§ Question again proposed.
§ 6.15 p.m.
In my second and final reference to the speech of the right hon. Member for West Bromwich, who does not appear to have returned to his place, I was about to make only one other comment. The right hon. Gentleman criticised the ineffectiveness of the new safeguards as compared with the outgoing safeguards, yet in another part of his 1740 speech he complained, with some justice, about the racial intolerance and discrimination in some existing legislation in Southern Rhodesia. If the right hon. Gentleman considers the existence of the old safeguards to have been so effective, it is strange to understand how, in another part of his speech, he can complain that the former laws have been discriminatory from a racial point of view.
§ Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock) rose—
I am sorry, I must get on with my speech. In any event, it is for the right hon. Member for West Bromwich, who has not yet decided to return to his place, to defend himself, and not leave it to others to do so.
I am particularly delighted to have had the chance of making a contribution to this debate, because, possibly, I am the only hon. Member who has actually lived in the country concerned as opposed to visiting it. I lived there for a time after the war, and, had my private family developments been different, I might still have been living there. There were many things then that I loved about Southern Rhodesia. There were some that I abhorred deeply. Those which I abhorred most deeply were the racial discriminations based upon race alone, with particular reference to the many social pinpricks that then existed. The term "pinpricks" is a rather unfortunate one when used here, because, to those at the wrong end of the pin, it appears to be a very unpleasant weapon.
Since my return from Southern Rhodesia, I have paid frequent visits out there. If hon. Member opposite occasionally think that I could be regarded as being strongly against them and reactionary on these matters, I can only say that when I have been out there I have equally been criticised for being almost a member of the Labour Party by some Rhodesian politicians with whom I have argued. On many occasions, I have entered into active controversy even with Sir Edgar Whitehead himself, who, certainly at one stage, asked how I could be a member of the Conservative Party. I say this to show my strict impartiality and, I hope, my pragmatic approach to the problems of that country.
1741 If I had been told, even two or three years ago, that this degree of constitutional and political advance was coming, even though some may not consider it nearly large enough or fast enough, I simply would not have believed that it could so soon be achieved. So, once again, I congratulate not only my right hon. Friend but the Southern Rhodesia statesmen who intend to bring this Constitution into being in the near future.
My opinion is that the new safeguards do not mean any reduction in the security of the African population. I am convinced, otherwise I would not be speaking in support in the way I am, that the new safeguards are, indeed, stronger than those which now exist, because for a whole variety of reasons, as hon. Members opposite recall from the time when their Government were in power and as we on this side know, the ultimate power of the United Kingdom to intervene in local legislation in a country which has been virtually independent since 1923 has not been able to be used. Now we are to have safeguards which are written into the Constitution, in which there is a judicial as well as a political element coming into it, and if hon. Members and the population out there will look at these safeguards pragmatically, and as they stand, and compare them with what has been changed, I am sure that they could not, fairmindedly, be other than pleased at what has happened
I do not like their idea of this being a quid pro quo. I think that it is very ungenerous to a large number of very liberal-minded Southern Rhodesians, who, for a long time have been trying, over a wide variety of fields, constitutional and otherwise, to get advances towards a non-racial society. It may be said that 15 African members of Parliament is not enough. It may be that many of us would like to see rather more, but, even a year ago, the most liberal-minded Southern Rhodesian that I have met would hardly have looked forward to being able to have 15 so quickly, and many were hoping to get only two, three or four after the next election.
I have said that when I read this draft Constitution for the first time I was not only surprised but very gratified that such a large advance had proved possible at this time, and, more important, that it 1742 had been found possible to avoid some of the political developments based on race which I have regretted in certain other African territories. Here, the system is not to have so many people because they are black and so many people because they are white. We are, in Southern Rhodesia following their traditional lines, that the society should be developed, politically and socially, on non-racial lines.
I hope, too, that now that these constitutional changes are being made the tempo of the removal of the remaining social distinctions based on race alone will be speeded up, because I am quite sure that I carry the House with me here in saying that it is not enough for Africans today merely to have constitutional and political rights. They feel just as deeply about social discriminations which are carried out against them, and, in fact, in many cases, even more deeply.
What is likely to be the effect of criticism here, such as that we have had from the benches opposite, including the right hon. Member for West Bromwich, who, I am glad to see, has returned to his place, if this division was carried into the Lobbies tonight and the Constitution was turned down? The net result would be that there would not be these changes at all, in which case we should go back to the situation in which there would be no African members in the local House of Commons at all. If hon. Members opposite think that 15 is too few, do they really want to return to the situation in which there is none at all, because the logical consequence of their policy must mean only that.
However, we can rely on the fact that there are sufficient balanced Members on both sides of the House to make sure that the Division is not lost in the Lobbies tonight. Therefore, let us look at the more limited effects of what even ineffective criticism in a constitutional sense will bring about. At the moment, Sir Edgar Whitehead will not have an easy time in getting the referendum through, for there are those in Southern Rhodesia who believe that this pace is too fast. If we criticise too much in this House—and I appeal to hon. Members opposite to realise the validity of this argument—we do not help the moderates over there. On the contrary, we help 1743 those who are doing their very best to make sure that the referendum is defeated.
§ Mr. Richard Marsh (Greenwich)
The hon. Gentleman has made this point several times, and it is a rather serious point. Is he suggesting that Members of this House of Commons should not say those things which they feel strongly because it might be embarrassing to another Government? Surely the point is that Members of this House have a responsibility for this Constitution and have a duty to say what they think about it.
I am only saying that hon. Members of this House, when they claim to be trying to help any particular cause in the world, should bear in mind the great responsibility for the consequences of what they have to say. No one is trying to stop people from saying what they want to say.
At the moment, strong criticism by this House can have two possible effects out there. It will encourage those Europeans racialists who want to see the referendum lost, and it will encourage antagonism among Africans, who will say that they hear from this House of Commons that this is an unfair and wrong Constitution. If hon. Members opposite, having made their speeches, do not mind that, it is their responsibility, but none can deny that the effect of their criticism will be precisely that which I have outlined.
I am not normally afraid of political controversy in this House, but, instead, I should like to feel, in so far as it is possible, that we should today bend our efforts towards reaching a solution here which will encourage a favourable answer to the referendum in a few weeks' time. I think that any other course would only do harm to the cause which we intend to try to serve.
There is an additional need to be careful at present, since it is very easy, as I have said before in other debates, to be completely high-minded, liberal and progressive when living in this country. But we have seen only quite recently, with only a fraction of the racial stress which these people have to live with, how rapidly people here can become intolerant. I therefore ask hon. 1744 Members opposite to realise the emotional stresses, in view of the developments taking place in the Congo and elsewhere. The fact that Southern Rhodesia is taking this marked step forward, even though some hon. Members think that it is not fast enough, towards a more liberal policy at the same time as those in the Union of South Africa are going in the other direction is a tribute to the traditional good sense and balance of our countrymen who are now living in Southern Rhodesia.
Moreover, there is another reason for praising the behaviour of the Southern Rhodesians in this attempt to get these constitutional changes made effective. It is because, unlike elsewhere in Africa, where the European minority is driven by the force of events into making these changes in policy, there are sufficient Europeans in Southern Rhodesia at the present time who, if they choose to be deliberately repressive along the lines of the Union of South Africa, even if only for a comparatively short time, they could do it. The need for particular praise for the Southern Rhodesian Government, and for particular pleasure about, and not condemnation of, the constitutional changes which have been announced, is that in Southern Rhodesia liberal-minded men and women are voluntarily making changes in accord with the differing mood in Africa. The message that goes out from this House tonight should be one of encouragement to them, and not the opposite.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)
I am glad that the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) has admitted that legislation discriminating against Africans is in operation at present in Southern Rhodesia because this is one of the factors relevant to our consideration today, as I shall try to show in my speech. I begin by admitting freely to the hon. Member that, of course, there are certain elements of advance in the Constitution before us today. These elements of advance are the price which the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia are prepared to pay in order to get their full independence from what they like to call interference from this country. The whole purpose of our debate is to decide whether the price which the Europeans are prepared to pay is liberal enough.
1745 The provisions of the White Papers which we have before us are very complicated and I think that we all may become confused in the mass of detail which is contained in them. But I suggest to the House that the issue which we are considering today is, in essence, a very simple one. It is that the United Kingdom at present has reserve powers entrusted to it for the protection of the African in Southern Rhodesia, and the main element of the constitutional proposals which we have before us is the demand by the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia that these reserve powers should he given up.
I think it relevant that these White Papers did not originate because the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia suddenly wanted to give constitutional advance to the Africans. It was not their recommendation that the time had come to take the plunge. It is rather that the Europeans—Sir Edgar Whitehead has made this clear—wanted to get rid of the United Kingdom's reserve powers. They knew that they could not do so unless they offered something in exchange. So this is not really a constitutional reform on behalf of the African. It is an attempt to break the last constitutional link of Parliamentary control with the British House of Commons.
The third element in this simple issue is that the Government are arguing that it is perfectly safe for us to give up our reserve powers because the quid pro quo offered to the African in exchange is perfectly adequate. I am sure that every hon. Member is aware of the great responsibility which lies upon him today. Let us remember that we have had to do this before. Let us remember that we did it in the case of South Africa where the situation had many similar elements. There was discriminatory legislation in existence against an African majority, just as the hon. Member for Torquay has admitted that there is discriminatory legislation in Southern Rhodesia today against the Africans.
In the case of South Africa there was also a situation in which Parliament and Governmental power was in the hands of a white minority. That is the situation in Southern Rhodesia today. Yet, in an act of trust and faith, the British 1746 House of Commons handed over this power to that white minority without adequate safeguards that the African majority could progressively come into the full flower of its rights. The results, as we all know, have been disastrous. I do not think that any of us want on our consciences the responsibility of creating, perhaps, in Southern Rhodesia a successor to the unhappy situation in South Africa. Therefore, we cannot just lightly say that we will hand over all power and responsibility. We must test and retest the adequacy of the safeguards.
In doing so, I start from another simple principle which is, do the people at present under our protection want that power to be transferred from us to Southern Rhodesia? The Minister has two answers to this, or rather—I am sorry, I must not prejudge what the right hon. Gentleman has to say—
§ Mrs. Castle
No doubt the right hon. Gentleman can plagiarise in due course. He is welcome.
The Joint Under-Secretary of State gave us two answers to this. In the first place, he had to admit that the National Democratic Party, the mass party of the Africans in Southern Rhodesia, had declared its total hostility to these White Papers. As the hon. Gentleman has told us so often before in these situations, he said that the N.D.P. does not represent African opinion. Whenever we quote African opinion we are told that the voice which has expressed it is, somehow, not representative. We were given the views of a few chiefs instead as the democratic voice of the African.
I am not denying that the chiefs have a right to be heard, but I wish to suggest that there is a very simple way in which to find out whether the people now under our protection want that protection to be taken away. It is to hold a referendum of the African people. Surely, neither the Joint Under-Secretary nor the Secretary of State would be afraid of that. But there is not to be any such referendum. This is one of the intrinsically undemocratic factors in the situation which we are discussing this afternoon.
1747 The National Democratic Party has denounced this as a white man's agreement. Unfortunately, it will only be put to the test of a white man's referenrum, because, of course, the referendum to be held to find out whether this constitutional change is acceptable to the people of Southern Rhodesia is not even to be held on the basis of the new and more extended franchise to which, we are told, the African is now fully entitled by reason of his progress and his advance. No. The referendum is to be held on the basis of the existing franchise which we all now busily denounce as out of date. Even the hon. Member for Torquay, I hope, will not support the status quo. Yet it is on the basis of the status quo—
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett
The hon. Lady keeps making reference to what I will or will not do. The report of my speech will show tomorrow what I have been saying. As to racially discriminatory laws, I said that in the context of the old United Kingdom controls not being so good as the present ones, but in any case these discriminatory laws are, happily, already being abolished in that country.
§ Mrs. Castle
I assure the hon. Member that I am about to deal with that piece of wishful thinking.
I return to the point from which I am not surprised that the hon. Member for Torquay wishes to distract the attention of the House, namely, that the referendum is to be held on the basis of the existing franchise. If I understood the speech of the Under-Secretary aright, he told us that those entitled to vote are the members on the present registration roll. I think he said that there were 84,000 voters registered, of whom 4,000 are Africans. Yet it is on that test of opinion that we who pride ourselves on our great record of protection towards these colonial people are to base the decision of whether we give up that protection. I would point out to the Secretary of State that the Africans, having caught a little of the infection of democracy from us, are suggesting that they could hold a much more democratic referendum.
The N.D.P. has announced that it will hold a referendum of its own. If that 1748 referendum shows an overwhelming opposition by the African people to this transfer of powers from us to the Southern Rhodesian Government—just as the African people showed overwhelming opposition to the imposition of Central African Federation two years ago—will the Secretary of State learn from the lessons and mistakes of the past and accept that the African people do not want the constitutional changes which are being proposed tonight?
The Minister had a second answer on this point which I thought was a rather typically British paternalistic one. For a gentleman of such youth I think he brings to a fine are the atmosphere of paternalism. He told us that the Africans did not understand how well they would be safeguarded by these provisions. He knew that they were safeguarded. I know he is a warm-hearted and honourable man. He was perfectly satisfied that the safeguards for somebody else were perfectly adequate, but there was lack of understanding by them.
§ Mr. Braine
I must resist the hon. Lady's blandishments. She is assuming all the time that the National Democratic Party speaks for all Africans in this context. Probably that party speaks for a great many. She has mentioned that the National Democratic Party is to hold a referendum of its own in the African areas and she has asked me to express a view on that. It does not fall to me to do so. The Central African Party, which has substantial African support, has come out decidedly against that proposal, and will campaign against it. I do not join issue on that, but the hon. Lady must not base her case on the assumption that one set of African politicians necessarily reflects African views. If she does so, she is wrong.
§ Mrs. Castle
Of course the hon. Gentleman might be right. I only suggest to him that even one set of Africans would more adequately represent African views than would one set of Europeans. Only the Europeans, apart from 4,000 registered Africans, are to vote on the acceptability of this situation.
§ Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans) rose—
§ Mrs. Castle
I am sorry, I cannot give way again. When I get so interrupted I have to speak for a long time, and that is not fair to other hon. Members. I have given way several times. Perhaps I may be allowed to go on for a little longer before giving way again.
I suggest that it is not very surprising that the Africans are hesitant about these safeguards. Southern Rhodesia has had self-government for nearly forty years. During that period that Government have had every opportunity for giving expression to the sort of relationship they want with the Africans. Yet here we are at the end of nearly forty years of European Southern Rhodesian rule without a single African representatives in the Legislature. If that is what forty years of self-government without interference by this House in many fields has done in Southern Rhodesia, can the Government of Southern Rhodesia be surprised that some of us need a little reassuring before we finally cut the cord of our control?
The truth, as all realistic politicians know, is that no minority abdicates voluntarily. It has to be pushed. Therefore, the test which we have to apply is not that of fair words or fine promises made by anyone. We have to discuss what power this new Constitution transfers to the Africans. What power will reside in this new Constitution to enable government in due course, not immediately, to pass from the white minority to the African majority?
The Under-Secretary has told us he is satisfied that the road forward in this direction is clear and that there cannot be any blockages on that road by the provisions of these White Papers. He quotes the Declaration of Rights which guarantees freedom of discussion, freedom of speech and expression—and therefore, of agitation—with no discrimination on grounds of race, colour tilt creed. If from now on that were to be the basis of Government in Southern Rhodesia I should be very much persuaded and certainly play my part in persuading the Africans, but I think every one of us who is fair-minded will agree that the present situation in Southern Rhodesia in these respects is the worst in the whole Commonwealth.
1750 Protests against denying these rights to the Africans have been pouring in over the past eighteen months. They came from the Monckton Commission, from the Central Africa Party, from the British Council of Churches and from moderate European newspapers such as the Central African Examiner. I shall burden the House with one quotation which I think tremendously important. It appeared in a "Survey of the Crisis in Southern Rhodesia" published by the Central African Examiner last summer. That was just at the height of the disturbances after the sudden arrest by Sir Edgar Whitehead of the three leaders of the N.D.P. and the rioting which followed. The newspaper pointed out:Sir Edgar Whitehead has, of course, been concerned to emphasize that arrests had been made according to law and not in the exercise of any arbitrary executive power not sanctioned by ordinary law. Unfortunately, however, 'the due process of law' and arbitrary action by the Government are not necessarily incompatible under the statute law of Southern Rhodesia, Certain statutes permit the government in effect arbitrarily, to curtail the fundamental liberties of the individual to a considerable degree, not by taking extraordinary or emergency powers for the purpose, but 'in the ordinary course of law'.The paper then quotes a succession of these Acts. There is the Unlawful Organisations Act, 1959, which contains the express provision, for example, that actions taken under that Act shall not be open to question in any court of law. The paper mentions the Preventive Detention (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1959, the Subversive Activities Act, 1950, the Public Order Act, 1955, all of which by due process of law give the Government of Southern Rhodesia massive powers to interfere with ordinary political organisations and activities.
I am not quoting at the moment the mass of additional legislation which Sir Edgar then tried to rush through the Southern Rhodesian Legislature in order to deal with the rioting which his own actions provoked. Some of those—for instance, the Vagrancy Act and various others whose names I forget—caused such an outcry in Southern Rhodesia among white liberals that some of their provisions have had to be modified. I am not sufficiently au fait with the position to know to what extent they have been modified.
I remember Sir Edgar making a speech, which was quoted in the 1751 Guardian. He said that he intended to take repressive powers. It runs as follows in the Guardian report:He intended to override 'the well-known legal objections' and introduce minimum sentences for certain grave offences which have become prevalent of late'. He instanced the throwing of stones at moving cars which is tantamount to attempted murder'. The minimum sentence would be five years' imprisonment.I was very interested in that proposal, because one of the provisions of the White Paper which we are asked to applaud this afternoon is that a Member of the Legislative Assembly can be disqualified for membership if he is found guilty of a criminal offence subjecting him to more than six months' imprisonment. There could be a vicious circle in which a wrong-minded Government by due process of law could so interfere with the rights of political agitation as to make it possible for Members of the Legislative Assembly to be imprisoned and disqualified for what in other countries and in other circumstances would be considered perfectly normal political agitation.
Sir Edgar's actions at that time were criticised by moderate whites as well as moderate Africans. What we need to know this afternoon before we transfer power to the Southern Rhodesian Government is this. The safeguards we want are not against the introduction of more repressive and more discriminatory legislation in future. Surely Sir Edgar will not become more repressive and more discriminatory. The safeguards we want are guarantees that the existing repressive and discriminatory legislation will be removed before we transfer the protection of Africans from us to that Government.
What have we got in this respect? We have not a single thing. On the contrary, there is the express provision that there shall be no right of appeal under the Declaration of Rights to the courts in respect of any existing legislation. If that is not a hole large enough to drive all the chariots of repression through, I do not know what could be larger.
Bearing in mind the unhappy history of white minority government in Southern Africa, we should say this afternoon that we will not surrender our reserved powers before existing legislation in Southern Rhodesia which is in- 1752 compatible with the Declaration of Rights is removed. Unless we do that, we shall make a mockery of the whole inclusion of the Declaration of Rights and get the white man labelled as a hypocrite across the length and breadth of Africa.
The second safeguard to which the Joint Under-Secretary referred is that under this Constitution there is wider enfranchisement of the African. He will get 15 seats at least out of the 65, but only 15 for sure. An hon. Member opposite interrupted my right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand), and said that it was hoped that it would be 18. It is not sure. We should write into the Constitution guarantees, not hopes that may be unfulfilled.
I want again to ask a very simple question. Why was the number 15 chosen? What validity has it as a number? What is it supposed to measure? Is it supposed to measure the level of civilisation of the African? If so, why not 14, 16 or some other number? The answer is very clear: it is 15 because that is less than one-third of the membership of the Legislative Assembly and therefore it effectively takes away from the African the power to check any flouting by the Legislative Assembly of the recommendations of the Constitutional Council about legislation violating the Declaration of Rights.
As the Guardian pointed out recently, if we want to be able to sell this sorry mess of constitutional pottage a little more convincingly than the Joint Under-Secretary was able to display this afternoon, it should have contained the provision that African membership of the Legislative Council was to be at least 22. That is what the Government should have done if they wanted to prove the genuineness of their intentions. This is quite apart from the fact that the whole Declaration of Rights can be swept aside on the say-so of the Government that a state of emergency must be declared. The Constitution offered to us is full of loopholes which an unscrupulous Assembly could exploit.
I ask the Secretary of State to answer when replying one nagging worry which is in my mind. I see that statutory instruments promulgated under laws have no real check upon them in relation to 1753 the Declaration of Rights. I assume that there is no appeal to the courts against a statutory instrument. If I am wrong I shall be glad to be corrected. Here all that the Constitutional Council can do is wring its hands. It has not even got a delaying power.
§ Sir Lionel Heald (Chertsey)
Paragraph 15 says:Any law, regulation, by-law, or other subsidiary legislation, passed after the enactment of the new Constitution, will be invalid if it contravenes the provisions of the Declaration of Rights…
§ Mrs. Castle
I frankly admit that the highly constitutional wording of some of these documents is very difficult to comprehend exactly. As I am not a lawyer I am not expressing myself dogmatically.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Has my hon. Friend looked at Cmnd. 1400 which clearly says, on page 42, that if the law in question werein force immediately before the appointed dayit is excluded from the provisions of the Bill of Rights?
§ Mrs. Castle
I thought that that would be so, but I was dealing with fresh Statutory Instruments.
There is another loophole in the Constitution. An amendment to the Constitution can be carried through by a two-thirds majority of the Legislative Assembly, except for the entrenched clauses, in which there is a further appeal to referenda which are properly conducted among all the races, but the composition of the Assembly is not among the entrenched clauses. The franchise is, but the composition of the Assembly is not.
By the terms of the White Paper care has been taken to make sure that two-thirds of the Legislative Assembly shall be white, and that Legislative Assembly, if it wishes, can reduce the number of electoral districts and increase the number of constituencies. These consequences are very similar to the provi- 1754 sions of the present Constitution relating to the devaluation of the vote. It means that the Legislative Assembly could devalue African constituencies if too many Africans began to register on the "A" roll. Why should not the composition of the Assembly, which is of such great importance from the point of view of the possession of power, be included among the entrenched clauses?
We are asked on the basis of this Constitution to say that the safeguards are complete and that the road forward to African advance is clear. Let us not forget the words of Sir Edgar Whitehead, in speaking of these constitutional provisions. He said that under the proposed two electoral rolls,Parliament in this country will remain for all time in the control of people with upper-roll qualifications.
§ Mrs. Castle
There are two answers to that. First, I do not accept a qualification as satisfactory purely because it is non-racial. There are other elements than race included in the exercise of democracy. If in this country we applied the kind of economic and educational qualifications which Sir Edgar proposes for all time in Southern Rhodesia, we should not consider ourselves a democracy and we should hardly be regarded at the moment as the Mother of Parliaments.
Secondly, the hon. Member says that this will automatically happen in ten or fifteen years. Will it? What guarantee is there in the Constitution that the upper roll will eventually be determined by Africans? It will depend first and foremost on the distribution of the land. I know that the Land Apportionment Act has been amended. The bribe offered to the House has been, "We give you 5 million acres and you give us a free hand to control the future of the franchise and the Africans' qualifications to vote."
We must go much further than that before we can say that the African will dominate the upper roll. As Mr. Malianga, Deputy-President of the National Democratic Party, pointed out 1755 in connection with the franchise proposals, under the new Constitution Africans could be permanently excluded from the vote. They could not own property in the native reserves—it is held communally—and they were not allowed to own property in the towns. The property qualifications for the franchise were therefore valueless. At the level at which they might be effective—ownership of property of the value of £250—they were combined with educational qualifications—two years' secondary education—which would cancel them out. Education was so bad in Southern Rhodesia that last year only 677 people reached the post-primary standard.
What this means is that the pace at which the African can advance, if he advances at all, will be governed by the extent to which the Land Apportionment Act is amended and the extent to which educational opportunities are given to him. But those are not the subject of guarantees under the Constitution. They will be entirely political acts, which will depend upon the Legislative Assembly.
All we know at the moment when we are asked to transfer power is that we are asked to transfer it to a Legislative Assembly with only 15 African members out of 65 members. They will be powerless to push through the very amendments which would open the gate to them to take full control of the upper roll. If any hon. Member believes that if we transfer power to the white minority now they will not use it to keep that gate sufficiently closed to perpetuate them in power, then he is ignoring all the lessons of history. It is because those lessons of history warn us in such grim ways today that we on this side of the House say that the safe- guards are inadequate.
§ 7.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
The hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) put forward her views to the House with her usual sincerity. I know that she holds them very sincerely, but I submit that they are based far more on theory than on fact. She says, in effect, that we in this country have control of affairs in Southern Rhodesia and that we are passing this control 1756 over to the European minority, who will immediately, to use the current phrase, sell the Africans down the river.
I suggest that this view is based on two fallacies. First, we have not control over Southern Rhodesia at present. Southern Rhodesia has been virtually self-governing internally since 1923. We can disallow legislation but we have not done so in those 37 years. We can legally suspend the Constitution, but does she really think that we could actually do so over some important issue over which Southern Rhodesians felt strongly? She and many of her hon. Friends disagreed with some of the actions of the Southern Rhodesian Government in passing certain legislation a year or two ago, for example, the Vagrancy Act. That was not disallowed. Does she really believe that the power which we have over Southern Rhodesia today is anything but purely nominal?
The second part of her theory is that the Europeans are today using this Constitution as a trick to secure power for themselves and that when they have it they will use it to set the clock back. I submit that the history of Southern Rhodesia in the past few years has shown that the Europeans have recognised the fact that the Africans will inevitably gain the major share of political control in Southern Rhodesia within the comparatively near future. We have mentioned 15 years. Does the hon. Lady really think that anybody in the world today, and in the Continent of Africa as it is today, can get away with trying to screw down all the safety valves? I think that she was totally misconstruing the whole position in Southern Rhodesia—
§ Mr. Stonehouse
If the hon. Gentleman has so much faith in the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia, can he explain why a former Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia came to this country to ask for its Constitution to be suspended because of the acts of Sir Edgar Whitehead?
§ Mr. Wall
Mr. Garfield Todd came here with one or two Africans late one night and asked for the Constitution to be suspended. It was not suspended. There was an intense political atmosphere at the time, and I rather think that Mr. Garfield Todd now rather regrets his impetuosity, because he had 1757 to resign the leadership of his party and has since taken no further part in political life I regret that, because I have great respect for him and for what he did for his country. I hope that he will come back into its political life in the future. That, however, is not a very good illustration of a successful attempt to make us use the controls we have.
The hon. Lady tried to equate what has happened in Southern Rhodesia with what is happening in South Africa. That is unjust and unfair. In South Africa, we have Dr. Verwoerd imposing one of the most evil laws ever imposed, designed deliberately to restrict the level of education allowed to Africans. In Southern Rhodesia, there is the largest percentage of Africans in primary schools of any part of independent Africa.
In South Africa, Bills have recently been introduced to preclude representation in Parliament by members of the coloured races, or of Europeans representing the Africans. In Southern Rhodesia, we have the Government's own suggestion that 15 seats should immediately be made available for Africans. In the Union of South Africa, we have the removal of the very small amount of freehold land that the Africans hold, for example, in Sophia-town. In Southern Rhodesia, we have the suggestion in this Constitution that Africans should be able to hold freehold land. Southern Rhodesia is marching in a direction completely opposite to that taken by the Republic of South Africa.
One of my grouses against the organs that influence public opinion—particularly, perhaps, the Press—is that they tend to classify hon. Members as being "pro" or "anti" almost everything. One is either pro-Common Market or pro-Commonwealth, or pro-European or pro-African. I am sure that the hon. Lady is known as pro-African and that after this speech I may be labelled pro-European, but I see that we have both signed the same letter on the Common Market, so perhaps we do think alike at times.
I am quite sure that no hon. Member wants to be labelled pro-African or pro-European. I certainly want to be pro-Rhodesian. I have visited the country on many occasions to try to make up my own mind which is right, and in my 1758 view the proposals in the White Paper represent a move forward, and I fully support it for three main reasons.
First, I believe that it is the beginning of the end of discrimination. It does not abolish it—I grant the hon. Lady that. We cannot do that automatically and immediately, but it is the beginning of the end of any form of racial discrimination in Southern Rhodesia. Secondly, it leads to growing participation by Africans in Parliament and in political life. Thirdly, it means the election of Members of Parliament who are responsible to both races, and when a Member is responsible to both races he has to consider the views of both. That is one of the most important proposals in this new Constitution.
I know that both Mr. Joshua Nkomo and Mr. Paul Moshonga view the proposals doubtfully. I have received literature and letters representing the views of their two parties, and I know and appreciate that their parties have doubts about this Constitution. I have tried to classify these doubts. Two of them are mentioned in the Opposition's Amendment to the Government's motion.
Their first doubt is over representation and the franchise; whether 15 African seats compared with 50 for the Europeans is justified. I would only say that this proportion of 15 to 50 is one not of black to white but of upper roll to lower roll, and the point that I made in an interjection earlier this afternoon is that the upper roll will inevitably become a majority African roll in the not too distant future and race will therefore disappear altogether. The seats are not exclusively European and African. Indeed, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said, it is most likely that when this Constitution goes through the result of the next General Election will be that there will be at least 18 black faces in the House of Parliament in Salisbury, and that number will increase as the years go on.
It is not that proportion of seats that I want now to discuss so much as the question of the franchise, because I do not think that has been sufficiently emphasised in this debate so far. We are told that there are now some 4,500 African registered voters in Southern Rhodesia. I would remind the House 1759 that the broad estimate given of the number of Africans who could have exercised their vote had they registered is from 20,000 to 25,000. They have not bothered to register, which is a great pity. Both sides of the House have before now called on them to do this—
§ Mr. Callaghan
It has been said once or twice that there is a prospect of Africans getting at least 18 seats, and I have been trying to puzzle that out. Would the hon. Gentleman explain it?
§ Mr. Wall
The lower roll has a 25 per cent. effect on the upper roll seats, and one may well get an African nominated there. There are a number of Africans already in the majority party, in the Central Africa Party apart from the wholly African parties, and if they pull their weight more Africans will be able to be elected. However, I do not want to pursue this; I want to discuss the actual franchise—
§ Mr. Callaghan
We might as well get this cleared up. If that is the basis of the argument, one can argue that Europeans, whose votes are to count for 25 per cent. in the lower roll, may well be elected there. I do not follow this figure of 18, and I must say that the hon. Gentleman has not even begun to convince me.
§ Mr. Wall
The point is that the people of Southern Rhodesia are gradually losing their racial consciousness, though perhaps not yet fast enough, and I think that we can get to a position when a predominantly African roll will elect white faces, and vice versa, and I am sure that that is an aim for which both the hon. Gentleman and all of us are working.
There are at present about 4,500 African electors, and there could be about 20,000 or 25,000. The best estimate I can get of the number of African voters under the proposals in the White Paper is 60,000. That was the figure given by Sir Edgar Whitehead at a Press conference in Salisbury. He said that it was guesswork, but his estimate was about 60,000 African voters. We are therefore very greatly increasing the number of Africans who will have the vote and so have influence on both rolls.
1760 The upper roll has been modified—admittedly to a comparatively minor degree—to allow votes to go to chiefs and headmen, but the lower roll has been modified considerably, not only by the earnings qualification being reduced from the previous two-year period to one of six months, but by four new categories of people being enfranchised on that roll. Therefore, any fear of a permanent continuance of European domination is absolute nonsense. It could not happen under the new Constitution.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) talked of the upper roll, but I would remind him that in Northern Rhodesia the upper roll is already 13 per cent. non-European. That is the kind of thing that will happen in Southern Rhodesia. I maintain that the Europeans there recognise that in due course the Africans will have political control. What they are interested in is not trying to preserve white faces in Parliament but to preserve power in responsible hands. I am suggesting that that will happen as a result of this Constitution and that the transfer of political power will take perhaps 10 to 15 years.
The second point Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Moshonga raise in their correspondence is that there is no provision for acting against discriminatory legislation already on the Statute Book. This matter has already been aired in the House, and it has already been pointed out that the Constitutional Council will consider existing legislation, and, further, that the United Kingdom Government at the moment cannot amend these existing laws. In other words, while the British Government cannot act the new Council can.
I was recently told about certain plans in Southern Rhodesia for removing discriminatory legislation that exists at present. For example, the University has made a good start, and plans are now being drawn up to make senior technical schools, sports clubs, and so on completely non-racial. The hotels are now becoming non-racial, and there are plans to open up a centre in Salisbury in which the training will be non-racial. Perhaps most important of all is a plan to put all housing and local government on the same racial basis, Africans and Europeans alike to be dealt with under one 1761 Ministry, and to abolish the Ministry of African Affairs. This is something that the majority of Africans have been advocating for some time and was recommended by the National Convention.
Thirdly, there is the question of land. Africans dislike the Land Apportionment Act, and unfortunately, also speak against the Land Husbandry Act, which has done more to raise the standards of agriculture in Southern Rhodesia than any other piece of legislation. Now, of course, the Land Apportionment Act is being repealed. Two million acres of land are already affected under legislation now going through the Parliament in Salisbury, and this land has been transferred from European to African ownership. A start is being made with a new category of unreserved land, with 5½ million acres being involved. The intention is that companies will develop land for major industrial or factory sites, and so on, and that the land will become unreserved land and will be completely multi-racial and will be added to the total of land to be developed by all races. Gradually, the unreserved land will extend until, perhaps, it will include the majority of all land in Southern Rhodesia.
The present figures are as follows—forest land 10 million acres, African land 44½ million acres and European land 38 million acres. In other words, there is now more land in African than in European occupation. I appreciate, in having said that, that some hon. Gentlemen opposite will say "Yes, but there are more Africans than Europeans." The point is that those figures illustrate that the trend is in the right direction. And it must be remembered that, in addition to these figures, 5½ million acres of unreserved land must he added to the total.
That trend to treat all areas alike will continue, and there are plans in existence, I understand, to change the function of the Native Affairs Department to an advisory capacity and to treat Africans in rural areas under the same Ministry as Europeans are at present dealt with. All this is going to remove the fears about discriminatory legislation in the future and fears that land might be taken away from the Africans to be given to the Europeans.
Fourthly, I would mention the subject of the value of the reserved powers, but 1762 this has already been discussed by hon. Members on both sides and I do not propose to develop the argument further. I would merely add the remarks that the powers which we have at the moment are not nearly as solid as hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to think and that the powers contained in the new Constitution give good guarantees for the future.
The question of consent of the African parties has been raised. In the beginning the N.D.P. consented to this Constitution, and this should be made absolutely clear. Further, the Central African Party, which has a large African membership—in fact, the majority of its membership is African—also agreed with the proposed Constitution. The U.F.P. itself has a large number of African supporters. The only party that did not agree was the Dominion Party, which is a European party and has virtually no African supporters. Therefore, one can confidently say that the measure of consent on behalf of African people was at a high level when this matter first came under discussion.
It is true that the National Democratic Party had second thoughts. But why? Those second thoughts were largely due to the pressure of the trades unions, recently assisted by American money, trying to move the whole of the National Democratic Party to the left and trying to undermine the leadership of Mr. Nkomo. It was also due to tribalism becoming unfortunately an important factor as in so many African parties and so many other parts of the continent.
§ Mr. Marsh
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that American official influence is being applied to Southern Rhodesian African trades unions, with financial assistance, to move them to the left? Would the hon. Gentleman not agree that one of the good features of the new emerging trade union movement there is the fact that it is not a political movement?
§ Mr. Wall
I agree with the hon. Gentleman. The trade union movement has been responsible and has not indulged in politics in the past. I am not saying that America has done this deliberately, but now the unions are better off and better organised they are moving into the political field and are now taking more interest in the extreme 1763 wing of the National Democratic Party than they are in running trades unions. That has also happened in other parts of Africa.
There is also the question of intimidation. This has been raised time and again, and as hon. Gentlemen opposite have quoted from the document Pastoral Instruction of the Catholic Bishops of Southern Rhodesia, I also wish to quote one paragraph from that document. This is what the bishops say:For instance, there is a flagrant denial of individual liberty when violence or threats are used to compel individuals to join any organisation or any political movement; or within the membership of such movement, to perform actions which are morally wrong. Such acts of intimidation are unfortunately all too common in our midst, and although they have been repudiated by the responsible leaders, they continue to take place, and constitute in this country an unexampled tyranny which gives little confidence for the future. They are wholly and entirely reprehensible and we cannot too strongly condemn them.I am at one with hon. Gentlemen opposite in being against discrimination but also against intimidation. We must accept the fact, however, that both exist and that both are wrong.
The Times, on the 14th of this month, published a leader in which it is stated:Change, to be effective, must come by democratic processes within Southern Rhodesia itself. The difficulty could arise if good faith were absent.Later in that leader it is implied that if the Dominion Party gained power some of the events that the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn prophesies might take place. I mention this in order to remind the House that the 25 per cent. influence of the lower roll on the upper roll will pretty well eliminate all chances of the Dominion Party being returned. It is therefore no wonder that the Dominion Party is fighting this Constitution so vehemently.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I wonder if the hon. Gentleman is aware that in Northern Rhodesia the African electors rushed to the polls to vote for the Dominion Party candidate because they were so opposed to the hypocrisy of Sir Roy Welensky and the U.F.P.? Are we not likely to see the same result?
§ Mr. Wall
What the hon. Gentleman states must have been quite ineffective, 1764 because they returned only one member of the D.P. to the legislative assembly.
I believe that this Constitution will issue in a new chapter in the history of Southern Rhodesia. I believe that it will start truly a non-racial approach to the problems of the future. In so doing, I believe that it is the best chance we have of maintaining and preserving this great experiment of federation in Central Africa. The Africans' objection to the Federation has always been that it was a device to enshrine the supremacy of the European minority at Salisbury within a constitution and so allow them to be the dominating race in the Federation. This new Constitution outlaws discrimination in the future, and it bids fair to lead to action to undo the discrimination of the past. I believe that it will give a chance of changing the African view towards federation and that now, for the first time during the last five years, we have a real chance to make the Federation a real success.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on the success of the negotiations. I am sure that, he already knows that these proposals will inevitably depend for their success on the referendum. There will be great pressure against the referendum by the Dominion Party, for various reasons, one of which I have already mentioned, but in my view and, I believe, in the view of the majority of Europeans throughout the Federation, the referendum will have no chance at all of succeeding unless there is a reasonable Constitution in Northern Rhodesia. I am not for a moment suggesting that there should be gerrymandering and favouring one party or another. What I do suggest is that the new North Rhodesian Constitution must for the next five years—that is until the subsequent election—produce a Government, black, white or mixed—the colour matters not—which is a pro-Federation Government. If Lusaka has an anti-Federation Government, then that, in addition to a similar Government in Nyasaland, will obviously mean that the balance of the Federation will be destroyed and, as a result, the whole Federal experiment will probably collapse.
The key, of course, lies in the control exercised in the 15 middle roll seats and whether that control will be exercised, 1765 mainly by the upper roll or by the lower roll. I believe that it is vitally important to the future of the whole Federation that the upper roll must dominate bearing in mind that it is now 13 per cent. non-European. Nearly all the Europeans I have met in Central Africa accept and believe that the Africans will exercise political power, but they are determined to see that this political power remains in what they term responsible hands, in other words, that it remains with the upper roll, that the upper roll in all these countries should remain dominant. I believe that is right.
We in Britain must do something to help to consolidate this now Constitution. My hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary, in answer to a Question I asked him the other day, said that, since the start of the Federation, Her Majesty's Government had made no grants or loans to Southern Rhodesia except £1 million in 1956–57 which was a C.D.C. grant for African housing. I believe that we must be more generous and that as a Parliament we must buttress this new Constitution with practical and financial help so as to ensure its success in producing true Rhodesians irrespective of race.
§ 7.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)
I stand before the House as a completely new boy in colonial affairs. I have never been a member of my own party's colonial committee and, therefore, I cannot be accused of being biased in any way in this debate. I am probably the last Member for Parliament to have been in Rhodesia. I left late last Friday, having been there for 17 or 18 days. I know it is said that no one can learn much in 17 or 18 days. Of course, there is none so blind as he who does not want to see, and there is none so uneducated as he who does not want to know. It was, I think, my forty-ninth trip out of this country on that sort of mission during and since the war, and I think that I can claim to have seen and learned quite a lot. How much is learned depends a great deal upon who the person is who goes to look.
I saw a wonderful country, with beautiful countryside and potential wealth which cannot he computed at least in figures which I could calculate. There is mineral wealth unbounded and a labour force which, if trained, educated and brought on aright as it ought to 1766 have been and still needs to be, could make the country a tremendous asset in the world. That was the potential I saw.
What did I see? If one goes there completely unbiased, one sees an E1 Dorado of industrial exploitation and political discrimination. I am one who humbly says that, but for the grace of God, I should have been the African sitting in the gallery and he would have been here standing in my place. As things have turned out, Almighty God came down in my favour; I had the opportunity to have an ordinary day-school education, an opportunity which is denied to millions of Africans today.
Her Majesty's Government are trying to do now what they often try to do—too little and too late. It is the old story of evens catching up. There is no doubt at all that the Government realise that events have caught up with them. The African desires something better, regardless of his lack of education, regardless of his lack of political knowledge. He means what he says. He wants something which he believes—to use words often used in this country—was owed to his grandfather and to his father.
It is not unusual for us in Britain to witness the development of a movement overnight to improve man's lot. I speak as one, with a trade union card in his pocket at this moment, after fifty-one years of membership. I am getting on a bit now, past the old-age pension stage. That is my history. I know something of the movements made by all sorts of people in all parts of the world, and, being quite honest and factual, I am not surprised at all that the Africans are on the move. They have everything there except the thing which really matters, political stability.
Hon. Members talk glibly in the House as though there were three or four parties in Rhodesia, as though there were the party of the "haves", the party of the "have nots", and one or two parties in between. Thirty-two different political parties have been formed in the Rhodesias during the last five years. A Minister has only to receive an unsatisfactory answer from somebody else and he walks out and forms a party of his own. That has happened. How hon. Members can talk in the House as though 1767 there were a constitutional procedure in Rhodesia akin to our own I do not understand. The idea is fantastic.
The African is on the move. I am not one of those who say that one man, one vote, is the solution. I found plenty of educated Africans, perfect gentlemen, to whom I owe a great debt for the way in which I was treated when I was there. I met plenty of educated Britons, industrialists and others, who owe a lot to the Africans. I owe them a debt, too. We were denied no opportunity to meet anyone or to see anything anywhere.
As I have said, there is in that country potential wealth which, if it were properly controlled and if political stability could be brought about, could mean for the people there a way of life such as we have never known. We have never had such a range of mineral wealth or such a labour force.
Again, hon. Members speak in the House as if the leaders of some of the movements in Rhodesia were political saints. They should tell us the truth. I did not overstep what I thought were the bounds of courtesy in the country where I was a guest. I kept within the limits and I did not seek to break the rules. I did not like some of the laws. I saw there something which I saw during the war south of the Mason-Dixon line, discrimination—"Entry coloured", "Entry white"—on the railways with separate places for people to buy their tickets, but with the money all going into the same box. There was no discrimination with the "lolly".
I saw that sort of thing in Rhodesia, but there was no discrimination when it came to putting the money in the bank, or putting it on one side. People talk about the political situation in Kenya. Two friends of mine, good steel men, full of knowledge, not full of education—men who had learned the hard way—and who came from Kenya could not buy a box of matches last Friday afternoon. The situation is just chaotic, and we shall have the same sort of thing in Rhodesia if we do not bring about political stability there.
There is one man who is sitting back and watching Africa at this time, the man in charge at the Kremlin. He is the most interested person of all. Africa 1768 could go. Africa could be lost by the West. If we in this House are prepared to do anything so foolish as to deny ourselves access to the £293 million worth of copper which was mined out of the bowels of the earth last year by African labour, we are lunatics.
Let us get down to brass tacks. Some people talk as if all Europeans who go out there are completely friendly towards the Africans. I have seen artisans, members of my own party, ex-members of my own union, who talk about how many "boys" they have in their house, about their garden boy and their house boy. They never had such a time in all their lives. It seems to me that the social ladder there is determined by the number of boys one can keep at the lowest possible price. That is about the size of it, as I saw it. There was affluence that I have never seen in Britain. In the kraals and villages we saw natives, happy-go-lucky folk—we can produce the photographs of them—who were singing and dancing, happy in their lot. But their lot is not so good.
This is a paradise for potential political exploitation. We can write Nyasaland off now, because Banda is in charge. His own police are in charge. He has his own army being trained on the roadside with sticks, as our Home Guard used to be trained. He can get rifles as soon as he wants them. Let us get down to brass tacks. He is a man who cannot speak the African language, having spent thirty years in this country. He advocated that his own people should not be vaccinated, yet during the last six months he has been vaccinated himself against smallpox.
My own party and the Tory Party had better get together in this matter in the interests of Britain and of the West. I say that advisedly. I have no axe to grind in this matter. It is all very well for people to go out there and, because it suits their own political line of thought, to say that everything is right in the Africans' eyes and nothing is right in the Europeans' eyes. I saw Africans lining up against Europeans, Europeans lining up against Africans, and Europeans lining up against Europeans.
I interjected earlier in the debate to point out that there were thousands of 1769 notices, almost on every tree in and around the countryside, saying, "Vote 'No' or go". They were put there by British finance and were posted with European help. That is the sort of thing that we must face. The situation in the Rhodesias at the moment is very serious and sad.
Here I speak as an old trade union negotiator who has been to see the boss more times than I care to remember about what my people wanted. I cannot understand Members of this House who talk about what the Africans want and, because they cannot get the lot, wonder whether they should have part of it. I am all for half a loaf rather than no bread any time. The African is saying, "We have pushed them into giving us 15 seats. Stick the pin in a bit more—not the spear yet, just the pin. Prod them a bit and we will get a little more." He rightly says, "With a little pressure, we have made a move in the right direction". The Minister said that it was a start, a move in the right direction. If, with 15 seats, they can prove to their fellow men and women that they are fit to represent them, and that they can formulate policies and advocate a cause, as we have done in this House, they will want to go a little further.
I can remember the day when there was only one Socialist in this House. Outside, he wore a cloth cap. We exhibited his photograph with pride and adoration in our kitchens and homes—Keir Hardie himself. We have proceeded in a relatively short time to where we are today. We should be sitting across there, but we are not. This is not because of the Tories of the country but because of the working class. They are the folk who put our friends over there, if they are our friends. That is the situation.
If the Africans can get 15 good voices—and there are plenty of well-educated, decent Africans who can put forward a point of view—one can see the African exploiting his fellow men, and the educated African using his knowledge to exploit the less well educated African. It is happening in Persia, America and all over the world. Where there is illiteracy and lack of education, there is the E1 Dorado, the opportunity, for exploitation. It has been done by the Europeans and by the Africans. They must get 1770 together on this problem. I do not want to go into the intricacies of the upper roll and the lower roll. I am more concerned with the bread roll of the world—food, decency, and homes.
We saw a tremendous job of work being done while we were there. The Anglo-American Copper Corporation is doing all that it can, like the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company did in Persia. We are not concerned with that today, but they are doing a great big job in housing, education, sport—the whole gamut of advancement in welfare, about which I claim to know a little.
The African is saying that this advance is a bit belated. I could talk about the jobs being done by the do-gooders out there. People said to me, "You have never seen a soup kitchen". I said, "Oh yes, I have. I saw soup dished out to better men than your father or your husband twenty or thirty years ago. We have had them in our own country. I have served soup myself, so I know." One should pay tribute to the great work which is being done there. The biggest part of it is being done from a sincere desire to uplift the African to where people want him to be. On the other hand, there is a paternalism about it, a bit of appeasement.
I shall never forget to my dying day what I saw a week last Sunday morning—200 to 300 children, some of whom had walked since midnight 30 miles to come and sing for a few Members of Parliament. I do not suppose that any of my colleagues will forget it. It is one of those things which one looks back on with pride. A Salvation Army captain and his wife were hundreds of miles out in the bush. We took safari planes to get there. The Salvation Army is doing a wonderful job there. I make no apology for mentioning the work that it is doing. However, it is not sufficient to bring political stability to that great country which we in particular, on this side and, I believe, many members of the Tory Party would like to see.
The day has arrived when we must face the fact that the African negro wants exactly what his European masters and other white men have if he can get it and as soon as he can get it. But we did not come by it overnight. The great trouble is that the illiterate African is being encouraged by the educated African into the idea that if he can get a 1771 ballot paper, hey presto, tomorrow he will have a bank book, and then all he has to do is to put his thumb on it and he can draw money out of the bank, and all that damned nonsense. This is part of the propaganda. People are being told, "If you vote this way, vote anti-European, if you vote for me, you will get a pass book tomorrow. You put your thumb on it, go to the bank and draw the 'lolly' just like the fellow who draws it when he has not got it in the bank, like the Europeans do"—even in Rhodesia.
The African should know the value of and the reason for a ballot paper. He should know how to use it. But there are thousands of Africans—I say this with sincerity; it is to be deplored, but it is a fact—who do not know how to use writing paper and how to put legible marks on it. Thousands do not know how to use writing paper, while there are hundreds of thousands who do not yet know how to use toilet paper, such is the society in which we live in the world in 1961. It is tragic. It is no use moaning or crying about it, but those happen to be the facts of the situation. We must give those folk, who are made in God's image as we ourselves are made, an opportunity to get what we ourselves demand and try to enjoy.
Never a speech is made on the Floor of this House, from either side, that does not have as its object a desire to have something better than the present system of society, either industrially, politically or in some other way, through, for example, the Health Service or education. Today, at Question Time, for instance, we heard that there were not sufficient remand homes. There are plenty of people to occupy them, but there is no room in which to put them. There is no need to talk about African delinquency. We have plenty of reasons to talk about delinquency among educated children in this country.
The Africans are a wonderful people, full of humour and good will. They live on a diet of mealy-meal, which they eat two or three times a day and seem to be reasonably content. But their children are not content, and their children's children will not be content, until they can live in a system of society that Almighty God wished that we could all live in.
1772 I cannot vote against the Constitution. I must tell my own party that on the basis of an opportunity for extra seats to be given for Africans, we have no right to say that, because we cannot get the lot, we should not have some. That is the logic of the argument.
I want to say a word or two about the trade unions of Africa. Let me tell my hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Marsh), who has visited Africa and is greatly concerned for the African, that I happen to be a specialist in the trade union world and that I have sorted out to my own satisfaction the type of leadership that is there. Without mentioning names, I tell my hon. Friend that I am not at all happy at the importation of elements from South Africa and ex-railway men being put in charge of the Miners' Union, of which tens of thousands of people are in membership. It does not appear to me to be the right solution to have imported within the last couple of months people from South Africa whom we know, and one from Scotland whom we know far too well. That is not the sort of leadership that I would advocate in the best interests of the African miner.
The African Miners' Union, too, is out for advancement. I want to be completely frank about it. It could be advancement provided that the differentials remain the same. As a trade unionist, I cannot understand why there should be two different unions advocating exactly the same thing for and on behalf of the same people working at the same job. In my own union, in this country, 14 or 15 different nationalities are all taken care of and their case for better wages and better conditions is advocated by the leader of the union. In America, one can go south of the Mason-Dixon line and see thousands of negroes in the same trade unions, yet in Africa we see the sort of situation which I have just described. Nobody minds the African coming a bit nearer in wages provided that the differentials remain the same.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to look at a part of the world which I had not seen before. It was one of the few remaining parts which I had not had an opportunity to see. I wanted to go because I had heard so much talk by the supporters of both the European and of the African point of view. I 1773 wanted to consider the problem with a neutral, fresh mind. I saw what I wanted to see.
I repeat that this nation of ours, including both my party and the Tory Party, must be careful how it steps. The Constitution may not provide all that is necessary. It may provide a stepping stone and it may be opening the door, as my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) said, just that little bit, although, in her opinion, by no means wide enough. In my opinion, it provides an opportunity for the African to look round the door and see what is going on. If it can be the start of something that will prevent the break-up of the Federation and can avoid the chaos which we see in the Congo and elsewhere, which ultimately provides the opportunity for Communism to walk in and take over a defenceless nation, we shall have done some good by this debate.
§ 7.53 p.m.
§ Sir Lionel Heald (Chertsey)
I believe that many of us would like to say how grateful we are to the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) for bringing into this discussion what I would describe as an atmosphere of reality. What is it that we are trying to do here today? I speak as a member of the Monckton Commission, and when the hon. Member for Rotherham was speaking I felt just the same as he did.
I visited Southern Rhodesia in a slightly different capacity. I was there a year earlier, but I had many of the experiences of which the hon. Member has spoken. In the Monckton Commission, we said that we were convinced that every possible effort must be made to preserve and improve the Federation as a multi-racial or non-racial experiment quite unparalleled anywhere else in Africa or in the world as the one chance of succeeding there.
What is the key to the Federation from that point of view? It must be Southern Rhodesia, with its years of history, a country which is bound together on the lines of two races. There is no question of suddenly turning Southern Rhodesia into a black country. The new Constitution is an effort to make a contribution to the possibility of a Federation and of a real step forward in that part of the world.
1774 Two of the most important elements in the new Constitution have been adopted from the Report of the Monckton Commission. I do not want to get into an argument with my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, but he did not altogether do justice to the Monckton Commission because, in referring to our recommendations in relation to the Constitutional Council and the Bill of Rights, he made two errors.
First, my hon. Friend said that unlike the Monckton Commission, a veto was not proposed in relation to the Constitutional Council, but only delaying powers. If my hon. Friend will look at the Report, he will find that that is not accurate. At page 86 of the Report, we set out clearly our view. We stated:We have debated whether the Councils of State should have a power of veto and have decided against it, They should only have a power of delay.My hon. Friend also stated that a better method had bean adopted for dealing with amendments, because whereas the Monckton Commission had opted for a three-quarters majority, it was now proposed to arrange to have a majority of each race. If my hon. Friend looks again at the Report of the Monckton Commission, he will find that that is precisely what was recommended by that Commission.
I mention those points, not to justify the Monckton Commission or to quarrel with my hon. Friend but to point out that I believe that the motive behind my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State—we shall look forward with great interest to hearing him tell us about it when he winds up the debate—is that same motive of trying to give a real impulse to the idea of the non-racial or the multi-racial state.
Surely, we must have faith about this. If we start with the idea that Southern Rhodesia will make no attempt to work the Constitution we might just as well all get up and walk out of the House. I am extremely grateful to the hon. Member for Rotherham for encouraging me to speak, otherwise I probably would not have dared to get up and talk in this way. I agree very much with him that we must approach this question not from the viewpoint of controversy, still less of party controversy. We must realise the truth of the old Chinese saying, that 1775 it is later than we think and that there is just one more chance.
As the hon. Member for Rotherham said, the guarantee of fifteen seats for the Africans can be contrasted with the position today, when the African has no seats. I believe that, with a Constitutional Council operating, it will be possible to make the Constitution work.
I should like my right hon. Friend to say a word about paragraph 32 of the White Paper, which deals with existing legislation. I will not enter into an argument with the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) in her absence, but she was not quite right in regard to that matter. It is there provided that, in relation to the existing legislation, the Council of State shall take that into account and if it does its job properly it will report. I wonder whether something cannot be said on those lines. We discussed in the Monckton Commission whether something could not be provided for that would not only be a report and a letter written drawing attention to discriminatory provisions that now exist but some provision for it being discussed in the Legislature. It may be that that is not necessary. I should like to know what my right hon. Friend thinks about it.
I am quite sure, as one of my hon. Friends said, that it is true already in Southern Rhodesia that they are considering this question. If we are to have this Constitutional Council and Bill of Rights, what are we to do about the laws that we have got? I think that we should be very unfair, and, indeed, it would be very foolish of us, to imagine that they will just keep them as they are. In fact we know that they will disappear.
If this Constitution is to succeed in Southern Rhodesia it has to be accepted by everyone. It has to be accepted by the people. A great figure like Sir Robert Tredgold has been mentioned. I hope that he will be a supporter of it. I believe that although he would like to see it go much further, he will, like the hon. Member for Rotherham, say, "This is something". We shall find that men like that are not prepared to support this new Constitution and try to help to make it work unless these things are tackled. Do let us have a little faith in this matter. I believe that there will be 1776 great difficulty in getting the progress that many of us would like to see, but that is no reason for not appreciating what has already been done and also giving credit for their good faith to those who have gone as far as they have. I hope that we shall give them every chance of doing so.
I must say that I deprecate the tone of the speeches from hon. Members opposite who preceded the hon. Member for Rotherham. They all seemed to be directed to one point. It almost seemed that all they had in their minds was, somehow or other, to secure African supremacy. That is not what we want, any more than we want to secure European supremacy. Attention seemed not to be directed to the multi-racial objective, which, surely, is what we must all have in mind.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)
I have never before followed the former Attorney-General, the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald), and I do not know quite how to begin my remarks. Perhaps it was characteristic of him that he should spoil some of his arguments by proceeding to lecture us from a very great height on how we ought to present our arguments. With respect to him, I think that we are entitled to present our arguments as we like and to put what emphasis we like upon them. If we think that a section of the population in Southern Rhodesia—in this case the Black African—is not getting a fair crack of the whip it is natural for our speeches to appear not to support the Government's point of view. That does not mean as a logical consequence—I am surprised at the faulty legal deduction—that we therefore exclude the interest of the European. Most of us who judge and accept each other's sincerity believe that we are all trying to see in this country and, indeed, in all parts of Africa a non-racial society. It is the curse not only of Africa but of the world that we should have racialism in any shape.
I think that the former Attorney-General might do us the courtesy of accepting the validity of our arguments however we present them. He may not necessarily agree with them, but at least he should accept our right to present 1777 them. The same kind of attitude was shown in the speeches of other hon. Members opposite. The hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) told us that we ought to be responsible in what we say in the House. That means, of course, that we must say things with which he does not substantially disagree. Earlier, we had a lecture from the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) about how the Government in Southern Rhodesia should be delivered into the hands only of responsible people. I suppose that we shall have certificates of responsibility issued by the hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton, or some such oracle, to say that, "The following people are responsible and the others are irresponsible."
"Responsible" or "irresponsible" are highly subjective words and to try to introduce them in an impartial way in a highly political atmosphere like this seems very much like being ludicrous in the use of words. Many of the black Africans whom I have met in Rhodesia were described to me by many of the white Africans as moderates. I did not think that they were very moderate, but that was the whites' opinion. Just as I have heard many black Africans described as extremists whom I thought were extremely moderate. It all depends where one stands.
I deprecate the idea that people should use these words so liberally and lecture us on this side, or any of the Africans, white or black, about being responsible or irresponsible. Let us hope that we shall try to approach these political problems as sensibly as we can. I hope that the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey will get an answer to his question. He was a hard-working member of the Monckton Commission and the Commission put forward a very serious recommendation about the question of the three-quarters majority. We are here discussing White Papers which have altered this and made it two-thirds, and I think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is entitled to a very full explanation from the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations on this matter.
The onus of proof of the validity of two-thirds as opposed to three-quarters lies entirely with the Government's Ministers. The Joint Under-Secretary of State in opening did not explain this 1778 quite fully, and I hope that he will answer the right hon. and learned Member and those of us who are concerned about this. This is an important question. My hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) has taken a moderate line of being willing to accept half a loaf. The honeyed words heard from the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey may not be quite the same words if, in a later debate, he accuses us of having with the Tories accepted this Constitution after something has gone wrong. We have seen all this before, when it has been said, "Ah, well, the Labour Party agreed also."
The Amendment we present is that wecannot assent to proposals involving the abandonment of powers…I should like to quote from what was said on the present powers in a paper circulated at the Press conference held by Sir Edgar Whitehead for correspondents who came to talk to him about these constitutional proposals. On page 2 there are tables side by side comparing the existing Constitution and the proposed Constitution. Here are powers in which you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, as a Scotsman like myself, will be interested. For they are the price of this contract. The price of the contract is whether we are going to sell the existing powers for new powers. The existing powers which the Government are proposing to give away are that the following types of Bills in the Southern Rhodesian legislature will no longer require the Secretary of State's approval or consent. Firstly, Bills whichimpose any condition, disability or restriction on natives only (except in regard to the supply of arms, ammunition or liquor).Secondly, Bills whichRepeals, alters, amends or is repugnant to or inconsistent with any section of the constitution which the Legislative Assembly is permitted to repeal or alter.
§ Sir L. Heald
Does the hon. Member suggest that existing powers have ever been of the slightest value in preventing these laws being insisted upon?
§ Dr. Mabon
That is precisely the point. In relation to the last ten years the answer is "No", because these powers can only be exercised by a majority in the British Parliament. We know what that means. They are exercised by the Executive with the approval of 1779 the British Parliament. In fact, the Executive—the Tory Cabinet—in the last ten years have never attempted at any time to impede the passage of any of these laws, have never annulled this repressive legislation—
§ Dr. Mabon
—in Southern Rhodesia. I cannot think—I should be ashamed if it were so—that any single Member on the other side would champion any of the repressive laws which exist in Southern Rhodesia at the present time. Rather than administer them the former Chief Justice, Sir Robert Tredgold, resigned in protest. I have never heard a single Conservative Member justify any of these laws. On the contrary, the only ones I have heard talking about them are those who agree with me that they are repressive, shocking, quite distasteful, ought to be repealed and ought never to have been made. Why, then, did not the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the British Cabinet come to the House and ask for support in seeking to annul those laws and refuse to give the Southern Rhodesian Assembly the right to put them into legal practice? Why? The powers are there, but they have never been used.
§ Sir L. Heald
Is the hon. Member not aware that, in constitutional practice, when this state of affairs has existed for forty years, it is as a matter of practical politics impossible to exercise these rights? He does not seem to be aware of that.
§ Dr. Mabon
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is in a very dangerous field of argument here, because if that is true—of course, he believes it to be true—then he had better pay attention to the Government's argument later on about what powers are reserved to us there in the remaining powers. What is being said by people in Southern Rhodesia is along the lines of the "Boston Tea Party" speech of the Federal Prime Minister, Sir Roy Welensky, that they can declare themselves independent anyway whatever this House thinks. That was said in an election speech earlier this year, before this Constitution was agreed upon.
In fact, the right hon. and learned Gentleman is correct in his argument that 1780 it is all very well having these powers on paper. These are, to my mind as a layman, very extensive powers, these reserve powers on paper. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is right in saying that we have these on paper, but in political practice we have never operated them. What it means is this, that we are by this Constitution giving Southern Rhodesia independence—irrevocably. We can never claim back any of the powers. I believe that is right.
§ Mr. Braine
I think this is an interesting and important point, but would the hon. Member turn his mind to the position in the new Constitution in regard to the existing legislation, which was also distressing my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald)? It will be open to the Constitutional Council to examine any Acts or Statutory Instruments which are in force on the date of the Constitution and make a report if it regards them as contrary to the Declaration of Rights. That report will be made, and the Speaker of the Assembly is required to lay it before the Assembly, but the Assembly, unlike the present one, will have a substantial number of African elected members and others who will be dependent in some measure, perhaps in considerable measure, on African votes.
§ Dr. Mabon
I do not want the Under-Secretary of State to go on with that point, to which I will return in a moment, and escape from this issue I am trying to deal with the Chertsey argument, if I may put it that way. Whatever powers we had previously, he says, in political practice they are not operative. It is a logical argument then to say that whatever powers we claim to have under the revised Constitution will be in exactly the same condition of political sterility. He cannot have it both ways. It must be one or the other. Either we have these powers present and proposed and have the right to operate them or we do not.
I want to go further to deal with the argument of the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey who said that these reserve powers are, in fact, inoperable and, therefore, of no practical value.
Listen to Sir Edgar Whitehead, who said in Bulawayo on 7th April, not to 1781 the British public but to his own electorate:With the speed with which Africa is moving it is extremely dangerous to leave the reserved powers for another two years. I want to see them removed this year. For the last twenty years, and even before the war, the British Government largely left us alone. We are not in the world's eye. But recently the Ministers of the United Kingdom have been entertaining members of the opposing group. This became increasingly dangerous. Under two electoral rolls the proposed Parliament of this country will remain for all time in the control of people with upper roll qualifications.That was the 27th April in Bulawayo.
Now I pay tribute to this politician, a man with a brilliant ice-cold brain, one of the best white settler politicians there has been, who certainly knows where he is going. Moreover, he knows how to sell his political views to his electorate. This man, I am sure, will win the referendum on 26th July The Sunday Mail in Salisbury has predicted that 80 per cent. of the electorate will be for the referendum. I would not have it otherwise. I quite accept what my hon. Friend said. It would be tragic if the referendum collapsed.
But let us have the position clear. We are deciding tonight to surrender these powers in exchange for what? The question is why are we surrendering the powers at all. The answer is because Sir Edgar Whitehead is afraid that if Britain retains them then the Southern Rhodesians will be unable themselves to determine the pace at which discriminatory laws will be removed. This decision is to be kept entirely and completely in the hands of the Southern Rhodesians.
Let us suppose that people said, "Well, the British Government will behave differently." Are we in this House to accept that, we who have been through all the debates on the Federation and the debates we had in 1951 and 1952 on the Measures creating the Federation, with all those wonderful safeguards we were told about, including the African Affairs Board?
I can remember the time when we had the debates in 1957 about the Electoral Franchise Bill and the Constitution Amendment Bill and about the objections of the African Affairs Board. We were told that the British Government would be the umpires and that the final 1782 umpire would be the British Parliament. We were told that justice would be plain to see. But we have not seen justice done at all to the African Affairs Board. Every time the Board cried "Foul" the British Government disagreed. This is not a potted history. It happens to be a tragic fact of Conservative Administration since 1952. Do we really expect the black Africans to believe that we can be the umpires and fair umpires at that?
That is why what the Under-Secretary said earlier on, about the two-thirds majority and how this will make everything different with the safeguards, and the various provisos becomes so important. As someone said earlier, we see from the very last paragraph in the summary of the proposed changes that in fact all the four racial groups can be supplanted. The Under-Secretary of State said, "Oh, yes, but that is only in minor affairs". How does he know?
§ Mr. Braine
On the contrary, I said nothing of the kind. The reason, think, is pretty plain. If one uses the entrenched provisions for a separate referendum for each of the racial groups this might freeze the position in the Assembly. Supposing that it were decided, for example, to increase the number of B roll seats. This would be a very unsatisfactory way of trying to deal with the matter but one must remember that there will be at least 15 and there may well be more Africans in the Assembly. They need only 22 votes to defeat any proposal and, as I have said before in a previous intervention, all the rest of the members of the Assembly will, unlike the present situation, be dependent in large measure upon African votes. In other words, the whole question should be seen against a totally different political background where the members in the Assembly are responsible to races other than their own.
§ Dr. Mabon
The hon. Gentleman makes my point for me in what he says. I had thought that he said he was referring only to minor affairs, but I take it from that intervention that he is telling me that the alternative form of securing a majority in a referendum of each of the four major groups can be operated not just on minor matters but on major matters.
1783 Paragraph 53 of the White Paper speaks of…the amendment of these basic clauses…These are the ones which we exchange for the reserve powers, and this is terribly important. We have certain reserve powers which the Government have refused to use and of which Sir Edgar Whitehead, by his own confession, is afraid. He wishes them to be removed and he makes a bargain. He says to us, "You remove the reserve clauses and I will give you certain things in exchange." He is giving certain important constitutional rights, but I emphasise that they are qualified rights.
Then Sir Edgar Whitehead makes the claim for himself, as he did at the Press Conference, that he thought of the four racial groups referendum idea. Nevertheless, one must go on to paragraph 54 of the White Paper, which provides the legal loophole by which one can get round these four groups, and the Joint Under-Secretary has confirmed our worst fears. Instead of going to the four racial groups for a referendum majority it will be possible for the Legislative Assembly by a two-thirds majority to go to the British Parliament and if that Parliament says that that is all right then it is all right.
This is where the three-quarters majority, instead of two-thirds, in the Assembly becomes relevant. When the fifteen are elected, they do not represent anywhere near a two-thirds majority. That is why these figures are important.
These constitutional proposals are a cleverly arranged political solution to a difficult problem for the white settlers. They are the people who want the reserve clauses given up. They are the people who are making a good bargain. They want enough loopholes so that they are entirely in charge of the levers of power by which the rate of African integration, black with white, will be determined.
I am asked on behalf of my constituents to vote in favour of this White Paper and this bargain. I cannot do so, because it is a fundamental breach of faith with these Africans who are disenfranchised at present and who will never achieve the position in Southern Rhodesia which they deserve. I cannot vote for that kind of Constitution. I am 1784 extremely glad that my party is committed to vote on this issue tonight. This is a historical occasion.
All my hon. and right hon. Friends who voted against Federation are now acquitted at the bar of history because they were right in saying that Federation imposed on the three Territories was a great mistake, and that the idea was self damned before it started. Tonight we are at the crossroads of deciding whether Southern Rhodesia goes with Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, Tanganyika and Kenya as a non-racial State, or swings over to the apartheid mentality of Verwoerd South Africa. The Government have made no case at all for the British Parliament surrendering these reserve powers. They should be ashamed of themselves that they have never sought to use these powers to try and defeat the iniquities foisted upon the black Africans of Southern Rhodesia.
§ 8.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Longbottom (York)
I hope that the hon. Member for Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) will forgive me if I do not answer his arguments closely. It would take a great deal of time to do so and in this debate time is limited.
It is unrealistic for anyone to try to examine the problem of Southern Rhodesia without looking at those countries which surround it. To the south there is the vicious, abominable apartheid policy of the South African Government which cannot be respected by any civilised country. To the east and through Bechuanaland to the west lie the Portuguese territories of Angola and Mozambique and the House has already expressed today its horror at the atrocities taking place, particularly in Angola on all sides. To the north lies Northern Rhodesia, a country which I hope will soon have an African elected majority.
This is not an isolated situation, and what happens to Africans in the rest of Africa is bound to affect Africans in Southern Rhodesia. The fact that Africans in the west of Africa have got independence is bound to affect the views of Africans in Southern Rhodesia. A pattern has been set, and it is only natural that they want to achieve their independence too.
1785 Of course there are special problems in Southern Rhodesia. I put it to the hon. Member for Greenock that some of the countries which he mentioned earlier have not quite the same settler problem that there is in Southern Rhodesia. But the European as well must realise his responsibilities and where his future must lie in Africa, because if independence is to be a long drawn out struggle for the African, the European will have no settled future on that continent. The only security for the European in Africa depends upon partnership and cooperation with all the other races.
It is no good Europeans in Southern Rhodesia saying, "Of course, we do not mind these guys in the Government if they have the same standard of efficiency as ourselves" but at the same time doing precious little to give them a standard of efficiency. That will not help the situation at all. It is in explosive racial conditions such as we have in Southern Rhodesia that extremists on either side will try to whip up dissent and hold the attention of the masses. There are black African extremists who are shouting for immediate independence, who wish to have no compromise and who wish to keep the European out of Southern Rhodesia.
I warned my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) that I wished to cross swords with him over his accusation against the National Democratic Party of having Communist funds. That may happen in the case of one or two individuals in that party—I do not know—but it is a most unhappy charge to make about the National Democratic Party, which has, I believe, an extremely good leader, Mr. Joshua Nkomo, who has been a friend of mine for some years.
On the other side are the white African extremists, the "We are here to stay by force" people, and they, too, pander to the worst instincts of race and crude survival. These extremes are to be found in Southern Rhodesia today.
It is our duty in this House to examine any moves and decisions that we have to make to ensure that we encourage the statesmen and moderates on either side and provide Southern Rhodesia with the best possible opportunity for partnership. Any constitutional change must surely be examined 1786 from one viewpoint—will it build up trust and confidence and act as a cornerstone of partnership? This becomes even more important when in this Constitution the United Kingdom is taking the decision virtually to give up all the reserve powers. Therefore, the test is whether the Constitution, when passed, will help build up confidence and partnership in that country.
I believe it will. It gives electoral encouragement to the moderates. It gives electoral disadvantages to the extremists. It gives, for the first time, a reasonable representation to the African in the Southern Rhodesia Legislative Council, a representation which I hope will be speeded up over the years. By the Declaration of Rights of the Constitutional Council it safeguards the Southern Rhodesians against racial extremism.
There is one thing that I want to say about the Declaration of Rights. The point has been laboured by the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and other hon. Members opposite that the Declaration does not apply to laws already in force on the appointed day. This is a fact, and in many ways I regard it as perhaps an unfortunate fact, because it will not in the early stages give the Africans the confidence which they need that the Constitution will be a worth-while one.
Therefore, I ask my right hon. Friend why we should not, as soon as the Constitution has been published and is in being and the court has been set up, have a special meeting of the Constitutional Council at the very commencement—to review the existing laws and make immediate recommendations for action by the Government. That would give an opportunity straight away for all existing laws, some of which have been mentioned today, to be examined by the Constitutional Council. If recommendations are made but are turned down by the Government, then I would also give individuals who are affected by the laws in existence before the passing of the Constitution the right, in the cases where the recommendations have been turned down, to appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that that right is in the present Constitution?
§ Mr. Longbottom
It is not in the present Constitution. What I am saying is that there is nothing in the Constitution which would prevent a special meeting of the Constitutional Council. That was all that I was advocating.
§ Mr. Longbottom
It might prevent the latter point, but that is perhaps something which could be dealt with by agreement. I should have thought that something could be done to engender confidence in those who feel that existing laws are affecting them after the date of the Constitution and give them some right of appeal if the recommendations of the Constitutional Council have not been accepted by the Government.
As the home of people of many races, all of whom genuinely want to safeguard their future one way or another, Southern Rhodesia is a prosperous and fertile country which offers an opportunity for real partnership, an opportunity for people to show the way—which South Africa seems so unwillingly to take—to show that there can be racial partnership in Southern Africa. I know that this is not an easy rôle and that it is extremely difficult to fulfil, but it is one which the House should do its very best to ensure has the best opportunity. That is why I believe that in the Constitution which they have put forward the Government are embracing within it the best possible chance of racial success.
§ 8.35 p.m.
§ Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)
This has been a most remarkable debate. I remember the older generation of diehards on colonial matters and I am deeply grateful that there has been an immense change even among the most diehard of the diehards opposite.
It is not only in Africa that there has been this wind of change. The speech of the hon. Member for York (Mr. Long-bottom) was one of the most remarkable of the speeches delivered from the other side of the House today. His suggestion about the Constitutional Council may or may not be practical, but it should most 1788 certainly be pursued by the Government in an effort to engender that confidence of the need for which he spoke.
The hon. Member said that the test of what we were being asked to decide today was whether this whole matter led to further confidence between the races. I accept that test. It is precisely what the test should be in deciding which way we are to vote this evening. It is because I believe that these proposals will not lead to that increased confidence that I feel we ought to vote not for the Government proposal, but rather for the Amendment.
There is this quite an astonishing wind of change. It is not a wind which respects any seasons. It is blowing hard the whole time, unlike the Khamsin or Harmattan. It goes on the whole time and the whole question between us and hon. Members opposite who have spoken with deep sincerity—one can say that of all who have spoken today, although they take a view different from ours—is whether we are paying sufficient attention to this wind.
Sensible people are those who, when they are caught up in a hurricane, amend their ways of life and thought accordingly. In many parts of Africa we have been singularly sensible in the ways we have met this wind and the changed conditions which it has brought about. In others we have been lucky.
In spite of the difficulties which result from having white settlers in a white country, or, indeed, black settlers in a white country, we have been lucky in not yet having had on our hands a devastating war which would destroy the souls and then the lives and then the property, in that order of importance, of the human beings who were swept up in the currents involved in such a war.
We have absolutely no right to think that we can come to the end of our path in Africa just by allowing ourselves to be swept on. We have actively to pay attention to two great principles. First, we have to provide political independence for the majority of the inhabitants of a country as soon as that can humanly be done. Secondly, we have to make it absolutely plain to those inhabitants that when they have that political independence, which we will give them on what terms seem best to secure real political freedom, we will go on to see 1789 to it that economic freedom is made a reality for them and that we will do everything possible to achieve that end in the way of aid, or whatever it may be called, after political independence has been reached.
At present, it is the territory comprised in the Federation which is the most important on the African chess board and where the next moves are being made. As it seems to me—though I have no personal experience of many of them and only a little experience of a few of them—we are dealing with Africans who are extremely sensible and reasonable, although completely consumed by a desire for their own political freedom. Hitherto, they have looked to this country, and the reserved powers of legislation here, to protect their interests.
They do not express their desire for that protection in quite the same picturesque way in which these things used to be expressed, when the great Khama of Bechuanaland threw himself unreservedly at the feet of the Great White Queen. Nevertheless, these reserved powers, unused though they have been all this time, have been something to which the Africans could look.
I look at our Amendment, which we have to consider from this point of view: does it, or does it not, provide an adequate exchange for the powers that formerly were in the United Kingdom Government? I do not accept the view expressed by the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald)—although we have a tremendous respect for his learning—that because these powers have not been used for forty years they could not be used. I do not know what authority the right hon. and learned Gentleman has for quoting a period of forty years. Obviously, the longer they are unused the harder they are to use. I would not dispute that for a moment. But I have very little doubt that they could have and should have been used in the last ten years.
Looking at these proposals for the Constitution of Southern Rhodesia, how can we say that the franchise provisions are an adequate substitute, from the point of view of the protection of African rights? I have paid my tribute to the comparative enlightenment of hon. Members opposite. I wish to say straight away that these provisions are 1790 streets ahead of anything discussed before regarding Southern Rhodesia.
Two years ago, like the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett), I should never have believed that we could possibly be discussing Government proposals putting forward provisions for a Constitution so much in advance of anything which has come before as are these proposals. But that is not the whole point. I agree that the franchise is much better than ever before and that the Constitutional Council is something which might be very valuable. I shall certainly follow the advice of the hon. and learned Member for Chertsey, that we must make this Constitution work when it comes into being. Of course, we shall all try to do that. What some of us fear is that it may not have a chance to work unless we allow the requisite franchise.
Good as they are, these things in this Constitution are not sufficient to cope with the situation of whirling change going on in Africa now. That is why I feel that I cannot possibly fail to go into the Division lobby in support of the Amendment. The hon. Member for York said that a pattern had been set in Africa, and that this pattern would eventually affect what went on in Southern Rhodesia. I agree that the pattern might affect for good the decisions made there. Surely he would say also that that pattern might take control and affect for bad what is being done at this moment in Southern Rhodesia. That is a perfectly genuine difference of approach.
Have we not, time and time again, found that we have had to grant independence before it was safe to grant it according to many of the tenets we in this House held? Are we doing that tonight? In my submission, we are not. It would be unwise to relinquish our powers before we are absolutely certain that we are not giving the Africans something which is less good than something they have had before from our hands.
§ 8.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Nigel Fisher (Surbiton)
Unlike some hon. Members, not my hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Longbottom), who spoke from this side of the House, but some who preceded him, I propose to throw no bouquets to the United Federal 1791 Party or the Southern Rhodesian Government. In my opinion, that party, while preaching the idea of partnership over a very long period, has done precious little about it in practice and, in doing so little, has forfeited the confidence of the Africans.
The United Federal Party is now beginning to think about doing the sort of things that it ought to have done several years ago. By doing those things too late, and grudgingly under pressure from Her Majesty's Government, I think it has lost the opportunity—perhaps for all time and certainly for a very long time—of gaining African confidence and co-operation. It is a mistake which I personally sincerely hope the British Government will not make in regard to Northern Rhodesia, where we still have the power and the responsibility.
I am not surprised that the Africans have lost faith in the United Federal Party. For the most part, the African leaders I have met in Southern Rhodesia could be described as relatively moderate, but the Southern Rhodesian Government, by their actions, have certainly not helped the moderates among the Africans—not at all. Always yielding step by step under pressure every inch of the way, they have delayed to such a point that many of the African moderates have become discredited in the eyes of their followers. The United Federal Party has a great deal of responsibility in that direction.
I believe that, broadly, the African leaders are very suspicious of the United Federal Party. I do not blame them. They know, and we in this House know perfectly well if we search our hearts, that the Constitutional Conference for Southern Rhodesia would never have taken place at all but for the fact that Sir Edgar Whitehead wanted, and asked for, the removal of the reserve powers. Under those circumstances, a conference begun under those auspices should be looked at very searchingly. I do not wonder that the Africans look at the end product, the Constitutional White Paper, very searchingly indeed. I do so, too, and I think that every hon. Member of this House should do so.
It is that sort of view, held, I think, quite sincerely by many Africans, which makes them unhappy and uneasy about some aspects of the document we are 1792 considering tonight. They feel, I believe rightly, that any British Government of any party complexion would always be concerned to safeguard their interests and would give them a fair deal. They are not at all so sure that that applies to a Southern Rhodesian Government based upon a predominantly white electorate.
In the light of what has happened in South Africa, in the light of the policy of the Dominion Party, which we all know about, and in the light of the too-little-too-late policy of the United Federal Party, I do not believe that those fears which the Africans have about this Constitution are unreasonable. I do not think it unreasonable that they should not see much future politically in a party the Federal leader of which—Sir Roy Welensky—is reported as having said at Bulawayo, to a storm of European cheers, a few months ago, "We do not have one man, one vote, here, and I hope that we never shall have". That may have been said partly with a view to the referendum. One must play to one's own electorate. But the word "never" terrifies me. It has the authentic ring of true U.F.P. thinking, and that is what I do not like about the attitude of the United Federal Party; and I think that is what the Africans do not like.
Is it unreasonable that the Africans should fear and detest a Government, as has been referred to by many hon. Members in the debate, which brought in those repressive measures only last year—the Vagrancy Act and the Law and Order Maintenance Act—which, as far as we can see, will remain on the Statute Book after this Constitution has been introduced? Is it unreasonable that they should object to measures like that, Measures which have been universally condemned by everyone in this House and which were condemned by and led to the resignation of that mast respected figure in Central Africa, Sir Robert Tredgold?
Hon. Members on both sides of the House have talked recently to Mr. Malianga, who came here and had an opportunity to put his point of view to some of us. I recognise his fears, although I think that some of them are much exaggerated. He complained to us about the banning by local authorities of meetings in the African Reserves. He 1793 said that that prevented the N.D.P. leaders from consulting their followers.
I doubt whether that can be true. It may have been unwise to ban the meetings, but I do not agree that this prevented the party leaders from ascertaining the views of their own people, because, had they wanted to do so, they could have done this in small private meetings far more effectively and with much better results. I do not think that one obtains the views of people about complex Constitutional issues at large public meetings. Such meetings become occasions for emotional oratory rather than of detailed study and discussion. I did not think that this complaint which he made carried much weight.
Nor did I agree with the further point which he made to me that, because they could not consult their followers, they could not continue their representation in the latter stages of the Constitutional Conference. That, I thought, was not entirely fair or reasonable. Surely, they knew broadly the views of their own people and could have represented them just as well without those meetings. I am rather critical of people who do not want to confer about their problems, just as I was critical of Mr. Roberts, who refused to continue in the Northern Rhodesian Conference. I think that that is a bad thing. People should always be prepared to sit round a conference table.
The Africans were anxious about the reserved powers, and I well understand that anxiety. If Sir Edgar Whitehead was so anxious to get rid of these powers that he was prepared to give 15 or possibly 17 or 18 African seats where not one African had sat in the Southern Rhodesian Parliament before, then, looking at it from the African point of view, it was not unreasonable that they should feel that these were powers which they must retain if Sir Edgar so badly wanted to get rid of them.
So I understand the N.D.P. fears, although I think that they may be exaggerated. I think, in fact, that the Africans may have got a better bargain than they realise, and perhaps a better bargain than the U.F.P. These powers have never been used—hon. Members may say that they ought to have been used—since their inception in 1923, nearly 40 years ago. It would be very 1794 difficult to use them after such a lapse of time, and I believe that in return for what I consider to be almost unusable powers we have obtained a fairly good bargain for the Africans.
In any case, we have no sanction with which to enforce any veto against the wishes of the Southern Rhodesian Government. We must realise our own limitations. I often think that people do not appreciate how little real power we have in Southern Rhodesia. We have virtually none. We parted with power in 1923, nearly forty years ago. It cannot seriously be supposed that we could send United Kingdom troops into Southern Rhodesia to fire either upon Africans or upon our own kith and kin among the European population. We could not do it. It is not on.
If it is not on, what else is there in the way of sanctions? There is very little. There is, perhaps, a certain amount of influence, but that is all. The one card we had—the card that Sir Edgar Whitehead wanted—was the reserved powers. That is now a discard. We have played that card in order to get the 15 seats for the Africans.
Hon. Members apposite say in their Amendment that we have made a bad bargain. I do not know about that. It can be argued that it is a good bargain or a bad one. It gives the Africans something they wanted very much—an improvement in the franchise—the right to play a part in the Parliament of Southern Rhodesia. I think that it is probably a goodish bargain, considering that we had a weak negotiating hand, with only one card to play.
§ Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)
We ought to pay some compliment and respect to the European population. My hon. Friend said that we have not much power in Southern Rhodesia. If that is so, it is all the more reason for pointing out that the Europeans have agreed to this referendum and have advanced the vote for Africans as their education allowed.
§ Mr. Fisher
I do not want to go into detail. I have promised to finish as soon as possible.
Another important point is that the 15 or 18 Africans in the Southern 1795 Rhodesian Assembly will have considerable influence upon the Government of Southern Rhodesia. They can support the party which is most progressive and which will do most for African advancement. If the two European parties are evenly balanced, it may be practically impossible for a European party to govern without African support. In my experience, many Africans do not seem to think that it matters very much which European party is in power. I believe that is a mistake. It matters a good deal. Nobody is more critical of the U.F.P. than I am, but I believe that there is a good deal of difference between the basic approach of the U.F.P. and that of the D.P.
The abandonment of the reserved powers was our only card. We have played it in exchange for 15, 16, 17 or 18 African seats. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Mal-ton (Mr. Turton) implied, it should also be borne in mind that a better constitutional bargain for the Africans might well have been a better referendum argument for the Dominion Party. We roust also take into account the present electoral position in Southern Rhodesia. It would be a very bad thing for the Africans, however critical they are of the U.F.P., if the D.P. won the referendum.
I ask Africans to use what we have gained for them. I hope that they will take the fullest advantage of the 15, 16, 17 or 18 seats—whatever the number may turn out to be—because this is what we bargained for. This is what we tried to gain for them. It may not be enough, but I hope that what we have gained for them will be used and not wasted. It is important that what we have gained should be used.
I do not think that this Constitution is perfect. I do not agree with every word of it, but on balance it should be supported because I am sure that it will be the start of better things for the Africans in Southern Rhodesia. It may be the start of better things for the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia as well, because paradoxically the only hope for Europeans in any part of East or Central Africa in the long run is that they should make accommodation with African aspirations. The only hope for them is real, non-racial harmony and partnership 1796 in the most complete sense of the term; for, in the end, the African is going to rule in Africa. In the end, it is the European who will depend upon the goodwill of the African.
Much time has been lost and, I am afraid, much goodwill has been dissipated. Perhaps it is not too late, even in Southern Rhodesia—I hope not. Perhaps, even now, the Europeans, who made Southern Rhodesia economically, who have literally created it as a wonderful new modern State, may come to realise that they must live with the Africans; that they must sacrifice some of their political power in order that they and their children after them may stay on in Rhodesia in the years ahead and build there, not on a basis of force but on a basis of genuine consent, the sort of society in which they can live and prosper in peace and good will.
Lastly I make this appeal to those Africans who also genuinely believe in the creation of a non-racial society—there are many who do—who really believe that the future of their country should be on non-racial lines in the interests both of the Europeans and of the Africans. If that is their belief—and I repeat that there are many Africans who do believe it—let them take the opportunity that I believe this Constitution provides for them, at any rate as a first step along that road, the first franchise step they have had and have long wanted.
The U.F.P. has "fluffed" its opportunity to create a multi-racial state, but the future of Africa is for the Africans. Can the African population now rise to the opportunity that I believe the Europeans in Central Africa have missed? Can the Africans show the way to a non-racial approach? It would require a tremendous effort of responsible statesmanship and courageous leadership, but I believe that it can be done. I pray that it may be done.
§ 9.2 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I have sat through many debates about the Federation and the territories that make it up—and about Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika—and I have always resented the taunt that has been thrown at hon. Members that we were back-seat drivers who knew little of what was going on, and who could make 1797 irresponsible speeches without having to count the cost of what we said because we did not have to face the consequences. If any of those in these territories could have heard this debate, they could never possibly have repeated that taunt, because the speeches from both sides of the Chamber have been full of knowledge and full of responsibility.
There has certainly been a different approach, but I do not believe that in today's debate—or, indeed, in a whole series of debates on these territories—this House has fallen below the level of responsibility that should be expected from hon. Members. I believe, and I want those overseas who take that other view to know, that hon. Members on both sides feel very deeply, and try to follow extremely closely, the events in these territories, for which we all have a responsibility. If we differ, as the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald) has just differed, and as the hon. Member for York (Mr. Longbottom), in a most remarkable speech, has differed, it makes no difference at all to the knowledge and the sense of responsibility that we bring to these problems.
I listened to the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey—I beg pardon; I should have said the hon. Member for Surbiton (Mr. Fisher)—with very great care. I did not follow the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman with great care, because I thought that his was one of the speeches that fell below the level of which I have just spoken. The hon. Member for Surbiton said, in effect, that we had made the best of a bad bargain. I do not accept that there was any need to make this bargain at all, which is why I mark out that point of difference at once.
I would say simply that the Southern Rhodesian Government had to concede African representation whether there had been any change in the reserved powers of Britain or not. Force of circumstances would have compelled them to do so. As has been stated, they cannot be an island removed from all the other territories. What is taking place in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Tanganyika, Uganda and Kenya must have an effect on the politics of Southern Rhodesia. Whether the reserved powers had been in question or not, I am confident that the Southern Rhodesian Gov- 1798 ernment would have had to concede a considerable measure of African representation—or have gone down in a considerable measure of disorder.
I do not believe, therefore, that there was any need to have made this bargain; and that is really my criticism of the Secretary of State in this matter—that he made a bargain and played his hand badly by bargaining our powers against certain seats. I believe that he was wrong to have done so.
As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) said, this is an historic debate because this House is, in effect, parting with powers which it has held for seventy-three years—since the first charter was given to the British South Africa Company in 1888. Powers like those now contained in Sections 28 and 40 of the Constitution have resided in this House. We can argue later, as it has already been argued, about how much they mean. They were originally put into that charter because the Government and Parliament of the day did not believe that the interests of the British South Africa Company coincided with the interests of the natives, as they then called them.
It was to protect the natives against the British South Africa Company that these powers were reserved to Britain. That is the history of the matter. And when the Southern Rhodesian Government was set up ten years later, in 1898, these powers were repeated in Section 80 of the Constitution in almost the very words that they are contained in the existing Constitution. We are, therefore, taking an historic step in parting with them now.
Our case is that the conditions had not been created in which this House could, in all conscience, part with these powers. That is our reason for declining to consent to legislation that would deprive us of these powers and that is why we have tabled an addendum to the Government's Motion and not an Amendment to it.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) asked his hon. Friend the Member for Surbiton to say something about the Europeans. I will gladly respond on his behalf. I have never disguised—although it has often been disguised from the Europeans—my view that they have done 1799 remarkable work in converting the wilderness into fertile farms and converting what was open bush into remarkable cities. There is no doubt about that and there is no reason why we should deny them that achievement. Nor have I denied that it is the job of this House to ensure that they can live in that country and earn their living in peace and quietude for as long as they care to do so.
That has always been the aspiration of hon. Members on this side of the House and, I hope, of hon. Gentlemen opposite. But I am sorry that those who have propaganda axes to grind have hidden that approach from many of the people out there. I have discovered, over many years of taking part in debates of this kind, that although one can say and mean that, and although it may be one's approach to the subject, it is never reproduced in the newspapers of the Central African Federation. What is reproduced is only the criticism that is uttered. I can, therefore, assure the hon. Member for Surbiton and the hon. Member for York that their balanced criticisms will appear in that form in the Southern Rhodesian Press. Their words will be misconstrued and they will be represented as the worst enemies of the white man. They had better start bearing that burden now. If they care to relieve me of a little of it, I shall be very glad indeed. That, of course, has been the difficulty.
What is our position and responsibility in this matter? Some hon. Members, such as the hon. Member for Haltem-price (Mr. Wall), have spoken as though it is our responsibility to take sides in the forthcoming referendum. I am sure that that is the approach of the Secretary of State. He is desperately anxious. He has made this bargain to ensure that the United Federal Party will win the referendum. He does not want the Dominion Party to win, does he? All the discussions have been on that basis. I do not believe that that ought to be the approach of the House of Commons, although my views and those of the Dominion Party are very apart.
The approach of the House of Commons in this matter should be perfectly simple. It is the approach that I outlined at the very beginning. Our responsibility is to tell the people of Southern 1800 Rhodesia whether we are ready to divest ourselves of the powers which reside in this House. It is then for them to make up their minds about whether they are ready to take a decision in the circumstances. I do not want there to be any doubt about this. I should say to the people of Southern Rhodesia, "We do not think that the time is right for the British House of Commons to divest itself of its powers. If you, or those of you who feel that way, choose to vote for the Dominion Party, there is nothing we can do to stop you, but you vote for the Dominion Party in the full knowledge that the British House of Commons will not assent to this proposal which has been put forward". I believe that the Secretary of State is stirring up trouble for himself and for us in the future when he so openly sides with one of the political parties on this issue. That should not have been his approach, and that is another ground far my criticism of the right hon. Gentleman.
There have been references to the narrow majority by which the United Federal Party holds the Government now. I think that it is 1,513. This White Paper, it is hoped, will carry them over the next General Election, but what about the election after that when there will not be a White Paper to argue about, when there will not be the reserved powers to claim credit for, and when there may, on the other hand, be a great del of economic distress? There may be internal conditions which will make the Europeans in the territory vote according to their own economic interest.
Can the Secretary of State assure us that by entering into this bargain with Sir Edgar Whitehead and the United Federal Party he can guarantee a permanent United Federal Party Government? Of course he cannot. If he cannot do that, this House of Commons is running into very great danger in passing its reserved powers into the hands of a country which may well elect to power the Dominion Power to which hon. Members opposite take the greatest exception.
I suppose that there is no difference between us at least on this, that, if the Dominion Party comes to power, it will not be much inhibited by a Declaration of Rights. A Dominion Party Government will not feel that the fact that there 1801 is a Constitutional Council to consider laws passed by the Legislative Assembly stops them from putting their actions through. We all know that the philosophy of many of the members of the Dominion Party is the philosophy of the Government of South Africa today. Many of them are the same people.
To go to Bulawayo or to go to Fort Victoria is to feel oneself to be in South Africa. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] All right. There is a difference of opinion about that. I will preface my remark by saying, "In my view". In my view, to go to Fort Victoria today is to find a philosophy and outlook, and, indeed, to find people of the same stock, as one finds just over the border. What right hon. and hon. Members opposite are doing is delivering the Africans against their will into the hands of a party which may form the Government of the day.
The only condition on which the Commonwealth Relations Secretary could come to us and ask for support for transferring these reserved powers was if he could guarantee that the Dominion Party would never come back to power. He knows that he can do nothing of the sort. The answer is quite simple—keep the powers here. Do not let them go.
§ Sir Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
If that is the view of the Dominion Panty and of the power it would have in Southern Rhodesia, what would be the use of relying on reserved powers from here?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I take the point, and I think that it is a real one, but at least we would not have connived at handing over powers against the will of the people for whom they were devised. We should not have delivered them into the hands of the gaoler.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. Gentleman may not think so, but, in the context of Africa today, to act honourably is not indecent. I have no doubt in my mind that the Secretary of State is wrongly advised in handing over these powers when he knows full well that he may be handing them to a Government which will not respect their use. I leave the point there.
There are some other issues on which I wish to comment in the time that I 1802 have left. With regard to the powers themselves, as has been pointed out on many occasions during this debate, it is a great weakness that the new Constitutional Council, which will have the right to decide or to recommend whether legislation is discriminatory, can look only forward and not backwards. It has the right, under the Constitution as it is drawn up, to review all legislation which will be passed in future by the Legislative Assembly and to declare whether or not is is discriminatory. It does not have the power—if I am wrong here, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will correct me—to consider existing legislation. Indeed, it is specifically excluded from reviewing existing legislation and existing social discrimination.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would point out to me the paragraph in the Constitution which says that that is not so. I will gladly give way to him when he has found it. As I read it, that is the position. This is a remarkable situation, because we all know—
§ Mr. Turton
I have found the paragraph. I have read it out before. If the hon. Gentleman looks at Cmnd. Paper No. 1400, he will find it in paragraph 51. It is the same sort of recommendation made by the Monckton Commission and at the Indaba, as I mentioned earlier in my speech.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I think that what the right hon. Gentleman is referring to is the power of the Constitutional Council to make a report. It can take no action at all. Unfortunately, Africans have memories even longer than that of the right hon. Gentleman, and they remember, as I remember, what has happened previously when bodies of this sort have had power to make reports.
I have no desire to reopen all the wounds in this matter, but the ruination of the Federation was the overruling of the recommendation of the African Affairs Board in 1957. That was the turning point in the history of the Federation. A board similar to this body had the power, and, indeed, was enjoined, to make a report if it believed that legislation was discriminatory. It 1803 made such a report. It was overruled by the Federal Government and it was backed, to their everlasting shame, by the Government of this country. In so doing, they smothered the creature which they themselves had created, because I believe that that was the turning point in the history of the Federation.
The Secretary of State must not be surprised if those who took an interest in Central Africa before he did remember these events. They happened before he came on the scene. These events and incidents will be quoted to him on many occasions if he relies on the argument which he has advanced.
It seems to me that this is a most odd position. It is as though we have two fencers, each of them armed with a foil, each with a mask and each protected with a breastplate, but then we strip one of his mask and of his breastplate, give him a foil a quarter the length of the other's and say, "Right. Now, you two, start to fight. You are equal from now on, but if anybody tries to shorten your foil even more, or take away any more of your armour, you have a right to complain." This will not do. I know that it is too late, but the Secretary of State cannot expect us to assent to proposed legislation which leaves the two parties to the dispute in such an unequal posture.
It can be argued, I suppose, that relations between them will be better than I am outlining. I wish it were true. I am sorry to say that I do not think that it will be. We have no right in this House, when parting with our legislative powers, to rely on undue optimism about the future relationships. I wish it were true that there was a real feeling of partnership in these territories.
If I recite the events of the last year, I hope that hon. Members opposite will not think that I am doing it simply to stir up trouble. I do it simply to paint the background as to whether we are entitled to divest ourselves of these powers. The Vagrancy Act, for example, caused the Chief Justice of Southern Rhodesia to resign on the ground that it was a mean, dirty, savage Act. Do hon. Members opposite really think that in such a situation we are right to hand over our reserved powers?
1804 It is less than a year ago that there were outbreaks of violence. Troops were called out, shots fired, men killed, and others arrested and put in gaol. I say none of this with relish. I repeat it as illustrating the state of affairs out there between the two races. There are friends of mine in gaol who have never been charged. I have raised their case on many occasions. I have raised it with the Prime Minister, but I get no effective answer.
I refer once again to Mr. Nyandoro and Mr. Robert Chikerema, men whom I met in a Christian mission, men who, I am certain, as certain as I can be of any of my fellows, have done nothing to justify unwarranted imprisonment for two years. No charge has ever been brought against them. We correspond with each other regularly. We are being asked as a House of Commons to part with our powers in a situation such as this. I say to the Secretary of State that this side of the House at least is not willing to do so.
It might be asked, if the Africans were ready to agree and seem ready to agree, why we should stand in the way. That would be a powerful argument. It may be that the Secretary of State will tell us that when Mr. Nkomo was here, he seemed to agree to this. If the Africans agreed, I would feel very chary, but I would feel that at least that was an earnest of the prospect of the two races making a successful partnership of it.
Which does the Secretary of State consider the stronger argument, to say that at first the leaders of the Africans seemed to agree—and, as the right hon. Gentleman would say, did agree, although Mr. Nkomo does not wholly accept that line and was able to carry his people with him—or to say that, although Mr. Nkomo agreed, he could not carry his people with him?
Is that the atmosphere, is this the moment, in which to transfer powers when leaders of the African community cannot carry their own people with them? The Secretary of State cannot rely with any validity upon the argument that Mr. Nkomo may have agreed. The simple truth is that whether he did or did not—I do not know—the African people are unwilling to agree.
1805 In the course of a pleasant speech, in which he threw large chunks of undigested White Paper at us, the Under-Secretary said that Mr. Nkomo represented only part of the African people. If he represents only part of them, the Under-Secretary has no more reason for saying that than I have for saying that he represents most of them. Let him make the test. Let him ask the African people whether they want these powers transferred. I will abide by the verdict if Sir Edgar Whitehead and the Government will. I do not know what the answer will be. But I believe that I know, and it is because I believe that I know that the Opposition have tonight put forward their Amendment.
I have heard this argument so often in so many debates. There are found a dozen dissident Africans in a party—I will not call them stooges—who form a splinter group and they are immediately propped up and become the great leaders of the African people. They are trotted out to us regularly. Hon. Members opposite lean up against them. Within six months they have disappeared. My hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) referred to 32 parties formed in the Federation during the last five years. I say to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and to the Under-Secretary, "Do not trot out this half dozen splinter members who form a new party and who, for six months, enable you to shelter behind their cloak. They are only disguising the reality from you, and you are disguising it from yourselves".
Another point which will be made by the Secretary of State is that the safeguards which are written in the Constitution under the Declaration of Rights and through the medium of the Constitutional Council will be more effective than the safeguards that exist at present. Indeed, it has been argued, not by the Joint Under-Secretary of State, but by some of his hon. Friends, that those safeguards were ineffective. I do not believe this to be so. I accept that the Secretary of State did not argue that they were ineffective, because he knows that it is not true.
I was reading a book by Professor Tom Franck, of New York University, "Race and Nationalism". He made a substantial study of the position in the Federation and stayed there about 1806 twelve months. He made an interesting comparison between the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the reserved powers which we have here. I may say that he thought that our reserved powers were weaker than those of the Fourteenth Amendment because he said, perhaps a little unkindly, that Secretaries of State did not have to be guided by any scintilla of judicial legislation. They could make their own arbitrary decisions. Of the reserved powers, he said:This is not to say that the Southern Rhodesian Legislature has always been given its head, or that Section 28 (a) was stillborn. On occasion, there has been prolonged bargaining between the British Government and the Southern Rhodesian Cabinet until a mutually acceptable Bill could be introduced into the Legislature.I ask the Secretary of State whether that is still true. I have confirmed that it was true in the days when some of my right hon. Friends were Commonwealth Relation Secretaries. Is it true today that there is an informal submission of Bills under Section 28 of the Constitution to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and that he, by a process of mutual and prolonged bargaining, gets an acceptable Bill, because if that is so it is not fair to argue that these powers have either been ineffective or that they will be more effective if they are transferred to a Government, the possible future character of which I have already analysed?
I suppose that we shall not win this debate. I think that we had better reconcile ourselves to that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I do not think that that is any cause for rejoicing because I believe that many hon. Members opposite are just as troubled about this as we are, and if the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst) had been here and heard the speeches of some of his hon. Friends—I hope that he will read them—he will know that this is true.
This is a great gamble taken by the Government. In my view, and that of the Opposition as a whole, it is an unjustifiable gamble. If Southern Rhodesia gets these powers, I say to the Europeans in that territory that the additional powers which they will get will give them very grave additional responsibilities. I trust that for their own sake and for the sake of the Africans they will act swiftly and with 1807 generosity with the powers that the Government are determined that they shall have. They will need to move much faster than they have moved so far. They will need to get rid of many more of the items of social discrimination which disfigure that territory at the present time. They cannot remain an island.
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give me a minute or two more, because I started a little late. They cannot remain an island. They must adjust themselves to the swiftly passing tide of events. They have not so far done so. I hope that they will believe that I am saying that sincerely, as sincerely as I can, and with no desire to run them down or their efforts. We want to help them, and get them moving. They will get the powers and they will have great additional responsibilities in carrying them out.
I said just now that I feel that this was unjustified. I have been reading once again the debate of fifty years ago, in 1909, on the South African Bill, and it is most astonishing reading. It was held after an all-night sitting on the Finance Bill. There were 26 Divisions. They did rather better than my right hon. Friend did. Major William Anstruther-Gray was in very great difficulties. Mr. Wedgwood Benn was making a very great nuisance of himself. Major Renton was extremely active.
But what is perhaps more to the point, reading that debate on the South Africa Bill one might have been reading the report of this debate, because what was said in that debate was almost exactly the case that the Government have put here tonight. Mr. Balfour, speaking for the Conservative Party, and Mr. Asquith, speaking for the Liberal Party, both made great speeches; they both said that if the House of Commons rejected the Bill then the Union of South Africa would go down in confusion, and that we should make an end of any prospect of building anything up; they both said that we must have full opportunities for our fellow men in that great community; they both said that the coloured people, also, have a right to sit in Parliament, but, nevertheless, they would take a two-thirds majority of the Legislative Assembly to deprive them of their right effectively to vote.
1808 The parallel is uncanny. I can only hope that the parallel will not be followed to its conclusion, because I should like to say to the Africans that they should accept for the time being the 15 seats and immediately start to press for more.
I conclude by saying why we have moved our Amendment. I will say no in the words of someone who is revered in the Labour Party more than anyone else, and who was one of the few hon. Members in that debate who saw what might come, Keir Hardie. He spoke against the South Africa Bill. He spoke against it because he saw the prospect of what might develop. I would conclude by quoting his words as the reason for the Opposition voting tonight against the proposals which the Government are putting before us:We have no right, I submit, to compel these peoples who have voluntarily come under our protection to sever themselves from the Crown and put themselves under the protection of a Parliament which has yet to justify its existence and prove to those peoples that they may safely trust themselves to its care and to its guidance."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th August, 1909 Vol. IX, c. 993.]I can say it in no better words than those.
§ 9.34 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Duncan Sandys)
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) spoke about the high level of the speeches during the debate. If I may say so, I think that his own speech came well up to that standard. I think that we can feel, looking back on the debate—and I hope that nothing that I shall say will alter the general verdict on our proceedings—that this has been a constructive discussion inspired on both sides by sincerity and a genuine desire to apply our minds to an extremely difficult and important problem.
In their Amendment, the Opposition complain that by giving up the British Government's reserved powers we are depriving the Africans of the protection which they now enjoy, and that has been the main subject matter of the whole debate. In statements to the House over a number of years, we have given an undertaking that we would not give up these reserved powers unless we were able to replace them with other equally 1809 effective safeguards. I hope to show the House that the new Constitution more than fully honours that obligation.
Broadly speaking, we have three major reserved powers. Briefly, these are the power to veto discriminatory legislation, the power to veto amendments to the Constitution, and the power to veto changes in the apportionment of land between the races. As the House will see, all these powers are of an entirely negative character and, therefore, the House must not imagine that by the use of these powers we can promote a constructive, forward-looking liberal policy unless the people of Southern Rhodesia wish to do that themselves.
The new safeguards which we are introducing include a Declaration of Rights and a Constitutional Council to examine laws and to advise whether they are in conformity with Declaration of Rights. And finally there is a right of appeal to the Privy Council. In addition, we have provided certain safeguards to ensure that there is no encroachment upon the native reserves.
I hope to show that these safeguards which we are now introducing will not only be equal to but more effective than the powers which they replace. Several hon. Members have criticised the fact that the Constitutional Council itself can only give advice to the Legislative Assembly, which can ignore the advice and go ahead and pass the laws. That is perfectly true, and this matter, of course, was exhaustively discussed at our Constitutional Conference last February. Many of us, including myself, started with the same approach as that of hon. Members who criticised this point today. But I can tell the House that at the end everybody, European and African, and all political parties, were convinced that it would be a wrong thing to set up a Constitutional Council as a rival to the courts of justice. We felt that they must remain the final arbiters on the question of the constitutional validity of laws.
To have two authorities each pronouncing in a judicial capacity on the validity of the law would, we felt, cause confusion and was undesirable. I assure the House that the African representatives were as keen on this point as we were, because they have very great respect for the law and for 1810 the judges and for the impartiality of the whole judicial system. It is, however—and let us be quite clear about this—most unlikely that the Legislative Assembly would go ahead with a law which the Constitutional Council had declared to be inconsistent with the Declaration of Rights, for the simple reason that the Assembly would know that the courts would have to deal with the case, and, quite soon I imagine, in all probability would declare the law to be invalid. As additional safeguards, as hon. Members will see from the White Paper, we have provided that the Constitutional Council may meet the expenses of a test case so as to have the issue decided.
The hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) complained that the new proposals are being submitted to a referendum of the existing electorate which is mainly European. Other hon. Members made the same point. All I would say is that it is not we who asked for the referendum. It arises from the fact that Sir Edgar Whitehead at the last General Election gave a pledge, a perfectly proper pledge, that he would not introduce any change in the franchise without referring the matter to the electors. The referendum, which is, thus, entirely a domestic matter, is being held on his initiative in order to honour that pledge.
It has been said that this largely European electorate is not a suitable body to decide whether the new safeguards are adequate substitutes for the reserved powers which are being given up. I would entirely agree with that. The responsibility for deciding whether or not the new safeguards are adequate rests solely upon this House, this Parliament, and Her Majesty's Government. We have no wish whatsoever to shift responsibility on to the shoulders of the electors of Southern Rhodesia or to shelter behind their referendum. Upon us here rests the responsibility to form an opinion as to whether these new safeguards are adequate or not.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East intervened earlier today to ask how it was reckoned that there could be more than 15 Africans in the new Parliament. I think I might try to clarify that point, because other hon. Members also 1811 raised it. The short explanation—I cannot go into great detail about these calculations—is that the Africans on the upper roll tend to be heavily concentrated in certain areas. It is thought that in a few such constituencies as much as one-third of the upper roll might well be composed of Africans. Assuming that in those constituencies the Africans can score their full 25 per cent. of lover roll votes, then there is no reason why they should not be able to carry the day in those constituencies. I have the names of one or two such constituencies but I do not think it would be proper for me in the House to indulge in electoral speculation.
In a very sympathetic speech, my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) expressed confidence that racial discrimination in Southern Rhodesia is on its way out. I believe that his confidence is justified. I hope that the pace at which this movement is undoubtedly taking place will be accelerated. With all respect to hon. Members opposite, I would suggest that if they wish the process to be speeded up they might sometimes mix with their words of condemnation an occasional word of encouragement to those in Southern Rhodesia—there are many of them—who are sincerely endeavouring to bring about the changes which we all want to see.
A lot has been said about the danger of giving up the reserved powers. The case against giving up these constitutional safeguards was argued with intense feeling in an eloquent speech by the hon. Member for Blackburn and a number of other hon. Members opposite. My answer to them—this is the crux of the whole thing—is quite simple, that those powers have proved in practice to be quite ineffective.
§ Mr. Dugdale
My right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) has asked me to say that he found those powers invaluable during his period of office, that his negotiations with Lord Malvern were rendered very helpful indeed as a result of them, and that certain things which Lord Malvern had proposed were not carried out simply because those powers existed.
§ Mr. Sandys
All I can say is that his experience has been very different from 1812 that of other Ministers. In our experience, these powers have been very difficult to exercise.
§ Mr. Callaghan
This is a most important point, because a lot turns on it. Does the right hon. Gentleman remember Appendix 6 of the Monckton Report, in which Lord Monckton and his fellow Commissioners said quite clearly that it was their understanding that Bills were submitted informally, under Section 28, to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and that, as a result of discussions, Amendments could and did ensue? I also quoted a very detailed study by a professor of law at New York University, who said much the same sort of thing. What the right hon. Gentleman is saying is that he has found difficulty when, apparently, his predecessors have been able to work it.
§ Mr. Sandys
I am grateful to the hon. Member for making that point. All I can say is that my experience is not unique. [Laughter.] It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to laugh. I am not trying to score a party point, but it is just as well to point out that, in spite of the existence of these powers, some of the most racially discriminatory legislation in Southern Rhodesia has received the Royal Assent upon the advice of Labour Governments.
§ Mr. Sandys
It proves a great deal if Governments of both parties find it impossible to make effective use of these powers. I suggest that it proves my case completely.
I will go back to the basic Land Apportionment Act, which has come in for so many attacks during the debate and which has been the main Aunt Sally throughout the debate. The basic Land Apportionment Act was approved by a Labour Government in 1930. It may be thought a little unfair to go back so far, but there are more recent examples. Let us look at the decisions of the last Labour Administration. It was the last Labour Government which in 1946 approved the Native Labour Supply Commission Act, the object of which was to recruit native labour and supply it to employers at reasonable charges. Those are the words of the Act. That is one of the Acts which, in spite of the existence of these 1813 powers, the Labour Government felt unable to veto.
Then there is the Native Accommodation and Registration Act, which made it an offence for any native to walk about in an urban area after dark without a pass. That also received the Royal Assent on the advice of the Labour Secretary of State in 1946. I am not standing here to criticise the actions of hon. Members opposite. What I am saying is that that bears out my contention that these powers are not effective.
§ Mr. Callaghan
What the right hon. Gentleman has shown quite clearly is that the powers, as he says, are blunt. What he has not shown and what I would like him to tell us about in more detail is what were the original proposals under these Acts which were put before the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations at the time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, indeed. Let us take the Land Apportionment Act. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us what were the original proposals in that Act which Lord Passfield managed to get amended? We are not saying that these reserved powers have been perfect but that they have been a brake.
§ Mr. Sandys
I think I have made my point. I think that the examples which I have given are sufficient proof of the futility of the argument that these powers are really effective.
§ Mr. Sandys
—well, all right. All I would say is that in my view it is much better to provide safeguards—
§ Mr. Sandys
It is much better to provide safeguards which can be operated by the electors, Parliament and courts of Southern Rhodesia rather than a remote veto exercised by an unseen hand in Whitehall.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East referred to the "bargain" which I am supposed to have made with Sir 1814 Edgar Whitehead. The hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn referred to a "bribe". Others have referred to a quid pro quo, or to the "price that we have had to pay". All I can say is that in the whole discussion—it was not a negotiation; it was a discussion among people who genuinely wanted to arrive at a reasonable conclusion—I found a sincere readiness on the part of the Government of Southern Rhodesia for a widening of the franchise and a beginning of the process of unwinding the restrictions on land apportionment.
The main criticisms which have been made today, apart from the ones to which I have already referred, have been that the new Constitution does not give the Africans sufficient representation. If one goes to Southern Rhodesia and asks what representation ought the Africans to have, one will get a wide variety of very different answers. The differences of opinion on this issue are not confined, I can assure the House, to differences between Africans and Europeans. Among the Africans themselves there is a wide divergence of views.
In deciding this question, account has to be taken of many local factors, including the state of the political, social and economic development of the population, the progress of education, and all the other factors which determine the ability of a people to exercise the vote in a responsible manner. Nor can the question be answered solely by reference to the progress of the African people. I will be frank with the House. The problem is greatly complicated, of course, by the fact that Rhodesia is inhabited by people of different races, all of whom have their homes there and their roots there. All these people belong there and have a right to live there in their own way, whether African, European, Asian or coloured. They are all Rhodesians. I believe that that is generally accepted by the people of all races.
I think it is accepted also that as time goes on the African people will get a bigger and bigger say in the country's affairs until, through the process of Parliamentary democracy, their greater numbers will give them a controlling interest. But we must hope that by then the country will not be politically divided on purely racial lines.
1815 The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Marquand) asked why have we not established in Southern Rhodesia the same pattern as in Tanganyika or Nyasaland. The right hon. Member for West Bromwich (Mr. Dugdale) went further and said that since we have no educational qualifications here in Britain, why need we have them in Southern Rhodesia. I do not need to explain to the House that a system of representation which may be suitable for the United Kingdom is not necessarily suitable for Southern Rhodesia. The question is not so much one of principle as of pace, and the pace must be determined in the light of the needs and circumstances of the local situation.
There are, I think, few people with knowledge of conditions in Rhodesia who would seriously believe that it would be in the interests of the African people to introduce the principle of one man, one vote.
Rhodesia is a country with a modern industrial economy, which is more advanced than that of any other country on the African continent, with the exception of South Africa. Suddenly overnight to give political power to over 2 million people—as, I think, the hon. Member for West Bromwich suggests—most of whom up to now have never addressed their minds to any political still less economic problem, would be to jeopardise the whole structure upon which the future prosperity of Rhodesia and all her peoples depends.
While it may be agreed that it is too early to introduce universal suffrage, there are those who think the new Constitution does not go far enough. All I can say is that there are very few either here or in Rhodesia who nine months ago would have dreamt of predicting that so big an advance could come about in so short a time. Political thinking has been changing very rapidly and a number of factors have had their influence. There has been the Monckton Report, which was referred to by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, the Federal Review Conference, and the National Convention—Endaba, as it is called. Incidentally, it is worth 1816 pointing out that the Endaba, which brought together people of all races to discuss their problems as Rhodesians, advocated just about the same distribution in terms of proportion of seats between Africans and Europeans as does the new Constitution now before the House.
Finally, there was the Constitutional Conference in February, 1961, which, as the House knows, produced a wide measure of agreement. It is worth reminding the House once again that the present Legislature contains not one African Member. Last autumn a law was passed enlarging the Assembly to fifty in which it was thought for the first time there would probably be one, and possibly two, African members. Yet, before there was time for the elections to be held for this new Assembly, that was superseded and overtaken by the new proposals which will probably give to Africans over one quarter of the seats in the Assembly.
I can understand the desire of the Africans to have larger representation than the new Constitution provides, but I think most of them would admit that what they are now getting is a great deal more than any of them a few months ago thought possible. I am equally sure that, while Africans may not be fully satisfied, most of them would be very sorry indeed if the new proposals were abandoned. The hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) made a speech from his heart today. It was much admired in all parts of the House. He made the simple point that it is better to have 15 African seats than to have none. He therefore said he could not bring himself to vote against this new Constitution.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said Southern Rhodesia is not an island. It is not an island. Southern Rhodesia realises that it is part of Africa and must go forward with the rest of Africa, but it is also part of the European heritage. Europeans and Africans have a part to play together. If they co-operate, there is a great future for their country. I believe that this new Constitution will give them a new impetus and a new inspiration to work together for their common future.
§ Question put, That those words be there added:—1818
§ The House divided: Ayes 219, Noes 313.1821
|Division No. 218.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Hilton, A. V.||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Ainsley, William||Holman, Percy||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Albu, Austen||Holt, Arthur||Peart, Frederick|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Houghton, Douglas||Pentland, Norman|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Awbery, Stan||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Hoy, James H.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bence, Cyril||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Probert, Arthur|
|Benson, Sir George||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Blyton, William||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.)||Hunter, A. E.||Randall, Harry|
|Bowles, Frank||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Rankin, John|
|Boyden, James||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Reid, William|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Janner, Sir Barnett||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Rhodes, H.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jeger, George||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Callaghan, James||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Ross, William|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)|
|Chapman, Donald||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Chetwynd, George||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Short, Edward|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Cronin, John||Kelley, Richard||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Crosland, Anthony||Kenyon, Clifford||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Lawson, George||Small, William|
|Darling, George||Ledger, Ron||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Snow, Julian|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Steele, Thomas|
|Delargy, Hugh||Lipton, Marcus||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Diamond, John||Loughlin, Charles||Stonehouse, John|
|Dodds, Norman||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stones, William|
|Donnelly, Desmond||McCann, John||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Driberg, Tom||MacColl, James||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||McInnes, James||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Swingler, Stephen|
|Edelman, Maurice||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Sylvester, George|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McLeavy, Frank||Symonds, J. B.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Mahon, Simon||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Evans, Albert||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield. E.)||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Finch, Harold||Manuel, A. C.||Thornton, Ernest|
|Fitch, Alan||Mapp, Charles||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Fletcher, Eric||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Timmons, John|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Marsh, Richard||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mason, Roy||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Mayhew, Christopher||Warbey, William|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mellish, R. J.||Watkins, Tudor|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||Mendelson, J. J.||Weitzman, David|
|Ginsburgh, David||Millan, Bruce||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Milne, Edward J.||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mitchison, G. R.||Whitlock, William|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Monslow, Walter||Wigg, George|
|Grey, Charles||Moody, A. S.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Morris, John||Wilkins W. A.|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Mort, D. L.||Willey, Frederick|
|Grimond, J.||Moyle, Arthur||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Mulley, Frederick||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Hannan, William||Oliver, G. H.||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Oram, A. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Oswald, Thomas||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Healey, Denis||Owen, Will||Woof, Robert|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)||Paget, R. T.||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Parker, John||Mr. J. Taylor and|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Parkin, B. T.||Mr. G. H. R. Rogers.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Errington, Sir Eric||Litchfield, Capt. John|
|Aitken, W. T.||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Farr, John||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Allason, James||Fell, Anthony||Longbottom, Charles|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Fisher, Nigel||Longden, Gilbert|
|Arbuthnot, John||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Forrest, George||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby|
|Balniel, Lord||Foster, John||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn|
|Barber, Anthony||Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Barlow, Sir John||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||McAdden, Stephen|
|Barter, John||Freeth, Denzil||MacArthur, Ian|
|Batsford, Brian||Gammons, Lady||McLaren, Martin|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Gardner, Edward||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gibson-Watt, David||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.)|
|Bell, Ronald||Glover, Sir Douglas||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||McMaster, Stanley R.|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Godber, J. B.||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Goodhart, Philip||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Bidgood, John C.||Goodhew, Victor||Maddan, Martin|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Gough, Frederick||Maginnis, John E.|
|Bingham, R. M.||Gower, Raymond||Mariningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Bishop, F. P.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R.||Marlowe, Anthony|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Green, Alan||Marshall, Douglas|
|Bossom, Clive||Gresham Cooke, R.||Marten, Neil|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Grimston, Sir Robert||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)|
|Box, Donald||Gurden, Harold||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Boyd-Carpenter. Rt. Hon. John||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Mawby, Ray|
|Braine, Bernard||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Brewis, John||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Mills, Stratton|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Brooman-White, R.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Morgan, William|
|Bryan, Paul||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Morrison, John|
|Buck, Antony||Hastings, Stephen||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Bullard, Denys||Hay, John||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Burden, F. A.||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Noble, Michael|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hendry, Forbes||Nugent, Sir Richard|
|Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)||Hiley, Joseph||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hirst, Geoffrey||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hobson, John||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hocking, Philip N.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Holland, Philip||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Partridge, E.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hopkins, Alan||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Hornby, R. P.||Peel, John|
|Cole, Norman||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia||Percival, Ian|
|Cooke, Robert||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Peyton, John|
|Cooper, A. E.||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hughes-Young, Michael||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Cordle, John||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Pott, Percivall|
|Costain, A. P.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Coulson, J. M.||Iremonger, T. L.||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||James, David||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Critchley, Julian||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Crowder, F. P.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pym, Francis|
|Cunningham, Knox||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Curran, Charles||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Ramsden, James|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Joseph, Sir Keith||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Dance, James||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Rees, Hugh|
|Deedes, W. F.||Kirk, Peter||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Lagden, Godfrey||Renton, David|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Langford-Holt, J.||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Doughty, Charles||Leather. E. H. C.||Rippon, Geoffrey|
|du Cann, Edward||Leavey, J. A.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Robinson. Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Duthie, Sir William||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Eden, John||Lilley, F. J. P.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lindsay, Martin||Roots, William|
|Elliott, R. W. (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn|
|Russell, Ronald||Sumner, Donald (Orpington)||Walker, Peter|
|Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan||Talbot, John E.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Tapsell, Peter||Wall, Patrick|
|Seymour, Leslie||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Sharpies, Richard||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Shaw, M.||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)||Webster, David|
|Shepherd, William||Temple, John M.||Whitelaw, William|
|Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)||Thomas, Peter (Conway)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Smithers, Peter||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Smyth, Brig, Sir John (Norwood)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter||Wise, A. R.|
|Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Spearman, Sir Alexander||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Speir, Rupert||Turner, Colin||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Stanley, Hon. Richard||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Stevens, Geoffrey||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Woollam, John|
|Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Vane, W. M. F.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Stodart, J. A.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Storey, Sir Samuel||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Studholme, Sir Henry||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)||Sir H. Harrison and Mr. Finlay:|
|Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)||Walder, David|
§ Main Question put and agreed to.
That this House takes note of the proposals for the revision of the Constitution of Southern Rhodesia set out in Command Papers Nos. 1399 and 1400.