HC Deb 12 March 1964 vol 691 cc642-4
5 and 6. Dr. Alan Glyn

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (1) whether he is aware of the incidents of lawlessness which have occurred in Kenya affecting British persons and property on farms, details of which have been sent to him; and what action he is taking to protect British lives and property;

(2) whether he is aware of the difficulties being experienced by many European farmers in Kenya; and whether he will make it a condition of any future financial assistance to the Government of Kenya that a proportion be allocated for the purchase of farm land from British owners.

11. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what arrangements have been made to finance a land resettlement scheme in the central region of Kenya.

15. Sir A. Hurd

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if, following his recent discussions with Kenya Ministers and European farmers in Kenya, the Governments of Kenya and the United Kingdom have now agreed on further measures to facilitate the acquisition at fair valuation of more European mixed farms for the settlement of Africans; and if he will give an assurance that all European farmers, whether their farms are taken early or late, will receive a proper price for their farms and stock.

Mr. Sandys

I met representatives of the European farming community in Kenya last week; and they informed me fully about the difficulties which they are experiencing.

Extensive areas have already been transferred to African ownership under the existing settlement schemes. We have been discussing with the Kenya Government proposals for a further scheme to cover other parts of the Central Region.

The general question of financial aid and land settlement is to be examined later this month in Nairobi by officials of the British and Kenya Governments.

Dr. Glyn

While I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for the attention which he has given to this matter, may I ask whether he agrees that one of the great problems is not so much that the Kenya authorities do not want to enforce law and order, but that where there are isolated farms it is extremely difficult to enforce law and order? Will my right hon. Friend answer Question No. 6 slightly more specifically? If we are to grant Kenya sums of money, will he give his mind to setting aside a portion of it for the specific purpose of the purchase of land?

Mr. Sandys

I can readily give my hon. Friend an affirmative answer to his last question. We have already spent large sums of money on the purchase of land and the resettlement of Africans on that land; and I announced in the House in November that the review, which was not to take place until 1966, would be brought forward and would take place in the early months of this year.

Mr. Wall

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the million-acre scheme will have bought up about 1,000 European farms and that out of the remaining 2,000 there may be many who wish to stay in Kenya but cannot carry on farming under the present conditions with squatters on their land? Can he say anything about the problem of squatting and the intimidation of farm labour?

Mr. Sandys

The squatter problem is undoubtedly a serious and difficult one for the authorities to tackle. A few days ago, the Prime Minister of Kenya promised that his Government would take firm action to remove squatters and deal with cattle thieves. The Kenya Government have shown much courage in this matter, and we must hope that in this very difficult task they will be successful.

Mr. F. Harris

While not underrating for a single moment the individual and personal difficulties arising in Kenya, is it not vitally important in the interests of all races in East Africa, and particularly for stability, that there should not be any exaggeration of lawlessness concerning Kenya?

Mr. Sandys

Naturally I wish to see no exaggeration.

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