§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 11.5 a.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies (Mr. Duncan Sandys)
I rise merely to inform the House that I have it in command from the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Bill, has consented to place Her prerogative and interest,, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies (Mr. R. P. Hornby)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
The time available for this debate is limited, and as I understand that there are a number of hon. Members who wish to speak, I will, therefore, make my remarks as brief as possible. I should like to say a few words about the background of the Bill and then confine myself to explaining its provisions and its purpose. My right hon. Friend will be winding up the debate and will deal with any broader issues which hon. Members may wish to raise.
The history of the British Government's responsibility for that part of East Africa which now forms the Colony and Protectorate of East Africa is really very brief. Indeed, it spans a period of less than the lifetime of one man. The administration of the territory was transferred by the Imperial British East Africa Company to the British Government in 1895. At that time the responsible Department of State was the Foreign Office 1330 and responsibility was transferred to the Colonial Office only in 1905—hon. Members may care to recollect that that was the same year as my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) became Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies.
I do not propose to dwell now on thy great changes which have occurred since then, nor on the contribution of countless settlers, missionaries,teachers and administrators who have gone out from Britain to live and work in Kenya during the past seventy years. I will move straight on to the events immediately preceding the decision to grant independence to Kenya with which this Bill is concerned.It was at the end of 1959 that the decision was taken to declare that independence was the goal for Kenya and that power would inevitably go to the African majority. Some people, I think, then thought that independence would come to Kenya within a few months of that time. In fact, it has taken four years of intensive preparation for independence by progressive constitutional development, and by the training of local people for posts of high responsibility.
While the basic decision about independence and about African majority rule was taken late in 1959 and at the Lancaster House Conference early in 1960, the decisions on the form of government which the independent Kenya should have were taken later at a subsequent conference at the beginning of 1962. As the House will remember, it was at this conference that the basic structure of the Independence Constitution was decided. It was at this conference also that stress was laid on the importance both of effective central Government and the need for proper safeguards for the rights of individuals and minorities and of tribes.
The Constitution which emerged from the conference was brought into operation on 1st June of this year after General Elections had taken place. In September and October an Independence Conference was held in London. Decisions were there taken about Amendments which would be necessary to effect the change from an internal self-government Constitution to an independence Constitution. My right hon. Friend also decided, as he will explain 1331 when he winds up the debate, that certain other modifications would be necessary to make the Constitution an effective and workable one. But in spite of that, the essential construction of the Constitution, as agreed at the earlier conference, remains unimpaired.
The Independence Constitution itself will be promulgated by Order in Council and I do not propose to deal with it in detail since my concern is rather with the Bill before us now. There is, however, one matter I want to mention now which concerns the Bill. I refer to the arrangements which have been made for the future of the Kenya Protectorate, usually known as "the Coastal Strip."
As its name implies, the Protectorate has a separate legal status from the rest of Kenya, being the mainland possessions of His Highness the Sultan of Zanzibar, but administered by the British Government under the 1895 Agreement. The attainment by Kenya of internal self-government as a prelude to independence naturally created a new situation. Last February, therefore, my right hon. Friend had discussions with the members of the Zanzibar Government and it was then agreed that the Coastal Strip should continue to be administered as part of Kenya.
During the Kenya Independence Conference the matter was taken a stage further. Ministers of the Kenya Government gave certain assurances to the Government of Zanzibar. These assurances included undertakings by the Government of Kenya in relation to freedom of worship, the position of the Chief Kadhi, the teaching of Arabic in schools, and certain other subjects closely affecting the daily life of the subjects of His Highness the Sultan of Zanzibar. An agreement was then signed on the 8th October, 1963, providing that on the date when Kenya became independent the territories comprising the Kenya Coastal Strip would become part of Kenya proper. I think that it would be appropriate to pay tribute to the statesmanship shown by His Highness and by the Ministers of the Zanzibar Government in making this solution possible.
I turn now to the Bill itself. Its principal object, as the House knows, is to confer upon Kenya fully responsible 1332 status within the Commonwealth. Clause I provides that on and after 12th December, 1963, Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom shall no longer have responsibility for the government of Kenya. Kenya is defined in subsection (3) so as to include the Coastal Strip. Subsection (2) is common form.
Clauses 2 and 3 contain the standard provisions included in independence Bills about nationality and citizenship. Clause 2 ensures that when Kenya becomes independent all her citizens will be recognised as British subjects in this country and, while those whose connections are with Kenya will lose their citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonics, those who have connections with the United Kingdom by birth, ancestry, naturalisation or registration as specified in Clause 3, will retain that citizenship.
The proviso to Clause 2(1) ensures that those people who are at present British protected persons by virtue of their connection with the Protectorate and who do not become Kenya citizens automatically at independence will retain their present status until such time as they do acquire Kenya citizenship. There is thus no question of anyone becoming stateless as a result of the Bill's provisions.
Clause 4 and Schedule 2 deal with the modification of various United Kingdom enactments to accord with the grant of independence to Kenya. They are common form. I ought perhaps to ask the House to note the reference in subsection (3) to Orders in Council made before the 31st December, 1963, which would enable the Army and Air Force Acts to be prolonged after that date. It would not be usual to make such an Order, involving as it does the application of these Acts to Kenya after independence, but with the agreement of the Kenya Government it will now be possible to enable these Acts to continue in force so as to apply to British soldiers and airmen who will remain in Kenya for the agreed period of one year during which time the British military facilities will be run down.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
If a Kenyan is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies and has not yet decided to opt to become a Kenya citizen in the interregnum, do I take it that he is subject to the Immigration Act unless 1333 his passport has been issued in this country, or is he allowed free access?
§ Mr. Hornby
If the hon. Member will allow me, I shall leave points about immigration and others which might come up at this stage, because otherwise I might get involved in a rather lengthy argument covering other aspects.
Clause 5 terminates the position whereby grants under Section 1 of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1959, could be made to the East African Common Services Organisation. This Organisation serves Tanganyika, Uganda and Kenya. Despite the fact that Tanganyika and Uganda have already achieved independence, provision has been made whereby grants and loans could be made to the Organisation. Now that Kenya also is to become independent it is no longer appropriate to extend aid to the East African Common Services Organisation under the authority of this Act.
Clause 6 deals with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. As hon. Members will know, particular importance was attached during the Lancaster House Conference last year to maintaining the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, especially in cases affecting the interpretation of the constitution and the fundamental rights of the individual. In this connection it was thought appropriate that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council should have the jurisdiction and powers of a court under the law of Kenya. Clause 6 enables this to be done.
Subsection (1) empowers "Her Majesty in Council, by Order made before the appointed day," to confer the appropriate jurisdiction upon the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in respect of appeals from the Kenya courts and matters concerning removal of judges. Subsection (2) enables the Order to provide for the class of cases subject to appeal. Subsections (3) and (5) are procedural and consequential. It is intended that the necessary provisions under this Clause should be made in the Independence Order in Council which will establish the new Constitution.
Clause 7 removes from the courts which derive jurisdiction from the law of Kenya the ability to make decrees for the dissolution of a marriage by virtue 1334 of the Colonial and Other Territories Divorce Jurisdiction Acts, unless proceedings for the decree were instituted before the appointed day. This is consistent with Kenya's independent status and in accordance with precedent. Subsections (3) and (4) are purely procedural and interpretative and Clause 8 is interpretative.
I should like to close with some words which appeared in the Report of the Kenya Constitutional Conference, 1962:Our objective is a united Kenya nation, capable of social and economic progress in the modern world, and a Kenya in which men and women have confidence in the sanctity of individual rights and liberties and in the proper safeguarding of the interests of minorities.That has been the constant aim of the British Government in the preparations for Kenya's independence. In three weeks' time, under the terms of the Bill and with the approval of this House, the Government of the United Kingdom will cease to hold responsibility for the government of Kenya. The future will then rest with the Ministers and people of Kenya. In commending the Bill to the House, I wish them well in their task.
§ Mr. H. Hynd (Accrington)
Before he sits down, will the hon. Gentleman say something about the possibility of the Bill being a stepping stone towards federation?
§ Mr. Hornby
Probably it would be wise if I confined myself to moving the Second Reading and left wider questions arising during the course of the debate for my right hon. Friend to deal with at the end of the debate.
§ 11.20 a.m.
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Middlesbrough, East)
We on this side of the House cordially welcome the Bill. As the Under-Secretary has said, it arises from the Kenya Constitutional Conference which was held early in 1960. I remember that conference very well. Unfortunately for me, I was out of the House at the time, but the right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod), who was Colonial Secretary, 1335 invited me to a party. The party did not look like going very well, because earlier in the day there had been a complete breakdown in negotiations and it looked as if the conference would end. If I may say so with all due modesty, as a result of my association with Kenya African friends, Sir Michael Blundell and the Colonial Secretary, I was able to act as a go-between and I was afterwards thanked for my small part enabling the conference to go on. I have happy recollections of that occasion, and I am equally happy to be in the House to support this Bill.
The report of that conference was presented in due course to Parliament, in Cmd. 960. It outlined the future goal for independence as seen by Her Majesty's Government. It was proposed that there should be reforms of the Executive and the Legislature, and it was also desired that there should be constitutional safeguards to protect the right of individuals and the independence of the judiciary. There was to be a Council of Ministers, twelve in number—four official, four African, three European and one Asian. There was also to be the abolition of purely communal representation in the Legislative Council. These were all progressive steps forward.
Fifty-five constituencies were to be created on a common roll with a wide but qualified franchise. There was the reservation of 20 of these seats for the minority communities—European, Asian and Arab, and these were to be filled only after communal primary elections to ensure that the candidates had effective and genuine support in the community. There was the creation of the 12 national seats to succeed the specially elected members, in the same racial proportion but elected only by the constituency members. Eventually, in the January-March period, elections took place and later there was a new Government with a Prime Minister of Kenya and a Cabinet. This led to the constitutional conference which was held subsequently.
Out of that constitutional conference, we had the new constitution for Kenya published on 18th April, this year, by the Kenya Order in Council. The elections were then held, with the result that 1336 the Government have all power in their hands, except over external affairs and internal security. Therefore, it was the conference which was held in September of this year which ultimately decided that Kenya would have complete independence. The Bill provides for that independence and brings to an end one of the most difficult evolutions through colonial status in the long and chequered history of British colonialism. It has not been a smooth passage. The issues have gone to the very heart of the forces working in Africa today. The fact that these issues have been settled must give satisfaction to all of us, and I cannot but think that there is a parallel between the loss of this Parliament's control over Ireland and that over Kenya.
In both cases, an early refusal to acknowledge a principle led to acts of violence which, in turn, made it even more difficult to recognise the principle. This is the tragedy of colonialism—the inherent tendency to frontal conflict. It is to the credit of successive ranks of officials in the Colonies and in the Colonial Office, and to the credit of Ministers, that ways have been found to set up Kenya as an independent State. I ought to pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Enfield, West and to the present Governor of Kenya for the part which they have played in overcoming the great difficulties.
Last week we debated Commonwealth affairs, when I said that one of my criticisms of the Government was that they did not face the issues early enough. They could foresee circumstances ahead but waited until the emergency was upon them and then tried to settle the matter by expediency. This is true in some ways of Kenya. It was my privilege to be on a parliamentary mission, which went to Kenya in 1954. We produced a unanimous report. The mission was led by the late Walter Elliot, who was a great friend of us all. We said on page 8 of that Report:it is useless to expect the general public to respect, and collaborate with, the Police if the Police Force is gravely implicated in brutality and corruption. Re-organisation of the Police, from the highest level downwards, should be accompanied by stern action to enforce proper discipline and a right approach to the genera! public.We refer on page 10 of the Report to the need to give as soon as possible 1337 an outlet for African political thought. We said that there should be without delay opportunities for representative Africans to become elected members of the Legislative Council and play a more effective part in Government.
In both these cases, the then Colonial Secretary. Lord Chandos, acted with great speed. He went to Kenya, and the Chief of Police was dismissed and a new officer was appointed in order that those high standards traditionally associated with the British police force should be maintained. On the other point, however, all that happened was that, although the Africans wanted no more than two representatives, they were refused that opportunity and were granted only one. I remember saying that this was worse than saying that the Africans should have no representative at all.
Pressure continued to be applied from that time on, and much of the ill-will and discontent might have been avoided if the reasonable aims of the Africans had been met at that time. It is ten years since all this started. At that time, most people thought that the European settlers were going to be entrenched with privileges. The fact that we moved so fast was at that time unthinkable, at least to many Europeans in Kenya. It was felt that in Kenya, dependent economically on the economic fruits of the settler farmers, there would always have to be a special provision to give Europeans a disproportionate share of power. We called this at the time "multi-racialism", but this did not mean colour blindness—one man, one vote, irrespective of colour. It meant something more like one race, one vote. There are, no doubt, many in the House who still feel that the white settler has been given a raw deal.
The new Government of Kenya have said that they wish the Europeans to stay if they are prepared to give their loyalty to Kenya and to accept the new conditions. I fervently hope that many Europeans will do so. It will mean, of course, that they will be required to suffer—in silence preferably—the inevitable fruits of the long dominance that white men, not only in Kenya but everywhere, have exerted over coloured men. In these newly independent States, the white people who chose to remain bear some of the burden which belongs to all of us 1338 Europeans who first invented the practice of racial domination. They may feel that they are suffering unfairly, but I ask them and their supporters to remember that it is no part of the function of Governments to protect their nationals' short-term interests if that can be done only by storing up enormous trouble for the future not only for the indigenous people of the country but for the white settlers.
In an age of rapid transition, when a whole continent and a whole race are emerging to take control of their own destiny, it is inevitable that some people who invested, as it were, in the ancient regime should be deprived of the prospects of fortune to which they looked forward. The blame for that cannot be laid at the door of any Government. Lay it, if we like, at the door of that impersonal thing, the inevitable trend of events. Whether it is a result of national evolution, or social evolution, those who have profited by a privileged position in the past cannot look to Governments to defend their interests by standing in the way of evolution. Some of the hard luck which we all suffer is attributable only to the way the world is made and develops. We cannot always rely on government to bail us out. Having said that, let me add that I do not suggest that it would be wrong for the British Government to come to the aid of Europeans in Kenya, particularly those who suffer from abnormal circumstances. Something of this, I know, is being done, and I hope that the Colonial Secretary will tell us what is being done in that matter.
One of the encouraging features of Britain's recent relations with East Africa has been its scrupulous refusal to take any line on the creation of an East African Federation. That, of course, is absolutely right. It is not for us to try to help or to hinder whatever plans the various Governments might have in this regard. But I am glad that the Government have learnt the lesson of their mistakes in the past and are leaving this question of federation to those whose business it is. I do not think it would be wrong if I personally said that, bearing in mind the troubles in the Northern Provinces in Kenya, it is not without the hopes of many of us that the federation will expand, and that we shall find not only 1339 what is accepted as the East African Federation but also Somalia and all these peoples working together in peace rather than friction.
There have been signs that the East African countries are in fact thinking of trade arrangements and taking steps to come to some arrangement with the European Economic Community. This is their affair. But I hope that no obstacle will be put in their way. The Common Market is potentially a good market for these countries, and we should not regard any development in that direction as harming Commonwealth trade.
I do not propose to raise detailed matters on the Bill. It is a fairly straightforward Bill of the kind that the House has seen many times. The constitutional provisions to which Kenya will be subject after independence were decided last year, and changes decided upon by the Colonial Secretary were published in a White Paper a few weeks ago. The main effect of these changes is to increase the power of the central Government over police and certain other matters. It remains to be seen whether the constitution will be operated to the common satisfaction of the Government and the Opposition. There will certainly be criticisms which can be made of the Lancaster House constitution. It tied up the Government to an extent mat might have resulted in their getting rid of the whole constitution at the earliest moment after independence; and none of us would have wished that to happen.
I shall have the pleasure of attending the independence celebration in Nairobi, and I am grateful to the Kenya Government for sending me an invitation. I look forward to seeing the birth of this State under very different circumstances to that when I saw it in the past. I am sure that all of us in this House will say to Kenya, in the words of their National Anthem:
Ee mungu nguvu yeta
Zlctc Baraxa kwetu
Haki iwe ngad na mlinzi
Natukae na udugu
Amani na uhuru.
§ which, translated into English, is:
O God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation.
Justice be our shield and defender1340
May we dwell in unity,
Peace and liberty.
§ I am sure that all of us send our warmest greetings to the newest member of the Commonwealth—Kenya.
§ 11.37 a.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
Like the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley), I have been to Kenya many times and have friends among all races in that country. I should like to join him in sending Kenya this House's good wishes for the independence of Kenya which is to be the seventeenth sovereign member of the Commonwealth and the thirty-fourth independent African country.
What I think concerns this House most is that Kenya is the first country in the Commonwealth where a relatively large minority of Europeans reside as permanent inhabitants and will now come under an African Government. The progress of Kenya in these circumstances is of great significance to people in this country and to all members of the Commonwealth, and it is for that reason in particular that this House would wish the Government of Kenya success in the very difficult task that they have to face.
I must admit that I, and I believe others of my hon. Friends, had hoped that Kenya would reach independence on the basis of a truly multi-racial state. To refer to the words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East, I would perhaps have defined multi-racialism as co-operation on the basis of what each race had put into the development of the country of Kenya, and not necessarily on the basis of strict counting of heads or the numerical proportions of each race in that country.
This was referred to in the famous "wind of change" speech which the tormer Prime Minister delivered in Cape Town. He said:A society in which individual merit and individual merit alone is the criterion for man's advancement whether political or economic.I believe that the application of this criterion was made impossible by the unexpected advances given in the 1960 conference which took place in the same month as the "wind of change" speech, when the European seats were 1341 reduced from 41 to 14 and non-European seats increased from 36 to 51.
With the best will in the world, I do not believe that anybody can now expect that the criterion of individual merit will be the sole criterion on which people are elected or promoted to responsible positions in Kenya. Inevitably the African Government will have to bow to African pressure and have to elect Africans to the main posts. Kenya is to be an African country.
Under the Constitution that we are now approving, I fear that Kenya will follow the road taken by other independent African States towards a one-party State, a State-controlled economy and a desire to dissociate themselves with the cold war. May I say that had I been a black Kenyan, I would probably think that there was a lot of sense in these three matters, namely, that there should be an authoritarian one-party Government, a State-controlled economy, and that Kenya should dissociate itself from the activities of the two great Power blocs in the world, East and West. But I am not a black Kenyan. I am speaking as an Englishman and a Member of this House. I hope that this trend, which is manifest in other Commonwealth countries, will be checked by the Government of Kenya.
I take considerable consolation from the statesmanlike remarks of the leaders of the present Government. I should like to refer to a speech, which has not been very well publicised in this country, by the then acting Prime Minister, Mr. Joseph Murumbi, a statesman who is known to many hon. Members in this House who claim him as a personal friend., as I hope I can do. He is a man who, we hope, will set Kenya on the right economic road for the future. Mr. Murumbi referred to the key role that European farmers must play in the development of Kenya's economy. He made this speech at the last Royal Agricultural show in Nairobi.
Mr. Murumbi acknowledged the debt to the old colonial Government and to the agricultural officers and administrators who have done so much for Kenya's economy. He acknowledged that Kenya's economy must depend upon agriculture and upon the various industries associated with agriculture. He 1342 also acknowledged the fact that agriculture requires capital, machinery and a fairly centralised development, and that black Kenya farmers must get away from the idea of a subsistence economy.
Mr. Murumbi said, referring to the importance of land resettlement which is now going on under the million acre scheme:What we should turn our minds to are the economic implications of these schemes. In particular, we must be careful that not only are the previous high standards of farming maintained but improved. We need quality production, and we also need increased production if our economy is to expand and the living standards of our people raised.And he went on to talk about the million acre scheme, which I will not quote in detail, and he said that it was the intention of the Government to complete the scheme and to initiate a tidying-up operation by purchasing certain other estates in the areas adjacent to the scheme. It was the intention of the Government to seek funds from Her Majesty's Government to assist them in so doing. I hope that when we come to debate the voting of these funds the House will be very generous.
Mr. Murumbi also referred to the need to provide funds for an agricultural finance corporation and a land bank, the details of which I will not go into now, but I hope again that the House will be generous in providing funds, because it is no good transferring land from European ownership to African ownership unless the Africans are given sufficient capital to develop that land properly for the good of the whole nation.
Much still depends and will depend on the small mixed farmer of European parentage in Kenya. Mr. Murumbi said that over 2 million acres of the scheduled areas will still be in European hands, and in saying this he was referring to the small mixed farm and not to the large estates. If Kenya is to carry on satisfactorily from the economic point of view, these farmers must be encouraged in every way possible, and I hope that under the Constitution which we are passing, and which includes a Bill of Rights and other safeguards for minorities, these farmers will find that they are able to stay on in the country and co-operate in every way with the 1343 African Government to make Kenya a truly non-racial State.
I am a little disturbed at the fact that the Kenya Government have decided to go into independence as a monarchy, although they have said clearly on a number of occasions that they intend to adopt republican status in the relatively near future. I would have hoped that they would have assumed republican status immediately on gaining independence. I will not again advance reasons for this view many of which were covered in the House when we debated the Nigeria Republic Bill, but I should like to say that when a Government moves into independence it does so with the good wishes of this House.
This House takes a lot of trouble in seeing that the constitution of an independent State is fair towards minorities and protects everybody so far as possible. When a Government changes its constitution from a monarchical to a republican one, it can scrap many of the safeguards provided by this House. That is a danger, certainly inasmuch as it leads to further uncertainty for the minority groups in that country. Therefore, I say again that I wish the Kenya Government had decided to assume a republican constitution immediately on gaining independence.
May I refer briefly to certain specific problems, first as regards the African people. One of the major problems in Kenya is surely unemployment, and the question of squatters who are sitting round many farms in the resettlement areas and who may, in spite of the Government's wishes, take over those farms divide them up and develop their few acres on a subsistence basis. Let us face it, a new African Government will be in a very difficult position to use force to eject squatters. The only thing to do to prevent it is for Her Majesty's Government to provide adequate funds for the more centralised development of Kenya's agricultural economy. This comes back to the Exchequer, and I hope that we shall remember the difficulties that the Kenya Government will face, and will be generous in our financial help to that country.
I will now refer to the question of the Northern Frontier district and the Somali problem, which was touched on 1344 by the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East. It is somewhat parallel to the problem which arose when we left Uganda, when we failed to solve the problem of the lost counties. I am sorry that it has not been possible for the House to solve the problem of the Somalis, for it is a dangerous problem. The Northern Frontier, or should I say the eighth region, really has no economic value at all to Kenya. I believe that if that region is allowed to associate itself with the Somali Republic and, after a neutral period of a few years, to join the country to which the majority of its inhabitants belong, it will then be possible to establish good relations between the Somali Republic and Kenya. Such relations will be most important in the future.
If things go wrong, leading to trouble between these two countries—and there have been six raids across the frontier in the last two weeks, one serious raid being reported in the Press this morning—an explosion in this area could ignite a powder keg in East Africa. There are tribal differences in Kenya and in Uganda, there are problems in the Southern Sudan, there is also trouble between Ethiopia and Somaliland. Once that powder keg is ignited all concerned would face a very dangerous situation.
Therefore, in spite of the force of nationalism, I hope that the new Government of Kenya will have the strength and the courage to reach agreement with the Somali Republic which will enable the eighth region gradually to be transferred to the Somalis, perhaps in return for the Somalis themselves joining a federation of East Africa which may be the only really satisfactory solution to the major problems in that part of the world.
This brings me to the question of federation. The House will remember that the reason that we were told Kenya must have independence on 12th December, 1963, was that a few days later she would be joining the Federation of East Africa. Now that that is not possible, but that was the reason that the date of independence for Kenya was brought forward. I hope that the East African Common Services Organisation, which is referred to in the Bill, will provide a firm foundation on which the federation of the four countries of 1345 East Africa, perhaps in association with the Somali Republic, may eventually be built. The sooner federation comes about, the less likely is the explosion to which I have already referred.
May I now say a few words about the Europeans in Kenya. I think that we in this Parliament have a continuing responsibility for those of our own race who live in Kenya. We wish them well and hope that they will co-operate in every way with the African Government in Kenya. We hope that as African, Asian and European countries can live together as the best of friends in the Commonwealth as individuals of different races can live together as good citizens in the same country.
I am a little worried, as I hope many people are, about the small mixed European farmers. I hope that the Government will keep the problems of these farmers in mind and, if necessary, take remedial action, financial or otherwise, in the years ahead. One particular case that I want to bring to the attention of the House is that of the settlement board farmers.
These, I think the House will agree, are a special case. There are only 300 of them, and 100 of the 300 have already been dealt with under the 1 million acre scheme; in other words, there are just about 200 left. They were sent to Kenya after the Second World War on a Government-sponsored scheme, encouraged by the Government. They are all ex-Servicemen. They were given guarantees of security of tenure for forty-eight years, and they went in the belief that in Kenya they would have European schools, hospitals, and amenities available to them.
As a condition of their going, they were forced to liquidate any assets which they held in this country and take with them to Kenya all their capital. They have worked very hard to establish their farms, but they now face the difficulty that, if they wish to leave Kenya, they cannot do so because the value of their land has deteriorated and they cannot sell their farms and so realise their capital.
It was, after all, a Government-sponsored scheme which forced these people to take all their capital with them to Kenya. As I say, there are only 200 left. I believe that our Government's responsibility and, indeed, our honour are bound up in this scheme, and I hope that the 1346 Government will take action soon and will recognise that this is a special case. I understand the argument that, if we do something to help these 200, other farmers wishing to leave will demand assistance. However, for the reasons I have given, I do not believe that others have nearly so strong a case.
I now put to my right hon. Friend who is to reply one or two special problems. We all want to see good Government maintained in Kenya. So do the Kenyans. We can achieve this only with fully trained and qualified civil servants. How many of the civil servants, not only British but Kenyan recruited civil servants, also—in other words, those who were trained and who worked there under the old colonial regime—are likely to remain after Easter next year and to see Kenya through the first two years of independence? May we be told the percentage of the total who are likely to stay on? We all hope, of course, that the percentage will be as great as possible.
Now, the freedom of the Press, Among the things which are essential for Europeans if they are to remain in Kenya as indigenous citizens of the country must be freedom of the Press as well as freedom of movement and the maintenance of good Government. The burning of the Mombasa Times and Sunday Nation in the presence of Mr. Tom Mboya was not a very good augury for this. Nor is the ban—I hope that I am in order in mentioning this—on the entry of my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett). My hon. Friend has given valuable service to Kenya for many years. For the last two years, he helped the then Government of Kenya, that is, the K.A.D.U. Government, and, since they went into opposition, he has helped the loyal Opposition in Kenya to compose the differences between them and the other major party, K.A.N.U. I think that the Secretary of State has himself paid tribute to the work of my hon. Friend and to the fact that he has managed in some ways to close the gap between those two political parties.
I feel, therefore—I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House support me in this—that the ban on my hon. Friend entering Kenya is most unfair, will do no good to the future of Kenya and no good to future relations between this country and Kenya. I hope 1347 that, if some mistake has been made or the decision was the result of hasty administrative action, it will be reconsidered very seriously by the Kenya Government, and I hope also that hon. Members opposite will support me in saying that the ban should be lifted before Kenya moves on to independence. For my part, I can only say, if my hon. Friend is prohibited from attending the independence celebrations in Kenya, I should feel great difficulty in attending these celebrations myself, either in the United Kingdom or in Kenya—and I hope that others would feel the same—as a colleague and Member of this House in attending celebrations from which another Member of the House of Commons was excluded for, as far as we know, no good reason.
This brings me to the question of citizenship. There was a statement on the wireless in Kenya, I understand, by Mr. Tom Mboya to the effect that it might be difficult for the Kenya Government in future to protect one non-African against 99 Kenya citizens. This is clearly an indication that the Government of Kenya wish Europeans in Kenya to take out Kenya citizenship. I do not say that they are reluctant, but, naturally, people there doubt whether they should do so until they know which way Kenya is going to move after independence.
I hope, therefore, that they will take some consolation from a Written Answer by the Home Secretary on 20th November last. My hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North-West (Mr. F. Harris) asked whether persons who, in spite of taking the citizenship of a newly independent country in which they have lived for very many years, have close connections with the United Kingdom might be able to recover their United Kingdom citizenship if, at a later date, they felt that, for one reason or another, perhaps personal or family reasons, they had to move back from that country to their original homeland? The answer was that the Government proposed to introduce legislation to allow this to happen.
I feel that that statement should be publicised, and this is why I have mentioned it particularly in my speech today. I believe that it will give encouragement to very many Europeans in Kenya whose hearts are in Kenya, whose families, perhaps, have been there for two or three 1348 generations and who want to show their loyalty to the new state of Kenya, to live and bring up their children there as citizens of Kenya but who fear that, if Kenya should happen to follow the way of some other African countries and become, perhaps, an authoritarian State, they might not be able to remain. Such an arrangement would, I feel, allow them to offer their full loyalty to Kenya, in the knowledge that, if things go wrong, they can recover their citizenship of the mother country.
Kenya is bound to have teething troubles. We all very much hope that it will settle down very rapidly. We all wish Kenya well and we hope that it will soon become part of a great East African Federation and become a strong influence both in Africa and in the Commonwealth. But I must add, that, if things go wrong, if fighting breaks out between Kenya and the Somali Republic or between tribal groups in Kenya, and if life becomes impossible for white people, then the Government of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. Harold Macmillan) will bear a very heavy responsibility.
§ 11.57 a.m.
§ Mr. Feoner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
We are taking part today in a remarkable event. Those of us who have had association with Kenya over the years are almost stunned by the realisation that we should now have reached the point of independence. One remembers the situation 13 years ago, when African political activity was suppressed, when there was no African elected Member, when there was the most appalling racial discrimination in Nairobi, when skilled African farmers were not allowed to grow coffee, and when the demand on this side of the House that Africans should be allowed to establish farms in the White Highlands was resisted here and by the Government of Kenya.
We remember the appalling circumstances of the Mau Mau rebellion, the atrocities, the indecencies, the repressions, and, perhaps, still more deeply, the hatred which then existed between the European and the African communities. Today, only seven years after that conflict and those hatreds, the fact that we should now be considering a Measure to introduce independence for Kenya is very remarkable indeed. 1349 I think that we should pay tribute to the leaders of the European, Asian and African communities who have made this Bill possible. We should pay special tribute—and I regret that it has not been expressed so far—to Mr. Jomo Kenyatta, the Prime Minister of Kenya. I am one; of those who never believed that he had responsibility for the atrocities or indecencies of Mau Mau, but, whatever one's view of that, surely we must all recognise the statesmanship, the attitude of conciliation and desire to forget and forgive, and the response which has come from European leaders as well. No one should fail to pay tribute to the contribution which Mr. Kenyatta has made since be became Prime Minister. That extraordinary occasion when he met the European farmers and won their confidence and support was one of the most significant changes in community psychology, in response to an attitude of co-operation and conciliation, which the Continent of Africa can provide. We should recognise that and pay our tribute to Mr. Kenyatta.
I was a little surprised by some of the passages in the speech of the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall), particularly his definition of multi-racialism, which suggested that in the new African States the right to citizenship and to vote should depend not on whether one is a man or a woman, but on certain privileges of particular communities, and that somehow one must judge as to how much the European, Asian or African race has contributed to the territory.
I followed him very closely I do not wish to be unfair. As I understood it, the hon. Member was urging that it would have been better if the new Kenya had been introduced, not on the basis of democracy or equality of every man and woman, but on some basis of giving extra citizenship rights on the ground of merit to those who had contributed to the Kenya of today. I think that that is a fair description of what he said. If the hon. Member thinks that in the 1350 present climate of Africa it will be possible to develop States in which there is that absence of democracy and where particular privileges are to be given to particular people, on judgments which cannot possibly be satisfactorily reached, then he is living in the last decade concerning Kenya and Africa. There is no possibility in the Africa of today that democratic rights on a human basis will be denied.
§ Mr. Wall
I recognise that what the hon. Member says is perfectly correct, but I hope that he will agree that standards are therefore bound to fall, and that indigenous Europeans will not be able possibly to tolerate future standards of freedom, justice and others, and that is why we are having reactions in Southern Africa.
I do not desire to develop this point, but my view is that higher standardsin those countries are more likely to be achieved by the practice of democracy than by the acceptance of the principle of certain privileges for groups of people which the hon. Member urged today.
I wish to say a few words about the situation in Kenya which arises from other developments. We have always been disturbed by certain tribal tensions in Kenya. It was proposed at first that there should be a highly developed regional system of government with little power for the centre. I think that those who are familiar with Kenya welcome the fact that those tribal tensions are much less than they were, and that the Kenya Government, who have always stood for the unity of the people rather than for the emphasis of tribal loyalties, are all the time gaining increased support in that country so that even the overwhelming majority which they won at the last election has been increased by many of those who were opposed to them joining and supporting them. Just as one welcomes the fact that tensions between Europeans, Asians and Africans are growing less, so one welcomes the fact that the tensions between tribes are also growing less. I welcome the fact that the Secretary of State recognised that changed situation in Kenya by the amendments which he made to the Constitution which has recently been introduced. 1351 There are problems in the frontier territories. I wish again to express appreciation to the Government of Zanzibar for the concessions which they have made regarding the coastal strip. Later today we will consider a Bill which will extend independence to Zanzibar. The action of the Zanzibar Government is a very good indication of the way in which they will deal with these problems.
I make a very sincere appeal to the Kenya Government to find a solution to the problem of the territory in the North occupied by so many Somalis so that it will not lead to the conflict with the Government of Somalia which has been feared. I hope very much that the good will expressed between the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Somalia on his recent visit to Kenya will be maintained. I urge that this question must be settled by the Africans themselves. I welcome the fact that in the frontier dispute between Algeria and Morocco a Committee of 32 African States, centred at Addis Ababa, is now seeking to reach agreement on that problem. I hope that, if the conflict between Somalia and Kenya persists, it will be possible in a similar way for the African States to seek a basis of arbitration and agreement.
I wish to say a few words about the banning of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) from Kenya. The Government Party in Kenya at the General Election issued a manifesto and a programme which was among the most libertarian that has been issued by any party in Africa. It declared for democracy and for personal liberties in a way which we all welcomed. I believe in personal liberties, and I stand for them in this House whenever they are denied. With my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) I have written to Mr. Tom Mboya deploring the decision which has been taken in the banning of the hon. Member, and I make an appeal at this moment to my friends in the Kenya Government, in the spirit of the celebrations which will bring about their independence, to reconsider their decision in this matter.
Having said that, I want to say very frankly to many of those on the Government benches that they would have been in a much stronger position today in 1352 criticising the banning of the hon. Member if they had also criticised the banning of my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) when he was declared a prohibited immigrant in Central Africa. It comes badly from those who have defended the banning of African after African, including the exiling of Dr. Banda, now to be protesting so strongly because one hon. Member of this House, whose views on these African issues have nearly always been reactionary, has been banned. It would have been better if there had been consistency and if they had denounced these denials of liberty to whomever they were done and irrespective of whether the hon. Members were from one side of the House or the other.
§ Mr. Williams
Then before he comes to the next point, if there is another, would he not agree that my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) has in practical terms never taken part in internal political affairs in Kenya and that therefore these cases are totally different?
§ Mr. Brockway
I remember the case of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) in which very little sympathy was expressed by hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
And there were many other cases, including that of my hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) and a visit to New York.
§ Mr. Brockway
I have had to acknowledge in writing to Mr. Mboya that I do not know all the reasons for the banning of the hon. Member for Torquay. I should like them to be made public. But those of us who believe in liberty, believe in liberty when it affects all Members of this House, when it affects Africans, when it affects a man of any race. The silence which has been shown on the Conservative benches when there have been denials of liberty in the past make the protests which they are now uttering much less effective both in this House and in Kenya. 1353 I did not wish to speak so vigorously on this point. I conclude by making a reference to the possibility of federation. I hope that the East African countries will move towards federation, not only for their sake but for the sake of a much wider area in Africa. I hope that that federation will be completed in the new year by the coming in of Uganda and Zanzibar. I hope that it will not end there. This is the answer to the break-up of the Central African Federation—to extend the promised federation in Eastern Africa so that it includes Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia. Indeed, it might easily extend to Ruanda, Urundi and even possibly to the Congo. That is a great imaginative hope for the new unity of Africa. I very much hope that the Government will give the utmost sympathy and the utmost encouragement to the extension of African federation in that way.
I join with hon. Members on both sides of the House in welcoming the Bill and wishing all that is good for the future of Kenya.
§ 12.15 p.m.
§ Viscount Lambton (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
I am sure that all hon. Members, whatever views they have held about the wisdom of the speed of the granting of independence to Kenya, wish this new nation every good wish as it emerges today from colonial rule. I recently paid a visit to Kenya, and I think that at first sight there are many encouraging signs. I do not think that the economy has reacted as some people gloomily prophesied that it would, and I was struck by how comparatively little of the land, at any rate in the areas through which I passed, had degenerated through bad farming. The production of many of the larger companies operating in the primary commodities of Kenya is rising. There is, I think, every reason to believe that it will continue to rise.
This is satisfactory, for I believe that hon. Members on both sides of the House agree that the future of Kenya depends largely upon her economy. But I should like today to dwell not on these bright aspects, but rather on two Trojan horses with which I believe we are presenting Kenya on her entry into independence and which, I believe, 1354 could easily undermine the stability of the country. The first has been dealt with briefly by the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) and at greater length by my hon. Friend the Member for Hal-temprice (Mr. Wall). I refer to the Somali problem. I want to go into it in a more detailed manner than has been done so far.
If we look at the Somali problem emotionally, or even through the eyes of nationalism, it seems quite obvious that there is a very strong case for the Somalis. The district is almost entirely populated by them. It is somewhat ironic that the Kenya Government, led by Kenyatta, who has always struggled for nationalism in his own way, should be denying, at any rate for the moment, the right to secede to the Somalis. However, the facts are not quite as simple as that, for not only does Kenya not want Somali to secede but neither does the Emperor of Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Government, and these two Governments are in close accord that the territories should not join together.
Again, we must look at the practical side and realise that in the next few years Kenya will very greatly need economic help from the West. Nor is there any doubt that the Abyssinian economy is maintained by help granted to her by the United States. Are we in danger of getting into a false position? For internally Somalia is opposed passionately to the separation of her people, and the feeling there has reached a strength which I think is not adequately realised in this country and which is likely to be greatly increased by an election which is to be held there next March.
Already, we have a very dangerous build-up in the country. We have a determination to create an army of 20,000 men. We have the granting of military aid of £11 million to Somalia by the Soviet bloc. And we have Chinese help on an ever-increasing scale all the time. A dangerous situation is, therefore, being created in this area with the building up of opposing blocs which could lead far more probably to war than to the Federation which has been talked about today. Thus, what really could be so very awkward is that it would be the two nations in association with the West and supported by the 1355 West, Kenya and Ethiopia, who would be in this matter supporting the wrong side.
There is one other really difficult aspect of this affair I would ask my right hon. Friend about when he replies, and that is what is to be the position of the members of the present Colonial Office staff who are to remain in this troubled region. For so strong at the moment is the feeling in this district that the Kenya Government have really bowed to the inevitable and decided to continue to employ in that region British civil servants because their replacement by African ones would lead to such severe trouble.
What is to happen if the awkward situation arises that the Communist build-up in Somalia increases and has inevitable repercussions throughout the district? It will be the duty of those officers to keep law and order, and the only effective way in which law and order can really be enforced in these areas is by keeping the tribesmen from the waterholes. Thus a really unpleasant situation might arise where we could be driven strongly into participation in the Horn of Africa and British colonial officers and ex-colonial officers would have to use force against a country whose aspirations, as I have said earlier, in the nationalistic sense, are eminently reasonable.
I cannot believe that this is a position our Government would like to get into, but, of course, if one wants to be constructive it is difficult to say what exactly should be done. It is no good lamenting that my right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) had a golden opportunity, had he been not in such a haste, to have made a condition the settlement of this border before independence was granted; for that is past and over. What I think we should do at this very moment is to bring our influence to bear upon Kenya and to ask the Americans to bring all the influence they can to bear upon Ethiopia to have this dispute brought before the United Nations so that all aspects of it can be considered in peace rather than in the rising scale of anger, which exists today. 1356 The interests of the parties in this matter are not really totally irreconcilable. Unless oil is found in the north-eastern district, which would change the situation, it is almost valueless to Kenya, and were it possible to establish between Somalia and Ethiopia a neutral zone this might go a long way towards placating the very genuine fears which exist there concerning encirclement.
At any rate, this is a problem which should receive the most careful attention, for all the signs at the moment are very ominous, and nothing could do more harm or more damage to the likelihood of establishing an East African Federation than for Kenya to enter into independence and at the same time enter into a long and frustrating war in which East and West could find themselves at each other's throats. Therefore, I should be very interested to hear what my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary has to say about this matter.
Now let me turn to the other Trojan horse of which I spoke. I would agree with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) about the very responsible way, whatever Kenyatta may have done in the past, in which he has reacted to the present situation, and I think that it is also encouraging that many African politicians have realised the necessity for the burying of hatchets in Kenya and that there should be a sense of co-operation between the Government and the European farmers.
This reasonability has really been dictated by sense, and I think has called for, what perhaps in this House is unrealised, very great political courage on the part of Kenyatta. It has meant that he has had to disappoint a large number of his very primitive followers who had conceived that when the white man would go his land would be divided among them; that this was going to be one of the immediate results of independence.
There is no doubt, though, I think, that this reasonability of Kenyatta has lost him a certain amount of tribal prestige, and already there is discontent among many of the landless Kikuyu and, I believe, a certain amount of spasmodic oath-taking against him. which is very regrettable. Nevertheless, 1357 the leadership of Kenyatta at the moment is so secure that I believe he could survive quite easily with the increasing support of the more forward-looking elements of the Kikuyu, especially if the establishment of the dominance of the Kikuyu tribe were to go forward peaceably.
But is there not the possibility that the Kenya Government would make a mistake which could undermine the whole stability of the present peaceful transition in Kenya and make the resumption of internal violence inevitable? I would say, very regretfully, that the answer to that question may well be, yes, if he continues with the present plan of releasing all but a handful of Kikuyu political prisoners on 9th December.
It is known that this decision was taken against Kenyatta's own wishes and I believe that Kenyatta was forced into the position of granting this amnesty. One understands his difficulties. How can the leading men of the movement reign triumphantly when so many of its lieutenants, who fought in its first battle, are languishing in gaol? This is the present position, regardless of the type of war which was fought and the revolting methods which were used. I really believe that Kenyatta would have been wiser to have faced the criticism which might have met him of ingratitude to his companions than to have agreed to this present amnesty, and the reason for this lies in the nature of so many detainees.
Many hundreds of them are not political detainees in a European sense but are followers of what Sir John Renison called "the cult of darkness and death". For many years now the British Government have tried to rehabilitate them, without any success, and probably many of them, the hard core, are unreformable; they are the kernel of Mau Mau and devoted more to violence than to the ends of violence; and these men in very great numbers are going to be released on 9th December.
How are they to fit into this new social pattern? For they will find a nation which, however optimistically one looks; at Kenya, is still divided in tribalism, and where black magic lies just below the surface. They will find no place in the Government of the country, and in a sense will find their late 1358 comrades are now their masters and opponents. Are we to suppose that they will suddenly change their natures, that they will not get involved in the strong pressures which will be put upon Kenyatta to establish the complete mastery of the Kikuyu tribe? Are we to imagine that these men will not play off, or attempt to play off, old scores against the settlers and the other tribes who fought against them and forced them to spend many years in prison camps?
It would seem to me to be overoptimistic, taking into consideration the known nature of these men, to suppose that they would do so. Would it not be safer to leave them where they were at least until this new State was upon its feet? The argument that one gets in Nairobi is that Kenyatta will deal very fiercely with them if they transgress against the law. But will it be possible for him to do this without upsetting that very delicate balance which now exists between the Kikuyu and the other tribes, and will it be possible for him to step into the white man's shoes and re-imprison large numbers of his own supporters; and if he did, would it not cause the Kikuyu to put pressure on him for compensating advantages which would cause a reaction from the other tribes before they had been assimilated under the peaceful dominance of the Kikuyu?
There are such serious risks facing the Government. Who would take such risks as these? I cannot believe that they are worth taking at the present time. So I particularly hope that over this matter there will be second thoughts in the Government in Nairobi and that this Pandora's Box will be kept closed, or, at any rate, partially closed. It would be difficult to see what advantages the Government could get themselves in making more difficulties for themselves especially when they have so many already.
I hope that I have not tried to cast a gloomy note on these proceedings, but it would be a very great mistake if the problems about which I have spoken were to be ignored by the Kenya Government and then suddenly cause them much trouble in the future.
This brings me to a point made by my hon. Friend earlier. What is to be the position of the remaining settlers? The 1359 Government have done, I think, more than has perhaps been realised. Over land purchase, over the establishment of a farmers' trust, and over a trust for the smallholders, they have given money to these. However, I would ask the Colonial Secretary to consider being perhaps even more generous, because additional cases are being created every day. Lastly, it would be singularly unfortunate if those who are remaining—that in itself is an act of signal courage—do not receive at some time or other an assurance that the British Government are determined to look after their financial future if the whole State of Kenya comes down in ruin over their heads.
That is all I want to say. We can wish Kenya the very best of fortune, but I think that it would be wise if we considered at this moment the very great difficulties which are confronting her and whether or not it would be possible to mitigate some of them even at this late hour.
§ 12.33 p.m.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
The House has had a very remarkable morning. The right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) once said that the use of recriminating over the past was to instigate action in the present. As a result of the most decisive action which is being taken, there does not seem to be much need for recriminating on this occasion.
I do not even feel tempted to criticise the rather gloomy observations of the noble Lord the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lamb-ton), because it is right that we should remember that the position in Kenya is a serious one and that Kenya is recovering from a period of conflict. There are, as one of my hon. Friends has said, still tribal and national rivalries there, and also some racial rivalries.
But the miracle of Kenya—it is a miracle—is that its Government appears to be the most stable Government that Kenya has had for some years. It is almost surprising that one can see the formation of what is a multi-racial Government—although they certainly have a very strong sprinkling of the old Kenya African Union—and see them taking over, and taking over with confidence. 1360 I do not know whether the noble Lord has read some of the latest effusions from Peter Howard. I was supplied with a lavishly illustrated pamphlet in which Mr. Kenyatta—I think that that is better than referring to him as "Kenyatta"; I would not refer to the President of the United States as "Kennedy" in a speech—was described as the new Christian leader in Africa. I have no doubt that the views of Mr. Peter Howard approximate largely to those of the late Dr. Buchman, who held views sufficiently malleable to meet most situations in international affairs over the years.
At any rate, it is said and conceded that the principal enemies at the moment are Mau Mau. The noble Lord referred to Mr. Kenyatta as a Mau Mau leader. He might remember that Mr. Kenyatta was arrested before the Mau Mau outbreak. One of my hon. Friends and I were there when the first tribal war was starting, and Mr. Kenyatta was already ninety miles away in the Northern Province under lock and key, and no doubt he remained there a long time with some men whom I had known as some of the most moderating influences in Kenya. I suppose that none of us will ever know the truth about this.
What are the real facts? We all know that once one has a position of civil war the moderate, the libertarian and the humanist has to take one side or the other. One cannot stand aside. A man of good will may be dragged into a conflict which is inevitably going to be conducted on both sides with considerable brutality. One cannot fight civil wars in kid gloves.
I find myself almost invariably associating myself with my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) on the matter. However, I should like to add two qualifications to what he said. I am not passionate about federations. I can remember one of our great idealists saying that he supported the Central African Federation because it was a step on the road to world government. This is the sort of vision which is apt to mislead.
I think that Kenya will be thinking much more in favour of economic cooperation, something rather like the European Common Market, in the 1361 sense of adopting economic planning by supranational associations going across Africa. I am not sure that the list given by my hon. Friend is likely to be the correct one. However, it might stretch from Nairobi to the Congo. It might have some omissions. It will be destined to try to protect their own economic integrity. However important it may be to have international development, independent countries have often to pay a heavy price in terms of self-government for that international development. Not only colonial countries emerging but countries of South America have been finding that out too.
Secondly, I hope that the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) will go to the independence celebrations. I would not wish him not to. But I hope that when we give a country freedom we shall not try to be paternal about it. I am trying to go to Baghdad. The Government there have not given me a visa, and have not done so for some months. I do not blame them. I wrote and told them that my object might fairly be regarded as hostile by the present Government in Baghdad. There is no reason why they should give me a visa if they do not approve, except that I have been asked to go there. If I go, I shall be wandering through Baghdad looking for political prisoners who may not be found. The embassy has treated me with the greatest kindness and courtesy, and invited me to lunch, and it has told me that the matter is being considered. I fancy that I am going to get a visa, which surprises me very much. But surely it is their right to give or refuse. The business of the visa was started at Ellis Island a long time ago, and it has been used by the Russian Government as an instrument of policy.
If we give independence, do not let us try to limit the Government when they begin freely and rightly to say that they propose to operate their own independence. I do not know what the rules are about independence celebrations, such as whether the Opposition issue invitations. I recall the situation in connection with the coronation of His Most Gracious Majesty King George IV, who gave orders to exclude Her Most Gracious Majesty because 1362 Her Most Gracious Majesty was regarded then as being associated with the Opposition. It may be that there are different rules.
This is a great day. I believe that it is a great day. Kenya is a very great country with great potentiality. I think that the noble Lord is right. I would not have said what he said in the way he said it. I do not suppose I could; I am not so able. I have not his gift of denunciation which is exercised more normally in other spheres. But there are grave problems, anxieties and worries. That is why I think that we must say now that Her Majesty's Government are showing some courage and are facing, perhaps, a little more criticism in the 1922 Committee than on the Floor of the House today.
Today, we have even had tributes to the "wind of change" speech and kindly references to the right hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan). I am not sure that someone will not pay tribute to the new editor of The Spectator before long.
Many of the members of the Kenya Government have spent years in prison or in exile. I know two people who have spent years in comparative poverty in London and who are going back to Kenya now to try to recapture the old visions. They were good visions. We should remember that the people who formed the Kenya African Union did so with their eyes on education, trade unionism and co-operative fanning, among other things. It was an idealist programme. I believe that from the ideals of the old Kenya African Union will come some of the policies of development of the new Government.
We welcome the Bill and wish the Kenya Government well. When the Bill receives the assent of the three estates of this realm, a country of great size, fair and lovely, with wonderful potentialities and immense scope for development, will come into being as an independent State. If, with its new spirit, it can survive the teething periods and troubles and little conflicts, it may be one of the most important countries in Africa, playing its full part in helping to lead Africa to a new birth and a new resurgence, playing an increasing part in world affairs and bringing about increasing prosperity
§ 12.41 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
I thank the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) for his at least kindly personal reference to me. I propose to anwer two specific points he made. The first is his reference to the independence celebrations. It was agreed before the last Lancaster House Conference that both the Government and the Opposition in Kenya would have absolute discretion to ask a specified number of those they wanted to attend. The figure for the Opposition was 10.
I believe that I had the honour of being the first name on the list which the Opposition wished to invite. My wife is also included on the list. The unusual position in that context is that apparently she has not been banned and in these circumstances it is a little difficult domestically.
The hon. Member also drew a parallel with his application to visit Baghdad. But I suggest that that is not a parallel case, because I do not think that anyone pretends that I am hostile to the present Government of Kenya. On the contrary, I have many friends among the members of that Government and Mr. Kenyatta himself, as far as I know, is aware of the part I have played in trying to bring the two sides together. There is no question of my looking for political prisoners in my wish, after fifteen years of work in connection with Kenya, to go out there on its great day.
It is inevitable today that I must dwell a little on myself in telling of my attitude towards what has happened, and I ask the House's tolerance in this matter because it is one of some obvious embarrassment to me personally. In fact, it had been my initial intention to ask you, Mr. Speaker, as apparently my political as well as my professional conduct was being impugned, permission to make a personal statement. I did not do so because the very nature of a personal statement is that one cannot be cross-examined afterwards and I have not the slightest objection at any time to being interrupted or cross-examined, for I have nothing to hide.
It is, I think, about four years ago that I was first approached by the then Government of Kenya and asked if I would be their constitutional adviser—a task I have been asked to do on a 1364 number of occasions for other parties in Africa. In reply to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), who made a charge of reaction against me, I would point out that I have not been asked by any European or white settler group to be their representative. Those who have asked me to advise them have all been non-white parties.
§ Mr. Bennett
I have no wish today to argue which party is more reactionary than another. That, in any case, is a matter of choice. But certainly I have a very large number of friends among Africans—and more potential clients, perhaps, because I never charge anything for my services.
But having been approached I did my best at the first Lancaster House Conference to help to evolve a regional form of Government. This I have never hidden. I have said so in this House. I want to read what I said then about the present form of Government. It explains why I believe that it is right and why I was ready to help in working it out. On 19th October, 1961, when the question first came up of the form of constitution I said—and afterwards I was complimented by the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe)—It is very easy to create on paper a unitary form of Government. I have no doubt that the new Colonial Secretary"—now the Chancellor of the Exchequer—by one method or another could bring about a 'phoney' coalition in Kenya and form a unitary Government. No doubt we should have an occasion of congratulation in this House and we should send out a Parliamentary delegation to their independence day, but within months, if not weeks, that Government would be in ruins in Kenya. We shall have regional States in East Africa whether we like them or not. The only choice before us is whether we send them into that form of government in reasonable order, or whether we allow chaos to do it for us. I therefore suggest that in Kenya we follow along the lines of trying to work out some form of regional governments with autonomy for the regions which takes account of the actuality on the spot as people see it and live it themselves and not as we here should like to see them live it."—[Official REPORT, 19th October, 1961; Vol. 646, c. 411.]That was a particularly accurate forecast of precisely the form of Government and the form of constitution which we are all complimenting today. 1365 At the last Lancaster House Conference, this time in a different role because the party I had been helping in government were now in opposition, I performed precisely the same function and I will come a little later as to why I am not too happy about one or two of the changes made by the Secretary of State.
It is difficult for me to give away secrets which are, after all, between me and those who have employed me professionally, but the suggestion is made in Nairobi that I have been guilty of causing bad blood and have been acting in a way hostile to the interests of peace in Kenya. That is absolute nonsense.
I will confess one secret—and I make no claim for credit for this action; indeed, I would never have mentioned it had circumstances been otherwise. When a group of leaders of the party I was trying to serve attempted to set up an independent republic of Kenya formed out of the three provinces under the control of the Kenya African Democratic Union, I myself, at a cost of many pounds, telephoned those responsible in Kenya and begged them not to do something unconstitutional and ineffective both economically and politically.
Another criticism has been made in Kenya that after I paid a visit to the coast tension as between the coast region and the rest of Kenya increased. It may well be that tension increased at the time, but I am not responsible for the timing of waves of tension. But that visit to the coast was almost entirely connected with a fishing weekend. The only political function I carried out was when, at Mr. Ngala's request, I saw a group of the Coast People's Party, as I believe it was called, who were wishing to declare the secession of the coastal strip and its re-allegiance to Zanzibar.
Mr. Ngala asked me to dissuade them for the State of Kenya, and I succeeded in doing so. That does not sound like the action of a person trying to disrupt the State of Kenya.
Although I could say a good deal more, I will leave that subject now and say that I am grateful to all those who have spoken today for what they have said about it. I shall be sad if the ban is not removed, not because that will mean that I cannot go to Kenya, but because I do not think that 1366 it would be truly in the best interests of Kenya if it were not removed. The ban can create only further tension among the tribes, which I have always deplored, and further distress and opposition among the political parties there, which I have also deplored. It is for those reasons that I hope that some reconsideration will be given to this case.
It is not a matter of my wanting a sunny holiday. There are many other parts of the world to which I could go for a sunny holiday. I have many loyal and devoted friends in Kenya and I know from their letters and calls how distressed they are by this ban, which they see as the first sign on a road which they fear. It is a little hard, when one has put in years trying to persuade people that the best interests of Kenya lay in co-operation, then to find that one's friends are distressed like this.
I now turn to more general aspects of this matter. It is absolute nonsense to encourage regionalism in Africa which takes account of tribal loyalties and then to say that to do so will lead to fragmentation in Africa. Precisely the opposite will happen. The two most successful and shining examples of emergent States in Africa are those which have taken account of regionalism, Nigeria and Uganda. Precisely because they have accepted the realities of the situation, they have kept their unity and prevented fragmentation by adopting a quasi-federal form of government. Whether we like it or not, I repeat my forecast of two years ago, that if we are not to have autocracies ruling by repression over minority tribes, and if we are not to have intertribal warfare over and over again in Africa, the only alternative is an increase in regionalism throughout Africa. Only in that way will we get rid of some of these tensions.
Oddly enough, the K.A.N.U. Government itself believes this, because although it has not previously favoured regional government, it has now accepted it in its present form. When I was last in Kenya, the K.A.N.U. movement at that time was still opposing regionalism, but was dropping bits of paper in the Somali Eighth Region saying that that region's safety lay in the fact that in a regional form of 1367 government the Somalis could go on with their own way of life. There is not a person today in Africa who does not realise that the only sure way of making trouble between the Somalis and Kenya would be trying to drive the Somali Eighth Region into a close unitary State with the rest of Kenya. This applies practically everywhere else in Africa.
Hence, I say with deep conviction, as I said two years ago, that the peaceful future of Africa lies in the acceptance of tribal loyalties rather than in boundaries which all too often were created only sixty or seventy years ago, and not by the wish of the people concerned, but by the European Powers in their demand at that time for territorial expansion. This is the reality in Africa. Historically, there is no such thing as Kenya. Kenya is an historical accident, because it represents roughly the line where the British came up against other national interests.
While I want these new nation States to survive, they can do so only if they take account of these facts of life and allow their peoples their primary education, religious, social and marriage customs and their own judicial customs below magistrate level. If people are left alone in those things to live in the way they want to live, they will not wish to break out in revolution over the things which matter more in one way, but which matter much less for them—international trade and other factors in foreign affairs. Things like that do not worry the average minority regional tribe, provided that its members are left alone to run their own lives as they always have done. Leaving their personal outlooks alone gives a real prospect for peace and a real prospect for encouraging a sense of unity throughout Africa, about which I am not too optimistic at the moment.
I am a little unhappy that the Secretary of State should have agreed to an increase in the central powers of the police and public services at this time and also that he should have made constitutional changes much more easy with the two-thirds majority in the referendum which can now be achieved. I would have preferred the constitution which was agreed at Lancaster House 1368 only last year and reaffirmed earlier this year when the Secretary of State went out to clear up some outstanding problems. I would have liked that to have been the independence constitution, leaving the Kenyans to work out changes themselves afterwards.
However, with that exception and with that reservation, despite what has happened to me personally and despite all that has been said, I should indeed be churlish if I did not wish for Kenya the happy and successful future for which I, at least, have worked humbly for a very long time.
§ 12.56 p.m.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
The name of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) has been linked with mine in this debate and before the debate. Together with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot), we belong, I think most reluctantly, to a most exclusive club, the prohibited immigrants association. In a few weeks' time, I will leave this club as the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland comes to an end, but I very much regret that two of my Parliamentary colleagues, much against their will, should be involved in this prohibited immigrants association.
I regret that the hon. Member for Torquay has been prohibited from going to Kenya. When I heard the news announced last week, I expressed regret and asked that the decision should be reconsidered. I noticed that the Minister of Justice, Mr. Tom Mboya, used my name when announcing that the hon. Member was to be prohibited. With respect to Mr. Mboya, it is no justification to prohibit the hon. Member for Torquay that I was prohibited from Rhodesia four years ago, and I very much hope that it will be possible for the Kenya Ministers concerned to reconsider this decision.
I do not understand the circumstances behind it. I only hope and believe that they will understand that it is in the best interests of Kenya and its future relations with Britain that there should be a free exchange of ideas and individual politicians so that we can have a much closer understanding of 1369 some very important common problems which Britain and Kenya will have to meet in the years ahead.
With my right hon. and hon. Friends, I welcome the Bill. I am very happy about this great day, but my welcome to the Bill is tinged with a note of sadness, because I think that it comes many years later than it should have come. We have seen eight wasted years in Kenya, the years of the emergency, from 1952 to 1960. We do not want to waste time on recriminations, but it is important to remember that successive Conservative Colonial Secretaries were responsible for deplorable mistakes in Kenya.
The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) referred to Mr. Joseph Murumbi and congratulated him on some of the things he has done since becoming a Minister. When he was saying that, I remembered that I first met Mr. Murumbi in Kenya in 1952, when I was invited to address a group of members of the then K.A.U. on the subject of trade unionism in Britain. Mr. Murumbi was among that group.
I went on from Kenya to Uganda. Within a few weeks I was horrified to learn that practically every member of the group that I had addressed in Nairobi had been arrested. Many of those men spent years in gaol without trial. Mr. Murumbi himself was able to leave Kenya, and he spent years in exile. I very much regret that the talents, wisdom, energy and enthusiasm of these men were wasted throughout those years. They were either locked up or exiled from Kenya.
It is as well to remember that the first time the African people elected their own representatives was in 1957. Until that time the only Africans in the Assembly—or the Council as it then was—were nominated, and were regarded by their fellows as "stooges" of the colonial regime. Looking back over those years one realises what a great pity it was that the requests made by the leaders of the deputations which came here in late 1951 and 1952 were rejected. They were requests for African elected representation and for the reform of the White Highlands—an area which, as hon. Members know, was reserved exclusively for a small white farming community and from 1370 which the Africans were completely excluded, except as workers on the farms.
What a tragedy it is that the requests, reasonably made from hon. Members on this side, in debate after debate, were not listened to during those years. If they had been I believe that Mau Mau would have been avoided. Mau Mau arose directly as a result of the rejection of the reasonable requests for African elected representation and for the opening up of the White Highlands because of land hunger in Kenya. The locking up and exiling of the great leaders of Kenya, whom everyone now recognises can do so much for their country, was a tragedy. The tragedy of Mau Mau was a direct result of the blunders and mismanagement of the Government, which hon. Members opposite, with one or two very honourable exceptions, supported throughout those years.
Time and time again hon. Members on this side of the House requested the Government to listen to the demands from Kenya for reform. I can remember how, time and time again, requests for the release of political prisoners were rejected by the Government. I remember, in particular, the case of a very good friend of mine—Mr. Achieng Oneko, who is now a Minister in Kenya and doing an excellent job. Among others, at the trial which took place in Kapenguria, he was accused of being responsible for organising Mau Mau. I was in Uganda when this charge was made, and I volunteered to go to the trial as a character witness on his behalf.
I did so and, partly as a result, Mr. Achieng Oneko was acquitted. But he was immediately rearrested under the Emergency Regulations and consigned to a concentration camp. My hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West Mr. Hale) and several other colleagues of mine raised his case time and time again in the House. I believe that it was raised ten or twelve times. But requests for his release were always rejected.
I only wish that the requests for his release and for the release of the other Africans had been listened to many 1371 years before. This would have prevented the worst excesses of Mau Mau. As my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West has said, Mr. Jomo Kenyatta, the present Prime Minister, could have prevented Mau Mau if he had been allowed his freedom. To lock him up in 1952, in the way this Government did—and we must not forget that they are the ones who are responsible—was the height of stupidity, and one of the main reasons why Mau Mau grew in the way that it did.
It is a remarkable thing that despite all these experiences, despite all the years that Mr. Jomo Kenyatta and his colleagues spent in camps and all the indignities they have suffered at the hands of Britain, they are now extending the hand of friendship not only to us, but also to the white community in Kenya. I am very happy about that. The future of Kenya depends on this sort of magnanimity. I am very glad that we are seeing in Kenya this establishment of friendly contacts. I only wish that the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lambton) were here now. By his speech today he demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the position of Kenya.
What a pity it is that hon. Members go to these countries, spend some weeks there, and then come back with such a fundamental misunderstanding of the position. The noble Lord congratulated Mr. Kenyatta on changing his outlook, but it is the noble Lord and his hon. Friends who have changed their outlooks in regard to Kenya. They were the ones who, a few years ago, were saying that the principle of one man, one vote would be a tragedy and a disaster. They were the ones who were arguing against the opening up of the White Highlands. They were the ones who argued for the continuation of the concentration camps and repression. Mr. Jomo Kenyatta and his colleagues have been largely consistent throughout these years; it is hon. Members opposite who have been converted—and we welcome their conversion.
As to the future, it is as well to note that the political advance is only one aspect of Kenya's progress. The political advance is a fundamental one—perhaps 1372 the most important step, because without it the energies and enthusiasms of the people of Kenya cannot be organised for the real tasks of tackling poverty, disease and hunger. These tasks have still to be tackled. I believe that the Government of Kenya today, representing the overwhelming wishes of the people of Kenya and receiving a large measure of European and Asian support, are well equipped with the men and ideas to enable them to do this great job of tackling the economic problems in Kenya.
We must continue to help Kenya in these tasks. During the last few years millions of pounds have been spent by Britain—during the period of the emergency—in providing military aid and subventions to assist in the development of prisons and military bases. Much of this money has been wasted. What a tragedy it is that over £10 million has been poured into the development of a military base in Kenya which our defence forces will not now be able to use in the way originally envisaged. What a pity it is that money was not put into more useful economic development. I hope that Britain will not spend in economic aid for the future in Kenya any less than has been spent in repressive and military expenditure in the last few years. Let our contribution to the expenditure needed be more than we have spent in military terms. Kenya will need this money.
I have here the last available Report to be published by H.M.S.O., and while I am on the subject I wonder whether I could ask the Colonial Secretary why it is that the last available Report is for 1961 and who is to be responsible for issuing the Report for 1962. Will it come before independence? I notice that another Report is available to the Colonial Secretary, and when I saw it being produced on the benches opposite I rushed to the Library to ask for a copy of the last available Report. Their last available Report was that for 1961. I hope that the Report which apparently the Colonial Secretary now has on his lap will be available to the rest of the House.
In the Report for 1960-61 we notice that the total revenue available for Kenya is £34 million. This is about 8 1373 per cent, of the minimum cost of the TSR2. What a small sum it is compared with the tremendous problems that Kenya has to tackle. We notice, too, in the statement of expenditure for 1959–60 that as much money was spent on prisons and police—£1 ½ million and £4½million respectively—as was spent on education. We notice again that the amount of money spent on the most important economic activity in Kenya by the Ministry of Agriculture, animal husbandry and water resources, was £2 million.
These priorities do not seem to me to be the correct ones and I hope it will be possible for more money to be made available. I do not believe that Kenya will have the resources to provide it for herself. The money must come from outside, and we must pay our proportion of it. More money must be made available for agricultural development, for irrigation schemes and for education in agricultural techniques. I hope that there will be more encouragement of co-operative societies, because these are, perhaps, the most important vehicle that the fanners have for developing new techniques and in growing and marketing the crops when grown without the profits being taken by the middle men. The development of co-operatives in Uganda and Tanganyika is an example of what can be done. I know that a great deal of progress has been made in Kenya, and I hope that it will continue.
The overriding problem which Kenya faces, of course, in regard to this matter of economic development is that even when she has grown the cash crops there is no guarantee that she can sell them in the world markets. This is a problem which Kenya cannot solve by herself; It is one which must be tackled by all the nations of the world, including our own. I earnestly hope that the Government will take steps to prepare for next year's United Nations Conference on world trade, bearing in mind the sort of problems that Kenya has to face.
I quote from the Guardian of yesterday a report from Mr. Clyde Sanger dated Nairobi, 20th November. It says:Kenya today took drastic action to limit its coffee surpluses in the future. Mr. Oginga Odinga, Acting Minister of Agriculture, announced that all new planting would be prohibited from next year and owners of 1374 nurseries would be compensated for destruction of seedlings. Under the five-year stabilisation plan contained in the International Coffee Agreement signed last year Kenya's quota is 30,000 tons. But already so much coffee has been planted by African farmers that production will be double that figure by 1967. The prohibition has been a brave move for an African Nationalist Government. Coffee has become the favourite cash crop among Kenyans and accounts for one-third of African farm revenue although only one-quarter of the coffee planted on African farms is yet in bearing.That casts an ominous shadow over the celebration of Kenya's independence. Coffee, after all, is the most important export crop in Kenya. It is worth £10 million and represents 25 per cent, of the total exports of Kenya.
What a tragedy it is that just as Kenya goes into independence the African coffee planters have to be told that they cannot grow any more coffee and that seedlings will have to be destroyed. This not only applies to coffee. It may well apply in the years to come to cotton. With the growth of synthetics in the industrial countries the prospect of selling primary products like cotton may be more difficult. I think that it is the responsibility of all the industrialised countries to take note of this problem.
Not only is it a question of giving the primary producers an opportunity of earning an income for themselves but it is also a question of providing them with the opportunity of buying the manufactures of the industrial countries. They will not have the means unless they have an opportunity of selling their products in the world. I hope that we will do our bit to help Kenya in the years ahead. It faces enormous problems and has so much to do to make up for these wasted years when it had to tear itself to bits in inter-racial conflict and in the great movement for political independence that reaches its climax in the passing of this Bill into an Act and in the celebrations, which I would be very pleased to attend, that take place in Nairobi in a fortnight's time.
The amount of money necessary to cope with the problems of poverty, disease and malnutrition, which is responsible in many parts of Kenya for the death before the age of 15 of sometimes up to 50 per cent, of the children, 1375 is going to be very great indeed. I do not believe that Kenya, with the best will in the world, can provide the amount of money required. There are many priorities with which she will have to cope. I hope that we are going to help in this direction and not merely send our good wishes to the new leaders in Kenya today. I hope that we shall also give them some practical support.
Finally, I want to pay a tribute to the leaders in Kenya who have helped during this transition stage of the last few years to establish a good understanding with Britain and, I hope, the bonds which will bring Kenya and Britain together in the years ahead, men like Jomo Kenyatta, Tom Mboya and Oginga Odinga, on whom a great deal of responsibility will rest.
I should also like to add a word of praise for men like my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough who for many years have preached the doctrine of racial equality in Kenya and the right of the people of Kenya to move forward towards a democratic constitution and independence. By such advocacy there has been established an understanding with the African leaders in Kenya and I believe that this will make it much easier for Britain and Kenya to be close together in the future. We on this side of the House send our best wishes to Kenya on this great day.
§ 1.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Humphry Berkeley (Lancaster)
I should like to offer my warmest congratulations to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. Two months ago it seemed at least possible that we should not reach today's proceedings with the unanimity which everyone so greatly welcomes. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will not mind my adding my congratulations to my right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) and also to my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer because it so happens that each of our last three Colonial Secretaries made a decisive contribution towards the political advance of Kenya. My right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West achieved a break-through by establishing the principle of majority rule. 1376 The present Chancellor of the Exchequer presided with great skill over the Constitutional Conference in April, 1962. But it has been left to my right hon. Friend the present Colonial Secretary to deal with what has, perhaps, proved the most difficult problem of all, not only to reconcile the views of K.A.N.U. and K.A.D.U., but also to establish the principles on the one hand of a unified Kenya which safeguards minorities and on the other an effective central Government providing for regionalism. I believe that my right hon. Friend was quite right to make the adjustments which he did in the most recent discussions.
I wish to say something about those adjustments. First, we all accept—the Prime Minister, during his speech in the debate on the Gracious Speech, made the point—that while minorities must be safeguarded, majorities must rule. In my mind there is no doubt that as a result of the most recent election in Kenya these constitutional changes emerged as the wishes of the majority. That seems to me a most important point and one we must bear in mind at all times.
My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) talked a great deal about his hope that we could have seen in Kenya the creation of a multiracial community. I should like to take my hon. Friend up on that and say something about the position of the Europeans in Kenya. I never believed, from the first moment when I went to Kenya early in 1959, that a multi-racial community, in the sense meant by my hon. Friend, was ever possible. What I believe was meant by my hon. Friend, and others who genuinely felt that this was Kenya's destiny, was that there would be a genuine sharing of political power between the races. As the Europeans in Kenya, however great their economic contribution, represent only approximately 1 per cent, of the entire population, it has always seemed to me wholly impracticable to talk about sharing power, except in the most transitory sense, unless one drew the qualifications for the Africans so high that very few would be able to participate in the voting which is necessary for a democratic process. Therefore, I never believed that a multi-racial 1377 society, in the sense of the sharing of power, was ever feasible in Kenya at all.
On the other hand, I have always believed that the European has made not only a great contribution to Kenya's economy but is a permanent feature in Kenya., provided that he is prepared to accept the political realities of the time which, in fact, demand that majority rule—and therefore, in effect, black rule—must obtain. I am glad, therefore, that no attempt has been made in this present constitution to incorporate any European reserved seats.
I should be out of order were I to make elaborate comparisons with the position in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland where, of course, a number of European reserved minority seats, based upon an exclusive European electorate have been conceded. It seems to me that, so far from providing protection for the Europeans, the concept of European reserved seats elected by an exclusively European electorate is a worthless privilege which provides; for irritation rather than protection. Although there are only three European seats in the present Kenya Parliament, I believe it is a very healthy sign that Europeans belong to both of the main African political parties.
We have been told by certain hon. Members opposite that hon. Members on this side of the House have not been very generous about Mr. Kenyatta. I may perhaps, therefore, be allowed to say a word or two about him, particularly as about three years ago I publicly advocated his release at a time when I was thought to be slightly in advance of the majority of my political colleagues. Whatever the past may be, I believe that one of the really impressive things about Kenya has been not only the statesmanship shown by Mr. Kenyatta but also the statesmanship shown by many European leaders and not least of them Lord Delamere. I was in the Highlands a few weeks after that historic meeting when Lord Delamere took the chair for Mr. Kenyatta. It seemed to me that the atmosphere engendered by that meeting was quite remarkable, and very encouraging. I should be only too ready to pay my own tribute to Mr. Kenyatta and the many thousands of Europeans in Kenya who have advanced greatly in 1378 their thinking in the last two or three years and who are determined to stay in Kenya because they believe that that country has a future and that they have a future as part of an independent Kenya.
I wish to say a word about the problem of citizenship. It is very natural that an African Government should expect those Europeans who wish to remain in the territory permanently to take local citizenship. On the other hand, I think it equally understandable, particularly in the light of Kenya's somewhat turbulent history over the last ten years, that many Europeans should have at least some hesitation about taking this great step.
One has only to be human to have certain apprehensions about what their fate may be. Therefore, I welcome the fact that the Government have recognised in the case of Kenya, as I hope they will in the case of the two Rhodesias when the time comes, that in a territory in which there is a sizeable British population, special arrangements may have to be made for them to reacquire British nationality should anything go wrong in future. I do not think this is in the least disparaging to the Governments concerned.
I hope that today we may be given rather more details by the Secretary of State than have so far been given to us by the Home Secretary. How quickly, for example, are people likely to be able to reacquire British nationality if they decide to do so? Will there be any time limit? Will they be able to do it two year later, five years later or twenty years later? These are points which I should like to be assured about.
I wish to say a word about the position of the European in Kenya. I hope the present Kenya Government will realise that upon the treatment accorded to Europeans in an independent Kenya will, and must, depend the attitude and apprehensions of Europeans in other African territories further south. What we have to try to achieve, for example, is a change of heart among Europeans in Southern Rhodesia. I believe that only a change of heart there can prevent a catastrophe.
If Kenya can show over the next year or so that the European who intends to stay there and identify himself with the 1379 country has nothing to fear from African majority rule, I believe that the obstacles and difficulties which have arisen in Southern Rhodesia will disappear almost over-night. We are at this moment expressing very great trust in the Kenya Government. They carry with us today, particularly because of the position of the European minority there, hopes which are set extremely high.
I wish to say a word, because I think it desirable that all of us should, about the position of my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett). He and I have frequently taken part in debates on African affairs in the last four years. We have seldom found ourselves in complete accord. But it seems that the unhappy decision of the Kenya Government comes at a peculiarly unfortunate time and has been taken in a peculiarly unfortunate way. When Mr. Tom Mboya, in justification of what he has decided to do, equates his actions with those of Sir Roy Welensky and his Government, what he perhaps does not entirely realise is that to people like me those activities by Sir Roy Welensky and his Ministers have been the least appealing and these are the very matters we have been criticising about Sir Roy Welensky and his colleagues over the last five or six years.
Therefore, it seems quite intolerable if we are to be told, as it were, to expect this arbitrary action on the ground that it is exactly the same sort of thing that Sir Roy Welensky has been doing and about which many of us have for years been vigorously complaining. I hope the Kenya Government will think again about this. I hope they will realise that by every foolish, unnecessary, arbitrary act of this kind they take they will do themselves immense damage throughout the world.
There can be no doubt whatever about the Press which Ghana has, the Press that Nigeria had at the time of the Chief Enahoro case, and the Press that Tanganyika had at the time when a couple of Europeans were deported for rather minor offences. These are the things which get reported in the Press. It is of great importance that they should realise that, although those of us in- 1380 terested in these countries will always applaud their achievements and seek to get extra aid from our Government for them, the Press of the world on the whole—with relatively few exceptions—is interested in sensationalism and these foolish, ill-considered acts are the ones which get into the headlines and do the damage.
I should like my right hon. Friend, if he feels he can, to take up the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice about the decision of Kenya to remain a monarchy. Going, as it were, from Dominion status to republican status within at the most three years, and in some cases now with an interval of only a year, is an extraordinarily unsatisfactory process. I think it unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. People are now genuinely becoming confused about whether if a country remains a monarchy in the Commonwealth it is in fact a fully independent country.
I was absolutely astonished to see a report in The Times on 9th October this year in which there was a photograph of Sir Walter Coutts, Governor-General of Uganda, departing from the airport at Entebbe and a caption which said, "Uganda achieved self-government today", when in fact it achieved full independence a year before. If the erudite Times can be confused about these constitutional matters, how much more likely is it that people in Africa, thousands of miles away, should be equally confused? This double and separate celebration of independence and republican status is quite unsatisfactory.
I am sure, not from any reason of disloyalty, that it is not desirable for Her Majesty to remain the Head of a State such as Kenya except in most exceptional circumstances. If a country like Nigeria with traditional monarchical institutions cannot remain a country under the Crown, it is most unlikely that countries like Kenya should do the same. Therefore, it seems neater, tidier, more satisfactory and less embarrassing for Her Majesty herself if these countries go straight to republican status.
My hon. Friend also quite correctly said that if as soon as a country gets independence it works for republican status that gives the very incentive to 1381 look around for ways and means of changing its constitution which otherwise it might not seek to do. Both at the time of independence and just before these countries have the admirable services of the legal and constitutional department of the Colonial Office. Who they get to write their constitutions when they want to change from Dominion to republican status depends entirely on who happens to be around at the time. Mr. Geoffrey Bing played a very important part in writing the Ghana constitution. A close friend of mine, Mr. Roland Brown, of Tanganyika, played a distinguished part in writing its republican constitution, but it seems very dangerous for the constitution rewriting to be quite as haphazard as it must be on these occasions.
Therefore, if the Secretary.of State feels that he can make it, we ought to have a reasoned statement as to what the British Government's view is about the constitutional status of Commonwealth countries and whether they should be monarchies for this short period or go straight to republican status.
I should like to say something about Somalia and the East Africa Federation. I am quite sure that the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), with some of whose speech I agreed, was right in saying that these are basically problems which must be solved by the Africans themselves. It would be utterly wrong if we as the colonial Power had attempted to solve the Somalia problem or attempted to put any pressure on the Kenya Government. These are matters which must be decided by arbitration among the African Powers themselves.
Incidentally, I hope that the African countries have noticed a singularly unhelpful act of the Soviet Government in giving, so I am told, £11 million worth of arms to the Somalia Government. A crude political intervention of that character by a major world Power in an area which we are all trying to keep free from cold war politics is a piece of pure political opportunism which I do not believe the Africans themselves will be slow to notice.
On the question of federation, if we are asked for help in terms of consti- 1382 tutional drafting and that kind of thing, I hope that we shall give it generously, but it is important that these countries should not think that we are trying to force something on them. This is why I was troubled about the circumstances of the announcement of the appointment of Sir Geoffrey de Freitas. He is a man for whom we all have admiration and who in Ghana proved himself an outstanding High Commissioner. I hope, however, that it will not be thought that the way the appointment was made and announced means that we are trying to give a push from Great Britain. This kind of thing is bitterly resented and almost always misunderstood.
I, too, welcome the Bill and send good wishes to the Kenya Government and to the Kenyans, both African and European, who in the last three or four years have done so much to bring about a startling transformation of race relations in that country. If the next four years can show the kind of improvements which the last four years have shown we may have in Kenya a multi-racial society which can have a profound influence not only on the Commonwealth but on European minorities in other parts of Africa.
§ 1.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
Although the debate has run a little longer than we expected, I should not like the opportunity to pass without supporting the Bill on behalf of the Liberal Party and, more important, of welcoming another new member to the Commonwealth.
As the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) has said, there have been incredible transformations in the last few years, not only in Kenya but in this House. When one remembers the constitutional difficulties which were expected when India decided to take republican status and constitutional lawyers had to be consulted on whether this was consistent with continued membership of the Commonwealth, it is staggering that we have heard two Conservative Members today advocating republican status for Kenya and even the noble Lord the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lambton) having a good word to say for the United Nations. This really is a staggering day for the Conservative Party. 1383 It is not perhaps without irony that once again a country moves to independence whose Prime Minister has served his apprenticeship, as so many Commonwealth Prime Ministers have done, by a long period of incarceration in an English gaol. It is almost impossible to become a Prime Minister of a Commonwealth State unless one has served some period of imprisonment at the hands of the colonial Power. But, as so often happens, an amazing feature is that there is no bitterness on either side, and I should like to add my words to those of admiration already expressed for Mr. Kenyatta. I think also that we were all delighted when he announced that he would wish Mr. Malcolm MacDonald to stay on as Governor-General.
Reference has been made to the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett). I do not think that anything will be achieved by going over that ground again. Suffice to say that we have no wish to meddle with the internal affairs of Kenya, but I hope that the Kenyans will allow us, as one equal partner to another equal partner, to say that we hope that they will feel able to reconsider this matter and see fit to allow the hon. Member to go to the independence celebrations.
The first of one or two matters which I should like to mention goes to the honour of the House and of the Government. It is a matter which I raised in the debate on 19th June of this year, when we discussed the Commonwealth Development Corporation. I refer to that very small group of European farmers in the Nandi Salient. In 1907, an admittedly junior but nevertheless distinguished member of the Liberal Government of that day, who was Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and is now the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), declared, on behalf of that Liberal Government, that the farmland in the Nandi Salient would remain the property of the Nandi tribe in perpetuity. It was to be reserved to them and them alone. Subsequently, in 1912, and 1919 and on other occasions, that land was wrongfully taken away and leased to various European farmers.
In 1950, the British Government realised that they had an obligation to 1384 hand back this land which had been leased by the European Agricultural Settlements Board on behalf of the Kenya Government. European farmers had been induced and persuaded to go into the area without any indication of the insecurity of tenure and they were bought out on generous terms including a 20 per cent, disturbance allowance. Now there are 20 farms left which will be bought out, but they will not be given a disturbance allowance. I have here a copy of the Colonial Secretary's cable which says that the only reason why a disturbance allowance was paid in 1950 was to avoid possible criticism that the Kenya Government of the day had taken advantage of the depreciation of land values in the Salient following the announcement that the farms would be bought by the Government. A disturbance allowance is a disturbance allowance and there is certainly no one in the country who has knowledge of the matter who believes the Minister's explanation.
These farmers who are involuntarily giving up their farms to honour an obligation given in 1907, and subsequently breached, must be treated as generously as their counterparts were treated in 1950. Now that a Conservative Government are seeing fit, fifty-five years later, to honour a Liberal pledge, I hope that the Minister will say whether or not he can treat these farmers a little more generously.
The continuity of appeals to the Privy Council under Clause 6 of the Bill is to be welcomed and I hope that we may see Kenya Privy Councillors sitting on the board in the same way as the Privy Councillors of Ceylon and India used to take part. I doubt whether this arrangement will stand for very long, because in the heady air of nationalism and independence it is difficult to justify going to a final court of appeal which is ostensibly a British court. Therefore, I repeat the plea which I have made on many occasions that we should still consider the possibility in future of a Commonwealth Privy Council based on Commonwealth Privy Councillors coming from Kenya, and so on. This is election year and the Government have shown a readiness to look at the long-awaited and to do the obvious. This suggestion would be of great benefit 1385 to the Commonwealth as a whole and I hope that the Minister will consider it.
I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Lancaster that a federation is something which cannot be enforced. We have already seen in Uganda the most fascinating constitutional arrangement whereby that country maintains the rule of three Kings one of whom is a constitutionally elected President, while the country remains a monarchy. The complications which can flow from that are endless. But the possibilities for federation in this area are very great. They must be left entirely to the people of this area to decide for themselves, but I share the view of the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) that we would be very pleased to see Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia coming into that area, perhaps one day linking up with Southern Rhodesia; and perhaps, if it is not too Utopian, when Southern Africa is ruled by her own people, for that area also to be included.
They will need a lot of capital and help. I am delighted that the World Bank and the Commonwealth Development Corporation are co-operating in one of the first co-operative projects between those two bodies. I should like also to underline what the hon. Member for Lancaster said—that the record of this Government will very much influence the thinking of Europeans in Southern and Northern Rhodesia. If, as has so far been shown from the records of the Kenya Government, they are wise and statesmanlike and respect the rights of minorities, they can do more good for Africans in countries which have not yet reached independence than can be done by any other single act by any other country.
While this country has had a turbulent past, I am sure that it is the wish of the whole House that it should have a peaceful and prosperous future.
§ 1.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Paul Williams (Sunderland, South)
I, like the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) and every hon. Member who has spoken, welcome this great: day when we are passing this Bill and sending the best wishes of those who know and love Kenya to Kenya on its forthcoming independence. I should like also to welcome a new 1386 member of the Commonwealth, because this is a significant event both for Kenya and the Commonwealth.
In doing this, I think that there are certain hesitations which anyone who knows anything of the country must have. The economy of Kenya, perhaps regrettably, is based far too exclusively upon farming and, to a large extent, still on the European farmer. Therefore, if the economy of Kenya is to provide that wealth and facility for development in the various fields mentioned by the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stone-house), it must be a successful economy.
If it is to be successful it must depend on the continued settlement in parts of Kenya of Europeans, and, in turn, this continued settlement and operation by Europeans depends on the confidence of those Europeans in the Kenya Government. This depends, as my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) said, not just on the honesty or otherwise of politicians, but on the continued backing or responsible and effective civil servants. I believe that this is one of the questions on which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State could well give us an indication today. What is to be the future of the expatriate civil servants in Kenya in the forthcoming months? It is in large measure upon this that confidence will depend in the longer run.
What we are really discussing today is the confidence which the Kenya Government, both now and in the future, can engender in their own ability in the home field and the confidence that they can establish outside the borders of Kenya as well. If it is true, as I believe it is, that the Kenya economy depends too exclusively on agriculture, the corollary is that there needs to be greater diversification and a greater spread in the economy in general. This in itself will depend in part on Government loans and grants, but will also depend upon private investment and private interests in Kenya. That private investment will not flow unless the Government of Kenya can establish confidence. This brings me to the question of confidence in the political sense.
Like every other hon. Member who has spoken, I regret, indeed I am bitterly upset, by the present decision of the Kenya Government to declare my 1387 hon. friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) a prohibited immigrant. It seems to me the height of folly, to put it no higher, at this moment of celebration, to prohibit the entry of one who has served Africans throughout Africa so well. It is the sort of small act which undermines the confidence upon which Kenya must depend. A strange situation has developed. Whilst my hon. Friend is not allowed to go to Kenya for the celebrations, the Kenya Agency in London has invited him to the celebrations here. It is strange that a newly self-governing member of the Commonwealth, such as Kenya, should withdraw permission to attend these celebrations from a person who has attended celebrations not just in Nigeria but in Tanganyika, Zanzibar and Uganda. It is the height of folly to treat someone such as my hon. Friend in this way. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will make some reference to this matter and say whether there is any chance of this decision being altered. It seems that there is a difference of view between certain members of the Kenya Government. I hope that these matters can be resolved and that greater wisdom will prevail.
Hon. Members have referred to democracy and to the possibility of one-party Government. It is this matter, small though it may be in itself, of the prohibition of the entry of my hon. Friend which causes one to have doubts about future democracy in Kenya. I do not say that things will become autocratic or dictatorial. I merely express hesitation at the present trend. I return to this question of confidence. Kenya has a great opportunity, but that opportunity can only be capitalised if confidence can be created in the ability of the Kenya Government to take larger and wider decisions than they have done in relation to my hon. Friend.
There is one question in particular that I should like to put to the Secretary of State. It is in relation to the future position of the British base in Kenya. We have invested there—some hon. Members opposite may say wasted—£10 million and more. It has obviously been of some contribution to the Kenya economy in providing a cash income 1388 for those who have been engaged on construction work.
This does not preclude us in this country from wishing to know what arrangements are to be made for the rundown, what facilities we are to have in East Africa for the transit of transport aircraft and materials, and what is the future situation of the freehold of the base itself. Is it to become a rest camp or holiday centre for people serving in Aden and other parts? This would be satisfactory, I suspect, both to us in the investment sense and the defence sense, and to Kenya in providing some further income through the use of this facility.
I should now like to refer to the question of future federation. I believe all of us will remember Lord Chandos's speech a few years ago when he forecast something of this nature. It may be that it was in advance of possibility and in advance of the right time, but I would have thought that most of us would now hope that if the United Kingdom Government can give help in facilitating the building up of an East African Federation, they should do so. As has already been said, this cannot be imposed from outside. Nevertheless, I would have thought that the long traditions of advice and guidance which can be given by the United Kingdom Government would help.
Therefore, may I return to the point at which I started? This is a moment of joy for those of us who know East Africa. It is, however, a joy tinged in part with doubts about the Kenya Government's ability to establish confidence. I believe this is now their great opportunity to take action to restore confidence and to give a great send-off to this new independent member of the Commonwealth.
§ 2.1 p.m.
§ Mi. Chfistopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
I do not intend to detain the House for long. This is an important Bill, and yet is only one of three independence Bills on our Order Paper today. We must not let the independence of Kenya delay the independence of Zanzibar and the Bahamas Islands. Moreover, a number of questions have been put in this debate and I wish to allow the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State time to reply to them as fully as he can. 1389 Practically every speaker has mentioned the case of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett). I think I can say that the action taken by my hon. Friends the Members for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) and Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) and the statements they have made in the House today will command a very wide measure of agreement on these benches. I think that the point of view of Her Majesty's Opposition should carry all the greater weight for the many representations that we have often made on behalf of those who have fought for African nationalism over the years.
I hope also that the right hon. Gentleman will say something on the question of the Common Market and its relationship to East Africa, which has also been raised in the debate. Can he tell us what the position will be in relation to Commonwealth preference if agreement is reached with the E.E.C.? It would be very strange if, for instance, Kenya, a member of the Commonwealth, did not enjoy Commonwealth preference while the Union of South Africa, emphatically not a member of the Commonwealth, did so. I would be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman would let us know the position.
On the question which has been raised by a number of speakers about the status of Kenya as a monarchy, it has been alleged that when the change is made to a republican form that may be an opportunity for changing the Constitution in a manner detrimental to the rights of minorities. Can the right hon. Gentleman give us any reassurance on this point? Can he explain the reasons for the decision to remain a monarchy at present?
Meantime, however, this decision has led to the pleasant announcement which we read in the newspapers this morning that the Prime Minister of Kenya has submitted the name of Mr. Malcolm MacDonald to be Governor-General on 12th December. This is not only a tribute to Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, which all of us on both sides of the House feel is well-deserved, but is also, I think, a hopeful sign for the future. When the full history of Britain's Colonial Empire comes to be written, I hope that a proper place will be given not only to those who built 1390 up the Colonial Empire but to those who wound it up as well, and among these Mr. Malcolm MacDonald deserves a very honoured place.
On the whole, the right hon. Gentleman has had a fairly happy debate. He has been congratulated on both sides of the House. Undoubtedly, everyone agrees that this has been a manifestly difficult and anxious progress towards independence. The right hon. Gentleman's task has been unenviable. We all know that situations can sometimes arise where there are only two possible courses and both are obviously wrong. I felt at times during these negotiations that the right hon. Gentleman was faced with this difficulty. It would be possible to make criticisms of the conduct of negotiations over this period, but I feel that this is not the time for them, and rather that the whole House sincerely hopes that in the big decisions which the right hon. Gentleman has taken events will show that he has been right.
On Somalia, which is in the Northern region, and which has been mentioned by a number of speakers, we could argue whether it was right or wrong of the Government not to take a decision before granting independence. A strong case can be made out for an outside body making this hard decision, before the granting of independence, of handing over part or the whole of this region to Somalia. Equally, however, it would surely have seemed strange if Britain, after all those years of responsibility for Kenya, of sticking to this region, as soon as others became responsible for Kenya gave it up against the passionate wishes of the people of Kenya.
Either way, it is obviously too late for action now. Indeed, action would almost certainly be counter-productive now, and therefore it is plainly an Africa problem to be settled primarily, I suspect, by African mediation. Our capacity to do good here is probably less than our capacity to do harm.
Unlike most speakers, I have paid only one visit to Kenya, which was about ten years ago, but the extent and size of the social and political changes in that period are certainly extraordinary. I recall when I was there ten years ago 1391 that not only were the Africans not able to produce coffee and own land in the White Highlands, as my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough said, but the very idea of African majority rule was simply not a sensible subject for conversation. Certainly it was not a sensible subject for polite conversation in general in Kenya at that time, and the changes have been outstanding.
However, history shows that the British people are very good at surrendering privilege at the appropriate moment without violence or bitterness. It is a very good tradition and I think we are better at it than any other people—perhaps because we have had more practice than some. I should like to pay tribute to those British people in Kenya who are carrying on this very good tradition. Unfortunately, it has to be said that there is a high mortality rate for democratic African constitutions. But it seems—and I am sure hon. Members will agree—of the greatest importance to the aspirations of all Africans that this Kenya Constitution experiment should work. If it works, the lesson will not be lost on South Africa.
On the other side, trouble in the Northern region, or bitter conflict between the tribes, or the exodus of the Europeans, would give great pleasure to those who are the most bitter enemies of African nationalism and to those who support apartheid. That, I think, is something from which only they could profit. Conversely, success in Kenya would relieve tension and increase hope of a civilised settlement of the problem in Southern Rhodesia. There are, as many Members have said, several signs of hope. British people of all parties have noted the courage and generosity of the recent statements of the Prime Minister, Mr. Kenyatta. It is obvious to all friends of Kenya that everything depends on the generosity of those who now have power and on a general readiness to forget and forgive.
This seems to us to be not only the best but the only way forward, and the Bill gives us in the Opposition a real chance of congratulating the Kenya people and offering them our heartfelt good wishes for the future.
§ 2.10 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies (Mr. Duncan Sandys)
I am very sorry that, because there are two other Bills which. we hope to take today, it has not been possible for all hon. and right hon. Members who wish to do so to take part in the debate. I am particularly sorry that my hon. Friends the Members for Plymouth, Devonport (Miss Vickers) and Clapham (Dr. Alan Glyn), who both take a very active interest in African affairs, have not been able to take part. It has been a very interesting and constructive debate throughout. Many questions have been put to me, and I hope, within the time available, to deal with as many as I can.
My noble Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lamb-ton), my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) and others have spoken, as the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) has just spoken, about the Somali problem. All of us in the House recognise that, if the Somali problem remains unsolved for very long, it could cause most serious trouble and create a most explosive situation in this part of Africa. We have made clear—I think that this is recognised, and, indeed, the hon. Member for Woolwich, East raised it himself—that, in our view, there can at this final stage in Kenya's political development, be no question of altering her frontiers except by a decision of the Kenya Government. I entirely agree with the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) and my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) that this is a problem which at this stage must be settled by the Africans themselves.
The Kenya Government have already had several talks with the Somali Government, and further meetings are planned. I hope that, with patience and restraint, these direct discussions between neighbours will lead to an honourable and acceptable solution. As the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) and my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice rightly said, the formation of an East African Federation, embracing Somalia as well as the other territories, could 1393 greatly facilitate the solution of this problem.
The hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) and others have emphasised—and I entirely agree—that the question of an East African Federation is one which rests entirely with the Governments of the countries concerned, and it would not be helpful in any way if we were to appear to be exercising pressure or influence in hastening the process. Last summer, the Governments of the three East African territories announced their intention to bring the Federation into being before the end of this year, and, as has been said by one or two hon. Members, this was one of the factors leading me to fix a very early date for Kenya's independence, in order to make sure that we on our side, at least, were not doing anything which might delay the process of federation. For various reasons, however, this timetable has not proved possible, but we hope that the difficulties which have arisen will be overcome and that this inspiring plan will be brought to fruition. We are confident that it would contribute to the economic strength and political stability of the whole area.
My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice referred to the announcement by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that the Government propose to introduce a short Bill on citizenship. This Bill will enable any former citizen of the United Kingdom who has close connections with Britain, and who has been obliged to renounce that citizenship as a condition of acquiring or retaining the citizenship of another Commonwealth country, to regain his United Kingdom citizenship without any residence qualification. The Bill will not, of course, apply specifically to Kenya, but its provisions will, I believe, be welcomed by the British community there.
§ Mr. P. Williams
My right hon. Friend is speaking of a very important Bill. Would it apply to people who take out South African citizenship, although South Africa is presently outwith the Commonwealth?
§ Mr. Sandys
It is intended to deal with the position of people who have 1394 connections with the United Kingdom and who are living in a Colonial Territory or ex-Colonial Territory which will become or has already become independent, and who, because they are living there, wish to acquire or retain, as the case may be, the citizenship of that Commonwealth country, but who may at some future date leave that country and want either to return here or to go and live in another part of the world. The Bill will enable them to recover their United Kingdom citizenship without having to meet the residence qualification, which presently amounts to anything up to five years' living in this country.
§ Mr. Thorpe
Will the right hon. Gentleman deal with the point about immigration? Do I take it that they would still be subject to the operation of the Commonwealth immigrants Act unless their passports had been issued to them from within this country?
§ Mr. Sandys
I should like notice of that question, but, with reservations lest I make a mistake, I would think, once they have acquired a Commonwealth citizenship and have given up their United Kingdom citizenship, they would be treated as citizens of the Commonwealth countries to which they belong; but they may for a period still have United Kingdom citizenship before they opt for Commonwealth citizenship. That is the point I had in mind.
My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice urged the Government to pay special compensation to those British ex-Service men who went to Kenya under the auspices of the European Agricultural Settlement Board. I have most carefully studied their case and I have discussed this difficult issue with their representatives. I assure the House that I am very conscious of their anxieties, but I am bound to say that I am not convinced that it would be fair to single them out for special treatment more favourable than for the rest of the British farming community in Kenya. About one-third of the Settlement Board farmers can in any case expect to be bought out under the existing land schemes, and the further measures which I now wish to announce will, I think, help many others.
1395 We are at present making a very big effort to provide for the orderly settlement of landless Africans on mixed farming land. Last year we started what has come to be known as the million acre scheme. Since then we have also agreed to arrangements for the purchase of farms whose owners, because of age or infirmity, were exposed to a special degree of risk. These arrangements together will bring approximately 1½ million acres under African settlement, involving the purchase of about 1,000 European farms.
Meanwhile, a very difficult and urgent situation has developed in the Central Region of Kenya. This is a most densely populated region and the problem of landlessness and unemployment has recently been greatly aggravated by the return to this area of considerable numbers of Kikuyu, often under pressure from other tribes. The Kenya Government have recently put to us proposals for special measures to deal with this situation. We recognise that this is an urgent problem and we are therefore willing, as part of our aid to Kenya after independence, to provide additional funds towards its solution.
There is another question which we have been considering. When my predecessor announced the million acre scheme, he said that Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to review the situation in the last year of the scheme's operation, namely in 1966, and that we would participate in an extension of the scheme if at that time this seemed necessary and desirable.
The selection of the farms which are to be purchased under the present scheme will very soon be completed, and the Kenya Government have recently been examining with us the impact which these plans are making on the land problem. As a result, both Governments have reached the conclusion that it would be unwise to wait until 1966 to conduct the proposed review. We have accordingly decided to undertake it in the next few months.
In this review, it will be necessary to consider not only whether, and, if so, what, additional areas will be required for African farming, but also how far the continuation of high density settlement is desirable, what should be the 1396 basis of valuation for any further farms purchased by the Government, and what part the Land Bank could play in financing these transactions.
One Member after another on both sides of the House has deplored the ban placed on my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett). I am sure that the whole House listened with sympathy to the restrained speech made by my hon. Friend in very difficult circumstances. In the light of my personal experience of his work at two conferences, I readily accept his assurance that he is a friend of Kenya and that any influence he possesses has been used to promote peace and unity. My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice and the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) and others have referred in particular to this question.
I must make it quite clear that I do not believe there is any justification for this action. I am deeply disappointed that the Government of Kenya should have decided to act in this manner towards a Member of this House, especially at the moment when we are all anxious to rejoice with the people of Kenya on the achievement of their independence.
In recent months Mr. Kenyatta's wise and generous-minded speeches have won him much respect among all races in Kenya and here in Britain. This has been referred to in speech after speech today. If this unfortunate prohibition is allowed to stand, it is, I am afraid, bound to affect the growing confidence in Kenya's leadership which Mr. Kenyatta's statesmanlike utterances have done so much to create, and that would be a very great pity. I therefore trust that the Kenya Government will give very serious thought to this matter, not only for the sake of justice to my hon. Friend but for the sake of happy relations between our two countries at this great moment in Kenya's history.
My hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams) asked about the future of our military base in Kenya. As I explained on another occasion, we have no wish to retain a military base in Kenya after independence. However, it will take a certain time to withdraw our troops in an orderly way. We have agreed with 1397 the Government of Kenya that the rundown will be effected over a period of twelve months.
The question of defence facilities, to which my hon. Friend referred, and the assistance which Britain and Kenya may be able to offer each other after independence is a matter which will shortly be discussed between the two Governments. I have no statement to make on that at present.
My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice regretted that Kenya is going forward into independence as a monarchy. He feared that in the course of a subsequent change-over to a republican system some of the safeguards in the Constitution might be lost. My hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster raised the same point, and the hon. Member for Woolwich, East also asked about it.
In the debate on the Second Reading of the Nigeria Republic Bill earlier this week, the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) raised the same question, but from a rather different angle. He said:In the context of modern events, it is worth considering whether it is wise that these newly-independent countries should have to accept as Head of State a Queen who is resident in London."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th November, 1963; Vol. 684, c. 1129.]The right hon. Member is, of course, quite wrong in suggesting that they "have to accept" Her Majesty as their Queen. The initiative comes entirely from the Government and Parliament of the new State. There is no question of pressing them or even advising them to do so. In fact, I share some of the anxieties expressed by my two hon. Friends.
On the other hand, I believe that few people would wish Her Majesty to be advised to reject an invitation such as she has received from the Kenya Government with the support of all parties in the Kenya Parliament. The fact that Her Majesty has been asked to become Queen of the new State of Kenya demonstrates to the whole world that independence is being achieved in an atmosphere of mutual trust and good will. This, I am sure, gives deep satisfaction and pleasure to the people of both countries.
The hon. Members for Woolwich, East and Devon, North welcomed the 1398 Kenya Government's invitation to the present Governor to continue as Governor-General after independence. I interpret this as a sign of Kenya's friendship towards Britain and also as a tribute to the outstanding qualities of the individual concerned. In Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, the Kenya Government realise that they have not only a brilliant administrator, but also a very trusted friend. I am sure that the whole House recognises thedistinguished and devoted service which he has rendered to Britain, at home and abroad, over so many years, and not least in his latest appointment at Nairobi. We are all glad that his wisdom and experience will continue to be available for a while longer to the Government and people of Kenya.
My hon. Friend the Member for Torquay criticised me for departing from the constitutional framework agreed at the Lancaster House Conference 1½ years ago. On the other hand, my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster took precisely the opposite view.
The hon. Member for Woolwich, East realised that I was faced with a most difficult and painful decision. On the one hand, I could take my stand, as my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay would have liked, on the constitutional framework agreed in 1962 by K.A.N.U., K.A.D.U. and the British Government, and I could have refused to make any changes which were not approved by all the parties to that decision. In some ways, at first sight, that would have been the easy way out. However, it was clear to me that certain of the arrangements agreed in 1962 were ill-considered and unworkable, and would have denied to the Government of Kenya the powers necessary to discharge their responsibilities. This would have led to one of two results. Either the administration would have broken down or the Government would have been obliged illegally to take the powers which the constitution had withheld from them.
The alternative course was for me to effect such changes in the 1962 framework as were necessary to make the constitution workable. The objection to this was, of course, that I should be accused of going back on the joint recommendations of 1962 to which the British Government were clearly a party. 1399 After a great deal of heart-searching, I came to the conclusion that my duty was to do what was best for the people of Kenya and that what was agreed at a conference 18 months ago could not absolve me of responsibility for the consequences of my decisions now. If I were to refuse to make changes which I knew to be necessary, I could not shelter behind the excuse that my hands had been tied by a previous agreement.
I accordingly decided to do what 1 judged to be right and to accept with sadness the probability that Mr. Ngala and the K.A.D.U. Opposition party would accuse me of bad faith. In coming to this difficult decision I was strengthened by the conviction that this course was in the best interests of those whose rights K.A.D.U. were themselves seeking to protect. The willing acceptance of the constitution by the Kenya Government, which this settlement secured, would, more than anything else, I felt, contribute to Kenya's future stability and the safety of minorities.
As I had expected, the K.A.D.U. delegates protested at my decisions and accused me of betrayal. They even talked of organising open rebellion. 1 am very glad that since then they have had second thoughts and that they have now come to recognise the important safeguards which this settlement secured for the minorities and for the continuance of the regional system. In fact, I am glad to see that Mr. Ngala is now rightly claiming that the settlement secured at the conference—these are his words—hassaved the bulk of the powers of the Regions, namely those relating to land, administration, education, local government, agriculture, veterinary services, health and fisheries".Mr. Ngala said recently thatK.A.D.U. now look forward to full and mutual co-operation with the Government in establishing confidence and effective administration for the good of all people in Kenya".I warmly welcome those statesmanlike words of his. This improvement in the relations between the two parties and the acceptance by both parties of the 1400 constitutional settlement will, I am sure, be warmly welcomed by the House, and will greatly increase the prospects of peace and progress in the future.
For many years, the responsibility for Kenya's progress has rested in British hands. Her political advance and economic development has been largely due to the wisdom and leadership of a succession of able Governors and officials, and to the efforts and enterprise of the thousands of British settlers who have made their homes in Kenya and have enriched its land by their toil.
In accordance with our declared policy in all colonial territories, we have progressively transferred political power to the people of Kenya as a whole; and we are now approaching the final step to full independence.
Kenya is an African country in Africa, and it is natural that its African population should wish to control their own destiny. But that does not mean to say that the close links between Britain and Kenya are ended. As equal citizens in the new State, the British settlers still have a most important and constructive part to play. As a member of the Commonwealth, Kenya will continue to receive help from Britain in the development of its economy. But from now on the prime responsibility for Kenya's future will rest fairly and squarely with her own people. Success will depend upon many different factors, but most of all upon the ability of the tribes to work happily with one another for the common good.
It is, therefore, I think, a hopeful sign that the new nation has chosen as its motto "Harambee", which means "Pull together". In the confidence that the spirit of Harambee will prevail, we are passing on the torch to the independent State of Kenya with the warm good wishes of this House and of the entire British people.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. MacArthur.]
§ Committee upon Monday next.