§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 3.30 p.m.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Edward Heath)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
In May last year the House passed the Republic of South Africa (Temporary Provisions) Act, 1961. That was in preparation for South Africa's departure from the Commonwealth at the end of that month. The Act was passed as a standstill Measure to maintain unchanged the operation of United Kingdom law in relation to South Africa while we considered what substantive arrangements should be made to deal with the new relationship. That standstill Measure is due to expire not later than 30th May. We therefore need to pass legislation to replace it by then. The Bill now before the House is designed to do this.
The general principle on which we have worked is this, and there are really two aspects of it. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations said in the debate on the withdrawal of South Africa, referring to a speech by the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson):… we must be careful not to destroy the value of Commonwealth membership by giving to those who are not members all the privileges of those who are.At the same time, we have been conscious of the many closely woven links, both human and material, which have developed between the two countries over many years. It would be foolish and self-defeating needlessly to destroy them, for many of them bring mutual benefit to both our peoples.
It was summed up by the Leader of the Opposition, in the same debate, in this way:As a matter of general principle, we have somehow to steer away from the two extremes. We do not want it to be supposed in the world as a whole, or in the Commonwealth, that it makes no difference at all whether a country is in the Commonwealth or not. We have to avoid that, but, equally, we do not needlessly wish to damage the interests of the people of South Africa. We have already said… that we are deeply concerned about our relations 940 with them. It would be foolish to do anything vindictive which would antagonise opinion in South Africa and possibly postpone the day when it may return to the Commonwealth.That states the two aspects of the principle on which we have been working and shows how necessary it is for us to try to establish a balance. These are simple, clear-cut and, I think, entirely proper principles. But it is easier to state them than to work out their detailed practical application. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said this in the same debate, in which many hon. Members mentioned many things which they wished taken into account:… I think that we must do our best, in the negotiations that must take place now that South Africa has withdrawn, to try to preserve the position of the people of the High Commission Territories as best we may."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd March, 1961; Vol. 637, c. 454, and 517.]That was one very important aspect of these negotiations, and in looking at the consequences which are set out in the Bill I ask hon. Members to try to bear all these aspects in mind when they are judging the balance which we have now reached.
Hon. Members opposite asked, when the standstill Bill was going through, why a year was necessary for this process. Indeed, they moved an Amendment to reduce the period to six months. I should like to tell them that the year's time has been found to be absolutely necessary and that it was certainly fully used. The Bill is the product of a long and careful process of sorting through United Kingdom legislation to identify those Acts which directly or indirectly have applied to South Africa as a Commonwealth country.
Having done that, we had to decide in relation to each of them whether there is need and justification to retain them, either permanently or temporarily, in whole or in part, in relation to South Africa. We made this decision bearing in mind the principle which I have just described to the House.
The results of the detailed review which we have made, more thoroughly, I think, than ever before, have revealed that the Commonwealth association has many more tangible, practical aspects than many people may have realised. Not only do these simplify and 941 strengthen relations between the member States. They also involve the welfare and private convenience of the individual. There are, in fact, about ninety statutes which, in one way or another, give special treatment to members of the Commonwealth. About fifty of them are mentioned in the Bill before the House. I shall deal with these in due course.
There was no short cut in all this. To have left all the Acts to operate as though South Africa had never left the Commonwealth would have been contrary to the general principle on which we have been working. To have scrapped them all, on the other hand, without seeing what was involved might well have damaged our own interests and caused unjustifiable hardship to individuals in both countries.
We have, therefore, sifted carefully through all this legislation. Moreover, in consultation with South Africa we have also reviewed all the various arrangements and understandings built up over the years to see if they involve legislation. I am glad to say that this consultation has been carried on in an atmosphere of co-operation and good will.
Again, having decided what we wanted to do, it was in many cases necessary to discuss it with the South African Government. This was because many of the Acts, both those retained in operation and those not retained, involve some measure of reciprocity.
At the same time, we have tried to keep the other Commonwealth Governments informed generally of what we were proposing to do in our relations with South Africa. In fact, their comments have been few. In general, they have taken the line that it is up to each Commonwealth country to work out its own arrangements with South Africa. I do not think that there is any doubt that they all recognise that the links between South Africa and the United Kingdom are such that they justify special arrangements. There has been no hint of criticism from the other Commonwealth countries at the arrangements which we are making.
We have also consulted colonial Governors about those laws which affect the relations between colonial Governments and South Africa. As a 942 result, the colonial Governments are being left to make their own arrangements about their relations with South Africa, except where the laws are of general application to the United Kingdom dependencies.
I have given this explanation of the way we have prepared the Bill so that hon. Members may see that there has been no delay in using the time granted to us by the standstill legislation. Nor has there been any lack of Commonwealth consultation. Nor have we compromised the freedom of the Colonial Territories to decide their own policies so far as it is possible and constitutionally proper for them to do so.
I should like to make clear at the outset what the Bill does not do. First, it does not treat South Africa in the same way as the Republic of Ireland. I know that some hon. Members would have liked it to do so, but we made it clear in the debate on 22nd March, 1961, that the Irish Republic was, and must be, a special case. Nor does the Bill shield South Africa from the loss of the benefits of Commonwealth membership. A glance at the Bill should make that evident. There are about thirty Acts mentioned there which will no longer apply to South Africa. Of those which will apply, the majority apply only temporarily and in a limited sense.
There are about forty more which apply to Her Majesty's Dominions generally. Those will simply lapse as far as South Africa is concerned when South Africa ceases to have this status for the purpose of our law. As these Acts lapse automatically, they are not mentioned in the Bill, but a list of them is available in the Vote Office for any hon. Members who wish to have it.
More than this, South Africa has already ceased to enjoy the other non-legislative benefits of Commonweath membership. The South African Government themselves have acknowledged that this must be the consequence of their withdrawal from the Commonwealth. They have declared that they have no intention of trying to retain purely Commonwealth relationships or arrangements. They withdrew from all the Commonwealth organisations, including thirty or more official organisations. These include all the economic liaison committees and a considerable number of technical liaison bodies.
943 The South Africans are also now excluded from the normal, automatic, and very full exchange of information which goes on day by day within the Commonwealth. They no longer take part in Commonwealth meetings. They no longer have the opportunity to benefit from the pooling of Commonwealth strength and Commonwealth experience. All this amounts to a very considerable loss of the benefits of Commonwealth membership. What is left is hardly more than is found in our relations with any other friendly foreign State with whom we share mutual interests in trade, defence, and the relationship between our peoples.
I should like at this point to say a word about the question of our relations in defence, which are dealt with only in minor aspects in the Bill. The cooperation between the United Kingdom and South Africa in defence matters does not depend on Commonwealth membership, and does not stem from legislation. As hon. Members are aware, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence had talks with the Minister of Defence of the Republic of South Africa on how best to meet our defence requirements now that there is a new relationship between the two countries. We subsequently reviewed, with the South African authorities, the whole field of defence co-operation.
Our conclusion is that no significant changes in the existing pattern of defence relations are involved. Our relations in the future will be the same as those with other friendly countries. Where special arrangements of a Commonwealth character are no longer appropriate, alternative arrangements will be made if possible.
We and South Africa have a mutual interest in the freedom of the seas adjoining the Cape of Good Hope route, and, in particular, we need the use of the facilities at the Simonstown base. I am glad to say that in that respect the present position will not be changed: and that we shall continue to have the use for the Royal Navy of the important facilities we have enjoyed there.
As regards our trade relations, the Bill has the effect of maintaining Commonwealth-preference-area treatment towards South Africa. This is a bilateral 944 agreement, which is not dependent on South Africa's membership of the Commonwealth. Under it, South Africa is accorded certain margins of preference—some of which have been renegotiated since the Ottawa Agreement of 1932—and certain duty-free entry. The agreement also guarantees margins of preference on a number of our exports to South Africa. If we were to terminate the agreement unilaterally, we must assume that these preferences would no longer be accorded to us.
In the wider economic sphere we wish to maintain good relations with South Africa. She is an important member of the sterling area, which benefits the Commonwealth as a whole. If the South Africans lose trade, there will be less incentive for South Africa to stay in the sterling area.
During the earlier debates on the standstill Bill, hon. Members on both sides emphasised their desire to see trading relations with South Africa maintained, and I recollect that the right hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Glenvil Hall) emphasised that very much indeed. The issue between the two sides of the House today seems to be whether there should be some entirely fresh attempt to get a trading relationship or whether the existing one, which is beneficial to both our countries and which leads to subsequent benefits to the Commonwealth as a whole, ought not to be maintained. We believe that it should.
I turn now to the provisions of the Bill. When we debated the standstill Bill, the House—and right hon. and hon. Members opposite, in particular—pressed for the fullest details of everything that was to happen. I will do my best to give full details. Many of them are complex and technical, and I must, therefore, ask the House to bear with me whilst I describe them.
The change in South Africa's status is most strikingly symbolised by the deletion of South Africa from subsection (3) of Section 1 of the British Nationality Act, and by the loss of British nationality which that will entail. That is dealt with in Clause 1 and the First Schedule to the Bill. It has not been easy, I will confess, to find a solution to this problem, and we have not taken the decision upon it lightly. We have tried to remember—we have had to remember—the many South 945 Africans who trace their ancestry back to this country and who have families and other links still here.
As a result of South Africa's departure from the Commonwealth, we cannot continue to treat them as Commonwealth citizens. Nor can we make any arrangements that would result in their being subject to any less onerous control than are Commonwealth citizens when they come to this country. Those who have no source of British nationality other than their South African citizenship are to lose their British nationality forthwith.
We did not feel, however, that it would be right to treat them from the outset as complete foreigners for the purposes of acquiring United Kingdom citizenship. We have, therefore, made some special transitional arrangements on nationality. They are fairly complex, but I hope that they are capable of being understood without too much difficulty by those who may wish to benefit from them.
The principle behind these provisions is this. While we should not do anything that would compromise the general principles of our nationality laws, South African citizens who have ties of blood, service or residence with this country or its dependent territories should be given an opportunity to register as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies instead of having to apply for naturalisation from the outset. They should also be allowed adequate time to make their decision. We must remember that because of South Africa's nationality laws, this decision may, and in some cases will, affect their position as South African citizens. In many cases, it may also affect their livelihood. We therefore think it right to give them until the end of 1965 to decide what they want to do, and to take the necessary steps to do it.
There are two Sections of the British Nationality Act, 1948, under which South Africans will be able to apply for registration. The first is Section 12 (6). The qualifications for this are, broadly speaking, ties of paternal ancestry and connection with and intention to reside in the United Kingdom or in a Colony. This presents no problems from the legislative point of view. All that has been necessary in order to apply the general principle I have just mentioned is to extend its application to South African citizens to 31st December, 1965. 946 This is done by paragraph 4 of the First Schedule.
The other Section is Section 6 (1) of the British Nationality Act. The qualifications for this are, roughly, Crown service or equivalent employment or residence here or in the Colonies. This is a little more complicated. The residential qualifying period at present is one year. With such a qualifying period it would have been sufficient merely to extend the application of this Section to South African citizens up to the end of 1965 in the same way as we have done for Section 12 (6)—treat them both the same.
But if the residential qualification is increased to five years, as is proposed under Clause 12 of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, the benefit of this concession would be lost to virtually all South Africans except those already qualified here before the increase to five years took effect. The others would no longer have time to qualify before the end of 1965.
The Bill therefore provides that South Africans with the necessary qualifications can still be registered after the end of 1965, provided that before that date they give notice of their intention to apply for registration. They must also apply within five years of giving notice. This is provided for in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the First Schedule.
A further point is this. At present, while South African citizens are British subjects, women who are South African citizens and who marry citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies may register under Section 6 (2) of the British Nationality Act, 1948, as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies by virtue of their marriage. When South African citizens cease to be British subjects, South African wives will, unless special provision is made, have to take an oath of allegiance and pay a fee before they can register.
This would mean that, in the transitional period up to 31st December, 1965, they would be less favourably treated than other South Africans who have ties with this country. We are, therefore, making special provision for them and subsection (2) of Clause 1 provides for them to be treated as British subjects for this purpose until 31st December, 1965.
947 It is possible that, for one reason or another—perhaps as a result of the application of South African nationality law—a South African may lose his South African citizenship between the time when he declares his intention to register as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and his actual registration. A provision has, therefore, been included as paragraph 3 of the First Schedule to ensure that he would not, as a result, be disqualified from fulfilling his intention to register as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
As I have already said, it is not intended that any South African should be given more favourable treatment than citizens of Commonwealth countries. For this reason, provision has been made in paragraph 5 of the First Schedule to enable the Home Secretary to refuse to register as a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies any South African against whom a recommendation for deportation or a deportation order is in force.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
While the right hon. Gentleman has said that care has been taken not to place any South African citizen in a preferable position to a member of the Commonwealth, can he say whether the South African to whom he has been referring would be subject to the provisions of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill?
§ Mr. Brockway
The right hon. Gentleman did not get my point. I am asking whether the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill will apply to a South African during the period up to 1965 when making his application?
§ Mr. Heath
They become aliens on 31st May of this year unless the procedures are followed which I have described. That is quite clear. Unless they already possess citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies—and I think that this will help to clear the hon. Gentleman's query—or they acquire 948 citizenship by registration or naturalisation, South African citizens will be aliens under United Kingdom law and will be treated as such.
However, a further point is that this might mean loss of employment to many who are already in offices or employments which, under various Acts, aliens are disqualified from holding. Clause 1 (3) and (4) of the Bill gives these persons up to 31st December, 1965, to become aware of their position and become citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies by registration before the disqualification takes effect.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
The right hon. Gentleman has referred to registration for membership of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Is it not right that under the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill there is a distinction between a citizen of the United Kingdom pure and simple and someone who is from the United Kingdom and Colonies—that is to say, with a passport issued not in the United Kingdom, but in one of the Colonial Territories? If a person is in the latter category, he comes under the aegis of the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill, while for those in the former category there would be no immigration control. Into which category will those South Africans who register fall?
§ Mr. Heath
I understand that that is a passport distinction. I will ask my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who is to wind up the debate, to give further information about this technical point.
The provisions affecting nationality are, perhaps, the most important and far-reaching in the Bill. The remaining provisions in the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Schedules have a more limited application. In the Second Schedule, there are a number of provisions designed to keep certain enactments in force in relation to South Africa because they are of benefit to the welfare of individuals or to the smooth continuation of our commercial relationships with South Africa. These provisions deal with the following matters.
The Colonial Probates Act, 1892, provides for the recognition on a reciprocal basis within the United Kingdom of probates and letters of administration 949 issued in British possessions. This has applied to South Africa since 1914. During 1960, there were 130 and in 1961 there were 114 grants of probate in South Africa recognised in the United Kingdom under this Act. As there are no comparable arrangements in respect of foreign countries, the termination of these arrangements would cause inconvenience to individuals in both the United Kingdom and South Africa. We propose, therefore, to retain them, and the South African Government have confirmed that they will also retain the reciprocal arrangements.
The Maintenance Orders (Facilities for Enforcement) Act, 1920, has applied in relation to South Africa since 1923. Under it, maintenance orders made in South Africa may be enforced in the United Kingdom—excluding Scotland—and those made in the United Kingdom may be enforced in South Africa. This arrangement—for which, again, there is no parallel with foreign countries—avoids hardship to wives and families. We feel, therefore, that it should continue not only in respect of maintenance orders that have already been made, but for those which may be made in the future as well.
For similar reasons, paragraph 3 of the First Schedule maintains the existing arrangements under which the Royal Navy can make deductions from the pay of Royal Naval personnel to meet maintenance liabilities under maintenance orders granted in South Africa.
The Sections of the Companies Act which it is proposed to maintain will enable United Kingdom companies conducting business in South Africa to continue to keep branch registers of members resident in South Africa and to transfer shares registered in that branch register without paying United Kingdom Stamp Duty. This arrangement also avoids delay in the registration of transfers. The retention of this arrangement will assist United Kingdom companies in carrying on their business in South Africa. In the same way, companies registered in South Africa will continue to be able to maintain branch registers in this country, provided that South African law does not prevent them from doing so. The retention of Section 123 of the Companies Act in relation to South Africa will make it possible for 950 such branch registers in this country to be inspected by those people interested.
§ The amendment to the Sugar Act, 1956, is necessary in order to enable the Sugar Board to assume responsibility for the payments necessary to fulfil the agreement made between the Minister of Agriculture and the South African Sugar Association. This agreement allows for the purchase from South Africa of 150,000 tons of sugar at £35 15s. per ton for the five calendar years 1962–66. This compares with the present price of £45 per ton under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. The House was informed of this in a reply to a Parliamentary Question on 15th November, 1961.
§ This agreement replaces South Africa's participation in the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement, to which South Africa ceased to be a party on her departure from the Commonwealth. This agreement lasts only until 1966, while the Commonwealth Agreement lasts until 1969. It gives South African producers—who have developed their industry largely on the basis of the United Kingdom market—time to readjust their marketing arrangements. It also has the advantage that it secures a guaranteed and—what we have not had before—an expanding market for Swaziland sugar.
§ The Import Duties Act, 1958, is the authority under which Commonwealth preference is granted. It is necessary to make formal Amendment to the reference to South Africa in the text of the Import Duties Act to take account of South Africa's new constitutional position. This is done by paragraph 6 of the Second Schedule.
§ The Third Schedule contains transitional and saving provisions of a rather more limited duration. At present, the return of fugitive offenders between South Africa and this country and our dependencies is governed by the Fugitive Offenders Act, 1881. The present arrangements under the Fugitive Offenders Act apply only between parts of Her Majesty's Dominions. It will, therefore, be necessary to make new arrangements for the return of fugitive criminals as between South Africa and the United Kingdom and its dependencies to come into effect after the standstill. These new arrangements will have to be concluded separately. They are not part of the South Africa Bill.951
§ In the meantime, it is necessary to ensure that the procedures of the Fugitive Offenders Act can be carried out to conclude cases where warrants issued under this Act have already been acted upon before the end of the standstill period. This is done by paragraph 1 of the Third Schedule.
§ Of course, this is only one of the many aspects of the relationship between the High Commission Territories and South Africa. The changed constitutional position of South Africa will necessitate some review and perhaps reshaping of that relationship. We have reached agreement in principle on some aspects of this relationship, but we still have to discuss and agree the details. We are doing everything possible to ensure that the interests of the individuals or of the territories as a whole are not seriously jeopardised. We have been assured that if at any time the South African Government find that circumstances in the Republic—for example, the employment position of its own Africans—necessitate the introduction of any major changes, we shall be given advance notice and afforded an opportunity of expressing our views.
§ To return to the Bill. The provisions on professional register have been included because there are a number of persons with South African qualifications who are already registered on the "Colonial" or "Commonwealth" registers in the United Kingdom as veterinary surgeons, doctors and dentists so as to enable them to practise here. The Bill provides for them to be able to remain on those registers. But persons with South African qualifications applying for registration after the standstill period will be registered on the appropriate "Foreign List". This will have little or no practical effect on their ability to practise in this country.
§ A special provision has been included in the case of veterinary surgeons. This is to avoid, in so far as those with South African qualifications are concerned, an anomaly in the Veterinary Surgeons Act, 1881, which imposes more rigorous conditions on registration of British subjects with a foreign diploma than on foreigners with a foreign diploma. Apparently, it has taken about eighty years to discover this anomaly in the952
§ Act, and I understand that action is being taken to remedy it, but, naturally, I can give no undertaking that it will be dealt with in the present Parliament.
§ Mr. Julian Snow (Lichfield and Tamworth)
Has the right hon. Gentleman any special observations to make on the subject of qualified pharmacists, also subject to registration in this country?
§ Mr. Heath
I have nothing to add to my general comments about registration, although I will be dealing with some other categories one by one.
The next provision in the Bill—paragraph 5 of the Third Schedule—deals with South African attorneys who are at present in the process of qualifying to practise as solicitors here. Our legislation at present contains provisions facilitating their admission. However, these provisions will lapse on 31st May, 1962, as a result of South Africa's leaving the Commonwealth. A saving provision has, therefore, been included in the Bill. It allows any South African attorney, who, on that date, has already given notice of his intention to apply for admission as a solicitor here, or who is serving as a clerk to a solicitor in England and Wales with a view to applying, to proceed to admission here, provided that on admission he is a British subject
The same general principle—that we do not wish suddenly to deprive people of their livelihood, but to give them time to arrange their affairs—lies behind the provision concerning certificates of competency of merchant seamen. Because of the suspension of statutory disqualifications on the employment of aliens, which, the House will remember, I mentioned earlier, South African citizens serving in the Merchant Navy will not be subject to disqualification on the ground of nationality until the end of 1965.
But for a number of posts of responsibility on British ships the seamen must also have a certificate of competency issued by the United Kingdom or by a Commonwealth country and recognised by the United Kingdom as equivalent. Certificates issued by South Africa are at present recognised as equivalent for this purpose and are held by both United Kingdom and South African citizens.
Under the existing law, these certificates can no longer be recognised once 953 South Africa ceases to be a Dominion under United Kingdom law. As a result, in the absence of a special provision in the Bill, people holding such certificates would be disqualified from their employment from 31st May of this year. Besides inflicting hardship on United Kingdom and other Commonwealth citizens who happen to hold South African certificates, this would not be consistent with our proposals regarding the employment of South Africans after they cease to be British citizens. It is, therefore, necessary to enable people—whether they are United Kingdom citizens or South Africans—holding South African certificates to continue in their employment on the strength of these certificates for as long as they are not disqualified from doing so by reason of their citizenship. This is achieved by the provision in paragraph 6 of the Third Schedule.
The next provision concerns the indication of origin of goods. It is designed to give time for the disposal of stocks of South African goods labelled "Empire" before the sale or exposure for sale of such goods in the United Kingdom becomes an offence under the Merchandise Marks Act. The provision in the Bill is purely a transitional measure to avoid hardship to traders.
I mention this because there has been some comment in the Press about it and I thought that right hon. Gentlemen opposite might have had it in mind when drafting their reasoned Amendment. Without it, importers, wholesalers and shopkeepers in this country might find themselves burdened with stocks of goods which they could not legally sell without incurring the heavy expense of changing labels and containers. In many cases, moreover, this would be impossible. There is no more significance than that in this provision.
The remaining three provisions in the Third Schedule, namely, those dealing with old-age pensions, matrimonial decrees and teachers, are all aimed at avoiding hardship and inconvenience to the individual. On old-age pensions, the Bill provides in effect that South Africans, whether sighted or blind, will continue to be eligible to qualify for a pension under the Old Age Pensions Act, 1936, provided that they are British subjects immediately before the commencement of the South Africa Act. 954 Except in the case of blind people, no one can now qualify for a pension under the Old Age Pensions Act unless he attained the qualifying age of 70 before 29th September, 1961.
I might mention here that United Kingdom citizens in South Africa will also continue to qualify for South African pensions in certain circumstances. I am glad to say that the South African Government have also agreed to continue to act as paying agents for about 3,500 British civil and military pensions paid to United Kingdom citizens now resident in South Africa. We are grateful to the Government of South Africa for this friendly gesture.
Under the Matrimonial Causes (War Marriages) Act, 1944, British courts recognise as valid certain divorce and nullity decrees made by the courts in South Africa. As the Act does not provide for the recognition of decrees of the courts of a foreign country, it is necessary to include a saving provision to ensure the continued recognition by the British courts of decrees already made in South Africa.
The provision about teachers' superannuation is included to safeguard the position of United Kingdom teachers in Government or public authority service in South Africa who have assumed, and have in the past been told, that their service in South Africa would count for the purpose of qualifying for superannuation when they returned to this country. Without this provision, the ability of such people to qualify for superannuation in respect of service in the United Kingdom might be prejudiced.
The Fourth and Fifth Schedules contain various repeals. The action proposed in all these cases will result in South Africa being treated in the same way as other foreign countries. I do not think that the House would wish me to go into details on each of these provisions. Hon. Members will have noticed that some of the provisions in the Schedules—'four in all—refer to Southwest Africa. In these few instances, where United Kingdom law affects South-West Africa, we have dealt with it in the same way as we have dealt with it in relation to South Africa. This 955 applies also to the position of South-West Africans under the Britsh Nationality Act. This is logical. It is also in accord with the present legal position of South-West Africa and the legal status of its inhabitants.
The mandate for South-West Africa is held by South Africa. It provides that South Africa shall have full power of administration over the territory as an integral portion of South Africa. To make any exception in favour of South-West Africa now would be inconsistent with the position under the mandate as it stands.
§ Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)
Do I understand from the Lord Privy Seal's remarks that the Bill as a whole applies to South-West Africa?
§ Mr. Heath
Yes. I mentioned that there are four provisions in the Schedules which refer to South-West Africa. This is quite logical, in view of the position under the mandate. I am not entering into a discussion about the behaviour of South Africa under the mandate or towards the mandate, because that is not under discussion. But on the purely technical position of the application of the Bill and the four Schedules to South-West Africa—
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
I am not going into the merits of the matter, but I should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman is saying that the change in the status of South Africa itself has no bearing on the mandate in its functions and powers?
§ Mr. Heath
I am saying exactly that. The action Which we are taking in the Bill makes no difference in that respect.
Finally, I would like to mention that to help those hon. Members who wish to examine some of the more important statutes referred to in this field in some detail, I have made arrangements for copies to be available in the Vote Office of all those Acts which are mentioned in the Bill and the first four Schedules. Copies of some of the Acts, particularly the more important, ones, which are 956 being repealed and which are mentioned in the Fifth Schedule are also available in the Vote Office. We have made that decision in accordance with the Ruling which you, Mr. Speaker, gave to the House only a short time ago.
I now wish to sum up the Bill. In fashioning it, we have tried to take a common-sense, pragmatic approach to a situation which in many important ways has no precedent. We have tried to find the right balance between sentiment and reality. I hope that I have been able to give all the information about the Bill's provisions for which hon. Members pressed when we discussed the standstill Bill a year ago. I hope that the House will strike a balance in the light of the considerations which I have mentioned and the explanations which I have given about the negotiations which are being carried on between the South African Government and our own Government.
We have tried not to let our concern for the individual or our desire to preserve our interests blind us to the wider principles involved; not to let the wider principles swamp the interests of the individual or of the nation. We have tried to make all allowance for the circumstances of today without forgetting the ties and the loyalties that have stretched over the years. We have tried to make a new pattern without entirely destroying the weft and weave of the old. I commend this Bill to the House.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)
I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:this House declines to give a Second Reading to a Bill which tends to destroy the value of Commonwealth membership by giving to those who are not members some of the most important privileges of those who are, and gives recognition to the inclusion of the mandated territory of South-West Africa in the Republic of South Africa.The Lord Privy Seal, in introducing the Bill, has certainly been at his blandest. He has given the impression that this was a Bill which was uncontroversial, complicated, technical and necessary. At times, one almost felt that it was a Measure such as that which would have regulated, let us say, the relations between the Middlesex County Council and a refractory water works. 957 But we all know that that is not the situation.
The Bill had to be designed—I do not complain of this; it was inevitable—to regulate the relations between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of a country which was lately a member of the Commonwealth but which has become a foreign Government—and one must say this at the outset, because it is at the back of all our minds—a foreign Government pursuing racial policies which are tragically misconceived, perverse and abhorrent. It is those circumstances, lying behind the Bill, which give it its very great importance. It is largely because of those circumstances that I have moved the Amendment.
The fact that the words of our Amendment closely resemble the words used by the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations when we were considering the temporary Bill nearly a year ago did not escape the attention of the Lord Privy Seal. Of course, the words are not exactly the same, because it would not be true to say that the Bill extends all the privileges of members of the Commonwealth to a State which is no longer a member. But it extends exceedingly important privileges—the substantial ones—above all, the preferences and the question of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement.
I could not follow the Lord Privy Seal when he said that this was far outbalanced by the fact that 30 or 40 Acts concerning South Africa would lapse if and when the Bill becomes law. The right hon. Gentleman was good enough to supply me with a list of those Acts. It begins with the Piracy Act, 1850, and contains the Evidence Act, 1851, and the British Law Ascertainment Act, 1859, and goes on to mention a series of other Acts, such as finance and merchant shipping Acts, and the like. Of course, we all recognise that those Acts do lapse and that, with the other inevitable consequences—such as not being able to attend Commonwealth conferences—the status of South Africa does change.
However, the Bill is precisely desgined not to change the status of South Africa in regard to the very substantial issues of Commonwealth preferences and economic agreements. We object to that very much. It is important to note that 958 this is not an objection which we have thought out in order to oppose this Bill.
I should like to quote some words used by Mr. Marquand speaking a year ago on the temporary Measure, which made it perfectly clear that that was our view at that time. Mr. Marquand said:… we think that in future trade agreements with South Africa, because she will no longer be a member of the Commonwealth after 31st May, Commonwealth preferences will be totally inappropriate. Let there be a trade agreement which is worked out in the ordinary way by negotiating around a table so that we obtain from it a fair advantage to suit the interests of our industry and our exporters, but do not let there appear to be any form of special preference. This would obviously be a gross breach of the right hon. Gentleman's own pledge, that leaving the Commonwealth must not leave things unchanged. It must not appear that those who leave the Commonwealth will always get all the advantages of Commonwealth membership."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th April, 1961; Vol. 639, c. 109–10.]
§ Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)
Will the right hon. Gentleman say why the Government of which he was a member allowed Burma to retain Commonmealth preference after Burma had left the Commonwealth?
I was very careful to say at the beginning of my speech that the special character of the policies of the South African Government today profoundly affects this issue. I was most careful to say it and the hon. Gentleman will find that I shall return to it on several occasions during my speech.
That is really the essence of the position. That shows that this is no new position that we have taken up for the purposes of this Bill. Mr. Marquand's words were well chosen, because they showed that it is no part of our argument that we should cut off all trade with South Africa. That is not what we are contesting at all. But we are contesting the suggestion that South Africa should be exempted from the consequences of having adopted policies which events have shown were incompatible with membership of the Commonwealth.
Hon. Members opposite must realise that this is a position by no means confined to hon. Members on this side of the House. I shall now quote from an authority which will do little to commend my argument to the hon. Member for 959 Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davidson). It is an admirable pamphlet, The New Africa, published by the Bow Group. It says:It would be greatly to our discredit if we were seen to continue mutually advantageous economic arrangements created prior to the 1961 Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, nor would it be in our interests to do so.Those words, and others which I shall cite, were put forward under the names of three hon. Members who sit on the other side of the House, the hon. Members for York (Mr. Longbottom), Lewisham, North (Mr. Chataway), and Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Critchley). I do not know what action by speech or vote those hon. Members will take today, but they have expressed themselves on these matters very clearly in print. Of course, it is easy to challenge each other across the Floor of the House, but I would say to them that if we are to take seriously the admirable views which they put forward in this document, we would expect them to speak and vote consistently with those views when the issue is raised on the Floor of the House.
Now I come to the question of Commonwealth preferences, which are in question here, and about which the Lord Privy Seal said very little in the course of his speech. It may be argued that if we were to abrogate these preferences, and South Africa were, no doubt, to abrogate the corresponding preferences on our goods, that would be a deadly blow to British trade. But when one looks at the figures, it is clear that that argument cannot be sustained. The main preference which we give to South African imports into this country is on the £30 million worth of fruit which we buy from that country. I understand that that preference is about 9 per cent.
As to preferences which South Africa gives to our goods, I quote from the Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd. pamphlet, The Commonwealth of Europe, issued in 1960. It says, on page 332:The preferences given to British goods in South Africa are so small and confined to so narrow a range that their entire abolition would have negligible effects save perhaps for some branches of trade in electrical goods.So it is impossible to argue that if we let the natural course of events take place, and, when South Africa became 960 a foreign country, we were to continue to trade with her but to trade with her as with any other foreign countries, we should be ruining her or our own consumers or, indeed, our export trade.
§ Mr. Farey-Jones (Watford)
I have been following the right hon. Gentleman's argument very carefully. How does he justify that argument against the background of the physical fact that British investment in South Africa by British industry and the ordinary individual amounts to £900 million? This is shortly to be increased by the end of this year to £1,000 million. How can he justify his argument against such a background?
§ Mr. Strachey
If the hon. Gentleman has followed me I am honoured, but I cannot say that I followed his interjection. There are no preferences on investment. We are talking about trade. Of course, there are British investments in South Africa. There are British investments in the United States of America. There are British investments all over the world. This is very little to do with the question of Commonwealth preferences and the extension of Commonwealth preferences outside the Commonwealth, which is what we are arguing about today.
There is a special point which I feel concerns the Lord Privy Seal. The main duty of the Lord Privy Seal at present is to argue the question of Commonwealth relationships in the Common Market, and he will have to plead and press for special treatment for Commonwealth imports into the United Kingdom if and when she becomes a member of the Common Market. He will have to say that this Commonwealth connection—and we agree with him; this is a most important contention—is very important and must be taken into account in the common tariffs of the Common Market countries.
But what do we say about the South African preferences which are to be continued in spite of the fact that South Africa has become a foreign country? Will he plead that these, too, must be included? If so, why not imports from Japan, Hungary or the Argentina, or any other foreign country? It seems to me that by the provisions of this Bill he is complicating an already sufficiently 961 difficult task which he will have to execute at Brussels. We shall be very interested to hear how he intends to deal with this.
§ Mr. Strachey
Surely the right hon. Gentleman will make some point at Brussels, will he not—indeed, I think that he has already done so—on Commonwealth preferences as such? But now he is extending Commonwealth preferences to non-Commonwealth countries, and that blurs and destroys the whole contention that Commonwealth countries ought to be treated separately and especially well in the negotiations with the Six. I cannot help feeling that he will find, whatever he says today, that his task will be considerably complicated by that.
The right hon. Gentleman says that he has had no protest from other members of the Commonwealth on this matter, and I can well believe that none of the Commonwealth Governments have felt that it was for them to make formal protests in these matters. But if he asks what would be public opinion on the provisions of the Bill in the extension of Commonwealth preference to a South Africa which is no longer a member of the Commonwealth—the opinion, certainly, of the African and Asian members of the Commonwealth—then I am afraid that there can be very little doubt that a great deal of that opinion will come to the conclusion that when tht British Government agreed that the South African Government's policy of apartheid made it impossible for them to be members of the Commonwealth, the British Government had at the back of their minds that they were going to preserve the economic realities of that relationship and were paying only lip-service to the fact that South Africa must cease to be a member of the Commonwealth.
That, surely, is the force of the remark, which both the Lord Privy Seal and I have quoted, of the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, that it must not seem that the privileges of Commonwealth membership extend and are perpetuated to non-members of the Commonwealth. I can only agree with 962 Mr. Marquand when he said that by doing this in perpetuity, not temporarily, the British Government are directly breaking the pledge which the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations gave to the House just a year ago. I think that the right hon. Gentleman should explain to the House why he is perfectly willing for that pledge to be quite obviously and grossly broken today.
I come to perhaps a more remarkable instance of this, the perpetuation, for some years at any rate, of the sugar agreement to a non-member of the Commonwealth. In this case, the provisions of the sugar agreement—I need not recall them at length to the House—are, in effect, that the Sugar Board is empowered to pay a price very considerably higher than the world price of sugar to Commonwealth sugar producers.
Let us remember that it recoups the loss it makes by paying these higher prices and then selling the sugar at the world price to the British consumer by what is quite simply a tax on all sugar consumed in this country. It is a food tax which the British consumer pays in order to pay this higher price to Commonwealth producers of sugar. On the whole, in my opinion, this is a justified arrangement because of the historical situation of the West Indies, Mauritius and other Commonwealth sugar producers.
But now we are told that in part, at any rate, that arrangement is to be continued to non-members of the Commonwealth, although not in full, as I understood the Lord Privy Seal, because the price is to be somewhere between the world price and the prices that we have been paying the Commonwealth producers. But according to the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum to the Bill it will cost British consumers of sugar in this year, 1962, £2.7 million to continue that arrangement with South African producers.
§ Mr. Strachey
Swaziland, yes, but that could perfectly well have been arranged separately. There was no need to include it. Once again, it may be right or 963 it may be wrong, but if it is right to subsidise South African producers of sugar after South Africa has left the Commonwealth, why should we not subsidise the Philippino and Cuban producers of sugar?
§ Mr. Ronald Russell (Wembley, South)
Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that most of the sugar is produced in Natal and most of the Europeans who live in Natal are people of British descent?
§ Mr. Strachey
That may be so. But we cannot really examine the parentage of producers of sugar whom we are to subsidise. There is only one olear-cut criterion; if we consider it right, as I think it is right for historical reasons, to subsidise some of our sugar imports, the criterion to take is—which of them come from the Commonwealth? It seems to me very strange indeed to place a tax on British sugar consumers to subsidise producers of sugar who are outside the Commonwealth.
§ Mr. Strachey
Yes, we should continue to subsidise Swaziland producers of sugar, but why continue to subsidise producers of sugar who, by reason of their own Government action, had made it impossible for them to remain in the Commonwealth? This seems to be a point with which the Lord Privy Seal made no attempt to deal.
§ Mr. Heath
I think that the right hon. Gentleman is looking at it from a very narrow point of view. The point that I made was that this was a bilateral sugar agreement made now in the interests of ourselves and particularly of Swaziland. It would not have been possible for Swaziland to have separate membership of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement.
There are already other Commonwealth countries waiting for membership which are not able to get membership in this sugar arrangement. If we had left these amounts of sugar without any arrangement at all, they would have been competing with many Commonwealth imports to the disadvantage of the Commonwealth as a whole. Therefore, looking at it from the broadest point of 964 view this agreement has been made in our own interest just as much as in the interest of those producers of sugar in South Africa.
I must emphasise that it is only fair to the Commonwealth that where there are changes being made for products which have been produced or developed very largely with our own interest in mind, they should be given time to adjust themselves to any new market arrangements.
§ Mr. Strachey
I find it quite impossible to follow the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's argument. What advantage it is to the British consumer to continue to subsidise this import of sugar is most difficult to see. I can see that it is to the advantage of the Swaziland producers, but as he said, they remain in the Commonwealth so they could remain in the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Certainly. They have membership through South Africa at the moment, but we are changing these arrangements by the Bill, and I am arguing that we are changing them in the wrong way. We shall continue to give detailed attention to this in further stages of the Bill. It seems to me that we are doing something here which has no justification whatever.
I want to turn to some of the other points, some of which were raised and some of which were not, by the Lord Privy Seal. I propose to do so before I come to my second main objection to the Bill, which is in connection with the position of South-West Africa.
§ Clause 1, which deals with the nationality provision read in conjunction with the First Schedule, which the Lord Privy Seal spent a good deal of time in explaining, is extremely complicated and technical.
§ My first impression of this provision is this. Although it may be found that it is temporary, ex-British subjects by way of their South African nationality are to be put into a specially favoured position as against other Commonwealth citizens. That may be justified in the circumstances and as a temporary measure. I should like to look very closely into that and I trust that we shall do so during the further stages of the Bill. Tragically enough, we have to 965 make provision for political refugees in this Bill.
§ The melancholy fact is that we are dealing with what is increasingly a police State, the vast majority of the inhabitants of which have no voice whatever in the regulation of its government and live in a very considerable measure of servitude and terror. We shall want to ensure that people who, until this moment, have been British subjects have their full rights and opportunities to opt for citizenship of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth if, or when, they can reach any form of British territory. But that is a highly complicated matter. We shall wish to look at it in great detail as the Bill goes through its later stages.
§ I come now to the High Commission Territories, which are closely relevant in that connection, of course. There is no doubt that this matter does not require new legislation, but I did hope that the Government would take the opportunity of this Bill to announce the separation of the offices of the Governor of the High Commission Territories and our Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa. For obvious reasons, it is very undesirable that the two should be further combined. I hope that the Government will tell us that the arrangement is coming to an end.
§ I understand, also, that until now it has been the practice for Her Majesty's diplomatic representatives to represent the Republic of South Africa in countries which have no diplomatic relations with South Africa. Although I feel that this has been a somewhat odious task to impose upon British diplomats—to represent a country which maintains the policy of apartheid—perhaps there was some excuse or justification for it when South Africa was a member of the Commonwealth. May we be assured that the practice will cease when South Africa becomes a foreign country?
§ I turn now to the second of our main reasons for opposing the Bill. In a sense this, too, does not rest on something in the Bill, but on something which is not in the Bill but ought to be. It is the fact—the Lord Privy Seal confirmed it to me, although I had difficulty in getting the confirmation—that there is nothing in the Bill which differentiates between the Republic of South Africa and the 966 mandated territory of South-West Africa.
This is a matter of the first importance because it raises the whole tangled issue of South-West Africa. This afternoon, I do not intend to go back over the extremely complex story of South-West Africa. We all know that it was mandated immediately after the First World War. I just recall to the House the original words of the preamble to the mandate:
Whereas his Britannic Majesty for and on behalf of the Government of the Union of South Africa has agreed to accept the mandate in respect of the said territory and has undertaken to exercise it in accordance with the following provisions…
§ It will be argued—I think that many of my hon. and learned Friends will wish to argue—whether the terms of the mandate confer a special position on Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in the matter. I wish merely to call attention to the unquestioned position of the Government of the Republic of South Africa in the matter, because I realise that the Government contend, rightly or wrongly, that the British Government in the United Kingdom have no special position in the matter.
§ However, whether they have or have not—I leave that to my hon. and learned Friends—there is no doubt at all of the international status of South-West Africa. This has been acknowledged by the Government and accepted by the House on a Motion just over a year ago. South Africa hold South-West Africa under a mandate or trusteeship—call it what one will—'under international status. South Africa, alone of all countries of the world, has refused to convert her mandate into a trusteeship under the United Nations, although the United Nations has called on her fourteen times to do so, and the International Court has given an opinion on the matter that, while she is not compelled legally to do so, the mandate itself remains in full force.
The United Nations Committee summed up the three opinions of the International Court as follows:
The International Court reiterated in 1956 that the obligations of the mandatory continue unimpaired, with this difference, that the supervisory functions exercised by the Council of the League of Nations are now to be exercised be the United Nations.
§ Those are very important considerations which profoundly differentiate the status of South-West Africa from that of the Republic of South Africa. As late as 7th April last, the present position was summed up very strongly by a Resolution of the General Assembly which—I summarise it—condemned the South African Government's refusal to co-operate with the United Nations; described its attempts to assimilate the territory, culminating in the referendum on the Republic question as repugnant to the letter and spirit of the mandate; noted with grave concern reports of the terrorising of and armed action against the African population; expressed the opinion that this situation if allowed to continue would endanger international peace and security; affirmed the population's right of accession to national sovereignty and independence with the least delay; and asked the South-West Africa Committee to carry out the special and urgent tasks entrusted to it under the Resolution of 18th December, with the South African Government's cooperation if possible, and without it if necessary. That is the United Nations view of the matter.
The South African view of the matter is very different. It was summed up by the late Dr. Malan on 24th August, 1954. He made no bones about it, saying that
The Union and South-West Africa have become one territory".
§ There is no doubt that de facto the Republic has now, in effect, annexed South-West Africa. Europeans in Southwest Africa sit in the Parliament of the Republic. The Europeans in South-West Africa voted in the vital referendum which made South Africa a Republic. Above all, the abhorrent policy of apartheid is being applied in South-West Africa.
§ What concerns us this afternoon is that the Bill treats South-West Africa exactly as though it were a part of the Republic of South Africa. Thus, for the most part tacitly, but in one or two places overtly, it gives the seal of British Government approval to the grossly illegal annexation of South-West Africa by the Republic of South Africa. There can be little doubt about this. In the Clauses and Schedules of the Bill where the draftsmen have thought it necessary, 968 they have actually put in the words "or South-West Africa".
§ The Lord Privy Seal mentioned paragraph 7 of the Third Schedule, dealing with the Merchandise Marks Act. I am not on the point of the somewhat quaint use of the word "Empire "which is to continue for a year. I agree that that is a very small matter. Where an exact legal definition is needed, it is made quite clear that the provisions of the Bill as a whole apply to goods from South-West Africa just as to goods from any other part of the Republic of South Africa.
§ In all earnestness, I ask the House and the Government whether, in view of the direct, head-on conflict between the United Nations' view of the status of South-West Africa and that of the Government of the Republic, it is wise for us to make such an enactment today. I realise that, at any rate a section of hon. Members opposite—I hope that it is not a large one—views with increasing impatience the pronouncements, the decisions, and the attitudes of the United Nations and the International Court, especially in matters dealing with Africa. Again, they are by no means united on that matter, and I quote once more from this admirable pamphlet of the Bow Group which, on page 57, speaks very strongly on this matter.
As the House knows, the position is that the whole matter is before the International Court on an application from Liberia and Ethiopia. The pamphlet says:
If the Court declares South Africa to be in breach of her obligations under the Mandate, the General Assembly must clearly call on South Africa either to renounce the Mandate or to fulfill her obligations under the supervision of the international community. Such an order must have the support of the British Government. So too must any call for sanctions if South Africa disregards the United Nations.
Those are very strong words. Of course, they are not confined to that particular section of hon. Members opposite, because the Government themselves, just over a year ago, accepted a Resolution by this House, moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), which read as follows:
That this House calls upon Her Majesty's Government to take action in the United
Nations and in the forthcoming Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference to ensure that the Government of South Africa carries out the solemn obligations it undertook in accepting the Mandate for South-West Africa, or surrenders it to the United Nations so that alternative trusteeship arrangements can be made."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th December, 1960; Vol. 632, c. 729.]
§ What is the position of a Government who, having accepted that Resolution, now endeavour to pass through this House a Bill which, both by its omissions and, in one or two cases, by its references, makes clear that, in practice, the virtual, the de facto, annexation of South-West Africa by the Republic is recognised and viewed as a jail accompli? This is a most serious aspect of the Bill.
§ Mr. Christopher Chataway (Lewisham, North)
I do not begin to follow the right hon. Gentleman's argument. Does he contest the fact, whether he likes it or not, that South-West Africa is administered by South Africa? If that is the fact, does not he wish some of the agreements to which this Bill refers to be extended to South-West Africa? All of this has nothing to do with whether or not the International Court will rule or what decision the British Government will then take. If the right hon. Gentleman is really concerned with the opinions of the Afro-Asian nations, does not he think that one of the worst services that could be done to Britain is to imply that the Bill supports South Africa over the question of South-West Africa, which it clearly does not?
§ Mr. Strachey
Clearly, by its omissions and its references, the Bill does. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Certainly. The whole matter of South-West Africa should have been dealt with separately, if necessary by a separate Bill. I think that the hon. Gentleman will find that I am by no means alone in this view. If he thinks that people in the Afro-Asian countries would not have noticed the matter if I or somebody else had not mentioned it here, he is deceiving himself very much. The Bill treats the two territories as one.
§ Mr. Strachey
I do not say that any such agreement should be made. The position of South-West Africa could, of 970 course, have been reserved, both in the Bill and in the speech of the Lord Privy Seal, and in a dozen different ways. But tacitly and, in the Schedules, overtly, South-West Africa is associated with—it is not too much to say that it is included in—South Africa. The hon. Gentleman will find that that is how the world regards the matter. It may matter little to him, perhaps, how I regard it, but that is how the world regards it. He will find certainly that some of his associates regard the matter in that light as well.
It may be that some hon. Members opposite though not the hon. Gentleman, would take the view that the whole question of the status of South-West Africa, of the United Nations and of the International Court was unimportant. The attitude might be, "What could they do? However many resolutions they passed, they would be impotent in the matter." Hon. Members opposite will be short-sighted indeed if they take that view. If they were dealing with a matter which was about a foreign country which had no special or odious characteristics in its policies, that view might be valid.
Sir Kenneth Pickthora (Carlton)
Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us how one can tell which is a normal foreign country and which has nothing odious about its policy?
§ Mr. Strachey
I will tell the hon. Gentleman very simply. The difference in this case between a normal foreign country and one which is pursuing odious policies is where one is pursuing apartheid and where one is not.
We are dealing here with an issue which profoundly affects the whole future of Africa. It is one which no African or Asian—and, remember, they constitute the immense majority of mankind—can possibly leave as it is. In this matter of South-West Africa, whether or not its international status is recognised by the British Government will become of immense importance for the whole future of Africa.
The future of the southern peninsula of Africa is difficult enough. The inhabitants, whether white, brown, or black, have the very difficult task of making multiracial communities; and they have to make them under the appalling handicap of the present 971 apartheid policy of the South African Government. Of course, the Afro-Asian members of the United Nations will use, and will have a right to use, the international status of South-West Africa as one of their most important measures. They will have the support, it is very possible, of many other and very important members of the United Nations in doing so.
Therefore, my concluding remarks must be the same as my opening remarks. They are, of course, that it is the apartheid policy of the South African Government which makes this whole issue vital. It might or might not have been misconceived to continue to extend Commonwealth preferences to an ex-member of the Commonwealth, to subsidise South African sugar, tacitly—as I believe and repeat—to recognise the illegal annexation of South-West Africa. But these mistakes might not have been vital in the absence of the present policies of South Africa. In their presence, in the fact of apartheid. these mistakes become vital. They become issues on which, if the Bill is passed by the House of Commons, the whole African policies of the present Government may be prejudiced.
§ Mr. Heath
Before the right hon. Member sits down, may I ask him one thing? He has raised the question of South-West Africa in a way which I believe is absolutely untrue and will do immense harm. Does he not agree that in all its references the Bill talks about the "Republic of South Africa", or "South-West Africa"? There is nothing whatever to indicate that the Bill accepts the annexation of the mandated territory in any way. What I said in my speech about this part was that the mandate for South-West Africa is held by South Africa and that it provides that South Africa shall have full power of administration over the territory as an integral portion of South Africa. That is what is stated by the mandate. Nothing that I have said today has given any indication that we accept the accusations that the right hon. Gentleman has made.
§ Mr. Strachey
But what the right hon. Gentleman has done is to introduce a Bill which, as he confirmed when I interrupted him, applies as a whole—not 972 just the small items at the back, but as a whole—to South-West Africa as well as to the Republic of South Africa. As I understand, he says that that is unavoidable and that it could not have done anything else. I do not accept that for a moment. But even if he believed that, he should surely have made it clear in his speech why he considered it unavoidable. He should have made it clear why the Bill treats the territory of South-West Africa as effectively a part of the Republic of South Africa. He did nothing of the sort.
§ 5.2 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
The right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) has delivered a speech which, in my view, has been remarkable for the two qualities of imagination and malice. He wants to do everything he can to harm all who five in South Africa, even though it may do grave injury to the people of this country.
At the end of his speech, the right hon. Gentleman brought in an argument about the mandated territory of South-West Africa, which I should have thought was highly inopportune at a time when the matter was sub judice before the International Court.
§ Mr. Turton
If the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) looks at the Bill, he will see that the Government are dealing there with such matters as the mandated territories. I should not have thought that any hon. Member sitting on the Liberal benches would have had any objection to the Merchandise Marks (Mandated Territories) Order, 1928, which deals with South-West Africa, being inserted—
§ Mr. Thorpe
Did the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) hear, and if so does he agree with, the statement by the Lord Privy Seal that the fact that South Africa has become, first, a republic and, second, a republic outside the Commonwealth does not, in his view, affect the juridical position of South-West Africa? If that is so, would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that that is giving judgment on the very 973 matter which the International Court has been asked to decide?
§ Mr. Turton
I should say not. Surely one has to keep the status quo. It may well be that the International Court may give some other judgment. But I think that it was highly unwise at the present time, when the International Court is sitting, for the right hon. Member for Dundee, West to have devoted quite ten minutes of his speech to that purpose.
My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal said that the Bill was a common-sense and pragmatic approach to a situation for which there was no precedent. I think he is wrong about that. One has to remember that there have been the two precedents of Burma and Eire, in looking at what happens in these cases of the unfortunate circumstance when a country leaves the Commonwealth.
Where I really fall out with the right hon. Member for Dundee, West is that I have always regarded the Commonwealth as an association of peoples and not an association of Governments, and if that is so, when one has a breach like this, it must be the parent body's endeavour to do as little harm as possible to the relations between the different peoples of the two separate countries.
As I see it, the three main purposes and objects of the Bill should be as follows. First, we should try to ensure that by our Measure we do nothing to injure the standards of living of peoples in either this country or South Africa. Secondly, I believe that we have to do all we can to ensure that those people in South Africa who have the same abhorrence of the racial approach of the South African Government as we have are enabled, if they so wish, to come to this country and become British citizens. Thirdly, in this Measure we should do nothing to make it difficult for any of the South African people, if they have a Government which so desire, to re-enter the Commonwealth.
Those are the three objects which I should have thought right hon. and hon. Members on all sides of the House would try to accomplish in the Measure. I should like shortly to look at the Bill in that light.
First, with regard to the injury to standards of living, I found the right 974 hon. Member for Dundee, West even more abstruse there than in other parts of his speech. He said first of all, "I would not have given a continuation of Commonwealth preference. We should give them some reciprocal trade agreement, but we must not give them Commonwealth preference. It is much too valuable." Then he said, "What are these Commonwealth preferences? They are merely 9 per cent. on fruit, and for the purpose of British exports that is really negligible. It is really nothing at all. Why bother to retain it?"
Surely we ought to look at the facts and rest our arguments on them. At the present time Britain sells to South Africa £154 million worth of goods a year. In fact, South Africa is our fifth best customer. Some 20 per cent. of those goods are covered by the preferential agreement. The right hon. Member for Dundee, West would destroy all those preferences. In return, we take from South Africa imports which in 1960 amounted to £96 million. Excluding gold, there is a favourable balance of trade of £50 million—£60 million in our favour.
Why should we in this House, when we are trying to do all we can to encourage exports, injure these trading relations between the people of South Africa and this country? To me it is quite senseless. The argument put forward by the right hon. Member for Dundee, West would undoubtedly create pools of unemployment in the industries which are at present trading with South Africa. I think I see the right hon. Member for Dundee, West laughing. Surely a volume of export trade to the total of £150 million a year which involves mainly machinery, road vehicles, aircraft and textiles is a very important matter to Britain at the present time?
§ Mr. Strachey
Will the right hon. Gentleman forgive me? My main point was not the question of the value of these preferences but that Commonwealth preferences should be with Commonwealth countries. On the question of the value of the preferences which South Africa gives us, many of them are preferences of only 1 per cent. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of that? The main preference above that is 6 or 7 per cent. on electrical machinery. Does the right hon. Gentleman contest 975 The Economist Intelligence Unit Ltd. comment that the abolition of these preferences would have a negligible effect?
§ Mr. Turton
I was saying that as a result of these preferences we in this country have built up this very valuable export trade and that South Africa is, in fact, our fifth best market. That was the point that I was making. The right hon. Gentleman must remember that to say to South Africa. "Having left the Commonwealth you must go out of the preference area", has not been the pattern previously adopted. His own Government offered Burma a continuation of the preferential trading area, and in the case of Ireland we have retained the preference. I really cannot see any sense in the attitude of the Opposition on this question of preferences. They can only be trying to injure our own and South Africa's industry.
Now let us come to the Sugar Agreement. The right hon. Gentleman objects to the Sugar Agreement. He says, "Oh yes, we can make special arrangements for Swaziland sugar." I should like him to explain to the House—he did not do so in his speech—how that could be done. Swaziland sugar is marketed in the Republic of South Africa, and I should have thought that the Government have taken a very wise course in making that Sugar Agreement and in continuing the relationship with the sugar growers of Natal, the sugar growers in the High Commission territories and in this country. I should be very sorry to see us take action which would alienate the sympathies of people who have a great affection for this country
I come now to what I find a more difficult part of the Bill—the Clause and Schedule which deal with nationality. I should like to have seen the Irish solution adopted on this question of nationality. I think that it would have been a far more satisfactory way of dealing with the problem. My right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal said that he had consulted other Commonwealth countries. I hope that whoever is to answer the debate will tell us if in those consultations it was discovered whether any Commonwealth country was going 976 to adopt what I call the Irish solution of the 1948 Act. If so, a very difficult position will arise when some Commonwealth countries are working on the Irish solution of the 1948 Act and we ourselves are adopting this very complicated method under the Bill.
In my opinion, the weakness of the Government's solution lies in two facts. The first is that nobody can qualify for the regaining of British citizenship until he has come to this country and registered, and also that he must have been in Crown service and not have retired from it, which is an innovation, I think, under the Nationality Act. The second difficulty is the limited time which the African has for making his choice. I should like to have seen that first right extended to all who wish to apply where-ever they are. After all, it is not going to be an easy choice for the Africans to make. The choice will not endear them to the present Government of the Republic of South Africa.
I do not think that we should make it as difficult for these people as we are doing in the Bill. The period of two and a half years may sound quite a long time, but it is not really long when we come to examine it. There may well be men, as the Schedule suggests, who are serving in international organisations and who are so doing because they are the representatives of South Africa. It will mean that they will have to apply or, if not apply, put down their names within two and a quarter years. Presumably the putting down of their names—perhaps the Parliamentary Secretary in reply will say whether this is so or not—will be a public act and, therefore, they will no longer be able to hold their appointments.
§ Mr. Brockway
Would the right hon. Gentleman also agree that it may be very difficult for many people in South Africa to leave that country in order to make this kind of application before those years have passed?
§ Mr. Turton
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for mentioning that point. I was coming on to that problem, but I was dealing first with the holding of office.
It strikes me, looking again at the 1948 precedent, that the provision ought 977 to include not only those who are at the moment making the choice but also those who have actually held the position. It should provide for the retirement of the applicant before he asks to be registered. I know this problem. There are a great many loyalists from the Republic of South Africa who because they dislike administering the law of South Africa made their way into neighbouring territories in Central Africa. None of those men would wish to go back to the Republic of South Africa. All of them, I am sure, would desire to remain British subjects and many of them would like to come and live in this country. I hope that the Bill will not make that difficult for them.
I now come to the point raised by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway)—the question of those who are living in South Africa. J receive letters from men which make me feel very unhappy and in which they say, "Well, my wife is English. She will be all right. But my father or grandfather came to South Africa from Britain, so I will be outside the provision. What about my children? Even if we come out we cannot remain British subjects."
I am certain that in this part of the Bill we must be more generous than we are at present. We want to make it easier for those people who have the same racial approach as we have to come and join us either here or in other Commonwealth countries. I believe that the Bill is a little mean in that respect. I feel that the minimum period of time which should be extended to them for registration should be five years. I would prefer not to have any time limit at all for registration, but if there has to be a time limit the minimum period should be five years.
My third and last consideration is how we can make it easy for South Africa to come back into the Commonwealth should she ever have a Government who desire so to do.
I believe, therefore, that it is wise for us to leave things as open as possible. It may be said that the possibility is very remote. I do not know. It may be that in five years there will be many new developments. One can see what is happening even now in the Republic of
978 South Africa. There is the starting of the Transkei Province, which is to have a certain degree of independence.
It may be that in five years either some part, or the whole, of what is at present the Republic of South Africa will want to rejoin the Commonwealth. I do not know what will be the attitude in five years of the people who are now living in Natal, and who have vastly different views on the racial approach of apartheid. I therefore beg the Government in this Measure to realise this and to do nothing to break that long association which this country has had with the people of South Africa in peace and war.
I think that in many respects the Government have been wise and humane in their approach in this Bill. I think that they nave failed only from the nationality aspect. I know that a number of my hon. Friends wish to raise other aspects of this question. I should like to have said a word on the whole question of the Press cables and telegrams, but I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Clark Hutchison) hopes to be able to deal with that in some detail, and therefore I merely ask the Government to bear in mind what he says.
I think that this Measure deserves a Second Reading, and I hope that the Government will allow us to examine it with care in Committee to see whether we can improve it.
§ 5.23 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I agree with what the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said about the nationality proposals in this Bill, but the Lord Privy Seal asked us to weigh the Bill broadly in the balance. He was only, I think, able to say that if it was so weighed we would come down in favour of it by leaving out the most important factori, n the balance, because this is not a Bill only to regulate our trading agreements with the Republic of South Africa. This is a Bill of the widest political significance.
This is a Bill about how a Commonwealth founded on freedom, justice and democracy is going to deal with a country which has denied all those principles, both as ideals and in practice, and is in fact a dictatorship founded on racial discrimination. I thought that the interjection from the other side of the House, 979 ' How do you know an odious Government?", was significant. It is part of this entire lack of reaction in politics today. Many people know that we would have been better off if we had spotted odious governments before the war and since.
I regret the causes which drove South Africa to resign from the Commonwealth, but those causes were the creation of their Government. They were the result of the policies into which that Government deliberately entered. We want South Africa back in the Commonwealth—and in this I agree with the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton—but we want her back only when she has granted to all black men of South African nationality their rights as citizens of their own country. If she is ever to come back, she will only do so when the great majority of South Africans want to come back; when the black South Africans and those white Africans who detest apartheid—and there are many of them—have gained sufficient power in their own country and have been shown that the Commonwealth is something to which they would be glad to return.
The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton said that the Commonwealth was an association of peoples. I agree with him, but my information is that this sort of Bill will not be very acceptable to the people of South Africa. This is not the type of Bill which will enable them either to prosper in the struggle they are making for their rights at home, or convince them that the Commonwealth is genuinely devoted to the ideas which it professes.
Whether South Africa comes back into the Commonwealth or not, the whole future of the white man there surely depends on establishing better relations with his black neighbour, and we have to look at this Bill from that point of view also. We all know the situation in South Africa. We know that the Government there are not practising apartheid as a temporary expedient, but as a basic part of their policy. We know, too, that 82 per cent. of the land belongs to the small white minority, and that the Government are elected by 700,000 out of a population of 15 million. Surely it is unthinkable that we 980 should treat a Government of that sort better than the rest of the free democratic world? That is what the Bill is about.
We shall be told that the Protectorates are a hostage. Are they? Is it seriously said that we cannot look after our Protectorates? We are told that there is a distinction between the South African Government and their people, but would we have been justified in treating the Hitlerite Government in Germany in a privileged way because we knew that many of the German people detested them? I do not think that this is the true test of the Bill. The test of the Bill is whether it will increase the chances of justice and democracy in South Africa. Will it increase the likelihood of the majority of South Africans wanting to come back into the Commonwealth if a chance to do so should occur, and is it likely to be acceptable to the great majority of the population? I believe that the answer to all those questions is broadly "No".
I was glad to hear the final intervention of the Lord Privy Seal about mandated South-West Africa because, with the best will in the world, I had understood from his speech that it was the view of the Government that the mandate was within the full competence of the South African Government, and that for all practical purposes we were treating it as part of South Africa. I had understood that the whole question whether the mandate was a mandate to the South African Government or the Crown was under dispute. I thought that that was what the argument was about, and I share the view of the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) that it was a most damaging feature of the Bill that it gave the impression that the point had been settled in favour of South Africa. I was relieved to hear what the Lord Privy Seal said but he must not delude himself. This has been taken throughout the world as an indication that Great Britain is satisfied to see this mandate remain in the hands of South Africa.
Then we come to the extension of the Sugar Agreement and the preferences to South Africa. The Lord Privy Seal said that it cuts both ways; that the South African Government have 981 given up a lot of chances of consultation, but they have the preferences. They have given up consultation for hard cash, and to my mind they have had a good deal of acceptance of what they are doing in South-West Africa. It is like having a family, and although all the children stay in the arms of the family the mother will not kiss them goodnight. They have the advantage of staying in the family, but all the trappings are taken out.
An opportunity should have been taken to separate the High Commissioner-ship and to move its headquarters. I hope that before the debate ends something will be said about this also.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
If the right hon. Gentleman were making a decision in this difficult case, would he revoke these trading advantages even at a terrible cost and possibly some hardship in South Africa itself?
§ Mr. Grimond
I would treat the Republic of South Africa no better and no worse than any other foreign country. If this Sugar Agreement means anything, it means that it has some advantage for the Commonwealth. If it means nothing, then let us do away with the whole thing and let the whole world be in the same position.
Then, we are told that it is very difficult suddenly to change the pattern of trade and so forth, that it upsets the economies of countries and, therefore, we must let South Africa down gently. I do not think that this point occurred very strongly to the Government when introducing the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill. Where is the evidence that they had long consultations with the Government of Jamaica about how it would affect that country's economy? In that case, the Bill was introduced and Jamaica had to make the best of it.
There were some remarks on the rather important subject of fugitive offenders. I should like to ask, and I hope we shall be told before the debate ends, whether we are to have their position regulated by an Act of Parliament. Are we to have it specified to what extradition can apply, because it is not normally sufficient for the issue of a warrant to justify extradition, and there are certain crimes in South Africa which would not be crimes anywhere else in the 982 civilised world. I am afraid that this kind of practical advantage will be taken to mean that the Commonwealth is a sort of club which extends its privileges to people who are not eligible for membership so long as they are white.
This Bill will be taken as an example of white solidarity. I am quite certain that the Government do not mean it, but they must realise that this is the impression which has been widely given. Whatever they may mean, it is vitally important now, not only that we should do justice, but that justice should be seen to be done. Whatever we think, the leaders of the people in South Africa, particularly people like Chief Luthuli, who is hardly an extremist, have made it crystal clear that they are prepared to forgo economic advantages and are prepared to suffer hardships if it is made absolutely plain that we do not support the practices of the South African Government. Indeed, they have said that they would welcome economic pressure being put upon that Government.
Dr. Verwoerd, on the other hand, has always assured South Africa that there would not be any great disadvantage about leaving the Commonwealth, and that he could get satisfactory terms. Again, I am afraid that much of this Bill will be taken as a victory for Dr. Verwoerd, and as a defeat for black Africa and the ideal of a multiracial Commonwealth.
The white men have run their balance of goodwill very low in some parts of Africa. At the first anti-pass demonstration in Johannesburg in 1919, the Africans sang "God Save the King "and" Rule Britannia". There is still a strong hope that Britain will live up to the ideals which she has preached throughout he Commonwealth. The only way she can do that is by showing implacable opposition to the type of thing that goes on in South Africa as a deliberate act of government. There is no way round it.
I am afraid that I cannot share the right hon. Gentleman's optimism that the government of South Africa will change in five years. Dr. Verwoerd made it crystal clear that he disagrees completely, not only with me, but with right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I say that the only hope of getting any change in South 983 Africa or getting her back into the Commonwealth is that there will be a change of government, and when that change of government comes we must have made it quite clear that in no sense are we a party to their Government's policy.
§ Mr. Turton
What I said was—could it not be the position in five years' time that perhaps Transkei Province, or Natal, being a part of South Africa, would want to come back into the Commonwealth?
§ Mr. Grimond
That is what I am hopeful about, and what is happening there is extremely interesting. The South African Government have proposed that Transkei should be a black State in which racial discrimination is imposed. I do not know whether the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton read The Times on Friday. There was a most interesting news item, suggesting that there is a large African movement to reject this and insisting on Transkei becoming a multiracial province. I regard that as most encouraging and welcome if it spreads. If it did, and that part of South Africa came back into the Commonwealth, I am certain that everyone in this House would not be other than delighted. That is why I have said that we must make it absolutely clear that the Commonwealth approaches this matter with clean hands, and that it is implacably opposed to racialism.
I should hate this country to qualify, as the Chinese seem to qualify, for the title of "Honorary Boers", because we are prepared to make trading concessions to South Africa and ignore the deep political questions which arise in this Bill.
§ 5.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Clark Hutchison (Edinburgh, South)
Like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), I very much hoped a year ago that South Africa would stay in the Commonwealth, and if only we had been faced with that situation I am sure that the majority of our people would have welcomed it; but it was not to be. The question now is what our relations with that country should be in future years. While making it clear that we in no way 984 support South Africa's racial policy, I think it is wise that the Government of the United Kingdom should do all in their power to maintain and increase friendly relations with South Africa. It could be that in the years to come South Africa will change her policy. It could be that other countries in the Commonwealth, recognising this change, might wish that South Africa would become a member again and re-enter the Commonwealth. I do not know any more than my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton), but it seems to me to be unwise to take up a fixed or hostile attitude in a debate on a Bill such as this. In saying this, I am not unmindful of the great number of people in South Africa who are of British origin.
The Bill before the House seems to indicate that an attempt has been made to do as little dismantling as possible in regard to our trade, defence and cultural relations. This is welcome, and it is correct policy. I particularly welcome the continuance of the Commonwealth preference arrangements for South Africa. For example, in 1960, we exported goods to the value of £157 million and imported goods to the value of £134 million—a balance in our favour. Since 1925, our annual exports to South Africa have risen from a mere £25 million to £157 million, and, of course, there has been an equally marked change in imports. South Africa has risen to fourth best market for us and Britain, on the other hand, is her best market. This matter is important, because the Commonwealth preference arrangements have done a lot to bring this about, and I certainly believe that they should be retained and brought up to date. We have a favourable trade balance with South Africa, and it seems to me that this is a remarkably important point. I take this opportunity of pointing out that we have no favourable trade balance with any of the Six countries of Europe. There is a marked difference.
I should like to draw attention to two rather narrower points which are not mentioned in the Bill; they concern posts and telegraphs. Are the present rates to continue, or are any alterations contemplated? As hon. Members will know, surface mails to Commonwealth 985 countries are cheaper than to foreign ones—3d. an ounce, as against 6d. per ounce. As I understand it, these arrangements exist under the terms of the Universal Postal Convention, Article 8 of which allows us to make special arrangements within the Commonwealth.
Remembering our close connections with South Africa over the years, and the benefit that cheap rates have for trade and the individual person, I hope that these rates can be maintained. I hope that the same consideration will apply to telegrams. Under the present system the full rate for a telegram to any country of the Commonwealth does not exceed 1s. 10d. a word, and there is also a special Commonwealth social telegram service, which allows 11 words or less for 9s. 2d. These are far better rates than any which exist in foreign countries, and I hope that my hon. Friend will be able to assure me that they will be retained.
I now turn to the question of Press rates, which are 1d. a word for the ordinary rate and 6d a word for the more urgent Press rate. These figures are only about half those which apply in foreign countries, and I hope that our Government, in conjunction with that of South Africa, will ensure that the rates are not altered. There are 600 registered publications in South Africa, including 19 dailies and about 30 national weeklies, so a good deal is involved in this question.
I support the Bill. I want to see as little dismantling done as possible, so that our friendship with South Africa may continue. I shall be grateful if my hon. Friend can give me answers to the questions I have raised concerning Press and telegram rates.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)
I oppose the Bill, for the reasons which have been so admirably stated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) and the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). We need the Bill because, a year ago, the Nationalist Government of South Africa decided to leave the Commonwealth. It is important to remember why they so decided. It was not because they wanted to leave the Commonwealth; they wanted 986 rather urgently to stay in. They left because the Governments of the other members of the Commonwealth declared that the policy of apartheid was inconsistent with the principles upon which the Commonwealth is based.
We remember, with the greatest regret, how our Prime Minister, at both the meetings of the Prime Ministers in May, 1960, and March, 1961, tried to prevent the question of apartheid from being raised. We remember the argument, so freely used, that at Commonwealth meetings the internal affairs of members of the Commonwealth could not be discussed. It was a variant of the old, fallacious argument about Article 2 (7) of the United Nations Charter—the argument that apartheid was a matter of domestic concern; an argument by which we justified so many lamentable votes in the Security Council and the General Assembly in recent years.
That argument, whether based upon the provisions of the Charter or upon the constitutional conventions of the Commonwealth, was wrong in all its forms. It was wrong in morality, in politics and in law, and we rejoice that in the Commonwealth meeting a year ago the Prime Ministers of the other members of the Commonwealth swept that argument aside. We rejoice that Canada took the lead, and that Mr. Deifenbaker said:The equality of all races and peoples is a basic principle that must be accepted by all the Commonwealth,and we rejoice that, in the end, our Prime Minister was driven to give way.
In our view it was vital for the Commonwealth itself that the world should know, a year ago, that the Commonwealth was willing to face that issue and to take a unanimous and determined stand. If the Prime Ministers had shirked the issue or had failed to take the necessary decision, they would have dealt the whole Commonwealth system a blow only less severe than that of the Suez war.
The action that they took did very much to restore the influence and the prestige of the Commonwealth in world affairs, and to make the outside world believe that it still has some value, vitality and real worth. What we dislike about the Bill—and I shall not repeat the detailed arguments—is that it will indubitably diminish the effect of the 987 action which the Prime Ministers took in 1961.
I support the two practical proposals which have been put forward by my right hon. Friend about the functions of the British Ambassador to South Africa and the duties of British Ambassadors in foreign countries. I hope that the Government will tell us tonight that the function of the High Commissioner for the three Protectorates—Swaziland and the others—is to be separated from the office of British Ambassador to South Africa. That is of the highest importance, especially for the future Government of the Protectorates. Secondly, I hope that the Government will tell us that British ambassadors in foreign countries are no longer to have the invidious task of conducting South African affairs on behalf of the Nationalist Government of the Union.
I wish to refer particularly to the mandated territory of South-West Africa, and to urge the Government to abandon the policy that they have followed in recent years—a policy which, in spite of what the Lord Privy Seal has said, is confirmed by the Bill. In recent years the Government have consistently appeased the Nationalist Government of the Union on the question of South-West Africa. I remember the lamentable episode about the United Nations Commission, only last July. Our Government have acted as though the question of South-West Africa is a minor matter, full of legal obscurities—a phrase used by Lord Alport, when he was here—and a matter in respect of which we can afford to drift along for many years to come, as we are drifting now.
§ The question of South-West Africa is not a minor one; it is one of great and growing world importance. The number of native inhabitants is small, but their wrongs and grievances—social, economic and political—cry aloud to Heaven for redress. It is not a question that is legally obscure; it is absolutely straightforward. For many years now the Union Government have been in flagrant breach of the international obligations under which they hold the territory. We cannot just drift along; the pressure from the other nations to right this legal wrong—as evidenced by the United Nations Assembly Resolution, which was 988 read out by my right hon. Friend—grows stronger every year.
§ I speak with some assurance about this legal wrong. In doing so, I venture some personal reminiscences of events which happened long ago but which are extremely relevant to this issue now. I had some share in the making of the mandate system in Paris, in 1919 and in Geneva in succeeding years. I was a member of the committee which made the first drafts of the B and C mandates—that is (to say, the mandate for South Africa. I was acting Director of the Mandates Section of the Secretariat of the League when plans for the Permanent Mandates Commission were prepared.
Believe it or not, I was a member of the South African delegation to the Assembly of the League when the first big questions about the Union Government's mandate in South-West Africa arose. There were several such questions, and I shall venture to speak of them in turn. At the very start, the Union Government proposed to confer British citizenship upon the inhabitants of the territory compulsorily and en masse. But the Permanent Mandates Commission, during its second session, rejected the proposal and said that it was contrary to the spirit of the Covenant and to the essence of the institution of mandates and that the natives should be given
a national status wholly distinct from that of nationals of the Mandatory Power.
A little later the Union Government proposed to make a treaty with Portugal delimiting the frontier between South-West Africa and Angola. It drew up a draft which said that
subject to the terms of the Mandate
possesses sovereignty over the territory of South-West Africa.
§ Again the Commission pointed out that it did not possess sovereignty and that the relationship between mandatory Powers and mandated territories was something quite different from sovereignty and new in international law. After long debate, and several interventions by the Council of the League, the Union Government finally accepted that view in 1929.
§ There was another question which arose relating to the application of 989 general conventions to the mandated territories. Again the Commission proposed special arrangement for that purpose, which is a point we might bear in mind today. But the most important issue about South-West Africa in the early years was the so-called "rising" of the Bondelzwart Hottentots in 1922. That rising was brutally suppressed by some subordinate police officials with the help of German and other settler volunteers. There were 100 Bondelzwarts killed and many wounded. It is to the sequel to that episode that I wish to draw the attention of the House.
§ The Union Government made no attempt to hush up the matter. Smuts was the Prime Minister—note the names—and Hofmeyr was administrator in charge of the territory. They made no attempt to hush up the matter. On the contrary, they drew the attention of the League to what had happened. Within a month they sent in a full report; explained the course of events and the lamentable casualties, and they promised and carried out a full and independent inquiry without delay. The report was considered by the Mandates Commission, by the Council and by the full Assembly of the League. On the motion of a negro delegate, Mr. Bellegarde, of Haiti, the Plenary Assembly referred it to a committee for discussion and report. I was present at those debates.
At the following session of the Hofmeyr Commission, the administrator came himself to explain the history of the territory; the causes of the trouble with the Bondelzwarts and the ample remedial action which he had sought to take. He submitted to a long and meticulous cross-examination by the Commission, and at the end he paid this remarkable tribute to the Commission and its work in South-West Africa. He said:
In South Africa we are not timid or nervous about any expression of opinion on the part of this Commission, or anyone connected with the League. We look upon the Commission as a co-worker in connection with the important duties we have to perform in South-West Africa, and we welcome with the greatest respect any resolution of the Commission… which will help us improve on the methods we are adopting.
§ I have ventured to recall these episodes of long ago because they came within my personal experience, and because they showed that, even in the most unlikely territory of all, the mandate system was 990 a reality and not a sham. They establish beyond all doubt that South Africa did not have sovereignty in the territory; that it governed only in virtue of an international trust; that its fulfilment of its obligations under this trust was rigorously supervised by an international authority; that this authority—the Commission, the Council, the Assembly—did not hesitate to overrule the Union Government and to impose its will; and that the then Mandatory Administration accepted these rulings and acted in full co-operation with the League.
§ As has been recalled this afternoon, and as the Minister himself mentioned, since the war all these propositions have been confirmed by the finding of the International Court of Justice in 1950. The Court ruled that the mandate is still in force, that if it had ended, all South African authority in the mandated territory would have ended, too. The Court ruled that the Union Government is still under an absolute obligation to fulfil the duties which the mandate involves and to make an annual report on everything it does. The Court ruled—the point is of supreme importance—that the annual reports should be made to the United Nations and that the United Nations should undertake the functions originally allotted to the League.
It is true that the Court also said that the Union Government were not under an obligation to make a trusteeship agreement with the United Nations. But, in my submission, that is a formal point. The whole purpose and meaning of the ruling of the Court was that the mandate is still alive and must be given its full effect, as it was in the early years of which I have been speaking. I think it intolerable that year after year the Nationalist Administration should go on violating the mandate in every way; recognising no international supervisory authority, making no reports, refusing, with our connivance, to admit Commissions of the United Nations, violating all the rights of the native people, doing nothing to fulfil its "sacred trust"—these are the words of the mandate—
to promote to the utmost the material well-being and the social progress of the inhabitants of the Territory.
§ Anyone who knows what is actually happening in the territory—I have had first-hand and unimpeachable accounts—cannot doubt that the government of 991 the territory is a flagrant and total violation of this trust. It is not tolerable that this should go on indefinitely. I have no doubt what the next step should be. If the Union Government continues to flout the United Nations, the mandate should be ended and the Union deprived of all its rights.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
The fact that this Bill appears to condone the attitude and the action of the Nationalists in South-West Africa is the strongest of the reasons why I shall vote against the Bill tonight.
§ Mr. Heath
I have listened with great interest to what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) has to say because of his experience with the League of Nations and in the early stages of the mandate and so on. The right hon. Gentleman has stated the view of the International Court, which is what we accept. It was that the terms of the mandate, broadly speaking, could not be altered, except by the United Nations, and therefore they should be carried out by South Africa. I think that is what the right hon. Gentleman was saying.
If that be so, Article 2 of the mandate states:The Mandatory shall have full power of administration and legislation over the territory subject to the present mandate as an integral portion of the Union of South Africa and may apply the laws of the Union of South Africa to the territory, subject to such local modifications as circumstances may require.I hope the right hon. Gentleman accepts that in Article 2 of the mandate. Because of that, the inhabitants of South-West Africa gained advantages through the Commonwealth membership of South Africa. They were advantages of citizenship, and of the four Bills quoted in the Schedules to this Bill. Those advantages were gained by South-West Africa because of Article 2 of the mandate.
What we are doing under the Bill is to remove those, because they have been removed from South Africa by the fact that she has left the Commonwealth. That is all that we are doing under the Bill. It is logical to do it, because they 992 were gained by reason of South Africa's membership of the Commonwealth. Now that South Africa has left the Commonwealth, those advantages of citizenship and of the four Bills are removed.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
If we wanted to do something about South-West Africa, it would have been perfectly possible to do it by a separate Bill. In my view, that would be the right course, because it is a separate territory and is not part of the Union of South Africa.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
We should support action in the United Nations to establish a new régime for South-West Africa. [Interruption.] It is nothing to do with the Bill, but by what we are doing in the Bill we appear to condone the policy which the South African Government have pursued in the Union.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
When the Lord Privy Seal quotes the mandate—he did so towards the end of his speech, when I wanted to put a question to him—he says that South Africa governs this territory with full control as an integral part of itself. It governs it, however, on condition that it fulfils the other obligations of the mandate. It has been in violation of those other obligations for many years.
I end by offering this reflection to the House. It would be tragic if the events of 1961 were to make a permanent breach between the Commonwealth and the Union, between the people of South Africa and the other nations of the Commonwealth, or between the Afrikaaners and the British people inside the Union. There is no such breach today. Some people of British stock, alas, approve apartheid. Some Afrikaaners most emphatically do not.
I have spoken of Hofmeyr's visit to Geneva in the early days. In 1940, the 993 extreme Nationalist paper Die Transvaaler, describing the Afrikaans Republic that the Nationalists hoped some day to see, wrote these words:Mr. Hofmeyr's negrophilism and liberalism, which would wipe out all colour bars and would make the Afrikaander a backboneless being, will have no place in this Afrikaans Republic.Nearly all the great men of the Union since it was created in 1909 have been Afrikaaners. It was General Botha, the first Prime Minister, who got the Afrikaaners to accept the Constitution of 1909 and their membership of the British Empire. General Smuts was the greatest of the architects of dominion nationhood and of the Commonwealth of today. Hertzog was the man who secured the writing of the Balfour Report of 1926. I have spoken of Hofmeyr, who, had he lived, would have been as great a Prime Minister as any of the rest. These men, and many other Afrikaaners like them, did much to make the Commonwealth what it is now. Others like them will some day bring South Africa back into its fold.
In 1900 my father was a pro-Boer candidate for membership of this honourable House. He suffered a smashing defeat amid the khaki hysteria. of that election. Nine years later, he was a Member and voted for the generous Constitution by which the breach between the Afrikaaners and the British was then healed. After six decades, I am still pro-Boer. I still believe that one day, Afrikaaners will wipe out the stain of race discrimination from the Union and will renew the partnership of which we were so proud.
§ 6.5 p.m.
§ Sir Harwood Harrison (Eye)
The right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) will forgive me if I do not follow his arguments, because I wish rather to devote myself to other parts of the Bill. The right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) criticised my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal for being bland in his treatment of the Bill. To my mind, my right hon. Friend was both lucid and clear on a Bill which is very technical and contains many provisions. I, for one, found him, possibly, more clear and lucid than is often the case with speakers from the Front Bench.
I am very glad that the Sugar Agreement is being continued, for the particular 994 reason that eighteen months ago I visited Swaziland. I will be quite honest. Before I started to make my arrangements, I did not know exactly where it was. It is not a place that many hon. Members of this House have visited, but it is a tranquil oasis in the troubled Continent of Africa. The vast majority of the people get their living from the land. Therefore, anything that might have been done to stop sales of sugar would react hardly on those charming Swazi people.
I should like my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary, when he replies to the debate, to explain the position concerning oranges which are grown in Swaziland and marketed through South Africa. The Swazi people were worried about this when I was out there and I am rather worried as a result of the remark by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal about the name "Commonwealth" being taken off goods which come from South Africa.
I am glad that we have not made an entirely complete break, as the Leader of the Liberals would have liked to do, with South Africa. If one can put it in terms of marriage, I regard this as a separation and not a permanent divorce, because after a separation it is possible for the two sides to come together again.
§ Sir H. Harrison
Nevertheless, this is a very sad day in this House, where, perhaps for the last time—although we hope not—we are discussing the affairs of South Africa. I have refreshed myself by reading the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) given in this House over fifty-five years ago, when he moved a MotionThat this House approves the granting of Constitutions conferring responsible government upon the peoples of Transvaal and Orange River Colonies".Since those days, we have had loyal support from the people of South Africa, both in the First World War and again in the Second World War, in the latter, perhaps, due only to the great leadership of the late Lord Smuts, who by a majority of one brought South Africa in on our side.
995 I should like to ask my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary, because the position was not clear from the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, a question concerning defence and the use of the base at Simonstown, which we are to retain. Are we to retain it mutually with the South African Navy? What would be the situation in, say, the event of war in which South Africa was engaged and we were not, or, alternatively, a war in which we were engaged and South Africa was not? A tricky situation might arise.
I well remember that I happened to be in Cape Town with the 18th division at the very time when the Japanese made their attack on Pearl Harbour. I shall never forget the speech given that evening by Lord Smuts, as Prime Minister of South Africa, to a great many of us, including American seamen and officers—we were being carried by American ships—in which he said that he considered the Japanese attack to be the best event in the war, because at last it had brought in the Americans, about whom he had some unkind things to say. But even at that time there were forces building up in South Africa which were antagonistic to us in Britain.
As has been said in many speeches today, we all dislike the rigid position taken up by the present Nationalist Government over racial issues. In my opinion this is not the rule of a dictator, as the Leader of the Liberal Party describes it, but the rule of a small group. At least they held elections of a limited sort, but owing to their manipulation of constituency boundaries and the lowering of the voting age to 18 the present Nationalist Government have placed themselves very firmly in control. We should be wrong to think otherwise, but perhaps we sometimes forget the protests made by some Afrikaaners and many of British stock who either in the United Party or in the Progressive Party, have fought against this attitude on the part of the Nationalist Government.
There are many people of British origin who live permanently in South Africa and whose families have been there for over a hundred years and they dislike these events very much. We must not forget also the million coloureds, many of them capable and responsible 996 men, and also the Africans. When I was last in South Africa I met a man who put an interesting point of view to me. He said, "Of course our clever boys still get the Rhodes scholarships to Oxford but before the war 50 or 60 of us every year paid to send our sons to Oxford to be educated. Now it is practically impossible to get them in and they have to go willy-nilly to South African universities where they have the nationalist outlook inculcated into them all the time." I should like to make certain that in future any South African students, whatever their background, origin or colour, who come into this country will not come in under more unfavourable terms, except as aliens, than they are at present.
We are sometimes apt to forget that there is an intense fight between two white factors in South Africa. We lose sight of this because of what is happening in racial discrimination against the Africans. I am sure that the influence of people of British origin in South Africa will diminish and will disappear altogether. Afrikaans is already of equal importance with English and it will probably be only ten years before it is the only language. Our friends there will have to face this and similar difficulties.
I should like to know what will happen under the Bill to those who want to come back to this country. A plea has been made on both sides of the House, that as many as possible of those of British stock should come back here and take up citizenship here or in the British Commonwealth. I should like to express a different point of view and say that possibly they would serve the cause of freedom best by remaining in South Africa. We do not want to encourage a flow of refugees out of South Africa, as the right hon. Member for Dundee, West suggested. It is far better that those who think as we do should remain there. What will be the status of those who are now British citizens? Presumably they will be aliens in South Africa. They are British citizens who for reasons of work or because they are in retirement live in South Africa. Will their position there be altered in any way?
It is due to British influence that the great wealth of South Africa has been 997 built up. The energy and the enterprise has come from people of British stock. They dug the mines and built the ports, and we have developed a great trade between South Africa and this country My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said that South Africa was our fifth biggest customer. A little later, when my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Clark Hutchison) spoke, it had become the fourth. I have not been out to look at the "tape" yet to see whether it is now the third.
We cannot afford to lose this trade. It helps us both. If we lost it those who would suffer most would be those who could stand it the least. It might cause unemployment in certain parts of the country and it would certainly impose a lower standard of living on those who worked on the land who are largely Africans. However, when there was a move in this country to boycott South African goods there was no response to it and during that time South African exports went up. We can best help the cause of the Africans by seeing that our trade with South Africa is maintained at a high level. Those who have visited the country, as I have been fortunate enough to do, cannot but have been impressed by its great development. Much as one dislikes this policy of division, there has been a great advance in the economic status of Africans. I know that that is not the only thing in a man's life but it is important.
We must also recognise that in a time of great change in Africa as a whole, there has been stable government and law and order have been maintained in South Africa, even if we do not like that particular type of order. It may well be that, from this strength in maintaining order, in the course of the years the Nationalist Party—and this is not impossible—or some other Government may see the wisdom of a much more liberal and humane policy. If this should be so, we must be ready in the Commonwealth to welcome South Africa back.
I sometimes wonder whether all the fault has been on one side. We have achieved so much in this country, first in our Empire and then in the Commonwealth, that it would be most unfortunate if by failing in some way we 998 lose permanently one of the members of the Commonwealth whose Government is perhaps not acting in as arbitrary a manner as are some other Governments who are still in the Commonwealth. South Africa is a lovely country of great rolling countryside. It gives a feeling of grandeur. It has a history, and I believe that it can yet play and will play a great part in the world. I hope that we shall do everything to encourage it in the difficult times that are facing Africa as a continent.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
I am one of those who are disappointed by the Bill and I use the word "disappointed" deliberately. I did not expect a Bill which I should be able to support entirely, but after the speeches of the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, both of whom insisted that when South Africa left the Commonwealth it would not retain the privileges of the Commonwealth, the terms of the Bill are a profound shock.
I regard it as a betrayal of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers at the Prime Ministers' Conference and of the Governments of those Commonwealth Territories. I regard it as a betrayal of the great majority of the people of South Africa who are the victims of apartheid and who want the Verwoerd Government to be isolated until apartheid is ended.
The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations has twice used these words in the House, on 22nd March, 1961, and 24th April, 1961:… we must be careful not to destroy the value of Commonwealth membership by giving to those who are not members all the privileges of those who are."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd March, 1961; Vol. 637, c. 527.]I submit that the Bill does almost exactly that.
The Leader of the House, addressing Cambridge University students two or three weeks ago, expressed regret that the Republic of South Africa—the Union of South Africa, as it was—had been excluded from the Commonwealth. Rather to my surprise, I was invited by the Cambridge University Conservatives to address them a week later. I was then able to make some reply to the Leader of the House. I was surprised at the 999 degree of support among Cambridge University Conservatives for the point of view expressed in the House by the Bow Group. I say that incidentally.
The Leader of the House urged that it is regrettable that the Republic should be outside the Commonwealth for two reasons. First, he said: "Yes, it has committed a moral lapse, but all of us, all Governments, commit moral lapses". Incidentally, I was very interested to find, despite the attempted correction by the Prime Minister in the House a few days ago, that the Leader of the House, at Cambridge, included the Suez venture as one of the moral lapses of this Government.
I accept entirely that all Governments are guilty of moral lapses. We are all guilty of racial discrimination and injustice to other races, but the difference between the Government of the Republic and our Government and all the other Governments of the Commonwealth is this. When we practise racial discrimination, we are a little ashamed of it. We try to find excuses for it. The Government of the Republic are proud of it. It is part of their religion. It is part of their philosophy. They believe that the coloured person is outside the civilisation of the white person. Apartheid is, therefore, expressed in a basic and continuous policy. I do not know how a Commonwealth based on the principle of inter-racialism can accept a Government whose philosophy if of that character.
The second ground which the Leader of the House put forward for expressing regret that the Government of the Republic had been excluded, as he put it, from the Commonwealth was that the Commonwealth is an association of peoples rather than of Governments. I recognise that the sentiment of Commonwealth is widely held, especially in the newly emergent members of the Commonwealth. But, in practice, the Commonwealth is probably the least democratic institution in the world. It has no Commonwealth Parliament. Its annual occasion is just a meeting of the Prime Ministers. No votes are taken. Her Majesty the Queen is the link joining it. It is, in fact, much more an association of heads of Government than, in popular practice, of peoples.
1000 In deciding whether the statement is accurate, that it is regrettable that the peoples of the Republic should be excluded from the Commonwealth, one has this fact to face. All their representative organisations have demanded it—the African National Congress, the Pan-Africanist Congress, the Indian National Congress in South Africa, and more recently even the coloured people's organisations. They demand it because they are the victims of apartheid. As the victims of apartheid they feel that that system will be ended only if the Government of the Republic are isolated in the world.
I do not propose to discuss in detail the whole series of instances in the Bill which show how, in the words of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Mr. Clark Hutchison), it is dismantling to as little extent as possible the trade, defence and cultural links between South Africa and this country. These issues have been fully discussed and when I refer to them I hope to make new points.
I view with a great deal of sympathy the appeal of the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) for some reconsideration of the Clauses dealing with nationality. I am not sure that we ought not to treat the Republic as though it were an occupied country, a country occupied by a minority of 3 million whites, with a voteless subject population of 11 million African, Indian and coloured people. These 11 million people, who have no right to vote, who have no power in the Republic, are outlawed by the Bill in exactly the way that the Government of the Republic are. They will lose some of the advantages of being British subjects. They will be in the territory of South Africa, not allowed to leave, mostly too poor to leave, and we are to leave them in that situation.
I make a proposal to the Government which has not yet been made in the debate. We should treat them exactly as we treated the refugees from Nazism. We should treat them as subjects in the international sphere who should be given what was known then as the Nansen passport, an international passport which recognises that they have had no responsibility for the terrible things which have happened in the 1001 Republic. Those people have resisted apartheid. They are standing for freedoms just as the men and women who went to concentration camps under Hitler were defending freedoms, and we should give them international recognition by the issue of an international passport on the Nansen model, exactly as we did for the victims of Nazism.
Imperial Preference and the Sugar Agreement have been so much discussed that I want only to make two points which, I think, have not been expressed. Commonwealth countries have been given preference on their goods coming to this country. That preference is to continue to be enjoyed by the Republic; not completely, but very largely. Nearly all the goods that come from the Republic of South Africa are competitive with goods that come from other parts of the Commonwealth.
I have taken the decision not to eat South African products, and my only personal regret is that I have at present to go without luscious oranges during the summer months until the oranges from Israel are received. But no one would believe that, if Imperial Preference ended for the Republic, Australia, Israel and other territories would not be able to fill the one vacuum that exists in the Commonwealth supply of foodstuffs.
When the Commonwealth Prime Ministers met they said that the Republic should be outside the Commonwealth, and they expected that decision to be put into effect. One can imagine their reaction when they find that by this Bill the Republic is still to have the advantages of membership of Commonwealth in the way of preference.
A similar thing may be said about the Sugar Agreement. Many people in this country now complain of immigration from the West Indies, an immigration largely due to unemployment there. Yet, by this Bill, after the Republic has been excluded from the Commonwealth, we find that we are largely to maintain for the Republic the privileges of the Sugar Agreement when the West Indies, Jamaica, Mauritius in the Pacific, and other territories are crying out for the sugar orders that would enable them to maintain greater employment in their countries.
1002 I am very concerned about our Protectorates in South Africa. I plead with the right hon. Gentleman not to dishonour them by continuing an arrangement by which our Ambassador to the Republic shall be regarded incidentally as their Governor. And I hope that we shall not continue to ask British diplomats to represent the South African Government in embassies and legations where that Government do not have representatives.
The worst feature of this Bill, despite what the Lord Privy Seal said, is South-West Africa. I understand the argument—" We may not like it, but South-West Africa is administered by the Republican Government and must, therefore, be included in the Bill." Let me, however, put this point to the right hon. Gentleman. The Bill has been considered for a year, and during that year the United Nations has denounced the administration of South-West Africa by the Republican Government—and by the Union Government which preceded it—in such terms that it has proposed that that Government should report and be responsible to the Trusteeship Council.
During that same year while the Government have been considering the Bill, the International Court of Justice has also been considering this matter. The right hon. Gentleman rather helplessly asks us, "What else could we do but include South-West Africa in the Bill?" I will tell him. He could have asked the International Court of Justice, which was considering this very issue, "Now that we are ending Commonwealth relations with the Republican Government, what is the legal position?" He could have said to the International Court, "This matter comes up early in 1962; Whatever may be your decision on wider issues, make this a matter of priority, because the British Parliament has to decide the issue in a few months."
Did the right hon. Gentleman do that? Did the Government do that? No. Instead of the Government doing that they have recognised in the Bill the control of South-West Africa by the Republican Government when, fourteen times, the United Nations has denounced that Government's administration when, before the opinion of the world, the Republican Government have sacrificed 1003 any right for a single day to continue that mandate.
I turn now to defence. The Bill assumes that our defence arrangements with the Republic will continue. Does not the right hon. Gentleman know that the Minister of Defence in South Africa, the Minister of Justice, Mr. Vorster and Mr. Erasmus, have said in almost identical words that the purpose of building up defence in South Africa is to crush any threat to internal security?
Are our Saracens to continue to be used for that purpose—the Saracens that shot down 56 Africans at Sharpeville? Are we to continue to supply with bombers a Government which intend to carry out these policies? Are we to supply them with tear gas with which to suppress the demonstrations of the South African people? Are we to issue licences to I.C.I., in association with De Beers, to supply explosives to the three new armament works in the Republic? Are we to continue our naval base at Simonstown, which even the naval authorities say is of very little value to our strategy? Are we to continue to give facilities to the South African Air Force to utilise the three British Protectorates?
This Bill is a denial of every principle of liberty and democracy of which this country should be proud, and I hope that tonight the House of Commons will reject it.
§ 6.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Donglas Marshall (Bodmin)
I hope that the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) will forgive me if I do not follow the many and varied points which he made. I always listen with interest to what he has to say, and at the beginning of his speeches I find that I have a certain amount of sympathy with the points that he makes, but I find that sympathy oozing away from me as he continues.
In all sincerity, I should like to tell the hon. Member why. I agree entirely with a great deal of what he said, but it does not always work to buttress one's case with a gross exaggeration of comparisons. It may be that the hon. Gentleman had the misfortune, like some of us, to see the concentration camps in Germany. Although I abhor what is 1004 being done in South Africa, I can see little comparison between that and the concentration camps in Germany.
Although I wish primarily to speak on one special point, I should like to state what is I think the major difference between the two parties in the House over the Bill. We all know full well that a Second Reading debate gives us great scope to discuss what should and what should not be in a Bill. Every Opposition and every hon. Member has taken advantage of our customs from time to time.
However, I think that the major difference between the two sides of the House is that my right hon. and hon. Friends and I, sorry though we are about the circumstances, over which we have no control, which have made the Bill necessary, hope that circumstances will arise in future which will make South Africa want to become part of the Commonwealth once more. Some of us think that it is not possible to get people to do things which we like merely by sharply criticising them the whole time. They must learn what is really best for them. But I do not think that the policy which the South African Government are carrying out at the moment is the best for them.
I believe that there is another difference between the two sides of the House. I have always thought that the deep-down thinking of the Labour Party is devoted to a static situation rather than to an ever-moving and dynamic situation. The world, in its political policies and thinking, is always moving and is not static. Consequently, the bridges must be built in advance so that they can be crossed at some future date. This Bill can be one of those bridges, and we should think of it in that light. I share the view of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House that the Commonwealth, for which I feel sure most right hon. and hon. Members have a great love and affection, is an association of peoples and not an association of Governments, which have a tendency from time to time to change. I imagine that that point will appeal to right hon. and hon. Members opposite.
The right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) said something which puzzled me a great deal. He appeared to believe that there was a 1005 definite division between investment and trade. This opinion has been frequently expressed by members of the Labour Party. We should all fully understand the great value of invisible export earnings, for it is from this type of trade that this country, through the ages, gained great wealth and which made today's standard of living possible. One should not say that investment is one thing and trade another. They are really one and the same thing.
I listened with great interest, again as I always do, to the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker). Although we may not share his views, we all appreciate his vast experience. We all recognise the great deal of good which he has done during his lifetime, however much we may disagree with him on certain points. But I do not think that he should have started what he had to say about South-West Africa with the year 1919. It was understandable why he did it. It was because he came in at that moment, as sone might say. But, in dealing with the question of South-West Africa, we must go back much further than that.
It was about 1880 that a fairly large civilian German population was growing up in that area. At that time, Germany appealed to the Government of this country to protect her citizens, who were in danger. Rightly or wrongly, the Government gave a negative reply. I think that it was in 1884 that the first representative of Germany, a Mr. Goering—whether any relation of the other abomination, I do not know—appeared on the scene as the first proconsul of that area. After the declaration of War in 1914, South Africa conquered South-West Africa, if I may so put it, in 1915 and the mandate was given to South Africa in 1919. It was South Africa which was given the sacred trust of this territory. I think that we should remember that.
I said at the beginning that I wished to refer to a special subject, and I shall do so. However, before doing so I wish to say that much as I regret the position that has arisen which made the Bill necessary, I believe that it is necessary and that ultimately it may bring forth good. My hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 1006 who, I trust, is listening to what I am saying, may or may not be aware of a special case concerning South Africa. I mentioned the right hon. Member for Derby, South for this reason. Had the mandate not occurred and had there been no world war, South-West Africa might well have been German today and, consequently, would not have benefited by the different preferances from which the British Commonwealth has benefited.
A short time ago a new industry was set up in South-West Africa, and it has become a very large industry indeed. It is primarily what I would call an industrial undertaking concerned with pilchards. Many hon. Members will be aware that I have a special feeling for pilchards, as many of my constituents are engaged in the pilchard fishing industry. In 1958–59, 593,435 tons of pilchards were oaught and, when processed, yielded 130,000 tons of meal and 30,000 tons of oil. South-West Africa exported to this country 12,000 tons of canned pilchards.
The costings in South-West Africa are considerably lower than in this country. In consequence, this import into our country has done and is doing great harm to the pilchard industry of Cornwall. The hurt has been such that we ourselves in the last year have caught only 3,617 tons solely because we cannot afford to expand. In addition, in 1961, we imported just over 11,000 tons of fish meal from South Africa valued at £3,800,000.
When I was reading through the Bill, I hoped that there might be some alteration in paragraph 6 of the Second Schedule. It says:For the purposes of the Import Duties Act. 1958…In that Act we find a strange state of affairs. Under that Act the Government of the day have the right, by Order in Council, to lay upon the Table an Order removing all preferences from a Dominion. But what the Government have no right to do is merely to take away one preference. They cannot protect this country in one, instance. It has to be either the lot or none at all.
If we trace the history of South-West Africa, to times even as recent as the 1939–45 war, we find that South Africa has had to take some drastic action, in 1007 view of rising feelings within that country, and I can see no reason why consideration should not be given to a form of words which would at least give a permissive right to the Government of the day to take such action as it thought fit.
It is important that we should remember that temporarily there exists in South Africa a political policy which nearly every hon. Member of this House detests. We trust that as the years go by South Africa will grow to dislike it as much as we do, and that ultimately she will come back to the British Commonwealth of Nations.
§ 6.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Maurice Edelman (Coventry, North)
I could not help feeling that the pilchards which the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Marshall) introduced into the debate were, in a sense, red herrings, and for that reason I hope he will not mind if I do not follow him too closely except to endorse some of his more general remarks.
Before I came into the Chamber tonight I observed that Mr. Louw, speaking for the South African Government, had given his own endorsement to the general provisions of the Bill, so that at the end of the day we can expect that its purposes will have been approved both by hon. Members opposite and by the Nationalist Government in South Africa.
At the same time, I think that we should consider the loss which not only Britain but the Commonwealth as a whole will suffer as a result of what the Lord Privy Seal called his pragmatic approach to the question of South Africa. He obviously had a very difficult time with the problems of citizenship, and I must say that with great bureaucratic ingenuity he has worked out a scheme of citizenship which will, no doubt, be generally acceptable, except that I ought to add that because of the South African Government's passion for classification—a passion which is characteristic of most dictatorships of that kind—I am sure there will be many who would wish to acquire British citizenship but who will hesitate to do so because they will feel that by committing themselves in that way they may at some time incur the wrath of the Government in some disadvantageous way.
1008 But ingenuity in this matter is not enough. It seems to me that a Bill of this kind is not concerned with trying to square the circle by making arrangements with the South African Government which has been condemned in so many ways and has, indeed, been condemned this afternoon in all quarters of the House. What is required is not ingenuity but statesmanship. The particular statesmanship which is required of the Government is one which will be concerned with the means of preserving and strengthening the Commonwealth.
I know that one hon. Member opposite said that the object of this Bill is to strengthen the Commonwealth, but I hope to show that its Clauses, so far from bringing strength to the Commonwealth, will hack away at the cement which holds the Commonwealth together, and I believe that the Lord Privy Seal, laboriously digging away to lay the foundations of a Common Market, will ultimately be proved, by the way he has gone about it in Brussels and here today, to have been digging the grave of the Commonwealth itself. I say that advisedly.
Let us ask ourselves what is the Commonwealth? The Commonwealth is an institution which exists by the consent of its members who are linked together, first, by certain moral concepts and, secondly, by certain material advantages which they have in relation to each other and towards the mother country. If it is a privilege to become a member of the Commonwealth, then it seems to me that if any member of the Commonwealth club voluntarily withdraws, or is expelled, and legislation is then embarked upon which will have the object of preserving for the member, who has resigned, or who has been expelled, precisely those material advantages which would accrue to it if it observed all the obligations of membership, we shall be setting a very bad example to other members of the Commonwealth, and an example which, in my opinion, can lead only to the disintegration of the Commonwealth itself.
Consider what the example might lead to. There are many countries today in the Commonwealth which are attracted by the power of the United States, by the authority of Russia or by the material advantages which they think 1009 they can find inside the Common Market. If it is possible, as this Bill suggests, to have, the central advantage of Commonwealth membership, namely, the advantage of Commonwealth Preference, what reason is there for any individual constituent member of the Commonwealth to preserve those attachments which today are the essential elements of the constitution of the Commonwealth itself? Consequently, today the right hon. Gentleman, so far from strengthening the Commonwealth and appeasing the South African Government and by those means holding inside the Commonwealth a country which every one of us, I believe, and certainly I myself, would wish to re-enter the Commonwealth at a suitable time, is setting an odious example which will certainly find imitators in the future.
What is the general indictment against the South African Government? Here I advisedly use the term "South African Government" because I agree very much with the Prime Minister, who, when speaking of the Leader of the House, renewed the quotation that it is impossible to draw up an indictment against the people. It is certainly impossible to draw up an indictment against the people but, equally, it is possible to draw up an indictment against the Government. The Nationalist Government of South Africa stand condemned on a number of counts. They stand condemned because of their abuse of power in actions like those of the treason trial when the executive deliberately set out by judicial process to condemn a political movement, and I fear that that action may well have found imitators elsewhere.
The South African Government stand condemned because of their repudiation of the rights of human personality, which is demonstrated by the introduction of the odious Immorality Act. Finally, the South African Government stand condemned because of the way in which they have engaged in exercising tyranny by means of the pass laws, which are so profoundly resented by South Africans. Here are the three major counts on which the South African Government are indicted by the conscience of the world. There is more to it than that.
If the right hon. Gentleman is merely concerned with a pragmatic approach 1010 and merely concerned, as he appears to be by this Bill, in trying to find out by what means he can most successfully make a de facto accommodation with South Africa, he should also bear in mind the remoter consequences of his action.
Why is it that Dr. Verwoerd was obliged to withdraw from the Commonwealth? Surely it was due primarily to the fact that it was impossible, not for him, but for other members of the Commonwealth through their representatives, to sit round a table discussing the common objectives of the Commonwealth with a man who, by legislation which he has promoted inside his own country, has shown his utter contempt for the human rights of his fellow citizens.
I do not need now to enlarge on that in any detail. I think that some of the absurdities of the Immorality Act are known to all. The Leader of the Liberal Party spoke of the Chinese as being honorary Boers. I think that he was confusing the Chinese with the Japanese because, under the Immorality Act, whereas it is perfectly tolerable for a Japanese to have sexual intercourse with a white woman in South Africa, a Chinese who is born in South Africa is for that purpose described as "coloured". Indeed, one need not stress these absurdities because the pragmatic approach is not confined purely to this country. Dr. Verwoerd has realised that if he is to do business with the Japanese, he must recognise that the Japanese, for that purpose, are white, and that is why the Japanese remain acceptable as white while their continental neighbours, the Chinese, are repudiated as coloured.
We have only to read the newspapers day after day to see the terrible human tragedies which are caused by the Immorality Act. The record of suicide is paralleled only by the record of suicide in Nazi Germany when Hitler came to power and racial laws of a similar kind were enacted. It is no good looking forward to some time when somehow or other the South African Government will be toppled over by the normal constitutional processes. It is quite clear that, having rigged the constitution, the South African Government have shown themselves determined 1011 to maintain white supremacy so long as they are physically able to do so.
The hon. Member for Bodmin, in his interesting speech, denied the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) that, somehow or other, South Africa has something in common with Belsen. The whole history of the 19th century shows that the end of racialism must be horror. We have seen it in Belsen, we have seen it in South Africa, and we see it today in Algeria. Wherever there is the practice of racialism, there, in the end, is bound to be violence. Anything which seems to give our approval to the policies of any Government who practise racialist attitudes which today are practised by the South African Government, must surely be undesirable and ultimately it must be contrary to our own interests.
I believe that all our energies today should be bent towards the development of the Commonwealth. I mean that not only in the material and economic sense. At this period in our history, we should use all our endeavours to strengthen the free association of peoples within the Commonwealth. Sometimes, I know, the Labour Party is taunted for what is called its sudden addiction to the Commonwealth. It is precisely because it is now a Commonwealth and no longer an Empire that we on this side of the House believe that the Commonwealth is a valuable element in the world, a multiracial society, a society in which the brotherhood of man, about which the Leader of the House spoke so eloquently at the Tory Party Conference, can really be practised, a society where the logos, the word and the spirit, can be translated into the practical and concrete things of life.
If this is so, it is all the more reason why we should do nothing in our legislation which would appear to suggest that we are moved simply by considerations of material advantage. Even if that were so in this case—and I do not believe that it is—the ultimate loss which we should suffer from defections within the Commonwealth, apart from South Africa, would be greater than any benefit we could gain through the petty Clauses of this Bill.
1012 There have been references to the sugar agreements. This matter, of course, is secondary to the principle that a country which has withdrawn from the Commonwealth club should not have the benefit of Commonwealth Preference. The leader of the Liberal Party was absolutely right when, after being challenged, he spoke on the attitude which we should adopt to South Africa. As long as South Africa remains voluntarily withdrawn from the Commonwealth, it should be treated in the most friendly way possible as a foreign Power, a foreign Power with which we can, perhaps, negotiate agreements for our mutual advantage, a foreign country in which we have investments in precisely the same way as we have investments in America and elsewhere.
The Bill gives an apparent licence to any country within the Commonwealth to have the internal prestige, if such it be, of withdrawing from the Commonwealth while, at the same time, retaining the benefits of membership, and such a Measure reduces the advantages of Commonwealth membership to a mockery.
The time undoubtedly will come when men of good will in South Africa—I believe that there must be many of them—will of their own volition wish to rejoin the Commonwealth, a Commonwealth fortified and renewed and capable of offering them both material advantages and the moral example of the free association of men and women, whatever their colour, who, acting in community, can make a reality of the Commonwealth and all it means. I believe that the Bill is bad and ill conceived and it sets an example Which will be detrimental to the Commonwealth. For all those reasons, I intend to vote against it.
§ 7.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Russell (Wembley, South)
I am glad that the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) is in his place, because I wish to refer to some of the things Which he said.
In reply to an interjection by my hon. Friend the Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison), who asked why the Labour Party had continued to give preference to Burma, I think that the right hon. Gentleman explained that the real reason for the Opposition's attitude to the Bill lay in the policies of the 1013 South African Government. I can quite understand that, if it is correct, but it is not the reason given in the Amendment, which says that the Opposition refuse to give a Second Reading.to a Bill which tends to destroy the value of Commonwealth membership by giving to those who are not members some of the most important privileges of those who are….
§ Mr. Russell
Yes, I know that it goes on a little, but, on the point I am making, there was not only the example of Burma. There was also the Republic of Ireland, which left the Commonwealth in 1948, when the Labour Government were in power. The Labour Government, quite rightly, decided to give preference to the Republic of Ireland, as they did to Burma.
There have been references today to the part played by Mr. Diefenbaker at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference which resulted in South Africa withdrawing. Canada, also, has a bilateral trading agreement with South Africa dating from Ottawa. As far as I understand, Canada has no intention of doing anything to end that agreement. Canada has preferences in the South African market and, presumably, though I have not checked this, gives preferences to South African goods entering Canada. If Mr. Diefenbaker took the strong line he is reputed to have taken, it is a little surprising that Canada has not denounced that agreement with South Africa. Presumably, the Canadians take the reasonable view that it is not wise to let politics interfere with trade.
As my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal said, Commonwealth Preference does not play a very important part in our trade with South Africa. I wish that Commonwealth Preference with all Commonwealth countries played a much more important part than it does. A good many of the commodities which come from South Africa to this country enter free. The largest in value is, I think, gold. The Board of Trade and the Treasury maintain a "top secret" attitude towards imports of gold, but if one refers to the paper Progress published by the South African Embassy each month, one finds some figures which give the monthly exports of gold from South Africa to this country. The monthly 1014 rate is about £16 million, which makes the annual total about £190 million. Presumably, therefore, that gives a clue to our imports of gold from South Africa, which, apparently, are regarded as secret by the Board of Trade.
Wool, also, is free. Diamonds are free. Copper is free. Uranium ore, or what is described in the trade returns as prescribed material under the Atomic Energy Act, is free. This leaves fruit, maize, hides and skins, asbestos and wattle bark extract as the main commodities which enjoy preference.
The right hon. Gentleman said that the value of these preferences was about 9 per cent. Most of them are specific.
§ Mr. Russell
I think that the right hon. Gentleman will find that most of the fruit preferences are specific. They may work out at 9 per cent., but they are all for specific products. For maize it is 10 per cent.; for asbestos it is 10 per cent.; for wattle bark extract, also, it is 10 per cent., I think.
There is one other important commodity, wine. This is not a very large import in quantity, but it is vital to the wine growing industry not far from Capetown, which exports a large proportion of its produce to this country. In years gone by, it was ruined by the Cobden Treaty of 1860. The Liberal Government then in power withdrew the preferences on Commonwealth wines, with the result that imports shrank from about 600,000 gallons to a mere 10,000 gallons a year over a period of about thirty years.
The restoration of preferences gave renewed life to the South African wine industry. After all, the wine industry is not the South African Government. I have no doubt that it employs many people who do not like the policy of the South African Government. Why should we penalise those people by throwing them out of work as a consequence of withdrawing their Commonwealth preferences?
There is, in return, the preference given to British goods entering South Africa, though it is, I agree, very small. I think that a figure of 20 per cent. of total imports into South Africa has been mentioned. The right hon. Member for 1015 Dundee, West said that the preference was about 1 per cent. Many of them are 5 per cent. About the same number appear to be at about 3 per cent. I have consulted the appropriate issue of the International Customs Journal which gives the South African figures. There are a few at 10 per cent. Some are specific. They are not very great, but, presumably, they play some part.
In any case, there is always this to be borne in mind. If we were to withdraw those Commonwealth preferences, this would have an effect on importers in South Africa of goods which do not have the preference. It would discourage them from importing goods from this country whether affected by preference or not. That possibility is, I think, proved by what happened during the years before the First World War, when Commonwealth countries introduced Commonwealth preferences for goods from this country and we did nothing in return. Yet, despite the fact that we did nothing in return, there was an increase in Commonwealth exports to this country, largely, I think, because of the increase in British exports to Commonwealth countries. In other words, unilateral action by those Commonwealth countries helped in the reverse direction.
I am sure that, if we were to withdraw Commonwealth Preference, not only would South Africa retaliate but there would be a great effect on that part of our trade which does not benefit from Commonwealth Preference. We should not allow political reasons to influence our trading arrangements with other countries. No matter whether the country concerned is Russia, Cuba, or any other, I am not in favour of embargoes on goods from such countries because they have Governments which we do not like. The only way to conduct trade is on a purely economic basis.
§ Mr. Russell
Having seen the hon. Gentleman in his place, I am not surprised by his interruption. I did not try 1016 to stop tobacco imports from Cuba because of the Castro régime. I had put down Questions about the matter long before he came to power. I thought that the hon. Gentleman understood that when we debated the matter.
I hope that Commonwealth Preference will continue, in order to help both the people of this country and the people of South Africa.
§ 7.21 p.m.
§ Miss Jennie Lee (Cannock)
It is a tenable proposition that politics should not be allowed to interfere with trade between nations, but as individuals we all come to a sticking point. For instance, I heard my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) say just now that he applies his own private boycott to South African goods. Many other people in this country do that as well. But we on this side of the House are not even pretending that it has proved possible for the Labour, trade union and Co-operative movements of Great Britain to mount an official, effective boycott of South African goods, even if this were desirable.
But though the proposition that politics should not enter into trade is a good enough generality, we could always bring our individual selves to apply it. For instance, some of us have memories of Spain of a kind that conditions us just not to want Spanish goods. I know and understand the kind of prejudices which some hon. Members opposite have in respect of Cuba and some other countries, and I remember that, before the war, many of us tried to get an economic boycott of Hitler's Germany.
In other words, the general proposition is that we should not allow politics to interfere in trade, but there are circumstances which develop in parts of the world at different times and that involve us so deeply that we seek to modify that proposition. On this side of the House we are not asking, and do not expect, the Government to try to boycott the whole of South African trade. All that we ask is that, with South Africa no longer a member of the Commonwealth, we should quite austerely apply to her precisely the same trading rules as we apply to any other foreign country. That is all on this occasion that we would even dream of asking the Government to do.
1017 It is not even as if we do not well understand—although we may not have a passion for the pilchards for which one hon. Member opposite was making a special plea—that there are many important producers in South Africa who hate the policy of apartheid as much as we do. But although that is the case, we have to look at it from a broader angle. We simply cannot discriminate between one producer and another. So we return to the simple proposition: when South Africa is a foreign country, in its trading relations with us it must have no more and no less favourable terms than any other foreign country.
The emotional prejudices of some right hon. and hon. Members opposite are such that they have told their own traders that they ought not to go to the Leipzig Fair. I cannot recall a Government which pretended to be looking after the interests of the country saying anything sillier than that. But there we are. There are some people who say, "Do not let us trade with East Germany because, if we do, we will consolidate the régime there." Most of us—supported, I am glad to say, by Conservative business men as well as others—have told the Government that they are being extremely foolish in talking that way.
What alarms many of us in considering this Bill is that this is not just an issue between Britain and South Africa. That would be important enough in itself, but the whole Continent of Africa is more interested at this moment in what is happening in South Africa than in what is happening in London. There is an extraordinary system of communication—psychological as well as political and economic—moving from one part of the African Continent to another. Therefore, when the whole Continent is observing the behaviour of Britain, what do the Africans feel?
They say, "Here is a country which is not really indignant about the whole racial dictatorship and principle of apartheid." Of course, right hon. and hon. Members opposite, and some of my right hon. and hon. Friends, have said several times in this debate that they hope that one day South Africa will come back into the Commonwealth. With the greatest respect to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the House, I say that when they talk like 1018 that they are fooling themselves. We do not know when South Africa will free itself from the present racial dictatorship. But if anything in the world can be certain, it is that events will not stand still there any more than in any other part of the world.
The people who are going to change conditions in South Africa are, not exclusively but dominantly, the people who are at the moment the victims of apartheid. If, one day, these victims of apartheid, together with the more enlightened liberal elements sympathising with them, are able to form a Government and dictate the policy of that Government, they may look to this island with warmth and they may want to renew their Commonwealth ties if they feel that in this, their time of darkness and persecution, we have been trying to befriend them as best we can. But any African or Indian, or any person of enlightened sympathy in the world, who heard the Lord Privy Seal's speech must have felt that there was no real indignation at all over the racial policies of South Africa.
One would have hoped that the Government would tell us, "We want to do our best to get rid of this kind of dark anachronism, but we do not think that the way to do it is by treating South Africa simply as any other foreign power." But that kind of appeal was not made to us. The Government might have said, "We have a profound sense of responsibility towards mandated territories. There may be some ambiguity about the present position, but we assure the House that we will lose no opportunity to express our indignation and to go to the rescue in every way possible as members of the Commonwealth and of the United Nations." That has not been said, however. We have had a terrible atmosphere created in this debate by the leaders of the Conservative Party. All that we can hope is that the Press and the publicists who can get through to South Africa and other parts of the world will at least make it clear that very many of us in this country are as indignant about the mood of the Conservative Government as they are.
There are three issues here. One issue is on the trading front. Nobody has claimed that we shall have vast areas of unemployment and that there will be 1019 great economic consequences as a result of our treating South Africa in the austere way we suggest. That argument has not been made from the Conservative side of the House. The Government's case when they are pleading for special preferences is very weak indeed. Secondly, the Government have not even tried to make the case that they are trying to deal with the mandated territories and the broader human needs of the ordinary people.
The third issue is difficult for all of us to deal with. I wish that every citizen of South Africa, whatever the colour of his skin, had the right to decide whether he should be a South African citizen or a British citizen. I wish that the issue was so clear that in making that decision those people were, on the one side, standing for apartheid and, on the other side, standing for the principle of human brotherhood and the best principles of the United Nations.
However, we know perfectly well that, even if it were practicable to do that, the great majority of the citizens of South Africa are too poor and will not be able to leave their country. We cannot rescue them in that sense. But, even though we cannot rescue the great majority, there will be complete support from this side of the House for every means that can possibly be contrived for rescuing those South Africans, whatever the colour of their skins, who want to come to this country, who want to be British citizens and who want in some way to get out of the horrible tangle which South Africa's race laws have made for them.
The policies which the Government are advocating are bad and are tarnishing our reputation throughout the world even more than the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill has done, and that was bad enough. The policies are unacceptable. But what has shocked me most today has been the mood in which the Government have so blindly and so complacently brought forward their antiquated ideas.
§ 7.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Shaw (Brighouse and Spenborough)
I was very interested in the speech made by the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee), but I could not quite follow her when she claimed that no indignation had been 1020 shown from this side of the House about the racial policies of the South African Government.
§ Miss Lee
It would not be fair for that impression to be left. Some fine protests have been made from the Conservative back benches, but back benchers do not make Government policy. What I have been referring to has been the tone of speeches from leading Ministers. Their speeches have so far been scandalous.
§ Mr. Heath
As the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) is attacking me, perhaps I might intervene. I was trying to explain to the House how we were carrying out the request made by the Leader of the Opposition in the debate on the standstill Bill, that we should try to make a balance between the extremes. The hon. Lady has taken one extreme view. The Government are in accord with the Leader of the Opposition in this respect in trying to make a balance between extreme views. In introducing the Bill, I explained it for more than 45 minutes. It was not for me to deal with issues on which the Government have made their position absolutely plain a large number of times.
§ Mr. Shaw
As I see it, in discussing the Bill we are trying to do something specific to get new regulations working to meet a new situation. If we look at last year's debate, I think that we shall see that even from the Front Bench suitable indignation was expressed about the policies of the South African Government.
But I believe that the policy of apartheid, which the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) rightly said was at the back of all our minds in this debate, is not the only thing that we must consider today. There is a good deal more than apartheid in the background to it. There are the relationships which have grown up between ourselves and many of the people in South Africa—the personal background to the problem. There are also the relationships which have grown up between industries in this country and industries in South Africa—the commercial relationships 1021 and the commercial problem involved in the matter.
The personal relationships are very often direct. In our constituencies we have many friends, supporters, voters and constituents generally who have relations in South Africa. They may have gone out during this generation or in the generation previously; but the link is there, personal and strong. Even if we have no relations there, we may have personal and close friends who have an upbringing and attitude to life similar to our own. Incidentally, most of them—the ones that I know, at any rate—abhor apartheid as much as we do.
Again, we have the relationship which has been brought about through hard experiences born together. During the war years many of us in this country spent a great deal of time in South African hospitals. I spent two years in one, and I shall never forget as long as I live the remarkable kindness and help that I received while I was there. I shall always do my best to help all who played any part in helping those hospital patients.
Many of those people are fearful of what is to come. Yet, very naturally, they have made South Africa their home, and their children are growing up there and they want to feel, and to become, genuine South Africans. I believe that to be right. At the same time, they must look ahead and see what dangers lie before them if they finally adopt South Africa as their country.
That is why I welcome the provisions in the Bill which go some way towards giving them a chance to opt out and gain British citizenship if they want to. I must confess, however, that for me the Bill does not go far enough. I am ready to admit that it probably goes as far as it can, but I should like to see an opportunity given to all South Africans of British extraction to register quietly and privately, without publicity, within a period of, perhaps, five years, and then, once their name was on the register, they should have the right within, say, ten years to make application for a British passport—because I believe that their fears may not be realised, or be capable of being realised, one way or another, for as long as possibly ten years.
1022 As I understand, at the moment anyone wishing to register has to come to this country, but I can envisage certain examples where that may be impossible, or, at any rate, highly inconvenient, where perhaps the need for British citizenship is based not on a desire to come back to this country but to go to some other country and possibly work for a British company.
I turn now for a moment to the question of Commonwealth Preference. Listening to the debate, I get the impression that hon. Members think that the Bill is suffering from an act of omission. Frankly, I do not think that that is so. I believe that we should leave Commonwealth Preference—the bilateral agreement between South Africa and ourselves—alone. After all, what are we doing? The answer is nothing, and that is precisely what we should be doing.
Every time a foreign Government does something internally that we do not like, are we immediately to alter certain trading relationships with that country? Should we do so, international trade would become impossible. Because, for the time being, South Africa has, unfortunately, left the Commonwealth, and because of what we dislike in the internal affairs of that country, should we alter the whole of our trading arrangements? This bilateral agreement is nothing new. We are merely continuing an agreement that has been going on for a long time.
I cannot help feeling that one of the real reasons why we are being asked to do away with Commonwealth Preference, this bilateral agreement with South Africa, is in some way to punish her. It may be argued that there is a -principle involved, but as far as I am concerned it is not tenable. I believe that we in this country need as wide a flow of trade as possible throughout the world, wherever we can get it. I believe that it is material not only in our interests, but in the interests of our way of life and the things in which we believe, because the more poverty is reduced, the more wealth is extended, and the more the general standard of living is increased, the greater is the chance of developing within that country the ideals in which we believe.
Surely, in the long term, that must be our attitude to Russia herself. By increasing trade and increasing the 1023 Standards of living, changes will come. If those changes do not come, I submit that it is far more likely that that will be because the standard of living is being kept down. So, in another way, the analogy is true of South Africa. Let South Africa prosper. If she prospers at the same time as we do, we will both benefit.
The Government of South Africa are committed to the policy of apartheid. They have committed themselves to this policy in the teeth of world opinion, and have, therefore, committed themselves to prove to us and the rest of the world that it will succeed; that there will be advancement for the Bantu; that there will be more education and greater opportunities within the two different civilisations.
South Africa has to do something to justify that policy, although I believe that she will fail in it. But if she fails at a time of economic expansion, when wages are rising and when increased benefits are coming to the population as a whole, the policy of apartheid will crumble and there is a chance that out of it will grow a new structure more in keeping with the ideals in which we believe. But if the policy of apartheid fails at a time when there is no hope, when there is stagnation and poor trade, then I believe that the outlook for the future of South Africa will be bleak indeed.
§ 7.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Julian Snow (Lichfield and Tamworth)
I start by reiterating the words of my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) on the subject of encouraging people from South Africa to come to this country. My hon. Friend's words received a somewhat distorted echo from the hon. Member for Brig-house and Spenborough (Mr. Shaw) when he said much the same thing but restricted his ideas to South Africans of British stock. I wholly disagree with that sort of restriction.
It is my good fortune to be able in another aspect of my life to direct professional people from the Commonwealth into suitable appointments in this country. The talent which comes from South Africa is of an extremely high character, and, so far, has not been 1024 restricted to any race or origin of stock. I should like to develop this later in my speech.
As I see things at the moment, we ought to lean over backwards to try to encourage people from South Africa who may one day want to go back to that country, to come here to learn about our ideas of tolerance and fairness so that when they return they will be able to influence people who have not had the good fortune of experiencing what we have in this country.
During his speech this afternoon I intervened to ask the Lord Privy Seal a question about pharmacists from South Africa. Although he appeared to state that no special provision was being made, this is a typical sort of case. They are not mentioned in the Bill, and I hope that at a later stage provision will be made for this sort of professional man or women, and those in other categories, to receive consideration on the lines that I have suggested.
There was another point in the Minister's speech which I did not understand. It was about this sugar proposal. He seemed to find it impossible to think that it might be feasible to arrange to make a distinction between sugar from Swaziland and sugar from the Union. There is no difficulty about this. We have been exercising this sort of differentiation for years.
May I draw the attention of the House to the provisions of the Congo Basin Treaties whereby primary products are exported through second territories to ports of export, and a perfectly suitable control can be arranged without any difficulty. If it is necessary to jeopardise the South African sugar interests—and I am not at all certain that it is—I should have thought that we could easily arrange things so that Swaziland does not suffer economically.
Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edeknan), I do not feel that this is in any way linked with the economic viability of the Commonwealth. I think that he took the occasion to have a side swipe at the Common Market, and although he and I apparently do not agree on these things, I think that he would agree that there are too many imponderable factors at the moment to be too dogmatic.
1025 Is the Commonwealth economically viable, and, if so, is it likely to continue so? I mention this point only because I think that it is relevant to the matter we are discussing now in the sense that South Africa, now receiving some tariff advantage, stands to lose that advantage. Ghana does not exercise Imperial Preference, since it is bound not to give Imperial Preference under the terms of a somewhat old Anglo-Dutch Treat) Tanganyika itself operates under the Congo Basin Treaties and has never, either as a mandated territory or as an old German territory, exercised any form of national economic preference.
This debate has been somewhat unreal, because one of the main arguments has been that one day, let us hope, possibly, even probably, South Africa will want to come back into the Commonwealth. I would hope that that is so, but, frankly, I do not think that it will occur. As I see the course of history as it will be written, it is probable that South Africa will ameliorate its political attitudes. It is probable that public opinion in the Union will change, but over a rather lengthy period. I personally do not see, on political or economic grounds, what reason they might have, bearing in mind the long backlog of nationalism, for wanting to eat humble pie and come into the Commonwealth. I think that we have to be a good deal more objective in our thinking on how we can rectify the present disagreeable and tragic state of affairs.
I believe that it can only be done by applying some element of selective economic sanctions, not necessarily inspired by this country, but under a much more global authority; in other words, the United Nations. My hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) mentioned the unholy trade in armaments with South Africa—armaments designed and organised with a view to the suppression of the political aspirations of coloured peoples. We can apply sanctions on those lines as hard as we like, but unless something is done under the aegis of the United Nations they will be wholly ineffective, because if they do not get the arms from us they will get them from somebody else. I cannot think of any respectable nations in the world not being agreeable to joining 1026 in joint economic sanctions of this sort.
There are other things that could be done. I have mentioned the encouragement of people, irrespective of racial origin, coming to this country and trying to learn something from our ideas and our morality. Is it not possible to harness the latent political theories and political ambitions of the great emergent nations of Africa and of Asia? Ghana, Nigeria, East Africa, and India, which has a particular stake in South Africa—these are the nations which might well use the old French political instrument of peaceful penetration to educate people, including the Boer section, and I do not use that name in any offensive sense.
The fact is that the religious and social attitude of the Dutch population needs something much more positive to make them change their minds, and I do not think that a world of speeches such as we have listened to this afternoon will do much good. We have to take direct action and draw upon what instruments we can use or what instruments we can encourage or what world forces we can jointly apply to South Africa to eradicate this social sore, for that is how we must describe it.
I feel very sorry indeed for the British stock, if we like to call it that, which is largely, but not exclusively, centralised in Natal. The sequence of events of last year was not of their desiring. I am well aware of the fact that we find racialism amongst British stock, but, fundamentally, they know what is right and what is wrong, and I should have thought that the people of Natal might have been given something more in the way of encouragement by the Government this afternoon.
Since the Lord Privy Seal got up a few moments ago and said that he had come to an understanding with our Front Bench to restrict the debate to the rather narrow subject of an economic, factual discussion, may I say that I know nothing of that. It may well be so, but I should have thought that no harm could have been done if the right hon. Gentleman had prefaced his speech today with a disclaimer of all that Dr. Vorwoerd stands for. What harm could he have done? The world would have been very pleased to have heard it.
1027 I cannot help thinking that if we in this country do not accept that the inevitable tendencies of the South African Government will last for a long time, if we put our minds to it, and use our position in the United Nations to produce something positive and active, we shall achieve what I think every hon. Member wants—the eradication of this evil which is represented by the South African Government.
§ 7.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Stephen McAdden (Southend, East)
The hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Snow) said that so far this has been an unreal debate After listening to his speech, I have the feeling that he did not contribute very much to its reality. If I understood him correctly, he was arguing that we should not bother about introducing a Bill of this kind, but that what we should do was to organise economic sanctions through the United Nations and harness the great ideal of countries like Ghana and India in this task.
It seems to me a little odd that when the hon. Gentleman is seeking to harness the opinions of the world against the policies pursued by South Africa, which he, no doubt rightly, holds to be contrary to the policy of the United Nations, he should call in aid such countries as Ghana or India as typical examples of the way in which countries should be run. It seems to me a little odd that hon. Members opposite, who summon up great indignation upon moral issues, should always assume that everything done by every Afro-Asian country must be right, and that everything done by any other country, and particularly our own, must necessarily be wrong. I do not subscribe to this view. I do not associate the hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth with that view, but that is the tendency which one finds in some speeches made by hon. Members opposite.
I was attracted by some of the arguments used by the hon. Member for Cannock (Miss Lee). She complained that there was no Front Bench indignation on the issue of apartheid, and said that the Lord Privy Seal did not denounce apartheid. Surely that is not the purpose of the debate. I should 1028 have thought that its purpose was to discuss the Bill, which I understand is an attempt to bring about a proper trading relationship between this country and South Africa. This is certainly not the time to indulge in a wide-ranging debate on the issue of apartheid, and I do not propose to do so.
I have noticed a desire on the part of hon. Members opposite to concentrate upon the fact that South Africa is a foreign country. Nobody denies that within the strict limits of the law South Africa is a foreign country. She has taken the step of withdrawing her application for continued membership of the Commonwealth, and placed herself in the position of a foreign country. But all the talking of hon. Members will not alter the fact that the majority of South Africans, of all colours, do not regard themselves as foreigners. One has only to visit South Africa to see the household names of practically every British firm operating in industry in South Africa. We have about £1,000 million of British money invested in industries in South Africa, and I should have thought it right and proper that the Government should take such steps as they can to ensure a continuation of trade between this country and South Africa, in which we have such a financial stake. That is a desirable and worthwhile proposition.
The right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) quoted with approval from a speech by Mr. Marquand, in which he said that it was the duty of the Government to try to secure all the benefits they could from South Africa.
§ Mr. McAdden
If the right hon. Gentleman wants to correct me I am willing to accept his correction. Mr. Marquand was arguing that we should secure the maintenance of benefits to ourselves. But we cannot secure benefits only in one direction. If we are to secure benefits for the industry and trade of this country we must accord some benefits in the opposite direction.
§ Mr. Strachey
Mr. Marquand said:Let there be a trade agreement which is worked out in the ordinary way by negotiating around a table so that we obtain from it a fair advantage to suit the interests of our 1029 industry and our exporters, but do not let there appear to be any form of special preference."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th April, 1961; Vol. 639, c. 110.]
§ Mr. McAdden
That is exactly my point. We should secure the best possible trade advantage that we can. It is true that Mr. Marquand went on to take a different view about the other side of the argument, but if he believes that we should secure the best possible advantage for ourselves, does anybody suppose that we can achieve that without being willing to accord some advantages in return?
The debate has been a little unreal. The Leader of the Liberal Party made a passionate appeal for the maintenance of Imperial Preference, which is quite extraordinary. The Liberal Party has always said that Commonwealth Preference was ruinous to the trade of the world, and should be abolished. Now the Liberal Party is telling us that it is so valuable that we should not even think of according it to a country like South Africa. In that respect also the whole debate has seemed topsy-turvy.
I support the view expressed by the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman), who made a plea that we should concentrate on trying to build up multiracial societies wherever we can in the world. But we must agree that it takes two or more races to build up a multiracial society, and the races must all be willing to co-operate. Experiments on these lines have been made in parts of the African Continent, but they have not always met with approval from hon. Members opposite, and have met with varying degrees of failure.
I entirely disagree with South Africa's policy of apartheid, which I believe is doomed to failure, but we should recognise that the South African Government are attempting to do something different We might not agree with them, but at least what they are doing is different, and the experiment that they are launching in the Transkei provides the opportunity of seeing whether, in a black-dominated area, a black-dominated Government will attempt to build a multiracial society which a white South African Government have failed to do. If attempts in that direction are made in the black-dominated areas it will show that a black-dominated Government will do better than the white-dominated Government 1030 in South Africa have done in that respect.
The Government are right in attempting to preserve the existing pattern of trade between ourselves and the Republic of South Africa. They have not sought to take vindictive measures against them merely because they disagree with their policy. If we are to take vindictive measures against every country with whose internal policies we quarrel there will never be an end to it. Should we take such action in respect of Governments whcoh lock up distinguished sons-in-law of former Members, or act in conflict with United Nations policies? Are we to cut off all trade between this country and such countries merely because we disagree with their internal policies, or even, sometimes, their external policies?
I hope that the House and our people will see in this Bill not an attempt to whitewash South Africa's internal policy but an attempt to preserve the pattern of trade, as a result of which it will be possible for South Africa's internal and external economy to be strengthened, so that from that strengthening benefits may come to the people living there, many of whom are of British stock, and who feel as I feel that, somehow, the referendum on the Republic issue was rigged in some ways, with the voting age reduced and the opportunity taken to exclude certain people from the voters' rolls.
If that referendum did not represent the will of the great majority of those living in South Africa it is our job—if we believe, as I do, that not only the majority of white people in South Africa but also the black people there feel that they are part of the Commonwealth—to try to continue to understand the internal difficulties with which they are faced, and to assist them in maintaining their overseas trade with this country so that, should the time come when the Nationalist Government in South Africa tire of their existing policies—which are criticised to such a great extent by the rest of the world—or there is a change of Government in that country, they may feel that they can rely upon us as good friends in their endeavour to rehabilitate themselves in the eyes of world opinion, and not regard us as people who turned 1031 upon them and attempted to cut off their trade because we disliked their internal policy.
§ 8.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Creech Jones (Wakefield)
I do not agree that there is any reason to believe that the Government of the Union of South Africa will alter the basic principles of their administration for a long time to come. The ideas dominating the thoughts of the Government in power there are so firmly fixed, and so embodied in the national life of the Union, that it is extremely difficult to imagine that they will be departed from in the foreseeable future. I am pessimistic on that matter.
South Africa is now out of the Commonwealth of her own choice. It may be that we had hoped for a Commonwealth with a different complexion and character from that which exists today. The idea of loyalty to the Throne has gone. The conception of political democracy has also disappeared, and now we are faced with an association of nations coming together for their mutual benefit and, we hope, tied together by some degree of loyalty and an appreciation of the value of consultation and conference between themselves.
It was, I think, right for those of us who had some faith in the Commonwealth to hope that at least there would be some respect of the basic ideas of the members of this extraordinary association. We must remember, therefore, that, if an arrangement has been arrived at between the British Government and the Union Government, in many respects it is calculated to influence the thought and ideas of the other nations in association in the Commonwealth. We are all conscious that the Union of South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth. There was a tremendous moral pressure in the Commonwealth against the policy of apartheid which the Union was pursuing. Consequently, any lenient attitude towards the Union arising out of its actions in the pursuit of the policy of apartheid must have repercussions throughout the whole Commonwealth. In considering this Bill we must remember that it is not merely a question of the relationship between Britain and the Union of South Africa. 1032 It is a much broader question. It involves the whole Commonwealth. We must remember that the Commonwealth is resentful and bitterly opposed to the general policy being pursued in the Union of South Africa, and Britain should not appear to be condoning it.
Having said that, I should like also to express my own view that in the discussions with the Union we have been a little too conciliatory. I do not think that there is room for vindictiveness in this matter. On the other hand, I think that there are certain values and virtues in membership of the Commonwealth which should make it the sort of body with which nations would wish to be associated. I fear that the rather compromising and lenient line taken by the Government has been much too conciliatory to the Union. It has given the impression to other members of the Commonwealth that if they break away it does not matter overmuch, because the same advantages and privileges which are associated with membership of the Commonwealth will continue to apply. Therefore, in that respect I think it unfortunate that the terms of the arrangements arrived at are as lenient as they are. They concede far too much, I think, to the Union while it continues to pursue its present policy.
§ On the question of the association of the Union with the three High Commission Territories, I think that in our anxiety in the past to contain the Union of South Africa in the Commonwealth we have neglected to build up and develop the three territories. In their political development we have been far too cautious. We have been afraid lest we offend the Union in the pursuit of its own political policy with its own Africans. We have been far too conciliatory in order to avoid cutting across the policy of the Union in that respect. Had we gone all out for the political development of the three Protectorates, presumably we should have offended against the policy of the Union regarding its own Africans and, therefore, we have held back.
§ To a great extent we have allowed the political development of the three Protectorates to stagnate, and, at the same time, we have not tackled the economic problems of the Territories 1033 with the necessary vigour. Now that the Union is not in the Commonwealth and has become a republic, one hopes there will be a vigorous drive ahead by our own Government. Already, there are signs of change regarding the political development. Constitutional growth is beginning. Greater attention is being given to some economic and social problems. There has been exhibited from Whitehall imagination and a grasp of the situation which we have not seen before.
§ I sincerely hope that while the Union of South Africa pursues the policy of apartheid, as at present, we shall not modify or weaken the political and economic development which is so desperately needed by the three territories. Whatever representations may come from the Union, and whatever the reaction on Union policy for its own Africans, I hope that Britain will not do other than pursue a vigorous and imaginative policy regarding the development of the three territories.
§ I cannot conceive how such an expanding and vigorous policy can be pursued so long as the High Commissioner is also the British representative in the Union. The effect of that arrangement is bound to influence the attitude of Her Majesty's Government to the Protectorates. I therefore plead that the whole problem be looked at in a new light; that we have a High Commissioner for the three territories and a separate High Commissioner to represent Her Majesty in the Union of South Africa.
§ I hope that there will be reconsideration of the base from which the High Commissioner for the three Protectorates will work. Instead of having his central office in a foreign State, as the Union now is, I hope that at least we may make some arrangement whereby authority can be exercised from within one or other of the territories. I ask the Government not to allow themselves to be influenced by Union policies regarding the development of the Protectorates, and also that they drive ahead with all the vigour they can with the development and building up of the life of the territories from both the political and economic viewpoints.
§ I wish to bring to the notice of the Government the situation arising in South-West Africa. We should recognise 1034 that our policy with regard to South-West Africa has been continued largely because of our anxiety to condone the policy of the Union. It was my privilege at one time to preside at the Colonial Office. I was asked what advice I could give to the Union of South Africa because of her desire to remain outside the trusteeship arrangement. I sent a message to General Smuts saying that I thought it imperative, if he was not bringing South-West Africa under the trusteeship system, that he should declare to the world that South-West Africa was being administered in the spirit of the mandate and that South Africa would continue to conform with the conditions in the form of the reports which were permitted under the old mandate system.
§ On that famous visit of his to the United Nations, General Smuts made the declaration that South-West Africa would continue to be administered in the spirit of the mandate. We all know full well that that simply has not been done. It has become a problem of acute debate and discussion at the United Nations.
§ As we all recognise, the subject is now one for decision by the International Court. The point remains, however, that although for all practical purposes this territory has been incorporated in the Union of South Africa, none the less it is not generally recognised as an integral part of the Union in the sense that it enjoys separate sovereignty from the Union. Therefore, I regret that into the Bill has crept the assumption that although the Union of South Africa has the responsibility of administering South-West Africa, South-West Africa is actually part of the Union so far as we are concerned.
§ Those are my observations on the Bill. I regret that it has been couched in such lenient terms. I should have thought that a stronger bargain would have been struck and that if the Union continues to pursue policies which are reprehensible to us, at least we could have expressed our deep feeling about those policies in a much more drastic manner and designed to make South Africa feel that she suffers the opprobrium of the world for her policies towards her own minorities and the majority of African inhabitants.1035
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
Before beginning my few remarks, I should like to comment on a couple of points in the speech of the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones). I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman was being fair either to the present Government or to the Government of his own party in his criticism of too little having been done in the past for the Protectorates for fear of upsetting the South African Government. The right hon. Gentleman must recall from the time when he held office that it is not simply a matter of doing or not doing something to please the South African Government. If we have the interests of the inhabitants at heart, we have to take into account both their geographical and their economic circumstances. To make brave speeches is one thing. To forget its geographical and economic circumstances does not do a Protectorate any service.
Whether we like it or not, history has put Basutoland into a position in which its economic future depends largely on a degree of continuing good will by the South African Government. The right hon. Gentleman knows that as well as I do. The same thing applies also to Swaziland.
§ Mr. Creech Jones
The opportunities of bringing economic pressure on Basutoland are not confined only to the Union Government. Because of the need of Basuto labour in the Union, we ourselves are in a position to put pressure on the Union Government. We can also control tropical labour, which the Union so badly needs.
§ Mr. Bennett
I did not for one moment suggest that South Africa was the only one who could exercise pressure. I said that those factors must be taken into account today, as they must have been taken into account when the right hon. Gentleman held his distinguished position. Concerning the need for Basuto labour, the right hon. Gentleman had better be a little careful, because some of the restrictions which a number of us have been doing our best to avert indicate that the South African Government may be considering extremely harmful restrictions concerning the use of Basuto labour in the Union.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
Would not the hon. Member agree that the arguments which he has adduced concerning Basutoland and Swaziland—I am not arguing whether they are valid—do not apply in anything like the same degree to Bechuanaland, whose outlets are largely through the Rhodesias?
§ Mr. Bennett
Precisely for that reason, I did not mention Bechuanaland, but only the other two territories.
My other comment on the right hon. Gentlemen's speech relates to his remark, which drew a measure of applause from his own side of the House, that the Union left the Commonwealth of her own accord. That was playing with words, because later in his speech the right hon. Gentleman admitted, as we all know, that although technically the Union left of its own accord—because, as far as I know, there is no constitutional means by which a country can be expelled from the Commonwealth—such pressures were brought upon South Africa, whether rightly or wrongly I am not at this stage saying, that if was made virtually inevitable that she should leave; and the countries most active in that exercise took full credit afterwards for having been responsible for South Africa's departure. It is not quite fair, therefore, to suggest that she left of her own free will, because certain nations afterwards were only too pleased at the result of the efforts which they exercised.
There are, I suppose, many of us in this House—certainly I am among them—who often prefer to forget what we have said in earlier speeches. This, however, is an occasion when I do not regret or wish to alter the words that I spoke in a speech on the Second Reading of the Republic of South Africa (Temporary Provisions) Bill almost a year ago. It seems to me that the warnings with which I began my remarks on that occasion concerning the possibility of being misrepresented apply equally well today. I said on that occasion:During the debate, hon. Members have spoken from both sides of the House with such obvious conviction and very strong views that, unless one clarifies one's position to begin with, one is almost placed in a position in which if one regrets the departure of South Africa from the Commonwealth one is accused of being pro-apartheid, and if, on the other hand, one expresses joy, one is thought to be anti-apartheid Let me say first that that is a completely nonsensical interpretation. In 1037 fact, there are just as many people who regret the departure of South Africa from the Commonwealth but who are as firmly anti-apartheid as anybody else.…Having said that, one is, and I am, wholeheartedly against apartheid, I would add that I am against it for two reasons. The first is that … it is utterly immoral, and, secondly, as practised in the Union of South Africa, it is futile and doomed to failure, for a whole series of reasons with which it would be wearisome to trouble the House tonight."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th April, 1961; Vol. 639, c. 149–150.]That applies to tonight also. I hope, therefore, that in the remarks which I make, it will not once again be said that, because one takes a certain attitude over this matter, one in any way condones policies which I abhor just as much as any other hon. Member.
In the speech to which I have referred, I went on to emphasise two points. I said that it was sad to see the departure of a Commonwealth country because of the precedents that that would set. I am, on the whole, rather sad to realise that what I then said is coming along too increasingly true. If we are to proceed with our Commonwealth structure in such a way that, because a Government take a certain line of conduct of which any one of us, or any group of us, disapproves, we are visualising the end of the Commonwealth, because hardly a day passes when one or other of us does not violently disagree with the action of another member of the Commonwealth, comprising, as it does, a large number of independent nations. It would be almost impossible to be otherwise in the case of a number of independent nations, comprising not only a quarter of the world's population, but a very large number of nations as well.
Therefore, with that warning behind us, we ought surely to get away from the principle by which any one of us, or any group of us, starts to claim that because a country behaves in a certain way, it should be expelled from the Commonwealth. That is why, much as I deplore what India did in Goa and some of the practices in Ghana, I would not suggest that at the next Prime Ministers' Conference they should be put in the dock and be placed in the position which led to the sort of pressures that ended in South Africa leaving the Commonwealth.
I would deplore it if pressures were again developed not on the ground of a 1038 country's difficulties but of the activities of its Government. How much more true that is when the Government is elected by a small minority of the population. What we have done, therefore, is particularly damaging in the case of South Africa, because we have got a country out of the Commonwealth because of the action of a Government which both sides of this House admit was elected by only a small minority of the people. And any reprisals we may take fall on the people as a whole and not on the minority who put the Government in power.
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
Is not that a rather specious argument? Is it not a fact that South Africa is a country which denies democracy and has denied the great majority of its people the vote and has continually carried on with the policy of apartheid? Will the hon. Gentleman seriously reflect whether what has happened with India and Goa or the incidents in Ghana measure up to the continual crimes in South Africa?
§ Mr. Bennett
I do not wish to be interrupted again on this same point, for it is perfectly clear. The hon. Member is now talking only about a question of degree. If practices in Ghana became a great deal worse than they are now, I still would not be among those advocating that Ghana should leave the Commonwealth on those grounds. The more democracy is got rid of in a country the more, ipso facto, we should thereby be punishing a country because of the actions of a Government which had not been elected by the people as a whole.
The other reason why I deplored the departure of South Africa was that I thought that such action would damage the opponents of the present régime in South Africa more than it would damage the Government themselves. I said in the speech to which I have referred that if I were asked to make an estimate I would guess that Mr. Verwoerd would gain more electorally by what we have now done than he would lose and that the reaction would be against us. I was interrupted and challenged on that point, but since then there have been by-elections and a general election and it has been sadly shown that the reaction to what we have done and the political use made of it by Nationalists and Afrikaaner speakers at the elections 1039 increased the electoral strength of the Government among those who were allowed to vote. The result is that Dr. Verwoerd is now in a stronger position than he was before the expulsion from the Commonwealth. Therefore, whatever else we have done, we have not helped the cause of freedom in South Africa by our action.
When I was last out in South Africa in December I found a feeling, which I try to sum up fairly, of considerable hopelessness among Europeans who have sympathy with the kind of sentiments which have been expressed here today, and among the Africans themselves. I look back, too, to a moment when I had the good fortune, if that is the right description, to be there during the plebiscite which led to the events the consequences of which we are discussing today. It would be wrong to think that the issue at that plebiscite was whether there should be a monarchy or a republic. There were scores of thousands of voters in that referendum, who, whether we like it or not, with our attachment to the monarchy, did not mind whether there was to be a monarchy or not. The plebiscite was a straight vote for or against the Nationalist Government of the day.
The reason why it was taken to be a vote of that sort was that the Europeans who voted in favour of the monarchy did so not, or not only because they favoured a monarchy but because they realised that if the vote went the other way the country might well become a republic and might leave the Commonwealth. Dr. Verwoerd realised this so much that in an eve-of-poll letter to the electorate he said, "Even if we have a republic this will have no effect on our membership of the Commonwealth". He realised the danger of that plebiscite being understood as asking, "Are you in favour of staying in the Commonwealth or leaving it?" He knew of the feeling in favour of remaining in the Commonwealth. So as far as possible he wished to befog that issue by saying, "Whether or not you vote for a republic has nothing to do with being in the Commonwealth."
Hon. Members have expressed their concern about the feelings of all people in South Africa. I promise them that 1040 had they been there at that time they would have found that not only did the Europeans who voted for a monarchy do so because they wanted to remain in the Commonwealth but that, if their feelings could have been tested, the Africans too would have voted for a monarchy, because they wanted to retain their ties with this country. I am glad to see that the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) appears to agree with me. If the Africans had been able to vote democratically they would have voted "Yes" to a monarchy in order to remain in the Commonwealth. Therefore, when we forced their country to leave the Commonwealth we did not act in accord with the wishes of the large majority of those people.
We face a situation, therefore, in which the majority of the inhabitants of the country did not want to leave the Commonwealth, would like to be in the Commonwealth, but do not like the policies of their present Government. Surely our policies ought not to be based on whether we should seek to punish a Government or not but on how we can help to meet the wishes of the majority of the people in that country. We should not seek self-satisfaction out of applying sanctions and saying how morally whiter and better we are.
Any form of economic pressures at this time would have an effect precisely opposite to the earlier sentiments which I have expressed. I am not now concerned with the legalities of whether a country is in or out of the Commonwealth. We have had experience of that with Burma and Ireland. We are talking tonight about people, and our thoughts tonight should be on how we can take action which will cause the least possible damage to the vast majority of the people of South Africa and how we can give them the maximum assurance that we still have links with them which we consider valuable.
I found, too, on my last visit, that there were many Europeans—I am not now talking just about United Party followers, but Liberals, even the most radical of Liberals—who bitterly regret what has happened in the past. They said to me that they thought that they had been deserted in their hour of need. They realise that, because of this, their 1041 path back into the Commonwealth will be difficult indeed, if it is ever possible.
Their path back may well be difficult. It may well be even impossible. Whatever happens in the future in South Africa, it may be very difficult for us ever to welcome back our fellow Commonwealth kinsmen, but let us at least tonight do nothing more to make an improbability into an utter impossibility.
§ 8.39 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Edwards (Bilston)
The speech of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) reminds me of the speech of Antony, who cameto bury Caesar, not to praise him.I noticed the same kind of double thinking in many of the speeches we have heard today from hon. Members opposite. They start by condemning apartheid and proceed to develop praise for the Government who are imposing apartheid.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett
The hon. Member has grossly traduced me. I challenge him to quote one sentence, either today or tomorrow when he sees the record, in which I said one word other than in condemnation of the policies of the Government of the Union.
§ Mr. Edwards
The whole tone and argument of the hon. Member's speech, and the way in which he developed it, was as follows—" Yes, we are against apartheid. Yes, the Union of South Africa was forced out of the Commonwealth. It did not leave voluntarily. It was forced out." The hon. Member reminded the House of how differently we treat Ghana from the way we treat the Republic. He quoted the great masses of peope in South Africa who were opposed to apartheid but still thought that this counitry's policy was undermining their struggle. Surely, I am not doing an injustice to the hon. Member when I suggest that his speech reminded me of the speech of Antony. Here is condemnation of a principle and praise and understanding of a Government who apply that principle. If I have done the hon. Member an injustice I apologise, but that is the impression his remarks made on me and, I am sure, on other hon. Members on this side of the House.
§ Mr. Edwards
Our experiences are entirely different from the experiences of the hon. Member. Our experiences are that the Liberal Party of the Union, all the African organisations of the Union, and all the chiefs of the Union who are allowed to operate, want us to apply economic sanctions against South Africa and have begged us to apply such a policy. This is our experience. The hon. Member has been misinformed about the attitude of the great masses of people, who are denied democratic principles in the Union.
We are asked to support a Bill which gives a foreign country privileges. We are asked to agree that a country which has left the Commonwealth, and which, Whilst it was a member of the Commonwealth, did great harm to the principle of the Commonwealth, should continue to enjoy privileges which no other foreign nation enjoys in trade and commerce.
I would go much further than many of my hon. Friends will go in protesting against the poison of apartheid in South Africa. My view is that, unless there are fundamental changes in the policy of the South African Government, the £1,000 million of British investment in the Union will be completely lost. British trade with South Africa will be lost. I say this because, unless there are changes in the treatment of trade unionists and Africans and unless the Africans are allowed to express their opinion in a free and democratic way, the great masses of South African people will act as great masses have acted throughout history when they have had no safety valve. They will move to extra constitutional action and overthrow the Government. In the chaos the £1,000 million of British investment will be lost and we shall say goodbye to British trade for many years to come.
That may seem to be a very extreme statement to make, but all history, ancient and modern, proves that when people are the victims of a legalised tyranny that denies them elementary democratic rights, and that wipes out human freedom as though it had never existed, their only hope of regaining and maintaining human rights is to move into action and overthrow that tyranny by other than constitutional means. That 1043 principle is written into the Constitution of the United States of America, so do not let us talk about agitators when I suggest that where there are no safety valves of democratic expression there will be violent upheavals that will destroy South Africa's economy and, automatically, destroy the £1,000 million of British investment that we hope by this Bill to safeguard.
We have to consider, not merely the effects of this Bill on a very small minority of the population of the Republic—the half-million people who have seized power there—but its impact, and that of Her Majesty's Government's attitude, on the 200 million people in the African Continent who are taking part in a great nationalist social revolution that we cannot halt, that the French Government, with 400,000 trained soldiers could not halt in Algeria, that the French could not halt in the Cameroons or in Guinea and that the Belgians could not halt in the Congo.
That great nationalist revolution will move on with great momentum until those people have won freedom. If this House and this country has any important contribution to make to the world it will have to recognise this revolution and help it on its way, peacefully and constructively. We do not do that by lodging in the minds of hundreds of millions of Africans the idea that this House and the Government are, by their appeasement of the Union of South Africa, maintaining in power a Government that has committed unthinkable crimes against their own people.
For example, the Automobile Association in South Africa has a special clause, applicable only in South Africa, stating that coloured people cannot join the Association. Nowhere else in the world does that clause appear in the rules and constitution of the A.A.—only in South Africa. An Indian, a Syrian, an African cannot join the A.A. there.
The poison of apartheid has seeped down into every level of South African society. In a dreadful South African mine disaster, 457 Africans lost their lives. The only four Africans to survive it were arrested for leaving the mine illegally and without permission. The South African Government have abolished many of the Factory Acts. 1044 They have denied industrial workers the right to join unions and negotiate for wages. They have put the union leaders in prison. They have deported trade unionists. What kind of support should we give to a country like that? We should be mobilising economic sanctions to reduce the power of that Government, so as to give hope to those who are fighting there for human freedoms and democratic rights.
In the areas of South Africa where grapes are grown for the wine trade, during the harvesting period hundreds of Africans become intoxicated because part of their wages is paid in wine. Why should we condone for five minutes this kind of poisonous policy which betrays every principle which this House holds dear and for which the British people have fought throughout the ages. There are no free trade unions, there is no proper factory legislation, no political democracy. and no freedom of the Press. The prisons are filled with Africans who have fought for their rights and freedom. The courts are crowded with Europeans who have taken sides with the Africans in the struggle for simple elementary rights.
We should, therefore, oppose the Bill. In fact, we should do more than oppose it. We should rally mass support to undermine the power of this evil Government which is doing great harm to the Commonwealth and to the great, age-long struggle for human freedom.
§ 8.51 p.m.
§ Mr. John H. Osborn (Sheffield, Hallam)
I listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. R. Edwards) with interest, but I cannot say that he concentrated his mind on the subject-matter of the Bill. For the most part, his speech was a condemnation of Africa.
I wish to make a few observations based on my relationships with South Africans and South Africa, particularly its industry, over the past ten to twelve years. The debate has dealt with some complex problems. It has highlighted the conflict between economic common sense and British reasonableness, on the one hand, and political idealism and perhaps emotionalism, on the other.
We have heard many arguments, particularly that of the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee), with which I 1045 and many hon. Members on this side of the House have much sympathy. But I have my own view of the political scene. I should like to say to my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) that I condemn apartheid outright—I think that we all do—particularly as it is practised in the Union of South Africa. We dislike the atmosphere of the police State and mass arrests and some aspects of segregation. We condemn the laws concerning racial intermarriage, to which the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) referred.
However, much as I dislike and condemn apartheid—I think that I speak for many people who have met Africans—I confess that I can understand it. I can understand the reasons for it and the reasoning in many people's minds in South Africa. But I agree with others that it is impracticable and that it will not work. We have an example of this in Algeria and elsewhere.
As has been said in the debate, the results of the last election show that Dr. Verwoerd has had his hand strengthened for two reasons. The United Party has not a concrete counter-leadership to his policies, regrettable though that is. In addition, he has had his hand strengthened because many individuals of European extraction in South Africa are divided, frightened and uncertain. They point to what has happened in the Congo, and they are only too aware of the problems in the Rhodesias which we in this House shall have to face. Is it not, perhaps, evasion which prompts their willing support of apartheid policies?
During the last few days I have met many South Africans, people I have known for a long time, who have been in London. May I relate a simple story which was told to me by a South African. He was in Hyde Park one Sunday, and he sat down on a bench. Within a short time a person who was unknown to him came up to him, and they discussed one or two matters. The South African said that he came from South Africa, and received the reply, "I am sorry for you Europeans in South Africa. You have many coloured people to whom you have to get accustomed. You have to do it quickly. You will find multi-racialism difficult". Other South Africans whom I have met have related similar stories. I believe that there is in this country an immense sympathy 1046 for European South Africans in the problems that they have to face in South Africa.
To amplify a few personal points of view on the question of multi-racialism, may I say that I have discussed this matter with many sincere people—admittedly Europeans—of all political and religious beliefs in South Africa. Over ten years ago a person for whom I have great respect said—and many other people have said the same thing—that one day South Africa will be dominated, as other African territories will be, by a coloured Government. Most South Africans whom I have met have accepted that idea. In the meantime, they ask for certain factors to be taken into account.
Many people believe that within a reasonable period intermarriage will once again become acceptable and inevitable in South Africa. But the first thing that the Europeans ask for is that many more coloured Africans should be elevated to a higher standard of education and a slightly different but higher standard of culture. Many of us who are aware of the money which is being poured into education and other activities on behalf of the coloured people believe that this is the aim of Dr. Verwoerd's party.
Therefore, many people accept apartheid as a short-term measure in South Africa as a reasonable compromise, but believe, also, that it cannot last for long. I therefore return to my original statement, that I condemn apartheid as it is practised, but, knowing the fears of the Europeans in South Africa, I can understand the introduction of this policy.
I should like to refer to my own experience of South Africa and its problems. First, I think that it is only fair to declare my interest. I am a director of an English company with subsidiaries in South Africa and the Rhodesias, and I am a director of one of those subsidiaries. One of my forebears went out to South Africa sixty years ago to establish a trading relationship, where he met Kruger. It is one of the many British trading relationships which have developed over the years between this country and the Union of South Africa.
Throughout I have been impressed by the vitality of South Africa. It is a 1047 pioneering country. We are all aware of the flight of capital from South Africa about a year ago. We know of the lack of confidence in the Union and the fall in reserves. Some people hoped that we would apply sanctions against the Union of South Africa. One or two supporters of the United Party hoped that we would apply sanctions to bring Dr. Verwoerd and his party to their knees economically, but this has not happened.
Trading has continued, and the reserves which declined have now returned and are now standing at about £150 million. In spite of what the hon. Member for Bilston said, business people in this country, America and elsewhere have greater confidence in the Union of South Africa and in its rising prosperity. But in view of the problems in Algeria and elsewhere this has to be qualified.
Dr. Verwoerd, when here last year, envisaged a period of greater cooperation with Britain, and that South Africa's leaving the Commonwealth would mean a removal of the potential friction which membership had involved and would enable relations to be strengthened untrammelled by the former problems.
I welcome the fact that South Africa is to remain in the sterling area and the arrangements in the Bill for South Africa to retain Commonwealth preference. It is of immense importance for us to retain a valuable export market where the balance of payments is becoming more and more satisfactory. The events that have been going on in South Africa during the last year have encouraged more and more indigenous local manufacture and this is a factor which we shall have to contend with in this country. There is investment in the Union which is valued at anything between £900 million and £1,000 million. There is a good market there for our products, because there is a hidden preference for our products.
Taking, again, the experience of personnel, in many of the British companies in South Africa there are personnel of British origin. Some may have gone out there after the war and others may have been there for generations, but it is these British people who have the hidden preference still for British products.
1048 I should like to refer to one aspect of the Bill which I hope will be mentioned by my hon. Friend in winding up the debate. What is to be the position of a person in a British company which may be wholly or partly-owned in the Union of South Africa? There is need for some clarification. I know a young man who, a few years ago, went to work for a British company in South Africa. He may be asked to stay on in South Africa, or he may be asked to go elsewhere. Is he to take up South African citizenship on the assumption that he will be asked to stay out there? The problem which he has to face, particularly in dealing with Government Departments, is that if he is a South African citizen he will probably have preference as against a British citizen in the Union of South Africa.
Another difficulty is that many companies have subsidiaries in the Rhodesias and elsewhere. If such a person takes citizenship in South Africa to help his immediate aims, and it is then decided to transfer him, perhaps promote him, to a company in the Rhodesias or elsewhere, how easily can he regain his British citizenship? I hope that the answer to this problem will be made clear when the Bill is in Committee, because there are many people who are uncertain as to what the future holds for them.
I would, therefore, support the idea put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Shaw) that there should be a register for people who have held British passports and enjoyed British citizenship so that should they take up South African citizenship and then be transferred outside South Africa, not necessarily back to this country, they would be able fairly easily to regain their British citizenship. This is a real problem which faces many people working for British companies in the Union at present.
Like many hon. Members, I should like to support the Clauses allowing Commonwealth Preference to continue in relation to trade between this country and South Africa. I appreciate the difficulties that the Government have had in drafting the Bill, and particularly in reaching agreement with South Africa. I wholeheartedly support the Measure which they have put before us and I am 1049 glad that there has been no sense of vindictiveness in the provisions we have to consider. I look forward to the day when it is possible for South Africa so to change its policies that it will be welcomed back into the Commonwealth.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
In spite of one or two charges of vindictiveness and malice thrown at the Opposition by hon. Members opposite, this has, on the whole been a closely reasoned and good-natured debate. Why it should be regarded as vindictive to suggest that a country which leaves the Commonwealth club should not retain the privileges of the club, I cannot understand.
It may be that we on this side of the House express our detestation of apartheid a little more frankly than some hon. Members opposite. Perhaps we are prepared to go a little further in our actions to carry out what we believe and do more to protect those who are oppressed by apartheid and more to safeguard neighbouring territories of South Africa from being incorporated and having apartheid applied to them, but why our attitude should be regarded as vindictive or malicious completely escapes me.
It is possible to be a lot less friendly to the South African Government than to the Lord Privy Seal without becoming vindictive towards him. I thought that the right hon. Gentleman's speech today was disturbing in many respects. Plainly, he set out to play the Bill down, as a non-political Measure, just a mass of technicalities, a lot of consequential legislative Amendments made necessary by South Africa's leaving the Commonwealth. He showed no appreciation of the very important political and psychological context in which the Bill is presented. He showed little or no antipathy to apartheid and he showed himself unaware of the signficance of incorporating South-West Africa in the Bill.
Throughout his speech, the Lord Privy Seal treated the Bill very much as a purely parochial matter between the United Kingdom and the Union of South Africa, and not reflecting that the great importance of the Bill is precisely in its tremendous significance for Commonwealth relations as a whole and for the 1050 standing of the United Kingdom on racial and colonial questions. The Lord Privy Seal's attitude, like the Bill itself, was a considerable victory for South African diplomacy.
The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) spoke about taking a more generous attitude to Clause 1, as did several other hon. Members opposite and my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway). In Committee, there will be a general desire to consider this Clause again and see whether we can amend it—this will certainly be our attitude on this side—to cover the important question whether, although the Bill gives a night to British subjects to come and live here and apply for British citizenship, there may be a number of such people who would like to do so, but who are, in practice, unable to do it because of the lack of freedom in the Union of South Africa. This is very important.
The Government, in drafting the Bill, seem to have shown themselves unaware that there is a very tight police tyranny in the Union today. We on this side want to be sure that British subjects who wish to come to this country and apply for citizenship are, in practice, able to do so. It would be a disaster if they were ruled out from the privilege given by Clause 1. When all is said and done, these are the very people who, more than anyone else, deserve to have their interests protected and deserve to be able to claim British citizenship if they wish to do so.
These are the people who feel strongly against apartheid, who never wanted to leave the Commonwealth in the first place, who never, perhaps, wanted the Union to be a republic. It would be ironic if they were precisely the people who, in practice, were unable to make use of the privilege conferred by Clause 1.
§ Mr. Turton indicated assent.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I am glad to see the right hon. Gentleman apparently agreeing with me here. With much of what he said in that part of his speech I would warmly agree. It may be that he and my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough are thinking of a slightly different class of person to be generous to under Clause 1, but I think 1051 that we all agree that it needs amending, and I hope that we can do something about it during the Committee stage. If the persons I was talking about were deprived of privileges under Clause 1, they would be deprived of British citizenship not by Act of Parliament, or even by an action of the British Government, but by an administrative police action of the South African Government. That would be an extraordinary and unprecedented thing.
I now turn to the question of sugar. This was another strange part of the Lord Privy Seal's speech. He said that our grant of a £2.7 million sugar subsidy to South Africa conferred advantages on us. What are those advantages? Perhaps the heavy task of explaining what they are has been left to the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. I cannot see the advantages to the British taxpayers of paying £2.7 million as a subsidy for South African sugar. It is one quarter of the entire bill we pay to the United Nations.
The Lord Privy Seal stated that a lot of the subsidy would go to Swaziland, but he did not explain why it is impossible to treat Swaziland differently by continuing to give it the subsidy while excluding the Union itself. We understand that the subsidy is to be stopped in 1966, and, presumably, that applies to the Protectorates as well. Could we have information about that? If it means that the Protectorates will also cease to get the subsidy, we should look into that aspect. But if the intention is to continue the subsidy for the Protectorates but not for the Union, then why cannot we adopt that course now? Why wait until 1966? That seems a perfectly straight question and we hope to be given a straight reply.
It would be our feeling in general that, if we have this subsidy, we ought to weigh against the claims of the Union the claims of countries in the West Indies, for instance, to which, on historical and economic grounds, we have a greater moral obligation, and in which, moreover, there is no practice of apartheid. I hope that we shall have an opportunity, perhaps on the Money Resolution, to discuss this aspect more, 1052 and that the question of the sugar subsidy will be cleared up.
The reference to Swaziland leads me to consider the question of the High Commission Territories. It is clear that the links of South Africa with the Protectorates will not be so close now that South Africa has left the Commonwealth. In the list of the Measures which, I understand, will lapse as a result of South Africa leaving the Commonwealth— the list was given to me by the Foreign Office today, and I am grateful—is the South Africa Act, 1909. Will the Joint Under-Secretary of State confirm that Section 151 of that Act lapses? This Section gives whatever flimsy legal right the Union Government had to apply for the Protectorates to be incorporated in the Union. I would like to have it on record that Section 151 will lapse. It is clear that the High Commission Territories will need a closer liaison with us, and we must put far more into their economic and political development than we have done in years past.
I come now to a point which was made several times by almost every speaker on this side of the House, but to which no reply has yet come from the benches opposite. What purpose is there in combining, in our representative Pretoria responsibility for our diplomatic relations with the Union Government with authority over the Protectorates? What is the purpose of having Sir John Maud with two hats there? I do not question that Sir John and his staff are men of the highest integrity, and that they are quite capable of understanding the interests of the Protectorates. But, if experience is any guide, in the past High Commissioners and their staffs did seem to be very ready to understand the South African point of view towards the Protectorates. '
It is in the very nature of their job-it is not an unmixed evil—that embassy staffs tend to be exposed constantly to the political view of the Government to which they are accredited. But I cannot understand why we should not have a proper independent representation in the High Commission Territories. It would not be enough even if the ambassador were, so to speak, halfway at present between, on the one hand, the Union Government and, on the other, the Protectorate. That would not be 1053 acceptable to us. We do not want Sir John Maud to be half-way between, on the one hand, British subjects in the Protectorate and, on the other, people who are not British subjects in the Union Government. It is not half-way. Although Sir John has two hats, he has only one solid base—in Pretoria. This seems to us to be thoroughly unsatisfactory.
We want strong leadership in the High Commission Territories, and that requires there new personalities with personal responsibilities. Perhaps the Minister would tell us what the arrangements are. What is the seniority of the most senior member of the embassy who resides permanently in the Protectorate and who specialises in Protectorate affairs? What are the objections to splitting up the job? There are sufficient good people capable of accepting authority in the Protectorate. In this respect, more energetic developments are an essential reform.
On the subject of diplomacy, I would ask the Minister for a clear answer. We have not yet had an answer from the Government to the numerous requests made by my hon. Friends that the British Government should not continue to represent the Union of South Africa diplomatically in countries where the Union has no diplomatic recognition. South Africa had its own diplomatic representation in only twenty-three countries. In the rest, often for political reasons, the British Government take over.
When Britain can perform this service it is useful for a Commonwealth country which has not the resources of trained men or money to be represented everywhere. But in the case of South Africa I should have thought that we were the last country to be asked to take the job on. It is not the job for a country which has the delicate colonial responsibilities that we have today to act as the diplomatic representative of South Africa in most of the countries of the world. I would suggest that other countries are far better placed than we are to do that job.
I urge the Minister to tell the House why he feels it necessary to go out of his way to persuade the diplomatic world that if there is not a South 1054 African diplomat available Her Majesty's Government are the next best representatives. Why should we "carry the can" for apartheid in this manner? It is something which we can easily get rid of. The Minister might tell us under what agreement all this is done and how long it will last, and give the details of the arrangement.
Most of the discussion today has centred on questions of trade and on the question of South-West Africa. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) said, we on this side of the House are not advocating sanctions or a boycott against South Africa. We are merely saying that there is surely a halfway house between, on the one hand, imposing sanctions upon the Union of South Africa and, on the other, granting it special trade preferences. That is all. As the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) pointed out in his devastating speech, we are simply asking that the Union of South Africa should be treated in the way in which we normally treat a foreign Government.
But the Government take a different view. They say that the South African Government should be singled out from many foreign Governments for special favour. They are even going to lobby for the South African Government, we suppose, with the Brussels Powers in connection with the Rome Treaty. We have heard a good deal of talk, rather exaggerated from the hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell), about the importance of Commonwealth Preferences. We consider them important politically and psychologically, but we think that there has been a great deal of exaggeration from the other side of the House about their economic effects.
We were told by the hon. Member for Eye (Sir H. Harrison) that it is the Africans who would suffer most; that it is our friends who would suffer most if we did not continue the preferences. This is definitely a problem. No one on this side of the House wants to hurt the interest of South African people needlessly. But the test we have to apply here is surely what they themselves want. This is the point. All the indications are that they do not want this preferential treatment from the British Government.
1055 The African National Congress and the Pan-African Congress before they went underground demanded a complete boycott of the South African Government by the world, diplomatically and economically, which goes far further than anything that has been suggested from the Opposition benches today. They did this in full knowledge of all the consequences.
Perhaps I might quote what I think is the best statement from South Africa of this undoubted difficult problem. It was made by Mr. Alan Paton, who said:I understand well that one shrinks from taking a decision for which others must pay. I wish to give my testimony here that all those non-white South Africans with whom I am associated, politically and socially, most of them urban people knowing clearly what is involved, would choose without exception to risk economic and personal suffering, rather than consent to the prolongation of a system which denies them and their children status and recognition… Christians should realise that racial discrimination in a situation of cannot be fought with the weapons that are readily available in a democratic country.That speaks for the mass of African people as to what they would like us to do in this difficult situation in which we find ourselves.
Of course, it is in a way a matter of priorities. Speaker after speaker from the benches opposite has got up to explain what the economic loss would be if the economic preferences were altered. One has to weigh this up. On the one hand, there is the factor of trade, and, admittedly, perhaps some setback. On the other, there are the political and psychological consequences of continuing a special relationship with a Government practising apartheid. That is what we have to weigh up. It is, as I say, a matter of priorities.
The Tories are often apt to put trade first in matters of this kind. They have done it before in their conduct of international relations. There is a crisis for the Central African Federation at the moment. We recall how quickly the Conservative Party grasped the economic advantages of Central African Federation, and how totally blind they were to the political and psychological difficulties that surrounded it. Here again, in this matter of trade preferences, we see them putting the aspect of trade in front of the political and psychological objections 1056 to the Bill. This, of course, is one of the failings of the Tory Party in many aspects not only of international affairs, but of affairs at home. It is not we who let down our friends in South Africa over this.
Perhaps I might read some of the Press comments in South Africa on the Bill. Those who have been let down in South Africa by the Bill are those South Africans who fought to stay in the Commonwealth because they said the consequences of leaving it would be disastrous. They are the people who have been let down by the Bill, and of course, the Nationalists are laughing now. The paper Die Vaderland, of 14th February, commented that two bogeys used by the Opposition during the referendum campaign had been destroyed. One was the loss of trade benefits with England, and, of course, it is these friends of ours who are embarrassed and depressed by the attitude of the Government. This is true not only of the economic consequences of the Bill, but of the Bill as a whole.
For example, Die Transvaler emphasised thatSouth Africa as a Republic had not lost a single trade advantage which it had enjoyed with regard to Britain as a member of the Commonwealth.Die Vaderland also said… in so far as it is not identifiable with our interests, it would be supreme folly on South Africa's part to seek to distance itself from like-thinking peoples.It said, too, that negotiations had been conducted in a spirit of obligingness on both sides. In every way the Bill is welcomed in South Africa as justification for those who said that there would be no harm in leaving the Commonwealth, and this is, of course, the most disastrous result for which we could have asked.
As we expected, there were trotted out the two objections that Ireland and Burma were outside the Commonwealth and still had some of the privileges, but they were answered by the Lord Privy Seal himself. The Republic of Ireland is a special case, he said, and we agree with him. The fact is that neither Ireland nor Burma behaves in a manner which is utterly intolerable to other Commonwealth members. If they did behave in that manner, it would not be 1057 long before we should require that Commonwealth Preferences Should be removed from them as well. Therefore, there is no analogy here between those countries and the Union.
Possibly the worst and most disturbing feature of the debate, and of the Government's case, has been that both in the Lord Privy Seal's speech and throughout the Bill the Government have simply assumed the incorporation of South-West Africa in the Union. There was nothing whatever in the Lord Privy Seal's speech about safeguarding his position on the legal side. There is nothing in the Bill, but something could have been in the Bill or in the explanation to the Bill, some Clause or phrase, making clear legal reservations that the International Court has a responsibility here.
Could not the Government, at least, have informed the International Court of the problem they were facing, and drawn to the attention of the Court that what they were doing was subject to the ruling the Court would give? It is a most extraordinary situation that, while the Court is deciding on the status of South-West Africa, the Government should prejudge the whole findings of the Court by incorporating South-West Africa in the Bill.
§ Mr. Heath
I do not expect the hon. Gentleman to agree with me, but perhaps he will allow that I have on at least three occasions set out this afternoon and explained exactly what the position was on the Bill. It does not alter the status of South-West Africa in the least, nor the Government's view of that status. Everything we have done so far has been based on Article 2 of the mandate. I have repeatedly stated this, and I thought that the hon. Gentleman might at least acknowledge that.
§ Mr. Mayhew
I acknowledge that under heavy questioning, and after his speech had ended, the Lord Privy Seal made that point. It should have been much clearer in his speech, and in the Bill. The Government have done none of these things. They stand condemned, not for actually having changed the de facto situation, but for giving de jure recognition of what should not have been acknowledged in law. [Interruption.] It is not. On the contrary, the right hon. Gentleman will have this 1058 again throughout the passage of the Bill. If he thinks that the world will understand that the British Government by the Bill are not, in fact, putting their stamp on the de facto annexation of South-West Africa, he will be very seriously shaken, because that is undoubtedly the interpretation that will be put upon it.
It is a quiet acceptance of the de facto annexation of South-West Africa which is exactly what the South African Government were hoping for. It is an accumulation of little decisions of this kind which will confuse the issue and allow de facto, and eventually de jure, incorporation. It is not right that, at this stage, when this matter is being judged by the International Court, when, in the past, the Government have used the fact of the Court considering questions in order to avoid difficult decisions, the Government, now that it is sub judice, ignore it for the purposes of the Bill.
Let us assume that the Government repent. Let the Minister say exactly what the Government's attitude is towards South West Africa and annexation. Let him say that the Government deplore the annexation of South-West Africa, and that they deplore the extention of apartheid to South West Africa. Then, we will take more seriously the Lord Privy Seal's statement. The blunt truth is that the Bill goes a long way towards the de jure recognition of South-West Africa's incorporation in the Union.
Finally, the Bill would be bad enough if this whole matter were just a question of the relations between the Union of South Africa and the United Kingdom, but it is not. It is primarily a matter of the broad relations with the Commonwealth countries, and of Britain's position in the world struggle against apartheid and on the basic racial issue. It is on this that the Bill will be judged, and not on the technicalities inside it.
The Lord Privy Seal's speech gave the impression that he thought that the United Kingdom and the Union of South Africa were alone on an otherwise empty planet and that the rest of the Commonwealth did not exist; that the United Nations did not exist; and that the struggle against colonialism did not exist, with all that that means in world affairs today. It is plain that it is not 1059 enough to be against apartheid in theory. The world will judge the Government by their actions, and the world is at present deeply suspicious of the attitude of the Government in relation to these racial and colonial questions.
It is shameful that that should be so. It is shameful that a country which has perhaps the best record of all nations for bringing forward colonial peoples to freedom should be able to be pilloried and snubbed as the United Kingdom is by the United Nations. It is the extraordinary record of bad diplomacy and the lack of effective propaganda that has led to this situation. The Bill casts new doubts upon the general attitude of the Government in these matters. It sacrifices the long-term interests of the Africans to short-term interests. It makes too light a thing of leaving the Commonwealth.
Many hon. Members opposite have said that they would welcome South Africa back into the Commonwealth. We, also, would welcome South Africa back, provided South Africans were given their proper democratic rights. But what kind of a way is it to persuade them to come back into the Commonwealth by giving them all the privileges of belonging to the Commonwealth when they are outside it, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock has rightly said? It is purely a pious hope to say that we can tempt them back by tempering the wind of change, as the Bill does. That is not the way to get South Africa back into the Commonwealth in the way that we should all welcome.
Hon. Members on this side of the House are not advocating the breaking off of relations with the South African Government, or the imposing of sanctions, or anything of that kind. But neither can we support the granting of special privileges to the Union Government—privileges to which they have no moral claim, and the granting of which would not be welcomed by our friends in South Africa. It will not help to achieve the objective that they and we have in common; indeed, it will make those objectives much more difficult to attain. The granting of such privileges would weaken the Commonwealth, and betray the principles which hold it together.
§ 9.33 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Peter Thomas)
At the beginning of his speech the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) said that the Opposition had been accused by hon. Members on this side of being vindictive. I do not suggest that the hon. Member was vindictive, but I thought that he greatly exaggerated many of the effects of the Bill, and that he was most unfair in his interpretation of what my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal said today.
One of the things he said was that it appeared from my right hon. Friend's speech that he thought that Britain and South Africa were alone on an otherwise empty planet, and he implied that we ignored the rest of the world and, in particular, the other members of the Commonwealth. He will recollect that my right hon. Friend said that throughout the long negotiations on matters contained in the Bill we have informed members of the Commonwealth exactly what we were thinking about, and that they have offered no criticism of what is contained in the Bill. In fact, they have been appreciative of the fact that we have kept them informed.
§ Mr. Thomas
I am sorry, but I cannot give way. The hon. Lady will appreciate that I have only just begun my speech, and I have a lot of ground to cover.
I want to bring the House back to the purpose of the Bill. It is to deal with existing legislation, to the extent that it will affect South Africa when it becomes legally a foreign country on 31st May. The Bill does not represent our attitude towards apartheid; our attitude towards apartheid has been mentioned so often by members of the Government and hon. Members on both sides of the House that there is no need for me to repeat it. The fact that I do not repeat it at length does not mean that I have not just as much abhorrence of it as have hon. Members opposite. I agree with them when they say that it would be wrong for the Bill to appear to condone apartheid. In the same way, I agree with them when they say that it would be wrong for the Bill to give the impression that it does not matter at all about leaving the Commonwealth.
1061 In no way, in my submission—when it is analysed as a whole and not when single parts are taken out—can this Bill be considered to condone apartheid or indicate that it is no loss for South Africa to leave the Commonwealth. It is true that the Bill reflects some of the long established and closely woven human and material links between the people of South Africa and the people of Britain. If it did not, it would be a very bad Bill and I suggest that the world would be astounded at the ineptitude and lack of responsibility of Her Majesty's Government.
My right hon. Friend referred to what was said on 22nd March by the Leader of the Opposition. The House will recollect that the right hon. Gentleman said:… it is certainly no part of our wish that we should cut ourselves off from the people of South Africa.He later said:… we do not needlessly wish to damage the interests of the people of South Africa."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd March, 1961: Vol. 637, cc. 450–54.]I would add that neither do we wish to damage our own interests or the interests of the people of the High Commission Territories. Therefore, we approach this Bill in the light of the principle enunciated by my right hon. Friend at the beginning of the debate and in the light of the principle enunciated by the Leader of the Opposition on 22nd March.
The hon. Member for Woolwich, East said that no one was advocating sanctions, but the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. R. Edwards) made a speech solely directed towards economic sanctions against South Africa. I do not see how one could justify the holding of individuals as hostage to a policy of their Government with which they themselves may have no sympathy. Nor would I expect, even were it right to do so, that we could hope to influence the South African Government's policies in this way. There are other ways and other forums and other opportunities for expressing our views on apartheid. This Bill is not the vehicle for doing so. It is not a good conduct ticket, but neither should it be an impeachment.
I have been asked a good many questions during the debate. I have just over 1062 twenty minutes in which I will try to answer as many as I can. The hon. Member for Woolwich, East referred to the High Commission Territories and questions were asked about this by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) who referred to fugitive offenders, and the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) and the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) who spoke about the status of the ambassador. The House will accept that the High Commission Territories are largely dependent on the economy of South Africa. They are dependent for supplies and markets, for employment and communications. Therefore, in our view it is extremely important for the welfare of the High Commission Territories that the system, or something approaching the system obtaining at the moment, should be carried on.
We were pleased when the State President of South Africa, at the beginning of the second Parliament of the Republic in January of this year said that it was the intention of the Republicto maintain to the greatest extent possible the existing mutual benefits and points of contact, and to ensure continued co-operation in all matters of common interest.Those words apply equally to the attitude of Her Majesty's Government. The hon. Member for Woolwhich, East asked a question about the 1909 Act and the two remaining Sections, 150 and 151. In our view this Act lapsed when South Africa left the Commonwealth, and for that reason it was put in the list given to the hon. Gentleman, which is also in the Vote Office, containing those Acts which had lapsed.
The Customs Union is a matter of great importance to the High Commission Territories, and I understand that it is the broad intention of the Republican Government to retain the framework of the Customs Union. This again is in line with the views of Her Majesty's Government.
In regard to fugitive offenders, as my right hon. Friend said in opening the debate, fresh arrangements will have to be made, because the Fugitive Offenders Act, 1881, under which offenders were returned, only governs the surrender of such offenders between Commonwealth countries. Therefore, an extradition treaty, to which effect will be given 1063 under the Extradition Act, 1870, will be negotiated to apply between South Africa and the United Kingdom and dependent territories other than the High Commission Territories and also the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which is making its own arrangements.
Because of the geographical situation of these territories, it has been found in the past that the maintenance of law and order in the territories themselves requires the existence of a quicker and simpler method for dealing with fugitive offenders than is possible under normal extradition procedure. For that reason, the territories have since 1913 been linked with the Union, as it then was, by an Order in Council made under Part II of the Fugitive Offenders Act, 1881, which provides a quick and simple procedure. This arrangement will lapse automatically on the change of status of South Africa, but the need for quick recovery of offenders remains and will be effected, so far as the territories are concerned, by local legislation in each territory and, in the case of Basutoland, an Order in Council under the Extradition Act.
In our view, however, those new provisions, which we have put to South Africa and of which she has taken note, will provide explicitly, as with other parts of the dependent empire, that there will be no question of returning offenders for offences which attract the death penalty in South Africa, though not in the territories, nor for political offences, nor for offences which are not punishable in the territory which is being requested to surrender the fugitive.
The hon. Member for Woolwich, East asked about the position of the Ambassador and his dual capacity as Ambassador and High Commissioner. The hon. Member will remember that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister pointed out in the House on 14th November thatSince the economy and daily life of all three territories is so closely linked with South Africa, there are strong arguments for the same man carrying the two offices."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th November, 1961; Vol. 649, c. 198.]This is particularly the case when we are involved in discussions and negotiations which are of great importance to the territories. It is essential that the 1064 Ambassador, who is responsible for negotiations, and the High Commissioner, who has to judge the interests of the territories, should be in constant and close contact with each other. We have no doubt that having one man is the very best solution at present. I certainly could not agree with the suggestion made by innuendo by the hon. Member that the present Ambassador could possibly subjugate his concern for the interests of the territories to his responsibilities as Her Majesty's representative in South Africa.
There is a resident Commissioner in each territory. The territories are quite far apart. It would in many ways be difficult for a High Commissioner to reside in one territory and for there to be a resident commissioner and a High Commissioner. There are many problems such as that. In view, however, of the strong links existing between the High Commission territories and the Republic of South Africa in particular, we are satisfied that the arrangement that there should be both the Ambassador and the High Commissioner in one person is, indeed, the best.
Several hon. Members opposite have asked about representation of South African interests abroad. It is true, as the hon. Member for Woolwich, East said, that we afford diplomatic and consular representation to Commonwealth citizens abroad by arrangement, and we did so while South Africa was in the Commonwealth. We have continued doing this in foreign countries throughout the standstill, but only for consular matters. In no country do we act as their diplomatic representative. Now that South Africa is to become a foreign country in our law, however, and South African citizens are aliens, the normal convention as between Commonwealth countries cannot continue and it will be necessary to make other specific arrangements. If we make any such arrangement with South Africa it will be concerned with consular matters only.
One or two questions were asked by hon. Members about defence. The hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) contended that the South African Air Force has facilities in the High Commission Territories and also that the Simonstown base is of little use to us. I am happy to tell him that on 1065 both counts he is entirely wrong. The South African Air Force has facilities to overfly the territories, just as we have facilities to overfly the Republic to and from the territories. This is important to us. The South African Air Force has no airfields and no staging facilities in the territories. Nor have the South Africans any other defence facilities in the territories. Simonstown is important to us in safeguarding the vital sea routes round the Cape. The hon. Member may take it that I would not be categoric on this unless I knew that the Minister of Defence, with the advice of the Chiefs of Staff, entirely endorsed it.
The hon. Member for Eton and Slough also protested at the supply of arms to South Africa. Our policy towards all foreign countries is to allow arms sales to countries with whom we are in normal relations, but we scrutinise all requests from the political as well as from the strategic and economic aspects before they are authorised. This applies to arms supplies to South Africa, and the possibility that some arms may be used for harsh measures of repression is taken into account. I remind the bon. Member, however, that not all arms are used for repression. I will not go into details on this. It has been frequently dealt with in the House on previous occasions.
I come now to the matter which was probably the central point of the debate from the Opposition and that is the question of preferences, and the Sugar Agreement. I think that all hon. Members opposite complained about the fact that South Africa is in the Commonwealth Preference area. I should like to put it to them that South Africa is in this area in the first place because we are bound to allow the South Africans to be in it under the Agreement which we concluded with South Africa in Ottawa in 1932. This is a bilateral agreement not dependent upon South Africa's membership of the Commonwealth. Admittedly, this agreement is subject to six months' notice of termination on either side. Hon. Members opposite have said that we should have given notice of termination when South Africa left the Commonwealth but, as many of my hon. Friends have said, the Agreement also guarantees margins of preference on a number of our exports to South Africa. If we were to terminate the Agreement unilaterally 1066 it must be assumed that these preferences would no longer be accorded to us.
In the wider economic field, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) has said, we wish to maintain good relations with South Africa. She affords us one of our largest export markets. Our two-way trade amounts to £16 million a year for our shipping, and our total net invisible earnings there are about £100 million a year. As my hon. Friend the Member for Watford (Mr. Farey-Jones) pointed out—and I could not understand why such a remark was treated with such hilarity on the Opposition benches—South Africa is the repository of about £900 million of United Kingdom capital investment. As the world's largest gold producer, she is an important member of the sterling area, and I am sure that all hon. Members will agree that it is a matter of great importance to Britain that South Africa should remain in the sterling area and that her gold should come to London. If South Africa lost trade with us, there would be less incentive for her to stay in the sterling area.
This cannot be treated just in isolation. It is part of the whole Bill. We have to consider not just our trade with South Africa but our responsibilities to the High Commission Territories for whom we are at the moment negotiating with South Africa.
The right hon. Member for Dundee, West said that anyhow we would have to modify the preferences we afford to South Africa if we enter the Common Market. That is so, but it is too early to say what effect our entry into the E.E.C. would have. It will clearly be part of a wider economic adjustment not comparable with the unilateral renunciation by us of the 1932 Trade Agreement.
The Opposition by the Amendment are saying that they do not think that the major privileges should be given to Burma and Ireland. This has been repeated several times during the debate. Burma and Ireland are part of the Commonwealth Preference Area. When Burma repudiated all her preferences to us, we nevertheless retained all our preferences to Burma. It has been suggested that it would be an embarrassment to my right hon. Friend in his negotiations concerning the E.E.C.—
§ Mr. Mayhew
There are two very significant differences in the case of Burma. First, she was never an independent Commonwealth country. Secondly she does not practise apartheid.
§ Mr. Thomas
Apartheid is not mentioned in the Amendment. I assure the House that it will be no embarrassment to my right hon. Friend in his negotiations in Brussels that South Africa is in the Commonwealth Preference area. It is no more embarrassment to us than the presence of Burma in that area. Further, on this matter we have had no complaints or criticism from Commonwealth countries.
The other matter referred to, which I will try to deal with, although I regret to say that I have not very much time, is South-West Africa. This matter was mentioned by all hon. Members who spoke from the Opposition Benches. I want to say at the outset that what we are doing in the Bill is recognising the existence of South-West Africa as mandated territory and nothing more. The four Acts of Parliament referred to in the Bill are the only Acts of Parliament which had South-West Africa in them. For that reason, they had to be put in the Bill so that South-West Africa could be dealt with. My right hon. Friend has mentioned that we are dealing with South-West Africa according to Article 2 of the mandate. As I understood it, no hon. Member opposite has disagreed that this is the law at present until there has been a different Opinion possibly from the International Court. As to that I say nothing.
Article 2 says:the mandatory shall have full power of administration and legislation over the territory subject to the present Mandate as an integral portion of the Union of South Africa".Therefore, the inhabitants of South-West Africa enjoyed the advantages of Commonwealth nationality simply because of their association with South Africa. Otherwise they would have had to be treated, and would be treated now, simply as the inhabitants of a foreign country.
In the course of the debate references were made to the fact that the mandate was conferredupon His Britannic Majesty for and on behalf of the Government of the Union of South Africa".1068 This followed the "Heads of State" formula which was current at the time in 1920. His late Majesty appears in the mandate as Head of State of South Africa and not as Head of State of the United Kingdom. The mandatory Power remains, as it has always been, the Government of South Africa.
In our view, it would be incorrect to infer that the mandate was in any way delegated to South Africa by the United Kingdom or that the authority of the South African Government is affected either by South Africa leaving the Commonwealth or having become a Republic. I should also mention that many of those born in South-West Africa before, I think, 1926, are not, in fact, South African citizens. They would, therefore, be aliens from our point of view.
I should like to deal now with one or two points on nationality, although little time now remains for me to touch on them. My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton made a plea for greater latitude for South Africans to apply for United Kingdom citizenship, and asked some detailed questions which I shall attempt to answer. In general, I would say to him that we have to hold a balance between, on the one hand, treating all South Africans rigidly as aliens from the outset and, on the other hand, treating South Africans as if South Africa had not left the Commonwealth at all. We think that our proposals hold the balance fairly evenly. Two-and-a-half years ought really to be ample time within which a South African can make up his mind whether he wants to become a United Kingdom citizen or not.
My right hon. Friend asked whether it is not an innovation to allow registration on the strength of present service under the Crown only, and not also of past service. At present, a citizen of another Commonwealth country who wishes to be registered on the strength of Crown service under Section 6 (1) of the British Nationality Act, 1948, must be in Crown service at the time of the application. There is, therefore, no innovation. In this respect, during the transitional period they will be exactly on a par with citizens of Commonwealth countries.
My right hon. Friend also asked whether the giving of notice—before the end of 1965—of intention to apply for 1069 registration when qualified will be a public act known in South Africa. The answer is that it definitely will not be. The notice will be filed on record in the Home Office, but not published in any way.
Finally, my right hon. Friend asked what other Commonwealth Governments are doing about nationality. Some of the other Governments—Canada, Australia, the Federation and New Zealand—have had a "standstill" on their legislation concerning the citizenship of South Africans in their country. It is not for us to say what their policies will be in this regard in future. But whatever they do need not alter or embarrass our arrangements. Since the revision of citizenship laws in 1948, nationality laws of one Commonwealth country do not affect those of the other.
At the beginning of this debate my right hon. Friend gave a very full explanation of the Bill. I apologise to my hon. Friends and to hon. Members opposite for the fact that I have not been able in the time left to me, to deal with all the points raised. I have tried to answer some. We think that the pattern of relations which we are developing with South Africa—and which inevitably will continue developing as circumstances change—the pattern
§ tern demonstrated in the field of legislation by this Bill, has been carefully and properly balanced. It does not inhibit—on the contrary, it greatly facilitates—our ability to speak frankly to the South African Government. Nor does it compromise the stand that we have taken, and will continue to take, on the subject of racial discrimination.
§ It remains our sincere hope that the differences of opinion which at present lie between our two Governments—and which we have quite frankly expressed—will be dispersed by the emergence in South Africa of racial policies more in harmony with the present trend of world opinion and of the realities of human relationships. We wish to help, not to hinder or to complicate this process. We wish to continue to have the South Africans—all South Africans—as individuals and as a nation, as our friends and not our enemies. This is the spirit behind the Bill; I commend it to the House, and ask the House to reject the Opposition Amendment.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 260, Noes 167.1073
|Division No. 105.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)|
|Altken, W. T.||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Allason, James||Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Emery, Peter|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Channon, H. P. G.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn|
|Arbuthnot, John||Chataway, Christopher||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Chichester-Clark, R.||Farey-Jones, F. W.|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Farr, John|
|Balniel, Lord||Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Fell, Anthony|
|Barber, Anthony||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Fisher, Nigel|
|Barlow, Sir John||Cleaver, Leonard||Forrest, George|
|Barter, John||Cole, Norman||Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)|
|Batsford, Brian||Collard, Richard||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Bell, Ronald||Cooke, Robert||Freeth, Denzil|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Cooper, A. E.||Gammans, Lady|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Gardner, Edward|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Corfield, F. V.||George, J. C. (Pollok)|
|Bidgood, John C.||Costain, A. P.||Gilmour, Sir John|
|Biffen, John||Coulson, Michael||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Craddock, Sir Beresford||Goodhart, Philip|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Goodhew, Victor|
|Bishop, F. P.||Crowder, F. P.||Gough, Frederick|
|Black, Sir Cyrll||Cunningham, Knox||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Curran, Charles||Green, Alan|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Currie, G. B. H.||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Braine, Bernard||Dalkeith, Earl of||Gurden, Harold|
|Brewis, John||Dance, James||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt. Col. Sir Walter||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)|
|Brooke, Rt, Hon. Henry||Deedes, w. F.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||de Ferranti, Basil||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Bryan, Paul||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)|
|Buck, Antony||Doughty, Charles||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Bullard, Denys||Drayson, G. B.||Harvie Anderson, Miss|
|Burden, F. A.||Eden, John||Hastings, Stephen|
|Hay, John||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Smithers, Peter|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Marshall, Douglas||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Hicks Beach, Mal. W.||Marten, Neil||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Speir, Rupert|
|Hobson, Sir John||Mawby, Ray||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Holland, Philip||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Hollingworth, John||Mills, Stratton||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Hopkins, Alan||Montgomery, Fergus||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Hornby, R. P.||Morrison, John||Tapsell, Peter|
|Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Nabarro, Gerald||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Oakshott, Sir Hendrle||Teeling, Sir William|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Jackson, John||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|James, David||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Jennings, J. C.||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Peel, John||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Perclvan, Ian||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Peyton, John||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Turner Colin|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Pitman, Sir James||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Kimball, Marcus||Pitt, Miss Edith||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Kirk, Peter||Pott, Percivall||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Lagden, Godfrey||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Leavey, J. A.||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Walder, David|
|Leburn, Gilmour||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Walker, Peter|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Ramsden, James||Wall, Patrick|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Rawlinson, Peter||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Lilley, F. J. P.||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Webster, David|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Renton, David||Whitelaw, William|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Ridsdale, Julian||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|McAdden, Stephen||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)||Wise, A. R.|
|MacArthur, Ian||Robson Brown, Sir William||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|McLaren, Martin||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Roots, William||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N. Ayrs.)||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Russell, Ronald||Woollam, John|
|McMaster, Stanley R.||Scott-Hopkins, James||Worsley, Marcus|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Seymour, Leslie||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Sharples, Richard|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Shaw, M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Maddan, Martin||Shepherd, William||Mr. Edward Wakefield and|
|Magginnis, John E.||Skeet, T. H. H.||Mr. Finlay.|
|Abse, Leo||Diamond, John||Holman, Percy|
|Ainsley, William||Donnelly, Desmond||Holt, Arthur|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Driberg, Tom||Houghton, Douglas|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Awbery, Stan||Edelman, Maurice||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Baird, John||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Beaney, Alan||Evans, Albert||Hunter, A. E.|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Finch, Harold||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Benson, Sir George||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)|
|Blackburn, F.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)|
|Boardman, H.||Galpern, Sir Myer||Janner, Sir Barnett|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S. W.)||Ginsburg, David||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas|
|Bowles, Frank||Gourlay, Harry||Jeger, George|
|Boyden, James||Grey, Charles||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Kelley, Richard|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Gunter, Ray||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||King, Dr. Horace|
|Cliffe, Michael||Hannan, William||Ledger, Ron|
|Crosland, Anthony||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Hayman, F. H.||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Darling, George||Healey, Denis||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Herbison, Miss Margaret||MacColl, James|
|Deer, George||Hewitson, Capt. M.||McInnes, James|
|Delargy, Hugh||Hilton, A. V,||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Peart, Frederick||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|McLeavy, Frank||Pentland, Norman||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Swain, Thomas|
|Mahon, Simon||Popplewell, Ernest||Swingler, Stephen|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Prentice, R. E.||Thomson, G. M. (Dunee, E.)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Thornton, Ernest|
|Mapp, Charles||Probert, Arthur||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Marsh, Richard||Randall, Harry||Tomney, Frank|
|Mason, Roy||Rankin, John||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Redhead, E. C.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Mendelson, J. J.||Reid, William||Warbey, William|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Reynolds, G. W.||Watkins, Tudor|
|Monslow, Walter||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Moody, A. s.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Morris, John||Rogers G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)||Whitlock, William|
|Mort, D. L.||Ross, William||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Mulley, Frederick||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Neal, Harold||Short, Edward||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||Silverman, Julian (Aston)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Oliver, G. H.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Oram, A. E||Skeffington, Arthur||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Oswald, Thomas||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Owen, Will||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Woof, Robert|
|Paget, R. T||Snow, Julian||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Sorensen, R. W.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Parker, John||Steele, Thomas||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Parkin, B. T.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Mr. Charles" A. Howell and|
|Pavitt, Laurence||Stonehouse, John||Mr. Lawson.|
§ Bill read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Bowden.]1074
§ The House divided: Ayes 158, Noes 249.1077
|Division No. 106.]||AYES||[10.10 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)||Morris, John|
|Ainsley, William||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Mulley, Frederick|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Neave, Airey|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hilton, A. V.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)|
|Awbery, Stan||Holman, Percy||Oliver, G. H.|
|Baird, John||Holt, Arthur||Oram, A. E.|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Houghton, Douglas||Oswald, Thomas|
|Beaney, Alan||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Owen, Will|
|Benntt, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Paget, R. T.|
|Benson, Sir George||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Boardman, H.||Hunter, A. E.||Parker, John|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S. w.)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Bowles, Frank||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Boyden, James||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Peart, Frederick|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Janner, Sir Barnett||Pentland, Norman|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jeger, George||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Cliffs, Michael||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Crosland, Anthony||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Probert, Arthur|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Kelley, Richard||Randall, Harry|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Rankin, John|
|Deer, George||King, Dr. Horace||Redhead, E. C.|
|Delargy, Hugh||Ledger, Ron||Reid, William|
|Diamond, John||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Reynolds, G. w.|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Driberg, Tom||Lewis, Arthur (west Ham, N.)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||MacColl, James||Ross, William|
|Evans, Albert||McInnes, James||Short, Edward|
|Finch, Harold||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Slater, Hrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Ginsburg, David||Mahon, Simon||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mallalleu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Snow, Julian|
|Grey, Charles||Manuel, A. C.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mapp, Charles||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Marsh, Richard||Steele, Thomas|
|Gunter, Ray||Mason, Roy||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Mayhew, Christopher||Stonehouse, John|
|Hannan, William||Mendelson, J. J.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Mitchison, G. R.||Stress, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Monslow, Walter||Swain, Thomas|
|Healey, Denis||Moody, A. S.||Swingler, Stephen|
|Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Thornton, Ernest||White, Mrs. Eirene||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Thorpe, Jeremy||Whitlock, William||woof, Robert|
|Tomney, Frank||Wilkins, W. A.||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Williams, D. J. (Neath)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Wainwright, Edwin||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Warbey, William||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Watkins, Tudor||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)||Mr. Charles A. Howell and|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Marten, Neil|
|Allason, James||Freeth, Denzil||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Gammans, Lady||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Gardner, Edward||Mawby, Ray|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Gilmour, Sir John||Mills, Stratton|
|Balniel, Lord||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Barber, Anthony||Goodhart, Philip||Morrison, John|
|Barlow, Sir John||Goodhew, Victor||Nabarro, Gerald|
|Barter, John||Gough, Frederick||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Batsford, Brian||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Bell, Ronald||Green, Alan||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Gresham Cooke, R.||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Gurden, Harold||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bidgood, John C.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Biffen, John||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Panned, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Peel, John|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Percival, Ian|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Peyton, John|
|Bourne-Alton, A.||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hastings, Stephen||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Brains, Bernard||Hay, John||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Brewis, John||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Pitman, Sir James|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col, Sir Walter||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hicks Beach, Mal. W.||Pott, Percivall|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Bryan, Paul||Hobson, Sir John||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John|
|Buck, Antony||Holland, Philip||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Bullard, Denys||Hollingworth, John||Ramsden, James|
|Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)||Hopkins, Alan||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hornby, R. P.||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Renton, David|
|Chataway, Christopher||Hughes-Young, Michael||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Jackson, John||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||James, David||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Cole, Norman||Jennings, J. C.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Collard, Richard||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Roots, William|
|Cooke, Robert||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Cooper, A. E.||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Russell, Ronald|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Seymour, Leslie|
|Costain, A. P.||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Sharples, Richard|
|Coulson, Michael||Kimball, Marcus||Shaw, M.|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||Kirk, Peter||Shepherd, William|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Crowder, F. P.||Leather, E. H. C.||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Cunningham, Knox||Leavey, J. A.||Smithers, Peter|
|Curran, Charles||Leburn, Gilmour||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Dance, James||Lilley, F. J. P.||Speir, Rupert|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Harry||Litchfield, Capt. John||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Deedes, w. F.||Longden, Gilbert||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Loveys, Walter H.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Tapsell, Peter|
|Doughty, Charles||MacArthur, Ian||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Drayson, G. B.||McLaren, Martin||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Eden, John||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Teeling, Sir William|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Maclean, SirFitzroy (Bute&N. Ayrs.)||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Emery, Peter||Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||McMaster, Stanley R.||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Farr, John||Maddan, Martin||Thorneycroft, Rt, Hon. Peter|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maginnis, John E.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Fisher, Nigel||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Forrest, George||Markham Major Sir Frank||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||Marshall, Douglas||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Turner, Colin||Walker, Peter||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Wall, Patrick||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|van Straubenzee, W. R.||Ward, Dame Irene||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Vane, W. M. F.||Webster, David||Woollam, John|
|Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Wells, John (Maidstone)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Vickers, Miss Joan||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)||Wise, A. R.||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
|Walder, David||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick||Mr. Whitelaw.|
§ Bill committed to a Standing Committee pursuant to Standing Order No. 38 (Committal of Bills).