HC Deb 15 December 1960 vol 632 cc577-9
11. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what consideration Her Majesty's Government have given to the creation of a federation of Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda and Zanzibar, and with what result; whether the granting of independence to each of these territories is being timed to assist in the establishment of a closer association between them; and whether federation with Rhodesia and Nyasaland has also been considered.

Mr. Iain Macleod

As regards the first two parts of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to my reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) on 15th November. As regards the third part of the Question, I do not think the time has come when it would be helpful to explore this wider horizon.

Mr. Stonehouse

Does not the Colonial Secretary agree that when democratic institutions have been established and the confidence of the African people has been obtained, they are prepared themselves to take the initiative towards a wider federation? Does not Mr. Nyerere's initiative prove just that point? In the event of the present Federal Review Conference failing to continue with full representation, will the right hon. Gentleman consider calling a wider conference which will bring in Tanganyika and Kenya as well?

Mr. Macleod

The last part of that supplementary question is hypothetical. The Conference has been called to consider the Federation that exists.

I am extremely interested in the matter which the hon. Member mentions in the first part of his supplementary question and I am also extremely "cagey" about it. The House will know that it would not be wise for a pronouncement to be made from this Box that this East African federation must or should come about. I am deeply interested in it, but I very much hope that this would be a grass roots movement, coming to us from the people of the country.

Mr. Wall

As there has been so much loose talk about imposed federation, would it not be wiser to think along the lines of an economic association of the seven Territories, similar to the Common Market in Europe?

Mr. Macleod

That is a wider question which does not arise at the moment. As my hon. Friend knows, there are already close economic links among the four Territories of East Africa.

Mr. Brockway

While appreciating the right hon. Gentleman's difficulty at the moment, does he know that many of us hope that the discussions about Central African Federation will take the more constructive and bigger line of federation which will include both East and Central Africa?

Mr. Macleod

I think that the hon. Member will understand if I say that I note what he has said.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the views of Mr. Julius Nyerere and others engender the view that federation cannot take place until all constituent Territories have reached more or less the same stage of political development? Will he repudiate that idea on the analogy of the United States and other federations and accept the imaginative ideas of Mr. Julius Nyerere and proceed as soon as may be with the formation of federation in an incipient fashion?

Mr. Macleod

I do not think that it is necessary for the component parts of a federation to be at the same stage of development. A better example than that of my noble Friend is perhaps given by Nigeria where the three regions were at different stages and moved to different stages of their independence. I do not think that that need in any way be a prerequisite of the studying of the plans.