§ 3.38 p.m.
§ Sir Frank Soskice (Newport)
I beg to move,That this House deplores the circumstances in which eleven men in Hola Detention Camp met their deaths as a result of the use of unlawful violence and regrets the failure of Her Majesty's Government to take immediate steps to set up a public inquiry to ascertain where the responsibility should be placed.The Government will not be in the least surprised that in this debate we seek to probe further the circumstances of the Hola massacres. They have, I believe, shocked and dismayed civilised opinion all over the world. The Opposition Motion and the Government Amendment raise the crisp issue of whether there is still matter for inquiry to ascertain where responsibility for this dreadful happening lies. By "responsibility" I do not mean simply the responsibility of the Camp Commandant, Sullivan, or Coutts, his assistant. They are, after all, almost the humblest agents in this catastrophe. They can be left to make what defence they can to the disciplinary charges that have been brought against them, and I say no more about them.
Nor am I concerned to criticise the decision of the Attorney-General of Kenya not to institute criminal proceedings. I do not say that had I been in his position, I would have reached necessarily the same conclusions that he reached, but I respect his decision as sincerely given and I recognise that it was a very difficult decision. What we are concerned with in this debate is the responsibility of the Kenya Administration and the attitude of the Secretary of State himself to what has occurred.
Fortunately, as to most of the facts, though not all, we do not have to make any conjecture. They have been precisely ascertained and stated in the remarkable and penetrating analysis of the mass of conflicting evidence made by Mr. Goudie, the Resident Magistrate, who conducted the inquest into the events of 3rd March.
Hola, a camp in the Northern Coast Province, so we learn from the depositions taken before the magistrate, contained, apart from the prison quarters for convicted prisoners, an open camp 249 and a closed camp. In the open camp were the detainees who were prepared to co-operate with the authorities. In the closed camp were some 85 of the so-called hard core Mau Mau detainees. They were the irreconcilables, the men known to be inveterate in their hatred, apparently impossible to win over by any process of rehabilitation. Many had, no doubt, committed the most horrible crimes. It is right to point out that only some of them had been brought to trial on any charge. The rest were merely detained on suspicion.
In a previous debate, we were told by the Government spokesman that of the eleven who lost their lives, only four had been brought to trial on any charge. I say nothing in their defence except that, evil as they may have been, that was no reason whatever for clubbing them to death. The worse the example they may have set, the more careful should we be to avoid following it.
It was men of that type who were to be made to work. An irrigation scheme was under way on the Tana River and an irrigation trench was to be dug out at a spot something like one mile from the camp. The men were to be made to go to this place of work and there, by force if necessary, to be made to work. Precisely what happened on the way to the place of work and at the place of work was left somewhat uncertain by the conflicting evidence given before the magistrate.
An independent European witness and an independent African witness, both of whom the magistrate described as reliable, deposed to seeing warders raining down blows on the detainees while they sat on the ground and, apparently, were offering no resistance. Others, including the Camp Commandant himself, asserted that the detainees tried a break-away, that they set up organised resistance, that they raised the well-known Mau Mau howl, that they formed a human pyramid and that in a kind of frenzy they hurled themselves together and had to be separated.
So far as concerns the matters in issue in this debate, it does not matter which is the true version of those two. What does matter is what is left completely beyond doubt and that is that in a short time on that morning, the place was turned into a charnel house. Ten detainees were clubbed to death 250 and an eleventh died later from his injuries. Twenty-two others were admitted to the camp hospital suffering from more or less severe injuries. The medical evidence puts beyond any doubt that the deaths were all caused by violence. In other words, not very far short of half the irreconcilables involved were in a short time killed or injured. One moment's reflection would have shown that this was exactly what was likely to happen as the result of an attempt by force to make these men work.
The depositions before the magistrate make it perfectly plain how the project to force them to work originated. The Camp Commandant, Mr. Sullivan, took up his duties at Hola Camp on 20th January, 1959. In the previous November, Mr. Lewis, Commissioner of Prisons in Kenya, had visited Hola and been unfavourably impressed by the laxity of discipline that he saw there and on his return to Nairobi he discussed the situation with the Minister for Defence and the Minister for African Affairs. Before Mr. Sullivan went to Hola, Mr. Lewis gave him a short verbal briefing, impressing upon him that discipline must be enforced and that the non-co-operative detainees must be put to work.
The next thing was that on 7th February, Mr. Cowan, Senior Superintendent of Prisons in Nairobi, was sent down to Hola to draw up with Mr. Sullivan a plan to get the non-co-operative detainees to the irrigation site and make them work. He gave Mr. Sullivan the outlines—I emphasise "the outlines"—not the details, of the plan. The magistrate found that his plan, as the magistrate put it, had defects, ambiguities and omissions. There was misunderstanding between Cowan and Sullivan as to some aspects of the plan, but Sullivan clearly understood from Mr. Cowan that in the event of a refusal to work, the detainees were to be manhandled to the site and made to work.
On returning to Nairobi, Cowan prepared a written report. It was dated 11th February, 1959, and he addressed it to Mr. Lewis, the Commissioner of Prisons. In it, he set out in detail the plan which, he maintained, he had given in outline to Sullivan. This has become almost famous—or, rather, I should say, notorious—as the Cowan Plan. This written plan, which is an annex to the Government White Paper entitled 251 "Documents relating to the deaths of eleven Mau Mau detainees at Hola Camp in Kenya", contained a paragraph which I desire to read. It states:It is assumed that the party would obey this order"—that is, the order to work—but should they refuse they would be manhandled to the site of work and forced to carry out the task.The magistrate carefully considered what the meaning of that phrase was and how it would be understood. This is what he said about it:Any reasonable person would construe those words alone as a carte blanche to use whatever force might prove necessary to ensure the performance of the task whether the detainees affected proved merely reluctant or completely obdurate.With this paragraph in it, the Cowan Plan was, according to Mr. Lewis, forwarded on a file to the Minister for Internal Security and Defence and it was in due course returned by the Minister having been approved by him.
On 17th February a signal was sent to Sullivan telling him to wait for further orders before taking action, and I infer—I may be mistaken—that the reason for that signal was that the authorities wanted to be quite sure that before Sullivan went ahead the Minister's approval had been obtained. On 25th February, presumably after the Minister's approval had been obtained, a further signal was sent to Sullivan, this time telling him to proceed. On 3rd March he did so. He had first briefed his warders that, in the event of the detainees creating trouble, batons might be used, blows being aimed at the legs of the detainees.
The magistrate says that it was proved before him that before Sullivan did so he asked for a copy of the Cowan Plan when it had been committed into writing. He also made another request; he asked for the assistance of a senior officer with power of summary punishment for the implementation of the plan. The learned magistrate points out that Sullivan never got either of these things and that both of his requests were completely ignored. Having no copy of the Cowan Plan, of which, as I have said, he had only been given the outline verbally, it is not surprising that, as the magistrate finds, Sullivan in some 252 respects departed from the detail of the plan.
Apparently, Cowan had envisaged that the number of hard-core detainees involved would be 66. Actually the number was 85. Cowan intended that they should be taken to the irrigation trench in four batches, but, in fact, they were all marched there together. Cowan contemplated that they should be put to work which did not involve the use of tools, but, not surprisingly, no such work was available, and the House may think that digging a trench without tools is in any case a cumbersome process. Whether it would have made much difference if the plan had been carried out as envisaged is, I think, open to very much doubt. Possibly the death roll might have been somewhat lower.
But who is to blame for the fact that the detailed plan was departed from by Sullivan if not those in the Prison Administration in Nairobi, who knowing, as they must have known, that he had only been given a plan verbally in outline, ignored his request that he should be supplied with a written copy and given the assistance of a senior officer in the administration?
Quite apart from the muddle and misunderstanding, the fact remains that the Prison Administration in Nairobi prepared, and the Minister approved, a plan the cardinal feature of which was, as the magistrate described it, that carte blanche was given to use whatever force was necessary to make these men work. Let alone the manner of its execution, the plan as detailed in writing was, I say, lunatic.
It is not a case of being wise after the event. What on earth did they expect to happen? Here were embittered, desperate, hard-core detainees who obviously would disobey any orders to work. Cowan in his written plan, in the paragraph which I have quoted, had said that it was assumed that detainees would obey orders. The magistrate expressly rejects this assumption. He says, if I may quote his words:I find that the assumption that the order to work would be obeyed was completely unjustified in the circumstances operating at the time the plan was formulated in view of the large-scale previous refusals and since the plan itself was a plan to compel refusing detainees to work.The camp personnel to be used to enforce obedience were Askari warders 253 armed with what I believe was the regulation short baton, assisted, if necessary, by riot squad warders, as they were called, armed with shields and with longer batons. That they had had such training as, in the circumstances, was possible in discipline and self-restraint, I have no doubt. But it is relevant, nevertheless, to quote, again, if I may, in his own words, what the magistrate describes as the background to the incident of 3rd March. His words are:The Mau Mau detainees in the Hola Closed Camp … were the inner core of the hard core of Mau Man, hostile to, and contemptuous of, any form of authority, whose incorrigible attitude may be judged by the fact that they preferred to 'rot' in the Closed Camp rather than merely to ask to be almost automatically permitted to go to the Open Camp and work for money and be granted irrigated plots. I myself found them both at Hola—which the learned magistrate visited—and in Court sullen, suspicious and quite obviously fanatical … These men were potentially dangerous in the highest degree and would certainly he ready to take immediate advantage of the slightest sign of weakness in camp staff and exploit it to the full. The warders and camp staff as a whole could hardly have had a more difficult, more unpleasant or more provoking task to perform than to look after these detainees.Could anything more hazardous be conceived than to undertake by force to manhandle these men to the trench and there by force, to make them work? A moment's reflection would surely have shown that there was extreme danger that violence might break out—whether from the side of the warders or the detainees does not for this purpose matter. It did break out. It became impossible to control. The magistrate finds that the detainees offered resistance and made attempts at mass escape, and, on the other hand, that wholly excessive force was used by the warders. He says:I find myself driven to the irresistible conclusion that there was a very considerable amount of beating of detainees by warders with batons solely for the purpose of compelling them to work or punishing them for refusing to work … It would have been something like a miracle if detainees were not beaten if they refused to work or were difficult.Later he says that there was beating to prevent an attempt to escape, personal attack by the detainees and outbreaks of violence on their part. He says that there was a still greater degree of beating to compel the detainees to work, or punish them for not working. He adds:I find the former type of beating was justified"—254 that is to say, beating in order to repress violence on the part of the detainees. Then, with regard to beating to make them work, he says:The latter was entirely unjustified and illegal.What was almost certain to happen did happen with exasperated warders pitted against fanatical men, in the intense heat, with instructions to strike with their batons if these men caused trouble. A melee started. It developed into a shambles, and from a shambles into a massacre. It would indeed, as the magistrate says, have been little short of a miracle had it been otherwise.
Not only was this a hazardous plan. It was, so far at any rate as I can discover, wholly illegal from beginning to end. So far as I have been able to find, there is no provision in the Kenya code which authorises the use of force to compel detainees to work. Still less is there any provision in the Kenya code of legislation which authorises the use of armed force for this purpose.
The Crown, before the learned magistrate, was represented by counsel who presented to the magistrate an elaborate argument, but he was quite unable to point to any such provision authorising the use of force, let alone armed force, and it is clear from the magistrate's findings that counsel's argument carried no conviction at all to his mind.
The Kenya Prison Code lays down clearly what are the authorised sanctions and punishments—and, I add, the only authorised sanctions and punishments—which may be inflicted on detainees who refuse to obey orders to work, or indeed any other orders. They are the usual punishments known in most civilised systems of prison administration. They do not include the indiscriminate use of force to make them work, much less, again I repeat, the use of armed force.
The very same prison administration at Nairobi which hatched up the Cowan Plan had not so long before, on 10th September, 1957, sent out a directive entitled, "Directive for Use of Force in Detention Camps." It made what I have just said perfectly clear. Hon. Members may judge whether I am right or not, because the directive is fully set out as an annex to the Government's White Paper. It was designed for the Manyani 255 Camp and other camps in which violent and mutinous detainees were held.
It begins by setting out in full Section 18 of the Prisons Ordinance in Kenya which makes it quite clear that weapons were never to be used against detainees except in three specified cases set out in the Ordinance, and then only subject to stringent restrictions, those three cases being attempted escape, combined outbreak by detainees, or the use of violence by detainees against prison officers. Only in those cases could weapons be used against them, and then, as I have said, subject to very stringent restrictions as to warning, and so on.
The directive then goes on to set out Chapter 11 of the Prisons Standing Orders, headed "Use of Weapons or Force against Prisoners," and that Order contains as its paragraph 5:Except in self-defence or in defence of another person a prison officer must never strike a prisoner, but in order to overcome violence or resistance to escort he may use force but no more than is absolutely necessary.That is to say, never must he strike; and force must not be used except in the case of violence used by a prisoner or violent refusal to submit to escort. Only then can force be used, and then only the minimum that is necessary to secure compliance and to repress violence.
Further, the directive says:Officers in Charge of Detention Camps must appreciate that we are now dealing with the worst type of detainees.It was a kind of vade mecum impressing on officers in charge of detention camps how and when to be firm with irreconcilable detainees. And yet, although that is its purpose and its nature, there is not one word in it to sanction the use of force, let alone armed force, to make detainees work. A copy of it was sent to the Minister of Defence. The very same prison administration which formulated and sent out the directive engendered the Cowan Plan. The Minister, who received a copy of the directive, approved the Cowan Plan, a plan, as the coroner found, giving carte blanche for the use of such force as was necessary to compel those fanatical men to work. The prison administration, having said what was illegal, themselves formulated a plan which transgressed their own ruling. The 256 Minister who had had a copy of the directive approved a plan which conflicted with it.
I say this was an illegal plan. It was an unlawful plan to use indiscriminate and indeed armed force, force with the use of weapons, against detainees to compel them to go to the site of work and, when they got to the site of work, to go through the motions of doing work on the site. Batons were, of course, used, as they were bound to be used.
Did Cowan or the Minister think for a moment that they would not be used? Or did they give the matter no thought? Cowan himself obviously was fully aware of what was permitted. In his evidence before the magistrate he in terms said:In the event of persistent refusal to work we were entitled to order 12 strokes with a light"—note the word "light"—cane for persistent refusal of an order.He was perfectly right. That is the regulation punishment provided for by Section 88 of the Prison Code. Hon. Members may say that perhaps a light cane was not a sufficiently strong incentive to make irreconcilable Mau Mau detainees obey an order to work. I would reply to that that clubbing them to death is a much worse way still of trying to make them work.
Cowan was asked by the magistrate what he meant by the words in his plan which I have cited, the wordsforced to carry out the task.I quoted them when I read out the paragraph, and this is what he said in reply:I meant that their arms would be worked—put through the motions for the task and compelled to carry out the task.Those were his words. I can only say that I suppose he meant that seriously, but I am bound to say that I find it very difficult to believe. Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, warders holding the arms and hands of fanatical detainees and compelling them hour after hour to go through the motion of scraping earth out of a trench—remember, no tools were to be used—with their bare hands, I suppose?
Sullivan briefed his warders, as I said, to the effect that batons could be used if the detainees caused "trouble", and the learned magistrate, in paragraph 12 257 of his judgment, which is in the Government's White Paper, in terms finds:the orders given by Mr. Sullivan regarding the use of force …namely, the orders to which I have just referred—appear to have gone no further than the orders in the Plan itself that the detainees would if necessary 'be manhandled to the site and forced to carry out the task'.Force, violent and excessive, was used to make these men work, and this was armed force and wholly unlawful.
Did not Cowan, Lewis and the Minister realise that there was a danger that this might happen? Did they really suppose that the warders would lay aside their batons and use the palms of their hands and give the detainees, I suppose, gentle affectionate prods?
It adds up to this—that eleven men were done to death as a result of a lawless and insane plan engendered in the Prison Department by Cowan and Lewis, approved by the Minister and hopelessly bungled in execution owing to their muddle and mismanagement. It is, as far as I can conceive, with these men that the blame for this tragedy really lies, far more than with Sullivan, or Coutts, who was Sullivan's assistant. But if so, it is just on these men, in our view, that the blame should be pinned. In our view, Ministers and high officials should not be allowed to go scot-free while their subordinates, the Camp Commandant and his assistant are left to undergo punishment.
I put it to the House that the Cowan Plan was not only thoroughly illegal. It was a disgraceful, ill-thought-out and hazardous enterprise, the hazard at stake being men's lives. It has brought great discredit on the Kenya prison authorities, the Kenya Government and British administration in general in overseas territories. It has left a slur which can be removed only by a thorough and searching examination to expose the negligence or the callousness or both of those higher-ups who conceived the plan and the Minister who approved it, and also, I would add, by the prompt removal of these people from any position of authority. It is this inquiry which we think the Secretary of State should himself have immediately undertaken of his own motion, without waiting to be goaded by the Opposition.
258 So much for that aspect of the plan. But there are two, at least, other serious aspects of the matter under consideration. In the first place, immediately after the incident, three men, Mr. Campbell, the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons, Mr. Small, of the Ministry of Defence, and Mr. Garland, of the Ministry of African Affairs, went to Hola as a kind of preliminary commission of inquiry. On the afternoon of 4th March, that is to say, the day after the catastrophe, a report was drafted. That report was signed by Campbell. Among other statements in it appears a statement, which I will quote from the report which is not an annex to the Government White Paper but Exhibit "S" to the depositions taken before the learned magistrate. This is the sentence in the report under Mr. Campbell's signature:Because of the gap of three hours between the last scuffleI ask hon. Members to note the word "scuffle"—and the first death, it was the opinion of all with whom we spoke that the compelling exercise was in no way connected with the cause of death.I think it is right to say, and I believe and hope that I do not misrepresent the learned magistrate's language, that he was at the very least, to put it at the very lowest, extremely suspicious about Mr. Campbell's personal integrity in including that statement in the report. As I understand the learned magistrate's language, he finds it difficult to believe that Mr. Campbell, when making that statement, was being honest.
Of another part of the report, the magistrate says in terms, and this language, after all, is strong:The report deliberately"—note the word "deliberately"—minimised what at the least Mr. Campbell knew to have been baton incidents into 'scuffles' and 'minor scuffles'This is very serious indeed when said of the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons in Nairobi.
I note that in the disciplinary charges framed—I do not know, but rather assume by the prison administration in Nairobi—against Sullivan and Coutts the charge is made, against each, that they gave on 4th March misleading information to Campbell, when, as I have said, he went to Hola, about what had happened. I would point out, as I have already said, 259 that it is against Campbell himself, the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons, that the magistrate's suspicions are directed. I would say that if what the magistrate seems to suspect is well-founded, Campbell should be the accused, not the accuser.
The second serious matter is this. Apparently, at some time during that morning of 3rd March, a water cart appeared on the scene at Hola and the detainees and others drank water from it. In the late afternoon of 4th March, the next day, a meeting of Ministers was held at Government House in Nairobi at which Campbell, Small and Garland, to whom I have previously referred, were all present. As the outcome of that meeting there was a Press hand-out, which appeared in the papers on the following day, which contained this passage:The deaths occurred after they had drunk water from a water cart which was used by all members of the working party and by their guards.I maintain that this is a grossly misleading announcement. It clearly implies, and I apprehend was everywhere understood to mean—[HON. MEMBERS: "Intended."]—I use the word "implies"; as to intention, I will quote a bit more from the magistrate's findings. It clearly implies, and I think everywhere was understood to mean, that it was the drinking of the water which caused the deaths.
Before the magistrate, Campbell, when giving his evidence, actually tried to make something of the point that the handout used the word "after" instead of "because"; that is to say, it said… after they had drunk water …instead of "because they had drunk water." The magistrate, and I think everybody would have no hesitation whatever in agreeing with him, dismissed this as merely playing with words and said that the inference was perfectly obvious.
The magistrate, for reasons which he sets out in his judgment, thought that it was relevant and necessary to consider whether this hand-out was "deliberately misleading". Having considered it, he says that on the evidence he wasunable to make a specific finding …as to the circumstances in which the hand-out was published. In 260 other words, as I understand his language, he was leaving it "not proven" either way whether or not this was a purposely misleading announcement. Surely it is a most serious situation that there should be any uncertainty at all whether a hand-out after a meeting of Ministers attended by officials may have been deliberately misleading.
The complacency and indifference of the Secretary of State is really staggering about this. Doubts are left in the mind of the magistrate as to whether there may have been dishonest covering up—at least so I read his judgment—by highly-placed officials and by Ministers. Are we to understand that nothing is to be done to resolve these doubts? Is not the Secretary of State very culpable himself in not having taken, and apparently not intending to take, any step to probe this uncertainty, if for no other purpose than to do justice to those whose reputations may be thought to be impugned, and, if I may say so, justice also to the British administration whom they represent?
For a long time now, we on this side of the House have felt gravely disturbed as to what is going on, and has been going on, in the detention camps in Kenya. We have just had the Jacks Report on Manyani which, although it is true it discounts the allegations contained in an affidavit made by one, Shuter, nevertheless recognises that cases of brutality have occurred.
On 24th February this year, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) moved in this House for an inquiry into the administration of the detention camps in Kenya. The Under-Secretary, in replying to that debate, chided my right hon. Friend for moving what was, in effect, a Motion of censure on the policy of the Kenya Government. I wonder whether he would have chided my right hon. Friend if he had known what we now know as having been revealed in the magistrates' court. There is some irony in the fact that that debate took place on the day before the prison administration in Nairobi sent the signal to Sullivan telling him to put the Cowan Plan into operation.
This plan has reawakened and intensified all our suspicions. What is the attitude of mind behind all this on the 261 part of the prison administration in Nairobi which can think up, and on the part of the Minister can approve, such a plan, the obviously predictable consequences of which would be that many men would be sent to their deaths? Were its risks taken into account? How carefully was it considered; or is the explanation that it was not considered at all? Was it callousness or ineptitude, or was it both? Why were not at least precautions taken to make completely sure that it was fully understood, and carried out exactly as intended? Why were Sullivan's requests for assistance and for a written copy of the plan ignored? Was there a deliberate attempt to play the affair down, to cover it up, and to mislead the public into thinking that the drinking of water was the cause of the deaths? If so, on whose part was it? We think that the Secretary of State should have caused these matters to be publicly investigated. The names of Cowan, Lewis, the Minister of Defence, and Campbell, figure prominently and frequently in the magistrate's report, often in a very unfavourable light. I say again that a public inquiry is due in fairness to those men; it is even more due to outraged world opinion.
I would ask the Secretary of State to give a direct answer to certain questions. Does he now condemn the Cowan Plan or does he support it? Does he agree that, whether hazardous or not, it was in any case entirely unlawful? I would ask him this: did he or his Department have any advance notice that it was intended to be put into operation? This was not merely a routine incident in the administration of this detention camp; it was a major operation. In the Cowan Plan it is referred to as a "trial of strength".
Did the Secretary of State know of it before it was carried into effect? If the answer to that question is, Yes, I would wish to know what steps, if any, did the Secretary of State or his Department take to stop this plan being implemented? If the answer is, No, and the fact is that the first that the Secretary of State heard of it was after the massacre took place, did he immediately make it clear to the Kenya Government and to the Minister of Defence, in particular, that he utterly 262 repudiated it, condemned it, and condemned them? Does the Secretary of State agree now that the Minister who approved it, in particular, and all those who were parties to its formulation should not be allowed to retain any office of responsibility? In a matter of this gravity we should see, and we are entitled to see, the communications which passed on this matter between the Secretary of State and the Kenya Government.
I must say to the Secretary of State that his own credit is involved in this matter. By their Amendment to the Opposition Motion, he and his colleagues have made it clear that they decline any such inquiry as we have asked for. Instead, there are to be disciplinary proceedings against Sullivan and Coutts and an inquiry into the future—and I emphasise the word "future"—administration of the remaining detention camps. Two scapegoats are to be offered up as a sacrifice. I suppose that, in due course, we shall be served up with a catalogue of pious intentions for the future.
In between the area of the disciplinary proceedings and the inquiry which is to be conducted by the Government of Kenya, there is an area of investigation which is apparently to be sealed off by a hedge of impenetrability. It is just in that area that we think an investigation as to ultimate responsibility should take place. In it stand Ministers of the Kenya Government, their advisers, and the prison administration. It is from that investigation and what it would reveal that the Secretary of State apparently shrinks.
I would remind the Secretary of State that, holding the high office that he does, he is responsible for the good name of British administration in the Colonies and that the events at Hola have done more than any other single happening to injure that good name. It is a disaster which has taken place in a province of government for which he is under a direct and personal responsibility. He has no right whatsoever to shelter those persons who brought about that disaster. If there is a suspicion that a boy with a white skin has been cuffed by a police officer, we hold a full-scale inquiry. We should do no less when eleven men with 263 black skins are clubbed to death in the custody of the Kenya Government.
We have asked for an investigation finally and accurately to ascertain and attribute the blame for this happening to those on whom it should rest in the Kenya Administration. By his refusal the Secretary of State has made it clear that he has no conception of the real gravity of what has taken place. The right hon. Gentleman does not seem to realise that it has violently distorted and wrenched the fabric of confidence and good will which it is essential to build up if the emergent peoples of Africa are to be permanently won over to concepts of multi-racial nationhood.
It has made immeasurably more difficult the task of conciliating African opinion to the belief that the black and white races must live and work together instead of apart. Besides, I say this: wherever we sit in this House, whatever our political opinions and beliefs may be, this is utterly abhorrent to the conscience of each and every one of us. It is abhorrent that by the negligence, or worse, of officers in a British or, indeed, any administration, these monstrous events should have been allowed to take place.
To seek to consign it to oblivion by a show of disciplinary proceedings against almost the humblest, and in many senses the least blameworthy, of those in the hierarchy, is, I say, dis-honourable and insulting to civilised opinion. The Secretary of State has, I think, by his attitude shown that, as many have long believed, he has not the stature necessary to enable him to face the challenge of a changing—I really mean this seriously if the right hon. Gentleman will give me his attention—and an evolving Africa. If Ministerial responsibility means anything, the right hon. Gentleman has very much indeed for which to answer.
This tragedy has happened in a department of Government with which the right hon. Gentleman has been entrusted. It should never have happened at all. Now that it has happened, the steps it is apparently proposed to take are pitifully and contemptibly inadequate. I invite the House, by voting for this Motion, to censure the Secretary of State and his 264 colleagues who are collectively responsible with him.
§ 4.38 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:deeply regrets the recent death of eleven men in Hola Detention Camp and fully supports Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Kenya in the steps both remedial and disciplinary that are being take to prevent a recurrence of such a tragic event".I share the depth of feeling which hon. Members on both sides of the House feel for the tragic and shocking deaths of eleven detainees at Hola. It is a terrible thing to have happened under British rule. I can understand also the feelings of frustration that followed from the fact that it has not been possible to bring a criminal charge against anyone concerned. This is a matter of the utmost gravity, and it is particularly tragic because it has come at a time when the political atmosphere in the Colony is decidedly brighter. However, just as the deaths of the eleven Mau Mau men cannot be isolated from the circumstances in which they died, so those circumstances, in turn, must be seen against a background of the Mau Mau problem, and in particular against the Kenya Government's rehabilitation policy to deal with that problem. It is not enough just to give a bare recital of the facts, for we are dealing with a subject of magnitude and complexity, and one of which few people in this country have any real knowledge and experience. To understand Kenya's rehabilitation policy it is necessary also to understand the problem which it was designed to solve. I must, therefore, ask the House to listen to me for quite a long time.
The roots of this rehabilitation policy go right back to the secret spread and growth of Mau Mau, which presented a security problem for some years before the formal declaration of the emergency. In fact, it was in early 1950, before this Government took office, that the Kikuyu secret society first came to prominent notice.
Mau Mau is a conspiracy based on the total perversion of the human spirit by means of the power of the oath and by witchcraft and intimidation, all of which combined to place its followers mentally almost in another world, in which the 265 pursuit of their twisted aims was the only important thing. To achieve this end, extensive organisations were set up of a type I think hitherto unknown. Every location in Nairobi, for instance, for long the Mau Mau seed bed, had its Mau Mau committee and its "court" which dealt with the vilest forms of murder and of torture. Armed gangsters, the counterpart to the forest terrorists, were the instruments of what passed as Mau Mau justice, and so well did they do their work that the African population of all tribes was reduced to abject terror. There has been horrifying evidence of the workings of the Mau Mau court, and the bodies of men and women killed by the terrorists could be found practically every day. Evidence to convict their murderers, some of whom were known to the police, was unobtainable.
In the early days of the emergency courageous Africans came forward to give evidence against Mau Mau in open court. Many of them were murdered as a result. Often witnesses giving evidence when a trial was adjourned could not be found the following morning. Their bodies would be discovered months later in improvised graves or floating in the rivers. We do not know the extent of these murders, but when the turn of the tide of Kikuyu opinion came, many hundreds of bodies were dug up, the vast majority being Kikuyu who had tried to do their duty as good citizens.
I do not think I need dwell on the bestiality of Mau Mau. Everyone knows, or should know, of the Lari massacre and everyone is acquainted with the horrible ritual of the graduated oathing ceremonies and activities. Originally the oaths differed little from the normal Kikuyu oath used in tribal ceremonies, but as the terrorists grew more brutalised, their moral degradation was reflected in the characteristics of the Mau Mau oath. This developed sexual and sadistic aberrations which, in the higher form of the oath, included murder and cannibalism. All this ritual played its part in building up the Mau Mau mind, and the activities to which they were driving themselves tied them more and more to it.
All this came very much to light in the Report of the Parliamentary Delegation to Kenya in July, 1954, led by 266 the late Walter Elliott and by the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley), with its confidential annexe. The Report dealt particularly with the demoralising effect of these frightful oaths and it recommended that an inquiry into the psychology of Mau Mau should be undertaken. As a result, the Carothers inquiry took place.
What is clear from both these Reports is that the taking of the oaths had such a tremendous effect on the Kikuyu mind as to turn quite intelligent young Africans into entirely different human beings, into sub-human creatures, without hope and with death as their only deliverance. Yet, in the great majority of cases, these people were not irrevocably lost to decent society. They had a way back through voluntary confession, the only effective way by which Mau Mau adherents could cast off the power of the oath, and through the process of rehabilitation. These mutational phenomena defy rational explanation, but the release of 78,000 former Mau Mau detainees is a fact, and some of these men have voluntarily devoted themselves to the task of assisting in the capture and rehabilitation of their former fellows with the same single-mindedness which characterised their former gangster activities.
I think it necessary to recite these facts, and I am not doing so in order to cause emotional feeling against the intractable detainees at Hola. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Most certainly not. There is, however, a tendency now to forget just how vast and difficult was the problem posed by the huge numbers of indoctrinated Mau Mau. This forgetfulness is largely because the rehabilitation policy has been so singularly successful.
The 1954 Report made it clear that decisive action was needed to deal with the grave situation in Nairobi where terrorism was rampant and where there was, in fact, dual rule by Government and by Mau Mau. It came on 24th April, 1954, when "Operation Anvil" was launched, as hon. Members will remember, against the terrorist organisation. By the end of the operation some 35,000 members of the Kikuyu, the Embu and the Meru tribes had had to be detained and sent to specially prepared camps.
267 The operation undoubtedly largely achieved its purpose of disrupting the Mau Mau organisation, and with the removal of this focus of infection there was accelerated progress in the Reserves in building up resistance to Mau Mau and in the fight against militant Mau Mau. Their vast numbers, however, and the fact that they ranged in graduation from the most fanatical to the least infected meant that the Kenya Government had to consider urgently how to deal with these people inside the camps. "Operation Anvil" was undoubtedly the turning point in the struggle against Mau Mau, but though it dealt with the threat in Nairobi it transferred the danger to the camps.
At the beginning of 1954, therefore, while they were planning "Operation Anvil," the Kenya authorities were faced with the double problem set by Mau Mau—first, how deep it had gone, and, secondly, how widely it had spread. It was clearly going to be necessary to hold behind bars thousands of Mau Mau sympathisers, and among them would be many people over whose minds the doctrines of the society had obtained a complete hold. How would the Government of Kenya, how could they, deal with a problem of this kind?
There was essentially one main choice before them. As their overriding principle of policy they might have adopted the slogan of safety first. They could have decided that, come what may, no risks of any kind should be taken, that all efforts should be directed to seeing that there was no chance whatever of improper coercion and no cause for complaint, and that on no occasion and in no way should the Government attempt to impose their will on Mau Mau and challenge their spiritual supremacy in the camps. The efforts of the Government of Kenya would then have been confined solely to the minimum needed to restrain the personal liberty of the detainees. In that way we should probably have avoided any irregular incidents.
Nevertheless, to adopt such a policy, in my view and the view of my colleagues, would have been a disaster. It would have been an abdication of our duty to do all that was humanly possible to draw these men back into normal life. It would also have had even more serious consequences. To leave the power of 268 Mau Mau unbroken and unchallenged in the camps could have led only to its deeper and wider spread among those men and women inside who were less deeply infected.
As hon. Members who have followed this know, the ringleaders were determined to use their time in detention or prison to reinforce and to deepen their hold on the others and to continue their indoctrination. Ultimately, therefore, a policy of this kind would have been shortsighted even in relation to the needs of security in the camps themselves. If we had allowed this to happen, tens of thousands of detainees would have provided an ever-increasing potential threat. Such a policy would have meant that today, five years later, we might have been faced with as many as 20,000 or 30,000 completely incorrigible detainees on our hands and with no prospect whatever of being able to release them in safety.
The Kenya Government, therefore, with our full approval and backing throughout, rightly chose the second policy—and this is the answer to the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice), because it was a policy which was fully recognised as carrying certain definite risks. They decided to embark on a positive programme of rehabilitation in co-operation with the churches and other voluntary helpers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I think that if some hon. Members do not want to hear the whole story, most hon. Members do, and most people outside want to hear it, too.
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Rochester and Chatham) rose—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I cannot give way at this stage. I am ready to answer questions, but I must develop this argument, which is an essential part of the background to the problem which we are considering.
The Kenya authorities, with our full support, decided to embark on a positive programme of rehabilitation, in co-operation with the churches and other voluntary helpers. Their top priority was that every detainee should be subjected to special efforts of rehabilitation designed to fit him for release and freedom as rapidly as possible.
This meant that the authorities had to launch a spiritual and psychological 269 crusade—this is an absolutely inescapable part of the developing story of rehabilitation—challenging the authority of Mau Mau in the camps. Such a challenge was bound on occasions to provoke on the part of fanatics attempts at resistance which might sometimes lead to actual physical violence. It also involved the danger that incidents would occur as a result of misjudgment by the authorities of the depth of brutality and the savage nature of the detainees. It also involved the danger that there might be a departure by individual officers and men from the strict policy laid down by the Government for successful rehabilitation. We faced up to that danger and that problem, too.
Later I will show the steps which have been taken, with immense care, to follow up any charges of this kind of offence. This policy involved all these dangers. All the same, there is not the slightest doubt that we were absolutely right to follow this course, despite the dangers, and, as I hope to prove in a minute or two, in respect of the vast number of people released our policy has been justified by its results.
Right from the very start when plans for rehabilitation were first drawn up in January, 1954, it was foreseen that constructive work would be an essential part of the cleansing process. It was already clear that the atmosphere was noticeably better at camps where work was properly organised than in those places where work could not be so easily provided. At the beginning, however, the authorities concentrated all their energies on sorting out detainees by the degree to which they were attached to Mau Mau, segregating them, and encouraging those less affected, by confession and other well-known steps, to move towards freedom.
The first stage took a considerable time and was complicated by the fact that after "Operation Anvil" very many further detentions had to be made from Kikuyu repatriated from the Rift Valley farms and also from Tanganyika and Uganda. But in September, 1955, when the sorting out was more or less complete and the second stage of concentrating on the easier detainees was under way, there were still 48,000 detainees and about 15,000 Mau Mau convicts—63,000 altogether—although a further 15,000 had been released, mostly in that year.
270 As rehabilitation became established and the less infected Mau Mau moved to release, those who rejected rehabilitation and remained implacably recalcitrant collected at the other end of the process. Then came the second phase It opened with the construction of several special detention camps in which rehabilitation remained continually on offer to the recalcitrant. They were also required to do such work as the officer in charge of each camp was satisfied would assist in bringing the emergency to an end. Experience has shown, time after time, that unless hard core detainees can be got to start working, their rehabilitation is impossible. Once they have started working, there is a psychological break-through and astonishing results are then achieved.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
A staff with five years' experience of high responsibility and with a sense of pride in their achievements.
Therefore, to start working was the first essential, but other things also had to be done. The men were still grouped together in different camps and there seemed little chance that they would ever be fit again to re-enter society as free men. I remember on the various visits I made to Kenya and in the many discussions with the Governor and other devoted officials trying to accustom myself to face the possibility that thousands of people might have to be detained for the rest of their lives because they would be unacceptable to their fellow citizens back in Kikuyuland. There then followed a period when we had the riot in Manyani and the troubles at Mageta Island and at Saiyusi which will be remembered by hon. Members who have followed these matters closely.
As I said, the number of detainees and Mau Mau convicts at the start of this period was 63,000. By the end of 1956 the number had been reduced to something over 30,000 detainees and 7,780 convicts. In other words, in this second phase a further 25,000 people had been released. At this point it seemed certain that the remaining 13,000 men and women who were classed as 271 "Z", that is, who were not responding to rehabilitation, would have to be held indefinitely. Previous methods had made no progress with them.
It was at this stage that a new technique—dilution—seemed to offer a way forward. Under this method the policy of using Kikuyu warders and loyalist staff to work on the detainees was started, and the number of co-operating detainees working alongside them was increased. Small batches of recalcitrants were moved to camps mainly in the Mwea area, subjected to vigorous discipline, required instantly to obey orders and mixed with co-operating detainees in a proportion of about one to seven. I think I ought to explain a little more precisely the application of this new technique in what came to be known as "filter camps" through which detainees were passed before they reached camps in their home districts.
The procedure began at the very first moment when an intake of hard core detainees arrived in the camps. At that point the aim was to throw them psychologically off balance and dissociate them in every possible way from previous camps and the atmosphere there; to secure immediate compliance with camp discipline and to mix them from the start with detainees who were already co-operating. These Kikuyu detainees themselves were then best able to persuade the new arrivals to see the light and to adapt themselves to the new atmosphere by accepting rehabilitation.
To achieve the minimum psychological effect, the detainees on arrival were ordered at once to remove all physical symbols of their Mau Mau past, such as beards and amulets, and to change their clothes. It was essential that instant discipline should be preserved and to secure this involved the use of such force as was necessary, but no more, for this purpose. Directives were given making clear that the detainees were not to be beaten. All those who were concerned were fully aware of these directives. This dilution procedure was followed with those who had been detained at Manyani, Mageta and Saiyusi.
It was clear that the greatest challenge to the Mau Mau mind must come right at the beginning, when the recalcitrants first arrived, and it was easier then to 272 secure control over them and reject at once those who remained mutinous. The system depended on diluting the recalcitrants with co-operative detainees and working them in small batches under adequate European supervision. The opening of this third phase, the dilution policy—this is another answer to the right hon. and learned Gentleman—brought new dangers. [HON. MEMBERS: "We have not had an answer yet."] Hon. Members will hear plenty later on. What I am saying is for serious people who are following this seriously, and I know that the right hon. and learned Gentleman thinks this is an important matter.
The beginning of this third phase brought new dangers. The policy of making every attempt to convert Mau Mau was being applied with a new urgency and thoroughness. At the same time the detainees were far more intractable than those who had previously passed through the camps. Then the use of Kikuyu warders and especially of other Kikuyu detainees, who might themselves have been deeply involved in the brutality of Mau Mau, meant a special risk. As a result it was more than ever essential to have the closest European supervision.
This extra difficult nature of the detainees was soon demonstrated by several very serious incidents which occurred particularly at the beginning of the new technique. In a number of these instances detainees used violence as when the Commandant of the Athi River Camp was stabbed in a riot caused by recalcitrants about to go to the Mwea Camp, or at Manyani when, as hon. Members will remember, two warders were killed.
Where, as at Athi River, or Gathigiriri or at Aguthi, there were grounds for thinking that warders or others had used illegal force, the Attorney-General of Kenya did not hesitate to prosecute—as at Athi River, where officers were tried for unlawfully caning detainees to make them work. These officers were acquitted on the grounds that the force used was necessary to quell the disturbance and was not to make them work. Of these incidents, it was clear that in nearly every case the trouble arose from lack of adequate European supervision of Africans, that no one breach was in any way sanctioned by the authority of the Kenya Government; and that they arose partly from the risk of using Kikuyu 273 upon Kikuyu detainees and from the nature and general recalcitrance of these detainees.
I have the feeling that the very startling success of this policy and the technique used has itself obscured just how great were these risks. I am sure that they were apparent to those right hon. and hon. Members who visited Mwea and other camps at this period. A number of visits were paid. In 1954 the Parliamentary Delegation had reported, among other things, that, overcrowding and lack of staff apart, the Prisons Department had discharged its duties well, that the treatment of the prisoners was good, and that in its rehabilitation centres and camps highly constructive work was being attempted.
Then in 1956 Mr. Heaton, an experienced prisons officer and a member of my advisory committee on the treatment of offenders, visited prisons and detention camps in Kenya and advised on matters connected with their administration, at the invitation of the Kenya Government. As hon. Members who have followed this matter for years will recall, his report was published, and it showed that although they were having to deal with a crushing problem the morale and discipline of the prison staff were good. The inmates were well fed, well clothed and well housed. He was particularly impressed by the absence of any form of rough handling of the inmates by the staff, despite the fact that many of the Kikuyu staff had suffered grievously at the hands of Mau Mau.
Early in 1957 a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation visited Kenya and its report included the following words:From our own careful observations and inquiries we are satisfied that the Government of Kenya and its officers have done, and are still doing, everything possible to make malpractices impossible, and where they occur to detect them and bring the offender to justice. It would be ungenerous and unrealistic not to recognise this and to say that in both the Administration and the fields of law and order Kenya is fortunate in having the services of men of the highest integrity and good will.Later in 1957 the Kenya Government welcomed a visit on behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross. In accordance with normal practice its report was not published, but it made 274 public the following expression of its views:We think it our duty to state our considered opinion that all has been and is being done to respect the international principles accepted in the custody of detainees and convicts within the rules embodied in the Emergency Regulations.From time to time—[HON. MEMBERS: "What about Hola Camp?"]—many charges have been made in this House which I have always answered. Whether charges have been made in this House or outside—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I must ask hon. Members to be patient a little longer. Whether charges have been made in this House or outside about the administration of the prisons or detention camps, the Kenya Government and I have arranged for the most meticulous examination of them. That was true in the case of Miss Fletcher and of Mr. Shuter, and I am content to rely on what must be the reaction of fair-minded people to the result of these inquiries. The same care is being taken with other charges without regard to the quality of people who may be making them.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way to me. As he is giving us a history of the last four years, is he also, for the first time, going to disclose to us the reason for Colonel Young's resignation, when he was loaned by the City of London to become Commissioner of Police out there, and also the reason for the resignation of other senior police officers?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The whole history of Colonel Young's resignation was gone into a number of times in this House—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."]—and I made many statements about it. I am concerned now with charges of the brutal treatment of detainees, and I have been asked to answer those charges which have been made to me.
§ Mr. Callaghan rose—
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
Order. If the right hon. Gentleman does not give way, hon. Members must resume their seats.
§ Mr. Bottomley
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am obliged to the right 275 hon. Gentleman for giving way, but he has shown rank discourtesy. I tried to intervene when my name was mentioned before and the right hon. Gentleman refused to give way, but when my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) rose, the Secretary of State immediately gave way. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Parliamentary Delegation's Report and the views of Colonel Young were identical, and that if he mentions the Parliamentary Delegation's Report he ought at the same time to mention Colonel Young's resignation?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If it is indeed true, the tribute I have just read from the Parliamentary Delegation to the administration of prisons in Kenya would be endorsed by Colonel Young.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
As I have said, the same care has been taken over the other charges I mentioned made by Miss Fletcher and Mr. Shuter without regard to the quality of the sources from which they come. The results of the rehabilitation have been spectacular. At the beginning of the third phase we had 13,000 people who seemed to have no chance of redemption. Now that number has been reduced to about 1,000 and 98 per cent. of all those who have passed through detention and imprisonment as a result of Mau Mau, have been able to regain their freedom.
This third phase alone has brought the release of nearly 37,000, nearly all from the Mwea camps. With a great sense of responsibility over the last five years, these figures seemed to me at any time in the first four of those five years impossible to achieve. The techniques of the policy have been evolved and adapted time after time to meet the needs of a new and worse class of fanatic, at the expense of much trial and error and devoted efforts of the officers concerned—dedicated men and women—and by their helpers from the churches and other voluntary bodies. What else could we have done in the circumstances than what we did? I believe reasonable people will feel that on the facts the policy was right and that the techniques evolved were fully justified.
276 It now remains for me to explain how these techniques and this policy were to be applied at Hola Camp, and to that I now turn. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am on the whole grateful to the House for having listened to this long but essential preliminary and I believe that people outside who are very anxious for our good name and want also to know of the record of achievement, will be glad to hear the story I have told. The Hola detention area on the Tana River is divided into three parts—the settlement, the open camp and the closed camp. As to the first, the settlement, an irrigation settlement is being created so that those people whose liberty would present an unacceptable menace to their own people might yet enjoy the greatest possible freedom together with their families. So far 800 acres have been brought under cultivation and 189 families are settled in their own houses on plots which by next year will be held on lease. Those families include detainees who have progressed nearly far enough in rehabilitation to return to their own districts and others whom their own people have rejected, at any rate for the time being. More than a third of the sixty or more families in the settlement at Hola who are due to move towards release this summer have, in fact, asked to stay on at Hola on a voluntary basis.
That is the first of the three parts of the Hola scheme and, as time goes on, it will be the most important. The second part is the so-called open camp, which is really another form of village. The 411 people there will steadily move, first towards the irrigated plots and then, pray God, to release. For the most part, these men have come from the closed camp which is the third part of the scheme. Before they can leave that camp and go to the open village they must show themselves ready in some degree to co-operate with the authorities, for instance by being prepared to talk with them and to do work. They also have to give certain limited undertakings. The authorities are always ready to see the closed camp detainees who volunteer to go to the village, as five did recently during the hunger strike.
Although Hola has been painted by some people as a kind of Belsen I 277 would refer hon. Members to what the Observer said a few weeks ago:Hola is not just another barbed wire concentration camp crowded with rebellious prisoners. For 590 men, many of whom fought for years with Mau Mau in the forest, it is a prison without bars. And there is nothing to prevent 133 who are confined within the barbed wire of the 70-yard square 'closed camp' from attaining the same measure of freedom overnight.In February of this year there were 208 detainees.
§ Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn) rose—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
In February of this year there were 208 detainees in the closed camp. About half of those were working and segregated in one compound. In a second compound were the regaining 98. Thirty-two of these men were certified to be unfit to work and the remaining 66, who had always been thought Likely to give trouble, had refused to work. Discipline had deteriorated and there was a strong risk that these recalcitrants would reinfect others and put back their chances of regaining freedom. A contingent of detainees was due to arrive from Takwa. They had never worked, except for their own personal requirement, so the number of recalcitrants who refused to work would rapidly increase unless something were done. Those in the closed camp at Hola were hard core men, some of them certainly with records of violence of a most repellent kind. This does not in the slightest degree extenuate what afterwards happened, but it shows the dangers which had to be expected when the Takwa detainees arrived.
This naturally caused great anxiety to the Commissioner of Prisons. This was the picture. The Government were approaching the final phase in their massive scheme of rehabilitation. Already they had restored to society tens of thousands of people who had in varying degrees presented a threat to that society. In so doing, they had far exceeded their own earlier expectations, but they were now coming up against the most difficult part of their task.
The Governor of Kenya and I on behalf of Her Majesty's Government throughout had been guided by two principles. The first was that irreconcil- 278 ables cannot be allowed to return to Kikuyuland, and, secondly, that no one should be assumed to be for all time irreconcilable. We might at this point have said, "We have reached the most difficult of the lot. We cannot do any more. They are irreconcilable. Let them stay in detention". What a temptation, to wash one's hands of it and to assume that one could not do the impossible and to leave these people to rot away in their own recalcitrance. But that had never been the policy of the Government of Kenya, nor of Her Majesty's Government, and it is not so now.
Apart from leaving these men in perhaps perpetual detention, it was clear that if nothing was done the situation would worsen with the arrivals from Takwa and would put at risk those detainees in the open camp who had begun to move along the road to rehabilitation. This was because the Takwa men had never done any work except camp chores since they were in detention and after their arrival the task of getting the Hola men to work would become much more difficult.
There were thus at Hola certain circumstances differing from those present in other camps which would necessitate some adaptation of the policy I have outlined. These circumstances were that there was a large number of exceptionally bad detainees who were all refusing to work. Secondly, it was very important to get them to work before the recalcitrant detainees arrived from Takwa for the reasons I have just explained. Thirdly, there were fewer co-operating detainees so the dilution could not be achieved to the same extent as before. In view of all these circumstances the Commissioner sent one of his senior officers to Hola to draw up a plan to deal with the situation. Mr. Cowan was sent to Hola.
Many harsh things have been said about Mr. Cowan, but in the most difficult period of rehabilitation and the most successful, he had played a prominent and honourable part in running the actual camps in Mwea. While he was Staff Officer in charge of the Mwea camps, 37,000 people, nearly all of whom went through those camps, found their way back to freedom, and for this he has been rightly honoured. The plan, 279 as it has been called, was partly a report on the situation at Hola on 7th and 8th February. It was partly proposals to deal with that situation. It was partly also a consideration of the long-term problem of detainees at Hola.
It is important that the House should be fully seized of the essential features of the proposals on which it was intended that the Camp Commandant should work. After its details had been worked out in discussions with him, it was committed to writing in the form of a report to the Commissioner of Prisons with the object, in part, of securing approval of the responsible people for its being carried out. A copy of these proposals, which of course, were not intended as a formal directive, should have been sent to Mr. Sullivan. The first essential in the proposals was that no operation should be started until the compounds were completed so that the maximum segregation would be obtained before the arrival of the draft from Takwa.
The second essential point was that the sixty-six difficult people with those willing to work should be separated beforehand into four compounds. This is, in essence, based on the dilution principle, although Mr. Cowan knew that this could not be fully used here since there were not enough co-operating detainees. Next, all those prepared to work would be ordered out of the Camp to an approved site some distance from it. It was possible that some of the recalcitrants would have been persuaded to go to work by the co-operating people, thus restricting the numbers left in the compounds. This would leave within the Camp four small separate groups each of people refusing to work.
It was then intended to proceed as follows. Three of the groups would be locked up, each in its own compound and the passages between the four compounds would be manned by a special platoon. Then the operation would be concentrated on the remaining group carefully guarded by another special platoon. This group would then be ordered to work on the approved site outside the Camp. This was the moment at which the authorities would challenge the Mau Mau mind, and so the most likely point at which resistance or trouble would 280 occur. If they carried out this order and went to the site quietly, a similar procedure would have been followed with each of the groups in turn until all were working on the site among the original batch of co-operative detainees.
As Mr. Cowan's report shows, if the first group refused to carry out the order they were to be taken to the site. This method, which might involve what is commonly know as "manhandling," is intended to secure obedience to an order without any physical injury to the man concerned, without the use of weapons of any kind, including batons, and in such a way as to be of a compelling and not of a punitive character. It has always been recognised that to secure discipline force in this sense may be necessary to secure obedience to an order. Unless it was recognised that this might be necessary, the whole plan, as others for work and rehabilitation, would have been ineffective. The final important point is that if there were any difficulty with the first group, no attempt would be made to take out the other three groups on that day.
The proposals were the adaptation of a proved and successful technique to the circumstances of Hola and were based on three important conceptions. The first was that what was realised from past experience would be the most difficult and dangerous part of the operation—the moment of maximum danger—namely, ordering the men out to work, would take place within the compounds of the Camp. This would ensure that at this dangerous time there would be fully adequate European supervision and a strong warder force to deal with the situation.
The second vital conception was that fewer than twenty men should be taken to the work site in the first instance. The third conception was that only if this group started work satisfactorily should another group be taken out and only if that went well would a third group be taken out. In the event, as the House knows, none of these requirements was fulfilled. The main proposals were not, in effect, carried out. If they had been, this tragedy would not have happened. The departure in these three ways from the proposals converted it from a comparatively minor operation, as the magistrate said, into a major one of great magnitude.
281 As the House knows, a disciplinary inquiry is now taking place into the conduct of the Commandant, Mr. Sullivan, and his Deputy, Mr. Coutts. This is turning, in part, on the understanding that Mr. Sullivan had formed of some of the essential features of the proposals, and I cannot at this stage, in fairness to Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Coutts, or to anyone else, say any more now.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Exactly what I said.
The right hon. Gentleman has concentrated, and I am not in the least surprised, on the sentence:… manhandled to the site and forced to carry out the task.I have thought it right to stress the essential features of the proposals—of features of which I have now reminded the House. It is clear from Mr. Cowan's letter that force was only to be used in certain events, and it was, of course, hoped that a display of strength in the compounds would lead to obedience and avoid the need for using any force at all. It was not, therefore, part and parcel of the proposals that force would be used, but it was recognised that in the event of disobedience it would have to be.
But, Mr. Speaker, I must tell the House frankly that I am completely satisfied that by the use of this phrase Mr. Cowan did not seek the approval of his superiors to beating the detainees to make them work. I am also completely satisfied that those who approved this proposal never intended to sanction, and never sanctioned, that.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby) rose—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am not normally reluctant to give way, but I cannot do so now.
As I have said, they had themselves issued directives which made it clear that beating detainees was not allowed. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, who will speak later in the debate, will reply in detail to the right hon. Gentleman's observations as to the use of force and his comments on the findings of the magistrate.
I now turn to certain events which followed the tragedy, to which the right hon. Gentleman also referred. In this connection, I must deal with the visit of 282 Mr. Campbell and his colleagues to Hola and with the Press statement that was issued in Nairobi. The second of the disciplinary charges against Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Coutts reads, as the House knows:That you … gave misleading information concerning the events which had occurred at Hola on the morning of 3rd March, 1959, to the then Acting Deputy Commissioner of Prisons … and to the Under-Secretary of Defence.While this disciplinary inquiry is proceeding, I cannot, in fairness to Mr. Sullivan, Mr. Coutts, or Mr. Campbell and his colleagues, or any one else who may be concerned, say more than this. [Interruption.] It is not my fault that the debate is taking place today. I am delighted with the opportunity of telling the whole story, but it might well have been better had there been a slight delay until the disciplinary proceedings were completed.
The report by Mr. Campbell and his two colleagues gave a misleading picture, but the House should remember certain things. There is no telephone to Hola. When the Governor heard by wireless signal that there had been ten deaths at Hola, it was decided to send three officers from Nairobi as quickly as possible to see what had happened. It was thought that there might have been a mutiny and that warder reinforcements or medical supplies might be needed.
The Campbell visit was not in fact a Commission of Inquiry. In the three hours that they were there it cannot be said that they carried out a thorough investigation. The story that they were told in that short time appeared to them to be corroborated by the C.I.D. and by the doctor.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
On their return, the Governor held a meeting over which he presided to consider what immediate action could be taken and whether it was possible to issue a statement that evening. At the meeting Mr. Campbell and the other two officers were closely questioned, and the views of those at the meeting were formed more on the answers to these questions than on Mr. Campbell's typed notes.
A Press statement was then issued. It was certainly a very unfortunate one, 283 and it should not have been issued in that form, and not at any rate without attention being drawn to the fact that no cause of death could be suggested until after the autopsies had been completed. Had it been the intention of the Kenya Government to cover up anything, or deliberately give a false impression, which needless to say it was not, it had set about it in the most extraordinary way. It was done in a way which was bound to lead to the early discovery of the truth. But, of course, there was no such intention.
Dr. Rogoff had already arrived before the Campbell party for the autopsy. Dr. Craig, Provincial Medical Officer, Coast Province, was on his way to Hola to examine the injured. Mr. O'Dwyer of the C.I.D. had already arrived and a report on the deaths had already been made to the magistrate so that an inquest could be held. This was scarcely the way to set the stage if an operation to mislead was in the minds of the Government of Kenya.
§ Mr. Stonehouse rose—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
As is indeed only too true, things went tragically wrong at Hola. As the Amendment says, disciplinary and remedial measures are being taken. As the House knows and, as I have said a number of times, a disciplinary inquiry is now being held. This will involve to a very great extent the question who was responsible for the operation as actually carried out.
Some Opposition Members in the House and outside have criticised the composition of the disciplinary committee. I think this is unfair to the Government of Kenya who were bound by colonial regulations to constitute the inquiry in this way.
Whenever magistrates or officers in Kenya have carried out inquiries they have not hesitated to draw attention to facts, however unpalatable, even when those facts have not figured in the original charges into which they are inquiring. In fairness to the two officers now before the disciplinary inquiry, or to any one else who might be involved, I cannot say anything more about that inquiry today. But I can assure the House that neither I nor the Governor, nor any Minister or officer in Kenya, 284 would ever wish to shelter behind men who have the difficult task of carrying out operations on the ground. If any further action is necessary it will be taken.
As to the debate of 24th February to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman referred, most of the charges were based on Mr. Shuter's allegations which have been virtually disproved. Had there been an investigation after 24th February into Hola, it would have shown nothing. The inquiring magistrate questioned 50 closed camp detainees and eight others, and all the evidence was that no beating of any kind had taken place at Hola before 3rd March.
There are the remedial measures, and we attach the greatest importance to each one of them. The inquest magistrate criticised, in the Hola case, what he called the… complete absence of direction with regard to the amount of force that might be used.The magistrate was, of course, only referring to Mr. Cowan's letter.
It is clear that not only the Prisons Ordinance and Standing Orders, but also three separate directives from the Commissioner of Prisons and Ministry of African Affairs, laid down that "beating force" was not to be used to secure compliance with lawful orders. The Governor has, however, given instructions for a fresh directive to be prepared and issued explaining clearly and in simple language the rules for the use of force governing the conduct of prisons and other staff. When I receive copies of this I will place them in the Library.
Secondly, the magistrate found that scurvy was present at Hola on 3rd March. I want to say something about this. The method of issuing ascorbic acid tablets which were part of the diet prescribed with the approval of the Director of Medical Services had been used in all other camps. Only one case of scurvy in Kenya detention camps, and that as long ago as 1954 had been detected. They were issued with their rations, and at Hola the rations were eaten in the detainees' own huts. An attempt made later, after the disaster, to cause them to eat elsewhere, where they could be supervised, led to a hunger strike.
285 A batch of detainees who were suffering from swollen limbs and were flown to Nairobi shortly before 3rd March were found not to have scurvy. Two cases were, however, found on careful inspection at Hola after the incident. All detainees were immediately given a saturation dose of ascorbic acid and thoroughly examined for the deficiency. None was found to be suffering from it, and none is so suffering today. The Governor has given instructions to ensure that in future whenever the tablets are issued they are eaten by detainees and convicts, and that if the tablets are refused clear arrangements are made to ensure that they are included in their food; if necessary ground up with it. Medical officers in charge of such camps and prisons are being warned in their examinations to bear in mind particularly the possibility of scurvy.
Thirdly, there is a criticism which we certainly accept, in that Mr. Sullivan was never sent a written copy of the proposals made in Mr. Cowan's report to the Commissioner after they had been approved by higher authority. The Governor is giving instructions that in future all proposals for the introduction of any important operation of this kind must be committed to writing, and that copies of the document should be given to the senior officer in charge of any operation to which the instruction relates before that operation is carried out.
Fourthly, the Fairn Inquiry is to advise the Governor on how far present methods of rehabilitation can and should be adapted to fit the needs of the last few hundred detainees and Mau Mau convicts. Pending this advice—and this is one of the things they will advise—no detainee who is not prepared to work will be ordered to do so.
This problem is very much a part of their general inquiry into the future administration of the camps to which the Kenya Government and Her Majesty's Government attach great importance. The inquiry is composed of men with special experience of prisons administration, of conditions in Africa, and of the Kikuyu mind, and their recommendations are bound to be of great value in dealing with the remaining problem. I should say, however, that orders requiring work were not being given at the time of the Hola tragedy 286 in any other camp. The only other camps which did not then contain co-operating detainees who were willing to work were Manyani and Athi River, and at neither of these camps was there suitable work for the detainees to do.
It will also be of interest to the House to know that representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross are now in Kenya—they have just arrived—to visit the detention camps for the second time. Over the years the Kenya Government have reduced the number of detainees from about 80,000 to under 1,000, and one of the most tragic aspects of the problem, namely, the number of women, has now been reduced to a figure of 17. These, in the light of the fears and anxieties of the people of Britain and the Government and people of Kenya, are remarkable figures.
The Government and the social workers in Kenya are now on the last lap of their major scheme of rehabilitation. We all recognise that the nearer they get to the end of the problem the more complex and difficult that problem is. I am sure that the House will be of one mind in thinking that the horror and distress that we all feel at what happened at Hola must not be allowed to cloud our judgment in this House, or to deflect the Kenya Government from their attempts to restore to society even the most hardened of these Mau Mau adherents.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland) rose—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am sure that none of us could contemplate a situation whereby these men were left to rot away without any positive attempt to rehabilitate them. The process must continue, and further planning and experiment must go ahead. Past experience, including past mistakes, must go on being taken fully into account. Having come to the most difficult problem of all, the Kenya Government recognise the clear need for bringing to bear on the future problem the experience and wisdom of outside authorities.
I know the House will share our hope that the Kenya Government will be able to move forward to a situation where even the few hundred desperate men who remain can be reclaimed, if necessary one by one, thus bringing to an end the threat which they themselves, by their frame of 287 mind, represent to all the people of the Colony. Their release is largely in their own hands—in their desire and ability to prove their willingness to return to society as peaceful and law-abiding people, acceptable to their own people.
I have kept the House a very long time, but these are grave—[HON. MEMBERS: "Whitewash."]—and anxious matters touching the traditions and the honour of British Colonial rule.
§ Mr. Grimond
The Colonial Secretary has been speaking for a very long time, but what he has failed to tell us much about is what happened when ten men were killed in the Hola Camp. If he could say a little more about how that incident arose and why it was not possible to bring proceedings against anyone, we should be greatly indebted to him.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If, having read the coroner's report and having listened to my speech, the hon. Gentleman has not discovered that, his powers of comprehension must be limited.
I hope that a message can go out from the House to the Governor of Kenya and all who are supporting him in this task of recognition of the success they have achieved, sympathy for the sometimes intractable problems with which they are faced, support for their firm determination to ensure that proved abuse is punished and necessary action taken to prevent any repetition of such a disaster, and hope that in time this great reclamation project will come to a successful conclusion.
§ 5.37 p.m.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)
This debate will be followed, not only in this House and in Kenya, but in the whole of Africa. In February and March of this year, the United Kingdom Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association sent, as a delegation to Kenya, the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams) and myself. Before we left the country, the camps and the prisons of Kenya were very much in the news. My hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) had Motions and Questions on the Order Paper which dis- 288 turbed the House and, I believe, the country.
It was natural that when we were in Kenya we should want to visit the detention centres to see for ourselves as far as possible the conditions in those camps. No difficulties were placed in our way. The Kenya Government made arrangements for us to visit Aguthi Camp and Hola Camp and Kamathi Prison. It is the detention camps about which I wish to speak today, because I believe that I am the only hon. Member on this side of the House who has visited the Hola Camp. I was there whilst the inquest was being held at Mombasa, when the tension was still very real.
We went there within two weeks of the debate in this House, so that we did not go to the camps without knowing what had been said on both sides of the House. Hon. Members who are interested in colonial affairs will know that when we left Kenya I went out of my way to ensure that no ill-feeling should be created by any words I uttered. I went the extra mile, if possible, to ensure that I saw what was worth seeing and praising. I am very glad that I praised the dedicated service which I found there. I have told the Secretary of State the other things which I saw, as he and the hon. Gentlemen opposite well know. In view of the refusal of the Secretary of State to hold a public inquiry into events at Hola, I believe that I have an obligation to the House and to the country to give the details of what we saw in other places.
No one with any knowledge of Kenya will under-estimate the foul nature of Mau Mau or its psychological effect upon the community as a whole. Therefore, it is no mean task which is given to the Askaris and the prison staff in the detention centres. It is about the worst task that any African could be asked to undertake. They are spat upon. They are despised. They are regarded by inmates of the camps of betrayers of their own race. That is why it is all the more important to have a European staff able to take a detached attitude in their approach to the problem of the detainees.
I do not detract from the outstanding record of the number of people who have been rehabilitated and are walking about free as the air in Kenya today. 289 However, when that has been said and recognised, we must realise that in charge of these camps are people who were emotionally and physically involved in the fight against Mau Mau. For instance, at Aguthi Camp the officer in charge is an honourable man, I have no doubt, but he spent the first twenty minutes with me quivering with emotion as he described the atrocities which these people had committed. Yet he was in charge of the camp. It was at Aguthi that I inspected the punishment book. The hon. Gentleman opposite also inspected the punishment book, and he knows that in that punishment book at that camp there is recorded a punishment of twelve strokes of the cane to a man for the offence, as written in the book, of writing to a Member of Parliament. [An HON. MEMBER: "Shameful."] I saw it with my own eyes.
§ Mr. Norman Dodds (Erith and Crayford)
The Secretary of State should rise and tell us why it is in the punishment book.
§ Mr. Thomas
I want to develop this argument, because I have deliberately kept silent on this matter. I have put up with criticism from some of my hon. Friends, and the Secretary of State ought to know that I have done my best to ensure that nothing from my lips would make the situation worse. The House now has a right to know everything. I asked—the hon. Gentleman opposite was there and heard me—to whom the man had written. We were told that he had written to my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn. I have pursued this matter because it was from Aguthi that a letter came to my hon. Friend. That led to Questions in the House which started the ball rolling about the African who was put to death there. A member of the staff is serving two years' imprisonment as a result of my hon. Friend pursuing the matter in the House. If it has happened in an isolated instance at that camp that a man has had twelve strokes of the cane for writing to my hon. Friend, it is justification for our wondering what has happened without us ever finding out in these camps in Kenya.
The Secretary of State has written to me saying:You will remember mentioning to me, when you came to see me with Paul Williams 290 after your visit to Kenya, that you understood those responsible for smuggling out the letters of complaint from Aguthi Camp about the death of Kabugi had been severely punished. I thought I ought to let you know that the Governor assures me no one has been punished for smuggling out these letters. Indeed, their authorship has not been established.I was told at the camp that people were asked to volunteer if they had sent these letters. I was also told, in the hearing of the hon. Gentleman opposite, that they knew the letters came from Kenya, but they could not prove who sent them. My comment was, "Do you expect them to volunteer when they get twelve strokes of the cane for admitting it?" I believe that the Governor is far wide of the mark about this.
The Observer was very kind about Hola; but it seems to me that it is a camp from the edge of the world. We flew over mountains and desert to reach it. It is a camp in furnace heat. The temperature there rises to 145 degrees. It was 105 degrees on the day the hon. Gentleman and I were there. It is almost a punishment to endure the heat, and that applies to staff and detainees. I readily pay tribute to the patience of people called upon to discharge such a difficult task as guarding detainees under such conditions.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) described the sections of the camp. All that was left out was the fact that there is the transit camp there as well and that there are native police unarmed in the open camp. They are on good terms with the detainees. The trouble has been only with the hard core.
To my mind, the marvel is that this sort of tragedy has not happened sooner. The tension of hatred and the strain of the climate have made it more, not less, of a probability. All this should have been known—I believe that it was known—to the Governor, the Prison Commissioners and the Colonial Secretary.
I believe that there is a tremendous obligation on the Government of Kenya, responsible as it is for the welfare of these camps where the rights of human being are surely attached even to detainees, who cannot be approached by the normal public to see if justice is being done and who are completely, utterly and absolutely at the mercy of the guards in the camps. There is a mighty 291 responsibility upon the Kenya Government to ensure that the staff has adequate facilities and that the Askaris have facilities for relief from their work. The plain truth is that tension could have been reduced.
The first communiqué issued from Government House after the Council of Ministers has disturbed me. I gathered from the Secretary of State that the Governor was present at that Council. I am sure that when Mr. Campbell and the Commission were at Hola they would have had all that little coterie—I do not use the word unkindly—of officers and Europeans there telling them everything. Is there anyone in the House who believes that Mr. Campbell and the others did not know what had happened the day before? It would be the only thing that they would talk about. Of course it is true that they left after three hours knowing the full story. They go back to Government House to a meeting of Ministers, and there is a full-scale conference. Does any hon. Member believe that that full-scale conference of Ministers and heads of departments was not aware that there were disturbing and alarming features about the deaths of these eleven people at Hola? They deliberately issued a communiqué—which I read the next morning, because I was in Nairobi—which led us all to believe that there was poisoned water in the camp, or water that poisoned detainees who were recalcitrant but not those who co-operated.
To my mind, that is one of the most serious aspects of the case. I can understand the outbreak of violence. I cannot understand the attempt to cover it up—
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
I am sure that the whole House will agree that if the hon. Member's allegation is true, it is a very serious matter, but how does he fit in the fact that there was at Hola an officer of the C.I.D. and a doctor about to carry out a post mortem at the time when Mr. Campbell was there? Surely, had he fabricated the story, it would have been blown sky high within forty-eight hours.
§ Mr. Thomas
The hon. Gentleman does himself less than justice. The truth is that the C.I.D. officer, and no one else except the Council of Ministers, vetted 292 the statement that went out. Is it correct that it was thought easier to placate public opinion by referring to the water cart rather than to the fact that there had been an outburst of violence at the Camp?
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
And will my hon. Friend bear in mind—in answer to the point just put by the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall)—that the medical officer who conducted the post mortem said that putrefaction had already set in, in a tropical climate, and made it clear that if they had only been able to keep it quiet for a few more hours that putrefaction would have removed all evidence of violence to those bodies?
§ Mr. Thomas
The House can draw its own conclusions. I only say that there is a second feature to which an answer will be expected, and we have not yet had that explanation. The Secretary of State spent four-fifths of his time this afternoon giving us a history of Mau Mau in Kenya that everyone knew. The House was waiting to hear the story of Hola.
The plain truth is that there was a decision at the highest possible level that force should be used, if necessary, to get these men to work. Undoubtedly it is true that the wrong men stand in the dock. I believe that by the debate here in February the green light was given for a tough policy in the Council in Kenya. I believe—and I can give here only my own deductions—that once it was found that the Colonial Secretary would stand at the Dispatch Box and, with that sense of loyalty that reveals itself from time to time, defend whatever happened there, the all-clear was given. The signal went the next day, "We are all right so far as Westminster is concerned—get on with the plan"—
§ Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid (Walsall, South)
I am sure that the hon. Member has a great sense of fairness and would like to know that the point he has raised has troubled me very considerably. I therefore took the trouble to try to find out the exact timing. I am entirely satisfied—and I hope to satisfy the House, if I am lucky enough to catch Mr. Speaker's eye—that the time was entirely fortuitous and that the decision was taken before the debate in this House.
§ Mr. Thomas
I should be glad to get an answer on the time factor from the Government Front Bench.
These men, the Mau Mau hard core, are not normal men. Nobody in charge of them pretends that they are normal men. The hon. Member for Sunderland, South knows that when we visited the Camp we were told time and again, "Look at their eyes". That was the phrase. That is where we were supposed to see the signs of insanity. They are not normal, yet these are the people of whom it was suggested that force could make them co-operate. They needed a psycho-analyst, not this sort of stupid approach.
I believe that we have damaged ourselves unnecessarily; that the path that will make Africans realise how eager we are to treat them as equals and to co-operate with them in the multi-racial society in Kenya is made all the harder by this refusal to hold a public inquiry into the death of eleven Africans in this way.
When we visited Aguthi Camp, both the hon. Member for Sunderland, South and I were disturbed by the number of people whom we saw on crutches. I subsequently raised that subject in many places; with the Governor and the Attorney-General there, and with the Minister here. All this I did in private. I had an answer, dated 12th May, from the Attorney-General, who says:When I saw you and Williams"—I do not think that that is meant to be disrespectful to the hon. Member:on 26th March, you were disturbed at the allegation, made in that morning's newspaper report of the Hola Inquest, that orders had been issued that batons, if used, should be used about the legs. This made you recall that at Aguthi both you and Williams had remarked on the number of detainees on crutches at the Camp, and you felt there might be some connection between the disability of these detainees and a possibility that, if and when force is used on detainees, it is habitually applied to the legs.I decided, following our conversation, to enquire into the cases of detainees at Aguthi on crutches, and the causes of their disability, and accordingly a Senior Administrative Officer from the Ministry of Defence went to Aguthi in April.He there found that there were nine detainees on crutches"—When one sees nine of them together it looks a lot: 294He saw and questioned each man separately, ensuring that there was no opportunity for collaboration between them by arranging that after a detainee had been questioned he was not allowed to return to his fellows until they too had been separately questioned. From their replies the following information was gathered.Of the first detainee questioned, the letter says:Never convicted. Damaged a hip when he accidently fell from a tree whilst cutting firewood as a member of a working party at Shimba Hills Detention Camp.The remainder of those mentioned in the letter are stated to be all former Mau Mau convicts who have been converted into detainees. It is said of the first of them that he was wounded in the leg by security forces in 1953, and the next two were wounded in the leg in similar circumstances in 1956. The next was shot by the police in 1954—when the troubles were about—and the next was shot in the leg in 1955. Of the next, it is reported that he damaged his leg whilst in employment in Nanyuki—before he was arrested. The next damaged his leg in an accident, and the last one is reported to have said that he was beaten up, and an inquiry is under way into that circumstance.
I have read that letter because I am grateful to the Attorney-General for taking so seriously the allegations and remarks I made to him when I was out there. I have also read it in order that the House may know that I had my eyes open, and that I am now of the serious opinion that a public inquiry into the events of last February and March at the Hola Camp would be in the interests both of this House and of our good name, and in the interests of our future relationships in Africa itself. Every word in this debate will be followed from the tip of Africa in the south right to the north, and I hope that the people there will feel that this House is resolved, above all, to ensure that for coloured people as for white the most stringent inquiries are made and every possible guarantee of fair treatment assured.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Sir Hendrie Oakshott (Bebington)
In many ways this is a difficult debate in which to participate at this moment. The hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) spoke of two men being "in the dock" and the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) spoke about "scapegoats". 295 There are in fact disciplinary charges hanging over the heads of two officers of the service, and although I do not suggest that technically this matter is sub judice, it seems to me that things said in this debate today might easily affect the outcome of the hearing of those charges. Indeed, it may not have escaped the notice of the House that in Nairobi it has been decided that no debate shall take place in the Legislative Council there on this matter until the result of these hearings is known. From my information I would say that there is every bit as much anxiety and just as great a sense of urgency in Kenya as there is in this country about this matter.
In addition, there is the Commission of Inquiry to which my right hon. Friend referred, reinforced by the International Red Cross which is to look into the conditions at the Camps generally.
So we have a situation today where there are things happening outside the result of which we cannot know and which might significantly affect the views we may hold, and also where the things that we may say here might affect inquiries and hearings which are going on in Kenya. It is for that reason that I find that this is not an easy debate. I do not find it easy for the purpose of this debate to put on one side these charges which these officers are now facing.
However that may be, may I say first that there is no excuse for some of the things disclosed in the White Paper? They certainly should not be, and are not being, covered up. The hon. Member for Cardiff, West suggested that there had been a cover-up or deception—a point on which my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) intervened. Yet it would surely be foolish to try to work a trick like that particularly when the preparations for the inquest were already started. The matter is not being covered up.
That these things happen is utterly repugnant to us and contrary to the principles for which we stand. But having said that, I want to add that this House owes a great debt to the general body of colonial servants. We recognise their devotion to duty and their positive achievements, not only for the Colonial Territories generally but also in particu- 296 lar in Kenya in their work of rehabilitation after this tragedy of Mau Mau. The hon. Member for Cardiff, West said that everybody knows all about the history of this matter. I am afraid that I differ from him. I do not think they do, and I also believe that some who do may have forgotten a lot of it.
In considering this tragic episode, one ought to try to look at the picture as a whole and not just at one dirty dark corner of it. My right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary referred to the oath-taking ceremony. It is true that in the Kikuyu tribe there is this very solemn tribal ritual the consequences of which to the man who fails in this test and to his family and possessions are so devastating and serious that the ritual is hardly ever resorted to.
This tribal ritual was distorted by these evil people for their own ends and we know what it led to—to bestiality almost beyond belief. It would not be a bad idea to refresh our memories of the details of some of the more advanced stages of the Mau Mau oath and to remember what they led to. My right hon. Friend referred to the Lari massacre. I met one of the senior survivors a few years ago in Kenya and it is worth remembering that in this bestial thing the attacks were directed every bit as much, if not more, against their own tribesmen as against Europeans. There is, however, one well-known case of an Englishman who lived among the Kikuyu with his wife and family. He brought up his children among them and ministered to the health, education and welfare of the tribe. Yet the people whom he befriended most, when they became infected with this disease, hacked him and his wife to pieces.
There is something much more horrifying about this than the type of fanaticism which went on at the time of the Indian Mutiny. It is a positive disease of the mind and the spirit. These people became completely possessed and in some cases they are incurable. Happily, as my right hon. Friend pointed out, the cases which are incurable are comparatively few in relation to the total. The results have exceeded our hopes. I can remember being told in Kenya about three years ago that at the best we would probably be left with about 10,000 people who were utterly irreclaimable. 297 What has happened? Out of tens of thousands three or four years ago there are only hundreds now.
I have not had the advantage of my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams) and the hon. Member for Cardiff, West in going to Hola or the Athi River, but three years ago I spent a day visiting Kamiti. It was not, perhaps, at its worst then from the point of view of overcrowding, but it was still extremely difficult. One could not be other than deeply impressed by the devotion of the people who were working there and their achievements—how they provided useful work for the men and women in that camp and provided schools, hospitals and even maternity clinics.
I watched one of the screening tribunals at work. It was composed of all sorts of people. There was an English lady well known in the district, a retired colonial servant, two other colonial servants, a young woman who was the daughter of a missionary and who later married a friend of mine, and a priest from an Italian mission. It is wrong of the Opposition to scoff at the spiritual side of what was done by these screening tribunals. I have watched them at work and seen their patience and their efforts to cleanse the people who came before them. The result was that thousands of people who came before them were ultimately got back to their natural tribal and village life. It was a great achievement when we think of the contamination and the poison to which they were subjected.
There are still these irredeemable ones, and Mr. Goudie acknowledges this in the White Paper. Some of them were at Hola. The right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) quoted from part of the White Paper and I will quote again how Mr. Goudie described these people:the inner core of the hard core of Mau Mau.He spoke of their "incorrigible attitude". They weresullen, suspicious and quite obviously entirely fanatical.They werepotentially dangerous in the highest degree.Those were the people with whom the officers had to deal. I would not attempt 298 to defend or excuse some of the things which happened, but I would ask the House to remember what a massive transformation has been brought about by the remarkable efforts of the public servants in these places and by the rehabilitation methods which have been employed. At one time there were 77,000 people in detention infected with this disease, and today there are about 700. The rest are back in their proper natural environment.
In the light of these achievements, what happened at Hola is all the more than regrettable. Clearly mistakes were made, and I confess that from some of the things one has read in the White Paper it seems to me that the direction from headquarters was not what it ought to have been and that it ought to be remedied, and I understand from what my right hon. Friend has said that steps are being taken to this end.
It is our duty, I suppose, to probe and to criticise, but in doing so we might ask ourselves how any one of us might have behaved if we had been confronted with the sort of situation which happened at Hola. It should not have happened, but there it was. I have seen, like the hon. Member for Cardiff, West, these irreconcilables at unpleasantly close quarters and I know how savage and ferocious they are. I should not like to have had the task which faced Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Coutts.
The tragedy does not lie in the policy. The policy of getting people to work as a first step towards rehabilitation has been proved again and again. That is not where the tragedy lies. The tragedy lies in the fact that things were done which were no part of the policy and which I do not attempt to condone. But in fairness to all those who are working and have worked so hard in Kenya for the redemption of these people, I have tried to look at the picture as a whole. In the general policy of rehabilitation I have complete confidence in view of the results. As for the future, I feel that we should wait for the outcome of the hearing of the disciplinary charges and also for the findings of this Commission of general inquiry. Things will become much clearer, and then will be the time for a full-scale debate.
Meanwhile, I support without reserve the policy of my right hon. Friend and 299 of the Government of Kenya, who have been so successful in reclaiming tens of thousands of people from a disease which many of us feared was incurable.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)
If any speech could justify this Motion of censure this afternoon, it is the speech which we heard from the Colonial Secretary, because it was an absolutely classic piece of covering-up. I shall come in a moment to his historical thesis and his reference to the wider detention policy followed by the Kenya Government. I would only point out that when the Government claim credit for the large number of detainees released, thousands of those detainees ought not to have been detained at all in the first place. I intend to give some evidence to that effect shortly.
The simple issue before us this afternoon is this. Is this House going to ensure that in its name justice is done to black and white alike in Kenya? I would say to the hon. Member for Bebington (Sir H. Oakshott) that one cannot establish the foundation for the future prevention of abuses without first establishing the responsibility for the past abuses. We have talked a lot about rehabilitation for crimes committed and the importance of confession in that process. If there is to be any rehabilitation by the Kenya Government, a start must be made with some confessions at the very top. Instead of that, we have had the process of evasion.
I want to point out that if we accept the Amendment moved by the Government we shall be saying categorically and specifically that we, as a House of Commons, believe that it is right that Sullivan and Coutts should be charged, and they alone, with the offences mentioned in the White Paper. It is typical of the Colonial Secretary that he should say that he is sorry that he cannot go into all the details of who was responsible, and that he is not prepared to follow the closely-reasoned argument of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) because the matter is sub judice and because it is the subject of a disciplinary inquiry.
But one of the things on which hon. Members opposite will be voting later is 300 this: do they believe that it is right and in the interests of Sullivan and Coutts themselves—and they have as much right to justice as anybody else—that they should be inquired into and adjudicated upon by a disciplinary court consisting of Kenya civil servants who will have to judge whether Sullivan and Coutts acted contrary to the instructions given to them by the Kenya Government? This means that, if this disciplinary court of Kenya civil servants finds Sullivan and Coutts innocent, it will at the same time be finding its own employers guilty, because there is no doubt that illegal force has been used. This has been established by the coroner. The question is whether these things were done contrary to the wish of the Kenya Government or not, and Sullivan's plea must be that he was merely carrying out his instructions. Therefore, the very foundations of the Government's Amendment this afternoon are contrary to natural justice and intolerably unfair to two of the prison officers, to whom the Government are so pleased to pay tributes from time to time.
We on this side stand for justice for all men, regardless of their colour, their office, or their position. All along, we have been actuated not by colour prejudice, malice against the settlers or anything of that kind, but by a passionate belief that, if there is one thing we must hand on to the Africans in Kenya, it is a profound respect for British justice. That is what we are fighting for today, whoever may be involved.
Because the Government have committed Sullivan and Coutts to an unfair trial—a disciplinary trial, but still a trial—it is for the House to judge, on the evidence in the White Paper, between Sullivan and Coutts and their superiors. I ask hon. Members to read these charges, to examine their consciences when they vote and to weigh the difference between the charges given in the Appendix to the White Paper and the statements in the coroner's report. One of the charges is that Sullivan acted contrary to instructions. We say that that is not true. The inquest proceedings reveal quite clearly, when one reads the details, that the Commissioner of Prisons, Mr. Lewis, was fully aware of the differences between Sullivan's plan and Cowan's plan. He was cross-examined on this point in the court 301 proceedings, and he said he admitted that a plan involving the putting to work of 85 men instead of 26 was—here I quote his actual words—in effect, a different plan".Moreover, Sullivan was at pains to write time and again to the Commissioner of Prisons asking for help and expressing anxiety. Sullivan was the reluctant instrument of this policy which he could see leading to disaster. It is significant that the only document missing in the exhibits printed in respect of the inquest proceedings is the written report which Sullivan sent on 13th February to Lewis, the basis on which his instructions came to him.
I thought that was a very remarkable omission from the evidence. I put down a Question in the House to ask if the full text of Sullivan's report of 13th February could be placed in the Library. The document has just arrived today in time for the debate. I am not surprised that it was not included, for it reveals a state of affairs which, in my view, directly puts the responsibility, to begin with, on the Commissioner of Prisons, Mr. Lewis, himself. Sullivan wrote on 13th February pointing out how the situation in the camp had deteriorated. Why had it deteriorated? Because of widespread sickness among the co-operative detainees who were to be mixed with the unco-operative ones.
Sullivan pointed out that, instead of 75 available, he had only 26 because of the large numbers reporting sick, some with swollen limbs, which the medical officer was actually investigating. Those swollen limbs were the sign of the scurvy which was later found by the coroner to have been widespread in the camp. Mr. Lewis, the Commissioner of Prisons, did not consider this sign of widespread sickness among co-operative detainees worthy even of comment from him, let alone investigation. Yet we are told about how anxious the prison administration in Kenya is to have tip-top conditions in all the detention camps.
Furthermore, Sullivan says in his Report of 13th February that he had approached the scheme manager, Mr. Filgate, who was given an outline of the orders suggested by Mr. Cowan on his recent visit. Here I quote from Mr. Sullivan:He"—302 that is, Mr. Filgate—has asked to be dissociated entirely from any such undertaking".This was another warning to Prison Commissioner Lewis that the plan was undesirable and, in the circumstances, inappropriate. Sullivan goes on to say that Filgatehas stated that he can only accept labour suitably equipped with tools to undertake and complete a given task".That was written to the Commissioner of Prisons on 13th February, yet he knew that it was an integral part of Cowan's plan that tools were not to be used. There was no comment from the Commissioner except a signal to delay the implementation of the plan.
On 26th February, a few days later, another signal was sent to Sullivan, without any of his requests having been met, telling him to go ahead—a signal, incidentally, which ignored the plea in this written document requesting thatThe Senior Superintendent of Prisons with appropriate powers of summary punishment may be present when policy outlined is implemented".This was clear example showing that it was Sullivan who had doubts. It was Sullivan who appealed time and time again to the Commissioner of Prisons, but he was compelled to go ahead.
The second charge is that Sullivan "failed adequately to supervise" conditions in the camp. The coroner places on record quite clearly that the Cowan Plan was silent on the amount of European supervision needed and again, in the inquest proceedings, the Commissioner was cross-examined on this. He was asked whether he was aware of how many European officers were to be there. He said he did not know, or he had not even bothered to find out. Such were the standards of supervision of the Commissioner of Prisons.
The third charge is that Sullivan gave misleading information to the authorities. To bring that charge against Sullivan and not to bring it against Campbell, in the light of the coroner's report, is quite intolerable. It is a misuse of the process of justice. The coroner makes it quite clear that Campbell's report, when he was sent down to investigate the deaths on the preliminary investigation, was thoroughly misleading.
303 The matter does not stop at Campbell. We have been told time and again in the House, as we have been told this afternoon, how anxious the Governor and all his Administration are to stop these abuses, to nip them in the bud and deal with them ruthlessly. I ask the House to pass judgment on this fact: when Campbell went down, because he had been sent a signal saying that detainees were dying in a detention camp, he just saw a few men in the little inner circle. He did not ask the see a single body or to see one of the injured men who were being rushed into hospital in dozens. He went back to Nairobi and a meeting was held in Government House, at which, among others present, there was the Attorney-General and the Commissioner of Prisons.
There is some argument about whether Campbell's written report was before that meeting or not. That is irrelevant. If the Governor cared he could have asked. If the Attorney-General was fit to hold his job, and he was told that men were dying in Hola Detention Camp, he should have said to Campbell, "Did you see the bodies? Did you see any signs of violence?" Nobody asked that question. Nobody cared. I am not prepared to leave in the hands of the Attorney-General of Kenya or of the Governor the protection of justice in this British Colony.
Responsibility goes still higher. It lies at the door of the Colonial Secretary, his Under-Secretary of State, and the whole Government Front Bench. For months, we on this side have been raising cases which, we were told, were isolated. Time and again we have asked for independent inquiries. As recently as 24th February, the Under-Secretary of State himself, speaking on behalf of the Colonial Secretary, said in this House:Our contention is that the organisation of the prison service is right and is what it should be and that the safeguards against abuse are effective.He told us that the Kenya Government was perfectly capable of keeping its own house in order, adding that itis doing so."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 24th February, 1959; Vol. 600, c. 1070.]That was on 24th February, at a time when, if the Colonial Secretary and the Under-Secretary were fit for the office they hold, they should have been well 304 aware of the Cowan Plan which was at that time in process not only of being approved but of being implemented in Kenya.
The Colonial Secretary bases his main case on the argument that force was not part of the Cowan Plan. Here again, he must answer the statement of the coroner in which, after quoting the vital words in the Cowan Plan about manhandling to the site and forcing detainees to carry out the tasks, he said:… Any reasonable person would construe those words alone as carte blanche to use whatever force might prove necessary to ensure the performance of the task …This is the answer by the coroner to the Colonial Secretary's claim, and the right hon. Gentleman did not begin to deal with that accusation this afternoon.
We say again that the Colonial Secretary should have listened to our repeated pleas in the House for an independent inquiry into the conduct of the camps. The behaviour of the Government of Kenya over the issue of the Press statement alone in regard to the Hola affair proves that they are unfit to be the judges in their own case. We have asked for independent inquiries. If our request had been granted, and if the Colonial Secretary had done his job, the eleven men of Hola would have been alive today.
What was the basis of the Motion we tabled on 24th February? It was not done out of the blue. It was based on another specific case arising at Aguthi Works Camp, where Kabugi son of Njuma died after beating. Two other detainees there were so badly beaten that they were taken to hospital, where, according to the evidence given in the proceedings, they were incapable of speech for several days. When we raised this particular case in the House, the Colonial Secretary told us that a warder, Githu, was to be charged with causing actual bodily harm. It is ironic when one realises that the title of the warder, Githu, was "rehabilitation assistant."
At the time we had our debate, the full text of the proceedings had not been placed in the Library of the House of Commons. The text has since been placed there and some of us have had the opportunity of studying it. In some respects, this case is even worse than the Hola case. It establishes, first and foremost, that the routine covering up which 305 we have had in every case of abuse had taken place in this incident. I first heard of this death in a letter sent to me on 15th September by the men in the camp. Incidentally, I was interested in the comment of my hon. Friend for Cardiff, West about what happened to the men who dared to write to me: I took the matter up, because they said, "A man has been beaten to death, and here is his name". Four days after they wrote to me in desperation, saying, "For heaven's sake take action because soon we all die".
The inquest on that man's death took place. I challenge every hon. Member to read the report of the inquest. There was the usual covering up by the acting officer in charge of the camp, Mr. Simeon Oakley, who told the coroner that the man concerned merely carried two buckets of soil and thencomplained that his legs were not working properly. He was told to stop workand was taken to the dispensary where he died.I saw no abrasions nor injuries on him and he never complained of any,said Mr. Oakley. Yet the evidence in the trial of the warder Githu established that Mr. Oakley was lying and that this man was forced to run round in a circle in the heat, carrying buckets of soil upon his head, until he collapsed. What has happened to Mr. Oakley? Has any action been taken against him? Is he still in his job?
§ Mrs. Castle
Have any charges been brought against him in the light of the inquest? If the Kenya Government cared, and if the Colonial Secretary cared, we should have had a full report on the Floor of the House on this matter. Moreover, the coroner at the inquest on the dead man said that inquiries had been made by the district commissioner and the medical officer, as a result of which he was prepared to close the case on the ground that death was due to natural causes. That inquest was on 19th September. The C.I.D. was not called in. There was no real supervision. The district commissioner covered up, as others had covered up before.
A month later, the Colonial Secretary wrote to me saying that there was no 306 evidence of violence having taken place in the camp. He may have been an involuntary liar, but our accusation against the Colonial Secretary is: what action did he take when he found out that he had been told lies? It was not until an anonymous letter was sent to the Colonial Secretary in November that he, knowing Parliamentary interest had been aroused in this case, proceeded to order further investigations. The Governor of Kenya did not do so. Copies of letters that I get are often marked, "Copies sent to the Minister of Defence", "… to the Governor", and a whole list of other people. Nobody cares and nobody inquires.
When the Colonial Secretary asked the Governor for a report, so incompetent was the Kenya Government that they could not even send him a correct reading of the coroner's report. The reply that was sent to him was to the effect that the man had died of pulmonary infection, whereas it is written in the coroner's report quite plainly that he died of pulmonary infarction. Either the Kenya Government were grossly incompetent or they were deliberately covering up.
The revelations about the Kenya Government's treatment of detainees in this case should horrify this House, because it is clear that this "rehabilitation assistant", acting on official instructions, was trying to extract confessions from Mau Mau detainees by torture. Here is an example of what is admitted to be official rehabilitation policy taken from the judgment in the case. Mau Mau detainees arriving at this camp for the purpose of rehabilitationwere taken to a roundabout around which they were compelled to run for some time. From there they were taken to a football field where they had to carry buckets of soil on their heads until they confessed their Mau Mau activities. They were not permitted to enter into the Camp until they confessed …That is rehabilitation. Kabugi did not confess. When he collapsed and it was asked why he had not been immediately taken to hospital, the accused pleaded in extenuation that the detainees were not allowed to be taken to hospital until they had confessed. This is the rehabilitation policy which we are asked to accept.
It is clear from the findings of the magistrate in this case that he does not 307 dismiss all Mau Mau detainees as intractable hard core. In fact, the one person he establishes as having continually lied was the European officer, Mr. Duffy, whereas he said that he was very impressed by the testimony of the Africans. Lord Malvern, are you listening there above? Here we have a case in which men were forced to run round in the heat with buckets of soil on their heads until they collapsed. In this case, the accused went beyond his orders and beat the men as well until one died and three had to be taken to hospital.
Here again, the question arises: What has happened to Mr. Duffy? The magistrate said quite clearly:It may well be true that a charge could have been brought against more than the accused.What is more, he makes this accusation against the Kenya authorities' administration:Furthermore, the accused's superior officer, a person of little or no experience for his position, says that when taking over the camp he was given no written instructions but merely told to use his discretion and get the detainees through as quickly as possible. This officer saw part of the assaults and as a result the accused may not have fully realised the enormity of his acts. And this is all the more so—and I find it difficult to understand—as the people who gave the accused this position of authority and power must have been aware of a previous conviction for assault.Those words alone should fill any reasonable Colonial Secretary with horror and alarm.
But what has been done in this case? On 28th April, I asked what disciplinary action was being taken. The Colonial Secretary had no answer. On 12th May I asked whether the Attorney-General was going to bring any more charges in this case in which a European officer was clearly involved. I was told that the right hon. Gentleman was still considering the transcripts. It should not be for us on this side of the House constantly to have to take up these cases and be smeared for doing so.
This is not an isolated case. I could quote dozens of others. I could quote the case of the murder of Machiri, son of Githuma, in 1957. This is another case where Mau Mau detainees were transferred to a detention camp for the purposes of "rehabilitation". Let me 308 quote the horrible treatment which was meted out to Machiri. He wastaken to hut No. 18, where, by means of a rope tied to his wrists, he was strung up to and suspended from a crossbeam forming part of the structure of the hut so that his feet were two or three feet above the floor. While so suspended he was severely beaten about the body and legs with strips of rubber cut from old motor car tyres. After some of this punishment, he was taken down and shortly afterwards was strung up again and again beaten as before. During the course of the beating he cried out in pain, urinated and voided his bowels. There was also evidence that Machiri was struck while on the ground.He died later of what was described as cerebral haemorrhage. Nobody was charged with murder because it was decided by the authorities that Machiri might have hit his head against a door while being taken back to camp.
§ Mr. Speaker
Will the hon. Lady help rue by saying whether she is talking now about the Hola Camp or some other camp? The debate is directed to the Hola Camp.
§ Mrs. Castle
I am talking about the Amendment and the direct responsibility of the Colonial Secretaryto prevent a recurrence of such a tragic event
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Amendment uses the words:deeply regrets the recent deaths of eleven men in Hola Detention Camp and fully supports Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Kenya in the steps both remedial and disciplinary that are being taken to prevent a recurrence of such a tragic event".We cannot consider this matter except against the background of the history. In making his case, the Colonial Secretary deployed nearly half an hour on the things that led up to Hola and with which my hon. Friend is now dealing. Your Deputy was in the Chair at the time, Mr. Speaker. It caused a great deal of resentment on this side that the Colonial Secretary took so much time and was so tardy in coming to Hola. My hon. Friend has taken not nearly as much time in dealing with the events leading up to it.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am not concerned with the time that the hon. Lady is taking. I do not think she has spoken too long. 309 I wanted, for my own guidance, to know exactly what direction the debate had taken. If the general question of all the camps has been opened, the hon. Lady is, of course, in order. I am sure that she would not like to go off at a tangent that was not strictly in order.
§ Mrs. Castle
My point is that the Hola incident would not have occurred had proper action been taken against previous cases of abuse.
In this case, the accused was given a sentence of merely 12 months' imprisonment—that is all. One of the reasons given by the magistrate in extenuation of the crimes of the accused, also called a "rehabilitation officer", was the following:… even in his case he was not perhaps an entirely free agent and I certainly have the strongest suspicion that what he ordered was ordered and clone with at least the tacit approval of his superior officer.
§ Mrs. Castle
No. I am sorry, but I want to finish as quickly as I can and give other hon. Members a chance. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is the hon. Lady quoting?"] I beg pardon. I am quoting from the official judgment in the case, which, as a result of my request, was placed in the Library of the House of Commons. I have quoted the words of the magistrate.
On 1st August, 1957, I put down a Question about this case to the Colonial Secretary. I did not then have the judgment before me—it takes time for these things to come through—but I made the point to the right hon. Gentleman that other people were involved and that if this incident could take place under the rehabilitation programme of a detention camp, at the very least the supervision of the camp was unsatisfactory.
I put that point to the Colonial Secretary. This was his reply to me on 1st August, 1957:The hon. Lady ought to see this in perspective. As the sentences suggest, these were only very minor cases of assault. The hon. Lady knows enough about the conditions and the type of men who are detained not to regard this as very, very serious. She asked about the disciplinary inquiry. The inquiry under the Solicitor-General has now been completed and the report is being prepared for submission to the Governor-in-Council-of-Ministers. The Governor will let me know his 310 intentions after he has considered the report The report is made to the Governor-in-Council, and I do not propose to publish it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st August, 1957; Vol. 574, c. 1498.]More covering up. That has been the whole trouble all along the line ever since Colonel Young resigned and his report was deliberately suppressed. There has been recurrence after recurrence.
When these incidents, particularly Hola and the recent cases to which I have referred, began to appear in the Press, I received correspondence from a prominent former Kenya police officer. He was, in fact, the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Duncan MacPherson, who was placed by Colonel Young in charge of the C.I.D. in Kenya in a desperate attempt to get some of these abuses cleared up.
When Colonel Young resigned, Mr. MacPherson carried on for another two years until, in despair, disgust and disillusion, he decided that he could no longer waste his time working in Kenya. I want to give the House three brief quotations which, coming from such a source, make it imperative for the Government here to give us an independent inquiry into the matter.
First, Mr. MacPherson wrote me this letter, which is the answer to the long story given by the Colonial Secretary about how many detainees had been released:I know that hundreds of them"—that is, the detainees—were just listed and detained on the whims of various clerks with no authority whatsoever and who acted on their likes and dislikes. All seemed to be well, provided a 10 per cent. quota was returned for detention. I could most certainly blast that one wide open … because nearly every time any person gave me evidence of misconduct on the part of the Home Guards, etc., they were whisked away on a detention order.Quotation No. 2:I would say that the conditions I found existing in some camps in Kenya were worse, far worse, than anything I experienced in my four and a half years as a prisoner of the Japanese. I was horrified. I could never satisfy myself as to why violence was being used, although it appeared that unless a prisoner admitted Mau Mau he was subjected to it until he did.Quotation No. 3:What shocked me about the camps I saw was the general conditions, the method of interrogation and the appalling number of 311 deaths that I investigated in these camps which were as a result of violence. I had little or no difficulty in establishing that factor, but like the Secretary of State I had the greatest difficulty in establishing the facts. I thought that I could have had much more co-operation or even an appreciation of what I was trying to do. I thought that the spirit was lacking and I cannot recollect any occasion when I enjoyed what I was entitled to. …I know that a senior police officer still in Kenya and more senior now actually saw prisoners being ill treated and instead of arresting those responsible merely went back to his office and told the D.O. I know that in that same camp next I had to investigate the deaths by violence of several unfortunate inmates.I know that I was told by the Commissioner of Police"—and he is still in office—to stop investigations into such things. I know I refused and that was the main reason I left Kenya a disgusted man. I hated the whole idea of the policy of arrested men being allowed to escape prosecution if they gave information about someone else. I hated the abuse of the Judges' Rules. I hated the arrest of females and their camp being guarded by males and the horrible tables that I had to investigate as a result.I was so disgusted with the detention of people in posts, etc., that I wrote officially to say that it was a disgrace to the Union Jack that flew above them and asked that it be removed. I was accused of impeding the progress of the emergency and replied that anything done to uphold the proud traditions of British justice would always get my complete support.It was my firm view that the beatings were administered in order to extract confessions. I would most certainly have no hesitation in stating that persons were detained unlawfully and without proper investigation and add that they were also convicted.Perhaps the Colonial Secretary will try to smear that man. Perhaps he will try to hide again. We have had a long chain of conspiracy to cover up. Whether or not the Colonial Secretary has been a party to it, at least he has been a complacent bystander, and it is time he resigned.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Paul Williams (Sunderland, South)
I hope that the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) gave rather more notice to the Colonial Secretary of what she was going to say—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why should she?"]—than the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) gave to me about the things he was going to say—
§ Mr. Williams
—about things in which I was involved. If he had done, I should have had my diary with me to check some of the things he was saying.
§ Mr. Williams
There were at least two things he said which, to put it mildly, were slightly misleading. The first one was that a man at Aguthi had had punishment administered to him of 12 strokes of the cane for having written to a Member of Parliament. In practice, this is perfectly natural punishment, when a crime of this nature—and it is known to be a crime—is carried out. It is perfectly reasonable, and it is perfectly normal, and it is perfectly open to a prisoner to write to a Member of Parliament provided he seeks permission, but if he breaks the regulations it is perfectly reasonable that he should be punished.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
Is the hon. Gentleman seriously suggesting to the House that when detainees have serious allegations, such as my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) has described, about ill-treatment of other prisoners they have to submit those first of all to the officers in charge of the camp before they can get them out? Does the hon. Gentleman blame them for smuggling them out to get them to this House?
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
Before answering that, will my hon. Friend bear in mind that in this country under the prison regulations no letter, whether addressed to a Member of Parliament or not, is allowed to be sent if it criticises the police or the prison authorities?
§ Mr. Williams
The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well what the regulations are, and he was really misleading the House to some slight degree. If he will check with his diary he will see. He said he saw a Press hand-out about the Hola incident, when we were in Nairobi, but the Hola incident occurred the day before we boarded a ship from the Seychelles and the hand-out was issued to the Press the actual day we left the Seychelles.
§ Mr. Williams
I am sorry if I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman.
There is one point on the question of emotional involvement I should like to go into, but perhaps the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I leave it till later.
Everybody must acknowledge that this terrible incident at Hola is a tragedy of immense proportions, but surely, having said that, we must also acknowledge, if we have any reason in us at all, that both the Government in the United Kingdom and the Government in Kenya, and the Governor and Ministers in Kenya, appreciate this situation in the same light, for there can be no possible reason for their looking upon it in any other way at all.
I will for a few moments detain the House by talking briefly about the policy itself, secondly about the plan, and then about the place, Hola.
I do not think anyone can really disagree with the appreciation which the Colonial Secretary made earlier today of the background to this whole problem. It is unreasonable, except against the background of internal criticism in this House, to try to discard the background altogether, for the background is an essential ingredient of the state of affairs in Kenya today.
Earlier in the years of the emergency there was an obvious choice, as the Colonial Secretary himself said, which was open both to the Kenya Government and to the Government of this country, the choice between rehabilitation on the one side, and leaving the detainees to rot on the other. It was a fairly simple choice, and being the sort of people, on both sides of the House, that we are, the decision was taken that rehabilitation was the way in which these unfortunate souls should be treated. The result is that 77,000 souls detained, perhaps sometimes on less than fair grounds—I will not go any further than to say "perhaps"—77,000 souls, a not inconsiderable figure, have been returned to their clans and accepted back by those against whom they committed crimes; not accepted back into European communities, not accepted back into Asian communities, but accepted back into their own families, their own clans, by the people against whom they had committed the most bestial atrocities. This is surely a good 314 record, which stands to the credit of the Kenya Government, however some people may wish to besmirch it.
How has this been achieved? The Colonial Secretary was fair with the House on this point as well. He said it started with the gradual conversion of a few, then moved on to the phase of dilution, which is surely an essential ingredient of any policy of conversion either of the hard core or of those less oathed, and less committed. So there was dilution for conversion, education back into a better way of life. Finally, in the business of conversion there was the use of work in the task of rehabilitation, and the one—dilution—without the other—work—would be valueless. The two together have enabled those lost souls to be reclaimed. So I myself pay tribute to the faith which was placed behind this policy and to the success with which it has been carried out.
Now for the plan itself, the so-called Cowan Plan. I have never really looked upon this plan as being a sort of major change of policy, as implied in the coroner's report and as implied in many of the speeches which we have heard or seen reported in the country and which we have heard made here today.
The object of the plan is perfectly straightforwardly put in the White Paper. Paragraph 5 (h) on page 28 is worth reading:a second Special Platoon should proceed to the first compound selected and surround the small group of detainees leaving open to them only the door of access to the cat walk".Surely, those words "small group of detainees" constitute the linchpin of this part of the Cowan Plan. If, then, a small group is to be selected, the next question which arises is, how do we dilute? It appears from what has been said in the debate today that there was a shortage of "co-operatives" in the Camp. If it was so, then the group selected should have been smaller, may be five of six or eight, with the necessary proportion of co-operatives to leaven the group altogether.
In considering the plan itself, I would also refer to manhandling, which is mentioned in paragraph 5 (j), which says:it is assumed that the party would obey this order but should they refuse they would be manhandled to the site of work and forced to carry out the task".315 It is in this House very easy to misunderstand or misconstrue the meaning of these words, but I should have thought that anyone with any experience of Kenya at all would have read those words against the background of the Prison Regulations, which quite specifically lay down the conditions under which force may be used.
§ Mr. Hale
Will the hon. Member forgive me for interrupting him on this, since it is most important for both sides of the House? How do we force men to dig an 8-ft. wide irrigation trench? After all, there is no question about the meaning of the words. They mean they have got to be forced to do it. How is it possible to force them to do it?
§ Mr. Williams
Surely, the hon. Member would know that the work involved in a place like Hola is not only concerned with the digging of trenches. It could also be concerned with other matters, such as carrying wood. When one talks of digging the trench itself, I should have thought it perfectly simple for the warders to assist in the digging in this sort of way.
The House should take particular note of one further point mentioned by the coroner in relation to manhandling, and given special attention by The Times in an editorial on 11th June, in the words:Not a single detainee suggested that there had been a single blow struck by warders or any other form of ill treatment prior to March 3 … despite specific questioning on this point.I agree that it is going back to a period before the incident, but it has been shown under "specific questioning" on the point that there has been no inclination to use force in any unreasonable way.
Surely, this puts the prison authorities in a slightly different light from that which some hon. Members seem to wish to create. As to the plan, I would draw the attention of the House to a phrase of some importance used in connection with this question of the use of force in paragraph 6 of Annex II to the White Paper which, speaking of the plan in general, says:This does not imply a brutal and harsh régime but a high standard of personal example and insistence always on immediate obedience.316 The plan did not intend the unreasonable use of force. What may well have happened is that the plan was not carried out properly.
The House must see this matter against the background of operations in other camps over the years. There has been nothing dramatically different about this plan. It is a plan which has been operated in some degree in other camps. The essentially new ingredient in this case was the fact that one was dealing with the worst, the lowest of the hard core and the most intractable and difficult. There was all the greater need, therefore, for dealing with small groups as laid down in the plan.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
Surely the whole basis of a rehabilitation scheme, which I have seen working elsewhere, is that it is a scheme of persuasion, not of force. Here we have force introduced. The man to whom it is explained is Sullivan, and Sullivan understands it in what I should have thought the only sense that it could be understood—that the only way in which one forces men to dig a ditch is to beat them if they do not dig.
§ Mr. Williams
I should have thought that the hon. and learned Member would have heard what I said about the background to this matter being the prison regulations in Kenya, which are quite specific on the use of force. These officers must be assumed to be responsible people and aware of the prison regulations and willing to abide by them. That surely is the background of our discussion.
As to Hola itself, the hon. Member for Cardiff, West said that his first impression was one of remoteness, for the camp is 200 miles north of Mombasa, 325 miles by road from Nairobi and quite a time, and quite a hot journey, by air. The first impression of arriving over Hola by air is one of the immense amount of work going on in the irrigation scheme, which is part of a much larger development.
My right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary said that cultivation at the moment extends to an area of over 400 acres, but I understand that it is to cover eventually between 50,000 and 100,000 acres. Therefore, Hola is part of a plan of development and not an 317 isolated, allegedly Belsen type of camp. It is nothing of the sort. My impression of the site and of the irrigation development led me to compare it with what one has seen in Israel. The hon. Member for Cardiff, West mentioned the climate at Hola, which indeed is a bit warm.
§ Mr. Williams
The officer in charge of the irrigation scheme, to whom we spoke, said it was no great disturbance to him to have to live there and that he was willing to work there and enjoyed himself. That, surely, shows that the climate is not so insufferable even to Europeans as some hon. Members would like the House to believe.
There is a prison as well as a camp for detainees. We are not talking today about the prison itself. The settlers in the village have shown that it is possible to proceed from the worst stage through the pipeline towards freedom. There are the open camps and the detainees who enter the pipeline; and, finally, there is the closed camp and the hard core. What I found most inspiring about the camps and the hard core was the fact that the Kenya Government had not given up hope of reclaiming even the hard core, the degraded and debased souls whom one would think were almost beyond hope. The work of reclamation and rehabilitation is pressed on. Tribute needs to be paid to this work and the intentions of the Government of Kenya and the United Kingdom Government in trying to carry it through.
As for the 3rd March, it is clear from the Cowan Plan that the intention was that a party of fewer than 20 should go out and start to work. In fact, 66 unco-operatives were affected and obviously, as a result, there was a breakdown. It seems to me that there are three crucial points about the day itself. The first is that the party was too big. Secondly, it was not diluted. Thirdly, I imagine that the ratio of prison staff to detainees was not sufficiently high. I am not sure that I agreed with my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary when he said that if the men involved had been told of the operation in the camp the trouble would not have been so great. I think that if the numbers had been smaller the problem would not have been great 318 even if they had not been told until they were out on the road.
The question should be asked whether charges should have been brought against those involved at the camp itself. Legal opinion is quite distinct on this in saying, "No". One can ask whether political considerations should outweigh the firm advice that was given by the Attorney-General of Kenya. There is a danger in overlaying a political decision on top of legal advice of this nature. It is right that charges which could not possibly be sustained should not have been brought forward. Indeed, if they had been brought forward more harm would have been done than by not taking legal action at all.
It has been right to set up a disciplinary inquiry, though this makes considerable difficulty for this debate. I should have preferred to have the debate held over until we had received the report from the disciplinary inquiry. We should then have been much more free to speak and draw definite conclusions than we can possibly be at the moment. The danger of this debate is that by drawing conclusions we may affect the people involved in the inquiry.
I should like to ask the Colonial Secretary two or three questions. Is my right hon. Friend satisfied and is the Government of Kenya satisfied that the length of posting of prison staff to Hola is about the right length of time, or is there a danger that because of the climate the tensions will mount and tempers will fray? If there is any such danger, the length of posting to Hola should be reviewed immediately.
Secondly—and here I join with the hon. Member for Cardiff, West—is there sufficient inspection from outside? One of the lasting impressions I had of another camp was of the frequent visits made by Roman Catholic priests to see the camp and the prisoners. One gets the feeling that perhaps in a place like Hola, which is rather remote, outside visits are not easy to arrange and not easy for people to attend. Nevertheless, I think that proper facilities might be made available for magistrates, Ministers of the Government, and ministers of religion to visit the camp, which is in fact isolated and insulated from the normal currents of outside life.
319 Questions have been put from the other side of the House concerning the so-called "operation cover-up." I fail to understand how anyone can think that the Press statement was in fact an attempt to cover up. [HON. MEMBERS: "Then what was it?"] When the C.I.D. were on the spot, when doctors were arriving and when an inquest was to take place, what possible chance could there have been to cover up? That is the biggest flight of fancy ever put forward in this House to sustain an ordinary case.
Therefore, I draw certain conclusions: first, that this was a terrible catastrophe which has shocked and disturbed all of us on both sides of this House; secondly, that there is an obvious difficulty in bringing charges; thirdly, that the policy itself is right; fourthly, that even the plan itself was right if it had been carried out; fifthly, I believe that there is need to await the findings of the disciplinary inquiry before we can carry this matter very much further.
I make one final plea. I feel that when the hon. Member for Cardiff, West and I were in Kenya we managed to create, perhaps by chance, the impression that there was a bipartisan approach to affairs in Africa in some degree. Between us I think that we were able to show that the major interests of the two parties overlapped, and that there was a coincidence of view in a large measure on colonial affairs. It may be that because of recent moves in Kenya that theme was being sustained. I hope and pray that any divisions there may be, either of opinion or of votes, in this House will not retard that impression that we can help Africa by a large measure of agreement in the House.
§ 7.13 p.m.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Rugby)
I give way to no one in paying tribute to the fine work that is being done in Kenya by the people in the rehabilitation service. But I have never heard so much twaddle as we have had during the last hour or so from the benches opposite. Hon. Members opposite want to make us believe that these camps are almost welfare homes. We know that there were 67,000 detainees at one time half of which should never have been inside, for they were picked up in collective swoops. The hard core is now down to 1,000.
320 Why has the Colonial Secretary spent 80 per cent. of his time giving a potted history for the past six or seven years. It has been a waste of time. I wish that he had addressed himself to the charge levelled at him by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) in opening the debate. That is the subject of the debate today. I wish that the Colonial Secretary had addressed himself to the massacre of 11 Africans at Hola and not to past history way back to 1950.
If the Colonial Secretary wants to go back to past history, I was there in 1954, and if he wants to quote Colonel Young, the Police Commissioner, he had better be careful, because he knows as well as I do that Colonel Young left long before his two years' job was up, and also why he could not stay his full time in Kenya.
The other twaddle that I have listened to is this idea that we can have hard core detainees and that they can be taken to a ditch and asked to work, when at the same time hon. Members opposite are saying that these people are physically and mentally twisted or warped by five, six or seven years in a Mau Mau gang. They expect them to work in a co-operative fashion, without using force. It is nonsense to say that it is possible to take people to a ditch with no tools and expect them to work there. What do hon. Members opposite think they are saying to hon. Members on this side of the House when they know quite well that these people have been forced to work, that there have been beatings and that eleven people have lost their lives?
I do not want to say very much about Sullivan or Coutts. Sullivan is being blamed for working a plan about which he knew nothing. When he asked the "higher-ups" to tell him he was never given the details, and hence when this poor man did this awful job with the detainees he was blamed.
I was in Nairobi only a few weeks ago talking to people above the level of Mr. Sullivan. What appals me as a Member of this House when I spoke to such people in Kenya is that I found there was not the shock or revulsion felt that there is in this country about the Cowan Plan and its working—no, it is the mechanics that are wrong. The plan 321 was quite, good—merely badly applied. What shocks me is this attitude of mind; almost the emphasis which is being placed on an incident like this. It is said that it is Sullivan who is stupid; Sullivan who does not do his job; not that he has been placed in an impossible position. It is said that Sullivan, instead of having 85 should have had five squads of 17.
When hon. Members opposite are talking about people in the United Kingdom who are in a similar position physically and mentally and thus needing special care, they do not talk about them as people who should be forced to go and dig ditches but rather that they should be put in mental institutions and properly cared for. When 250 hard core Mau Man are left in the physical and mental state they are in, the party opposite say that they are anti-social and cannot go back to their own villages in Kikuyuland. The obvious course is surely not to attempt to make them work and, when they will not work, to beat them, but to put them in special institutions for people in that condition, as we do in the United Kingdom.
I want to say this about Mr. Goudie. He has penned for us a very courageous document. I also want to say to the Minister that Mr. Goudie is, of course, an arm of the executive. He is a member of the Kenya Government Service and, therefore, whether we like it or not, he is disciplined, if only self-disciplined, in his findings. If he comes over here, I hope that he will not be kept incommunicado but will be able to come to the House, perhaps under the auspices of C.P.A., to meet Members of this House and talk to us about what he himself knows and what he has actually seen, being the coroner in this case.
The more I study the White Paper the more I think it is a typical example of Kenya politics. My hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) was, I think, correct when she used the term "operation cover-up". All along the line one sees this cover-up. I would ask the Minister whether he is satisfied that the Minister of Security, Mr. Cusack, had his finger on the pulse of his Department. He is the man, amongst all others—not people like Mr. Sullivan at the bottom end of the scale—who should be asked questions by the Colonial Secretary. Here is Mr. Sullivan 322 asking for help, asking for advice which he does not get; and Mr. Cusack should know, as, of course, the Commissioner of Prisons knows, what is happening in Hola.
If we ask for the Minister of Security to resign because of Hola, as we would do in the United Kingdom—for example, when the Minister of Agriculture here resigned because of Crichel Down—what shall we be told? We shall be told that he is resigning. I understand that he is finishing his service. This is most convenient, because the Governor of Kenya knew when this stink blew up some weeks ago that the Minister in charge was leaving his Department. I only hope that his successor will clear up some of the mess that will be left behind. He is by no means the same type as the Finance Minister. He has never stuck his chin out as Mr. Vasey has done to get his way. So I come to this point, that while it is his responsibility as the Minister, things have been camouflaged. To my mind, he would never have done these things or allowed them to be done off his own bat. Therefore, I want to ask this question: is the Colonial Secretary satisfied that the Ministers in Council behind Mr. Cusack are fully apprised of events in these camps? Have these Ministers paid visits? Can he please give us an account of the visits paid by the Ministers?
The right hon. Gentleman knows that we have asked for Members of the Legislative Council to go to the camps, Mr. Mboya on one side and Europeans on the other. But they have never gone. When I was there some weeks ago I begged Mr. Johnston, the Minister of African Affairs, to allow an all-party team to go; if afraid of an African Member going alone speaking Kikuyu, why not let an Asian, European and African team go to Hola and other camps? This was asked many weeks ago; we were told that this would be considered, but nothing has happened.
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, I am sure that if changes that have been asked for in this House from these benches had been granted these things would have been cleared up and we would not be facing this inquest upon the awful business at Hola. I also say this to the Minister, that Hola is a god-forsaken place, with 323 temperatures well over 120 degrees. I submit that the officials stay there too long. It has often been a jibe—I believe a rather unkind one—that in Kenya some of the settlers at 5,000 feet, 6,000 feet or 7,000 feet sometimes behave as they would not behave at sea level, at Mombasa. I am convinced that there are officials at Hola who are not quite as happy, mentally and physically, as they should be. Therefore, I suggest more frequent leaves, better conditions of housing and amenities for the European staff who have the difficult and awkward job of looking after the hard core detainees.
I would also like to know whether the Hola case was discussed by the Council of Ministers. Did the Minister of Security put this before his colleagues and discuss it? If what I am told is the case, it was not brought before the Council of Ministers, and I find that most disturbing. I hope the Minister will answer some of the following questions. I am told that the first inkling of events in Nairobi was the notice in the Press about bad water. If the Colonial Secretary had his finger on the pulse of the Colony, as he should have, he also would be able to keep in touch with these things. I submit that what has happened in Hola has been done without the knowledge of the Nairobi Ministers or the Secretary of State for the Colonies. They did not know what was happening, and they should have known, because it is their job.
My next question is about the Cowan Plan. Was that plan put up by Mr. Cusack to his colleagues? If I can have the attention of the Colonial Secretary for one moment, I want to ask a question which I hope he will answer. Did the Minister know of the Cowan Plan? Was it put to him, was it vetted by him and sent back to Kenya to be sent down the line by the Minister of Security? If so, he himself bears quite a large share of the responsibility for that outrageous plan being foisted upon a commandant like Mr. Sullivan. It was unworkable and most unfair to tell subordinates that they had to get hard core detainees to work in this way. We all know that this could not be done without force. When I was there some weeks ago I met no one in the Colony who thought it was sensible to make the plan work. The 324 hard core people will not co-operate and in the final analysis, if they will not do so, how can they be made to do the job? There is only one answer, which is that they were beaten. So I ask the Minister this question: did he accept the Cowan Plan, did he underline it, did he support it and did he tell the Kenya Minister to go ahead in this way?
I am convinced that some of the lower officials have been pressurised and have not told all that they could have told at the hearing. I am talking now of what Mr. Goudie said. He said the lying was quite abominable. One is shocked and shaken by the way in which people have behaved in the Colony. It is an appalling chapter. I said some weeks ago that this was the biggest blot upon our colonial history that I have known. I listened to the speech of the Minister. He used plenty of whitewash but did not attempt to answer the opening case put from this side of the House. He must do this some time because our good name is affected in Africa, the Middle East and all over Asia. The right hon. Gentleman may sit there and appear to be complacent, but I am sure he has a conscience and must think of the wider implications of the Hola massacre.
If the right hon. Gentleman looks at this affair as I look at it, and attempts to find out the facts of the case, he will see in the distance a nebulous spider's web. I defy any hon. Member of this House to go out there and find out what is happening behind the scenes. There is only one way to do so and that is for the Government to appoint an independent commission of inquiry. I would like an all-party commission, like the one to which I had the honour to belong in 1954. Perhaps we were too independent then. Perhaps we said too much. Even the hon. Gentleman the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) told the Europeans in Kenya that it was time the White Highlands were opened for Africans to farm. But this present Government does not think it the right thing to do to send an all-party team from this House.
The only way to clear this Government, the only way to clear the Kenya Government of any suspicion of backing out or backing down on these charges, is to have an independent commission of inquiry go out there and investigate the matter. There is no other way in which 325 this House, this Government and the Minister can clear this nation of the charges that are flying about at the moment.
§ 7.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker (Banbury)
I shall not take up much of the time of the House because, unlike many hon. Members on both sides, it is a long time since I was in Kenya and I have not had the opportunity of following as closely as they have the events of the past few years. Like all hon. Members, however, I feel deeply disturbed about this occurrence—this "shocking and tragic occurrence" as it is described in Cmnd. 778. I do not want to say anything this evening that will in any way seek to excuse this disaster, but I want to try to bring out one or two background points which, perhaps, have not been made sufficiently clear, although, after what my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said in his opening remarks, I think that this has now been put in better perspective.
I want, briefly, to illustrate, from my own past experience in Africa, how one's best intentions can lead, by relatively minor misunderstandings and mistakes, to disaster. I do not think it is right to say very much at this point about the case mentioned on page 31 of the White Paper. Two individuals are being charged in a case which is sub judice. I have sympathy with them, but perhaps I ought not to express my view of the matter now. I am sure that the aim of every hon. Member is, first, to find out exactly what happened. It may be that the inquiry will add something more to the admirable summary by Mr. Goudie in the White Paper, but, far more important, we must ensure that such a disaster does not happen again, if it is humanly possible to avoid it.
Just before the war I had an experience to which the three points mentioned in paragraph 12 of the White Paper could be applied. The summary says:… there were defects, ambiguities and omissions in the Cowan Plan, the Plan was not executed as it had been intended and there was a grave lack of European supervision. …I will not take up the time of the House by giving details of my experience, but I was responsible for keeping a frontier district clear of armed incursions from Abyssinia by means of police 326 patrols, and on one occasion a patrol went out and took certain actions which exceeded my instructions about the use of force, and death occurred. It was only one death, but it was still a death. The reasons were the same as those given in the summary. By instructions were insufficiently precise, although I had always believed in them. The circumstances changed and the situation became more difficult to cope with than the patrol had expected. Thirdly, there was a lack of senior rather than of European supervision.
Although at Hola and in Kenya the circumstances are such that European supervision is required, throughout Africa there are now many people who have been trained and are just as capable as most of us to take charge on occasions such as this, always provided that there is a sufficient number of them. From my researches it seems to me that the individual in charge at the moment of this disaster was a sergeant-major. Although I have a high regard for sergeant-majors, it would seem that one was insufficient in the circumstances—and I believe there was only one.
I have no detailed knowledge of Mau Mau, but I do not think the White Paper brings out sufficiently the effect of the Mau Mau hard core upon the Askaris and warders. On page 5 the examining magistrate says:The killings, atrocities, and mutilations committed by Mau Mau is an historical fact of which I take judicial notice.Very few of us in the United Kingdom recall in any detail the obscenities and bestialities of Mau Mau which were shown up in the confidential White Paper issued by the Government in 1954. In the ten years during which I had the privilege and pleasure of serving in Africa I never met any individual, let alone any group, who could have sunk to such depths, and it is beyond my comprehension how this could have happened. It has always seemed to me that this was a matter for priests and psychiatrists rather than politicians. I believe that this is one of the aspects of the rehabilitation programme which has been successful.
I am not arguing that this hard core of detainees consisted of bad men who needed special punishment, but I would stress that the background against which the Askaris and local warder staff were 327 carrying out their duties was one in which they would necessarily be very much on edge, although the examining magistrate accepts that, prior to 3rd March, 1959, not a single blow had been struck by warders, nor had there been any form of ill-treatment.
We therefore come to 3rd March, by which date tension was clearly great. Then, owing to misunderstandings and mistakes, the circumstances of which are still not clear, the small plan became a large one. On page 8, dealing with the implementation of the plan, the White Paper says:The operation from being a comparatively minor one was therefore immediately converted into a major one of great magnitude.This was because the party was taken out altogether instead of group by group. There was insufficient supervision. From then on it is difficult to see what happened first, although I have read the documents several times. The magistrate accepts that force was used to prevent an attempt to escape, and he maintains that it was used legally, and greater force was used illegally to make the men work, but which came first is not clear to me. In the ensuing inquiry it may perhaps be made clear.
But there is no argument that an excess of illegal force was used and that it resulted in disaster. Given adequate supervision and smaller groups of detainees, together with less tension in the background, the disaster would not have occurred.
§ Mr. J. Johnson
Does the hon. Member honestly think that if the party had consisted only of twenty detainees and those twenty had not wished to dig a ditch they would not have been forced to do so by beating?
§ Mr. Dodds-Parker
I am not supporting the illegal use of force, but if the point had been put to a group of twenty detainees in the compound, at the start, the situation would not have got out of hand as it did when they were all taken out of camp together, without adequate supervision. According to the documents there were at least four Europeans in the camp when the party was taken out. If the proposal had been put to a small group of detainees any refusal could have been dealt with, and in such 328 circumstances I do not believe that the situation would have got out of hand.
But we are more interested in the question of how we are to prevent this happening again. I am certain that the authorities in Kenya, with the support of my right hon. Friend, will ensure that all future orders are clear, precise and detailed, and that any future action will be carried out according to the scale of supervision available at the time.
I would like to say a brief word about the position of my right hon. Friend. We are now passing through a very difficult period, when responsibility is passing—[Laughter.] This is a serious argument. For thirty years or more, commencing before the war, we have been going through a process of transferring power from this country to territories overseas. Today, in theory, the Secretary of State is 100 per cent. responsible, constitutionally, whereas tomorrow, when a territory is independent, he will have no responsibility. In practice it is not as clear-cut as that. Much power has already been transferred. In certain territories the date of full independence is already known. In spite of that, however, my right hon. Friend still has a residual and ultimate responsibility.
Very often local representatives in these territories resent what they regard as undue interference from this country. This is all part of the intensely complicated task of the Secretary of State. I have had a few years of experience in these matters, and I have come to the conclusion that many elected representatives overseas are capable of shouldering these burdens. They are men of all races, with a great knowledge of these problems and great humanity, and they are doing their utmost to see that local difficulties are ironed out. Nevertheless, I have considerable sympathy with my right hon. Friend in view of the difficult period in which he holds his high office and in which this somewhat anomalous situation exists.
I wish to stress the point about the success of the policy of rehabilitation which my right hon. Friend brought out in full detail in the first part of his speech. Even if tens of thousands, or half of these people were wrongly arrested, there must be 30,000 or 40,000 individuals who have returned to a full life after this extraordinary experience 329 of Mau Mau, and who are, we believe, now living a normal life in Kenya. We hope that they are playing a part in the development of that great country.
I hope that from this debate we shall obtain some constructive suggestions. Suggestions have been made by hon. Members on both sides of the House which I am sure will be most carefully considered by my right hon. Friend. I hope that we shall not use this occasion to voice negative criticisms of a disaster which we all deplore, but, by more frequent changes in staff and by closer interest and co-operation, ensure that so far as is humanly possible such a thing will be prevented from happening again.
§ 7.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
We all hope that Kenya is looking forward to a much more suitable future. None of us has any particular desire to recriminate too much about the past, but I think that in the circumstances some of the indiscriminate praise voiced by hon. Members opposite has been a little unfortunate. The right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary pleaded, "Not guilty," and reserved his defence. I do not blame him. Had I been advising him, that is what I should have advised him to do, but I should have advised him to do it in 60 seconds and not in 60 minutes.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) paid a deserved tribute to the colonial civil servant to which I subscribe most heartily, the colonial civil servant who is doing a magnificent job and is hampered greatly in his efforts by the primitive religious taboos of the African people and by the primitive politics of the wealthy Europeans—and he will tell you so. My hon. Friend is a sincere man, and was 99 per cent. sincere today. In a moment I will tell him of the one point on which I quarrel with him. At this moment, when we are talking about the magnificent efforts to save the souls of 70,000 people who have been in detention camps, untried, for years—in a desperate situation, I grant, in a situation in which 26 Europeans lost their lives and 2,000 Africans were hanged—I say to my hon. Friend, for whom I have the deepest respect and affection, and speaking as one who has doubts about most things, that I wonder whether 330 he does believe that these people are the sons of God, these gentle, humble, uneducated Africans.
I know only one of them, who was not at Hola but at Gakuro. I met him in Paris, at the United Nations Organisation, and I entertained him at my house. I regard him as one of the noblest and most decent men I have ever met. If I saw fifteen affidavits by employees of the Kenya Government saying that he was subversive, I say frankly that I should not believe them; although I know that conditions can arise which break many good men—and there have been such conditions.
The hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Dodds-Parker) concluded by saying something which I think—because of the respect I have for him—he would feel after further contemplation was slightly dishonest. He said that prisoners have said that there were no beatings-up before 3rd March. Are these men habitual liars or not? The whole of the debate from the other side has been conducted on the basis that we cannot trust a word a prisoner says. The whole of the appeal from the other side has been to reject every statement made by a detainee because he is what is called "hard-core Mau Mau"—untried, un-convicted, but hard-core Mau Mau. That is just what Hitler said about the Jews whom he threw into the gas chambers without trial.
We really cannot say that we only believe these men when they say something which it is very much to their advantage to say. Has the hon. Member read the details of the inquest? Let me remind him that African witness after African witness did not say, "I am not going to say anything". What they said was, "Mr. Coroner, sir, Mr. Goudie, sir, if I tell the truth, are you going to send me back to the same prison to be looked after by these same warders?" They said, "Mr. Coroner, sir, I am afraid to tell the truth if I am going to be sent back under the same guard". And, "Mr. Coroner, sir, would not you let me have the benefit of legal representation at least, because this is a matter which involves my future and my safety?"
Man after man said that. I make no criticism of the coroner. Indeed, I would say—because I think it is fair 331 that it should be put in its proper perspective—that he was a Resident Magistrate with the power of a coroner and virtually holding an inquest. I know that this House does not like legal points, but I think this is important. There is a considerable school of thought which thinks that coroners should say as little as possible. There is considerable authority for the view that coroners should never commit a man for trial unless the circumstances overwhelmingly warrant it. I do not quarrel with anything that Mr Goudie did; but I quarrel with the gross misrepresentation of what Mr. Goudie really said which is contained by implication in the White Paper and in speeches made today.
The hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams) made a speech which was very pleasant to listen to by the school of "Eric, or Little by Little". Has he read the evidence of Mr. Ezekiel at the inquest? Whom does he believe? I put it to him as one who would not wish to suggest that he was deliberately misleading those who listened to his speech. But hon. Members will remember that, apart from the "Little Lord Fauntleroy" part of putting everything gently, there was one point at which the hon. Member's voice rose with emotion. He said, "I do not believe, and cannot believe, that these people deliberately planned to conceal these murders".
Does he really believe that? Does he think that three experienced investigators, sent to investigate on the direct orders of the Governor of Kenya, who were told, "Come back at once with a report", and that Press announcements were awaiting on their report, went to Kenya and saw the people in hospital—incidentally, we are not even told, on the evidence I have seen, that they saw those people, but one would assume that they did if they wanted to get at the truth. Almost every one of those people was extensively bruised. According to the coroner's evidence, most of them were bruised on the right arm, bruised on the right leg, bruised on the left arm, bruised on the left leg—nearly all of them. There was overwhelming evidence of systematic beating. Some of them were bruised on the head and chest, but possibly that was not intended. There 332 were men with lines of bruises along their backs, as if those bruises had been applied quite systematically.
If the investigators did not find that out, did they look at the eleven corpses with fractured skulls, with haemorrhage of the eyes, with areas of bruising six inches by two inches on the forehead, all of which the coroner found as a fact and all of which the pathologist found and detailed—broken legs, broken patellas, fractured skulls, and so on? Did the hon. Member have these facts in mind when he said that he thought these people had honestly come to the conclusion that eleven people died from drinking some water that only arrived on the scene two hours after they died, according to most of the evidence, and was brought there as a blind? Can anyone believe that? The importance of this point is to know what we can believe that comes out of Kenya.
The evidence of the Press agent at the inquest, the official Press publicity officer, was that he received a telegram saying that five men had died in the Hola Camp. Notice the figure. They were all dead by then, all eleven of them. It was given out in parts. He said, "I at once regarded this as so serious …" I want to know what he knew. I wonder whether, as publicity officer, he had been told that a special exercise was planned for that day at the Hola Camp; that it was planned from Nairobi there is no question. He said, "I regarded this as so important that before I issued a word I went to see the Governor personally. And I saw the Governor, and the Governor said 'Don't say anything'"—quite properly, I do not dispute that—"'until we have got the facts.'"
Three people were sent to get the facts. At 4 p.m. the next day they had the meeting, when three Ministers approved the publication of a statement that these men died after drinking water. Even the Colonial Secretary has said frankly that he could hardly argue in the British Parliament that the reference to drinking water was not intended to suggest that it had something to do with their deaths—men with fractured skulls, fractured patellas and with bruises on their right legs and arms and bruising all over their bodies, and with internal haemorrhage, and so on.
333 Does the hon. Member for Sunderland, South still say that he thinks all this happened by chance? If he does, he has forgotten that Mr. Coutts had already admitted that some of his evidence was false. Mr. Coutts was instructed, apparently by his superior, to convey the impression about the water and to keep on mentioning water, and this was done quite well. This was not the sort of casual excuse chucked out by a man under pressure. People were sent to analyse the water. Samples were taken. There was always the chance that the water might be found to be bad. It is fair to say that the pathologist was honest about it and said that the water was in perfectly good condition.
The hon. Member says that happened all by chance or misfortune. Some other things happened by chance on that day, and it is well to remember, first of all, when we say that there had not been much beating up before 4th March, that this place only opened on 6th February, and by 13th February we come to Mr. Cowan, and Mr. Cowan was producing his plan. He went to explain it to Mr. Sullivan. It may be a perfectly fair point for Mr. Sullivan to say that he never got the document and that he asked for it. He is perfectly entitled to say, "I would not put the plan into force until I got the document."
There is the agent, Mr. Filgate, who was there, and the moment he heard about it, Mr. Filgate said, "I will not operate the Cowan Plan." Then he was sent back to Nairobi. Why did not anyone ask Mr. Filgate what he meant by that? Why has Mr. Filgate been heard of only because of a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle)?
I suggest to the hon. Member for Ban-bury that priests and psychiatrists are not the sort of people to force people to work at digging a trench 8 ft. wide in a tropical land under a tropical sun, when some of those people are aged and 53 of them are seriously ill. Do not let us forget that, because these reports are hardly likely to state the case. On 15th February, Mr. Sullivan was talking about aged detainees and their sufferings and their being asthmatic, and the number unfit for work. These are the men, most of them, who are to be forced out to work. There are other strange things 334 about this. Were it not for the stark tragedy of it and the harm it has done to Kenya, and to the Government and to this House, it would make a fascinating "whodunit".
Such strange things happened. There was the bugle. At 7.10 a.m. Mr. Coutts is told that the men are to be marched out, and Mr. Sullivan arrives with the riot squad. I do not know what things were like when my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West was there, but he seems to have been told some extraordinary things. I do not think he was told about Mr. Filgate. Why should the riot squad be there at 7.10 a.m. when this was the first time the party was taken out under discipline—and that discipline comes from Nairobi and is to be put into operation notwithstanding Mr. Filgate's protest? They had gone only 100 yards, according to Mr. Coutts, when he heard a wail. He said it was a coo-ee or a Mau Mau cry, and at the same moment—he used the word "simultaneously"—the bugler sounded the alarm, and the bugler was on the other side of the camp. No doubt it was a regrettable coincidence, no pre-arrangement at all.
Why were those people sitting in cars and watching from the high road at that spot to see what was going to happen at 7.10 in the morning? One of them was a police officer and another was a qualified medical man. How did it come about that by chance at this spot, selected for its extreme loneliness, spectators were arranged on the road at that hour of the morning in the precise position from which they could watch what happened? Of course, there has been an explanation by the police officer, who said he wanted a witness and went to the camp to find one. He was told they were at this spot, and rushed out and found them there.
I apologise for reverting to something I said before, but when I talked about the African witnesses I ought to have completed the story, part-creditable and part-discreditable. There again, the coroner behaved with great propriety. He made it quite clear that he did not like this situation, and if people refused to testify at an inquest he was prepared to accept their rejection, but it was clear that they wanted to testify if he could protect them from retaliatory action. He adjourned the court while Nairobi was rung up and asked, "Would you 335 be prepared to find counsel for these people," and the answer was, "Well, they can have counsel at their own expense." Detainees in the Hola Camp were to put their hands in their pockets and fee counsel. Were they willing to promise that these prisoners would not go back to that camp? Surely that could have been promised. It would only have meant a transfer and, if they did not want to transfer the prisoners, they could have transferred the officers. That was refused. The People's Convention Party sent an advocate and some of the prisoners did testify. Another thing which the Attorney-General has to face is that it is no use saying we are concerned with justice for these men if we reserve the right to say that we disbelieve anything they say in any circumstances. That is the whole basis of the Manyani Camp report.
I want to refer the hon. Member for Sunderland, South to the evidence of Mr. Ezekiel, because I wonder whether he has really read it. He said he had, but probably he has misled himself, because I do not think that he would say what he did say if he had read the evidence. In saying that, I am perhaps being over-courteous. Johannes Ezekiel was one of the really independent witnesses. Let us face it—I have the greatest respect for prison warders in Britain, but it is quite clear that any judge, if he were faced with a conflict of evidence between prisoners and warders, would say, "There is, of course, a certain interest on both sides to misrepresent the state of affairs." He would deplore the fact that there was no really independent witness on whom he could rely.
But in this case there was Mr. Ezekiel, field assistant to the Ministry of Works, in charge of the irrigation scheme at Hola. He had been there for one and a half years and was quite experienced. He had a man called Anthony John Peters with him. I am not quite sure who was the senior. [HON. MEMBERS: "Peters."] Peters was the senior. Ezekiel says that he was there to take charge of the work and he had to tell the detainees what they had to do, and he did so. He did not have any trouble then. Everything was quite normal, indeed so normal that Mr. Peters went off to some other job for a few moments, 336 and he answered a call of nature in the bush. It does not sound as if at that moment a terrible situation had developed. It was while he was answering the call of nature, which would not take him very long, that he heard sounds of a disturbance. He heard the alarm bugle—a good bugle, as this site is half a mile from the camp.
Not long afterwards, he said, he saw two men being dragged along the ground face downwards and four warders were pulling each man. They were about 50 feet away from him. Those of us who watch television and understand American know that in such conflicts one does not detail four of the best men to pull one man along the ground. If there is a fight going on, there is a lot more that they have to do than that. They have to be busy looking after themselves. I do not know whether my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West saw it, but Mr. Coutts said they made an effort to escape by advancing past the men with the batons, the Askaris, but they never got near the perimeter of riflemen. These asthmatical and elderly Africans, surrounded by riflemen and with enough Askaris for four men to drag a man face downwards along the ground, it seems, would not have much possibility of escaping.
§ Mr. G. Thomas
From the references my hon. Friend has made to me, it seems that he did not hear aright all I was saying. I condemned conditions at Hola Camp and fully supported the demand for the inquiry. I cannot understand the references my hon. Friend has made.
§ Mr. Hale
I am obliged to my hon. Friend. I did not think I misrepresented him, but I was worried about this attitude to God's children, hard-core detainees, men who have not been tried nor able to answer and say, "I am not guilty, I am not Mau Mau, I dislike them ". I have a profound respect for my hon. Friend, and I should not like to misrepresent a word he says. I have known him for a great number of years and have a great affection for him, but this is vital. It is what Franco could have said about our friends in Spain; in fact, he did say it, and these chaps are entitled to be heard. The hearing is important.
337 Mr. Ezekiel came back from the call of nature and this is what he saw. He said he was only 50 ft. away from the men who were pulling a man face downwards along the ground, so he did not have difficulty in seeing that. He said the emergency warders marched towards the group of men, who were sitting down. He got up and saw no threatening gestures, but they seemed to be gesticulating in an argument or protest. Shortly after this, he saw the Askaris hitting down, and concluded they were hitting people on the ground. He heard cries and saw that the whole of the emergency warders were hitting people who were sitting down. The people on the ground were trying to protect themselves by putting up their hands, but the beating went on. It went on for about 10 minutes. It went on continuously, not a few blows and then a pause and then more blows. The Askaris appeared to be putting their full weight into the blows. He did not see any of the detainees fighting back or trying to hit the Askaris. The European officer, Mr. Sullivan, was just behind the warder.
This was a completely independent, Christian eye-witness employed by the Kenya Government at the Ministry of Works, who stood there and saw everything that happened, until he was sick and could not stand any more. He turned away and said he could not stand more, but would go home. He did not want to get mixed up in this, and Mr. Peters took him home. He said the European officer, Mr. Sullivan, was behind the warders and then he did not feel well and did not wish to be involved and was taken home. He said, "When I left the beating was still going on". These men were sitting on the ground being beaten with what are described as long batons—I do not know what they are—provided for the purpose. Mr. Peters said, "I got the impression that I got there at the end, but at a guess more warders than detainees were involved in the beating and all the detainees being beaten were sitting down. The impression I got was that they refused to work and the warders waded into them".
Those are the two really independent witnesses. That is the story. It is the story told to the House, and it is not challenged. The story is not challenged at all. The Colonial Secretary said, "I must not talk about these things at this 338 moment from the official box. After all, these men are now dead and buried and there is no urgency." But there are still the twenty-two men with broken limbs and bruised bodies, some of them in hospital. The hon. Member for Sunder-land, South said they honestly thought it was the water, which came two hours later.
This leaves us with two or three observations yet to be made. The first is this. Time after time we have produced witnesses of impeccable respectability, some of whom went to work in these prisons in a desire to serve. They were Quakers, decent people, who did not go out there for money, but to serve humanity. They came back so shocked and disgusted that they could not stand it. Time after time they have made their statements, and hon. Members on this side of the House have said that this was the truth. We have been told, "Oh, no, we have consulted …"—the same sort of people who arranged the water story. "We have consulted these distinguished officers of the Kenya Government, men who could not be suspected for a moment of any animus." It used to be Lord Malvern who had no animus against the Africans.
It is right that we should say to the Kenya Government that we know the Governor is a very nice fellow but we never thought him a very strong Governor. It is right that we should say to the Kenya Government that we have not believed a great deal of the stuff that has been said about what has gone on for fifty years in the history of brutality in the prisons. It can be substantiated word for word in the books we read from early days about what was happening, and about the trials which were held. It is right to say that there are some of us who still want to see all-racial co-operation in Africa and who deplore the possibility of the Europeans being driven out. I agree completely with the hon. Member for Banbury that the colonial civil servant is the salt of the earth, who has made a great contribution to racial understanding. It is right that we should say, as I was told once in Donegal by an Irishman, "It was not the British police, it was not the British soldier, it was not the British politician—ignorant though he was—it was the settler who came out 339 here for money and never shared our faith, who did not know our ideals and did not understand us, who dragged us and forced us into rebellion." I would be surprised if anyone who has read Irish history does not know that.
I dislike attacking settlers. I know that there are many fine settlers among them, and many of them I would be proud to know. I know that in a small economic society of this kind economic power can dominate the whole thing, and that is why I make my final remark. At this moment, while hon. Members opposite, and some of them quite sincerely, are appealing for more understanding, at a time when we are talking about the work that can be done, at a time when we are saying how difficult these burdens are—and these settlers are a small, if wealthy, community when compared with the magnitude of the population—at a time when no health, educational or economic improvements are being made, the Kenya Government have decided to abolish estate and death duties in Kenya.
Perhaps it may be somewhat irrelevant, though it seems to me to be a test of sincerity of purpose, but it comes a bit under sharp practice to accept subsidies from this overtaxed country and to abolish death duties so as better to create an even richer and more powerful community to dominate the Africans. That is a very retrograde step. But I believe that there are a lot of decent people out there. I think the time has come when we ought to say that we have borne a good deal. In Parliament we have been the scapegoats for many of these terrible blunders. We have seen ourselves criticised throughout the world. I bear no personal malice towards the Colonial Secretary, but his slap-happy attitude to some of these catastrophes has not helped.
We have got to say, as Donald Soper had the courage to say some years ago, that if 4,000 settler families are going to hold up nationhood and the development of a race, and are going to do it deliberately, and are going to do it by chicane, subterfuge and concealing facts, they will have to go. If they are prepared to work and co-operate and do the good work they can do, I think this House would still wish to encourage them.
§ 8.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Clark Hutchison (Edinburgh, South)
Like all hon. Members I deeply deplore this tragedy at Hola Camp, and all the more so perhaps because I am an ex-colonial administrator.
There are one or two points I should like to deal with. The first point was raised by the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) in a supplementary question on 4th June when he spoke about scurvy and the anti-scurvy pills available to the detainees. It was right for the Kenya Government to make these pills available, but it seems that there was some fault in seeing whether the detainees took them. To me this is quite understandable. When I was in New Guinea during the war the troops were supposed to take atabrin pills, but the soldiers distrusted them and thought that the pills would damage their health. Eventually the pills had to be taken under the supervision of an officer. If that can happen with well trained troops, how very easy it is for primitive Mau Mau people to refuse to take the pills. Can my hon. Friend tell me whether in future these pills are to be taken under the supervision of a European or head warder, or whether there is a chance of putting them into the food of the detainees and whether this will prove successful.
The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) last week cast some doubt on whether the members of the tribunal would faithfully investigate the charges made. I think he was extremely wrong, and I should like to probe into the matter a little further. The chairman, Mr. Conroy, has been a barrister since 1935. He served in the Army for six years. He was Crown counsel in Northern Rhodesia; later senior labour officer in Gibraltar, and is now the Solicitor-General in Kenya. The next member, Mr. Luyt, was educated at two different universities. He served in Northern Rhodesia. He was a colonel during the war and was decorated for bravery. He later became Labour Commissioner in Kenya. The third member has been in the Colonial Service for twenty years, all of it in Kenya, where he was an African courts officer and was later connected with local government.
Does the hon. Gentleman really think that these men, who are our fellow countrymen, will not investigate the charges most thoroughly? If he does, 341 the hon. Gentleman knows very little about the quality of our colonial servants or about Colonial Government affairs.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I am very grateful for the opportunity of putting something straight. I am sorry the hon. Gentleman appears to have misunderstood what I said last week. I have no intention of casting any reflection on the character of the individuals concerned, but of course they have an impossible task. The wrong people are in the dock and the allegations and accusations that have been made about the administration of Hola and other detention camps must be considered in context. It is quite wrong of the authorities to appoint a small inquiry committee of this kind to investigate the actions of two individuals whereas the whole administration of the camp should be examined.
§ Mr. Clark Hutchison
The hon Gentleman said:Is the Under-Secretary aware that the composition of this tribunal gives no cause for faith that there will be a full investigation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th June, 1959; Vol. 606, c. 350.]The composition of a committee means the members of it, and I have every faith in their ability.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
The composition is also the internal administration inquiry which will not be a public inquiry, which is what we have constantly asked for from this side of the House.
§ Mr. Clark Hutchison
I will leave the House and the public to decide.
Several hon. Members on the other side have mentioned the attempt to cover up what happened at the camp. I have studied the evidence, and it seems to me that one cannot logically come to that conclusion. I agree that when the three-man inquiry led by Mr. Campbell went to investigate and reported that the detainees had died from drinking water, it seems that they had not made a very full inquiry. There was some negligence, but there is no question of trying to cover up because the Government doctor, Dr. Roghoff, was on the job and so were the C.I.D. Members of two separate departments were there, and if there was any attempt to cover up this was a most curious way of doing it. It was bound to be known.
342 I know from my own experience in colonial affairs that very weird and awkward situations occur. One gets negligence, but we really ought to be sensible and not advance ideas that people are trying to hide things. The Kenya Government have never failed to examine any matter that was brought to their notice. The problem now is this. We have rehabilitated some 77,000 men and we are left with the hard core of about 1,000 or fewer. How are we going to tackle this problem and get these people to become normal decent citizens again? If we do not do that, they will simply rot in the camps.
Here I want to make two small suggestions. Is it possible for these men to be separated into very small groups, to a much greater extent than heretofore, so that they can be worked on individually? Secondly, can we take the risk of putting some of them into groups or families who have already been rehabilitated so that they may be influenced for good?
My next point is more general. In the Colonies today a great many people are going out as experts on this and that and they have got various powers. They are paid quite well. But in all this the administrative officer is losing his status, and I should like to see that process reversed. I am certain that if the district officer or administrative officer had more power and authority and were able to co-ordinate matters much more than is possible today, this tragedy would not have occurred. When I was in Palestine I had a prison in my sub-area, and I suspected that one of the warders was beating up the prisoners. I used to go in there at odd times of the day and even at midnight. I never caught him out, but the point is that I had the power of supervision. Is that happening in Kenya? If not, will my right hon. Friend see that it does happen and that the powers, duties and status of administrative officers are restored to what they were twenty years ago?
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Roderic Bowen (Cardigan)
I was deeply disturbed by the speech of the Colonial Secretary in moving the Amendment this afternoon, and I propose to tell the House why. If one analyses the terms of the Amendment one finds that they are in the same 343 spirit as the speech made by the Colonial Secretary. In that Amendment the House is asked to say that itdeeply regrets the recent deaths of eleven men …There is no doubt that all Members of the House agree with that sentiment. But in this Amendment and from the beginning to the end of the Colonial Secretary's speech there is not one single expression of regret at the circumstances in which these men met their deaths.
It is right and proper to express one's regret at their deaths, although somewhat hypocritical to do so unless one faces the fact that the circumstances in which they died are a source of horror and shame to everyone in this House. The Colonial Secretary said nothing which indicated an admission that on 3rd March, the day when these men died, they had been illegally beaten. I want to know whether there is any dispute that on the morning of 3rd March illegal violence of a brutal character was inflicted upon these 11 men and some 20 others.
If one reads the evidence and the White Paper there cannot be a shadow of doubt about it. Indeed, no one has suggested that there is. Yet the Colonial Secretary deliberately refrained—that is the only interpretation we can put upon it—from expressing his sorrow and regret that these crimes of violence were committed in the name of British supervision of the people in these camps in Kenya.
I wished to refer in particular to the evidence of Mr. Peters and Mr. Ezekiel as to what precisely happened on 3rd March. Many of the speeches have wandered far from the happenings which led to the deaths of these 11 men. However, my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) referred to the evidence of Mr. Peters and Mr. Ezekiel, and I do not propose to cover that ground, but for one small exception. The important point is that the Resident Magistrate who carried out the inquiry went out of his way to refer to these two men as honest, sincere and reliable witnesses whose evidence was substantially true. He did not use epithets of that kind about any other witness who gave evidence before him.
The account which my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West read of 344 the evidence which those two independent eye-witnesses gave of what happened is an account of 11 men being brutally battered while lying on the ground and offering no resistance. Let me read one line of Mr. Peters' evidence:Whilst I looked it was continuous beating on persons all of whom were sitting down, apparently to make them work and not to put down any form of disturbance that I saw.Another piece of evidence to which my hon. Friend did not refer is the evidence of Mr. Ezekiel:Apart from words I saw nothing happen to start the beating.There is a vague suggestion that one warder was injured. He was never identified and the suggestion was never substantiated. Surely, it is very remarkable that in an incident of this kind where 11 men are killed and 22 men are seriously injured not one member of the warders' staff, so far as is known, received the slightest injury.
The next point which exercises my mind is that this incident having happened, the Resident Magistrate holds the inquest. What assistance does he get from the prison authorities at Hola Camp in making his inquiries into what happened on 3rd March? This is what he has got to say, on page 15 of the White Paper—and I am dealing with the prison staff:I have had the misfortune in this Inquiry not to be able to feel that a single witness of the Hola Prison Staff, warders, or the detainees, was making any real attempt to tell me the plain unvarnished truth.That is to say, it was a deliberate attempt by all the members of the prison staff, without exception, to conceal the truth from the Resident Magistrate holding the inquest. Quite apart from the fact that it hampered the Resident Magistrate in his inquiries, it is a very sad reflection on the prison staff when an incident occurs involving the deaths of 11 people and he finds it impossible to get the truth from any one of the staff who give evidence before him.
Clearly there was a great deal which it was thought necessary to hide and which the prison staff were prepared to hide and, indeed, did hide. Apart from the actual beatings which led to these men's deaths, the events leading up to 3rd March and subsequent to that date are highly unsatisfactory.
345 I come now to the Cowan Plan. This was not a haphazard arrangement. It was something decided upon at a very high level. We have not yet been told, and I hope that we shall be, whether the Colonial Secretary approved of the plan at any time before 3rd March. What is of much more practical importance is the question whether he approves of it now. I gather that its implementation is at present suspended. Are we to be told tonight whether, after a few months have passed, the plan is to be implemented again? With every respect to the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) who spoke from the Opposition Front Bench, I agree with his view that the whole concept of the Plan itself was illegal.
When I refer to the illegality of the Plan, I refer in particular to that part which reads:It is assumed that the party would obey this order… but should they refuse they would be manhandled to the site of work and forced to carry out the task.The words areforced to carry out the task".Does the Colonial Secretary stand by that now? Is it his intention that any future plan should embody a provision of that kind?
Quite apart from the impropriety of the Plan, what happened? When Mr. Sullivan took the action he did on 3rd March, he, no doubt, thought he was implementing the Cowan Plan. After all, according to the magistrate, although Mr. Sullivan had not had a copy of the Plan, Mr. Cowan had explained it to Mr. Sullivan. It is quite clear, of course, that the plan which Mr. Sullivan put into operation, which resulted in the death of the 11 men, was in many respects a departure from the Cowan Plan. It may well be that it was the departure from that plan which resulted in the severity of the results. What is quite clear is that what Mr. Sullivan did, although in many respects it departed from the Cowan Plan, did not depart from the Cowan Plan in respect of the use of violence if the men refused to work. To my mind, that is the gravamen of the matter.
If there is any doubt about this, there can be no doubt whatever that Mr. Sullivan interpreted he had been told by Mr. Cowan about the Cowan Plan as 346 meaning that he should use violence if the detainees refused to work. What actually happened, as described by Mr. Peters and Mr. Ezekiel, was, according to Mr. Sullivan, in this respect in accordance with the Cowan Plan. He thought that what he was doing was in line with what Mr. Cowan had told him he should do in the given circumstances.
It is interesting to consider the reaction of the Resident Magistrate on this. In paragraph 12 of the White Paper, the words of the magistrate are:The situation created by this lack of supervision was seriously aggravated by the orders given by Mr. Sullivan"—that is, the orders relating to using violence upon people who refused to work—regarding the use of force which, however,"—these are the important words—appear to have gone no further than the orders in the Plan itself.Thus, in the view of the magistrate, all that Mr. Sullivan was doing in this vital respect was to act in accordance with the Cowan Plan. He said that Mr. Sullivan's orders appearedto have gone no further than the orders in the Plan itself, that detainees would if necessary 'be manhandled to the site and forced to carry out the task'.All I would say is that Mr. Sullivan thought that what he had been told of the plan had entitled him to do what was, in fact, done on the morning of 3rd March. The Resident Magistrate considered that that was the interpretation he was entitled to put upon it.
I gather from the Colonial Secretary that it is now suggested that that part of the Cowan Plan should not be interpreted in that way. It is somewhat remarkable that the Resident Magistrate who held the inquiry and Mr. Sullivan who was the man to implement the plan placed upon it the interpretation which, in my submission, follows the only natural and proper meaning one can attach to those words.
I hope that we shall be told whether the Government agree or not with the Resident Magistrate's description of the Cowan Plan. Speaking not of the implementation of it by Mr. Sullivan but of the plan itself, the magistrate said:I would say that in my opinion there were defects, ambiguities and omissions in the Cowan Plan, the Plan was not executed as it had been intended, and there was a grave lack of 347 European supervision of the African warders in the main charged with the execution of the Plan.He draws attention, in another part of his comments, to the fact that there was no reference in the plan whatever to the part which European supervision would play in its implementation.
I come now to what happened after 3rd March. I shall not explore all those matters because they have been referred to in detail by a number of speakers, but it seems to me that what happened in relation to the Press hand-out and the Campbell Commission, as it has been called, is capable of only two interpretations. Either there was a deliberate and dishonest attempt to conceal what happened on 3rd March, or a report was published in a way which was grossly negligent. The most charitable interpretation is the latter. There is material which requires—I do not put it any higher—closer investigation into the question whether it had a far more sinister significance than that.
All that has happened as a result of this plan coming into existence, of the action Mr. Sullivan took, of the tragedy of 3rd March and of the events which followed it is an internal disciplinary inquiry relating to two persons who, although they have a measure of responsibility in this matter, were certainly low down the scale in the events which led up to these happenings.
I have no doubt that the Attorney-General, in coming to the conclusion that he would not institute criminal proceedings, acted in complete good faith, but, having read the evidence of Mr. Peters and Mr. Ezekial, I would not be fair to myself if I did not say that I find it difficult to see why there was not material on which criminal proceedings could and should have been brought against a number of people. However, that is now history. The facts revealed in the evidence given before the Resident Magistrate were a source of deep shame to me when I read them. They reminded me of my experiences in relation to the Ravensbruck trials.
I hope that we shall get from the Government tonight a clear statement that they deeply regret that these illegal violences took place and, not that they deeply regret the deaths, but that they 348 recognise that illegal violence of a brutal character preceded and caused the deaths of these men. The steps so far taken by the Government to ensure that a tragedy of this kind does not occur in these camps again have, in my view, proved inadequate. No one likes the task of chasing heads, but in my submission nothing like the assiduous inquiries at a high level which the circumstances demand into the events which led to the coming into being of the Cowan Plan, of it being implemented by Mr. Sullivan in the way in which it was implemented, in the action of the warders on 3rd March and of the strange and incongruous evidence which came into existence in relation to the Campbell Commission have been made.
If the good name of Britain in the administration of Kenya is to be re-established, it will be done only if the Government are prepared to have, even at this late stage, the fullest inquiry at the highest level into all aspects of this tragic happening in Kenya.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. John Hobson (Warwick and Leamington)
In the few minutes that remain before the principal speeches are made, I should like to say a word or two about this matter, which has obviously moved the House deeply. It is plain from the attention with which the speeches from both sides have been listened to that all Members of the House feel deeply on this matter.
When I first read the accounts in the papers of the inquest, one felt pity and anger at the story then being revealed. When I read the White Paper with all the details, during the next night I suffered nightmares. No one who reads this story can consider it as being anything other than a nightmare story.
With that approach, and with the moral indignation which the fact of these men being beaten to death must arouse, goes the feeling that, if it were possible, the people who were responsible for bringing about those deaths should be prosecuted. I accept, of course, the finding of the Resident Magistrate that the deaths were brought about substantially by illegal application of violence, thought there had no doubt, in addition, been some application of violence which might have been justified.
349 I also consider it essential, as has been said frequently during the debate, for our standing in Africa and for the feelings that there should be for British justice, that British justice should be seen to apply equally to the weak and to the strong, to the fanatic and to the patriot, to the detained and to the free, and even to the hard inner core of Mau Mau.
Perhaps I have been trusting, but I have always hoped—and I think it is the fact—that the Kenya Government and this Government and all those who have been responsible for the administration of law and justice in this country and in Kenya have had those high standards before them. One can think back to the occasion when a Captain Griffiths was prosecuted for maltreating Mau Mau prisoners who had been taken in open and active rebellion, a case in which the white officer was finally convicted and sentenced to a period of five years' imprisonment for the way in which he had maltreated Mau Mau rebels.
I re-emphasise, though, that however much moral indignation one may feel, whatever necessity, interest or pressure there may be that a prosecution should be brought, it is equally a principle of British justice that no one should be prosecuted merely for the sake of vindicating the law and without there being available proper evidence against him upon which he could be prosecuted. Charges ought not wrongly to be brought merely to satisfy a public feeling of indignation if the evidence is not available.
Upon that basis, three principal questions have now to be asked. First, why cannot charges be brought? Why have they not been brought? Secondly, have all proper steps been taken to obtain the evidence upon which charges might have been brought? Thirdly, is a public inquiry, as suggested by the Opposition Motion, desirable or necessary, or would it achieve any good at this stage?
Dealing with those three aspects, probably the principal reason why no proper charges can be brought against those who administered the violence to the deceased detainees is the fact that the survivors were quite unwilling to co-operate. It is true that the evidence of Mr. Peters and Mr. Ezekiel shows plainly that there was unlawful beating. 350 However, it is also equally plain that that evidence does not identify by one iota anyone who was administering such illegal force.
In paragraph 5 of Part II of the White Paper, setting out the decision of the Attorney-General of Kenya, it is stated:The detainees had refused to co-operate in the C.I.D. investigation or to identify warder staff or even to identify the bodies of the dead detainees (which had, therefore, to be identified by fingerprints). Some were eventually persuaded to testify at the inquest but their evidence was dismissed by the Magistrate as valueless.Therefore, one has this unhappy situation, that no one of the surviving detainees, 34 co-operative ones and 74 unco-operative ones, was willing to assist. There was no question of appearing before the magistrate, or of saying, "I will give evidence, but I will be sent somewhere else." Investigations were going on and efforts were being made by the Government to discover who was responsible, yet these detainees were not prepared to give the slightest assistance in identifying the persons who had actually administered the violence to their deceased colleagues.
The hon Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) pointed out how in the conditions in which these people live tensions arise and feelings of hatred may spring up between the warders and the people who are in their charge. It is in those circumstances that one can see very well those feelings can come about. That this outburst of violence was an outburst which should not, according to the instructions given by Mr. Sullivan, perhaps, ever have taken place is, of course, a matter which is sub judice, and the instructions which Mr. Sullivan gave to his staff we cannot and ought not at this stage to discuss.
I come to the next point, which is whether the Government of Kenya take proper steps to see that they should obtain the evidence upon which charges could be brought. I do not say anything, as time is pressing, about the Campbell investigation, except to make this comment. While it is obviously an incident which it is almost impossible to explain, it certainly did not contribute in any sense or degree to the deaths, and it is that with which the House ought principally to be concerned.
351 What steps did the Kenya Government take? They sent Dr. Rogoff, the police pathologist, there. Whatever the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) may say about a cover-up plan and the bodies decomposing at an early stage, Dr. Rogoff did at any rate arrive at a sufficiently early stage to conduct a complete post-mortem.
§ Mr. Hobson
Yes, but I do not understand the hon. Gentleman saying that Dr. Rogoff could have been got there any earlier, or that anybody took any steps to delay his arrival. He was on the scene at the earliest possible moment; he was there the next day, 4th March. The C.I.D. were there on 4th March, and in addition to that there followed the Goudie inquiry.
I regret to hear the suggestion of the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson) that the Goudie inquiry was just another piece of Kenya politics and that it was a part of the operation to cover up. I should have thought, whatever else hon. Members may have thought about the Goudie inquiry, that it could have been said that Mr. Goudie had discharged his very difficult and onerous task with great skill, with great personality, with great persistence, without the slightest attempt to cover up anything at all, that that is evidence on which we can rely, and that he conducted his inquiry in an open, able and comprehensive manner.
What is regrettable is that there comes out of that inquiry the picture that Mr. Goudie finds, and which the Attorney-General of Kenya has also supported, that there is not sufficient evidence upon which charges should he made in the circumstances. I do not understand the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) to have suggested that the decision of the Attorney-General was wrong. I do not understand him to have said that on the evidence we now have, charges ought to have been brought and have been suppressed.
352 We are left, therefore, only with this position. Could an inquiry bring about more information than is at present available? I cannot see how it could. We know who was responsible for issuing the order. We know that the order never reached the person who was supposed to execute it. We have the whole story before us. What good an inquiry could do at this stage in bringing further evidence I cannot see. It is, therefore, for these reasons that I propose to vote in favour of the Government on this occasion and to oppose the Opposition Motion.
§ 8.57 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
Since my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) opened the debate this afternoon with as massive an indictment as I have heard, we have seen even some ruffling of the mirror-like complacency of the Colonial Secretary. Certainly, if his complacency has not been ruffled, that of hon. Members on both sides of the House has been disturbed when we have heard from hon. Member after non. Member an account of what took place.
I start, because there is such a wide field to cover, by picking up what I regard as one of the minor complaints, namely, whether there was a cover-up or an attempt to cover up, or whether Mr. Campbell, when he went down to Hola Camp so quickly the morning after and returned, did his job at the Camp properly. Mr. Campbell knew when he went to the Camp that there was a prospect that force might have been used. He knew it because he had discussed with Mr. Sullivan, the Camp Commandant, on 6th January, before Mr. Sullivan took up his new post, a prospect of implementing a new plan similar to that known as the Cowan Plan. He was, therefore, well aware that it might be necessary to use force to compel people to work, but we are told that he did not even ask whether that had been so. He assumed that the story he was told by a small group of officers whom he met, that the deaths all occurred after some of these people had drunk water, was a reliable story. In his haste, he went back to the Governor's conference, presided over by the Governor, and told the story. This shows either a desire to cover up, a 353 state of panic such as is almost inconceivable, or sheer and gross incompetence.
I should like to quote from one or two things that appear in the coroner's inquest. The Press relations officer came to the meeting rather late. I do not think that he was kept out. He arrived late. What did he have to say? Referring to the Governor's conference he says, in his evidence before the magistrate:There was a good deal of discussion"—at the Governor's conference before the Press release—as to whether violence was the cause of the deaths of these men and in answer to questions the three officers who had been there gave it as their opinion that their deaths had not been caused by violence."—Important in deciding the terms of the Press announcement.
The three officers mentioned that there had been scuffles. The impression given was that they had not been serious. If there was not a desire to cover up, or inconceivable panic or gross incompetence, why did not they at this long discussion at the Governor's conference ask Sullivan? They could have done so quite simply before they put out a Press statement. Some may say that it would have delayed the statement. They had already decided to delay the statement twenty-four hours in order to assemble the facts. There was this discussion at the Governor's conference whether there had been violence, and it did not occur to anyone to ask the man who had been most closely associated with the events of the previous morning. They could have got on to him by wireless straight away. If we look at the magistrate's evidence, on page 81, Mr. Campbell says:I did speak to Mr. Sullivan on wireless late on afternoon of 3rd March, 1959, 4–4.30 p.m. He told me there were four dead bodies. Mr. Sullivan made it very clear that he did not want to speak over wireless.It seems to me quite clear that the only fair deduction that can be drawn from this is that if they had wanted to ask Sullivan his views as to whether there had been violence they could have communicated with him unless the wireless had been out of order. If they could not do that, they might have flown down very quickly—they could have set off at six in the morning and be back 354 in Nairobi shortly after mid-day. They could have communicated with him if this doubt was present in their minds. I repeat the words of the Press officer:There was a good deal of discussion as to whether violence was the cause of the deaths. …Rather than go to anyone, and Mr. Campbell having failed to make the inquiries in the morning, although he knew what the plan involved, they decided to put out a statement saying that the deaths had taken place after drinking water.
Then we had the argument at the magistrate's inquiry whether "after" meant "because" or not. If that is the level of the approach, it is not surprising that ordinary people who are not concerned to cover up should be very suspicious about what took place at this Press conference.
I come to another point which has been raised several times today. The impression seems to have got around, or hon. Members opposite have been trying to create it, that all would have been well if the Cowan Plan had been adhered to; but in fact it was not, either through the instruction not being sent to Mr. Sullivan—and this was the only criticism that the Colonial Secretary accepted throughout the whole of his hour-long speech, that instructions had not been sent to Mr. Sullivan—or the instructions did not reach him, or alternatively, he had misinterpreted discussions which he had had previously with Cowan and on an earlier occasion with Campbell, and Lewis, the Commissioner of Prisons.
Mr. Cowan's credit is called into question here. I refer again to the evidence given at the magistrate's inquiry. This is what Mr. Cowan said about his own plan on page 102:If batons were used to make them work it would be in accordance with the literal construction of the wording of the plan but it would he contrary to Prison Standing Orders.Mr. Cowan clearly contemplated that the plan he himself had made would violate the law of the land as it stood, but nevertheless, if it were carried out, it would be in accordance with his directive. Can the Colonial Secretary begin to understand why we say that it is not only the tiny fish who are involved here and that there are some 355 bigger people whose credit is involved in this inquiry?
The magistrate, in construing the Cowan Plan, said in his findings:I find that on the plain wording of this subsection"—that is the subsection of the written plan as conceived by Cowan, not the way in which it was executed—that the words 'manhandled … and forced to carry out the task' any reasonable person would construe those words alone as a carte blanche to use whatever force might prove necessary to ensure the performance of the task.In other words, the plan itself, as the coroner interpreted it, so far as I can see on a literal reading of the words, was illegal. No matter what happened at the time of its execution, the plan itself was illegal. That, at any rate, is my conclusion about it.
I am sure we shall hear from the Attorney-General a skilfully constructed argument showing why it might possibly be legal in certain circumstances, but this is exactly the kind of thing where there is ambiguity. The magistrate takes one view, that it gave carte blanche for the use of force. The Government, no doubt, will take another point of view. This is exactly the kind of point that a public inquiry, had the Colonial Secretary set one up, could have resolved, but he failed to do it.
Another reason why we believe that more people are involved in this and their actions should be investigated is the other finding of the magistrate on page 17 of the White Paper, where he said:… in my opinion there were defects, ambiguities and omissions in the Cowan Plan …As the result of the execution of that plan, in which there were defects, ambiguities and omissions, eleven men have lost their lives, and the only people whose conduct is being inquired into are the two men who executed the orders they were given—the Camp Commandant and his deputy. None of the people who authorised the plan, none of the people who looked at it to see whether it had any defects, none of the people who should have examined it to see what were its omissions or ambiguities—none of them is to have his actions inquired into, not one.
356 It is for this reason that the Opposition feels—and far wider circles than the Opposition feel—that the Government have neglected their duty and have let down Britain by failing to take all the action that would have been necessary and should have been taken in these circumstances. I was astonished to hear the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams) giving us the example of the Israelis. I agree that they have done wonderful work in rehabilitation, but he sent my mind chasing back to what happened at the height of the Arab-Israeli War in 1956, when forty-three Arab peasants were wantonly murdered in the heat of the campaign at Kafr Kassim.
When the facts became known in Israel, the Prime Minister set up a commission of inquiry. As a result of the findings of that commission several officers and men in the Israeli Army were tried on a charge of murder. Last week the presiding judge sentenced the officer in command of the battalion concerned to seventeen years' imprisonment, another officer and a corporal to fifteen years each and five privates to seven years each. He said that both the religious and the civil laws of Israel emphasised the sanctity of human life and that this principle was binding also on the Army.
What the Government have done is to take disciplinary action—at least it is proposed to take disciplinary action—the highest punishment under which can be dismissal from the Service, against the two minor figures in this chain of events. I hold the view very strongly, echoing what my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) has said, that if the Government had not resisted our demands for an inquiry on 24th February these eleven men would be alive today. I will tell the Colonial Secretary why I believe this to be true.
It so happens that Mr. Cowan visited the prison camp on 7th February to prepare and discuss his plan. He submitted seven copies of it to the Government on 11th February. On 12th February the question of a debate on a Motion standing in the name of 200 Members, calling for an inquiry into the administration of the prison camps in Kenya, was raised in this House. On 12th February, too, our own Prime 357 Minister intimated that in his view this would be a very proper subject for a Supply Day. That was very soon made known in Kenya, and three days afterwards the plan which had been discussed and committed to paper, and was being examined, produced a signal to Mr. Sullivan, contained in the magistrate's documents, saying:Suspend operations until further notice.I believe that that suspension was ordered because there was a possibility of an inquiry into the conditions in the camps in Kenya.
I am reinforced in that view, because on 24th February we had a debate in which we pressed for this inquiry, to which the Under-Secretary replied for the Government. He said:I submit that our system is sound, and in practice is proving that it is reliable … an inquiry could only shake public confidence in the Government of Kenya, and weaken the morale of the prison service. We cannot advise the House to accept the Motion."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th February, 1959; Vol. 600, c. 1074.]The Government and their supporters voted down the Motion for an inquiry on that night. The next day a signal went from Nairobi to Mr. Sullivan: "Proceed with your plan," and on 3rd March the men were dead. If the Government had then accepted our demand for an inquiry I very much doubt whether the Cowan Plan would ever have been implemented. Hon. Members opposite trooped into the Lobbies on that occasion and cheerfully voted down our Motion for an inquiry, which referred to the institution ofan independent inquiry into the conditions and administration of prisons and detention camps …They voted that down on 24th February, and they will troop cheerfully into the Lobby again tonight behind the Colonial Secretary to vote for the inquiry which he is now setting up. Eleven men had to be killed before the Government agreed to set up an inquiry.
Do not they understand why we get so angry about this situation? We have been pressing from time to time for this inquiry, and every time we have been rebuffed. The Colonial Secretary has rebuffed all our pressure, and his rebuffs have had their effect at least upon some of us. We felt that he could not possibly rise at that Dispatch Box time after time and say, broadly, that what 358 we were saying was a tissue of lies and that we had been deceived, unless he knew what he was saying. But if we had thought about it we would have known we were right. He has never dared to publish the letter which Colonel Young wrote to him on his resignation. I challenge him to do it tonight. He has never dared to publish the report that Colonel Young wrote before he resigned. He said that these matters were all taken up in the House. Indeed, they were taken up in the House, but we had the same sort of evasive replies then as we have been getting ever since.
This attitude has been coupled with smears against all my right hon. and hon. Friends who dared to raise these matters. The Colonial Secretary is not alone in this. Other hon. Members opposite do it. There is a whole row on the Government Front Bench who do it. I have several cuttings here, with phrases such as, "Britain always wrong", "We would have given in", and which say that we are "always smearing the country", and "denigrating our own people." Whenever there is political trouble in the Colonies there is always a Socialist politician behind it! This is the sort of thing that they will go on saying. And then they have the hyprocrisy to call for a bipartisan policy in colonial matters. If there can be a bipartisan policy certain principles have to be established. One is that reasons of State should not triumph over law and justice in the Colonies, and another is that the major obstacle to a bipartisan policy should remove himself from the scene.
Hon. Members opposite know this. That is why they have used such words today as "tragedy" and "disgust", and it is why the hon. and learned Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. John Hobson) said that it was a nightmare to him. They have known as well as we have that these things have been going on. They have known it in their hearts. There have been a sufficient number of cases to demonstrate that what we have been saying is not all lies and smears of the Administration.
Why have they defended this situation for so long? They are not inhumane men. It is because they believe that reasons of State demand that the truth should not be told. If that were not so there would be no hesitation in publishing the report of Colonel Young. It is 359 because the Colonial Secretary has known that these things have been going on and because every hon. Member who has taken an interest in them knows that this series of incidents occurred, that hon. Members opposite have had to defend themselves by denying the truth of the matter. They believe that reasons of State are more important. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] Yes, The object of rehabilitation and of making sure that Kenya gets back on its feet politically is more important to them than doing justice to these men, miserable men though they be. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] If that is nonsense I do not know why hon. Members have been denying for so long that this series of events took place.
When they advance these reasons and use them to justify to themselves the fact that no action has been taken, and when the Government of Kenya use this argument to justify suppressing police reports about inhumane action and about atrocities—reports which compelled worthy and decent police officers to resign in disgust—they are putting themselves upon the same basis as any totalitarian State. To them the end justifies the means. The political welfare of Kenya justifies injustice to the men in the detention camps. That is their argument.
Hon. Members opposite who have been silently conniving at what has been taking place over these years are no better than any totalitarian. It comes to them as it comes to a Communist or—if it appeals to the Colonial Secretary more—to a Fascist. [Interruption.] Oh, yes—he is proud of it. His defence of General Franco was one of the classics of pre-war days. Surely he is not going to turn on his old friends now? [Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite can shout me down but they will not shout down the mute witness of those eleven men.
What is our duty in these circumstances, where reasons of State conflict with the administration of justice? I submit that the Commonwealth, as we know it, is changing rapidly. In matters of defence it is much more loosely knit together than ever it was before. In matters of trade the Common Market is beginning to supersede it and make approaches to the individual countries of 360 the Commonwealth. Loyalty to the Throne is not the thing that binds us together. Is it Parliamentary institutions? It is not even that. If there is one thing which the Commonwealth can offer the world, and which the world looks to it to offer, it is fair, humane, civilised conduct. It is tolerance; it is justice; it is the belief that wherever British institutions prevail there will be fair play as between man and man.
That is the way in which the Commonwealth will maintain its influence in the second half of the twentieth century. That is why the Conservatives were wrong over Suez, Cyprus and Nyasaland. They are mistaking power for influence and trying to use it in the wrong way.
My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) has given me a quotation which I should like to read to the House. H. N. Brailsford once wrote thatthe civilisation of a country is not judged (on first-class issues) on great matters involving war and peace but on how we behave on second-class issues; how we behave to those who cannot hit back; how we consider the status of women; the fate of the deprived children or even the care of pit ponies.If he were alive today I am sure that he would have added, "how we look upon people with coloured skins in a far-away gaol."
The Colonial Secretary thinks that I have run out, but there is something more that I want to say. I want to touch upon the question of Ministerial responsibility. Whatever the constitutional position may be the Minister is the only person to whom we can look in this House and hold accountable for what happens under his administration. It is Parliament's duty to set strict standards of good government and hold responsible to the House those Ministers charged with responsibility. There was a Minister who had considerable difficulties about some administrative actions taken on his behalf, about which he knew nothing. This is what Sir Thomas Dugdale—as he then was—said on 20th July, 1954:… it would be deplorable if there were any departure from the recognised constitutional position. I, as Minister, must accept full responsibility to Parliament for any mistakes and inefficiency of officials in my Department, just as, when officials bring off any successes on my behalf, I take full credit for them.The Colonial Secretary has made no attempt to answer the questions put to 361 him by my right hon. Friend. He has not told us whether he approved the plan, or whether he had any knowledge of it. He has not said whether he upholds the officials who are responsible for what was undoubtedly an illegal plan. He has answered none of these questions. I leave him with what Sir Thomas Dug-dale said in similar circumstances:I have, as Minister responsible during this period, tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister, who is submitting it to the Queen."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th July, 1954; Vol. 530, c. 1194.]I would point out to the Colonial Secretary that in doing that Sir Thomas Dug-dale not only enshrined the doctrine of Ministerial responsibility but maintained his own self-respect—and kept the respect of the House.
§ 9.24 p.m.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)
That we should have a debate on the tragic—I use that word deliberately—events at Hola on 3rd March is right and proper, and, indeed, I would say inevitable. But to make these events the subject of a censure Motion is quite a different thing, and I shall seek to show that no valid grounds exist either for censuring Her Majesty's Government or the Government of Kenya.
May I start by making one thing clear beyond all shadow of doubt? We regard the deaths of eleven Mau Mau detainees as a very serious matter indeed. Let there be no doubt about that. The inquiring magistrate found that there had beena certain amount of beating with batons to prevent attempted escape, personal attack, or outbreaks of violence.He found thatthere was a greater degree of beating to compel detainees to work or punish them for not working.He held that the use of batons to prevent attempts to escape was justified, but that beating to compel detainees to work, or to punish them for not working, was "entirely unjustified and illegal." The Government and the Kenya Government entirely accept the magistrate's conclusions, let there be no misunderstanding about that—[Interruption.] I am going on to cover the whole field if hon. Members will allow me to do so.
362 It is clear from the magistrate's report that he reached the conclusion that the use of batons on the road on the way to the work site was justified and that he also reached the conclusion, on the evidence that he heard, which is recorded and to which the hon. Gentleman has referred, and which, no doubt, the magistrate considered very carefully indeed, that some of the use of batons at the work site was justified though the greater degree of beating was entirely unjustified and illegal.
In the light of those facts and those conclusions, four questions have to be considered and all the questions which have been raised in this debate, I believe, come under one or other of these four heads. The first is, why has there been no prosecution in respect of acts which the magistrate found and which we accept were illegal? The second is, if no criminal prosecutions are possible is appropriate action being taken against those—and all those—who may be in any degree blameworthy for the use of illegal force? The third is, why did these events ever happen? The fourth is, are sufficient steps being taken to prevent any repetition of the use of illegal force?
It is to those four questions that I am going to address myself and which I hope to answer. I must admit that after the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) had spoken and said that he was not concerned to criticise the decision of the Attorney-General for Kenya about prosecutions, I thought it might not be necessary for me to deal with the first question, but the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) asked whether justice is to be done to black and white alike in Kenya? She went on to say that she was not prepared to leave in the hands of the Attorney-General or of the Governor of Kenya the preservation of justice.
Murder is a foul and terrible crime and the colour of a murdered person's skin does not reduce its gravity. It is a terrible thing that as a result of the events of 3rd March eleven detainees met their death. It would seem, I am certain, that some, if not all, of them did so as a result of illegal blows, but as some of the violence used by the warders was justified it was not and is not possible to establish whether any particular 363 injury was the result of any particular blow. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I ask the House to listen to me on this because one cannot institute prosecutions on mere suspicion. It really is not right to do so.
Hon. Members can read for themselves in the coroner's report that it is not possible to establish that any particular injury was the result of an illegal blow, that any particular death was due to illegal force, or that any particular person struck an illegal blow. That is the finding of this magistrate whose conduct of this inquiry has been praised on all sides.
§ Mr. Hale
In prosecuting Dr. Adams, did the right hon. and learned Gentleman have to establish which poison was administered at which hour, and on which day, and in what circumstances? Or is it the rule of English law that the jury can draw an inference of killing from the circumstances of the evidence?
§ The Attorney-General
That intervention seems to be entirely irrelevant to this debate. The judge ruled that there was a prima facie case.
§ Mrs. Castle rose—
§ The Attorney-General
I have a lot to say in answer to these matters, and I want to answer as many of the points put to me as I can. If the hon. Lady and other hon. Members will allow me to finish this part of my speech, perhaps some of the questions will not prove to be necessary. I should like to be allowed to make my own speech, and if I have not answered the hon. Lady before I get to the next part of my speech, I will give way.
If the inquiry magistrate had formed the opinion that the commission of an offence by some person or persons had been disclosed, it would have been his duty to issue a summons or warrant for his or their arrest—a little different perhaps from some of our procedure. He refused to put the criminal law in motion for the reasons that he gave.
As he said, he came to the conclusion that the evidence before him did not disclose the commission of an offence by any known person, or persons, and that the evidence did not prove beyond reasonable doubt an offence by a person or persons unknown, though he later 364 quite clearly said that assaults of varying degrees must have been committed in the course of unlawful beatings, but it was impossible to say on whom, or by whom, specific assaults were committed.
Reference has been made to the evidence of Mr. Ezekiel and Mr. Peters. It is significant that, although they saw something of what happened, they were unable to identify anyone as participating in the striking of the blows. I do not suppose that anyone who has read the report and the record of the evidence at the inquiry could fail to reach the conclusion that there was a most thorough investigation of the events of the 3rd March by the magistrate, following on a C.I.D. investigation. The report shows not only the competence and independence of the magistrate, but also that there was no reluctance on his part to criticise where he felt criticism was due.
One must bear that in mind in assessing his conclusion that in this case the criminal law could not be invoked. The Attorney-General of Kenya also considered the question and reached the same conclusion. Responsibility for that conclusion rests with him and with him alone. It may not weigh with many hon. Members, but, after the Attorney-General of Kenya had reached his decision, I, too, considered the question. I read through this volume of evidence more than once, and in my opinion the Attorney-General of Kenya came to the right conclusion. I reached that conclusion with the greatest possible reluctance, as I am sure did the Attorney-General of Kenya and the inquiry magistrate.
Because of what happened at Hola on 3rd March, 11 men died and 23 were admitted to hospital. That men were unlawfully beaten, and some more severely beaten, is clear beyond doubt, and I regard it as very sad indeed that no criminal prosecution can properly be brought in respect of that use of illegal force.
§ Mrs. Castle rose—
§ The Attorney-General
I have not finished this part of my speech yet. It is tempting to say "Start criminal proceedings. Prove what happened at Hola, and let those concerned establish their innocence." That is not our system. Nor 365 is it the system in force in Kenya. Here, as is widely known, the burden of proof rests on the prosecution. It is only in very special circumstances that it rests on the defence. To justify the institution of a prosecution mere suspicion is not enough. There must be evidence tending to show beyond reasonable doubt not only that the particular crime has been committed—for instance, that a man has been the victim of an illegal assault—but also that those charged had perpetrated the offence or aided and abetted in its commission. To warrant a charge of conspiracy to use illegal force it would be necessary to establish a common agreement to use illegal force, and there really is no evidence of that. I can deal with that point in detail if I have time, but if hon. Members will look at the evidence again they will see that there is no evidence which would justify that conclusion.
§ The Attorney-General
The hon. and learned Gentleman ought to pay full attention to the evidence. I do not accept the facts as he put them, and I say again, having considered the evidence with the greatest care, that I can see no evidence that would justify preferment of a charge of conspiracy.
May I continue, because I should like to remind the House of the final paragraph of the answer made on behalf of the Attorney-General for Kenya on this question. He said:While the public interest clearly requires that any person or persons who can be proved to have been criminally implicated in such a shocking and tragic occurrence should be brought to justice, it requires no less that no person should, in this or in any other case, be placed in jeopardy on a criminal charge …"—
§ The Attorney-General
—"unless there is available sufficient evidence which, if believed, would establish his guilt. In this case the Attorney-General decided that the available evidence was insufficient for this purpose, and he accordingly decided that no prosecution should be instituted.That, I think, puts it extremely well and I will conclude this part of my 366 speech by saying that just as it would be utterly wrong to refrain from prosecuting or to stop a prosecution as a result of political pressure or to suit political convenience, so equally would it be wrong to institute proceedings on insufficient evidence on account of political pressure or convenience.
Perhaps I should add this. What happened at Hola was investigated, as it had to be, under the Law of Kenya. There is no ground for supposing that that investigation was less than thorough There is no ground for supposing that any further inquiry would now elicit more evidence. But if fresh evidence does come to light bearing on these matters, I have no doubt at all that the Attorney-General of Kenya would review his decision. As it is, I invite the House to accept that his decision was right and to consider the matter on that basis.
That decision, right as I think it was is no ground for a censure Motion on the Government of Kenya or on Her Majesty's Government by those who think it was wrong, for decisions on these matters are the individual responsibilities of Attorneys-General and not of Governments.
§ Mrs. Castle
Is it not a fact that the coroner said, "I find that blame attaches for these deaths. It is no part of my duty to apportion blame. That is a question of policy which is a matter for the Attorney-General"? Is it not also true that since the coroner's inquest there have been no further police investigations, no further evidence taken on oath and no identity parades held, and that therefore the Attorney-General failed to take up the point handed to him by the coroner?
§ The Attorney-General
No, I cannot agree with that. As the hon. Lady will see in the first part of the Report at paragraph 2, it is his duty to deal with the commission of any offence if he thinks one has been committed.
§ The Attorney-General
I now come to the second question that I posed namely, on the basis that no criminal prosecution is possible, is appropriate action being taken against those who may in any way have been in any degree blameworthy for the use of illegal 367 force? In this connection the House has to consider whether Her Majesty's Government or the Kenya Administration are open to censure in respect of action taken or not taken after 3rd March. Faced with the Attorney-General's decision not to prosecute, surely it was the duty of the Government of Kenya to consider, and to institute where it appeared justified, disciplinary proceedings. As the House knows, they have been instituted against Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Coutts, the two Europeans in charge of the warders at the site, and they are at the moment facing the charges set out in Part III of the White Paper.
This question has been ventilated today: Should disciplinary proceedings have been instituted against others—against Mr. Cowan and his superior, the Commissioner of Prisons? Should steps have been taken in relation to the Minister of Defence and the Minister of African Affairs, who approved the proposals? Should disciplinary proceedings have been started in respect of the report which Mr. Campbell wrote after his visit to Hola—the report which was severely criticised by the magistrate? Those are the questions which I now want to examine, if the House will permit me.
There was not one word in Mr. Cowan's evidence before the magistrate, nor was there in Mr. Sullivan's, to show that at Hola, in their conversations there, they planned the use of illegal force—that is to say, that they intended to secure that the detainees, if they refused to work, would be beaten, and beaten until they worked. Mr. Cowan's letter of 11th February shows that what he called in that letter his plan of action was approved by the then District Officer, Mr. Hopf. Mr. Hopf did not give evidence at the inquest. He was not stationed at Hola on 3rd March and he was not, therefore, directly concerned with the events of that day. But he has made a statement to the police as to his recollection of the conversation he had with Mr. Cowan about Mr. Cowan's proposals. He says that Mr. Cowan told him that the detainees were to be got out in small numbers, and Mr. Cowan told him that he, Mr. Cowan, had given instructions that there was to be no unlawful beating. There is, thus, no evidence at all that the plan of action 368 discussed at Hola involved beating the detainees until they worked.
§ Mr. Hale
There is evidence of three witnesses who heard Mr. Sullivan say, in Swahili, "Beat them if necessary, but not too much". That is all recorded at the inquest. I ask the Attorney-General to recall the judgment in the case of R. v. Bentley, where "Let them have it, Chris" was a matter for hanging, whereas "Let them have it" in Swahili is, apparently, no evidence at all.
§ The Attorney-General
The hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) has already addressed the House. I am fully aware of all the evidence. I have read it with care.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I understood the Attorney-General to refer to a document which, so far as I know, is not before us and not in the White Paper at all. He has referred to a document in which somebody made a statement to the police in Kenya and he is relying upon it. Is he not, therefore, bound to lay that statement before the House?
§ The Attorney-General
I want to get on to what is, I think, the real point. [Interruption.] I am not trying to evade anything. The real point here, surely, turns on the use of certain language in Mr. Cowan's letter. This is the point with which I wish to deal. We can argue about what the evidence is. I have formed a view on it. The hon. Member for Oldham, West may have his own views.
The only matter on which it might be suggested that a charge could be preferred against Mr. Cowan relates to his use, in his letter of 11th February, of the wordsmanhandled to the site of work and forced to carry out the task.I ask the House to listen, without interruption, to what I want to put before it in this respect. This is just one sentence, an important one, in a fairly long letter reporting on the situation at Hola and putting forward short-term and long-term proposals. Reading the letter, I do not think that anyone can fail to be struck by the importance attached in it to dividing the recalcitrant 369 detainees into small groups and dealing with them piecemeal. That, unfortunately, was not done. The first nine sub-paragraphs of paragraph 5 of the letter deal with that and the steps to be taken while the detainees were in the compound. While they were still inside in small groups, and so more easily controllable, they were to be ordered out to work. Unfortunately, this was not done.
Paragraph (j) deals shortly with what should be done if the detainees refused to obey the order to go outside and work. They were to be manhandled My right hon. Friend dealt with that. In certain circumstances, manhandling is legitimate. The main criticism is directed to the wordsforced to carry out the task".The proposals contained in the letter were seen by his superior, the Commissioner of Prisons, by the Minister of Defence and by the Minister of African Affairs. It would hardly be right to place Mr. Cowan alone on disciplinary charges in relation to proposals put before his superiors and approved by them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]
On page 7 of the White Paper, the magistrate expresses the view, to which hon. Members have referred, thatany reasonable person would construe those words alone as carte blanche to use whatever force might prove necessary to ensure the performance of the task".I must admit that those words could be so understood. The magistrate said that that was the meaning any reasonable person would give if he construed those words alone. The important fact here is that they were not construed alone by those who read them.
Those words were construed by the Commissioner of Prisons, who knew of the Prison Ordinance and the Prison Regulations. Mr. Cowan knew them and Mr. Sullivan knew them. So did the Minister of Defence and the Minister of African Affairs. The clearest direction is given in those documents against beating. My right hon. Friend told the House also of the directives which were issued.
What is important in this respect is not so much how the wordsforced to carry out the task370 could be understood but how they were understood. It is significant that the magistrate, although he expressed a view as to how any reasonable person would construe them, did not reach the conclusion that Mr. Cowan, by the use of these words, deliberately proposed to his superior that carte blanche should be given to use whatever force was necessary to make the men work. Nor did he say that they were so understood by the Commissioner who gave evidence before him. Indeed, it would be extraordinary to find Mr. Cowan proposing in writing to his superiors the use of force, which was clearly illegal, and even more extraordinary that his superiors, the Commissioner and the two Ministers, all civil servants—the hon. Member for Oldham, West paid a tribute to the colonial civil service—should have approved of his proposals if they understood that.
If that is what Mr. Cowan meant by those words and if that is what those who received the letter understood by those words, there would be ground for supposing that they were parties to a conspiracy to procure the use of illegal force, but there is not, in my view, a shred of evidence that Mr. Cowan meant the words to have that meaning. There is not a shred of evidence to make those who read them read them in that way. The evidence is all the other way. Mr. Cowan's evidence at the inquest and the statements made by the Commissioner and the Ministers, which I have seen, are entirely to the contrary. It is true that Mr. Sullivan—
§ Mr. Callaghan rose—
§ The Attorney-General
It is true that Mr. Sullivan never saw the letter before 3rd March, so that this sentence can have no effect on the events of that day. He is charged with departing from the plan outlined to him on a very important point, but there is not a shred of evidence that the plan outlined to him by Mr. Cowan involved the illegal use of force—beating to make the men work. I cannot help but think that the view—
§ Mr. Stonehouse rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Gentleman should not remain standing while the Minister is on his feet.
§ The Attorney-General
I have read all the evidence and the magistrate has expressed his conclusions upon it.
It is perhaps to be expected that one's view of the letter is affected by what happened on 3rd March. I wonder how many hon. Members if they had read the letter between 11th February and 3rd March, would have said that it meant and proposed that detainees should be beaten until they worked. I doubt whether many of us would. It can be said that someone should be forced to take some action. It means that he must be made to do something that he is opposed to doing. It does not mean that one intends to beat him until he does the act. It is on this slender basis, the interpretation of these few words, that this indictment depends.
§ Mr. Callaghan
This is an important point. The Attorney-General is considering the whole matter on the basis whether a charge of conspiracy should be laid against Mr. Cowan. That is not our case at all. We say—and this is the point to which we should like the Attorney-General to address himself—that if a plan has such defects, omissions, and inadequacies, to use the magistrate's own words, that it leads to the death of eleven men, should no action be taken against the author of that plan except to give him a medal?
§ The Attorney-General
That is one of the points that I want to answer. It is a perfectly pertinent point, but I want to make my own speech, and the hon. Gentleman has taken up part of my time. I am dealing with the disciplinary charges at the moment. In my submission, if there were anything of the sort alleged, all those concerned—the Ministers, the Commissioner and Mr. Cowan—would be deserving of the highest condemnation. But I come to the conclusion that there is not the slightest ground for saying that on the evidence before the magistrate or on anything else.
I want to say a word or two about the Campbell incident, to which a great deal of importance has been attached. The questions that arise are these, and I can summarise them quite shortly. Why was that report so wrong? Was it due to the short time that those people were at Hola? Was it due to their having been given misleading information by those at Hola?—and one of the charges against 372 Mr. Sullivan is of doing that. Was it done in good or bad faith? I cannot answer any of those questions while the investigation of the charge against Mr. Sullivan is going on, but, as my right hon. Friend has said, if it was written in bad faith in an endeavour to cover up and to conceal, it was the height of stupidity, because it was bound to be found out when the investigation started. I can, however, say this, and I have the Governor's authority for saying it. If after the conclusion of the proceedings against Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Coutts, if on consideration of all the facts then available, there appear grounds justifying the preferment of further disciplinary charges against anyone, they will certainly be instituted.
Therefore, one comes to this. If one applies the test of what the Government ought to have done after 3rd March, in my submission neither Government is open to criticism. The facts have been investigated in accordance with the due course of law.
The right hon. and learned Member for Newport made the point that a tribunal was set up when a white boy was cuffed. He suggested that there had been no inquiry after the deaths of eleven black men. That remark was not worthy of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. It was an inaccurate statement. The one reason for the inquiry in the Waters' case was that there had been no judicial investigation. The House will remember that when the decision was made to appoint the tribunal, there were many voices on the Opposition side who raised the question of the policemen who would be affected by its determinations and who would be deprived of the ordinary rights of law. Where the right hon. and learned Gentleman's point falls down completely is that the difference here is that there has been a proper judicial investigation under the law in Kenya by a magistrate, to whom the right hon. and learned Gentleman paid tribute, whose report is a lengthy and carefully-constructed document. In those circumstances, there is no need for, and no useful purpose would be served by, any further inquiry as to the facts.
The question now is the question of responsibility. In that connection, I have said that if any fresh evidence comes out which would warrant the institution of 373 criminal proceedings, the Attorney-General of Kenya would, I am sure, consider the matter again. If any grounds come forward after the conclusion of the present disciplinary proceedings—the charge of misleading against Mr. Sullivan must be determined first before any charges of misleading are preferred against anyone else—further steps will be taken.
In those circumstances, I submit that, although it was right to have an inquiry into this matter, this Motion of censure is wholly unfounded. I ask the House to carry the Amendment and by doing so to show its confidence, not only in the two Governments and in my right hon.
§ Friend, but in the policy which we have pursued with so much success.
§ Mr. Stonehouse rose—
§ Mr. Herbert W. Bowden (Leicester, South-West)
rose in his place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 255, Noes 314.377
|Division No. 137.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Fernyhough, E.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Finch, H. J. (Bedwellty)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)||Kenyon, C.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Fletcher, Eric||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Baird, J.||Foot, D. M.||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Balfour, A.||Forman, J. C.||Lawson, G. M.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Ledger, R. J.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Benson, Sir George||Gibson, C. W.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Beswick, Frank||Gooch, E. G.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Lewis, Arthur|
|Blackburn, F.||Greenwood, Anthony||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Lipton, Marcus|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Grey, C. F.||Logan, D. G.|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Bowles, F. G.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McAlister, Mrs. Mary|
|Boyd, T. C.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||McCann, J.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Grimond, J.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hale, Leslie||MacDermot, Niall|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Mclnnes, J.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hamilton, w. W.||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hannan, W.||McLeavy, Frank|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Hastings, S.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hayman, P. H.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Healey, Denis||Mahon, Simon|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Herbison, Miss M.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Carmichael, J.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hilton, A. V.||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Champion, A. J.||Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Holman, P.||Mason, Roy|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Holmes, Horace||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Cliffe, Michael||Holt, A. F.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Clunie, J.||Houghton, Douglas||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Coldrick, W.||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Messer, Sir F.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Cronin, J. D.||Hoy, J. H.||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Monslow, W.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Moody, A. S.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Mort, D. L.|
|Davies,Rt.Hon.Clement(Montgomery)||Hunter, A. E.||Moss, R.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Moyle, A.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Davies, S. O (Merthyr)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Deer, G.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||O'Brien, Sir Thomas|
|Diamond, John||Janner, B.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Oram, A. E.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Orbach, M.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs,S.)||Oswald. T.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Owen, W. J.|
|Edelman, M.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Padley, W. E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Paget, R. T.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Viant, S. P.|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Short, E. W.||Wade, D. W.|
|Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Parker, J.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Weitzman, D.|
|Parkin, B. T.||Skeffington, A. M.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Paton, John||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Pentland, N.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Snow, J. W.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Popplewell, E.||Sorensen, R. W.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Prentice, R. E.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wigg, George|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Sparks, J. A.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Spriggs, Leslie||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Probert, A. R.||Stonehouse, John||Willey, Frederick|
|Proctor, W. T.||Stones, W. (Consett)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Rankin, John||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Redhead, E. C.||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Reeves, J.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Reid, William||Swingler, S. T.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Reynolds, G. W.||Sylvester, C. O.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Rhodes, H.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Woof, R. E.|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Thornton, E.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Tomney, F.|
|Ross, William||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Royle, C.||Usborne, H. C.||Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Aitken, W. T.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Cole, Norman||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R.(Nantwich)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Green, A.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Cooke, Robert||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Cooper, A. E.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.|
|Armstrong C. W.||Corfield, F. V.||Gurden, Harold|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Crowder, Petre (Rulsllp—Northwood)||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)|
|Balniel, Lord||Cunningham, Knox||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Currie, G. B. H.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)|
|Barber, Anthony||Dance, J. C. G.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Barlow, Sir John||D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Barter, John||Deedes, W. F.||Hay, John|
|Batsford, Brian||de Ferranti, Basil||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Beamish, Col. Turton||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hesketh, R. F.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Drayson, G. B.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||du Cann, E. D. L.||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxeth)||Duncan, Sir James||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Duthie, Sir William||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Bingham, R. M.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Elliot,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.)||Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Errington, Sir Eric||Hope, Lord John|
|Body, R. F.||Erroll, F. J.||Hornby, R. P.|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Horobin, Sir Ian|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Fell, A.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Finlay, Graeme||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)|
|Braine, B. R.||Fisher, Nigel||Howard, John (Test)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Forrest, G.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Brewis, John||Foster, John||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Hulbert, Sir Norman|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Freeth, Denzil||Hurd, Sir Anthony|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Gammans, Lady||Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)|
|Bryan, P.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Hyde, Montgomery|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Gibson-Watt, D.||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Glover, D.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Godber, J. B.||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Carr, Robert||Goodhart, Philip||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Gough, C. F. H.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Gower, H. R.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Nairn, D. L. S.||Speir, F. M.|
|Joseph, Sir Keith||Heave, Alrey||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Kaberry, D.||Nicholls, Harmar||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Nicolson, N.(B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Kimball, M.||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Sir Alan||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Lagden, G. W.||Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Stoddart-Scott, Col, Sir Malcolm|
|Lambton, Viscount||Nugent, Richard||Storey, S.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim(Co. Antrim, N.)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Leavey, J. A.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Leburn, W. G.||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Osborne, C.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Page, R. C.||Teeling, W.|
|Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Temple, John M.|
|Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Partridge, E.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Peel, W. J.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (Sutton Coldfield)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Pitman, I. J.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Pott, H. P.||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|McAdden, S. J.||Powell, J. Enoch||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, S.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Viokers, Miss Joan|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Profumo, J. D.||Vosper, Fit. Hon. D. F.|
|McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Ramsden, J. E.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Rawlinson, Peter||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|McMaster, Stanley||Redmayne, M.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Wall, Patrick|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Remnant, Hon. P.||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Renton, D. L. M.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Maddan, Martin||Ridsdale, J. E.||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Rippon, A. G. F.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Webster, David|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Robson Brown, Sir William||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Marshall, Douglas||Roper, Sir Harold||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Mawby, R. L.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Wolridge-Gordon, Patrick|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Medlicott, Sir Frank||Sharpies, R. C.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Shepherd, William||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Moore, Sir Thomas||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Mr. Heath and Mr. Legh.|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
§ Question, put, That the proposed words be there added:—378
§ The House divided: Ayes 314, Noes 255.383
|Division No. 138.]||AYES||[10.12 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bidgood, J. C.||Channon, H. P. C.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bingham, R. M.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Cole, Norman|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat(Tiverton)||Bishop, F. P.||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger|
|Anstruther-Grey, Major Sir William||Black, Sir Cyril||Cooke, Robert|
|Arbuthnot, John||Body, R. F.||Cooper, A. E.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Bossom, Sir Alfred||Cooper-Key, E. M.|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Boyle, Sir Edward||Corfield, F. V.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Brains, B. R.||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Brewis, John||Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Balniel, Lord||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)|
|Barber, Anthony||Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Crowder, Petre(Ruislip—Northwood)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Brooman-White, R. C.||Cunningham, Knox|
|Barter, John||Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Currie, G. B. H.|
|Batsford, Brian||Bryan, P.||Dance, J. C. G.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Burden, F. F. A.||Deedes, W. F.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Butcher, Sir Herbert||de Ferranti, Basil|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Butler, Rt. Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Digby, Simon Wingfield|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Campbell, Sir David||Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Carr, Robert||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Pott, H. P.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Duthie, Sir William||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Joseph, Sir Keith||Profumo, J. D.|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Kaberry, D.||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.)||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Redmayne, M.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Kimball, M.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lagden, G. W.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lambton, Viscount||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Fell, A.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Leather, E. H. C.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Forrest, G.||Leavey, J. A.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Foster, John||Leburn, W. G.||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Freeth, Denzil||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Gammans, Lady||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Llewellyn, D. T.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (Sutton Coldfield)||Sharples, R. C.|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Shepherd, William|
|Glover, D.||Longden, Gilbert||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Loveys, Walter H.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Godber, J. B.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Goodhart, Philip||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Cower, H. R.||McAdden, S. J.||Speir, R. M.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Green, A.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||McMaster, Stanley||Storey, S.|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold(Bromley)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Gurden, Harold||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Maddan, Martin||Simmer, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Teeling, W.|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Temple, John M.|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Marshall, Douglas||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Mawby, R. L.||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hay, John||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir cotin|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Moore, Sir Thomas||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Hesketh, R. F.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nairn, D. L. S.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Neave, Airey||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nicholls, Hamar||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Hobson, John(Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Nicolson, N.(B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Sir Alan||Wall, Patrick|
|Hope, Lord John||Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Hornby, R. P.||Nugent, Richard||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim(Co. Antrim, N.)||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Ormsby-Core, Rt. Hon. W. D.||Webster, David|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Howard, John (Test)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Osborne, C.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Page, R. G.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Hurd, Sir Anthony||Partridge, E.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Peel, W. J.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Hyde, Montgomery||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pitman, I. J.||Mr. Heath and Mr. Legh.|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Pitt, Miss E. M|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Abse, Leo||Hastings, S.||Oswald, T.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Hayman, P. H.||Owen, W. J.|
|Albu, A. H.||Healey, Denis||Padley, W. E.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Herbison, Miss M.||Paget, R. T.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hilton, A. V.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Baird, J.||Holman, P.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Balfour, A.||Holmes, Horace||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Holt, A. F.||Parker, J.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Houghton, Douglas||Parkin, B. T.|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Paton, John|
|Benson, Sir George||Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Pentland, N.|
|Beswick, Frank||Hoy, J. H.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Bevan, Rt. Ton. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Popplewell, E.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hunter, A. E.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Bowen, E R. (Cardigan)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Probert, A. R.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Boyd, T. C.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Rankin, John|
|Brockway, A. F.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Redhead, E. G.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Janner, B.||Reeves, J.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Reid, William|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs. S.)||Rhodes, H.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech(Wakefield)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Champion, A. J.||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Ross, William|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Royle, C.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Cliffe, Michael||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Short, E. W.|
|Clunie, J.||Kenyon, C.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Coldrick, W.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||King, Dr. H. M.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Cronin, J, D.||Lawson, G. M.||Skeffington, A.M.|
|Crossman, R. H. S,||Ledger, R. J.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke. N.)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Snow, J. W.|
|Davies, Rt.Hn.Clement(Montgomery)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lewis, Arthur||Sparks, J. A.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lindgren, G. S.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Deer, G.||Lipton, Marcus||Stonehouse, John|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Logan, D. G.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Diamond, John||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Dodds, N. N.||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||McCann, J.||Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||MacColl, J. E.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||MacDermot, Niall||Swingler, S. T.|
|Edelman, M.||Mcinnes, J.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McLeavy, Frank||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Mahon, Simon||Thornton, E.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Tomney, F.|
|Finch, H. J. (Bedwellty)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Usborne, H. C.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Foot, D. M.||Mason, Roy||Wade, D. W.|
|Forman, J. C.||Mayhew, C. P.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mellish, R. J.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mendelson, J. J.||Weitzman, D.|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then)||Messer, Sir F.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mikardo, Ian||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mitchison, G. R.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Monslow, W.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Moody, A. S.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mort, D. L.||Wigg, George|
|Grey, C. F.||Moss, R.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Moyle, A.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Willey, Frederick|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Neal-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Grimond, J.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Hale, Leslie||O'Brian, Sir Thomas||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Oliver, G. H.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Oram, A. E.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Hannan, W.||Orbach, M.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)||Woof, R. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Winterbottom, Richard||Yates, V. (Ladywood)||Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson.|
|Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.||Zilliacus, K.|
§ Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
That this House deeply regrets the recent deaths of eleven men in Hola Detention
Camp and fully supports Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Kenya in the steps both remedial and disciplinary that are being taken to prevent a recurrence of such a tragic event.