HC Deb 09 March 1961 vol 636 cc670-1
25. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will instruct the Governor of Northern Rhodesia to appoint African members to his Executive Council in order to replace the United Federal Party Ministers who have resigned.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The Governor has appointed three members of the Northern Rhodesia Liberal Party, of whom one is an African, and one official to fill the vacancies caused by the resignation.

Mrs. Castle

While agreeing with the Colonial Secretary that the appointment of men like Sir John Moffat is a great improvement on former appointments, may I ask him whether he does not feel that he has missed a great opportunity to prove to Sir Roy Welensky that he did not intend to submit to his blackmail—[HON. MEMBERS:" Order."]—but to proceed with his plan of having at least two unofficial African Ministers on the Executive Council, and moreover to prove it by appointing two widely representative Africans and not merely an African Liberal?

Mr. Macleod

There will be two African Ministers—Mr. Mwamba, the very able African Minister of Agriculture, and Mr. Gondwe, who is taking up the new portfolio. I do not think it right that one should allot portfolios on a basis of retaliation, as it were. What is necessary is that the Government of Northern Rhodesia should continue, and I am sure that, with these new appointments, they will do so satisfactorily.

Mrs. Castle

is it not a fact that by deliberately appointing for two key posts, like labour and mines on the one hand and social welfare on the other, the Administrative Secretary to the Government, Mr. Jones, an official representative, when there were so many Africans available who, if the right hon. Gentleman's constitution goes forward, will be appointed, the Secretary of State has thrown away a very great opportunity of establishing African belief in his good faith?

Mr. Macleod

With respect, that is not so. The Governor examined very carefully the appointments which were available to him, and I am sure that the appointments which he has made are wise and right.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Will the right hon. Gentleman, in consultation with the Governor, reconsider the point made by my hon. Friend, and bear in mind the amount of good will which might be created by giving some of these posts to leaders of the United National Independent Party? Is he aware that there will be widespread support for his refusal to be intimidated by the boycott of the United Federal Party?

Mr. P. Williams

On a point of order. Could you help the House with a Ruling, Mr. Speaker? The hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) referred to the alleged blackmail being perpetrated by Sir Roy Welensky. Is it in order to refer to the head of a friendly Government in this way? Moreover, is it in order to refer to the head of a Commonwealth Government in this way?

Mr. Speaker

It depends on the sense in which one understands the word "blackmail" to be used. I did not regard the hon. Lady as alleging the perpetration of some criminal offence.

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