HC Deb 10 March 1960 vol 619 cc604-5
8. Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what arrangements have recently been made for sending troops into Nyasaland; and for what purpose.

Mr. Iain Macleod

This is a matter falling within the Federal Government's sphere of responsibility.

Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas

But surely the Colonial Secretary is concerned as to which troops are drafted into Nyasaland? Were not troops drafted into Nyasaland during the emergency at the Governor's request? Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware which troops have been drafted into Nyasaland and for what purpose, or does he wash his hands of the whole thing and say that it is entirely a matter for Sir Roy Welensky as to what he does with the troops in Nyasaland?

Mr. Macleod

Not at all. Of course, I am aware which troops have moved into Nyasaland. The 1st Battalion of the Rhodesian African Rifles moved into Nyasaland. The Governor was, of course, fully informed on this matter. What I said in the Answer—and this is correct—is that this is a defence matter and not essentially one of internal security.

Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas

Does the Colonial Secretary agree that in deciding which troops must be sent into Nyasaland it is extremely important to take into consideration the political situation in Nyasaland at present? Does he not agree that since these troops were used during the emergency, in the words of the Devlin Commission, "to cow the population", it is most unsatisfactory that troops should be drafted there now, just at the time that the Monckton Commission is going there?

Mr. Macleod

I certainly agree that these matters must be done, as they are done, in close consultation, but I do not accept the implications in relation to a movement such as this which are contained in the second part of the supplementary question.

Mr. Tapsell

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that if an increase in the number of troops in Nyasaland is a necessary prerequisite to the ending of the emergency, that is something which some of us would very much welcome?

Mr. Stonehouse

Is it not a fact that before troops can be sent into Nyasaland, or indeed into Northern Rhodesia, the Governor of the territory concerned must make the request, as he is solely responsible for internal security? May I ask the Colonial Secretary whether such a request was made and whether he was consulted before it was made?

Mr. Macleod

The answer to the second part of the supplementary question is, "Yes". But I have said that this is not a matter of internal security but a defence movement.

Mrs. Castle

Against whom?

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