§ 3.31 p.m.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)
I beg to move,That this House takes note of the Report of the Nyasaland Commission of Inquiry and the Despatch from the Governor of Nyasaland thereon, and extends its thanks to the Chairman and members of the Commission for their work; endorses their conclusion that a policy of violence was adopted by the Nyasaland African Congress Leadership and that the declaration of the state of emergency was fully justified, deeply regrets the loss of life that occurred but acknowledges that prompt and effective action by the Governor prevented the development of a more serious situation; expresses its gratitude to the Administration and to the Security Forces for their loyal service in circumstances of great difficulty and looks forward to the restoration of normal conditions in Nyasaland and to the continued constitutional and economic progress of its people on the basis of respect for law and order.
§ This Motion begins by taking note of the Report of the Nyasaland Commission of Inquiry and the despatch from the Governor of Nyasaland thereon, and proposes that this House should extend its thanks to the Chairman and members of the Commission for their work. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, I did not suppose there would be any controversy about that. The Commission was appointed on 6th April. Members of the Commission spent five weeks in Nyasaland, they sat for a week in Southern Rhodesia, they heard evidence from 455 individual witnesses and, they say, about 1,300 witnesses in groups.
§ May I say, in passing, Mr. Speaker, that I am rather intrigued about how that was done. Hearing witnesses in groups strikes me as a somewhat novel procedure. It would certainly save time in the courts, but it sounds rather a noisy business, and questioning witnesses in groups must have been rather difficult. Still they did it, and they studied no less than 585 memoranda.
§ I mention these facts, which the Commission itself records, for they clearly establish that its task was no light one. I should not like it to be thought by anyone in this House, or by anyone outside, that because the Government do not accept all the Commission's conclusions and all its criticisms we are not grateful 318 to the Commission for voluntarily devoting so much time and effort to its task.
§ I have seen it suggested in various quarters that the Government, having appointed a Commission such as this, presided over by a distinguished High Court judge, are under a duty to accept all that the Commission says. That really is not right. It is, of course, the duty of every Government to give careful consideration to the report of any commission they appoint, but no Government, by appointing a commission or committee, either pledge themselves to, or are bound, to accept all its conclusions or criticisms or recommendations if any are made.
§ I remember, in the days of the Labour Government, serving on a very powerful committee with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Cross-man). We were the only two Members of Parliament on it and, odd though it may seem to some, we got on very well; we even shared a cabin on the "Queen Mary" without quarrelling. That committee was presided over by not one but two eminent judges: an American judge of high repute and an English Lord Justice. It presented a unanimous report, but the greater part of our conclusions were not implemented.
§ No one at that time suggested that the Labour Government were bound by what we said, and the present Government are not bound to accept all that this Commission has said. I can assure the House, however, that the Government have given the fullest possible consideration to the Report and to the despatch, and it is my task today to tell the House to what extent the Government accept the conclusions and criticisms and, where we do not, our reasons for not doing so. But before I start on that, may I remind the House of the circumstances which led to the appointment of the Commission.
The House may remember that when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies announced, on 3rd March, that the Governor had that morning declared a state of emergency, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) alleged that the Governor was not acting freely and that my right hon. Friend was—and I quote the hon. Gentleman's words—"abdicating his responsibilities to the
Central Government". The hon. Gentleman the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) went so far as to allege that there had been a disgraceful surrender on the part of our Government and a conspiracy between the Prime Ministers of the Federation and of Southern Rhodesia. The members of the Commission say that they were satisfied that they were given all the information bearing on this and that they had, and I quote their words,
… no reason to think that the decision to declare a state of emergency was not the Governor's own.
§ I hope that in the light of this finding we shall hear, if not an apology, at least no more of an allegation that was, and has been found to be, wholly unfounded and which cannot have helped to alleviate the situation which existed on 3rd March.
The Opposition that day really challenged the need to declare an emergency at all. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East asserted, and again I quote his words, that:
… the real position in Nyasaland … is that a few panic-stricken people are now precipating trouble."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd March, 1959; Vol. 601, c. 217.]
The Commission says, in paragraph 149 of the Report:
We apprehend, however, that it will be generally agreed that on the facts we have found and in the situation that existed on 3rd March, however it was caused, the Government had either to act or to abdicate; and … it had to resort to emergency powers.
§ May I remind the House of some of the facts the members of the Commission found. They were satisfied that by the beginning of 1959 the extremists had made up their minds to adopt a policy of violence—[An HON. MEMBER: "The right hon. and learned Gentleman accepts that one."] In January, there was the emergency meeting of Congress, and I sympathise with the members of the Commission in their difficulty in finding out many months later exactly what happened. They say that there was an acute conflict of evidence as to what was decided and discussed. The agenda was so secret that Mr. Chipembere, in his letter to Mr. Chiume, avoided committing it to writing, but he said that Congress would adopt "action" as the official policy and "action in the real sense of action."320
The Commission thinks that the document set out in Appendix II of its Report gives as good an impression as can be got of what went on at the meeting, and concludes:
Perhaps the effect of it all can best be summed up by saying that there was to be an all-out campaign to defy the Government, violence not excluded.
Then follows the pregnant sentence:
When would the violence begin, how far would it go, and what form exactly would it take? The only answer is that it would depend on what happened. If it started in some places and was not checked, it would certainly have spread"—
these are the Commission's words—
'and might have gone very far. That was the real danger in the situation.
§ It was not long, as the Report shows, before violence started, and it was not just in one place but throughout the country.
§ On 11th February a crowd of 400 people assembled at a court in the Central Province. They refused to leave, assaulted two court messengers, an officer of the veterinary department whose collar bone was broken and who was knocked unconscious, and two of his African staff. On 17th February, in the Zomba district, a crowd armed with pangas and axes took a man out of his vehicle and threatened two of the District Commissioner's messengers, one of whom was struck. On 19th February a District Commissioner and about 20 policemen faced a crowd of 600 or more. The District Commissioner was attacked with sticks and received a scalp wound which had to be stitched. Considerable damage was done to an airfield. Thirteen prisoners were released.
§ On the 20th, Mrs. James, one of the two Europeans left on the airfield at Fort Hill, was in the radio hut when a mob of about 200 people, armed mostly with pangas and suchlike, advanced towards her. Some of the crowd were saying that they would kill her. She was not injured, but it must have been a terribly unpleasant experience indeed for her. Fort Hill was not reoccupied for a week.
§ On the 22nd an African leader of a group of Africans spoke to the head of an American mission and, pointing to an African servant, said that when they spilt the European blood they would spill his. On the 23rd, a warning letter 321 was thrown through the window of an African District Assistant threatening him with stoning or death if he associated with Europeans.
On the 28th a crowd of about 100 Africans surrounded the house in which an African Federal Member of Parliament was staying, threatening to kill him. The Commission found that the hand of Congress was at work here. There was clear proof of it in a letter written by one Congress member to another. That is what the Commission said. The letter said:
Mr. Mzemba was staying here. … He had organised an underground movement of villagers of more than 100 people. They came and besieged the Mandale store where he was staying. Fortunately enough, it was after the K.A.R.s had arrived. That was going to be the end of him.
§ I ask the House to note those words in the letter sent by one Congress member to another.
§ I have briefly summarised some of the events which took place between the emergency conference and 3rd March. These events are all recorded in the Commission's Report, and they confirm the correctness of the Commission's finding that at the conference Congress decided to adopt a policy of violence. The assaults to which I have referred, the threats to murder the African servant when they spilt the European blood, the threats to kill Mrs. James and the apparent attempt to kill the African Federal Member of Parliament—[HON. MEMBERS: "How many were killed?"]—all, I suggest, indicate that violence, personal violence, the killing of Europeans and Africans—[HON. MEMBERS: "How many were killed?"]—was not excluded.
In addition to these facts, the Nyasaland Government had received before 3rd March reports of informers. It is true that the Commission regarded their evidence as the least valuable, as less valuable than the evidence of detainees who made statements which they subsequently withdrew. The Commission gives no grounds for treating the evidence of informers in this way. As the Governor points out in his despatch, the information which came to him
came from seven separate and independent sources.
§ The fact that so many reports were received from different sources so widely apart and substantially to the same effect, all of them saying that bloodshed had been discussed at the emergency conference—and the Commission found that it had—four of them mentioning the murder of Government officers and three of them the murder of Africans, was something the Governor would have been failing in his duty to ignore.
The Commissioner of Police had told the Governor that his view was—I quote the Commissioner's words:
… that the information about a plan for the mass murder of all Europeans and Asians, men, women and children, in the event of Dr. Banda being arrested, was correct and must be accepted seriously.
In the light of these facts and in the light of this information, I submit to the House that the Governor deserves not condemnation or criticism but commendation for declaring the state of emergency. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I further assert that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was entirely wrong in asserting that the real position in Nyasaland was that
… a few panic-stricken people are now precipitating trouble …
§ The Commission, as I have said, apprehended that it would be generally agreed that the Government had either to act or abdicate and had to resort to emergency measures. I ask—the House should be clearly told—whether that conclusion is now accepted by the Opposition. [HON. MEMBERS: "We accept it all."] I rather gather that it is, for they have tabled an Amendment asking the House to accept the Report of the Commission. They do not say" with acknowledgments to the Manchester Guardian", but they should. I see that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East has his name to the Amendment.
Acceptance of the Report means acceptance of this, the Commission's most important conclusion. It means the rejection of the Opposition contention—[Interruption.] The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) will have a chance to make his own speech—put forward by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, that the
declaration of the emergency was at the instance of the Government of the Federation. It means recognition of the fact that the emergency had to be declared for the reasons given in the Report, and recognition of the fact that it was not true to say that the real position in Nyasaland was that
…a few panic-stricken people are now precipitating trouble …
§ We should welcome this belated admission of error on the part of the Opposition—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—which appears to be implicit in the Amendment, but we are entitled to a clear and unequivocal statement from right hon. and hon. Members opposite that the declaration of the emergency was justified. In the Government's opinion, the Commission was right in this, its main finding, and the Governor was right to declare a state of emergency. Indeed, if he had not done so he would have merited the most severe criticism. In our view, whatever may be the attitude today of the Opposition, that finding will, as the Commission expected, be generally accepted every where.
It is true, as the Commission says, that no European was ever killed. But is this a ground for challenging the declaration of a state of emergency? Is it to go out from this House that in future no such declaration is to be made unless and until a European has been murdered? I do not think that anyone will seriously suggest that. Here there was at least
a great deal of talk about beating and killing
§ —I quote the words of the Commission—at the emergency conference followed, to use the words of Mr. Chipembere, by "action" in the real sense of action—with threats to murder and serious assaults. As I say, in my submission, the Governor would have failed in his duty if he had not acted as he did.
§ Some people seem to be under the impression that because the Commission found that there was no "murder plot" my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State put a false case before this House to justify the declaration of the emergency. Some may even think that this finding of the Commission 324 shows that there was no need for the declaration at all. What I have already said should put that right Whether or not what was decided on at the emergency conference amounted to a plot to murder, there was, as I have shown, and the Commission has found, abundant reason for the declaration.
There is, though, one passage in the Commission's Report which may be taken by some to support the contention that my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend put a false case before the House. In paragraph 176, the Report says:
In the House of Commons references to massacre and murder and to plots were being freely made on 3rd March, by yourself and by Mr. Amery, the Under-Secretary of State. We understand that you had received the intelligence report of 13th February. On the evening of 3rd March you said that a massacre was being planned. Later in the debate Mr. Amery said there was a conspiracy of murder and he referred to Mau Mau and to a blood bath.
§ Reference to HANSARD of 3rd March shows that references to plots were not freely made either by my right hon. Friend or my hon. Friend. Neither of them referred even once to a plot. They never used that word. The phrase "murder plot" did not appear in the White Paper. It was never used by Ministers. It was, as the Commission recognise, an expression applied by others to the White Paper. It made a good headline. On 3rd March references to "massacre" were not freely made.
My right hon. Friend used the word once and I should like to remind the House of what he said. He said this:
That information made it clear that plans had been made by Congress to carry out widespread violence and murder of Europeans, Asians and moderate African leaders; that, in fact, a massacre was being planned."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Tuesday. 3rd March, 1959; Vol. 601, c. 290.]
§ That is the one reference that my right hon. Friend made to that.
It is true that my hon. Friend described the meeting of Congress on 25th January as a conspiracy to murder. If killing Europeans was then decided on—and the evidence available at that time was all one way in favour of that conclusion—that was a correct description. He, too, used the word "massacre" once. He said that if we had not taken appropriate action at the right moment there may well have been a massacre of
Africans, Asians and Europeans on the Kenyan scale. He said, too, that if a state of emergency had been declared before there had been sufficient forces in the country there may well have been the blood bath which we feared. He made a reference to Mau Mau and said:
We have had it all before. Remember Mau Mau."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Tuesday, 3rd March, 1959; Vol. 601, c. 337.]
Mr. Chipembere it was, so the Commission says, who expressed the belief that to extract Nyasaland from the Federation they must have a plan which
must include something quite akin to Mau Mau.
§ I cannot see that either my right hon. Friend or by hon. Friend used language on that occasion which was in any way exaggerated or unjustified, bearing in mind the information then in their possession.
I have dealt with this at some length, for though the Commission may not in this passage have intended to criticise the language used by my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend some might infer that it was doing so. I want to make it clear that on the information then available what was said was fully justified. What was it that was called a murder plot? It was a summary of the intelligence reports published in paragraph 24 of the White Paper and also in paragraph 152 of the Report. In that paragraph of the White Paper the Governor after drawing attention to the secrecy of the emergency conference, wrote:
By the 13th February, however, the Government was in a position to assess reports of the proceedings at this meeting. According to these reports agreed at the meeting …
§ and then follows the summary.
The summary begins by stating that unlawful meetings and processions should be held throughout the Protectorate. That was done. The Commission held that the greatly increased number of illegal meetings held by the conference
suggests the execution of a deliberate policy.
§ The summary goes on to say what was to happen if Dr. Banda was arrested. If Dr. Banda was arrested, his lieutenants, Mr. Chipembere, Mr. Chisiza, Mr. Chiume and Mrs. Chibambo were to inform all branches of Congress of his arrest, and that violence was to begin on a day fixed by them called R-day.326
Contrast that with the notes printed in Appendix II, a document which the Commission regarded as giving
as good an impression as can be got of what went on on the 25th February.
These notes say that if Dr. Banda was arrested
Word will issue from the Central Body telling all"—
and "Central Body" is, perhaps, not an accurate way of referring to Dr. Banda's lieutenants—
people to start war after two days.
§ There is, it is true, no reference to R-day, but both the summary in the White Paper and in this document state that violence or war was to start after information had been received from Congress headquarters. Both the summary and the document specified sabotage—of the very nature that occurred before Dr. Banda's arrest.
The summary names certain officials who were to be killed, Europeans including missionaries, and Africans classed as "quisling". The document states quite shortly that Europeans were to be hit or to have their throats cut, and that
people who discredit Congress should have their names written down.
The Commission found that during the period 25th January to 3rd March
branches were sending up suggestions for the black list
which was to consist of Africans,
and that suggestions for their treatment varied from deportation, when self-government came, to killing.
§ Comparison between the summary of the reports contained in the White Paper and this document does not, I submit, justify the conclusion that the summary should be rejected out of hand. That there were discrepancies between the summary and the document in Appendix II—the document which gives as good an impression as can be got of what went on at the conference—is only to be expected.
But the salient fact remains; both the document and the summary support the view that the policy of violence adopted by Congress did not exclude murder if Dr. Banda were arrested. That there was great talk of beating and killing at the conference the Commission finds as a fact. It says that with all that talk
it is certainly conceivable that some Africans were thinking about murder".
But the Commission did not think that there was anything that could be called a plot; it found that there was talk of beating and killing Europeans, but not of cold-blooded assassination or massacre. It attached importance to that. I am sorry, but I cannot appreciate the significance of this distinction. It is too subtle for me. As the Governor says, massacre may be a matter of numbers, but murder is murder whether it is called killing or assassination.
The Commission says that it does not think that there was,
except in a very loose sense".
§ a plan, but, whether loose or detailed, or whether called a plot or a plan, the important question is: did Congress, at the conference, decide on not just a policy of violence short of murder, but a policy which contemplated and did not exclude murder? What I submit is very significant is the fact that the Report summarised in the White Paper came from seven separate and independent sources. That would appear to indicate a general and widespread belief, even if ill-founded, that Congress had adopted a policy of violence which included killing.
§ The document in Appendix II supports that conclusion. The writer of those notes must have believed that after Dr. Banda's arrest they were to kill Europeans. Taking full account of what the Commission has said, for the reasons I have given and for the reasons the Governor gave in his dispatch, the Government cannot come to the conclusion that what happened on 25th January at the emergency conference did not constitute a very real threat to the lives of Europeans and those Africans who had incurred the enmity of Congress. But whether the Government are right about that is really of little consequence for, as the Commission recognises, even if there was no policy of murder, conditions were such that the Government had to resort to emergency measures.
§ The Commission criticised the White Paper in other respects. It criticised the passage dealing with Dr. Banda's speeches, and it clearly subjected that dispatch to a meticulous examination. The Governor has made his reply to those criticisms and I do not think there is any need for me to take up time by 328 reviewing them and the Governor's replies. The Government, having considered the criticisms, hold the view that, in general, the dispatch published in the White Paper conveyed a true picture of the situation in Nyasaland.
§ It is always easy to be critical of someone else's choice of words, and I hope that I shall not be thought unduly critical in expressing the view that the choice by the Commission of the expression "police State" to describe Nyasaland after the proclamation of the emergency was singularly unfortunate. During an emergency many of the freedoms normally enjoyed have to be restricted. We found that here, during the war years, and I think we should have been very angry, and justifiably angry, if anyone had described Great Britain during the war years as a police State. These words carry a very unpleasant innuendo.
§ The Attorney-General
The Governor points out that "police State" is not a correct description.
The Commission says that the reason why it had to hear witnesses in private was that under these conditions many Africans would rightly have declined to testify in public. The Commission goes on to say that the authorities had made it clear that no African ran any risk of prosecution or detention as a result of what he said. It is my right hon. Friend's warrant of appointment which required the Commission to sit in private. He imposed that requirement for two reasons.
The first was that it would protect African witnesses from intimidation by the supporters of Congress—and the Commission records that intimidation was one of the weapons of Congress—and the other was that it would enable those in the Government service to speak with greater freedom than it was desirable they should do in public. It is, indeed, unfortunate that the Commission should put forward a wrong reason for my right hon. Friend's decision, and that it should have based that assertion on calling Nyasaland a police State.
I now come to the measures taken on and after the declaration of the emergency. First, there was "Operation Sunrise", in which 263 persons were arrested 329 before 6th March. The Commission says that it thinks that unnecessary and, therefore, illegal force was used in making a number of those arrests. The Governor's dispatch shows that he does not condone the use of illegal force; nor do we. The Commission refers to the arrest of 10 individuals out of 263. It sets out, without comments, the facts in relation to eight of them. It is not clear in how many of those eight cases the Commission thought that illegal force was used, or whether it thought that it was used in a number of cases to which it did not specifically refer.
The use of illegal force is to be regretted, but it must be remembered that the situation was critical. I quote the Commission's words. It said:The Government were right in thinking that the arrests would be strongly resented. The trouble came later in the day: and that it did not come at the time of the operation was no doubt due to the speed and secrecy with which it was carried out.Later, the Commission says:They were carried out in the main by small groups of inexperienced officers, operating often in unfamiliar terrain to arrest people they did not know personally and whose arrest they feared might provoke violence by the local population.In the circumstances it is to be regretted, but it is not altogether to be wondered at, if, in some of the 263 arrests, more force was used than was strictly necessary.
The Commission says, too, that illegal measures of restraint were also employed. That, too, is very regrettable, but again, perhaps not to be wondered at, bearing in mind the fear that the arrests would immediately provoke violence and also bearing in mind that attempts had been made, sometimes successfully, to release prisoners before the emergency was declared. The Commission investigated every incident in which firearms were employed. I must say that I doubt whether its views on all the incidents will be universally accepted.
It says, for instance, that it is not satisfied that the man who came out of the crowd and walked after the District Commissioner, whose back was towards him, brandishing or pointing a spear, was really going to attack the District Commissioner. It says that it was not satisfied, that the inspector thought that the District Commissioner was in immediate danger. If he had it appears 330 to think that he would have shouted to the District Commissioner rather than to the man. He did shout, as the Report says, to the man before he fired. Surely that shout would have warned the District Commissioner, if he had heard it.
The Commission does not refer to the coroner's verdict, which was that the shooting was entirely justified to prevent the rioter from attacking the District Commissioner. The Commission says that, having seen all who were responsible for the shootings, it was satisfied that each man did what he did because he honestly felt he could not discharge his duty in any other way. I propose to leave this matter there.
The Commission made further criticisms with regard to the subsequent operations, to the burning of the house, the confiscation of implements, and the use of force. The Governor has replied to them, as the House will see in paragraphs 48 to 51 of his dispatch, and I need not detain the House to remind Members of what the Commission or the Governor has said on these matters.
I now come to Dr. Banda. He was detained on 3rd March, and I should perhaps point out that the making of detention orders is a matter for the Governor alone. His power to do so derives from the proclamation of an emergency under the Emergency Powers Order in Council, 1939. The constitutional position is this. My right hon. Friend has no power to order the detention of anyone in Nyasaland, nor has he power to order the release of anyone detained. He can, of course, inform the Governor of his views, but he cannot direct the Governor to detain or to release from detention. I thought that it was desirable that that position should be clearly stated.
Two views can be taken of Dr. Banda. One that he is more or less a figurehead and that Mr. Chipembere, Mr. Chiume and Mr. Chisiza ran Congress and were responsible for the adoption of the policy of violence. That appears to be the view taken by the Commission. The other view is that, though he chose to dissociate himself so far as he could from any public association with the policy and acts of violence, in fact he connived at, and was a party to, that policy. These are, as I say, two possible views.
331 I should like to remind the House of the facts which were found by the Commission. Dr. Banda was elected President General of Congress in April, 1958. He was given sole power to appoint the other officers of Congress. He appointed Mr. Chipembere, Mr. Chiume and Mr. Chisiza. The first two, the Commission says, were extremist in their views, and Mr. Chisiza was introduced and commended to Dr. Banda as a man of extreme views. These were the three that Dr. Banda appointed to the high offices of Congress. It is not, I suggest, without considerable significance that Dr. Banda should have appointed these three extremists.
The Commission found the following facts. In paragraph 93 of its Report it states that it was the extremists who, at the beginning of 1959, had made up their minds that they would get Congress to adopt a policy of violence. I do not find it easy to believe that Dr. Banda can have been ignorant throughout of their intentions. In paragraph 95, it is recorded that at the beginning of January Mr. Chisiza asked Dr. Banda's consent to the holding of the emergency conference. In paragraph 97, I think it is, it is recorded that Dr. Banda received delegates at his house. He did not attend the meetings to discuss the agenda at the conference, one of which took place, so the Commission records, in his own house. One wonders why he did not. It was, apparently, at this meeting, during discussion of the secret items, that Mr. Chaluluka began to falter, and on 25th January Mr. Chaluluka was thrown out of Congress.
It is surely very difficult to believe that Dr. Banda was ignorant, and remained ignorant, of the secret items to be discussed at the conference, secret items which were apparently discussed at the meeting of the Executive Committee in his House. He was, the Commission says, the undisputed leader. I find it very difficult to believe that he really did not know what went on in his own home. That conference adopted, so the Commission says, a fresh policy of violence, an all-out campaign to defy the Government, violence not being excluded There was a great deal of talk about beating and killing.
The Commission was invited to believe, as it says in paragraph 102, that 332 between 25th January and 3rd March the decisions taken at the conference were not mentioned to Dr. Banda, despite, as it says, the fact that branch meetings were taking place all over the country at which the delegates were reporting what had happened. If he, the undisputed leader, did not know what had been decided upon, then he must have been about the only member of Congress who did not. Surely it is not without significance that shortly after the conference Dr. Banda told an audience that moderate leaders were no use. Hon. Members will find that in paragraph 141.
Dr. Banda addressed a public meeting at Zomba on 20th January and spoke about the arrest of 50 women. He was followed by Mr. Chipembere, who told the crowd, "If we are men, not women, we must see that the women are released now, this very instant", and a crowd of 400 or 500 rushed to the police station, shouting and waving sticks. The police drew up a cordon and were heavily stoned. There was Dr. Banda on the spot. He did nothing to stop the crowd. The Commission says that Mr. Chipembere was afterwards rebuked by Dr. Banda—one assumes that was the evidence of Mr. Chipembere or Dr. Banda—but Dr. Banda did nothing at the time. He made no attempt to stop the crowd. Indeed, the Commission says that he never did condemn violence categorically.
These facts, which are all recorded in this Report—these statements which can be found in the Report in different paragraphs; these facts found by the Commission—create a strong probability, nay, I would say a strong presumption, that Dr. Banda, the undisputed leader, was a party to this policy of violence. The Commission was impressed by his charm. It thought that Dr. Banda was a frank witness, and it made it clear that its view of him depended very largely on the impression that it formed of him as a witness.
The Commission posed the question: was his absence from the meeting on 25th January deliberate and did he know what was going to be decided and discussed? It says that its answer to that depends on its impression of Dr. Banda as a witness and what it knew and had been told about his character. It dealt with 333 this in paragraph 166. One wonders who its informants were. It says that it accepts Dr. Banda's account—but it does not. unfortunately, tell us what it was—of how and why he was absent from the meeting of 25th January.
The Commission does not, in fact, answer the question: did he know what was going to be discussed and decided? except by saying that it found the relationship which Dr. Banda's evidence shows to have existed with his lieutenants quite a convincing one.
The Commission thinks that he would never have approved a policy of murder and that he would have intervened decisively if he had thought it was so much as being discussed. I would be interested to know—so would we all—what grounds it had for deciding that. Dr. Banda never raised his voice against violence. If he had condemned violence, the Commission says that Congress would never had adopted that policy. The Government find it impossible to acquit Dr. Banda of responsibility for the policies of Congress and of complicity in them.
There are occasions in my profession when one argues in the Court of Appeal that the decision of a judge on a question of fact is wrong. Here, to adopt the phrase we sometimes use in the courts, I submit to the House that the Commission's decision with regard to Dr. Banda was against the weight of the evidence which the Commission itself found, and that its impression of him as a witness is wholly insufficient to rebut the presumption arising from the facts which the Commission found and to which I have referred. The Government regret that they cannot, in the light of the facts to which I have referred, take as favourable a view of Dr. Banda as that taken by the Commission, based, as the Commission frankly says, on its impression of him as a witness and on what it knew and had been told of his character.
It was the Congress policy of violence which led to the declaration of the emergency, and violence had started before 3rd March. To adapt the language used by the Commission, how far would it have gone? What form would it have taken, if it had not been checked? No one can say, for it was checked. But surely the Commission was right in 334 saying that it might have gone very far. In the light of our knowledge of what has happened in the countries close by, can one safely assume that, if it had not been checked, there would not have been great suffering and loss of life?
The Report shows the strong reaction to the arrest of the leaders of Congress and a series of disturbances all over the country. They had to be firmly and speedily dealt with. I am sure that the House will recognise that. We greatly regret that, in dealing with these disturbances, 41 lives were lost and injuries were suffered.
§ The Attorney-General
We deeply regret that, after the adoption by Congress of its policy of violence, 51 people died and 79 were wounded. But one wonders what the roll of casualties might have been but for the prompt action taken. An hon. Member opposite talks about the lives of Africans. It was not only the lives of Europeans which were threatened. The lives of Africans and Asians as well were threatened. While we regret the loss of life, we are thankful that the prompt action taken and the loyal service of the security forces did avoid all risk of a major catastrophe.
I ask the House to consider with me, calmly, the position in which Sir Robert Armitage found himself at the end of February. It was a difficult position for any Governor. There were the acts of violence. He had before him the information which the Commissioner of Police told him must be treated seriously. If he ignored it, he did so at his peril and at the peril of Europeans, Asians and Africans. If he delayed too long, the delay might lead to great loss of life and suffering. If he had delayed too long and that had resulted, he would have been responsible, and rightly held responsible, for the deaths which occurred.
In my submission to the House, the Governor made, as the Commission found, a right decision. But where there is prompt action which averts danger, there are always some who say that, but for the declaration of the emergency, there would have been no violence. They say, "You acted unnecessarily, and 335 that is shown by the fact that no European lost his life". The Commission endorsed the Governor's action. That is its most important conclusion. The Opposition ask us to accept the whole of the Report. That we cannot do. We simply cannot accept, for instance, the Commission's view that the man with a spear was really not going to attack the District Commissioner and its implied criticism of the inspector who shot. I have, in the course of my speech, explained why we cannot and do not accept all the Report.
In conclusion, I wish only to add that it is our hope and, I am sure, the hope of all of us, that, now that this policy of violence has been frustrated, conditions in Nyasaland will soon so far improve that it will be possible to release those now detained without risk to law and order and security. How long it will be before that can happen, I cannot say. It depends, of course, on conditions in Nyasaland. Law and order must be maintained, and on the maintenance of law and order depends the prospect of continued constitutional and economic progress for the people of Nyasaland.
§ 4.27 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:accepts the Report of the Nyasaland Commission of Inquiry (Command Paper No. 814)Nyasaland today lies under a state of emergency. The Congress is disbanded and outlawed. It is forbidden to become a member of it. It is forbidden to import certain publications into the territory. Its principal political leaders are under arrest. There is, in the words of the Commission, "a deep and bitter" gulf between the Government and the people. What contribution does the Attorney-General think that he has made to this situation?
§ Mr. John Eden (Bournemouth, West)
What contribution has the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) made?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I relish the opportunity of answering the Attorney-General immediately. There are many people in Nyasaland who will not look favourably 336 upon the lawyer's speech which we have just heard. It is commonly said that, of course, all the Europeans support the Governor and the Government in this. That is not true. There are many people, many Europeans, and there would be more if it were not for the subtle pressure—I use the Commission's words—which the Administration has used against them, who would like to declare themselves against the Government's policy.
Fortunately, there are some interests at work, business interests in Nyasaland, which are so big that they do not have to yield to subtle intimidation or pressure. They can speak their minds. They are European interests. If the Attorney-General would like to hear the first verdict on his speech and upon the stand that the Government are taking, I will give it to him now. It is in the form of a cable received from the general manager of the Blantyre Company, in Nyasaland, Mr. P. Howard, sent to Sir Jock Campbell. I have his permission to quote it:Very important to all future developments that African confidence in Her Majesty's Government be re-established and strengthened. To this end essential that Government honestly and openly accept full implication Devlin Report and take appropriate action. This would provide foundation for new approach from which reasonable solutions could be found Gravely concerned if Report is sidestepped or rejected.That is the view of someone against whom subtle pressure has no effect.
As I listened to the Attorney-General's speech it was quite clear to me that we are all wrong—the Devlin Commission, Congress, of course, and myself—and that the only people who are right in this matter are the Government. The only mistake that the Government have made throughout the whole of this long and tortuous history is to appoint the Devlin Commission. The Commission saw 455 individuals and 1,300 people in groups, read hundreds of memoranda and travelled thousands of miles, and spent weeks upon it. This was the Government's Commission, selected by them, the terms of reference decided by them. [Interruption.] I do not know whether they were all Tories, but I know that the Colonial Secretary, when he set it up, invited us to give it our full confidence.
This was a unanimous Report, "but", says the Attorney-General, "we do not 337 have to accept the findings and conclusions of any Commission that is set up. We are always entitled to reject what it says". That is not what the Commission was trying to do. Paragraph 4 makes clear its task and the boundaries which it set itself. It says:But the task with which you entrusted us was to report and not to make recommendations. We have aimed at setting out all the relevant facts as objectively as we can, in order that those whose responsibility it is to approve or disapprove may be provided with a firm basis of fact for their deliberations.That is what the Commission set out to do.
What the Attorney-General and the Government are doing is not rejecting conclusions, but rejecting the "firm basis of fact" which the Commission endeavoured to provide. As I said, this was a unanimous Report, but what the Government have done with it is to winnow through it, sieving out, dredging out, everything that would support their case and averting their eyes from anything which might be in the slightest degree embarrassing to them.
We do not believe that such an approach to the Devlin Commission's Report will fulfil our aim of restoring peace and tranquillity in Nyasaland, and for that reason I am moving the Opposition Amendment. In our view, the Government have failed to take the opportunity that the Devlin Report provided of reconsidering their policy and methods in order to make a fresh start. The Government remind me of the witness who was giving evidence at an inquiry at Little Rock. He was being subjected to severe cross-examination, and he said; "Facts? Don't confuse me with facts. I have already made up my mind". That is the approach of the Government to this problem.
No one can read this Report as it stands without reaching the conclusion that here are facts which are so well documented that any Government which were not set upon a policy and unable to escape from the groove in which they had got themselves, must reconsider their position and conclusions. The Government's attitude on this Report is in striking contrast to their attitude on the report of the Bank Rate Tribunal. The Home Secretary has left the Chamber; it was he who moved that the Report of 338 that Tribunal be accepted. He said on that occasion:It must be recorded that the Tribunal, having defined its terms of reference in the widest sense, has given us findings which, on all points, have been absolutely definite and unanimous. There can be no doubt about this. In the course of this two-day debate we shall no doubt see tremendous diversionary effort of one sort or another, for the limpid stream of justice must now pass through the turbulent rapids of politics in Parliament."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd February, 1958; Vol. 581, c. 816.]On that occasion both sides of the House accepted the findings of the Tribunal. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes. I can assure Government supporters that I looked up the terms of our Amendment before I made that statement. [HON. MEMBERS: "Read it out."] The House is entitled to hear from the Government why the Motion on the Order Paper today accepts only those parts of the Report which the Government find palatable, and ignores the rest. I want to deal with some of the rest as well as with the points which the Attorney-General has made.
The Government invite us to declare thatthe state of emergency was fully justified,but not to accept the Commission's findings in which references were made to massacre and a murder plot.We have rejected the evidence, such as it issays the Report. Those are its disdainful words. The Government ask us to endorse the Commission's conclusionthat a policy of violence was adopted.We do so, but the Government fail to acknowledge that part of the Report which makes it clear that the policy of violence resulted from the mood of frustration felt by Congress because there was no constitutional way of making its views effective.
The Government ask us to acknowledgethat prompt and effective action by the Governor prevented the development of a more serious situation,but there is no reference in the Motion to the fact thatunnecessary and, therefore, illegal force was used",or to the fact thathouses were burnt simply because they belonged to persons who were thought to be Congress sympathisers".339 or to the facts that agricultural tools and implements were confiscated, that tough, punitive measures were used by the Army against the population and that an aggressive and bullying attitude was part of the treatment to subdue troublesome areas. How can the Government ask us to adopt one part of the Report and not the other? Is that a basis on which to make a fresh start?
The Government invite us to look forwardto the restoration of normal conditions in Nyasaland",but pay no heed to the statement of the Commission that there isdeep and bitter division of opinion separating the Government from the people.… Witness after witness appeared before us for the sole purpose of stating that the cause of all the troubles we were investigating was Federation".There is no reference to that. There is no attempt to reconsider whether, in fact, that finding of the Commission is justified or not. That is what we should have heard from the Government this afternoon, if they wanted to wipe the slate clean and start again.
The Government ask the House to hope forcontinued constitutional and economic progressbut, again, they make no acknowledgment of the fact that it is the Government and they alone who have delayed for years in bringing forward constitutional reforms that might have averted much of the mood of frustration which Congress felt. The Government, finally, ask us, in their Motion, forrespect for law and order",yet they propose to keep in detention a man of whom the Commission finds that the attempt to involve him in massacre and assassinationis generally thought by those who have seen or heard him to be ridiculous,and fail either to release or bring to trial hundreds of others who, at the moment, are languishing in detention camps mainly because they have a fierce and passionate desire to be left alone and to keep out of federation.
On this side of the House we accept the main conclusions and findings of the Devlin Commission's Report. It is from that that we start. I want to ask 340 the Government this question: can the Africans be expected in future to trust commissions of investigation appointed by the Government to ascertain the facts, to bring their conclusions to the House of Commons if, when they have done so, the Government of the day merely select those parts that they like—findings of fact—and find every reason for throwing away the portions that they dislike?
I now come to the Government's White Paper. This is dealt with very critically indeed by the Devlin Commission. Let us look at some of the things that the Government said in reference to Dr. Banda's speeches, on which the Attorney-General said, I thought with a certain amount of delicacy, that he did not propose to linger. Paragraph 12 of the White Paper published last March reads:… Dr. Banda made plain his intention of forcing upon the British Government immediately and uncompromisingly the Congress aims…What is the finding of the Commission? It says:Dr Banda certainly said that he was going to press for self-government and secession. He said nothing about 'forcing'; on the contrary, he said that he expected to obtain it by negotiation and by peaceful means.In paragraph 12 the White Paper states that Dr. Bandapromised, at the same time … the removal of Government servants and others loyal to the Government…Paragraph 64 of the Commission's Report says that this statementis based upon a misrepresentation or misunderstanding of what he said".Paragraph 14 of the White Paper reads:Dr. Banda made it equally clear … in his talks with Government officials that he was not prepared to compromise".The Devlin Report states:This last statement is not true".
§ Hon. Members: What about the Governor's White Paper?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I will come to that. Hon. Members need not worry. The White Paper states:As early as August Dr. Banda was publicly threatening members of the police who attended his meetings with victimisation".The Devlin Commission says:On any view it is not a fair representation of Dr. Banda's references to the police as a 341 whole to say that he threatened them with victimisationParagraph 16 of the White Paper refers to a quotation from a letter reading:You have heard about the riots. I have set Blantyre and Zomba on fire, I hope soon to set the whole of Nyasaland on fire".The Devlin Report says that this passage is not correctly quoted. The Governor's explanation is this. He says: "We are sorry, but at the time we prepared the White Paper we had mislaid his letter, so we had to rely upon the informer's letter for the quotation". The correct quotation is given in the Devlin Report. It reads:You have heard of the so-called riots. Well, things are hot here. I have the whole of Blantyre and Zomba on fire. Very soon, I hope to have the whole of Nyasaland on fire.The Devlin Report draws attention to the fact that this was a figurative statement, not an actual statement. [HON. MEMBERS "Oh."] Hon. Members opposite have not had the advantage of talking to him, nor the chance of hearing what this man had to say. The Devlin Commission did. The Governor has not since, either. I have already given the Governor's reply, that he had to rely upon an informer's letter.
§ The Attorney-General rose—
§ Mr. Callaghan
I assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that I will not be like the Colonial Secretary. I shall give way.
§ The Attorney-General
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He was asked to read the Governor's reply, which means the Governor's reply in his despatch. If the hon. Gentleman will turn to paragraph 22, he will see that the Governor says:I am surprised that the Commission 'attach no significance at all to this letter'. While it may be that the expression 'on fire' is repeatedly used by Dr. Banda, the use by him of these words in their context in this letter, with particular reference to what had already occurred at Blantyre and Zomba, shows that it was Dr. Banda's hope that similar incidents, disturbances or riots, whatever they should be called, would occur throughout the whole of Nyasaland.That was the reply which the hon. Gentleman dodged.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I shall come to the question of violence and riots later. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If I may, I shall make my own speech.
342 The point with which I am dealing at the moment is this. Here are five quotations culled from four successive paragraphs in a White Paper which the Government produced to convince the House and the country of the infamy of Dr. Banda which the Commission, having seen him, challenges and refutes and says that his views are either misrepresented or that the quotations are not true. That is the point that I am making at the moment.
The argument was frequently used, especially by the Colonial Secretary and by the Under-Secretary of State in the debate of 3rd March, to which I shall return later, and later by the Governor, in his despatch, that Dr. Banda did not want a compromise. The Commission does not agree with this conclusion, and it gives its reasons. I should like to add a further piece of evidence from a letter written to me by Dr. Banda on 9th January. It was marked "Very, very confidential" and I have not, therefore, felt justified in quoting it until this moment. Now I feel that I can do so.
This is what he says—and I ask the House to judge this before hon. Members grimace, as some hon. Members below the Gangway are all too ready to do about this man. This is the letter which he wrote to me about his approach before the state of emergency was declared. He details the political situation and says that he anticipates the forthcoming constitutional talks. The letter reads:You know, of course, what our terms are. They are for a majority both in the Legislative Council and the Executive Council. I have an idea as to what lines both His Excellency and Mr. Dixon"—that is, the European leader—are likely to take. Therefore, the minimum I am prepared to accept personally and to recommend to my people are the proposals contained in the Labour Party's statement of last March or April, which called for a majority in the Legislative Council and parity in the Executive Council, with this difference: the parity must mean not between Africans and unofficial Europeans, but between Europeans and Africans regardless whether these Europeans are officials or not. I thought I should write and give you in advance in strictest confidence what my line would be. The meeting is to take place on the 20th of this month.Does that sound like the letter of a man who was not prepared to compromise? He is putting privately and 343 in confidence a position below that publicly taken by the Congress Party in its negotiations. Before negotiations start, and as the Devlin Report rightly comments, is it not frequently the case that one takes up one position before negotiations start and then compromises on something less? Is not that the whole basis of negotiation?
Dr. Banda concludes his letter—and I ask hon. Members to listen to these words, written on 9th January:This is the political situation here now. But we are not at the parting of the ways yet. As long as I count with my people I shall do my best to let common sense win. I am against violence, whatever the papers may say. But I am an extremist in the sense that I will not betray the interests of my people just for the sake of being called a moderate or being popular with the Europeans.This is the man whom the Government, according to the information we have from the Press, propose to keep locked up. They will do as they have done in other cases. They will lock up every moderating influence. They will remove them from any possibility of influencing their people, and in the end they will deal with them.
I now pass to the position of the Federal Government, about which I was challenged by the Attorney-General. The right hon. and learned Gentleman expressed the view that the Federal Government had exerted undue pressure on the territorial Governments. The Devlin Commission deals with this. It describes the situation and the precautionary measures taken by the Governor between 18th and 20th February. It states that by 24th February the Governor had not made up his mind whether to declare a state of emergency or not. The Report describes how, by 24th February, there had been a large number of further incidents in Nyasa-land, but the Governor, despite these further incidents, still had not come to any final decision. It describes how Sir Roy Welensky's intervention came on 25th February, six days before the declaration of the state of emergency in Nyasaland, but, I think, on the same day as the declaration of a state of emergency in Southern Rhodesia.
Sir Roy Welensky asked the Governor to give serious consideration to deferring Lord Perth's visit. The Governor considered that suggestion, and on the same 344 day telegraphed to Lord Perth suggesting that he should postpone his visit. The Report says that by this time, in the Governor's mind, the choice lay between carrying on with Lord Perth's visit, as a means of lowering the temperature, and declaring a state of emergency. While the Governor was still hesitating between these two, Sir Roy Welensky stepped in as the decisive factor. He made up the Governor's mind, but it was on that day, after his intervention, that the Governor decided to cable Lord Perth. [Interruption.] The hon. Member might wait to hear the whole of what I have to say.
I might well have over-estimated the part that Sir Roy Welensky played, looking back at the events which the Devlin Commission found, but that he did intervene is undoubtedly true. He made up the Governor's mind, or, at any rate, he was the final factor that made up the Governor's mind while he was hesitating between two courses, though, of course, it was the Governor's decision, and not that of Sir Roy Welensky. I am very happy to acknowledge that, and to allow the Government and the Colonial Secretary to share all the credit between them.
Now I come to the murder plot. The Devlin Commission examined the evidence concerning this plot, and in one simple sentence, in paragraph 174, reached its conclusion:For all these reasons we have rejected the evidence, such as it is, for the murder plot.What gave rise to the use of this term? The Report makes clear that the Governor did not use it when making his broadcast at seven o'clock in the morning of the declaration of a state of emergency. He made no reference to it at all. Yet, as the Commission says, a major plot would be the best justification for the declaration of a state of emergency.
There is no record of the term being used in Nyasaland until 7th March, when a Government propaganda leaflet was distributed, which said:The Government has done this because these leaders have made a plot to destroy property and to murder many people both Africans and Europeans.On 9th March, the Governor directed that no information should be disclosed of this master plan, but on 11th March, two 345 days later, and here I quote the Commission:He directed that action should be taken urgently to build up the full story of the Congress plan.Why? Because he wanted to justify what had been said, not in Nyasaland, but elsewhere. The allegations did not arise there. They arose here, at that Box. At 3.30 on the afternoon when the Colonial Secretary came to the Despatch Box to make his statement, this is what he said, and I am quoting from column 216 of the OFFICIAL REPORT:… the situation continued to be so dangerous and there was such clear indication of the intention of the Congress to stir up further disturbances, involving widespread violence and murder of European, Asian, and moderate African leaders, that the Governor was compelled this morning to declare a state of emergency.Then he endeavoured to pin the allegation of murder firmly on the shoulders of Dr. Banda. In his next sentence, he said:Leading members of the Congress, including Dr. Banda, have been detained—That is where the allegation first came in.
That is where it was made, and that is where it was started.
In my first question to the Colonial Secretary, following that statement, I said this:Is not … the real position in Nyasaland…that a few panic-stricken people are now precipitating trouble, and that all the poison gas of propaganda against the Africans, all the smears, all the denigrations, will now be used to justify an act that has no responsibility behind it and will merely foment further trouble in this territory?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd March, 1959; Vol. 601, c. 216–7.]We have no gap to bridge on this side. It is right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite who have to make their peace with the Commission, and make their peace with public opinion in this country on this issue. I spoke on instinct and on impulse, but I have no cause to regret what I said about the poison gas, the smears and the denigration of those not concerned with this matter—no reason at all—but the Colonial Secretary was making a considered statement.
In the evening, he made a further statement, referred to by the Attorney-General, when he spoke of "a massacre plot"—a massacre plot! Apparently, if the right hon. Gentleman says it once, we are not to take it seriously. When 346 the Under-Secretary referred to Mau Mau, he said:We have had it all before. Remember Mau Mau."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd March. 1959; Vol. 601, c. 337.]We are not to take that seriously, either. That is, possibly, the value which one member of the Government puts upon the judgment of another member of the Government, but the newspapers took this seriously. This was the subject of the headlines in the newspapers the next day, but that was not the major trouble.
In my view, the major blunder—crime, almost—was not misleading the House of Commons but that the Colonial Secretary and the Under-Secretary, in my view—and I think it is fair to say in the Devlin Commission's view—jeopardised the lives of those Europeans living in isolated homesteads, scattered, widespread, unable to be protected, and, what is more, jeopardised the lives and homes of those Africans who were arrested the following morning, because the police who made the arrests may well have believed that there was a murder plot. This is what the Devlin Commission says:If so, that fact might offer an explanation, if not an excuse, for some of the incidents which we shall record below.I was not sure whether the Attorney-General thought that I was challenging the justification for the state of emergency. If so, I would refer him to the opening words I used at seven o'clock that evening:Since our exchanges earlier this afternoon, and the declaration of a state of emergency in Nyasaland, it has become abundantly clear that the powers which the Governor of Nyasaland asked for are necessary.In my very first sentence, I said that it was becoming abundantly clear that the powers asked for were necessary. [HON. MEMBERS: "Read the next sentence."] Yes, of course, I will read the next sentence. I will read the whole speech if hon. Gentlemen opposite wish. I still think, looking back on it, it was a pretty good one.Since the declaration of the state of emergency, but not before, rioting has broken out,Is not that true?tear gas has been used"—Is that untrue? [Interruption.] Tear gas had been used before the state of 347 emergency was declared? I yield to the Under-Secretary on that point. It may well be—
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. Callaghan
One at a time.
It may well be that tear gas was used before and after, but hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot get away from the first sentence, in which I said:Since our exchanges earlier this afternoon, and the declaration of a state of emergency in Nyasaland, it has become abundantly clear that the powers which the Governor of Nyasaland asked for are necessary."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd March, 1959; Vol. 601, c. 279.]
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
I thank the hon. Member for giving way to me. He has asked a question. The answer is this. He is talking about what happened in this House on 3rd March. Surely he is aware that violent disturbances began at least ten or fourteen days earlier?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I was aware of that.
The Devlin Commission goes on to say that the publicity given to the murder plot has distracted attention from the real strength of the Government's case. Hon. Gentlemen opposite might like to listen to this, because they might agree with it—that this distracted attention from the real strength of the Government's case. I agree with that too.
I want now to turn—I think we have reached this point—to the use of violence. I apologise for keeping the House for a long time, but this is a most serious matter. There is no doubt of the Devlin Commission's finding that the use of violence was discussed at the meeting in the Bush on 25th January. According to the Commission's Report, there seems to have been no clear line drawn between discussion and decision. That is a happening from which British Governments are not always exempt.… there was to be an all-out campaign to defy the Government, violence not excluded.That is what the Commission finds.
But the Commission draws a distinction between the violence that Mr. Chisiza and Mr. Chipembere sponsored and the violence with which they were credited. It was to be done in response to Government measures so that it could 348 be represented as an answer to provocation. In other words, it was to be a reaction rather than an initiative. Why did their thoughts turn to violence? Surely this is a question to which the Attorney-General could have directed himself this afternoon instead of proving so much of his case on the use of violence. Why did they turn to violence? It was not because they were bad men—at least the Commission did not think so. The Commission did not think that all the leaders of Congress had more than their normal share of personal ambition; no more than, say, the Prime Minister when he was struggling with the Leader of the House at the time of the disappearance of Sir Anthony Eden.They are first and foremost African nationalistssays the Commission. It does not agree with the Government view, and the Colonial Secretary consistently acted on this view which the Commission decries, that these aspirations are the thought of only a small minority of political Africans, mainly self-seekers.
Why, then, did their thoughts turn to violence? The Report is quite clear. By the middle of 1958 Congress leaders were suffering from a feeling of frustration. They believed, and so does the Commission, that they had virtually unanimous support from the people of Nyasaland.The Government says, it cannot and will not go back on Federation; it treats the question as one that is no longer open.The section of the Report which deals with the emergency conference makes quite clear that the growing mood of frustration deepened—I do beg hon. Members opposite to listen to this—because the fateful 1960 Conference was approaching and they would not be represented at this conference by people of their own choosing. That was why their mood of frustration deepened. And the responsibility for that lies here. It cannot be argued or shrugged off.
Then comes the significant sentence of the Commission's Report:… there is no way in which constitutionally it"—that is, Congress—can make its views effective.And so the extremists determined to persuade the rest of Congress to turn to 349 violence and the Government helped them in their self-appointed task.
There was pressure from district commissioners to prevent village meetings from being held if there was any prospect at all of views being expressed in support of Congress. Does the Government dispute that? Chiefs were subjected to financial pressure to dissuade them from supporting agitation against federation. This is not in the Commission's Report, but one district commissioner sent out a memorandum to local chiefs, a copy of which reached me and which I sent to the Colonial Secretary eighteen months ago. It told them that they should not get mixed up in political intrigues, which was another way of describing Congress,particularly against the Government from whom they derive their livings for to do so can invite very severe penalties.One by one measures were taken which screwed down the safety valve. There was no reform of the constitution. There was subtle pressure on the chiefs and on Europeans who did not seem inclined to conform on the matter of federation. Is it remarkable that people who feel as deeply and passionately as the Nyasas do in their desire to be left alone should in these circumstances consider turning to violence? We must look at the causes as well as the results of this. The Commission states:They could make themselves felt only by some form of resistance, and the question was shaping itself—should resistance be active or passive?The prospect of collision sooner or later was almost certain. That was the state to which the Colonial Secretary's administration had reduced that territory. As the Commission said, there was a deep and bitter division of opinion separating Government and people.
What is the responsibility of Government when such a frightening gap opens up? Any Government will in these circumstances resist an attempt to turn to violence. They must do. They must either act or abdicate. This is what the Commission says. That may be the right of the Government, but rights bring duties with them; we are all well enough grounded in that. If one has a right to tell people that they must not turn to violence, one has the duty to assemble the circumstances in which reasonable, decent, ordinary men will not feel the 350 necessity or the temptation to respond to appeals to turn to violence.
But the Government were rigid about federation. They were clumsy in handling a proud and sensitive people. Is it surprising that we reached a position in which the extremists were able to persuade the rest of them that violence should be adopted? For these reasons, the Government and the Colonial Secretary cannot escape condemnation for what took place on 3rd March in that Territory.
I hesitate to remind the House about this, but we in the Opposition took this view year after year. We tried to point out what was happening, but we were told, as we were again told last week, "You are creating it". I must say that on few occasions did we get an adequate reply. There were so many occasions when a sneer sufficed instead of an answer. The point was made and reasonably put and we felt that it represented the known views of hundreds of thousands of people.
I turn now to the position of the Government in this matter. The Government bear a major responsibility for creating this situation. There has been a good deal of newspaper talk about the future of the Colonial Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman set our doubts at rest in an interview which he gave to the Daily Mail. Mr. Terry tells us that when he saw the Colonial Secretary he was smiling, he was at ease, he had no great regrets. He was laughing at the coming storm and he appeared totally unmoved. But there was a paragraph in quotation marks in the middle of the interview which I assume is reliable:I understand"—says Mr. Terry—that he was sufficiently taken aback by the Report to offer his resignation to the Prime Minister. But Mr. Macmillan dismissed the idea as ridiculous and pointless and unjustified.That, of course, need not have prevented the right hon. Gentleman from resigning.
As I see it, the only conclusion one can come to is that he offered his resignation, not because he believes that he bears any real responsibility for the state of affairs which I have described, but because he thought he might be an embarrassment to the Government if he stayed with them and that, with an approaching General 351 Election, perhaps it would be better if he was out of the way. The Prime Minister has dismissed the idea. He is going to carry the Colonial Secretary on the Governor's back because a major resignation and reshuffle, perhaps three months before an election, would be too much, and that involves the Governor. Because whether the Governor has reached the end of his useful period of life in that territory or not, he cannot go if the Colonial Secretary stays. So it amounts to this, that Nyasaland gets no chance of new men, Nyasaland gets no chance of new methods. Nyasaland gets no opportunity to have its policy reconsidered. These are to be sacrificed by the Prime Minister. He is ready to sacrifice them to considerations of public honour. He is prepared to sacrifice the future of the people of Nyasaland for the sake of winning the General Election. The more outraged public opinion becomes, the more they cling together.
To sum up, the Government have failed to act in accordance with the principle laid down 100 years ago by William Harrison in his Inaugural Address to the American Congress in 1841:The only legitimate right to govern is an express grant of power from the governed.The people of Nyasaland more than half a century ago entrusted to us responsibility for their government until they had prepared themselves to take over their own affairs. What our Government have ignored is that they did not take that step of entrusting us with that power in order that we might impose upon them an alien form of government against their will.
I regret very much that we have had to go over in this debate so many of the recommendations of the Devlin Commission Report. This should not have been the start of this debate. We should not have needed to have done this. If the Government had accepted the findings of the Devlin Commission Report, all of us could have made a fresh start. What should we have been discusssing?
§ The questions which the House of Commons ought to have been discussing today if the Government had been willing to accept the findings of fact of the Devlin Commission are these. First, how best are we to make that superhuman effort which is necessary to bridge the deep 352 gulf existing between the British Government and the people of Nyasaland? But there is no recognition so far that there is a deep gulf. Secondly, we could have had a calm reappraisal of the policy of federation, for federation is shown beyond argument to be the cause of this deep and bitter division. The Government should even now find out on what basis the people of Nyasaland can be reconciled to this idea or, as that seems unlikely, what alternative can be found. Thirdly, we could and should have been discussing today how best to make the transition from the paternalistic approach of a well-meaning Government to a situation in which a small but growing minority of Africans is as well equipped as the average European to take prudent decisions on policy. Finally, we should have been asking ourselves what is the best policy to pursue in a country in which the European population is fundamentally on the defensive and in which their safety defends on striking first.
§ Are not those the questions which ought to make the House of Commons feel anxious at a time like this? These questions will have to be examined by a new Government, because it is clear that they will not be examined by this Government. We can hope for nothing from this Government in the matter of a re-examination of these questions so long as these men remain there. It will be no good swopping the Colonial Secretary for someone else if the policy remains the same. But some weeks remain to this Government. If they care to try to repair some of the deep damage they have caused and the gulf which has grown up between our two peoples in Nyasaland and this country, I make three proposals to them.
§ First, release the men at present under detention or bring them to trial. Secondly, give a simple straightforward pledge to the people of Nyasaland that they will have the opportunity to secede from the Federation or to find, as I hope that they will, some more palatable connection with the other territories. Thirdly, begin at once constitutional talks with the chiefs, with the Europeans and with the men in prison so that Africans can assume more and more responsibility for their own Government in a territory which is overwhelmingly African. Do this in time for them to be able to control their own destinies 353 when the 1960 federal review comes round.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
I know that many hon. Members wish to speak. I want, therefore, to compress my remarks into a very short compass. I want, first, to deal with a point raised by neither my right hon. and learned Friend nor the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). It is my usual complaint that the Press clearly have not read a Report before they comment upon it, but on Sunday, 19th July, it was very clear that the Press had read the Devlin Report. It was not published until late on 23rd July, four days later.
I want to ask my right hon. Friend why that was, how the leak took place, whether it took place in this country or in Africa, or in transit on the plane, and, if he does not know the answers, what steps he is taking to ascertain those facts. This is a matter of very considerable public importance. I cannot think of any occasion in the history of Parliament when a commission of inquiry or a Royal Commission has had this advance Press comment. This is not a matter on which we shall be joining issue later. I cannot think that any hon. Member will tolerate this. It is extremely embarrassing for my right hon. Friend and his colleagues, who cannot answer the complaints, and even more embarrassing for those officers who are serving this country overseas who are getting adverse Press comment without even knowing the charge that is laid. I beg my right hon. Friend when he replies to give the House all the knowledge that he has about this.
I turn now to the Devlin Report. I found myself at times not quite understanding the viewpoints of my right hon. and learned Friend and, more especially, of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East. I regard this as a very able report of an inquiry conducted under extremely difficult circumstances, because two of the four members of the Commission had no knowledge at all of Africa or African conditions before they left this country. One of the remaining two had had knowledge of North Africa, as I well know.
§ Mr. Turton
I am speaking of Mr. E. T. Williams, who is the Warden of Rhodes House and was a distinguished officer under Field Marshal Montgomery. He had great knowledge of Africans. That means that only one member of the Commission had knowledge of Africa, and no member of the Commission had knowledge of Central Africa.
§ Mr. Turton
None had had knowledge of Nyasaland. I am speaking principally of the two having no knowledge of Africa, which made their position extremely hard when judging issues.
Secondly, as was laid down by the procedure, they had no opportunity of cross-examining witnesses. I thought that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was perfectly right in directing us to paragraph 4 of the Report. It is rather a pity that the hon. Member did not go on to paragraph 5, where the Commission quite frankly states:… we were not sitting as a court of law. We were holding an inquiry and not conducting a series of trials.Later in that same paragraph it says:We have not written this Report in the form of findings for or against any individual; we have written it in narrative form as a statement of the facts for your use based on what we believe to be the balance of probabilities and not upon proof beyond reasonable doubt.Reading the Report, I feel that the Commission has put the probabilities before us in a form that I cannot accept. I cannot accept its conclusions, for instance, in regard to the very clear example given by my right hon. Friend when he talked about the African brandishing and pointing a spear against a district commissioner at Rumpi. The Commission said it felt that the inspector ought to have shouted rather than shot. That is the sort of occasion when I find a balance of improbabilities in the conclusion that the Report has made. But they are not findings.
This Report is not condemning or acquitting anybody. It has done very well, I think, and it is extremely able. In narrative form it has set down the occurrences that happened in a riotous atmosphere in Africa. The Commission was, of course, considering these things 355 when the riots had subsided, thanks to the state of emergency having been declared, and when men and women were no longer in peril of their lives.
As I see it, there is a great deal of disagreement between the two sides of the House on the matter of what was actually planned or plotted in the meeting of 25th January and what caused the state of emergency on 3rd March. Here, again, the Commission makes quite clear to me how this difference of opinion took place between it and the Governor. The Commission says in paragraph 161 how exactly it treated the evidence. It had four types of evidence before it—the evidence of informers, the evidence of detainees, some of whom later recanted and withdrew their evidence, documentary evidence and the evidence of events up to 3rd March.
It is quite clear that Sir Robert Armitage, when ordering the state of emergency and when in consultation with my right hon. Friend, could quite clearly not have been aware of the two series of evidence, the documentary evidence and the evidence of events subsequent to 3rd March. The Commission has said that it attaches very little value to the evidence of informers and has also rejected the evidence of detainees who have later withdrawn their evidence.
In my judgment, the Commission was led to that decision because, with the exception of one member of it, it had very little knowledge of Africa and of the intimidation that goes on in such circumstances. Really, I think that the Commission has misjudged what is the evidence of informers. It is very difficult for a judge who normally practises in courts in this country to accept the evidence of informers, who are considered to be reliable in Africa.
As I see it, the weakness of the Commission's appreciation of the evidence put before it lies in paragraph 161, and therefore, in my view it certainly weakens the Commission's conclusions on that point. But when we turn to documentary evidence which we have got and which the Governor had not got at that time, it is surprising in that no one expects men who are planning or plotting a riot normally to put their plans and plots into writing. Yet here we have the notes of the meeting of 25th January saying that 356 directly Dr. Banda was caught the people would start war after two days and that they would hit Europeans or cut throats. Again, we have in the letter of Mr. Chipembere the following statement:The agenda was secret and I am afraid I must avoid committing it in writing just now. In short, I can only inform you that for the first time, Congress adopted 'action' as the official policy…Thinking on these events that happened in Nyasaland, I am forced to consider the events that happened ten years ago in Kenya. I wonder what would have happened in 1950 if the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), who was then at the Colonial Office, had declared a state of emergency and had taken similar action during the time of his Government to what the Governor of Nyasaland took on 3rd March and then appointed a commission of inquiry. I remember very well in October, 1952, the then Colonial Secretary, who is now Lord Chandos, stating in the House:Early this year Mau Mau attacks began in the Nyeri District and then spread to the Kiambu and Fort Hall Districts in the Central Province.He then detailed the measures he was taking and said:These measures proved insufficient because African witnesses were afraid to come forward and give evidence in face of the brutal methods and vicious reprisals of the Mau Mau against them. Africans who refused to take a Mau Mau oath have had ropes tied round their necks and have been strung up from rafters until they were unconscious. Those who have informed the police have later been found murdered. Charges against over 100 persons for administering or participating in the administration of Mau Mau oaths had to be withdrawn, because the witnesses had disappeared or been intimidated into changing their story."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th October, 1952; Vol. 505, c. 388–9.]In the period 1951–52 there was the same pattern of intimidation and of the withdrawal of evidence as we had quite clearly in Nyasaland at the time the Devlin Commission was examining the witnesses after the riots. Had we taken that action in 1950 or 1951 a great many lives would have been saved. We might well have been able to claim that no European had been killed, as the Opposition were remarking rather scoffingly earlier this afternoon, and a great deal of misery would have been avoided.
My chief reason for rising in the debate is to make this appeal to both sides of the House. I feel very strongly 357 that as Members of Parliament, as hon. and right hon. Members, we must conduct ourselves in this debate so that the path of those who are administering our colonial policy in Nyasaland is made easier and not harder.
§ Mr. Turton
I do not know whether the hon. Member is suggesting that by making it harder for our colonial administrators, who in every Commonwealth and Colonial country that I have visited have been beloved by those whom they serve, we can make it easier for the Africans.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I have no desire to make things difficult for our colonial administrators. I only like to hear an occasional word in the House in behalf of the Africans.
§ Mr. Turton
I cannot think that the hon. Gentleman or any hon. Member opposite can fail to appreciate how difficult conditions have been for those officers who are now serving in Nyasaland, and for those in the police force, who have been subjected to this very detailed inquiry in the Devlin Report. I do not think the Opposition realise how often in their attacks on the Government in power, which they believe to be their right as an Opposition, they are in fact making the lot of the colonial administrator, the man on the spot, very much harder.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby) rose—
§ Mr. Turton
I cannot give way now. I will do so later if the hon. Gentleman wishes. As was made quite clear in paragraph 257 of the Devlin Report, having had this detailed examination of every shot fired during the whole course of the campaign,As we have said, we saw everyone responsible for the shooting … we have not found anyone who was 'trigger happy'.They then say,… we are satisfied that each man did what he did because he honestly felt that he could not discharge his duty in any other way.On one occasion one sergeant and four men faced a crowd of 1,000 advancing against them. There was a time when men serving in Colonial Territories and Protected territories in the Commonwealth could feel that they had the confidence 358 of the House of Commons. I appeal to the House not to say anything that reflects upon those men. I have always taken the view that colonial policy and foreign policy should be above party politics. I realise perfectly well that others may take a different view, but I think it is a great pity that these attacks on colonial policy have developed into long marathons at this stage. I do not believe they do the party opposite any good at all.
I believe that the vast majority of those who will vote for the party opposite at any future election will deplore many of the things which have been said, not least by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, who has now left the Chamber. In his attack on my right hon. Friend he suggested that he should resign, but I believe that with the departure of my right hon. Friend from that office which he has held with such distinction—indeed, I believe he has been the best Colonial Secretary since Joseph Chamberlain—a light would be extinguished from the Commonwealth which would be very hard for anyone to light again.
§ 5.35 p.m.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) has asked that we should do nothing to make more difficult the lives of those who administer the Protectorate of Nyasaland. I would suggest that what makes their lives difficult is the fact that they are being asked to carry out a policy which has no hope whatever of success, and that the basis of their difficulties lies precisely and simply in that fact.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) early in his speech read a telegram to which I hope every hon. Member opposite who will speak in this debate will pay great attention, because that telegram was sent from the representative of a large industrial firm, not in any way connected with politics. I happen to know that the African employees in that firm, almost without exception, apart from those doing the most menial jobs, have been arrested and are now in detention, but the firm itself has such confidence in them that it wrote to every one of them to say that if he was not charged and convicted in a court of law he 359 could be perfectly assured that his job would be kept for him by his employers.
Those are the people who work day after day with these men, and not people such as we have in this House who may be called theorists or party politicians. They are the employers of these people, who see them every day and who surely can judge their quality, character and integrity. It is only right that the House should know these facts before giving judgment on this matter.
We had from the Attorney-General the kind of speech which we expect from him. It was the worst kind of lawyer's speech. This debate is worthy of something much better, because surely we are all concerned not with laying the Blame here or there, but primarily with what is to be the solution of the problems which are so imaginatively described in the Devlin Commission's Report. I myself have been concerned and interested in Nyasaland for many years and I found that the description and the analysis of the political situation at the beginning of the Report and in the concluding sections carried complete conviction.
The various incidents described, important as they are, in perspective are of less weight than this exceedingly important question of where we go in Nyasaland if we are to have a constructive and peaceful solution. I believe that the Colonial Secretary is reaping where he sowed. He is now reaping the results of the policy which has been pursued under his administration in Nyasaland, as we on this side of the House have said on one occasion after another, misguidedly and mistakenly.
I will not weary the House by going over too much of the past history, which one can read with extreme lucidity in the Report. I would simply remind the House that in June, 1955, the Colonial Secretary, I believe, took far too timid and weak a step forward in the direction of constitutional advance, by allowing only five African members, and those indirectly elected, to be associated with the process of government.
The consequence of that, as Mr. Justice Devlin and his colleagues point out, is that there was not adequate opportunity offered to those who are politically conscious in Nyasaland to make 360 their wishes and aspirations felt effectively. They had quite inadequate representation and it was concentrated on far too few people and depended, therefore, far too much on the temperament of a handful of persons who were the only ones with direct access to the seat of government.
At the time I approached the Secretary of State about this matter and said that I thought that he was mistaken. But far worse, to my mind, than the timidity shown on that occasion was the incident in April, 1957, when Sir Roy Welensky came to this country. I do not believe that we should have had the present troubles in Nyasaland if, at that time, the Government had spoken courageously, strongly and frankly to Sir Roy Welensky. In the Report it is stated that what finally determined Dr. Banda, who was then in practice as a doctor in Ghana, to return to Nyasaland was the impression given that Her Majesty's Government had at that point of time virtually capitulated to Sir Roy Welensky.
I do not think that one can blame Dr. Banda for having that impression, because following these discussions with Sir Roy Welensky it was announced that the 1960 conference, then still three years away, would be held to consider a programme for the attainment of Dominion status by the Federation as a full member of the Commonwealth. Three years before the conference was to be held the impression was given to the Africans in Nyasaland that the pass had already been sold and that Sir Roy Welensky had secured assurances from Her Majesty's Government that, in Dr. Banda's words, he would get amalgamation by the back door.
It is only since then, in the last year or eighteen months, that there have been significant moves of policy on the part either of Sir Roy Welensky or of Her Majesty's Government. This is the tragedy of our colonial administration in one territory after another: it is only when there were apprehensions of violent action and organised pressure that we had the slight change which has occurred in the policy of Her Majesty's Government and of the Federation. In the last few weeks we have had various assurances concerning the future of Nyasaland, not by any means full or 361 adequate assurances but assurances which, had they been given in April, 1957, instead of the statement made then, might have produced a very different course of events in Nyasaland.
As the Devlin Commission rightly points out, the problem is one of complete lack of confidence and lack of communication between the people in Nyasaland and their Government. As the Commission says, they are speaking and arguing on two different planes which never meet. It is, therefore, the business of the House to consider what steps can be taken to enable the people concerned to speak the same language and to understand each other and to work together towards the same end.
This morning a leading article in The Times set out a number of considerations—not one of which, needless to say, was mentioned by the Attorney-General—as to the points which must be decided and implemented if we are to have anything other than either a police State or civil war in the Protectorate. The Times said that the constitutional changes announced fall very far short not only of what Congress has asked for, but also of what other persons in the territory have considered reasonable. They fell far short of what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, more than a year ago, stated that we believed would be the proper advance to be made constitutionally in Nyasaland. The franchise is another matter which will have to be considered. The Times points out that the reasons for the hesitation on the part of the Government have no doubt been because in the other territories of the Federation a qualitative system has been adopted which has very little validity in a territory such as Nyasaland.
More important than these details, significant though they are, is the vital question of what are the guarantees which are to be given to the people of Nyasaland as to their ultimate future. Are they to be given a timetable of progress? In many circumstances a timetable is not advisable, but in the state of affairs which has been reached in Nyasaland, even The Times, which is usually extremely cautious in these matters, says that it will be better to take the risk of giving some kind of timetable towards independence than to continue in the present state of despondency, mistrust 362 and complete lack of confidence in Her Majesty's Government.
Very firm guarantees of future progress must be given, and I believe that one of those guarantees must be that the people of Nyasaland shall have the right to secede from the Federation if they so wish. It need not necessarily be an immediate right. It would be more statesmanlike to put it to the people of Nyasaland that when the time comes they will have that right to secede but that it would be in their own best interest to have some experience of internal self-government before the moment comes when they exercise that right. Nevertheless, the right should be guaranteed to them. I am firmly convinced that unless we give the guarantee that, ultimately, they will be allowed to decide for themselves whether they will stay in the Federation or not, we shall not have the co-operation of the people of Nyasaland, and to delude ourselves by thinking otherwise is folly.
Granted that such guarantees are given, what is to be the political development in Nyasaland? One of the most serious sections of the Devlin Commission's Report, to my mind, is the paragraph in which the Commission describes the Government's action towards the complete breaking up of the one effective indigenous political organisation, the African National Congress. We are smashing the one organisation which the people of Nyasaland have managed to form for themselves. We have seen the effect on people, only the very smallest minority of whom had, I believe, even considered violent action, of having their organisation broken up, their leaders detained and people sentenced to imprisonment for periods of six months to two years for the mere possession of a card of membership of an organisation which at the time they were members was perfectly legal. We here much talk from hon. Members opposite about retrospective legislation. This, indeed, is retrospective legislation.
The people of Nyasaland have also seen imprisonment for a period up to five years for someone who is accused of no more than being an active member of Congress in the sense that he collected subscriptions. They have seen force being used not merely in the districts where there had been violence, but, as the 363 Devlin Commission sharply points out, in other areas where members of Congress had not taken violent action, where they were still peaceably inclined but where, suddenly, they had this bitter experience of arrests, searching and confiscation. Nyasaland had never had this kind of experience before.
For many years past there have been areas in Africa where there has been trouble of one kind or another, but what has distinguished Nyasaland among all the territories of Africa until the last few years has been precisely that it has been a peaceful country; that it has not been rent by civil disobedience, dissentions or actions against the Government. Nyasaland was not taken by conquest—there was no question of the kind of war that we had in Southern Rhodesia, for example.
Those who have any knowledge whatever of territories in Africa under British rule have always said that until the last five or six years Nyasaland was a country in which the people trusted the Administration, and in which one did not have the kind of difficulties that one has had from time to time in other territories. Do we really intend to throw away the good will of these people? I believe that even now we could rescue the situation if we had a positive approach to it.
I have known Dr. Banda fairly well personally for some years. I would agree very closely with the estimate made of him by the Devlin Commission. It was not an entirely favourable estimate. None of us is perfect, and anybody placed in Dr. Banda's position on his return to Nyasaland would obviously be faced with a very difficult situation. But that he is essentially a peaceful and reasonable man. I have no doubt.
I believe that it is possible to cooperate with him, given the conditions—including, in particular, the guarantee that I mentioned earlier—to work with him, and to negotiate with him. There was no feeling of bitter enmity between himself and the Governor—quite the contrary. And I say to the House that in spite of all the criticisms of the Governor's policy and actions—which one would naturally expect from Africans who have been associated with Congress—the Africans have told me 364 that, as a person, they respect and like Sir Robert Armitage, and it is only right that that should be said. They have told me that on purely personal grounds he was, and still is, well liked. One has, therefore, a basis on which one could proceed.
I hope very much that the Colonial Secretary will reply in a tone befitting a Colonial Secretary who is not trying to make party capital out of this debate, but is really concerned for the future of this territory. The Government's attitude has made it very difficult for us on this side to take a constructive line. The manner in which they have dealt with this subject is entirely beneath the dignity of this House of Commons.
The Government themselves chose this type of Commission—it was not at the request of the Opposition. It was their decision to have this type of Commission, and they appointed the members—persons of standing, of very great ability and of a variety of experience. Anybody who has read the Report must find it a remarkably competent and imaginative document. Yet, when the Government have the Report, they ask the House to accept only those parts that are convenient to themselves.
To my mind, that is a thoroughly despicable way of dealing with a situation that is extremely difficult, and that requires great statesmanship, great forbearance and imagination if Nyasaland is to be rescued from a state of frustration and misery. I therefore hope that during the remainder of our debate we shall not try to make the sort of cheap points that were made by the Attorney-General, but that we shall follow the lead of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East and look to the future and consider what conditions we can suggest for the constitutional and political development of Nyasaland. We owe it to the people of Nyasaland, who have a poor country but a very proud tradition, to see that we in this House do not betray their interests or their future.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Douglas L. S. Nairn (Central Ayrshire)
I am very pleased indeed to follow the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) as I feel considerable sympathy with a great deal that she has said. As my right hon. 365 Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) has said, we want to see how much common ground we can find between the two sides of the House. I am quite sure that there is a great deal of common ground, although it often gets hidden—particularly, I must say, in speeches like that made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan).
He said that from this side he always got a sneer instead of an answer, but it seemed to me that his speech in answer to my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General was one long sneer, with no attempt at all to answer the Government case. He did, however, at the end of his speech, make one remark with which I have a great deal of sympathy, and in spite of falling out with the hon. Gentleman on everything else that he said I will come back to that later.
The hon. Gentleman quoted from a confidential letter that he had received from Dr. Banda. I cannot agree with either the hon. Gentleman's or the Commission's assessment of Dr. Banda, much as I would like to. I listened to Dr. Banda before he left this country, and it was the force of his personality rather than his charm that struck me. A confidential letter having been quoted, I would say that I got the definite impression listening to Dr. Banda that even before he left this country he reckoned that he would have to resort to violence to get what he wanted.
If we had been sitting on the benches opposite and the Opposition had been on this side, perhaps we would have got the sort of letter that the hon. Gentleman said he had received from Dr. Banda, and the hon. Gentleman would have been locking up Dr. Banda just as hon. Members opposite found they had to do when they were in power. One cannot accept at it face value everything one receives from people who are trying to get something out of one, particularly if one is sitting on the Opposition benches.
I think that Dr. Banda is a gentleman who, rather like a film star, is quite capable of turning on the charm when in front of the cameras, or when he wants something, but who can be equally ruthless and relentless when not getting his own way. I hope very much that in the 366 course of time—and I trust that it will not be very long—his charm will come to the top, and that he will realise that ruthlessness and a failure entirely to condemn violence is not the right way to get what he wants.
Whatever may be said from time to time, both sides of the House want to see full co-operation and harmony reestablished between all Europeans and all Africans whose homes happen to be in that part of the world. I think that hon. Members opposite know as well as I that that is the goal for which my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary has always worked, and we know that it is also the goal for which the Governor, the district commissioners, the police and all the forces that are or were under the command of the Governor—and whose actions are now in question in the Report—have always worked.
I have said before when speaking on Central Africa that I voted against federation in 1952 because I was not satisfied that it was the right vehicle for creating mutual confidence and respect. I agree that there is no doubt that federation has played a big part in creating the present disturbances. There could be no doubt about that. It was with those thoughts in mind that I read carefully through the Report of the Commission of Inquiry. I am afraid this is a little bit of repetition, but my first conclusion after reading it was that the Governor was absolutely justified, on the information he had and on the circumstances in Nyasaland, in taking the action he did.
My second conclusion is that the facts brought out in the Report do not justify many of the criticisms made in the Report. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East when he opened the debate said that we accepted the bits in the Report which we liked and did not accept the bits we did not like. I accept nearly all the facts that the Report brings out. but what I cannot accept is the conclusions that the members of the Commission came to on those facts. I do not feel that the Governor took any unreasonable action at all.
The Commission made two main criticisms. The first was that it was not possible for it to confirm the existence of an actual murder plot. The second was that in some instances unnecessary 367 force was used both in quelling disturbances and in arresting people who were suspected of inciting, shall I say, disturbances with violence. I find it quite impossible to accept either of those criticisms as valid on the facts as brought out in the Report, particularly in the circumstances as they existed in Nyasa-land.
In a place like Central Africa we simply cannot draw a hard and fast line between what is a plot or a conspiracy and what is not and say which it is. Does there have to be a military order laying down who is to kill whom before we have a plot or conspiracy, or is it enough to say that it has been agreed to allow indiscriminate and unorganised killing? What happened in this case was that there was an agreement for indiscriminate killing and the Commission was entirely satisfied that this violence had been agreed on. The fact that there was no operation order setting out how it was to be done seems in this case to be entirely irrelevant.
As for the actions of individuals in making arrests or other things, I say only this. I should like to congratulate them on the coolness and courage they showed and their presence of mind all through these operations. There is not one vestige of evidence anywhere that anything was done out of panic or by any of them losing their heads. The Commission said that they all acted in the way they did because they believed there was no other way of carrying out their duties.
One other thing came out in the Report which I believe, if understood properly from the beginning, would never have divided the House as acutely as it has been divided. I know hon. Members opposite are highly suspicious of me as a Southern Rhodesian citizen, and the thing which created suspicion in this House, from the beginning, was an absolutely firm conviction that what the Governor of Nyasaland did was not done on his own, but at the instigation of the Federal Government, the Southern Rhodesian Europeans and Sir Roy Welensky, who is a Northern Rhodesian. This Report clearly demonstrates that this action was taken by the Governor on his own initiative in the interests of Nyasaland. I hope that at last that 368 suspicion will be completely and finally removed.
It would be wrong in a debate of this sort to end without some reference to the future. For everyone in Africa, if not here, the future is vastly more important than what has happened in the recent past. We must have absolute, complete confidence re-established and developed between one race and another. Here I agree with the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East. Last time I was in Southern Rhodesia I asked my friends—I admit that they are only a small cross-section—"Do you, or do you not, believe that in the end the success and permanency of federation must depend on consent?" They all said, "Of course it must".
The other day, in order to emphasise something which people have not already realised, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister again emphasised that the Government intend fully to implement all that is in the Preamble to the Constitution. I should like to see the Federal Government recognising that and saying they have no quarrel with that statement but support it entirely. I should like them to go one step further and say that the Federal Government realise and appreciate that in the long run federation can depend only on consent. The hon. Lady very fairly said that the Federation as it is now may well be the best means, the best umbrella, under which these people can develop. We do not know how long it may take, but once they have got their own established Government, then is the time for them to decide whether they are going to give their consent or not. Of course, if it is going to be by mutual consent it must cut both ways and all three partners should have the same opportunity at that particular time. I believe that if that were once said publicly in the Federation then there would be a good basis on which we could re-establish understanding and mutual trust and create a real hope than when the time came the Federation would not break up but would become vastly stronger.
I speak in this debate with some little advantage, having lived in the area for seven years. I know that gives one no extra wisdom, but, having lived there and now being able to look at the problem from outside, I believe that gives a 369 reasonable background against which to form a sensible judgment of what might happen in the future.
§ 6.9 p.m.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
I hope that the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Nairn) will allow me to tell him that he has made an admirable speech. He is both a Southern Rhodesian who has lived in the Federation and a Tory. He has made a good speech because it was not a typically Southern Rhodesian nor a typically Tory speech. He has told us of his anxieties and fears about federation even in the 1950s and now seven, eight or nine years later we are seeing some of the difficulties which flow from the settlement made at that time.
In this Chamber we constantly hear a cri de coeur from the benches opposite for a bipartisan policy and how much that would help. I am perfectly sincere in believing that that would help the administration in Lusaka or elsewhere, or Tanganyika or Nyasaland, and would help the Europeans who are settled there.
There are Europeans in the Federation who have allegiances to both sides of this House or to none. No monopoly of white settlers or of any other Europeans belongs to the Tory Party. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to have joint agreement in this House when we get the sort of Motion that appears on the Order Paper today. Here was a magnificent chance of accepting the findings of the Devlin Commission. Together, we could have accepted them as being given to us by four honourable men specially picked for the job. Instead, however, the Government have to put down a niggling Motion whereby they pick here and discard there what they favour or dislike in the Commission's findings.
What is the reason for that? The Colonial Secretary is shocked by many of the statements made and the facts outlined by the Devlin Commission. Secondly, many Europeans in Nyasaland are worried about the effect of the Commission's findings upon their own people inside the territory. The Sunday Times had a somewhat harsh gibe about the peoples in Zomba being "between Devlin and the deep black sea". That 370 is a most unfair comment. It was a fair and honest finding by the Commission.
I agree with nearly everything in the Commission's Report. I quite agree that the Governor had either to take action upon the position in the territory or to abdicate. I have been in the protectorate since the emergency, and have spoken and listened to people there. In my opinion, the Governor had to take action or to abdicate. I agree with paragraph 149 of the Report, which says much the same thing. I make no special pleading on my side of the House about the facts and I do not intend even to mention Sir Roy Welensky as a villain in disguise in this particular act.
The second thing about the Commission's findings which I echo wholeheartedly is the overwhelming opposition of the Africans to federation. This lies in the background of the whole situation. It is no good hon. Members opposite making spurious agitation about the rôle and the past performance of Labour Members of Parliament in those territories or, indeed, of present day hon. Members on these benches. Nationalism exists, as does opposition to federation. Had there been no Socialist Party, whether in Denmark, Sweden or this country, all this would have happened as it has happened now. These African people wish to look after their own affairs. That movement has to come sooner or later. The Conservative Party here must be blind to that, because it applies to all Africans, whether Zanzibari, Somali or anyone else. It is a natural, inevitable feature of the dynamic development of the continent.
Thirdly, I agree with the Devlin Commission that there was no massacre plan in the sense in which hon. Members opposite talk of a "plot" in the territory. On 3rd March, in that beautiful land which has often been called an African Switzerland, the security forces went out. They swarmed all over the place. Africans were arrested, on the whole quietly, but where there was any opposition guns were used and something like fifty Africans were killed. I went there a few weeks afterwards, in April. I found the Government and the Governor dispirited and clueless. They were in a vacuum. The Governor was ill at ease. All African leaders who were outside the detention camps were vehement 371 against any association with Southern Rhodesia.
The hon. Member for Central Ayrshire was correct about their views regarding those Europeans who live south of the Zambesi. One can describe the African opposition as pathological, but it exists. It is as much a physical factor as Mount Kenya, Mount Zomba or any other mountain in the continent. This political vacuum in Nyasaland still exists. I asked all members of the Government out there, "How can you govern without the consent of the governed? It is quite impossible that these conditions can continue. You cannot sit upon bayonets." None of the members of the Government had an answer to that perfectly simple question. Like Micawber, they were sitting and waiting for something to turn up. So were the Government here. They then appointed the Devlin Commission. Today the Government Motion by picking and using the facts provided by those four gentlemen and by selecting the bits they like and discarding those they do not like is an insult to the members of that Commission.
I am reminded of a famous cricket match in Yorkshire. A well-known Leeds batsman went down to play at the local village. He went into bat. The local fast bowler came down to the wicket, the ball beat against the pads of this famous visiting Yorkshire batsman and the bowler said, "How's that, Dad?" The umpire said, "He's out, son." That is the psychology of the Government here. They want the umpire and the odds always on their side.
No doubt, there was an increase in lawlessness, as the Report states in paragraph 99, and a policy of sabotage was pursued, instances occurring in Karonga, Fort Hill, Livingstonia and elsewhere. I do not believe that Hastings Banda, who is the undisputed leader of his party, was a willing or, indeed, a knowing accessory to the plot, plan or campaign. I believe that Chipembere had much more knowledge of what was happening. Indeed, Chipembere's speech at Zomba on 20th January was no help whatever, in the way in which 400 people went down to the Boma after hearing it. He was reproved by Hastings Banda.
I am willing to concede that in Africa there is intimidation, but there has been 372 intimidation in the United Kingdom, particularly of farm workers by their employers. It is not unknown for people to apply pressure upon their neighbours or employees here or, in this case, upon fellow Africans. It must not be forgotten, however, that when we talk about intimidation and violent action we are speaking about men who are thwarted and sour because of the policy of the party opposite. It stands out a mile that people like Chipembere and Hastings Banda, as well as some who are not behind bars, are thwarted and sour men. They are unbalanced because they did not know what their future is to be. They still do not know. It is their country, but the Colonial Secretary has been fearfully dilatory and has not given them any definite future of constitutional advance.
My hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) said that way back in 1955 the Colonial Secretary had a glorious chance of giving these peoples an opening towards the end of the tunnel. He could easily have had parity between Africans and Europeans among the elected members in Legco, but he did not do that. Then, to the dismay of all the Africans, he gave the Africans five seats as opposed to six non-Africans in Legco. That was a big mistake, as we told the right hon. Gentleman at the time. It was a big psychological blunder, and we are now paying for it. What difference would one more seat have made in Legco with the Secretary of State's officials in the majority sitting on the benches with the Governor in case of any difficulty through one-quarter of the Assembly—Africans—causing trouble? This was one of the many factors which has disturbed these people and made them so bitter.
Now, we are to have constitutional advance, but again the Africans have been in two minds because of the action of the party opposite. The Governor, Sir Robert Armitage, talked in June of last year of advance early in 1959. But the Secretary of State himself spoke to the Africans when they came over here and said he hoped to have proposals—when? Was it late August or early September? That was the time that was indicated to them. Here we had the Government speaking with two voices. Even then—and I must say this about Hastings Banda, not against him—Hastings 373 Banda as late as the end of January was saying to his own people, "You must be patient." He was willing to go on negotiating with Sir Robert Armitage, the Governor.
We now have a new statement about the next stage for the advance of the 2½ million Africans in this Protectorate. What does it amount to? They are to be given more members in the Legislative Council. They are to be given two more in the Executive Council but they are not to be Ministers. Why cannot we find one African in 2½ million who is able to do a Ministerial job? Why not? It would be a magnificent gesture, as it has been in neighbouring territories, to indicate to those people that we mean what we talk about. Not to do it shows a lack of imagination, and it is lack of imagination which one finds in a colony of this kind. Can one wonder that they are soured, as sometimes they appear to be?
Thirdly, there is the question of this alleged plot. We had sinister overtones way back on 3rd March when the Under-Secretary of State talked about the "massacre" and "plot", etc. He wanted to indicate to us that this was almost a Mau Mau meeting in the bush, as in Kenya. Has he been to Blantyre? Has he seen the place where the meeting took place? Anyone can go past it. It is almost an open glade, just off the highway as one leaves the town of Blantyre. There was nothing at all like a cooking up of conspiratorial and sinister work in the depths of the bush.
This abominable campaign about a "massacre" began in this House. Do Dot let us in any way delude ourselves. There is a lack of synchronisation between the speeches in this House and the Governor's statement in Zomba. He said nothing in Zomba about this sort of plot until 11th March. We were talking about it in this House on 3rd March.
We heard earlier about Mr. John Howard of Blantyre who sent that cable to my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). I attended a number of cocktail parties and talked to people like Mr. John Howard and other businessmen in Nyasaland. I found at those informal meetings heavy sarcasm but very light amusement by Europeans about the alleged massacre plot. They were 374 exceedingly sceptical about this long before the Devlin Commission. Why? Because much of the evidence which the police have is based upon what is told by the police informers. It is not so many months since the time when Lord Malvern flew to London and in another place told us what prevaricators—I put it politely—Africans can be, and, in his view, always are. I saw the European population laugh at this evidence. These Africans are paid informers, paid by the police to tell the police the kind of things the police wish to hear. This was the evidence they were dependent upon. There was, as I say, heavy sarcasm and light amusement at the parties in Blantyre and Limbe a few weeks ago. Here in this House we have had presented the Governor's case, which was based upon this sort of thing.
The behaviour of the forces has been mentioned. I think that the behaviour of the forces has caused intense concern among many people. The Devlin Commission gives a number of examples. I have not time to quote them all, but there was the incident involving Chikafa. They burst in upon this gentleman who is aged about 40, a God-fearing man—a Christian—well known in the local church; they burst in upon him at night, beat him upon the head, bundled him up and whipped him out of the way. That was not untypical of incidents which have happened in this territory.
There have been incidents in Southern Rhodesia, but no one was killed there and everything was done with the minimum of physical force even though people were also picked up; and I would ask the Secretary of State to compare those incidents with some of the incidents in Nyasaland mentioned by the Devlin Commission.
I come to two other matters, the Governor and his officials and the chiefs. It is said by the Devlin Commission that conflict over federation has led to adeep and bitter division of opinion separating the Government from the people.That means that in Zomba they must win the confidence of Africans which they have not got now. How are they going about it? Sir Robert Armitage in his speech from the Throne on 6th July said that he would not allow Hastings Banda or any other leader to return to Nyasaland in a time of danger; and, in 375 his view, this was a time of danger to law and order.
Here again we get this image given to the Africans of Europeans who are unimpeachable and infallible. At least, that is the image they wish to give, but I can assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that often to Africans they merely give the image of stilted despots—may be benevolent, but stilted—when they talk in this way. That is not the way to go about it, nor is the attitude of our Ministers, European Ministers, in the Chamber in Zomba.
I have here—the Colonial Secretary must get a copy of it—a copy of HANSARD of Nyasaland, and it shows the Form II behaviour in the debates in the Chamber. I do not like to say this, but it appals me. I turn to page 57 of the proceedings of the first meeting of the Seventy-fourth Session of the Legislative Council on 7th July, 1959, and I find there an African named Chijozi speaking, and he is interrupted nine times in one page. Seven interruptions are the word "Nonsense" uttered by the Chief Secretary of this Protectorate. That is not the best way to give Africans the picture of Westminster democracy or the working of a tolerant, dignified two-party system. It is not good. I hope no one will laugh at this sort of thing, because we should set the best example possible.
We talk of taking to the Africans our superior culture. We should always give the best possible example we can inside or outside the Chamber. We do not want this superior and patronising manner shown towards African men who have been elected by their own people and are there, obviously, to put the case for their own people. That is not the way to win good will or the way to bring together people of different colours in this mixed society. That is not the behaviour of the standard bearers of Western democracy; not by any means.
The last point is a very difficult one and one I have talked of before to the Secretary of State, about the chiefs and their place in politics. There is a clash in Africa. We have seen it in Ghana, of course; there it is all over. First it is between the new young politicos coming up and the older, traditional, tribalistic chiefs. It is very difficult to find adjustment. We have seen what has 376 happened in Ghana where the Africans themselves are in power and have settled in their own house the relationship of the older and the new powers.
But what is happening in our Central African territories? All too often we use the chiefs—this is not in this Chamber an objectionable word—as "stooges", and use them to carry out our wishes in disciplining the people. This is a most objectionable habit. I could give numbers of examples of where this is happening in Africa. In Northern Rhodesia the African Congress leaders, Kenneth Kaunda and Harry Nkumbula, have been banned in their provinces by the local chiefs acting on the desires of the Chief Secretary or Provincial Commissioners.
It is happening in Nyasaland now, and happens in many places. I should like to quote something which was written, following a Second Devonshire Course at Oxford, by Mr. I. Woodroffe of Tanganyika as reported in the Journal of African Administration about this difficult problem of moving out of an African tribal society. In the past and today we as the European overlords, as it were, use and manipulate the old chiefs to get what we want from the Africans.
Mr. Woodroffe, writing of the old days of Lugard and Cameron in Tanganyika, referred to the continuance today of… the equivocal position of the chief, unable to represent honestly either government to the people or the people to the government and, secondly, the growing practice of using the native authority's legislative power as a means of shifting the odium of restrictive and compulsive measures from central government.This is the important point and we are doing it in Nyasaland. I am thinking, for example, of Chief Chikowe in Zomba Province. We are using chiefs of that kind to do the job, instead of working with the only genuine indigenous national party, the Nyasaland African Congress. This is not a good thing at all and is merely piling up future trouble.
What of the future? We are to have an interim constitution for Nyasaland. Belated, but nevertheless welcome, changes have been made, but will the Colonial Secretary have as nominees people like Mr. Wellington Chirwa and others outside detention, who are as adamant against close association with 377 Southern Rhodesia as are Dr. Hastings Banda and others now in prison? All African leaders are quite clear on this issue. Therefore, the present arrangement is merely a shock absorber. Where will the right hon. Gentleman go next beyond this stage in his constitutional advances? What is to be the future of Dr. Banda? Is he to come out of prison in the next six months, or perhaps twelve months? What will be the future of this man who, by common consent, is the only democratic leader that the Nyasas possess?
We are merely postponing the day of judgment. I beg the Colonial Secretary to think of this and give us something definite soon which will be a target towards which the Africans themselves can aim. The planning of an African constitution is like designing a modern jet aircraft engine. A new constitution is established, but while the first few months of the Legislative Council are being worked out one is thinking of the next stage and the one after that; just as designers have to think of the next jet engine to be used in 1961, 1963 and 1964.
We must look ahead. European leaders like Sir Roy Welensky, Mr. Dixon and Michael Blackwood all say that Nyasaland is to be an African State, but our timing is not theirs. Blackwood talks of 1970, which is quite absurd. I ask the Colonial Secretary to treat this matter as one of urgency and to give the Africans something to look forward to in the future. If he does not, it will have been a waste of taxpayers' money to send out able men like Mr. Justice Devlin to Africa, and the findings of his Commission will be as naught.
§ 6.33 p.m.
§ Brigadier Sir John Smyth (Norwood)
The hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) speaks with great knowledge of the area which we are considering. Therefore, his views must carry a great deal of weight and interest even though we may not all agree with him. I intervene briefly in the debate because I happen to have a good deal of experience of civil disturbances, unfortunately from the receiving end and not from the calm atmosphere of the House. I have also experience of the working of the Hunter Commission, which was very similar to the Devlin Commission.
378 Today, we are discussing the Devlin Commission's Report and I want to bring the debate back to that Report. The hon. Member for Rugby has been giving us some interesting points of view on the general political philosophy in Nyasaland, but we are debating whether or not we shall accept the Devlin Report in toto, as the party opposite wants, or whether we shall accept the greater part of it.
The first point that strikes anyone reading the Report—and it certainly struck me—is how different the Report itself is from Press reports of it and from some of the earlier speeches made by hon. Members opposite. In fact, the Report supports the Government without any doubt on the major issue, and it makes quite clear that both the Colonial Secretary and the Governor acted with only one end in view throughout, which was to ensure the safety of the people of Nyasaland, black and white, and the maintenance of order and responsible government.
§ Sir J. Smyth
Had they not taken the steps which they did, the situation in Nyasaland today would have been very much worse than it is. Forty years is quite a large slice in the lifetime of one person but a very small period in the history of our Commonwealth.
I want to refer back to the Punjab riots in India in 1919 and the Hunter Commission which followed. I do not want to say much about the riots except that I believe that, had they been handled as promptly as the disturbances in Nyasaland were handled by the Colonial Secretary and the Governor, they would not have assumed anything like the dangerous proportions they did and the casualties would not have been anything like as great.
Those disturbances were followed by the setting up of the Hunter Commission. I had certain experience of the workings of that Commission, which was very similar to the Devlin Commission. Lord Hunter was a Scottish judge, as opposed to Mr. Justice Devlin, who is an English judge, otherwise the composition and the procedure of the two Commissions were fairly similar. The Hunter Commission sat in Lahore, 379 where I was stationed as a brigade-major and I was ordered to give evidence before it, but by the time the Commission arrived there I was on a frontier campaign. I did not give evidence, but I saw enough of the proceedings to form an opinion on how the Commission worked.
It was quite obvious that any commission like that in a country like India or Africa is up against a tremendously difficult job in sorting out the mass of evidence that comes before it, a great deal of it, of course, given in a foreign tongue. The Hunter Commission heard the evidence in open court and was given power to summon witnesses, which, I think, was an advantage, because it could pin-point the various people whom it wanted to question and could ensure that they came before it and gave their evidence. It was suggested at the time that the majority of the witnesses, quite naturally, were "agin the Government." Witnesses who supported the Government did not trouble to come before the Commission. They left it to the Government to fight their own case and I think that that would be the position with any commission of this sort.
It was extraordinarily difficult for the Hunter Commission to come to correct conclusions on every fact. It came to a certain number of correct conclusions, but to those who knew the people and the locality some of its other conclusions were quite obviously not correct, through no fault of the Commission's but simply because of the inexperience of the people who gave the evidence. I think that the Devlin Commission was much better managed. First, the Commission was appointed much more promptly by the Colonial Secretary, who was anxious that nothing should be hidden, that everything should come out into the open, and, secondly, I think that it came to sounder conclusions on the major points.
I would stress again the great difficulties which the Devlin Commission was up against. The members of the Commission were only five weeks in Nyasaland, during which they travelled extensively. They heard 455 individual witnesses and 1,300 witnesses in groups. They had to study 585 memoranda and a mass of other literature. Unlike the Hunter 380 Commission, they heard all their evidence in private. I do not know whether that was better or not. Certainly, the people who were accused had no right of cross-examination, nor were they allowed to hear the whole of the evidence. This was simply because a tremendous lot of work had to be done within a short time.
The Report acknowledges this and states that the Commission heard a great deal of criticism of the Government. This bears out what I have said already, that in such commissions the majority of the witnesses are against the Government since, if they are for the Government, they leave it to the Government to make their own case. The Report states emphatically, and, I think, fairly, that in view of the conditions I have outlined it would be a great injustice if anyone, whether European or African, were to stand condemned as a result of any finding in the Report. I think that we should dwell on those words.
The Hunter Commission, on the other hand, demanded sacrifices. It demanded resignations and it demanded that heads should fall. I have never found anyone with experience of India at that time, and of the Punjab disturbances and of the Hunter Commission, who did not come to the conclusion that the Commission, and all the sacrifices it demanded, did more harm and put progress towards the self-government of India much farther back than the actual disturbances.
As has been said, the Devlin Commismission Report supports the Government on the main points. It states that in the situation which existed on 3rd March, the Government had either to act or to abdicate and had to resort to emergency powers. It also states definitely that the grave situation which arose was the result of the policy of violence adopted by the Nyasaland African Congress.
The Commission disagrees with the Governor on the point of the plot or massacre. I shall not dwell on that, because it has been brought out clearly on both sides of the House, but the Report states that there was talk of beating and killing Europeans. That, as I well know, in such a situation is very inflammable stuff indeed; and a lot of inflammatory speeches were made. I 381 believe that the Governor's action in the circumstances was absolutely correct and that he would have been guilty of criminal folly, in the face of what had happened and the information that was given to him if he had not taken that action and there had been very much more serious rioting.
Now I want to say a word in support of the people who were engaged, whether as district commissioners on the civil side or as armed police or as the military, in a very difficult job. The most difficult and unpleasant job any soldier can be ordered to perform are the duties in aid of the civil Power. We all avoid them like the plague if we can, but sometimes we cannot do so. This is a tremendous test in many ways. There is always the fear at the back of everyone's mind of what will happen if the troops or the armed police are allowed to come to close quarters with the mob. There is the question of whether one should fire at all, when one should open fire and, if so, who should be fired at and how many rounds should be fired. In my experience, in every case where no action has been taken and an inflamed mob has been allowed to come into close contact with the troops, great confusion has always resulted and there have been many casualties. One must remember that these things take place in conditions of hysteria and fear.
I will give the House an example from my own experience. In 1930, in Peshawar City, there was a riot in the Kabuli Gate, and the Deputy Commissioner refused to give the order to fire, even to fire one shot. The troops and the mob came into close contact and 70 people were killed. My Deputy Commissioner and I, when I had to take over Peshawar City shortly afterwards, were determined not to allow this to happen again. We felt that it would be better to fire one or two early shots at the people who were doing damage rather than to allow such a situation to be repeated.
Another riot occurred from a most extraordinary circumstance. It was the kind of thing that happens on such occasions and for which the troops are apt to be blamed. There was at the Kabuli Gate a small British guard. Everything was tense, as it is on those occasions, and while I was inspecting the guard the corporal, whose fingers were all thumbs, 382 was struggling with the bolt of his rifle which had stuck. When I lifted the curtain he slammed home the bolt and quite forgetting he had then got a round in the chamber he pulled the trigger.
There was an appalling bang. I did not know where the bullet went. No one really believed afterwards what actually happened, because if the soldier had tried for a hundred years to do what he did do, he could not have done it. Outside was an Indian cart with an Indian woman and two children in the back. The bullet went through the door, hit the first child and went through the woman. By that time the bullet had formed into a lump of lead and it blew the other child's head clean off. From that occurrence, which I knew no one else would believe was a pure accident, a violent riot broke out.
I hope that we shall extend our sympathy to the troops and the police in Nyasaland who were confronted with the same kind of situation, since whatever they did it would probably be the wrong thing. From the security of this Chamber we should not condemn lightly any action which they might take in good faith, so I want to associate myself with what the Governor said at the end of his Report, namely, that he wanted to pay a tribute to the way in which all ranks had carried out their duties.
§ Mr. W. Griffiths
I realise that the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth) has had a very distinguished career as a professional soldier, but is he really saying that when there is a Commission, of this kind and the House is considering its Report, we should not occasionally find it necessary, on the evidence, to criticise subordinates?
§ Sir J. Smyth
I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is that it is not possible always to get absolutely right in the minds of a judge and a Commission the true facts of these little riots, these little situations, which have occurred in conditions of great fear and hysteria, and that it is rather harsh sometimes for the subordinates to be condemned on those grounds.
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
To be fair, the Devlin Commission is quite emphatic on the subject of the troops. It said that no one was trigger-happy. It 383 would be unfair to suggest that the Governor himself had paid that tribute without admitting that the Devlin Commission took the point which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has stated.
§ Sir J. Smyth
If I did not mention it, I will do so. I believe that the Devlin Commission did an extremely good job. I do not agree with every conclusion that it reached. Nevertheless, I think that it did an extremely good job.
§ Mr. William Yates (The Wrekin)
With regard to the composition of the Commission, was not Mr. E. T. Williams a professional soldier of good standing?
§ Sir J. Smyth
He was a professional war soldier. [Laughter.] He was a very distinguished war soldier in North Africa, but he has, I think, reverted to his civil rôle and is at the moment a professor at one of the universities. Therefore, I should call him a temporary professional soldier.
I hope that there will be a change of heart on the part of the Congress leaders and that it will be made absolutely clear between them and the Governor that any amount of criticism of the Government is in order, but that violence is not. I hope that the Colonial Secretary and the Governor will give confidence to those in Government service in Nyasa-land that we shall support them provided that they have acted correctly. Otherwise, we shall get no volunteers for Government jobs in Nyasaland or any other Protectorates.
We are extremely lucky that we have a Colonial Secretary and a Government who have the deepest sympathy with African opinion in its struggle towards self-determination and independence but are, at the same time, absolutely firm that no progress can be made in an atmosphere of violence and civil disturbance.
§ 6.54 p.m.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
I hope that the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth) will forgive me if I do not follow him in his speech, which was very largely devoted to his experiences in India. I know something about Africa, however, and that many peaceful people often gather 384 together when they are in a state of confusion without desiring in any way to cause unrest, without inviting disturbance and without wishing in any way to participate in a riot. I know that many African people are peaceful in their intentions, but when their leaders are arrested without any cause being given it is understandable that those Africans will go to the district commissioners or the bomas to see the officials and inquire what has happened to their leaders That point had been brought out only too clearly in the Devlin Commission's Report.
One thing that has struck me during the debate has been the appalling complacency of hon. Members opposite who have spoken. We started off with a very suave, self-satisfied speech from the Attorney-General, a disgraceful speech which did not rise to the occasion in any way. It was a lawyer's brief, as it was so rightly called by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan).
As I listened to the debate I remembered the one that we had in the early hours of this morning on Hola. I wonder whether there is an hon. Member for Wolverhampton on the other side of the House who will speak in this debate. Is there not a single hon. Member opposite who is prepared to judge the Report objectively and realistically, instead of hon. Members getting up one after the other to make their little party political pieces? Is there not a sincere and honest Member on the other side of the House who is prepared to come forward and judge the Report objectively and trust the members of the Commission, honourable, eminent men who were appointed by the Colonial Secretary himself?
One interesting speech has been made from the other side of the House, that by the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). However, he had not read the Devlin Report as thoroughly as he perhaps should have done before he spoke. Reading from page 128 of the Devlin Commission's Report, he gave the impression that the Commission had reported that the security forces concerned had not in any way been trigger-happy, but, as a sentence which I will quote demonstrates, the Commission was there referring to 385 incidents which took place before 3rd March. The Report says:In the incidents that we have so far recorded we have not found anyone who was 'trigger-happy'.A great part of the speech of the Attorney-General was devoted to referring to some incidents which took place before the state of emergency was announced. Perhaps the House will forgive me if I draw attention to an incident which took place after the state of emergency was announced. Paragraph 274, on page 136 of the Report, refers to an incident at Chiwaliwali. It says:On 19th March an extensive operation was going on in the Central Province to surround three villages in the Kota-Kota district, of which Chiwaliwali was one. The plan was that the troops should take up their positions at dawn on the hills on all four sides of the villages and then move down into the villages searching the bush on the way, and, it was hoped, driving into the villages anyone who had gone into hiding outside of them. Just after 5 a.m., while it was still half light, a warrant officer in command of a R.R.R. platoon got his men to the top of the hill, where they were to spread out. Although in a territorial battalion, the warrant officer was a regular soldier and had had previous experience in Malaya. As he got to the crest, he saw four figures crouching down, moving up the hill towards him. When they got close to him, closer than 20 yards, he called on them to stop. They turned and ran back towards the villages. He called out a warning a second time and then fired. He had a Sterling gun which was supposed to be on repetition, but which was actually firing automatically. Altogether he fired three bursts of three shots each. After the first burst he was aware it was not firing on repetition as it should have been. In the half light he assumed that the figures were men, but, in fact, one was a woman with a baby on her back. The woman was killed, but the baby was unharmed. We do not think that this shooting was done wilfully; but we are clear that it was not necessary.
The last sentence is:The party had been turned back so that they were running in the direction towards which it was intended to drive them, back into the villages which were being surrounded.Obviously, that platoon was not carrying out its instructions. It was trigger-happy. If the state of emergency had not been announced in the way that it was, in this House by the Colonial Secretary, that woman could be alive today to take care of her baby. As it is, she and 50 other Africans are dead. It is impossible for us to judge whether there 386 would have been more killings and exactly what the circumstances were. But we say that the Government consistently misunderstood, misrepresented, and wholly messed up the situation in Nyasaland. They brought the state of emergency and the deaths upon themselves.
In this debate we may well mark the words in this morning's editorial comment in the News Chronicle. It says that the issue goes beyond the result of a General Election—which we are all expecting in October—and continues:It is not confined to Central Africa, but involves the whole Commonwealth and the position of Britain in the world.The kernel of the Commission's report is not the innocence of Dr. Banda, the nonexistence of the 'massacre plot' or the brutalities which accompanied the mass arrests of Africans. It is that a British Protectorate has become a 'police State' because the British Government has refused to accept the passionate opposition of the Nyasa people to the idea of Federation.It may be that this opposition is based partly on ignorance. It may be that the advocates of Federation have a better case than their speeches suggest. What is a fact is that opposition to Federation in Nyasaland is 'deeply rooted and almost universally held'.The British Government has said that 'it cannot and will not go back upon Federation; it treats the question as one that is no longer open' states the Devlin Commission. On the one issue which matters in Nyasaland the Government is totally divided from the governed.Nyasaland may be temporarily compelled to stay, gagged and bound, in the Federation. But the trend of events will break the Government's policy even if conscience is ground into dust and promises treated as mere tactical devices.The News Chronicle continues with a most damning indictment of the Government.
The Government stand condemned for their deliberate and calculated attempts to impose federation on the unwilling Nyasa people. This is apparent from the Report by four impartial witnesses, men of outstanding merit who were appointed by the Colonial Secretary. These men have now confirmed that almost unanimously the Nyasaland people are opposed to federation with the Rhodesias. It is because the Colonial Secretary and the Government have ignored the pleas of the Nyasa people that, in desperation, they turned to Dr. Banda and asked him to return to Nyasaland to lead them in their campaign.
387 If the pleas of the Nyasa people had been heard in 1953, 1954 or even in 1956 and 1957 it is possible that Dr. Banda would never have returned to Nyasaland. The Commission confirms that Dr. Banda did not want to foment opposition to federation. He was willing to give it a chance and he went to Ghana to settle down and follow a practice there. But such was the insistence of the Nyasaland people that he eventually agreed to return to take over the leadership of Congress.
The Commission confirms the widespread opposition to federation. It also confirms that the Nyasaland Government took steps to inform the Secretary of State of the extent of the opposition to federation. Did the Colonial Secretary consider the information which he received from his own Governor, information which is now confirmed in the Devlin Commission Report that the people of Nyasaland were strongly opposed to federation?
Notwithstanding this opposition to federation, the Government have proceeded in their callous plans to disregard the wishes of the Nyasa people and steamroller that country into federation with the Rhodesias. Such enforced federation is almost without precedent. The secret agreements made with Sir Roy Welensky in 1957 confirmed the suspicions of Dr. Banda and the Nyasas. Promises were made about the date of the constitutional conference and perhaps other arrangements were made which have not yet been revealed to this House. The Government were willing to make these concessions to Sir Roy Welensky, but they were not willing to make any announcements about the Nyasaland constitution, which were anxiously awaited by the Nyasa people.
When the story of the Government's handling of the Nyasa constitutional arrangement is examined, we will find that it is a story of delay, procrastination and still more delay. The Government knew of the temper of the Nyasa people. They knew how desperately anxious the Nyasas were to have a properly representative legislative council before the constitutional conference took place in 1960. The Nyasa people knew that without their legislative council it would be possible for the British Government to sell them into federation 388 against their will. That is why, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East said, the Nyasa people were so insistent that before the 1960 constitutional conference took place they should have a properly representative legislative council.
On 6th March, 1958, the Colonial Secretary said that an announcement on constitutional reform would probably be made in the late summer. On 13th June he saw the delegation from Nyasaland which was led by Dr. Banda. The right hon. Gentleman told the delegation that he understood their anxieties about constitutional reforms and that he was expecting recommendations from the Governor of Nyasaland. In fact, although the Colonial Secretary said that he understood the anxieties of the Nyasa people, he took no account of them, because when the Governor of Nyasaland returned from leave on 15th August he said that he had no announcement to make on the constitutional changes at present. The delays and procrastination continued until, on 21st November, Dr. Banda made it clear that he was anxiously awaiting the proposals for constitutional reform.
It is against this background of enforced entry into federation of the Nyasa people, the continued denial to them of democratic representation, the promises made to Sir Roy Welensky about the future of federation behind the backs of the Nyasa people and behind the backs of hon. Members in this House, the fraud of the Federal Constitution which the Government pushed through against Liberal and Labour opposition, the tearing up of the African Affairs Board and the safeguards which it was supposed to represent, that we must judge the development of the Congress campaign against federation and the Government itself.
Who are we to judge? Which one of us put in that position would not have considered making the most vigorous protest possible against the repressive measures adopted by the Nyasaland Government. The restrictions on meetings were yet another annoyance to the Congress organisers, as were the restrictions on the Nyasaland chiefs who wished to support the Congress because Congress was expressing the desires and wishes of the Nyasa people, as is confirmed in the Devlin Report.
389 We on this side of the House believe that the Colonial Secretary is largely responsible for this background of events which has led the Nyasa people right over the brink of frustration. By his policies and his actions the Colonial Secretary has been inviting disaster. He has been slamming doors in the faces of the Nyasa people and he must not be surprised when they, in their turn, try to knock those doors down.
Faced with the criticism in the Devlin Report, is the Colonial Secretary still prepared to defend his actions? Apparently he is. I should like to ask the House to consider the action of the Colonial Secretary a little more closely. The House will remember that the Colonial Secretary returned from a visit to the Aden Protectorate and Cyprus on 1st March. On 2nd March, he was helping to guide through the House the Colonial Development and Welfare Bill.
He therefore had a very short time to examine the intelligence report of 13th February which was waiting for him at Church House when he arrived back from his visit to Aden, but on 3rd March, without adequate consideration of that intelligence report, on his own responsibility—as my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East said—he announced the murder plot in the House. He announced it in a statement, when he said:… there was such clear indication of the intention of Congress to stir up further disturbances, involving widespread violence and the murder of European, Asian and moderate African leaders.He also referred to it in his speech, when he said thatinformation made it clear that plans had been made by Congress to carry out widespread violence and murder of Europeans, Asians and moderate African leaders; that, in fact, a massacre was being planned."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd March, 1959; Vol. 601, c. 216–290.]Why did he refer to a murder plot and a massacre? In this connection, I want to put three points before the House for its consideration. It was not necessary for him to do this to justify the announcement of the emergency. In other territories and in other circumstances states of emergency have been announced without murder plots being produced. Secondly, he knew that the Governor of Nyasaland was not going to refer to a murder plot in the broadcast 390 taking place that morning Thirdly, he knew that the Governor of Nyasaland had already advised him—and this is the most important point—that the Government of Nyasaland thought that the murder plot was a possibility rather than a probability. This is pointed out in the Devlin Commission's Report and was rather obviously excluded by the Attorney-General when he was reading extracts from that Report.
I would ask the House to consider paragraph 177 of the Report. It says:The Government view"—that is, the Nyasaland Government—as expressed to us, was that the murder plot was a possibility rather than a probability …Why did the Colonial Secretary, on 3rd March, announce the murder plot as a definite fact when he had been advised by the Governor of Nyasaland that it was only a possibility and not a probability? These facts were well known to the Colonial Secretary. At that time he had the intelligence report of 13th February to go by.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
Why does the hon. Member say that the Colonial Secretary was so advised?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
He must have been so advised, otherwise there was negligence on the part of the Governor of Nyasaland in not so advising him, and negligence on the part of the Colonial Secretary in making his announcement in the House on 3rd March without making any further inquiries of the Government of Nyasaland. He could have got in touch by radio-telephone to check the facts. Surely the Government of Nyasaland would have told the Colonial Secretary that they considered the murder plot to be only a possibility and not a probability.
The intelligence report of 13th February is based upon information provided by one main informer, who is supposed to have obtained information from a branch chairman of Congress. As the Commission says, this sort of information is subject to a double danger, first, that the story is exaggerated by the original informant, and, secondly, that it is exaggerated by the informer himself.
These points should have been well known to the Colonial Secretary. Why 391 did not he bear them in mind before he made his announcement in the House? He decided to rush in where angels fear to tread and to announce from the Dispatch Box a massacre plot. He had two quite legitimate courses of action open to him, yet he chose to take neither. He could have ignored the plot altogether in his public statement, checking it behind the scenes. Alternatively, he could have been quite frank with the House and told hon. Members what information he had available, explaining his difficulty in interpreting the intelligence report and asking the House to follow him in his difficulty in interpreting it.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
Later in the debate my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies laid before the House detailed particulars of disturbances which had resulted in deaths, stretching back thirteen or fourteen days before 3rd March—before the emergency was declared. Such facts were laid before the House, and, in the opinion of the Devlin Commission, they fully justified the declaration of the emergency.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Those deaths arose because the Government prevented Congress from holding illegal meetings, then arrested some leaders, and were then unwilling to give suitable assurances to the people. The result was that the people, being confused, gathered together in crowds to seek an explanation. Then, as the Devlin Commission describes, certain incidents took place. But that was no justification for declaring that there was a murder plot. I will come to what the Under-Secretary of State said in a few minutes.
The Colonial Secretary deliberately decided to announce in this House a massacre plot, and the only reason he had to do so was that he wanted a good political trump card to play. At that time he was under bitter attack from hon. Members on this side of the House. All sorts of things had been going on. The Colonial Secretary had been acting in collusion with Sir Roy Welensky, the Federal Prime Minister—against the advice of his own Governor of Northern Rhodesia—to have me forcibly removed from a Protectorate for which this country is responsible.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
The hon. Member may say "Quite right", but I can tell him that the Governor of Northern Rhodesia made the strongest representations to the Federal Prime Minister about the order to declare me a prohibited immigrant. At no time was the Governor of Northern Rhodesia, or the Governor of Nyasaland, consulted about the action to be taken by the Federal Prime Minister. When the Governor of Northern Rhodesia heard there were rumours about this action he made the strongest possible protests to the Federal Prime Minister. But the Colonial Secretary, speaking in this House, supported the Federal Prime Minister against the advice he must have had from his own Governor.
The Colonial Secretary was under attack, and he had to produce a political trump card. He chose the massacre plot. I say that the Colonial Secretary is a card sharper and a confidence trickster.
§ Mr. Braine
On a point of order. We have suffered a great deal already from the hon. Member's strictures, but is it in order for him to use an expression of that kind against my right hon. Friend?
§ Mr. Speaker
I could not make out what the hon. Member said. I could hear the sound he was making, but I could not distinguish the syllables.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
What I am saying, Mr. Speaker, is that the trump card was not in the pack of cards which the Colonial Secretary could legitimately use when he made his speech that afternoon. But he chose to use it for political reasons—squalid, party political reasons.
§ Mr. Braine
I thought that you said that you did not hear the expression used, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member accused by right hon. Friend of being a confidence trickster and a card sharper. I would have thought that in any assembly of this kind those were most offensive remarks, and that the hon. Member should have the decency to withdraw them.
§ Mr. Speaker
It is very unusual for hon. Members to call each other card sharpers and tricksters. It is hard language, but it cannot be meant literally. No one has ever seen the 393 Colonial Secretary perform feats of prestidigitation with cards, and the remark must have been meant in a metaphorical sense. But it is not an expression the use of which raises an hon. Member in the eyes of his fellows.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I use a term like that because the actions of the Colonial Secretary are deservedly criticised in the Devlin Commission's Report—a Commission set up by the Colonial Secretary himself.
Not only did the Colonial Secretary make that statement in the House; he also got the Under-Secretary to add weight to the points he had made, later in the evening. I would ask the Under-Secretary what rôle he was cast to play that evening. Did he know the contents of the intelligence report of 13th February? Had he examined it, or was he merely cast in the rôle of his master's voice, or, perhaps, "Little Sir Echo"? Did he know the contents of the Report? The responsibility is on his shoulders as well as on those of the Colonial Secretary. He is just as responsible for misleading the House. It was not until 7th March that the Nyasaland Government referred to the murder plot.
When the Colonial Secretary had made his speech, and the Nyasaland Government had realised that they had already been committed to justifying the murder plot, all the researches and resources of the Special Branch were recruited to build up the evidence for this plot. The methods which the police used should be referred to in this debate. I want to refer to the case of Thomas Karua, who was one of the Congress officials responsible for taking care of tape recordings and films.
On the afternoon of 25th January he was busy taking a film of the so-called secret meeting. I cannot for the life of me understand why Congress should want to make a film of a meeting if it had wanted that meeting to be secret. Obviously, it had no wish to make this meeting purely a secret one. This man Karua was arrested, along with many others, and flown to Bulawayo. In a Press statement and also in a long statement to me, which I had recorded on tape, he said that he was approached by Mr. Hodder and by an inspector of the 394 Special Branch and invited to make a statement about the massacre plot.
Mr. Karua was told in Bulawayo that Dr. Banda and the others would be kept in prison for seven or even ten years. As Karua had a pregnant wife and was a businessman who understood the advantages of having his freedom, they made a special appeal to him to cooperate with them in building up the massacre plot story. Karua went back to his cell and talked to some of his fellow detainees, and they advised him, because he had a passport from Tanganyika, where he had lived a year or so earlier, before he had gone to Blantyre, to accept the invitation to co-operate with them so that he could escape to Tanganyika—escape to the outside world—and tell his story fully and frankly.
Mr. Karua agreed to co-operate with the police. He told them everything that they wanted to know, although the police knew that because Karua had spent only a year in Nyasaland he could not understand the vernacular in that part of Nyasaland. In fact, he could not understand either of the two languages used at the meeting on 21st January, so he could not possibly have been in a position to understand what was going on on that date. The police knew that, but, nevertheless, they prepared a statement for Karua to sign and they encouraged him to put his name to these forged documents. In fact, he did so under pressure, because he knew that unless he agreed he would be kept in detention for a long period.
Not only did they do that, but they also set up a model court consisting of Mr. Finney, Mr. Roberts, the acting Solicitor-General, and Mr. Lomax, of the Security Branch, so that Karua could practise giving his false evidence to this court and so that he could perform properly when he arrived before the Devlin Commission. In fact, Karua was seen by the Devlin Commission on 12th May and the Commission asked to see him again. He was again seen on the 21st May, and it was then that particularly Mr. Williams realised that Karua was not telling the truth. He indicated to Karua that he understood, as he said—we come back to the card game again—Karua was playing with cards. Karua was not in a position at that time to tell the truth because in the room with him was Mr. Roberts, the 395 Acting Solicitor-General, who was listening to what Karua was saying. So Kama, being kept under duress by the police, was unable to tell his full story.
Eventually he got out and his fare was paid for him by the Nyasaland authorities as part of his reward for his co-operation. Eventually he got to Tanganyika and flew to Britain. He appeared again before the Devlin Commission in this country, and told the Commission the full and shocking story. There needs to be a very full investigation into the circumstances under which Karua gave his evidence and I am quite sure that he would be very willing to co-operate very fully with those conducting such an investigation. I wonder whether the Colonial Secretary or the Governor in Nyasaland or the Special Branch officers there are themselves suitable people to carry out that inquiry. If Karua's story is correct then they are, indeed, guilty of very serious practices.
The Nyasaland people are told that they should not worry about political advance and should think only in terms of economic advantages coming from federation. I am glad that the Under-Secretary is here because he is well aware of the aspects of economic development with the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which are also known to the Nyasa people. Many of the Nyasas go to work in Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia. They go to work in the Northern Rhodesian copper mines, for instance, but they know that much of the economic advantage from the development of the resources in the Federation flows not to Africans but to investors, in fact, to capitalist companies investing from the outside.
Indeed, in the case of the British South Africa Company, which is interested in the royalties of the Northern Rhodesia copper mines, the Under-Secretary must know well that the Northern Rhodesian copper mines give more in royalties to the British South Africa Company than they do in payments, wages, food allowances, and so on, to the total African working forces on the copper belt. About £8,800,000 goes to the British South Africa Company and only £7 million to the 38,000 Africans who work in the mines in the Copper Belt. These facts are well known to the Nyasas and that is why they look askance to 396 the case for economic advance so often put forward from the benches opposite. That is one of the reasons that they are so determined to get political advance as well as economic advance, so often promised to them, but which actually does not mean much in practice to the Nyasa worker or peasant.
In conclusion—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I apologise to the House for having spoken at such length, but hon. Members must appreciate that I have not spoken in a major debate at all this year, nor have I spoken since my return from Africa on the circumstances in which I was involved. I think that the House will agree that I have not spent an inordinate amount of time talking about my experiences, although I could have perhaps done so with some advantage to hon. Members opposite who are suffering from so many misapprehensions.
This problem rises above party considerations, but we have had a purely party political approach to this problem by the Government. The Government think more in terms of winning the next General Election than about the future of Nyasaland. This problem concerns the fundamental relationship of Europeans and Africans who should be helped to live together in friendship and equality. But by their actions the Government are all the time making it more difficult to reach that position in Central Africa. This issue is even more important than that, even more important than the future of Central Africa. The Government set up a Commission and now they refuse to accept the facts which are related in the Report of that Commission.
The Colonial Secretary has been found guilty by the jury which he himself set up, guilty of misleading this House. Yet the right hon. Gentleman refuses to withdraw. His decision to cling to office strikes at the roots of our constitutional practice and undermines the doctrine of Ministerial responsibility. The only honourable course for the Colonial Secretary to adopt is to resign.
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker (Banbury)
Earlier this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, I saw you nodding agreement when the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) was saying that in this House we should 397 set an example in good manners to those people overseas who are attempting to adopt some of the forms of government which we practise in this country. I shall attempt to follow that course. Though hard-hitting in his speech the hon. Member for Rugby did keep within the limits of good Parliamentary manners. What he said and what was said by the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) included the presentation of constructive arguments such as we used to hear from the predecessor of the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse). The former Member of Parliament for Wednesbury, Mr. S. N. Evans, occupied a special place in the affections of hon. Members of this House. He spoke with authority, although many hon. Members disagreed with him from time to time. I am conscious of the loss which we suffered when he ceased to be a Member of Parliament.
I was glad to hear the hon. Member for Wednesbury say at the conclusion of his speech that this issue should be set above party politics. I am prepared to leave it to history to judge whether hon. Members opposite or hon. Members on this side of the House have done more to keep the issue of Central African Federation, and the future of so many people of all races who live there, out of the discussions on domestic political issues in this country. Certainly in anything which I say I shall endeavour to do so.
I do not think it much good to job back too far. The hon. Member for Wednesbury went back to 1953 and 1954 when Central African Federation Measures were going through this House. I wish to refer to the happenings of 1951, which the Prime Minister mentioned last week, when this issue first came before the House as a practical proposition. I think it was in 1950, during the second Attlee Administration, when the first conference of officials was called which put forward a unanimous recommendation that federation should be proceeded with. That was followed later by the Victoria Falls Conference when the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) was the chief Government spokesman and leader.
We do not know what happened after that Conference, but it has always been said, and I have never heard it denied, 398 that after the Conference no lead was given to the district officers to go to their people and tell them that federation was a good thing. Despite the fact that the first Conference had agreed unanimously that it was a good thing, after the second Conference the then Government did not give the lead which might have made a difference to the whole of this problem from 1951 onwards.
I wish to take this opportunity to say that I believe that if the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) had remained as Colonial Secretary he had the knowledge and the courage to have given such a lead which might have altered the history of Central Africa. I was one who was in the House in those days and I wish to pay a tribute to the work which the right hon. Gentleman did when he was Colonial Secretary. He came to that office with knowledge and experience of the personalities and problems, and the quality of his work has been equalled and, I believe surpassed, only by my right hon. Friend who at present occupies that office. If the right hon. Member for Wakefield had been Colonial Secretary in 1950 and 1951 I believe, as I have said, that the course of history in Africa might have been changed. But that was not to be, and since 1951 we have had to face these difficulties.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
Is it not the case that the then Government decided that the people of Central Africa should make the decision themselves and that the district officers were given instructions to explain the scheme? Because we did not want to impose it on the Africans it was said that they should be free to make their own decision.
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
That is exactly the line which I criticise. In the more remote areas of Central Africa individual Africans have been used to being told by the district officer whether a thing is good or bad.
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
I think that a lead should have been given by the district officers, but they received no instructions from the Government of the day in this country, and the difficulties which have followed stem from that fact.
399 Despite the failure of the previous Government to that of 1951 it was decided to go ahead with federation. In this House we had, I think, eight debates in the period from 1951 to 1953 and the Central African Federation was established. I do not think that even today there would be a serious denial of the material advantages which flowed from federation, especially in Nyasaland, but there have been two great fears which have dominated the Africans since that time. The first one has been fear regarding land. That has been evidenced throughout the world, certainly in Africa. Land and the rights of people to land is one of the predominant problems. I think that fear led to the disturbances in Southern Nyasaland in 1954, but the public relations work being done by the Government there in putting across the fact that land is within the territorial jurisdiction is overcoming that fear.
The other great fear has been stressed by hon. Members on both sides of the House. It is the fear of racial discrimination. This also could be removed and a lot has been done to dispel it, but not sufficient. I think we may claim that because of federation advances have been made through federal agencies, such as the University, which have brought greater advantages over the federal area than would have been the case had federation not been a fact. In Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia there is still a great deal to be done to conquer this fear, which I believe to be greater even than the fears of the past regarding land.
I have had the opportunity of studying these problems for some years and I have read the Devlin Commission's Report. I believe that they have been exploited by certain extremists in the colonies who took Dr. Banda as their leader. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General dealt in some detail with the Devlin Commission's Report and the part played by Dr. Banda. I do not wish to add anything to what was said by my right hon. and learned Friend beyond these two points. Dr. Banda was the leader of his party when he did not speak the vernacular. I do not know how hon. Members of this House would fare, particularly 400 the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), if we had to make our speeches with the aid of an interpreter. It was difficult for Dr. Banda to check how far his speeches were exaggerated, and obviously it was difficult for him to check his followers in any discussions there may have been.
I do not think Dr. Banda would deny that, as leader of his party, he must clearly be responsible for the failure to control his followers. I do not think that he would disclaim responsibility for the meeting on 25th January. It is fair to say of the Commission's Report that we can accept facts which have been usefully put forward and established and yet disagree with some of the inferences and conclusions drawn by the authors of the Report from those facts. It does not take a lawyer to produce different conclusions from the same set of facts. That happens in many instances in this world.
The difference between the Commission and my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, with all respect to the Commission, is that my right hon. Friend is responsible for the good government of these territories. Therefore, we cannot afford to take the risk which some hon. Members apparently think that the Commission, by inference, suggested that he might have taken. The incident of the district commissioner with somebody waving a spear behind his back has already been gone into in sufficient detail. On Dr. Banda's part in all this and the description of a police State—which, taken out of its context, can be used unfairly—there are different conclusions which I, for one, would draw from the facts which the Commission has so usefully put forward.
I do not think that sufficient benefit of the doubt has been given in the Report to the people who are undertaking in Nyasaland the tremendous task of administering that country. Sometimes, the language of the Report seems somewhat patronising in regard to their "paternalism". We tend in this House to think of all these African territories as being the same. It is some years since I was in Nyasaland, but it is only since 1945, or even more recently, that modern communications have opened up that country and have brought to the central and northern areas some degree of stability, and something like that of 401 the more civilised areas I do not think we can say that the paternalism of the administration there is out of date. District officers must, for some time ahead, assume great responsibility in advising their people in those parts of Nyasaland.
The Report gives very little idea of the sense of responsibility for scattered communities, particularly in the central and northern areas, which the Governors have held. We in this House are particularly conscious of Mau Mau and we have had a number of debates on it. We are more conscious than is the general public outside. Even more so are those in high positions in these territories overseas conscious of these things, and they occasionally see the threat of danger and difficulty. In this case, an adequate information service succeeded in nipping in the bud what might otherwise have become a very dangerous situation.
The best summary of the situation was that which appeared in the Sunday Times this week and which said:… one cannot but be struck by their interest in the legal defensibility of official conduct rather than its necessity in the circumstances as they appeared to the officers on the spot.That is my view of the Devlin Report as a whole. The Report says that the Governor and the Government had no alternative but to "act or to abdicate". I am glad that the Government acted in time. By pointing out the faults and the consequent difficulties the Report does not give the matter in full perspective.
The Governor, in his dispatch, Cmd. 815, says, in paragraph 41, on page 13:The facts are that in the original operation, up to and including 5th March, 263 arrests were made. In seven of these medical examination showed that the force used had inflicted injuries. The Commission discuss six of these cases.…I did not get the impression on reading the Devlin Report, and the criticism the Commission made in these cases, that they were only six cases out of 263. That is an instance in which the Report shows a lack of perspective. I do not believe there are many hon. Members who would have acted differently from the way in which the Governor acted, faced with the problems which confronted him and with his knowledge that the situation could easily get out of hand in such widely scattered communities. The Nyasaland 402 Government faced the alternative of acting or abdicating, and they acted with the necessary speed and secrecy, and within resources which were obviously not as great as they would have liked.
We all regret on both sides of the House that in some instances there was misjudgment and illegal use of force, but in the circumstances which faced the Government of Nyasaland we should congratulate them on how little went wrong rather than criticise them for their shortcomings. Any Commission reporting as the Devlin Commission does in Parts I, II and III cannot disagree that the Nyasaland Government averted a serious threat to the lives and freedom of many people. Though it does not say so specifically, the Commission gives the impression of disagreeing with that.
I am glad that on three points it confirms what my right hon. Friend said or implied on 3rd March. Those points are that in the first case, and in general terms, no one was "trigger-happy". The second is that there was no plot by white opponents of African nationalism to justify the detention and removal of the leaders of the Africans; thirdly, that there was no pressure by Sir Roy Welensky to get the Government of Nyasaland to take the action which was taken.
I hope that one day the part played by Sir Roy Welensky in the very difficult transitional period in Central Africa will be fully appreciated on both sides of this House. I have had the privilege of knowing him for some twelve years and I have great admiration and respect for what he has contributed in that time.
The Governor's reply should have been printed with the Devlin Report, but probably there is some technical reason, apart from the printers' strike, why that was not done. It would have put the Report into better perspective. I do not know whether it is yet too late to do something about that now. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite may laugh, but we have to look at this matter fairly. This is a very serious issue for the people who are trying to grapple with these problems. I suggest that it would have put the situation into better perspective if an answer to the charges made in the Devlin Report had been embodied in the same document.
403 I have not, unfortunately, the document with me, but I hope that one of my hon. Friends may be able to quote in detail the remarks made by the chairman of the Nyasaland Railways about what happened there When intimidation was withdrawn, after action had been taken, and after thirty-six hours, when sixty out of the 7,000 employees had been detained. There was a tremendous uprising in morale which had been steadily falling among the 7,000 railways employees.
I come to my last point. We are all interested in the future and in what we are to do next. We must hope and pray that the emergency will be called off sooner than later and that things will quieten down in Central Africa. I do not think anyone will seriously deny that that decision can only be taken by those who live on the spot and who know what the consequences will be.
Secondly, the constitutional advances were adumbrated and detailed to a certain extent by my right hon. Friend on 22nd July when he stated:It is, therefore, our intention within the next few weeks to increase by nomination the number of African seats on the Legislative Council…. 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."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd July, 1959; Vol. 609, c. 1403.]I hope those advances will be properly explained to the people in Nyasaland and that they will accept this as a very genuine advance towards the goal at which I believe we are all aiming.
It is interesting to see that Dr. Banda says there will be a necessity for European civil servants for as long ahead as virtually he cares to look. It is interesting, looking round the world, to see what a demand there is for personnel, civil servants—technicians as they are called these days—teachers and so on from this country. It is beyond the capacity of this country at the moment to provide all that is required in these territories, but unless there is a certain political stability in these countries and a strong framework of civil servants there will not be that stability which we want to see. We must try to get these people to work better together so that European and, in future, Asian civil servants may remain 404 to help build up that wonderful and delightful country of Nyasaland.
Finally, I do not believe it is beyond the genius of this country, of both sides of the House, of both Houses and of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, with our friends in the Commonwealth themselves with federal experience of these problems—Canada, Australia, India, Nigeria and Northern Ireland are instances which spring to my mind which might usefully be brought to bear with their experience—to work out an acceptable solution for an African State within the Federation.
I make a final appeal to hon. Members opposite. If they really believe, as I think they believed in 1951, that federation is in the interest of all those who live in Central Africa, I appeal to them to stress that, while, of course, still maintaining the right to disagree with the steps the Government of the day may take. Secondly, I ask them to co-operate in the constructive proposals which we believe will come from the Commission to be established. There are a number of right hon. Members opposite—I had better not mention names at this point—who I believe could most usefully contribute towards working out these problems. I believe it would be a very useful contribution needed greatly in the years immediately ahead. It would also give them something to enliven the many years in which, I am afraid, they will remain on the benches opposite.
§ 7.54 p.m.
§ Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)
I think that when most people in this country, and perhaps in other countries, saw the Motion which the Government put on the Order Paper for this debate, they were very shocked. I am certain that when they hear the report of the speech made by the Attorney-General today they will be much more shocked.
The Government appointed a Commission and, when that Commission was appointed, the Colonial Secretary was questioned about it and said he was certain that the Commission would take every appropriate step to arrive at the truth and accuracy of the facts put before it. I am sure that was accepted in this country. When the Report was made by the Devlin Commission it was read with the greatest interest. In Edinburgh, never at any time was there such 405 a run on the Stationery Office to get copies of a Report. That was because it is of particular interest to Scottish people.
Now we have the Government presented with an opportunity of accepting the Report and deciding where we go from here, but letting that opportunity slip from them completely. The Government today could have done something worthwhile to bring about an easement in the tension in Nyasaland. They could have done something worth while today to make it possible in future to bring peace in that country, but unless the Colonial Secretary when he winds up the debate this evening makes a very different speech from the speech of the Attorney-General, it seems to me that in Nyasaland we shall not have peace.
We on this side of the House accept the Commission's Report in its entirety. We accept the point which was stressed by the Attorney-General—at one time he said it was the most important conclusion and at another he described it as the main finding—namely, the need for declaring an emergency. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), who opened the debate on this side of the House, made that perfectly clear. The Attorney-General said that by doing this we avoided a major catastrophe, but I say to him that the end was not achieved in declaring the emergency.
The Under-Secretary of State will be aware that a petition was presented to the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister for Commonwealth Relations. It was presented by a body of Scottish people. That body, the Scottish Council for African Affairs, has many eminent Scottish people on it and from them we have had very important statements. One statement made by Dr. Kenneth Little, Reader in Social Anthropology at Edinburgh University, should be a real warning to the Minister. It said that if the Government do not accept this Report and do not decide to make improvements from now on it might lead to a holocaust in Nyasaland. That is the feeling of many people.
In an Adjournment debate at Whitsuntide, I made a speech in which I carefully weighed every word because I wanted to say nothing which might worsen relations in Nyasaland. I was willing to wait until the Report was published, but 406 the attitude of the Government today so far has made it perfectly clear that they are accepting the parts of the Report that suit them and the parts of the Report that are critical of them or of the Governments in the Federation they are pushing completely aside. What do the Government think the effect of that attitude will be on Africans in Nyasaland?
In speaking of Dr. Banda, the Attorney-General referred to the Commission being impressed by his charm. He said that it had this impression from him as a witness and from other sources, but he did not know what those other sources were. Dr. Banda was, and still is, a member and an elder of the Guthrie Memorial Church in Edinburgh. Only last weekend, the present minister of that church said that although he was not the minister when Dr. Banda was there he had learned from his congregation that the impression that this man had left was of a man of great intellect and a man of peace. Here is a man whom the Government are doing their best to denigrate.
I have here a copy of the Nyasaland Information Bulletin of 6th May, and I want to quote from some parts of it. It was dealing with the events that led up to the declaration of the state of emergency. Here is one statement:To restore order the Government had to bring in troops and extra police and had to spend money on them that would normally have been used to improve our standard of living.I think those words speak for themselves as to what their intention was. The second statement, which indeed shocked me, was this:Some people were hurt in the riots—a few even died.Fifty-one people lost their lives. I should not call that a few. In another part, when telling the Africans and others in Nyasaland about those who had been put into prison, this document stated:Whether they are charged with criminal offences or not the Congress leaders are going to stay in prison for a long time, until they constitute no threat to the peaceful lives of the inhabitants of this country.The last extract is a statement asking people to inform, and this is what it was advising them to do:Tell your District Commissioner or your nearest Government Officer the name of any Congress member who you know has not yet been arrested.407 Yet, right up almost to the declaration of the state of emergency, it was legal to be a member of Congress. This was the one free political organisation for these people. The document goes on to say:You can either report personally to a Government Officer, or, if you prefer to remain anonymous, send an unsigned letter to your District Commissioner or Police Officer giving the name and address of any Congress member still at large. (There is no need to put a stamp on the letter.)This was the kind of bulletin that was going throughout Nyasaland.
§ Miss Herbison
No one is at all surprised that the Commission in its Report should say that it was a police State.Nyasaland is—no doubt only temporarily—a police state, where it is not safe for anyone to express approval of the policies of the Congress Party, to which before 3rd March, 1959, the vast majority of politically-minded Africans belonged, and where it is unwise to express any but the most restrained criticism of Government policyWe did not hear a word about that from the Attorney-General today, and yet unless we discuss these matters, unless we deal with them, and unless we show these people in Africa that we do believe in political freedom for them, there is no hope at all of peace in that country.
It seems to me that ever since the emergency the Colonial Secretary and the Under-Secretary of State, by their statements and innuendoes, have tried to bring discredit on the part which the Church of Scotland has played in Nyasaland. I have read every word of this Report carefully, and I say that the whole Report is a complete vindication of its attitude and actions.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell rose—
§ Miss Herbison
I do not want to take too long. I am sorry, but I cannot give way, as there are still many hon. Members who wish to speak.
If we turn to the pages of this Report, we can see the early part which the Church of Scotland played in Nyasaland. In paragraph 15 we find these wordsIt is very largely to the credit of the early missionaries that peace was brought so rapidly to the Colony and slave trading was ended.408 These were the efforts which culminated in bringing the territory under the protection of the Crown. Right from its earliest days, the Church of Scotland, in conjunction with the African Church and in unity with the three Presbyterian Churches, has played a very important part in the life of the people of Nyasaland.
If we turn to another part of the Report, on page 23, in paragraph 44, we find this:The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian preaches and practises complete equality between the races and many Africans are therefore high in its councils. It does not eschew politics and many of its ministers are also active members of Congress. On this issue, it feels that it is with the people and against the Government. The Church believes that it raises a matter of principle touching the dignity of man and therefore refuses to regard the economic argument as conclusive";
§ Miss Herbison
Certainly, I will read on. I was going to deal with it later. It goes on:it is not as sympathetic as it might be with the difficulties which its outspokenness can cause to the Government.The Church of Scotland does not complain of that.
§ Miss Herbison
The Church of Scotland is a democratic Church. Education in Scotland, which in its early days was so much better than in England, was due to this broad democratic basis of the Church of Scotland, of which I and many of my hon. Friends are very proud. I was going to deal with this matter, because the Church of Scotland is not ashamed of its outspokenness. When one reads this Report, one realises how important it was that there was at least one body of white people and coloured people in Nyasaland who were ready to stand up for the rights of Africans and other people.
I was shocked to read that sentence, but I will now read the following one from the Report:The Government on the other hand feels that it is the duty of all right thinking men to do their best to remove the African fears of Federation.We talk about the economic benefits of federation, and I think that great 409 economic benefit can come from federation. I would have hoped that federation could have become a reality by the will of all the peoples in the country, but in 1953, when the Bill went through this House, there were grave warnings from the people in Africa. When we were talking about Nyasaland, we were told that almost to a man the Africans were against it, and my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) and myself at that time presented a petition on this question from the Church of Scotland.
From this side of the House, we warned the Government at that time not to push federation until perhaps more education on the question could have taken place. Since then, the fears of the Africans in Nyasaland have not been allayed. They have not been allayed by the actions and statements of the Federal Government and Sir Roy Welensky, nor have they been allayed by the actions of our own Colonial Secretary.
When we had the changes in the Constitution in 1955, we on this side warned that they did not go far enough. In 1956, the African Congress was very successful in the elections. The Colonial Secretary seemed to have been warned by the Federal Government of the attitude of these members of Congress, and in paragraph 25 of the Report we find these words addressed to the Colonial Secretary:The Congress party was immensely heartened by its great success in the elections. In Nyasaland people began to think that it might mean the end of Federation and you thought it desirable to make a statement in the House of Commons, which was given special publicity in Nyasaland"—no doubt it was made so that it could be given special publicity in Nyasaland:that Federation had come to stay and that statements to the effect that Nyasaland's participation in it was not on a permanent basis were irresponsible and uninformed.If that is still the attitude of the Government, then, no matter what may be the economic benefits that come from Federation, it will not be accepted by the people of Nyasaland. Before I leave this point, I make this plea to the Government. When the 1960 Conference takes place, let the African people be told that one of the items on the agenda is the discussion of secession. If we were to give them the right to discuss 410 secession we might do something to allay their fears. But if we continue to say to them that never, at any time, will they have a right to secede, then never at any time will we have peace in that land.
The Attorney-General today dealt with what happened from just a few days before 3rd March. He did not deal at all with the rest of the Report that speaks of what led up to the happenings of 3rd March. Yet, if the Government neglect that part of the Report that shows the deeply-rooted fears in the minds of the people of Nyasaland, then, again, they will be doing great damage to our good name and will not be giving the protection to those people that they ought to be giving.
There are many more things that I wanted to say, but I will content myself with making one further statement. If possible, we want to give constructive help in this debate. So far, I have made one constructive suggestion—that of the right to discuss secession. Another is that the Government ought to be strong and should say that the detainees should either be released or brought to trial. If the Government were to say that, it would do away with much of the damage done by the statement in the Nyasaland Bulletin that said, quite brutally, that these people would stay for a long, long time in detention, whether guilty of crimes or not. There is no doubt about it, it was a prejudging of the Report. That is my second constructive suggestion.
The Leader of the House was present at the debate in the Assembly of the Church of Scotland when this question of Federation and Nyasaland was being discussed. It was a wonderful debate, and I am glad that the Leader of the House heard it. I only wish that the hon. Member sitting on the Government Front Bench who seems a little amused to hear me describe it as a wonderful debate could himself have been present. He would have seen that it was a serious debate.
The deliverance was moved by the hon. Doctor George MacLeod but seconded also by a man who had spent almost the whole of his life in the Colonial Service; a man who knew the difficulties, and who did not underestimate the difficulties that there are in these colonial matters—as I do not 411 underestimate them—but was so certain when he made that speech that the Government was wrong in what they were doing in the matter of Federation and Nyasaland. I want to give a statement of Dr. George MacLeod to the Government. I hope that they will accept what he says.
When the Report was published he said:The outstanding issue—remains the future peace of Nyasaland.That is my concern and the concern of all of us on this side—[HON. MEMBERS: "And here."]—but there was no sign of such concern in the speech of the Attorney-General. There was no discussion of what had led to the difficulties and no looking to the future to see how to overcome them.
Dr. MacLeod goes on:Hundreds of thousands of Africans have remained in quiet suspense awaiting this report and it will be a profound pity if they get the impression that it has simply been rejected by the Government.Let the House note those words—"…have remained in quiet suspense.…" They are serious words.
He goes on:Now is the time for a generous gesture by the Government in the light of that part of the report that is critical and the release of all detainees whose only crime was membership in a party that was legal up to the time of their arrest. Nationalism is a world movement and not just an ugly factor in Nyasaland. If it is suppressed it is bound to breed racialism. There is plenty of hope in Nyasaland if the Government move generously and quickly. In such a move I am sure they would have the sincere co-operation of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterians.I leave those words with the Government. I have made certain suggestions. My final suggestion is that the Government should move speedily in giving to Nyasaland a Constitution that would be a great improvement en the present one.
§ 8.19 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Rawlinson (Epsom)
The hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) always speaks with such grace and obvious sincerity that it seems discourteous to disagree with her, but now that the shadow—if I may say it with respect—of John Knox has been introduced into the debate I will leave all that I had to say in reply to her.
412 I think that it is true to say, in criticism of this side, that the remembrance of things past lurks too prominently in the minds of those who sit on these benches, but my criticism of the hon. Lady's speech, and of the Opposition generally, is that they ignore history. Whether or not we approve it, our forefathers gathered together—acquired by sense of adventure, if hon. Members like it, or by commercial greed, if they like it—an Empire, that unfashionable word that we nowadays so rarely use. They acquired an Empire which we and they have since served, for instance, by sending out to the Indian Civil Service the very best graduates we could find in this country and sending out as district commissioners the pick of many of the people in this country.
Looking at the record created by those men and women, and conceding that there have been errors and excesses, it is, nevertheless, generally accepted, as I am sure that it must be, that it is a great record of integrity and honesty, which has been the birthright of all of us here. We are the inheritors.
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale) rose—
§ Mr. Rawlinson
The right hon. Gentleman will have time later to put the case for the Opposition. I shall not give way now.
We are the inheritors. My right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), and all hon. Members are the inheritors. We have inherited the responsibility which has come down to us from those persons who acquired this Empire. [HON. MEMBERS: "Acquired?"] "Acquired" is the word I used. If hon. Gentlemen will remember, I stated the means by which they may have acquired. They may have acquired by the pursuit of commercial greed, or it may have been by adventure, or it may have been an escape from this country.
Abdication of the position at present would be utter cowardice. There is a great temptation to be a little Englander and to cast aside the responsibilities which have been handed down to us. One sees a tremendous difference between the Opposition and the Government about responsibility. Hon. Gentlemen opposite presumably have the idea that 413 we will ultimately hand over the responsibility in all these countries to, we hope, established institutions and mature people. We should remember that less than 130 years ago there was no representative House of Commons.
The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mrs. Slater) will not, I hope, think me ungracious, but forty years ago she would not have had a vote and would not be able to sit in the House of Commons. It is only very recently that we have received and obtained what is now suggested to be universal franchise. Nevertheless, it is still limited in this country. Skilled apprentices of 18 may not vote. Active service soldiers aged 19 may not vote. A wife and mother aged 20 may not vote. Presumably they cannot vote, though they may be skilled and educated, because it is said by hon. Gentlemen and hon. Ladies in the House of Commons that they have not yet reached the age of 21 and, therefore, have not the maturity to make up their own minds. That is the system in this country. If a person lacks maturity, expressed in this country by a lack of years, if he has not reached the stage when he can make a sensible judgment, he is not permitted to have the vote.
I only hope that we can learn something from the past and that, with the emergence of Africa, Africa will learn a lesson from Europe. Are we to go back to the small warring tribes? Do we want on the great Continent of Africa small nations split up into various pieces and kinds? Our responsibility is to prevent that. [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite apparently want that, but they seem to me to be continually going back to what happened in the past. Time is needed to see that Africa should develop in a way that Europe has not developed. Federation holds out a hope, if it is a true partnership, and if it is an ideal sincerely believed in, which I trust and believe that the people of Africa will take. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) keeps up a continuous commentary, no matter who is speaking. Perhaps he will be the next to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker.
The troubles in Nyasaland arose because of the misundertsanding of what federation should be. So it comes about that we are debating the Report of the Devlin Commission. It is a Report 414 which some hon. Members think that we are not entitled to criticise, although I can remember other Reports when hon. Gentlemen opposite took pieces out of them and duly criticised them. The Report has certain passages in it which are extremely difficult to accept. However, it is important to note the complaint made by the Commission about the absence of any cross-examination of witnesses and the inability of having counsel present to cross-examine. That has always been the essence of the elucidation of truth and the testing of evidence.
If I was defending a man who had a spear raised at someone's back, can any hon. Member believe that, as defending counsel, I could submit, "Actually, there is no evidence that he was going to dig it into that man's back"? Would I for a moment be entitled to say that in a court of law in this country? An African lunged at a man with a rifle and grabbed at the rifle. It was said that there was no evidence that he wanted to take the rifle away and that he was acting only out of fear. The Commission said of the African who was swinging an axe in the Cholo-Luchenza Road that it did not think that he intended to attack. If a lawyer was defending a criminal in a court in this country would any of those matters be acceptable evidence?
Therefore, there are matters in this Report about which one is entitled to say that that is the evidence, but the inferences drawn from the evidence are unacceptable. We find them unacceptable because the truth appears to be that there has been what was described as a legalistic approach to these matters, which one finds difficult to accept. There is comment about the freer use of the baton in Africa than in the United Kingdom. There is criticism of the lack of exact guidance with regard to troops and the Nkata Bay incident, where the District Commissioner, who will have read this account, appears to have acted with remarkable courage, though he may have made every strategic mistake. It seems to be a very ungenerous criticism of him.
I cannot accept, either, what the Commission says about Dr. Banda. The establishment of the political Messiah is not an unknown technique—the saintly, if vain, leader; the demagogue, not himself advocating violence, but surrounding himself with extremists and appreciating 415 that violence must be inevitable. If Dr. Banda is an intelligent man, which I understand him to be, it is naive to believe that he did not know what was happening around him.
I am quite unable to see the distinction between beating and killing Europeans, on the one hand, and cold-blooded assassination, on the other. I do not know what would be the difference to the corpse. I should have thought that where there has been evidence of intention to beat and kill, that would be sufficient to say that there was a murder plot. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who was killed?"] I am surprised at this continual cry by hon. Members opposite, who seem distressed that nobody was killed. There is the evidence of what was said at the meeting on 27th January, that they would hit Europeans or cut throats, and when they were told to fight without fear. Was it to be war without casualties and cutting throats without bloodshed? It is not just the evidence but the inferences which arise with which I am concerned.
I know that there have been errors of judgment in Africa. There has obviously been the use of some excessive force. But the duty and responsibility still remains with this country, and the attitude of hon. Members opposite does great damage to this country and to the Colonial Empire.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)
It is a somewhat odd comment for a barrister and learned Member of this House to complain that the Devlin Commission is a legalistic commission. This, surely, was the exact purpose of the Government in sending out the Commission, namely, to send out a judicial body.
I have listened carefully to all the speeches which have been made from the benches opposite tonight. In many ways, they were speeches arguing not with the Opposition here but with the members of the Devlin Commission. I can only say to hon. Members opposite, from the Attorney-General onwards, that I think public opinion in this country, faced with an argument between a judicial body of the eminence of the Devlin Commission and the kind of argument which we have heard from the 416 politicians on the benches opposite, will be bound to give much greater weight to the objective report in this remarkable document produced by Mr. Justice Devlin and his colleagues.
So far as I can understand it, the main reason which the Government supporters give for not accepting the Devlin Report, and in particular the suggestions that there was excessive force used and that there was no evidence to support the suggestion of a murder plot, is that there was a widespread plan for murder and violence. The Devlin Commission's findings exist for us to read. It has been widely commented that the killings and the injuries which occurred were carried out entirely at the hands of the forces of law and order and not at the hands of the rioters, with the exception of six Africans and Europeans injured. In addition, there is a very revealing sentence in the Report stating thatFirearms were used unsuccessfully by Africans upon two occasions.That was the extent of the organised violence and murder which hon. Members opposite think was a murder plot.
§ Mr. Thomson
I shall be coming to that point. In fact, the arms that were used by the Africans in cases of disturbance were pathetic objects like agricultural implements, sticks and stones. Scottish missionaries out there, many of them living in very remote areas, are able effectively to dispose of the allegation that there was a widespread murder plot by pointing out that they were living alone surrounded by Africans and that if there had been any organised campaign of violence there were bound to be Europeans and other Africans killed. The fact that this did not occur is itself sufficient evidence.
The Government argue that it does not matter whether there was a murder plot, since murder by any other name is just as serious. I invite the House to turn to the tragic story of Nkata Bay as told by the Commission in poignant prose with all the inevitability of a Greek tragedy. I would be the last one to utter any criticism of the district commissioner, who was placed in a difficult position 417 there, but almost half of the total casualties in the disturbances took place at Nkata Bay, and in paragraph 229 of the Devlin Commission's Report we find these words:But the safeguarding of the prisoners was not the D.C.'s real anxiety. From first to last his chief fear was for the European women and children. This is the only clear case we have come across of a belief in the murder plot having a significant effect on the course of events.
§ Mr. Thomson
In paragraph 239 the Commission goes on to say:It may perhaps be said on the one side that if he'"—that is, the district commissioner—had not entertained unreasonable fears about the intentions of the crowd, there need have been no death roll at all.Nobody can ever tell what is the real truth of this matter, but those who were in control of the policy in Nyasaland and allowed district commissioners to believe in this sort of organised murder plot—
§ Mr. Braine rose—
§ Mr. Thomson
—for the assassination of European women and children certainly have a very heavy responsibility to bear.
§ Mr. Braine
On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman is repeating statements—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not a point of order."]—which are deliberately misleading the House, Mr. Deputy-Speaker.
§ Mr. Thomson
I have very little time left otherwise I would gladly give way to the hon. Member opposite. I have been quoting directly from the Commission's Report and hon. Members can look up the references.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) said in her very moving speech—
§ Mr. Thomson
—one of the most satisfying features of the Report is the way it vindicates the views which have been expressed both by the Church of 418 Scotland in this country and by Scottish missionaries who have played such a notable rôle out in Nyasaland. Some of those missionaries have conveyed to hon. Members on this side of the House, and, no doubt, to hon. Members on the other side of the House, reports during the period of the emergency of excessive force being used by the forces of law and order, and as a result there have been aspersions cast on the missionaries out in Nyasaland.
I quote what was said in the Devlin Commission's Report at page 98 where an account is given of arrests in the Mzimba district. It says that those arrestedincluded a party of four, all of whom had come quietly on being arrested. They were handcuffed, trussed and gagged and then put into landrovers …They were carried a total distance of 120 miles. The Report says:One of the four was a Presbyterian minister.… The minister, who was also an active and outspoken member of Congress, was the Reverend Henry Makwakwa who had been arrested at his manse. He had been a chaplain in the K.A.R. for two years and he was described by the camp commandant at Kanjedza, who knew him, as 'a very good front line padre'.I can hardly think of any action which is more likely to make the constructive work of reconciliation in Nyasaland more difficult than this kind of handcuffing and trussing and gagging of an African Presbyterian minister who had this kind of record. This fully vindicates the reports which have come from Scottish missionaries who have been doing such a fine job out there—reports which Ministers have from time to time, at Question Time and so on, in this House attempted to discredit.
§ Mr. Braine rose—
§ Mr. Thomson
I want to turn from a consideration of these things to the real issue that faces the House in this debate and that is the issue of what will take place in the future. I believe that the real tragedy of the debate is that the Government have let go a priceless and perhaps never to be repeated opportunity of bringing about peace in Nyasaland. It seems to me that the Devlin Commission went out of its way with deliberate emphasis to try to make possible a new start by exonerating Dr. Banda of any 419 complicity in violence and emphasising his continuing good will towards the Government.
The Commission says:We think that Dr. Banda would never have approved the policy of murder and that he would have intervened decisively if he had thought that it was so much as being discussed. We think that he was quite honest in saying that he did not approve of violence in principle.It also says:The Governor himself made an excellent impression on Dr. Banda when he met him and one which has not been effaced. Dr. Banda declined to believe that the Governor was himself the author of the White Paper and wished us to assure the Governor that even now he has nothing against him.What folly it is, in the light of the opportunity offered by these words in the Commission's Report, for the Colonial Secretary and the Government to brush aside this possibility of peace by expressing a determination in advance of the Report to keep Dr. Banda in gaol and by repeating the allegations made in the White Paper of Dr. Banda's complicity in violence.
I can understand that hon. Members on both sides of the House find themselves uncertain about the particular weight to lay on each particular evidence produced by the Report, but I should have thought that everybody, on both sides of the House, would have been looking for every opportunity to try to bring about a reconciliation in Nyasa-land. I believe that these paragraphs in the Report were deliberately put in in the hope that the Government would seize upon them to allow a new start to be made.
There have been many speeches from the other side of the House saying that we ought to have much more common ground in these problems and that there ought to be a bipartisan approach. Hon. Members opposite must face the fact that there is material for a bipartisan approach in the context of the Devlin Commission's Report and in the kind of deliverance which has been quoted today by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North from the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. There is material for a bipartisan approach by both sides of the House to these complicated and difficult problems in Nyasaland and it is the Government, 420 and the back benchers opposite backing the Government, who reject out of hand this possibility of achieving peace and reconciliation there.
My hon. Friends and I from Scottish constituencies have tried to press on the Government during the long weeks of the emergency that in the Church of Scotland and the great missionary tradition out in Nyasaland they had an invaluable instrument for bringing about reconciliation between African and European communities in that part of the world. In the congregations of the Presbyterian Church out there, there is perhaps the finest example of multiracial partnership at work. I should have thought that the Government would have seized this opportunity offered by the Devlin Report, offered by the kind of non-partisan approach put forward by the Church of Scotland, to try to make a new start in Nyasaland. They have apparently decided not to do so. It seems to me that it is now too late to hope for a new start in Nyasaland without first getting a new Government.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
It was, perhaps, inevitable in a debate of this kind that so many speeches should have been overlaid by so very many quotations. There are many documents and statements involved. There is the White Paper from the Governor, there was a debate on 3rd March in this House, there is the Report itself, there are the Governor's comments on the Report and there are the comments of the Secretary of State for the Colonies on the comments.
I shall not make many quotations, because quite enough have been made, and we are all rather familiar now with what the Report says. I think that everybody will agree that it is an excellently written Report and an exciting narrative. Indeed, the members of the Commission appear to have kept scrupulously to their original intention of only making comments in the course of the narrative itself and, as they say, not attempting a summary because that might have been a distortion of the facts.
After the Attorney-General sat down this afternoon I was strongly tempted to table a manuscript Amendment in place of the Opposition Amendment, moving a Motion of censure on the Government 421 for having appointed an incompetent tribunal. All the speeches from the other side of the House have been directed, in the main, to showing how unreliable was the Commission. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General himself spent a great deal of time in sneering at the chairman of the Commission. I thought that he ought to have left that to a member of some other profession, because when a lawyer sneers at the competence or the behaviour of another lawyer it makes a layman shudder to think that his destiny should be intrusted to such unreliable people. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman's comments today are evidence of his own judicial objectivity, I hope that I shall never have to come before him when he is a judge.
Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have on this occasion done themselves even less justice than usual. In fact, it has been a most depressing occasion. I have never known any debate in this House where the argument was so obviously on this side as against that side, so obviously so. I know that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies wishes to speak for three-quarters of an hour. What he will say all that time I do not know. I shudder to think that I shall have to sit here for three-quarters of an hour listening to another series of verbal adventures from the right hon. Gentleman. I shall confine myself to only half-an-hour and I shall not need any more. I am sure that every hon. Member opposite will be relieved.
The issue before us is an exceedingly simple one. It is not complicated at all. A Commission of Inquiry was appointed, in which the Government at first had every confidence. There might have been some reason on this side of the House for lack of confidence because the four gentlemen concerned are obviously pillars of the Establishment. I do not know what their political affiliations are. I have heard it said that they are Conservatives. At any rate, not one of them is an obvious Socialist. One, the chairman himself, is a distinguished jurist. One of the others served twenty years in Kenya. Another was a soldier and the other was a distinguished member of local authorities.
One could not have a Commission more skilfully handpicked. Its job was 422 fact-finding. Indeed, it was selected because it was believed that a body so composed would be accustomed to weighing evidence and to ascertaining the credibility of witnesses, and, because of the presence of the gentleman who had served twenty years in Kenya, against a novel background for the three other judges.
Therefore, one would have thought that it was not necessary for us to examine the Report to discover whether it was an objective document. The guarantee of its dispassionate nature was to be found in the character of the Commission in the first place. All that we needed to do was to read the Report, on the ground that we should have in it a statement of fact upon which we—as the Commission itself says—could formulate policy. Why has that not been done? Would it not have been much more dignified and honourable for hon. Members opposite for once to forget their party interests and remember the country? [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite may laugh, but they will be in very great difficulty when they go to the country in a few months' time.
This is a very serious matter. No one on this side of the House under-estimates for a moment the difficulties or the gravities of the administration entrusted to the Colonial Office in these territories. We all know that not yet, as far as I can recall, has a single modern Government succeeded in solving the constitutional problems raised by mixed communities, especially when one has Europeans from Europe settling down on the land in strange countries with what they consider to be backward populations—not a single one.
Nearer at home we have not quite an analogous example but, nevertheless, a near-enough one, because we had English settlers in Ireland, and the state of Ireland today is a monument to the incapacity of statesmen to solve problems of that sort. There is the tragic loss of life that goes on in Algeria. The extent to which France is being bled, and also Algeria, and the extent to which the whole of French politics has been poisoned by the Algerian conflict, and looks like continuing to be poisoned for a long time, is itself a warning to us that we should handle the problem of Nyasaland differently from the way the 423 French are trying to solve the Algerian problem.
These are very difficult questions, and no one on this side of the House pretends that they are easy to settle. What we do not want, therefore, is that we should embark on policies which are bound to fail in the end. That is why we are so anxious about the situation in Nyasa-land, Kenya, Tanganyika, Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia. We are not considering a trivial matter. We are really trying to decide how to solve a problem which, if it is not solved, will continue to bleed us for many generations. That is the issue, and it is far too sobering for us to treat it in a trivial mood.
Why is it that the Colonial Secretary finds it impossible to accept the Report? For the life of me I cannot understand why. It would be easy for him to say that on 3rd March he really believed what he was told, and that goes for the Under-Secretary of State, too. They had information, and they are, I believe, honourable men, and they believed that the information was true. It is correct that the information was received from informers who were paid to give it. It is also true that one of the principle informers is a turncoat. Nevertheless, at that time the Government thought they had sufficient evidence to justify their belief that a murder plot was about to be set on foot in Nyasaland.
The Governor could easily say that he believed in the validity of the witnesses that he heard, or the evidence that he received. The same evidence has been investigated by this Commission, the same people have been cross-examined and after the most meticulous cross-examination the Commission says that it cannot find any basis for the assumption that there was a murder plot. That is all.
The right hon. Gentleman could properly say, "I accept what the Commission said. I accept that it has had more leisure, more opportunity and a much more favourable locale to find out how true the accusations were."
§ Mr. Bevan
Yes, and see the witnesses. The right hon. Gentleman could 424 have concluded by saying, "The information that I had at that time has been invalidated." Why could he not do that? He would not have lost anything by doing so. In fact, his position would be stronger than it will be if he accepts the advice which his right hon. Friend is giving him. If it is the same advice that the Colonial Secretary has been receiving from his right hon. Friend all the time, it is pretty rotten.
Why could not the right hon. Gentleman have said that? It would have concurred with the facts and sustained the authority of the Commission, as indeed it ought to be sustained. It is only on the gravest possible ground that a Government should turn down their own judicial instrument. Grave damage will be done to the possibilities of judicial investigation if we have repetitions of what we have heard from the other side of the House today. Judges will not want to serve. I believe that already there are complaints among lawyers about the way that this Report has been treated. It therefore seems to me that only on the strongest possible ground ought the report and recommendations of a commission of inquiry to be attacked in the way that this Commission has been attacked this afternoon.
There is no reason why the right hon. Gentleman should not have accepted the Report of the Commission. If he had, his case would not have been gravely weakened. In paragraph 177 the Report states:The Government view,"—that is, the Nyasaland Government—the Prime Minister must remember that these microphones are very sensitive and I have the misfortune of understanding what he is saying—as expressed to us, was that the murder plot was a possibility rather than a probability, but something which had to be treated seriously and taken into account.The Report continues:We think that before there was any suggestion of a murder plot it had been contemplated that all branch officials of Congress should be arrested in the event of an emergency. The decision to suppress Congress we think, owed more to the belief that its continued activities were making government impossible than to the feeling that it was, or might be, a terrorist organisation.In so many words, the Commission says that Congress had obtained such a hold 425 upon the affections and support of the people of Nyasaland that more and more authority was passing to it and less and less was remaining with the Government, and that if that situation went on deteriorating it would make the government of Nyasaland impossible.
That is a perfectly good reason for taking temporary emergency measures. It might also have followed that unless this was done the position would deteriorate even to the point where physical violence was offered to Europeans and Asians. That is a distinct possibility. The Government could have rested their case on that. They need not have rested their case upon a murder plot which does not exist and of which there is not the slightest tangible evidence.
We know that there was talk of violence, but there has been talk of violence in Africa for some time—
—not only in Africa.
There was a long pseudo-philosophical argument at Accra the other day as to what extent subject peoples were entitled to use violence. It is not a new thing. Of course, it is a frightening and intensely alarming thing when such an argument is conducted in inflammable areas like Nyasaland, where small groups of Europeans and Asians are surrounded by large numbers of Africans. It is serious and frightening, but it is not new. It has been happening for some time. It would have been perfectly proper for the Government to have said this evening, "We accept what the Commission's Report has told us, that there was no murder plot in any proper sense of the term, and we have, therefore, decided to accept the Commission's findings in that respect."
Furthermore—and this point has not been answered—if there was a plot in any proper sense of the term, how does it come about that, for days afterwards, isolated Europeans who had no axes or other armed protection were not attacked by the Africans? How does it come about that the overwhelming majority of those who were arrested surrendered without offering any resistance? How does it come about that no lists have been discovered? How does it come about that even after the Governor's 426 assumption that there was a murder plot there was no addition to the list of persons to be arrested? The list had been drawn up before the allegations of the murder plot.
§ Mr. Braine rose—
§ Mr. Bevan
I promised the right hon. Gentleman that I would sit down at a quarter past nine. I am not going to give way. If I am compelled to give way it will be an invasion of the right hon. Gentleman's time.
Discussions of violence have been going on for some time, and not only in Nyasaland. Discussions about violence and threats of violence have come from the very persons to whom the Government propose to entrust the Nyasas. Lord Malvern, speaking in the Federal Assembly in September, 1956, said:We have complete control over our own Defence Forces. I only hope we shall not have to use them as the North American Colonies had to use theirs, because we are dealing with a stupid Government in the United Kingdom.That is the Government sitting opposite now. There is the new George III. Sir Roy Welensky, in 1957, said:We go forward to the Conference Table in 1960 firmly believing that the achievements of the Federation fully justify the granting of independence. Should we fail to convince Her Majesty's Government of the justice of that, this will be the time to take stock and decide what other action is necessary. I personally, would never be prepared to accept that the Rhodesians have less guts than the American Colonists had.That is Sir Roy Welensky; it is not Dr. Banda. I challenge the right hon. Gentleman to mention anything that Dr. Banda has said which is more provocative than that. What Sir Roy has really said by inference to the right hon. Gentleman is that if he comes to London in 1960 and is not able to take home with him Dominion status for the Federation, he will take it by force. That is what he said, in effect. Indeed, why is he not in gaol? Why have not the Government seized him? Why have they not pounced upon him in the middle of the night and put him in gaol? Dr. Banda has not said anything as bad as that. Why have not they put him in gaol? It is—to use the right hon. Gentleman's own taunt to us—because they have not got the guts to do it.
It was only on 3rd March that the right hon. Gentleman said to my right hon. 427 Friends that we were in favour of federation, but were too cowardly to impose it. Of course, it is true that there have been right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House who believe in the wisdom of federation, but they have never said in my hearing that they wish to impose it against the wishes of the Africans. After all, the Africans themselves are a very important ingredient in the Federation.
What this Report brings out more clearly than anything else is that the people who have put the European population and the Asians in Nyasaland in jeopardy are the Government, not Dr. Banda, not the Congress Party, but the fact that it has now been shown after the passage of years that the Government embarked upon a policy which brings not less but increasing resistance from the people of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. That is the situation. We are not dealing—I would beg hon. Members to realise this, because it is a very important element in the whole situation—with the fact, or the assumption, that, after the passage of years, the idea of federation is winning support among the Africans. There is less support now than when it started. That is the difficulty.
After seven or eight years, we have to adopt these emergency measures in Nyasaland because the idea is increasingly repulsive to the Africans, not more attractive, and for that some people in Southern Rhodesia have to accept the responsibility because very large numbers of Africans from Nyasaland travel to Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia and some into the Union and there they discover a social climate so disagreeable that they do not want to join it, in spite of economic advantages. Hon. Members ought not to rest too much weight on that frail vehicle, the economic advantages of belonging to the Federation. That is exactly the same argument that the Chinese are advancing in Tibet.
It should be obvious to everyone in this Chamber that in the modern world economic progress is absolutely impossible unless it is able to receive the co-operation of the people concerned. It is one of the facts of modern society, one of the facts which the Russians are discovering, one of the facts we all ought to have discovered by now, that to the 428 extent that people have to be educated to manage modern machinery, to the extent that they have to be taught the functions and the intricacies of modern blueprints and machinery, to that extent they become dignified individuals and refuse to accept political helotry.
That has been one of the assumptions on which our democracy is based. We have said here that if they are to be citizens in the round in order to manage the modern machinery they must be politically emancipated and not treated as second class. That is what we have said. That is what we are here for. That is why this great institution is here. That is the message we have been trying to teach the world for the last hundred years or so. I ask right hon. and hon. Members opposite to set aside their prejudices for one moment and to ask themselves the simple question which my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) posed this afternoon in what I thought was a quite unanswerable speech.
What was that? He said that if we deny people constitutional articulation how can we deny them the right to use force? That is a simple argument. It is a classic argument. We have always said that democracy is the answer; that there is no necessity to resort to violence if there are constitutional means of redress. But this is just what we have denied the Africans. They have not got it and they can see it nowhere. On the contrary, they see themselves under a threat of being swallowed up by a society which, to them, is intolerably repulsive. How, therefore, are we to solve that problem?
I agree entirely with what was said earlier by one of my hon. Friends about Dr. Banda. Instead of maligning him the Government ought to be pleased to have him. After all, he is a man of education, refinement and culture. He has consistently, in public, opposed violence and talked about negotiations. He has commended himself personally to the four gentlemen on the Commission. Surely the Government ought to be delighted that in Dr. Banda they have a spokesman with whom they can deal. They ought not to be undermining his position with his people. They ought to be building it up.
429 Now Dr. Banda is detained. In what circumstances is he to be released? I do not know whether he will be able to read my words, but I hope that he will not be too distressed by his situation because probably he will be sent to the Seychelles; from which, of course, he will be made an honoured guest in a London hotel and the negotiations about Nyasaland can continue in a much more amiable spirit. So he ought to look at Makarios before he becomes too distressed.
I wish to say to the Government in all sincerity that I have been in the House of Commons for many years now—I am becoming one of the oldest Members—and that this is the worst Parliament I have been in. Some Parliaments have been called "Long Parliaments", some have been known as "Rump Parliaments". This Parliament will be known in history as the squalid one. Actually, it reached its natural end in 1956. It has been kept going to try to revive the critical fortunes of the party opposite.
Hon. Members opposite have made mistake after mistake for which other people have had to suffer. There are Africans lying in their graves as a consequence of the conduct of this Government which did more damage to the reputation of this country in 1956 than any other Government have done for two or three centuries. If they pursue their present policies it will make it almost impossible for us to reconcile ourselves with African opinion. All we can say to the Africans in the meantime is, "For heaven's sake do not lose heart, because before very long the squalid crowd will be out."
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
I am very grateful to the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) for so scrupulously observing the request I made to him that I should have an unusually long time in which to reply. When I asked for that, I thought that this was to be the culmination of a rather bitter personal attack upon me. I have been reading for a long time that it would be impossible for the Secretary of State for the Colonies to remain in office after the publication of the Devlin Report. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, 430 hear."] Now however, the grounds of the attack seem entirely to have changed.
The right hon. Member has come to the House and said, if only I were prepared to say that the particular interpretation put upon the "conspiracy of violence", referred to in the early part of the Report, was correct, all would be well and we could go on living and working happily together—[An HON. MEMBER: "He did not say that at all."]—in what the right hon. Gentleman was pleased to call, in one of his choicest phrases, this "squalid" Parliament.
I do not believe that this Parliament will go down to history as a "squalid" Parliament. [An HON. MEMBER: "Suez."] Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will now understand why I thought it desirable to ask for three-quarters of an hour. While not squalid in any particular field for which I was responsible with my colleagues, this Parliament and its immediate predecessor saw, in the colonial field, the creation of the Dominion of Ghana and the creation of the Independent Dominion of Malaya, both within the British Commonwealth of Nations. It saw also the steps leading to the creation, in October next year, of the independent Commonwealth Nation of Nigeria, with 40 million people devoted to the British Crown and the British connection within the Commonwealth of Nations. It saw also the steps being taken in the West Indies to lead them also to the same historic destiny. It saw in East Africa, if we can can keep our heads—and that applies to the Opposition as well as to the Government here—the chances of the creation of a non-racial society which will be an illustration of what partnership in practice can achieve.
If this is the right hon. Gentleman's conception of a "squalid" Parliament I await with interest to see what form Parliament might take if ever, which is most unlikely, the desiccated calculating machine on his right formed an Administration. If the right hon. Gentleman did not like to say so personally, after five years' experience of such an Administration he would no doubt arrange to do so through the columns of Tribune, and would probably call it "That dried-up Parliament".
The right hon. Member said at the start of his speech that he had had 431 enough of quotations, but he proceeded to give very lengthy quotations—[Interruption.]—one from Lord Malvern and one from Sir Roy Welensky—two quotations not, of course, from the Report, nor, above all, from the Governor's Despatch, to which neither he nor the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) nor scarcely any other hon. Member opposite has referred in the whole of this debate. May I remind hon. Members opposite that if ever the colonial empire—[HON. MEMBERS: "Empire?"]—should be so unfortunate as to find a change of government in the United Kingdom, it will be on Governors like Sir Robert Armitage that hon. Members opposite, like us, will have to rely, and they will be glad and happy to rely on such people.
The right hon. Member said that the idea of federation is becoming increasingly repulsive to Africans. I think that is a very reckless phrase. If the right hon. Member or his colleagues had any worthwhile alternative to offer, it would no doubt be possible to dismiss federation, although, I hope, not in language of that kind. Those who have studied Central Africa the most know, as I recognise and said last week, and as we all know, the idea of federation has not as yet captured the hearts and minds of Africans, but it must surely be the task of constructive statesmanship, whether on the Government or Opposition side, to try to get rid of the difficulties which are preventing its success and to make of federation a living partnership. If we do not succeed in achieving that it will mean that the whole of Central and probably Southern Africa, will either go over to black racialism or apartheid. If that happened, not only would the position of Governments in the United Kingdom be singularly unhappy, but the world would be a poorer place.
I recognise that one of the main causes of difficulties in Nyasaland in the last few months has been fears about the concept of federation. I share the view of the Governor that it is not correct to say, as the Commission did, that the Government of Nyasaland regard federation as the choice of only a small minority of political Africans. The Governor never left me in any doubt as to the strong opposition in Nyasaland, and I know it as well from my own contacts. 432 Both the Government of Nyasaland and Her Majesty's Government regard this opposition as ill-founded, but that is not to say that we do not recognise that it is of a widespread nature. We had a debate last week when I repeated certain assurances which we have always given to the people of the African territories. I followed my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in clarifying a situation about which there was some doubt. It is our profound hope that that debate and the assurances we gave will do something to dispel the fears in Nyasaland.
I hope that hon. and right hon. Members with influence in Central Africa will see that those pledges and that undertaking are widely known, for if it is true, as I believe it is, that there has been a belief that in 1960 there would be a change in the political status of the Northern Territories without their consent, the sooner that fear is exorcised the better. I hope that this assurance will be one of the bridges—the hon. Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) spoke of bridges—across which the old relationship of trust and understanding with Nyasaland can be restored. I must make it clear that there have never been any prohibitions on constitutional opposition to federation, and this is going on now busily in Nyasaland. The emergency has been caused by turning over to violence in the early part of the year, and that attitude also must be exorcised.
The Report we are considering today makes it abundantly clear that the Government of Nyasaland, in the situation that existed on the 3rd March, had to resort to emergency powers. It had either to act or to abdicate. The Report also makes it clear that this situation was the result of the adoption of a policy of violence by the Nyasaland African Congress. The Report also makes it clear that, in the view of the Commission, the decision to declare a state of emergency, to postpone Lord Perth's visit and to ask the Federal Prime Minister, the Governors of Northern Rhodesia and Tanganyika and the Government of Southern Rhodesia for military and police reinforcements, was the decision of the Governor of Nyasaland alone.
Many suggestions were made to the contrary in the debate of 3rd March. 433 Charges were made against me of cowardice, of yielding to the Federal Government, of abdicating my responsibility as Secretary of State by a disgraceful surrender to the Federal Government. I recognise that by the terms of their Motion, the Opposition might be said to have withdrawn those charges, and I should not, therefore, have referred to them today, since I certainly do not want to add any unnecessary partisan difficulties, were it not for some curious observations made today by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East on the r61e of the Federal Prime Minister in influencing, it is suggested, the Governor of Nyasaland.
The hon. Gentleman started by making a rather inaccurate reference to the debate on the Bank Rate Tribunal Report. It is quite true that the Opposition Amendment did not dissent from the Tribunal's Report, but the Opposition thereafter divided against it on the main Motion, and the whole of the Socialist Party voted against it. I was not then conscious of any suggestion being made that by action of that kind it would be more difficult to get a judge to take the chair at a tribunal of that character. The hon. Gentleman moving the acceptance of this Report tried to get it both ways. The Report makes it absolutely clear that in the three actions of the Governor of Nyasaland he was acting on his own initiative alone. It was said today, or at least hinted at, that of course it was the Governor's formal decision, but that this—this was the innuendo with which he left the House—was a sort of rubber stamp decision, the real decision being the decision of the Prime Minister of the Federation.
§ Mr. Callaghan
If I left any impression of it being a rubber stamp decision, I should like to make it clear that I had no such intention; but it seems to me that if the Colonial Secretary will read paragraph 160 of the Report, he cannot reach any other conclusion but that the intervention of Sir Roy was decisive on a Governor who was hesitating between two courses.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That is wholly untrue. I have read the whole Report a number of times, and I hope the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale has done the same. I need no reminding of that 434 paragraph, as I know perfectly well what it says. The impression which it conveys is that this decision was that of the Governor alone. In fact, that very paragraph says:… the only contribution which Sir Roy made was the expression of opinion which we have set out in the preceding paragraph.I think that it is the height of hypocrisy on the part of the Opposition to give the impression that they are accepting the Report and then, by innuendo, to leave the idea about that, in fact, they do not accept one of its very important conclusions.
It has been said that it is wrong for the Government to have tabled a Motion that does not accept all the opinions and conclusions at which the Commission arrived. The Commission regarded its task as a fact-finding job to be used as a basis for administrative and political decision. But it also drew inferences from the facts, and it has been said—although I realise the Commission's difficulty in this matter—that it did not find it easy to separate its opinions from the evidence it collected.
Such views or opinions or inferences are certainly not sacrosanct, and cannot be so regarded. It must be open to any Government—indeed, it is the duty of any Government—to say what they think of inferences, opinions or views of that kind. There is nothing whatever improper in commending to the House that broad endorsement of the Government of Nyasaland's policy which the Report contains and not commending inferences or opinions with which, after careful consideration, Her Majesty's Government do not agree.
At this stage I must say that the appointment of the Commission itself seems to me to be wholly inconsistent with the suggestion that Nyasaland… is—no doubt only temporarily—a police State. …Would a Government responsible for a police State have appointed a Commission of this kind, composed of people who could wander freely throughout the country, speak freely to whomsoever they liked, speak to men who are detained, or to their counsel, speak to men whose identity I do not know—and will never know?
I must remind the House that, with my full approval, neither I nor the 435 Governor have been told whom the Commission saw. I have no idea when the members of the Commission saw members of Congress who they were seeing or what was said to them. It was with my full approval that this drill was arranged. Would a police State have agreed that no action could subsequently be taken because of anything that might have emerged from the Report of what had been said to the Commission? I cannot imagine a police State conducted on such lines.
It is also said in that Report that it… is unwise to express any but the most restrained criticism of government policy.It said also:The Government on the other hand became increasingly intolerant of any opposition on western and democratic lines because it considered it tantamount to the setting up of a rival authority.I would ask the House to remember that in that last quotation the Commission was referring to the situation in July, 1958. In December, 1958, the situation had deteriorated considerably. None the less, on 4th December, replying to a Motion moved by Mr. Chipembere in the Legislative Council to the effect that Congress should be given the right of freedom of operation and speech, the acting Chief Secretary said:The Government agreed that it was essential that someone or somebody should be able to express disagreement, even acute disagreement with the Government. Big Brother beyond the reach of public opinion is a thing not to be contemplated and would indeed be the personification of tyranny.That assertion of a constitutional right is, and remains, absolutely legal, but to attempt to assert contrary views by force of arms or by violence creates a wholly different situation.
I must apologise to hon. Members for my voice. I hope that all hon. Members can hear me. It would be easier if I had a little more silence for what is, after all, judging by the newspapers, a very important day in my life. I ask hon. Members to be a little quieter. [Interruption.] I thank the right hon. Gentleman very much for passing me a pastille.
I will now say a word about what has come to be called "the murder plot". I returned to London on Sunday, 1st March, from Aden and Cyprus. I had 436 been kept in close touch with events in Nyasaland while I was away and I had agreed to the postponement of Lord Perth's visit for constitutional talks. On my arrival in London that afternoon I found, among other information, a Special Branch report on the situation in Nyasaland. It had been prepared from a number of sources, including seven people whose identity was unknown to each other. It referred to the bush meetings on 25th January and decisions stated to have been taken there involving violence and murder. When I received that report, the Governor had already been told of the views of the Commissioner of Police.
On that Sunday evening and throughout Monday I was very conscious of two things: first, the serious nature of the information which I had received, and, secondly, the fact that the disorders had already for days justified the declaration of a state of emergency and that it had not been declared. I was very concerned lest there should be murder of Europeans, Asians and loyal Africans, and also that, if this should happen, it could and would be suggested that the Governor and I, there being a clear case for declaring a state of emergency earlier, had failed in our duty to take action in time. This last fear, though a secondary one, was none the less a very important one.
The reason why the state of emergency had not been declared was that the Governor wished to get enough security forces into the country to provide some protection to scattered farms, believing as he did that with the detention of Dr. Banda, which the state of violence itself would make necessary, there was a very real risk of violence, including murder.
It was with these thoughts in mind that I made my statement to the House and spoke in the subsequent debate, as did also my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State. Time will not allow me now to say again what I said then, but I was conscious of these two anxieties in all that I said, and in the evening I was particularly concerned to make it clear that the reason for the postponement of the state of emergency was the existence of this information which had been brought to me.
I ask the House to remember that from the report in early 1959 the extremists 437 had made up their minds that they would get Congress to adopt a policy of violence. Paragraph 166 of the Report is very relevant to that matter. The Commission publishes a document at Appendix II in the Report. The Governor said that that document revealed that not merely was there talk but that decisions as to the course of action to be followed had been reached. I had not then, nor do I have now, the slightest doubt that some people went away from that meeting with the belief that decisions had been taken and that they included under certain circumstances the murder of Europeans. The Commission itself said that the greatly increased number of illegal meetings held after the conference suggests the execution of a deliberate policy. The Commission also says that during this period the branches were sending up suggestions for the black list.
I do not believe that anybody engaged in practical administration would have anything but sympathy for the Governor in his inability to distinguish between talks of beating and killing Europeans and talk of cold-blooded assassination or massacre. The test for the Governor was, as he says, whether there was a real threat to the lives of Europeans and Africans as a result of the adoption by Congress of a policy of violence. From the Report of the Commission it is quite clear that there was.
I do not believe that enough attention has been paid in this debate, or indeed enough credence placed on it in the Report, to the strength of intimidation in Africa today. All hon. Members who have worked and served there know this to be unhappily true, and I agree that it is not limited to Africa.
I had intended to give a number of references from the Report, but I do not think that time will allow. All hon. Members can read the Report, and there are many significant paragraphs relating to intimidation, including in particular the quotation from a letter from one Congress member to another, referred to by my right hon. and learned Friend earlier today. I ask the House to consider the Nyasaland Railway Company, a very large employer in Nyasaland. Hon. Members may know something of Nyasaland Railways and of their plans for African training and housing, and of the recognition of the need to help 438 the emergent supervisory type of African. What does the chairman say in The Times of 24th July? He said:Altogether we employ some 7,000 Africans of whom approximately 3,000 are employed at Limbe where our central workshops are situated. When the emergency was declared all but about 200 of our African employees in Limbe stopped work. Out of the whole of our staff about 60 were detained under the Emergency Regulations, of whom 27 were employed in our workshops at Limbe. As soon as these few men had been removed, all our staff returned to work; and our officials have told me"—this is the chairman of the company speaking—that with the threat of intimidation lifted, the whole atmosphere regained 'the cheerfulness which had been strikingly absent during the preceding months of fear and uncertainty.I have been asked a number of questions about the detainees and about the future of Dr. Banda. I am afraid that time will not allow me to go into these important matters with the detail that I had hoped, but my right hon. and learned Friend has already touched on them and I hope that if time does allow I shall be able to return to these matters before ten o'clock.
There is one point which has not been touched on and which seems to me to be also of the first importance, and that is the criticism of the operations. Four main criticisms of action taken by the authorities and by the security forces appear in the closing paragraphs of the Report. I should like to take these briefly one by one, and examine how far they are justified in the context of the initial operation in the first few days of the emergency, and in the subsequent operations to deal with the centres of trouble and violence. The third criticism of the Commission that unnecessary force was used in making arrests is connected with the initial operation to detain Congress leaders, and I should like to deal with that straight away.
The Commission, while agreeing that the use of unnecessary and illegal force was never expressly authorised, says that individual officers were given too much latitude and that their illegalities often went unnoticed or unchecked. The Commission considered in its Report only six cases in which force was used while effecting arrests. This must be set against no fewer than 263 arrests made in the original operation up to 5th March 439 and a further 900 unhappily necessarily made later. I cannot accept that the reports made by the officers concerned in these arrests made it clear that illegalities occurred. I would, if there were time, give an account of those reports, but it would take too long. I shall, however, be ready to do so on another occasion.
There are, however, two special points with which I must deal. The first is the use of handcuffs and gags which were referred to by an hon. Member opposite as restraints. Handcuffs are, as the Report points out, ordinarily used in Nyasaland in making arrests. The instruction given by the Operations Committee only referred to their use in Central and Southern Provinces when those arrested were being transported in aircraft. In the Northern Province, where wide areas were under Congress control and gangs were perpetrating arson and sabotage, those arrested were to be handcuffed when being transported from place to place. No instructions were given for the use of gags. As far as I know, gagging only occurred in the Mzimba area, and the facts revealed in paragraph 198 show on the face of it that it was excessively and unnecessarily used.
These facts only emerged as a result of the Commission's own long inquiries, and that was one of the reasons why we set up the Commission. The Government had no reports of gagging being used except in one arrest. He was picked up in that particular district. Without knowing the full facts no action could have been taken. Now that they are revealed, I and the Nyasaland Government are very sorry indeed and deeply regret what occurred. [Interruption.] I must remind the House that one of the purposes of appointing the Commission was to see if there were incidents of this kind and to have all the cards laid on the table so that proper remedial action could be taken. I remind the House that action cannot be taken against individuals, as a result of the undertaking given with my authority by the Attorney-General, with the full approval and at the request of Mr. Justice Devlin.
The second point I should like to mention is the other three criticisms in paragraph 285 of the Report which reflect on the conduct of the security forces and the authorities. The first is 440 the unauthorised burning of certain houses by a District Commissioner. In his Despatch the Governor has made some comments on this. I would add to those comments only this, that instructions were given as soon as this incident was discovered that in no circumstances should punitive action of this kind be repeated, and I repeat here the regret which I expressed in regard to the previous incident.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
No action can be taken because of the agreement that what emerged from the inquiry and was reported in the Report of the Commission should not be made the subject of any criminal charges, and this was at the wish of the inquirers and with my full approval.
The next criticism made by the Commissioners related to the confiscation of implements. This is, of course, very regrettable, but it is an undeniable fact that implements of this kind though necessary for agriculture were also used for many purposes of sabotage and road blocks, and they were confiscated in the districts where incidents of that sort occurred.
Lastly, I come to the Commission's more serious allegation about the use of force by the security forces in villages in areas where Congress was receiving much sympathy and support and their gangs were most active. The Governor has already and rightly indignantly repudiated any suggestion that he expressly or impliedly authorised the use of any illegal force in those areas. He has pointed out that the Commission's criticism of what happened in the villages is general and is based on evidence not known to him. I must make it perfectly clear that where specific allegations and serious complaints of assault were made to the authorities they were thoroughly investigated and action was taken to deal with them when they were found to be justified; and indeed, the Nyasaland Operations Committee sent a directive to all provincial committees on 24th March in connection with complaints which they had received and were being investigated, insisting no possible excuse could be given, despite the difficulties in which the forces found themselves, for further similar complaints against the security forces.
441 In short, while we all deeply regret any incident which the Commission's work may have uncovered, the conclusions do not lead to the inference that illegalities were expressly or impliedly authorised from the top, and, indeed, the facts which I have given to the House, though not as fully as I should have liked to do, bear that out.
It is also important to make this clear. The House may not have realised, and not much attention has been paid to it in the Press, that the Commission has investigated mainly action and the use of firearms by the security forces with consequent loss of life or the inflicting of grave injury. I do not in the least quarrel with this, but the Commission did not interpret its terms of reference so as to include the many occasions which can rightly be called disturbances in which firearms and other weapons were not used. Had the Commission given an account of these, its Report would have been much longer. The omission of successful dispersals of crowds and other operations from its examination might lead the unwary reader to imagine that the use of firearms and of excessive force was characteristic of operations carried out by the Nyasa-land security forces. This is not a fair conclusion from the Report when all the facts are taken into account.
On this we had a very moving speech from my hon. and gallart Friend the Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth), who has been at the other end of operations of this kind. We are entitled to take great satisfaction from the conclusion of the Commission that on one was trigger-happy and anyone who took firm action of any kind was confident that that was the only way to deal with the situation.
I should like, as I draw inevitably to a close, to say a few words in reply to questions which I have been asked about constitutional advance in Nyasaland. A great deal of play has been made in the debate of the delay in bringing into operation constitutional changes. I made an announcement a day or two ago as to our plans which I hope will be implemented in a few weeks' time, some time during August. In answer to questions over the last few months, I have made it clear that the existing Constitution, which came into being in 1956, would run till 1960 when the life of the present 442 Legislature was coming to an end. It was my intention to bring the discussions on the new Constitution to a conclusion during Lord Perth's visit at the end of February. I had hoped that there would be full agreement well before May, 1960, as to what the changes thereafter were to be. It was my hope that the proposals which had to be worked out, as the Commission, recognised was desirable, would be acceptable to all concerned.
I have been very much concerned at the suggestions made by a number of hon. Members opposite, whose interest in and zeal for Nyasaland I know very well, that the fact that the new Constitution was not agreed to was a contributory factor to the state of tension and of violence. But I ask hon. Members who are asking us to accept the Report in full to look at paragraph 94 of the Report and also earlier paragarphs.
As early as September, 1957, it was clear, according to the Report, that what Congress wanted was an all-African Government before 1960. By May, 1958, it seemed clear to Congress that it was not likely to make much headway with its demands for an African majority and it is said that the leaders were then suffering from a sense of frustration. At a meeting in Government House with the Governor in January, 1958, Dr. Banda said that he was prepared to reconsider the exact number of African seats but he could not be shifted from his demand for an African majority.
I ask hon. Members to look at paragraph 94. In this the Commission examines the various allegations made of undue delay in launching a new Constitution in Nyasaland and also suggestions that I and the Governor had different impressions of what was intended. The Commission made little of these suggestions, and it brings out the point that both of us needed time to work out proposals acceptable to all concerned, which was, of course, the difficulty then. The Commission says:However this may be, we do not think that the delay was a factor of any great weight in the deliberations of Congress. Whatever may have been said in public, the Governor had made his position perfectly clear in private discussions…. The truth, we think, is that the Congress leaders, certainly the extremists, had practically given up hope that anything satisfactory to them would come out of any more constitutional talks; if they had believed 443 that it would, we cannot think that just before the talks were coming to maturity, they would have abandoned the way of peaceful negotiation.I hope that hon. and right hon. Members in reading these words will acquit me of responsibility in the constitutional field, for it is an exceedingly difficult task to devise changes acceptable to all those concerned. The Commission realises the need to do so, and it does not attribute to the delay with the Constitution the sinister consequences which hon. and right hon. Members opposite draw.
Now in the future of Nyasaland I see, as I said in the debate last week, a steady movement towards internal self-government, bearing in mind the predominantly African population—the overwhelming majority of all the people being African—but a scheme so devised that, as in Northern Rhodesia but not the same scheme, those who stand for election to Parliament in Nyasaland, as in Northern Rhodesia, must pay some regard to the interests of other races. If we do not devise schemes of this kind, and they are extremely difficult to devise, then I believe that partnership in the constitutional field cannot become a reality. So in commending the proposals that I announced last week to the House, I will repeat once more that they are only interim proposals, and I am deeply anxious to see them changed into more permanent proposals when the situation allows.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) referred to the two members of the Executive who will be appointed from the Legislative Council. The hon. Gentleman thought it was a great pity the they were to have no association with Departments. It is certainly my hope that all the unofficial members of the Executive Council, African and European, will have such an association with Government Departments, and it is the Governor's intention to press on with that urgently as soon as he returns to Nyasaland. For I quite agree that without that special link with day to day work, membership of the
§ Executive Council cannot provide the proper return that it should.
§ Finally, may I say this. I have heard it said by the Opposition—
§ Mr. Bevan rose—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am quite ready to say it. I had hoped to be able to develop at length an argument—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] It is nobody's fault, it is merely that there is such a tremendous amount of material I wanted to convey to the House. I am not blaming anyone. I had hoped to develop at greater length the arguments used by my right hon. and learned Friend this afternoon in regard to the close association of Dr. Banda with the extreme elements of Congress. It is, of course, possible to draw a picture of Dr. Banda as being a dupe of his own extremists. I do not believe that this is so, and I believe that a careful study of the Report will show that somebody who was, as the Commission says, the unquestioned leader of Congress could not possibly have been left in ignorance of what was, in fact, agreed at the meeting of 25th January when, as paragraph 166 disclosed, the extreme elements in Congress went over to a policy of violence.
Under those circumstances, there can be no possible suggestion of treating Dr. Banda differently from other detainees—[HON. MEMBERS: "Police State."]—and I am pleased to say that the Governor, who is responsible in these matters, will have my full support in ensuring that, while we are all anxious to bring the emergency to an end as soon as we can, there cannot be releases of detainees who are dangerous to the State until that danger has been withdrawn.
At the start of my speech I said the Government had either to act or to abdicate. [HON. MEMBERS: "Abdicate."] We have acted and we will not abdicate.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 317, Noes 254.449
|Division No. 175.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Astor, Hon. J. J.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Atkins, H. E.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Arbuthnot, John||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Armstrong, C. W.||Baldwin, Sir Archer|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Ashton, Sir Hubert||Balniel, Lord|
|Banks, Col. C.||Glover, D.||McAdden, S. J.|
|Barber, Anthony||Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Barlow, Sir John||Godber, J. B.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry|
|Barter, John||Goodhart, Philip||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.|
|Batsford, Brian||Gough, C. F. H.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Gower, H. R,||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Graham, Sir Fergus||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Green, A.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Gresham Cooke, R.||McMaster, Stanley|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Gurden, Harold||Madden, Martin|
|Bingham, R. M.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Body, R. F.||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Marshall, Douglas|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Mathew, R.|
|Braine, B. R.||Harvle-Watt, Sir George||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Braithwaite Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hay, John||Mawby, R. L.|
|Brewis, John||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Heald, Rt. Hon, Sir Lionel||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Hesketh, R. F.||Morrison, John (Sallsbury)|
|Bryan, P.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Bullus, Wing Commander, E. E.||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Neave, Airey|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hirst, Geoffrey||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Carr, Robert||Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hope, Lord John||Noble, Michael (Argyll)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hornby, R, P.||Nugent, Richard|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Cole, Norman||Horobin, Sir Ian||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Ormsby-Goro, Rt. Hon. W. D.|
|Cooke, Robert||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Howard, John (Test)||Page, R. G.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hughes Haliett, Vice Admiral J.||Panned, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Partridge, E.|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Peel, W. J.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, w.)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Hyde, Montgomery||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Pitman, I. J.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Iremonger, T. L.||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pott, H. P.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|de Ferrantl, Basil||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Joseph, Sir Keith||Redmayne, M.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kaberry, D.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Duncan, Sir James||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Duthie, Sir William||Kershaw, J. A.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Kimball, M.||Robertson, Sir David|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Kirk, P. M.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Elliott, R. W. (Ne'castle upon Tyne, N.)||Lagden, G. W.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Errington, Sir Erie||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Erroll, F. J.||Leavey, J. A.||Russell, R. S.|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Leburn, W. G.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Fell, A.||Legge-Bourke, Maj, E. A. H.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Shepherd, William|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Forrest, G.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Foster, John||Llewellyn, D. T.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Froeth, Denzil||Longden, Gilbert||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Loveys, Walter H.||Speir, R. M.|
|Gammans, Lady||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Storey, S.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Webster, David|
|Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Turner, H. F. L.||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Studholme, Sir Henry||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Summers, Sir Spencer||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)||Vane, W. M. F.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Vickers, Miss Joan||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Teeling, W.||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Temple, John M.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||Woollam, John Victor|
|Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. [...])||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Wall, Patrick||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)||Mr. Heath and Mr. Legh.|
|Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Abse, Leo||Foot, D. M.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Forman, J. C.||McAlister, Mrs. Mary|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||McCann, J.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)||MacDermot, Nlall|
|Awbery, S. S.||Gibson, C. W.||McInnes, J.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Gooch, E. G.||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Baird, J.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||McLeavy, Frank|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Greenwood, Anthony||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mahon, Simon|
|Benson, Sir George||Grey, C. F.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Beswick, Frank||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Blackburn, F.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Grimond, J.||Mason, Roy|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hale, Leslie||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Boardman, H.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Mellish, R. J.|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Hamilton, W. W.||Mitchlson, G. R.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hannan, W.||Monslow, W.|
|Bowen, E. R (Cardigan)||Hastings, S.||Moody, A. S.|
|Boyd, T. C.||Hayman, F. H.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Healey, Denis||Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Mort, D. L.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Herbison, Miss M.||Moss, R.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Moyle, A.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hilton, A. V.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Burke, W. A.||Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Holman, P.||O'Brien, Sir Thomas|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Holmes, Horace||Oliver, G. H.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Holt, A. F.||Oram, A. E.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Houghton, Douglas||Orbach, M.|
|Carmichael, J.||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Oswald, T.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Owen, W. J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hoy, J. H.||Padley, W. E.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Paget, R. T.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Coldrick, W.||Hunter, A. E.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Cronin, J. D.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Parker, J.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Parkin, B. T,|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Paton, John|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Janner, B.||Peart, T. F.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Pentland, N.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Popplewell, E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leak)||Jester, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Deer, G.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Probert, A. R.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Diamond, John||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Randall, H. E.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Rankin, John|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Reid, William|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Edelman, M.||Kenyon, C.||Rhodes, H.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||King, Dr. H. M.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Lawson, G. M.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Ledger, R. J.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Evans Edward (Lowestoft)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Ross, William|
|Finch, H. J. (Bedwellty)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Royle, C.|
|Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)||Lindgren, G. S.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Lipton, Marcus||Short, E. W.|
|Silverman, Jullus (Aston)||Sylvester, G. O.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Symonds, J. B.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Willey, Frederick|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Slater, J. (Sedgefield)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Snow, J. W.||Thornton, E.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Tomney, F.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Sparks, J. A.||Usborne, H. C.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|spriggs, Leslie||Viant, S. P.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Steele, T.||Wade, D. W.||Woof, R. E.|
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Warbey, W. N.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Stonehouse, John||Watkins, T. E.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Stones, W. (Consett)||Weitzman, D.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)||Mr. Bowden and Mr Pearson.|
|Swingler, S. T.||Wigg, George|
§ Main Question put:—450
§ The House divided: Ayes 316, Noes 254.453
|Division No. 176.]||AYES||[10.13 p.m|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Corfield, F. V.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Cunningham, Knox||Hay, John|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Currie, G. B. H.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Danoe, J. C. G.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Atkins, H. E.||Davidson, Viscountess||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Deedes, W. F.||Hesketh, R. F.|
|Balniel, Lord||de Ferranti, Basil||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)|
|Barber, Anthony||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Barter, John||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Batsford, Brian||Drayson, G. B.||Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||du Cann, E. D. L.||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Duncan, Sir James||Hope, Lord John|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Duthie, Sir William||Hornby, R. P.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Horobin, Sir Ian|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Elliott, R. W. (Ne'castle uponTyne, N.)||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Errington, Sir Erie||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Erroll, F. J.||Howard, John (Test)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Fell, A.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Finlay, Graeme||Hurd, Sir Anthony|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Fisher, Nigel||Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)|
|Body, R. F.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Forrest, G.||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Foster, John||Hyde, Montgomery|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry|
|Braine, B. R.||Freeth, Denzil||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Brewis, John||Gammans, Lady||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Gibson-Watt, D.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Glover, D.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Bryan, P.||Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Godber, J. B.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Goodhart, Philip||Joseph, Sir Keith|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Gough, C. F. H.||Kaberry, D.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Gower, H. R.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.|
|Carr, Robert||Graham, Sir Fergus||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)||Kershaw, J. A.|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Green, A.||Kimball, M.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Kirk, P. M.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Lagden, G. W.|
|Cole, Norman||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Langford-Holt, J. A,|
|Cooke, Robert||Gurden, Harold||Leavey, J. A.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Leburn, W. G.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Nugent, Richard||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.||Storey, S.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Page, R. G.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Partridge, E.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Peel, W. J.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Peyton, J. W. W.||Teeling, W.|
|McAdden, S. J.||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Temple, John M.|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Pitman, I. J.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Pott, H. P.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.|
|McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Powell, J. Enoch||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, w.)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|McMaster, Stanley||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Profumo, J. D.||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Ramsden, J. E.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Rawlinson, Peter||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Maddan, Martin||Redmayne, M.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Remnant, Hon. P.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Renton, D. L. M.||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Rippon, A. G. F.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Robertson, Sir David||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Wall, Patrick|
|Marshall, Douglas||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Mathew, R.||Roper, Sir Harold||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Mawby, R. L.||Russell, R. S.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Webster, David|
|Medlicott, Sir Frank||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Sharples, R. C.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Moore, Sir Thomas||Shepherd, William||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough. W.)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Nabarro, G. D. N.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Nairn, D. L. S.||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Neave, Airey||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Woollam, John Victor|
|Nicholls, Harmar||Speir, R. M.|
|Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Heath and Mr. Legh.|
|Abse, Leo||Chapman, W. D.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Cliffe, Michael||George, Lady MeganLloyd (Car'then)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Coldrick, W.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Gooch, E. G.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Cronin, J. D.||Greenwood, Anthony|
|Baird, J.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Grey, C. F.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Benson, Sir George||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Beswick, Frank||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Griffiths, William (Exchange)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Grimond, J.|
|Blackburn, F.||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Hale, Leslie|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Deer, G.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)|
|Blyton, W. R.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Hamilton, W. W.|
|Boardman, H.||Delargy, H. J.||Hannan, W.|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Diamond, John||Hastings, S.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Dodds, N. N.||Hayman, F. H.|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Donnelly, D. L.||Healey, Denis|
|Boyd, T. C.||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Edelman, M.||Hewitson, Capt. M.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||Hilton, A. V.|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Holman, P.|
|Burke, W. A.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Holmes, Horace|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Holt, A. F.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Fernyhough, E.||Houghton, Douglas|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Gree||Finch, H. J. (Bedwellty)||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)||Howell, Denis (All Saints)|
|Carmichael, J.||Fletcher, Eric||Hoy, J. H.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Foot, D. M.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Champion, A. J.||Forman, J. G||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Mort, D. L.||Snow, J. W.|
|Hunter, A. E.||Moss, R.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Moyle, A.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Meal, Harold (Bolsover)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Steele, T.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Oliver, G. H.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Janner, B.||Oram, A. E.||Stonehouse, John|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Orbach, M.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Oswald, T.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs. S.)||Owen, W. J.||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Padley, W. E.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Paget, R. T.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne valley)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Pargiter, G. A.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Parker, J.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Parkin, B. T.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Kenyon, C.||Paton, John||Thornton, E.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Peart, T. F.||Tomney, F.|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Pentland, N.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Lawson, G. M.||Popplewell, E.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Ledger, R. J.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Viant, S. P.|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Wade, D. W.|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Probert, A. R.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Proctor, W. T.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Weitzman D.|
|Lipton, Marcus||Randall, H. E.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Rankin, John||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Redhead, E. C.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|McCann, J.||Reid, William||Wigg, George|
|MacColl, J. E.||Reynolds, G. W.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|MacDermot, Niall||Rhodes, H.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|McInnes, J.||Roberts, Rt. Hon. A.||Willey, Frederick|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|McLeavy, Frank||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Mahon, Simon||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Ross, William||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Royle, C.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Short, E. W.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Mason, Roy||Silverman, Jullus (Aston)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Woof, R. E.|
|Mellish, R, J.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Skeffington, A. M.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Monslow, W.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Moody, A. S.||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.)||Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson.|
That this House takes note of the Report of the Nyasaland Commission of Inquiry and the Despatch from the Governor of Nyasaland thereon, and extends its thanks to the Chairman and members of the Commission for their work; endorses their conclusion that a policy of violence was adopted by the Nyasaland African Congress Leadership and that the declaration of the state of emergency was fully justified, deeply regrets the loss of life that
occurred but acknowledges that prompt and effective action by the Governor prevented the development of a more serious situation; expresses its gratitude to the Administration and to the Security Forces for their loyal service in circumstances of great difficulty and looks forward to the restoration of normal conditions in Nyasaland and to the continued constitutional and economic progress of its people on the basis of respect for law and order.