§ LORD LUGAHD asked His Majesty's Government whether they could give any information regarding the announcement; in the Press that Lord Moyne is pro-ceding immediately to visit Kenya as Financial Commissioner to enquire into the matters detailed in his terms of reference. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I rise to ask His Majesty's Government whether they can give any information regarding the announcement in The Times of January 29 concerning the Mission of Lord Moyne to Kenya. No corroborative statement has been made as far as I am aware by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, but I take it we may accept this notification as being authentic and official. The terms of reference as stated in the notice are very comprehensive and a full inquiry into the various matters which are named in the terms of reference will, I am sure, go far to put an end to the controversy which found very full expression in your Lordships' House in the debate in December, 1927.
§ The head of the delegation which appeared recently to give evidence on 588 behalf of the British residents in Kenya before the Joint Select Committee of both Houses frankly invited questions on these matters in order that he might have an opportunity of replying to them, but it is obvious that an inquiry of that kind could not be conducted in England, even if the terms of reference of the Joint Committee had permitted it. The evidence, however, that was tendered by witnesses to the Joint Committee appeared to them to call for a full investigation on the spot, and the prompt action of His Majesty's Government in accepting the recommendation of the Joint Committee and the comprehensive field covered by the terms of reference will, I am sure, meet with a wide welcome.
§ My object in inviting your Lordships' attention to this Question to-day is in order to point out the magnitude of the task which the noble Lord has so patriotically undertaken and to ask whether, as seems to be inferred, it is limited to Kenya and whether he is expected to carry it out without any other assistance than he may obtain from local officials. This is the fourth Commission which has been sent to East Africa in the last seven or eight years. Its task is not, like that of its immediate predecessors, to make recommendations as to some scheme for constitutional or for economic development, but after "a careful and detailed inquiry"—to quote the words of the Joint Committee—to ascertain facts, upon which the Secretary of State will in all probability base his future action. It seems to me open to question whether it is possible for any man, however competent, to establish the facts as far as may be possible beyond dispute and to achieve finality within any reasonable time unless he has some expert assistance.
§ With your Lordships' permission I will touch very briefly on the various heads of the terms of reference in order that your Lordships may realise what a wide field they cover. Head (a) directs inquiry into "the contribution made to taxation both direct and indirect by the different racial communities." I am informed by a member of the Commission which went to East Africa in 1928 under the chairmanship of Sir Edward Hilton Young that an endeavour was made to investigate this very question, but after a considerable time had been spent upon 589 it it was decided that the question was too complex to be dealt with in the time at their disposal and they decided to make no reference to it in their Report. Yet the Colonial Secretary in another place stated that the members of that Commission had been selected primarily as financial experts. Sir Edward Hilton Young has an international reputation in financial matters, Sir George Schuster is now Finance Member of the Governor General's Executive Council in India. Sir Reginald Mant was a member of the Royal Commission of 1925 on Indian currency and finance. Yet they were unable to arrive at any conclusion within a reasonable time.
Sir Edward Grigg, the late Governor of Kenya, in his Report as High Commissioner of Transport, used these words:
Every new settler will certainly not need less than the average individual quota of imported goods. Every such settler on the; basis of the 20 per cent, tariff now in force is therefore a prospective purchaser annually of about £150 worth of imported goods.
The average annual quota which he assumed was £30 per head, man, woman and child. It was pointed out that this meant that a family of four would purchase annually on an average £600 worth of imported goods—an obviously impossible assumption. Further reference was made at the instance of the Commission to Kenya, but it only resulted in an enhancement of the figure to over £40 per head—that is to say, an expenditure of over £800 per family of four annually. It may be that insufficient distinction was drawn between the expenditure, or the contribution made to the Revenue, by the resident white community, which is the question at issue, and the very considerable contribution made by temporary visitors and tourists. But however this may be, it is clear some further explanation of the quota arrived at by the Government's statistician is very desirable.
§ Head (b) directs inquiry into "railway freights and Import Duties with a view to discovering the extent to which each community benefits or suffers from them." Since Customs Duties and railway freights are fixed in conjunction with the neighbouring territories, of Tanganyika and Uganda it is very essential that the Financial Commissioner should visit those countries and take evidence there, as indeed was pointed out by The Times 590 correspondent in Kenya, quoting the leading local paper. The incidence of Import Duties and railway rates as between Kenya and Uganda was indeed one of the questions which I think the Joint Committee considered it desirable to make inquiry into, in view of the opposing opinions and statements of the various witnesses. The question was also raised regarding Tanganyika in the Permanent Mandates Commission at Geneva. The inquiry would involve such questions as the effect on the people of Uganda of the protective tariffs which are imposed in Kenya, the comparative encouragement and financial assistance given both to non-native and to native exports both from Kenya and Uganda, and the effect on the purchasing power of the natives of a system of very high Import Duties combined with very low freight rates for bulky produce.
§ Head (c) refers to "the amount of money expended in the interests of each community, in particular on natives and non-natives." This cannot be arrived at by adding up the Votes in the general Budget, which apparently refer to one class or the other; it must include also the expenditure from loan funds on which interest is being paid and the proportionate time devoted to the interests of each community by the costly technical services such as agriculture, veterinary services, education, and so on, and a multiplicity of other matters which must involve the hearing of a great deal of evidence.
§ Head (d) is "the degree and manner in which financial responsibility should be conferred on the Native Council." On such a question, as indeed on all others, the views of the Chief Native Commissioner who can speak for the natives of the whole territory are very essential. Unfortunately at the present moment there is no Chief Native Commissioner in Kenya. The reference in The Times to the Native Council is of course a printer's error, for the Joint Committee used the word in the plural, since each tribe or section of a tribe would have its own Council. The degree of financial responsibility conferred must necessarily depend on the comparative degree of advancement attained by each Council, on the intelligence and integrity of the Chiefs and elders who compose it, upon the degree of initiative which is allowed 591 to the Chiefs or the control and supervision which is exercised by the British staff, and particularly on the extent to which the Native Councils would be called upon to relieve the Central Government Budget of Expenditure hitherto borne by the general Revenue. It is a complex question on which it would be injudicious to pass judgment without prior examination of the policy which is being carried on in the neighbouring territories of Kenya and Uganda.
§ These four heads of reference are quoted from paragraph 105 of the Joint Committee's Report which also recommends that "a full and authoritative inquiry should be undertaken immediately" into the land question. I am glad that the Financial Commissioner has not been charged with this additional inquiry, for his task is already sufficiently onerous and the land question demands a different type of investigation. Subsidiary to the four heads on which I have commented, he is directed "so far as may be necessary for the purposes of the inquiry to consider the general financial and economic situation of the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya"—a very wide discretion. The right hon. gentleman who is now at the head of the Colonial Office has the reputation of being a very capable business man. No one will be more quick than he to realise the harm which would be done by an inquiry of this nature if, after its completion, it should be open to the charge that it had been unduly hurried or one-sided, as indeed so wide an inquiry by a single individual, however capable and impartial, must be unless extended over a very considerable period of time. I venture therefore to ask whether it is not possible to give the Commissioner the assistance of an official from the Treasury and perhaps also of one or more accountants. I suggest a Treasury official because this Commission is the final stage of a Parliamentary inquiry which cannot be conducted by local officials.
§ It is obvious, my Lords, that the Joint Select Committee would not propose yet another Commissioner of inquiry to East Africa unless they had been much impressed by the nature of the evidence tended to them on these economic questions. No one who has read the Reports of the previous Commissions and the 592 Government White Papers or who listened to the evidence given before the Joint Committee but must admit that there exists in this country considerable misgiving as to whether native interests in Kenya have always received the consideration due to them. The despatch of this Commission is itself a proof of that and the publicity given to the charges which have been made has, as I have reason to know, not been confined to this country. On the other hand we have the assurance of the leaders of British opinion in Kenya—men like the head of the recent delegation, Lord Francis Scott, on whose words and good will we can place the utmost reliance—that it is their earnest wish to give the natives a square deal. The noble Lord, Lord Moyne, will bring to this problem an impartial and unbiased mind. No doubt the policy of the future will be largely influenced by his Report. He has an opportunity, a unique opportunity such as comes to few men in a lifetime. That he will rise to the height of the opportunity we have no doubt, and all those who are interested not only in Kenya but in the future of Africa as a whole will wish him success in his difficult task.
§ LORD OLIVIER
My Lords, a few days ago my noble friend Lord Ponsonby suggested that if any member of this House, having been a former Minister or otherwise, desired to attack the Government he should take his place at the Box on the Opposition side of the Table. I do not wish the Government to understand that my standing here implies any such desire. On the contrary I desire to congratulate the Government on having so promptly taken the step they contemplate in appointing the noble Lord, Lord Moyne, to enquire into the matters referred to by the Joint Select Committee. I share strongly the feeling of Lord Lugard that this is a very big undertaking and I shall say a few more words on that presently. I have no doubt, however, that the Government have been well advised in their selection and, so far as I can have any personal judgment as having been formerly interested in agriculture. I can only say that from the manner in which the noble Lord conducted the affairs of his Department in another place, I shall have the greatest confidence in the efficient and 593 conciliatory manner in which his work will be carried out.
Further, I should like to congratulate the House and Parliament generally on the extremely valuable Report produced by the Joint Select Committee on East African matters, because it is the most important and, to my mind, the most satisfactory public document that has appeared regarding African affairs for a long time. For that excellence we are enormously indebted to the noble Lord (Lord Stanley of Alderley) of whose company here we were so grievously deprived a short time ago, and also we are greatly indebted to the work taken over by the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees. I think your Lordships will feel with me that any one here is entitled to express the satisfaction of all those interested in Africa at the work done by that Committee and the manner in which the Report was carried through and drafted by the learned gentleman who undertook the drafting of it.
To come to the substance of the task, as I have said it is really a very difficult and intricate task. I say that with some sympathetic feeling, because most of my life I have been engaged in the very task of administering finance and taxation in mixed communities which have a great deal in common with the Colony of Kenya, in that there were two principal races there, one of them a white race, which had gone to those Colonies for the sake of developing them—in the West Indies many years ago, and in West Africa later, and in South Africa and East Africa later still perhaps—and a negro race who were the bulk of the population, and were, essentially and to begin with, agriculturists, and land workers. The question of the proper principles of taxation is constantly complicated in such communities by the question of what I may call financial and productive policy. The meaning of that will be clear if I refer to a passage in the Report of the East Africa Commission, 1925. This is the passage:The motives which impel the African natives to leave their settlements to engage in work for Government or private individuals may be said to be, firstly, the necessity of obtaining money to pay their taxes …That is to say, there is still, and there unquestionably has been throughout the last hundred years of our Colonial 594 administration, a constant tendency to impose taxes—I do not say they are imposed in Kenya now—for the purpose of getting black men to go out to work. That may or may not be a reasonable principle, but I want to urge the noble Lord, Lord Moyne, as a man deeply interested in and sympathetic to agriculture, as I am myself, to allow me to descant a little on the bearing of that principle of taxation upon the vital interests of populations of black people who chiefly depend on agriculture.
In our West Indian plantations up to about thirty or forty years ago the whole idea of what Government policy should be was to promote exports, and there is no question whatever that a great deal of the public interest in Kenya Colony, East Africa and Tanganyika has been stirred up from that point of view. "Yes, we can get a number of exports from those places, but we can only get exports if the natives are put under some kind of pressure to work"—that theory has always in the Colonies tended to influence taxation policy. Well, in the West Indies, and in Jamaica especially, which I know very intimately, that idea constantly defeated itself, and went very far to ruin the Colonies, because the effect upon Africans, whether transplanted or not, is this. They resent very strongly being made to pay any money for something which they do not understand, and consequently they do not willingly pay taxes, and, especially where they have been told that they are free people, they resent enormously any sort of pressure being put upon them to work for other people's profit. Those are fundamental facts.
Further, I would say this, that in an agricultural population of native Africans or transplanted Africans who have access to land the first and most important thing to them is to grow food and provide their livelihood, and that stands with them before anything else. It is very difficult to persuade them to go away and earn even a good rate of wages so long as they and their families are not ensured in the production of their own food. In all such communities the primary thing with the ordinary working man is that he and his people have an organisation and a determination the purpose of which is to keep the tribe alive and to keep them in food, and I only wish we had such an 595 organisation in this country. The whole tendency of plantation development always is to take people away from that occupation and make them travel long distances for money which they have to pay away in taxes, and all African populations of my acquaintance are sufficiently obstinate and sufficiently well organised, in the long run to defeat that purpose. If they do not, their community perishes. You can only get willing taxpayers and you can only say that this is fair taxation if first of all you have organised and if you allow the organisation to be helped on the basis of guaranteeing their food supply and the maintenance of the people. After that you can get them to work reasonably. They may go out to work for money and you can tax them, but always they must know what they are being taxed for. Attention was called in this Deport of 1925 to the fact that there was the greatest lack of understanding among the natives as to what they were being taxed for. They resented that position very much. It was brought to the notice of the Joint Select Committee and has resulted in this inquiry.
Fundamentally then, if I may make an appeal to the noble Lord, which probably is quite unnecessary, I would ask him to do this: first of all to see what ways and means these people have of paying taxes, whether they go away to earn the money or whether they wish to stay at home to earn it; because we have had the most disquieting documents under some sort of official recommendation from Kenya Colony as to the absolutely maximum income from the natives on which they could possibly be taxed—whether it was from the sale of surplus produce after growing their own food, or whether it was out of the proceeds of their wages. The, amount of money which was evaluated as being available for the payment of taxes by these natives in parts of Kenya was only about 50s. to 70s., and out of that they had to pay taxes averaging per head of males more than 20s. So that the first fundamental thing which I hope will be thoroughly investigated in Kenya is what really is the basic economic position of the people. Can they maintain their food supply if they are carried away to work elsewhere, and even if they can maintain their food supply living at home, what surplus produce have they which they can sell to pay their taxes? Lord Olivier.
596 I quite recognise that of recent years the Kenya Government have taken the line of assisting and encouraging natives to increase their own production so that they may have a greater amount to sell. But with some experience in comparing the rates of taxation according to means in different Colonies, I have always been impressed, as between South Africa, Rhodesia and East Africa and other parts of the British Empire, with the enormously excessive burden of direct taxation which is levied upon the people there. The actual direct tax levied in Kenya is higher than it is in the West Indian Islands, than it is for the most part in Jamaica, although the peasants of Jamaica are in a much better position after feeding themselves to obtain money to pay taxes by producing exports. In many cases, of course, they are very much better off because they are a much better organised society and they have made that progress on their own roots, which all the African peoples are capable of making if they are properly dealt with and not made to resent the levying of taxation. The first thing that I urge upon the noble Lord is that he should follow up the attempt made by the Economic Committee and really find out what are the means that these people have for paying their taxation, and whether the rate of the hut tax as compared with those means is not excessive, and make some little comparison between what they pay and what land workers in England pay and what land workers in other Colonies pay. Within my own experience these natives in Rhodesia and East Africa are very much more highly taxed in proportion to their means than those of any other part of the Colonial Empire with which I have any acquaintance.
Then there is the complex and difficult question as to the distribution of the services. With regard to that, the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, I think said as much as may be necessary. It is an extremely intricate question. The point which has been continually urged by natives and native representatives themselves before all the Commissions and before the Joint Select Committee is that they do not get value for their money. According to my own Colonial experience that also is a very important thing, because if you can convince black land-workers—I say 597 "black" because they are the African race generally, and they have the cautious, and I might perhaps say obstinate habits of their race—if you can get them to understand that, they are receiving value for their money, there is little difficulty in getting them to pay their taxes.
That has been our experience in the West ladies, especially in Jamaica, where we appointed parochial boards and assigned the road taxes and all the direct taxes levied upon the land-workers for local roads and their own local purposes. Other taxes were levied definitely for education, which they got, and for main roads, which they got and knew that they got. If they did not get the education and the main roads or local roads they kicked against the taxes, and did not pay them, but when they were going to get these things they voluntarily said: "We will be glad to pay the taxes." That was the experience of Sir Hubert Murray. In Papua you had local councils established—as is proposed by one of the Commissions that they should be established here—and as much as possible of the administration of those direct taxes was put into the hands of the local councils, with assistance from the Government assessors. So long as the people were satisfied that they were getting a benefit by the expenditure of money in their own districts, or upon the main roads of the Colony, they were perfectly satisfied, and paid their taxes without any difficulty. I do not know whether it is the duty of the noble Lord to advise as to taxation policy, but I think if he enquired he would find, if it is desired to make the levying of direct taxation either possible or congenial, that that is the way to do it.
As far as possible we should see whether the indirect taxation and the other general taxes cannot be made to suffice for the general services of the Colony—namely, police and so on. The main roads and everything that can show to the taxpayer that he is getting the benefit of the taxes he has paid should be the things that ought to be supported by direct taxation, and the benefits should be distributed fairly. At present, obviously, the natives get little or no return for their direct taxation, because the education they get is very little, and they are conscious of that, 598 because they make representations with regard to it. That is one of the matters to which I would entreat the noble Lord to pay attention. This matter of taxation and of the spirit in which taxation is levied is in my opinion of the very greatest possible importance to East Africa. I feel that because I have seen in other Colonies the very disastrous effects of having a scheme of taxation which was even open to the suspicion that it was framed for the purpose of making the ordinary land-worker of the Colony work at wages. He will work at wages all right if he does not think he is being forced to work. When he has had such arrangements made for him by agricultural help and transport that he is assured of his own food supply, then he is willing to go cut and earn additional money, but all our experience of one hundred years since the emancipation has been that any kind of attempt to give the land-worker of African extraction the idea that he is not a free man, and that, he is being taxed for some industrial purpose, is fatal.
I may add this. We had in the West Indies for many years, largely under the influence of Mr. Thomas Carlyle, a land policy, and the Government of Jamaica followed the policy of withholding land as far as possible and not enabling land-workers to own land. They could rent land, but could not buy it. That delayed the progress of the Island of Jamaica for many years. It was an Irishman—a compatriot I believe of the noble Lord—who first broke down that system, not being under the superstitious idea, which so many of our greatest agricultural authorities in this country are, that an agricultural productive system must consist of a landowner, a farmer, and a wage worker. He set to work to break up largo estates and sell them out on easy terms to land-workers, with the result that you have at present in Jamaica the most remarkable co-operative productive association that exists anywhere, I suppose, in the Empire, not excluding Ireland. You have there a co-operative, productive society of banana producers of more than 10,000 members, 99 per cent, of whom are small holders with holdings of less than 50 acres, and in this last difficult year they have paid their way. In addition to the prices they have paid to their members they have put aside a depreciation fund for the five or six 599 ships which they now own, and they are going to declare a small dividend—and that after a very difficult year.
Your Lordships may imagine that unless the Government had the confidence of the people, and unless the people had confidence that they were not being handled for the purpose of being forced to labour for others, or that they were not being taxed except for their own purposes, you could not have had that development. The policy has been to build up the people from below, first starting their own productions and then improving their means of transport. Since that time the difficulty of collecting taxes from the land workers of Jamaica has steadily gone down, and the yield of taxation has consequently increased and will go on increasing. There is no resentment against the Government for collecting taxes when the people know that those taxes are being used for their own benefit. Those are the things which I think have been called attention to by various Reports upon East Africa, and I have ventured personally to appeal to the noble Lord who, being an agriculturist and an Irishman, will perfectly well understand my own feeling about it—namely, that if you want people to work in agriculture you must let them have a personal interest in it, you must let them have their own homes and their own lands. You cannot expect to make an African land-working population progressive and industrious by establishing large modern farms with tractors or any form of mechanised industry. You must begin by building up on the basis of their own interests; then you will find an abundant and increasing supply of wage-workers and an increasing facility for collecting your taxes.
My Lords, I had not intended to intervene in this debate at all and I should not have done so had it not been for some remarks which fell from the noble Lord, Lord Olivier. May I preface my remarks by saying how pleased I am that my noble friend Lord Moyne is going on this very important Commission because, as has already been stated, I have no doubt that with all the experience and knowledge he has accumulated he will conduct the Mission with great advantage both to the country concerned and this country. The real 600 reason I rose to address your Lordships was that I have considerable knowledge, like the noble Lord, Lord Olivier, of conditions not only in Kenya but in South Africa, and with regard to the taxation of the natives. In my belief there is very little analogy between the conditions existing in the West Indies, in Jamaica which the noble Lord knows so well and I know a little, and the conditions existing in Kenya or in any part of East or South Africa. In the West Indies there is a negro population which was taken there 120 or 150 years ago, which has grown up under what I might call civilised conditions, and has left behind its tribal systems entirely. Those people are living not under a communal system, but in houses, under municipal authorities just as we find them in this country, and they are not taxed in any way from the same point of view as you find in Africa, the country from which they originally hailed.
In Kenya, and South Africa, the two countries are very similar as I know, you have people living under a tribal system, a communal system, in kraals, who do not live in municipalities, but, as the noble Lord has stated, are living in what might be called an agricultural condition without any such responsibilities as the negroes of the West Indies have, and whose sense of responsibility can only be aroused by subjecting them to some form of taxation in order to develop the country in which they live. What would be the condition of those natives if this taxation were not levied? They would live in their kraals, growing a few mealies, as they are called, drinking their beer and going backwards and forwards to their work daily in and out, not assimilating any of the ideas of civilisation or developing at all towards that condition which the noble Lord, like all of us, hopes they will ultimately reach as citizens of the country in which they live. Therefore, it has been found in South and East Africa that the only way to tax these people is by placing a tax on the hut or on the head, as was done in South Africa, in order to produce from them any revenue at all. If that taxation were not levied in that way we should not be able to sustain the government of those Colonies. We would not be able to administer those Colonies, because those people, who, from my knowledge of them, 601 remain in their kraals, would not emerge voluntarily from the state in which they are living.
I do not suggest for a moment that the Mission of the noble Lord is to be a Mission in vain; that is to say, that the taxation that is being levied may be a little too high or it may be a little too low. I am not suggesting that at all. What I am defending is the method of taxation as it is levied in those places. I am also affirming and asserting that there is very little, if any, comparison between the conditions which exist in the West Indies and those that exist in the Colonies to which the noble Lord is going. It is only for that reason that I have risen this afternoon. I hope that the noble Lord will not be led astray, if I may venture to put it in that way, by what the noble Lord, Lord Olivier, has said about the West Indies, but that he will go to Kenya looking at the problem from the point of view of the natives as they are there and as they are living there, and the conditions which exist there and not the conditions which are existing in the West Indies.
THE CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (THE EARL OF ONSLOW)
My Lords, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to say a word on the matter which has been brought before you by the noble Lord opposite, as, owing to the very greatly lamented death of my noble friend Lord Stanley of Alderley, I was asked to take his place in the chair of this Committee towards the end of its proceedings. The Committee was a largish body. It consisted of twenty members, ten from your Lordships' House and ten from another place, and they represented every shade of opinion in both Houses of Parliament. As the result of a very long and careful inquiry and the examination of a large number of witnesses, the Committee drew up a Report which, I think your Lordships will agree, presented a very large measure of unanimity. Indeed, to illustrate that point, I need only call your lordships' attention to two matters—namely, paragraph 100 and the next paragraph. Paragraph 100 deals with the question of the common roll. There I regret to say it was impossible to secure unanimity. An amendment was proposed to the paragraph which appears in the Report, a division ensued, and the amendment was negatived.
602 The second point of difference is in the next paragraph, No. 101, which recommends an augmentation of native representation upon the Legislative Council by empowering the Governor to add suitable members of African descent. An alternative proposal was put forward that three natives should be nominated from a list of natives submitted by the Chief Native Commissioner or possibly by the existing Native Council. That also was not accepted by the Committee.
The first point of difference in regard to the common roll is one of substance; it is, of course, a point of principle. But the second one, I think, is only a point of degree, because the principle, was agreed upon. It was only the method which was debated. I think your Lordships will agree with me that the Report on the whole was one which was practically unanimous on every point except, of course, one. Therefore, I venture to hope that a Report which shows so much common agreement may render some assistance in the solution, which I imagine may be some distance off, of the problem of government in East Africa. That problem, of course, is one of very considerable difficulty. You have the immigrant European races, and you have two immigrant Asiatic races, the Arabs and the Indians, with in all probability differences in race and religion among the Indians as well. Behind all that you have the native African population, consisting of three main races—the Bantu, the Hamitic, and the Nilotic—with a very large number of differences on many points in that community, for community it will become. That presents a problem of no inconsiderable difficulty and a problem which has not been presented before in such terms for solution to any country although, of course, it is one which exists not only in East Africa but in other parts of the world as well.
So, my Lords, I would venture to say, if I may, that I think the Committee was impressed—I myself was certainly very much impressed—with the desirability of allowing the solution of the problem of government in East Africa to develop by degrees, and not to make any recommendation which might hasten matters too much and which might be injudicious and indiscreet. That, I think, is the principle which the Report follows as regards 603 Kenya. No radical change is recommended and no great alteration is proposed in the administrative system. The Legislative Council is retained and it is suggested that the unofficial representation of the natives should be increased. But while insisting upon the representation of all interests, the Report definitely laid down that the unofficial representatives should act in an advisory capacity and that the official majority should be maintained—that is to say, that the whole responsibility of government will continue to rest upon the shoulders of the Governor and ultimately, of course, upon those of the Secretary of State.
I would like to associate myself, and I am sure my colleagues on the Committee would also associate themselves, with the words of the noble Lord opposite, Lord Lugard, when he spoke in appreciation of the consent of my noble friend Lord Moyne to go out upon this Mission. The Secretary of State has, I think, been fortunate in his choice, and we are fortunate in obtaining the services of Lord Moyne to go to East Africa on this Mission. He has had vast experience. He has been Minister of Agriculture, he has been Financial Secretary to the Treasury, he has been Under-Secretary at the War Office, where, as I know, he must have obtained considerable experience at any rate of demands for economy. When he was offering his good wishes to my noble friend I thought I detected perhaps a little criticism in the words of the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, in regard to the composition of the Commission. I do not know quite whether he was of opinion that there should be associated with my noble friend Lord Moyne other Commissioners, in the same way that other Commissioners were associated with Sir Edward Hilton Young, or whether he only thought that it was very necessary that there should be a sufficiency of technical advice available to my noble friend in his inquiry. If it is only a question of technical advice, I think we may be quite sure that the Colonial Office and the Government of East Africa will provide it, but if the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, is of opinion that my right hon. friend the Secretary of State made a mistake in not associating other Commissioners with my noble friend Lord Moyne, I venture to suggest that really there is no necessity for such a course.
§ LORD LUGARD
I had no intention of suggesting that there should be additional Commissioners. All I asked was that he should have the best possible technical assistance, perhaps in the person of an official from the Treasury.
THE EARL OF ONSLOW
In that case I will not pursue the point, because I think we are entirely in agreement. I am sure the necessary technical assistance will be provided for my noble friend as far as he requires it. It is not necessary, I think, for me to criticise the terms of reference. They are, in fact, quoted textually from the recommendations of the Committee. Your Lordships have had the advantage of listening to the criticism and the explanations of the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, and my noble friend Lord Moyne has had the advantage of listening to others of your Lordships who are very familiar with this subject. I feel sure that my noble friend will return from East Africa with information ready for the Secretary of State on those very important points on which the Committee laid great stress. Of course we could not examine those details here in London, and so our recommendation was that inquiry should take place on the spot. I am very glad indeed that the Secretary of State and the Colonial Office have acted so rapidly and very glad indeed that my noble friend has been selected as Commissioner.
§ LORD PONSONBY OF SHULBREDE
My Lords, I do not want to intervene except for a very few moments in order to express to your Lordships the apologies of my noble friend Lord Pass-field who was responsible for the setting up of the Joint Committee. He wished very much to be here to-day if he had been able in order to express his approval of the appointment of the noble Lord, Lord Moyne, for this particular Mission. Of those who have spoken this afternoon I think I am the only one who actually sat for some years in the House of Commons as a member with Lord Moyne, and I feel confident that his special abilities and his sane judgment will be of very great value in carrying out this very difficult Mission. I cannot say that I envy him the job and I think he has shown great public spirit in undertaking it. I am not going to offer him advice, I am not going to give him any instructions 605 and I am not going to give him any information. I only want to say on behalf of the Opposition that we are glad that he has been chosen.
While I am on my feet, may I make one further remark? I served on the Joint Committee last year and attended a, very great number of sittings, and I think those noble Lords who are present here to-day and who were members of that Committee with me will agree that we owe a very great debt of gratitude to the Lord Chairman, the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, who was Chairman of the Committee in its later stages. If I may be allowed to say so, I think he showed most conspicuous ability in the handling of the Report stage, in clearing up divergent views and in bringing the mass of material within manageable form. He showed both skill and patience. His reputation as a Chairman is known to the members of your Lordships' House and I think you will all endorse the view that he did it very well. I have thought it right, as he himself could not refer to the part ho had played, that your Lordships should be informed by one who was a member of the Committee.
§ THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (EARL STANHOPE)
My Lords, speaking on behalf of the Government I feel sure that every one of your Lordships will associate himself with the remarks made by Lord Olivier in, his thanks to this Joint Committee for the strenuous labours they undertook on behalf of this country. I believe the Committee sat more than fifty times and we are grateful to them for their strenuous labours. We should also like to associate ourselves with the noble, Lord who leads the Opposition in his thanks to the Chairman for the admirable Report which was drawn up, and I think your Lordships will also like me to say how sorry you were that the Committee lost its Chairman (Lord Stanley of Alderley) after he had taken such an active part in its proceedings.
As your Lordships were told by the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, the appointment of Lord Moyne is in accordance with the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee. They reported in paragraph 105 that they had had so much contradictory evidence as to the incidence of taxation and as to the respective shares of that taxation borne by the African, the Indian and the European 606 communities, that they were unable to express any clear view as to how in fact taxation is divided between the various races, and they considered that an inquiry should be held at an early date. As your Lordships know, the Report was only printed early in October, and already two Despatches have been sent by the Secretary of State to the Governors of the various Colonies and Protectorates commending the Report to their notice and recommending certain action. He has already suggested that a meeting of the Governors should be held at an early date in April at which a good many of the recommendations of the Committee will come up for consideration and further action, and he has also succeeded in getting the noble Lord, Lord Moyne, to undertake the task which is set forth in the paragraph quoted by Lord Lugard from this same section of the Report.
I should like to point out to Lord Lugard that the terms of reference to Lord Moyne's Commission are actually taken verbatim out of the Report of the Committee and the only additional matters which have been entrusted to Lord Moyne's consideration are very obvious ones. The first is that he should, so far as may be necessary for the purposes of the inquiry, take into consideration the general financial and economic situation of the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya. Obviously he could not make recommendations on the four points mentioned in the Committee's Report unless he also made a general survey of the conditions of the Colony with which he is dealing. With regard to the question of railway freights, detailed investigation of railway freights is referred to in another section and it is there suggested that there should be an adviser on transport. That is a matter which will come up for consideration at the meeting of the Governors of the various Dependencies in April, and then they will consider whether, in their opinion, that is one of the recommendations that should be adopted. But the Secretary of State feels that a general examination of the question of railway freights should not wait until that appointment is made, if it is in fact made. Pending the comprehensive inquiry Lord Moyne is asked to examine generally the question of railway freights so far as it affects Kenya as part of the investigation mentioned in this paragraph.
607 Broadly speaking, the inquiry entrusted to Lord Moyne is one into the racial incidence of existing taxation and the racial distribution of public Expenditure, and it also includes the question of the financial responsibility of local Native Councils. Those are matters of great importance, but we hope and believe that they are not such as will necessitate a very prolonged inquiry. In order to shorten the matter as far as possible I understand the Governor of Kenya has been asked to appoint some officer who can make arrangements prior to Lord Moyne's arrival, so that the various interests should be ready and their views drawn up and set before him as soon as he arrives in the Colony.
Your Lordships, I think, will certainly not wish me to go into the whole question of land tenure and land taxation. That is a matter which we hope Lord Moyne will tell us about on his return. I know he is fond of travelling, but if he were to accept the suggestion of Lord Olivier and start his travels to Kenya by going first to Jamaica and presumably to other Colonies we should have to wait a long time for his Report, and my noble friend would probably have more than his fill of travel. I hesitate to say anything about the qualities of my noble friend (Lord Moyne). They are well known to the House and so much has been said of them already that I venture to spare his blushes. But we are convinced we have chosen the right man for a big and important job. We hope the noble Lord will have not only a successful, but a pleasant trip, and one that will go down to history as being of real value to Kenya and the Empire at large. I feel certain that if the inhabitants of Kenya were asked they would say that what they really hoped would happen was that someone like Lord Moyne should be appointed for this task and that they should be spared another Commission or Committee which might return with diverse opinions on the problems committed to them.
§ LORD MOYNE
My Lords, I think the House is much indebted to Lord Lugard for having raised this matter. Not only have we had the benefit of advice from those who have the very widest experience of African problems, but what has been said this afternoon will, I know, be of inestimable help to me in the task 608 —I do not disguise from myself the difficult task—that lies before me in the next few weeks. I approach this inquiry with great diffidence. My only quality is that I have an entirely open mind. Although I have spent many happy months wandering about various parts of Africa, and learnt in my life amongst the natives to appreciate their qualities, I have no particular views about these vexed questions in East Africa.
Certain things have been said this afternoon which I should have felt tempted to follow up in the debate, but I think it would be dangerous for me to do so because it might cause the impression that I hold certain opinions which have not formed in my mind at all. But there is just one matter which was referred to in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, which would alarm me much if I attached the same interpretation to it as he does. He alluded to the Reports of the Ormsby-Gore and Hilton Young Commissions and to their professed inability to answer the questions which have been made the subject of my inquiry.
§ LORD MOYNE
If it had been the case that the Hilton Young Commission had been unable to answer those questions—if I had understood that to be the reason for their not dealing with them conclusively in their Report—I certainly would never have dreamt of undertaking this task. I am under no illusion as to my capacity for tackling an economic issue which baffled such great experts. But when I read the Report of the Hilton Young Inquiry—and, of course, I have been trying to get a background for the picture of this particular issue which will be presented to me out there—I took it that they had not been able to answer those questions because they had not had the time to go into them. They had far wider issues to consider. They had a very short time at their disposal in each of the various Crown Colonies which they visited, and it was obviously not possible for them to sit down for a few weeks at Nairobi and examine the figures.
I do not feel that it should be impossible to answer these restricted questions if the Government Departments out there hold at my disposal all their information, and I do not believe that by taking out auditors one could really get 609 any fresh material. I think that any such inquiry is bound to be based on the material which has been collected by the various officers of the Government. I am going out there with the hope that I may be able to get at facts. I do not think it is a matter of trying to find out other people's opinions, but to try and get at the facts which are at issue. I do not propose to limit myself necessarily to Kenya. It seems to me that on the wider issues of the fairness of taxation and the capacity of the natives to pay, it would be relevant that I should see what has been done in the neighbouring Colonies, where the natives are living under somewhat the same conditions, so that it certainly is in my mind to go in an aeroplane and get the opinions of those in touch with the natives in Tanganyika and Uganda. But I hope to get the facts chiefly in Kenya, and my sole object in going—and, as I have said, I approach the task with very great diffidence—is to try and make some small contribution to the appeasement of opinion out there and to a growth of good feeling among the various communities.
§ EARL BUXTON
My Lords, one of the satisfactory features about debates on Colonial Office questions is that, although there are differences in detail we are all agreed in purpose, and also in the friendly spirit in which we work. I therefore venture, on behalf of the Party with which I am associated, to express their satisfaction at the appointment of the noble Lord, Lord Moyne, to this particular position. I think we should be grateful to him for what he has said just now, and for giving us the general idea of the lines on which he will conduct his examination of these difficult questions. We can only wish him the best possible success. I am one of those who, when, the original Report came out, thought it was altogether premature, but, far from the Reports, of these various Committees and Commissions in any way really prejudicing the question of the future, I believe they have been of the greatest possible advantage by examining every part of this very difficult problem in every possible way. Therefore I am glad for that reason also that Lord Moyne is going out and will give us the advantage of his opinion in regard to some of the details which previous Committees have left in question. We shall then, I think, before many years are over be able to 610 agree to a general principle, both with regard to settlers and to natives, on which we shall get the assent both of the settlers and the natives themselves.
Matters are moving fast in Africa in regard to the relative position of the natives and the settlers. And I would like to say this, because I have in past times sometimes commented upon the attitude of the settlers in Kenya and elsewhere towards the natives: in my view now the attitude of the settlers towards the natives is the best possible attitude which they could adopt, and all the feeling of friction and perhaps superiority has, I think, died away. I believe that the relations between the whites and the natives in Kenya now are very good indeed, and I am quite sure that if you once get those relations on the proper lines they will improve in every way. We shall be much interested when Lord Moyne returns, having enquired into these various points, to hear from him what conclusions he has come to, not only in regard to taxation but in regard to the relations between natives and whites; and we hope that those conclusions will help us to come to a final decision in the matter.
I think we may say also that, as regards the Kenya settlers, they have in evidence before the Joint Committee and in other ways shown that they are entitled to great consideration, and to much greater freedom of representation than they have at present. They themselves are not pressing it for the moment, but I think the action they have taken has justified their demand for greater representation in the future. I do not think my noble friend who represents the Colonial Office answered Lord Lugard's question. He wanted to know what expert help Lord Moyne would have. I presume, as he has not given a definite answer to that, that he will consult with Lord Moyne and give him such assistance, expert and other, as he will require for this very interesting inquiry. I can only say I am perfectly certain that we receive his nomination with much satisfaction, and we are sure that when he comes back he will be able to assist in the solution of some of these very difficult questions.
§ House adjourned at ten minutes past six o'clock.