§ [FIFTH DAY]
Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Question [27th October]:
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, as follows:
Most Gracious Sovereign,
We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the Gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament.
§ Question again proposed.
§ 3.31 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
We welcome the Colonial Secretary to his new post. He will find it onerous and exciting and in some ways different from the post which he has left. There he was mediating between others who were, perhaps, in disagreement but who themselves took the decision. The right hon. Gentleman will find that now he not only has to mediate, but that he will be responsible for taking decisions himself at the end of the argument that takes place. To that extent, it is a more exacting post that he is taking on than the one he has left, and we in this House must all wish him success in the task that lies ahead of him.
The right hon. Gentleman will not be able to please everyone, but at least, if he cannot satisfy everybody, the first thing he has to do is to convince those with whom he is dealing that he is not biased against any of them. That is, perhaps, the first of the tasks that the right hon. Gentleman will find he has to do in Central Africa today. He has probably read The Times editorial this morning. I hope that it was written after my speech, because I find a great deal that is in my speech in the editorial. The editorial, however, begins as its headline, "Restoring African Confidence." That is its theme, restoring African confidence. Confidence in what? Confidence in the good intentions of the Conservative Government. 669 That is the task that lies ahead of the Government and of the Colonial Secretary.
Most Africans—I try to state this as a simple fact; I hope that we can be agreed about these facts—in Northern Rhodesia and in Nyasaland believe that the Government are biased against them. That is their belief. That is why we have to begin by restoring their confidence. Five minutes' conversation with any representative group of Africans will soon lead one to the conclusion that they do not believe in the good intentions of Her Majesty's Government today. The first task is to restore that confidence.
The Secretary of State will find that Africans believe that only Europeans have the ear and the confidence of the Government; that because of the political weight which the Europeans exercise, because of their economic power, they have the last word in the decisions that are taken. The right hon. Gentleman will find that the Africans believe that if there is a conflict between European interest and African interest, the European interest will predominate. This is not always true. I have pointed this out to Africans as much as anyone in this House has done, but that is their belief and it is their belief because, on the fundamental issue about their right to determine their own future, the Government have so far come down against the African people.
The right hon. Gentleman will find that the Africans give him numerous illustrations, but the one they always quote on all occasions is the calamitous decision of the last Colonial Secretary to overrule the African Affairs Board on the first test that it had of its good will. Every time, the Africans come back to this. They point out that here was a body, set up by the British Government, of independent-minded persons whose duty it was to ensure that there should be no discrimination against the African; that in the case of the Federal franchise the Board reported that there was such a discrimination, but that the very first time it reported such discrimination the last Colonial Secretary overruled the Board and came down on the side of the European majority in the Federal Assembly. It is these things, whether we like them or not and whether we acknowledge them or not, which lie 670 behind many of the difficulties with which the Government are confronted in Central Africa today.
In short, the right hon. Gentleman will find, as, I am sure, he already knows, that he is dealing not with a nation, but with two peoples living side by side, one of them a small, tiny minority, heavily outnumbered, possessing overwhelming political power, possessing great industrial skill and great educational advantages, holding great economic wealth and determined to preserve those advantages whilst, at the same time, admitting to those standards Africans who can attain that particular standard which they themselves have set.
On the other hand, the Secretary of State will find that there is a majority with a determination equal to the determination of the minority, a determination that even though they do not have the economic wealth, even though they have not got the educational advantages, they propose to use political power, as soon as they can lay their hands upon it, to secure the same advantages as the tiny privileged minority living in their midst can get.
Here is the classic two-nations theme that should appeal to the right hon. Gentleman. It will need all his great skill as a politician to solve this dilemma with which he is confronted. The Africans do not intend that their political advance shall be thwarted because a tiny group of a different race is living in their midst. They took to Somaliland and they ask, "What is the difference between the people there and us, except that there are no Europeans in a position of control in Somaliland? How is it," they say, "that the right hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) could come to the House of Commons and tell the House that he proposes to introduce an electoral system into Somalia and that he proposes that there shall be a Legislative Council freely elected by the people of Somaliland, whilst in our own country, out of 2¾ million of us, there are only 14 people who have votes for the Federal Assembly? What is the difference?" The difference is a handful of Europeans who are living in their midst. This is the dilemma and the problem that must be solved. I want to make proposals about how, I believe, it should be solved.
671 The task of the Colonial Secretary is to prove by his deeds that the presence of Europeans in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland will not thwart or hold back the political advance of these people and that it will, on the other hand, accelerate their economic advance. The second of these tasks is relatively easy to do, but it is the first that is the problem. This is a political problem and the argument revolves around two major themes: first, what qualifications does one need in a country like this to have a voice in the Government of the country; and secondly, what are to be the relations between one's country and the other countries that lie on one's borders? In two words, those themes are the vote and the Federation. Those are what the arguments are all about. They all come down to that.
The first task, therefore, of the Colonial Secretary—and to understand these things is the beginning of political wisdom—is to recognise that the situation that I have tried to depict, I hope not unfairly, is the situation from which he must start and that he must restore the confidence of the African people that the British Government are not biased against them in the desperate efforts that they are making to run their own country if they get the opportunity to raise themselves to the standards of the advanced people living in their midst.
The right hon. Gentleman takes over at a point when Her Majesty's Government are firmly committed to the doctrine of federation, one of the twin stumbling blocks which he has to meet. The Government believe that federation is best for the people of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. The African finds it destestable and will do almost anything to break it up. It is this clash of opinion which led to bitterness, frustration and finally to the outbreak of violence that we saw last March, and the imposition of the Emergency Regulations.
I was astonished that we should have a Gracious Speech which did not mention the fact that Nyasaland is at the moment lying under Emergency Regulations. It seems to me out of proportion that the Speech should contain a reference to the need for setting up a Commission to consider relationships between Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia, but should fail to 672 mention that this part of the Colonial Empire is living at present in the form of a police State. It has had a police State for eight months now. We hoped that it would be temporary. Mr. Justice Devlin hoped that, but many of its leaders are still in prison without trial. Only last month the Governor reaffirmed the order made against Dr. Banda and his leading associates. They are to stay in prison for a further period. No charge has been brought against them yet. Nothing has been done to release them. They lie in gaol.
The Press is censored—or perhaps I should modify that and say that the African Press is censored. The Press which attempts to put the African point of view is censored. Two very erudite journals, Dissent and Contact, have been censored and, indeed, forbidden to be imported into those territories. The issue of Contact which was forbidden had on the front cover a photograph of Dr. Banda, and the major part of its contents was a summary of the Devlin Commission's Report. This journal was banned from entry into the territory. On the other hand, the European Press—and I ask the Colonial Secretary to note this—is still free to utter calumnies against African leaders, to distort their policy and to foment the racial hatred which I hope none of us in this House wants to see. It is the Press which attempts to present the African point of view which is censored.
It is difficult for those outside Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia to obtain up-to-date information. I used to receive a voluminous correspondence, but this has now dwindled away to the merest trickle. Letters which are sent do not reach me. Other people are having the same experience. There are people who are frightened to write to say what is happening in these territories because of the censorship, but I have no evidence, despite the drying up of information which used to come regularly in the form of air mail letters from numerous people in the Federation, that the African is weakening in his opposition or is shaken in his determination to oppose this concept of federation.
Let us look at some of the evidence that we have. One section of the African National Congress in Northern Rhodesia, led by Mr. Nkumbula, has already 673 promised that there will be boycotts and passive resistance leading up to 1960. The other section, which is nominally led by Mr. Kaunda, who is at this moment detained in prison, is even more vehement than Mr. Nkumbula in his opposition to federation. In Nyasaland, one of the new African members of the Legislative Council, nominated by the Governor, had his home deliberately destroyed by fire within, I believe, two days of accepting his post, although my information is that he himself was very strongly opposed to federation.
I ask hon. Members to believe me when I say that it gives me no comfort or pleasure to repeat these facts, but the house must face them. This is the depth of opinion which exists in this territory. The elections in Nyasaland have been postponed by the Governor for a further year at least, probably more. Mr. Chiume and Mr. Chipembere have been deprived of their seats in the Legislative Council because detention orders have been made against them. These two men were elected not by the Africans by means of universal suffrage or even on a limited franchise, but by the district councils. It was a kind of indirect election. They have been removed from their offices and replaced by nominated members. We are told that another £700,000 is to be spent on strengthening the police force. That is as much as the central Government are spending on African education in that territory. In this country, thank God, we spent ten times as much on one as on the other. There is, therefore, no evidence from these happenings and events that African resistance is weakening in any way.
Who will move? Are we at an impasse? Do the Government propose to carry on strengthening the police force, keeping the Press censored, having leaders locked up and preventing political expression of opinion, or are they prepared to make a move? This is the test for the Colonial Secretary and the real issue which he has to meet. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman has the opportunity to make a move, and, because face is as important in Britain as it is in some other parts of the world, I should like to see him make a move without too much loss of face for the Government; for I want the right thing to be done in Africa.
674 The first chance that the right hon. Gentleman has is to use the Monckton Commission in some way. I think that I speak for everyone on this side of the House, certainly for myself, when I say that I have every confidence in Lord Monckton's fairmindedness. When he occupied the Colonial Secretary's former position at the Ministry of Labour I think that he gave us all confidence in his mediation. It would not be because of the personality of the chairman that we should have to refuse to take part in this Commission, but the Government and Lord Monckton must face the fact that if they are to restore African confidence, and if the Commission is to serve some useful purpose, then the African himself must have confidence in the instrument that the Government are setting up. At present, all the evidence points in the reverse direction.
There are to be 26 members of the Commission. Anyone who has served on a commission or committee at any time must have grave doubts about whether 26 members, drawn from so many different countries, can do the sort of job that the Prime Minister had in mind when he outlined the Commission. Of those 26 members, only five are to be Africans, and they are not to be selected by the African people themselves. They are to be nominated by the Governors. There is no evidence that this tiny minority of five will carry the confidence of its own people. Indeed, I think that all the evidence points in the other direction.
I do not believe that the Colonial Secretary can get the necessary good will of the Africans unless he is ready to face the fact that Dr. Banda and his leading associates in Nyasaland, and Mr. Nkumbula and Mr. Kaunda and their associates in Northern Rhodesia, should be in some way or other associated with the Commission. Either they should be members of it or should give their blessing to those who serve on it. If the Government were willing to do that, I believe that it would transform the attitude of the African people towards the Monckton Commission. Would it not be worth while for the Government if they could achieve something like this? It may be a hard and unpalatable fact for the Government to face, but they will have to swallow it if they want to make progress.
675 Then there is the function of the Commission. This body is to advise about the framework that is best suited to achieve the objects of the Constitution, including the Preamble. Among other things, the Preamble states flatly that federationwill be conducive to the welfare, security and advancement of the people, and will foster partnership and co-operation.Federation is to do these things, said the Preamble of 1953, but federation seems to be immovable in the minds of the Government. It is written into the Preamble. It was certainly immovable in the mind of the former Colonial Secretray, for he was a firm believer in it. He tried to do his best to convince everybody of it, but he failed. I hope that he is more successful in selling Guinness than he was in selling federation. He failed to do it; he never achieved it. Federation as a concept is the great stumbling block in the minds of the Africans, but it is written into the Preamble and the function of the Commission is to work out this framework to achieve the objects of that Preamble.
Quite specifically, I asked this question of the former Colonial Secretary on 22nd July. I put it in column 1338 of HANSARD, and, while I do not want to quote my own speech, I will repeat this question to the new Colonial Secretary: will the Commission be free to consider any alternative scheme for linking these territories other than federation? I spelled it out in the last debate. Any constitution-monger can sit down and in half an hour produce half-a-dozen different constitutions, many of which will produce much the same sort of result. It will be possible to abolish the Federal Assembly completely and get rid of Federal Members of Parliament. It would be possible, if the territories became self-governing and the Governments were thought to be truly representative of the people, for the three Legislative Councils to meet together to take the place of the Federal Parliament by meeting on terms of equality. All these things would be possible if the people had the will and the desire and did not sit tight and say it must be federation or nothing.
What is there in this magic word federation which means that we are ready 676 to put people in prison, indulge in the censorship and all the rest of the horrible apparatus of the police State? What is there in it that we have to cling to it? I beg the Colonial Secretary to look at this matter coolly and objectively. He comes with a fresh mind, and I ask him to reconsider this instrument by which people are being governed. I ask him whether it is necessary to sacrifice not only the reputation of the Government, though to me that does not matter very much, but also the position in Africa and the welfare and happiness of the African people.
If we could only get a clear answer to that question, and if it were made clear to the African that he would have the freedom to decide under self-government what his own future is to be, then that would be a big step towards restoring African confidence, which will make the possibility of this commission being successful very much greater than seems likely to us at the moment.
Next, I ask the Colonial Secretary and the Government to shift the weight from discussing federation—that is to say, the relationship between the territories—to speeding up constitutional advance inside the territories. I apologise for saying these things several times, because I have said them so many times before, but we must keep saying them. They do not lose their truth because we go on repeating them. It is true that the relationship between the territories is of less importance than getting a speedy and rapid advance towards self-government inside the territories. And yet, in the Gracious Speech, only the former is mentioned; there is no reference to the latter. This is surprising, and it is for this reason, among others, that we have tabled the Amendment which I shall be moving at the end of my speech. We regret that the Gracious Speech does not contain any proposal which would enable the state of emergency to be brought to an end.
There is a glimmer of light in relation to this Federal concept at the moment. Sir Roy Welensky has said that he does not propose to press for Dominion status in 1960. That is an advance. I wish that he had never pressed for it. I wish that he had been content with the Constitution that was laid down in 1953, but he has now said that he does not propose to press for Dominion status, and I welcome that advance. I beg the 677 Colonial Secretary to make this as clearly understood among the people of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia as all the means at his command can do. It is vitally important that everyone should understand that.
The Federal Prime Minister went on to say that at this conference he looks forward to a substantial transfer of power to the territorial Governments from Westminster. I want to put this to the Colonial Secretary. It seems to me that we will not make the advance that we might do as a result of the dropping of Dominion status if there is a transfer of power to these particular territories in advance of giving power to the people inside the territories to elect their own Governments and Legislative Councils. This is the reason for speed. By constitutional advance inside the territories, the Legislative Councils must become fully representative of their peoples.
The Prime Minister and the former Colonial Secretary both recognised this in words, but, alas, their deeds did not match up to their words. The only advance that we have had since the former Colonial Secretary and the Prime Minister said this is that they have deprived two members of their seats and have substituted for them four nominated members, one of whom has resigned, because of the lamentable and regrettable fire at his house, and the second of whom has already said he will resign. Perhaps the Colonial Secretary will be able to tell us whether this is so or not.
Perhaps I may quote from a moderate newspaper giving the African point of view, Tsopano:The Government's decision to nominate extra members of the legislative council, instead of electing them on a wide franchise, has caused dismay among people of all races who hope for a peaceful future for their country.The paper goes on to say, in an editorial:It can hardly be expected that the Governor's choice will be the same as that of a largely African electorate, and, therefore, the people will not be able to feel the same confidence in these nominees as they would had they been elected.I beg the Colonial Secretary not to be timid about this matter. I do not believe that this is an occasion for caution. Nor that it is a time when we may pursue the leisurely path of progress. This 678 is the moment when big risks have to be taken, and the risk which will involve the greatest chance of success is that we should say to the people of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia openly, frankly and generously that we shall introduce large-scale reforms and a wide extension of the franchise so that they could elect their own people, so that they could come to the London talks in 1960, which are to determine their future, and will know that they will be speaking there because they will have put their representatives there. I believe that if the Colonial Secretary could once jump that hurdle we should be well on the way to solving this problem, because if we do not I believe that tension will increase up to 1960 and not grow less.
The Colonial Secretary is reputed once to have said that the Tory Party was the natural spokesman for the undefended people. I do not know. This quotation was put into his mouth in one of those many "profiles" of new Ministers with which we have been regaled in recent days. I am sorry if it should not be so. I was about to ask him to live up to it, that is all. As part of the process of shifting the Government's weight from one foot to the other, I ask him to consider approaching the Federal Prime Minister with the suggestion that he himself should put off the 1960 constitutional conference for a couple of years.
I have made this suggestion previously, but (the Prime Minister rejected it. He rejected it in July, because he said that, in his view, if the Conference were put off for two years, as it is legal to put it off, it would merely give those who opposed federation a greater period in which to frustrate its aims and cause a longer period of uncertainty about its future. I see the weight of that argument, but I believe it to be wrong, for the same reason that the Government were wrong in the debates in this House in 1951 and 1952, when they told us that once federation had gone through this House it would be accepted in the territories and the agitation would die down. I say to the Prime Minister that there is not the slightest likelihood that if we have a London conference which is unrepresentative of African people the agitation against federation will come to an end because the London conference says it should.
679 I believe that there would be the best prospects of success for that conference if the Colonial Secretary were to take these steps I am now proposing, that he should invite Sir Roy Welensky to put it off—to suggest that it should be put off. Let it come from him. Let the right thing be done. It does not matter who gets the credit for doing it. And let the Colonial Secretary push ahead with constitutional advances in these territories. I believe myself that if we could have a conference in 1962 which was truly representative of the peoples in those territories then it would have a real chance of success, because the African people who came to represent their fellows would know that theirs was the responsibility for the future of their own territories.
The fourth step which I think the Colonial Secretary should take towards regaining African confidence is to release—or, if he cannot do so, charge—those who are at present in detention. The conflict between Government and people will not be resolved by keeping the people's leaders locked up. It will be solved only by modifying the Government's policy to the point where leaders of African opinion can co-operate with the Government. That is the opportunity which is before the Colonial Secretary.
If the report in yesterday's Observer is accurate, he may have an opportunity and an instrument to his hand with which he can co-operate with the new Malaw Congress Party. It has sent him a telegram of congratulations on his appointment. That is turning the other cheek, if you like, when we remember that the President was released from gaol only a few weeks ago. But the party has congratulated him, and has asked him to carry on with the good work and, as a first step, to release Dr. Banda and others from gaol The new Congress Party has been formed under Mr. Orton Chirwa who was, in my view, wrongly detained at the outset and has now been released. I am glad of that.
The new Congress Party which has been formed under his presidency is opposed to federation, and it is pledged to self-government and independence, and it demands the release of political prisoners, but, as Mr. Clay says in the article in the Observer:There is no reason for the Government to write him off as a hopeless intransigent.680 There is no reason for the Government to write off Mr. Banda and his supporters as intransigent.
Anyway, the Government have so far taken no action against this new party and I hope that the Colonial Secretary will refrain from doing so. It should be a safety valve in seeking a solution, but the Colonial Secretary will be ill-advised if he tries to drive any wedge between Mr. Chirwa and Dr. Banda. I invite him to proceed in the belief that they both say and mean the same thing. Knowing both of them, I think that he will find this out.
Our attitude to federation is quite simple. I hope that it has become clear in what I have had to say. We do not believe that we must have any particular form of government. Whatever the form of government it must have as its first aim the happiness and future well-being of the people themselves. We are ready to see changes in the form of government to enable that happiness and prosperity to be achieved. We want to see all the peoples of the territories, whether African or European, living side by side peacefully and contentedly. We do not believe that federation is the only way in which that goal can be achieved.
At the same time, in the situation in which we are working there is much to be said for regional pacts. There is much to be said for links between those territories. Those links are growing throughout a large part of Africa today. There is much to be said for them, but if they are to endure they must be freely entered into. That is the test of them, and that will be the test of the policy of Her Majesty's Government. We believe that the people of these territories must be free to decide their own future attitude towards the Federation. That is where we stand. If anyone asks what is our attitude towards federation, that is it, quite simply. We have no hostility towards it. We are not in love with the word or the idea. What we want to see is the people themselves develop the right way.
There is another point, on would-be emigrants. It is wrong that we and Rhodesia House should allow would-be emigrants to go out to that country knowing nothing of its background, little of its history, and less than nothing about 681 the complex of race relations which they will find there.
I have one word for the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, whom I congratulate on his new appointment. I would ask him to approach Rhodesia House with a view to making quite clear to would-be emigrants to those territories what they will find when they get out there. A good deal of misunderstanding is caused because they do not realise the type of society to which they are going.
We shall support the Colonial Secretary in any move which he makes towards a rational policy. There will be no factious opposition from us. I do not want to embarrass him, but we will support him against any rebellion that he may find in any part of the House, if he will follow a policy of this kind, because we believe this to be right for the future of Africa.
I have nearly finished, but I have one word more to say. I have tried to paint the picture of Central Africa as I see it, as it appears, I may say, to countless millions of people, because, although the Government may have been elected at the General Election on their home policy, they were not elected on their African policy. Let there be no doubt about that. I have made many criticisms and a number of suggestions because I believe that the Government's policy is wrong, but I want to say this, and I say it to members of the Government and to others, that I resent very strongly, when these criticisms are made and when we try to paint the picture as we see it, that we should be accused of being anti-British and of always denigrating what is put forward on behalf of Britain. The Foreign Secretary said this in his election broadcast. The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said it in this House last Thursday.
It is our job to paint the picture as we see it, and we shall go on doing so. It is the job of the Secretary of State and other members of the Government to assume that our faith is as good as theirs in these matters. This is a new species of Tory McCarthyism which is growing up, and it is high time that hon. Gentlemen brought their speeches in the country into line with what they tell us in this House.
682 I have suffered from this in my own constituency. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carshalton (Mr. Head) made a speech last week in which he spoke of the need for economic aid. He was a latter-day Saul who was converted on the road to Damascus, because those views have been expressed many times by us on this side of the House, not only in the House but in the country. I do not blame the right hon. Gentleman, but I can tell him what would have happened to him if, during the election, he had made that speech in my constituency. Tory canvassers would have gone from door to door saying, "He is interested only in the blacks." I say that it is high time that hon. Gentlemen opposite, if they want co-operation in these matters, brought their public protestations in line with what is said privately at street doors and in corners.
The problem is not as simple as this. We are not just on the side of the blacks, any more than the Conservative Party ought just to be on the side of the whites. The problem goes far deeper and far beyond that. We are on the side, as all hon. Gentlemen ought to be on the side, of justice. We all ought to be on the side of fair play. I am glad that hon. Gentlemen opposite are with me at least in the statement of the general principles. Now perhaps we can go from the general to the particular.
Justice in Central Africa should be the same as justice in Britain. That is what the application of the principle means, and that is where the Colonial Secretary will find his greatest difficulty, because the more I travel round the world—and I have done so a great deal over the last few years—the more certain I become of the simple truth that the human race is one family. We may have regional differences. We may have temperamental differences. But these are minor by comparison with the tremendous resemblances between our hopes, our aspirations, our fears. They are all common to the society of mankind.
It is to this that all of us in the House should be faithful. It is to this principle, not to be an the side of the whites, not to be on the side of the blacks, but to the principle that there are certain human values that are universal, and it is the task of the House to ensure and to maintain those human values 683 and to see that the Government themselves maintain them.
I beg to move, at the end of the Question, to add:but humbly regret that the Gracious Speech contains no proposals for ending the state of emergency in Nyasaland, for the release or trial of political prisoners; or for an early and substantial extension of the franchise in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia so that the Governments of these Protectorates may truly represent their peoples at the proposed Conference on Central African Federation.
§ 4.11 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Iain Macleod)
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) for the personal references with which he started his speech and to the House for the way in which it received them. There is one other personal reference which I feel I should like to make, because this is, after all, in a sense the end of an era in these debates It is more than five years now since a major debate on colonial affairs took place without my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) speaking from this Dispatch Box. He held the post of Secretary of State for the Colonies for a period longer than anybody since Joseph Chamberlain. The most recent memories of those debates in the House are of the fiercely controversial debates which we had at the end of the last Session, debates made all the sharper by the knowledge that a General Election was coming nearer to us.
It is quite true that my right hon. Friend was a man who both attracted and defied the lightning of Parliamentary debate, but he was very much more than that. In particular, I think that when the time comes, as I am sure it will come in a very few months now, to speed the great and warmhearted country of Nigeria towards full independence within the Commonwealth, we will like to remember then how decisive was the rôle that he played in those conferences. Everyone who knew him, including his fiercest critics, must have known his utter, single-minded devotion to his office, and I should like my first words 684 from this Box in debate to be a token of a salute to him.
When one comes to be the head of a great affice of which one has not previously had experience as a junior Minister—and this is now the third occasion on which this has happened to me—it is inevitable that one starts by concentrating first upon the most difficult problems. In the Colonial Territories at the present time, there is a state of emergency which has lasted seven years in Kenya; there is a state of emergency which has lasted seven months in Nyasaland; there are persons in Northern Rhodesia living in restriction by order; and there is rule in Malta by the Governor instead of by normal processes.
Here, clearly, are my first tasks. The Opposition Amendment focuses particular attention on Nyasaland, and naturally I will do the same and devote most of my speech to that State. But some at least of the problems, particularly those which arise not only during but at the end and after a state of emergency, are common to all territories. And as in Kenya the coincidence of a change of Governors as well as a change of Colonial Secretaries has enabled some consultation to take place in London, if the House will allow me, I will travel in my speech to Zomba by way of Nairobi, and I think that hon. Members will find some of the strands of my thought are the same.
Before I come to the seven months' emergency in Nyasaland, perhaps I should say a few words about the seven-year emergency in Kenya. Grim and fresh in everyone's mind still is the tragedy of the camp that was called Hola. It is something that we will never be able to forget, and we must not forget. One of the immediate steps that were taken to review the system of detention was the appointment, as the House knows, of the Fairn Committee. Its Report was published and is in the Library. That Report holds out hope of a considerable reduction even in the relatively small numbers of detainees now held, but it makes crystal clear that the remainder will have to be held in some form of detention or restriction for some time to come. This was no doubt a distasteful conclusion for that Committee to come to, but its necessity was and is insistent, and we accept it.
685 But everybody knows that the ordinary man in Kenya is sick and tired of the continuation of the present Emergency Regulations there. My predecessor and Sir Evelyn Baring had devoted much thought to ways in which these regulations could be relaxed and if possible dispensed with. I am sure that the House will like to acknowledge its debt to the wisdom and the tenacity of purpose which Sir Evelyn Baring deployed in the putting down of Mau Mau and in the subsequent work of recovery, and also to his humanity and far-sighted approach in that he spent his last weeks in office considering ways and means of relaxing the controls that had had to be imposed.
On the work done by our predecessors, Sir Patrick Renison, the new Governor, and I will be able to build. Some of the major decisions have been taken, and some are being taken now. At this stage I cannot give a full report to the House but, within a few days, to use the concluding words of the Parliamentary Delegalion to Kenya in 1954, I hope that we shall be able tomove towards a position of responsibility, prosperity and hope for the Kenya nation.I intend to go out to Kenya in December and see something of the problems there and I shall take the opportunity to visit the other East African Territories.
On the constitutional side, the House will remember that my right hon. Friend my predecessor undertook that he would arrange a conference if conditions were suitable, well before the next General Election, to study the next step in the Colony's evolution. In consultation with the Governor, I have decided that provisional arrangements can now be made for that conference to open at Lancaster House on 18th January. I cannot yet announce the names of the participants, but it is our intention that they should primarily be members of the Legislative Council.
It is no coincidence that at the end of what he had to say in April this year, my right hon. Friend referred to the problem of land and announced that the Kenya Government had on that day pledged themselves to the progressive abolition of racial and tribal land barriers. I am not going into detail, even if it were in order to do so, about the rather complex changes which are 686 envisaged. The Sessional Paper is in the Library and hon. Members will be able to study it.
Our proposals have met with a wide and warm welcome here and with a great volume of criticism indeed in Kenya, but I do not think that we should be dismayed in any way by that criticism. A good deal of it is what one might call Second Reading criticism, and some of it is what one might call Committee stage criticism. As far as the first is concerned, that is to say, criticism on matters of principle directed against the fundamental conception of the proposals—that is, the progressive breakdown of land barriers—I must say firmly that I regard that opposition as wholly misconceived since, like my predecessor, I stand by what the Sessional Paper is setting out to achieve.
For the rest, the Committee stage criticisms—many of which, of course, are mutually contradictory because some say one goes too fast and some say one goes too slow, some say one gives too much land and some say one gives too little—these matters will, I am sure, be carefully debated in Kenya in the near future and I hope that as a result many anxieties will be allayed. I simply declare my belief that the new proposals are soundly conceived and that they will open a new door to farming prosperity in Kenya, in which the European and African, Asian and Arab will be able to share in the full development of all land as an asset of the single Kenya nation.
From that slight digression I come to the problems of the emergency in Nyasaland, because the problems of a country living under emergency controls are not, of course, peculiar to Kenya. There is here a problem to which, even in the short time I have been Colonial Secretary, I have been trying to give a great deal of thought, and perhaps I can share the dilemma with the House.
Governors, when they are faced with a state of unrest in their territory that endangers law and order or justice, or all three, have at the moment no alternative except to rely on the sledgehammer of the Emergency Powers Order in Council. This is a very difficult situation for them and a very difficult matter upon which to exercise judgment, because these powers should be used only in circumstances of dire danger to 687 the safety of the State. Equally, however, we know very well from our experience in Kenya, Nyasaland, and other places, that emergencies do not just emerge one day full-blown. There has generally been a long period of unrest before the climax is reached and—this is an equal problem—there is often a period of declining tension again after the full climax of the emergency has been reached and it has been necessary, if it has been necessary, to call on what I have referred to as the sledgehammer of the emergency powers.
Part of the problem, therefore, as I understand it, is to see if we can find powers which can be put in the hands of Governors during a period of unrest, and which are at the same time in conformity with our traditions of liberty and justice. I do not want to disguise from the House that this is an extremely difficult balance to strike. In fact, it is more difficult perhaps to solve this problem than it seems, but solve it I am sure we must.
I have already told the House of the great benefit I have had in considering the problems of Kenya from discussions with Sir Evelyn Baring and Sir Patrick Renison, and naturally with my predecessor. In order that I may in the same way have the benefit of personal consultation with the Governor of Nyasaland, I have invited him to come to London. I hope that he will be able to do so during the middle of this month and I hope, too, that the Governor of Northern Rhodesia will find it possible to come to London to talk with me at about the same time as Sir Robert Armitage will come, that is, in about ten days or a fortnight's time. Perhaps I may also add, in passing, if the House will allow me—this again is a digression but I mentioned the island at the beginning of my speech—that the Governor of Malta will be returning to London in a few weeks, and after seeing him I intend to visit Malta on my journey to the East African Territories.
The Opposition Amendment criticises us because the Gracious Speech contains no proposals for ending the state of emergency in Nyasaland. Let me say that certainly I hope, and I know that the Governor shares the hope, that it will be possible to end the state of emergency. 688 I must add, however, that underlying tendencies towards violence still exist, and the hon. Gentleman gave some examples of this. The House will be aware that during the last few weeks a distinguished African, newly appointed to the Legislative Council under the recent changes that were announced, has been the victim of violence. The home of the Reverend Mr. Andrew Kayira, an African minister of the Church of Central Africa (Presbyterian) at the Mission at Karonga in Northern Province, was destroyed by fire, and he tendered his resignation from the Legislative Council only a few days after his appointment.
The hon. Gentleman asked me, incidentally, about the appointments 10 the Council under the recent changes. I have had a telegram from Sir Robert Armitage, which I have only just read as the hon. Gentleman has been speaking, giving names of the last people who have been appointed, and adding that with these two new appointments the Executive and Legislative Councils are complete, but I have not yet full details of those appointments.
The case of the burning of the mission of this widely respected man underlines, I think, the continuing necessity for some emergency powers to remain in force in Nyasaland. There can be no hon. Member of this House who does not regret the necessity for the extraordinary powers which the Governor of Nyasaland has been forced to take. Yet we know also that the maintenance of law and order in the Protectorate is the Governor's first duty. We know also that without this there can be no progress and no peace, none of the constitutional advance which we want so much to see; and that the hopes of future happiness of all the inhabitants of Nyasaland could be frustrated if this goes on. I am sure that in these difficult times the House would like to join me in sending to the Governor of Nyasaland a message of encouragement.
The position of the detainees is as follows. As the House will know, the cases of all those who have been detained are under regular review by the Governor, and it is the Governor who is solely responsible for the exercise of the power of detention. These are the figures. Since the proclamation of the emergency on 3rd March, 1,328 Africans have been 689 detained. Of these 830 have been released as a result of the process of review, 459 remain in detention, and detention orders remain in force against 39 others who, subsequent to their detention, have been brought to trial and convicted and are serving prison sentences. Let me make it clear that no one is, or will be, kept in detention any longer than in the opinion of the Governor is essential.
That is the position under emergency powers in Nyasaland, as it is in all countries. I intend, as I have said, to discuss these matters with the Governor within a few days. The Governor, of course, is required formally under the Emergency Regulations to review cases every six months, but it should not be thought—and I think some papers took an answer of my noble Friend in the House of Lords to indicate this—that releases can be made only at six-monthly intervals, because, quite apart from that, there is also a continuing review and it is possible for people to be released at any time.
Now I want to deal with the matter to which the hon. Gentleman devoted perhaps the most important part of his speech, the question of the franchise in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. The Opposition Amendment calls for—… an early and substantial extension of the franchise … so that the Governments of these Protectorates may truly represent their peoples at the proposed Conference on Central African Federation.This, of course, is the same point that the Leader of the Opposition made in his speech on 27th October when he spoke about the Gracious Speech. He said that the object of enlarging the franchise should be, as far as Northern Rhodesia is concerned, to secure parity between Europeans and Africans on the Legislative Council and, as far as Nyasaland is concerned, to secure an African majority. There is here a matter of considerable importance and perhaps a difference of approach between the two sides of the House.
§ These questions of representation in multi-racial communities are extremely difficult, but it appears to me that perhaps, only for what I might call the next stage forward, the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends appear to favour separate representation by races. The House will remember that about a year ago the 690 question of the franchise in Northern Rhodesia was discussed. My predecessor said that he fully recognised the sincerity of the belief that would hold it right to say that the interests of the different races should be directly represented by members of those races on the Legislative Council, but the Government of Northern Rhodesia had rejected this approach in favour of arrangements which would try to encourage political parties in that territory to develop on non-racial lines and politics to cut across race. Those may be very high ambitions, but we would like to see arrangements which would make every member of the Legislative Council regard himself as free from obligation to promote the interests of a particular race.
§ The House will remember that the means which were adopted towards that end were that there should be no domination of one race by another and that, therefore, there should be a franchise based on a common roll combined—and this was the device in Northern Rhodesia—with a qualitative franchise. Inevitably as time went on, as opportunities for employment became greater and the education of the peoples of that country grew higher, more and more Africans would be enfranchised. As the House will remember, these arrangements came into effect only in March of this year—I am talking about Northern Rhodesia entirely for the moment—and I feel that these arrangements deserve a fair trial and that it is much too soon to try to tear up the arrangements that have recently been made.
§ Mr. John Dugdale (West Bromwich)
The same thing was done in Southern Rhodesia. The simple fact is that as the standards of the Africans are raised the constitution may be so altered as to keep the Africans exactly where they were in spite of the change.
§ Mr. Macleod
I can speak only for the Territories for which I have a responsibility, the two Northern Territories. I envisage a steady advance in both those territories—in Northern Rhodesia along the lines that I have indicated, and in Nyasaland along the lines that I am about to discuss with the House. The situation in Nyasaland is different.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
The right hon. Gentleman spoke about a 691 steady advance. A steady advance to where? To African majority government?
§ Mr. Macleod
Nobody doubts that as the franchise in these countries is extended there will be a steady increase in the numbers of Africans that are enfranchised. The difference between the two sides of the House is that, although I think it likely that there will be more and more Africans in the Council, they should not in the first instance be representative of their race but should, on the basis that I have indicated, be independent of race.
As far as Nyasaland is concerned, we had intended to replace the system of indirect elections for Africans by a qualitative franchise. We were looking to something not too unlike the Northern Rhodesia model although, for a variety of reasons, it would be impossible to copy it exactly in Nyasaland. The events with which the House is familiar and which made necessary the declaration of a state of emergency made impossible the consultations which would have had to precede those changes. Having regard to the matters that we have discussed and the situation as it is now, I do not see how we can seriously contemplate holding early elections, but I intend to discuss all these matters with the two Governors in a few days' time.
I think I am right in saying that the anxiety that lies behind the Amendment, and which was expressed by the Leader of the Opposition in the speech to which I have referred, is essentially the same as the anxiety behind the proposals that were put forward by Congress leaders in September 1957. Paragraph 28 of the Report of the Devlin Commission puts it very clearly. [Interruption.] My view of the Devlin Report is the same as Punch's view of the curate and his egg—some parts of it are excellent. The Devlin Report says:Notwithstanding that the Legislative Council had not yet run half its term, in September 1957 Congress placed before the Governor a statement of their views about what these reforms should be: the essence of them was that there should be an African majority in the Legislative Council. The urgency, from the point of view of Congress, of having this established was that they wanted it to be settled before the composition of the Nyasa Delegation to the 1960 review conference was determined; 692 they felt that otherwise the Nyasaland case against Federation would go by default.That was their anxiety, and, as I understood it from the speech that I have listened to and from the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, the anxiety of the Socialist Party in this country.
For reasons which I hope I can give, although I understand the anxiety I do not believe that this anxiety is soundly based. In so far as it is based, or might centre, on the possibility of changes which could affect the protected status of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the pledge in the Preamble is absolute, and I repeat the undertaking given by the Prime Minister in this House on 22nd July:The British Government will certainly not withdraw its protection from Nyasaland and Rhodesia in the short run, and in the long run our object is to advance these Territories to fully responsible government."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd July, 1959; Vol. 609, c. 1312.]The Prime Minister went on to say, and this is very relevant to the present part of my argument, that while the Legislatures of the two Northern Territories were constituted in their present stage to conduct their ordinary affairs, they would not be more than one element in the machinery which might be devised for the purpose of obtaining the views of the inhabitants. I suspect that the true anxiety is that with the Legislative Councils as at present constituted there may not be an opportunity for all shades of opinion to be taken into account in the 1960 talks.
It seems to me wrong to assume, as perhaps the Amendment and the speech that we have listened to does, that it is through the Legislative Councils, and Legislative Councils alone, that African views can be made available to the 1960 Review Conference. The Amendment presupposes that the Conference in 1960 will be between Governments, but that is not what Article 99 of the Constitution says. It is more explicit than that. It says that at the appropriate date:There shall be convened a conference consisting of delegations from the Federation, from each of the three territories, and from the United Kingdom Government chosen by their respective Governments for the purpose of reviewing this Constitution.It seems to me that at this distance in time it would certainly be premature to indicate how the delegations from the Northern Territories to this Conference 693 may be chosen, but it is equally premature to assume, as I thought the Opposition Amendment did—perhaps I am wrong—that any such delegation would be drawn solely from the Government Benches in the Legislatures of those two Territories.[Interruption.] There are, in any case, other ways in which the views of Africans can be brought before the Conference, and it is here that we see the importance of the Advisory Commission in the programme for 1960.
As the House knows, the Prime Minister has already defined the purpose of the Monckton Commission, if I may call it that, as being to try to create both here and in Africa a common mind on the next stages of political evolution in the Federation. I agree with what the hon. Member said about the choice of Lord Monckton as the leader of the Commission. There could be no better choice. I also understand the hon. Member's anxieties about the size of the Commission. Frankly, the difficulty about a Commission of this size is that once one goes beyond one man it is very difficult to stop anywhere short of about twenty-six, once one has to take into account the need for representation from Parliament—from, of course, both sides of Parliament—from Commonwealth representation—as we have indicated we would think suitable—and from all the Governments that are concerned.
The quality of the advice which the Monckton Commission will be able to give depends, first of all, on the quality of the Commission itself, and, secondly, upon the people who will have access to it and who will give evidence before it. There have been suggestions, and the hon. Gentleman repeated them today, mentioning, for example, Dr. Banda's name, that the Commission will be defective in the advice that it gives to Governments unless it has within its membership representatives of the major political groups in the Federation.
I do not hold that view, and, indeed, I take it to be a complete misconception of the purpose of the Commission. Apart from the suggested representation from the United Kingdom Parliament in view of our special responsibilities, we have deliberately excluded from membership representatives of parties or of members of Legislative Councils, and this is because, as we see it, the proper place for 694 these people is in the witness box giving evidence to the Monckton Commission rather than being members themselves of that Commission.
If I may emphasise this point in case there is any doubt left, it is to those who will present statements or appear in person before the Commission that the Commission will look for the views of people living in the Federation. It is certainly no part of my thought that in this process any representative or significant branch of political opinion in the territories for which I have a responsibility should be denied approach to the Commission. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on 21st July:With regard to ascertaining the views of those who, at the moment the Commission is operating, are in detention, that, of course, can and will be arranged."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st July, 1959; Vol. 609, c. 1083.]However, I am very ready to go further than that, and, in order to show that there is no intention at all of stifling the opinions of those who respond to the invitation of the Commission, we are prepared to publish in full the statements submitted to the Commission or the evidence given before it, subject only to the understanding that those witnesses, and those witnesses alone, who do not wish their evidence to be published may ask that it should not be made public. I suggest that these two undertakings taken together will mean that in the Advisory Commission we have a vehicle to which all will have an opportunity of making their views known.
In the Gracious Speech we said that we intended to proceed with the appointment of the Commission. We are still in the process of considering the names of the other members, but we will, I assure the hon. Member, bear very closely in mind the point that he made, because it is essential that the members of the Commission should be able to command the confidence and respect of their peoples. This consideration is particularly foremost in our minds in selecting the African members of the Commission. The hon. Member said that he did not think that we should be able to find names which would carry that confidence. I would merely say that I hope he will, in all fairness, suspend judgment until in, as I hope, a 695 very short time he hears the names. When we have carried our soundings a little further—I hope it will be within a matter of only a day or two now—we intend formally to approach the Opposition about the nomination to the Commission of Members of this Parliament.
Inevitably this afternoon I have spoken, and so has the hon. Member, of Africans and the protection of African interests, but I agree very much with something that the hon. Member said towards the end of his speech. We must never forget that federation exists to serve and further the interests of all the races which have made their homes there, and because the protection of African interests weighs, quite rightly in view of our responsibilities, so much with us, it must not be thought that we are forgetful of the contribution to the development and the stability of the Federation which can be made by all the peoples who have made their homes there. It is, in fact, because, with all the difficulties that beset us, I believe the Federation offers such a fruitful possibility of establishing a truly multi-racial society in Africa, that we regard the future of this experiment as being of such importance not only to Africa but to the Commonwealth and the whole of the world.
The House will not have failed to notice that I am adopting a similar approach to the problems of all the Territories that I mentioned at the beginning of my speech. Where there are special problems, in each case what I intend to do is to study those problems here urgently with my advisers, to have personal discussions with the Governors concerned, to visit at an appropriate time the territories, and to move as quickly as possible towards my conclusions.
§ Mr. Callaghan
As the right hon. Gentleman is dealing with the question of Central Africa, might I have an answer to the question which I put to him? He has committed himself, at first sight, to the conclusion that federation is the best vehicle for the expression of the ideals that he wants to see achieved. Is the Monckton Commission precluded from considering any alternative means of association between these territories?
§ Mr. Macleod
No, Sir. I noted the point that the hon. Member made. He will be very well aware of the terms of reference which the Prime Minister on 21st July laid down for the Monckton Commission, to which I do not wish to add impromptu words at the present time. However, I should like to say that I shall be very ready in a very short time now—I think it is perfectly reasonable to ask for this time, particularly in view of the fact that the two Governors are coming here—to consider that point and the other points which the hon. Member made in his speech.
Mr. Aneurin Sevan (Ebbw Vale)
Will the right hon. Gentleman refresh our minds about the terms of reference?
§ Mr. Macleod
Yes, Sir. The terms of reference are these:In the light of the information provided by the Committee of Officials and of any additional information the Commission may require, to advise the five Governments, in preparation for the 1960 review, on the constitutional programme and framework best suited to the achievement of the objects contained in the Constitution of 1953, including the Preamble.The last three words are of very great importance.[Interruption.] The Preamble also uses the words to which I drew attention earlier in respect of which the Prime Minister gave a most specific pledge about the protection of the United Kingdom for the two Northern Territories.
§ Mr. Callaghan
This is a different point. There is all the difference in the world between our protecting the interests of the people inside the territories and in our saying that, in our view, federation is the only possible link between the three territories. Those of us who do not take the view that this is the only instrument of government that can exist would like to ask the Colonial Secretary whether now, or in the winding-up speech, we could be told whether the Monckton Commission will be free to consider any alternative link. I put it to the Colonial Secretary that the Preamble contains the specific view that federation is the best way of securing the prosperity and welfare of the people. Is that where the Government stand and cannot the Monckton Commission depart from it?
§ Mr. Macleod
I understand the point that the hon. Gentleman has made. He 697 will not expect impromptu words to be added to a matter of that importance. I am quite ready—either my hon. Friend in his winding-up speech, or at a suitable time between the two sides of the House when we discuss this matter—to discuss the actual point which the hon. Gentleman has made. I understand it very well indeed, but it would be utterly wrong if one attempted to cobble words on to a statement which the Prime Minister has made to this House on a matter of the very gravest importance indeed.
The hon. Gentleman said in his speech that at the General Election the Government were not elected on their colonial or African policy. That may be so. We have just come through a General Election in which, for the first time for a very long time, colonial affairs were widely debated, and I, for one, welcome that very much.
Frankly, it is not easy to see in the results much effect of that. The Leader of the Opposition claimed that some of the results in Scotland might reflect feeling about Nyasaland. I think that it would be difficult to sustain even that argument, for in Edinburgh, the home of the General Assembly, where one could expect some form of a movement, there was in fact in all those seats no movement at all. The point I am making is this. I do not believe, although it may be so, that the deep band of the electorate showed any great interest in these matters, but it would be utterly wrong to conclude from that that the people did not care desperately about colonial affairs and about Africa. I am certain that there are very many people in all parties who would put this issue first beyond all others. We can see this, in my view, more clearly when we go to the universities, colleges or schools, and talk in the senior common rooms or junior common rooms or in the unions where we find how deep the feeling is on this matter.
I believe that that instinct is absolutely sound, because I think that there is an opportunity for leadership here in the next five years, which if it does not come from Britain will not come from anywhere. When I say leadership from us, I am not thinking only of my own responsibility, grave though I know that to be, nor of that of the Ministers or those who work with me in my great 698 office. I am thinking also of all of us, because I believe that from the Front Benches, back benches, from Tories, Socialists and Liberals, something of this spirit must come.
I know, as the hon. Gentleman said, that we shall differ very widely and very deeply on many matters, but we may also sometimes at least be able to achieve a sense of common purpose. I believe that everyone feels that this is one of the greatest and most urgent challenges of the next five years. Whether it weighed a feather in the scale or not in the last election and whether it weighs a feather in the scale or not in the next election, I believe there is no task more worth while than this one and no prize better worth the winning.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
The right hon. Gentleman, in his first speech in his new capacity, finished on a brave note. We all, of course, wish him well in his aspirations and in his new job, but I must confess that in some of the details on which he dwelt in the earlier part of his speech he gave us the very greatest possible ground for concern. I hope very much that as he is fresh to his Department and he brings a fresh mind to it and as he will be shedding some of his responsibilities very shortly in places like Nigeria, he will be able to study these matters in great detail personally and will not simply follow on with the official line which his predecessor adopted.
Although the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor had very great qualities as Colonial Secretary—I would be the last person to deny that—and was particularly successful in his dealing with Nigeria and, possibly, with Ghana, I do not think any of us on this side of the House who concern ourselves closely with these matters would say for one moment that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) was anything like as successful in dealing with countries where one has multi-racial problems. That is why I myself was much disturbed by some of the detailed comments made by the right hon. Gentleman in his speech, and I hope to deal with one or two of them in the remarks that I wish to make.
699 In our debates in the summer on these questions of Central Africa, constant reference was made to the witness offered by the Church of Scotland. One Scottish Member after another—there may be some who wish to intervene today—spoke up for the Church. As a Scotsman himself, I am sure that the new Colonial Secretary will be very conscious of that. It is not without significance that within the last few days we have had a very emphatic voice from another quarter. I speak of the declaration made on 14th October last by the eighteen archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in Central Africa. This, as the Catholic Herald said in its introduction to the statement, was one of the most strongly worded episcopal statements of our day.
These bishops, drawn from all three territories, place on record as their considered opinion that not merely any proposal in 1960for complete autonomy for the Federation as presently constituted, but any additional power bestowed on the Federal Government would be most undesirable.They go on to say that,Mindful of their duty to promote justice, and of their duty to intervene in temporal matters in so far as they affect the moral order, they must draw attention to and protest against the disparity which exists between the ideal of racial partnership so greatly publicised and the practice in all three of the territories.They also say that they cannot ignore the very great degree of opposition to federation and the fear of the majority of the African people regarding the outcome of the constitutional talks in 1960. They draw attention further to their concern at the legislation recently enacted for the preservation of public order and hope that it may not be regarded as a permanent feature of the law as administered in this country.
These words, so recently expressed by persons of such experience as these ecclesiastics, who were gathered together so that they could cross-check their impressions one with another, must, I think, re-emphasise the concern and disquiet that we continue to feel about the state of affairs in Central Africa.
In the Amendment, we draw attention to several of these points of concern. I should first of all, as the right hon. Gentleman has mentioned the 700 matter, like to deal with the question of the persons who are detained and who are also in some instances in prison.
I cannot believe that one can obtain the full co-operation of the politically conscious people in Central Africa—and in Nyasaland that means the majority of the Africans—when they feel that quite a specific injustice is being done. Although it is true that a number of persons who were detained have been released, there are still a number who are held in detention without trial. There are, of course, others who have been brought to trial but who have been sentenced, as most of us would think, in a way which can only lead to resentment and a feeling of non-co-operation among the general body of their African friends and associates.
Those who have been actually charged and sentenced include a number who have been sentenced to six months' imprisonment or longer—up to two and a half years' imprisonment—merely for being members of a society which was lawful at the time that they were members of it but which was subsequently proscribed. Another 26 men were found guilty of assisting in the management of an unlawful society. In their case the sentences imposed were up to three years, and there were another two men who were sentenced to six months' imprisonment for uttering a slogan indicating that they were associated with an unlawful society.
When one reads the statement of another ecclesiastic—I am doing a round of the Churches; I am now quoting from the Anglican Bishop in Nyasaland—made at the time of the emergency to the effect that "If I were an African I would almost certainly have been a member of it," meaning Congress, and saying that until it was proscribed it was completely possible for a Christian to be a member of Congress and to remain loyal to God, Church and State, and then one finds that these sentences have been imposed, that surely is one ingredient of the situation which must make the work of the right hon. Gentleman and of the Government of Nyasaland very much more difficult. I think it sustains us on this side of the House in our view that many of the difficulties at present being experienced in Nyasaland are not exactly of the Government's own choosing but are due to the way in which they have handled the situation.
701 I find myself in great difficulty over the appointment of the Monckton Commission. Whatever the right hon. Gentleman may think, I cannot possibly feel that he is going to be able to find Africans to serve on that Commission who will really carry the respect and assent of their own people. I appreciate that the right hon. Gentleman wishes the Commission to act as a Royal Commission or in a quasi-judicial capacity, to take evidence from all interested parties, and that the persons concerned, including, presumably, Dr. Banda, will be enabled to give evidence.
I believe that if a similar sort of position had arisen in this country we should appreciate what the right hon. Gentleman is doing, but I cannot think that the ordinary masses of Africans will appreciate it. They are not used to this kind of procedure. They will say that the Africans on the Commission are stooges. Any African who consents to serve on the Commission will find that his future in public life will be made exceedingly difficult, to put it at the lowest.
Although the right hon. Gentleman may not agree, I think it is going to be very difficult indeed for this body to do the sort of work in influencing African opinion which quite obviously the right hon. Gentleman hopes it will do. On the other hand, of course, there is a great deal of preliminary work which needs to be done. I think that the Commission is the wrong instrument for doing it.
As I say, there is a great deal of preliminary work to be done, and I wish to touch on one aspect of it which, I hope, can be included in the Commission's labours. It is the whole basic assumption which has been taken for granted in speech after speech from the Government Front Bench, and also in the Federation itself, that whatever the political objections of the Nyasaland Africans may be they should swallow those objections because the economic benefits are so overwhelming.
It has not been at all easy for those of us in this country who are interested in this matter to find adequate information. Official statistics can conceal as much as they reveal, and we are still not in a position where we can specifically and categorically question some of 702 the economic assumptions on which many people were induced to support federation, who, on other grounds, might have felt very dubious about it.
Before one is asked to proceed with constitutional discussions, I believe that one of the necessary preliminaries is to have a full, complete, frank and honest setting forth of the economic facts of federation and how it really affects the territories concerned. There is no denying, of course, that Nyasaland is the poor relation in the Federation. There is also no denying, of course, that Nyasaland obtains a certain degree of economic benefit from federation. But I think that if we look carefully at the real position we see that the outstanding beneficiary is not Nyasaland at all but Southern Rhodesia. It is Northern Rhodesia that foots most of the bill, though not all. Southern Rhodesia also puts a fair amount into the kitty. But if we really look at the situation there is no doubt whatever that the real beneficiary is Southern Rhodesia.
One of the instinctive fears of African politicians is that Southern Rhodesia is proving not only politically but also economically predominant. Further, that it is not only the predominant beneficiary, but that it is the European section within the Southern Rhodesian economy which is the real beneficiary of federation. I have talked to them about this. They have not the economic training or equipment to unravel it for themselves, but it is something about which they feel very strongly. I am quite sure that, from whatever angle one surveys the matter, this is true. I cannot, of course, prove it by giving chapter and verse.
I would ask the right hon. Gentleman very seriously to consider this aspect, because it is one of the underlying objections to federation of intelligent Africans in Nyasaland, even if they have not the full facts to prove the case, and something which is very much in their minds. If we look, for example, at the division of power between the Federal and the Territorial Governments and realise that Federal expenditure will also be allocated on the lines of that division, we observe that some of those powers, particularly for agriculture and education, are so divided that the responsibility for European agriculture and 703 education lies with the Federal Government and for the Africans with the Territorial Government. If we look at the Federal expenditure, we find that a very substantial proportion of it goes on European education and agriculture of very high standards. In Federal expenditure there is a distinct bias towards keeping up and even improving the already extremely high standards for Europeans, and doing relatively little for Africans.
There is one exception to that rule, and it comes in the health service. There is no specific racial discrimination in the health service, as there is in education and agriculture.
§ Mr. Paget indicated dissent.
§ Mrs. White
My hon. and learned Friend obviously has some doubts on that, but it is true statutorily. There is no separate division in the administration of the health service, as there is a separate division for European education and for European agriculture.
§ Mr. Paget
But, whether the separation is at Government or some other level, there are African hospitals and European hospitals. The African hospitals are horribly overcrowded and miserably under-equipped, while the European hospitals are half-empty and are well equipped, even though three-quarters of the Africans have to lie on the floor.
§ Mrs. White
I am putting this merely as a matter of Federal expenditure. I think my hon. and learned Friend will find that there is no specific demarcation in health, as there is in agriculture and education.
Furthermore, if Southern Rhodesia follows its policy of encouraging European immigration, the balance of advantage will continue to be towards the European section of the population rather than the African section. At this stage I cannot give chapter and verse of all this, but if the right hon. Genleman studies it he will see what I am getting at. If he examines the arrangements made at the outset of federation, the right hon. Gentleman will find that there was a built-in bias against Nyasaland, because at that time the national income in Nyasaland was relatively very small and that of the other two Territories very 704 much larger. When the Federal income is divided among the three territories, that pattern continues in that proportion. That is also true for public loans, unless there happen to be some arrangements to the contrary.
The tremendous bulk of the economic development in the Federation since its inception has gone to Southern Rhodesia and to the Copperbelt in Northern Rhodesia. The great items of expenditure have been the Rhodesian railways and the Kariba Dam. It is at least arguable, when one considers the Federation as a whole, that it might have been better to have had the dam at Kafue and one at Shire. One should also consider what would happen if the revenues were differently allocated. It is at least arguable that Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland together could get on very much better than they do when they have to carry the very high European standards of Southern Rhodesia.
I ask that before the conference of 1960 we should have a full statement on the economic basis of the Federation, either through the Monckton Commission, or some other means. I am very far from convinced that one can use the economic argument in Nyasaland. Even accepting the argument of £4 million a year benefit as valid—and I do not think that one can dispute that—it is still the case that we are paying £6 million a year for peace in Malta, for 350,000 people, so that £4 million a year would be cheap for peace in a country of some 5 million people.
We should not use the economic argument when discussing federation with the people of Nyasaland, because they do not get all that much out of it and certainly do not feel that they do. I have discussed economics because the economic argument is so often used by those who want to justify the Federal form of government. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) so rightly said, many of us on this side of the House consider that a looser form of association might very well be the solution in Central Africa. I very much hope that it will be discussed and that the matter will not be rushed.
The right hon. Gentleman did not answer my hon. Friend's question about the possibility of postponing the 1960 705 Conference. We are almost in 1960 already, and I cannot see that by then we will have conditions in Nyasaland or Northern Rhodesia to provide the confidence necessary in any negotiations which take place. The right hon. Gentleman said that in our proposed Amendment for extending the franchise, for example, in Northern Rhodesia, we were being unreasonable because the constitution came into effect only in March of this year and that therefore there had not been enough time for it to work out, and that it would be unreasonable to ask for extensions before 1960.
However, one can turn it the other way round and say that that is an argument for postponing the main constitutional conference until 1962, or so, in which case it would not be unreasonable to have an extension of the franchise in Northern Rhodesia. The argument works that way. I began to be very much afraid for the future when the right hon. Gentleman said that the proposals for Nyasaland, which were being discussed before the emergency and which have not yet been published, were not to be too unlike the Northern Rhodesian model. To tell the Africans in Nyasaland that they are to have something on the Northern Rhodesian model when they know that the number of Europeans with a permanent stake in Nyasaland is infinitesimal is a mistake. Only a very few Europeans are settled in Nyasaland in the colonial sense of that term, and to argue that there must be arrangements for the kind of mixed voting, with all its complications, which there is in Northern Rhodesia is completely nonsensical, and I am sure that that is how it will appear to the Africans in Nyasaland. That was an extraordinarily unfortunate statement by the right hon. Gentleman. If that was the pattern in the private parleys between the Governor and Dr. Banda, I am not surprised that they failed.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod
The hon. Lady is taking what I said too far. She has mentioned the most cogent of the variety of reasons which I said would make it impossible to have the same sort of arrangements. I said that there should be something along the lines of a qualitative franchise, as there was in Northern Rhodesia, but not on the same pattern.
§ Mrs. White
I am very glad that the right hon. Gentleman has taken the 706 opportunity to amplify what he said. If he reads it in HANSARD tomorrow, he will see that what he said—and I took down his words—was that it would be not too unlike the Northern Rhodesian model. That would have had most unfortunate reactions in Nyasaland, and I am very glad that he has been able to make the correction.
I hope that he will take extremely seriously the point made in The Times this morning. It is something which we have been urging for years, namely, that the important thing at the moment is to get on with improving the structure of government in the two Northern Territories. It would be far better to do that in a satisfactory way, at the cost of postponing the main constitutional conference for another two years.
In spite of what the Prime Minister said in July, I do not believe that if we showed an earnest of improving matters in the two Northern Territories it would be to the detriment of the success of the main conference. On the contrary, I believe that it would provide the only conditions in which the conference could succeed. As I say, The Times has come round to that this morning. It is something we have been preaching for quite a long time. I saw the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor about Nyasaland some three years ago and begged him then to take a wider and more generous view than the officials were prepared to take. He listened courteously, as he always did, but he took the official view, and I do not think it did him any good.
The position in Nyasaland at the moment is extremely difficult, because anyone who now co-operates with the Government will be suspect unless we can really persuade the Africans that there is a new deal. We want a new deal in Nyasaland. I hope very much that it will be possible to work with Orton Chirwa, who is someone we know very well. He studied for his Bar examinations in this country. Some of us who were friends of his were dismayed when he was arrested. We knew of his feelings politically, but we also knew him as a person. All I can say is that if we cannot co-operate with the new party, Malawe, and with Mr. Chirwa, we have little hope of co-operating with anybody in Nyasaland. We should 707 watch very carefully indeed what steps are taken in the next few weeks or months in co-operation with this new party.
I repeat that if we cannot do that with Mr. Chirwa, we shall fail altogether. He has said of himself that he is not a moderate, because in Nyasaland that word means a Government stooge, but that he is a reasonable man, and I think that is true. On the other hand, one must recognise that Mr. Orton Chirwa himself has explicitly mentioned his relationship with Dr. Banda and Dr. Banda is regarded as the key figure in Nyasaland politics. Whether one likes it or not, sooner or later one has to come to terms with Dr. Banda, too. That has to be recognised. It is the experience in all these colonial difficulties that, sooner or later, we have to come to terms with the prison graduates, and I feel certain that Dr. Banda will be in that succession. We may just as well face it.
Unless we can have African representatives chosen by their own people, I do not think one can hope for African support for proposals at the constitutional conference. I do not think that any system of nomination or selection, or anything like that, will be any good. I do not think we can bypass this. If we are to get African support for the 1960 Conference, or what I hope will be the 1962 Conference, we must make good our professions of democracy. I do not think one can possibly expect to gain the support of Africans unless they feel it is their people, not people chosen by Government for them, but people whom they have by some manner or another chosen for themselves. I am not now referring to the Monckton Commission, because I do not think they will work with that any way. I am speaking of the real constitutional conference.
Between now and then, we must find a way of having real African representatives of their choice and not of the Government's choice. That is one reason why I think it would be wiser to postpone that system, because I think that in the immediate future it may prove practically difficult to ensure that representation. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will think about these things 708 and not be guided entirely by what I might call the Colonial Office traditional policy in these matters. I hope that he will bring a fresh mind to the task and if he feels it right to take a little more time in order to achieve the best results, that he will do so, and stand up for his opinions.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
May I start by echoing the tribute paid by my right hon. Friend to his predecessor, who will, I believe, go down in history as one of the greatest of our Colonial Secretaries—perhaps, because he had immense problems to tackle and was not altogether helped by modern means of communication and transportation, he may even go down in history as the greatest. May I also echo the words of the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) and the tribute which she paid to my right hon. Friend the present Minister. He will have some difficult problems to solve, but with the breadth of vision and strength of purpose which he has already displayed in Parliament, I am sure that he will tackle them successfully.
The whole House is, I know, convinced of the supreme importance of the challenge that Central Africa will offer in the next few years. The main reason is that, with Kenya, Central Africa is the only British part of Africa where the principle of racial partnership is essential and must succeed. Our Commonwealth has succeeded in the world. It is based on partnership. The Commonwealth system has succeeded in the Continent of Africa where other colonial policies, such as those of France and Belgium, seem to be falling to pieces. Surely it is not beyond our statesmanship, and the statesmanship of the Commonwealth, to ensure the success of a partnership within a nation when it has already succeeded on the world plane.
I think that all hon. Members of this House feel that the real challenge will come within the next five years. What happens in the next five years will probably settle the future of Central Africa for a good many generations to come. As a result of the recent General Election, the Conservative Party will be in office for at least another five years, and probably longer, so that we have to settle the future problems of this 709 country. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said that the greatest task of the Minister, and indeed of this House, is to re-establish the confidence of the Africans. I wish for a moment to contrast the attitude of the Opposition and the attitude of this side of the House in these matters, because I believe that hon. Members on both sides of the House must share in the task of trying to re-establish the confidence of the Africans in Parliament and in federation.
In 1951, the Official Conference and the Victoria Falls Conference were held under a Government formed by the Opposition. It was then that the foundation of federation was paid, and it was then that the edict went out to administrators in the Northern Territories that they were not to advise the Africans one way or the other, either for or against federation. But it was a Government formed by the party on this side of the House that actually brought the Federation Constitution into being. The Opposition divided the House, perhaps somewhat half-heartedly, but what I think important is that the then Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Attlee, as he then was, promised that now that the Federation had become a fact the Opposition would do all they could to try to make it work.
The next milestone in the history of the Federation was in 1957 when discussions took place between the Government and the Federal Prime Minister which were important to the future of the Constitutional advance of the Federation. I do not want to go into the details about this, I may refer to them later in my speech, but I must say that certain members of the Opposition gave the impression that should they be returned to power in the General Election which took place recently they might repudiate these agreements which were made by Her Majesty's Government at the time. That did a lot to undermine confidence in the Federation towards Parliament in this country. Afterwards the Opposition divided the House during debates on the draft Order in Council relating to the Constitution Amendment Bill, the Federal Electoral Bill and on the new revised Northern Rhodesian Constitution; on each occasion because they felt that the legislation in question did not go far 710 enough or give enough weight to African opinion. Finally, this year they maintained that the imposition of the emergency in Nyasaland was not justified. That was a fact repudiated by the Devlin Report.
On each of these occasions some of the Opposition tended to cast the Federal Prime Minister as the villain of the piece. I do not think that was the intention of the Opposition, but these actions had the effect of leading opinion in Africa to assume that the Opposition was supporting the Africans whereas we on this side were supporting the Europeans. This is an impression that has to be put right. I think an article in the Sunday Times of 27th September, written during the General Election, shows fairly clearly what people were thinking at the time in Central Africa. That article said:Every extremist politician on the African side is now praying for a Labour victory. Almost every politically-conscious, moderate African and virtually all the Europeans are hoping for a Conservative one. Each side believes that if Labour wins, the chance of creating any compromise spirit of multi-racialism will be seriously reduced.I do not think that is what the Opposition meant people to think, but I do believe that is what the people of this country thought during the General Election, and for that reason, rather than for reasons spoken about by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, the electorate took the decision it did.
I think the British people felt that the Opposition wanted to abdicate Britain's responsibility towards this concept of partnership and to take the easy course of handing over to the majority, namely, the Africans, almost at once. I believe they realised what a state abdication of such responsibilitly by a former Socialist Government had brought about in the Middle East, for it was under a former Socialist Government that this country abdicated responsibility in Palestine, which created a world problem which has yet to be solved.
On the Conservative side, I believe our views on federation should again be emphasised. In 1953, the Preamble to the Constitution stated quite clearly that separate Governments will be maintained in the two Northern Territories as long as the inhabitants so wish, and also that progress towards Dominion status would be made when the inhabitants so 711 desired. In the debates it was made clear that the inhabitants included the African inhabitants. It is a great pity that time and time again members of the Socialist Party and of the Liberal Party have asked for reaffirmation of this promise to be given from this side of the House, as this casts doubts on its validity, and reaffirmation has been given time after time. There should be no doubt where the Conservative Party now stands on the question of the Federal Constitution.
In 1957, I referred to statements of Her Majesty's Government which were designed to make the people of the Federation look towards their own Government. Surely that must happen if federation is ever able to advance in status.
We agreed that we should not initiate legislation for the Federation. It was also agreed to try to establish a locally-based Civil Service and that British-protected persons should be enfranchised. Then came the two enfranchisement Measures, the Constitution Amendment Bill and the Federal Electoral Bill. As a result of those two Bills, hotly contested by the Opposition, we have African members of the United Federal Party and the Dominion Party sitting in the Federal Assembly and many Africans are flocking to join the Central Africa Party.
To sum up what I am trying to say in this part of my speech, the Conservative idea is that partnership must evolve slowly as the Commonwealth evolved, whereas the Opposition have the view that speed is of the essence and if speed is so important it inevitably means handing over to the majority race in the immediate future. Hon. Members who have read the papers over the weekend will have been reminded that the Belgian Government have promised independence to the Congo in four years and they will have seen the results of that promise in the rioting aimed at cutting down this period of time.
§ Mr. Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)
Does the hon. Member's concept of Central African Federation envisage universal suffrage at any stage?
§ Mr. Wall
In the distant future—undoubtedly it will be a fairly distant future—when standards are relatively equal—then through the franchise political power will pass into African hands. What does it matter, because one hopes that by then the colour of one's skin will be quite immaterial in considering fitness for a job? The hon. Member must realise that partnership will take far more time to achieve than either black or white domination, either of which could be conceded; but both of which would, I believe, have disastrous results. What is essential is to implement the policy of partnership and that takes time.
I would now like to discuss how we can go ahead with implementing partnership. I believe we have to go back to the founder of Rhodesia and to the words of Cecil Rhodes,Equal rights to all civilised men."Civilised" may be an old-fashioned term in these days and we could paraphrase by saying "equal rights for all practical men," or "responsible men". What does that mean? First and foremost, it means that when Africans have reached a responsible standard they must have equal rights and must be accepted into society. Is progress going fast enough on those lines? Progress is being made, as the House will know. There are committees on racial discrimination in all three territories, and I understand the Federal Government are continuously discussing matters of discrimination and how these can be overcome. The Federal Government Service has been opened to members of all races with equal rights and pay, in Southern Rhodesia through the Industrial Conciliation Act multi-racial trade unions have been established and apprenticeship schemes evolved. Racial discrimination is being gradually removed from hotels, and post offices and so on.
The hon. Lady spoke of the statement of 14th October by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, which said that partnership was not going fast enough. I think we can agree that partnership is not going fast enough. How can we speed it up? Can it be done by legislation? Many hon. Members hold that one cannot legislate against the colour bar, and that this is a 713 matter for education and social adaptation, but I am beginning to doubt that. I believe that we should find out whether the Territorial Governments are willing to consider legislation to end the colour bar and racial discrimination in their respective territories.
§ Mrs. White
The hon. Member will, no doubt, have observed, although I did not quote the whole statement, that the bishops said the disparity between ideals and practice seemed regrettably to stem from statutory law.
§ Mr. Wall
I wonder whether the hon. Lady has read the reply of the Federal Prime Minister to that particular point when he asked the hierarchy to explain this statement, which he could not understand. I do not know whether the hon. Lady can explain it; I cannot.
I was talking about legislation against discrimination. I think it wholly wrong that African Ministers in the Government should have to live in a certain area of Salisbury. I think the majority of people in Salisbury would agree with that. Surely what is needed is a modification of the Land Apportionments Act in certain urban areas to allow Africans who are equal to Europeans in every way to have the same rights as Europeans in the cities and urban areas. There are other ways we can speed up progress in the Federation. One is by increasing emphasis on the education of women who, after all, are the basis of the family. That requires money and this comes from economic development, and, perhaps, there should also be help from this country.
I wonder if any hon. Member has read the speech given in Harare by a very prominent Rhodesian-African, Bernard Chidzero. He stressed the importance of the African middle class and said that the existing small numbers of the African middle class were half trusted and half suspected by Africans and half feared and half accepted by the Europeans. That is true, and it is disastrous that it should be so.
Until the African middle class is trusted and accepted by the Africans and is also accepted by European society, partnership will have no real meaning. I believe that the powers-that-be, the leaders of the Federation, the "bogeymen" who are sometimes mocked by hon. Members opposite, understand these 714 things even better than we do. Perhaps I may make two quotations from recent speeches, the first by the Federal Prime Minister himself at the recent United Federal Party Congress in Lusaka. In his speech he said:What now disturbs me is the apparent reluctance on the part of some (Europeans) to accept the emerged African as a full member of society …He went on to say:If we go on treating an African who is educated and who has achieved a standard of culture akin to our own as an inferior being for all time, then I believe we are making a clash on racial issues inevitable.Those are the Prime Minister's words, and he put the position far better than I can.
Sir John Moffat of the Central African Party made an interesting suggestion in a speech in the Copperbelt recently. He said:Our policy of partnership implies that the present differences between the races are not factors to be carefully guarded but obstacles which must be abolished as quickly as possible, and that every citizen must ultimately be free to take his place in society according to his personality, training and ability, and that in this regard skin colour is irrelevant.… Partnership can succeed only if we use it, not if we sit on it.Finally he made this suggestion:The right way to do this is to insert into the Constitution in 1960 all the fundamental human rights which are accepted as such by all civilised nations.This suggestion has been mentioned by Mr. Savanhu, who has recently been in this country. It is a policy which is possibly not customary in our British constitutions, but I hope that my right hon. Friend will give some thought to it.
I have been speaking on how to speed up the process of accepting the African—the educated, civilised African—into society. What we also have to do is to speed up the attainment by Africans of this standard, and obviously this depends largely on the economic position of the Federation. Since federation the number of Africans employed has risen by 20 per cent. and African wages by 65 per cent. This shows how the African is climbing the ladder and how the junior partner is becoming more nearly equal to the senior partner. Education expenditure has increased to twice the previous amount and there have been increases in expenditure on health and all other services. The conception of the 715 Kariba scheme, which would not have been possible without federation, will accelerate the economic development of the country and therefore again raise the standard of the African.
It is becoming apparent in the modern world that under-developed countries, in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, are beginning to realise, perhaps for the first time, the importance of European capital and European technicians, and the importance in some cases of European civil servants. I believe that these ideas are also percolating to Central Africa. The Africans are beginning to realise the importance and the strength of a multiracial society and the strength which they draw from their European partners in technical "know-how," capital assets and so on. This is increasing the number of Africans who are beginning to regard partnership as the ultimate aim of Federation.
The Catholic bishops, whose statement has been mentioned already, referring to the opinion of the non-European section of the community about constitutional change, said that this could be expressedby prudent exercise of the franchiseby which they couldmake their wishes known.They did not say, "by increased development of the franchise". They said,by prudent exercise of the franchise",presupposing the existing franchise.
That is a point of great importance. During the debate on the Constitution Amendment Bill and the Federal Electoral Bill, we were told, broadly speaking, that these Measures would enfranchise Africans who, if they bothered to register, would bear a great share in the development of political ideas in the Federation. We were given some approximate figures. We were told that if all eligible Africans registered in Southern Rhodesia, there would be three Europeans voting to two Africans; in Northern Rhodesia there would be parity, at one to one; and in Nyasaland there would be three Africans voting to one European.
I took the trouble to check the latest figures available, which are those for June of this year. It looks at the moment as if the figures are: in 716 Southern Rhodesia eighteen Europeans voting compared to one African; in Northern Rhodesia, two Europeans to one African; and in Nyasaland, four Europeans to one African. These figures illustrate how much African opinion can be expressed and the weight of African opinion made manifest if they only use the existing franchise, without any extension whatever. I do not think this point has been made often enough, or publicly enough, either here or in the Federation. It seems that what is required is a drive to get the Africans to vote and to use the powers which are already there. It may be that the machinery of registering for a vote should be made easier, but that is purely an administrative matter.
I point out that political progress in the past five years has led to multi-racial parties, to nine Africans in the United Federal Party sitting in the Federal Parliament, to one African Member of Parliament in the Dominion Party, and to thousands of Africans joining the Central Africa Party. That surely is the way to achieve partnership by means of a multi-racial approach, rather than by telling the Africans that they may have X number of seats or Y number of votes. Partnership cannot be achieved in that way. It can be achieved only by treating people of equal standards equally, whatever the colour of their skin.
May I say a few words about the future of the Federation? We have been told—and undoubtedly it is true—that Africans are opposed to federation. Let us not forget that Africa is undergoing a change similar to that which this country underwent during the Industrial Revolution. The whole tribal system is breaking down. Those Africans who have gone to the urban areas see the advantages of civilisation but those who have remained in the rural areas see only the disadvantages, and they blame all their troubles not on the modern concept of society and industrialisation but on one thing named federation. These changes happened at the same time as federation, and therefore federation is thought to be to blame.
This concept has been extremely well expressed by Mr. L. B. Greaves, Africa Secretary of the Conference of British Missionary Societies. I hope it will not 717 bore the House if I make one more quotation. Mr. Greaves said:Why is Federation hated? I think the clue is to be found in a statement by the Synod of Livingstonia in March, 1958: 'In the minds of Nyasaland Africans Federation is equated with political subservience, and from it they seek early release.' From 'it'; from what? Not from the Federation itself, but from the thing with which it is equated in their minds—political subservience to a white minority in Southern Rhodesia. If they could be released from that fear, if Federation could be so presented as manifestly not equated with political subservience, I think that their minds would be open to a reasonable examination of its possibilities, and, I would hope, in a wider context than Nyasaland.I believe that this is the line along which we should move. We should show that federation is not equated with political subservience to the white minority in Southern Rhodesia. Surely this is already indicated by the statement of the Federal Prime Minister that he is not seeking Dominion status in 1960. Surely it is also admitted by his statement that Nyasaland is to be a predominantly African State within the Federation. If we can work on those ideas in Nyasaland and if, as seems likely, the new Malawi Congress is far more reasonable than is predecessors, I believe that we shall make progress.
It has been said in the House that two of the four new Members of the Nyasaland Legislature have already resigned. Would it not be possible as a start, when perhaps the Emergency Regulations have been somewhat modified or limited, to elect as an experiment two representatives to replace Mr. Chipembere and Mr. Chiume and to see how the Malawi Congress behaves? They may well be far more reasonable than their predecessors.
Nyasaland is to be an African state within the Federation, but that underlines the problem of Northern Rhodesia, because if something is done for Nyasaland why should not something be done also for Northern Rhodesia? I believe that the problem is different in Northern Rhodesia, but we can work along much the same lines—to devolve responsibility on to the Territorial Assembly in two ways. The first is the suggestion I made in the House some years ago, that purely local problems, such as forestry, roads, research and surveys, should be solely the responsibility of the Northern Legislative Council and should not be subject 718 to question in this House. That would be a purely administrative devolvement.
Secondly, I believe that we should encourage more elected Members of the Northern Rhodesia Legislative Council and gradually decrease the number of official Members, but these new Members should be elected by both races and should represent both races on the party system, as opposed to the racial system.
If Nyasaland becomes a predominantly African State within the Federation, obviously there will be pressure in Northern Rhodesia to follow the same road. I hope that Northern Rhodesia by then will realise the benefits to be gained by free partnership with Southern Rhodesia. If that does not happen, looking to the distant future, would it not be possible to repeat the same experiment as in Nyasaland and have perhaps Barotseland and Bembaland as predominantly African states, again within the Federation? That is in some degree a confession of failure of the idea of multi-racial partnership but I believe that it is a possibility to which we should not close our minds.
The Amendment on the Order Paper talks about secession.[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am sorry. It was in the recent speech of the Leader of the Opposition rather than actually on the Order Paper. Undoubtedly it is in the mind of the Opposition—hon. Members opposite will interrupt me if they disagree—that secession should be discussed both by the Monckton Commission and at the 1960 Conference.
Secession can be used both ways. Nyasaland may want to keep out of the Federation and to tread her own path, even if that leads to a drastic lowering of standards. Southern Rhodesia may wish to do the same thing. If we put the pressure on she may wish to go her own way. What would happen to her partners in the Federation if that happened? If the Federation is broken up, it means that the Federal principle of constitutional government will never be used again, because what federation could come into being when at the same time is conceded the rights of the components of that federation to secede? No one will invest money or continue development along those lines. Also let us not forget the effect which secession could have on two great Federations 719 soon to come to full membership of the Commonwealth, Nigeria and the West Indies.
I believe that the Monckton Commission will give us a genuine opportunity to discuss these matters with representatives of the three territories and the Federation. The size of the Monckton Commission is a disadvantage, but that has already been dealt with. If everyone is to be represented, one must put up with a large commission. I am delighted that Commonwealth representatives are to be included, because the problem of the Rhodesias is a problem far surpassing the importance of Central Africa. It must be tackled by the whole Commonwealth. African representation is to be included. Representatives are not normally to be Members of the Legislative Council. The Prime Minister made that clear some time ago. Therefore, it is perfectly possible, not only for African representatives to be included in the Commission, but for the Commission to hear all forms of representation from all forms of political opinion.
I hope that the Opposition will cooperate with the Monckton Commission, because I believe that it has an enormously important function to fulfil in preparing the way for 1960. We in Britain have great responsibilities—responsibilities which cannot and will not be shirked. Far too much is at stake both for Africa for the Commonwealth and, indeed, for the Western way of life.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)
Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I think that you have mistaken me for another hon. Gentleman who has the same Highland connections as the Colonial Secretary and myself. In any case, I will take it that you called me.
I wish to begin by congratulating the Colonial Secretary on his accession to his present responsibilities. He has taken on a tough job which will call for all his Highland qualities as well as all his other qualities.
The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) made an extremely interesting speech. It was not the kind of speech which would have been made by 720 the hon. Gentleman's colleagues and predecessors in the debates of 1951 and 1952. He expressed a number of opinions and displayed a number of attitudes which not only would not have been expressed or displayed, but which would have been opposed by his colleagues then in the House.
The hon. Gentleman adopted one or two attitudes which were very forthcoming. He suggested that the recently created vacancies in the Legislative Council might be filled by election. That is an interesting suggestion, but the hon. Gentleman is a little late, because if I understood the Colonial Secretary aright when he referred to a telegram which he had just received, he stated that the vacancies have been already filled. The hon. Gentleman talked about the Declaration of Human Rights and the possibility of linking it with the Constitution, in a way which seemed to me to be diametrically opposed to what his colleagues on those benches were saying in the debates before the Federation came into being.
I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman repeated the phrase of Rhodes about equal rights for all "civilised" men. The hon. Gentleman's gloss on that illustrates fairly clearly one of the main differences between his side of the House and mine. The hon. Gentleman went on to talk about the granting of equal rights when Africans have reached a certain stage of responsibility. That very attitude of paternalism is one of the things which Africans find most objectionable in the Government's present attitude. It is one of the things which my right hon. and hon. Friends and I certainly will not endorse. It is one of the things which strikes into Africans sometimes a deeper feeling of tragedy than one realises.
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman has read a recent article by the Rev. Andrew Doig, whose name, status and responsibility will be well known to him. Mr. Doig was talking about the arrest of a number of people who had been detained during the present state of emergency. Referring to the fact that a number of those were professionally qualified Africans, he stated that arrangements would now have to be made to carry on their work in an emergency fashion. There are not many Africans in Nyasaland qualified in the professions.
721 Then Mr. Doig went on to refer to an African mother who, he said, had a family which had achieved success educationally and gone into professional fields which she had no way of dreaming of. Her comment on the arrests was simply to point to the futility, as it appeared to her, of Africans ever seeking to better themselves, and—Mr. Doig put the words in inverted commas—"have ideas", or to think freely and adventurously into the future. That is the kind of thing which stems from paternalism and that is one of the reasons why the present state of emergency should be ended as soon as is practicable.
A great many of the Africans who have been detained are people whose professional qualifications are very badly needed in Nyasaland. Their arrest strikes in the breasts of Africans a good deal of that feeling which Mr. Doig represented this African mother as having.
The state of emergency has been in existence for seven months. It is a short period compared with the other state of emergency which the Colonial Secretary mentioned, but it is a period during which one would have expected rather more to be done in tackling the central problem which caused the emergency than appears to have been done.
There seems to be little doubt about the general causes of the emergency. The right hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Lennox-Boyd) used the phrase "turning over to violence "when speaking of the new reactions of the Nyasaland Africans. There had come a time when their ordinary means of self-expression politically had ceased to be effective, and they had changed over to violence. Of the reason for that and of the thing round which it all centred the right hon. Gentleman was, I think, in no doubt at all. He put it very bluntly in his last speech before the House rose for the Summer Recess. He said that he knew that the Nyasaland Africans objected to federation. Their objections, he thought, were ill-founded, but he recognised that they were strong. It seems to me that there was no doubt in the mind of any hon. Member, after listening to that speech, that the central problem was the problem of federation and the fact that Africans opposed it.
What is the attitude of the Government towards this? It seems to me, so 722 far as their public statements go, that it is a rather uncompromising, unforthcoming attitude. Earlier in the year, shortly after the declaration of emergency, Lord Perth said, "Federation must work". That, I think, put in slightly less uncompromising phraseology, is the attitude which the right hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire took. One of his phrases was that we must "remove the difficulties" which prevent the Nyasaland Africans accepting federation.
What is being done? What is proposed in order to achieve this end? There is not a great deal of hope to be derived from looking at what propositions have been made. Lord Perth, who put the thing most bluntly, saying that "Federation must work", followed that by simply saying that there is a big job of selling to be done; we have to "sell" federation to the Africans. That is quite ridiculously over-simplifying the whole issue. There is something in federation which the Africans do not like and do not want. There is something in the present Federation that we cannot sell to them.
What is the Government's main set of arguments for a favourable prognostication about the development of the present situation and feeling that federation in course of time will work? For one thing, there has been a feeling that a restatement of the guarantees given in the Preamble to the Constitution would have a considerable effect. I welcome the continual restatement of these guarantees. It has been put very emphatically, and I think that we need now have no doubt that these guarantees will be carried out; but they are, from the point of view of a nationalist movement such as there is in Nyasaland, negative. We will not stop, change the course or change the force of a nationalist movement by saying, "We shall simply stick to guarantees that we have already given". There must be channels along which nationalist feeling can go. That is the sort of thing which is not being tackled.
The second major argument upon which the Government have relied is that referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), the argument of economic welfare, that federation had benefited Nyasaland. The 723 hon. Member for Haltemprice spoke about things which had happened at the same time as federation, but which were not necessarily to be blamed on federation. There has been a good deal of economic improvement in Nyasaland since 1953, but, by the same argument, one cannot necessarily attribute it to federation.
If the Colonial Secretary has not already done so, I hope that he will look at a couple of articles in the Scotsman on this subject published last week. The Scotsman has a good record in this matter in trying to make sure that all sides of the case are stated. The two articles are by an unnamed contributor, who appears to have a good deal of detailed knowledge of the economic position of Nyasaland. He comes bluntly to the conclusion—the same conclusion as that reached by my hon. Friend—that the bulk of the economic benefits have gone to Northern and Southern Rhodesia and that, in fact, they have been intended to do so. The great producer of the benefits, of course, as my hon. Friend says, is Northern Rhodesia, and the intentions has been that the great beneficiary of the benefits should be Southern Rhodesia, that particularly its manufacturing industry, still in its early stages, should be helped along. There is no great doubt that that has happened.
When one comes to look at what has happened in Nyasaland and what has happened to benefit Nyasaland, the picture is very different. There is a subsidy, which is being spent in a way not necessarily to the liking of all Nyasaland Africans, but there is not the essential aid which the ordinary Africans of Nyasaland need. In the Federation's development plan, which is currently under way, in which a sum of about £120 million is concerned, there is no provision for the Shire scheme, which would have helped the Africans of Nyasaland by making available the possibilities of land reclamation. The major part of it is swallowed up by the immense project of the Kariba Dam, which was not itself a project of the Federation, but was projected before the Federation came into being. Broadly speaking, the subsistence farming of Nyasaland, which is still the main economic interest of Nyasaland, benefits not 724 at all from the economic arrangements of the Federation.
The first conclusion reached by the contributor to the Scotsman is that there has been a misdirection of effort, in his phrase, I think, an unfair use of the natural resources of the Federation. His second conclusion is that matters will not be put right without political action. There are certain legal channels, or legal barriers against channellings, of finance and economic resources which prevent the possibility of the African having his fair share without political action to make changes.
Referring to the correspondence between the Roman Catholic bishops and Sir Roy Welensky, someone touched on what was meant when the question of territorial responsibility was mentioned in connection with some of the problems of the Federation. I cannot find the reference at the moment; but there is, for instance, the situation which has existed in connection with the appointment of Mr. Jasper Savanhu to the Federal Government, the Federal Government wishing to find him a house in a particular part of Salisbury but not being able to do so because of territorial legislation. There are a good many examples of territorial legislation presenting not only difficulty to an individual finding a house, but difficulties for a great many broad social and economic movements.
The correspondent of the Scotsman, who writes a persuasive article, came to the conclusion that we cannot have a proper sharing of resources without, first, political action which will enable the African to have the same kind of treatment as the European.
I want to say a word or two about the forthcoming review of the Constitution. I do not want to say very much, and here I might utter a word of mild reproof. Between them, the last two speeches have taken an hour; and I do not propose to follow that not altogether admirable example. I will speak slightly more shortly, but I want to say something about the 1960 review. A great number of statements have been bandied about in connection with it. It may be that the Monckton Commission will clear up a good deal, but I should like to get the Government's point of view about one or two points.
725 We have the Government's point of view about who will represent the Africans of the territories at the conference, and it does not seem to me that it is an entirely satisfactory point of view. I share the doubts about the possibility of finding ways and means of picking Africans, apart from the ordinary straightforward way of simply getting the Africans to elect people to represent them. But presumably the Government have made up their mind on the question of who will represent the peoples, if what the Colonial Secretary said is to be taken as final or as anything like final. However, what about the scope of the review, because a number of statements have been made about it by Sir Roy Welenskey, which, one would hope, are not quite correct?
First, I should like to feel that the scope of the review, apart altogether from what Sir Roy Welensky has said, is not to be limited simply to the Federation and its Constitution. He says that the review is to be concerned with two things: first, a programme for independence; and, secondly, a consideration of the Constitution of the Federation. I hope that the review will be concerned just as much with the Constitutions of the territories as with a programme of independence for the Federation. What about a programme for responsible Government for the two Northern Territories? What about the Constitution of each of the territories, quite apart from the Constitution of the Federation?
Besides that, there is the question whether we have in any way bound ourselves by agreements. Again, a recent speech by Sir Roy Welensky suggests that perhaps we have. About a fortnight ago Sir Roy said something like this, "We and the British Government have agreed, in regard to the conference of 1960, that there will be no talk of amalgamation and, in return, no talk of dismemberment." I should have thought that amalgamation was away beyond the possibilities of the review, in any case. Amalgamation has never been "on", as the Americans say; but the possibility of secession closely affects the territories and a bargain of that sort, if any bargain has been made, which I hope it has not, is not a reasonable bargain to defend.
I hope that the Government spokesman who winds up the debate will make 726 clear whether there are any limitations, by agreement or otherwise, on the scope of the 1960 review, or whether there will be a clear field to consider all the political problems involved. One of the political possibilities of which the review should take account is the possibility of a much looser kind of federation. One need not have exactly the kind of sharing out of powers which exists under the present Federation. It is quite possible to share the powers differently. It is perfectly possible to envisage the kind of Federation in which there is more weight at the periphery than in the centre.
There is no reason whatever to suppose that such a Federation cannot be successful. In the course of the history of this kind of political formation, there have been federations of all shapes and sizes, some where the main weight was at the centre and some where it was at the circumference. There have been differences from Federation to Federation. Australia, Canada and the United States all have their different forms. There is no reason why we should exclude the possibility of a very much looser Federation in this instance, which might well be a way of keeping the question of secession out of the range of practical problems, because it is quite possible that the Africans in the Northern Territories might find themselves satisfied with the freedom and independence which they would get, if their own reformed constitutions were reformed, inside a Federation a good deal looser than the present one. In addition, the emergency should be ended, as the Amendment asks; there should be trial or freeing of prisoners and there should be a definite setting about the business of trying to reform the franchises and Constitutions of the two Northern Territories.
I do not think that what the Colonial Secretary said about the Constitution of Nyasaland was particularly happy. It follows, I think, from his predecessor's point of view that in this problem we must have regard to the existence of the minority race. All right, we must have regard to it, but it is not all that of a bogy or bugbear in constitution-making. I should have thought that by this time, after seven months of the suspension of the Constitution, there should have been more advance towards achieving and 727 putting forward to this House constitutional proposals than there has been. For these reasons, therefore, I support the Amendment.
§ 6.17 p.m.
§ Colonel Tufton Beamish (Lewes)
At the outset, I should like to echo the words of my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary when he paid such a handsome tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Lennox-Boyd). His job, inevitably, was a very controversial one. He had far more than his share of crises with which to cope, and he came through them all with calm and good temper. He showed an amazing capacity for hard work, and, in my opinion, he showed a concentrated devotion to his job. He showed a warm heart and a generous nature. These qualities earned him the respect of a great many people in this House and in the Colonies and the affection of many.
It has often been suggested that there is a basic difference between the approach of the two main parties in the House to the speed of advance of the Colonies towards self-government. I think that too many have wrongly concluded that this is the case. They have concluded that it is impossible or, at any rate, difficult to reach all-party agreement about the speed of approach towards self-government of the three territories in the Central African Federation. I should like, I hope with absolute fairness, to try to draw a few parallels between some of the problems which the party opposite had to face when it was in power in 1945–51 and the sort of problems which the Government now face in the Central African Federation.
First, I should like to draw a parallel between what happened in Ghana during 1945–51 and what has happened since. Ghana got a new constitution in 1954 and became self-governing in 1957. It is true that between 1945 and 1951 little progress was made towards self-government. It is true that that period was unhappily marred by the riots in Accra, when 29 people died and over 250 were injured. It is also true, as we all know, that Dr. Nkrumah was gaoled during that period. But, bearing these things in mind, would it be fair to accuse the party opposite of setting up a police state in Ghana? Would it be fair to 728 say that "Gold Coast problems were not solved by keeping Dr. Nkrumah in gaol"? I dare say that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) will recognise some of his own words used earlier in the debate in what I am quoting. Lastly, to quote the hon. Member again, would it be fair to say that, during that period, "Africans did not believe in the Government's good intentions"? My opinion is that all three of these statements would be very unfair.
Next, I draw a quick parallel with Nigeria. Within two years of the Conservatives coming to power—that is, in August, 1953—the principle of federal government in Nigeria was accepted. All three regions now have self-government and, within a little less than a year, Federal Nigeria will be independent as well. During the years 1945 to 1951, however, very little constitutional progress was made. Would it be fair to accuse the party opposite of dragging its feet during that period? I do not think so.
Similarly, in Malaya, to draw one last parallel—
§ Mr. Arthur Creech Jones (Wakefield)
I should like to correct several statements which the hon. and gallant Member has made. In the case of Nigeria, it is well known that a new Constitution was introduced in 1946. During the whole period of my administration at the Colonial Office, there was constant discussion and an enlargement of freedoms and of political institutions in that country. The previous Colonial Secretary was able to build on the foundation work which had been done by the Labour Government between 1945 and 1951. The hon. Member is hopelessly wrong also concerning Ghana. There was a Commission, known as the Cussey Commission, which laid down the framework on which the Constitution of the Gold Coast was ultimately developed. Before the hon. and gallant Member speaks of the history of colonial administration since the end of the war, it would be of advantage to the House that he should acquaint himself with the elementary facts concerning both Ghana and Nigeria.
§ Colonel Beamish
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving me such strong support. It is precisely because I agree with what he has said that I expressed the opinion that it would not 729 be fair to accuse the party opposite of dragging its feet concerning constitutional progress in Ghana and Nigeria. The right hon. Gentleman cannot have heard what I said.
I will mention two more parallels before I relate them more closely to the Central African problems. The first is Malaya. Within a few weeks of the Socialist defeat in 1951, a start was made towards the granting of self-government when a directive was issued to our High Commissioner, and in 1957 self-government was achieved. Because so much less progress was made during the period from 1945 to 1951, would it be fair to accuse the party opposite of dragging its feet? When we on this side came into power in 1951, there were 1,500 political detainees in Malaya. None of them had been tried. There are today, unhappily, 459 political detainees in Nyasaland, as my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary told us today. I do not remember, however, that when we were in opposition, we accused the party opposite, then in power, of setting up a police State at that time. I can omit the next instance because the moral of these parallels is perfectly obvious to the party opposite
I sum up this part of my speech by saying that I could produce powerful arguments in debate to show that in my opinion the party opposite did, in fact, drag its feet in Nigeria, in the Gold Coast, as it then was, and in Malaya. Similarly, I could argue that the Conservative record is more enlightened and progressive, but I do not intend to do either of these things. I could equally well argue that the Socialists had very good reasons indeed for the attitudes that they adopted towards all three of those countries. They had great difficulties to contend with. There was the need to preserve law and order in difficult circumstances. They had to discourage extreme partisan views and sometimes to suppress them. They reluctantly had to curtail freedom of speech. In the opinion of some people, therefore, progress towards self-government during that period was disappointingly slow.
The truth of the matter—I am not trying to be controversial—is surely that the Socialists when in power faced formidable problems and that their colonial 730 administration from 1945 to 1951 was marked by significant progress towards self-government right throughout the British Commonwealth. If the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) had waited for me to make this point, I think he would have found himself more in agreement with it than with the way I led into it, which, perhaps, he misunderstood.
I am convinced that the impartial verdict of history will be that the Socialists did their duty to the very best of their ability. I am equally convinced that history will record the same verdict about the Conservative administration since 1951. Hon. Members may ask what is the relevance of all this to the problems of the Central African Federation. The relevance is, simply, that any British Government—I emphasise "any"—is bound to be faced with extremely difficult problems in finding a happy solution to the future of that part of the world. The problems that we face there are unique in our imperial history. We must somehow provide Africans, Asians and Europeans with reliable safeguards after self-government and on the way towards it. To find the answer for this will require the collective wisdom and experience of the whole House of Commons.
I do not believe that there is room in this problem for fractious criticism which is not based firmly on practical policies which the critics themselves would like to see their own party put into practice were it in power. Fractious criticisms from individual back benchers are bad enough, but they are worse still when they come from the leaders of the party opposite, whose words are listened to with such close attention in the Central African Federation.
Although I have never had the advantage of going to any of the three territories involved—
§ Mr. Pannell
I said that the hon. Gentleman was reading his brief very well. So what is he complaining about? He does not have to go there.
§ Colonel Beamish
I do not know what the hon. Member imagines he is talking about. If he is suggesting that somebody else has written my speech, I hope he would like to withdraw the remark.
§ Colonel Beamish
If the hon. Member is not enjoying it, perhaps he would like to go and have a glass of beer.
§ Colonel Beamish
I noticed that Guinness shares went up as soon as my right hon. Friend the former Colonial Secretary left the Government and rejoined the Guinness board.[Interruption.] I am trying to make a serious speech. The fault of the interruption was not mine.
After careful study of the problems involved, I am convinced that there is a great deal more common ground between the two sides of the House than is generally realised. With a little more give and take, it should be possible to approach this problem in a completely non-party spirit. After all, let us remind ourselves of the words used by the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) on 13th June, 1951, when he first told the House about the proposals for federation in the two Rhodesias and Nyasaland. I would like briefly to remind the House of some of the right hon. Gentleman's words. He said:There is an increasing need for some form of closer association between the three territories in the interests of their economic development, and of the prosperity and well-being of their inhabitants. … His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom … wish to say now that the proposals appear to them to embody a constructive approach to the problem which deserves the careful consideration of all the peoples and Governments concerned.The right hon. Gentleman concluded by saying:The Report records the strong and unanimous belief of all members of the Conference that economic and political partnership between Europeans and Africans is the only policy which can succeed in the conditions of Central Africa. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have been glad to note that the Conference have given expression to this very important principle as forming the basis for their proposals."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13th June, 1951; Vol. 488, c. 2315–17.]732 I fully admit, and everybody knows perfectly well, that the party opposite and some hon. Members on this side of the House have had important reservations about federation.
§ Colonel Beamish
I entirely agree, and I have not yet heard it suggested by anyone in the last few years, let alone today, that anybody intends to impose federation. It has been said so often in so many debates that there is no intention whatsoever of imposing it, and that the authority of this Government for the two Protectorates will be maintained unless the people wish to get rid of it. That has been made clear over and over again. It is in the terms of reference of the Advisory Commission in an extract from the Preamble. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East may laugh, but it is there. This has been said over and over again, and I cannot understand the way in which some people attempt to play down its importance.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I apologise for laughing at the hon. and gallant Member. I really did not mean it that way. Is he quite sure that he has made the distinction between Dominion status and federation? Federation exists. It has been imposed on the Africans against their will. The Government have said they will not hand over these two territories, which are Protectorates, to the Federal Government and thereby give it Dominion status. That is the difference. Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman sure that he is making that distinction?
§ Colonel Beamish
That is quite right; I am making that distinction. Perhaps the trouble here is that a lot of us have become bemused by the word "federation". I said earlier that many of my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite have important reservations about federation, because of the grave anxieties expressed by Africans in all three territories. That is perfectly well understood, but suppose that federation were called "political and economic cooperation". Would that not make quite a lot of difference? After all, the right 733 hon. Member for Llanelly welcomed the approach to federation, and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson) was making the same proposal himself, and I agree with what he was saying.
This clearly indicates that there is a lot more common ground between us than some of us have admitted. The terms of reference of the Advisory Commission, as the hon. Gentleman opposite has just said, remove one of the most serious anxieties. They refer to the Preamble to the 1953 Constitution, which contains a clear undertaking that the Government will not withdraw its authority from Northern Rhodesia or Nyasaland unless the inhabitants wish it. If I did not express that clearly before, I have done so now, and I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for putting me completely right on that point.
I very much hope that the Opposition will decide to appoint members to the Advisory Commission, because I think that if they do not it will be a tragedy. It has already been mentioned several times in the debate that any idea of Dominion status as regards the 1960 Conference is definitely out, and Sir Roy Welensky has made that absolutely clear. That removes another serious anxiety which hon. Members on both sides of the House have felt. I cannot see myself that there is any long-term difference between the two sides of the House where the franchise is concerned, although a short-term difference was disclosed and described by my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary in his speech. I am reminded that, on 25th November. 1957, the hon. Member for Rugby, then Mr. J. Johnson, who I am sorry to say is no longer in this House, although I have seen him about today, speaking obviously for his party, said this:We as a party stand for ultimate universal franchise in the African State, but at the moment we stand for a very qualified franchise."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th November. 1957; Vol. 578, c. 915.]That is my view, and I believe it to be shared by many of my hon. Friends Indeed, I do not think we differ about it on the two sides of the House.
We are all agreed, above all, that a multi-racial solution is the only hope for the future of the three territories in the Federation. There are many hopeful 734 signs in the Federal area that the colour bar is gradually being broken down Many hon. Members may have read an article in the Manchester Guardian of 22nd July by three well-known African journalists, of which I have a copy here After describing the extent of the colour bar in Southern Rhodesia, they went on record as saying:We must report an encouraging change has taken place in the last few years, and more so in the last few months.Later, they went on to say:A big hole has been knocked in the wall of segregation in Southern Rhodesia"—which, in their view, should be regarded as—… no more than a beginning of the journey to non-racialism. But surely much could be achieved, and nothing lost, if the thinking people in the United Kingdom appreciate, recognise and applaud the fact that such a beginning has been made.I think that that was well and truly said. I think we are all agreed about this basic question as well, and that when we use the words multi-racial solution, I am sure that none of us are deluding ourselves as to what it really means. It means, of course, that merit, not one's race or the colour of one's skin, must decide one's place in the community, and in the context of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland the growth of a multi-racial society must mean the progressive and orderly transfer of political power to Africans. Therefore, I say again, I do not believe that there is any important difference between the two sides of the House when these things are stated in these terms.
Extremists on either flank will only delay satisfactory progress for the 7 million people who live in the three territories concerned; a population, incidentally, likely to double in the next 25 years. I do not believe that this Motion of censure will do any serious harm to the cause we all have at heart, partly because it is well known in this country that the Opposition is very hard up for anything to censure the Government about at all.
I beg everyone in the House to make a supreme effort for all-party cooperation where this issue is concerned. All three parties want to help these people to achieve self-government based on loyalty to their country, instead of to their racial group, and to achieve it 735 as soon as possible. For none of us is the goal in doubt, but only the means of achieving it. How to achieve it and how quickly it can be achieved and power can be transferred has to be decided in principle during the next few years. For heaven's sake, therefore, let us all try to seek out the common ground between the parties, and not exaggerate our differences.
§ 6.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Bruce Millan (Glasgow, Craigton)
In rising to address the House for the first time, I must ask the House to extend to me its usual courtesy and indulgence. In accordance with the traditions of the House, I shall try to make my speech as uncontroversial as possible, but if I do say anything controversial, I hope that I shall say it with due moderation.
I was very glad that my hon. Friends the Members for Flint, East (Mrs. White) and Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. M. MacPherson) said something about the economic arguments for federation, because, like them, I have often suspected that a great many of the economic advantages which are meant to be accruing to Africans in the territories concerned are, in fact, illusory. On this point, one has to consider not just the economic progress made since 1953, but has to compare it with the economic progress that would have been made in any case, and that is a very important oipnt. But even if it could be proved that there have been economic advantages arising from federation, it seems to me to be by no means a conclusive argument.
Certainly, from the Africans' point of view, it is not a conclusive argument, because, after all, economically speaking, the Africans in South Africa are probably better off there than anywhere else in Africa, and yet we all know exactly what Africans in South Africa think about the form of government there. The fact is that the African is not concerned only with the economic arguments, but also with political opportunity and with employment opportunities and social opportunities.
One of the things which struck me most forcibly during the last few years in Central Africa was that before the University College of Central Africa could be properly established an amendment 736 had to be passed to the Southern Rhodesian Land Apportionment Act to allow people attending the university to reside together, one race with another. That was a very significant thing, and gave some idea of the background in which federation was being established, the background of a considerable amount of racial inequality. One still hears from time to time and reads in the Press of disturbing incidents of the same sort, the latest one being the refusal of a café in Northern Rhodesia to serve a distinguished Nigerian visitor, Sir Francis Ibiam. There is still a great deal of racial inequality in the social sense, and I think that a great deal of that is statutorily enforced, especially in Southern Rhodesia.
There is also the question of employment. Really, very little progress has been made in giving Africans real employment opportunities, particularly when we consider the situation in the Northern Rhodesian copper mines and on the Central African Railways.
These are not all questions for the Government, not even for the Governments of the territories concerned, and, certainly, they are not all questions for the Government here at home, but they give some indication of the background in which this argument about federation ought to be faced, and I think that they do by themselves explain a great deal of the opposition to it, and the disturbed feeling which Africans have about it generally and about the 1960 Conference in particular.
As to the Advisory Commission, the first question is the composition of the Commission. I must say that it seemed to me that what the Secretary of State had to say today about African representation on the Commission did not assure me that we should have on the Commission Africans who would command anything like the support they ought to of the African peoples in the territories concerned. We shall, naturally, want to wait the few days which the right hon. Gentleman said would be necessary before he could announce the names, to see whether or not that is so, but I think that it will be extremely difficult to get suitable Africans of suitable qualifications commanding the respect of the African peoples to serve on the Advisory Commission.
737 If I may say so without presumption, it seems to me, in considering the powers of the Commission, that the whole idea of the Advisory Commission is really a dangerous one, because the Commission, particularly if it is a commission of some authority, which, obviously, it is bound to be, will surely tend to usurp to itself some of the functions which ought to reside in the subsequent conference of Governments, and, because that is so, because any proposition which this Commission may make it will be exceedingly difficult for the subsequent conference to overturn, it seems to me that that is all the more reason why we should be sure that the Commission has adequate representation of African interests.
On the question of what sort of discussions the Commission has power to have, I must say that I was disappointed again by what the Secretary of State had to say today, because the real argument surely is whether or not federation will continue in its present form. If we start with the assumption that federation, either in its present form or some modified version will continue, then it seems to me we inhibit a good deal of the discussion which this Commission ought rightly to be leading. That is one of the reasons why I think that the Africans have this very great suspicion of the whole idea of an Advisory Commission.
I can well understand, naturally enough, the embarrassment the Government must be in on the question of the powers of the Commission, because once federation is established it is extremely difficult to unscramble it. It is very much easier to establish a Federation than it is to return to some other form of government several years later. That was precisely the argument which many of us who opposed federation in 1952 used, that, once federation had been established, despite the safeguards put in the Preamble to the Constitution, despite the safeguards which were given verbally in the House by Ministers on behalf of the Government, it would be extremely difficult for any Government of this country to retrace their steps on the principle of federation.
I was extremely interested in the proposition made on this side of the House that there should be some improvement in the African representation in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, 738 because it does seem to me that this is only speeding up a process which is bound to happen in any case. The propositions which have been made from this side of the House, that in Northern Rhodesia there should be a parity of African representation in the Legislative Council and in Nyasaland a majority in the Legislature with an equality of African Ministers, are only anticipating what is bound to happen in any case in the next year or two, whatever Government we may have in power in this country, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman might have been more willing to look at those propositions sympathetically, particularly in the light of the fact that Sir Roy Welensky is now talking about more power for the Territorial Governments. As has been stated from this side, our priority is definitely an increase in African representation in those Territorial Governments rather than an extension of their powers.
I was also disappointed by the absence of assurances about the kind of franchise we want to see established in the two Northern Territories. It is perfectly true that if we can get a common roll with certain qualifications, that would be an advance, and is an advance on purely racial representation, but it is really only an advance if we admit logically that the end of this qualitative franchise will be a majority for the African population. If we do not admit that, then we are really in a sense simply introducing racial representation in another form.
If we put that sort of restriction in operation the qualitative franchise is perhaps a backward step rather than a forward step, because we not only keep racial representation but also prevent a great many Africans from exercising any sort of franchise at all. I hope that the Government will accept that a qualitative franchise of this sort only makes sense and only means justice if we extend the principle to the extent that we are willing to allow a majority of African voters.
On the question of deferment of the conference from 1960 to 1962, I can well understand the tremendous difficulties which the Government would have in proposing that, but I think that we ought to be clear about where the difficulties 739 would reside. Certainly, there would be no difficulty on this side of the House—naturally enough, since we are making the proposition; but there would also be no difficulty at all with the Africans in the territories. What we are really saying, in effect, is that there would be difficulties in deferring the conference with the white politicians in Central Africa.
It seems to me that, sooner or later, we in the House must say quite clearly whether or not the eventual progress of federation is to be determined solely by the white settlers in Central Africa. Naturally anything that we would wish to do we should like to do with their approval, if that is possible, but the ultimate responsibility in the two Northern territories resides here, and it seems to me that the ultimate responsibility for federation as a whole also resides here. We ought to take our responsibilities to mean that we are not unwilling, if circumstances demand it, to do things which are unpopular with the white politicians in Africa.
If we are to discharge our responsibilities properly, that is a nettle which we must grasp sooner or later, and the longer we leave it the more prickly it is likely to become.
§ 6.51 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
I should like cordially to congratulate the hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan). The occasion of a maiden speech is always supposed to be an ordeal, but I can certainly say that, judging from external appearances, the hon. Member showed no signs of nervousness throughout his speech. I found the greatest difficulty in remembering all the time that I should have to congratulate him on a maiden speech.
I read in the papers this morning some criticism by a correspondent to the effect that, judging by the results of hon. Members who had rushed in to make maiden speeches, the quality of those speeches would have been better if they had waited a little longer. I am sure that that correspondent will agree, if he Writes a second article, that the average has been remarkably raised by the speech of the hon. Member. I hope that the hon. Member will not just make this an initial entry into Commonwealth 740 affairs but that we shall have the benefit of his advice, controversial and otherwise, regularly in our Commonwealth debates during the coming years.
Among many significant features in the opening speech by my right hon. Friend the newly appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies, perhaps one of the most significant was a very real attempt by him to play his part towards taking some aspects at least of our Commonwealth policy out of the cockpit of party political warfare. I do not know whether that will be successful. Time alone will show. Certainly I am sure that none of us on either side of the House would want to do anything that might lessen the chance. Some of us may have more doubts than others whether this bipartisan policy will be able to develop and continue, but at least today I shall do nothing to damage its prospects.
The only controversial remark, therefore, that I shall make today I shall make at the beginning of my speech. It is that, whether or not we succeed in establishing a bipartisan policy, I agree that in respect of certain aspects of Commonwealth policy my right hon. Friend will have an easier deal than did his predecessor. I am sure that the previous Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Lennox-Boyd), if he were here, would agree that one of the disadvantages of the Government and the Colonial Office during the last year or two has been the knowledge that certain extremists in various dependent territories overseas on more than one occasion declined to reach a compromise or a negotiated settlement because they thought that by holding out they might get a better deal from a Socialist Government if and when such a Government were elected. I make the point as no party point and with no sense of boastfulness that now people throughout these territories of all shades of colour and of all races appreciate today that it is with this Government that they will have to deal for several, perhaps for many years ahead. Therefore, one of the principal disadvantages hanging over past negotiations, whether in Cyprus, Kenya or Central Africa, will now disappear.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) queried how much 741 interest there had been in Africa and the Colonial Territories during the General Election. I do not honestly know the answer to that. One had a number of questions at meetings, but I am not qualified to say how deep that interest went. I remember, however, one question addressed to me which showed at least a considerable lack of appreciation by some of those who have opposed the policies of Her Majesty's Government during the last few years. The question was asked by a Socialist heckler who was criticising some aspect of Conservative policy in Africa. When I asked him to specify what part of Africa, so that I should be able to answer his question, he said, "I am talking about Africa. Just as England is English, Africa is African and there is no difference between the constituent parts." I need not emphasise the manifest absurdity of comparing conditions in the Arab North with those in the largely black tropical belt, or in the centre and South where for good or ill, black and white have to learn to live together.
One lesson which I have relearned from a number of visits to Africa—and I last went there again this summer—is that of the necessary differences of approach to problems that exist in every quarter of Africa as between not only black and white or brown but between one tribe and another of whatever colour and race. To think in terms of Africa today as a matter of white and black stresses is to neglect the strains that exist in the wide area of that continent which have nothing whatever to do with colour.
It would be out of order to spend too long on territories other than Central Africa in this debate, but as some hon. Members have touched on the matter, I should like to say that on visiting Nigeria, on the way to the south, one found that although prospects were bright as a whole and one was immensely heartened by the experiments being carried out there, to ignore the separatist tendencies and mutual fears and dislikes which make up the constituent races of Federal Nigeria would be to ignore the facts of the situation—and there is no white or settler problem to bedevil the position there.
There is a somewhat similar position arising in the Belgian Congo and in former French colonial territories where, 742 very often, there has been grim bloodshed between tribes striving for supremacy as they feel the reins of power being handed over to them. It would be erroneous to imagine that the ultimate colonial solution can be rightly regarded as being the handing over of the vote, as the panacea of all problems. In the Belgian Congo, the extremists are revolting against the possibility of elections taking place in December, because they think that they may lose the power which they now hold. There one has the ludicrous situation in which the Belgians are striving to have free elections in December and the extremist nationalists are doing their best to ensure that elections do not take place and that power is handed over to them before there is any chance of deciding whether they have the confidence of their fellow-Africans.
§ Mr. Bennett
I can only say that this must obviously be a matter of opinion. I formed this opinion out there, and I was told not only by the Belgian administrators but by certain Africans themselves that these Africans did not want an election because they thought that they would achieve power without it, and lose it with it.
As to East Africa, although I think that the Secretary of State will have very great problems to deal with there, they are not nearly as grave as those to be coped with in Central Africa. There, Europeans, however slowly or reluctantly, are coming round to a position in which they appreciate that, if only for lack of numbers alone, they cannot wield dominant political and economic power and that their future in that country must be along lines of economic and political influence, by contriving to live with the country and with the movements there. Therefore I say frankly that I am not nearly as anxious today about East Africa as I am about certain other parts of a continent which seems increasingly in turmoil.
If we turn to the Federation, it seems to me we have there all the problems that baffle the rest of Africa—rising nationalism, poverty, tribal hatreds, and in addition a large European minority living there. To regard them simply as 743 disposable settlers when talking in terms of federation as regards Northern and Southern Rhodesia, is to ignore reality. Many of those people of European stock living in the Federation today regard themselves as Rhodesian just as keenly as any one of us in this House regards himself as British. To tell a man whose family has been over there for four generations that he is a settler, and that he has less right in the country than another person, would be precisely the same as if we in this House referred to families, including perhaps those of some hon. Members of this House, who came to this country four generations ago as settlers. One can imagine the resentment this would cause.
Another point in this context is that when we are talking about the Europeans living over there we often criticise them, and criticise them fairly savagely, because we do not think they are moving fast enough or making sufficient multiracial gestures. It would be equally wrong to regard them in that context as any different in their behaviour from ordinary people in this country. Recently, fortunately for the sake of our own humility, we have learned that British people, too, when faced with what they imagine to be an economic or social threat, react in what we regard as an unreasonable way.
It would be equally wrong to imagine that they are much better than the rest of us in facing such threats. When over there this summer I defined as closely as I could the fears which caused them to proceed sometimes at a slower or different pace from what we in this country would like. I found a genuine fear of racial absorption. I found the fear of a European family that its daughters or grand-daughters would intermarry, so that eventually there would be a non-European mixed stock. I do not think it is a valid fear but that is different from saying that it is not a real fear on their part. When one is in Africa one realises that the African is no more keen to marry a European than vice versa, and is just as keen on maintaining his own social system provided he is allowed reasonable liberties in which to do so.
Secondly, there are what I call the economic and social fears. By this I mean the fear of the Europeans of losing 744 the livelihood and high standards of living they are fortunate to enjoy. I make no criticism of them. They work extremely hard and deserve a good standard of living, but in places such as the copper mines and elsewhere the Europeans see the high standard of living they enjoy threatened by the encroaching African as he gains skills and they often react accordingly. That is the single most difficult problem to deal with, because to some extent in the long run in the Federation it will not be possible for Europeans to perpetuate for themselves a standard of living out of proportion to their abilities as compared with skills acquired by people of other races. Yet an appreciation of that fact on the spot is difficult and we can best help in this House by being moderate in our comments. We ought to know from our own experience how difficult it is to convince people about being completely reasonable, completely tolerant, completely far-sighted when their own standard of life is under fire.
The third fear I found was amongst a number of Europeans who realised, perhaps because they had moved too slowly in the past, or through no fault of their own but because of the rising tide of nationalist extremism, that if the extremists got power they might suffer from reprisals. I found that particularly in rural areas where sometimes there may be a slightly uneasy conscience about the past and also because they see revolts, uprisings and bloodshed in other parts of the world and they feared retaliation if rampant nationalists got power.
How best to deal with all these fears? I do not think that legislation from this House is the answer because we would be legislating against fear and no one has yet succeeded in doing that. Therefore, help from this House can be only along the lines of guiding, with advice rather than criticism, the leaders we are fortunate enough to have in most of the territories at the moment. There is at least one way in which we could advise the European leaders over there in the most friendly spirit. When they remove social pinpricks which so annoy and upset the Africans, they should do so before they are forced by demand, because in that case not only do they not get any credit but the extremists 745 get the credit instead, and so they get a double minus from the point of view of credit in popular reaction.
I saw that for myself in Northern Rhodesia where there was a strike because butchers' shops were insisting on serving Africans from one window and Europeans from another. The Africans struck, the Europeans held out. Finally, the Europeans found they would go bust because they could no longer afford to withhold their goods from the Africans. So the Africans won their point, and it was the African extremists who got all the credit in the local newspapers. Yet it was a European who had wished to propose this as a Motion a few weeks earlier but had been dissuaded from doing so for the sake of not causing trouble.
§ Mr. Bennett
The hon. and learned Gentleman has interrupted me once already. This time, I gather, he is agreeing with me and no doubt he will have a chance to agree with me further later on if he catches your eye, Mr. Speaker.
In this context there is one other lesson along the same lines. Afterwards, I went to Portuguese East Africa. I hope that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will not think that because riots and bloodshed do not take place in the Portuguese colonies this is due solely to dictatorship and repression and military force. Of course, there is an authoritarian government in Portugal, but to imagine that they have there no answer to their colonial problems other than repression is ridiculous when one goes there and sees the local forces that are available.
The answer is that the Portuguese have made a success of social partnership and are promoting Africans who are able to rise to a civilised standard in a way in which we are only now beginning in some of our territories. There are many other aspects one could perhaps criticise but in that respect we have something to learn from the Portuguese.
The most important point about the removal of social pinpricks is that one of the leading Africans taking part in federation told me that he is often visited by nationalist extremists, who call him a "stooge". When he queries why he is 746 called that since he is doing his best to help all races, they say that it is precisely because he has succeeded in doing so that the people have less revolutionary fervour than before. Indeed they said to him, "In fact the more pinpricks you remove, the more difficult you are making it for us to whip up our own supporter, in resentful revolt." So there is a good lesson for us in that also.
I have tendered my little bit of advice to my many friends in the Federation in all humility. There are one or two things we might ourselves do in this House. The first I have already mentioned. Do let us in the next three or four years, however much we battle here, do our best not to enter into slanging matches with colonial leaders. It does no good and only annoys them. It does not make them react better to advice from this House. In any event, we are most fortunately placed in the people who have come forward from those comparatively small European populations and I cannot think of any better ones who are available for us to work with in these coming years.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
Does the hon. Gentleman include Dr. Banda in his reference to leaders in colonial affairs?
§ Mr. Bennett
The hon. Gentleman should not try to make a deliberately different point from the one I was making. The hon. Gentleman has an obsession about this.
§ Mr. Bennett
I was almost tempted to make some remark about the narrowness of the margin of the hon. Gentleman, and his obsessions still being with us. Because of the party amity today I will not do so. I think the House understood clearly that I was making an appeal about the European leaders. I was not criticising or even mentioning the African leaders in this part of my speech.
The second bit of advice that we might take for ourselves, and hon. Members opposite are especially guilty of this, is not to refer to Africans who work with us as "stooges". It does not help to do that, because it will be impossible to promote partnership in a multi-racial society if every time an African tries to make partnership work he is referred to as a "stooge".
747 Thirdly, I hope that we will not always be insistent in the belief that our primary duty is done simply by handing over the democratic form of the ballot box as we know it in this country. To do so is utterly misleading, because often those nationalist leaders who clamour for the ballot box to get rid of Europeans are the first to let the ballot box go. At the moment the British Commonwealth is littered with countries to whom we have given maces and who have put these maces into cold storage and adopted a form of Government which, rightly or wrongly, they think is more suitable to the country.
I hope that we do not make the same mistake in Africa and think that everything can be solved on the basis of the franchise and votes. If one looks at the independent African countries like Tunis, Ethiopia, Libya, or Liberia, it is remarkable how few Parliamentary democracies there are where the European overlord has long since been withdrawn.
One last warning: if we are to make a success of the Commission to consider the future of Central Africa and the Conference to follow it, I hope that we will bear in mind that there is a difference in talking about something here and carrying out what we talk about in Central Africa. To a considerable extent we have already parted with power to that part of the world and to imagine that we can get it back is as silly as imagining that we can reverse the Statute of Westminster.
So if we put forward theories for constitutional variations in Africa, I hope it will be remembered that there are strict practical limitations on what we can do, and that we can best carry out our aims by trying to be helpful rather than by indulging in abuse of those of our kinsmen who carry the burden on the spot.
§ 7.14 p.m.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
This debate has been one of the most encouraging debates that I have heard since I became a Member of the House, two and a half years ago. I have, therefore, decided to scrap most of the speech that I intended to make and comment on some of the points that hon. Members have raised.
748 The speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) was one of the most outstanding that he has ever made. I was pleased with the dynamic and forceful way in which he made his points to the House. I hope that we on this side of the House will be firm in our attitude to the Parliamentary Commission in the way that both he and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition expressed last week, when my right hon. Friend opened the debate on the Queen's Speech for this side of the House.
We have had a good speech from the Colonial Secretary. It started well, but I was sorry that it tended to flag a little towards the end, when he became more and more dependent on the brief which had been supplied to him by his officials. I am sure that I am speaking for many hon. Members on this side of the House when I say that we are delighted that he has recovered from his influenza and that we wish him well in his job as Colonial Secretary.
We are not going to pre-judge the right hon. Gentleman. We appreciate that his speech today was one that he had not prepared entirely on his own. We hope that as he is now in the very responsible position of Colonial Secretary he will judge the facts for himself. I am delighted to hear that he is going to Kenya next month. I am glad that he is to see the people involved and judge the situation at first hand. The right hon. Gentleman should not rely on briefs that are provided by officials from the Colonial Office. Some of the briefs have been deplorably wrong in the past.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will meet the personalities involved in Kenya—Dr. Tom Mboya, Dr. Kiano as well as Mr. Blundell and the rest—and listen to what they have to say. If the right hon. Gentleman spends a few hours with them he will realise that the African politicians are not violent emotional nationalists. They are intelligent men and women like ourselves and are interested in establishing social democracy in their own country.
I hope that the Colonial Secretary will not finish his journey in Nairobi, but will go to Dar-es-Salaam and spend a week in Tanganyika. He will there find 749 the most encouraging signs of a multiracial community in Africa. In Tanganyika, a country about which, unfortunately, we do not talk a great deal in this House, there is a nation of 9 million people composed of three main communities. The majority are Africans, but there is a sizeable minority of Asians and Europeans. These people are working together in a way which I am sure we want to see followed in other territories, particularly Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
How has this situation been achieved in Tanganyika when only a few years ago it seemed impossible of achievement? It has been achieved because for some reason or another it has been recognised that Tanganyika will eventually be an African-dominated State. When the constitutional changes were introduced, a short time ago, the franchise qualifications for the elections which were held last year were made so low that Africans had a genuine part to play in the elections. The Colonial Secretary knows the details of that franchise. There were 10 constituencies each returning three members, one European, one African and one Asian, on a common roll with a franchise qualification as low as £150. This enabled many Africans to go on to the roll and vote for Asians and Europeans.
Many of us on this side of the House were concerned that this was, in fact, a compulsory aspect of the use of the vote in Tanganyika. Each elector had to use three votes. We were worried about that sort of compulsion. As I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) will agree, it has turned out very well. It has brought the three races together in the sort of cooperation that we want to see elsewhere. We now have 30 unofficial Members in the Legislative Council of Tanganyika, united—and I emphasise the word-behind the leardership of Julius Nyerere, the leader of the Tanganyika African National Union.
When Mr. Nyerere was considering the new constitutional proposals to be put forward, he had to insist that safeguards for the Asian minorities were introduced into the Constitution because the Asians were so confident about the new relationship with the Africans in Tanganyika that they were prepared to have all 750 the minority safeguards taken out and to rely on a common roll of universial franchise. I hope that the Colonial Secretary will go to Tanganyika and see this for himself, because he may see something which might well be applied to the problems of Central Africa.
I find myself in embarrassing agreement with much that the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) said. I do not agree with all that he said, but I agree wholeheartedly with his last point. It would be an absolute mistake to assume that we can give Parliamentary democracy to these countries on a plate and then expect them automatically to make a success of it. "One man, one vote" by itself will not create democracy in Africa. What these people need besides the franchise is the building up of organisations in which they can participate—trade unions and cooperative societies as well as political parties—so that ordinary people and even the peasants in rural areas have a chance to participate and play their part. We need a multitude of different organisations to which they can belong.
That is the job that we still have to do in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. If I heard the hon. Gentleman correctly, his speech was an argument for going slow in Central Africa. He said that before we can pass over responsibility there must exist the conditions in which democracy can succeed. I agree with him wholeheartedly. I believe that we should go slow in Central Africa to enable more and more people to participate and enable democracy eventually to succeed. If we go too quickly and withdraw too quickly from our responsibilities towards those territories, it will mean that a minority will be left in control, and then they will be able to do exactly what they like.
They can say, "We do not care about the pledges which were made in 1959 or 1960. We are not interested in what Sir Roy Welensky said in his speech in 1959, or even in what Sir Roy said at the 1960 Conference." They will be saying in 1963 and 1964 the sort of things which Dr. Verwoed is saying today in the Union of South Africa, "Our future as a white minority race in Central Africa is at stake." They will then say, "We cannot be bound by what our predecessors, like Sir Roy Welensky, had 751 to say. We must think only of the continuation of white rule in Central Africa".
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett
I was not referring to the dangers of a particular minority or section taking over power. I was not talking, as the hon. Member seems to be, about one colour. I was talking about the difficulties of exporting British parliamentary democracy to African peoples of all races. The hon. Member seems to be specifying one racial section distinctly and critically. I was not doing that.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I appreciate that, I was merely trying to draw the argument into the context of the main subject of our debate, Central African Federation.
I agree with the hon. Gentleman entirely in relation to Ghana, Nigeria or Uganda. It would be a deplorable mistake for us to withdraw from Uganda before conditions have been established in which democracy can succeed. It would be a mistake to leave the feudal kings in control. I do not believe that the Kabaka of Buganda and the Omukama of Toro have any more right to rule in Uganda than we have. Before we withdraw we must have conditions established in which democracy can succeed.
I believe as firmly about this in regard to Uganda as I do in regard to Central Africa. We cannot accept the mere protestations of faith by Sir Roy Welensky or any other white or black politician in Central Africa. We have a responsibility to all these countries and cannot withdraw from that responsibility until such time as the majority of the people are participating to the extent that their participation can never be denied to them.
I am sure that there were many people in this country who accepted the safeguards which were introduced into the Constitution when the Union of South Africa obtained its independence. But what are those safeguards worth today? Most, if not all, hon. Members opposite deplore what has happened in South Africa during the past few years. What can we do about it now? We have lost our chance of influencing what is happening in a country where there is a minority of 3 million whites 752 as against 9 million Africans. We have almost given away, but not quite, our chance of influencing the position in Southern Rhodesia.
In Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland the responsibility is still very firmly ours. I agree with the hon. Gentleman in saying that we should not hand over our responsibilities to these two Protectorates until we are perfectly satisfied that the majority of the people consent to the form of government which is ruling them and also that they have some participation in it, and, to have that situation, I am sure we need a much lower franchise than exists in Central Africa today.
I would remind the House of the actual position. When we speak of the Federal Prime Minister, Sir Roy Welensky, let us remember exactly whom he represents. I should like to give the numbers on the electoral rolls in the three territories concerned. In Southern Rhodesia, on the general roll there are 64,465 Europeans and only 1,024 Africans, and on the special roll there are 161 Europeans and only 750 Africans. In Northern Rhodesia, on the general roll—it is the only roll which has any real power in regard to elections—are 19,327 Europeans and only 659 Africans, with 4,103 Africans on the special roll. In Nyasaland, there are 2,176 Europeans on the general roll as against 14 Africans, and there are 24 Africans on the special roll. That means that, although the Europeans number 4 per cent. of the population—280,000 Europeans as against 7½ million Africans—the power is in the hands of the Europeans.
Are hon. Members opposite, with all their protestations about partnership, and so on, really satisfied that partnership can exist if such a small number of people in Central Africa have so much political power? Is it not inviting disaster if we withdraw from our responsibilities and allow this tiny minority to take over the political power? I am glad that Sir Roy Welensky has said that he is not now demanding dominion status at the 1960 talks, but it would be just as bad if the power were passed over to a territorial administration in Northern Rhodesia which was elected on an absolutely fraudulent Constitution which denies the Africans their real chance of participation.
753 I was in Northern Rhodesia a few weeks before the elections were held in that territory, and all the Africans that I met, with the exception of two or three members of the United Federal Party, told me that they had no confidence at all in the Constitution. Indeed, some of the candidates had to spend days going round their huge constituencies on their bicycles to get certificates of approval from two-thirds of the chiefs before they could even stand as candidates.
When we see the election results, it is clear that it is the European minority of 75,000, against the 2½ million Africans, who really have the political power, even to the extent—this is one of the dastardly tricks which have been perpetrated in Central Africa during the past few years—of having African representatives elected by Europeans and then saying that there are Africans on the Legislative Council or the Federal Assembly, as the case may be. Actually, those Africans represent no Africans at all, because most of the Africans are so opposed to the concept of federation as put forward by the United Federal Party that they will vote against the U.F.P., even to the extent of voting for the reactionary Dominion Party.
Hon. Members opposite will agree with me that this was the case in the Northern Rhodesia Territorial Election. The Central African Examiner estimated that out of the 7,000 Africans—what a small number !—who were participating in that election as electors, only 400 actually voted for the United Federal Party candidates. One cannot say that that is any sign that Africans are in support of the United Federal Party concept of federation. Not only the Africans but most of the white electors in Southern Rhodesia are opposed to the United Federal Party concept of federation. In the last territorial elections in Southern Rhodesia more votes were cast for the Dominion Party, which believes in cutting up the Federation altogether, than were cast for the United Federal Party itself.
I agree entirely that the 1960 talks would be not at all helped by the Monckton Commission that has been set up. It has been called a Parliamentary Commission, but that is an absolute misnomer. It is not a Parliamentary Commission at all. Parliament has six 754 representatives on it, but they will be in a very small minority—they will be even smaller than the number of representatives appointed from Central Africa. There will be, I think, 13 from Central Africa as against the six from Parliament. It is not a Parliamentary Commission. It is not the sort of Commission that the Opposition had in mind when they originally put forward the idea for a commission to go to Nyasaland. It is not a genuine Parliamentary Commission.
So far as I can see, its terms of reference are so restricted that we could just as well do without it. Quite frankly, if the terms of reference are not altered and the composition looked at in the way suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East, I hope that the Opposition will oppose it and vote against it to show that we will not be a party to a fraudulent commission, which is not a commission at all but a pre-conference which will help to decide the 1960 results before the 1960 Conference actually takes place.
There has been reference today to the statement made by the Roman Catholic bishops at their conference at Kachebere, in Nyasaland, on 14th October. I think that the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) mentioned it and quoted a paragraph from it, but he left out the last sentence, and I should like to remind the House of what the bishops said. They said thatUntil the non-European section of the population is more competent to assess the import of the constitutional changes proposed and can by prudent exercise of the franchise make their wishes known"—and the following is the piece that he missed out of his quotation—it would constitute a great injustice to impose upon them a form of government unacceptable to them.That is exactly what we on this side of the House believe While this condition of emergency exists in Central Africa, it would be a mistake to have any changes at all in the relationship of this country to the Protectorate or, indeed, in the division of powers between the federal and the territorial administrations. Any change in favour of strengthening the Federal Government would be wrong. I am glad that the Colonial Secretary himself appears to agree with that opinion. I made a note of what he 755 said, because I thought that it was so important a concession that we must not allow it to be lost. He said that any constitutional advance should not take place if—and he was referring to the emergency situation—it goes on.
I think that that is the most encouraging thing that a Colonial Secretary has said from that Box for many years, and I hope that he will remain firm to that expression of policy. Let us have no changes in the constitutional position in Central Africa until all the conditions of emergency are removed and until all the political leaders are released or charged. Until that time, no changes should take place whatsoever except to limit the Federal powers. Even a change of responsibility of, say, the police or African education from the Territorial Governments to the Federal administration could be a most dangerous concession to the federal idea.
Finally, I want to refer to something else which the bishops said on 14th October:The bishops protest against the disparity which exists between the ideal of partnership so greatly publicised and the practice of it in all three territories, a disparity which regrettably seems to stem from statutory law based on race distinction, and cannot too greatly insist on the necessity of according to all men irrespective of race the rights due to them as human persons and citizens.I think that it was the hon. Member for Torquay who referred to the powers of the Federal Prime Minister, and he mentioned that the Federal Prime Minister accepted no responsibility for that particular expression of opinion.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I apologise to the hon. Member. I confused him with an earlier speaker, I think that it was the hon. Member for Haltemprice.
What Sir Roy Welensky actually said, referring to law based on race distinction, was:This appears to make reference to territorial statutes.That is very important because these territorial statutes—and, of course, the bishops were referring to the territorial statutes in Southern Rhodesia—are still the responsibility of this House, and the 756 submissions of the Roman Catholic bishops in Central Africa should be addressed not to Sir Roy Welensky but to us, because it is our responsibility to ensure that the laws in Southern Rhodesia which are based on racial discrimination should be abolished.
I am glad to have—and I hope that the Minister of State will pay some attention to this—some support for this submission from the author of a book called Hope in Africa which was published in 1952, written by the Minister of State before he became a Minister. This is what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Colchester (Mr. Alport) said when referring to the powers we have in Britain to disallow discriminatory legislation in Southern Rhodesia:This power to disallow discriminatory legislation has in fact, never been used. Many people assume that it has, therefore, ceased to be effective. This is not true. Any laws passed by the Southern Rhodesian Parliament, falling under Sections 28 and 40 of the Letters Patent, are, in fact, referred to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs and have, under Governments of various political complexion since 1937, been approved by him.Was that the case? I should like the Minister of State to tell us. Three Bills were recently passed by the Southern Rhodesian Parliament—the Unlawful Organisations Act, the Native Amendment Act, and the Preventive Detention Act, three Fascist Acts. Were they referred to the Secretary of State before they were passed into law? When they were passed into law, did the hon. Gentleman's noble Friend in any way examine them?
We still have a responsibility in this House for the legislation in Southern Rhodesia if it is discriminatory against Africans, and those three Bills were openly discriminatory against Africans in Southern Rhodesia. They follow, of course, the very unhappy tradition of Acts in Southern Rhodesia.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan), who made such a remarkable maiden speech today—I congratulate him very sincerely upon it—made the point that the Land Apportionment Act had to be amended so that the University College could be established. The Land Apportionment Act prevents a Parliamentary Secretary of Sir Roy Welensky, Mr. Savanhu, himself having a home in the European area of Salisbury. The Land Apportionment 757 Act allows 10 per cent. of the population, Europeans of Southern Rhodesia, to have more than 50 per cent. of the land, whereas nine-tenths of the population, which is African, have to live on just over 40 per cent.
These Acts, which are discriminatory, have been passed by a Parliament which is all white. The Parliament in Southern Rhodesia had, of course, increased the franchise qualifications, as my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) pointed out earlier today, when there was a danger that more Africans would get on to the roll. I therefore ask the Minister of State whether there was any consultation, and, if not, what does he intend now to do about these discriminatory Acts which were passed.
Finally, I hope that we shall not rush into any changes in the constitutional position in Central Africa during the coming year. We have had so much talk about the importance of 1960 that some people may be expecting revolutionary changes. I hope that we will have none of that. I hope that 1960 will be only a period of marking time, so that there may be more thought of the long-term considerations of all the people who live in Central Africa.
On this side of the House we are interested not merely in the Africans in Central Africa. We believe that it is only by government by consent and participation of all the people in the institutions of the country in which they live that minorities can be safeguarded.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) made great play with the inadequacy of African representation in the two Northern Protectorates and the restrictive nature of the franchise. He would have been fairer and would have put the whole situation in perspective had he reminded the House that when the party opposite—and I am not criticising them for it—left office in 1951, there was no African elected Member in the Legislative Councils of either of the two Northern Protectorates, and no African British-protected subject had the vote.
When one bears in mind that a very large proportion of those living in Central Africa—and in other parts of Africa— 758 only a generation ago would not have known that the spoken word could be written down, or that such simple aids to living as the wheel, the loom or the plough existed, the pace of advance in recent years, especially since the Federation, has not been slow. It has not been the case that people in the Federation or here have been dragging their feet. What has been achieved has been a remarkable tribute to the progress which Africans can make and are making.
I also agree with the hon. Member that before decisions are taken on the final form of the Federation it will be as well to see that African representation in the two Northern Protectorates is stronger than it is today. I also agree with him that this has been one of the most remarkable and informative debates on the subject of Central Africa that we have had for a number of years. The whole House seems seized with the realisation that over the next five years the greatest challenge to the Parliament and people of the United Kingdom will come not at home but overseas, in the Colonial Territories.
For while we are now in the last stages of a transition from an empire to a self-governing Commonwealth, we are in the most difficult, delicate and dangerous stage of all. My right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) comes to his high office at the most crucial time since the war. He comes at a time when drastic rethinking of our policies is necessary and when big decisions have to be made, not merely in East and Central Africa, but elsewhere in the remaining Colonial Empire. As he clearly showed in his speech this afternoon, he brings to his task great qualities of heart and mind which will stand him in good stead in the years ahead.
Considering what lies ahead, the going up to now has been relatively smooth. I never cease to marvel at the combination of skill and good luck which in the past has enabed Britain to speed so many former dependencies on their way to self-government and independence, in a way which has enabled those countries to remain members of the Commonwealth family. That was the case in India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Malaya and Ghana. It has been no mean achievement.
759 That achievement owes a great deal to the fact, however, at any rate up to now, that there has been no serious disagreement between the parties about the timing and wisdom of our actions. Both parties have acted with statesmanship. Burke's dictum that magnanimity is not seldom the truest wisdom in politics, applies to both of them.
But nowhere was the advance in any of these new territories to self-government and the final transfer of power bedevilled by conflict between a dominant white minority and a backward coloured majority. It is true that the price of independence for India was partition, which we often forget. It is true that there are still communal difficulties in Ceylon. It is true that in Malaya much water has to flow through the Straits before we can say that Chinese, Malays and Indians have been welded into a single nation.
But, as my right hon. Friend recognised so clearly at the outset of his speech, there is no more difficult problem facing us than that of building a single nation out of diverse racial elements at such vastly different levels of cultural, technical and political development as is the case in East and Central Africa. Yet the task has to be tackled. If there is any message which the House has given to my right hon. Friend this afternoon, it is that the task must be tackled urgently. We have to get over this particular hump in the next five years, or we shall fail.
It must be tackled, too, with urgency, not merely for the Africans and Europeans in the territories concerned, but because if we fail the whole concept of a multi-racial Commonwealth will be endangered and our own relations with the non-European members of the Commonwealth may well be imperilled.
I do not think that it is impossible to build a single nation out of diverse racial elements. I think that it was Renan who said that a nation is what a people feel themselves to be. If there is a sufficiency of community of interest and of aspiration, people of different racial elements will combine together, but they must feel that they belong to one community, that they are children of one God, and that they sink or swim together. That has happened in the 760 Caribbean. A Jamaican is a Jamaican first and a negro or white man afterwards. What matters here is not the colour of a man's skin, not his pigmentation, but his quality as a man, the contribution he makes to society as a whole.
It is true that there are those who believe that it is impossible to build a genuine multi-racial society short of assimilation. The argument runs that since in Central and East Africa the white community does not accept, at any rate at this stage, the possibility of assimilation, the task might just as well be abandoned now, because it could never be successful; white minorities must therefore retain control or be engulfed.
That is a doctrine of despair. It is a doctrine which my hon. Friends and, I believe, hon. Members opposite and certainly my right hon. Friend repudiate. It would spell ruin for both races. It can be no part of our task, our civilising mission, our imperial task, whatever it may be called, now in its final stages, to pave the way for anarchy, and that is what would ensue if we gave way to the claims of either the black or white racialists in Central Africa.
I beg hon. Members opposite to remember that, at any rate at this stage in the development of Central Africa, the leadership in administration, business, finance, agriculture, is almost entirely in European hands. It is not a question of Europeans standing in the way of African advancement. The fact is that only eight or nine short years ago, there was no directly elected African representation in the two Northern Legislative Councils. That was not because the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) had failed in his job—he brought a great energy and a great vision, as much as any Secretary of State, to his task—it was because the human raw material was not there and time had to elapse before the skills could be imparted, the knowledge acquired and the experience gained. It is this backwardness which lies at the very root of the problem.
I can honestly say I have encountered no Europeans in East or Central Africa who want to stand in the way of genuine African advancement. Indeed, the well-being of small white communities must depend upon the raising of the levels 761 of the education and economic well-being of their black neighbours. Why is it that at time of acute political difficulty British businesses have been setting themselves up in Nairobi? Why has there been no difficulty about finding British investment to go to Kenya in these difficult times? It is because of the belief of British businessmen on the spot that African living standards are rising and that there will develop a great African market, not a European market, in the years to come.
Why is it that in the last few years the Federation has had almost the highest rate of economic growth in the world? Why is it that British, European and American capital has been flowing into the Federation? It is because of confidence that here is a country where commonsense has prevailed by the three territories joining together, the combined economy of which is far stronger than the single economies of the territories could have ever been. That is an indication of confidence in the future based upon the inevitability of African advancement and expansion. One must start, therefore, by recognising the fact that at this stage it is not a question of economic power resting in the hands of the Europeans. Of course, it does, although in parts of East Africa the Asian makes a substantial contribution, too, but that is because of the backwardness of the African, which is only just beginning to change.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Would not the hon. Member agree that in the countries where encouragement has been given to peasant co-operatives they are now making a very big contribution in spreading the economic power?
§ Mr. Braine
I would not only agree with that, but I would say that where agricultural change is taking place and freehold tenure has been given to individual peasant farmers, as in Kenya, we have seen the most remarkable transformation. People who hitherto were steeped in poverty and ignorance and where holdings of over five acres were often fragmented into strips miles apart, are now acquiring the knowledge of how to farm their land scientifically, using improved manures and better seed, and how to look after their livestock. As a consequence, men have gone from a subsistence income which could be 762 measured at about £5 to £10 a year, to incomes, particularly if they are growing coffee, of between £100 and £200. When I was last in Kenya I met African farmers some of whom were getting four figure incomes. The difficulty in finding the truth of the matter is that the African does not like revealing his income for fear of the Income Tax inspector.
These changes, as the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) said, are coming. My own feeling is that this House would be much better advised to press my right hon. Friend to give financial and technical aid in order to ensure that the African can conquer his environment. What is it that holds the African back? It is the fact that his environment has been unchanged for centuries. It sufficed for a simple peasant existence, which was all right in the days when disease and war kept numbers down, but it no longer suffices in the modern world. The great tragedy of the African today is that his own culture is crumbling beneath his feet, he sees that his ancient tribal loyalties and beliefs are no longer valid, and he is faced with a great spiritual vacuum. I suggest there is no better way to hasten the day when the African can enter into his own and share in the Government of his own country than by giving him a sense of responsibility to his own land. I have always said that what Africa needs is not an industrial but an agricultural revolution and I am glad that the hon. Member for Wednesbury agrees.
It is not unnatural, therefore, that Europeans in Central Africa should be concerned that African political advance does not dilute civilised standards and imperil good government. It is a matter of balance—I think that was the term used by my right hon. Friend this afternoon—because the condition of rapid African political, economic and social advance is surely the preservation of good government which helps to encourage the inflow of capital and expertise. The suggestion made from the Opposition Front Bench by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, that European immigration into the Federation should be restricted, is too stupid for words, because in fact nothing would help the African population more at present than to get into the Federation more key workers and more of the kind of people who can generate new wealth and ideas. 763 In fact, the period during which more emigrants went from this country to Southern and Northern Rhodesia was when the party opposite was in the seat of Government between 1946 and 1949.
Of course, what the Federation needs is to get away from these racial ideas and to concentrate on the means which will expand the wealth of the country and make possible rapid African advance. I thoroughly agree, and want to make it absolutely crystal clear, that I and my hon. Friends know perfectly well that African aspirations cannot be checked, nor do we want to check them. It would be contrary to our own great historic tradition to do so. We agree with the character in the Shakespeare play who speaks of the futility of marching againstthe huge army of the world's desires.We recognise that African aspirations must be encouraged and guided into fruitful directions, but equally the insistence by the men in possession—the hon. Member talked about power being in the hands of Europeans—insistence by our own kith and kin on the spot, on the maintenance of high standards of government, of business and the maintenance of a sound economy is surely something we must all recognise as being imperative.
This is our dilemma. We must somehow find the means, the framework, within which it is possible for Africans to advance politically hand in hand with the economic development of the Federation. We must somehow find the means of ensuring that each race knows in its heart that it will not suffer from the domination of the other and that the process must continue—here I agree with the hon. Member for Wednesbury—until fear, which is the corrupter in Africa, is eradicated and the approach of all men to their common problems is non-racial.
That is why I am a convinced federationist. I do not disguise my feeling that if this formula is to be found and applied sucessfully, it is our duty in this country and Sir Roy Welensky's duty in the Federation—I do not think he needs to be told this, for he knows it perfectly well—to remove discriminations of the kind about which my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) talked. One of the most distinguished 764 Southern Rhodesian Africans I have ever had the privilege to meet once told me, and I have always remembered it, "Remember that what to Europeans may appear to be a pinprick is a deep, wounding thing to Africans." Somehow we must get that view over in the Federation.
Secondly, we must lay emphasis on the things which we hold in common. When I was in Kenya a year ago I was much impressed to find how successful had been the African coffee farmers. Africans have been growing good coffee since only fairly recently, but they have advanced far enough to make a sufficiently valued contribution to the production of coffee that they have been admitted to the Kenya Farmers' Union. They are talking to European farmers in terms which they understand. They have an interest in common, and they are building up an industry which is vital to them both. There is no conflict between them. Farmers, white and black, are producing a good product—and here I speak as chairman of the Commonwealth Producers' Organisation, particularly concerned in advancing the interests of East African coffee, which is the best in the world.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I wonder whether the hon. Member supported the growing of coffee by Africans in Kenya when it was disallowed and when my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) was pressing that they should be allowed to grow coffee.
§ Mr. Braine
If I may say so, that is a very silly point to make. The most important point is that if the African is to make a proper contribution to an export economy, particularly in coffee, which is a quality product, he must be growing his coffee or the other products properly. Today he does so Here we have a situation in which both the African and the European have a joint interest in maintaining not only the quality but also the volume of their produce. We must lay emphasis more and more on that sort of thing.
I believe that we have to open up many more opportunities to Africans in politics, adminstration and business. We must take a great many more risks than we have been prepared to take. It would be wrong to goad my right hon. Friend on this subject, because he said this 765 afternoon that he will shortly be having talks with the Governments of the two Northern Territories. I should be prepared to take many more risks in Africa in giving responsibility to persons of the less-advanced race provided—and I think that I shall probably carry even the hon. Member for Wednesbury with me here—that we keep our hands on the levers of power until we are certain that that responsibility is being exercised by all races in the interests of the Territory as a whole.
We should also avoid labelling an increasing number of Africans, who show themselves ready to co-operate, as "stooges" or "Quislings" In a remarkable Russian novel written by Vladimir Dudinstev, Not By Bread Alone, the author complained, in an epilogue, of the trigger words which so many politicians and journalists use, saying that they arejoined into a long fuse which leads to the powder vaults of war".That is an interesting phrase. It is easy to use such phrases here as "stooge" or "Fascist" and to be completely oblivious of the effect overseas. Such language might well imperil the constitutional talks which lie ahead.
Last week the Leader of the Opposition, in opening the debate on the reply to the Gracious Speech, said that the success of these constitutional talks, in his view, depended on three conditions. First, there should be a substantial extension of the franchise in the two Northern Territories before the talks begin. Secondly, the composition of the Advisory Commission should be such as to command African confidence. Thirdly, the right of secession should be conceded.
I have no quarrel with the first two conditions which he laid down, certainly not with the principles he advanced. There is something to be said for adapting the Northern Rhodesian pattern of qualitative franchise to conditions in Nyasaland. I am sure that the right thing to do in Central Africa is to support the idea of a qualitative franchise now, so that as African living and educational standards rise, more and more of them will qualify for the vote. In Northern Rhodesia, of course, the African will get the vote inevitably. Here we have what has been described as a self-propelling 766 constitution. It may be that it needs a little more propulsion than has been shown up to now, but that is a matter of detail, and surely the door is wide open, because Sir Roy Welensky himself has conceded the possibility of independence within the Federation for the two Northern Territories.
I entirely agree with what my right hon. Friend said this afternoon about the Advisory Commission. I agree with his approach, and I reject the suggestion that membership should be widened to include fierce supporters of the Federation, on the one hand, or declared opponents of it, like Dr. Banda, on the other hand. The right course is to go on with the Advisory Commission as planned. I am sure that all on these benches and all the nation hope that the Opposition will see fit to send representatives to the Advisory Commission. It will hear evidence, we have been told this afternoon, from those who are determined opponents of federation, and I hope that it will be able to come fearlessly to its conclusions. That is why I think that the reference last week by the Leader of the Opposition to secession was untimely, unfortunate, and damaging.
Like the word "stooge", it is the kind of word which is "joined into a long fuse" andleads to the powder vaults of war.But I was interested this afternoon to notice that there was no reference at all to the word "secession". It was as though there had been second thoughts, and I hope that there were second thoughts and that it was decided that the word should not be used. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East wanted to know, however, what was sacred about federation. He did not suggest what should be put in its place. He merely asked the question, could the territories be linked in any other way than by federation? That was important, coming from the Opposition spokesman.
Federation can be loose or it can be rigid. As far as I understand it, there is no intention on the part of the Government that federation should be tightened. It is open to question whether a looser form of association can be devised. It seems to me silly to bandy words like this. What is quite clear is 767 that the association of the three territories is imperative if they are to advance and if there is to be African advancement.
§ Mr. Paget
The hon. Member has been complaining about the use of words. The danger is to use words in their wrong meaning. What we have said all along is that the economic advantages can be gained by the sort of agreement which the six countries in Europe have achieved between themselves. We have always been in favour of that. Federation has a perfectly good meaning; it means that there is an authority which rules in a large number of things. That, being rejected by the Africans, is something which ought to be rejected by us.
§ Mr. Braine
I do not follow that line of reasoning. First, may I deal with the point of African opposition? I do not deny for one moment that it exists, but the Devlin Report made plain what those of us who know anything about the territories had known for some time, namely, that intimidation also existed and that any African who thought, for example, that federation was a good thing had to think twice about it before he expressed himself publicly.
§ Mr. Braine
The hon. and learned Gentleman interrupted my speech. I am endeavouring to answer him. I shall certainly not respond to suggestions made by him from a sedentary position that I should come along. I certainly do not intend to come along with the hon. Gentleman.
§ The question of consent is absolutely vital. I will endeavour to put it into perspective. At the time when the party opposite entered into constitutional talks with an idea of bringing about closer association of the two Northern Protectorates with the Crown Colony of Southern Rhodesia there was no elected African in the Northern Legislatures. The question of consent did not arise. Indeed, African expression of opinion could only have come through the normal tribal machinery.
§ It can be said on two counts that the party opposite bears a very heavy responsibility for the African opposition which exists. First, instructions were 768 given to our representatives on the spot in those two territories in 1950–51 not to explain federation to any African who wanted to know what it was all about.[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Secondly, since Lord Attlee said that the Opposition accepted federation and it was their duty to help make it work, every single opportunity has been taken to sabotage the working of federation. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are perfectly entitled to their point of view. I am not criticising them for that, but it was not unnatural that large numbers of people in the Northern Territories should have thought that, since the Opposition in this House thought that federation was a bad thing, perhaps it was a bad thing after all.
§ Mr. Brockway
The hon. Gentleman said that the Opposition took the view that district officers should not explain federation. Is it not the case that we were perfectly in agreement with what the explanation of federation should be, but that we were opposed to our district officers carrying out propaganda for it? We believed that the Africans should make their own choice.
§ Mr. Braine
That may well have been the case. I want to avoid making any suggestion that I am criticising the party opposite for the stand it took when it was in office. I am merely saying that it is a fact that, having set in motion the idea of association between the three territories at a time when the African was not sufficiently developed politically to express any view on the subject but was used to the idea of looking up to the district officer virtually as his father and as his friend, the Labour Government took the responsible steps of ordering that the administration should not give an opinion one way or the other I have met Africans who have said, "When we enquired whether federation was a good thing or a bad thing, we were told nothing. We therefore assumed that it was a bad thing".
The African opposition to federation is very largely irrational. I am sure that all hon. Members are well aware that private investment in the last six years has been five times as great as it was in the previous five years. New opportunities have been created for employment, African savings and wages have risen. Since the Federal Government 769 took over, there has been a three-fold increase in capital expenditure on hospitals and dispensaries, a seven-fold increase in grants to medical missionaries and a three-fold increase in expenditure on African education. Four pounds out of every £7 spent today in Nyasaland are subsidised by the Federal Government.
This was the reason why in the first instance in the late 1940's the Labour Government decided that at least the question of association should be explored, because there was no future for Nyasaland. It was a landlocked little country, desperately poor. Its only export was its labour. There was no future except in association with the other two territories. It was a perfectly statesmanlike and logical conclusion to which the Labour Government came.
There seems to be an opinion prevailing on the benches opposite that we have only to concede the right of secession, as we conceded it to Canada and Australia, and automatically the two Northern Protectorates, when they get African governments, will stay in the Federation. That is not the view of African nationalists. They are thinking in terms of a Ghana or a Uganda. But the tragedy is that Nyasaland has neither the natural resources nor the men at this stage to sustain an independent existence.
It is not a question of leaving Nyasaland under Colonial Office control subsidised by the taxpayers of this country. If we set out on that course we shall find that Nyasaland will aspire to be a Uganda or a Ghana in a very short time, and that it will be the ordinary African who will suffer in the process. There is no future for Nyasaland outside the Federation, and the sooner we recognise that the better. Secession is not always a good thing for those who advocate it. The House will probably remember that Western Australia sought to secede in the 1930's. Would that have been for the benefit of either Western Australia or the rest of Australia? My hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison), who comes from that great country, will support my argument. One hundred years ago British Columbia sought to secede from Canada. If she had succeeded in her aspirations, does any hon. Member think that the great Dominion of Canada, which today runs 770 "from sea to sea", would exist? It would have been absorbed long ago by the United States.
I believe wholeheartedly that there is no alternative to federation, however lose to may be, of the three territories, and that this is the prime condition for African advancement. If we in this country genuinely believe that our task, our privilege, is to enable millions of Africans to jump the centuries, to emerge from what is still largely a primitive society, to join the rest of humanity in this modern age and be enabled to stand on their own feet in dignity and with happiness and pride, their environment must be changed. It can be changed only by economic development. Economic development is possible only if these territories are kept together, if they are kept viable and if confidence is maintained. That is why the framework of federation must be maintained.
For that reason I welcome very much the approach of my right hon. Friend to his great task. I hope that he will succeed as time goes on in drawing to himself support, not only from this side of the House, but from the opposite side of the House, because surely in this we all share the same objective.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)
I have listened to almost the whole of this debate, and I agree with those of my hon. Friends and others who have said that it has in some ways been a remarkable debate. The right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, whom I welcome to his office, as have other hon. Members, brought a new tone, at any rate, to his opening speech. I did not feel, when he came to specific tasks or statements of policy, that I saw much sign of liberality expressed in detail, but I certainly welcomed the way in which he approached the whole problem. As a back bencher, I should also like to congratulate the right hon. Gentleman upon the amount of time that he has spent in the Chamber, which is very much appreciated by those who are called in this debate.
As many hon. Members have said, there can be no doubt, surely, that the problem of Africa is the problem, above all, with which this Parliament will have to live. It is appropriate that we should be debating it upon the Queen's Speech 771 since that fact indicates the importance we attach to it. From whichever side of the House we speak, we are all, I think, anxious about the problem, conscious of its great difficulties, and wishing to do the best we can for those parts of Africa for which we have some responsibility. Although, later, I shall have to be controversial in some of the things I say, I will go now so far as to say that, without any question, the long-term interests of the white settlers, of the Africans and of this House all lie in a peaceful evolution for Central Africa out of its present state into something more stable and more likely to last.
On the other hand, I feel that I really must issue one warning at this stage. I feel that there has been a slight air of unreality about the whole debate. I have missed only about two minutes of it, and nobody has mentioned, in my hearing at least, the fact that the African nationalist movement over the whole Continent of Africa is now very different from what it was even a year ago. Now that we have, at Accra, organised the Pan-African movement, now that we have the leaders meeting one with another, conscious of their duty and of their heritage, anxious to get on with the job, we are no longer discussing Central Africa, Kenya, or any other Colony in isolation. The pace of movement and the Speed of change in Africa is far greater than has been fully recognised in this House.
African leaders are very often described as extremists. In Africa, the word "extremist" means a man who believes that the Africans are entitled to the same full social, political and economic rights as the white man. That is the form of extremism which African nationalism takes. In June, I had the privilege of going to Tunis at a time when the steering committee of the Pan-African People's Conference was meeting. I had there the opportunity of meeting many of the African leaders, some of whom, of course, I knew already and some of whom I was meeting for the first time. What struck me more than anything else about them was the aims and aspirations they had in common with everyone in this country and with the famous leaders of the last century who sought to bring equal political, 772 economic and social rights to the working class in Britain.
The challenge which faces the Colonial Secretary in this part of the twentieth century is how to come to terms with this tremendous pressure and demand for change without allowing it to spill over into violence. Let there be no mistake about it; it can spill over into violence in the future, as it has in the past. There has been the Mau Mau rising, which was a primitive form of nationalism. Let us not forget that we, after all, are only a few hundred yards from the statue of the British "Mau Mau" leader, Queen Boadicea, who murdered no fewer than 70,000 Romans with her chariots and spears because they took her land and whipped and flogged her and her children. Nationalism can take a primitive or an advanced form. We must try to canalise the demand and desire for change among African leaders through constitutional means.
The basic difficulty here in Central Africa is that the African nationalist leaders do not yet believe that the machinery of government is an instrument worth their trying to use. This is the main cause of frustration. This is what takes their action outside parliamentary means. My hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stone-house) said this, but I must refer to it again. Who exactly does Sir Roy Welensky represent in Central Africa? Sixty-four thousand people voted in the Federal elections on 12th November, a year ago, 64,000 out of 7 million. Sir Roy Welensky's party secured 37,145 votes.
There are four of my hon. Friends from Yorkshire alone who, in their individual constituencies, each secured as many as 10,000 more votes than Sir Roy Welensky secured in the whole of the Central African Federation. My hon. Friend the Member for Rother Valley (Mr. D. Griffiths) secured the support of 43,000 voters, yet Sir Roy Welensky, with his 37,000 votes, commands 44 seats and complete control of the Federal Government in Central Africa. Incidentally, this is only 0.45 per cent. of the population of the territory over which he rules as Prime Minister.
I say this only to indicate that we cannot expect a Constitution which reflects 773 public opinion so inadequately to command the confidence of the African people who live under it. I put it not as a point of criticism, but as a point of fact. We must recognise why the African does not turn his mind to the possibility of Parliamentary change. He does not turn his mind that way because he does not believe that in that way there is a prospect of gaining for himself and his fellow men the rights to which he feels himself to be entitled.
We cannot stop the drive. I was pleased to hear the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) say that in his speech. I think it has been a characteristic of this debate that there has been a greater recognition from the benches opposite of the fact that we cannot stop this advance of the African people. We cannot stop it for one reason, because here in this Chamber is the greatest revolutionary inspiration of the lot. If we can do it, why cannot they do it? We bring Africans here on Government grants to study at our universities. They are trained to "be the white man's burden," and, when they return home, they discover, when they advocate the same sort of course themselves, that they are liable to be locked up as extremists. Extremism begins in the institutions, particularly the educational institutions, of this country.
Therefore, when we speak about winning the confidence of the Africans, this means one thing and one thing only. We must convince the people of Central Africa, African and European, that there is the possibility of using the machinery which lies to hand to secure the changes which they want for themselves and their people. We shall never win the confidence of the African people if we do not say quite clearly where we are going.
I intervened in an effort to cross-examine the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) on the subject of universal suffrage, not that I believe that one man, one vote, is necessarily a particularly efficient way of conducting Government. After all, we on this side of the House believe that the British public has misused universal suffrage at the last three General Elections; but we believe that it is better that people should misuse the right of self-government rather than that they should not have it at all. We shall never win the confidence of the 774 Africans if we do not, in the first place, grant what they really demand, which is the right to govern themselves.
Why do I lay such stress on the need to say at the beginning where we intend to finish? There is all the difference in the world between saying, "We are going towards full self-government, but it will take us a few years"—which is what I think we should say—and saying, "We are taking you here, there and everywhere and, in the end, though we do not know when, we may turn up at full universal suffrage." The African is a naturally suspicious man. I do not blame him. After all, he is told that there are great economic advantages from federation and that the link with the white man will bring him higher living standards, but the highest living standards in Africa are in the Union of South Africa. How will the African know, when his living standards rise, that he will not find himself confronted with the same removal of his limited rights as his brother Africans in the Union of South Africa? We shall never get the willingness of the African to co-operate with the short-term compromises that we need unless we begin by telling him where we are going. That is why we must recognise his rights and say that frankly at the very beginning.
When the former Colonial Secretary, the right hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Lennox-Boyd), was questioned about universal suffrage, we could never pin him down to a statement of final aim. But without that final statement we shall never win the confidence of the Africans. Democracy is not merely a wonderful moral idea which we grant people. It is not a luxury. It is a practical necessity. All of us on this side of the House are subversive. We all believe that this Government are a really crummy lot. But the reason we do not take to the hills with a submachine gun is because we know that the opportunity for change will come and will come peacefully.
What, in practical terms, does this mean as the way forward for this House and for this Government? First, we must recognise—and I was glad to see the beginnings of recognition of this from the Colonial Secretary—that the present detentions and emergency in Nyasaland cannot be allowed to continue. Dr. Banda is the leader of the Nyasaland 775 Africans. Just like Makarios and the others before him, we shall have to deal with Dr. Banda in the end, and we shall get much more credit and will make much more progress if we deal with him straight away.
I suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that, as he is going to bring the Governors to London—I am glad to see a new atmosphere beginning—he should bring Dr. Banda to London. This would be in line with many of his predecessors in recognising that we must deal with the man who speaks for his people. When we get him here, then we can discuss the work of the Commission.
I was alarmed to hear the Colonial Secretary say that he did not think that it mattered much whether the African representatives were picked because they were known to be representatives or because they were elected Members of the Legislative Council. If we are to win the Africans to the idea of using constitutional machinery, we must let them use it and see the advantage of using it. In that way they will be representatives, representing their own people to the Commission. I hope that this point is open to discussion.
I agree with my right hon. and hon. Friends who have spoken about the necessity for the democratisation of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland as the way forward. There is surely no doubt about this.
The difficult point—and I believe it is well for the House to understand this because it will affect the Labour Party's attitude towards joining the Commission—is whether the Commission is to be empowered to discuss anything other than federation in its present form. If my right hon. and hon. Friends serve on the Commission and, after hearing the evidence, are told that it is not in order within the terms of reference to recommend a different form of association, then they will be betraying themselves and those who have given evidence to them.
It is quite impossible for the Labour Party to co-operate with a Commission committed at the beginning to a final solution in terms of federation, which the Devlin Commission itself said is universally unacceptable among Africans in Nyasaland. Therefore, the terms of 776 reference of the Monckton Commission must be widened to incorporate the possibility that the evidence can be submitted with recommendations made against federation.
I do not object to federation. On economic grounds, there is obviously a case for it. What we all say is that federation must be by the consent of the people and that if we deny them the right to opt out then the Federation itself will have no real stability.
§ Mr. Braine
Surely the hon. Gentleman is aware that the terms of reference refer to the objects which the Federation set out to achieve, including the Preamble. As I read it, if federation fails to advance the objects, then other recommendations may come. I do not see that the Commission is in any way fettered.
§ Mr. Benn
The hon. Member does not speak from the Government Front Bench, but, if we were to have a statement as generous in its interpretation from the Colonial Secretary, it might alter our view.
If the Commission is allowed to recommend that the object of the Preamble cannot be secured by federation imposed against the will of the African our point will be met, but the Colonial Secretary, for reasons which I well understand—perhaps talks are going on about this—was not willing to go further than the Prime Minister in his statement announcing the formation of the Monckton Commission. I only say that the Opposition are bound to demand the right to recommend things other than the continuation of the Federation.
Finally, I should like to say a few words about the whole question of Africa and British politics. I would like to think, because I am interested in Africa—I spent a year there in the war and I have tried to follow it in the House—that African affairs had a big electoral concern in this country, but I cannot really say that. Among interested people there is, of course, strong feeling. Amongst those with knowledge there is great interest, but the mass of British people are not concerned with African politics for the simple reason that, if a man does not have a vote and does not have the right to put a Member in Parliament, Members of Parliament will not be so much concerned about him. For exactly the same reason the working 777 class and the interests of the working class in Britain were never fully regarded until there was universal suffrage in this country.
The alarming thing is that not only is the interest of the African not a major factor in British politics, but that it is not a major factor in Central African politics either. The figures show that during the election, only a handful of Africans were authorised to vote. If there is not opportunity for the Africans either to get their way by expression in this House or to get their way by expression in the Federal Assembly in Central Africa, the explosion will come. If we banish Erskine May we shall be landed with Guy Fawkes. We cannot get progress if we do not make the proper provision for democratic advance.
This is also a practical concern for the people of this country as well. This week, France enters into the sixth year of the Algerian war. That war has cost 10,000 French casualties and 120,000 Algerian casualties. The whole Fourth Republic has been thrown over because the French Parliament could not cope with the gravity of the problem. It has cost £2,700 million and still there is no way, as far as one can see, out of the Algerian tragedy. This could affect the people of this country. It will be British boys who will be sent to Central Africa if the blood begins to flow there. And so what happens is a matter of practical concern for this country.
The Secretary of State, perhaps more than any other Minister, has responsibility for this great problem. It is not merely a practical concern. It is a moral concern, too. When I was in Tunis, in June, talking to the leaders of the Pan-African movement, they always said, "What line do you take on African questions?" Suddenly, I began to realise the meaning of the phrase" uncommitted nations". We use it, perhaps, in only one sense. We speak about the people of Asia and Africa not caring about our problems. But are we not an uncommitted nation when it comes to the rights of the African in Africa?
When they say to me, "What line do you take about apartheid in South Africa?" I give a personal view, but the policy of Her Majesty's Government is to get on with both sides and to support South Africa in the United 778 Nations, because we need her gold and investment, while at the same time we make noises about the liberty of the individual in general.
We cannot be uncommitted when it comes to freedom in Africa. We cannot be uncommitted when the African people are denied their rights, as they are, in many parts of the Continent. In the world in which we live—this is the greatest change of all—human dignity and human rights are now just as indivisible as peace.
§ 8.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Smithers (Winchester)
I agree with a number of things which the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) has said to the House. I certainly cannot follow him in all of them. He must have known that, in his closing remarks about the reasons for British policy in regard to South Africa and the debates in the United Nations, he was not stating the real reason for that policy.
§ Mr. Smithers
I do not propose to do so. That is not the purpose of this debate.
This debate tonight is an important and remarkable one, because it is taking place in new circumstances. A lot of things are new about the situation before the House tonight. There is a new Parliament. We have been in contact with our electors. There is a new Secretary of State. There is a new situation about to arise in Central Africa as a result of the appointment of a Commission which cannot now be very far off.
I noticed during the election that a good many people who were very much interested in African affairs said to one, "Why cannot you in the House of Commons drop your party differences in these matters and adopt a non-partisan attitude towards Africa?" That, of course, as we all know, is greatly to simplify the problem which confronts the House. We are divided by deep differences of thought and principle. Nevertheless, I believe that it reflected an instinctive feeling by our electors. Not only in this election, but in all elections, they are much wiser than we who are the elected. The electorate has 779 great reserves of wisdom. It has sensed, as a whole, that we should never solve this problem of trying to unify the races of Central Africa in their own interest, if we could not in this House first arrive at some agreement among ourselves.
It may be worth while, therefore, to spend a few minutes in examining the possibilities of a bipartisan approach. I am bound to say that I think they are very great. There are many obstacles in the way, but some features of this debate give one cause for optimism. First, perhaps I may be excused of any patronage if I say that there is the personality of the Secretary of State. I am quite a connoisseur of Colonial Ministers. I served in the Colonial Office in a humble capacity with two Secretaries of State, four Ministers of State, four Parliamentary Under-Secretaries, and, on the official side, three Permanent Under-Secretaries.
I think I may fairly say that the two Secretaries of State under whom I served will go down as great holders of their office, and I confidently expect that my right hon. Friend will do the same. If he from our side of the House could do anything to facilitate a bipartisan approach to the problems which will confront us during the coming years, it would be a very great contribution indeed.
Now I turn to some of the difficulties which must exist on the other side of the House. I listened with interest to the speech with which the debate began, and I was encouraged to think that perhaps the Opposition would not divide tonight on their Amendment. I was encouraged to do so because the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) did not, in fact, move it, but forgot to move it. It was only when the Chief Whip, sitting next to him, reminded him that he formally moved the Amendment. I cannot think that in his heart he is tremendously keen on dividing the House. At least, that is my hope.
The Amendment is divided into two parts. In one part, it deals with the ending of the emergency, and we should all like to see that. The ending of such things is a matter of judgment and timing, and naturally all of us are able to hold an opinion as to when the correct moment might be. I do not believe that 780 it is an issue of that sort that really divides the two sides of the House. What is much more important is the issue of principle which arises in the second part of the Amendment which seeks… an early and substantial extension of the franchise in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia so that the Governments of these Protectorates may truly represent their peoples …This is really a non sequitur. It is not necessarily the case that we best ascertain what people think by asking them to elect representatives to tell us. Anybody who has had much experience of ascertaining what people think in civilisations quite different from our own would confirm that that is so. I do not think, therefore, that we are necessarily divided on that particular point.
Where the difficulty arises is when we come to define what we mean by protection. We here are the protecting Power, and what do we intend to convey in this day and age by that phrase? Originally, the duty of the protecting Power was to maintain peace between warring tribes, and to protect the people for whom it was responsible against neighbouring colonial Powers.
Today, the situation has changed radically. I suggest that while we still have overriding responsibility for maintaining internal peace and law and order, our more important and much more controversial responsibility is to exercise political judgment on behalf of those who are not themselves already in possession of full political rights.
There has been a great deal of argument about this matter. I do not think that it was ever more clearly put than it was by Lord Colyton, then Mr. Henry Hopkinson and Minister of State, whose abilities did not, perhaps, appear at the Dispatch Box, but whose great services in office have been underrated by this House. He put it as follows:As the protecting Power, Britain has a moral duty to do what is in the long-term interests of those Territories … It is not the duty merely of a parent towards his children, but of a trustee towards his beneficiaries. The Africans of the Northern Territories cannot at the same time claim British protection and the right to decide all issues for themselves."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th March, 1953; Vol. 513. c. 769.]I think that it is upon this difficult philosophical point that the House is really divided. We seem so often to listen to hon. Members opposite saying to us, 781 "You must not withdraw the authority of the Colonial Office from these territories whose peoples cannot yet be permitted to take part on even terms in their own government with a European population much in advance of the African population." They say to us that we must retain the authority of the Colonial Office, and yet that the Ministers who are responsible at the Colonial Office must not exercise their judgment in these highly important matters.
I believe that here is an inconsistency which must be removed if we are to obtain a bipartisan approach. We must be clear. Do we or do we not in this House assume responsibility for deciding on behalf of the peoples of these territories, so long as we are responsible for them, where their long-term interest lies? And if they, in their opinion, disagree with us, are we prepared to say, as some Members opposite do, that we must do nothing which is not approved by the African population? If so, I fail to see what the purpose of the protecting Power really is. Or are we prepared to say, as I think we ought, that we have the moral duty to make up our own minds on these great issues so long as we carry responsibility?
I do not tonight say that I see how we can bridge the gap which seems to divide the House on this issue. What I do say is that if in this Parliament we are to help the peoples of Africa to agreement among themselves we must ourselves clear our minds as to what we mean by protection and as to how far that duty goes.
I think that the second difficulty in a bipartisan approach is that it inevitably means limitation of the traditional powers of the Opposition. It it not normally the obligation of a Parliamentary Opposition, when they criticise the policy of the Government, to put forward an alternative policy. An Opposition are perfectly entitled to seize upon the weak points in the policy of the Government without necessarily suggesting what they would do instead. If, however, we are to have a bipartisan policy I would suggest that that attitude will no longer serve in this House.
One of the limitations of our debates on the Central African Federation was that right hon. and hon. Members opposite repeatedly criticised the federation 782 arrangements, pointing out the many risks which surrounded the introduction of federation, but themselves never put forward any really workable alternative, and, so far as I know, do not do so now. They throw out suggestions that this or that might be considered, but nothing very concrete.
§ Mr. Smithers
Precisely, the Opposition do not have the power.
Unfortunately, with so many colonial problems we are dealing with situations where there is no solution, in the sense that there is no course of action which if it were adopted would entail no dangers and would solve all problems. We are placed invariably in the position of having to adopt that course which appears the least difficult or has the least disadvantages and has more promise than some other course. If, therefore, we are to have a bipartisan approach in colonial matters, it entails the abandonment by the Opposition of the traditional right of criticising policies without putting forward an alternative.
Nobody has been clearer than the Government, right from its inception, about the many difficulties and dangers which federation, in practice, must encounter. I was one of a party of three, with the Minister of State and Mr. Marnham, of the Colonial Office, which in 1952 went round all the Federation countries and, in over 70 meetings with Africans and others, tried to ascertain what was the African's attitude towards these problems, what the European and Asiatic approach was and what were the difficulties which federation would encounter in the course of its development.
I think that we came unanimously to the conclusion that federation as it proceeds to take effect must inevitably run into difficulties. There would be opposition to it probably from all races at certain times. For my own part, looking back to those days, I am surprised not at the amount of opposition that there has been to federation, but that there has not been more. At the same time, even allowing for the fact that in those days one looked forward to difficulties in the path of federation, it was quite impossible to devise any other course of action which would have more promise of success.
783 Everywhere one looked the path bristled with difficulties. The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) and the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm Mac-Pherson) spoke today as though it would be possible for Nyasaland to secede from the Federation, or as if the benefits which had accrued to Nyasaland were very small. I do not think that the latter argument is at all promising. My hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) mentioned some of the figures which indicate how great the benefits are. Secession is not the solution.
The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East, was unfortunate enough to cite the case of Malta and to say that it was an instance of a Colony which was costing us a great deal of money to maintain, and it still had political difficulties. In Nyasaland we must not create another Malta and must not find ourselves with a small unviable territory with no resources yet highly populated, which could live only by being heavily subsidised from Britain and yet would be certain to demand a political independence which would be extremely difficult to make a reality. The fact is that that course is a non-starter.
The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) and other hon. Members favoured the idea of some kind of economic association between these territories without any political association or at least any federal link. I beg hon. Members who advocate that course to consider precisely what has happened to attempts to unite Europe on that basis. It was precisely the argument put forward that there could be an economic unification of Europe without a political one, and it is precisely that policy which has broken down with such unfortunate results.
The Six have been able to bring about a really effective economic union only because they have also decided to bring about a political union. We must also remember that the attempts to establish a wider union of Europe on an economic basis are attempts to establish agreements and relationships between independent States dealing with one another at arms' length. There is little prospect that Nyasaland will ever be able to deal as an 784 independent State at arms' length with the other two great territories, which have resources of citizenry and of natural wealth far beyond her own. I am clear myself that such a loose economic organisation would prove unworkable and would break down in a political chaos worse than the present state of affairs.
Finally, there was the alternative to federation—that we should do nothing, merely leave matters as they were. Here again, I will quote one of the conclusions arrived at by Her Majesty's Government at that time on that course. Again, it was Lord Colyton, as he now is, who said in this House that the abandonment of federation would in the Northern Territories—… involve the inauguration of a bitter campaign for an all-African Government which, with all its dangers, and, whatever its outcome, will only be fatal to the future prosperity and social development in those Territories. In short, the abandonment of federation would be not to decrease but to increase racial friction and, at the same time, to deprive the people of the possibility of attaining a higher standard of living for many years to come."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th March, 1953; Vol. 513, c. 795.]I return to my point about the possibility of bipartisanship in these matters. No workable alternative was proposed to federation, yet at that time hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite persistently opposed it and voted against it here. Indeed, they still do so although they have not yet proposed, so far as I know, any workable alternative. I think, therefore, that we tonight should say to our electors through this House that if we are to have a bipartisan approach in colonial matters we must expect that unless the Opposition will themselves put forward alternative policies they will agree with our own. If that is an abandonment of the traditional liberties of the Opposition then I dare say that some form of joint consultation might be devised which would make it possible to adopt that course.
§ Mr. Callaghan
We had discussions about the nature and form and size and composition and functions of the Monckton Commission. The Government put their proposals to us and we had a debate on 22nd July. There were private discussions which went on for some weeks, but not a single one of our proposals was adopted. Is that bipartisanship?
§ Mr. Smithers
The hon. Gentleman is putting forward quite a different point.
My second point is that if we are to expect the Opposition to abandon their right to criticise destructively the policies of those who bear responsibility in these matters some kind of machinery for discussion is necessary and it is that kind of machinery to which I am referring.
It seems to me that our task in this House is to try to build confidence in Central African Federation; confidence by the European community in the African community, confidence on the part of the African community in the European community. Having seen the intensity of the fears and misgivings on both sides, I believe that we cannot expect that confidence to grow of itself. We can only expect that confidence to grow if we in this House ourselves inspire confidence in us amongst both communities.
By that I do not mean that we must seek to gain the confidence of Africans in the Labour Party and of white men in the Conservative Party, but the confidence of both communities in this House as a House of Commons. I hope that when my hon. Friend replies to the debate he will say something to help unite the two sides of this House. To build up the confidence of Central Africans in this House is necessary if they themselves are to agree how they should conduct their affairs.
§ 9.1 p.m.
§ Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)
In some ways this has been an encouraging debate, but before we get anywhere near the conditions to which the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers) referred in his closing remarks we must know a great deal more about the intentions of the Colonial Secretary.
We all welcome the appointment of the Colonial Secretary, and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) said, we welcome the tone of the Colonial Secretary's approach to this problem. When it came to specific proposals the right hon. Gentleman was so statesmanlike that we are still in a state of suspense. We are not complaining about that at this stage in his tenure of office. We wish him 786 well in it and I hope that during his tenure of office we in this country will be able to provide an accepted solution to this tremendous problem of Central Africa.
Our approach to this problem is a constructive one, and we on this side of the House welcome some of the observations that have been made from the other side during the course of this debate. Some of the observations seem to mark a definite step forward and I shall refer to some of the speeches in the course of my observations.
We had an extremely distinguished contribution in the maiden speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan). Unfortunately, I came in at the end of his speech after going out for some necessary sustenance, but I am told that it was an extremely well-informed speech, with complete command of the subject, and, indeed, complete command of debate. We all look forward to his contributions to the debates in the House in future.
To my mind the racial problem will be the biggest problem in the years ahead. It will be a bigger problem than the issue of Communism. Central Africa is the supreme test of racial relations, just in the same way as Germany has been, and is, the test of the relationship between the Communist East and the democratic West. It is the test because we have in Central Africa a dominant, permanent settler population. There is that internal position, and bordering on Central Africa we have South Africa. We therefore have here a critical problem in the relationship of the white and coloured peoples in this world. We can only deal with this in accordance with our traditions and our beliefs by establishing democracy there, and by eliminating racial divisions.
If we do not do that, the alternative is that there will be racial sectionalism which will perpetuate racial differences inside the country and give privileged representation to a minority. All that is completely contrary to the faith which this country holds. We must, therefore, all be agreed—and I take encouragement from some observations made during speeches from the other side today—that our ultimate aim and objective in Central Africa must be, one man, one vote. It would be an immense 787 encouragement—I will not go into the reasons; they were fully developed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South-East—and clarification if it were possible for the Colonial Secretary to come forward and say that that is the inevitable ultimate objective of British policy in Central Africa
We have had the economic advantages of Central African Federation pressed in favour of the continuation of the Federation. How far those advantages are exclusively due to the Federation is not altogether clear. We had a very powerful speech about that from my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), and, therefore, I will not develop those arguments any further. But surely it is no answer to the attitude of the African to say, "Look at the economic advantage", because he is not prepared to accept second-class citizenship weighted with a higher standard of living.
That is brought out extremely clearly on page 10 of the Devlin Report, where it says:The fundamental postulate of all opposition then and now to Federation is that the African in Southern Rhodesia is much worse off than he is in either of the Protectorates because, it is maintained, in the Protectorates he is treated as a human being and in Southern Rhodesia he is not.It is no answer, then, to produce an economic argument to people who are inspired by that outlook. They are not prepared to sell liberty for a mess of pottage.
So we come to the original fundamental mistake which the Conservative Government made, of imposing Central African Federation without the consent of the Africans. It is from that original cardinal mistake that all the trouble in Central Africa has stemmed. I agree with the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine) that the time has come for a drastic rethinking of our policies, and it is in the spirit of making some contribution to the drastic rethinking of our policies that I venture to address my few remarks to the House.
§ Mr. Smithers
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman saying that African opinion should be given a veto over the protecting Power?
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
I am very rushed for time. I should like to deal 788 with the point raised by the hon. Member, but I have dealt with it in the House at some length previously, and, if the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I will not digress on this occasion.
What is at the bottom of all the trouble is fear. It is the fear of the African of domination by the settler, and, correspondingly, the fear of the settler of domination by the African. Therefore, both the settler and the African have a common interest in their common fear. I should have thought that their common interest in their common fear was that democracy should be firmly established before the outside, independent British power was withdrawn. That is fundamental to dealing with the Central African problem.
It is because power was handed over to the Central African Federation before going sufficiently far towards establishing democracy within the Federation that we have had the trouble that we have had. We shall have similar trouble inside the territories if we hand over power to them before we have adequately established democracy in the territories, and in the Federation as well. Therefore, it is fundamental in dealing with the Central African Federation problem that British power should be withdrawn only in step with the establishment of a non-racial democracy within the Federation; and, of course, self-government is not necessarily democratic government. This has been learnt in Kenya. Kenya has learnt from bitter experience; there are now settlers in Kenya who have come round to this point of view, and I very much hope that the settlers in Central Africa will follow suit.
It is because of the fears of Central African Federation meaning domination that we have had the opposition to federation in Central Africa; and that opposition has not diminished with the years; it has grown with the years. It has been fed, of course, by such actions as the flouting of the African Affairs Board and by the joint London announcement of 1957, and it is fed, too, by the review of the Constitution due to come between 1960 and 1962 because it presents the fear of further powers being handed to the settlers and the opportunity of meeting the needs of the African.
789 In our approach to the future, I suggest that there are two essential conditions that we must observe. The first essential condition is that we recognise this eruption, this emergence in Central Africa, the movement among the African people in Central Africa, as a genuine movement of a people and not just the factious opposition of a clique. It is not a minority movement we are dealing with. It is the tremendous awakening of a whole people, not confined to Central Africa.
We have it in all parts of Africa—French Africa, Belgian Africa, everywhere. We must recognise that this is so. Today, there have been observations from the other side of the House fully recognising this position. I have not time to refer to the passages in the Report, but on page 22 of the Devlin Report we have a statement that the Government consider it merely a factious minority opposition.
We must recognise that this is a movement of a people. This is what we have to come to terms with and provide for. Of course, the movement, like all movements of this kind, has its organisations and its leaders. But it is fatal to treat these leaders as though they were not representative of this urge among African people, and, equally, it follows from that—I do not want to use in this debate any terms which are offensive to anyone in any way, but let me use the terms of The Times, which will not be offensive to anyone, unrepresentative Africans—it is useless having unrepresentative Africans, however noble, however able, however respectable they may be.
It is useless because they are unrepresentative of the movement which has this vitality, this impetus, this urge with which we have to come to terms and to which we must give scope. It is not because we object to the individual unrepresentative Africans, who may be most admirable people, but they are not in this movement; it is because they are inadequate for the purpose of this country because they are unrepresentative of the movement with which we have to deal. What the present trouble established perfectly clearly is that the opposition to federation is widespread, popular African opposition.
790 What it equally establishes is the inadequacy of political expression and representation for the Africans. It is these two factors, operating together, which has, in fact, led to the eruption which we have had in Central Africa. The trouble is that there is no adequate lawful means of expression and outlet for this movement within the Constitution. That is what leads to frustration and that is what has led to the resort to force.
The second essential task of statesmanship is not coercion, but to relieve the immense pressure on a people for recognition by providing a lawful expression and outlet for it. It is the failure to do that which necessitated the emergency decrees, and the handling of the emergency itself has added to the difficulties—particularly by the use of Federal troops and the allegation of a massacre plot.
The allegation of a massacre plot may have some effect on future developments. The political importance of the allegation of a massacre plot was that it provided justification for treating Congress as a terrorist rather than a political organisation. It is most regrettable that the Government did not immediately accept the Devlin Report finding that there was no massacre plot. The Government are now stuck with that allegation and are handicapped by it and by sticking to it. I hope that the Colonial Secretary will do what some political commentators say that the Prime Minister has done over Suez, that if he does not disapprove of the allegation in terms, he will act at any rate on the footing that the opposition in Africa is essentially political and not terrorist.
By that means the way would be open for meeting the African opposition to federation. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said, we welcome the fact that the Malawi Congress Party has not so far been banned in any way. We welcome the message sent by Orton Chirwa of the Malawi Party to the Colonial Secretary on his appointment and we very much hope that the opportunity—as, indeed, it is—which this gesture has provided will not fail to meet a response from the right hon. Gentleman.
791 It is in the light of our ultimate democratic objective and the political nature of the troubles in Central Africa that we approach the specific proposals for the immediate future made in our Amendment. First, our proposal that the detainees should be released and brought to trial and that there should be proposals to end the emergency. Of course, political leaders must be restored, because without political leaders the Africans cannot have effective political expression.
I should like here to refer to the leader in The Times, which I am sure the Colonial Secretary has studied. During the election, The Times proved itself to be a very hot Tory newspaper, yet here we have The Times in complete agreement with our proposals about the detainees. The Colonial Secretary said that part of the problem in dealing with this part of our proposals was to devise less stringent powers instead of full emergency powers. We welcome that suggestion, with this proviso—that its value depends on its application. The danger is that it might lead to perpetuating some modified emergency condition when otherwise there would be no emergency regulations applying. Its value would be if it were brought in at a stage and for a period when otherwise there would be Emergency Regulations in operation.
The right hon. Gentleman hoped to end the state of the emergency, but he said that there were still underlying tendencies to violence. I am not quite sure how to interpret that observation. I hope that it does not mean that the right hon. Gentleman is taking the line taken by his predecessor so ill-advisedly on some occasions—that all violence must disappear before the emergency is lifted. That, of course, is merely to say that order must be completely restored before one deals with the underlying causes of disorder.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the instance of violence, which was a lamentable instance, the burning of a house, but I am sure that it will not be forgotten that the house which was burned was that of a member appointed to the Legislature. I do not say anything at all to detract from the deplorable nature of that crime, but the Africans are concerned with the problem we are 792 dealing with, this fundamental problem of an alternative political outlet for expression of their views and aspirations.
The second part of our Amendment says that there should bean early and substantial extension of the franchise in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia so that the Governments of these Protectorates may truly represent their peoples at the proposed Conference on Central African Federation.In The Times today there are very valuable observations on this part of the Amendment. The Colonial Secretary proposes, in answer to this part of our Amendment, that there should be a common roll, with qualitative franchise. I am not sure that he was not repeating a Colonial Office brief here, because we have heard a great deal of what he repeated in his words about this being a proposal for a franchise on a non-racial basis.
Let us examine this for a moment. Is it a proposal for a franchise on a non-racial basis? I am sure that the Colonial Secretary will immediately recognise that in this everything depends upon the qualitative franchise. If we had a common roll, with a qualitative franchise, the qualitative franchise could simply be a device for ensuring complete minority control of the election.
A common roll with a qualitative franchise might be nothing but a white hoop through which the black voter has to go. There may be effective qualifications of this, as the Colonial Secretary was good enough to mention when my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East was speaking, but what is crucial is not the common roll with the qualitative franchise, but the modifications made to it to ensure the objective of a proper representation of Africans.
The second point I deal with is that the Government should be representative of Africans before 1960. Here the Colonial Secretary referred to Article 99 of the Constitution, which laid down that the delegations for the 1960 Conference must be chosen by their respective Governments. I have just two observations to make on that. First, the whole trouble is that if the delegations are chosen by their respective Governments and we do not have proper African representation in the Governments before 1960, the choice is not made by African representative Governments. It is not 793 the African representatives who choose the people, not they who are the decisive factor in saying what is the composition of the delegation supposedly representing them at the 1960 Conference. The next point is that the decisions of the conference, when made—this is of immense importance—have to be implemented by the Governments. It is vital, therefore, in the African view—and rightly so—that they should be implemented by duly representative African Governments.
I come now to the Monckton Commission and, first, to the composition of the Commission. The Colonial Secretary said that the effectiveness of the Commission depends upon two things: first the quality of its members; and, secondly, the evidence. The Colonial Secretary's argument on this part of the case was not really worthy of him. He suggested that the African movement, if I may so call it, should be satisfied with giving evidence, without being represented on the Commission. If the vital thing is the giving of evidence, why does not the same comment apply to the settlers and the Central African Government? If that is the answer given to Dr. Banda, why was it not given to Sir Roy Welensky, and why did not Sir Roy Welensky accept it?
I will tell the House why. He did not accept it because this is not just a Commission to take evidence, to bring the evidence back here, to print it and to present it to the House, that being the end of it. This is a Commission to advise—an Advisory Commission, not just a Commission to take evidence; and the advice of the Commission is what will be highlighted when the Report is published. Who will go through the files to see what Dr. Banda said? The Report of the Commission is what will be reported in the newspapers, and the comments will be about it. The advice of the Commission will be advice to the Government. That advice will be decided by the members of the Commission and not by the witnesses.
Here we have a membership responsible for this important advice and yet heavily weighted in one direction. There are only five Africans on the Commission, and there is no assurance of any kind that any one of those Africans will be representative of the tremendous African movement with which we are concerned. In those circumstances it is far better to have a purely Parliamentary 794 Commission taking evidence from the people out there The Colonial Secretary said that it is very important that the Commission should command the confidence of the people. How can he hope to command the confidence of the Africans with a Commission composed as at present it is proposed to compose this Commission?
I will not spend time on the terms of reference, but they, too, are vitally important. We appreciate that the Colonial Secretary cannot reply on that point tonight, but I am sure that he recognises that it is of immense concern that the terms of reference should cover every possibility. After all, we are dealing with the problem which has led to this terrible trouble in Central Africa. We are concerned to find a practical answer to that problem, and no answer should be barred.
If the answer to the problem lies in the right of secession, and if without that right we are to have a repetition of the constant frustration and violence which we have had, then it is utterly nonsensical to exclude that answer from consideration. Of course, secession must be one of the subjects upon which the Monckton Commission can advise, and it must be one of the subjects open for consideration by the 1960 Conference. We cannot contemplate 1960 repeating the fatal mistake of 1953 by again imposing federation against African opposition. That is contrary to everything for which we stand in this country, contrary to our democratic faith and to what I hope will be agreed is our ultimate democratic purpose in Central Africa. In 1960 there should be genuine African representation and genuine discussion of all solutions.
In 1953, Lord Chandos, perfectly sincerely, believed that Central African federation would solve the question of partnership between the races. We have had years of trial, and after these years of trial it has been possible, because of the imposition of Central African federation—and for no other reason—for a High Court judge, at the end of the sittings of one of the strongest Commissions this country has ever had, to say of Central Africa that it is a "temporary police State." Whether the Government agree with that view or not, it is an appalling possibility—a possibility of which we must risk no recurrence.
795 It is this imposition of federation which has led to the miserable history and incidents since 1953. It is a course which we opposed at the start and throughout. It has led to African opposition and to Government suppression. What we have to do is drastically to rethink our policy. We are fundamentally opposed, by deepest principles and because of the practical outcome, to what has been the Government's policy. It is for that reason that we shall divide the House upon this issue, but let me assure the Colonial Secretary that we shall do so not completely without hope for a future somewhat better than the past.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Commonwealth Relations Office (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)
Although the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) will not expect me to accept all the remarks which he made in the course of his speech, he can be assured that my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary and those concerned with him will study the points he made earlier on and give them careful consideration.
I should like to start by saying how grateful I am to the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) for his congratulations on my appointment. I note that one of the newspapers has said that Ministers of State are suspended between Heaven and earth, and I am sure that I can rely upon him and my colleagues in the House to make certain that, wherever my head may be in the months ahead, my feet are placed and retained firmly on the ground.
I should like to join with the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East in congratulating the hon. Member for Glasgow, Craigton (Mr. Millan) upon his maiden speech. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not think that I am merely repeating the courteous routine formula if I say that I hope that we shall hear him many times in the future. We can never have enough Members in the House of Commons who take a personal interest in colonial and Commonwealth affairs. Those of us who have taken part in the debates over the last years, and consequently have a fairly shrewd idea sometimes of what we are each going to say before you, Mr. Speaker, call us to rise to our feet, will 796 be refreshed by the new ideas and views which our new colleagues can contribute to our deliberations.
In the course of the debate we have had a number of most interesting speeches, and I will do my best to reply to at any rate some of the points in the course of my own remarks.
First, from my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) we had a most constructive and interesting speech in which he pointed out that today, if there was a more conscious desire on the part of the Africans to exercise a democratic power through the vote, there is opportunity under the existing franchises if only those who qualify for the franchises could be brought to take advantage of them. The truth is that, although we have heard many sets of figures with regard to the numbers who have registered as voters in the various territories, they do not represent by any manner of means the numbers who are entitled to vote if they take the trouble to register and exercise the rights of a democratic citizen in those territories.
From the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) and the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) we had an attack upon the thesis that federation has brought economic advantages to Nyasaland. There was a reply to that from my hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine). We have had in recent months an official committee providing a factual study of the development of the Federation since its inception. Its deliberations will be completed this month and its report will be available for the Advisory Commission and for the Conference of 1960.
Therefore, the hon. Lady and any of those who fear that they are unable at the moment to accept the figures and facts put before them will be able to obtain authoritative information in a very short time from the result of the work of this Committee. But I do not think that there is really any doubt of the economic advantages which federation has brought to all the territories, and not least to Nyasaland. I think I should not be unfair if I said that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, as a result of his visit to those territories 797 as a member of a Commonwealth Parliamentary delegation, came to the conclusion that there was definite evidence that there were economic advantages in federation for Nyasaland.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East made what seemed to me to be a fundamental error in his approach to our whole subject today. He seemed to ignore the fact that there are in existence two Governments in the Federation, one of which has enjoyed a generation of self-government and the other of which, the Federal Government, has had very wide powers of self-government during the last ten years. Therefore, the circumstances in which we approach them and this whole problem cannot be precisely the same as those in which we should approach a similar problem if it applied merely to a Colonial Territory for the policies of which we in this Parliament have sole responsibility. I have thought that many of the points made in this and in previous debates by right hon and hon. Members opposite have been vitiated by the failure to recognise the different circumstances which exist in Central Africa.
I hope that the House will forgive me if, for a minute or two, I turn to another part of Central Africa which, I suppose, is not immediately relevant to the debate but which, after all, has some significance in relation to the Federation and, indeed, the whole of Southern Africa. It has always been a principle in the House that there is no territory within the Commonwealth which is too small, impoverished or insignificant to be of interest to us here in our Parliament. I refer to the three small territories for which the Commonwealth Relations Office has particular administrative responsibility.
Since I know that these matters are of interest to many hon. Members on both sides of the House, I am glad to be able to say that there are, at the present time, several significant events taking place. First, the registration of voters in Basutoland under the new Constitution has now been completed. The first polling day will be in January next year, and the first session of the new Basutoland National Council will be held, we hope, starting in February next year.
Today, the High Commissioner for the High Commission Territories has 798 authorised the issue of a unanimous report from the Constitutional Committee of the Joint Advisory Council of Bechuanaland. This recommends the establishment of a Legislative Council and an Executive Council and will be considered in due course by my noble Friend, together with the recommendations which the High Commissioner may send to him.
At this moment, in Swaziland the Economic Survey Mission appointed in consultation with the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, having as its chairman the distinguished American economist Professor Chandler Morse, of Cornell, is at work surveying the economic progress of that particular territory, and, indeed, it will in due course visit Bechuanaland and Basutoland as well. It will advise on the economic problems of all those territories, and will be able to see for itself in Swaziland, for instance, a very significant development, a £10 million project for a pulp mill to be started in conjunction with the C.D.C. forest project there by the C.D.C. and Messrs, Courtaulds.
I have taken the liberty of referring to these events because I feel that they will be of interest to the House, and they are certainly of considerable significance in the wider field of the politics of Central and Southern Africa. I hope that the House will feel that in these three territories we are making significant progress and that, as in respect of other parts of Africa, 1960 will be a very important year in their history.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I think that everyone on this side of the House welcomes the information which the Minister of State has been able to spatchcock into his speech. We do not complain about this, but how does he think the welcome stories of constitutional advance in these territories will sound in the ears of people who have no elected members and who seem to have no chance of electing any?
§ Mr. Alport
I would not accept for one moment the hon. Gentleman's proposition that there is no chance. It is the view of the Government, and of my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, as indeed it was of his predecessor, that 799 the speedy constitutional advance or all these territories is of the greatest importance.
§ Mr. Alport
As the hon. Gentleman has raised the point, I would turn to a recent election here in the United Kingdom. From listening to the speech of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, it seemed to me almost indelicate to remind him that there had been an election and to remind him who won it. It would, I suppose, be possible to draw a variety of conclusions from that recent election result. I have little doubt that had the party opposite won the election it would have assumed that it represented a vote of confidence, not only in its policies at home, but in its policies in the Colonial Territories as well.
The problems of Africa certainly provided a major plank in its political platform, and I would remind hon. Members opposite that we would be entitled to assume that the result of the General Election meant rejection of the policy put forward by the party opposite and justification of the policies followed by Conservative Governments during the last eight years—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hola."] Whatever may be the conclusions which properly can be drawn from the election campaign, I feel that two are pretty clear. The first is that people in this country are not prepared to condone any campaign which subjects British administrations overseas, or British security forces working in the support of those administrations, to indiscriminate criticism and misrepresentation. Secondly, I think that it would be wrong to conclude that, because colonial affairs played a relatively small part in the election campaign, the people of this country are either indifferent to or uninterested in Commonwealth and Colonial problems.
To my mind, the right conclusion to draw from the General Election is the one drawn by my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Smithers), namely, that, whether it is with regard to problems of Africa, of Colonial Territories or Commonwealth Territories, the people of this country do not regard 800 those problems as being appropriate material for the party political conflict here in Great Britain. They realise that the problems of Africa are not amenable to easy, quick solution. They want to see Parliament working steadily for the gradual solution of these problems in a sober and constructive manner rather than in the emotional atmosphere of the hustings. Above all, they do not want to see divisions based upon race and colour, which are all too prevalent in many parts of the world, reflected in the attitudes of parties or sections within Parliament here in the United Kingdom.
There has been a tendency in Central Africa to believe that the return of a Conservative Government would be of advantage to the white people and a Socialist Government to the black, but surely it would be quite wrong for the image of our Parliament here to be presented in Africa as reflecting, and therefore encouraging, racial separation. If indeed this is the image which Parliament projects overseas, then it is surely high time that we put it right.
I believe that the House as a whole is united by the fact that we all wish to evolve, wherever multi-racial communities exist, political institutions and social practices based upon the principle of partnership. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister referred on Tuesday last to the creation of a common mind. By concentrating here in this House upon the things about which we agree rather than by high-lighting those which divide us, I believe that we can play a major part in helping all races in Central Africa to do the same. I accept that that was the spirit in which the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East addressed us during his closing remarks and also the spirit in which the Leader of the Opposition addressed us last week. It is in that spirit that I will do my best to answer some of the points made earlier in this debate.
First, let me deal with the Advisory Commission. The Commission in its present form is an attempt to reconcile three points of view. The Government believe that the preparatory work for 1960 can best be done by a body of persons who have a knowledge of the general problems of Rhodesia and Nyasaland but who are not committed 801 be an active and inevitably controversial rôle in the long political debate about the future of the country which has been carried on during recent years.
The Opposition, I think I am right in saying, because the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East mentioned it in his speech, believe that this work can best be done by Parliamentarians. The Federal and Territorial Governments consider it important that if one is represented on it, all should be represented. The Commission stands today designed to meet these different criteria. Except for the representatives of the United Kingdom Parliament, it will not contain what I might call an active political element.
The inclusion of the six Members of the United Kingdom Parliament is designed to meet the Opposition's wish. It is not true, therefore, that the Government have come no way towards meeting the views of the Opposition. Apart from my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. E. Wakefield), I am the only survivor in this House of the Parliamentary delegation of six that went out to Kenya in 1954. Of those, two, alas, are dead and two lost their seats at the recent General Election.
That Parliamentary delegation was regarded by this House as being a substantial success. We owed that primarily to the wonderful leadership we received from the late Mr. Walter Elliot. There is, however, no analogy between that Parliamentary delegation and the circumstances in which it was appointed and the proposed Advisory Commission to go out to Rhodesia and Nyasaland preparatory to the 1960 Conference.
The job of the Kenya Commission was primarily to reassure this Parliament at a time of bitter controversy about the conduct of operations against Mau Mau in a Colony over which this Parliament had complete control. We were appointed by, and responsible to, the Colonial Secretary alone. Any suggestions made by our Commission could be put into effect—subject, of course, to Parliament—by a dispatch from the Colonial Secretary of the day to His Excellency the Governor. Alternatively, our recommendations could be ignored.
That, however, is not the case now. As I have said, the Commission is preparatory to the 1960 Conference, at which will be 802 represented five Governments, all of which have public opinions which have to be considered and reassured. It is no good refusing to face the fact that a purely United Kingdom Parliamentary delegation is not appropriate in circumstances where the issues affect Governments which have had thirty or forty years' self-government behind them. This is particularly true in a period of bitter controversy when everyone in this Parliament is, rightly or wrongly, assumed to be committed to one viewpoint or the other.
If there were a Parliamentary delegation and Labour Members, purely objectively and properly, came out to put the African point of view, they would immediately be written off by the Europeans as biased. Precisely the same would be true of Conservative Members, although the other way round. In general, the effect of such a delegation, in my submission, would be to stir up controversy rather than to still it. I therefore hope that hon. Members on the other side of the House will bear this in mind when they consider the proposals which the Government have put forward.
We have done our best to meet them and to provide a Commission which will be representative and effective in the circumstances. I do not pretend, and I am sure that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite realise it, that it has been an easy task, but at any rate we have done our best to produce something which would fulfil the three criteria necessary in the circumstances.
One of the main points which was raised was with regard to reassuring African opinion in respect of this Commission. I recognise fully that it is most important that, if this Commission is to be fully successful, it should have the support and confidence of the African peoples in the Federation. I think it is unfair that any African who takes part in this Commission should be regarded automatically as unrepresentative if he is not in himself a practising politician, so to speak. I think it is equally unfortunate that they should be regarded as "stooges," because, after all, we have been preaching from this Parliament for years past the principle of partnership, not only to Europeans but to Africans as well, and when an African, by his action, his self-confidence and sense of public spirit, puts into effect 803 that partnership through his own actions by being prepared to join a multi-racial commission of this sort, I think it unfair, to say the least, that he should be immediately branded as a "stooge" or what other term of opprobrium it may be.
We should also remember that had the Parliamentary delegation which hon. Gentlemen opposite have advocated in fact been put into practice, there would have been no African representation on it at all, whereas in our case there will be, as my right hon. Friend said, five Africans. In addition to that, there will be, and I think the House is united on this, a distinguished independent and experienced chairman. There will be precisely the same number of Parliamentarians on it as there would have been if the Opposition's Parliamentary Commission had been accepted. There will be four independents, and at least two experts from the Commonwealth with a knowledge of the practical problems of the working of federations, and the rest will be drawn from public life in Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
For a Commission which has not only a constitutional purpose—and I would remind the House that one of the most important points made by the previous Colonial Secretary who put this forward was that this Commission should also have an educational purpose; educational in respect of public opinion here in the United Kingdom and educational in respect of African and European public opinion in the Federation itself—I cannot think of any comprehensive body more capable of carrying out these two purposes of the Commission, and at the same time of safeguarding the interests of all sections of the community in Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
The Amendment which has been moved by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East purports to be a Motion of censure. It refers to two of the aspects of affairs in Rhodesia, or more particularly in Nyasaland. My right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary has already dealt with the question of extending the franchise. He has made it clear that the representation of the territories at the 1960 Conference is for the Governments to decide, and it is not dependent on the particular composition of any of the territorial legislatures at the date when the Conference takes place. 804 Therefore, there can be an assurance to African opinion, as well as to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that when the time comes for the 1960 Conference the nature of the representation of the territories at that conference will be properly decided in the light of the circumstances of the time.
As far as the Government are concerned, we are as anxious as anyone else to end the emergency, but I would think that the House would agree that no Government with any sense of responsibility would undertake to do so in circumstances which could not fail to recreate precisely the same conditions of unrest and disorder as led to the original unrest and imprisonments and the original creation of the state of emergency.
I would remind the House—this is a personal matter in some ways, but I think that, perhaps, it is worth doing—that in the case of the Kenya Parliamentary delegation, which is, I know, the prototype in some ways of the ideas of the Opposition, it was with our full support that 50,000 to 60,000—I think that is the right figure—Africans were arrested in Nairobi at the height of the emergency to clean up the very difficult circumstances which were existing in that city. I would ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to realise that, taking that particular example alone, it may seem, therefore, very illogical to the Governments of the Federation and of the territories that we here should seek to deny them the right to take the minimum steps which are needed in the difficult circumstances of Central Africa today to maintain law and order.
The fact is, I think—I say this with due respect to the House—that we have for many reasons tended to get the difficult problems of Central Africa out of perspective in our debates in these last years. I think it reasonable to hope that in a new Parliament we will have a chance of correcting this, and I believe and hope, in the interests both of Africa and Britain, that once we have disposed of this Amendment we shall proceed to do so.
The fact is that with 1960 ahead of us we in Great Britain have a chance of demonstrating to the world the real significance of British policy in Africa. In almost every territory something 805 important will be happening, in Nigeria, Somaliland, Kenya, Uganda, Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, Swaziland. It is a wonderful story, I submit to the House, of constructive progress and statesmanship. Nineteen-sixty will be a year in which all these generations of work and sacrifice, of disappointment, will be justified, I would believe, in the outcome, and I hope and believe myself that the basic unity and
§ unerring sense of values which has been displayed in this Parliament in the past will inspire our House in the future so that we can continue together to play a fitting part in the historic period which lies ahead.
§ Question put, That those words be there added:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 251, Noes 344.809
|Division No. 1.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Fitch, Alan||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Ainsley, William||Fletcher, Eric||McCann, John|
|Albu, Austen||Forman, J. C.||MacColl, James|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford E.)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||McInnes, James|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Galpern, Myer||Mackie, John|
|Baird, John||George, Lady Megan Lloyd||McLeavy, Frank|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Ginsburg, David||MacMillan, Malcom (Western Ises)|
|Beaney, Alan||Gooch, E. G.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mahon, Simon|
|Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Gourlay, Harry||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S. E.)||Greenwood, Anthony||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Benson, Sir George||Grey, Charles||Manuel, A. C.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hn. Aneurin (Ebbw V.)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mapp, Charles|
|Blackburn, F.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Blyton, William||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Marsh, Richard|
|Boardman, H.||Grimond, J.||Mason, Roy|
|Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S. W.)||Gunter, Ray||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Bowen, Roderlo (Cardigan)||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Mellish, R. J.|
|Bowles, Frank||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Boyden, James||Hannan, William||Millan, Bruce|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hayman, F. H.||Moody, A. S.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Healey, Denis||Morris, John|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (RwlyRegis)||Mort, D. L.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Moyle, Arthur|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Mulley, Frederick|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Neal, Harold|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hilton, A. V.||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Callaghan, James||Holt, Arthur||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)|
|Carmichael, James||Houghton, Douglas||Oliver, G. H.|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Howell, Charles A.||Oram, A. E.|
|Chapman, Donald||Hoy, James H.||Oswald, Thomas|
|Chetwynd, George||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Owen, Will|
|Cliffe, Michael||Hughes, Emrys, (S. Ayrshire)||Padley, W. E.|
|Collick, Percy||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Paget, R. T.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hunter, A. E.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Cronin, John||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Crosland, Anthony||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Paton, John|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Janner, Barnett||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Darling, George||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Jeger, George||Peart, Frederick|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Pentland, Norman|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Deer, George||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|de Freltas, Geoffrey||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Dempsey, James||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Diamond, John||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Randall, Harry|
|Dodds, Norman||Kelley, Richard||Rankin, John|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Driberg, Tom||King, Dr. Horace||Reid, William|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Lawson, George||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. Chuter||Ledger, Ron||Rhodes, H.|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Ross, William|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)|
|Edwards, Walter, (Stepney)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Evans, Albert||Lipton, Marcus||Short, Edward|
|Fernyhough, E.||Logan, David||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Finch, Harold||Loughlin, Charles||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Skeffington, Arthur||Symonds, Joseph||Wigg, George|
|Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Small, William||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)||Willey, Frederick|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Snow, Julian||Thornton, Ernest||Williams, Rev. Ll. (Abertillery)|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Thorpe, Jeremy||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Spriggs, Leslie||Tomney, Frank||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Steele, Thomas||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Wade, Donald||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Storehouse, John||Wainwright, Edwin||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Stones, William||Warbey, William||Woof, Robert|
|Strachey, Rt. Hon, John||Watkins, Tudor||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)||Weitzman, David||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Summerskill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Edith||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Swain, Thomas||Wheeldon, W. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Swingler, Stephen||White, Mrs. Eirene||Mr. John Taylor and Mr. Rogers.|
|Sylvester, George||Whitlock, William|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Cordle, John||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Corfield, F. V.||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)|
|Allason, James||Costain, A. P.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Coulson, J. M.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. D. Heathcoat (Tlv'tn)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Harvie Anderson, Miss|
|Arbuthnot, John||Critchley, Julian||Hay, John|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Head, Rt. Hon. Antony|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Crowder, F. P.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Balniel, Lord||Cunningham, Knox||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward|
|Barber, Anthony||Curran, Charles||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James|
|Barlow, Sir John||Currie, G. B. H.||Hendry, Lt.-Col. A. Forbes|
|Barter, John||Dance, James||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.|
|Batsford, Brian||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hiley, Joseph|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Deedes, W. F.||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||de Ferranti, Basil||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hinchinbrooke, Viscount|
|Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Doughty, Charles||Hobson, John|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Drayson, G. B.||Holland, Philip|
|Berkeley, Humphrey||du Cann, Edward||Holland-Martin, Christopher|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Toxteth)||Duncan, Sir James||Hollingworth, John|
|Bidgood, John C.||Duthie, Sir William||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Hopkins, Alan|
|Bingham, R. M.||Eden, John||Hornby, R. P.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Elliott, R. W.||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia|
|Bishop, F. P.||Emery, Peter||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Howard, Hon. C. R. (St. Ives)|
|Bossom, Clive||Errington, Sir Eric||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Erroll, F. J.||Hughes-Young, Michael|
|Box, Donald||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Hulbert, Sir Norman|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Farr, John||Hurd, Sir Anthony|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Finlay, Graeme||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Braine, Bernard||Fisher, Nigel||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Brewis, John||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Forrest, George||Jackson, John|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Foster, John||James, David|
|Brooman-White, R.||Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Bryan, Paul||Freeth, Denzil||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Bullard, Denys||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Johnson Smith. G. (Holb.&S. P'ncr's, S.)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Gammans, Lady||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)|
|Burden, F. A.||Gardner, Edward||Joseph, Sir Keith|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Kaberry, Donald|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)||Gibson-Watt, David||Kerens, Cdr. J. S.|
|Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Glyn, Col. Richard H. (Dorset, N.)||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Godber, J. B.||Kimball, Marcus|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Goodhart, Philip||Kirk, Peter|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Goodhew, Victor||Kitson, Timothy|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Gough, Frederick||Lagden, Godfrey|
|Chataway, Christopher||Gower, Raymond||Lambton, Viscount|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Grant, Rt. Hon. William (Woodside)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Langford-Holt, J.|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Green, Alan||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Gresham Cooke, R.||Leavey, J. A.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth. W.)||Grimston, Sir Robert||Leburn, Gilmour|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. H.|
|Cole, Norman||Gurden, Harold||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Collard, Richard||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Lilley, F. J. P.|
|Cooke, Robert||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Lindsay, Martin|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Linstead, Sir Hugh|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Page, Graham||Storey, S.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'n C'dfield)||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Partridge, E.||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Longbottom, Charles||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Sumner, Donald (Orpington)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Peel, John||Talbot, John E.|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Percival, Ian||Tapsell, Peter|
|Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Peyton, John||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Teeling, William|
|McAdden, Stephen||Pilkington, Capt. Richard||Temple, John M.|
|MacArthur, Ian||Pitman, I. J.||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|McLaren, Martin||Pitt, Miss Edith||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Pott, Percivall||Thomas, Peter|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.)||Powell, J. Enoch||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Prior, J. M. L.||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|McMaster, Stanley||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Profumo, John||Turner, Colin|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Ramsden, James||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Maddan, Martin||Rawlinson, Peter||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Maginnis, John E.||Rees, Hugh||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Maitland, Cdr. J. W.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Renton, David||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Marlowe, Anthony||Ridsdale, Julian||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Rippon, Geoffrey||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Marshall, Douglas||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Marten, Neil||Robson Brown, Sir William||Wall, Patrick|
|Mathews, Gordon (Meriden)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Ward, Rt. Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Maudlins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roots, William||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Mawby, Ray||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)||Watts, James|
|Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Russell, Ronald||Webster, David|
|Mills, Stratton||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Scott-Hopkins, James||Whitelaw, William|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Seymour, Leslie||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Moore, Sir Thomas||Sharples, Richard||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Morgan, William||Shepherd, William||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Morrison, John||Simon Sir Jocelyn||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Skeet T. H. H.||Wise, Alfred|
|Nabarro, Gerald||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Neave, Airey||Smithers, Peter||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Nichols, Harmar||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Nicholson. Sir Godfrey||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Noble, Michael||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Woollam, John|
|Nugent, Richard||Speir, Rupert||Worsley, Marcus|
|Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Stanley, Hon. Richard||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Osborn, John H. (Hallam)||Stodart, J. A.||Mr. Redmayne and Mr. Legh.|
|Osborne, Cyril (Louth)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes) rose—
§ It being after Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed Tomorrow.