HC Deb 31 July 1962 vol 664 cc409-11

The following Questions stood upon the Order Paper:


TO ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent the Colonial Development Corporation will be able to continue to invest in Jamaica and Trinidad after independence.


TO ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now make a statement about the operations of the Colonial Development Corporation in newly independent Commonwealth countries.

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

With permission, I will answer Questions Nos. 62 and 70 together.

It has been decided to extend the scope of the activities of the Colonial Development Corporation which have hitherto been confined to dependent territories.

It is proposed henceforth to authorise the Corporation to undertake new development schemes in countries in which it was previously empowered to operate after they have become independent Members of the Commonwealth.

The Corporation will be renamed the Commonwealth Development Corporation.

The necessary legislation will be introduced as soon as possible.

Sir R. Robinson

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that what he has said will be welcomed by hon. Members on both sides who have pressed this point for a long time, and that it will be particularly appreciated in the three countries about to become independent, namely, Jamaica, Trinidad and Uganda?

Mr. Strachey

Is the Secretary of State aware that this announcement will be welcomed most heartily on this side of the House? We have pressed— indeed, nagged—the Secretary of State on this subject for some time now, and this is, indeed, a very useful extension, by far the best way in which the newly-independent members of the Commonwealth can be helped.

Mr. Turton

Would my right hon. Friend say whether Southern Rhodesia will be included?

Mr. Sandys

Southern Rhodesia, of course, is not an independent member of the Commonwealth, and is already covered by the existing arrangements.

Sir C. Osborne

While welcoming the policy, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend can say what the extent of the additional finance may be?

Mr. Sandys

There is not at present any need to consider extending the borrowing limit authorised by Parliament. In addition to Government borrowing, the Corporation now receives quite considerable sums from its own revenues, and from repayments on earlier schemes.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Could my right hon. Friend be a little more explicit, and say by what arrangements Southern Rhodesia is covered? Will Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom make sure that Southern Rhodesia is treated at least as favourably as Yugoslavia in the matter of assistance for her development?

Mr. Sandys

I do not want to go into the wider question, but all British dependent territories—and that includes any country which is not an independent member of the Commonwealth—are eligible for assistance under the aegis of the Colonial Development Corporation. Whether or not the Corporation decides to initiate schemes in those territories is at the discretion of the Corporation.

Mr. P. Williams

Will the Secretary of State specifically say whether this covers Southern Rhodesia?

Mr. Sandys

The announcement I have made does not affect Southern Rhodesia, because Southern Rhodesia is not an independent member of the Commonwealth. The purpose of what I have announced is to extend the scope of the Colonial Development Corporation, which has been hitherto limited to Colonial Dependencies, to countries after they have achieved independence as members of the Commonwealth.

Mr. Strachey

Does not the Secretary of State agree, then, that his announcement today confirms that he has responsibility and power over such matters as the Southern Rhodesian Constitution?

Mr. Sandys

That has nothing to do with it.

Mr. Strachey

Surely, the right hon. Gentleman must agree that that is what he said—

Mr. Speaker

Order. This sounds very much like an argument.