 now been made clear, that Nyasaland was to be predominantly an African State within the Federation, that would have made a considerable difference. I regret very much that the statement was not made then, although I think most of us knew that it was in the minds of those responsible for the Government of the Federation.
One of the most important advances of the Federation was the one I referred to when criticising the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Northampton, namely, that in Central Africa we now have three broadly based political parties which embrace European and African and Asian members. That is of fundamental importance. All these political parties now have African members and, therefore, it can no longer be said that these parties do not represent African opinion. I would also point out that if the Africans really gave the same value to the vote as we seem to do in this country, they would have come forward to register as voters much more rapidly than they did in the Federal elections, and even in the Northern Rhodesia elections. This shows that perhaps the third fear, that of failure to advance the African socially and social discrimination, is more in their minds than any question of voting rights or representation in the Legislatures.
On the social aspect, the Federation has made a great advance. I am not suggesting that it has in any way achieved the final answer, but since the report was written two years ago many of the criticisms we ventured to make in it have been answered. For instance, we said that it was a pity that Africans and Europeans could not mix on a better basis than that of master and servant. Now they are mixing to a far greater degree. The House will recall the difficulties experienced by African members of the Federal Assembly over the question of meals, as there was no dining room available for them and European members were able to eat in the Salisbury Club. Now they eat together in the Assembly building, as they and we would wish. There are now multi-racial hotels in the Federation and there is a multi-racial club in the middle of Salisbury. Another point, which is not of vital importance but which was annoying to the Africans, concerned regulations in the post offices, railway 1330 carriages, and railway dining cars. These have been removed.
In bringing the educated African into equality with the educated European, which is of vital importance, steps forward have also been made. All ranks of the Civil Service will be open to the African, who will have equal pay with the European. I remember that one criticism we made in the Report concerned trade unions and apprenticeships. Now laws have been passed in Southern and Northern Rhodesia which allow both multi-racial trade unions and the apprenticeship schemes for Africans which now exist in all three territories of Central Africa. I believe that the African has made a more rapid economic, political and social advance since federation than at any previous time in the history of Central Africa, and that this is an earnest of the sincerity of Europeans in that part of the world in their adherence to the principles of partnership; though much still remains to be done in ending segregation in towns, in greater mixing at schools, and so on.
How can we help? I believe that hon. Members on both sides of the House will agree that the dominant factor in Central Africa is fear. There is the fear of Africans for their land. I have dealt with this and I will not go over it again. There is the fear of perpetual inequality. This, I believe, is being gradually eliminated by increased African education. The House will note a statement made in Salisbury, not long ago, to the effect that now 80 per cent. of African children in Southern Rhodesia receive education, which is a higher figure than that in any other independent African State in the Continent. Steps are at last being taken to educate women, which is fundamentally important for the future and stability of the whole of Africa. I believe, therefore, that in all these ways we are creating an African middle class, showing that the Africans can advance to eventual equality with the Europeans and that we are gradually diminishing the fears of the African that the drive for partnership is not genuine.
We must also remember the fears of the Europeans, which are that they will be swamped by the number of Africans and that their standards will be forced down. I am not talking about the standards of pay on the Copperbelt, but of 1331 the general standard of living of all Europeans in Central Africa, who have a right to maintain their standards in their own country to which they contribute so much. I believe we can do a great deal in this House to dissipate these racial fears. An African who joins one of the three Federal political parties, or who comes out with a statement in favour of federation, is immediately classified as a "stoodge" by certain hon. Members opposite. I believe this to be one of the greatest disservices which we can do to the future of Africa.
§ Mr. Dingle Foot (Ipswich)
Can the hon. Member give the name of a single representative African in Nyasaland who has declared himself in favour of federation?
§ Mr. Wall
Mr. Matinga, for one, if the hon. and learned Gentleman wishes to know.
There are a relatively large number of educated Africans, educated in terms of secondary education in Nyasaland, who have joined the United Federal Party and more who have joined the Central African Party. They are exercising their influence in that way and I hope that their influence will increase. It is the social mixing that we want to encourage as much as possible.
It is easy to criticise people who are 5,000 miles away, but do not let us forget what goes on in this country. A prominent African from Central Africa came to this country the other day, and wishes to bring over his family. He was told that a flat was available in London and he went to the agent to get possession of it. The agent took one look at him and said, "Good lord, an African! No, we do not cater for Africans here." That happened in the capital of the Commonwealth. Do not let us forget that sort of thing when we are criticising certain Europeans in the Federation.
Finally, may I say a word about the future. I have the honour to have a number of friends in all the Rhodesian political parties and the feeling, common to them all, is one of frustration. They feel that in this country there is a lack of understanding of the problems of Central Africa. They feel that their 1332 future is being made the plaything of party politics in this country. They feel that certain organs of the Press and members of extreme Left-wing organisations in this country are trying to equate European policy in Central Africa to that of the Nationalists in the Union of South Africa. This is grossly unfair and it is largely this sense of frustration that led to the demand for Dominion status. However, I felt, when I visited the Federation at Christmas, that this was not now being pressed as the Europeans now realise that one of the greatest fears of the African is the possibility of Dominion status in 1960 and they wish to diminish these fears. For that reason the demand for immediate Dominion status appears to be receding into the background.
A great disservice is done to the future of Central Africa when people equate the political parties there with the Nationalists in the Union, or suggest that Southern Rhodesia might join the Union of South Africa. It is, I believe, more likely that Natal and Swaziland may secede from the Union and join Southern Rhodesia. All the Federal political parties believe in partnership, not apartheid. Federation is a plank in the platform of the United Federal Party, and the Central African Party, which probably commands the largest amount of African support of all the parties. The Dominion Party brought forth on alternative plan to the present Federation largely because it does not feel that we want to establish a multi-racial society in Central Africa, but will end by creating an African State.
It is up to us to show that we intend to have a true multi-racial society in Central Africa where people will be judged by their ability and not by their colour. We have to emphasise to the people of Central Africa that this will take time, but that it is well worth waiting for. We must make clear that a multi-racial Dominion, or Sovereign member of the Commonwealth, is of vital importance to the whole Commonwealth, that we intend to safeguard the rights of all races and that, eventually, there is to be a genuine complete partnership. Then I believe that a great deal of the fear that exists today will disappear.
The Commission which has been announced will do much to dissipate that 1333 fear. It is not a Commission to sit in judgment on what has happened in the Federation. Its greatest task is to provide information both here and in Africa about what has been achieved and about what is intended for the future. The composition of the Commission is of the greatest importance. I should have liked to see a greater number of representatives from Commonwealth countries. But I believe that the appointment of five African representatives from the Federation, together with the eight Europeans, represents a far larger number of Africans than many people expected it possible for the Federal Government to agree to, and that these five will be well able to represent African opinion in that part of the world.
I end by repeating what I have said before, that the greatest disservice we can do to the future of Central Africa is to say that any African who expresses his belief in federation and a multi-racial society is a "stooge", although that is often implied in this House. What really matters is the future of our Commonwealth. T believe sincerely that whatever happens in Central Africa will have an enormous effect on the future of our multi-racial Commonwealth. I hope that even in what may be a General Election year we may find it possible to drop party political differences on this issue, because the stakes are great not only for Africa but for the whole Commonwealth.
§ 5.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Creech Jones (Wakefield)
I suggest to the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall") that he should address his homily on a bipartisan policy to hon. Members on his own side of the House. We are frequently accused of bringing party politics into colonial problems, largely because we stand on a set of principles which we seek to apply and to see applied in relation to colonial administration. I think it unfair and unjust that the gibe should be thrown at hon. Members on these benches so continuously that we are against some sort of common approach to many of these fundamental issues.
§ Mr. Wall
I think that the right hon. Gentleman has misjudged my speech. I suggest that if he reads the report of my speech in HANSARD he will find that 1334 I said there was an identity of view between hon. Members on this side of the House and the occupants of the Opposition Front Bench, but that the danger was that Africans and Europeans would listen to those hon. Members opposite whom I term "racialists" rather than to the Leader of the Opposition.
§ Mr. Creech Jones
Be that as it may, one gets a little tired of these constant accusations that the Labour Opposition are trying to sow a great deal of discord and dissension in respect of some of the problems of colonial policy. If people who make those accusations would only try to understand the principles and ideas for which the Labour Party stands they would be less critical.
I intervene in this debate because of my abiding interest in African development and because of my own experience during my period of office as Colonial Secretary in handling certain aspects of the problem which the House is debating today. With respect, I would say to the Prime Minister that his smooth words and clichés with regard to African development hide the fundamental realities in Africa today. Consequently, it is important that the House should not be misled by him into a number of easy generalisations of good will but should try to estimate the influences at work in Africa today, and the upsurge of African feeling, and the claims of the African people that they should exercise and enjoy democratic rights.
Undoubtedly there has been some progress during the period of federation. But we are concerned with a position of great gravity which is very alarming for Western civilisation as well as for the people of Africa. It is because we are trying by repressive means to block and dam this upsurge of African feeling that we find ourselves in the present critical position. It is obvious that federation as such has proved unworkable as a way of giving expression to the feelings and aspirations of the African people. Therefore, they are today completely embittered and unreconciled to the kind of political structure under which we ask them to live.
The measure of our failure is our resort to repression in each of the three territories concerned. Sir Edgar Whitehead calls it cleaning up the situation. 1335 Presumably that was why Clutton Brock and a few others were put into detention and why it was necessary for us to proclaim emergency orders and to put aside many elementary principles of civil liberty.
It is no part of my desire this afternoon to relate the history of the Federation. What I want to point out is that it is a political framework which has completely sapped the confidence of the Africans in it. By its very working it concedes political power to a minority group in Central Africa who are themselves mainly opposed to the conception of equality. They believe in the superiority of the European over the African race. It is those people who today enjoy political power, and it is against that kind of political power that African resentment is directed.
It would be folly to imagine that this opposition to federation is of comparatively recent growth. We know of the Royal Commission in 1939. Evidence given before that Royal Commission made it clear that the Africans were opposed to an amalgamation or federation of the three territories. Knowing that opposition, we recklessly went forward to impose this system of government on the Africans.
It is no good crying over spilt milk, but the fact is that for a long time it had been the desire of Europeans in Central Africa to keep control of government, and exercise it before the Africans were awakened. Naturally many of them wished to exercise that power in their own general interests rather than in the development of the African people as a whole.
What has been the constant demand of my friend Sir Roy Welensky? He has been honest enough always to make it perfectly clear that he was determined to pursue policies which would check the authority and power of the London Government and, if possible, to break with the Colonial Office. There was this desire for political development in favour of the European so as to break down the protection which London offered to the two Northern Territories.
It is true that Sir Roy Welensky used the alibi of the Labour Party when it was in office. He said that my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly 1336 (Mr. J. Griffiths) did not give guidance to the Africans when federation was being discussed. But it was well known that the scheme itself would not have proved workable with the Africans in absolute opposition to it. If the destinies of people have to be determined, they should be determined not by the Imperial Government, but by the people themselves. That was the course which the Labour Government pursued.
In the late 1940s, there were alternative proposals which might have been considered. Federation and amalgamation were not the only possibilities of constitutional growth. There was, I know, an alternative form which could have won the acquiescence of the Africans themselves.
Other features have contributed to the present situation. I will not enumerate them, but they include the franchise which has been applied in the Federation, the electoral law which now operates there, the repudiation of the African Affairs Board, the rather contemptuous speeches made from time to time by Lord Malvern and Sir Roy Welensky, the fancy Northern Rhodesian proposals which we ourselves endorsed for the Northern Territories and the long procrastination about the Constitution in Nyasaland. Nothing has exasperated the Africans in Nyasaland more than this long delay and one wonders what the real explanation for it is in the light of the contant representations which were made to the British Government and the Governor of Nyasaland.
We have just been reminded of the good things which have happened since the coming of the Federation. We have been told about the establishment of a university and about the expansion of the suffrage to protected persons. We have heard about the removal of certain discriminatory practices and about Africans having better representation in the respective Parliaments. None of these things is due to federation. They were all under way before the Federation was set up. It is nonsense to say that federation and these changes represent cause and effect.
That is also true of the economic prosperity of the Federation. It is no use trying to delude ourselves into believing that this prosperity is due to the extraordinary powers exercised by 1337 the Federal Government. It is due almost entirely to the fact that the price of copper rose enormously, bringing into the coffers of the Federal Government considerable resources. Likewise, the price of tobacco has been equally good. There is every need for an examination of the whole economic basis of the Federation before we attribute the improvements there are to federation.
In any case, we must accept the fact that the African population is quite unimpressed by the changes, largely because it continues to be deprived of genuine responsibility and an adequate share in political advance. We cannot turn the tide by ignoring African political demands and burying our heads in the sand as if history had not brought vital lessons to this nation in India, Cyprus, Ireland and elsewhere.
In this building the other day Sir Roy Welensky spoke about firm government. Firm government is an alternative phrase for "law and order". We establish the right to dispose of habeas corpus, to detain people without trial, to invade every aspect of civil liberty, and to rule by Emergency Orders. These are the practices that we adopt in the interests of what is known as firm government. Meanwhile, the hopes of the Africans in London tend to diminish. If we deny Africans adequate political expression, what other answer is open to them? If they have no genuine political expression they must express their wills and desires in some way. Their agitation cannot be suppressed by repressive measures. It has a moral basis which must be recognised by all decent-thinking people.
The majority of Africans in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia now demand secession through lack of political status. Simply, they demand it because they prefer to live in an African State, inadequate as the resources may be, rather than live under a Government dominated by Europeans.
We have now to consider the Advisory Commission announced by the Prime Minister yesterday. It is interesting to note what that Commission's terms of reference are. The Commission is to prepare the ground for a review of the Constitution at the 1960 Conference, to do some constructive preparatory work, to try and create a common mind on the next stages of the Federation's political 1338 evolution, and to advise the Governments concerned on the constitutional programme and framework best suited to realise the objects and Preamble of the Constitution.
I agree with the criticism which has been made of the Commission. It seems to me that the essential job of any Commission is to give information to the British Parliament in respect of certain problems which will have to be considered at the 1960 Conference. Parliament cannot shelter behind an Advisory Commission of any kind, nor can the Government. It is important therefore that we should know how the constitution works, something of the trends of opinion in Central Africa and something about the economic problems that are involved. There is a large lot of problems on which we require enlightenment if we are to deal with the problems in 1960 in a satisfactory and proper way. Parliament should not attempt to escape responsibility by devolving these inquiries on to an advisory body, but should face the issues itself with its own representative Commission and seek the information on which it can form a sound judgment.
A Parliamentary Commission would be less unwieldy, certainly speedier in execution, and more efficient in finding the necessary facts. In any case, a Commission of the kind Her Majesty's Government propose is open to question on several grounds. First, its paucity of representation from the British Parliament. Secondly, it is unlikely to command the confidence and good will of the majority of Africans in Central Africa. Thirdly, these terms of reference involve an encroachment on the work which the 1960 Conference was supposed to do.
We are told that the purpose of the Commission is to create a common mind on the next stage of the political evolution. That function is not for the Commission but ought to be discharged by the British Parliament. I therefore agree with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition in the criticism he has made of the setting up of this Commission.
During the debate we have heard much about the Preamble to the Constitution of the Federation. What is in the Secretary of State's mind when from time to 1339 time he speaks of a multi-racial society and of partnership? What is the meaning of partnership? Will the Secretary of State say whether his objective for the Federation is political democracy, a non-racial democracy, as we understand it? What is the ultimate objective? Phrases about a multi-racial society and partnership get us nowhere. What is the object and purpose of the British Government in regard to the Federation itself?
I think that we have been reassured to some extent by the statement of the Prime Minister in regard to the pledges which were made by the Government during the passage of the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Federation Act, 1953, but I would remind the House of the doubts that were created in the minds of the Africans as well as ourselves as a result of the 1957 discussions. The announcement which followed those talks has already been quoted by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. The 1960 Conference was not for the purpose only of bringing into review the working of the Constitution, but to indicate the steps which might be taken in the immediate future for securing independence for the Federation.
It is of some importance to appreciate what happened during the 1957 discussion. The Government agreed that there should be conceded to the Federation Government a semi-independent status, access to the Queen, control of a large area of foreign policy, the setting up of a Federal Civil Service on which the territorial Civil Service would be based, and that we, as a British Parliament, renounce certain powers which were within our own rights. A whole variety of important concessions were made which created alarm not only among many of us interested in the Federation problem but among Africans themselves.
I would urge the Secretary of State to give attention to a number of matters pending the discussions of the Special Advisory Commission. First, that he resists any further distribution of the powers of the Territorial Governments to the Federal Government. There are rumours that Sir Roy Welensky has been pressing that powers relating to the police in the Territories should now be transferred to the Federal Government. There has been long delay in 1340 reaching a decision concerning the future of European agriculture in Nyasaland. Judging from the Answer given to me by the Secretary of State a few weeks ago, there is also considerable progress in the creation of a Federal Civil Service at the expense of the Territorial Civil Service. I would like to know whether this movement of power to the Federation from the Territorial Governments can be stayed, at least until the whole matter of the Federation is considered at the 1960 Conference.
I also emphasise the vital urgency of revising the Constitution of Nyasaland. As I have said before, this is one of the contributory causes of a great deal of unrest. If revision takes place, it should be in a liberal direction. There should be a liberal constitution in which the Africans may feel that they can play a vital part in responsibility in their own territory.
In view of the increasing economic difficulties in Nyasaland, I ask also that a much more urgent view be taken of development and planning problems and improvement of the economic life of the Territory. We cannot dismiss these matters simply by saying that the Territory can never be viable. I believe that if consideration were given to the problems of economic development in a number of directions, the question of viability would speedily assume greater reality. Certainly, much could be brought within the realms of possibility. I hope, too, that we may know soon the results of the review of economic resources in Nyasaland made by Professor Jacks.
I also ask that even now, further consideration be given to the Constitution of Northern Rhodesia, which I would like to see revised. In the light of African resentment and embitterment over the general situation in Northern Rhodesia, there is imperative need for the Constitution, new as it is, to be liberalised and brought more into accord with African aspirations. There is a case, too, for the further removal of discriminatory practices which still exist inside the Federation.
To sum up, in my judgment the Federation in its present form is completely unworkable. At the Conference in 1960, all alternative possibilities of closer union should be examined. I believe it is vitally important that these 1341 territories should be tied together. But the Federation is a most unsatisfactory form of government, because it can never win the consent of the African people. We should examine the possibilities of closer association, high commissions and so on, so that we may pass from the present deadlock with African opinion into some form of central authority or central control in which the Africans may feel complete confidence. Indeed, it should be generally known that in the early days of the Central African Council, the Africans acquiesced. There was consultation and common action between the three Territories and the creation of common services.
There is also the further example of the High Commission in East Africa, where the central authority has certain powers concerning public finance, the allocation of funds, customs union, and so on. Surely, it is possible for us, in the light of our own record in handling constitutional problems, to find some way other than this rather rigid and stiff form of federal ion which has been imposed on the African population against its will?
There is no moral justification whatever for imposing federation in its present form. I can only hope that now that the whole problem of federation has been seen in a new perspective, the Secretary of State will move in a new direction and that the 1960 Conference will be fruitful in its results, will recognise the fundamental rights of the Africans concerned, and give them a genuine sense of responsibility to their Government and the opportunity of the fullest possible co-operation.
§ 6.26 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) began his remarks by criticising my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) for what he had to say—I thought, wisely—about the need for a measure of bipartisanship here. I think I am interpreting the right hon. Gentleman fairly when I say that his allegation was that if bipartisanship did not exist, it was the fault of this side of the Committee and not of his own side. That is a little difficult to comprehend in the atmosphere of today's debate, when we are discussing the Commission which is to go out to Africa and 1342 which, if it is coming under lire from any quarter, is being attacked by the Opposition.
Let it be remembered that some of the credit for the origin of the idea belongs to the Opposition. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister went to a great deal of trouble to meet the wishes of the Opposition to be consulted on a suggestion which originated from the Opposition side and there has also been a great deal of consultation with local interested parties. Then, when the proposal to send this Commission is put before the House, speaker after speaker on the benches opposite goes to town shooting it down. If that is an example of the sort of bipartisanship which we can expect, all I can say is that the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice are more than justified.
One of the real tragedies about the present position is that whether or not bipartisanship does or should exist, the fact remains that in Central Africa it is not at present deemed to exist. I had the good fortune to spend the Whitsun Recess out there. I content myself with merely this one remark, because I want to make the rest of my speech as un-contentious as possible. I am sure that if the right hon. Member for Wakefield went out there he would be dismayed, as I was, at the feelings of resentment, distrust and fear among the European population about the possibility of the return of a Government formed by the party opposite.
§ Mr. Bennett
That is a fact. Anybody who has been to the Federation knows perfectly well that the Socialist Party of Great Britain is about the most hated collective group in the world by practically every European in Central Africa.
§ Mr. Johnson
I want to counter this smear and this quite unjustified statement. I was there some weeks ago. I spoke to tobacco farmers and many others, and I did not meet this pathological obsession of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) about my party. It is not so. Sir Roy Welensky himself is on record as saying that he does not mind which party is in power. This applies also to people who vote for Welensky.
§ Mr. Bennett
This shows the danger of this sort of argument developing. Very often in the House of Commons, we have considerable complaint from hon. and right hon. Members opposite because of the alleged insults that Sir Roy Welensky hurls at them. We now hear that hon. Members do not mind such insults because they do not exist. That is not the sort of remark we have heard in the past few months about the views of Sir Roy Welensky or of many others out there.
§ Mr. Bennett
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) may say what he likes, but everyone in the House of Commons knows perfectly well that what I have said is true. I have no doubt that the hon. Member who recently left Central Africa in a hurry—I mean the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse)—"specially following his lack of desire to stop off in Salisbury on the way home, will concur that he does not regard either himself or his party as popular locally.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
There are many Europeans in Central Africa who wish for the Labour Party to be returned.
§ Mr. Bennett
I am delighted to hear it. I must admit that during the fortnight I was there I did not find them very numerous.
However, to return to the principal remarks that I wish to make about the Federation and its future, the Prime Minister today stressed a number of reasons why we ought to approach the whole problem with a great sense of responsibility. I accept that for all hon. Members and both sides of the House, and I should like to add another reason of my own.
I feel that we sometimes tend to forget one great consideration, that in Central Africa today, whether we like it or not, we have already parted with such a large measure of power and responsibility from this House, on which there is no going back, that if we do not show responsibility we shall only help extremists there to gain control locally. Whatever any of us may say here, we must realise that in the present position in Central Africa our only hope of achieving the ends of partnership and multi-racial 1344 contentment, which we all want to see, is by working with the local people who, principally—that is, principally those of European stock—will hold the responsibility and the power there for some time to come. Without their co-operation it will be completely impossible for us to do so.
As to those who think otherwise, it is just common sense that, whatever the theoretical constitutional position may be, at the moment we in this country can no longer enforce our will by power in Central Africa against the wishes and the consent of the great majority of the European population there. [HON. MEMBERS: "What about the Africans?"] I am not in any sense at all leaving out the Africans. I am simply saying on this one point that we must be careful that anything we say does not exacerbate the position of the Europeans who for the time being at least hold the principal power there. To do so would be only to make their position more difficult, and it would not benefit the Africans, whose interests we all have at heart.
§ Mr. Bennett
The hon. Gentleman need not make sneering remarks of that sort. If he thinks that care for Africans is limited to him or to his side of the House, he must be alone in that unworthy thought.
As to the membership of the Commission, I would add my own criticism about any tendency, whether it is regarded as an insinuation or otherwise, whether the responsibility is alleged to somebody else or not, to use the word "stooge", even indirectly, in connection with Africans who are working with us in the Federation. One thing that I found out during my visit was that the criticism of this sprang not only from the Europeans but from a number of extremely able, honest African administrators, who all said to me, "We have a difficult enough time over here coping with our own extremists without anyone in your country making remarks which help their arguments that we are stooges, which we deny that we are." If we say that what we want in Africa is a developing freedom for expression of opinion, we surely ought to concede that those Africans who have decided that Federation was a 1345 good thing and want to work with the Europeans are just as representative of the African people as those who oppose them.
§ Mrs. White
Has the hon. Gentleman seen the current number of the Central African Examiner containing an article on Mr. Vambe, who has been appointed to the High Commissioner's Office here? As soon as he opened his mouth, he was shot at by people of all parties in the Federation for having taken any responsibility at all.
§ Mr. Bennett
I have not read the article, but I will do so. I will not comment on it because I have not seen it. Anyhow, it seems irrelevant to my point.
We ought to do all we can to encourage and not discourage those who choose to work with us. The Leader of the Opposition today used the word "stooge". To be fair to him, he said that the local people might regard someone as a stooge. Nevertheless, the insinuation is there merely through repeating that word in the context of African co-operators, and it makes conditions even more difficult than they are.
I cannot understand the criticism about the local members of the Commission who are to be appointed by the four Governments—the three territorial Governments and the Federal Government. The criticism was made yesterday—it had been repeated today—that they should not be chosen by the local Governments. Who else would choose them if not the local Governments? Just as we claim the right to select our members of the Commission so—in the ultimate review of the Constitution all four Governments will take part and hence the local Governments are separately just as entitled to have the information that the Commission will get and to take part in the Commission as we are, and it is right that they should appoint their members to the preparatory Commission because those Governments will have to consider the results just as we shall.
With regard to the Commonwealth aspect, I was delighted when the Prime Minister said that his mind was not necessarily closed to a variation in the exact numbers who might go as independent persons from the Commonwealth. 1346 Since passions here have been aroused over this matter, nothing but good could come from having people who have not so far become embroiled in the matter. I would make one reservation, that I do not necessarily think that in the Federation, where the Asian population is not at all significant, it should necessarily be assumed that an Asian would be any more particularly welcome to African opinion than a European. We have only to look at various other parts of Africa to see the truth of what I have said.
Therefore, if we are to come to extra Commonwealth countries which have a federal system, and, therefore, a special contribution to make, I hope it will be rather towards such African independent countries that we may look. It would appear that the ideal one is Nigeria, because it is African and has a federal system which it is trying to put into practice. Consequently, there are clear arguments there if someone suitable could be found.
With regard to the future of the Federation itself, about which there has been considerable discussion this after noon which will no doubt continue for months to come, I am very worried indeed about the suggestion of secession by Nyasaland. I frankly confess that in the past I have had reservations about whether the Federation would be able to go forward with Nyasaland in it. I have now become cured of any such tendencies because I believe that if we allow Nyasaland to secede, or even con sidered it, as a separate, individual, unilateral effort on its part, we should probably see the break-up of the Federation. It would not be very long before voices were raised in Northern Rhodesia——
§ Mr. Bennett
—asking why, if Nyasaland can secede. Northern Rhodesia should not do likewise. Then there would be no more federation. If we are to assume, as I think most of us do, that we all have a measure of responsibility for the continued existence of federation—I think we feel it much more on this side of the House than on the opposition side—it must be in the interest of all of us to try to make federation work. As I stated in the 1347 beginning of my speech, the matter is no longer completely in our hands as to whether it shall or shall not work, because constitutionally we have been handing over power to others; and much of the process has already taken place.
There has been discussion of the economic consequences if Nyasaland should secede, but there is a great deal more in it than just Nyasaland's position. Of course, secession would make the poverty of Nyasaland worse in the future. It will be difficult enough to maintain and improve the standard of living in Nyasaland even under federation, without considering the results if she goes outside it. As the populations of Northern and Southern Rhodesia continue to increase, considerable pressure is developing against any labour being allowed to come into those countries from Nyasaland to take the jobs and threaten local employment. The Government of Southern Rhodesia have already closed—not from any racial motive—one of the labour recruitment offices for Nyasaland simply and solely because of undue competition in the labour market.
It would be great folly on our part to encourage any tendency which might make it more difficult for the Nyasaland African to earn his living in parts of the Federation in which he can now work. It is not a situation of our making, but one which arises from the facts that Nyasaland is a poor country, is without apparent resources and that its people cannot earn very much unless they go over their borders to do so.
We are all familiar with situations in which there is a threat to employment and in which the threatened sections erect their protective defences. That principle applies to Africans just as to the people of Europe. If there were serious unemployment, we would get demands from Northern and Southern Rhodesian Africans that they should be looked after first and before anything was done for what would be the foreign country of Nyasaland, if it were not in the Federation.
§ Mr. Creech Jones
I take it that the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) agrees about the vital importance of developing Nyasaland. He takes a frightfully pessimistic view about the 1348 economic future of Nyasaland. There is already a variety of development schemes, and one asks that such work should be vigorously and energetically pursued.
§ Mr. Bennett
I do not quarrel at all with that statement. As however has been shown already, capital is more likely to flow into a stable federation. I think we all accept that Nyasaland's position will be better economically if there is a strong Federation than if Nyasaland remained one small country. But I do not deny the truth of what the right hon. Member for Wakefield has just said.
I have mentioned the economic possibilities. I now want to refer again to the political aspects of the matter, and to the political effects which would ensue if Nyasaland were allowed to leave the Federation. There is another largely European party in Central Africa but it has a certain number of African members. It aims at dismemberment of the Federation and amalgamation of parts of Northern and Southern Rhodesia. It believes that the European position would be strengthened if federation were to break up and if it could get hold of the best sections of Northern and the whole of Southern Rhodesia. This is a consideration that we should have in mind when we are talking about the Federation breaking up.
Allegations have been made today that partnership is not working. I have been to Central Africa on a number of occasions. When I went there on the last occasion I was delighted and surprised at the dramatic changes which had taken place. When I went to the new university there two or three years ago there was doubt whether the multiracial idea would work. Would European and African students be willing to eat together in the same hall and live in the same residential accommodation? When I last went out that was already a dead question, and is not now even considered. The dining halls are shared and the residential accommodation is shared, as they should be. This is an example of the way in which African and European young people are growing up with a very good temper for the future. If we can manage to keep federation going, as we must, we help all 1349 those people who are devoted to multiracial development and who are taking an increasing part in the joint life of the country.
It would take too much time to recount all the new things I saw out there in the way of shared trains, shared railway platforms, the use of hotels, etc. All these things were inconceivable a few years ago, but are now taken as perfectly ordinary, as they should be. It would be a great mistake to do anything which would lead to retrogression on this front, and the less said in this country which might stimulate fear and thus that effect the better it will be.
It is sometimes suggested that partnership may be going too slowly. I often tell my friends out there that it is going too slowly, but I have the salutary knowledge that it is a great deal easier for us in this country to talk about giving up privileges to another race than it is for those who are living on the spot. Occasionally one is reminded out there, and justly so, that when we are threatened here, even in the smallest degree with what is deemed to be a challenge by another race, we vigorously defend our position So we cannot stand in a white sheet if the same sort of thing happens in Africa, under much more trying circumstances.
Hence the point that we should all be making in our speeches is not that partnership is going too slowly but that even while we want it to go more quickly we heartily commend those who have made themselves extremely unpopular and have risked their political careers to make partnership work. Partnership may well have its difficulties. I should be very surprised if it had not. This is the first time that we have tried anything like this in our Commonwealth. It is an adventure in human relationships without precedent in the Commonwealth. Elsewhere there are localities with black or white minorities, and one or other section is so small that it is possible to make an accommodation in quite a different fashion. In Central Africa there are far too many Europeans for us ever to believe that they will be content to be treated as resident visitors in another country, as they are willing to be treated in, let us say, Nigeria.
Some families have been out there for four generations and regard themselves 1350 just as much native Rhodesians as do Africans. Sir Roy is one of them. Because of migration from Portuguese East Africa many Europeans have lived in the Rhodesias for considerably longer than their African counterparts who work on the farms. Even if partnership has its defects and faults, and even if it is not going far enough in any of our individual views, we should try to make it work, before we do anything to interfere with it or say that this experiment is likely to fail. We should not make more difficult the job of those who are working so hard for federation and partnership. It should surely require much reluctance on our part to do so, unless we are prepared to put up some other alternative. In present circumstances there is no alternative out there at all. The only practicable course is that upon which we are engaged.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ Mr. John Dugdale (West Bromwich)
The hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) said that we could not impose our will on the Europeans in Central Africa. What we are concerned about is that Europeans in Central Africa should not impose their will on this Parliament. That is a much more serious thing. If the hon. Member doubts me, I would remind him of the remarks made, I think, by Lord Malvern, certainly by a very distinguished leader of Central African European opinion, that there had once been a Boston Tea Party and there could be a Boston Tea Party again. The hon. Member tried to pretend that Europeans in Central Africa were in a similar position to the Americans at the time of the American War of Independence.
§ Mr. Bennett
I quite agree that that was said, but I am a little surprised that it should be referred to now in view of the intervention during my speech of the right hon. Member's hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) and others, who say that the Central African Europeans do not mind what Government we have here.
§ Mr. Dugdale
I do not want to get involved in an argument with my hon. Friends; it is enough to get involved in arguments with hon. Members opposite.
In 1953, federation was imposed on Rhodesia by this Government. The 1351 Prime Minister tried today to pretend it was in fact introduced by the Labour Government. I have refreshed my memory as to the actual words used at the time. I find that the Labour Government "commended the OFFICIAL REPORT as a basis for discussion" and no more than that. I think that the Prime Minister's speech was a very interesting basis for discussion, but I do not agree with it. In fact, the Labour Government gave no backing to federation whatever, except simply as a basis for discussion. More than that, they said specifically that if the Africans did not agree with it they were not prepared to force it upon them. That was said quite clearly over and over again. It is no use the Prime Minister trying to pretend that somehow or other hon. Members on this side started federation, because they did not. As I say, it was imposed in 1953 on an unwilling African population.
We were told, "The Africans will back it later. Do not worry; they are ignorant people, they know nothing about these affairs at all. They will see the advantages of Federation and later they will back it." Far from backing it, they have continued a sustained opposition against it, which has not grown less but greater during recent years. Why have they done so? They have done so because they fear domination by a small white group—very small indeed when compared with the total population. One must have a sense of proportion and consider numbers, apart from races. Many of us have had the privilege of listening to Sir Roy Welensky while he was over here. Most of us listened to him in private and I certainly would not dream of quoting any words he said, but the general impression he has given me when I have listened to him—I think the same applies to most hon. Members—is that he is not enamoured of the principle of democracy as applied to Africans. He thinks democracy is basically something for Europeans rather than Africans. He certainly has no intention of applying anything remotely resembling one man, one vote.
We have heard all the old arguments over and over again about how Africans are ignorant and cannot understand the issues of the day. We have heard all 1352 that, but we have had the same arguments applied on other occasions about the Indians and other peoples—even about Englishmen, many years ago—by the party opposite. We believe that each human being has the right to express his views, even if he is not very intelligent. We believe the most satisfactory way which has been found so far is to express them through the system of democratic government. Sir Roy Welensky apparently does not believe that. I may be wrong, I may have misunderstood him, but if so, it is open to him to state publicly that he believes in a democratic system being applied to Africans as well as to Europeans. If he did so that would remove much of the difficulty which many of us feel in regard to federation—in fact, all of it—but I doubt that he will do so.
I have talked a lot about Sir Roy Welensky, but he is liberal-minded compared with the gentleman who leads the Opposition party in the Federal Parliament, liberal-minded compared with the whole attitude of the Opposition party. Official Oppositions have a habit of becoming the Government; that might even happen in this country. It might happen in Rhodesia.
§ Sir Peter Macdonald (Isle of Wight)
Would the right hon. Member say how many members there are in the Opposition party?
§ Mr. Dugdale
Maybe the party is quite small, but the party to which I have the honour to belong was quite small at one time. It became first the official Opposition and later became the Government. The same could perfectly well happen in Rhodesia. It would be extraordinary if there were never a change of Government and Sir Roy Welensky and successors in his party held office permanently. One must assume that one day the Opposition may become the Government, and the Opposition is far different from the party of Sir Roy Welensky. Are these men wicked? My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) described some of their doings, which did not sound very virtuous. But they are not particularly wicked. Many people in the country may be guilty of some of the practices described by my hon. and learned Friend. But even if they are only mildly wicked, they are certainly not saints and should 1353 not be placed in the control of a large black majority surrounding them.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton also mentioned the Indian Civil Service and colonial civil servants. Although they, too, were not saints they had a very high standard which was admired by hon. Members on both sides of the House, a magnificent standard. I do not think Sir Roy Welensky and his friends are likely to have a standard anything like that. I do not think they can be entrusted with the government of a very large number of people of another race surrounding them. Quite apart from anything else, they are actuated by fear, and fear is not a good thing in any form of government. A Government actuated by fear cannot be a good Government.
I pass now to the subject of the proposed Commission. The Prime Minister said—it was very nice of him to say so—that the Commission must command the confidence of Africans. I wish to ask what steps he proposes to take to ascertain whether it does command the confidence of Africans. We should be very interested indeed to know. The Commission, on which there are to be five Africans as against eight European members, does not seem to be one likely to command the confidence of Africans, but it is perfectly open to the Prime Minister, if he wants, to have a plebiscite to see whether it does command their confidence. There is no other way in which he could find out. He cannot ask the leaders, because most of them are in prison. The only way is to appeal directly to the African people, and I do not think be would be prepared to do that. If so. I should be very much surprised.
Like many of my hon. Friends, I do not treat this Commission very seriously. I think it is largely a political dodge. It is very useful to have a Commission of this character set up just before a General Election and to be able to say that everything now is sub judice, that the Commission is discussing the matter and it cannot be brought into politics and made use of during the election. I think the Prime Minister was influenced in having this Commission set up at this moment by the fact that he might thereby remove Central African affairs from the political field during the election because 1354 it would not suit him to have them discussed during it.
I should like to make one thing quite clear. Many of us on this side of the House, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield said, feel that if the Commission is to discuss matters affecting Central Africa, secession should certainly not be excluded from its discussions. Indeed, the Prime Minister made it as clear as he makes anything clear, which he does not often do, in his answer to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, that the Commission would not be debarred from discussing the question of secession. I think that should be discussed, because there is not only a question of whether the Constitution shall advance further towards Dominion status, but there is the question as to whether the result of the Constitutional review may not be to allow at least one of the parties to secede altogether from the Federation.
I shall be told that if one mentions any kind of secession and the end of the Federation that one is disregarding the great economic benefits that have come from Federation. I am not certain that there has been a great number of economic benefits, and I will tell the House why.
It is said that there has been a great increase in the wealth of the country, but I have a few figures which throw some doubt on that. Between 1954 and 1957, the Federation increased its gross domestic product per head by 18 per cent. During the same time, Kenya, with Mau Mau and all the other troubles it had, increased it by 24 per cent., and Sierra Leone increased it by 66 per cent. That does not seem to show that Federation has done something tremendous in the way of increasing the wealth of the country.
I would say more than that. Wages certainly rose. They rose by no less than 36 per cent., again about the same as Kenya—that is money wages, disregarding the rise in prices—but the level of subsistence farming in Rhodesia, which is something of tremendous importance because there are more people dependant on subsistence farming than on wages, rose by only 15 per cent. That does not seem to be a great economic advance resulting from Federation. In short, I think that one of the things that 1355 has happened economically as a result of Federation is that too much stress has been laid on the big European producers and too little on the African farmers.
In Tanganyika, only a short distance away, the number of co-operatives increased from 124 registered societies to 406 during that period. Their turnover increased from £2¼ million to £7¼ million. These facts show that prosperity has been rising in other parts of Africa and not simply in the Federation. It is simply not due to the Federation that any sudden prosperity has arisen.
I would turn to another aspect of the economic problem. We have all heard much about the Kariba Dam. I think hon. Members opposite would like to give us the idea that the Kariba Dam has been developed only as a result of Federation. I would point out that the Owen Falls Dam has been developed almost simultaneously in Uganda, and no question of Federation arises there. In fact, the countries we had to deal with—the Sudan and Egypt—are not in the Commonwealth at all.
Economic co-operation does not, in fact, depend on political co-operation. It is possible to have one without the other. We are all now interested in the proposal to form what is called the Outer Seven, or, it may be, the Outer Eight. I should not be in order to discuss the merits or demerits of that proposal for Europe. If it is agreed that there should be an Outer Seven or an Outer Eight, no one supposes that there will be any political link between the countries concerned. They will co-operate economically, and it is just as possible for the countries which are now a federation to co-operate economically without having a political Federation foisted upon them.
I may be told that without Federation that Southern Rhodesia would move towards South Africa. It may be that that is so, but if hon. Members are right in their thesis that Southern Rhodesian racial policies are vastly superior to those of South Africa, surely Southern Rhodesia would not turn that way but to the North.
This Federation is not necessary to the economic prosperity of the country—economic co-operation certainly, but not political federation. I would go further. Suppose that I am wrong and 1356 that Federation did bring a greater economic prosperity to the countries that are federated, I still believe, in spite of Karl Marx, that man does not live by bread alone and that a country whose people are only moderately well off but who are politically happy is very much better than a country that is well off but whose people are politically frustrated. The great majority of the people of these countries are frustrated politically through Federation. It is because of that that we on this side of the House condemn Federation as in its present form and we condemn it without qualification.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ Sir Roland Robinson (Blackpool, South)
I followed the remarks of the right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) with very great interest and I was particularly fascinated by his adventures into democratic theory. I think it is quite fair to say that all of us in this House firmly and sincerely believe that the democratic form of Parliamentary Government is the best in the world, and we are proud to have it. At the same time, we have done everything in our power to teach the emerging countries our system, because we believe that it is the best, but we should make it abundantly clear that the emergent countries do not have to have an exact rubber-stamp copy of our Parliament and that a great democratic system can be properly adapted to the needs of emergent territories and different peoples.
Therefore, it is hardly fair that the right hon. Gentleman should insist that before he himself is satisfied Sir Roy Welensky should promise to have exactly the same system as we have in this country. After all, it has been changed a good deal in various parts of Africa. Dr. Nkrumah does not have the same idea of Parliamentary democracy as we have. Somehow or other these countries get along, and we have to recognise that there must be some difference.
I was interested in the right hon. Gentleman's emphasis on the principle of "one man one vote". We have heard that said quite often, but when reading through Parliamentary debates on Africa, I came across a speech firmly made by the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), who went out of his 1357 way to say this—and I quote him with very great accuracy and, I am sure he will admit, with fairness:With my Labour colleagues on the last delegation out there "—he was referring to East Africa—I did my best to scotch the idea that the Labour movement was out to give the Africans a system of one man one vote as soon as we were in power. It was time that it was scotched.He went on:We as a party stand for ultimate universal franchise in the African State, but at the moment we stand for a very qualified franchise."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 25th November, 1957; Vol. 578, c. 915.]
§ Mr. J. Johnson
That is quite in the clear and that is what the party says at the moment. We believe in one man one vote ultimately, but we would have had a much more liberal franchise in mixed communities now than there is at present.
§ Sir R. Robinson
I have no quarrel with the hon. Gentleman on that point. I was pointing out that there was a difference between what the right hon. Member for West Bromwich said and what appears to be the official policy of his party. I say "official policy of his party" because the same point was taken up by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon. He, too, said, "We believe in the principle of one man one vote". But having stated the principle and created an impression of policy, he at once proceeded to hedge it round by saying, "But the time has not come yet". I think that we should make it clear that it is not right that the right hon. Member for West Bromwich should ask for Sir Roy Welensky to adopt a policy for the present which does not even have the official support of the right hon. Gentleman's own party.
§ Mr. Dugdale
I said that Sir Roy Welensky believes that never at any time should there be one man one vote, certainly not in his own lifetime, anyhow
§ Sir R. Robinson
The right hon. Gentleman seemed to want him to say that he believed in it now and for the present.
I do not want to follow him in too much detail as to who started and brought federation into being. It is quite 1358 clear that the idea was germinated when his party was in power and that hon. Gentlemen opposite set the ball rolling, while we completed the job. However, before it was completed, the vast majority of hon. Members opposite changed their minds and voted against it—I am now talking about the conference held prior to the elections in 1951 and culminating in the conference at Victoria Falls. It was after that that the change took place and hon. and right hon. Gentlemen changed their minds.
After the legislation had gone through, the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) very fairly said:… now that federation is on the point of being given legal effect, it must be the duty of us all to try to make it work as smoothly and as beneficially to the inhabitants of the territories as we possibly can."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th May. 1953; Vol. 515, c. 437.]That is the task with which we are faced—to make it work fruitfully and beneficially for all of the people in the whole of the Federation.
I think that we can also all agree that a great deal of thought has been given to the problem by hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House. When he made his statement yesterday, the Prime Minister put the thing very forcibly when he said:Great issues, human and political, will be at stake—issues of constitutional evolution, economic development and inter-racial harmony."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st July, 1959; Vol. 609, c. 1072.]Those three things are of paramount importance. My right hon. Friend was right when he said that we should try to create a common mind both here and in Africa on the next stage of the evolution of the Federation.
With that in mind, we in this Parliament have a great opportunity to make a major contribution to the future of Central Africa and the Commonwealth as a whole. Under those circumstances, the finest thing which could possible happen would be for this Parliament to move as one, as a whole and not divided, and somehow to find a common ground of agreement so that we could get together for the good of the Federation and its people.
Consistently for many years I have been one of those believing that we should try to find a common policy for the development and advancement of our 1359 Colonies. This was better stated by the late Oliver Stanley, one of our very great Colonial Secretaries. In July, 1949, he put the position very well when he said:I believe that about the most important thing for this country over the next 10 or 20 years will be the development of its relationships with its Colonial Empire, and I feel that about the most important element in its success or failure will be the maintenance of some unity of purpose between the various parties in the State. Whatever the line, whoever is right, I cannot conceive of success coming from a programme and an objective liable to be altered at intervals largely as a result of considerations which have really nothing to do with Colonial matters at all …The fact I am interested in is that we appear to have arrived, at any rate, at some community of purpose. … That does not mean for one moment that we do not disagree with each other. It does not mean for one moment that whoever is in power will not be criticised by the other side, or that we shall not have differences as to tempo, admnistration, or detail. I hope and believe that it means now, and will continue to mean in the future, that on the general broad details of Colonial affairs, we are and shall remain united."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th July, 1949; Vol. 467, c. 1492–3.]I should like to see some of that spirit of unity return to the House in a policy for Central Africa.
It is essential in a thing like this, when we are dealing with advancing people, many of them illiterate, that we should have some continuity of policy and that we should all know where the end lies. If we have that unity, others in Central Africa will be impressed, because they listen to what is said in this country. This view is not new. The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) in June, 1956, speaking of Kenya, said:… it is essential that as far as possible the constitutional development of the Colonies should arise from common agreement in this House. It would be extremely undesirable if every time there was a change of Government … there was also a change in the constitution of the Colonies."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th June. 1956; Vol. 553, c. 1199–1200.]We do not have that common ground today. Why should the unity of purpose and co-operation which should lie between us have broken down? It is clearly admitted on all sides that a preliminary inquiry is needed. It has been recognised because the Opposition themselves have said that it would be a good thing to send a Parliamentary delegation to advise and to prepare the way so that 1360 the House could have more information and know more of the on-the-spot feeling of the situation before we discuss the problems of 1960.
We have to remember the position of the Federation. We must remember that Southern Rhodesia is a near-sovereign State. That being so, we have to consider its wishes in some way and if Southern Rhodesia says that its future as a near-sovereign State is being considered and that it should be part of the advisory commission, we should accept that and give the Southern Rhodesians a chance to be represented. It then becomes not only impossible but undesirable for Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia to be kept out. If the territories insist on being a part of the Commission, we should take them in and face the fact that we have a joint Commission with hon. Members and representatives from each of the three territories reporting on these problems.
After all, we have to try to get some kind of agreement. It has been said before and it has been emphasised by Sir Roy Welensky himself that politics is the art of achieving the possible. It was possible to get the Commission out there provided that we had representatives from other States. The Commonwealth is a partnership and if other Commonwealth countries feel that they should come in on occasions like this, we should welcome them. Why can we not accept these terms when we are setting up the Commission, not to decide what is to happen—as has been made abundantly clear—but to undertake advisory and preliminary work?
The decisions clearly will be taken at the 1960 Conference and ultimately approved by the House, which will have to pass the necessary legislation after the Conference has finished its task. The final decision lies with us. I cannot for the life of me see why it is essential that we should constitute ourselves 100 per cent. of the advisers and the judges as well. We have a real chance of securing some common ground. Let us not destroy it because of any kind of political antagonism.
The Leader of the Opposition attacked the Government. I listened very carefully, but he did not say at any time that he would recommend the three Labour 1361 Privy Councillors not to take their seat on the Commission. The door is still open. I appeal to right hon. and hon. Members opposite not to shut the door. The Opposition have made it clear that they would go to the Federation as part of a Parliamentary delegation, but as it is left at the moment they will refuse to go if they have to share the responsibility with citizens of the Federation, be they white or black. I hope that the chance may still be taken.
Is it not a little early to start criticising the Commission and to start destroying it in the eyes of the Africans, whose future will be influenced by it? I was quite a little shocked in the House yesterday when the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse), not knowing who would be on the Commission from this country or from Africa, immediately leapt up and asked the Prime Minister if he was aware that Africans in Central Africa will have no confidence in the African representatives on the Commission. The same idea was fostered a little this afternoon by the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones).
§ Mr. Stonehouse
The hon. Member should state fully the point I made yesterday to the Prime Minister. The reason why Africans will have no confidence in the five members appointed to the Commission is that those five members will be appointed by Governments which those Africans do not recognise.
§ Sir R. Robinson
It is true that the hon. Member went on and gave two reason why the Africans would not have confidence in the Commission. From the point of view of getting things done, the duty of the hon. Member and the duty of the House is to create confidence in the Africans who are prepared to help to get things going in their own territory.
I listened carefully this afternoon to the Leader of the Opposition. He made a reasoned speech, although he did not carry me with him all the way. He absolutely spoiled himself when, by innuendo, he indicated that the Africans who were helping in the great task of administration and getting things done should be regarded as stooges. That was a most irresponsible thing for him to say. However, I found one thought of encouragement in it, because I am 1362 certain that no man who felt that he was going to win an election and be Prime Minister in a few months would ever dream of saying something like that, because he knows that he would not be able to carry on with this great task and enlist the support of the African people.
I will say a few brief words about the Federation. It is accepted and agreed on both sides of the House that, since federation, very great and real economic progress has been made. The Leader of the Opposition said that that was a fine thing, but he wanted to be sure that all the benefits of it did not fall into the hands of the few. It is fair to say that the great economic prosperity of the Federation has been shared by all. It is that prosperity which has brought additional sums of money into Nyasaland and brought about great improvements in the general standard of living and social life of the people. It may well be that political and social progress has been slower than we would have liked. We all want to see the ultimate advance of the Africans. We want to see them growing to their responsibilities and taking their chance.
When I listened to the rather gloomy picture painted by the Leader of the Opposition I was reminded of a far different view expressed in a very interesting article in the Manchester Guardian this morning by four African journalists. The article is headed:Breaches in the Colour Bar.Southern Rhodesian changes.I was very interested in this passage:… an encouraging change has taken place in the last few years, and more so in the last few months.With the present tempo of social changes and advances, when man is doing justice to man, now is the time when the whole of the House should come together to help him go forward. The four African journalists point out that they now have multi-racial unions. They speak of the removal of the separate entrances in post offices. Africans can buy State lottery tickets on the same basis as Europeans. They can bet on horses, as the Europeans can. They went on to say:Minor modifications have also been made to the resented pass laws, restrictions on the purchase of houses in the cities. …1363 They spoke of their great multi-racial university and their pleasure at seeing multi-racial sports.
It seemed to me that that presented a far better and more encouraging picture than that drawn by the Leader of the Opposition. It is a picture painted by four Africans for the readers of the Manchester Guardian and the people of this country. North of the Union, this is a country which is going rapidly away from the principles of apartheid, a country where there is a real chance of building a multi-racial nation. It should have from the House all-party support. We should remember, also, that mere speeches are not enough. We may need long, sustained and patient effort.
§ 7.27 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I understood the feeling behind the pleas we have heard this afternoon from the Prime Minister and the hon. Member for Blackpool, South (Sir R Robinson) that we should have no controversy. Although I understand the feeling, I am puzzled by it. After all, this is a debating chamber. Furthermore, it is a type of chamber which we are proposing to export to the Africans. Surely we must express our views on matters which everyone rightly says are of supreme importance. If the House of Commons is not able to debate important matters, it will not be very much use saying that it is one of the fundamental institutions of democracy.
§ Sir R. Robinson
In the quotation I gave from the late Oliver Stanley I said that we shall have differences as to tempo, administration and detail. Those are all differences of method. I was trying to plead that the House should get together on a major problem.
§ Mr. Grimond
I understand the spirit behind that, but unity cannot be imposed if people do not agree that it is better that they should say so.
Much of the debate this afternoon has been about tempo and methods. I seem to remember that the Conservative Party has not always been totally uncritical of things done in the Empire by other parties. I seem to remember the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), who has since become a very respected member of the Conservative 1364 Party, expressing quite forcible opinions about India. On this constitutional doctrine I am behind the right hon. Member for Woodford.
I feel that, whatever our feelings on this are, if we have doubts about what is being done, now is the time to express them. I agree with the hon. Member for Blackpool that that does not mean that we should engage in a sort of auction as to who can offer the Africans most or what will happen if there is a change of Government. Many of us, nevertheless, have genuine reservations about what is proposed.
I rather regret that we are having this debate, inevitably, before the Devlin Commission has reported. It would have been useful to learn what it found, and what the temper of the people of Nyasaland now is.
I propose to confine my remarks to the next immediate moves in Central Africa and, in particular, to the proposals for a Commission. I believe that it would be valuable to send a Commission to Africa for the following purposes: firstly, to try to restore some calm and confidence in the area; secondly, to try to create that common mind of which the Prime Minister spoke yesterday, and, thirdly, to inform opinion in this country about the facts of the situation and the state of African opinion.
Broadly speaking, two types of Commission have been canvassed; one purely a fact-finding Commission made up of members from this country, and the other a rather more ambitious type which would be charged with making recommendations. The Government have come down on the side of the rather wider Commission, and have asked it to advise or to make recommendations. I quite see that there is much to be said for that. It may have a good effect on African opinion to have the matters fully discussed, and the recommendations may be valuable.
I understand that the Government's present proposals are to remain before the public—through this House, so to speak—for some time, so that they may be discussed, and that, indeed, the Government would welcome some criticism of the proposals and are not wholly against making some amendments to them. This I propose, therefore, to do.
1365 First of all, one must look at the terms of reference. I must say that all the advice I receive is that the majority of African opinion—and here we should be wary when speaking of African opinion as a whole, because I understand that there are differences of opinion among Africans just as, oddly enough, there are here—or, at any rate, the opinion of a very large minority, would have confidence in a Commission of this type only if it were in a position to examine federation arid not merely to justify it.
This is a pivotal question. As far as I can see, the Commission as it stands would be tied to the 1953 proposals. But it must be given the right to recommend that federation should be delayed, diminished, or changed in form. As has been suggested by the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones), and others, we might have other forms of co-operation between these territories for the time being until we could, perhaps, reach a state more suitable for federation.
To inspire confidence in the Commission it must, if it is to make recommendations, have the right to consider whether Nyasaland should be in or out of" the Federation. The Prime Minister talked today of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia as standing on their own feet. If they are standing on their own feet they must have the right to make up their own minds about federation.
In saying that the Commission, if it is to recommend, should have the right to recommend on the very roots of federation, I do not want it to be taken that I am speaking against federation, or want to prejudge how the Commission recommends. All I say is that if it is to make a recommendation at all it should be free to examine the whole working of federation and it should be free to recommend adversely on federation, if it is so convinced.
I quite understand the difficulty in this, but I feel that it is a fundamental matter. It seems to me as though it will mean altering the terms of reference, but I must say that the Prime Minister yesterday, as reported in column 1079 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, seemed to say that the Commission would be in a position to do just what I want. It would be useful to the House if the Secretary of State, when he winds up, could tell us 1366 whether that is his opinion and, if it is, whether it could be put more expressly into the terms of reference. I do not think that the reference in the present terms to the Preamble is, of itself, enough.
There has already been much talk today about the membership of the Commission. One has to look at the facts. When one does that, one sees that there are 7 million black Africans involved, and 300,000 white Africans. On the Commission, there are to be five Africans in all, and what one might, perhaps, call a dark-skinned representative from the Commonwealth. Therefore, the most cohesive bloc will be the representatives of the Federation and its component territories, against which there will be a representation of only five black Africans.
Again, I think that we are in difficulty here, because my opinion is that the Commission is already too big. I do not think that we should increase its size even to include more Africans. And, of course, if we have this Commission, it is very desirable that the different forms of white opinion should be represented as well as African opinion. Nevertheless, I believe, without being absolutely dogmatic about the proper number, that representation by five Africans is not sufficient to give confidence to the African people within the Federal territories. The number of Africans should be at least equal to the number of Europeans from the Federation. I feel that all the more strongly when I look at the size of the United Kingdom representation. Our Parliamentary representation is to consist only of six Privy Councillors.
Then there is the question of how the African representatives are to be selected. I understand that all the African representatives are to be proposed by the Governments or, in the case of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, by the British Government on the Governor's recommendation, I hope, again, that the Secretary of State will be able to tell us a little more of what is in his mind on this subject, even if he does not want at this stage to be absolutely firm and explicit.
For instance, the Opposition in this country will be asked to nominate certain members, and it will be left to the 1367 Opposition to decide who they will be. Is that to happen, in Africa? Are African parties to be asked to suggest members? I hope so. In particular, whatever one may think of the African representation—and I do not want to deny that there may be Africans outside the Congress parties who could be representative Africans; I do not know—we have the well-known and difficult situation in which the main political parties in certain territories have been declared proscribed organisations.
That is no new situation in British political history and we all know that it leads to great difficulties, but I do not see how we can hope to get a satisfactory Commission unless we call upon the African Congress to nominate at least one, two, or more members. I hope—and, no doubt, the Secretary of State hopes—that the Congress will cease to be a proscribed body by the time the Commission is set up. If so, the situation will obviously become very much easier.
At the moment, of course, Congress in Northern Rhodesia is not proscribed. Nevertheless, British political history is littered with instances of our having eventually to do business with people whom the Government of the day do not like—and I must say that there have been Liberal Governments that have not liked some people in the same way as have other Governments.
The fact remains that, whether or not the African Congress is or will still be a proscribed organisation, it represents too important a section of African opinion to be ignored. If it is ignored there will be no confidence whatever in the Commission. There is also the representation of the non-white parts of the Commonwealth. Here I am glad to see that the Government are ready to show flexibility and a willingness to give fuller representation.
Does the Secretary of State consider these to be wrecking amendments? Does he consider that it is possible to broaden the terms of reference of the Commission to allow it to go behind the 1953 proposals to some extent? At the same time, if we put on the Commission a bigger representation of Africans—including Africans from Congress— 1368 does he think that it makes this type of Commission impossible?
I quite see the Government's situation. They have to agree with other Governments. They are not entirely free agents, and they may well argue that they have already achieved considerable progress in liberalising the Federal attitude towards this Commission. The Government have to take into account the position of Sir Roy Welensky. As the hon. Member for Blackpool, South has just pointed out, there is evidence-as shown in the article in today's Manchester Guardian—that Sir Roy and other people in Africa are gradually breaking down the colour bar and making progress towards a genuine federation including both races. For all I know, Sir Roy Welensky and the Government may think that in conceding this Commission they have gone as far as they can at present, and it may be true that some representatives of moderate opinion in Africa might not like the suggestion that the Commission should go behind the 1953 agreement. I accept that.
If the Government feel that these amendments are not possible, would it not be better to turn to a narrower form of agreement? If we cannot amend this Commission in such a way that it will secure the confidence of the Africans, would it not be better to drop this form of Commission and go back to a narrower, fact-finding Commission composed solely of representatives of this country? That seems to me to be the alternative. I dare say that Sir Roy Welensky would object to this Commission on the ground that while the British Government have the main responsibility, he and others have considerable responsibilities, too. If that is so, I suppose one might end up with having no Commission at all. But, at any rate, the smaller, narrower type of fact-finding Commission avoids the obvious difficulties in the present proposals. It avoids the difficulty of selecting Africans. It avoids the question of the persons to whom it is responsible.
A smaller fact-finding Commission would be clearly responsible to this House and would emphasise our duty to make up our own minds. It would be purely fact-finding and it would overcome the difficulty of the terms of reference as 1369 well as the difficulty possibly of reopening the 1953 settlement or prejudging 1960. Therefore, I feel that unless clearly radical amendments can be made in the present proposals, the Government should consider a narrower and more factual form of Commission responsible directly to this House.
I want now to make one or two general remarks on the present situation. We are absolutely committed to certain principles, as, indeed, the whole Western world is. The principles are those of racial partnership, the rule of law and ultimately the transfer of power to the Africans. Ultimately a multi-racial society in Africa means that the majority will be black Africans and that, therefore, in one way or another they are going to be the most influential part of that society. But we hope that Africa will be organised on the basis of a single society, and I am sure that we all agree that this principle must be followed in the comparatively near future. To me it is not only a question of putting these principles into practice ourselves, or into practice in the territories for which we are directly responsible. It also means ensuring that they are not gradually eroded as we withdraw our responsibility.
We have had some bitter experience of writing safeguards of one sort or another into constitutions and then finding that they do not work. We found that this did not work in South Africa. We have had similar experience over the African Affairs Board. We have had experience of trying to set up a constitution in Southern Rhodesia which ought to have prevented the sort of thing about which the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) was talking. We have parted with the power to ensure the re-entry of British citizens into Nyasaland. I do not think the House of Commons wished to part with that power. For the sake of Africa and for our general reputation, we cannot allow the gradual erosion of our responsibility to continue. We have ultimate responsibility in this area, and we must keep that fact in mind.
We must reiterate to those who are coming into the Commonwealth that it is a Commonwealth of black and white States. That is what Sir Roy Welensky wants to join. If he wants to join that, he must accept the implications, and he 1370 must run a real multi-racial society in which black and white have equal rights.
A prime object of our policy in Africa should surely be to break down the loyalty of the blacks to the black people and the whites to the white people and to build up a common patriotism embracing both. If we could do that, the difficulty of how many black and white people to appoint to this type of Commission would disappear. It is because the society is divided that we face these irreconcilable difficulties involving how many of each shall be appointed to this sort of Commission.
Have we got our priorities right? I am inclined to think that this common loyalty, respect for the rule of law and the establishment of basic principles of personal freedom and, indeed, equal economic progress, should have the highest priority—higher priority, probably, than the immediate introduction of full-fledged democratic Parliamentary government. Progress is being made slowly and fitfully in this direction in the territories concerned, and I hope that while, on the one hand, we will really consider freely and without fear of criticism the proposals which have been put up, this will not divert us from pressing on with the general constitutional advance of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia and with all the measures we can to improve the well-being and the freedom of black Africa. As I say, if these territories could make quicker progress towards one genuine society in which everybody would feel a common loyalty, a great many of the difficulties about this Commission would at once fall to the ground.
Therefore, while I offer those criticisms of this particular Commission, while supporting the idea of some commission, I hope that at the same time we shall continue with this progress which is going too slowly in Central Africa. Indeed, I would not be so much afraid as the Prime Minister is about postponing the next steps if I felt that this progress could go on sufficiently rapidly to put an end to a great deal of the hostility which we have to recognise now exists.
§ 7.47 p.m.
§ Sir Archer Baldwin (Leominster)
I am glad to follow the Leader of the Liberal Party and to know that he agrees 1371 with federation, as do all thinking people. I am sorry that I cannot congratulate the Opposition on a bipartisan policy. I had hoped, at the beginning of this debate, that it would be agreed by all parties to approach this subject from an entirely bipartisan point of view. I am sorry to say that latterly we have been making this Chamber a cockpit for colonial politics. I hope that subsequent debates will be on the same level as this debate has been so far, and as I hope it will continue.
The Leader of the Opposition made a great point about democracy. The idea that we are anywhere near the day when we can grant one man one vote in Central Africa is not worth thinking about. That day is some distance away, although we have made considerable advances. I always remember what Lord Malvern said to a delegation which went out to Africa before federation. He made it plain that before political advance was granted to the Africans there would have to be economic advance. That is the great difference between the two sides of the House.
The Opposition think that what really matters is political advance. We believe that it is much more important to have the economic advance which will raise the standard of life for all Africans. This the politicians cannot provide. We in this House do not raise standards; we talk about them. The people who are doing it are those who are at work in our economy, creating the wealth which raises the standard of living of all the people. The same applies in Rhodesia. The rise in the prosperity of the African out there is entirely due to the European having developed the country, established his industries, and created the wealth which is now having a great effect on the Federation.
I protest against the Leader of the Opposition referring to Africans who side or agree with the things we are doing in Africa as "stooges". It is quite unfair and quite wrong that such a thing should be said. I hope that, on reflection, the right hon. Gentleman realises that such comments do not help very much.
We are at the cross-roads in Central Africa. The decision about which of the roads we take will have a tremendous 1372 bearing not only on Central Africa, but on the whole African Continent. I hope that both parties will agree steadily to follow the lines of the progress we have already made, for the sake of the Africans. If we could reach a common policy, that would be in the interests of all.
No race in Africa has a prior claim. In Central Africa, white, black, and Asian are all immigrants. It is just a question of who got there first. The tribes which went into Nyasaland arrived there only in the early part of the last century, and we arrived there at the end of the last century. For them to claim that they must have Africa for the Africans is neither sound nor justifiable. We all have a right there. Let us recognise that the Europeans who are there are there to stay, and we must, therefore, help them to get along with the Africans, as they are doing. We must not raise in this House points which become magnified when they reach the other side and give Africans false ideas about what would happen if the Opposition came into power.
It has been said by one or two speakers today that federation has not helped the Africans in the Federation. I dispute that. Figures I have here show the increase in expenditure in Nyasaland since Federation. Expenditure on agriculture has risen from £209,000 to £399,000. Expenditure on African education has risen from £210,000 to £583,000—more than double. Expenditure on police and public works has risen. Expenditure on health has risen, from 1952, from £232,000 to £798,000. Those are the benefits which have accrued to Nyasaland as a result of federation.
It would be a sad day for Nyasaland if the Federation, for any reason, were dissolved. The people of Nyasaland will benefit not only from the wealth of the two Rhodesias, but also in another way, as my hon. Freind the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) reminded us. If Nyasaland comes out of the Federation, the day may well come when Nyasalanders may not be able to sell their labour to Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia. The African in Rhodesia is gradually moving along the road; he wants more work and he is being encouraged to do more work.
As my hon. Friend said, there is a tendency for the African in Rhodesia to 1373 say that he does not want the competition of the Nyasalander for his labour. It must be admitted that the Nyasalander is a better labourer than the Southern Rhodesian labourer. That is one reason why it is important for Nyasaland to remain in the Federation. Furthermore, the population of Nyasaland is increasing by leaps and bounds as a result of the measures which are being taken to improve hygiene, and so forth. All that increasing population must somewhere find an outlet for its labour.
The Africans in Africa are growing up, but they have not yet arrived at maturity. They have reached a stage—as a man does during the course of his life—when they need care and attention. It would be a very bad thing for them if the attention which the European can give them were taken away. I hope, therefore, that we shall say nothing in this House which will discourage the European in Rhodesia. A great deal of harm has been done in Southern Rhodesia as a result of actions and speeches here. I hope that, after the visit of Sir Roy Welensky, some of the differences have been resolved and we shall not stir up such feeling again. It does a great deal of harm.
The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones), I think, and the hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Mr. Foot) said that there were no Africans who agreed with federation
§ Sir A. Baldwin
I thought that that was the gist of it. I could quote statements from a number of Africans, but I will quote what was said by one, Chief Malunga, of Nyasaland, who, speaking in the Federal Parliament, said:We are somewhat perturbed that in London especially members of the 'Shadow' Labour Government are not realising our difficulties; but it is very easy to give advice from London. They should come and stay here with us but not for eight days or a fortnight but for several months or years and then they will be able to judge what poison was done to the Federation and our future by these menHe went on to say:I was not sure, when federation started, that it was a good thing. Now I have seen for myself the benefits that have come since federation.
§ Mr. David Jones (The Hartlepools)
When my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) goes to Nyasaland and expresses the truth, he is turned out.
§ Sir A. Baldwin
I do not know about that; the hon. Member did other things besides. But I do not wish to be drawn into that controversy this evening.
I was quoting from the words of Chief Malunga:Now I have seen for myself the benefits that have come since federation. Plenty of money has come into Nyasaland and our people can find jobs. We have more hospitals and better roads since federation. It is unfortunate that the views of ordinary people do not get much publicity and also the Chiefs views because there is no freedom in Nyasaland.I shall come to the subject of freedom in Nyasaland in a moment, when I say something about intimidation. Many of the chief's people are afraid. He went on to say:All I want to say, Sir, is that nothing should be done to take Nyasaland away from the Federation.That is the opinion of one chief.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to quote the comments of Chief M'Mbelwa II, who wrote in the Scotsman thatThe Africans of Nyasaland on whom the Central African Federation was imposed in 1953 are still united in their stand against it.
§ Sir A. Baldwin
That is another one. I could go on to quote Mr. Saranku:I do not need to defend the United Federal Party in the Federal and territorial spheres. Lord Malvern and Sir Roy Welensky will go down in history as statesmen who took the first steps to abolish the colour bar in Southern Rhodesia.Those are the words of another African, and I could quote from eight or ten more.
The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) mentioned the case of Mr. Vambe. I saw that criticism in the Central African Examiner this morning, and I was very disgusted with the statements that were made about Mr. Vambe. I had the pleasure of hearing him at the meeting which was referred to in that newspaper and it fell to my lot to congratulate him on the most sensible speech I had ever heard from either a white or a black man on African affairs. I only hope that he will be called before 1375 the Commonwealth Committee of the Opposition and will express the views to that body that he expressed to us. It was a great shame that he should be adversely commented on for what he did. I think that the comment which was made was that he, as a civil servant, should not have expressed his views. I do not agree.
I hope that Mr. Vambe, while he is here, will attend as many meetings as he possibly can and will put forward the case that he put to us in exactly the same way. He is a sensible African, who has every right to be a little vindictive, because I believe that he was refused entry to a hotel in Salisbury not long ago. However, he did not feel vindictive. He said to us, "We must build up among the Africans a certain classification, like you have in this country, before we can be expected to be allowed to go into every hotel or any other place without any qualification". As I say, I only hope that he might be one of the Africans selected to serve on the Commission that is to be set up to review the Constitution.
I should now like to say a word about the Congress Party leaders, some of whom have been locked up, some of whom have been excommunicated and sent from the country. One thing that the Africans are afraid of in Africa is intimidation. When the Devlin Report is available, I expect that that will be one of the things which it will point out Africans were forced to join the Congress Party for fear that their homes would be burned down and their fellow men probably murdered. I therefore say that I hope that the Governors of the two territories and the Prime Minister and Government of Southern Rhodesia will stop this intimidation and stop these Congress Party leaders, who are not out to help their fellow men, but to get control of the country and to build their own little empire. I hope that steps will be taken to prevent these men from addressing meetings and inciting these primitive people, who have not been educated to a very great degree. I hope that they will be stopped and dealt with with a firm hand.
It is quite right to say that we should not have had Mau Mau in Kenya if, when the Government of Kenya knew 1376 what was going on, they had taken the active steps which the Central African Government took to suppress trouble before it developed into something much worse. I hope, therefore, that any of the rabble-rousers that go over there and stir up trouble will be stopped. Chief Mthalire said:If the emergency had not been declared none of the chiefs would have been alive to welcome the Governor".He said that at a meeting of the Governors, at which half a dozen chiefs were present. The chiefs were afraid of the intimidation which was going on.
I have quoted the figures relating to the improvement in the standard of living of the African. I hope that in future this House will not lay too much stress on political advance, but will ensure that the African receives technical education, advances economically and earns better wages. One thing that the African wants today is the opportunity for education. The demand of the Africans to be educated is surprising. One thing that can be said to the credit of the Southern Rhodesian Government is that today they have the biggest percentage of children at school in any country in South Africa. Eighty per cent. of the children of school age in Southern Rhodesia are being educated. That is a tremendous step and reflects great credit on the Southern Rhodesian Government.
The criticism has been made that not more Africans are admitted to the Government, but there has been a tremendous advance in the last five or six years. No African has yet been accepted for a Ministerial appointment, but some are on the threshold of it. I also want to call attention to the fact that there are 14,000 Africans in the Civil Service in the Federation. Some of them are earning over £1,000 a year. That may surprise hon. Members who criticise the Europeans in that country. As each year goes by more Africans are being accepted into the Civil Service. They are the people who, eventually, may be selected to help to run their country.
I want to make one appeal to Sir Roy Welensky and to those Europeans who have been pressing for Dominion status in 1960. I am not clear what Sir Roy's views are at the moment, but I think that he has altered his demands. I do not 1377 think that he will persist in his demand for Dominion status as soon as 1960. I think that it will be a mistake if he does. We do not want to see Dominion status for a portion of the Federation; we want to see all the territories eventually granted Dominion status after they have proved themselves. That is essential and I hope that Sir Roy Welensky and those who support him will realise that.
A suggestion has been made about the extremists in Southern Rhodesia. I think that the suggestion related to the Dominion Party. I think that the Dominion Party consists of two or three people, so that there is not the slightest chance of it ever getting into power. I do not think that hon. Members need be afraid of the extremists. There are many other parties in Southern Rhodesia, and I have not the slightest doubt that in a few years' time they and the Dominion Party will vanish completely.
I hope that we shall approach African affairs in as bipartisan spirit as we can. I do not say that there should not be criticism. Criticism is a good thing as long as it is constructive, but I hope that criticism will not be made for the sake of getting headlines, either in this country or in Africa, but will be in a genuine desire to help the African along the road to full maturity.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Dingle Foot (Ipswich)
In the few minutes available to me, I want first to put a question to the Government about the appointment of the African representatives on the Commission. There will be 5 African representatives out of a total of 26 and out of 13 territorial spokesmen. The Prime Minister said yesterday that they will be appointedby the United Kingdom Government on the advice of the Governors or Governments".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st July, 1959; Vol. 609, c. 1076.]Does that mean that they will simply be nominees of the Governor or Governments, or does it mean that the Government will consult anyone else?
It does not matter whether we call people stooges or not. What matters is that we should find people who command confidence among the Africans and who are representative of African opinion. Today, if one goes to those territories and wants to find those with the greatest claim to speak for African 1378 opinion, one must look for them behind bars. People like Dr. Banda, Mr. Niandoto and Mr. Kenneth Kaunda have the best claim to speak for African opinion today. I seriously suggest that some approach should be made to them. As the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) said, it would not be the first time in our Imperial history that such a thing has happened. There was the Kilmainham treaty with Parnell in the last century, and only eight years ago, in the Gold Coast, the Governor dealt with Kwame Nkrumah when he was serving a term of imprisonment in Jamestown prison.
I want to say a word about the events at the beginning of this year in Central Africa, particularly in Nyasaland. The situation with which the Government were confronted was, I suggest, a situation entirely of their own making. It was the direct consequence of the policy which they have pursued since they came into office in 1951. That policy had two sides, one positive and one negative. On the positive side, they have transferred power to the European minority as represented by the Federal Government. On the negative side, they have wholly failed to reassure the African populations of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia and to allay their fears for the future.
The present troubles stem directly from the imposition of federation in 1953, but a good deal has happened since then. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition pointed out, there was the action of the Government in 1957 when they entered into an agreement with the Federal Government that there would be no amendment of the Federal Constitution without the latter's consent. There was the overruling of the African Affairs Board and, above all, the delay in announcing the new Constitution for Nyasaland. It almost seems to have been suggested that that was in some way a fault of the Congress leaders.
When we examine the facts, it is abundantly clear that the responsibility lies with the Colonial Office and with the Protectorate Government. The question of a new constitution was first raised with the Governor by a delegation of Congress leaders in September, 1957. The Governor told them that he 1379 was going on leave in the following April and that he would consult the Government when he got home. There were further deputations in November, 1957, and in March, 1958. Then, in the summer of 1958, a deputation led by Dr. Banda came to this country and saw the Colonial Secretary. The delegation was given the impression that an announcement would be made when the Governor returned to Nyasaland in August. The Governor went back on 7th August. No announcement was made and on 20th October Dr. Banda had an interview at Government House, when he again discussed with the Governor the question of constitutional reform.
Again, nothing happened. There was a series of Questions in the House of Commons. On 4th November, the Colonial Secretary told us that the Governor was continuing talks and, on 27th November, he told us that the new constitution would be imaginative. Then, on 20th January, 1959, there was a further consultation at Zomba between the Governor and Dr. Banda. Still there was no announcement. The Government had had fifteen months to think about the matter and still they had nothing to say. Nothing whatever had come of the consultations which had taken place, either in London or in Zomba. I suggest that the responsibility for the delay lies solely with the Colonial Office and the Protectorate Government.
The importance of it is this. What the Africans feared was that the constitutional conference would arrive in 1960 and that Nyasaland would still be governed legislative council. It was a very real fear, because one circumstance about which no one today should have the slightest doubt—it struck me forcibly a few weeks ago when I was in Nyasaland—is not merely the opposition—that is far too mild a phrase—but the intense hatred for federation which is felt by practically the whole African population of Nyasaland.
It is no good talking to them about the economic advantages which federation is alleged to have brought. They have before their eyes the racial policies of Southern Rhodesia, with all the legal and social discriminations which those policies involve.
1380 What is the prospect for the future? So far, the Government have been adamant that federation must remain. That was certainly the attitude of the Colonial Secretary when he visited Nyasaland last year. In effect, what the Government are saying to the peoples of the two Protectorates is this: "We have conceded self-government in Kenya. We are about to concede it in Nigeria and Somaliland. We have accepted the principle in Uganda and Tanganyika. We may even accept it in Kenya. But you, the peoples of Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia, can never at any foreseeable time in the future be the masters of your own destiny." That is a wholly untenable proposition and at some stage we must concede to these people, whether they exercise it or not, the right to secede from the Federation.
What is the alternative? There are only two ways of governing a Colonial Territory, by consent and by force. The consent need not be openly expressed. It may be no more than tacit acquiescence. Once that acquiescence is withdrawn, however, and the people are no longer prepared to accept colonial rule, one has to govern by force. That means that to an ever-increasing degree one is driven to employ all the filthy apparatus of the police state; to proscribe political organisations, although their aims may be perfectly legitimate; to forbid meetings and demonstrations; to suppress or to keep out opposition newspapers; and to lock people up for indefinite periods without charge and without trial.
During the last four years, I have paid a series of visits to detention camps in Kenya and in Central Africa, and I am bound to say that I never cease to be revolted by the spectacle of people being detained without trial under British rule. It is alien to our whole tradition and to everything for which we ought to stand in the world.
I want to come to a somewhat different and wider issue. In 1953, we abandoned to the Federal Government a large measure of control over the two Protectorates. If the present Government remain in office, it may happen that we shall hand over even more authority in 1960. The questions which we should consider at some stage are whether we had any right to do what we did in 1953 1381 and whether we are entitled to take any further steps to add to the authority of the Federal Government.
There are two reasons for thinking that the answers to those questions may very well be "No". In the first place, these are Protectorates. Their inhabitants are not British subjects, but British protected persons. Their ancestors placed themselves voluntarily under the British Crown. Our position is the position of a trustee, and a trustee is not entitled to hand over the trust property to a stranger.
Secondly, however—and this is even more important—the position of all Colonial Powers, at least all who belong to the United Nations, was fundamentally altered when they signed the Charter of the United Nations in 1945. The obligations of Colonial Powers are now specific. They are laid down in Article 73.
Under that Article, all Colonial Powers have an obligationto ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abusesand secondly,to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions.Those are obligations which we have accepted and which the Charter imposes upon us. They are not obligations which we are entitled to hand over to anyone else. In so far as we hand over our responsibilities to the Government in Salisbury, we disable ourselves from carrying out our obligations under Article 73 of the Charter. I do not for one moment suggest that these juridical issues can be resolved in a Parliamentary debate, but I do suggest that the appropriate tribunal to which they should be referred is the International Court at The Hague.
I want to refer to one other phrase which has echoed through the debate. We are told that we should not scrutinise too closely what happens in Central Africa because we are 5,000 miles away. Of course, that is perfectly true, but the Federal Ministers are not the only people who are 5,000 miles away. A similar distance separates us from those who are 1382 now imprisoned without trial at Gwelo, Khami, Zomba and in the detention camp at Kanjedza. There is a similar distance between us and the whole 6 million Africans in the three territories.
Our obligations towards those people in the detention camps and those 6 million Africans are no less than our obligations towards Cabinet Ministers at Salisbury. It is time that we in this House began to exercise our responsibilities.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I understand that we are to have two or three debates over the next few days on African affairs. This will be a testing time for all of us, and particularly for the Colonial Secretary. I should like to say to him at the outset that no one has ever doubted his courage or his energy, and that anything we have to say to him over the next few days will not be an attack on him in that direction. What we shall be attacking will be his judgment, his policies, and his complacency, because it is his complacency on a great many of these issues which we have debated over the last few years which has led us into this position.
The Prime Minister told us this afternoon, in a speech which I thought was wholly unrealistic, that it was, of course, foolish to deny the great current of opposition which existed to the Federation in Nyasaland. Foolish to deny it? It has been denied for years from the other side of the House. For years the Colonial Secretary has been telling us that the opposition in Nyasaland was the work of a few agitators. [Interruption.] In that case, we will look at the record, because we shall have more opportunities of coming back to this. We have been told time after time that it was only the attitude of the Labour Party in backing up a few agitators in Nyasaland which has been responsible for what is happening out there. We will demonstrate in the debates that lie ahead, as well as at many other opportunities, the the Colonial Secretary's attitude the whole time has been that this was so.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Everybody who has listened to these debates, which some 1383 hon. Gentlemen opposite do not, knows that this is so and that the Colonial Secretary has consistently disregarded and under-estimated the volume of African oppositition in those territories.
Not only has he done that, but, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. Foot) was pointing out before the right hon. Gentleman came into the House, he alone is responsible for the delay in announcing the constitutional reforms in Nyasaland. In the first speech we on this side made on this subject once the emergency had been declared, we pointed out that the Colonial Secretary himself had failed to announce constitutional proposals which could and should have been announced months earlier. It was in October, 1957, that we first pressed him to make his announcement. It was in February, 1958, that he told us that he hoped that he would be able to make progress. A year later Lord Perth had not left for the Federation, and he bears a very heavy responsibility himself for not proceeding with more urgency in making those necessary constitutional changes which would, in my view, have done much to obviate the outbreaks of last March.
Why do I say that? For this reason. It is well known that the most disturbing factor in Nyasaland at that time was the statement which appeared in the only Nyasaland paper which circulates generally that the constitutional changes which were proposed for Nyasaland would not operate till after the 1960 Conferenece. That statement was never denied. Coupled with the long delay of the Colonial Secretary in making the changes it added considerably to the tension which existed in that territory. In that way he himself bears a considerable responsibility. We shall have to go into this again when we come to the Devlin Report, and we shall go into it in more detail.
The Prime Minister also pointed out, in saying that progress had been made by the Federation, that there are now 12 Africans in the Federal Assembly. That is true. There are 12 Africans in the Federal Assembly. Four of them are nominated, eight of them are elected.
What the Prime Minister did not say was that those eight depend for their 1384 election and depend for their presence in the Federal House upon the votes of Europeans. This is surely a very important consideration when we are asking ourselves how far they are going to get the confidence of their fellow Africans.
This, of course, is not what the Colonial Secretary told us was going to happen. This is typical of the way he has treated the House in these matters throughout the last few years. When we were discussing this issue about the election of Africans to the Federal House—I am referring to the 12 who are now there—what he told us—I paraphrase him—on 18th February, 1958, was that it was precisely because there would be difficulty in getting African interests properly represented that he proposed to institute a special roll. This is what he actually said:That is the situation which the Federal Government have tried to meet by providing for a special roll for which Africans can qualify in comparable numbers."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th February, 1958; Vol. 582, c. 1102.]Comparable numbers with what? There can be only one comparison that I know of: comparable numbers with the numbers of Europeans registered on the general roll. I do not know what other conclusion can be drawn from that statement.
Let us look at what the result was. The total number of African electors for the whole of the Federal roll is less than 6,000. The total number of European electors is 86,000. Is that supposed to represent a special roll for which the Africans can qualify in comparable numbers? [An HON. MEMBER: "It is a qualified franchise."] Of course it is a qualified franchise. We all know that. The right hon. Gentleman was talking about comparable numbers.
But this was not the end of it. I hope that the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations will listen to this. The right hon. Gentleman told us:Secondly, the addition of the special roll voters to those on the ordinary roll in the election of the specially elected European member and the four elected African members from Southern Rhodesia will give the Africans there an enormously increased say in these elections."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th February, 1958; Vol. 582, c. 1102.]An enormously increased say in the elections? The Under-Secretary of State 1385 for Commonwealth Relations apparently still thinks this.
Let us look at the figures in Southern Rhodesia. Those Africans whom the Prime Minister told us to consider this afternoon as being representative of African opinion are elected in Southern Rhodesia by a total of 66,000 Europeans and 1,800 Africans. Giving them an enormously increased say in these elections? To whom does the right hon. Gentleman think the Africans sitting in the Federal Parliament pay attention when they express their views? To the electors, of course. Who are the electors? They are 60,000 Europeans and 1,800 Africans. I say to the Prime Minister, because I am sure that he was trying to present the picture as fairly as he could, that it is exactly this sort of statement which made his speech unrealistic; because it was neglecting the fact that every African who studies these matters in Southern Rhodesia knows this.
The African says, "These are not my people. These are not my representatives. I have no say in their election. They are dependent on Europeans for being there." Then the speeches of these people are quoted in the House of Commons, as they have been by Government supporters today, in favour of Federation, as if they were able and qualified to speak on behalf of the Africans. They are qualified to speak only on behalf of the Europeans who put them there. They know that as well as we do. I plead with the Government not to go on deluding themselves about this, as they do about so many matters in this field.
Two or three points arise on the question of the Commission. For myself, I think that it is far too big. Twenty-six people cannot make up a Commission that can do effective work. It is more like a conference than a Commission. Can those of us who have been in Rhodesia and Nyasaland think of this convoy travelling throughout Rhodesia and Nyasaland, taxing the resources of every local establishment within a range of fifty miles? I do not think this is an effective Commission designed to do the sort of job we wanted to see done. It is far too big, and it is too big because it represents a concession which the Government have made here, as they have made in so many cases, to the Government of the Federation.
1386 If we want constitutional and economic experts they can be called in. They do not have to be put on the Commission to ensure that their views are known. They can be consulted and brought in. Why go on enlarging and building up the Commission in this way so that the work in the end is bound to fall on two or three people? I do not see that swopping over one Privy Councillor for one non-Privy Councillor, or one from the Commonwealth for two, is really the issue here. The Commission is unworkable and will not do the job that we want done.
Far more important to my mind than the composition of the Commission is its terms of reference, because those terms presuppose that the Federation is to continue in its present form. Specific reference is made in the Commission's terms of reference to the Preamble to the Constitution, and that Preamble talks not only about the need for maintaining separate territories for as long as the residents desire, but also points to the need for establishing and maintaining a Federation, and that part of the Preamble is as important in this context as the other part.
I want to put this point quite clearly to the Colonial Secretary. Would he define for us once again and let us know whether he has modified his attitude to the Federation? Does he believe that in all circumstances the Federation in its present form—and I am not dealing with any particular exchange of powers—must continue? He has said before that it was settled policy, but there has been a settled policy by this Government before which has become unsettled and we will not hold that against him if he wants to change his mind now. This is a crucial point. Are we to go into a Commission of this sort on the understanding that the Federation as set up—the main structure—remains unaltered? If that is so, I belive that this venture is bound to fail, and I will say why.
Sir Roy Welensky was reported on this subject in The Times this morning, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Gaitskell) said in what, with respect, was a most notable speech showing great grasp and comprehension of the subject. [Laughter.] In that case, I will make the reference more pointed, but I see that the Prime Minister has taken the point fully. I did not 1387 detect in the Prime Minister's academic speech any breath of any recognition of the fact that if this policy is to be pursued he will have to beat down the desperate opposition of 2¾ million people in Nyasaland. It is for that reason that I found his speech an unrealistic contribution to the discussion.
Sir Roy Welensky is realistic. He said, according to The Times, he would not have associated himself and the Federal Government with anything that called in question the continuation of the Federation itself. Is that the Government's position? I think the House and the country are entitled to have a straight answer to that question. Is the position of the Federation itself inviolable and unchangeable? As I read the terms of reference, it is.
Let me put these two considerations to the Government. If the Federation's position is unchangeable and inviolable, what becomes of the Prime Minister's view, expressed this afternoon, that the consent of the people in the territories is necessary if it is to continue? We cannot have it both ways. If their consent is necessary for its continuation and for it to survive, then at some stage they must be free to make a choice upon this matter. If, however, it is to continue unchanged, if that is the settled policy of Her Majesty's Government, there is no point in talking about their consent. It will not be necessary. All the Government will have to do is to introduce troops to dragoon them and set up a larger series of concentration camps. That is the way they will have to govern the country.
In our view, our deeply-held view, the only way in which we stand any chance of preserving a voluntary link inside these territories is that we should tell the peoples making them up that they have the opportunity to contract out, and that is where we start from. I do not know whether they would or would not. I certainly do not think, and I never have felt, that it was our job to break it up. What I do feel is that we must say to the people who live there, "You have the right to take this decision in your own interests as you see fit". That is the approach, and we want to know from the Government if it is their approach or if it is not.
1388 Let me put this consideration to the right hon. Gentleman. If the Federation is unchangeable and inviolable, no alternative form of linking can be considered. Obviously, we ought to have some link among these territories in Africa. There are gropings after these regional links in West Africa today. We see them beginning in the southern part of Africa, and we ought not to do anything to discourage them in Central Africa or East Africa. But why must it be a Federation? What is there so magical and mythical about this term, this form of organisation?
Suppose the Commission, when it was set up, wanted to consider a system under which it might say, "There are only fourteen people in Nyasaland who voted for this Federal Parliament at the present time"? I do not know whether hon. Members opposite appreciate that, but only 14 Africans voted for it at the present time. This is clearly not satisfactory for 14 million people there. There are always rows about when the Federal franchise should be extended, and the Europeans cannot agree to its extension, for particular reasons which they hold dear.
Let us look at some other form of organisation. Supposing they say, "Let us abolish the Federal franchise altogether; let us abolish Federal Members of Parliament altogether. Let the Federal Assembly be made up of Legislative Assemblies of the three individual territories." Are they free, under these terms of reference, to consider that? I would welcome the answer that they were, but, as now drawn with the specific reference to the Preamble, I fear that they are not. I do not know whether this would be the sort of arrangement that could survive or not. I think that the Government are taking a very great risk if they say to that Commission before it starts work, "You are not free, because we adhere so strongly to the doctrine of Federation, to look at any alternative arrangements we think might best serve the interests of the people in the territories."
We should like the Colonial Secretary to go into more detail about what the Commission is free to consider and what it will not be free to consider, because upon that will turn a very great deal. The vital test in the long run, and I 1389 repeat this, is, I am certain, that the Government must indicate that the consent of the governed is necessary if this ararngement in any form is to continue
I understand the difficulty about getting representative Africans. This is why we prefer a Parliamentary Commission. We believe, and perhaps it is not strange that it should be so, that the type of Commission that would best carry confidence out there would be one containing no one from those territories. The type of Commission that would carry the most confidence out there would be one drawn from the British Parliament. It is a very high compliment to us that they would believe that there was no one from here who had an axe to grind, but that we would go there to try to ascertain the truth and reach the conclusions we thought were best.
What we have been presented with is a concession to the Prime Minister of the Federation. My right hon. Friend has been attacked for using the word "stooge" about those Africans who might serve on the Commission, though they would be the kind of Africans I was speaking about earlier. If there is real objection to the word "stooge", I will tell the Government benches what I believe to be the real position of any African from Nyasaland who may serve on the Commission. I will do it by means of an historical parallel. He would be regarded in exactly the same way as the Norwegians regarded Major Quisling during the War. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Hon. Gentlemen opposite really betray their complete inability to appreciate the attitude of the Africans if they try to laugh that off. It is true to say that there are people in this House and in this country who understand the Africans far better than a great many people living out there; far more, because the only contact those people have with them is when they meet Africans on the basis of talking to their cook or to their garden boy.
I have had the experience, after having been out there, of meeting Europeans who have attacked the character, the integrity, the reputation of the African leaders they have never met. They have never been within sight of them. They have lived in the country for thirty years and are expected to know all about how to handle the problem, yet they can reach 1390 conclusions about the character and integrity of those gentlemen without ever having been inside their homes. At least I have sat down with them, which is more than a great many people out there have done. I beg of the Government not to delude themselves any longer about the attitude of the Africans on this matter.
§ Mr. Godfrey Lagden (Hornchurch)
Does not the hon. Gentleman understand that by using such a word as "Quisling" with regard to Africans who may want to help their country, and in our opinion do, he is putting them in an impossible position to carry out any request or any duty that may devolve upon them?
§ Mr. Callaghan
There is always this difficulty that if we represent what we know to be the view of hundreds of thousands of Africans we are accused of putting that idea into their heads. I must ask the hon. Gentleman to take it that this view will be strongly felt by millions of Africans living in these territories. I am sorry if he does not accept it. It only means that the Government benches are unfitted to handle this problem. In fact this is the case, and the sooner the Government make up their mind to it, the more likely we are to get a rational solution.
This is why, frankly, we would prefer a Parliamentary Commission to any other type of Commission. Because of the dislike of the Federal Prime Minister and the Federal Government for British Parliamentarians, we suggested the addition of Commonwealth members. We hoped it would help them if it were not a purely British Parliamentary delegation. Apparently even that suggestion has not helped and we are now to have those other people on it. I warn hon. Gentlemen opposite that nothing will emerge from the Commission. We shall not get a settlement this way. We shall not get Africans to serve who will represent African interests unless we put on the Commission the very people who are now in the concentration camps. I am sorry if hon. Gentlemen opposite do not like it, but we must state the truth of these matters as we see it.
Now I come to my next point. The Prime Minister spoke about the necessity of transferring powers to the local 1391 Governments, and I agree with much of what he said in that respect. I think it is vital that we should get ahead with the task. We want them to have self-government. Yet there is a very necessary qualification the Prime Minister did not make and which I must now add. In my view, it would be exacerbating the situation if we transferred the powers to the local Governments before increasing their representative capacity. The two things must march step by step.
For example, at the moment there is in the Northern Rhodesian Parliament a United Federal Party majority. To transfer powers to that majority would be to transfer powers to a party which is ready to work in with the Federal Government and no doubt to adjust the powers as between it and the Federal Government as it thinks right. But the Government in Northern Rhodesia today is not a representative Government. I must say to the Prime Minister that it is important that there should be a substantial increase in the representative capacity of these territorial Governments before more powers are transferred to them. In our view, that is of first importance.
We are looking back now over a period of six years of retreat by the Colonial Office in the face of the Federal Government. Right up to last March, the British Government were in full retreat in the face of Federal aggrandisement. My right hon. Friend outlined what has happened. He outlined the affair of the African Affairs Board, the approach of the Federal Government about the com position of the Northern Rhodesia Government, and a number of other issues. It is because the Government have been in full retreat that tension out there has grown as rapidly as it has done over the last six years until we have reached a position in which mistrust between the Federal Government and the Africans is greater than it has ever been and——
§ Mr. Callaghan
Will hon. Gentlemen opposite ever learn? That sort of comment is indicative of the failure of a large number of hon. Gentlemen opposite to begin to understand the elements of the situation in which a small territory which believed it would have the right to self-government wants passionately, 1392 earnestly and desperately to be left alone. That was the beginning of this trouble.
It was because we had a shot-gun marriage in 1953 that a great deal of this trouble has emerged. After the bridegroom had acquired the bride he did not hang his gun up but still continued to point it at her instead of putting it away and trying to woo her. Over the next six years he kept saying, "Look, we are going to get rid of any relationship that may exist between you and your family. We are going to push them out as soon as we possibly can. We are going to make sure that you are entirely cut off from them." Having threatened his bride over the last six years, he is still surprised that she has not succumbed to his embraces. At any rate, on the sociological side it presents an interesting study.
The Prime Minister of the Federation has undoubtedly modified his attitude in the last few months. It is less than a year ago that he was fighting the General Election and raising the banner of Dominion status or a substantial advance towards it in 1960. I am glad that he is now retreating from that stand. It was always wrong, ill-advised and misguided. However, I fear that a great deal of the damage has already been done and that the retreat has come too late to improve the situation.
What is our interest in the matter? It is a simple one. As to the moral considerations on which we are arguing right or wrong, are we entitled to coerce people? Are we entitled to say to people, "We know better what you should do than you yourselves know"? Are we entitled to say that it is our job still to decide this sort of thing? That has been the basis of the argument, but there is another basis, one which ought at any rate to appeal to hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is: what is the British interest in this matter? It is a very simple one in the changing revolutionary situation in an uncommitted Continent. It is to get as many allies as one can. What we require is a friendly Africa. I do not know whether we can get a friendly Africa if we are to have a situation in which we continue to dragoon millions of Africans into a state of society which they do not want and one to which they have the strongest objection. Will that be a source of strength? Will that be of great 1393 advantage to British interest in the years that lie ahead?
There is not only this factor, there is one other. It is not merely a question of whether we are going to dragoon these people into a federation they do not want. This issue is regarded throughout the whole of Africa, as everyone knows, as a test case. This is really the point of sincerity about British intentions. How we act on this is something which is being closely scrutinised by everyone throughout the whole continent of Africa, and throughout great parts of Asia, too. Let there be no doubt about it. If we announce that our policy is coercion, if we announce that our policy means that where black and while are living side by side the interests of the white shall prevail irrespective of the wishes of the black, then we shall fail. Because the Government have not answered these questions satisfactorily and because we are failing this test, we are losing Africa now.
I am told it is not possible to move a reduction in a Vote on Report, but in our view we should vote tonight against the whole of the expenditure in these Votes now set before us, as that is the only way to register our disapproval of the policy of the Government.
§ 8.52 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
We have just had a very interesting and rather illuminating speech by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). His tribute to some of the qualities he claims I possess, I welcome; his reflection on the absence of others can before very long be judged by a more impartial and informed electorate than he on his own could provide. The hon. Member has never held office—[HON. MEMBERS: "Once."]—high office and it is clear from some of the words he used that he does not expect to do so. Otherwise, he could hardly have used the offensive phrases he did about Africans who believe in co-operation and on whose courage and fortitude he, like I, would have in large part in future, if he held office, to rely.
One of my predecessors, who has held a high office in the Colonial Office, the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones), also intervened in this debate. He was, as usual, courteous 1394 and sincere, although I thought he was a little ungenerous, or perhaps uncharitable, when he dealt with detention matters. Had it come from the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, I might have understood it, but, coming from a former Colonial Secretary who had to preside over the office I now hold when many people were detained, it was I think a little uncharitable. I remember very well the right hon. Member in 1948 standing at this Box and saying of the very many detentions for which he was responsible that no specific charges need to be made against persons so detained.
I believe the number of people so detained increased rapidly, though not as a result, when he was succeeded by the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths). The recollection should, I think, make both of them a little more charitable, for the task of detaining people must have been just as distasteful to them as it is to me. It was, after all, various Labour Governments who received the recent onslaught from the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) in a March issue of Tribune when he spoke of deportations and imprisonments by former Labour Governments. I think the total of imprisonments was 60,000 and he made various other charges of that kind.
§ Mr. Brockway
It is perfectly true that I made that criticism of past Labour Governments, but I went on to pay a tribute to the change in the Labour Party.
§ Mr. Brockway
I went on to pay tribute to the change in the Labour Party on colonial policy. I believe that is now the hope of Africa and that the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary is a danger.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That is as may be, but I think that some people outside this House may put down the apparent change to the fact that the Socialist Party is now in Opposition.
The right hon. Member for Wakefield was not so intemperate as the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), who spoke as if any African who was not in gaol was not a representative African. Nor was he as intemperate as 1395 the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East. The right hon. Member for Wakefield asked me various questions. In case I am pressed for time, I should like to answer them straight away. He referred to possible changes in the distribution of powers between the Federal and territorial Governments between now and the 1960 Review. Her Majesty's Government and I agree with him that it would be unwise for any decisions on such matters to take place until the Review itself takes place. He asked me, in particular, about the federalisation of non-African agriculture in Nyasaland. It is a residual territorial responsibility.
Article 31 of the Constitution provides for the transference of non-African agriculture to the Federal Government by the passage of laws in Northern Rhodesia and in Nyasaland. Such a law was passed some time ago by the Northern Rhodesia Legislature. I recognise that very strong arguments can be advanced in favour of a similar course being followed in Nyasaland. We are now, however, getting near the 1960 Review, and as action of this kind would involve a transfer of powers, Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Nyasaland feel that further consideration of this matter should be deferred until the general Review, which will, of course, include a review of functions in 1960. Accordingly, the Government of Nyasaland will shortly make a statement about this.
The right hon. Gentleman also asked me what I meant by partnership and to this theme and the other principles which make us firm believers in federation I will now turn. I hope in the course of this to answer a great many of the points which have been raised during the debate.
The principles guiding those of us who are confirmed believers in federation are threefold. First, to build up the economic strength of the Federation, without which political or social advance is impossible. Secondly, to create a framework within which could be developed a new kind of race relationship which would be something quite different from either apartheid or the conception of a dominant racial group. The name that we all agreed to give to this new kind of relationship was 1396 partnership, which implies a gradual breaking away from all forms of discrimination based on race and the creation of conditions in which ability and character, not colour, should decide what a man could be or could do.
Our third principle was to lay the foundations for the creation of a strong, new member of the British Commonwealth, dedicated to the preservation of these principles, but in so far as this might involve a change in the protectorate status of the Northern Territories we have throughout made it clear that we stand firmly behind the pledges in the Preamble.
Let us take the first, economic strength. It is now the fashion for people to talk as if we all agree that the economic value of federation hardly matters at all—although those who suggest that it is not everything are quite right. In all three territories, the effect of federation has been to broaden and steady the economies, and the aggregation of the economies has brought in outside capital, not least the many millions of pounds for Kariba, for example, from the World Bank. If the right hon. Member for Wakefield believes that but for Federation money like that going to Kariba would have been available, his thinking is thoroughly out of date.
There may be some who feel that on balance Northern Rhodesia has as yet been a financial loser, as the main revenues for the Federation come from income tax and much of the income tax comes from the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt. On the other hand, the economy of Northern Rhodesia was steadied and helped when there was a fall in the price of copper by the higher prices for Southern Rhodesian tobacco and bauxite, which also helped to steady that economy.
As one of the trustees for Nyasaland, I must recognise certain facts. It is one-tenth of the size of the two Rhodesias, but it has two-fifths of the population. I see now that the value of revenues from federal services and sources is some £4 million a year. In Nyasaland we are now able to spend on health three times as much as we did before federation, and the capital expenditure on hospitals has increased five times.
I share wholeheartedly the desire to see African advancement in Nyasaland 1397 and elsewhere, and I believe that through education that can best be brought about. We are now spending 10 per cent. of a largely expanded revenue in place of 5 per cent. of a smaller revenue which was all we could previously afford. I hope to have time to say something of the romantic plans for the Shire Valley Development Scheme to which hon. Members opposite as well as my hon. Friends who are interested in the matter attach the greatest importance.
In the Federation as a whole, African earnings have increased since federation by 66 per cent., and there are now some £50 million of African money in the banks of the Federation. Indeed in the Federation ordinary expenditure has increased by more than 50 per cent. and capital expenditure has nearly doubled. Those who realise that no social or political advance can take place without economic strength can see with confidence that that economic strength is being formed.
Secondly, as to the need to create a new kind of race relationship; I was very much in on this from the start, as Minister of State for the Colonies. I remember that when I was Minister of State, my Nyasa friends who came to see me at my house and in other places on numbers of occasions had threefold fears and their fears were exactly those which my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) mentioned today. The first was that through federation they would lose their land. Second, there would be distasteful and to us quite abhorrent race discrimination introduced into their beautiful country which had hitherto been quite free from it. Third, political advancement of Northern Rhodesian and Nyasaland Africans would be held up as a result of federation.
What in fact happened? Let us first take land. European-owned land in Nyasaland is a little over 3 per cent. of the total area and has actually halved in extent since federation. A high proportion of the freehold land in which there were resident Africans under the Tangata system before federation has been purchased by the Government and converted into Crown land on which Africans can now live without Tangata obligations. When I became Secretary of State and saw the extent of Tangata obligations in 1398 the modern world and realised that nothing had been done about it by my Socialist predecessors, I was astonished and amazed.
None of the fears about racial discrimination has been realised. On the contrary, the very existence of federation and the fact that Salisbury has become a shop window for the Federation as a whole and has world attention directed on it has led to certain striking changes in the social position of Africans in Southern Rhodesia and at the same time, of course, the easy going race relationship in the other territories has been preserved.
I expect that some hon. Members will have read in today's Manchester Guardian an article by four African journalists on what they callbreaches in the colour barin Southern Rhodesia. Are they stooges? Are they to be dismissed because they believe in co-operation and in a non-racial approach? Their conclusion is that the impressive list of progressive legislation has knocked a big hole in the wall of segregation in Southern Rhodesia. They refer particularly to the advances in the last few months, and Sir Edgar Whitehead and his Government deserve much credit. It is not always those who talk the most liberalism who actually practise it.
I shall have occasion in the course of my remarks to comment on the steady removal of discrimination in many spheres. I agree with those authors that what has happened is no more than a beginning of the journey to non-racialism, but how right they are to urge that thinking people in the United Kingdom should appreciate, recognise and applaud the fact that such a beginning has been made. Thinking people do not always realise that, and there has been very little help from the party opposite over the last few years to enable them to think that way.
§ Mr. J. Johnson rose——
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I shall not give way now.
One of the main reasons for the deep resentment felt by many in the Federation at criticisms of the slow rate of progress in partnership has been the failure by their critics to recognise the 1399 great steps which have been taken. I was looking lately at a document which was brought to my attention seven years ago in 1952, issued by the Blantyre Mission Council, in which it urged that steps should be taken to prove the reality of partnership and the sincerity of the desire of Europeans for partnership. It made six suggestions as to the form which action should take. The first dealt with the proposed Central African university, the second with the pass laws, the third and fourth with constitutional advance, the fifth with industrial legislation and the removal of bars in the copper belt, and the sixth with the training of Africans in the Northern Territories to take on posts held by Europeans. In every one of these fields either the aim has been achieved or great strides forward have been taken towards its full achievement.
As to the first, it urged that the proposed Central African University should be inter-racial socially and economically. Who can deny that that is so? It urged, secondly, that the pass laws of Southern Rhodesia and the copper belt be modified to exempt many more Africans. The pass laws have been relaxed in Southern Rhodesia and they have been suspended in various Northern Rhodesian municipalities. The third and fourth relate to constitutional progress. It asked that a statement be made with regard to the stages by which the franchise would be extended to more Africans and that African membership of the Legislative Councils of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland be increased. What exactly has happened? I shall be very ready to dwell on both of them.
§ Mr. Callaghan rose——
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I did not interrupt the hon. Member's speech from start to finish.
The House will remember the constitutional arrangements recently introduced in Northern Rhodesia. They were vehemently attacked by the Opposition here and by many Africans in Northern Rhodesia. One of the reasons for this attack was the suspicion that the 1960 Conference to review the Constitution would result in a plan for the complete independence of the Federation, involving the abandonment of the Protectorate 1400 status of Northern Rhodesia, and that a vote of the Legislature after that in favour of that plan would be interpreted as fulfilling the pledge in the Federal Constitution that the Protectorate status should be maintained so long as the inhabitants so wished.
I hope that there can be no longer any uncertainty about that, because the Prime Minister yesterday made an emphatic statement that, while the Legislatures of the Northern Territories are constituted in their present state to conduct their ordinary affairs, they would not be more than one element in the machinery which might be devised for the purpose of obtaining the views of the inhabitants. I repeat that today, and I hope that all hon. Members with influence in Africa will see that it really reaches home in the full sense of the word.
We have had much discussion of the Northern Rhodesian Constitution in this House, and time does not allow me now to go into all the details again, though I am very ready to do so on any other occasion. The Leader of the Opposition tried to deal with it. I really wonder whether he has attempted to understand what, I recognise, are the complicated electoral provisions—and this is a complicated problem.
In reply to what the right hon. Gentle man said, there is no limit whatsoever on the number of special voters who can be registered. It is true that the effect of their votes is limited in certain con stituencies, but in the rural areas, and for the two seats reserved for Africans, every special vote counts in full. As Africans qualify and so become entitled to ordinary votes—and in time they are bound to have far greater voting strength than any other race—I am sure that difficulties of the kind envisaged by the right hon. Gentleman will be eliminated——
§ Mr. Callaghan rose——
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
These arrangements look forward to a day when votes will be cast for policies of parties, irrespective of the race or colour of the candidates. At the same time, they recognise the fears of the Africans and of the Europeans that they might be dominated by the other race. The plan now in force in Northern Rhodesia will ensure that so 1401 long as those fears are the dominating factor, Africans can be sure that a proportion of the elected members are Africans and the Europeans that a proportion of the elected members are Europeans, provided that the candidates for election pay some regard to the interests of voters of other races.
Although, at the moment, the Europeans can secure a larger number of European members in the Council than can the Africans, this will become increasingly difficult for them as more and more Africans are put on the roll. Meanwhile, the number of nominated and official members preserves the balance for the time being. But under the Northern Rhodesian electoral arrangements, the ordinary and special rolls vote together for every candidate and the influence of the special voters is not confined to a small proportion of the elected members.
I believe that this is a proper line of progress, and I am strengthened in that belief by the informed support I have had for these proposals from a number of people whose political views are certainly not mine. It is no part of the design that Africans should eventually vote on a racial basis to exclude European candidates, but it is, of course, the fact that African voters will increase in time to the extent that they will be a majority in every constituency in Northern Rhodesia.
As I say, it is not part of the design that they should eventually vote on a racial basis to exclude European candidates, but it is the basis of the whole arrangement that as the numbers become more nearly equal the parties will have to court electors of both races and will, therefore, have to adopt policies—if the candidates wish to get returned—that do not appeal to considerations of race alone.
I understood from the Leader of the Opposition that that is what he also thought, and hoped for. I can assure him that we are now embarked on the road along which it will happen. The first elections in Northern Rhodesia under the new Constitution have been held. There has been a most encouraging registration of Africans for these elections, and a very high percentage of the registered Africans cast their votes. 1402 There are now two Africans with Ministerial portfolios in the Executive Council of Northern Rhodesia. There are nine Africans on the Legislative Council, all but one elected, and there are 15 Europeans.
There is every reason for confidence that if the Africans will take all the opportunities provided by this arrangement, they will be able to participate fully in the political life of the territory, and this Constitution will fulfil the high purpose which the Northern Rhodesian Government and Her Majesty's Government entertain.
I should like to say a word about the Nyasaland Constitution. As those hon. Members who have followed this matter closely will know, certain changes were made in the Legislature there in 1954 and in 1956. As a result of steps taken in those two years, the number of Africans on the Legislative Council was increased to five. The number of Europeans is six. That might be borne in mind by those who talk as if Africans were ignored. All Africans are elected by provincial councils.
I must remind the Leader of the Opposition of what we found when we took over from the Labour Government. At the end of 1951 there were only two nominated Africans and one European to represent African interests. Since then the number has increased to five, side by side with the Europeans' six, and the principle of election has been introduced.
I and my colleagues have for a long time been giving a great deal of thought to proposals for changes in Nyasaland which we are anxious should be acceptable to all concerned. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State was due to leave London on 27th February for talks, but two nights before he was due to go it was decided that it was not a suitable moment for constitutional talks. I need hardly say how much the Governor and I regretted that it was necessary to cancel the proposed visit for constitutional talks.
Despite the state of emergency, we are very anxious indeed to associate Africans more closely with the Government of the Protectorate and to do so at the earliest possible moment. In present conditions, of course, it would 1403 not be possible to hold elections, but nonetheless significant steps forward can be taken.
It is, therefore, our intention within the next few weeks to increase by nomination the number of African seats on the Legislative Council. In order that the official majority shall be maintained in the interim period, we propose that there will also have to be an increase in the number of official members. We also propose at the same time to appoint to the Executive Council two African members taken from the Legislative Council. These will be interim arrangements. It will be necessary also to extend the life of the present Legislature beyond May, 1960, when it would normally come to an end. I hope this prolongation will not need to last for more than a year.
I have spoken of increases in African membership of the Legislative Council and of African appointments to the Executive Council. These are clearly desirable advances. But I would not want to give the impression that I believe in the racialist approach to politics in Nyasaland or anywhere else. The interim proposals that I have mentioned will, I hope, before long be replaced by the imaginative proposals of which I have spoken to the House before. We have started non-racial constitutional ideas in Northern Rhodesia and they are working well. We shall need a similar approach in Nyasaland. This approach is bound in time to result in very many more Africans having the vote than other races but, as I said of Northern Rhodesia—and the same should apply to these proposals later to be introduced into Nyasaland—our proposals in Northern Rhodesia provide that the candidates for election pay some regard to the interests of voters of the other races. This means the setting of standards on a non-racial basis, and I believe it is the only wise policy to pursue.
As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said yesterday, however, we do not regard the Legislatures in the Northern Territories as at present constituted, qualified as they are to do their ordinary work, as suitable to provide the only vehicle to find out people's views on the status of the Protectorates. We do not intend that this setting of standards on 1404 a non-racial basis should be used as a means of withdrawing our protection before the Africans are in a strong enough position to look after themselves.
There is one last word on constitutional matters. The House will have seen what the Federal Prime Minister said a couple of months ago. He said that he sawno reason why Nyasaland should not progress to full self-government within the Federation, accepting the implications of normal political evolution, regulating its own affairs in the territorial sphere and sharing by representation in the House in the regulation of those matters which are reserved for the Federal Government.Now if I might pass from constitutional matters to the next point that was made in the Blantyre Council's Resolution to which I referred. The fifth plea was that industrial legislation in Southern Rhodesia and the trade union colour bar in the Copper belt restricting the acquisition of skills by Africans should be altered. What has happened? I can claim that, over five years, I have played a very active part myself in this, as I believe trade union Members, the Trades Union Congress and others concerned know very well. We now see multi-racial trade unions in the Federation, apprenticeship and workmen's compensation Bills, and, incidentally, the opening of all branches of the Federal Civil Service to Africans. In the Copperbelt, the enlightened policy of wise companies has opened up new jobs for Africans.
Here, I know, progress has often been maddenly slow, due to the attitude of the European unions and their insistence on the rate for the job and, more lately, to the problem of African inter-union rivalry. As I said in public to Sir Roy Welensky, I hope that what has happened in the Copperbelt will happen soon on the railways.
As its sixth plea, the Blantyre Mission Council urged that a scheme of training be inaugurated to prepare Africans in the Northern Territories to take over posts now held by Europeans. Under great difficulties and with limited resources, we are pressing on with this, as all disinterested Members of the House fully realise.
I have mentioned those six pleas of the Blantyre Mission Council in 1952, and I have shown the action taken on each one 1405 of them. I have mentioned them deliberately in order to show what a help it would be to liberal opinion in the Federation if, when real action occurs, it were generously recognised, and how infinitely easy it would make the task of those who are struggling to make partnership a reality.
I had hoped to be able to say something about our plans for the Shire Valley scheme. Clearly, I shall have to leave that for another occasion. I hope that the opportunity will not be long delayed. I may consider issuing some statement because I believe it to be a matter of the utmost importance.
Most people in the United Kingdom are genuinely anxious to preserve and strengthen the Federation. Economically, its progress has been remarkable, and its break-up would have the gravest consequences for the Federation as a whole, not least for Nyasaland. It has been the existence of the Federation more than anything else which has attracted that massive outside capital without which there can be no progress. Socially and politically, there have been immense advances, but, of course, I would not dream of denying that, with certain very important exceptions, Federation has not yet captured the hearts and minds of the Africans. I can claim to know them as well as any Member of the House. I know the great exceptions, and I wish that more attention were directed to them. I recognise that what I have said is broadly true.
I believe that the main reason for the attitude of the Africans has been fear—Fear,as Lord Delamere used to say in Kenya thirty years ago, when speaking of African and European affairs—which is the curse of so many policies and the father of so many narrow and selfish counsels".I hope that this debate will help to dispel some fears. There can now, surely, no longer be any doubt about our pledges and the Preamble. Nor can anyone ever say again with any authority that we regard the Legislatures of the Northern Territories as at present constituted as being qualified on their own to express the views of the Northern Territories. Nor can there any longer, after my right hon. Friend's speech today, 1406 be any doubt about where we stand on independence.
It is possible that the use of the word "independence" has led to much of the misunderstandings of the past. There are two distinct conceptions. One is independence within the sphere of activities allocated to the Federal Government by the Constitution, and that sort of independence is already, largely, enjoyed. There is, also, independence for the whole Federation. As we have always said, this cannot come about until the three constituent parts of the Federation consent. That was written into the 1953 Constitution in the Preamble.
There are, however, other fears, fears that Her Majesty's Government and the Federal Government and the Territorial Governments cannot by themselves dispel. Where, for example, do the Opposition stand as to the future of the Federation? It is very difficult to discover this from anything that has been said today. One of our great difficulties has been the belief in many quarters that they would consent to the disintegration of the Federation and might even be indifferent to it. I recognise that many people will be making up their minds about future policy on questions concerning the Advisory Commission, of which information was given to the House yesterday by my right hon. Friend, but it is not fair at this stage to ask people to come to any conclusion until they have had a chance to study very carefully the various points which were then made and have since been made.
I can assure the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) that we are certainly not averse to listening to suggestions. He was quite right in hoping that. We will pay very careful regard to all that he said, including what he said about the terms of reference. I can also assure him that I do not regard the suggestions that he made as intended or designed to be in any way wrecking amendments.
I am sorry that I missed the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South, but I share the view, which I understand was strongly expressed by him, that it would be a tragedy if the Advisory Commission was discredited in the eyes of Africans before even the names of the sort of people 1407 we have in mind had been disclosed. I take encouragement from a wise article which I read in an issue of Venture two years ago, to which the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) was, I believe, part author. I hope that this represents, possibly, the views of the Socialist Party. He said:The reaction of the politically conscious African is to denounce Federation outright, to demand that the Federal State be split up again into component parts and to look to the next Labour Government to achieve this on their behalf. This is unrealistic. Politics is the art of the possible. Once a degree of power has been deliberately transferred into other hands it can only be withdrawn in exceptional circumstances. Unless the Federation were to be involved in an extreme crisis it is highly improbable that any future Labour Government would be in a position to restore the pre-1953 situation, however much its members might like to do so. It is imperative, therefore, that the situation be reviewed realistically so that the African leaders and their organisations can apply their energies to a policy which has some hope of success.The hon. and learned Gentleman said that the situation must be reviewed
§ realistically. It is our belief that to do that properly and realistically in 1960 facts must be marshalled and analysed. The common mind must, as far as possible, be created and education must be undertaken. We are deeply concerned to do all that we can to help create that common mind. There are many in Africa ready to help people who are not stooges—and what harm that offensive word can do—but Africans who genuinely believe in a non-racial outlook.
§ I would urge hon. Members and the country outside to forbear from coming to any conclusion on this matter until they have studied it more carefully, for on the decision that will be made will depend not only the future of the Federation, the good name of the British people throughout the world, but, I believe, in large measure the future destiny of the whole African Continent.
§ Question put, That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 297, Noes 247.1411
|Division No. 172.]||AYES||[9.30 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Aitken W. T.||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Foster, John|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Campbell, Sir David||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Carr, Robert||Freeth, Denzil|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Cary, Sir Robert||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Channon, H. P. G.||Gammans, Lady|
|Arbuthnot, John||Chichester-Clark, R.||Garner-Evans, E. H.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||George, J. C. (Pollok)|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Cole, Norman||Gibson-Watt, D.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Glover, D.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Cooke, Robert||Glyn, Col. Richard H.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Comdr. J. M.||Cooper, A. E.||Godber, J. B.|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Goodhart, Philip|
|Balniel, Lord||Cordeaux Lt.-Col, J. K.||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Barber, Anthony||Corfield, F. V.||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R.(Nantwich)|
|Barter, John||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Green, A.|
|Batsford, Brian||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton E.)||Cunningham, Knox||Gurden, Harold|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Currie, G. B. H.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Dance, J. C. C.||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Davidson, Viscountess||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Deedes, W. F.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||de Ferranti, Basil||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hay, John|
|Bishop, F. P.||Drayson, G. B.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.|
|Black, Sir Cyril||du Cann, E. D. L.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Body, R. P.||Duncan, Sir James||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Hesketh R. F.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Elliott, R. W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne. N.)||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.|
|Braine, B. R.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Errington, Sir Eric||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)|
|Brewis, John||Erroll, F. J.||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col W. H.||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Fell, A.||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Cralgton)||Finlay, Graeme||Hope, Lord John|
|Bryan, P.||Fisher, Nigel||Hornby, R. P.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||Mucpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Russell, R. S.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Maddan, Martin||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W.(Horncastle)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Howard, John (Test)||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Sharples, R. C.|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Shepherd, William|
|Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Simon, J. E. S.(Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Hurd, Sir Anthony||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh. W.)||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Hutchison Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)||Marshall, Douglas||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Mathew, R.||Speir, R. M.|
|Hyde, Montgomery||Mawby, R. L.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Moore, Sir Thomas||Steward, Sir Willlam (Woolwich, W.)|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Storey, S.|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Nairn, D. L. S.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Nicholls, Harmar||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Joseph, sir Keith||Nicolson, N.(B'n'm'th, E. & Chr ch)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Kaberry, D.||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Sir Allan||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Keegan, D.||Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Nugent, Richard||Teeling, W.|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Temple, John M.|
|Kershaw, J. A.||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Kimball M.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Kirk, P. M.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Lagden, G. W.||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hondon, N.)||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Lambton Viscount||Page, R. G.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Pannell, N. A. (Klrkdale)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Partridge, E.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Leavey, J. A.||Peel, w. J.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Leburn, W. G.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Legge-Bourke, Mal. E. A. H.||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Lindsay Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Pitman, I. J.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (Sutton Coldfield)||Pott, H. P.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Powell, J. Enoch||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Profumo, J. D.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Ramsden, J. E.||Webster, David|
|McAdden, S. J.||Rawlinson, Peter||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Redmayne, M.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Rees-Davies, W. R,||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Remnant, Hon. P.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Maclay Rt. Hon. John||Renton, D. L. M.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Ridsdale, J. E.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|McLean, Nell (Inverness)||Rippon, A. G. F.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Yates, William (The Wrekln)|
|MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|McMaster Stanley||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Roper, Sir Harold||Mr. Heath and Mr. Legh.|
|Abse, Leo||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Brockway, A. F.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)|
|Albu, A. H.||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||de Freitas, Geoffrey|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Delargy, H. J.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Burton, Miss F. E.||Diamond, John|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Dodds, N. N.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Donnelly, D. L.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Callaghan, L. J.||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)|
|Baird, J.||Carmichael, J.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Balfour, A.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Edelman, M.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Champion, A. J.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Chapman, W. D.||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)|
|Benson, Sir George||Chetwynd, G. R.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Berwick, Frank||Cliffe, Michael||Evans Albert (Islington, S. W.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Clunie, J.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Coldrick, W.||Finch, H. J. (Bedwellty)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)|
|Boardman, H.||Cornet, Mrs. Freda||Fletcher, Eric|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Foot, D. M.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Cronin, J. D.||Forman, J. C.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S. W.)||Crossman, R. H. S.||Fraser Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Bowen, E. R, (Cardigan)||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)|
|Boyd, T. C.||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Gibson, C. W.|
|Gooch, E. G.||McCann, J.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||MacColl, J. E.||Rogers, George (Kensington, H.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||MacDermot, Niall||Ross, William|
|Granted, Rt. Hon. D. R.||McInnes, J.||Royle, C.|
|Grey, C. F.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||McLeavy, Frank||Short, E. W.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Grimond, J.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Skeffington, A. M-|
|Hale, Leslie||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Mason, Roy||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Hannan, W.||Mayhew, C. P.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hastings, S.||Mellish, R. J.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Hayman, F. H.||Mendelson, J. J.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Healey, Denis||Mikardo, Ian||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Monslow, W.||Steele, T.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Moody, A. S.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Hilton, A. V.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Stonehouse, John|
|Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.)||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Holman, P.||Mort, D. L.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Holmes, Horace||Moss, R.||Stross, D r. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Holt, A. F.||Moyle, A.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Mulley, F. W.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby S.)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Hunter, A, E.||Oliver, G. H.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Oram, A. E.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Orbach, M.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Oswald, T.||Thornton, E.|
|Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Owen, W. J.||Timmons, J.|
|Isaacs Rt. Hon. G. A.||Paget, R. T.||Tomney, F.|
|Janner, B.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Usborne, H. C.|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Viant, S. P.|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs. S.)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Wade, D. W.|
|Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Parglter, G. A.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Parker, J.||Watklns, T. E.|
|Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Parkin, B. T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Paton, John||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Peart, T. F.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Pentland, N.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Kenyon, C.||Probert, A. R.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Proctor, W. T.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Lawson, G. M.||Randall, H. E.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Ledger, R. J.||Rankin, John||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Redhead, E. C.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Reid, William||Woof, R. E.|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Reynolds, G. W.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Rhodes, H.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Lipton, Marcus||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Pearson.|
§ It being after half-past Nine o'clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to Standing Order No. 16 (Business of Supply), to put forthwith the Questions, That this House doth agree with the Committee in the outstanding Resolutions reported in respect of Classes I to X of the Civil Estimates and of the Revenue Departments' Estimates, the Ministry of Defence Estimate, the Navy Estimates, the Army Estimates and the Air Estimates.