§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
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.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies (Mr. John Tilney)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
Hon. Members will share with me the pleasure of commending the Bill to the House. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State would have done so—in fact, he planned so to do—but the House will know that he is in a part of Asia that is vital not only to this country, but to the whole free world, and, therefore, cannot be here to move the Second Reading.
The history of the Nyasaland Protectorate extends a little over 70 years, but before then this country was conscious of the special ties that existed between our missionaries and the people of Nyasaland. I like to recall that it was from my own City of Liverpool—a city where Dr. Banda practised his medicine for a time—that Dr. Livingstone set forth, 105 years ago, to be the first Briton to see the territory on either side of the Shire River, and also to view for the first time Lake Nyasa.
Since then the missionaries have had to grapple with tribal warfare and for several decades with miseries of the slave trade which prevented the progress of the Nyasa people. Yet during the comparatively brief period since Dr. Livingstone first went there and due, I believe, to some extent, to the activities and the enterprise of the British, firm foundations have been laid for a unified state with a modern economy.
I think, also, that in recent years the economic progress of Nyasaland has received a stimulus from her membership 45 of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Whatever the final verdict may be on this short but significant episode, substantial material improvements have been seen in Nyasaland during the last 10 years. It cannot be disguised however that the dissolution of the Federation has added to the financial and economic burdens of Nyasaland.
However, we look forward to the future of this country and the people of Nyasaland and to the new and rewarding relationship which will exist, we hope, between our peoples for many decades. Her Majesty's Government will certainly do all they can for the newly independent Malawi just, as in the past, they have done for the Protectorate.
We are all impressed by the energy and the courage of the Nyasaland Ministers in facing their economic problems. Inter-governmental talks are taking place now about the scope and content of our aid after independence. Despite the economic difficulties of Nyasaland I believe that she has great assets. The first is the quality of her people. All over Nyasaland and all over Southern Africa one may find Nyasas—like the Scots, with whom they have such close links.
The Prime Minister, Dr. Banda, is, as the House will know, an Elder of the Church of Scotland, and Nyasas hold positions of responsibility throughout Southern Africa on farms, in schools, in industry and even in politics. They show vigour and enterprise and they travel far and wide. I believe that the Tombukas have a proverb which says that travelling is like dancing, the foot is a pumpkin and the buttock is sloth.
Secondly, there is the unity of the country. Although there are a number of different tribes, with their own histories and traditions, there has been of recent years a high degree of political cohesion, shown in a unity of purpose which is perhaps unique in the African territories for which we have been responsible. There is no doubt that the people are solidly behind the present Government, as the recent Nyasaland elections have shown. Considerable and favourable elements such as these should engender confidence in the future. I am no lawyer, and for the same sake of the record it is important that what one says about a. Bill of this kind should be 46 extremely accurate. I hope, therefore, that the House will forgive me if now I refer more closely to my notes.
The House will recall that following discussions between my right hon. Friend, the First Secretary of State, Dr. Banda and the Governor of Nyasaland, in September of last year, it was announced that Her Majesty's Government would grant Nyasaland independence on 6th July this year and that proposals for the Independence Constitution should be worked out in Nyasaland by the Governor in consultation with the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. These proposals have now been received and accepted by Her Majesty's Government. They closely follow the precedents of previous independence Constitutions and will be promulgated in an Order in Council which, after this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament, it is proposed to submit to Her Majesty's Privy Council.
The House will wish to know that it is proposed that the Bill of Rights embodied in the present Constitution should be retained. The Constitution will also provide for Malawi citizenship to take effect from 6th July and for a Legislature of 50 members elected on a General Roll and three members representing European opinion elected on a Special Roll. Elections on this basis took place last month. There will be a cabinet system of Government and the judicial system will provide for minimum rights of appeal from subordinate courts to the High Court. There will also be rights of appeal from the High Court to the Supreme Court and to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Order in Council will also contain the normal provisions for Public, Police and Judicial Service Commissions.
I turn now to the Bill itself. The principal object is to confer on Nyasaland fully responsible status within the Commonwealth under the name of Malawi. I am told that "Malawi" stems from an ancient people who inhabited the area which stretches from the lake shore into part of Northern Rhodesia and into Mozambique. From those people are descended many who are still living in Nyasaland.
Clause 1 of the Bill provides that on and after 6th July, 1964, Her Majesty's 47 Government in the United Kingdom no longer will be responsible for the government of the territory. The Nyasaland Legislature in Zomba was unanimous in its wish that Malawi should become a member country of the Commonwealth and that Her Majesty should remain its Sovereign as Queen of Malawi. Clause I also provides that future British legislation shall not extend to Malawi; that any enactments or instruments passed or made before 6th July shall continue in force, and that no alteration in the law of the territory shall result from its change of status from a Protectorate to one of Her Majesty's Dominions.
Clauses 2 and 3 of the Bill deal with nationality matters. At present, the majority of the population are British-protected persons, but there are also a number of citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. These include persons who were until recently citizens of the former Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. It is proposed that detailed provisions relating to Malawi citizenship should be included in the independence Order in Council.
The purpose of Clause 2 is to provide that any person who becomes a citizen of Malawi will, by virtue of that citizenship possess the status of British subject or Commonwealth citizen, that British-protected persons will not lose their status as such until they acquire Malawi citizenship and that on 6th July citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies will be withdrawn from persons who acquire Malawi citizenship. However, this last provision is modified by the first three subsections of Clause 3 which preserve the citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies of those persons who become Malawi citizens, but, nevertheless, have substantial connections with the United Kingdom or a Colony.
The remainder of Clause 3 is interpretative. These provisions relating to citizenship and nationality correspond with similar provisions in other independence Acts relating to former British protectorates or Trust Territories in Africa. It is also necessary to extend the influence of the British Nationality Act, 1964, to persons whose national status may be affected by the Order in Council.
48 The House will recall that Section 1 of this Act, which comes into force on 25th May, enables persons obliged to renounce citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies so as to acquire that of a Commonwealth country to regain it without fulfilling the normal and somewhat lengthy requirements. The Bill as at present drafted omits reference to the 1964 Act. The Government therefore propose to move an Amendment to Clause 2 during the Committee stage to rectify this.
Clause 4 and Schedule 2 deal with modifications of various United Kingdom enactments consequent on the grant of independence.
Clause 5 enables provision to be made conferring jurisdiction in appeals from Malawi and in proceedings concerning judges of Malawi courts to be conferred on the Judicial Committee on the Privy Council, and excluding any right of appeal to Her Majesty in Council. Similar provision was made in the case of Kenya in the Kenya Independence Act. The purpose of the Clause is to permit the establishment of appeal arrangements in the Constitution of the territory which can remain unaffected should the territory later become a republic and, consequently, cease to be under Her Majesty's sovereignty.
Clause 6 terminates the divorce jurisdiction of courts in Malawi in respect of British subjects domiciled in the United Kingdom and makes provision for transitional arrangements. Clause 7 is an interpretative Clause, and Clause 8 deals with the short title of the Bill.
Finally, I believe that the House would like to join with Her Majesty's Government in wishing the Government of Nyasaland—Malawi-to-be—and the people of Malawi happiness and prosperity in the coming decades. We hope that we shall continue our close and friendly ties. We shall certainly do all we can to help the Malawi people meet the many problems which they must face.
In commending the Bill to the House, I recall the happy association that we have had with the Malawi people over many years, and I believe that everyone on both sides of the House will offer to 49 this beautiful country and its people as we approach the historic event of independence our warmest greetings.
§ 4.12 p.m.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)
On behalf of the Opposition, I, too, should like to welcome the Bill. We should also like to congratulate the people of Malawi and their leaders on achieving their independence.
Perhaps before I go on to some more general remarks about the significance of this important occasion it might be better to clear up one or two questions about the Bill which have arisen from what the Minister has said.
First, why, in this case, is there no explanatory memorandum attached to the Bill? The form of the Bill is similar to that of other independence Bills that we have had, but for those of us who still read with fascinated mystification the felicities of the official draftsmen it would have been helpful to our untutored minds if we had had a little enlightenment about, for example, the significance of Clause 5 in relation to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, or the inevitably very complicated Clause relating to nationality, about which the Minister has tried, without too much success, to give us some enlightenment.
I should like some further information on the question of citizenship. Do I understand that Malawi is, in certain cases, conceding dual citizenship to British subjects—of Malawi, on the one hand, and of the United Kingdom and Colonies, on the other? This is an important point for a number of people of this country who resided for a long time in Nyasaland.
I should also like information about the arrangements with regard to appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. When I tried to comprehend Clause 5, it seemed to me to have been drawn in such a way that it could mean absolutely anything. First of all, it says that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council may have jurisdiction in appeals from Malawi in certain circumstances.
Then, subsection (2,c) reads:may exclude an appeal to Her Majesty in Council, whether as of right or by special leave, in all or any cases".As far as I can make sense of this, it seems to mean that the Order in Council 50 might well say that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is not, in fact, to be the final court of appeal for Malawi. We ought to have a clear indication of the intentions of the Government of Malawi and of Her Majesty's Government in this respect.
Finally, I want to ask a question which is related to this point, whether it is planned in due course, as has happened with many Commonwealth countries on reaching independence, for Malawi to become a republic. Naturally, a good deal of pleasure arises from the fact, as the Minister said, that the Malawi Government have decided to retain Her Majesty the Queen as Sovereign at the moment, and there is also a great deal of pleasure to be derived from the fact that we have appointed Sir Glyn Jones, the present Governor, to be the first Governor-General of the independent country. However, it would be better for us to be clear about the intentions in this case.
I think that there is a great deal to be said for a new country in the Commonwealth becoming a republic straight away. Then all know where they stand in the matter, and there is no dangerous speculation at the point at which a newly independent country of the Commonwealth decides to change over to being a Republic. I gathered from what the Minister said that there was some ambiguity about this. It would be helpful to have more information about it.
Apart from those questions about the Bill, the Opposition welcome the Bill very much. It is a particular pleasure for me to have the privilege to speak for the Opposition on the Bill. I came into the House for the first time in 1952, when the argument about the Central African Federation was just beginning, and I recall that the first speeches on colonial problems that I ever made were on the right of the people of Nyasaland to continue to enjoy the protection of this Parliament and this country until they felt themselves ready to determine their own future for themselves.
Like a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House, and hon. Members of many different points of view, I have lived closely with the Central African problems for the decade since then. 51 It is, therefore, for me an exciting experience to take part in this historic occasion when Britain at last, withdraws her protection at the request of a Nyasaland Government who clearly represent the consent of the overwhelming majority of the people of that country. Although our protection is withdrawn in the legal sense, it does not mean, as I was glad the Minister made clear, that Britain is withdrawing her care and concern for the future well-being of the Malawi people.
It is worth remembering that, as the Minister said, Nyasaland was never conquered by this country. It was Dr. David Livingstone, a very saintly Scotsman—even if he spent some of his time in Liverpool—who first reached Lake Nyasa in 1859. It was not until 1891 that Nyasaland came under the protection of the British Crownwith the consent and the desire of the Chiefs and the people".So, for nearly one-third of the century during which Britain and Nyasaland have been linked, the relationship between our two countries was one of private and Christian concern rather than of official colonial administrative rule.
The point that I am making is that our interest in the welfare of the people of Nyasaland pre-dated the coming-into-being of colonial rule. I am sure that our concern for the future welfare and progress of the country will continue long after our colonial responsibility in Nyasaland has come to an end.
I am proud of the rôle that the Scottish Kirk has played over the years in Nyasaland. Nyasaland is a country very like the Scottish Highlands, a poor and beautiful land of lochs and mountains, and generations of Scottish missionaries have followed David Livingstone and given their lives to the Nyasa people.
It is sometimes said that the Labour movement in this country owes much to the training both in character and in the tasks of democratic government which it received through our nonconformist churches in the early days of the Industrial Revolution in this country. I like to think that the Scottish Kirk in Nyasaland has played the same historic rôle. It sought to build an African church at a time when the 52 idea of African self-government was considered outrageous. The Scottish missionaries showed themselves ready, on a non-racial basis, to serve African congregations under African Ministers. During the difficult years of Federation, the Scottish missionaries faced much misrepresentation—some of it in this House—and much isolation while they worked in Nyasaland. They stood faithful to the traditions of stewardship, and they have been proved, in the event, right.
Two years ago, when I attended an international economic symposium in Blantyre, I was struck by the easy, unaffected good relations that then existed between the races. It was difficult for someone who had lived through the debates on Central Africa in this House, to believe that this was, in fact, the country of a police State, described so vividly by Mr. Justice Devlin only three years before that time. The fact that these tragic events seem to have left so remarkably little scar on race relations is due in great measure to the trust and good will between the races created by missionaries of all denominations in Nyasaland.
Some fears are still expressed from time to time in this House about the processes of law and order in Nyasaland. For myself, I believe that the preservation of the rule of law is the most vital thing for any civilised country—even more important in a developing country than the existence of more than one party in Parliament, important though I believe that to be, if it can be achieved. The price of law and order, particularly in a developing country where there are strong economic pressures towards intolerance, is eternal vigilance. That is why we welcome the fact that the Government of Malawi have felt able to put in this provision about the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council remaining as the final court of appeal. That is why I hope that in any further enlightenment that we get from the Minister we shall be assured that this will, in fact, be a constructive effort to meet some of the fears which exist.
I would add that I sometimes find it a little difficult to understand why some back benchers opposite are inclined to 53 express great anxiety about each particular incident they come across, and sometimes raise in the House, while they seem to be able to swallow without much difficulty some of the repressive legislation that has been carried out by the Government in Southern Rhodesia. This is not, however, an occasion for recrimination. I merely want to record that today seems to me to be a happy milestone on a journey that has already turned some dangerous corners, and which, no doubt, has some very difficult ups and downs ahead of it.
But despite the detour taken by Nyasaland through the years of federation, the journey to independence has been astonishingly swift. When federation was first imposed, 10 years ago, there were, in fact, no directly elected representatives of any kind in Nyasaland, and the idea of an African member of the Executive Council, even a nominated one, was considered something very much for the distant future. The relative smoothness of the revolution that has taken place—because it is no less than a revolution—is due in large degree, I feel, to the remarkable leadership of Dr. Hastings Banda. Dr. Banda has his critics in this country, and no one would deny the dangers inherent in that charismatic leadership. The outstanding thing about Dr. Banda has been his realism and is magnanimity during the years that he has led his country.
It would have been very easy for Dr. Banda, with his gift of emotional oratory, to have whipped up great bitterness against this country following the tragic times of the state of emergency. But even then, in his evidence to the Devlin Commission, he made it very clear that he had no personal rancour against the then Governor of Nyasaland. He had hardly been released before he paid warm, and, I think, well-deserved tributes, to the right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) the then Colonial Secretary.
Dr. Banda's relations with the present Governor, Sir Glyn Jones, have been of a particularly friendly and co-operative nature. I feel that a tribute is due from this House to the Governor for the wise leadership he has shown and the rôle that he has played in building up good will between the races. It is a sign of 54 the calibre of both men that Dr. Banda has asked Sir Glyn Jones to be the first Governor-General of independent Malawi.
Malawi seems to be a text-book example of how Britain's obligations to a former Colony no longer end, or remotely end, on political independence. All that happens now is that our obligations change character. They must now take place between politically equal Governments and I hope that they will take place within a Commonwealth framework of co-operation and mutual aid. In Malawi's most crippling poverty, the biggest problem is lack of educated manpower. Sir Roy Welensky, I thought, was always very much justified in the remarks that he made from time to time about the way in which Britain had neglected Nyasaland in the past.
Over the first 30 years of this century, the British Treasury gave Nyasaland only about £30,000 a year. In 1932, the education grant was the pitifully small sum of £12,000, less than a third of what was provided by the struggling missionary societies at that time. It was not until after 1945 that successive British Governments accepted seriously the obligation to give economic help to raise living standards in our colonial dependencies.
I was staggered to notice a figure given in one of the appendices to the Monckton Commission dealing with education in Nyasaland, where it is remarked, in Appendix VI, page 210, thatSince the proclamation of the Protectorate in 1891, twenty-eight Nyasaland Africans have completed courses of higher education;"—This was during the whole period between 1891 and 1958.Two of these qualified as medical practitioners …Presumably Dr. Hastings Banda represented 50 per cent. of the total output of qualified doctors for the population of Nyasaland during almost the whole of our period of stewardship in that country.
I remember asking a Question, during the time of the emergency, of the right hon. Member for Enfield, West, about the number of African graduates in Nyasaland at that time—1959—and I was told that there were, in fact, 22. Twelve of them happened to be in detention on that occasion, and now these 55 12, instead of being in prison, are Cabinet Ministers, who are showing remarkable good will towards this country in spite of their experience at our hands. I believe that they deserve generous aid in carrying through their long overdue educational revolution.
A great part of the drive for education should be directed to agricultural education. According to the Monckton Commission, the per capita income in Nyasaland was £16 per head a year when Federation began and £19 when it ended. Thus, Nyasaland, is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Some will ask what difference political independence will make in a country of such grinding agricultural poverty. The answer of experience now is that it makes a great deal of practical difference to economic and agricultural advance. If traditional but backward agricultural methods are to be changed, the change can only come on the basis of popular acceptance and participation by the people acting on orders coming down from a Government who enjoy the consent of those governed.
We have repeatedly had the unhappy experience of colonial agricultural officers trying to persuade people to change and being met with bitter resistance. We have seen this followed by great agricultural improvements made possible by the introduction of representative government. I regard the two most important priorities in terms of development of Malawi as being education and the building up of a really good agricultural expansion service.
I wish that the hon. Gentleman had given more information about the economic help we are pledged to give the new Government. I hope that it will be generous and that the kind of traditions we have built up over nearly a century there of concern for the welfare of the people will be continued very actively. Meanwhile, I join the hon. Gentleman in welcoming the Bill. On behalf of the Opposition, I offer the warmest good wishes to the new Commonwealth nation of Malawi on its independence on 6th July.
§ 4.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Iain Macleod (Enfield, West)
I wish to speak for only a few minutes to wish godspeed to the Prime Minister 56 and all the people of all the races that will form the new country of Malawi.
I suppose that I have perhaps more responsibility than any single man in this country for the chain of events leading to this Bill. That is so for good or ill, and it is right, therefore, that on its Second Reading, I should declare, or rather reiterate, my view that it has been, and will be, for good.
When I first succeeded to the office of Colonial Secretary the most urgent problem facing me was that of Nyasaland. It was then in the grip of an emergency, with the shadow of the Devlin Report hanging over us all. The more I studied the problem the more it became clear to me that, if there was the key to it, this key lay in the person of one man—and that a man who was in prison without trial. So I decided—as, I think, is known, against a good deal of advice from Central Africa—that the future of Malawi could only really start with the release of Dr. Banda. So he was released and from that the chain of events has rolled on and brought us to today.
It is said of Dr. Banda—and I think that I would agree—that he is a complex character. A short time ago I read an article in the Sunday Express expressing the anxieties of a European in Malawi about committing his future to a man who could be reasonable and moderate in private discussion and yet sometimes violent and demagogic on the platform. We in the House of Commons should be the last people to be afraid of that particular combination. Such people as diverse as David Lloyd George, on the one side, and my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Sir G. Nabarro), on the other, could possibly qualify under both these headings.
I would say to the person who put forward that point of view that I understand how he feels, but I hope very much that, except for those who cannot bring themselves to make terms with the future—and these are a very small minority—those who are at present in Nyasaland will stay. They are a small number of people themselves, but they are of key importance to the Colony. I believe that they will find a welcome and a happy future in the new Malawi.
57 I was particularly glad to hear the optimistic note of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State. It is true that it has been more fashionable in this House—and, with respect to the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) this applies to both sides—occasionally to decry what has happened in Nyasaland. I think that, on the contrary, there is a great deal to praise and it is on that note that I wish to speak for a moment more. I like to think that I happen to know Dr. Banda as well as any hon. Member in the House, with the possible exception of my hon. Friend the Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson).
I am convinced that Dr. Banda is absolutely genuine in the open admiration that we know he has, and which he expressed again a day or two ago, for this country. Indeed, I am also convinced that the two events which have been commented on by my hon. Friend and the hon. Member—that Malawi will be a monarchy and that Dr. Banda will probably invite Sir Glyn Jones to become Governor-General—are linked
I am certain that Dr. Banda has the warmest regard for Sir Glyn Jones and that the partnership between the two has been of inestimable value to Nyasaland in past years. I am sure that Dr. Banda values the wise counsel and steady help of Sir Glyn Jones in the inevitably difficult beginning that comes to an independent country. I agree that we do not know how long this will last. I agree that there may be pressures to change this state of affairs. But I think that, for today, we should be thankful that this liaison between the two men exists and that, happily, it seems likely that Malawi will begin its career as a monarchy with the help of Sir Glyn Jones as Governor-General.
Lastly, I agree very warmly with what has been said by the hon. Member for Dundee, East about the rôle of the missionaries—in particular, of the Church of Scotland—in Nyasaland. This has always been so. It has helped weave all the different threads of character in Dr. Banda and has played an important part in the patchwork of events leading to the Bill. On 6th July, when Malawi becomes independent, I hope to be there myself and to convey in person to the Prime Minister, and through him to the people of Malawi, the good wishes that I am sure 58 we all want to send from this House today.
§ 4.38 p.m.
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
I should like to express my very great pleasure at following the right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod). He spoke of being more responsible than any hon. Member in this House for the chain of events leading to the Bill. I think that he was even modest when he said that. I would have said that he was responsible for the change of events leading to the Bill, because it was when he became Secretary of Stale for the Colonies that he not only took the step he described, of releasing Dr. Banda, but changed the whole policy of the Government towards Nyasaland at that time—a change upon which the progress towards this Measure has been built.
I almost felt a rival to the right hon. Gentleman when he claimed to Know Dr. Banda more than almost anyone else in the House—and I appreciate that both he and the hon. Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson) have known Dr. Banda very intimately. It is 30 years since I first came to know Dr. Banda, who was then practising as a doctor. I remember going into his home and finding that his European patients admired and loved him, just as the African patients I saw in his surgery in Ghana later came to love him there. During the days of the struggle of Nyasaland for its independence from the Federation of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland, it was wonderful to see how the chiefs aid other deputations which came from Nyasaland, and which met in his home, depended upon his good advice.
I am glad that the right hon. Member for Enfield, West paid his tribute because it will carry great weight from his own period of office and coming, as it does, from his side of the House. Articles are now appearing in the British Press and speeches are sometimes made by the party opposite which are very critical of Dr. Banda as a person and of his régime. I accept at once the characterisation of him which the right hon. Gentleman has given. It is not true only of Dr. Banda.
I have just had the same experience in the City of Rome, where I have been 59 carrying on some negotiations with a leading representative of Africa. In committee, in discussion and in conference he was the most reasonable, the most constructive person, a person with the greatest understanding of the psychology of an opponent that one could conceive, but at a public meeting the same night, on the platform, his temper, his words and his approach were very different. But this is true of so many of us.
§ Mr. Brockway
The hon. Gentleman says it is the same with me. He has the misfortune to hear me in the House of Commons, but not when I speak to my audiences in Eton and Slough. The boys do, and I do not think that the boys would take the same view.
I will give another example which is important to the understanding of Dr. Banda. There was one Member of Parliament whom only older hon. Members will remember, "Geordie" Buchanan. "Geordie" Buchanan, in the House of Commons, was the voice of the wretchedly poor as no other voice has ever been in this Chamber. Because he was the voice of the wretchedly poor, who were then exploited in the most appalling way, he spoke here with vigour and intensity. The same man became Chairman of the National Assistance Board, with an administrative capacity which very few offered such positions could claim. I believe and very much hope that the same will be true of Dr. Banda.
Because my mind was full of wishing to congratulate the right hon. Member for Enfield, West, I omitted to pay at least formal congratulation to the Government. I will later explain why I say "formal" The real congratulations today are not only to Dr. Banda, not only to the right hon. Gentleman and not only to the present Governor in Nyasaland; they go also to the men and women in Nyasaland itself who, during these years, have been carrying on the struggle for their right of independence and their right of self-reliance. We know the suffering and we know the sacrifices which they have had to make. We know the terms of imprisonment 60 through which they have had to pass. We know the character of the struggle which they have had to undertake.
If, within 10 years of the emergency and less than that, that country now has independence, it is due to the fortitude, the courage, the sacrifice and the devotion of those men and women more even than to the right hon. Gentleman, or anyone else in this country, or to Dr. Banda himself. Today, we should be thinking—and we sometimes tend to overlook this—that it is often the unknown men or women in any movement or cause who contribute more to the achievement of the victory of that cause than those who are best known.
I appreciate that today, when we are thinking of the new relations between independent Malawi and this country, all of us will want to subdue in our own minds anything of the conflicts of the past, but to pay my own tribute to Dr. Banda, I am bound to make this reference. It is less than 10 years ago that the Secretary of State for the Colonies told the House that Dr. Banda and his movement were responsible for a conspiracy in Nyasaland to murder every European, to murder every Asian and even to murder fellow Africans who did not agree with them. I knew at once that that statement was a damned lie.
I knew that it was a lie, because I knew Dr. Banda and his associates. When, today, we are welcoming the fact that Malawi has its independence, we ought to be hanging our heads with shame that a Government of this country and a Parliament of which we were Members should have believed a story of that kind of plot and conspiracy and should have arrested and sent to prison Dr. Banda and his associates. It is only because we had a change of Secretary of State, who reversed that policy and released Dr. Banda, that we have the Bill which is now before us.
I welcome the fact that the Bill of Rights is to be included in the Constitution. I recognise at once that in the new independent African States there is frequently a danger that personal and political rights which we esteem may be set aside. Democracy does not come overnight, or within 10 years. It comes from long evolution and one cannot expect it to be expressed 61 entirely at once. But the fact that the Bill of Rights is in the Constitution, and that an appeal to it can be made, will help Malawi to begin its new course with that belief in personal liberty and in democratic rights which is the greatest pride of our Parliament.
I make an earnest appeal that the utmost economic help will be given to the new independent State. Its people are about the poorest in the whole Continent of Africa. It is not merely that education and higher education have been neglected. It is a territory which has not yet been found to be rich in natural resources, and its male adult population leaves its borders to obtain work. But, as we know, there are great opportunities in that country, and I hope that a policy will be pursued not only in relation to this newly-independent State, but in relation to other Commonwealth States whereby the needs of our own main industries, particularly those supplying capital goods, will be met by granting credit to those countries so that they can order capital goods from us. By doing so, not only will those countries be assisted, but the problem of unemployment here at home will be alleviated.
Nyasaland was part of the Federation of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland. I am glad that federation in its old form has been destroyed. Nyasaland was not prepared to be a part of a European-dominated Federation. But, having said that, I very much hope that federation will come again. I believe that if Nyasaland is to develop economic validity, it must be done in relation to the other Rhodesias. And I hope that it will not be only in relation to the other Rhodesias. The great hope of East and Central Africa today is a federation which will include not only Nyasaland and the Rhodesias, but will stretch to Kenya, to Tanganyika now in union with Zanzibar, and, in time, to Uganda as well.
If that kind of African State can be built in East and Central Africa, it will have all the opportunities for economic validity. It will have all the opportunities to build a social foundation on which its people, within a far shorter period of time than we now imagine, will be able to create an educated, civilised society equal to that in this country.
62 We congratulate the people of Nyasaland. We congratulate Dr. Banda, and, because I do not want to be ungenerous, I congratulate the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary who has had the honour of moving the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ 4.54 p.m.
§ Sir Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
The hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) made an interesting and deeply felt speech. I should like to pick up two of the threads which he left behind.
First, I re-echo his plea for the greatest possible generosity on the part of this country. I can imagine no part of Africa or of the Commonwealth where financial and technical help is more needed and where it will be more welcomed and appreciated. I should hate to think that this Bill meant the severance of our sense of responsibility towards Nyasaland, or Malawi as we must now call it. I trust that we shall express our sense of obligation and duty to that country, not only emotionally, but in terms of finance.
Secondly, the hon. Gentleman spoke movingly of the great debt which the people of that country owed to the countless numbers of individuals who have struggled and suffered to achieve independence. That country also owes a great debt to the countless numbers of our own nation who have lived and worked there, some in the administration, some in industry and some in missions and who by their day-to-day contact with the people there have imprinted on that country the moral standards of life and decency in which we in this country believe. It has not been altogether a one-way traffic or a one-way effort. The present happy situation in Malawi has come about because the standards which we hold to be good and right have prevailed. It is not only to those who have struggled for liberty but to those who have worked there all their lives to whom tribute should be paid.
This is Dr. Banda's great day. At the risk of wearying the House, I should like to say something about him, as I know him well personally. We need not compete as to who knows him best. Perhaps we know him from different angles. I know him as a friend for whom I have 63 not only deep respect but genuine affection. For the last few years we have corresponded regularly every few weeks. I have been active in politics for more than 30 years and, like other hon. Members, I have met many eminent, distinguished and remarkable people, but I believe that in his own way and in his own sphere Dr. Banda is as remarkable as any of them.
As a man he is outstanding for his courage both in his private life and in his public life. His private life is his own business and I do not propose to touch on it, but it is the epic of a boy with no advantage behind him rising to this great height entirely unaided and by his own efforts. He is a man of unblemished integrity, He does not lightly give his word, but when he gives it he keeps it to the death. It is easy to give one's word lightly and then find difficulty in keeping it. Dr. Banda does not make that mistake. He has great warmth of heart and love of humanity. It is pleasing to recollect that even now as the Prime Minister of his country he attends his clinic in Blantyre to look after the sick poor.
Dr. Banda is a man of great loyalty to his friends. Everybody in politics has many loyal friends, but I do not believe that I have a more loyal friend than Dr. Banda. He has great sense of justice. He has a great belief in the rule of law and in the liberty of the individual. Finally, he is a man of deep sincerity.
Now I wish to say something about him as a statesman. I am reminded of Sir Christopher Wren's monument in St. Paul's which has the inscription "si monumentum requiris circumspice". It means—if you seek his memorial, look around you. If one wants proof of Dr. Banda's statesmanship, look at what he has done. He has created a nation out of literally nothing—no history, no traditions, no money, none of the things from which one usually creates a nation.
It is very difficult for us in this country to realise what it means to create a nation out of nothing. Our history, our traditions, our liberties, and our laws have been hammered out on the anvil of time over many centuries, but Dr. Banda has created a nation from scratch, purely by his own efforts. It is 64 an amazing achievement, and if anybody asks me what I think about Dr. Banda I say "Si monumentum requiris circumspice". It has been, and it is, easy for certain people in this country to sneer and to criticise. It is rather like sneering and laughing at a child who is learning to walk. One should not be surprised if he walks with faltering steps, but rather that he walks at all at such a tender age.
There are, of course, inherent dangers because one cannot build up national feeling and national pride except by emotional means. The appeal to self-respect is basically an appeal to emotions, and Dr. Banda has appealed to emotion. The result has been the arousing of emotions which could have been turned in a dangerous direction. He has been accused of setting up a dictatorship. The answer is in a sense it is a dictatorship, but it is a constitutional dictatorship. It is a dictatorship not of force, but of consent. It is a dictatorship not of fear, but of love. In Nyasaland it is really a case of the words sometimes used by Mr. Speaker, "nemine contradicente". Dr. Banda has 99.9 per cent, of African opinion behind him in his own country.
There are dangers, it is true, and those dangers are twofold. There is danger from his followers. One cannot arouse a sense of passionate and emotional nationality without the risk of making one's less stable-minded followers rather dangerous and menacing people sometimes. We have just had an example in Malawi, where nine Jehovah's Witnesses have been killed because they refused to vote. I am sure that they acted sincerely, but their not voting made them seem like traitors to the inhabitants of Malawi.
There are many dangers, but they have, by and large, been avoided. The rule of law obtains in Malawi, and Dr. Banda works day and night to enforce it and to see that his followers and the Administration act justly and with mercy. There have been dangers that in most other countries and under most other leaders would have led to appalling outbreaks and tragedies, but those things have been avoided in Nyasaland. As I said in a debate here a few months ago, the state of law and order in Nyasaland does not compare too badly 65 with the state of law and order here; with our record of crime and hooliganism.
There are dangers, too, to Dr. Banda's own character. He has been accused, as the hon. Member for Eton and Slough has said, of speaking more wildly at public meetings than in conversation. But could any single one of us in this House avoid having our heads turned by being hailed literally as a messiah, and being worshipped and adored by everyone in the country? The remarkable thing is that his head has not been turned. He retains a sense of proportion and a sense of personal humility and dedication that is truly amazing and remarkable. In Dr. Banda we see one of the most remarkable men of our generation—possibly the most remarkable living African. I say, "Thank heaven for Dr. Banda".
I believe that Malawi's future is bright. As the hon. Member for Eton and Slough said, it turns largely on economics—on money and technical assistance. Given the continuance of Dr. Banda, for which I pray, given the continuance of the co-operation and help that the European community has given to the Malawi Government—given, I must add this, the continuance in office of Sir Glyn Jones, who has matched Dr. Banda in skill and generosity—the future for Malawi is bright.
We may well say that this is the end of a chapter—a chapter marked by many misunderstandings, but marked also by much heroism and much human goodness on the part of all races. It is also the opening of a chapter in which we shall see in Malawi one of the brightest examples of how the British Empire turns into the British Commonwealth of free nations.
§ 5.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Mason (Barnsley)
The hon. Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson) repeated the plea that has already been made by the right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) and my Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) for more financial and technical aid for Nyasaland. Apart from a long adulation of a personal friend, that was the only real point in the hon. Member's speech. It is not my intention to dwell too long 66 on the adulation. I only echo the hope of my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough that there will follow some economic federation between Nyasaland and the two Rhodesias, and, perhaps, some of the East African countries also.
The hon. Member for Enfield, West is intimately involved here. He knows Dr. Banda and the country well and has followed Nyasaland's progress very closely for the past few years. He said that Dr. Banda is a complex character. It is because Dr. Banda is complex and because he is not fully understood that the right hon. Gentleman made an urgent plea to the skilled personnel still living in Nyasaland to stay there. That is not sufficient. Those people do not understand Dr. Banda as well as some of the right hon. Gentleman's friends and some of mine seem to, because many of them have made a very quick exit. It is not understanding Dr. Banda or recognising that he is a complex character that is needed. These people want security of tenure, a stable Government and real justice meted out by the local courts. That has not happened in recent months.
Nyasaland—or Malawi, as it is to be renamed—is only a small country, with a population of nearly 4 million. It is poverty-stricken and still very backward. It is mainly illiterate—and that after seventy years of British rule; so we have not anything to brag about there. In fact, it has not made any real advance at all. In spite of Nyasaland's opposition to the Central African Federation, it probably made more economic advance and progress in those ten years than in any other previous decade in its history, and I am glad that the Minister referred to that fact.
Nyasaland has never really been wanted—it never offered much to British imperialism. It is small, insignificant, with no mineral resources—no copper or gold. It has never served any strategic purpose—no British garrison has ever been based there. Indeed, for most of the time it has been an embarrassment to Britain, especially in the last few years. In 1958 there was the assasination scare, in 1959 we had the Devlin Report, followed by the Monckton Commission in 1960, the constitutional conferences, and so on. Allied to all that, we had the running 67 sore of extreme Nyasa and Malawi Congress Parties opposition to the Central African Federation. It has just been an embarrassment. It is not as though the British Government are giving anything away—they are pleased to get rid of it.
I am sorry that the Central African Federation broke up. I think that had Nyasaland given the Federation more support it could have been her economic salvation. However, that is economic advice that has been shunned and pages that have been turned and a new and perhaps more difficult economic struggle faces the Malawi nation. It is interesting to note that so far everyone has particularly mentioned that and pleaded for economic aid for a nation about to become independent. In my opinion, a struggle for survival on the advent of freedom and independence for a Colony that has been under our wing for so long is an admission of failure by this and preceding Governments.
Dr. Banda, like others before him, followed the usual pattern. He was in prison, and then he was released and nailed as a messiah. He then successfully exploited his people's superstitions to his own and his party's advantage. That is common technique, and one cannot blame African leaders for copying methods that have worked successfully elsewhere—in Cyprus, Kenya, Ghana, and so forth.
But there was one damnable thing that Dr. Banda did. There was a smallpox outbreak in Nyasaland. That was not something new—it had happened in previous years. The World Health Organisation sent a team to vaccinate the people, and the superstition quickly ran among the Nyasaland people that vaccination meant sterility. It spread like a bush fire. Consequently, the vaccination teams of the World Health Organisation had disappointedly to be disbanded. In my opinion, whilst never condoning it, Dr. Banda could have condemned it. He is a medical doctor and the leader of the nation, but because it was a national superstition he failed to give the lead which, in my opinion, would have improved his stature.
My yardstick for measuring our success or failure in granting independence to Colonies, which initially we exploited and then in a short period of enlighten- 68 ment we tried to help, is, first, economic viability so that there is a chance for them to survive alone, allied with the germination of the seeds of democracy which we should have sown. On that reckoning again we have failed in Nyasaland. It is becoming all too common now—one-party states, republics, dictatorships, Africanisation, racial discrimination against the white, detention without charge, etc. etc. Everyone seems to know the story and too many in this country and in this House have become reconciled to these developments. They shrug their shoulders and say, "Well, we tried anyway."
However, every time this pattern unfolds, especially if there is economic instability at the outset, these nations tend to look East or West for economic assistance and then become embroiled in the power bloc hatreds and mistrusts going on in the great Eastern and Western parts of the world. Weakness in the economy demands toughness at the top, and in many instances the people of the nation tend to suffer more than they did under previous colonial rule.
I suggest to the House that the scene is now set for this picture to be painted in the new Malawi of Central Africa. I sincerely hope that it will not and that the economic aid which the people of Malawi so desperately need will be forthcoming. That can be their salvation. I know that it would be easy to say, Nyasaland and Dr. Banda having poisoned the atmosphere of the Central African Federation which was helping them economically far better than they had been helped in any decades previously, and having demanded and received secession from the Federation, "Let them stew in their own juice." But we cannot be as cruelly shortsighted as that.
On examination of the balance sheet of Malawi's future the dangers and pitfalls are easily seen, and they may not be so easy to remedy. On the other side of the coin there are hopes, however, and they are initially encouraging. First of all, there was an economic survey of the nation by Sir Roger Stevens. It began by saying that given reasonable good fortune, stringent economies, increased taxation and greater productivity a stable economy could be achieved over a period of years.
69 Secondly, on the credit side—and I attach a great deal of importance to this—there are no tribal rivalries of any consequence in Nyasaland. This really is important because when the white man invaded the vast continent of Africa he drew his own territorial frontiers; he sometimes split rival tribes and sometimes put rival tribes together in one boundary. It is important that there are now no rival factions in Nyasaland.
Private capital is starting to move in. There is the Nkula Falls hydro-electric scheme, and the Walker Ferry water supply scheme has been started. No one nation is predominantly in interest. The United States has moved its agency for International Development from Salisbury to Zomba with a view to building schools and technical institutions. West Germany and Israel are also playing a part. I understand that offers to finance railway development and a new sugar industry have also been made. That is the pleasing side.
Let us look at the debit side of the balance sheet. One must remember the words of Sir Roger Stevens in his conclusions that there should be stringent economies and increased taxation. To a nation independent and free and largely illiterate this will be most difficult to understand. Its people can change the name of the nation and rid themselves of the Central African Federation and of British Imperialism. These things will be the only immediately seen changes, but to say to them at the same time "Work harder, tighten your belts, pay more taxes" Will be difficult to explain.
Secondly, there are 150,000 Nayasas working outside Nyasaland, most of them in Southern Rhodesia. As Southern Rhodesia's economy tends to deteriorate many of these Nyasas will be sent home and the result will be doublefold. First, it will increase the unemployment difficulties in Nyasaland and, second, the purchasing power that these thousands of Nyasas have been sending back to Nyasaland and which has been assisting the economy there will be cut off.
Thirdly, ever since the secession decision there has been a general exodus of trained white civil servants, teachers, doctors and so on. On 21st May last 70 year the First Secretary of State informed me in answer to a Question that there were only four local African doctors and one lawyer. There were no architects or accountants in the whole country. And recently as November, 1963, there were only eight Africans holding posts as administrative grade officers in the Nyasaland Civil Service.
The exodus of Federal and European administrators increased sharply a few months ago due to an increase in violence and a reign of terror sparked off by speeches by Chiume and Chipembere, two of Dr. Banda's Ministers, plus anxiety by white people over the standards of justice meted out in the local courts. I raised this matter in a letter to the Colonial Office and only on 7th of this month I received the following reply:You will be aware that Patrick Wall raised this matter in the House on the 28th April and Duncan Sandys said in reply that he did not consider that the situation warranted the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry. We do, of course, deplore the violence which has taken place but I am glad to be able to say that things are at present much better. … Some of the more violent incidents during this period resulted in cases of murder … I am advised that there were, in fact, nine murders, some of which appear to have had no political motive. The Nyasaland police are doing everything within their power to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.So it happened. It caused anxiety to the Colonial Office and it resulted in an increased exodus of the key personnel which the right hon. Member for Enfield, West says should now be staying to assist Nyasaland. Many have left and many more intend to leave, so there are undoubtedly now acute shortages in administration, education, the health services and other technical and professional services. I only hope that more assistance will be forthcoming by Her Majesty's Government and others in order to help Nyasaland over its immediate economic problems.
I wish to ask the Minister one or two questions. Some months ago pressure was brought to bear on Nyasaland students attending University College in Salisbury. I hope that that pressure has now been withdrawn and that the students can freely attend the university. Secondly, I should like to know to what extent the United Kingdom loans and grants are in part or whole being used 71 to develop a Government newspaper and a Government broadcasting system. Estimates for the year show expenditure running at £13.3 million and anticipated revenue of about £9.1 million. In other words, there would be a deficit of £4¼ million, which I understand is to be met by Her Majesty's Government. In addition, there is Nyasaland's share of the Federal debt, which is £12 million. The new Malawi, therefore, starts its independence with heavy debts and an embarrassing shortage of all kinds of professional and trained personnel.
My personal hope is that a stable but not dictatorial rule will follow, that an economic alliance with Northern Rhodesia is soon established and that some links will remain with Southern Rhodesia, too. Given, also, the firm friendship of Her Majesty's Government, this will encourage economic aid and technical assistance to follow. On that basis, Malawi may well survive. For the sake of all its people and the need of stability in Central Africa, that is my hope, and it is in those terms that I give my blessing to Malawi's independence.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Tapsell (Nottingham, West)
I should begin by apologising to the House for intervening when I have heard only the last two speeches. It had not been my intention to speak in the debate, but I came into the House and heard the very generous and moving tribute which my hon. Friend the Member for Farnham (Mr. G. Nicholson) paid to Dr. Banda, and I stayed to listen to the speech of the hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), and one or two of the points made by the hon. Member for Barnsley in the early part of his speech prompted me briefly to intervene.
Although I have been in the House only a short time, I can claim not to be one of those who have become converted to an admiration for Dr. Banda in recent months. I made my maiden speech in the House in March, 1960 on this subject, and in the course of that speech, when the situation in Nyasaland was very different from the present situation, and when Dr. Banda was in detention in Southern Rhodesia, I urged that he should be brought out of detention and made Prime Minister of Nyasaland. I said that I had heard 72 many differing accounts of him from people in Nyasaland but that I was certain of one thing—he was the one man who could lead that country; he should be brought out of detention and given the opportunity to do so; and he would be judged on his record.
That has happened, and great credit for it and for the happy sequence of events since then belongs to my right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod). Anybody who went to Nyasaland before he went there as Secretary of State for the Colonies—and I had that opportunity—found it to be an exceedingly unhappy country. In the early months of 1960 it was difficult to see how Nyasaland could go forward to nationhood without great bloodshed and misery. But when I visited Nyasaland again, after my right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West, had been Secretary of State for some time, I found a complete transformation in mood.
Although I entirely share the anxieties expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Farnham, because everybody must realise the potential difficulties which a country such as Nyasaland faces, I am sure that the House feels that Dr. Banda has so far fulfilled the trust and the hopes which we and the people of Malawi have placed in him. He goes forward as leader of his fellow countrymen to independence with the good wishes of us all.
The only other point on which I shall comment in the speech of the hon. Member for Barnsley is his reference to our attitude to Nyasaland in the past. He said that Nyasaland has never been of any use to imperialism and that we were happy to be rid of it. I know that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have a deep feeling for the Commonwealth and its people and a desire to bring them forward to a better standard of living and to see the maintenance of free institutions there. On many occasions in the House and on public platforms I have expressed views on this subject possibly closer to their views than to those of some of my colleagues.
I hope that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite will accept my sincerity when I tell them that they should make an effort to recognise the 73 deep-seated emotions which many of us on this side of the House feel about the Commonwealth and the Empire and to accept that it is entirely wrong for them to say that we have regarded the Empire as something from which we were simply seeking a commercial advantage and a military ascendancy in the world and which, as soon as it became a liability, we were ready at once to abandon.
I have two grandparents and four great grandparents buried in overseas Commonwealth territories, and many members; of my party have much closer and more deep-rooted associations with the Commonwealth than that.
I have found the idea of the Commonwealth to be the one which has most moved me in politics. Indeed, it brought me into politics—and into politics in the Conservative Party. It has never been the case that this country has regarded its colonial territories as a source merely of aggrandisement and exploitation. There is a very fine and noble thread running through the whole of our colonial history, and Nyasaland is a particularly good example of this, because it has evoked from our missionaries and from our public servants probably a higher record of service and a greater measure of self-sacrifice in the service of its people than any other part of our Commonwealth. It is true that some people have gone to Nyasaland, and elsewhere, to make money, but so, too, have people gone there in the spirit in which Livingstone went and have evoked from the people of that country the spirit of those Africans who carried Livingstone's dead body through hostile country for 2,000 miles to the sea.
§ 5.28 p.m.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
This is a great and historic day for the House of Commons and for the new Malawi which will arise as a result of the unanimous passing of the Bill. But I believe that the debate is taking place in a somewhat unreal atmosphere. We seem to be forgetting some of the awful events of the last ten years and, as a result, we may be forgetting what a tremendous debt we owe to Malawi for the criminal folly for which this country under Conservative rule has been responsible in the last few years. We 74 have to understand our responsibility to give economic assistance in the years ahead, as has been mentioned in many speeches today, arising out of our responsibility and our neglect in this respect in the last few years.
Many tributes have been paid to those who have been responsible for the change in our policy towards Nyasaland. Tributes have been rightly paid to the excellent work of a former Colonial Secretary, the right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod). Tributes are due not only to him but to the younger Members on that side of the House, as represented by the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. Tapsell), who took a progressive line in relation to Nyasaland long before that was a popular thing to do, at least on that side of the House.
I believe that the principal tribute which should be paid, at any rate in this House, is to my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway), who was at the forefront of the attack upon colonialism as represented by the domination of Nyasaland under Imperial rule and during the period of the Federation and who throughout has been consistent and dedicated in his campaigns, particularly as chairman of the Movement for Colonial Freedom, against the evils against which everybody now speaks. Even those Conservatives who have spoken today have acknowledged, by latter-day emulation, the wisdom of his attitude to Colonialism.
I noticed something resembling humbug towards; the end of the Minister's speech. I regret that blemish on an otherwise excellent moving of the Bill. The blemish was his reference to the happy relations which have always existed between us and the people of Malawi. We can hardly say that. That is a false comment to make, since only a few years ago we were locking up the leaders of Nyasaland because they fought, and rightly fought, against the repressive measures which we had encouraged the Federation, under Sir Roy Welensky, to take against them.
We can hardly say that we have always had friendly relations with the people of Nyasaland when we have denied them the economic assistance they needed to build up the economy of their country, when during these years of colonial rule 75 many thousands of their people have had to go to seek work outside Nyasaland. We can hardly say that we have always had friendly relations with them when we have attempted to force on the millions in Nyasaland a policy which was opposed by all those millions and supported only by a handful of stooges anxious to get whatever benefit they could out of an association in the Federation.
I regret this unreal atmosphere in this debate, because I believe that we cannot live up to our responsibilities in the future—responsibilities to provide economic assistance and technical assistance, through what I hope will become a Ministry for Overseas Development—unless we ourselves can recognise the guilt that we have for the mistakes which have been made in the past.
On one occasion during the debate I recalled a day just over five years ago—3rd March, 1959—when I was in Lusaka about to catch a plane to go to Nyasaland to stay with Dr. Banda. I was prevented from making that journey. In fact I had to leave the Federation altogether. On that morning Dr. Banda was arrested in his pyjamas, bundled in an undignified way into a police van, and flown off to a gaol in Southern Rhodesia, where he was kept incarcerated for many months. I think that it is a remarkable thing that after suffering that imprisonment Dr. Banda feels such good will towards Britain and the British people. It is a remarkable tribute to the man that he can suffer that experience and, after it, have this friendly feeling towards us. I believe that it augers well for the future of Malawi that he has this friendly feeling towards Britain, despite what he has experienced at our hands.
Much reference has been made during the debate to the economic needs of Malawi. I want to refer to them because, as has been truly said, Malawi is the poorest country of all those which have achieved independence in the years since the war. The average income is only £20 per head per year. The figures detailed in the Monckton Report shows that 132,000 of the people of Malawi are employed in Southern Rhodesia and 20,000 in Northern Rhodesia. Adding those employed in other Territories, particularly in South Africa, the total number working outside Malawi is greater 76 than the number employed in Malawi itself.
This is a tragedy. These men have to be separated from their wives and families for a long period, because there is no opportunity for them to work in their own country, due to economic neglect. I believe that it is urgently necessary that these men be encouraged to return home, for some of them are very skilled and most energetic. They are the men that Malawi wants within her own boundaries to work up her own economy. They cannot return home, unless work is provided for them.
Work can be provided for them only as a result of a massive investment programme. My hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) referred to the economic assistance given to Nyasaland during the period of federation. I believe the figure was £3½ million to £4 million a year. What is so often overlooked—I believe that my hon. Friend overlooked the point—is that the money actually came from the Northern Rhodesian copper mines, in which country there were, as the Monckton Report shows, 20,000 Nyasalanders working, helping to provide the wealth which eventually came to them through the machinery of the Federation. It was not provided by Southern Rhodesia. Southern Rhodesia itself enjoyed many economic advantages by linking to the North. The money that came to Nysaland came from Northern Rhodesia, not from the South.
I hope that a way can be found to maintain the economic links of Northern Rhodesia, or Zambia, as it will be called, and Malawi, so that some of this flow can continue, although it must be recognised that most of the economic resources in Northern Rhodesia will be required for investment in Zambia itself.
Most of the money which will be required for Malawi's economic development must be provided by the industrialised States. I hope that we will be able to press, through the World Bank Group, and particularly in the International Development Association, for a fund to be set up to build up the economy of Malawi. I believe that, as there are more wage-earners outside the Territory than within it, there is a more urgent need to provide opportunities for employment inside Malawi than there 77 has been in any of the other newly independent States.
I am glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley has returned to his seat because I wanted to refer to his astonishing attack on Dr. Banda. I do not believe that he was justified in what he said, particularly about the vaccination campaign. I believe that what was retailed to the House today was propaganda which was spread during the period when "Voice and Vision" experts were doing their best to malign the name of Dr. Banda in their own professional interests and in the interests of maintaining the Federation in existence.
§ Mr. Mason
My attack on Dr. Banda was not dastardly, as my hon. Friend has described it, but I said that there was one damnable thing, and that was that Dr. Banda did not condemn the superstition which ran rife through Nyasaland when the World Health Organisation team went in to vaccinate. That superstition was that sterility followed vaccination. This happens to be a fact and I challenge any hon. Member opposite to prove to me that Dr. Banda, a medical man, made any statement condemning the superstition and therefore assisting the team.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
My hon. Friend said quite distinctly in his speech that Dr. Banda took advantage of the tribal superstition of his fellow men for his own personal advantage and I believe that to be entirely untrue. I hope that my hon. Friend will seek an opportunity to withdraw that point. It is a complete reversal of the truth. Dr. Banda has been doing his best to draw his people away from tribal superstitions towards something greater and better, the conception of a nation, the conception of the opportunities to attack the evils of poverty and disease and hunger which will arise as a result of independence. I believe that what was said was quite untrue and I hope that there will be a chance for it to be withdrawn.
Reference has been made to the great dedication of Dr. Banda and his party in achieving the independence of Malawi, but it would be remiss of us to forget his stalwart supporters who sustained him during very tense years when he was 78 subject to bitter and continuous attack, men like Mr. Kanyama Chiume who stood stalwartly by him and worked hard and was finally able to share in the popular support which has accrued to Dr. Banda and his leading colleagues as a result of their dedicated work on behalf of their fellow men in Malawi.
Independence or sovereignty is not an end in itself and I do not believe that anybody in Malawi believes that the people of Malawi have now reached the end of their endeavours. Independence to them is a stepping-stone to a better way of life. Now they will have the opportunity of putting all their energies into attacking the evils of poverty and under-development in their own country instead of having to waste their energies attacking us, Sir Roy Welensky, the Federation, and the colonial administrators. They can now use their energies and tremendous abilities to build up the economy of their own country. I believe that they can do more through having independence than they could possibly have done if they had been kept under some sort of subjugation. They now have the key to do more for themselves, and it is now our duty to help provide them with (he tools to do the job.
§ 5.44 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
If I resist the temptation to comment on a number of the remarks which the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stone-house) has just made, he knows me well enough and we have followed each other in debate often enough for him to appreciate that it is not through lack of readiness to take him on. But having listened to nearly all the speeches today, I do not think that a great deal of good is done by disinterring too many skeletons, because they can be found in the most unexpected places. I assure the hon. Member that I have not been and am not now indebted to "Voice and Vision" tours and never took advantage of its facilities; anyhow I knew the country well before and I have known it too since those facilities were offered.
It does not help the position today to go over these old sores again, because on them a number of points can be made on both sides of the House. One general point which I feel bound to make, however, is that I profoundly resent the idea that a large number of 79 us on both sides of the House who favoured the conception of the Central African Federation from the very beginning were somehow guilty of backing an imperialist idea of keeping down the black man in his own country. It can be said of Labour Ministers who helped to initiate the Federation and of many others on either side of the House that they thought that it was an imaginative concept and an attempt to get the people of different races to live in these territories independently under a sense of partnership.
If this concept failed it was people who made it fail. It was not the idea itself that failed. The imaginative idea of trying to create a federation was unique. It had not yet succeeded anywhere in the world where people of different races and profoundly different social background lived together. I shall regret that failure for the rest of my life, and I believe that the whole world will live to regret it.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
The hon. Member referred to Labour Ministers who helped to initiate the Federation. Will he acknowledge that the Labour Party always made it clear that the Federation would work only if it had the support of the majority of the inhabitants?
§ Mr. Bennett
That intervention almost paralyses me. That is exactly what I said. I was deliberately spreading the burden of failure as fairly as I could. Sir Roy Welensky has admitted many mistakes that he has made. Occasionally in his life even the hon. Member for Wednesbury may have made one or two mistakes. On this occasion we ought to be able to say at least that we regret the failure of a great idea while taking in our own consciences our own share of responsibility for what has taken place.
A great deal has been said in the course of the debate about the economic record and the needs of Malawi. Again, I do not think that it was on the economic side that the Federation failed, because whether the funds came largely from the Northern Rhodesia copper mines or not—and we do not know whether they will continue to come in future—from a purely material point of view it can be said that all three terri- 80 tories in the Federation gained. It was the human side that went wrong, not the economic, and to imagine that because Malawi is to be independent everything in the garden will grow well in future is a fallacy.
To imagine that, with all the best will in the world, we can create a state of prosperity in a country which has tragically few natural resources is to mislead the Malawi people. This should not be said of any country, whatever its Government, if its resources are not sufficient to develop it to a state of prosperity which we would all like to see that country reach. Dr. Banda's Government is in for a tough time ahead because Malawi is a naturally poor country. Too much should not be said in condemnation of the Malawi people having to go abroad to earn a living. If they did not, the country would be a great deal poorer. I am sure that Dr. Banda would not put obstacles in the path of his people going abroad to continue to help earn funds for their country. There is nothing new in that.
I am only upset at the fact that in some cases they have had to go to the Union of South Africa where materialism and economics have clashed so much with human realities. In fact, today its work overseas is an extremely valuable adjunct to Malawi's prosperity or standard of life that people can still go abroad, earn their living elsewhere and then return to their own country. Let us get rid of the idea that because Uhuru comes, suddenly and dramatically minerals and materials which have not existed before are found under the ground and a great flow of investment takes place in Malawi. Investment in what? This is grossly misleading. It will be an uphill battle for a country rich not in material resources but only in energy and skill. Any idea that we may give them tonight that suddenly gold is going to be found under the streets or roads will be completely unreal.
My final point concerns the question of the sort of Government that is likely to emerge in Malawi. The expression of "humbug" was used by an hon. Member opposite when speaking of the speech of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State. I do not think that was fair. But I do think there is a good deal of national humbug in this country, 81 among members of all parties. Having ruled with a sort of paternalistic authoritarianism primitive territories all over the world, we imagine that suddenly when we give them a sealed ballot box they will adopt our system, and then we put up our hands in shocked horror when they find this difficult to do.
That sort of attitude is humbug, whoever adopts it. There is no party point here. Hon. Members in all quarters of the House refer to the Westminster pattern. We give these people copies of Erskine May. We send out a mace, which is sometimes used to club the Speaker over the head. Having ruled them with an authoritarian rule, we give them a system of government in which they have had no practice at all, and then we express surprise when things turn out not as we would like them to do.
Of course, we shall not have the Westminster pattern being followed in Malawi. Until recently, when Dr. Banda had the courage and initiative to prevent it the crushing of opposition was reaching scandalous proportions in that country. To his credit he has been the first to admit why he intervened so strongly in February and got all his supporters to try to check the intimidation and terrorism which went on during the period of registration of voters.
My plea to Dr. Banda is simply this. It may be necessary, though we may find it difficult to understand here, in order to maintain law and order in those countries where there are great tribal differences and other immense problems, to use strong-arm methods to prevent complete breakdown within the country. But this situation does not obtain in Nyasaland. There are not great tribal differences, as the hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) has said. They have a leader to whom 90 per cent. or more of the population are devoted. There is no need for Dr. Banda, in order to maintain his strength in that country, to concur with some of the strong-arm methods that have gone on. Therefore, with the best wishes for the future of that country, we hope that Malawi will maintain democratic standards, even though they may be of their own pattern, for we do not expect them to follow precisely our Westminster ideas. At the 82 same time, we have a right at least to hope that, while they will have their own pattern of government, they will observe tolerance for such minorities as exist there.
Therefore, I hope that in taking yet another independent member into the Commonwealth, though we cannot expect them to follow precisely our standards, they will not follow the unenviable pattern of one or two other African Governments which I do not think any of us particularly admire today.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
So effective was the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) in saying some of the things that I wanted to say that I shall certainly be extremely brief in my remarks. However, one or two things have been said during the debate on which I should like to comment.
The hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) began his speech by saying that he thought it would not be of any advantage for us to recite past history. He then proceeded to recite past history inaccurately. Whether or not it is an advantage to recite past history, I am sure that it would be better to do so accurately rather than inaccurately.
The hon. Gentleman gave a false impression of the attitude of the leaders of the Labour Party towards African federation when it was initiated. Their view was made absolutely clear at the beginning. Some of them favoured federation for economic or other reasons, but they made it perfectly clear that they would be absolutely opposed to such a measure unless it had the full and clear consent of the people concerned. Indeed, Sir Roy Welensky in the article in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday, which was taken from his book, has confirmed that point up to the hilt.
The difficulties which we have had and which have led to the present situation might never have arisen if representatives of the party opposite had made their views as clear to the leaders of the Federation or the leaders of Southern Rhodesia as the leaders of the Labour Party have done. Therefore, in 83 that respect I would say that the hon. Gentleman was inaccurate in what he said.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett
If an hon. Member comments on another hon. Member's speech I think that it is as well to do so accurately. I thought that I had made the point abundantly clear—I think that it was clear to most of my hon. Friends—that I was talking about the concept of federation as being a great idea and that it was people who had failed. I accept a fair proportion of the blame. If the hon. Member is so smug as to think that hon. Members on his side of the House are all angels I shall be ready for more criticism from him.
§ Mr. Foot
It is not a question of smugness. It is a question of getting the facts correct. The hon. Member stated the facts inaccurately. I have a perfect right to say that I thought he stated them inaccurately. I think most people will agree that he stated them inaccurately, and that anybody who reads the OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow will be confirmed in that opinion.
The hon. Gentleman also said that we must not lead people in Nyasaland to suppose that the granting of independence will lead to a great pouring out of gold as if the country will be suddenly swamped in prosperity. Nobody has suggested any such thing. Therefore, there was no occasion for the sour lament by my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley over the departure of the Central African Federation. Nobody has ever made the suggestion.
The point was answered well in advance by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson), who said that it has been proved by experience that if we want to get economic expansion in these countries, it can only be done by Governments which are respected by the people concerned. They will only respect Governments which they have had the right to choose themselves. This is the point which we on this side of the House have been trying to drill into the heads of hon. Members opposite. Whenever we point out this past history they say that we are smug.
This is the central issue which has divided the two sides of the House in 84 this matter. We have said throughout that these people have the right to choose for themselves. Even if they are illiterate, they have the right to choose for themselves, and some mechanism must be devised so that they may choose for themselves who are to rule them. This has been consistently denied by hon. Members opposite until perilously late—
§ Sir G. Nicholson
I would call in aid the hon. Member's own father, for whom I had the deepest respect. The hon. Member was not in the House before the war. It was a Conservative Government who put through the Government of India Act, with great help from the hon. Member's father. If the hon. Member's father had been here today he would have been the first to acknowledge the part that the Conservative Government played.
§ Mr. Foot
Unfortunately, the Government of India Act did not give freedom to India. That is the simple fact. If the hon. Gentleman wants to go back to that controversy, I remind him that my father and many others moved Amendments to the Bill which were rejected by his party at the time. In any case, the India Bill is not relevant to this case, because it did not give freedom to the people of India. This had to be secured by a Bill passed many years later, in 1947, by the Labour Party.
In the case of Nyasaland or Malawi, the facts should be properly recalled. Many tributes have been paid to those who have contributed to the securing of independence for Malawi. The right hon. Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) is quite entitled to the tributes paid to him. He took Dr. Banda out of gaol. Apparently, it is bad form to mention in the House that there were people who put him in gaol. The right hon. Member for Enfield, West is applauded for having brought Dr. Banda out of gaol, but someone had put him there in the first place. Dr. Banda was put in gaol on a completely false and trumped-up charge, a charge which not one hon. Member opposite now will get up to defend, not even the hon. Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson), who interrupted me a few moments ago.
If we are paying tribute to those who helped to secure independence for 85 Nyasaland, we should also include tributes to Mr. Justice Devlin, as he then was. I do not know whether any hon. Member opposite dissents from that view. It was certainly the Report of Mr. Justice Devlin which powerfully altered the situation. I am not sure how the hon. Member for Farnham voted when the Report was before the House of Commons, but my guess is that he supported his party on the matter.
§ Mr. Foot
If he supported his party on that occasion, he repudiated Mr. Justice Devlin's Report because the Opposition at that time invited the whole House of Commons to accept the Report, which was precisely what the party opposite refused to do. The entire Government party trooped into the Lobby to support a lie, the lie that there had been a conspiracy in Nyasaland to murder the Governor and the other leaders of the Government. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite walked into the Lobby as a body to support that lie, even after an eminent judge had gone out of this country and, as we thought, proved that it was false. A tribute should be paid to Mr. Justice Devlin, but, unhappily, such a tribute cannot come from right hon. and hon. Members opposite because they did not even accept his Report.
Everyone knows that Mr. Justice Devlin's Report powerfully influenced public opinion in this country. It is interesting to recall when it occurred. It came out only a few months before the last General Election. I remember it very well, because I fought that election, and one of the points on which I fought was that Dr. Banda ought to be released. I attacked the Government who had put him in gaol, who had been responsible for condemning a man unheard for a crime which he had never committed. It was an outrage. That was one of the things on which the British people voted in 1959. They will not be invited to vote on it at the forthcoming election because the Government have crawled out of the responsibilities which they took upon themselves as a result of the way they behaved prior to 1959.
As I say, the right hon. Member for Enfield, West is justified in having 86 tributes paid to him for trying to expunge from the record the crime which had been committed by his predecessors. But this does not alter the fact that a crime was committed, and the reason why it is relevant now is that the same sort of thing still goes on. I was not in the House at the time, but I remember the reports of the baying of the wolves opposite when the announcement was made about the "murder plot" in Nyasaland. I remember how vicious hon. Members opposite were towards my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough, or anyone else who got up to protest.
They would almost have had the hide off anyone who dared at such a time to suggest that the British Government were not right. I have no doubt also that appeals were made to stand by the man on the spot. As a result of all this, Dr. Banda was put in gaol, and, for months on end, there was in Nyasaland the situation which Mr. Justice Devlin described as a police State.
We had to dismantle all these actions of the Government in order to lead towards the position which we are discussing now. But, of course, in the House today we have seen right hon. and hon. Members opposite behaving in the same way as they did about Nyasaland, baying about Aden as they bayed about Nyasaland a few years ago. Just as they said that Dr. Banda was a criminal who must be put behind bars, without charge and without trial, so they are saying the same about many of the nationalist leaders in Aden or the Yemen today.
We are not discussing something academic here. It is right to note what has happened. I am sure that, in two or three years—it will not be done by the party opposite—a Bill will be introduced in the House of Commons declaring that this country is in favour of independence for Aden and for other States near by. I hope that events will move smoothly. I hope that what we are doing in those territories now will not lead to endless bloodshed. I hope that the countries of South Arabia will be able to move towards independence without terrible bloodshed. It may happen that way, but, one way or another, it will happen.
87 When hon. Members opposite applaud Measures of this kind and say, with their hands on their hearts, how much they like people to have Governments of their own choice and how proper they think it is, let them search their consciences and explain why they say that what they applaud today for Nyasaland they will not apply to Aden and these other territories in South Arabia, which are fighting for the same cause.
I invite every hon. Gentleman opposite today, for the good of his soul—it would be good for many on this side as well, including my hon. Friend the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason)—to go away from this debate and read again the Devlin Report. In that Report, Mr. Justice Devlin described what were the feelings of the people of Nyasaland in the face of the offers which were made under the Central Africa Federation. He described the situation in extremely eloquent language. I apologise for not having the Report with me, because the language which I use will be nowhere near so eloquent as his. He told us that there were people in Nyasaland who preferred their liberty even to the alleviation of their poverty. It was no good saying to the people of Nyasaland, "Here are the economic benefits which you will have in the Central Africa Federation". They were determined to have their freedom first.
This was a very honourable attitude on the part of any people. It is felt by people with various coloured skins. One of the troubles with right hon. and hon. Members opposite, one of the reasons why they have contributed to so much misery throughout the world, is that they have always been pitifully late in understanding the simple fact that people with other skins in different parts of the world prefer their own freedom even above prosperity. Many right hon. and hon. Members opposite prefer it for their own country, so why do not they understand it in other people too?
What we are doing on this occasion is what the House of Commons has done on many occasions hitherto. We are voting independence for a nation to which we had previously denied it. We shall have to do it in a few more cases yet. We do not know how speedily they 88 will arise. But there is one consistent feature running through all these events, all these abdications from imperialism. Almost without exception, the Conservative Party has been three, four, 10, 50 or 100 years late in coming to the conclusion that other people have as much right to rule themselves as we have to rule ourselves.
I gladly join in all the good wishes expressed to the people of Malawi. I think that they will have many difficulties in the future. All nations which achieve their independence, in any circumstances, have such difficulties. We wish them the very best in overcoming their difficulties. I hope that, in overcoming them, they will sustain as close an association as possible with this country. I want to see this for many reasons. If the miracle happens that people who have been imprisoned by us, denounced by us and defiled by us still wish to retain an association with us, this will be due partly to the magnamity of people like Dr. Banda, but it will be due also to the fact that, running throughout this country's history, there has been a tradition opposed to the imperialist idea.
Throughout the vears, there have been parties and sections of opinion in this country which have denounced every act of imperialism which has been perpetrated by the party opposite. If the British Commonwealth survives, it will be due to that tradition.
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Tilney
By leave of the House, I should like to answer some of the questions which have been asked. If I do not answer every question, I will endeavour to write to hon. Members with the facts.
Nearly everyone who has spoken has the advantage of me. I have been to the lovely country of Nyasaland only once, when I landed for about an hour at Blantyre, and I have only once met Dr. Banda, and that was for a very short time. I think that the whole House was warmed and interested by the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West (Mr. Iain Macleod) which gave us some of the history of what happened when he became Colonial Secretary.
It would be a mistake to go in detail into the past, to which reference has 89 been made by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway). I have been able to learn about that lovely and beautiful country only by reading. When I came back from Man o' War Bay, in the Cameroons, the mother of Mr. Alec Dickson, the founder of Voluntary Service Overseas, gave me a book by Laurens van der Post called Venture to the Interior. Ever since, I have wanted to climb Mount Mlanje and to see the lovely Nyika Plateau in the north. The whole House appreciated the tributes which my right hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, West and my hon. Friend the Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson) paid to that very remarkable man the Prime Minister of Nyasaland, Dr. Banda.
I turn to the various points which have been made in the debate. The hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) asked why there was no Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill. I understand that in Bills of this kind there never has been an Explanatory Memorandum. However, that is an idea which I will endeavour to follow up. The hon. Member asked about dual citizenship. The Nyasaland Constitution is being so framed that, as in the case of Kenya and other African countries, citizens of Malawi will be required to renounce any other citizenship which they may possess.
The hon. Member raised the question of Clause 5(2,c) and asked about the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. I understand that in civil cases an appeal will lie as a matter of right to the Judicial Committee in cases whose subject matter is valued at £500 or upwards, matrimonial dissolution or nullity cases and questions as to the interpretation of the constitution. An appeal will lie with the leave of the local courts in civil cases where they think that the exception involved is of sufficient importance. An appeal will lie as of right in criminal cases on questions as to the interpretation of the constitution. An appeal will lie also in any civil or criminal cases with the special leave of the Judicial Committee. The practice governing the giving of leave in criminal cases is well settled; leave will not be given unless there are exceptional circumstances. These are matters which will arise during the Committee stage 90 and which my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department will be able to answer.
The hon. Member for Dundee, East also asked about the possibility of a change-over to a republic. Surely this is a matter entirely for the people and Government of Nyasaland. I understand that the Prime Minister and his Government asked that Her Majesty should become Queen of Malawi. The hon. Member referred, as did other hon. Members, to the question of law and order. I think that it is as well to bear in mind that in February Dr. Banda made a public statement ordering the cessation of the offences about which several hon. Members have complained. He has since reinforced this order on several occasions and, although in some districts the miscreants have been slow to respond, the situation has improved rapidly. By last month it had almost returned to normal.
I am glad that the hon. Member for Dundee, East referred to the remarkable leadership of Dr. Banda and of the Governor. In the partnership between the Prime Minister and the future Governor-General we have cause to believe that Nyasaland will go from strength to strength when she becomes Malawi.
The hon. Member for Dundee, East asked about economic help, as did the hon. Member for Eton and Slough, whom I should like to thank for congratulating me on the honour of introducing this Bill, of which I am deeply conscious. The House should know that the Nyasaland Finance Ministers, Mr. Phillips and Mr. Tembo, are at present in London discussing with the Commonwealth Relations Office the extent of British aid after independence. As many hon. Members have said, Nyasaland presents a major and possibly unique problem in so far as the territory will require considerable aid on recurrent account for a good many years as well as substantial capital assistance. On 17th December last, my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury said that the British Government recognised Nyasaland as being in a special position and that they hadin mind the provision of a substantial amount of aid to Nyasaland for some years to 91 come, both in balancing her budget as well as for capital development."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th December, 1963; Vol. 686, c. 1169.]My hon. Friend the Member for Farnham referred to what had happened to the Jehovah's Witnesses. I believe that that has been dealt with, to some extent, by the various speeches made by the Prime Minister. The hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) also referred to them. He was answered, I thought very well, by my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. Tapsell).
The hon. Member for Barnsley, in a speech which one of his hon. Friends I think said was sour—there is, I notice, some division of opinion on the Opposition benches—referred to the economic progress which had been made through federation. It is worth while recalling that the net fiscal benefit which Nyasaland gained from belonging to the Federation was probably about £4 million per annum. She also received improved health services—an extension of hospitals, district clinics, and so on—and improved postal and telecommunications and radio telephone links and additional work was done on the roads. She received a share of substantial development finance which it would have been very difficult for her to raise on her own and she received relief of expenditure on defence and external affairs.
The figures of 1952 compared with 1964 are of interest. In 1952, the ordinary budget expenditure, which did not contain any British aid, was just over £3 million. The comparative figure for 1964 would be of the order of £13 million, which includes £5 million from British sources. The concept of federation, of which my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett) spoke very well, produced some extremely satisfactory economic results, and one must accept that. Man does not, however, live by bread alone and many people in the world prefer to govern themselves in poverty rather than to have others give them good government.
I am glad that the hon. Member for Barnsley referred to an economic and brighter future. He asked about students at Salisbury. The standards and facilities which the university college has offered have a deservedly high reputa- 92 tion. The question of whether Nyasaland chooses to make use of those facilities is a matter for the Nyasas.
The hon. Member also asked about a Government newspaper. He may like to know that this item appeared in the last development plan but has not been pursued. He asked about the broadcasting system. As he will know, broadcasting used to be a federal subject. The present corporation follows the party line, which is not rare in Africa. The British Broadcasting Corporation has trained its staff and has given technical advice, and useful contacts are established between the B.B.C. and the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation. Her Majesty's Government are contributing towards the cost of the M.B.C. by way of budgetary grant in aid and development aid.
The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) criticised the economic assistance which we had given. Of course, one would like to have given more. We would like to be richer as a country and to be able to give more. The hon. Member criticised as humbug the happy relations to which I have referred between the Malawi people and the people of this country. Certainly, in 1915 and again in 1959 and 1960, relations deteriorated, but with those exceptions I believe that throughout the period when we have been governing Nyasaland, relations have been on the whole extremely good. I cannot but regret that the hon. Member seemed to think that relations had been bad for so long. Of course, we make mistakes, but my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay pointed that out extremely well. Naturally, one would like to give more economic aid, but capital is not unlimited.
The hon. Member for Wednesbury complained that many thousands of Nyasas had to go beyond their frontiers. But do not many thousands of Scots and Irish go overseas? This is not unique to Nyasaland. The world does not really owe any country a living. We all have to make our own living in some way. We would like to be richer. We are determined to help countries much poorer than ourselves, but we have no bottomless purse.
The hon. Member for Wednesbury also asked about higher education. Approximately 120 students are in the 93 United Kingdom taking a higher education course and about 30 per cent. of them are at universities. I understand that there are others in countries abroad, but I have no details. A polytechnic is being built by the Americans in Blantyre. There is a British principal and we are paying the recurrent costs. An institute of public administration, which is now operating in temporary premises, is being built and it is being financed by C.D and W. funds. This institute will provide courses on law as well as on administration.
The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) seemed to be unduly critical of the party on this side of the House and of what we have done concerning independence for Colonial Territories. Our whole policy has been to bring independence to the erstwhile Colonial Empire, but it is a matter of time. It is not all that easy to know exactly when independence should be given. We did not want a war, as happened in Indo-China, nor did we want a Congo situation. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale had a great peroration about our being a hundred years too late, but it is interesting that when his party gave up, running away from the economic situation of 1951, there were seven independent members in the Commonwealth and there are now 17. Was it 87 years too late for the Socialist Party?
The hon. Member referred to Aden. He paid no tribute whatever to what the Europeans and the white and free world have done in putting down slavery or tribal warfare or what the Pax Britannica has done in the last decade. I regret the somewhat unfortunate note that the hon. Member introduced.
I was, however, pleased that many hon. Members paid attention to the great work of the Scottish missions. We can contemplate the ties which have bound us to Nyasaland merely by recalling the names of those who laid the historic foundations upon which the independent country which we are now to create have been erected—the faith of David Livingstone, the wisdom of Robert Laws, the energy of Harry Johnston or the skill of Alfred Sharpe. These are some of the men on whom our achievement in Nyasaland has been based.
What history will make of this comparatively short episode in the centuries 94 which stretch ahead of Malawi, no one can say, but if she has inherited the qualities and can expand the number of such men, she will be fully equipped to face whatever lies ahead. Several generations of British administrators have helped to secure the foundations upon which Malawi must build. I pay tribute to the expatriate service, which has served Nyasaland truly and well. Its contribution has been indispensable and we are all grateful for the loyal service which over the years it has given to Nyasaland and to successive British Governments in the honourable discharge of the responsibility which falls upon the Colonial Power.
This has been an interesting and, in some ways, historic debate. Great praise has been given to the Malawi people and especially to their Prime Minister. I like to remember a Nyanja proverb which says:The mouth is not the place to praise.Praise is right through the heart.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time.
§ Committted to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Chichester-Clark.]
§ Committee Tomorrow.