HC Deb 31 January 1963 vol 670 cc1125-7
Q4. Mr. Healey

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his official talks with the Vice-President of Tanganyika and the Prime Minister of Uganda.

The Prime Minister

The House will have seen the joint statement issued at the end of our talks on 25th January. For convenience I am circulating the text in the OFFICIAL REPORT. My colleagues and I were very happy to welcome Mr. Kawawa and Mr. Obote to London. I am confident that our discussions led to a closer appreciation on both sides of the problems confronting us in East Africa.

Mr. Healey

In view of the deep and legitimate concern of the Ministers who visited the Prime Minister recently about the independence of Kenya, was the Prime Minister in a position to give them any date for the elections in Kenya, or to indicate any timetable for the achievement of independence in that Colony?

The Prime Minister

As the House knows, my right hon. Friend intends to visit Kenya next month to discuss with the Kenya Ministers all the outstanding issues which need to be resolved before the constitution is settled and the election takes place. His intention is to press forward with this with the utmost urgency.

Mr. F. Harris

Will the Prime Minister say whether these discussions covered any possibility for the eventual federation of the three territories of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika, for the benefit of all those three territories?

The Prime Minister

Those are more distant plans which rest with the territories themselves if they all become independent. What they were chiefly concerned with was to make more efficient the working of the East African common services organisation.

Mr. Brockway

Would the Prime Minister agree that neither in his statement today nor in the communique was much information given to the House or the country? In view of the great urgency of establishing an East African federation which might also contribute to a solution of the problem of Central African federation, will he expedite as much as possible the independence of Kenya, so that that can be realised?

The Prime Minister

The first stage, as everybody knows, is to try to take up the position as it was left at the last conference, and for that purpose my right hon. Friend is going to Kenya in the hope of getting a solution of the constitutional problems, then to be followed with an election.

Following is the text:

On 23rd and 24th of January the Vice-President of Tanganyika, the Hon. R. M. Kawawa and the Prime Minister of Uganda, the Hon. A. M. Obote, had talks in London with the British Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan, and the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, the Right. Hon. Duncan Sandys.

These talks were held at the request of the Governments of Tanganyika and Uganda for the purpose of discussing the working of the East African Common Services Authority. Mr. Obote and Mr. Kawawa expressed the view of their two Governments that the present arrangement under which Kenya was represented alternately by the leader of each of the two parties forming the Government had not proved satisfactory and that the authority would not be able to operate with full effect until Kenya could be represented by a single principal Minister capable of speaking for the whole of the Kenya Government. They therefore emphasised the importance of holding elections in Kenya as soon as practicable and preferably before the budgets of the three Governments are introduced in May.

Mr. Kawawa and Mr. Obote were assured that the British Government fully recognises the legitimate interest of Tanganyika and Uganda in developments in Kenya, which directly affect them by reason of their membership of the East African Common Services Organisation.

The Commonwealth Secretary made it clear to the two Ministers that the British Government were as keen as they to expedite as much as possible the holding of elections in Kenya. He discussed with them in detail the progress in the drafting of the new constitution and the further electoral preparations which remained to be effected. Mr. Sandys confirmed that he was planning to go to Kenya in the middle of February, where he would hold a conference with Kenya Ministers, with the object of settling as far as possible all outstanding points, so that the drafting of the new constitution could be completed and elections held with the least possible delay.

It was agreed that the British Government would continue to keep the Governments of Uganda and Tanganyika informed of the progress of these preparations; and Mr. Sandys readily accepted the invitation of Mr. Obote and Mr. Kawawa to visit Uganda and Tanganyika for a further exchange of views after his visit to Kenya.

In accordance with the normal practice of Commonwealth consultation, the opportunity of the presence in London of Mr. Kawawa and Mr. Obote was taken to have a general exchange of views on other problems of mutual concern.