§ 2.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans)
I beg to move,
That this House notes with grave concern the continuing use of subversion by Communist countries to destroy the influence of the West in Africa, and being aware of the likely effects of this campaign upon the lives of the Africans themselves and the free world, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to take all possible steps both in the United Nations and elsewhere to counteract this threat.
A back bencher is not always fortunate enough to get a hearing on a Friday, particularly when he has drawn second place in the Ballot for Motions. I am, therefore, pleased to have this opportunity to raise a matter which needs airing now. If I had not been convinced before tabling my notice of Motion of the need to discuss this question today, my conviction would have been made complete by the sharp reaction of the Daily Worker which, the moment my Motion was tabled, published an item in which it was said, commenting on my proposition to open a discussion on Communist subversion in Africa:Evidently he"—that is, I—considers this a diversion from the apartheid policies in South Africa".I should like, for the benefit of the Daily Worker, to assure the House that I am not attempting to divert the attention of anybody from anything. What I propose to do is to try to attract the attention of the House and the Government and other people who might be interested to something. In that, I do not expect that I shall have much help from the Daily Worker, which, no doubt, will try to divert the attention of the public and the House by continuing to talk about apartheid in South Africa.
If we are to look at the background of Communist activity in Africa we have to go back to the days of Marx and Engels to see if there was any mention at that time of any efforts to liberate colonial territories. We find that at that time there had been no such talk in the writings of either, simply because they considered that there being no industrial countries in Asia or Africa there was no bourgeoisie 772 with whom to battle and these conditions did not apply as in developed countries.
It was only after the First World War that Lenin began to go further a field. It was he who argued that colonies were essential to the European economy, with European industries dependent upon the sale of their surplus products to the colonies and that, therefore, to deal the European economy a mortal blow one must first liberate the colonies. We find that it was accepted that it would be difficult to create Communist parties of any strength in these territories, but that the obvious answer for one who wanted finally to bring about Communism was to support the nationalist parties in those territories. We find that Lenin accepted that there would be a long transitional period of nationalism and democratic action in favour of liberalisation before Communism could finally take over.
The Comintern resolved in 1920 thatThe revolutionary movement in the colonies is not going to be a Communist revolution in the first stages, but if from the outset the leadership is in the hands of a Communist vanguard the revolutionary masses will not be led astray, but may go ahead through the successive periods of revolutionary experience.This attempt to infiltrate the leadership of the nationalist parties has been the principal aim of the Communists in these colonial territories. Lenin went further than this and argued thatOne should be prepared for all and every sacrifice",—which, presumably, means sacrifice by the people in those territories—and even, if necessary, for all plans, strategems, illegal methods, concealment and suppression of truth.I suggest to the House that the Communists have not been lax in acquiring these very standards in recent years.
We therefore arrived at a point where it was accepted as far back as 1920 that it was necessary for the Communist parties to support nationalist movements in colonial territories and to go further, even to the suppression of truth and action against ecclesiastics, and so on. After that, we find that a Communist paper was published in Hamburg, called The Negro Worker to appeal to negroes throughout the world. In various issues in the 1920s 773 and 1930s one can find all the present-day slogans of African nationalist parties set out. In 1923, Mr. Kenyatta was one of the contributors and in an article in this paper one can find all the slogans which were ultimately used in the Mau Mau operations which were formulated as far back as 1933.
It was not until the late 1950s however, after Mr. Khrushchev arrived on the scene, that we find that Moscow really began to get to work in our colonial territories. It was in 1957 that the first large party of Africans visited the Soviet Union and, in return, a large number of Soviet political workers, disguised as scholars, arrived in Africa to give lectures and broadcasts.
This interchange has been carried on continually at an ever-increasing rate of students and scholars since that time, both with Russia and China and even with the European satellites. Where students go to the Communist countries the principal object, of course, is indoctrination with Communist belief. The degree of indoctrination to which they are exposed depends on the way they have arrived in the Soviet bloc countries. Those who had arrived without the sanction of their Governments, perhaps through the pipelines of various embassies throughout the world, would find themselves almost definitely exposed to greater indoctrination and more intense pressure than those who had arrived legally as Government-sponsored students.
When it is realised that three out of every four of African students who go to Communist countries are those who have got there illegally without the support of their own Governments one realises what a great threat this is to colonial territories when these students are exposed to indoctrination in this way. Though hundreds of students have come back to these territories there are still thousands behind the Iron Curtain and in China. Some people estimate the number at 5,000. I do not know how accurate this estimate is. They are trained there in the machinery of indoctrination, agitation, infiltration of political organisations, underground activities, military tactics and even violence. They are being kept there at the moment in training ready to return to their own countries at the appro- 774 priate moment when it is felt that the time has come to strike.
These methods have been used also to produce leaders to take positions in political and non-political organisations throughout these territories. Over recent years students from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, Nyasaland, the Rhodesias, Angola and Mozambique have gone to Soviet bloc countries or to China. They have come back to infiltrate the various front organisations which are so popular with the Communists. These are often international organisations looking to all the world in outward appearance as being non-political, non-partisan and non-official, but in them full control is vested in a small group of Communists whose election is not subject to popular vote.
These front organisations have been very active in recent years in trying to infiltrate Pan-African organisations which started off purely as nationalist organisations. One finds that this is the case with youth organisations. It was the non-Communist World Assembly of Youth which first promoted the idea of a Pan-African youth organisation, but it was the Communist World Federation of Democratic Youth that moved in quickly to form a small committee to promote a conference. A conference was held in 1962 which passed resolutions condemning neo-colonialism and supporting an armed struggle for liberation.
The same applies to women's organisations, and particularly to the Council of West African Women, which was started by a very sincere Nigerian school teacher who was rapidly out-manœuvred by members of the Communist Women's International Democratic Federation. Again, once having got their feet in, it was the Communists who took over. The same also applies to the Pan-African Journalists' Union, which has a strong Communist representation from the outset. It also applies to other professions and trades in African territories.
It does not apply only to the Russians. The Chinese likewise have been trying to affiliate these organisations to their own Afro-Asian movement. At the moment, the appeal is not to Communism, but to Pan-African nationalism and this, of course, appeals to the 775 African who wants to see his country independent.
The Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organisation is another front organisation, based in Cairo, following exactly the same lines. This is backed up by increasing pressure on the radio in both the Soviet bloc and in China. It is rather terrifying when one realises that in 1958 there were about three and a half hours' broadcasting a week from the Soviet bloc and China to Africa in English and French, whereas today it has increased to 320 hours a week in 10 languages—one hundred-fold increase in the number of hours of propaganda broadcasting. If we add to this the cash which finds its way down these pipelines to the nationalist parties in the colonial territories we realise that this is a very fearsome threat.
All this is aimed, in the first place, at depriving Europeans of political power in readiness to following this up by denying them economic power. The cry of "One man, one vote" is echoed round the world, no doubt having originated in a Communist cell somewhere. So effectively has this propaganda been spread about the world that it does not matter whether one goes to the United Nations, to the United States of America, the councils of the Commonwealth, or even in this very Chamber, that cry ricochets around.
This has been so well done that if in this House one attempts to suggest that there might be good reason to delay the granting of independence to any dependent territory, one is stamped at once as being pro-white and, therefore, anti-black and it is thought that one has no interest in the position of the Africans themselves. Of course, the position is the reverse. It is the people who are shouting "One man, one vote" the loudest who are ignoring the conditions and interests of these Africans, because if one looks around to see what the effect has been in places where "One man, one vote" has been granted, in most cases it has ended up in one election and in one-party government. This is followed by the destruction of the democratic institutions and the loss of personal freedom.
One has only to look at recent events in Ghana, where a Chief Justice has been dismissed because the Government did not approve of his action in acquitting 776 two persons of treason. Those persons can still be kept in detention for five years, and at the end of that time without a further trial they can be kept in detention for another five years. This is the sort of thing to which Communist subversion leads in Africa.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)
Is there not a parallel in Africa to what is happening in South Africa, which is not a Communist country?
§ Mr. Goodhew
The hon. Gentleman may well say that, but the point is that hon. Members in this House—and the hon. Gentleman is one of them—who shout about the position in South Africa are not so quick to get to their feet and accuse Ghana of being wrong
§ Mr. Thomson
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman's speech, but, to keep the record straight, may I say that I deplore what is happening in Ghana as much as what is happening in South Africa. Only a week or two ago, with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) and others, I went directly to the Ghana High Commissioner on these very matters to tell him what we have also said to the South African Government.
§ Mr. Goodhew
I am gratified to hear that. I accept the hon. Gentleman's statement. I only wish that in the United Nations a similar view were held.
This type of one-party government and the loss of personal freedom and of democratic rights is followed invariably by poverty, because once confidence has gone, the Europeans leave, European capital is withdrawn and this is followed by chaos.
Anybody who is not convinced of this should read a book by Richard Lawson entitled Strange Soldiering. Mr. Lawson is a young man who was decorated for his bravery whilst fighting with United Nations forces trying to prevent a civil war. He says:Many United Nations teams visiting bush villages have been asked the pathetic question, 'When will this independence end? When will we see the good life again?'.Mr. Lawson goes on to say:I do not understand politics, but I believe that if world opinion insists that politicians of underdeveloped countries must be given the 777 right to be wrong, then the world should know what happens to the rest of the 'free' populations.The world does know, but either it cares not or it is too timid to protest. This is why I am so anxious to draw attention to the sort of chaos that follows this undermining of law and order in Africa as a result of Communist subversion.
How the Communist world must have crowed when the influence of President Tshombe of Katanga was finally eliminated. Here was an African who believed that the best way to work in his country was to co-operate with Europeans, much against the Communist doctrine of encouraging nationalists to get rid of the West. How they must crow, too, at the fact that the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland is being dissolved.
Here we have the reverse. Here are Europeans in Africa who believe that the best way of building a fine country is by co-operating with the Africans. But how sick the Communist world must have been when it found that, having got intruders from the Congo into Angola, the Africans there rallied to the defence of the country with the Portuguese.
These are not the only examples of Communist infiltration and subversion. It is not only in the colonial territories that this battle is being fought. It is also being fought just as viciously in the newly-independent ex-colonial territories. The aim there is, having robbed the West of political power, now to rob the West of its economic power, and to stand aside as the Communist world is doing, ready to step in when the appropriate moment comes.
Ghana in 1958, which was the first newly-independent State in Africa, arranged diplomatic ties with the U.S.S.R. and this was followed by a flood of diplomats, technicians, advisers and waves of officials from Eastern European countries, until the country was flooded with an unreasonable number of Communist sympathisers busy to get on with the job of removing the economic power of the West once political power had gone.
This pattern has been followed in the newly-independent States as each one has become independent, and the concentration is now on separating these 778 African territories from the West entirely. They preach the doctrine of neutralism. They are told to attack neo-colonialism, which is to suggest that economic ties with the ex-colonial Powers or other capitalist Powers are wrong, but that economic ties with the Communist countries are all right. In the Congo recently Soviet Embassy personnel, for the second time since 1960, were expelled for their flagrant interference in the internal affairs of the country.
In the Soviet Union and in other Soviet bloc countries training is being given today to African Freedom Fighters in techniques of violent revolution. There is no argument as to what this is for. We all know, even if we pretend not to know. Nobody does anything about it. They are being trained for activity in certain areas, namely, the territories in which the European still has some influence. They are being trained, no doubt, for activities in Southern Rhodesia. They are being trained to fight, no doubt, in South Africa, and they are being trained as well, as they have been for a long time in the Congo, for activities in Angola. In other words, wherever the propaganda has failed new preparations are being made to turn on the violence to make quite certain that the influence of the West is finally driven out of these African territories.
We find that there have been military and economic agreements giving increased opportunities for infiltration in recent weeks. In Somalia, Russia has reached a £11 million military aid agreement, which includes the training of pilots and army officers in the Soviet Union, whilst the Chinese, in the same country, have agreed to a £7 million long term credit and a £1 million budget subsidy for this year. In Algeria, we find a similar pattern—a Soviet credit of £36 million, a Chinese credit of £18 million, and a military mission negotiating supplies of Soviet and Czech arms.
All this aid is supposed to be disinterested, but, of course, it has only one aim, as I have constantly pointed out during my speech, that is, separating the African States from their traditional trading partners. Mr. Khrushchev has made no bones about it. He has said quite clearly that Africa "is no exception to the inevitable spread of Communism throughout the world". He 779 has gone further and warned the African leaders that they must realise that, unless they choose the path of non-capitalist development—I quote his words—"after them will come other people with a better understanding of the time". In other words, he was warning the African leaders to look over their shoulders all the time and realise that, unless they go the way the Communists want them to go, someone else, who has been trained in a Communist country, will come up behind them, stab them in the back and take over.
Time is running out. We are gradually coming to the point when it will not be long before the whole of Africa is under the influence of the Communists or their "stooges", the people who have put themselves into a position where their Communist educators can step right in and take over. But there is still time for the West to wake up to the realities of the situation and, if it wants to, to prevent the completion of the Communist aim of preparing Africa for the final take-over. One gathers from the propaganda put about today that this time is thought to be not far off. The heat is being turned on constantly against the remaining territories like Rhodesia, South Africa and the Portuguese territories.
Believing that a Communist success in Africa would be a tragedy for all the Africans themselves, and for the free world, I ask my hon. Friend to give an undertaking that Her Majesty's Government will draw attention to this vile campaign not only in the councils of the United Nations, where there seems to be so much ignorance about it, but in the councils of the Commonwealth where it is being ignored. I hope that, if this is done, the tragedy of a continent lost to freedom will be averted.
§ 2.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Harry Hynd (Accrington)
Any measures designed to counter Communist propaganda in Africa or elsewhere will have my warmest support, but I feel that the hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) has allowed his anti-Communist enthusiasm to run away with him a little this afternoon. The gist of his speech, as I understood it, was that all the recent troubles in Africa have been due to Communist 780 intrigue and that the Communists have out-smarted everyone else in the way they have been able to penetrate into the countries of Africa and influence the Africans. This is not the whole picture by any means. If we concentrate on that part of it, we may deceive ourselves into ignoring some of the real trouble in what has happened and is happening in Africa.
The hon. Gentleman said, for instance, that the principle of "one man, one vote" must have originated in a Communist cell. I always thought that that principle originated in this country and that we have for a long time been trying to preach it to less civilised Africans and other peoples as something to aim at. With respect, it is nonsense to say that the principle of "one man, one vote" is wrong and must have originated in a Communist cell.
§ Mr. Goodhew
I followed that by referring to what happened where it was pursued quite regardless of the interests of the people concerned. The principle of "one man, one vote" is wrong if it is applied in a way which is detrimental to the interests of the people.
§ Mr. Hynd
I am grateful for that elaboration of the hon. Gentleman's statement. The note I have of what he said is that he followed that remark by another to the effect that, wherever this principle is applied in Africa, it has always been followed by chaos. This is not so. Africa is a big country. Many African territories have achieved their independence in recent years, and, if the hon. Gentleman will think for a moment, he will, I am sure, agree that chaos has not always followed. Some of them have made quite a success of democracy.
§ Mr. Goodhew
I am sorry to intervene again, but, if the hon. Gentleman had followed my argument carefully, he would know that I said that the application of that principle had in most cases been followed by one election and one-party Government, and this, in turn, had led to the complete destruction of democratic institutions and the loss of personal freedom. When this happened, and the confidence of Europeans was lost, I said, the Africans suffered poverty and, very often, there was chaos. I did not say that it always occurred.
§ Mr. Hynd
Further, the hon. Gentleman said that the Communists quickly moved in—I took that down—and he gave an example of how the Communist party had moved in quickly and had outwitted the British and other people who, equally, had been trying to influence the Africans in many of these territories. Of course, the Communists or anyone else are just as entitled as we are to try to influence others. We have been doing our best to influence some of these peoples ourselves. The hon. Gentleman complained that some of the persons introduced into Africa by the Communists were supposed to be non-political, non-partisan and non-official. This, of course, is a perfect description of the British Council. If I am not careful, I shall give the wrong impression and someone will say that I must be a Communist and I am supporting the Communists. What I am trying to say is that it is quite wrong to imagine that Communism is the whole cause of the trouble.
In fact, the Communists have not been all that successful in Africa. On the contrary, in many African States, they have been most unsuccessful. I do not wish to name any particular country, but, ranging over the ex-French colonies as well as the ex-British colonies, where is there a successful Communist party? I cannot think of any in Africa. The Africans have been too sensible. They may have accepted help from the Communists. They are very clever at that, as a lot of people are, and they have accepted help from whatever quarter it came, but this does not mean that they will fall for the propaganda at the same time.
Again—with respect, this was the sort of thing which rubbed me up the wrong way when he was speaking—the hon. Gentleman seemed to suggest that the Mau Mau trouble was really a Communist plot. This is a caricature of what happened in East Africa.
§ Mr. Goodhew
The hon. Gentleman is making a caricature of my speech all the way through. In fact, I said that the first Communist paper for 782 Africans, the Negro Worker, published the slogans of the African nationalist movement right back in the 1920s and 1930s. I went further and said that Mr. Jomo Kenyatta had been a contributor in 1933—I can quote the extracts if the hon. Gentleman wishes—and in those early issues one can find outlined the very slogans which were used during the Mau Mau operation. I did not say that it was a Communist operation as such.
§ Mr. Hynd
We are trying to increase our trade with the Soviet Union, but that does not mean that this country is going Communist. This is my complaint. If we concentrate our minds on the idea that Communism is at the bottom of all the trouble in Africa, we shall go down the wrong road. The hon. Member knows as well as anyone how the Africans have been influenced by many other things besides Communism. There is the question of apartheid. Can the hon. Member imagine the effect in Africa of what happened at Suez? Can he imagine the effect in many parts of Africa of what is going on in Angola and Mozambique at present? Does not he remember how the Union of South Africa took over South-West Africa and refused to give it up even when told by the United Nations that legally it should do so? This sort of thing is causing far more trouble in Africa than Communism.
783 If there had been more education in Africa in the past, I suggest that the same difficulties might not be facing us at present. We should strengthen our propaganda. If the Communists are getting in first and out-witting us with their propaganda, surely that is a reflection on us. We should be getting in there just as quickly as the Communists and intensifying our activities.
I know that a great deal of effort is being made in that direction by the British Council and by the international trade union movement, which is spending much money and effort in trying to keep these countries out of Communist hands. If we are being beaten in this work, that is surely a challenge to us. We should be intensifying our efforts to see whether we can do better. We must search our own record and our own hearts and see whether we are doing all we can to stem any progress which the Communists are making in Africa.
However, I suggest that the best way to meet and overcome Communist propaganda is to show the Africans that there is something better than Communism and that our way of life is the thing at which they should be aiming and not the Communist way of life. Surely that should be the whole purpose of our efforts. Our political example and the way we vote in the United Nations, and so on—and I will not say very much about our votes recently in the United Nations on African affairs—have a terrific impact on the Africans and the Communists ensure that the maximum use is made of these things in putting over their propaganda to the Africans.
I suggest that we must learn the lesson of what has happened in the past and see if we can do better in future. For Heaven's sake, do not let us run away with the idea that all the trouble stems from Communist penetration.
§ 2.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Stratton Mills (Belfast, North)
This debate takes place in the shadow of recent events in Ghana. Tragic as those are, I hope that we will not allow them to dominate this debate because, although they have been very upsetting to all hon. Members, they are not wholly relevant to the issue which we are discussing. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. 784 Goodhew) on his speech in opening the debate. He fairly set out the extent of Communist infiltration in Africa and rightly did not overstress the events which have been taking place in Ghana this week.
My hon. Friend brought out very clearly the infiltration of the front organisation and the Pan-African type movements which have been taking place since the death of Stalin. Communist activities in Africa have been gaining in impetus only very recently. In 1950, there were very few Communist agencies in Africa yet, in 1961, the number had grown to 75 Communist missions, and at the end of 1962 there were 94 Communist missions with 20 in the pipeline, as the Board of Trade would call it. This is a substantial yardstick taken side by side with the infiltration and subversive type activities of which my hon. Friend reminded us. But it would be a great mistake if we were to overstress the success which the Communist Party has yet had in Africa. Equally, however, it would be a mistake if we were to under-stress its potential activity and the potential damage which it could do to the new and developing countries of Africa.
I should like to move slightly from the ground which my hon. Friend covered and ask whether the African attitude to Communism is necessarily the same as ours in the West. If not, is this necessarily harmful? In considering this matter, the fantastic speed of change in Africa in the last 25 years should be very much in our minds. Certainly we in Western Europe have never had any period in our long history in which change has been as quick as it, has been in the new countries of Africa. I wonder whether there is any group of countries where there has been this rate of acceleration from colonial territories to self-government. This is possibly one of the most important considerations in this debate.
We should also remember that the African countries are attempting to develop a new African personality. They do not necessarily feel involved in the conflicts between East and West which seem so important to us. The problem of international Communism is probably much more of an immediate danger to a capitalist country like ours or the United States than to an independent country 785 in Africa which has only a small proportion of private enterprise which is generally foreign owned, and where State enterprise and activity forms a large part of the economy. Inside this, one sees the strong form of central government which is developing in these countries and which is tending to concentrate on economic problems. Therefore, in this setting—wrongly in my view, but one must nevertheless accept the fact—a certain intolerance of opposition has developed.
I mentioned a moment ago the contrast with the capitalist countries. It should probably be recognised that in the African countries one will not see a form of economic development which bears any possible resemblance to the kind of development which we have in this country or which is to be found in Western Europe. Probably it is much closer to the type of development taking place in Israel where the State plays a large rôle in economic activity.
There is nothing that we particularly want from Africa. The British people have no vested interest. Our greatest interest is to see the countries develop independently and strong. We want the countries of Africa themselves to see the dangers of Communism for what they are and without blinkers. That should be the central point of our policy.
There have been substantial signs that this is happening. They are no more than signs. I would not wish to express the view that the horizon is absolutely clear, but there are signs. For example, Julius Nyerere said recently that he did not want to see a second "scramble" for Africa developing. He was obviously pointing at the Communist bloc. Also—it has been said many times before but it is basically true—it is important that the politicians and the countries which have striven for many years to gain their independence must be their own best security against losing that independence to a foreign imperialist. Communist Power.
Again, the experience of many African countries at the United Nations, while my hon. Friend would not, I am sure, be in accord with all their activities, has nevertheless been useful in letting them recognise the real dangers and threats of Russian Communism. Their 786 support of U Thant in the Congo operation against the Communist Powers was a useful experience for them. As well as this, the main Communist pressure has been on the trade union movement. It is gratifying to see the formation of an African Trades Union Centre by the African trade unionists because of their experience of the Communist front organisations activity in this field. Again, the failure of the Communist activity in Guinea and in Mali has also been useful where the Communists very much over did their political activity and it was recognised for what it was. The experience there gained has been useful to all Africa.
We in this House may make speeches, we may endeavour in our way to expose the activities of the Communist Party in Africa, but it is essentially the countries of Africa themselves who will answer best this challenge. Africa must be its own policeman!
§ 3.3 p.m.
§ Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)
There is a sinister symmetry in Communist strategy against the West. Latin-America is to be the means of enveloping North America and Europe is to be rolled up from Africa. Lenin, as quoted by Manuilski in 1931, said that once Europe was severed from Africa, she would drop into the Communist lap like ripe fruit. Mr. Mikoyan, using another of these earthy Russian similes, said that Europe without Africa was a plucked chicken. In other words, like Communist thinking Paris is to be destroyed through Conakry and Algiers and London through Accra and Nairobi.
The leading Africanist in the Soviet Union is believed to be Professor Ivan Potchkin. It was he who drew up the blueprint in which great stress was laid on securing control and influence in the economic planning of the new States, and that is why I do not think that I can take quite such a happy attitude to Soviet and Chinese economic penetration of the emerging African countries as that of the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd).
This aim of securing Communist control of the economic planning of African States has been relentlessly pursued in Ghana, Guinea, Mali and Somalia. It is rather interesting, in passing, to note 787 that Professor Potchkin is rather less enthusiastic than President Nkrumah about the practicability of a United States of Africa, an all-African Federation. Soviet thinking lies rather more in the direction of zonal federation, for example, between Ghana, Guinea and Mali. After the liberation struggle, in the Marxist thinking, comes the further struggle against neo-colonialism. By neo-colonialism is meant the continuation of the economic and other links with capitalist countries and the acceptance of their aid.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Accrington was quite right. He said that Communism had made little impact on the African masses. Indeed, the Communists have no plans, as I understand, for mass indoctrination. That, indeed, would be a very tall order. It is a bad thing to generalise about Africans, but Africans in general are very religious, and, also, they tend to be individualistic. On the other hand, Africa has been, and looks like continuing to be, authoritarian. There is something rather like the Communist principle of democratic centralism in the way Africans like to take decisions. There is free and full and almost endless discussion, but when a decision is reached it is then treason to oppose it.
But even if there is no indoctrination of the African masses this does not mean there is no great danger of Communist subversion. After all, only, I suppose, in Yugoslavia and Cuba—if Cuba is a Communist State—has Communism triumphed anywhere except as the result of the seizure of power by brilliant, dedicated and ruthless minorities. Communism has been carried to power by chaos or Red armed force. There are only 50,000 active Communists in the Continent of Africa; that is the Soviet estimate; but they concentrate on the élite; they concentrate on the trade unions, they concentrate on the intellectuals, and they concentrate on students who, in increasing numbers as other hon. Members have pointed out, are going to the Soviet bloc and to China. As a Czechoslovak newspaper said:We do not invite students from colonial countries out of charity.Of course, Communists have made many mistakes in Africa. They make 788 mistakes in propaganda. One such mistake was to suppose that Dr. Hastings Banda might be a good leader for the Rhodesias as well as for Nyasaland. That was quite a blunder. We know, too, how Ambassador Solod in Conakry was run out of the country after the detection of a Communist conspiracy. We know, too, how Colonel Mbotu removed the Soviet Embassy in Leopoldville, and what has happened to the latest Communist conspiracy in the ex-Belgian Congo. But this does not mean that a very formidable Soviet bloc and Chinese offensive has not been launched against the West in Africa. Even if the Russians and Chinese are not marching in step, it is quite certain they are marching against the West.
The Communists have had great propaganda successes at the United Nations which have been helpful for their purposes in Africa. It is extraordinary how intelligent and fair-minded people have accepted the Communist propaganda that there is virtually nothing to choose between the South African policy of apartheid, the opposite Portuguese policy of total racial integration and the compromise policy that we have tried to pursue in the now dying Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
Again, it is quite a triumph for Communist propaganda at United Nations that Mr. Khrushchev's concept of wars of liberations should be almost respectable and that his equation of European colonialism with aggression should also apparently be widely accepted among non-Communist delegations at the United Nations. Here it seems to me the Communists have had a tremendous propaganda success. It is a success which is, of course, primarily directed at Southern Africa. The reason why we hear so much about apartheid and so little about Communist Chinese genocide in Tibet and very little about Russian white settlers in Soviet Central Asia is that there is a concentrated offensive on Southern Africa because of its minerals, coastlines and ports.
It is significant that, although the hon. Member opposite pointed out that there are not many Communists and not many highly organised Communist parties in Africa, there has been a Communist party in South Africa since 1921.
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
That is not surprising, for a variety of reasons. The hon. Member will think of some reasons, and I am offering the House some other reasons. My hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills) quoted from the fine speech by that remarkable African statesman, President Nyerere, at the Moshi conference. President Nyerere then spoke of "the second scramble for Africa". He spoke of the new colonialism that threatens Africa. It is a colonialism from the East and not from the West. He also gave warning to his fellow Africans not to be obsessed with what he called "the fixation of imperialism", that "imperialism" being the imperialism of Western countries which is now passing from Africa.
The Chinese are concentrating their effort on Guinea, Morocco, Cameroon and Somalia. I was one of the few hon. Members of this House who publicly expressed misgivings at the ending of Her Majesty's Protectorate in Somaliland ahead of much more advanced territories in East Africa. Independence in the former British Somaliland and the formation of the independent State of Somalia was quickly followed by the visit of the Somali Prime Minister to Moscow. I understand that as a result of that first meeting the Russians agreed to equip Somali agriculture and to construct the Port of Berbera.
As a result of the changes in the Horn of Africa and as a result of events in Yemen a new line of Communist penetration from the Caucasus through the Yemen into Somalia has been established. In passing, I should like to congratulate Her Majesty's Government on their policy in the Yemen. The British Government are often criticised for being in a minority at the United Nations and elsewhere. Her Majesty's Government have, perhaps, been in a minority over their attitude to the Yemen, but they have been proved right. The new dangers which threaten that part of Africa, which could endanger the newly established independence of Kenya and could lead to widespread Communist subversion—these facts reinforce the rightness of Her Majesty's Government's policy towards the Yemen.
The Minister of Defence of Somalia, General Daoud Abdullah, was recently in Moscow with a considerable mission, numbering 15. I understand that he 790 agreed with Marshal Malinovsky, the Soviet Defence Minister, that the Russians would enable the Somali Army to be brought up, in terms of effective strength, from 4,500 men to 20,000, that Soviet arms and equipment would be provided, together with a new credit of £15 million, and that the Somali forces would be equipped with Soviet artillery, Mig.19s and Mig.21s. Perhaps my hon. Friend will have something to say about this.
I understand that air bases are to be established by the Russians at Berbera, Obbio and Mogadishu. However these agreements are implemented, the Soviet Union will be able to pour technicians into this vital strategic area. The Greater Somalia League, which began by being pro-Egyptian has become increasingly pro-Soviet, while China, as I have said, is also playing its part.
Dr. Shermake has also been to China. He was there last August. Although, I believe, there are only 30 Chinese Nationals in Somalia the Chinese maintain a large embassy. The rental paid is four times that paid by the British Embassy. But I would add that not all of these Chinese aid offers have been accepted. I say that because I agree with other hon. Members that the Africans are not without good sense and because the West has a great reservoir of good will in Africa.
How can we build on that foundation of good will? I suggest that one thing we could do rather better than in the past, perhaps, is to be faithful to our friends. One does not win new friends by getting rid of old ones. One merely proves oneself to be an unreliable partner. We have tended to accept the argument that once the Communists brand an African at a traitor, or as a "stooge" of the West, be becomes less acceptable to us. President Ahidjo is certainly no "stooge". At a Press conference; in Belgrade, in 1961, he said:Anti-co-onialism is out-dated.I wish that we in this country could learn that lesson; I wish that it could be learnt also in the United States and in the United Nations. He added:Our task is now national construction.I wish that we would carry more of the war into the enemy's camp at the 791 United Nations. I know that there has been an improvement in this respect and I welcome it. A lead in this has been given by President Senghor, who said:…the colonies of the Tsar which now form part of the U.S.S.R.…the Soviet countries of Asia have been granted autonomy and have benefited from remarkable development, but have not yet been granted independence.Even under the smiling régime of Mr. Khrushchev the Soviet empire has had its Kenyattas, Lumumbas and Kaundas. But we do not hear anything about them, for they have all disappeared.
I want to say something about propaganda. The "battle of the air" has been referred to. Has there been any improvement in co-ordination between the B.B.C. and the Voice of America broadcasts to Africa, because sometimes they contradict each other and confuse African listeners? We are up against Peking Radio, which, at the time of the Hausa-Mosli conference, devoted five times as much time to it as did Radio Moscow. The New China News Agency put out 58,000 words about the conference as against the 3,500 put out by the Russians.
There is also a war over books and periodicals. The Russians as part of their aid to Somalia, are putting up a newsprint factory at Mogadishu and on 15th February last the following announcement was broadcast over Radio Hargeisa:Do not forget to subscribe to Russian newspapers. Every regular buyer of Soviet books and newspapers will go on a free trip to the U.S.S.R.We might expect, under the new leadership in Washington and in London, a more robust attitude than has been shown sometimes hitherto to Communist subversion in Africa. I hope that there may be in Washington a better understanding of Europe's problems in Africa, and, perhaps, a better understanding of Nasserism. President Nasser is not a Communist; he locks up Communists. At the same time, Red banners have been able to advance quite a long way behind the green, flag of Pan-Arabism, particularly in Zanzibar and Somalia.
One obstacle to the realization of President Nasser's plans for Africa in his book, The Philosophy of the Revolu- 792 tion, is African memories of the slave trade and of the penetration of Egyptian imperialism, as far south as far as Uganda, in an earlier period. It was Chief Awolowo, of Western Nigeria, who said in September, 1959:Because of its totalitarianism and its territorial ambitions, an effective collaboration with the United Arab Republic would only be possible if the negro peoples of Africa were disposed to become satellites.Much wisdom comes out of Nigeria. I regret that this particular prophet is a little without honour in his own country.
Not that Islam should be considered as a negative or a hostile force. It is a faith which has great appeal in Africa. Both Moslem and Christian are in the forefront of resistance to Marxist Communism. They share the leadership of great ruling political parties, such as the Tanganyika African National Union and the Sierra Leone People's Party. Christians and Moslems in Africa possess many of the secret spiritual weapons needed to defeat the Communist offensive. It was President Sékou Touré, of all people, who pointed out that there was not a man or woman in Africa, least of all in Guinea, who did not believe in God.
In the economic sphere, African States, like others, resent undue dependence on foreign loans and subsidies. Very often in this world we find dislike of benefactors. Resentment against debtor dependence turns men's minds to Communism. Technical assistance to make an economic reality of independence, trade rather than aid, is what, I believe, these new African Governments want. We can do a great deal to win the economic battle against Communism, if, somehow, we can get more stability into the main products of the African territories.
Europe and Africa are interdependent continents. One of the reasons why so many Africans have recently suffered so many things is that the European Powers have been disunited in their decolonialisation. In some cases it has been premature. In some cases it has been disorderly. Many Africans have suffered in consequence. But perhaps now, in forging new reciprocal bonds of equal partnership with the African States, the Europeans might find unity, and in so doing will do much to banish the nightmare of Communism.
§ 3.25 p.m.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)
The hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) has given us at the end of this Friday afternoon an extremely interesting debate on a subject about which we probably do not know enough, and to which we probably do not give enough attention. At the same time, he over-simplified the situation in Africa a great deal. It is much more complicated than he made out. I very much more agree with what was said by the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills).
Someone said that the debate was taking place under the shadow of what is happening in Ghana. So it is, but the complicating factor of Ghana is that the very people whose detentions after acquittal we are objecting to are the people who were supposed to be pro-Communist inside the Ghana leadership. The debate is also taking place under the shadow of what is going on in Aden at the moment. The hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) mentioned events in the southern tip of Arabia, which so much affect the African Continent. Here is an instance in which we in this country play into the hands of the Communists by backing feudal leaders in that part of the world and by suspending elections. That is exactly the way to make Communist propaganda and recruit Communists. We are doing in Aden at this moment the same kind of thing which we object to Dr. Nkrumah doing in Ghana—engaging in detention without trial. Those are some of the complications.
Hon. Members have mentioned the trade union experience in Africa. The hon. Member for St. Albans suggested that this was a straightforward case of Communist infiltration and pressure, but the fact is that in Africa there have been competitive pressures in the trade union world from the West and from the East. The African reaction to that has been increasingly to concentrate on building up the African nationalist trade union centre.
The hon. Member for St. Albans tended to equate neutralism in the new countries of Africa with being pro-Communist. This is not so. In terms of overall Western strategy, the mistake of the late Mr. Dulles was precisely to 794 believe that among the new nations those who were not with us were bound to be against us. In many ways, the wise course is that followed by the succeeding American Administration—to try to give neutralism in the new countries some sort of economic basis as well as some sort of loyalty to the West.
I do not think that the new African nations fit into any preconceived mould, either capitalist or Communist, or, for that matter, democratic Socialist in the sense that we on this side of the House understand it. They are Africans first, and it is rather difficult to foresee exactly what the general shape of African statesmanship is to be in the years immediately ahead. I suspect that the new African nations are just as likely to break Mr. Khrushchev's heart as they have broken Sir Roy Welensky's heart, and I do not think that the Westminster model is much more applicable to African political development than the Moscow model. Africa will go its own way and we have to give what help and guidance we can.
It is an exaggeration to say, as was suggested by the hon. Member for St. Albans and the hon. Member for Chigwell, that the new nations at the United Nations, under this Communist pressure, have turned largely into instruments of Communist diplomacy. The record of the new nations at the United Nations is very different from that. It is remarkable how often they have supported the West. They have often been more pro-United Nations than the West has been at times when some of the Western countries could have backed the United Nations as an international organisation much more enthusiastically than they did.
There is, of course, no doubt—and we must face the fact—that the Communist world will do all it can to win friends and to win power among the new nations of Africa. By a coincidence, I have just returned from a visit to Moscow. I was there last week taking part in a disarmament conference with hon. Members from both sides of this House. I was very interested in the Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow and wanted to see it, but despite persistent efforts I was unable to do so. It may have been an unfortunate coincidence, but I suspect that that they were not too keen on someone from the West 795 inspecting it because there is great deal of information that all does not go smoothly with their efforts to provide scholarships for people coming from Africa.
We had a good meeting with Mr. Mikoyan when we were able to engage in an exchange of questions and points of view. I pressed him to join in a Great Power agreement to try to keep the cold war out of Africa, not merely a nuclear-free zone, but an agreement that we would halt the arms traffic to Africa. I got a very dusty answer indeed. It was quite clear that the Soviet Union is not prepared to adopt that kind of attitude and that it reserves the right to engage in the arming of chosen African countries and chosen nationalist movements. We ought to face this, but it would be quite wrong to go from this to believe that the Communist threat in Africa is of the kind of magnitude which seemed to us to come out of the speech of the hon. Member for St. Albans.
The hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison), who is extremely well-informed in these matters, recited some of the many mistakes the Communists have made in Africa. There was a notorious example of the snow ploughs going to Guinea. The late John Strachey told me that he had seen these himself. It was an understandable mistake, for they were sent in response to a request for tractors for agricultural purposes and something had gone wrong in the process.
I remember how in Nigeria some people were turned back at Lagos Airport because they had been provided in Moscow with visas for the Niger Republic and not for Nigeria. I also remember swimming on the beach at Accra in a very gay and varied throng and seeing two gentlemen dressed in unmistakable lounge suits of Eastern Europe and with soft hats, striding vigorously and determinedly along the beach looking neither to right not left and bathing in splendid isolation. The impression was that the Soviet technicians and other experts were maintaining a position of detachment from the local population rather greater than any British imperialist had done in the past.
As the hon. Member for Chigwell mentioned, the two great Communist countries of the world, the Soviet Union and 796 China, are in very considerable conflict with each other in terms of their approach to Africa. I notice that China is now making very much of a racialist approach to Africa and tending to emphasise that in African eyes the Soviet Union is just another white developed country. In my opinion, these things underline that there is a much more complex state of factors operating there than one would have gathered from the speech of the hon. Member for St. Albans.
I feel that I ought to say this: I thought his speech in many ways did a disservice to the Western position in Africa because of the kind of emphasis in it. If one gains the impression that the West is allowing Africa to be at the mercy of an international Communist conspiracy and that this is in danger of being successful, that greatly underestimates the way in which Western aid to Africa compares with Soviet aid to Africa. It plays into the hands of Communist propagandists who give the impression that the Communist world is helping more generously than the Western world with its assistance. This, of course, is not remotely true.
I do not have the figures with me for the African continent but I recall the figures for Asia, which show that since 1950 Western aid to the Colombo countries of Asia ran at about £5,200 million compared with £375 million of Communist aid. We ought constantly to emphasise how the proportions operate.
That does not mean that there are not many things that the Communists do in the direction of aid from which we could learn. Literature is one good example. The flow of Soviet books into Africa is quite considerable. Some of them are well and skilfully produced and have a marked effect.
It is some years since the British Government committed themselves to trying to compete with that by producing low-priced books with Government assistance. We remember how Lord Hill introduced the scheme to the House and the welcome which it received from both sides. This House would never have welcomed that announcement, however, had we then known that these low-priced books would not be allowed into the Continent of Africa. Some of us have been fighting this for some time. We have made 797 certain inroads into Government policy. Some parts of Africa are now allowed to receive low-priced university textbooks, but the cheap paperbacks, which are the main part of this kind of literary offensive, are not allowed into Africa, because, I think, of a dispute with the publishing interests in this country. Here is something in which the British Government could do a great deal more.
My hon. Friend the Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd) emphasised the Commonwealth's record in terms of promoting political development towards independence which does not lead in the Communist direction. The remarkable thing about all the new nations of the Commonwealth is that there has not so far been one example of a Commonwealth country either going Communist or even being in much danger of doing so. Although the Westminster model will suffer big changes in the new countries, basically most of the Commonwealth countries remain, in the main, democratic. We should remember this.
It is the doctrine of white supremacy in Africa, the doctrine that the European minority in an African country should have a privileged position, that is the best recruiting ground for Communism in Africa. It is the kind of democratic things that we have tried to do in our Commonwealth policies that meet the Communist challenge in Africa in the most effective way.
The West starts with a big lead in the Continent of Africa. The astonishing thing about Africa is how slow the Communists have been in getting off the mark. It is only in comparatively recent years that they have started to establish the kind of expert institutions in Moscow that are the basis for this kind of offensive. If one compares Communist activity in Africa with Asia, there is a gap of almost two generations between them. It is important for the West to make the most of these advantages. The best way in which we can make the most of them is to give help to the new countries of Africa, because this is the right thing to do, and not simply from the negative viewpoint of anti-Communism.
§ 3.38 p.m.
§ Mr. T. H. H. Skeet (Willesden, East)
It is only right to say that ten times as 798 much aid is supplied by the Western world generally than is supplied by the Soviet bloc. Those were the figures that were current last year and I believe that the position is almost the same today. The other factor which must be remembered is that of the money promised by the U.S.S.R., only a small proportion of it is actually advanced. When one recognises this position, one realises the immense contribution made by the Western world to Africa generally.
The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) has rightly indicated that there are a number of cross-issues in Africa. There is the attempt by the Soviet bloc to put across its ideas and to persuade the people to adopt either Chinese Communism or the Soviet Communism emanating from the Kremlin. Mr. Khrushchev put it rather well when he said:We value trade least for economic reasons and more for political purposes.It is right that we should bear this in mind, because this is the purpose of the Soviet Union in Africa. It works through trade in the first instance and then moves towards other ulterior purposes if it can achieve them.
I have had a certain amount of experience in Africa. When I was at Lagos last year I noticed that at the trade fail there were a number of Russian exhibits of Sputnikry, agricultural equipment, mining equipment, and so on, which was well displayed. I noticed also that there was a definition of Communism in some of the literature. Certain points as to why the local people should accept that philosophy were explained. I would have thought that, if there was to be a non-political approach at trade fairs, they would have steered clear of politics, but the Communists have no intention of keeping their politics out of trade with Africa.
I noticed at Katsina that literature was on offer by local retailers which apparently had been given to them. They could sell it at whatever prices they could get for it. I saw this also at Port Harcourt. Much of this literature is being pushed in through Soviet agencies and distributed in this way. A few years ago in Rhodesia one could turn on the Chinese radio at 4.30 p.m. and hear a simplified version of the 799 ideology of the Chinese and Russian peoples, and the form of belief which they were ready to make available to the people of the African Continent. They believed in Horace's principle: ten times repeated and it pleases—Decies repetita place bit—and observed it intently. I believe that, if a falsehood is mentioned often enough in an area where people are just beginning to think, some of it begins to creep in and will have the most dangerous consequences.
I realise that I have only a limited time this afternoon. I believe that much more could be made of the British Council abroad. Will it appreciate that there is a danger? There are certain built-in resistances in Africa, partly from religion, partly from tribalism, and partly because of the newly acquired nationalism. Some of these features operate in favour of the West. We must not overlook the fact that the Russians have concluded trade agreements with a number of countries, which include Guinea, Libya, Morrocco, Nigeria, Tanganyika, Sudan and a number of others, and that technical arrangements have been concluded with the Cameroons, Ghana, Algeria, Mali, and a number of other territories. These all mean initial penetration by the Soviet Union. There is nothing wrong with aid or trade in itself. International trade is one way of lowering tension. However, the words of Khrushchev that this is only a beginning of political penetration shows that it is not for the good of the African but only to subvert his true interests.
The principle of one man one vote has been mentioned. It is right to say that this concept originated in this Chamber. However, in Africa it does not mean one man one vote. It means votes for the men but not necessarily for the women in many cases. Therefore, it is not democracy which is being extended. The Western world has a great deal to offer. I do not think that the African wants Communism because it means totalitarianism. I suppose that one thing can be said in defence of Nkrumah. He has been led on as though he was playing a game of chess to a checkmate. From step to step he has been falling into the traps which have been laid before him. I think that he intended to maintain a democratic State but he found that 800 the people had not been brought up to a standard whereby democratic principles could be maintained and he has been forced further along autocratic lines.
The Africans have a right to make their own mistakes and perpetrate their own errors. The only hope is that in the end they will resort to democracy and recognise with full sympathy that what the West is endeavouring to do for them is for their own advantage.
§ 3.45 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Peter Smithers)
We have had an extremely interesting debate and all hon. Members who have taken part have obviously given a good deal of time and thought to this important subject. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) for giving us this opportunity. He spoke on a number of important aspects and I shall do my best to comment on most of them.
In drawing attention to the obvious dangers of the situation my hon. Friend drew too sombre a picture in some respects. I do not think that we are faced with anything like a complete Communist take-over in Africa. Nor do I think that time is against us. I agree with the warnings he gave of potential dangers, but I see many answers which we are able to give to them in practice in Africa.
My hon. Friend the Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) asked about the B.B.C. and the Voice of America. This is a complex matter from a constitutional point of view. As my hon. Friend knows, the B.B.C. is not controlled by Her Majesty's Government, although we take every opportunity to see that it is informed of our policy. The Voice of America, on the other hand, is an organ of the United States Government. It is, I suppose, difficult for the B.B.C. to be in direct consultation with the Voice of America and I do not imagine that it is, but I dare say that the words spoken by my hon. Friend will be noted by the B.B.C.
I do not accept that complete uniformity of speeches, and so on, in the West is necessarily a good way of advancing our case. There is something 801 appallingly monotonous in the eternally repeated Communist arguments which are always the same from whichever source they seem to come. They are very unconvincing and as long as we are agreed in principle about what we are trying to do I do not think that total uniformity is necessarily desirable in itself.
My hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Skeet) and the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd) referred to the British Council. The hon. Member for Accrington said that this was a good way of showing the Communists that there is something better, and I agree with him. My hon. Friend the Member for Willesden, East said that we were confronted in Africa with the situation in which people were beginning to think about political and other problems for the first time and that the British Council was important in this context.
I wish to emphasise that the British Council is in no sense a political organisation and that it is not in any way to be thought of in connection with the wagging of political warfare. It is precisely because people who go to the British Council to study or for information are dealing with an institution which is directed to the academic and practical study of particular problems that it is not in a political context. That is why it is of such great service in Africa, where there are about 80 British Council officials.
My hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills), in a most thoughtful and balanced speech, spoke of the position of the Africans at the United Nations and I very much agreed with his remarks. I was at the United Nations when the new African states began arriving in force. I watched them in operation there for three years. It was for most of them their first experience in international affairs. While, inevitably, a good many mistakes were made by some of them at the outset—and a good many misapprehensions collected by some of them, and doubtless retained until now—it was remarkable how quickly and with what avidity they learned the lessons of politics. Their arrival at the United Nations and their participation in international affairs through the medium of that body has 802 been of great benefit to the free world. On balance, this has been a considerable disadvantage to the Communist States.
I very much agree with the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) when he stresses the complexity of this problem. It is, of course, increasingly complex as Africa begins to develop along political as well as economic lines. I have little time now, but I should like to offer a few thoughts on the subject. First, we ought to try and cast our minds back to the end of the Second World War and wonder how the prospect in Africa looked to Stalin. Undoubtedly, he judged it in terms of Marxist-Leninist theory, of which he was an extremely careful student and great exponent.
This, of course, predicated a lot of developments which have not taken place. It predicated the decline and collapse of the Western Powers. It predicated a great out-pouring of plenty in the Marxist-Leninist State. It predicated that there would be one continuing authentic source and citadel of the doctrine of Marxist-Leninism. It certainly looked to a state of affairs where, whereas Lenin himself had pointed out, that the intermediate stage of capitalism in Africa would be missed out, in spite of many difficulties it might be expected that the former colonies would become ready recruits to the Communist bloc.
All these things have proved to be erroneous predictions, and it seems to have become apparent to the Russians during the years since the war that they knew extremely little about Africa and its problems as indeed might be seen by studying their actions in practice. Therefore, they went to great trouble to embark upon a systematic series of Africa studies in the Soviet Union. Seminars set to work and an immense amount of information was collected, and instead of expecting an immediate and rapid development they clearly began to make basic preparation for the long-term development of Communism in Africa by equipping themselves with information and preparing themselves to take advantage of such opportunity as might occur.
I believe that there was one serious miscalculation on the part of the Russians which I have not mentioned and to which 803 I now turn, and that is about the impact on the situation in Africa of British policy. No doubt they expected that the liberation of the colonial peoples would take place in an atmosphere of violent conflict between the colonial Powers and their former colonies. It must have been a great surprise and extremely disconcerting for their political planning to find India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma and then all the nations of Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, and so forth, achieve their independence with generous aid from this country and in close collaboration with the Colonial Office itself or the other equivalent Departments in London throughout the process. After the liberation, relations with us remained on the whole extremely close and friendly.
In other words, I think that, throughout, the Communists, in their planning in Africa, were misled by the theories of Marxist-Leninism and that this is what has caused them to undertake the extensive operation in Africa to which my hon. Friends have drawn attention as a kind of substitute for the situation which never came about. Their activities, as my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans has described them, fell roughly into military and economic agreements, which involve the importation of technicians who very often are not technicians, and the training of personnel in the Soviet Union. We look with very great misgivings on some of these agreements, such as the one recently concluded by Somalia.
There is the attempt then to make use of the Pan-African organisations. This is standard Marxist-Leninist technique. One penetrates the bourgeois institutions and then turns them to one's own purposes. Here, I think, Africans are already beginning to see that as these organisations become penetrated, instead of serving African purposes which they were intended to do, they begin to serve Communist purposes which they were not intended to do, and I think that Africans are quite intelligent and observant enough to see this process as it goes on.
In this connection, one also has to bear in mind the appearance of the Chinese upon the scene in massive strength, and, as I have very little time this evening, I commend the House to an admirable article in The Times today, 804 in case some hon. Members may not have had an opportunity yet to see it, which gives an interesting and, I think, accurate description of what is going on there.
I must say that although, obviously, the dangers of a massive Chinese assault on Africa are apparent, nevertheless the fact that the Chinese and the Russians are operating there in intense rivalry lends an element of flexibility to the political situation in Africa which has a certain merit. The more that we can get away from the monolithic confrontation of East and West the more likely I think it is that a healthy political life will grow up in Africa as elsewhere.
I wish to say just a word about students. Myhon. Friends have described the dangers which beset them on their journeys to the Soviet Union and other countries. Two things have to be observed here. One is that very many students who go to Communist countries are not at all impressed by what they see and I have met a number in Russia and outside it who can testify to this fact.
The other point is that we must bear in mind the scale of operations here. For every one student from Africa in the Communist countries, there are more than ten in the West, and when they come to the West I think they are, by and large, very satisfied with their treatment. They get the education that they came for, and not a lot of indoctrination in subversive practices and so forth, and I think they go back feeling that their objective has been achieved.
In spite of the organised attack upon the situation, there is a good deal of opportunism in the Russian attitude as well. The very large Russian staffs in countries where there are no resident Russian colonies and negligible amounts of Russian trade speak for themselves. They are ready for use if the situation should permit, as it has twice done in the Congo in recent years.
Then, as my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite have pointed out, there are points of friction, of which the situation in South Africa is the most serious. This is the situation which Lenin would have prescribed, where there is a violent conflict between the white successors of the colonial Power and the indigenous inhabitants. I am 805 sure that an ill-service is done by trying to paint all who oppose apartheid, as being Communists, as there is a tendency in South Africa to do. This action is exactly the Communist objective, as the article in the Daily Worker about my hon. Friend makes clear. The Daily Worker is seeking to identify as closely as possible the Communist Party with opposition to apartheid. We know that the Communist Party is opposed to apartheid, and so are a great many people throughout the world who are not Communists.
What are the ways in which we can influence the situation? They are by trade, aid and political actions. Our trade is massive. Our aid is far in excess of anything that the Communist Powers can show, and we are taking steps throughout all the international organisations and in other ways to reduce the barriers to it. Politically, I do not doubt that the Africans are well able to detect the essential differences between the politics of the free world and the Communist bloc, and to make their own choice.
§ Question put and agreed to.
That this House notes with grave concern the continuing use of subversion by Communist countries to destroy the influence of the West in Africa, and being aware of the likely effects of this campaign upon the lives of the Africans themselves and the free world, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to take all possible steps both in the United Nations and elsewhere to counteract this threat.