§ 3.43 p.m.
§ The First Secretary of State (Mr. R. A. Butler)
I was under the impression that the subject being an Opposition choice, the Opposition would lead in the debate, but I am ready to open it and, I hope, to set the tone of it. I hope that this debate may follow a constructive course and that hon. Members will address themselves to constructive steps which would help us towards a solution of the problem in Central Africa.
Before I come to the constructive steps, hon. Members have taken an interest in the White Paper which was published on the subject of statements which were made during the Conference of 1953, and while I do not intend to spend very much time on this subject, I wish to devote the first few minutes of my speech to deal with them.
Allegations have been made that in accepting that Nyasaland should withdraw from the Federation Her Majesty's Government have not held to undertakings given in 1953. This matter has been dealt with in the White Paper, to which I refer hon. Members. References were made in relation to the Review Conference which was to be held in seven to nine years' time.
§ Sir James Duncan (South Angus)
On a point of order. As I understood it, Mr. Speaker, you put the Question on Report 1458 on the Vote on Account and collected the voices. You were then in somewhat of a dilemma because nobody rose to speak. The next item——
§ Mr. Speaker
I beg pardon if I did so. I did not realise that. I hope that the House will treat it as a folly on my part. I was thinking about the next thing. We are, in fact, discussing the Question arising on whether or no we agree with the Resolution. I beg pardon if I did something so foolish.
§ Mr. Butler
On that assumption, I shall proceed with what I was saying.
At the time, the British Ministers referred to the undeniable power of this Parliament to legislate in whatever way it might think fit for the Federation which was then being established. This power was referred to by one of the Southern Rhodesian Ministers as that of the United Kingdom Parliament and Government to give and to take away. It was also made clear that Parliament would not act irresponsibly or high-handedly to bring the Federation to an end.
As hon. Members who have read the White Paper realise, the discussion was in somewhat colloquial terms, and it may be that the informal nature of the language used has given rise to later misunderstanding as to what was intended at the time. But what I regard as a matter of the greatest significance—and I am sure that hon. Members will agree—is that the two Secretaries of State who took part in this discussion have publicly made it clear in another place that they did not regard themselves as having given a pledge of the kind which the Federal Government claims has been given. The Secretaries of State freely acknowledge, as we all do, that the Federation was founded in a spirit of hope that the new society being created in Central Africa would prosper and endure; but they also insist that nothing in that discussion was intended as a pledge so as to fetter the powers of the United Kingdom Parliament.
I am sure that hon. Members wish to respect the statements to which I have referred which have recently been made by the former Secretaries of State, and while I do not want to spend a long time on this aspect, as I wish to discuss the future, I wish to adduce one or two 1459 extra arguments, because these statements are borne out as being correct by what happened subsequently to the colloquial interchanges to which I referred.
The Conference was followed by an enabling Act—the Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Federation) Act—which authorised the making of the Federation of Rhodesia (Constitution) Order in Council, 1953. Section 1 (2) of the Act provided that the Order in Council might authorise the Amendment or revocation of any of its provisions, but went on to use the following wordsbut save as may be so authorised, that Order in Council shall not be capable of being revoked or amended except by Act of Parliament".This Section of the Act removes any doubt, if doubt there be, that the United Kingdom Parliament could revoke or amend the Constitution Order in Council.
If I may summarise briefly what I have said, it is that neither the verbatim record nor the formal instruments which were enacted as a result of its report support the assertion that any undertaking limiting the powers of the United Kingdom Parliament was given at that time. Had such an undertaking been given, as has been claimed, it would have amounted virtually to a pledge of indissolubility and permanent veto, which I do not think was envisaged by anybody.
There is one other claim that is made, and that is that the Federation Constitution made no provision for secession from the Federation, and the then Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1953 endorsed the view that no such provision should be made, but it is borne out quite clearly in the White Paper that it cannot be argued that the omission of a provision for secession itself implies a guarantee of permanence.
The really important point to bear in mind in this context is the one which is so clearly expressed in paragraph 14 of the White Paper, namely, that the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government for the inhabitants of Nyasaland as a territory under the special protection of Her Majesty remained unimpaired by the establishment of the Federation. Given the express wish of the majority of the inhabitants of 1460 Nyasaland to withdraw from the Federation, it would, in the Government's view, have been a breach of their obligations to the people of the Protectorate to disregard that wish.
During recent public discussion, it has been said that whatever were the obligations of Her Majesty's Government—with which I have dealt quite shortly—whether to one party or another, the acceptance that Nyasaland should withdraw from the Federation ought to have been made as a result of consultation and agreement. I have not had an opportunity of speaking on this matter, although I have read or listened to many public statements in this sense. The implication is that there was no consultation and, in particular, that there was no consultation between Her Majesty's Government and the Federal Government in this matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ever since I became the Minister responsible for Central Africa, I have been most careful to keep the Federal Government informed of my view of the situation. As long ago as 8th May, 1962, I made it clear that Her Majesty's Government recognised the position of the Malawi Ministers, namely, that they were not prepared to remain within the present Federation.
In my first visit to the Federation in that month which followed shortly after that debate, I put this point to the Federal Government. Indeed, I have a strange proof that all this is correct, because it emerges in the White Paper which the Federal Prime Minister laid before the Federal Assembly on 19th December. The White Paper in fact constitutes a record—although an ex parte record—of a continuous process of consultation over the whole period which led up to my announcement about Nyasaland on 19th December. It must be rare for a Minister to find himself quoted with such accuracy in a document published by another Government, and find nothing to which to object in that document.
I will not, therefore, weary the House with lengthy extracts from the White Paper. I would, however, mention in passing paragraph 54, in which I am recorded as having informed Sir Roy Welensky, in discussions which took place in London in September of last year, that as I had told him previously, 1461opinion in the Federation had to accept that Nyasaland was already virtually an African state and that it was therefore a special problem.I am on record then as having gone on to express my hope that if the emotional issue of secession could be buried the present Nyasaland leaders might be persuaded to adopt a constructive attitude towards the retention of trade and other links with the two Rhodesias, but that I did not think that there was any hope for this unless the right to secede was granted.
Succeeding paragraphs in the White Paper record consultations through the British High Commissioner in Salisbury. Finally, in paragraph 77 of the White Paper published by the Federal Government, there is a reference to the fact that for virtually the whole week immediately preceding that in which I made my statement in the House I was in consultation with three Federal Ministers who came to London specifically for that purpose.
If there was consultation on this scale —as there was—it is natural to ask why, in the event, Her Majesty's Government had to take action without obtaining the Federal Government's agreement. I have never had an opportunity of explaining this, although it has been explained for me in another place on other occasions. I will now answer the question quite simply. During the consultations—particularly those which immediately preceded my statement on 19th December—the Federal Government made it quite clear, as is shown from paragraph 74 of their own White Paper, that they would not be prepared to accept any announcement which conceded secession to Nyasaland unless it incorporated what they would regard as—and these are their words:satisfactory guarantees for the continuance of a strong political and economic association between the two Rhodesias.That is brought out quite clearly in the Federal Government's own White Paper.
Anyone who has studied this subject must be well aware of the importance and of the merits of such a strong and continuing link between the Rhodesias, but I must make it clear to the House that it was not within the power of Her Majesty's Government to give a firm 1462 guarantee on the lines required by the Federal Government. We could not have promised that at the time because we were not in a position to give that promise. In short, the position is that we consulted, we tried to reach an agreement, but were unable to do so. My duty to Nyasaland remained, and I acted according to my duty. That is all I need say on the subject of consultation, and on the subject of the White Paper published by the Federal Government. If there are any other matters requiring an answer in this connection my right hon. and learned Friend will be replying at the end of the debate.
There are various other aspects of the situation in Central Africa which I want to put before the House. First, before I turn to my recent visit to Central Africa I should like to refer to Southern Rhodesia. I am certain that the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) will raise matters relating to Southern Rhodesia, and I should like to refer to them ahead. Since my visit the House will be aware that the Legislative Assembly has met in Southern Rhodesia. Their Government, as is healthy, is facing a vigorous Opposition—unlike our Opposition—which includes the first Africans ever to sit in the Southern Rhodesia Parliament.
I realise that hon. Members may criticise very strongly certain pieces of legislation proposed by the Southern Rhodesia Government. In particular, I have had a great deal of correspondence on the subject of the amendments to the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act, which are under consideration at the moment, and which provide for a mandatory death penalty for certain offences involving the use of petrol bombs and explosives. Any hon. Member of this House is fully entitled to his views on these matters, but the point I want to stress is that the real forum for their discussion is the Southern Rhodesia Parliament itself.
I will, if pressed, expand on what I said in a previous debate upon the position of this Parliament vis-à-vis the Southern Rhodesia constitution, and the very little power we have to intervene. When I last spoke I explained this relationship very closely. When I was in Southern Rhodesia on this occasion I was able to meet Mr. Nkomo and his main associates and lieutenants, and—as I shall explain later, when I am going into more detail 1463 of my tour—other representative people, and I took every opportunity of passing all their views to the Government concerned, with a view to their registering the feelings held on these subjects.
I shall no doubt be asked questions about Mr. Nkomo and the incident in which he and his companions were concerned, at Rusape, on 9th February. The proceedings in which they were involved later that day led to their arrest for an offence under the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act, and they are also appearing in court on an alternative charge of common assault. My latest information is that the case has been postponed until the end of March, and therefore it is still sub judice.
I want to make one matter clear, even if I cannot go into the court case, and that is that we have been able to ascertain that no restriction on Mr. Nkomo's general political activities is intended. Indeed, Mr. Dupont, who as hon. Members will know is the Minister of Justice in the present Southern Rhodesia Government, said in the course of the Second Reading debate in the Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly on the Unlawful Organisations Amendment Bill—I quote his actual words:I wish to make it perfectly clear that it is not the Government's intention in any way to stifle opposition or to prevent the creation of political parties provided that those parties act constitutionally, and I would point out that the amending Bill places no obstacle whatever in the way of the formation of those parties…He went on to say that such parties should act without intimidation and without violence. I hope that Mr. Winston Field's Government are prepared to see Mr. Nkomo and his associates return to active political life, provided—and I think hon. Members will agree that this is a reasonable proviso—that they act constitutionally. In conversations and contacts I had with Mr. Nkomo I put this point of view to him as well.
I do not doubt that in the course of the debate reference will be made to the granting of independence to Southern Rhodesia on the lines which the hon. Member has put to me on previous occasions, namely that it should not be granted except on certain conditions. I cannot say anything more than what I said on 3rd December, namely, that this 1464 issue is not at present before us. All I can say is that if it does come up I shall have to discuss it with the Governments, and I shall naturally have to listen to this debate before I can take up any further position. If the hon. Member has any points to put on this perhaps he will bear that in mind.
I also want to make a short reference to the case which I am sure will be raised—I am trying to put for him some of the points which the hon. Member may raise—of Dr. Terence Ranger, because there has been a great deal of feeling and interest in this case in this country. I ought, first, to make clear that his deportation was not initiated by the present Southern Rhodesian Government but by the previous one. A deportation order was served on Dr. Ranger on 11th January. He had at that time recently completed a period of restriction following the banning of Z.A.P.U. Dr. Ranger appealed, but the Federal Supreme Court has recently ruled that the Federal Government acted lawfully in declaring him a "prohibited immigrant". I understand that Dr. Ranger has been granted a year's sabbatical leave from University College. I must make it clear—I am mentioning this because I realise that the feelings about it, which have also been brought to my attention in my office and which will be raised in the debate this afternoon—that this decision is from the constitutional point of view wholly within the competence of the Federal authorities.
I thought it right, however, to approach our High Commissioner in Salisbury and to ask him to get in touch with the Governments concerned; that is when the decision an the appeal became known to me. I arranged that the High Commissioner should convey to them the depth of feeling there is in this country on this subject. The Federal and Southern Rhodesia Governments have now informed the High Commissioner that they would wish Dr. Ranger to make application to return to the Federation on the termination of his sabbatical year and they have gone so far as to say that his application will then be considered on its merits. I am sorry that I cannot take the case further, but I have at least done my best by making representations to show the importance I attach to it.
1465 Now I should like to make a survey of a rather more protracted nature of my recent visit and share with the House what I think the situation is in Central Africa so that, together in the course of this debate with any constructive ideas which are put forward from either side of the House, we may approach nearer to a solution. I did not say much in my statement when I got back, so I shall endeavour to bring out the facts as I see them rather more clearly now that we have the opportunity of a debate. To that extent I am glad that we are having this debate today. I undertook the tour because I wished not only to carry forward the arrangements for the secession of Nyasaland, but also to meet the two new Governments recently elected in Northern and Southern Rhodesia and renew contact with the Federal Government.
I therefore visited all three territories and met a great variety of persons and organisations. As I have said, I met Mr. Nkomo and his principal lieutenants and representatives of the Pan-African Socialist Union and of liberal organisations in the territory. If the claims on my time had not been so pressing in the various interviews I was obliged to hold, I could have met more people, but I think that on this occasion I managed fairly widely to meet both those who agree and who disagree with the regimes in existence. In Nysasland I met representatives of the opposition United Federal Party, the Settlers' and Residents' Association and the tea planters. who naturally discussed with me the question of safeguards for the European minority. I discussed with them the proposals for a Bill of Rights which had been agreed at the Nyasaland Constitutional Conference. They were particularly concerned about the security of freehold title in the territory, on which Dr. Banda made a reassuring speech on the occasion of his assuming the office of Prime Minister on the last Friday of my visit.
In Northern Rhodesia I met the Litunga of Barotseland, who travelled from his capital of Mongu to meet me in Lusaka. There are two main features of the Barotse problem; first, the question of its internal administration, and, second, the question of Barotseland's future relations with Her Majesty's Government and with 1466 Northern Rhodesia. On the first matter, that of internal administration, I encouraged the Litunga to pursue measures of internal reform which were already under consideration, but which had not been carried very far. I also recommended him to appoint a new Prime Minister. Whatever the future of the country, it is important that the internal administration should be brought up-to-date, and with this the Litunga agreed.
I also pointed out the importance of establishing a development plan for Barotseland since its economic future must depend upon its own efforts as well as upon its contacts with Northern Rhodesia. The more one sees of the place the more one realises the importance of those contacts owing to the size of the economy and the size of the country. The major problem, that is the constitutional future, is at present under study and further discussions with the Litunga and the Northern Rhodesia Government will be necessary. It is one of the matters which will have to be resolved as part of the future constitutional pattern of the region in conjunction with the constitutional issues to which I shall now refer.
In Northern Rhodesia I met members of the United Federal Party opposition as well as members of the Government, to whom I shall refer later. I never intended during the tour that final decisions should be reached since it was essential to ascertain differing points of view. I must stress, first, that the points of view as to the course to be adopted in the future vary considerably. I did, however, find a general disposition among all the Governments to look to the future and not simply to live in the past. I found that invariably to be the case.
As regards Nyasaland, I discussed with the Federal and the Nyasaland Governments the setting up of a working party. This, I hope, will shortly be able to start its work, after further discussions to be undertaken with the Federal Government about its terms of reference, to carry out an examination of the various practical aspects of the secession exercise.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)
I am sorry to intervene, and I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. Could he say whether it is intended to bring the other territorial Governments 1467 into these discussions? If, as seems to be the case, the Federation itself is not likely to last very much longer, is not the division of its assets essentially a matter for the three Governments concerned rather than for the Federal Government and one of the territories?
§ Mr. Butler
I was coming to that and to the arrangements we have made to bring them in as necessary. I was just going to say that this working party will be presided over by a United Kingdom Chairman, Sir George Curtis, and will consist of representatives of the Federal and Nyasaland Government, backed by the necessary territorial and other experts. This is the sentence that I was just coming to: to the extent that matters affecting Southern and Northern Rhodesia arise, arrangements will be made in consultation between the Chairman and the Governments concerned for representatives of those Governments to take part in the discussions as necessary. I hope that answers the hon. Gentleman.
I have been asked by the Governments principally concerned, namely, the Federal Government and the Nyasaland Government, whether matters which arise which are of first-class importance will be referable to the respective Government as necessary as the work goes on. This, of course, will be the best way to resolve the major issues involved. I need only add that we shall attach the technical, official and other advisers to the team necessary to carry out the work of the working party. There is no doubt that a great deal of hard and intricate work will have to be done. The whole range of financial and administrative problems will have to be covered.
There is the question of the adjudication of a fair proportion of the Federal debt which can or should be apportioned to Nyasaland. There is the question of the transfer to Nyasaland of the great services at present carried out by the Federal Government, such as the health service. These services, as hon. Members will realise, employ a great many public servants, both European and African. We are naturally very anxious about their future, and we are anxious that the transfer of such officers shall be effected in the most sensible manner possible, both in regard to the future of the services and of the officers 1468 themselves. Therefore, it is important that this aspect of the work should be carried out in a just and humane way.
There is at the moment a great deal of pressure for a date to be given for the final secession of Nyasaland from the Federation. I must say that it is impossible to fix a date at the present time. The work must be thoroughly and conscientiously done and, whatever arrangements are made, I think that we must keep our minds open as to the final date when secession can be formally effected.
Hon. Members have shown an interest in the effects on Nyasaland of the withdrawal in the financial sense. These are bound, as I have said before, to be very serious, but I believe that there is a readiness on the part of Malawi Ministers to face their problems in a realistic way. Until the consequences of withdrawal have been worked out in detail, it is not possible to judge to what extent and over what period the Nyasaland Government may need financial help in addition to their own efforts to bridge the gap. Our approach to this aspect of the question when it is reached will, of course, be sympathetic. So much for the work of the Nyasaland secession exercise which is likely to be laborious and difficult.
I now come to the problem of the two Rhodesias. The attitude of Her Majesty's Government is to do all we can to secure an acceptable form of association in the future which will preserve the very real benefits which past association has procured. It would be short-sighted not to attempt to secure really valuable links for the future in the interests of all races.
Let us now therefore consider in more detail than I was able to do when I made my statement the point of view of the Southern and Northern Rhodesian Governments. Since our last debate, the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Mr. Winston Field, has made a speech in his own Parliament. He said that the decision of the British Government to allow the secession of Nyasaland and the accession to power of the new Coalition Government in Northern Rhodesia brought the whole question of the future of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland to the fore. Little as Southern Rhodesia wanted to become involved in more constitutional crises, it was obvious 1469 that I, as the First Secretary, would be attempting to find a solution to the whole problem of the future of the three territories, or at any rate two of them, probably with a looser arrangement for the third, that is, Nyasaland.
Mr. Field went on to say that he had never made any proposals to take Southern Rhodesia out of the Federation or to break it up. He said that he had worked hard to make the Federation succeed. However, it was also his duty to say openly that for various reasons the Federation was not working smoothly. It became obvious to him in each of his tours of the Northern Territories.
He went on to say that an economic association is best supported by a political tie. Nevertheless, in this speech he questioned whether, in the light of the attitude of political leaders in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia, the political association between the two Rhodesias should be allowed to deteriorate until the final break-up of the Federation was arrived at with the loss of all friendly relations between the territories.
He went on to ask whether the maintenance of economic association and future economic links should not be a matter of direct negotiation between the Governments concerned. Mr. Field also stressed the importance of handling these matters without delay in the interests of the certainty which is so much desired not only by the business world but by the Governments and by members of all races in Central Africa.
Mr. Field had already met Dr. Banda. I am in the priceless position of having had a report of the conversations from both of them, and I am sure that hon. Members will be glad to hear that the reports tallied very closely as to what happened. I am sure the conservations were very useful. I do not doubt that Mr. Field will be ready to engage in talks with the leaders of the Government in Northern Rhodesia.
When I met the members of the Executive Council in Northern Rhodesia the elected Ministers made their views very plain to me. These views were expanded and made even plainer at a meeting which I had with representatives of the A.N.C. and U.N.I.P. following on a caucus meeting which lasted four hours, the whole of that morning. I was able 1470 to meet many of the Parliamentary Secretaries and I was struck by their vigour and enthusiasm. They made it plain that they did not wish to continue with the Federation and that they wanted a new Territorial Constitution providing for universal adult suffrage, an enlarged Legislative Council, and a considerable reduction in the powers of the United Kingdom in relation to the territory.
These views were embodied in resolutions which have since been carried in the Legislative Council in Northern Rhodesia. I must make it plain that they were carried by the elected members, the official Ministers refraining from taking part in the debate, and remaining thereby outside. These were the views of the elected members as passed by two resolutions through the Northern Rhodesia Legislative Council. As regards the question of constitutional change, everyone recognises that the present Constitution is a very complicated one, but it has produced a legislature which reflects the main shades of political opinion in the country on the major political issues of the time, and also a new African Coalition Government which is setting about its tasks in a constructive manner. Opportunity should be given to the new constitution to work and establish thereby the experience necessary for further advance. At the same time, the House must be in no doubt that the aspirations of the new Government towards future constitutional advance are pressing upon us.
I was also informed that, subject to the views which they had expressed, elected Ministers were prepared to attend a conference to be followed by the appointment of a Commission to work out new links between the two Rhodesias. In the light of the statement which I have made about the points of view which have been put by both the Southern and Northern Rhodesian Governments, I will say that Her Majesty's Government have been giving careful consideration to both those points of view and I am at present in contact with, and I will maintain contact with, the Governments concerned. I repeat that it is Her Majesty's Government's position that we should like to see the best possible association negotiated. It is also important that the 1471 Federal Government should have full opportunity to express its own views about the future, and to that end I am also maintaining contact with the Federal Government.
The hon. Member for Leeds, East and the House may well ask whether I have a conference in mind. I shall be glad to listen to the opinions of hon. Members on this subject, because I wish to obtain the voices and views of the House on the important matters which we are discussing this afternoon. But I thiink that the House will agree, having heard the impressions which I have given of my visit, which are borne out by public statements made in both of the territories with which I am concerned, that our objective should be to bring the parties together so that they may, with us, plan their future association together.
We can obtain a lasting settlement only if it is acceptable, and this makes it all the more important that the parties principally concerned should meet each other. We should bring them together on as constructive a basis as possible. I think that there is a general feeling in Central Africa that, given the difficulties of the problems which face us, some preparatory work will be necessary before any formal conference can be held. This, I think, is a sensible way of proceeding. I am therefore at present urgently considering the initiation of such preparatory talks. I think that the House will agree that, the difficulties being as they are, a sense of urgency must be tempered with patience if we are to achieve results.
In concluding my opening speech, I should again like to repeat that I wish to hear the points of view expressed by hon. Members before I take the next step. When I heard that the Opposition had decided to select this subject for today on the Vote on Account, I thought that it was timely and suitable, in order that hon. Members on both sides of the House could express their views about a constructive attitude to the future. I have spent a little time on the White Paper which we published, but most of my time has purposely been spent on the attitude which is being taken up in Central Africa at present.
1472 I should like to say a further word about the position of Her Majesty's Government. During the past weeks and months we have been accused of yielding to pressure, of dilatory tactics and even of not carrying out our duty in the territories concerned. These accusations and complaints have no foundation whatever, and the one which has the least foundation is the allegation that the difficulties of the situation in Central Africa are due to Her Majesty's Government and Her Majesty's Government alone. This is quite untrue. The difficulties of association which now face us spring from the realities of the situation. They spring from facts which the House must meet and face. They spring from the complete alteration in the whole attitude of Africa itself, which has grown particularly strong in the last few years.
In saying these things, I do not wish for one moment to underrate the great achievements which have been accomplished in the last ten years; particularly on the fiscal and economic side, they have to be seen to be understood, and when they are understood, all praise goes to those leaders who have brought them about. Nevertheless, when I said that there is a feeling of looking into the future, I included all the Governments. I believe that there is a general realisation today that it is reasonable to look at some new form of association. It is because I believe that there is a general feeling to this end, and because I believe that the more people study this the more they understand that the facts spring from the Central African situation itself and not from any particular mismanagement on any side, that I believe that we can have a generous approach to this problem and, with the aid of the House, perhaps have a constructive settlement. At any rate, I am glad to have opened the debate with an appeal for a constructive attitude.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
On a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman indicated earlier in his speech that we could not discuss the position of Mr. Nkomo, since he has been arrested and charged and we were therefore precluded from discussing the matter by the sub judice rule. In my submission the sub judice rule has never applied to foreign tribunals. As far as I remember, 1473 we had a debate on the arrest of the Vickers' engineers in Russia before the war. In my submission, that situation also applies to self-governing Dominions which, for this purpose, count as foreign courts, since their jurisdiction lies outside the area of our power. Speaking from recollection, I think I am right in saying that we have touched on the arrest of the Opposition leaders in Ghana and, I think, in Nigeria in the last Session or two Sessions. In my submission, the same situation applies to Southern Rhodesia.
§ Mr. Speaker
I did not understand that the right hon. Gentleman said that our sub judice rule applied in this case. As far as I recollect his words, they were that the matter was sub judice and that he would not discuss it. What the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) said to me about our rule is quite right; we can discuss this matter. But I did not understand the right hon. Gentleman to be asserting the contrary.
§ 4.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)
Hon. Members on both sides of the House welcome the first Secretary back from his tour of Central Africa. We feel that he has a political style and personality of a consistency which is rare on the Government benches, and his speech this afternoon will give us a number of new Butlerisms to add to our treasury.
Nevertheless, it was very disappointing. We had all hoped and had been given to believe by the First Secretary when he spoke in the last debate two months ago that his forthcoming tour of Central Africa would make it possible for him to take certain decisions as to the Government's policy on the future of the Federation, decisions which have been overdue for a very long time. Yet in the course of his speech he gave us very little beyond a travel diary, and in the course of this diary he told us a great deal about what other people had said to him and virtually nothing about what he had said to them.
He spent a great deal of time on the things which Her Majesty's Government are forbidden to do by constitutional considerations. He gave us no clue whatever as to how the Government propose to exercise the very important legal powers and responsibilities which they still exercise in Central Africa. In spite of what he said in his concluding remarks, the exercise of these powers and responsibilities 1474 will be absolutely decisive on whether the peoples of Central Africa are to live in peace or whether the whole area is to fall into political and economic chaos.
I well understand that the First Secretary did not want to spend a great deal of time on the affair of the pledges. I do not want to spend a lot of time on it either, but I must spend some time on it. I sympathise with him in his embarrassment. As he said in his concluding remarks, he is dealing with a situation in Central Africa today which is totally different from that which obtained when the Federation was set up in 1953, although we on this side of the House have always maintained—and we have been proved right—that the situation which has developed is the inevitable consequence of mistaken decisions taken by the Government 10 years ago.
I do not think that even the right lion. Gentleman personally can escape responsibility for the decisions taken in 1953 or for the pledges, if pledges there were, which were made by Ministers at that time. After all, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Government which decided to bring in the Central African Federation, and I must presume that he was privy to and a party to the statements which were made by Ministers in the discussions which led to the Federation being set up. He cannot now escape responsibility for those errors of judgment any more that he can escape responsibility for Suez or for the mismanagement of the whole affair of Britain's relations with the Common Market.
The question of these so-called pledges is not just a matter of historical interest. I believe that the House should insist on establishing the facts in order to know, not only whether Her Majesty's Government have behaved wisely or foolishly but also whether they behaved honestly or dishonestly. I do not believe that anybody can dispute the justice of these remarks which appeared in an editorial in The Times last week:It is important, in reaching a verdict in this matter, not to be deflected by the notion that if the pledges were admitted, they would have to be implemented to the extent of maintaining the Federation by force. They cannot be but that is no reason to deny that they were given. It is just as necessary to decide 1475 whether the Government's honour was pledged by Ministers who, while not seers, were supposed to take eventualities into account. It is an issue of honour, not policy —but that does not mean that it is irrelevant or unimportant.I believe that it is in this spirit that we should examine the facts which were set before us in the Government's own White Paper and speeches by the ex-Ministers concerned in the House of Lords. I do not believe that anybody can read the White Paper published by Her Majesty's Government without deciding that pledges were given by Her Majesty's Ministers at that time. The question as to the precise juridical status of those pledges is one which can be argued, but that those pledges were binding in common honour and decency and that they were given in that sense is absolutely beyond dispute. It is only necessary to read the paragraph quoted by the White Paper, which runs as follows:The general view expressed by delegates was that, since any proposal to terminate the Constitution could only be put into effect with the concurrence of the Federal Government and all three Territorial Governments, and of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, it was unlikely that investors would consider the proposed review clause a reflection on the permanence of the Federation.Indeed, it is not necessary to labour the point. Every British newspaper, in commenting on the Government's own White Paper, has admitted that, right or wrong, the White Paper shows that pledges were given which have later been broken.
Indeed, the pledges were confirmed in the House of Lords debate on 19th December of last year by all the ex-Ministers concerned. They were confirmed by Lord Chandos, who was Secretary of State at the discussions. They were confirmed by Lord Colyton, who was Minister of State at the discussions. They were confirmed by Lord Malvern, who was the leading representative of the Central African Territories, and later first Prime Minister of the Federation. They were confirmed by the Marquess of Salisbury, who was Secretary of State when the Federation was being set up in 1952. They were confirmed by Lord Boyd, who was Minister of State at that time and later became, in turn, Secretary of State himself. They were confirmed 1476 in letters to The Times by Sir Albert Robinson, who was present at the talks, and by Sir Gilbert Rennie. On 18th February, only 10 days ago, those Ministers who were taking part in the discussions under review confirmed that pledges had been given, although one of them maintained that the precise juridical status of the pledges was not quite so unassailable as he had earlier imagined.
There is not the slightest doubt that the Ministers of Her Majesty's Government did express their intention not to change the Constitution of the Federation without the concurrence of all the four Governments in Central Africa, and I believe, with The Times newspaper, that Lord Salisbury's verdict holds, namely, that "the point is not whether the United Kingdom could do what it has done. The point is that the Government said that they would not do it and yet they have done it".
§ Mr. Humphry Berkeley (Lancaster)
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will understand that all of us are most concerned about the honour of the Government and, indeed, of Ministers of the Crown. I think that he has not been quite fair either to Lord Swinton or to Lord Chandos. I have with me two extracts from their speeches in the debate on 18th February to which I had proposed to refer in my speech. If the hon. Gentleman will allow me just to make one brief quotation from Lord Chandos's speech——
Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir William Austruther-Gray)
Order. I am afraid that the hon. Member will get into difficulties if he does that. It would not be in order to quote from a speech in the current Session made by a noble Lord unless he was speaking on behalf of the Government. It would be better if the hon. Member who has the Floor were allowed to continue his speech.
§ Mr. Healey
I am not sure, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether you are not showing a certain political partiality in ruling the hon. Member's quotation out of court on that ground. With respect to the point which I think the hon. Gentleman intended to make, I did not refer at any stage to what Lord Swinton said. It is clear from Lord Swinton's speech in another place that he understood the undertakings given to be 1477 different in their purport from the significance given to them by Lord Colyton, Lord Salisbury and Lord Boyd. Lord Chandos, whom I did quote, in the debate 10 days ago slightly corrected his memory of what had happen compared with what he had said earlier, but he himself added that it was his belief that the Federation was carried through by the African political leaders concerned on an understanding which Her Majesty's Government had later broken.
I do not believe that this is the end of the story in any case. The real question which should concern the House is why these pledges were kept secret. Why has it taken 10 years to bring out the truth? The Government's White Paper, rather naively in my opinion, makes the point that if a pledge of such vital importance was given there was no reason for secrecy with regard to it. Is that indeed the case? The plain fact is that the Government felt that it was necessary to give these pledges in order to persuade the African politicians concerned to agree to the Federation, and I believe that they gave these pledges in good faith. However, they were too cowardly to admit to the House of Commons that these pledges had been given, because they knew perfectly well that the House of Commons would not have given a Second Reading to the Bill to set up a Central African Federation if it had known that it was setting up something which the Government intended to be unconditionally indissoluble in all circumstances.
In the White Paper the Government quite rightly quote statements which were made in the House of Commons during the debates which led to the setting up of the Federation which emphasised the fact that the Federation was being set up as an experiment—that we would see how the thing got along that we would review the whole experiment after seven or eight years and if the thing turned out not to be working properly we could think again about it; that Her Majesty's Ministers emphasised again and again in the debates that the setting up of the Federation did not derogate in any way from the powers of Her Majesty's Government or of Her Majesty's Parliament in 1478 Westminster. They emphasised that the protectorate status of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland would remain unaffected. If they had not done so, I doubt whether the Federation would ever have come into existence.
This surely is the answer to the question so naïvely asked in the White Paper as to why the pledges were kept secret, because the Federation would never have come into existence if the people of all the territories concerned and if the people of this country and if the Members of Her Majesty's House of Commons in Westminster had known that Her Majesty's Government were not attempting an experiment in constitutional co-operation in Central Africa but were intending to create a fact which would be totally irreversible.
The fact is that Her Majesty's Ministers, not for the first time in the last 11 years, have said one thing in private and another in public. In private they have declared their intention of renouncing the sovereign rights vested in this House and, in public, they have said nothing about it whatever. They have chosen in the end to honour pledges made in public rather than those made in private.
What an appalling commentary that is on the moral standards of the Government under which this country has been administered for the last 11 years. Indeed, Sir Roy Welensky pointed out, when commenting on the Government's White Paper, that it was all very well for the Government to argue now that their responsibilities to the inhabitants of Nyasaland demanded that they should allow Nyasaland to secede from the Federation. The plain fact is, as Sir Roy said in Salisbury, that Her Majesty's Government knew in 1953, just as well as they know today, that the overwhelming majority of the population of Nyasaland was as opposed to the Federation then as it is now. My hon. Friends welcome the fact that, even though it has taken 10 years, the Government at last are prepared to face the facts of the situation in Central Africa.
But there can be no question that, in this respect, there is no essential difference in the attitude of the Africans now compared with their attitude 10 years ago. What an appalling commentary that is, 1479 not only on the British Government's moral standards but on their political foresight. It seems to me that the way they have behaved in this matter—and it is worth reminding ourselves that we would never have known of the Government's behaviour had it not been for the accident of a situation developing in which Sir Roy Welensky revealed the pledges—is bound to create anxiety about the pledges which Her Majesty's Ministers may have made at other meetings, on other occasions and concerning other issues; perhaps at Rambouillet, perhaps in the Bahamas or perhaps in Brussels.
Did I hear the First Secretary say "Nonsense"? Our fear is that if it can happen once it might happen again and I might give notice that if, when we take office, we find that other secret pledges have been made by this Government which contradict their public obligations, we will feel it both our right and our duty to ignore them.
I pass to the future, although I confess that it is difficult to get the stench of this particular episode out of one's nostrils. I pass to the situation today in the light of the public statements of the First Secretary, including the statement which he repeated this afternoon that any solution of the problems of Central Africa must be acceptable to the peoples of the territories concerned. If he takes that view he must surely admit that the Federation is dead. Nyasaland has already been promised independence and is prepared to face the economic consequences. The people of Northern Rhodesia—even the small number of them who were permitted to express their view at the last general election—voted 88 per cent. for independence and a new constitution.
If the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to let the people of Nyasaland have independence when they want it, in spite of the economic dangers which certainly that country will incur through independence, he should be doubly ready to concede it to Northern Rhodesia because, as he knows, Northern Rhodesia has had a net loss of between £5 million and £8 million a year as a result of being in the Federation. She would have nothing but economic gain as a result of leaving it.
1480 Then we have the statement of the new Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia to the effect that there should be "a clean break now". There is now unanimity in the elected Governments of all the territories, broken only by Sir Roy Welensky—the Federal Prime Minister who was elected by 10,000 votes out of 9 million, the Leader of a party which has been rejected by Europeans and Africans alike in every territory over which he claims authority. Surely the First Secretary, if he is prepared to act on the principle which he has put to us today, must accept this verdict and not continue this dithering and shilly-shallying; for delay can only increase the risk of violence on the spot and do nothing to make the inevitable decision more palatable to his own back benchers.
It seems absolutely absurd, from the First Secretary's speech today, that he should continue this delay. It is ridiculous that the Government of Nyasaland should be negotiating with the phantom Government of Sir Roy Welensky about its relations with the Federation which everyone knows is doomed when it secedes. How much better to accept Mr. Winston Field's advice and allow the three Governments now to discuss with one another as independent countries the disposal of the assets of this constitutional corpse. This is not the only danger. The longer the right hon. Gentleman delays in taking this long overdue decision the more danger he has of an abuse of power by the Federal authorities.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the shocking case of Dr. Terence Ranger who, after six years' service to the peoples of Central Africa as a lecturer at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, has been declared a prohibited immigrant. I am speaking, of course, of a man who's devotion to the area has been so great that he applied for citizenship almost as soon as he arrived there in 1957; a man against whom no charge has been laid. He has been declared a danger to the security of the Federation simply because he is a nuisance to Sir Roy Welensky and because he chose to exercise his legal right to be a member of the Zimbabwe African People's Union when it was a legal organisation.
His university has protested against his expulsion. This man is not a Communist.
1481 He is not even a Labourite. I understand that he is a supporter of the party opposite; and all credit to him for the courage he, like a few hon. Members opposite, has shown in pursuing the genuine ideal of racial co-operation in Central Africa rather than a false one. The only complaint against Dr. Ranger is that he tried to bridge the gulf between the races and that he was successful. I urge hon. Members to note that the African people of Southern Rhodesia went to bid Dr. Ranger farewell at the airport when he left for Tanganyika and that Mr. Nkomo offered to admit him as soon as an African majority holds power in that State.
It seems to me that there is no real case whatever in continuing with this fiction of the Federation in the circumstances. If the First Secretary is sincere—as I am sure he is—in saying that he wants to save as much as possible in the economic field from the wreck of the Federation, then I beg him to accept that the only chance of saving anything is to declare the right of secession for Northern Rhodesia now. There is no chance of any serious discussion taking place between the African Government in Northern Rhodesia and the Government in Southern Rhodesia until the Federation issue is absolutely out of the way.
Nor do I believe that there is any real chalice of rapid progress in Northern Rhodesia until that territory is given a new constitution to replace the trick constitution which has already, two years late, performed unexpectedly its only real function; which was to allow an African majority to scrape into the Legislative Council in Lusaka.
It seems to me that any further delay increases the danger of terrorism in the area itself. It increases tension between the races. It also increases tension between the Africans themselves. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman has not the slightest desire to see a situation develop in Northern Rhodesia such as unhappily faces us at present in Kenya. The best guarantee against that situation developing is to give Northern Rhodesia a constitution now which will allow the true weight of African opinion to be expressed in the Legislative Council.
The right hon. Gentleman said quite rightly that there are many tremendous 1482 and difficult problems to be faced. There is the problem of Barotseland. This was the one case where the right hon. Gentleman told us what he had said to the people he met. Unfortunately, in this case he did not tell us what reply he got, and I wonder whether he can persuade or inveigle his right hon. Friend to tell us whether there is any chance of the authorities in Barotseland acceding to the wishes for constitutional reform which he expressed to them.
But at least the economic future for Northern Rhodesia is bright. One of the most striking developments over the last six months is the way in which the economic centre of power in the Federation has shifted from Salisbury to Lusaka. The great mining company on whose activities the prosperity of the whole area and not only that of Northern Rhodesia depends has so much confidence in the future of Northern Rhodesia that it has given £2 million to improve African housing on the Copperbelt. Northern Rhodesia is much less dependent on Southern Rhodesia now than it was, because the end of secession in Katanga means that if the Southern Rhodesia Government try to throttle Northern Rhodesia's economy by cutting off its sources of energy or preventing the passage of its goods to the outside world, there is now an alternative source of electric power and there is an alternative route to world trade open to the Government of Northern Rhodesia.
The economic co-operation between Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia now depends, first, on the right of secession being immediately acknowledged by Her Majesty's Government and, secondly, upon some prospect of political advance for the African majority in Southern Rhodesia. I have consistently stated over the last 12 months that the real problem in Central Africa is the problem of Southern Rhodesia. Many tears have been cast over the defeat of Sir Edgar Whitehead in the last elections in Southern Rhodesia. But let us face it, as the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) pointed out in a recent letter to The Times, that Sir Edgar Whitehead lost the last election not because he was too keen on African advance but because he had not the courage of the convictions which hon. Members opposite had attributed to him.
1483 If Sir Edgar had not transferred 3,500 African votes from the old common roll to the B roll he probably would have won a majority. If he had accepted a simple qualification for African voters on the B roll he would have had a number of African representatives who were really representative in the new Parliament in Salisbury and prepared to co-operate with those forces among the Europeans in favour of progress to move Southern Rhodesia in the same direction as Northern Rhodesia. The fact is that he did not show that courage, and he paid the price when the Rhodesian Front swept him out of power.
I think that all of us were surprised at the victory of the Rhodesian Front. On the surface, from a reading of the election returns, it was an overwhelming victory, but let us not forget that the Rhodesian Front was elected to power in Southern Rhodesia by 38,500 votes, that is, 1 per cent, of the total population, and we now have a new Government and a new Prime Minister. I think that all of us are puzzled to try to predict the course which Mr. Winston Field is likely to follow in that territory.
If I may be permitted a personal reminiscence, I fought alongside Mr. Winston Field in Italy over 20 years ago and I remember him well as an able and courageous soldier, and as an honourable and straightforward man. I know from talking to African leaders from Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland as well as from Southern Rhodesia that they have found him very much easier to work with as a man than they found Sir Edgar Whitehead. They found him straightforward in his dealings with them and betraying far less sense of racial superiority than his predecessor as Prime Minister. I think that many of the things which he has said and done since he has been elected have given some of us at least a spark of hope that he may succeed in moving the European community, which alone he represents, in the direction which Sir Edgar Whitehead may have tried to lead them but certainly failed.
We have to face the fact, however, that Mr. Winston Field and his Government were elected on a tide of racial prejudice and that there has been a great deterioration in European behaviour towards Africans in Southern Rhodesia since he 1484 was elected. We must remember that some of the other leaders of the Rhodesian Front would be much more at home with Dr. Verwoerd than with Sir Edgar Whitehead or with the right hon. Gentleman the First Secretary. We all welcome the release of Mr. Nkomo and the Z.A.P.U. leaders, who had been even longer in gaol, and also his offer to allow Africans to form a new party.
At the same time we had the absolutely deplorable and inexcusable new hanging and flogging Bill. Although some of its more Draconian and barbaric provisions are, I believe, now likely to be amended if the Bill goes through, it is still likely to impose a mandatory death sentence for arson except, where the accused are pregnant women or youths under 16. It is likely to make a 10-strokes whipping an additional penalty for offences under the Law and Order Maintenance Act. Above all, it is likely to prohibit all public meetings on Sunday, which is the only day when Africans in the townships find it possible to meet in large numbers.
We have to note with sorrow the fact that the new Minister of Labour seems determined to keep the minimum African wage at £9 15s. a month, instead of increasing it by 50 per cent. as his predecessor intended to do. We note the shocking insult to the chief African Minister of Northern Rhodesia when Mr. Kaunda was kept under restriction for seven hours at the airport, and the cat and mouse treatment of Mr. Nkomo and nine other Z.A.P.U. leaders who are now being tried on trivial charges which would not stand up for five minutes in an English court of law.
I do not know how tragically we should take some of these events, but I cannot help feeling that some of them are due to administrative incompetence rather than to design. It seems that neither Mr. Winston Field nor Mr. Dupont, the Minister of Justice, knew that Mr. Nkomo was to be arrested or knew of Mr. Kaunda's treatment at the airport. We are sometimes misled into believing that this is a great State analogous with other great States in the European world. We forget that we are talking about a European population of a quarter of a million, with political leaders and standards not very different from those obtaining in cities of that size in Britain.
1485 What I suggest—I was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman could not go further on this today—is that the time has come when he should make a public declaration that there will be no independence for Souhern Rhodesia until there is majority rule. I could understand, though I could not sympathise with, his reluctance to make such a statement so long as Sir Edgar Whitehead was in charge. I do not believe that he could ever excuse himself in his own conscience if he took a step in giving independence to a régime such as that which now exists in Salisbury.
I ask the right hon. Gentleman to bear an important matter in mind. Perhaps, in the light of what has been stated in the Press, I can speak a little more plainly today than I could when I raised the matter nine months ago. If, as a result of an act of the British Government or, indeed, as the result of an act in defiance of the British Government, the regime in Salisbury becomes independent or declares itself independent, it is certain that there will be set up an African Government of Southern Rhodesia in exile, perhaps in another Commonwealth country in Africa. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman and all hon. and right hon. Members know how irremediably such a development could complicate the problems which we now face in the area.
I do not deny that our ability to influence what is happening in Southern Rhodeseia is severely limited, though many of the limitations were deliberately imposed by act of Her Majesty's Government during the past few years. However, I believe that, as the months pass—this is a development which will take place in months rather than in years—it will become painfully apparent to the European population in Southern Rhodesia that their economic survival depends on achieving better relations with their neighbours in Africa and that they can achieve such better relations only if they are prepared to concede to the Africans in Southern Rhodesia the same rights and privileges as Africans have achieved in most other parts of that continent.
Already, there is the prospect that an independent Northern Rhodesian Government will end the customs union with Southern Rhodesia and so reduce, if not cut out, 30 per cent. of the territory's existing imports. Already, European business is moving day by day and week by week from Salisbury to Lusaka.
1486 Already, private investment is dying away in the territory. I believe I am right in saying that Southern Rhodesia has a national debt of £200 million and has to pay £12 million a year in interest alone, which is nearly 20 per cent. of its potential tax revenue. There is certain to be a catastrophic fall in the living standards of the European population of Southern Rhodesia unless they can bring themselves to face the fact to which the First Secretary referred in his closing remarks, the fact that it is no longer possible to maintain a privileged status for a tiny minority in any African State such as Southern Rhodesia. The only alternative to majority rule in Southern Rhodesia is domination by an Afrikaner dictatorship, followed by bloodshed and ultimate defeat for the whole European population.
I do not claim that it will be easy for the Europeans on the spot to face these very unpalatable facts. I do not claim that it will be easy for the right hon. Gentleman or for any British Government to persuade them to face these facts, but I believe that the First Secretary knows as well as we do on this side of the House what must be done in Central Africa if the peoples of those territories are to have any chance of a peaceful and prosperous future. I pray that, even now, he will find the courage to do it.
§ 5.4 p.m.
§ Sir Roland Robinson (Blackpool, South)
I know that a great many of my hon. Friends wish to take part in the debate, so, with that in mind, I propose to make my own intervention a short one.
Having listened to the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), I wish to go on record as saying that I and, I believe, all my hon. and right hon. Friends have the greatest confidence in the First Secretary in his handling of the situation in Central Africa. I believe that he and those associated with him have approached their task with a degree of thoroughness and understanding which should be pleasing to this House and to those with whom they have to deal in Central Africa. There is no doubt that, in taking over the problems of Central Africa, my right hon. Friend has shouldered a very difficult task. The truth is, as he, of course, realises, that, in spite of its very great economic success, federation has not worked so 1487 smoothly in the field of human understanding. He took on his task knowing well that some measure of change was inevitable.
The hon. Member for Leeds, East chose to look back and sought to prove that, in some way or other, the First Secretary was bound by pledges made in 1953. I was not surprised that he looked backwards. It is not the first time we have seen that kind of approach in the House. His argument was really rather extraordinary. The Government have taken the view that there was not a specific pledge. The hon. Gentleman seeks to establish that there was such a pledge, but not because he wants it kept, since, if we followed his line of argument, the pledge should be broken immediately. I cannot understand the logic of his seeking to insist that there was a pledge.
§ Mr. Healey
Does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that it is quite unimportant and of no consequence to the House, the country or the Commonwealth whether Her Majesty's Ministers made promises and later broke them?
§ Sir R. Robinson
That was not the argument I used. I was pointing out that, while Her Majesty's Government said that there was no specific pledge on this matter, it was extraordinary that the hon. Gentleman, whose policy it is to say that there should be no pledge of that kind, should seek to establish that there was one. That is all.
In fairness, the hon. Gentleman should take his mind back to 1953, to the situation in which the new Federation was created. Every person who sits round the table at such a time wants the plan to work and will, if possible, visualise it lasting for ever. With that in mind, they try to make their agreement as firm as possible. The hon. Gentleman spoke of the debates following in the House when it was made clear that we had not in any way given up this country's sovereignty, which, I think, is the basis of the whole thing. However, in any case, I consider that the argument about whether there was or was not a pledge is, in the light of the circumstances of Africa today, a purely academic matter.
After 10 years, the situation in Africa is completely and radically changed.
1488 When the Federation was formed, who among those sitting round the table would have thought of the great surge of African nationalism which was to take place?
§ Sir R. Robinson
I repeat that the great surge of African nationalism was not foreseen by those who were sitting round the table forming the Federation at the time. They did not see the great growth of the Afro-Asian group in the United Nations and all the influence which goes with it. Things have changed so radically that, even if any pledges were given, they would be utterly unrealistic today and impossible of fulfilment. We must take the view that the Africa of 1953 has gone and will not return. We must face the facts of Africa in 1963 and see what we can do for its future.
Changed circumstances of this nature are not altogether unusual. I ask hon. Members to take their minds back to the days of the beginning of the Second World War. On both sides of the House it was made abundantly clear that we made a pledge that we would wage war until the frontiers of Poland were restored to what they were in 1939. But, six years later, after the war was over, no one felt that such a pledge was realistic and could be enforced. I do not think that anyone in this House, or in Rhodesia—the Rhodesians were part of our effort—would have thought that we should have gone to war to fulfil a pledge which had been given in entirely different circumstances.
I think that my right hon. Friend must look to the future. I believe that his task in Central Africa is to try to reach an agreement on a new form of association which can replace the old federal system. There is no doubt that there were many real and great economic advantages in federation, and in the interests of the people of Central Africa we should try to find a way in which we can keep them. I do not think that a difficult task like this is helped by speeches from the other side of the House saying that there is no chance of 1489 this or no chance of that and that Southern Rhodesia may well consider throttling the great copper industries of the north for its advantage. Statements like that make my right hon. Friend's task more difficult.
We should not speak in that way and we should not seek to encourage extravagant claims by any party. The future of the Central African countries surely can be settled only in the spirit of give and take and by a determination to reach some kind of agreement for their mutual benefit. We should avoid recriminations at this stage. The position there today is very fluid. My right hon. Friend has his teams out working now. The negotiations are delicate. I think that practically all of the political leaders on both sides are a little bit prickly, and we have to be careful how we handle the situation.
The hon. Member for Leeds, East mentioned the mistakes that have been made. They have been made on both sides and probably more will be made in future, but we should, as far as possible, not be turned aside from the main task by that kind of thing. We should go ahead with our efforts to try to achieve understanding. I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to get a measure of agreement and a new kind of association which will be in the interests of all the people in Central Africa. I believe that he can play a part in building a prosperous and happy Central Africa for the future.
§ 5.14 p.m.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
I have seldom heard a more platitudinous speech than that just completed by the right hon. Member for Blackpool, South (Sir R. Robinson). What he was saying was that we must continue to have undimmed confidence in the Ministers on the Government Front Bench. On what basis can we really have faith in their performance? They have made many deplorable mistakes over the last 10 years, both in creating the Federation and in attempting to sustain it by a series of hypocritical acts and evasions, by using political power and suppression in order to keep this monster in existence. For how long can back bench Members opposite continue to have faith in the Ministers who have let them down so badly and who have brought this country into such disrepute?
1490 The First Secretary gave us a mournful, funereal oration on the Federation, although he did not actually pronounce the corpse dead. We have to wait for Dr. Banda to produce the death certificate in the secession of Nyasaland from the Federation. Once Dr. Banda's Malawi has left the Federation, it in fact no longer exists. As the First Secretary said, it is impossible to stand against the overwhelming demand in Malawi for that country to secede. If there is an overwhelming demand in Malawi for secession, how can anyone deny that there is an equally overwhelming demand in Northern Rhodesia for secession?
The last election results in that country show that for the Lower Roll elections there was a total of 76,000 votes for parties which announced themselves as being opposed to the continuation of the Federation, and precisely 180 pro-Federation votes—.2 per cent. of the total poll. Even on the Upper Roll, which was predominantly European, 29.3 per cent. of the votes were cast against Federation votes for U.N.I.P., for A.N.C., and the Liberal Party. The total number of pro-Federation votes, if the Lower and Upper Rolls are brought together, represents only about 20 per cent. of the total vote, despite the fact that most of the population of Northern Rhodesia were denied the opportunity to express their opinion. If they had had the chance to express their opinion, there would, no doubt, have been a 97 per cent. vote against federation.
How long can this fiction be maintained? What is the use of assuming that this Federation can continue? The fact must be recognised that it is coming to an end, and everybody's plans for the future must be based on that. However, it would be a mistake to work out the policy on the basis of allowing independence to each of the territories on the present constitutions which have been arranged for them. This would be all right for Nyasaland. There is no doubt that there the overwhelming majority of the population is fairly represented in the Administration set up by Dr. Banda. But in Northern Rhodesia there must be a new constitution which will allow universal adult suffrage, and that territory must be allowed internal self-determination at a very early date.
1491 Southern Rhodesia is ruled by a white dictatorship. The black members of the Southern Rhodesian Parliament do not represent their own community. They are "stooges" and they do not in any way express the opinions of the large majority of black people who have not participated in the elections to their House and have no representative there. The Constitution of Southern Rhodesia must be revised to enable the wishes of the people of that country to be fairly expressed. If the Government of Mr. Winston Field continues in power, there will be not only a continuing decline in the faith of the economic future of that territory but a development towards a political situation which could well lead to violence and bloodshed on a very large scale. It is only by revising that Constitution and allowing the mass of people there who are now unrepresented to express themselves that there is any chance whatever of bloodshed being avoided.
Mr. Winston Field has been represented as a Liberal and a Progressive. I do not accept that this is true. His actions so far since achieving power show that he is determined to maintain apartheid in the territory. We have a continuation of the Land Apportionment Act. According to the news release of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from the High Commissioner which is headed, rather strangely, "Let us deserve to be great", we understand that the European land ownership will be maintained and thatonly in restricted degree and in special circumstances will any land be set aside for occupation by any race".Almost all the land in Southern Rhodesia will continue to be allocated to separate racial groups.
As the House is well aware, the Land Apportionment Act, which is not to be amended, allocates over half the total land area in Southern Rhodesia to the tiny minority of Europeans in the territory forming less than 10 per cent. of the total population—an area larger than England and Wales combined allocated to a population about 250,000 strong. This is a terrible economic injustice. It denies the African population a fair share of land resources and it denies them an opportunity of participating also in 1492 economic activity in the towns, where this discrimination also applies.
In other words, in Southern Rhodesia the African continues to be regarded as a second-class citizen. While this situation continues, there is bound to be growing resentment on the part of the Africans. Whether their political parties are allowed to exist or not, they will organise themselves, they will develop their forces and one day they will strike and demand the rights which they are entitled to have. None of the sweet, soothing words that we hear from the First Secretary will prevent that occurring.
There is a grave possibility that with the dangers of violence growing in Southern Rhodesia and the failure of Mr. Winston Field, whose forces are not particularly strong, to cope with this situation, Southern Rhodesia will be absorbed into South Africa and become a province of Dr. Verwoerd's. That must be prevented by the Government here acting with great firmness and demanding a new constitution. If they fail to get the agreement of Mr. Winston Field and his colleagues to a round-table conference today, they must use the powers which they undoubtedly possess to suspend the Southern Rhodesia Constitution and impose a solution that will take into account the desires and the wishes of the broad majority of the population.
The recently announced intention to use a compulsory death penalty against offenders who use petrol bombs—a measure which has aroused the antagonism not only of those who are likely to be affected by this new, terrible, dictatorial rule, but also of Europeans in the territory who fear this terrible power that has been taken by Mr. Winston Field's administration—is an example of the sort of madness that is almost inevitable when a European minority is given political power against the wishes of the black majority. This sort of measure shows how desperately serious the situation will get in future years unless the Government here impose their rule and make sure that a decent, honourable constitution is devised so that people can express their own intentions.
§ Mr. Ronald Russell (Wembley, South)
What punishment does the hon. Member suggest for arson, or is he trying to justify it?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I am saying that if political dictatorship is imposed on the black majority, if they are denied elementary human rights, they will eventually resort to unconstitutional measures to make their feelings known. This was true in Cyprus and in Kenya. It will be true in Southern Rhodesia as it was true in Algeria. Unless the Government have the sense to impose their will to prevent the situation getting worse, undoubtedly bloodshed will occur as a result of illegal acts.
I deplore that the people who aspire towards the rightful expression of their point of view should have to turn to these ways of expressing their opinions, but the situation demands that of them. If they act in this way, the law will have to be applied, but to use the death penalty for arson goes far beyond any sense of justice.
I hope, therefore, that in view of this situation, the Government will do their best to persuade Mr. Winston Field to agree to a round-table conference with the intention of devising a new and honourable constitution for the territory. Then, it will be enabled to move towards independence, in the same way that Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland are moving towards independence. But independence with white dictatorship would be wrong, not only for the black majority; it would not be in the interests of the white minority themselves. They can expect no permanent security if their livelihood and the future of their children depend on maintaining the dictatorship of less than 10 per cent. of the population over the rest of the community.
We must recognise that Southern Rhodesia, like Northern Rhodesia, Kenya and Tanganyika, is an African country and Africans will rule it. The longer we delay the emergence of a constitution that will give the black people of that country the chance to play their full part in running it in association with Europeans, who will, naturally, play a minority part because they are a minority community, the more dangers there will be in the situation.
The First Secretary said, in a very frank phrase, that the situation arises from the facts. It is most regrettable that the Ministers who were responsible did not face the facts in past years. The 1494 facts were described to them from this side of the House time and time again. They refused to acknowledge the situation that was developing, not in the last few months, but many years ago. They were warned, but they refused to accept the advice that they were given from all sides.
We had a series of deplorable statements from the Government Front Bench. The Ministers concerned and those who have succeeded them have chosen to forget about it. I refer to the stupid speeches about the massacre plot in Nyasaland and the long-winded, evasive and dishonest speeches that we had justifying the complicated constitutions for these territories which were designed to maintain white domination.
Now we have the recognition that these devices have failed, and that African rule in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland has come to stay. Let us sweep away the humbug as far as Southern Rhodesia is concerned as well, and acknowledge that this territory will have African rule before many years have passed and that it will be in the best interests of all concerned if we plan for it within the next few months rather than delay it for some years.
I want to refer to the case of Dr. Ranger, who has been prohibited in the most disturbing circumstances. He is not the only example of a respectable citizen who has been prevented from visiting or staying in Rhodesia or Nyasaland by the immigration powers exercised by Sir Roy Welensky's Government. I ask the First Secretary of State whether he will also investigate these other cases as well as that of Dr. Ranger which he has been good enough to take up. There are ten, if not hundreds, of other cases of men and women—professional people and others—who wish to do a job of work in these territories but who have been denied the chance to do so by the use of the immigration powers of the Federal Administration. I ask for these cases to be fully investigated and for representations to be made on their behalf in addition to those made on behalf of Dr. Ranger.
For the future, I hope that it will be possible for these territories to remain in some economic association, but we should be deluding ourselves if we thought 1495 that association could be maintained with the continuation of a white dictatorship south of the Zambesi. Provided that there is development towards a democratic constitution fairly soon in Southern Rhodesia, I think that there is the hope that the political leaders in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland will agree to a continuation of some economic association.
Then, indeed, it may be possible for the Federation to be re-created, but not just as a federation between the Rhodesias and Nyasaland but one which will take in Tanganyika, Kenya, Uganda and perhaps Zanzibar as well, creating a strong federation stretching from Kampala to Nairobi right down to Salisbury. I look forward to the day when this is achieved, but I do not think it can be achieved unless Southern Rhodesia itself has a democratic constitution.
I hope that the endeavours that are made during the next few months will be towards that end, not only in the interests of the long-term development of a new and more genuine federation but also in the interests of preventing bloodshed.
§ 5.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) referred to the speech by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Sir R. Robinson) as being platitudinous. But his own speech seemed to me to be both unbalanced and provocative, and, if I may say respectfully to him, therefore stupid in the context of the present state of relations in the Federation. It can do no good to relations in that part of the world, and I am sure that my right hon. Friend took such great care with his speech because he did not want to raise the temperature. But the hon. Gentleman's speech will raise the temperature at a very dangerous period in the history of Central Africa.
I had not intended to mention three subjects because I did not think that they were of primary importance, but they have been mentioned by every speaker so far. They are, first, pledges; secondly, Dr. Ranger, and, thirdly, the Law and Order (Maintenance) Bill. I will deal very briefly with them, as they have been mentioned so often.
1496 As my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South pointed out, it is quite clear that there were no pledges in the sense of written undertakings. I believe that in the minds of all those who sat in Westminster ten years ago there was no question of breaking up the Federation at a future 'date; they intended the Federation to remain. What amazes me is why the Government could not have taken the line advocated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South and said quite simply, "Though no written pledges were given, it is quite clear that understandings were reached, or undertakings given, ten years ago. But in the light of events in Africa and in the world during the last ten years, they cannot now be implemented."
If the Government had said that, it would have been understood by the man in the street, both in Rhodesia and in this country, and by Sir Roy Welensky as well. Unfortunately, the Government chose to take the legalistic way out, so that we have had long and very involved debates in another place which did not contribute very much to the solution of the problem.
This misunderstanding between the Federal Government and the British Government over the pledges also extends to the Monckton Commission and whether or not its terms of reference should or should not have included discussion about secession. It extends also to the many debates and the many different constitutions we have had for Northern Rhodesia and to the way in which the secession of Nyasaland was announced. I regret it, but one must face the fact that this misunderstanding exists. In deceding whether or not pledges were given in 1953, I believe that the man in the street has awarded the issue to Sir Roy Welensky on points.
I find myself in agreement with critics of the proceedings against Dr. Ranger and of the Law and Order (Maintenance) Bill, which is now being debated in the Southern Rhodesian Parliament. I do not agree with Dr. Ranger's views, but, as far as one can see, he has broken no law and should not be expelled. But it is only fair to say that the maintenance of law and order is a territorial functions and not a Federal one. If blame is to be attributed, it must be 1497 placed on the late Government of Southern Rhodesia rather than on the Federal Government.
I think that everyone in this House, and a large number of people in Southern Rhodesia, disagree with the mandatory death penalty proposed in this Bill. The Opposition in Salisbury is pledged to fight to the bitter end, and the Opposition includes 14 members of the African race, many of whom have personal experience of patrol bombs. I should remind the hon. Member for Wednesbury that there have been 73 cases of petrol bombing since January, 1962. I also remind him that the Government of Southern Rhodesia have already accepted certain amendments about children, pregnant women and others.
One must hope that when they read this debate and the views expressed on both sides of the House they will accept further amendments and, if possible, abolish the mandatory death penalty, which is against the traditions of this House and also the traditions of the Southern Rhodesian House, which inherited them and has preserved them faithfully since 1923.
I believe that this may be the last debate in which this House can discuss the future of so many millions of people in Central Africa. The drawback of our Parliamentary system here is that the Executive tends to make decisions and we in the Legislature tend to debate those decisions afterwards, when we cannot directly influence them. Therefore, I suggest that this debate may be the last one we shall have before decisions are taken about Central Africa which will perhaps settle the history of that part of the continent, and possibly of the whole continent, for many years to come.
I shall divide my speech into two parts, the first dealing with the background which exists in Africa today and the second discussing the Federation itself. I returned from a visit to Northern and Southern Rhodesia only last night and I can speak to the House in up-to-date terms about what the people in that part of the world are thinking today.
In discussing these problems of Africa and Central Africa, I should like to speak from the British point of view. 1498 Time after time in the House we have heard people speaking from the European point of view or from the African paint of view, from every point of view except the British. There is a time in our history when we have to consider these problems in a selfish light, in the light of what is best for this country and its people. Having said that, I ask the House to bear with me for a few minutes while I outline what is taking place in that continent, for I think that that is a necessary background to our consideration of what is happening in 'Central Africa.
Broadly speaking, Africa can be divided into three areas. The first is the Mediterranean seaboard, the North coast of Africa which is the Arab world and concerns Arab problem, which therefore has nothing to do with Central Africa, except that we can perhaps learn one lesson. In the years between the wars and since the Second World War we heard a lot about Pan-Arabism, and in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s we saw many countries in the Arab world becoming independent and sovereign. After the end of the Second World War, in about 1947, the Arab League was formed, with our assistance and support.
One felt that as these countries became independent, they would come together in the Arab League and speak with a united Arab voice. But that has not happened. The more Arab countries which became independent, the more there was a struggle about who was to lead the Arab world—Egypt or Iraq, or, now, Algeria. There is more division in the Arab world today than at any time in recent history, and this might have some bearing on the future of Pan-Africanism.
The second region of Africa is that from South of the Sahara to the Federation. It is the region where we have black-led States, and I use the term "black-led" rather than "European" or "African" because I want to make my meaning quite clear. In that part of Africa, which is the great bulk of the continent, there will be black-led States which will be authoritarian or at least one-party States.
I quote from a speech by Mr. Abdoulaye Diallo, Secretary-General of the All-African Peoples Congress, at a 1499 meeting in Cairo in Easter, 1961, which I attended. He said:All the workers of a country have the same interests at heart and must organise themselves into one national syndicate of the country, must regroup themselves into one National Union—in the same way one political party in each country is more than enough; the existence of several political parties in our newly independent nations could not justify itself except by the existence of several interests; and the interests of the different social levels are practically the same. One youth organisation, one women's organisation would better answer the necessity of satisfying the economic, social and cultural aspirations of the populations.The advice given to that conference by its Secretary-General is accepted in Africa today, and we must face the fact that the black-led States of Africa will be authoritarian, or at least one-party.
They will also have Socialist economies, and I mean Socialist in the true sense of the word, where the State owns the means of production, distribution and exchange. Thirdly, they will be unaligned in the cold war. I make it clear that I do not suggest for a moment that the three attributes which I have ascribed to those States are necessarily wrong. If I were a black African living in that part of the world, I would argue quite strongly for an authoritarian Government, for a Socialist economy and for non-alignment in the difficult world of today.
I do not think that they will achieve it. Another country we know tried to remain unaligned in two world wars, but was soon pulled in, and Africa may follow suit. But I do not say that the view is wrong. However, from our point of view as Britishers it is most unfortunate, because we do not believe in authoritarian Governments, and Socialist economies make it very difficult for us, for our exporters and our firms and businesses, and non-alignment will not be easy for us when it comes to questions of the defence of Australia and other parts of our wide-flung Commonwealth.
The third section of Africa is the white-led States of Southern Africa. One must admit a number of cases, certainly South Africa, of authoritarian government, but at least one can say that those forms of government represent the wishes of the voters—I say "voters" and not "populations", because one knows that the franchise is restricted—they have free 1500 economies, and our trading figures with that part of the world show bow important this is, and they are fanatically pro-West. That is the background to the debate.
The real question we have to consider is whether we can avoid the division between the second and third parts of Africa which I have just described, that is, between the black-led and white-led States, by maintaining some form of nonracial association linking the two Rhodesias together and therefore separating the black-led Africa of the North from the white-led Africa of the South. This is a problem which we have to face in the next few weeks, for I agree with those hon. Members who have said that whatever decision is made, it must be made quickly.
I now come to Central Africa. The problem of Central Africa is not the problem of simple, spontaneous politics, the problem of one man, one vote, the problem of balance as we know it in this country, the problem of give and take. It is not even a problem of African nationalism. Rather is it a problem of Africanism, that is, the desire of the majority race to take over the political and economic leadership at once and irrespective of the consequences.
Africanism has strong tribalistic tendencies. For example, in Katanga the Landa tribe still supports President Tshombe, and I am not at all sure that I agree with those hon. Members opposite who think that we have heard the last of President Tshombe. We may still find him back in the newspaper headlines. In Kenya the political problem which we in the House of Commons have to face is tribalism. Everyone knows that K.A.N.U. and K.A.D.U. are purely tribal. I will not develop this theme, but we have to see that the majority tribe, the Kikuyu, which is hated by most of the other tribes, is able to live in peace with them. We are trying to do so by some form of regional constitution.
But exactly the same manifestations are showing themselves in Northern Rhodesia where the two African political parties, A.N.C. and U.N.I.P., are basically tribal. These tribal tendencies are becoming stronger and, therefore, more dangerous. In Southern Rhodesia, the African Nationalist parties so far have prevented themselves from falling into 1501 tribal divisions and therefore different camps, and one reason for this is that Mr. Nkomo, who is the leader of the Z.A.P.U., is a Matabele representing a predominantly Mashona party and therefore provides a unifying link. We must not underestimate these tribal realities in Africa, because they are realities which have existed in Africa for centuries and centuries before the coming of the white man and because they are fundamental to the people of that continent.
This complicated situation in Central Africa is even further complicated by three special factors. The first is the Afro-Asian group and Afro-Asian opinion. It exerts pressure which is both indirect and direct. I shall deal first with the indirect pressure. In the United Nations there are 110 members, 52 of whom belong to the Afro-Asian bloc. They therefore exert considerable moral pressure on the whole of the world through the United Nations. Not long ago I sat in the United Nations and watched the passing of a resolution about the Republic of South Africa. It was possibly the strongest resolution that the United Nations had ever passed. I have it here. It calls for member countries to break off diplomatic relations, to close their ports, to close their airfields and to boycott goods from the Republic. It calls for the Security Council to consider the ejection of South Africa.
That resolution has not been acted on, and I suggest that it will not be, because one has to face the fact that the United Nations can, and does, pass these rather emotional resolutions which may have great moral effect on the world but which, if they are implemented positively, mean either that they will be vetoed in the Security Council—because to impose economic sanctions or eject a member country one has to go to the Security Council; or if the Security Council is by-passed by a vote of the General Assembly it will not be acted on because of the power of the purse.
I had, perhaps, better explain what I mean by the power of the purse, because this is fundamental to a consideration of what is happening in Africa, as many people seem to think that the United Nations will come and solve these problems, that the United Nations will not allow us to give independence to Southern Rhodesia, or that the United 1502 Nations will insist on Northern Rhodesia doing this or that.
What are the facts? They are that 67½ per cent. of the total budget of the United Nations is paid by 5 permanent members of the Security Council. This is the top end of the contribution scale. At the bottom end 53 nations paid 2.5 per cent. of the total cost of the United Nations, and most of those 53 nations are found within the Afro-Asian bloc. If the House wants approximate figures, they are as follows: United States, 32 per cent.; U.S.S.R., 17½ per cent.; United Kingdom, 7½per cent.; France, 6 per cent., and China 4½, per cent. But that is not all. Economic and technical assistance is provided mainly by the United States, which last year provided 64 million dollars, ourselves who provided 14¾ million dollars, and, thirdly, the Soviet Union which provided 4½ million dollars.
These details are relevant to a debate on Central Africa, because if these strongly emotional resolutions were implemented they could only be implemented with the agreement of some of the great Powers, namely, some of the main contributors, and if the United States did not agree, or if Britain and France did not agree, and if the United States, or Britain and France, withdrew financial support, the whole of the United Nations structure would collapse, and this is the last thing that we, and above all the Afro-Asian nations, want, because it is they who draw the greatest benefits from this world organisation.
One other aspect of financial structure of the United Nations is the money spent in the Congo. This again is relevant, because people are talking, privately anyhow, about the United Nations moving into South-West Africa and about the United Nations putting military pressure on Northern Rhodesia if it does not get independence or a new constitution.
The facts are these, and I give these figures which were checked last December. The Congo operations were costing about 10 million dollars a month. After allowing for the whole of the bond issue of 200 million dollars being taken up; if this operation continued at the same level, by December of this year the United Nations would be in debt to the extent of 220 million dollars, which is more than 1503 the total cost of the United Nations and the Agencies. That is all I say about the United Nations. I brought this question up not as a red herring but because it is important when considering the future of Central Africa, as the veto and the power of the purse limit the practical effect of any intervention of the United Nations in that part of the world.
The Afro-Asian group also exercises direct pressure in Central Africa. During the deliberations after the first round of the Northern Rhodesia elections there was talk of a pact between the United Federal Party and the African National Congress. It is clear that the presence of Mr. Konyange, the Secretary-General of P.A.F.M.E.C.S.A. in Lusaka, and the presence of a personal representative of President Nkrumah had a considerable effect in persuading Mr. Nkumbula not to go into that coalition but rather to coalesce with the other African party. It is clear, for instance, that considerable subsidies are paid to African political parties and are often channelled through Accra or Cairo. One relatively minor political leader in Southern Rhodesia was unfortunately killed in a car crash a few months ago. The following day his wife claimed that he had had £15,000 in his pockets which had been given to him that day for his party funds. That money disappeared, but one wonders where it came from in the first place. That is what I mean by pressures exerted by the Afro-Asian bloc.
The other intervention in the affairs of this part of the world which must be noted by this House is the intervention of the United States. I believe in the great importance of the Anglo-American Alliance, but I also believe in straight talking between friends. Since I came back from three months in America people have asked me, "Is President Kennedy anti-British?" My reply has been, "Of course he is not. He is pro-American." If we are soft enough to allow him to collect parts of the Empire or Commonwealth, he will take them, because he is a good American, and it's good business. Why should he not? The responsibility to stop him is ours. It is a pity that the idealism of America's anti-colonial past, her alliance with big business and our economic situation is leading her to take a great interest in the two 1504 Rhodesias, in the Copperbelt and in Katanga.
It is said on good authority that one of her consular officers in Nyasaland took part in the victory procession of the Malawi Party after the General Election and shouted from his car "We are in". I can understand my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) wanting to do that, but he is at least a member of the country which has the overall responsibility. But I take objection to a foreigner taking that kind of action.
Again, when Mr. Menon Williams visited Rhodesia only last week I understand that he had a meeting with leaders of Z.A.P.U. which is a proscribed organisation, and I believe that this kind of thing does no good to Anglo-American relations. We do not like seeing these things happening where Britain still has continuing sovereignty.
American information services are showing films stressing non-racialism and non-racial schools in America. Not long ago I asked a Question in the House about a certain film in the "Today" series, No. 46, which was shown 29 times in Rhodesia. The film started with the appearance of President Bourguiba of Tunisia on a State visit to America. He said that he was glad to see the United States fighting colonialism. The next part concerned "African Freedom Day" and showed President Kennedy and other Government members meeting various leaders of African States. There was then a commentary from a Mr. Herbert Humphrey who referred to the struggle and passion for freedom in Africa and said that Americans welcomed Africans both at home and in their own country and pledged themselves fully to assist Africans. Then there were shots of the independence ceremony in Sierre Leone with various African leaders meeting the American representatives, and finally, and this is the relevant point, a close-up of an inscription on a memorial at Bunkers Hill which read:Here on 19th April, 1775, was made the first forcible resistance to British aggression. On the opposite bank stood the American militia, there stood the invading army, and on this spot the first of the enemy fell.This story is quite true. It may be good history, but it is hardly a helpful thing to show in the territorial dependency of 1505 an ally, particularly when political passions are being roused. Seventy-five per cent. of United States aid to the Federation now goes to Nyasaland. One wonders why. The consul-general's staff in the American Legation at Salisbury was increased from 36 Americans and 71 local members in 1961 to 48. Americans and 86 local members two years later, whereas the British High Commission staff consists of 19 Britishers and 33 local representatives—although it is we who are responsible for the area.
I will not labour this point any longer, but it is hardly surprising that the Rhodesians tend to be anti-American, especially when chrome is one of their major exports and America is now buying chrome from Soviet Russia to the detriment of the industry in the Rhodesias. There has just been an international tobacco conference in Salisbury, and there has been a threat by America to dump tobacco on the world's markets. That, again, is a threat to damage the exports of the Rhodesias. We can hardly be surprised if the Rhodesians wonder whether this is a softening up process preparatory to a take-over.
The last intervention in the affairs of Central Africa comes from the Communists. It has not yet developed, but it is there. One has only to read the proceedings of the conference held at Moshe and to see what is happening in the trade unions. But what is——