HC Deb 15 December 1960 vol 632 cc584-5
25. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what employment was offered by the Nyasaland Government to Mr. James Sholto Douglas, a specialist in hydroponics; and why this offer was withdrawn.

Mr. Iain Macleod

I am consulting the Governor of Nyasaland on this question and I will write to the hon. Member when I have his reply.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the right hon. Gentleman really satisfied with that reply? Is not he aware that this gentleman—a distinguished scientist—has been declared a prohibited immigrant by the Federal authorities? What action is the Colonial Secretary now taking—I am not asking what inquiries he is making—to ensure that this man, who has a contribution to make to the economy of Nyasaland, is allowed to perform his service to the people of Nyasaland and is not kept out of the country by the arbitrary action of the Federal authorities?

Mr. Macleod

I have seen newspaper cuttings about this case and have asked for information about it. That seems to me to be entirely the right thing to do. As the hon. Member knows, the question of the prohibition of immigrants is a matter for the Federal Government.

Mr. Callaghan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the last part of his reply is coming increasingly under challenge, and that some of the Federal authorities are declaring that their responsibility in this matter is limited to taking executive action on the basis of the information and advice supplied by agents of Her Majesty's Government? Will he therefore assume some responsibility instead of shuffling it off on to the shoulders of the Federal authorities?

Mr. Macleod

The way in which the Question has been framed shows clearly the responsibility that I have for answering in this matter. I am asked a Question about the employment offered by the Nyasaland Government, not about the prohibition of immigrants—if, indeed, this man has been prohibited. On the question of the employment offered, I have given the answer, which is that I am finding out from the Governor and will show the hon. Member when I have the information.