§ LORD LUGARD rose to call attention to the situation in regard to the development of the goldfield in Kenya; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, since the Motion which stands in my name was placed on the Order Paper a month ago an official statement has appeared in the papers, and last night the Secretary of State in another place gave considerable information on the subject of my Motion—namely, the recent legislation in Kenya Colony. I hope, however, that the noble Viscount who will reply on behalf of His Majesty's Government will be prepared to supply still further information on the subject. Before asking for that information I will, with your Lordships' permission, explain as briefly as possible the circumstances which preceded this legislation.
§ In the year 1924 a Parliamentary Commission of three members—one from each political Party under the chairmanship or Mr. Ormsby-Gore—was sent to East Africa. Their terms of reference covered inter alia the steps necessary to ameliorate the social conditions of the native population, and the economic relations between them and the non-native community. Their admirable and exhaustive Report laid special emphasis on the importance of defining the native rights in land and recommended that the areas set aside as Native Reserves should be demarcated and vested in a Trust, for which purpose they suggested a Royal Order-in-Council. The South African expedient of confining the native population to Reserves in countries in which Europeans had settled had been adopted in Rhodesia and in Kenya, but not in either Tanganyika or Nyasaland. In Northern Rhodesia the Reserves were established by Order-in-Council, and the Trust was vested in the High Commissioner for South Africa. In Kenya they were established by local Ordinance—which (as now) could be altered at any time—and vested in a Lands Trust Board composed of European officials and non-officials to whom one or more Africans might be added. I believe that no African has been considered to be qualified for appointment to the Board, but this is a matter of no great importance, 549 for one native could not represent all the tribes and he obviously would have little voice in its decisions.
The Ormsby-Gore Commission was followed by a second, in 1927, under Sir Edward Hilton Young, with Sir G. Schuster, Sir R. Mant, and Dr. Oldham as members. They also stressed the "dominating importance" of the land in the native social and ritual life. Accepting the existing system of Native Reserves, they declared that
when the boundaries of Native Reserves are once fixed they must not again be altered. This [they add] is a point of vital importance.
They recur more than once to the subject.
It is [they say] absolutely essential that the title of the natives to the beneficial occupation of the Reserves should be indefeasibly secured. Native confidence in the justice of British rule is jeopardised by even a suspicion that the complete inviolability of their beneficial rights is in any circumstances whatever liable to infringement or modification. This is a matter on which we feel it essential to avoid any shadow of ambiguity.
No immediate economic advantage can possibly compensate for the destruction of confidence of the natives in British Administration.
The Commission reported in October, 1928. In May of that year a Native Land Trust Bill had been submitted to the Legislative Council in Kenya and strongly supported by the Governor. Commenting on the provision in this Bill for leases to non-natives other than small sites for shops or factories, the Commission re peat that
it is better to face economic loss to the community than to weaken native confidence in the good faith of the Government.
They were informed that
even the occupation of one or two acres by the Agricultural Department to demonstrate methods of cultivation had been resented and resisted by the natives as casting a doubt on the inviolability of their rights of tenure.
The provisions in the Bill for consultation with the natives they regarded as illusory. Even if the natives agreed—tempted by immediate gain—the assent of an unsophiscated minor who is only a life-tenant would not justify a trustee in alienating Trust property.
§ The Governor, when introducing this Bill of 1928, said that its whole object 550 was "to place the administration of the land in the Reserves beyond the range of political pressure or interest." It set aside the Reserves "for the use and benefit of the native tribes for ever." These and similar declarations were made widely known and were in the nature of public pledges to the natives whose apprehensions regarding their land had been stressed by two strong Commissions sent from this country. I have quoted their views in order to make clear the nature of the advice which was before the Secretary of State when it became his duty to consider the Bill. Neither of the Commissions, so far as I am aware, had dealt specifically with the question of minerals, which in these Dependencies are reserved to the Crown. The terms used by the Hilton Young Commission would, however, seem to include them. In the Native Reserve of Basutoland in South Africa, which is under Imperial protection, I believe no prospecting is allowed.
§ The Land Trust Bill did not overlook the possibility of minerals in the Reserves, and it empowered the Governor with the consent of the Land Trust Board to exclude from a Reserve any land required inter aria for the development of minerals, provided that if the area excluded exceeded 200 acres he may add to the Native Reserve from contiguous unalienated and unreserved Crown land an equivalent area as part of such Native Reserve. The Secretary of State on behalf of His Majesty's Government insisted that the proviso should read: Where any land is excluded for such purpose the Governor shall add "suitable and if possible contiguous land…equal in extent and as far as possible equal in value." Money compensation was definitely limited to buildings, crops, disturbance, and difference in value. The change was opposed, but the Secretary of State insisted and the Bill became law in May, 1930. I regret that the method of a local Ordinance was adopted instead of a Royal Order-in-Council and that the Ordinance authorised leases to non-natives in the Reserves and continued to recognise them as Crown lands of which the natives are merely tenants at will. To this question I drew your Lordships' attention in March last. It is not, however, strictly relevant to the present subject.551
§ By the Mining Ordinance of February, 1931—subsequent to the Land Trust Ordinance—Native Reserves were excluded from prospecting save with the written consent of the Land Trust Board. An area of 700 square miles (including the goldfield) is reported to have been declared open by Gazette notice, and I am informed that the responsible officer stated that the whole of this is occupied by miners. I would ask whether this notice was issued with the knowledge and consent of the Secretary of State and whether at the present time there are any other areas in any Reserve open to prospecting, and also whether it is the intention to declare any other areas in Reserves to be open to prospectors?
A year or more ago a promising goldfield was unexpectedly discovered in a Native Reserve. The discovery was hailed as a godsend alike to a Colony faced with an enormous deficit in its Budget and to European settlers who had passed through an exceptionally trying period, their farms devastated by locusts and parched by a long drought, many of them on the verge of bankruptcy, while prices for produce continued to fall. The Governor and his advisers were placed in a position of great difficulty in regard to the native population. Sir Joseph Byrne, the Governor, whose impartiality commands our confidence, has always shown great concern for native interests. He had himself visited the field in July and pledged his word that the natives should not be deprived of their land, and was now hard put to it to find a fair and just solution, while Lord Francis Scott, the political leader of the unofficial European community, declared that "they were very desirous that the natives should get a fair deal and not suffer in any way from the development of mining in their area." This was again affirmed in to-day's Times. It seemed that a compromise might be effected if the land were only temporarily excluded from the Reserve and if its area were small. An amending Ordinance was passed which declares that when land is temporarily excluded from a Reserve for the purpose of granting leases for the development of minerals
it shall not be obligatory on the Governor during the period of the currency of such leases or of any renewals thereof to add to such Native Reserves any land";
but on the expiry of the lease (which may be for forty-two years or more) the land will revert to the Reserve. Compensation for land shall be paid in money to the local native fund (if any). The Governor assented to the Bill in His Majesty's name on December 31.
§ The question is not whether the goldfield shall be worked though situated in a Reserve. How the statutory pledge should be implemented was a matter for consideration before the field was thrown open for prospecting. The question now is whether it is necessary to break the pledge that land outside the Reserve shall be given in exchange for land taken from it—which should include land rendered useless—and by so doing to revive the apprehensions which the Land Trust Ordinance was intended to allay. I fear that the two arguments in defence of the new Ordinance—that the area excluded need only be small and that it will only be taken temporarily and later restored, thus minimising the hardship to the natives—will be found illusory.
As regards the first point. It is the accessories of a mine-field, whether alluvial or for lode-mining, which occupy a large area, especially in a country habitable by Europeans. Already before any leases had been granted we hear of an hotel, garages, shops and stores. The processes known as "sluicing" and "dredging" for alluvial deposits involve diversion of streams and serious interference with the water supply, and disturbance of the surface soil. The "proving of the field" in the search for a payable reef involves widespread excavations and trial shafts. Even if all these are eventually filled in, can anyone maintain that the land will be fit for agriculture and tribal village life The Native Affairs Report for 1931 describes the district even at that date as being
over-run by Europeans digging enormous pits and trenches all over the place, among the villages and in the cultivation, and pegging out the whole countryside as an earnest; of future operations.
I should have put this aside as a highly coloured and perhaps prejudiced description had I not read it in the official report by the responsible officer just issued by the Kenya Government. Since then the number of prospectors has been more than doubled. The supposition that the area required is a matter of "a few acres only" for a mineshaft and its attendant
buildings, involving at the worst in the case of a big mine the transfer of "a family or two" to vacant spaces near by, will therefore, I fear, prove untenable in the event.
§ As regards the temporary nature of the operations. We are told that in three or four years the alluvial deposits will be exhausted, and the land and stream-beds (for what they may be worth) will revert to the Reserve. But it is not improbable that the search for ancient stream-beds, now over-laid, may indefinitely prolong the life of the alluvial field, as has been the case in. the tin-field of Nigeria, which at first was similarly expected to have a short life but has gone on for some twenty-five years and may, I believe, continue for as many more. And if the hopes of finding a rich reef are realised its exploitation will of course be permanent and leases, including those for the inevitable accessories of a mine-field, would be renewed indefinitely. Probably, as elsewhere, a township will spring up. Moreover, I am told that the process of winning reef-gold must almost unavoidably result in chemical pollution of the rivers and streams.
The official statement of the "Objects and Reasons" of the Bill makes it clear that the primary object was to avoid the risk of adding a few acres to a, Reserve in compensation for a lease which had been abandoned later.
In some cases [it reads] mining activities may be abandoned during the initial period of the lease, and in the meantime an area will have been excised from the Reserve which will be of no value to the Crown, and an equivalent area will have been added to the Reserve which is to be deemed to be part of the Reserve and to belong to that Reserve for ever. The object of the Bill is to provide that a temporary excision may be made, the compensation being (in view of the temporary nature of the excision) paid in money instead of an addition of land to the Reserve.
It is thus admitted by inference, as also in the official communiqué, that land is available outside the Reserve. Surely it is not necessary to break the pledge to add land to a Reserve (which appears to need room for expansion already) merely to avoid the risk of adding rather more than was strictly and legally necessary?
§ The crux of the question lies in the meaning given to the word "temporary." The section of the Ordinance now amended no doubt referred to permanent 554 exclusion for which land must be given in exchange, and it conferred no power to grant leases in a Reserve for mineral development. The amending Ordinance confers that power if the excision is temporary. Will the noble Viscount say what meaning he attaches to this word? A lease of whatever duration and however often renewed may be said to be temporary. It is valueless to a prosperous mine unless it is at least semipermanent. The minimum duration under the Mining Ordinance is five years. But to the native occupier forcibly deprived of his land even a short lease is disaster, if he is given no other land in exchange. If leases lasting for a generation or more are held to be a temporary exclusion; if unlike the leases authorised (wrongly, as I think) under an earlier section, they may be granted even if the land is in beneficial occupation; if the lease is limited to the actual sites of mines and permanent accessories, and compensation given for these only while prospecting operations such as those described in the Native Affairs Report are still carried on elsewhere, and native cultivation restricted to such interspersed fields as may still be cultivable—what becomes of the spirit and intention of the system of Reserves held in trust? For tribal life would be disorganised, and the detribalised natives having insufficient land to grow their food-crops would become compulsory labourers for the mining community, unable to leave, and dependent on the wages offered—and for their food on the growers of maize and other foodstuffs elsewhere.
"Administrative arrangements"—which can only mean a peremptory order —are, we are told, to be made to compel their neighbours to accommodate evicted occupiers. The report on the land tenure system of the tribe says that:
each family has exclusive rights of occupation and usufruct over its own holding no one, even though a member of the clan, can use the cultivation patch of another without his express permission.
§ If a stranger is thrust upon the family land, the owners, Dr. Leakey says, will probably attribute any mishap to themselves, their cattle or their crops, to the anger of the family spirits, and they will eject him, as by tribal law they have a perfect right to do. This opens a vista of endless friction and disputes. Thus even temporary divorce from the land is the 555 beginning of the break-up of tribal institutions.
§ As regards money compensation. If, as I understand, natives are not in practice allowed to buy any land outside the Reserves, money has not the same value it would have to a European. If paid to a community it goes to meet expenditure ordinarily met from the taxes it pays, if to an individual it would be squandered by a primitive people ignorant of how to use it to advantage. The field already thrown open is in the Northern section of the Reserve, the population density of which averages, according to the census, over 144 to the square mile, including a large area of almost uninhabitable country in the North. This would be abnormal in any purely agricultural country and is accentuated by the primitive methods of cultivation in Africa. The actual goldfield is described in the Native Affairs Report as "densely populated and closely cultivated" (apparently from 200 to 500 to the square mile). There are said to be many vacant patches, but it surely stands to reason that where the population is so dense any land not under crops is either uncultivable or left fallow to recuperate or required for grazing. Both grazing and fallow will be absorbed as the rapidly increasing population learns more intensive methods of cultivation.
Sir Edward Grigg, the late Governor, was under no delusion in the matter. When introducing, the original Bill of 1928 in the Legislative Council, he said:
The word of Governments has been pledged in the past and has not been fully kept. It is undeniable.
In a letter to The Times in defence of the present Ordinance he expresses regret that "another pledge has been violated," and lays the blame on the Secretary of State for insisting on the insertion of a pledge which he considers was impracticable. He did not, however, explain why it was impracticable. That land can, if needed, be found is shown by the official communiqué which holds out a vague hope that in spite of the Ordinance
it may well be that a further area of land should ultimately be added to the Reserve as additional compensation to the natives as a whole.
I appeal to the Government to transform this nebulous phrase into a definite undertaking, and so to dispel as far as possible "the suspicions of Government bona fides
and profound distrust" which the official report says that recent events have done much to re-awaken.
§ These Kavirondo tribes have always borne a reputation for hospitality and friendliness to Europeans. Forty odd years ago to arrive in their country after passing through the hostile tribes en route was to reach a haven of peace and welcome. To-day they are accounted the best and most willing of labourers. We are told that they welcomed the prospectors and are eager to earn wages and sell their produce to them. That in part is due to their hospitable character, in part to the fact that they had recently suffered from a very severe invasion of locusts which had destroyed their crops, but principally because they could not possibly realise what may be the sequel. I have little doubt that if individuals or families were to-day offered an alternative plot of land outside the Reserve, they would refuse it for this reason, even if it were close by. But this does not relieve the Government of the obligation to put contiguous land at the disposal of those already or about to be displaced, even if it should involve the acquisition of alienated land—and to hold it at their disposal if they desire to move in consequence of later developments.
§ The amending Ordinance further cancels the existing obligation to consult the Native Councils and the natives concerned, a stipulation which is reported to have gone far to remove the fears of the Kikuyu, but the official communiqué says that every exclusion of land "must first be approved by the local advisory board, on which one or more Africans sit." This board is composed of Europeans and since the Chief Native Commissioner is reported to have informed the Council that "it would be a farce to consult the natives for it was unlikely they would agree whatever compensation was paid," the fact that they sit on the board has little significance. Native Councils on the other hand by tactful explanation might perhaps be induced to appreciate the Royal monopoly in gold if worked by the Government or an agency on its behalf, but would find difficulty in understanding the influx of strange prospectors with rights of possession (according to the definition in the Mining Ordinance) of the land comprised in a "claim." From this is appears that land may be appro- 557 priated without consent, though not "excluded" from the Reserve.
§ Apart from the immediate question of the existing goldfield there is the still more difficult problem of its extension in the future and of the discovery of minerals in other Native Reserves, already reported in Kikuyu. A telegram from The Times correspondent on Saturday summarised the proposals contained in the second report of Sir Albert Kitson the geologist. The goldfield, he says, is 5,900 square miles in area, leaving only one-sixth of the Reserve, chiefly in the uninhabitable area in the North. He divides it into five blocks, two of which, covering 1,485 square miles he recommends should be thrown open to general prospecting, and the remainder (4,400 square miles) he would reserve for exclusive prospecting licences. He rejects the application of the well-known Tanganyika Concessions Syndicate for an exclusive prospecting licence over the whole, on the ground that the terms they offer are not good enough, but he proposes that they should be offered one of the three remaining: fields. These vary from 1,100 to 1,700 odd square miles, and since the holder of an exclusive prospecting licence may be granted a mining lease over the whole or any part of the area, the lease in this case might include over a million acres instead of the "few acres only" specified in the official statement.
§ The great advantage of an exclusive prospecting licence is that the syndicate would have to undertake to spend a large amount of capital and can be held responsible for the conduct of the prospectors it employs. It of course retains all the profits. In order to secure the profit for the revenue of the Colony and better to protect native interests it has been proposed that the goldfield should be declared a Government monopoly. For this there are many excellent precedents. It is open to the serious objection that the management of a great commercial enterprise is outside the proper functions of Government. Possibly an exception might be made in the case of a coal-field of which Government is by far the largest user. A better system in my view is the formation of a company in which the Government holds the majority of the shares and is represented on the directorate, thus controlling policy while leaving the management to experts. 558 Such joint participation between Government and private enterprise is recognised in the Tanganyika Mandate and called a "controlled agency." It has already been adopted by the Nyasa Rail and is recommended by Mr. Roger for application to the group of East African railways. It secures the maximum profit to the revenue of the Colony, and the methodical and scientific development of the field instead of allowing individual prospectors to "pick the eyes out," as it is called, and do much more surface damage than is necessary, with the usual percentage of speculative companies and of individual failures unable to pay their labourers.
§ The Colonial Office and the local Government are of course fully informed and will take these alternatives into consideration. My apology for mentioning them is the very extraordinary and, I suppose, unprecedented conditions of this goldfield if extended to include the whole of Central Kavirondo as outlined by Sir Albert Kitson. The population of some districts in this part of the Reserve is stated to reach the incredible density of 1,000 to the square mile, with an average by the Census of over 200. The natives are a Nilotic tribe less tractable than the Bantu in the goldfield now open. If this area is to be developed as a minefield the public in this country have a national interest in knowing what methods are to be employed.
§ The removal of the population to a new area would, as the Chief Native Commissioner said, "violate their most cherished and sacred traditions," but it would probably be less difficult and less destructive of tribal life than the deportation of single families. Possibly by the adoption of such methods as I have suggested it may be unnecessary to exclude large areas from the Reserve, but it would seem to be a wise precaution to prepare for such a contingency, for instance by organising a campaign against the tsetse fly, as has been done successfully in defined districts in Tanganyika, in regions at present uninhabitable for natives or whites. For such a purpose the Colonial Development Committee would, if necessary, no doubt advance funds repayable from the revenue derived from the goldfield.
§ Such measures would take time but their inception would go far to minimise 559 suspicions and restore confidence. Having already deputed Sir Morris Carter to report concerning Native Reserves and cognate questions the Government obviously cannot declare its intentions until his Report has been received. But in view of the concern shown in this matter both in England and Scotland I hope that the noble Lord will be able to give an assurance that no further areas in the Reserves will be thrown open and no decision of importance taken until that Report has been laid before Parliament. Meanwhile the Kenya Government has, we hear, taken the wise step of strictly prohibiting prospecting outside the authorised area, and The Times correspondent to-day reports that both Government and European settlers would welcome delay of the Royal Assent to give time for independent and impartial investigation. British Colonial policy is watched by our neighbours more closely than is, I think, generally realised in this country. I have had sonic personal experience at Geneva of the criticism—not always free from bias—to which any dereliction from the standards we profess has been subjected. Such criticism weakens British influence and leadership in such matters as the suppression of slavery or the corvée
§ The points on which I ask for an assurance by the Government are: (1) That in the area already thrown open to general prospecting the statutory pledge of land for land shall be kept in the spirit and letter; (2) that no new areas in the Reserves shall be opened either to general or exclusive prospecting pending publication of the Carter Report, so that there may be time for adequate study of the subject with full information. It is with reluctance that I have ventured to make these comments for what they may be worth, for I well know how exasperating ill-informed criticism is to the men on the spot. It is for them to find the right solution. We have a National Government in office to which we can safely look to safeguard without Party considerations what is widely regarded as a matter of national honour, and therefore in the true interests not less of the Europeans than of the natives. I hope that the Papers for which I have asked may include a large scale map showing the situation of the goldfield and the population density of each district. I beg to move.560
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, I rise to support with great cordiality the noble Lord who has just sat down. This is a matter happily outside the area of Party politics and outside that area I hope it will be kept; but there is trouble in this matter which concerns each of us as citizens of this great Empire and it is only right that that trouble should find expression in this House if only that His Majesty's Government may have the opportunity of allaying it or, if they can, removing it. I need scarcely say that the last thing I wish is to do anything to embarrass the Government charged with so great responsibilities in every part of the world, but if they can ease this trouble they will be conferring a benefit on their fellow-citizens. There can be no question as to the extent of the apprehension. Here this afternoon I am supported, as your Lordships have ocular demonstration, by my brother Bishops in the Convocation of Canterbury; I am supported by the leaders of the Church of Scotland and of the Free Churches; I know that many of the Roman Catholic Church are deeply concerned; and I have, through correspondence and otherwise, the support of numbers of residents in Kenya who speak the language of the natives and are familiar with all their life and customs.
I need not allude to the extent to which this apprehension has been voiced by the Press—to take only one or two examples, in London by The Times and the Observer, by the leading scientific journal Nature, in the provinces by such newspapers as the Manchester Guardian, and, lest it should be thought there is any political bias, in Scotland by these steadfast supporters of the Government the Scotsman and the Glasgow Herald. Even the East African Standard itself, on January 9, uses these words, which are worth noting:It is open to question whether the so-called temporary solution offered by the amending Ordinance is based upon adequate knowledge and whether it was really necessary at so early a stage in the history of an unproved goldfield to depart so far from the pledge of land for land.If the extent of this apprehension is beyond question neither can its reasonableness be questioned. Let me remind you, if I can, of the salient facts of the situation and I think you will see that what I have said is just. The accepted 561 basis of policy in East Africa as in other Protectorates is two-fold. Is it not, first, that in a country like Kenya, where there are some seventeen thousand Europeans compared with nearly three millions of natives, it is our foremost—I will not use the much-disputed word paramount—duty to promote the welfare and interests of the native tribes? The second basis is that for this end we are bound to secure for them sufficient land in which their tribal life and institutions can be preserved and developed. It is right that this should be so. Land is vital to the tribes of East Africa. It is not too much to say that their whole life, not only economic but social and religious life, is bound up with the land, and, moreover, it is only the secure possession of their land that enables them to have a barrier against the disintegrating influences of white civilisation, preventing the growth in East Africa of that large number of landless natives who have been so great a trouble in South Africa.
There is no question of our support for that policy. It is the basis of the White Paper of 1923 which is associated with the honoured name of the Duke of Devonshire; it was reasserted with fullness in the Government Memorandum of June, 1930. Let me quote the words of that Memorandum because I think they are well worth attention at this time:As regards land, it is the view of His Majesty's Government that the first essential is to remove finally from the native mind any feeling of insecurity in regard to his tribal lands; and to keep available for all the tribes land of such an extent and character as will fully suffice for their actual and future needs.They therefore welcome the provision to this end which is made in the Kenya Native Lands Trust Ordinance. I ask your Lordships to pay careful attention to the provisions of that Ordinance. Section 2 says that lands scheduled for native occupationare hereby declared to be Native Reserves and are reserved and set aside for the use and benefit of the native tribes of the Colony for ever.It is true that in Section 15 it is recognised that cases may occur where the Governor must exclude from a Reserve land for public purposes, in which are included the development of the mineral resources of the Colony, but in that case two stipulations are made—first, that these proposals must be brought to the 562 notice of the Native Councils, and that means the natives themselves; and, secondly, that the Governor shall add to Native Reserve so excluded from Crown lands an area equal in extent and as far as possible equal in value to be part of the Native Reserve.
There is no question as to the importance which the Government of this country attached to that declaration and to the pledge which it involves. Let me react the words used in regard to this matter by the Government:They are in cordial agreement with the declaration in this Ordinance that the lands within the boundaries as finally gazetted for Native Reserves are reserved for the use and benefit of the natives for ever. Any derogation from this solemn pledge would, in the view of His Majesty's Government, be not only a flagrant breach of trust, but also, in view of its inevitable effect upon the natives, a serious calamity from which the whole Colony could not fad to suffer.And again, adding force to the words, there is the declaration specifically dealing with the matter before the House:Even where the allotment of this new land to the persons actually displaced is not found practicable, an equivalent addition must always be made to the Native Reserves in order that their total area may not be lessened by the expropriation for public purposes that has been found necessary in the interests of the territory as a whole. Only on these lines, in the opinion of His Majesty's Government, can those compulsory expropriations of native lands, which are from time to time necessary in the public interest, be made to seem, to the dispossessed tribes or persons, anything but a breach of the solemn undertaking into which the Government have entered.It is very difficult to understand how, in spite of these solemn words used little more than two years before, this amending Ordinance was hurried through the Legislature of Kenya last December.
I know that Sir Edward Grigg—I hope it is not irrelevant to congratulate him upon the services he has rendered to the country in presiding over the recent Milk Commission—has complained of the making of these pledges. But that is irrelevant. No One questioned—I think I shall be borne out in this—the action and words of the Government in 1930 in making this very solemn declaration, and in any case the pledge was given, and it is difficult to understand how, within a little more than two years, the amending Ordinance should have been brought through the Kenya Legislature. Your 563 Lordships will not forget that the two leading provisions of the Native Lands Trust Ordinance have been set aside or most seriously qualified by this amending Ordinance. In the first place it is provided in this amending Ordinance that "land may be excluded temporarily"—I shall deal with that word "temporarily" in a moment—from a Native Reserve under this section for the purpose of granting a lease for the development of the mineral resources of the Colony, and in such cases it shall not be obligatory on the Governor during the period of the currency of such lease or of any renewals thereof to add to such Native Reserve any land as is provided under subsection (2) of this section.It is true that it is ordered that compensation shall be made, but your Lordships will note that the compensation is to be in money. Nothing is said in the amending Ordinance of any kind of compensation in land. It is also provided that after the expiration of any lease the land shall revert to the Native Reserves. Finally, it is laid down thatNotwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in subsection (1) of this section where land is excluded from a Native Reserve under this subsection it shall not be necessary for the Central Board to bring the proposed exclusion to the notice of the local native council or of the natives concerned.Is it surprising, when you consider the contrast between these provisions and the provisions of the principal Ordinance, backed up by these solemn assertions of the Government, to claim that there is at least justification for asking your Lordships to give these matters very careful consideration?
May I here make two further observations? I recognise the difficulty of the Government of Kenya. However much we may deplore the influx of prospectors —though most of them I believe are settlers in Kenya—with the mixed population brought with them, we must admit, I suppose, that this goldfield in Kenya must be developed to the full. If so, then it is a most difficult administrative question how that can be adjusted with the claims of the natives to the security of their lands. Secondly, I do not question in any way the ability of the Government of Kenya, or the sincerity of its desire to secure the well-being of the natives. I agree that we are fortunate in having in Kenya as Governor a singularly high-minded administrator. I 564 always like to pay the greatest deference to the opinion of the man on the spot, who has the duty of administration and who has to bear the great responsibility of it. But men on the spot very often are faced with a sudden emergency and are apt to be content with meeting it, and forget sometimes the wider and larger issues which are involved.
I cannot dismiss from my mind some perplexity that this amending Ordinance should have been hurried through the Kenya Legislature and receive, I believe, the assent of the Secretary of State, within less than a fortnight, on a matter which may be the first step in the development of a great goldmining industry. I say that this hurry does not show that the matter received the full consideration which it deserved. In any case, my Lords, I feel that it is natural that the man on the spot should deal rather hurriedly with this immediate administrative question. But as regards the wider and larger issues involved we in this country have a concurrent responsibility. May I remind your Lordships what was said by the Government in 1930? The Governmentfully accept the principle that the relation of His Majesty's Government to the native populations in East Africa is one of trusteeship which cannot be devolved, and from which they cannot he relieved. The ultimate responsibility for the exercise of this trusteeship must accordingly rest with them alone.My Lords, the Government of this country represents its public opinion, and therefore public opinion in this country has in this matter a concurrent responsibility, from which it also cannot be relieved.
I submit, therefore, that the action of Lord Lugard and myself in writing to The Times, and to-day in this House in asking that the Government shall not commit itself irrevocably to the policy of this amending Ordinance at the beginning of gold mining in Kenya, is abundantly necessary. I only hope that the noble Viscount who has to reply for the Government will be able to, give us explanations and assurances which will allay these apprehensions. So far, I am bound to say that the explanations and assurances offered do not seem to me to be very satisfactory. I only hope that the noble Viscount may show that they are more satisfactory than they seem.
565 Will your Lordships allow me to examine some of them? I cannot speak with the same authority as the noble Lord—authority due to his immense knowledge of East and West Africa and his long administration—but have given very careful attention to this matter. In the first place we are told—please understand that I am only trying to elicit information and not to offer criticism—that the land to be excluded by these mining leases is only to be excluded temporarily. That may be technically true but I ask your Lordships to face the realities of the situation. The leases may be given for twenty-one or forty-two years. If a valuable reef is discovered upon it, important works, and perhaps the erection of a township, may follow, in which case the lease will be renewed indefinitely. It will be a very small satisfaction to a native and his family, dispossessed of part, if not all of their land, during their lifetime, to be told that the exclusion is only temporary. Again, in the second place we are told by the terms of the amending Ordinance that at the final expiration of the lease the land will revert to the Native Reserve concerned. In what condition will it be when it reverts to the Native Reserve? Will it be fit for cultivation? It may be broken up by shafts, riddled by pits and trenches, and covered with refuse of mining operations. These natives, unlike our friends in Belgium or France, have not the capital or skill to restore to a cultivable state land which has passed from such use for fifty or sixty years.
In the third place we are told that the natives, if excluded partially or wholly from their lands, will be compensated by similar land. I think it necessary here to refer to the very interesting statement which was made by the Colonial Office on January 18 last, and I ask your Lordships to note this because I suppose these words will be the main basis of the explanations offered on the part of the Government:The matter of immediate importance is to ensure that any individual native whose holding covers ground required for mining operations shall receive compensation for disturbance and an alternative piece of ground on which he may live and work in close Proximity to his market. The Governor does not contemplate any difficulty in providing individual dispossessed natives with land. In many cases they will still be able 566 to work on part of the land which they now occupy adjacent to the plot being mined. In other cases administrative arrangements will be made for settling them among their neighbours.That looks like land for land. At first I was greatly impressed by this statement. When I examined it a little more closely I found that the appearance was not so satisfactory.
In the first place, your Lordships will notice that this land, whether it be the land on which the native has already been living and part of which he may retain, or land into which he is to be intruded among his neighbours, is land which is still within the Native Reserve— very different from what was said in the principal Ordinance, that any land was to be added to the Native Reserve. More than that, what about this land which is to be found for him among his neighbours? The noble Lord has reminded us that by native tribal law the land belongs to each family. No person, even of the same tribe, is allowed to use it or inhabit it without the permission of the family, and they have an entire right to eject anybody who comes there. Well, imagine these dispossessed natives being dumped down among their neighbours. Anything that goes wrong with the land will immediately be attributed to their influence. Was not the noble Lord right in asking: Does not this disclose a vista of endless friction and dispute?
And remember that it is not a question of dealing with large open spaces. Even in Kakamega, which is the present goldfield, you have heard that there is an average population in that part of Kavirondo of about 145 to the square mile, but that is an average: in many places it is as thick as 400. And therefore there is not room for these dispossessed natives to have this additional land. Arid even if there is room, as I have submitted, there is no sort of security. I cannot help wondering whether the insertion of this statement—because there is nothing about this compensation in land in the amending Ordinance—may not be due to the attention called to this matter in this country; and, satisfactory as it at first seemed, unless I am reassured, it seems to prove illusory.
Now I come to the last assurance. It is that the natives themselves are not troubled. The relations with the present prospectors are quite easy, and 567 it is a great responsibility which is taken by well-meaning persons like myself to insinuate into the mind of the childlike native that there is any trouble, and that he need be in any way concerned. It is a responsibility. But I wonder how far what is said is true. The noble Lord has pointed out that these Bantu tribes in North Kavirondo are a delightful, childlike, simple-hearted, friendly and hospitable people. At present they see the prospect of trade for their produce with the prospectors. They are very much attracted by the compensation in money, the only use of which they understand is to spend it as soon as possible. But as things develop, and if the policy of the amending Ordinance is to be continued, there may very soon be a very different state of affairs. And I ask your Lordships to remember that expressly by this amending Ordinance all consultation with the native councils has been set aside, and I find it difficult to reconcile this optimistic language with what was candidly said by the Native Commissioner when the amending Ordinance was before the Council.
Let me examine his words. He was supporting it, because he felt administratively that he could see no other way out. But this is what he said:I am afraid we stall have to hurt the feelings of the natives, wound their susceptibilities and in some cases violate their most cherished and sacred traditions by moving them from a piece of land on which they have had the right to live, and setting them upon another piece of land, the holders of which would have the right to eject them.But within the last few days has come the Official Report of the Native Affairs Department in Kenya Colony, and I would ask your Lordships to pay particular attention to these words:Mining activities in North Kavirondo"—that is the district with which we are dealing—have come as a rude shock to the native inhabitants, and have done much to reawaken suspicions as to Government's bona fidesMark you, my Lords, these are not the words of well-meaning and ignorant individuals like myself, but of Government officials.Land which has been gazetted as reserved for their use and occupation for all time and which they quite naturally believe to be therefore free from alien occu- 568 pation and interference, they have suddenly found over-run by increasing numbers of Europeans who appear to have come there to stay and who, in addition to the comparatively innocuous damming and diversion of streams for the purposes of alluvial gold washing have taken to digging enormous pits and trenches all over the place, among the villages and in the cultivation, and have, moreover, pegged out the whole countryside as an earnest of their future operations. Where, the natives ask, is the sanctity of Government pledges, where the guaranteed security of their land?For the present, they point out, the material benefits are attractive, butthese material benefits, however, do little or nothing to allay their anxiety as to the future.Now, I venture to ask, in view of the departure of this amending Ordinance at least from the spirit and intention of the principal Ordinance, in view of the strong words used by His Majesty's Government and the contrast between them and the provisions of the amending Ordinance, and in view of this obvious and now certified disquiet among the natives for whom we are the trustees, is it too late to ask whether the Government find it necessary to adhere to the policy of this amending Ordinance? I may be told it is a fait accompli. I do not know. The noble and learned Viscount can assure us. I understand that, though the Royal Assent has been provisionally given through the Secretary of State after a fortnight's discussion in Kenya, yet it may be suspended until notice has been given that His Majesty does not propose to disannul the Ordinance. I should like to ask the Government whether that notice has been given, and whether it is too late to give it now. Again, I do not think that it is an unreasonable thing to ask, because I note that The Times correspondent in Kenya, familiar, I suppose, with all the circumstances of life in Kenya, to-day uses these words on this very matter:So anxious is the white community to be relieved of any charge that the African is being exploited or neglected that there would be little criticism of delayed Royal Assent to the recent legislation, if that delay would assist in calmer consideration without prejudices on either side.I think it is not unreasonable even now to ask whether that is a fait accomph.
I may anticipate a criticism which I think could be made with great effect by the noble Viscount. It is this: "These objections are purely destructive. You 569 admit the difficulty that has to be met. How do you propose to meet it?" Well, my Lords, I do not think I am qualified, by knowledge of the place like the noble Lord who has introduced this Motion, to answer, but I am not quite sure that I am wrong to do so. I think it is sufficient to prove that the existing policy is full of objections and gives rise to serious difficulties among the natives, and has not even removed disquiet from the white community. Those who know all the facts are responsible for producing a better alternative plan. But there is one suggestion to which I would ask the attention of your Lordships and the Government, and it is that where a native is dispossessed of his land by a mining lease and is dumped down on land of his neighbours he might have the option—and I would add the continuing option—of going to land which would be provided by the Government in some area not too remote from his present home. I have reason to believe that there is a considerable amount of land contiguous to Kakamega eminently suitable for natives to live in. Some of it has already been alienated to settlers. I am told that the white settlers would strongly resent the Government buying back land which has been given to them, but if it is just to take land which has been given to the natives it is surely not unjust for the Government to buy back land given to the white settlers. I venture to hope that that suggestion may not be dismissed.
It may be that there is no likelihood of that option being widely used at present, but if it was given it would be an assurance that the Government wished to maintain the spirit of the declarations of 1923 and 1930. I find that in Kakamega itself public opinion seems to be not unfavourable to such a proposal. These are the words of the Kenya correspondent of The Times:Perhaps, too, it should have been possible to ascertain by inquiry among the natives whether they would agree to accept other areas of land, even though the nearest area is 50 miles away. That can still be done, and most people in the Colony would welcome delay if it removed the charge that there has been too hurried an interference with a given pledge.So far we have been dealing with existing gold mines at Kakamega, but there remains the whole great problem of the future development of the mining industry of this Colony. That obviously calls for 570 most careful foresight and planning. I cannot sufficiently press on your Lordships and the Government that this is not a matter of dealing with a comparatively few acres or comparatively few natives. It is a turning point, a critical moment for the whole Colony, and the first step if wrongly taken now may not be easy to retrace. The noble Lord has spoken of alternatives for dealing with these mining leases and the like. I cannot speak of that, but I think I am entitled to ask the Government whether they will not undertake to refrain from giving prospecting leases in areas outside the existing Kakamega area until time has been given for full consideration and planning of a policy, especially with reference to the interference with Native Reserves.
And here I come to the most satisfactory and hopeful of the statements made by the Government. They are contained in the Paper of January 18. I must refer to them because they do show the possibility of better things in the future. You will find in the sixth paragraph these words:It is particularly fortunate that the Commission's presence in the Colony should have coincided with the recent gold discoveries. It has thereby been possible to consult the Commission over the immediate regulation of prospecting and development; and, in assessing the future land requirements of the natives, they will be able to include among other factors the probable effects of gold mining in native areas.And the whole statement concludes:…and when the Land Commission report the Government of Kenya and the Government at home will be able to deal comprehensively with the wider question of the ultimate adequacy of the Reserves.It is, therefore, quite patent that the Report of this Morris Carter Commission will be of the utmost importance. It will raise all those larger issues to which I have called attention and, therefore, I most earnestly and specifically associate myself with the plea of the noble Lord that the Government will give now the undertaking that when the Morris Carter Report is published they will not take action on it until there has been full opportunity given to Parliament to consider its recommendations.
Perhaps I had better just summarise for the convenience of the Government the specific questions I desire to have replies to: 571
I must apologise for taking up so much of your Lordships' time, but I make no sort of apology for raising this matter in your Lordships' House. I think the noble Lord and I have abundantly justified the pervading trouble which exists in this matter. We recognise the difficulties. We know that this goldfield must be developed. All we ask of the Government is that at this really critical moment involving the whole future of three millions of people, they will do everything they can to see that the goldfield is developed in such a manner as to confirm and restore and not weaken the confidence of the natives in British rule, and in such a manner as to vindicate in their eyes and in the eyes of other nations the high claim of the British people to be trustees for the good of the native races of East Africa. Anything that touches the honour of that claim touches us to the quick. All I ask the Government is that they will endeavour to enable us to maintain that honour now.
- (1) Is it still possible to suspend and reconsider the recent Amending Ordinance or if it is not possible may there be an arrangement that it should not be extended beyond the existing Kakamega goldfield?
- (2) Is it possible, if not by legislation then by administrative measures, to secure for individual natives dispossessed by prospecting licences or mining leases a continuing option of other land for their own possession as near as possible to their existing holdings?
- (3) Will the Government advise that prospecting operations be not permitted in thickly populated areas outside the Kakamega district until more time has been given to planning a future policy with regard to the whole possible goldfields and until the Report of the Morris Carter Commission is published?
- (4) Will the Government undertake that when the Report of the Morris Carter Commission is published action upon it will not be taken until full time and opportunity have been given to Parliament to consider its recommendations?
THE EARL OF ONSLOW
My Lords, I venture, although I have never visited Kenya, to ask your Lordships' indulgence 572 for a few moments because I happened to be a member of the Joint Committee on East Africa which reported about a year ago. I can only base the observations that I propose to make upon such information as I am able to obtain at secondhand perhaps, and if I make any mistake I ask my noble friend the noble Viscount who is to reply if he will correct anything that I say which is wrong. I do not think there was any member of the Committee who was more struck than I was with the paramount necessity of satisfying native opinion in regard to the various questions that affect the native population, and, in especial, I think the most important one would be the question of the land. So struck were we with the importance and magnitude of this matter that we recommended that a full and authoritative inquiry should be undertaken immediately into the needs of the native population in regard to the land at Kavirondo. The British Government accepted that proposal, and they appointed the Carter Commission, which has been referred to by the most rev. Primate, and the importance of which he did not seek to minimise. I think we all agree that it is the most important undertaking that is now being conducted in East Africa.
I think there are few if any members of the Committee, or of the witnesses, who have not been surprised that this discovery of gold has taken place. At the time we were sitting it was quite unexpected. I remember asking the question of a good number of the witnesses, and from all of them I got the same answer. There had been full prospecting of the country for minerals, including gold, and, with the exception of some quite unimportant goldfields, in the south I think, it was agreed it was not likely that minerals would be found. However, that proved to be entirely wrong, and we have had the discovery of the goldfield in Kakamega. Nobody, I think, suggests that when a goldfield has been discovered it should not be worked. Obviously it should be in the interests of everybody—in the interests of the natives as well as of the State. The resources of the country must be worked and made the best of, especially at the present time when things are not so well as they might be in East Africa. It is as much in the interests of natives as of Europeans that it should be done, 573 but in the development of the resources of the country we must have regard to the trust which we have accepted, and which was quoted by the: most rev. Primate, the object! of which has been defined as the protection and advancement of the native races. But the development of the resources of the country would seem to me to be a matter which equally concerns the protection and advancement of the native races. I think the two must go hand in hand.
The noble Lord, Lord Lugard, has drawn attention to the difficulty which in his view has been created by the action of the Colonial Office in the proposal to compensate natives in cash instead of in land. We have heard from both the noble Lord and the most rev. Primate of the Land Ordinance of 1930, and I dare say—I do not know—it may be a question for consideration as to whether, if the mineral development of the country increases on a large scale, it will be possible in fact to carry out the full provisions of the Ordinance. The Kavirondo Reserve is bounded on the western side by Uganda, by Lake Victoria Nyanza and by Tanganyika, sc it would be possible, I understand, to give compensation in land on that side. Undoubtedly there is land on the other side—the eastern side—where compensation in land could be offered, but it is, I understand, limited in area, and if there was a very large scale of development it would be perhaps difficult to give equivalent land to those natives who might be disturbed by gold mining. However, we are not at the present moment called upon to consider that point. That is where I think perhaps we have been led astray. I would ask my noble friend opposite if I am correct in that assumption. This is not by any means a precedent. This is not to suggest a precedent for all time, but it is a temporary expedient, an interim measure, to enable us to carry on pending the Report of the Carter Commission. I understand that is the policy of the Colonial Office.
I quite agree that it is essential to provide for native development and that the native should be provided with ample land for agricultural purposes. The natives are an agricultural people. Their local councils and their tribal organisations are based -von the land, and no greater evil, 'as I think the noble Lord, 574 Lord Lugard, said, could occur than to let loose a number of landless detribalised natives upon the country without proper means of subsistence arid occupation. It was to prevent such a catastrophe that the Committee recommended that the Reserves should be adequate and also the provisions for the working of the Ordinance. I think the former debates in your. Lordships' House will have assured you that at any rate the personnel of the Carter Commission is an admirable one, and you can repose the fullest confidence in its wisdom and judgment. I understand—and perhaps the noble Viscount will correct me if I am wrong—that the Commission have progressed n long way on their road, and that within the present year, if not within the coming summer, it is expected they will report upon the whole question of the land reserves—that is to say, upon the question which was referred to in the last part of his speech by the most rev. Primate.
But that which is the immediate question, the carry-over so to speak pending the Report, is a different matter. That is the matter I think your Lordships are considering at the present moment. The question is how are you going to enable gold to be worked immediately, not ultimately; not what is your ultimate policy of compensation but how you are to make it possible for the gold mines to be immediately worked. I quite accept the point that if you take a native off the land you should compensate him fully with land which he can work in the future as in the past, but I venture to think, for a reason which I will give in a minute, that in this particular case the compensation in land by adding to the Reserve would be almost impossible. So far as I am informed, and my information differs from that which was given to your Lordships by the noble Lord, Lord Lugard—I would ask the noble Viscount if I am right or not—only a thousand acres will be affected during the time that this Ordinance works and when it is expected that the Carter Commission will report. If only a thousand acres are to be affected and not 300 square miles, as we were told by the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, I think that puts quite a different complexion upon the case. This is purely an interim measure and does not set a precedent. If 575 I am correct that it is only a thousand acres that will be affected, I think your Lordships will perhaps agree that to add a thousand acres to the Reserve would scarcely be a possible policy.
Let us look at it from the point of view of the natives. Supposing I or any member of your Lordships' House had a garden at Dover and the Electricity Commissioners came along and said they wanted to put up a pylon, and dispossess us of the garden and told us we could have another garden in Cornwall equally good. What should we say? What we would require would be a garden somewhere upon the same coast, as close as possible to the one of which we had been dispossessed. So it is with the native. He does not want to be moved a long way from his home and friends. He wants land adjacent to that from which he has been dispossessed. Of course, if there was a large number of individuals dispossessed it might be possible to remove them all to a different Reserve, but where there is only one here and there I do not think the person dispossessed would be satisfied by being transferred 100 miles or 150 miles from his friends and from the place in which he had been accustomed to live. I shall be glad to hear from the noble and learned Viscount what is the correct interpretation of the attitude of the Colonial Office, and whether it is the intention of the Colonial Government to enable the few natives dispossessed for a short time before the Carter Report to find land in close proximity to the land which they cultivate at present.
The noble Lord, Lord Lugard, and the most rev. Primate mentioned certain difficulties which might appear. I have no doubt that difficulties may appear, but I understand there is a method—I would like the noble and learned Viscount to correct me if I am wrong—by which there would be a sum of money given to the local native councils who would be entrusted with the duty of paying compensation both to the person dispossessed and to anybody who may be injured in any way by his being settled on land close by. If that is so it seems to me to meet to a considerable extent the objections raised. As I said before, I think that if a native was removed some distance he would have a grievance, but if only a small number of people—and I do not suppose the policy can be carried 576 out except on a small scale—are concerned, then I think that considering the advantage it would be to the community as a whole to get the goldfield working, it is a policy which we might justifiably support.
I do not wish to minimise the importance of the problem for the solution of which the Carter Commission was set up —that is, the ultimate adequacy of the Reserves. It is the function of the Commission, I understand, to consider this question of the adequacy of the Reserves in all its aspects, and in particular one of the main points is the question of mineral development, a question which was gone into in great detail by the most rev. Primate. I venture to think that we may safely leave the ultimate question of mineral development to the judgment of the Carter Commission. As to the immediate question, which is quite different, I think this particular proposal has the approval of the Carter Commission who, I understand, consulted the Chief Native Commissioner, the Provincial Commissioners and the Central Lands Board. Therefore I am prepared to support the action of the Government in the matter. I must say, however, that I wish the Colonial Office had made their announcement earlier in the day. It might have removed a good deal of misunderstanding. But as a practical means of dealing with a temporary and totally unexpected situation—because I do not suppose anybody expected gold to be found there—I think the Colonial Government acted wisely, and when the Carter Commission reports a permanent solution may be arrived at, perhaps one totally different. If I thought that this was going to set up a precedent for all time, if I thought it was going to be irrevocable, with no question of revision either by the Carter Commission or by Government or by Parliament, I should be disposed to say that we had better do nothing and leave the goldfield undeveloped, but as it is a temporary measure I feel that I should support the Government.
§ LORD PASSFIELD
My Lords, the noble Earl who has just intervened had the great advantage of acting for some time as Chairman of the Joint Committee on East Africa. As he has suggested, we who served on that Committee had a great deal of evidence as to the extreme nervousness of the native population with 577 regard to the security of their lands. It was for that reason that the suggestion was made that a Royal Commission should be appointed, not to enquire whether any land could be taken away, but to enquire whether more land should not be added to the Native Reserves. The noble Earl who has just sat down is prepared to support what he understands to be the policy of the Colonial Office in this matter because he said it need not be a precedent, but the noble Earl did not say a word about what seems to me to be the most serious part of the indictment made by the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, and the most rev. Primate with regard to what the natives, at any rate, will consider a definite breach of faith and a definite breach of a pledge. I do not want to go into this at length because the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, and the most rev. Primate have set it forth with such earnestness, with such eloquence and in such detail. I need only say that with all my heart I agree with their feelings.
But whether they are right or not in feeling that there is a definite breach of a solemn pledge given by Government only two years ago, may I observe that that pledge was not questioned during the whole of the proceedings of the Joint Committee which went into the whole question. As far as I remember, not one single witness from Kenya or anywhere else ever suggested that that pledge ought not to have been given or in any way objected to the pledge. The inviolability of the Reserves was accepted. Willingly or not, it was accepted and it was never objected to. Therefore, even if that pledge had to be expressed by a Ministry representing one Party, yet, merely confirming as it did an almost similar statement which had been made by a Ministry representing the other Party two years before, and given further sanctity by the action of the Joint Committee which represented all Parties, it seems to me that if that could make a pledge valid it dies so in the case of this particular pledge. I cannot help saying, in agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, that I feel that the action which the Colonial Office has taken and which the Government of Kenya has taken does amount to a very definite breach of faith in regard to this matter.
There are three points in regard to which there has been a breach of faith.
578 First of all, there is abstraction from the Reserves without equivalent land being added. Secondly, there is abstraction from the Reserves for the private profit of individuals of another race. The White Paper of 1930 said that on no account would any natives be ousted from the Reserves for the private profit of any individual. It was only in the event of it being for public purposes that there was a probability that they might be ousted, and those public purposes were specified. It was definitely stated that we were not going to allow this to be done for private profit. That promise, that pledge, has gone down the wind. Certainly the suggestion that a joint stock company should work the goldfield for profit is an absolute breach of that pledge. Then there was the further pledge that if for public purposes land had to be taken then equivalent land should be given. I want to point out that I cannot be persuaded that there is not land available in the Colony. As a matter of fact, the land in Kenya measures 225,000 square miles, and though there have been very considerable alienations very little of it has been actually put under cultivation in comparison. I feel sure there is ample land outside the Reserve in Kenya which could be added to the Reserve. The Carter Commission proceeded on the assumption that there is land there which could be added, and even the Government of Kenya says it may be possible to give some land.
I want to put to your Lordships my feeling in this matter. I hope I am doing nobody any injustice, but expressions were used in my hearing by people of Kenya who said they understood that the settlement of the Reserves was a settlement of land once for all between blacks and whites and, having settled the Reserves, the whole of the rest of the area has been virtually promised to the whites. That has been expressed in Kenya and there is great reluctance to add more to the Reserves for the natural reason that it seems to reduce the future area for white settlement. I need hardly say that in settling the area of Reserves His Majesty's Government never intended a division of land between blacks and whites. It has been repeatedly laid down that, excepting the highlands, with regard to all the rest of Kenya outside the Reserves there was to be no restriction and no partiality for any race. Re- 579 peatedly the Government have declared that all the land outside the Reserves in Kenya was open to black settlement as well as white—always excepting the highlands—and I am afraid this breach of faith with regard to land for land is not altogether to be distinguished from the feeling that it is intended that no further land should be taken from the potentialities of white settlement for addition to the Reserves. The land is there of course and many of the real settlers of Kenya who have gone into agriculture are, I am sorry to say, in the position that they would be glad to be relieved of their land if they could get their passage back to this country. But to say that there is no land available is not true.
There is another point about this breach of faith. The noble Earl, Lord Onslow, referred to the necessity of compensating all individuals disturbed. Of course that is imperative, but that is not the whole matter. The areas set aside for the Reserves were not set aside for individuals nor for families nor even for the present generation, but for the tribes. If you gave every individual proper full compensation you would still have broken faith with the tribe. The mere question of the compensation of individuals is a bagatelle in comparison with the far graver breach of faith by which you deprive the tribe as a whole of its area and possibility of future increase. The gravity of this breach of faith seems to me to be amply demonstrated—at any rate it is deeply felt—but even so the gravity of the calamity has not been adequately expressed. It is not a matter only of whether we can satisfy ourselves that we have kept faith in the spirit as well as in the letter. The question is as to what the people and natives of Kenya think. If they think we have broken faith that is a grave calamity to the Colony. Not only so, Kenya is only part of East Africa and East Africa is only part of Africa, and natives in all parts are now considerably in communication with one another. If at every turn it can plausibly be said that they are deprived of land, it is not in Kavirondo alone, riot in Kenya alone, not in East Africa alone, but everywhere in Africa that we are adding to the difficulties of dealing with the native population.
What is to be done? I see the difficulty. Even if the Government were pre- 580 pared to retrace their steps it is almost impossible. They will go on and the gold will have to be worked. I do not want to diverge into the question of what the gold is worth if worked or whether the people who work goldfields ever get a living wage; it is a gamble. I do not suggest it is possible to avoid the working of the gold, but I suggest that it is the prime duty of the Government to see that whatever operations have to be taken for that purpose should be taken with the very minimum of excuse for the belief on the part of the natives that there has been a breach of faith. I am afraid a number of people take the view that there are circumstances when we ought to commit a breach of faith even if it is for our own advantage. However, I am not going to take that view. But if the Government are going to interfere it behoves them to consider carefully how they can minimise the ill feeling which will be caused.
I want to draw attention to one or two other things. First, there is a specific lack of communication with the Native Council. Is it too late to communicate with the Native Council? If we had given our word specifically that everything of this sort should be communicated to the Native Council—and that is what we have said—even if the Governor has not done it cannot it be done now? The Colonial Office says that a full explanation has been communicated in their language, but Archdeacon Owen, writing to the Manchester Guardian, says he has had six copies in English and they have been sent to six mission stations only, with a suggestion that they might if they liked translate the explanation for circulation among the natives. That does not seem to justify the statement that the explanation has been communicated to the natives in their own tongue, for we do not know whether they have been translated, printed and circulated. We promised solemnly to communicate with the Council and that has not been done. Is there any reason why it should not be done now or are we to go on to make an additional breach of faith?
I would remind the Government that this Ordinance does not compel the Government of this country or the Government of Kenya to do anything. It is merely an enabling Ordinance. It will be the decision of the Government here whether these things are done, and that 581 decision has not yet been given. From die mere refusal to advise His Majesty disallow the Ordinance it does not follow that the things which the Ordinance enables must be done. The Government have to take a decision to do all these things one after the other. After all, we have got to find a way out of this difficulty, and I want to suggest first of all that the Government should consult the Native Council. The Native Council would probably be difficult to convince, but even if they are we have promised to consult them, and if you have a difference with anybody it is much better to go and talk to that person, even if you cannot convince him. Will it not be a terrible mistake in dealing with the native population if you talk only about the Kakamega area, when we have in our hands the report, referred to by the most rev. Primate, of the geologist, definitely recommending that two further areas of 1,500 square miles shall immediately be thrown open to prospectors? Imagine what would be the effect on the native mind if you talk about taking a little bit only and then, within a few months, the native ands that there are 1,500 square miles going to be dealt with, and then 3,000 square miles, until, according to the report of the geologist of the Government, which the Government will act upon, over 6,000 square miles of the Kavirondo Reserve are to be thrown open to prospectors and miners, and there will only remain a little shelf of a few hundred square miles of the Reserve.
Had not that batter be explained all at once, rather than let it conic out bit by bit, month after month? I suggest to the Government that trey should go the whole hog and say that gold has been indicated and will be found over probably the whole of the Kavirondo Reserve; that it is very regrettable but there it is, and we do not see our way in the interests of the Colony and of the public, to prevent the white man from going in and making a profit for himself out of it. Do not go and pretend that it is only a small thing. Have it out at once with the natives and say to the natives: "Of course we will carry out our promise and give you land for land for whatever is leased." I am not suggesting that the spirit of the thing should be carried out, because that would mean that compensation should be given for the whole of the area despoiled 582 and spoilt; but let us consider and remember this particular point about the area to be leased. The law is that if any rent is payable for the land it goes to the Native Council, but if you excise land from the Reserve the rent payable will go to the Kenya Government. The trustee for the natives has got to consider whether his wards shall get what the law prescribes for them, or whether he shall exercise his power and take that rent into the Government Treasury. If you have to excise this land from the Reserve is there any reason why you should deprive the Native Council of the rent you have got from the mines? Are we going to break our word again in that respect?
Then we come to the agreement to lease for mines. If you take the whole Kavirondo Reserve, the whole 7,000 square miles is covered by prospectors. But supposing then they only want to have a 100 mines, and these will only take some ten, some forty, and some 100 acres. Supposing then you have these 100 mines dotted about all over the 7,000 square miles. What is then left of the Kavirondo Reserve? It is true that in the interstices there will be fields, but there will be these 100 mining areas, each with its little mining township and dump heaps and camp followers. What is left of the Reserve? Merely a number of natives living in the interstices. How do those Kavirondos differ essentially from the quarter of a million natives now living in the Kenya Colony on the land appropriated by the white settlers? The Kavirondo natives, if you have these 100 mining centres, would at any rate not feel that the country belonged to them.
Do your Lordships realise that the whole of the Native 'Reserve is about the same area as England alone? The Kavirondo Reserve is about the area of Wales, and that is what it is proposed to say shall virtually be handed over to mining operations, and only about 100 leases granted. The Kavirondo Reserve would practically be abolished as a Reserve, and the natives would find themselves living in the midst of white men in the same way as the squatters do elsewhere. What I suggest is that the Government should go to the Native Council, as they must do, and explain that not merely the Kakamega Reserve but the whole five or six thousand square miles is going to be taken, and that therefore they would undertake that an 583 equivalent area of land should be added to the Reserve, not to accommodate people who are disturbed, but as a reserve for the Kavirondo tribes. I suggest that we ought to set aside such an area for the Kavirondos in order that we may keep faith with what we have promised.
As to these mining leases, I want to support the suggestion of the most rev. Primate that they should not be given to individual speculators or to joint stock companies, but to a company of public utility character, on which the Government should appoint directors, and over which the Secretary of State should have some ultimate control; and that the company should pay not only a fixed rent, which might be relatively small, but a royalty proportionate, not to profit—which is always a mistake, as every City man knows—but to output, as mineral royalties are. If the output is large, let the royalty be large. Then comes the crucial question: How is the Secretary of State as trustee to allocate that fund as between his wards and the Government? Because the Treasury will have a word in this, and I suggest it is a very difficult position. But it would be inexcusable if that trustee diverted the whole of what had been the property of his wards to the public Exchequer. I hope we are not going to commit an even graver breach of faith than we did before. As trustees we are responsible for seeing that at any rate a proper allocation of the royalty—for the rent, by the way, is entirely the property of the Native Council—is made between our wards and the Exchequer.
There is another thing I want to point out. We are told that some of these mines may be temporary and after a few years may be given up. Is there to be any provision put into the lease binding the lessee to reinstate the land? In this country we have already suffered a great deal. I have seen many abandoned lead mines, copper mines, worked-out coal mines, and no reinstatement of the land. The land is left there, defiled, made dangerous and useless, because the company has gone bankrupt, it may be. I suggest, therefore, that there ought to be security given that the obligation of reinstatement of the land can be met. One other thing. There will be machinery at these mines. I wonder whether noble Lords realise that there is 584 no compensation for accidents in Kenya? Now we are going to introduce mining and machinery, and thousands of these natives are going to get employment in these mines. Surely, we shall ask the lessee to become responsible for proper compensation for accidents; and it seems to me that we may ask him to see that there is proper medical attendance for the natives. This is a new thing which we are introducing—which there is no need for us to introduce. We are introducing it, not for the native's advantage but for the advantage, as we think, of the Colony as a whole, and of the gold-using countries of the world, I suppose. Surely, we are bound to see that the elementary precautions against damage and loss by accidents to the workers, which we in this country have provided for, are provided for in the leases? That is a duty that devolves upon us as part of our trusteeship. I have seen nothing suggested about that hitherto, but it seems to me that all that is necessary.
Finally, Are we going to retain the state of things under which no native African is allowed to buy land in his own country of Kenya, even on the Reserves? He is not allowed to buy land for hard money, if he has got the money, outside the Reserves. Surely, if we are going to compensate him in cash, is there any reason why the native should be absolutely denied the right to buy land from a willing seller? As a matter of fact the white settler to whom land has been sold by the Government, even if he wishes to sell part of that land to the natives who are squatting upon it, working for him, is forbidden by law to sell it to them; in no single case, I am informed, ever since the Colony has been there, has any native of Africa been permitted to buy land, even if he has offered money. I am not talking about the highlands, which are reserved for Europeans; but nowhere else in the Colony is the native allowed to buy land. Now we are going to give compensation in cash, are we going to retain that prohibition on the native to buy land in his own country I submit to the Government that they cannot in decency maintain that prohibition.
I will only say, in conclusion, that I have been looking into relative figures to see how far there are great open spaces in Kenya, and I was much interested to find that, though it is quite true that the 585 population per square mile is not so dense as in England, it is very high for an African country. In the whole of the Reserves it is fifty-five to the square mile. Russia has only twenty to the square mile, including huge cities. These native Reserves in Kenya are more populous than in Turkey, and North Kavirondo, where the population runs up to 145 to the square mile, is actually more populous than Spain, although Spain has great cities. It is not an empty country. And these persons are men, women and children. If you take North Kavirondo, and assume the family to number five, you have actually twenty-nine families to the square mile. That means an average of about twenty-five acres per family. Even with scientific cultivation a family finds a difficulty in making a living on twenty-five acres; but with their primitive cultivation it is impossible to make a living on twenty-five acres. Are we really going to compress them still more tightly in these highly populated areas?
I am troubled about this breach of faith myself, but I am much more seriously alarmed at the effect that it will have on the African population. That is a calamity which we could do something to prevent if we remembered that this Ordinance is only an enabling Ordinance. The Government need not carry it out. The Government can still do the right thing. They are not prevented because the local body has passed an Ordinance. And consequently I urge that the Government will look at it in that light, and realise that they are free to do the right thing, and take care that they do not do the wrong thing.
§ THE MARQUESS OF READING
My Lords, in the few observations I shall make I shall strive not to repeat what has already been said infinitely better than I can say it by the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, who introduced this Motion, and by the most rev. Primate, who supported it in such a forcible and eloquent speech. I merely desire to draw attention to points that it seems to me cannot be disputed. If the Government had any doubt as to the genuineness of the agitation throughout the country in respect to this matter I hope it will have been set at rest by the speeches made, more particularly taking into account the parts of the House from which they have proceeded. May I state the conclusions 586 to which I think all your Lordships must come, even my noble and learned friend Lord Hailsham, who is about to respond on behalf of the Government?
One cannot read that amending Ordinance without seeing that, in spirit as well as in the letter, it not only transcends the original Ordinance but also the declaration upon which it was made and the announcements which accompanied it. That is a most important point. I do not propose to dilate on it because it has already been made so clear. You have first the Ordinance of May, 1930, which lays down quite clearly that this Reserve is for the natives for ever, that there should be no interference save in respect of any places where minerals are to be won, and then only if compensation in land for land is given. Then there is another point to which reference has been made by my noble friend Lord Passfield, who has spoken with knowledge and authority on this subject; that is, the obligation to consult the Native Council. So far as I am aware —and I speak with no greater knowledge than any noble Lord who has examined the documents —there is nothing which gives power to dispense with the obligation imposed by the Ordinance of May, 1930, to consult the Native Council. In both these respects the amending Ordinance offends.
First, it takes away the right—and it surprised me very much that this could be done by the Colonial Government and be assented to by this Government because it obviously is contrary to what was not; only intended by the Government but was promised by the responsible authorities—it takes away the right which the native had under the Ordinance of 1930 to have land given to him in exchange if land is taken away for the purpose of working the mineral. That right is gone under the amending Ordinance. What is the explanation? What justification can be given, coming so soon after the announcement that for ever these lands were to be reserved and that this was a most solemn trust? I fail to understand, unless it was done in a hurry and with the idea that something must be done at once, why this Amendment should be rushed through in a very few weeks. The Government have not yet assented as far as I am aware. There is such a power given in respect 587 of all such Bills. It does not become effective until notice has been given that His Majesty does not intend to take advantage of the powers of disallowance. I desire to impress on the Government that the Whole purpose, not only of this debate but of the agitation which has led up to it, is not really to attack the Government. Quite the opposite. What we are anxious to do is to bring home to the minds of the Government that the people of this country feel a distinct sense of responsibility in this matter. We cannot allow native rights which have been given under solemn trust and pledges to be taken away, and we must see that these pledges are faithfully carried out. There may be difficulties in the way of which I am unaware, but whatever they are they must be confronted, and the Government must make up their mind as to what is to be done to give effect, in the spirit as well as in the letter, to the trust Which has been created.
I would add only one word as to the constitution of the Native Council. It is difficult to understand why that could not be remedied. I do not understand the justification for taking away the right, for the reasons I have already given. I hope the Government will now do their best to meet all the difficulties which have been created—those indicated by Lord Lugard, by the most rev. Primate and by Lord Passfield. I would beg the Government to remember that there is one subject on which we are all agreed, not only in your Lordships' House and in another House but throughout the country, and that is, that the greatest asset we possess in the development of the Empire and of the native populations of the Empire is that when we pass our word we do our utmost to preserve it not only in the letter but in the spirit. I hope that much as we understand the value of winning gold at this particular moment when there is such a dearth of it, we will also remember that there is something no gold can buy, the good faith at stake in this matter and which I submit the Government are bound to preserve.
§ LORD MOYNE
My Lords, I think my noble friend Lord Lugard did well to bring up this matter at the very earliest 588 possible moment and I hope that the debate taking place in two Assemblies this afternoon may do something to allay the disquiet which has been stirred up by the Press agitation. It is less than a year ago that in a Mission to Kenya to enquire into the administration there I had to go to Kakamega. I met the Provincial Commissioner at Kakamega who is still responsible and went with him to meet the local native council at Matungu. I heard something about this difficulty in its early stages, and I venture to say that the debate in your Lordships' House this evening is entirely off the track. I do not believe the natives are agitated about these leases. Anyhow, that side of the question was not brought to my notice. At the end of last Session the Secretary of State in another place gave an account of the measures being taken. He made it quite clear that this measure is merely ad interim and that the whole thing will be reconsidered when the position clarifies, when prospecting has shown the extent of the goldfield, and above all when the Carter Commission has reported. In another place that explanation was found so satisfactory that, although it was at the end of the Session when the matter could have been raised either on the Consolidated Fund Bill or upon the adjournment, not a single member thought it worth while to deal with this at all.
During the Recess the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, supported by the most rev. Primate, raised this matter in the public Press, and they raised it on a new issue of broken pledges. We know the reputation of Lord Lugard, we know his great record as a Colonial administrator, from the very earliest pioneering days in East Africa. He reminded us this afternoon that for over forty years he remembers the Kavirondo tribe. We know how his writings hold the field on matters of African policy. We remember that he is the British representative on the Permanent Land Commission. He told us this afternoon how jealously we are watched by other countries in our treatment of natives, and how eager they are to see any lapses on our part. Lord Lugard's voice abroad is the voice of England. Naturally the most rev. Primate on a matter of this kind, with the well-known work of the Anglican Church for the benefit of the 589 natives, is also listened to with the greatest possible attention, and therefore criticisms from such authorities have suggested doubts both at home and, far more gravely, abroad as to whether the Kenya Government are treating the Natives fairly.
I got into touch with the Colonial Office when I returned to London, and they gave me various papers including the original Ordinance and the verbatim report of the debate in the Kenya Legislative Council. I believe the papers which they have in their possession absolutely dispose of the suggestions of unfair treatment to the natives which have been raised in the public Press. I wonder whether noble Lords and the most rev. Primate took the trouble to go to the Colonial Office and examine this information before they raised this issue. I believe if they had they could not possibly overlook, as they did in the correspondence, the temporary nature of the problem pending the Report of the Carter Commission, and the fact that there are not freeholds but leases.
There has been a good deal of anxiety expressed about—to use the most rev. Primate's words—reversing the spirit of the pledges to the natives. He was probably referring to the White Paper. The noble Marquess just now said that he was very anxious about this clear breach of native rights—I think those were his words. I want point out that if you read the Native Land Trust Ordinance the question of the inviolability of Native Reserves in which we are all interested does no; really arise. The treatment of leases according to precedent does not involve adding further freehold tracts to the Native Reserves. Before you get to Clause 15 dealing with permanent abstractions there are Clauses 7 to dealing with leases. These leases were for certain purposes, and the real reason of the legislation is that it is laid down that the land to he leased must not be in the beneficial occupation of the natives. If it is land at the moment not under cultivation it may be leased under Clause 7. There is no provision anywhere that land temporarily abstracted for leases should be replaced by permanent addition. The proviso which has caused so much uneasiness is in connection with Clause 15, and it seems quite proper that this amendment to meet cases that were not foreseen when the 590 original Ordinance was drafted should deal with this new need in accordance with the original principles adopted in the case of leases.
The native grievance when I was out there was the influx of people prospecting. That, everybody has admitted, has to go on and that has been made perfectly clear to them, but if we were to add little packets of land outside the Reserve we have been told this afternoon by various speakers, Lord Lugard among others, that it is not likely that the natives would go to them. The difficulty, I may remind Lord Passfield, because he said there is lots of other land, is that this other land is so far away.
§ LORD MOYNE
I have already pointed out that it is not a matter of keeping our word ill the ease of leases; there has never been any such provision; but, as a matter of expediency, I do not see that it would he any use to set aside parcels of territory 50 acres perhaps at a time quite out of reach of the clan or tribe concerned. It may well be that in the future the people of the Kavirondo Reserve, in the noble Lord's own words, may find themselves living in the interstices between mining development. Of course in that case if it is not a matter of moving individuals but moving communities on to a new tract of land—
§ LORD PASSFIELD
They have been promised by the Kenya Government or by the present Secretary of State that if a community is thus decimated land for land will be added to the Reserve.
§ LORD MOYNE
They know perfectly well that the Carter Commission is considering the whole question. It was well in the minds of the Native Council when I met them, and they are capable of realising that a matter of this kind cannot be dealt with piecemeal. They know perfectly well that if there is a case for readjustment of the native territories it will be done. Eldoret, and Uasin Gisku and Mount Elgon Forest Reserve 591 are each 40 to 50 miles away. What is the use of providing 50 acres at a time there?
§ LORD PASSFIELD
I did not say "at a time." What I suggested emphatically was that it ought to be laid before the Native Council as a whole, and that a definite equivalent acre for acre should be promised to them as soon as any land was taken away from them.
§ LORD PASSFIELD
I meant that it would be an unsound thing to take away 400 square miles, and then later take away another 1,500 or 2,000 square miles. It would be far better to put the whole thing to the Native Council at one time, and promise them an equivalent area.
§ LORD MOYNE
But really there has never been any question of taking away hundreds of square miles. I agree with the noble Lord—he has conceded my whole argument—that you have got to put this before the natives as a whole, but you cannot do that until prospecting has taken place because you do not know what will be necessary. When that time comes it is the declared policy of the Government that the whole matter will be considered both in the light of new information and in the light of the Carter Report.
§ LORD MOYNE
That is for the Government to say. I cannot imagine how they could wisely promise before the event. I think it is a misuse of language to stigmatise this modification as a broken pledge. It is the normal function of Legislatures to amend Statutes to suit new conditions. There is no possible reason for picking out this particular proviso, which does not apply to leases anywhere in the Ordinance, and to say for the purpose of controversy that it is a broken pledge because you think that this ought to be considered as a freehold. I believe the whole thing has been enormously exaggerated. As the noble Lord told us, the Kavirondo Reserve—it was an apt illustration—is about the size of Wales. According to the Government out there—and they, after all, are in a position to know better than anyone—the probable demands in sight are for about 592 ten leases. We are told that each lease will be about fifty acres for compounds, European residences, dumps, winding machinery, plant and so on. That is a matter of less than a square mile as compared with, say, the whole of Wales. Are we not making an excessive point of rather a small matter? The matter of leases does not arise with these alluvial washings in the ordinary course. This is what I think may have misled the noble Lord into that figure of 400 or 500 square miles. The noble Lord, Lord Lugard, says that on the precedent of tin development in West Africa the amount may be very much greater. If so, of course in a year's time the matter will become plain and will be reconsidered.
There is one matter which the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, raised in his correspondence which, I think, deserves mention. He rather suggested that the Governor had evaded an impressive local ceremony and that it was most unfortunate that he was going back on his pledge. Here are the words of the noble Lord:This was the more unfortunate since…the Governor himself had visited the goldfield and assured a great assembly of the natives that the Government had no intention that they should be deprived of their land,' and when a barbaric ceremony was proposed to make the pledge inviolable he had replied that his word was sufficient. It goes without the saying that the repudiation of pledges so formally made must have a profoundly disturbing effect on the native mind; and nowadays such events rapidly gain publicity far beyond the scene of the occurrence.I think the inference from that passage is that the Governor gave them to understand that they would have extra land added instead of these leases and that this is a reversal of policy. I think if the noble Lord before he wrote that letter had got from the Colonial Office a report of the debate in the Legislative Council he would not have made that statement, because in the Legislative Council the words spoken by Mr. Montgomery, the Provincial Commissioner (Nyanza Province), were:Your Excellency in barazas in every district told them very fully that the mining must go on, that they must accept leases and that they would be adequately compensated.There is no doubt that the Governor all through has made it perfectly clear that prospecting must be carried out and that these leases must be agreed to, and I am 593 satisfied that it is entirely under a misunderstanding that there is any suggestion of a reversal of policy by the Governor as compared with what he said in Kakamega.
The noble Lord, Lord Passfield, complains that the natives have not been adequately consulted and he bases that upon the fact that only a small number of circulars had reached districts away from Kakamega. Surely, it is not much good consulting the natives until there is some question of mineral development in their own areas. It is quite enough that the matter should be fully understood in the district concerned. It is complained that there is an exemption from any need to consult the Native Council. That again is in accordance with precedent because where leases are granted as opposed to freehold abstractions there is no provision whatever that the local native council should be consulted. I think that is perfectly reasonable. It is right enough to consult them if there is to be a large change in their area but when it is a matter of leasing I think the Council would be a most unsuitable body to call together for consultation. That particular native council in North Kavirondo consists of 64 members and they come in from 2,400 square miles approximately. I do not believe that they would readily understand what is meant by the leasehold proposal and Lord Lugard has told us that it would be a difficult matter to convince them. Perhaps they might agree if they were told that the Government was proposing a controlled agency.
Personally, I hope the Government will not go into this very speculative industry themselves. Anyhow, if it is going to be very difficult to consult the local native council and if there is no precedent for consulting them about leases and it is pretty sure that they are going to disagree if they are consulted, why consult them? They are an advisory body, it is true, but is it not rather bad policy to consult people wren you know perfectly well that you are only going to take their view if it is in a sense which you know hey are not going to give you? Everybody has said this mining has to go on. Therefore, in this particular instance I believe we are justified in the general interest in imposing that policy upon any natives who may be reluctant. That is really what surprises me in the attitude 594 of certain noble Lords opposite—the idea that natives are not going to derive advantage from the exploitation of these mines. The noble Lord, Lord Passfield, even said that we ought to tell the native frankly that this is going to be exploited for the benefit of the white man and not of the native. I think that is a complete misconception. The development of minerals will be to the benefit of the whole Colony, and of all its inhabitants I believe the natives stand to gain most.
They now live on a miserable standard by means of agriculture under very primitive conditions and too often on not altogether suitable land. They grow very bulky crops which since the slump are quite unsuitable for transport to the world market and for which there is no local demand. Therefore they cannot at present turn their crops into money or anything they want to purchase. They have no wealth apart from their cattle and they have no native industry. Up to a year or two ago they were able to earn wages from the white settler and that system was doing an enormous amount to enlighten the native and to enable him to see up-to-date agricultural methods. Unfortunately the wages which the natives were earning are no longer in many districts available to them owing to the terrible depression among the white settlers. Now for the first time there is an alternative. Mines are to be developed which will give profitable employment to all classes, allow wealth to flow into the native areas, and enable them to found their own industries and to go in for their own trading, for which hitherto they have not had the capital. It is pitiful in these Native Reserves to see how the whole of the petty trade is in the hands of the Indian and other races. The natives have not got the small amount of capital necessary to get from an agricultural community into a more civilised organisation and I believe it will be a. tremendous boon to them to have the opportunity of earning money arid of building up prosperity in other directions. The backwardness of the native is difficult to realise for those who have not seen them.
We are apt to think of the coloured races in the United States or the West Indies and to forget that those people have been for many generations in contact with white civilisation, whereas 595 these natives, when they go back to their villages from earning money, are plunged into a very ancient social system and again brought under the sway of very mischievous superstition. There has been civilisation there for only a bare generation. It is extremely difficult to get natives in that state of organisation to understand these issues at all. I do not believe that it would mean anything to them to talk about adding a few acres of land 50 miles from where they are living, but what they can understand is a square deal; and when people with great authority suggest that this country has gone back on its word I am afraid it cannot fail to have a very serious effect on our reputation and position among these races. I hope this unfortunate agitation will cease because I believe the goldfield will be an inestimable boon to the Colony as a whole and especially to the natives, and because I also believe that we are not justified in raising needless difficulties for those who are working for the development of Kenya and for the improvement of the state of the natives.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR (VISCOUNT HAILSHAM)
My Lords, in rising to reply on behalf of the Government I should like first to express the regret which I am sure every member of your Lordships' House will feel that my noble friend Lord Plymouth is not able to be here to answer for his own Department. Unfortunately, as most of your Lordships know, serious illness has prevented his attendance at your Lordships' House and although he hopes to be back before many weeks I have to do my best this evening to deputise for him. I am a little relieved in undertaking that task because I cannot help feeling that, as my noble friend Lord Moyne has said in the speech which he has just delivered, the apprehensions which undoubtedly have been aroused, and to which the most rev. Primate has called your Lordships' attention, are based very largely on a complete misconception as to what it is that this Ordinance effects and as to the circumstances in which it is intended to operate; and I hope, if your Lordships will allow me, that I may for a few minutes explain the conditions in Kenya, as I am instructed by those whose business it is to know about these things.
596 First let me remind your Lordships that in Kenya as in Uganda, of which this part of Kenya was formerly part, and other parts of Africa, precious minerals are the property of the Crown. Whether under white settlers' land, or in the Native Reserves, or wherever else, the gold found in Kenya is the property of the Crown, and it is not accurate to suggest that it belongs either to the natives or to the individual white settlers. It belongs to the Crown, which in this case means the Colony as a whole, and it has to be administered and developed for the benefit of the Colony as a whole.
The second point about which I want to be clear is as to the condition of these Native Reserves. I understand that in Kenya the Native Reserves are divided territorially between different tribes. In each tribe there is a certain number of clans. Each clan owns part of the tribal area and there are also considerable areas belonging to the tribes which are not allotted to any one clan and which are therefore available for the common purposes of the tribe as a whole. The clan-holding is in turn divided between different families, each family having an area —part of which it cultivates, part of which it normally leaves waste—in which it cannot be dispossessed and in which there is no individual property. As we understand the ownership of land in England, there is no such thing as the individual native owning land. What happens is that each family in a clan has a certain part of the clan-holding over which it has the right of usufruct—the right of cultivation and of using the land as it sees fit; and in fact the practice is, I am told, that the family which cultivates a particular area of land will leave part of it to go back to scrub, and will cultivate some other part for a few years and shift as the soil becomes exhausted, either moving its huts or, if they are in a central position, operating a new area from their existing dwellings. It is that state of tenancy of the land which we have to deal with when we deal with the position in Kenya.
Under those conditions the particular area which is under discussion at present is an area in North Kavirondo of some 2,394 square miles. There is a considerable native population and in the Kakamega area, where the goldfield has been found, the density of population is about 144 to the square mile. The 597 difficulty which has arisen has its source in the discovery of gold prospects in this Kakarnega area. In 1930 an Ordinance was enacted to which more than one reference has been made. The enactment begins by declaring that Reserve lands are to be held in trust for the natives for ever. If it had stopped there you might have thought that no one else could ever go on to this land, but that obviously, as you go on with the Ordinance, is not the intenfon, because it goes on, as Lord Moyne has pointed out, to provide fur temporary alienation by granting leases up to a maximum of ninety-nine years, and it goes on in Clause 15 to provide for the permanent exclusion of land from a Native Reserve, subject in the latter event to the substitution of other lands of an equal area somewhere else; and the purposes for which that permanent exclusion may take place are set out. Most of them are public purposes like reservoirs, bridges, some townships, buildings and camps, and one also is the development of the mineral resources of the Colony.
What has happened is that almost simultaneously with the enactment of that Ordinance there was enacted in February, 1931, a Mining Ordinance, also under the règime of the noble Lord, Lord Passfield, who has just spoken, and I am afraid that the noble Lord who has attacked us had not studied very carefully the provisions of that Ordinance, because he made a tremendous appeal to us for the provision of compensation for accidents and for the protection of the mining population against injuries, and all that is already enacted in the Ordinance of 1931, for which he was nominally responsible. It happens that under that Ordinance of 1931 provision is made for prospecting licences being granted for people to go and look for precious minerals anywhere except in areas closed to prospecting by order of the Government. I was asked by Lord Lugard as to whether a particular announcement in the Gazette about throwing open 700 square miles in the Native Reserve had been with the knowledge of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. I have made some inquiry and so far as the Colonial Office are aware no such announcement in the Gazette was ever made, and therefore it was not with their knowledge. But they do know that 598 during the year 1931 a number of prospectors went into the North Kavirondo area, and although they cannot give the dates of each one by the end of 1931 about 400 prospectors had gone into that district, and as a result of their investigations the existence of gold in Kakamega had been definitely established by the end of October, 1931.
It was that discovery which gave rise to the problem which my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary has sought to solve by the Ordinance to which so much attention has been directed. The most rev. Primate, though anxious not to be critical, said that this Ordinance had been hurriedly rushed through in a fortnight. In fact, instead of its taking fourteen days this Ordinance is the result of fourteen months of hard work, because immediately it was ascertained that gold existed in this area it became obvious at once that a very difficult situation had been created by reason of the enactment which had been sanctioned by Lord Passfield in 1930, and my right honourable friend, with the assistance of such advice as he was able to obtain, had to try to find a way of meeting the difficulty. The way he found is embodied in the Ordinance, and is a way which I shall presently show to your Lordships has the unanimous approval of everybody who is in a position to be consulted about it. The difficulty which arose was this. Under the Ordinance you can grant a lease, as I have pointed out, for anything up to 99 years without providing alternative land and subject to paying proper rent and compensation for disturbance. You could permanently exclude land for mining subject to regulations mentioned and to the provision of equivalent land elsewhere. What the framers of the Ordinance do not seem to have known or provided for is the fact that when you want to deal with a mining lease you do not want permanently to exclude the area from the Native Reserve, and on the other hand you do want to take it out of effective enjoyment and occupation for a period longer than merely temporary and transient disturbance.
The question, therefore, arose how were we to deal with this, the actual necessity of the situation, under an Ordinance which does not make provision for anything of the kind, which has no provision for a mining lease at all. If 599 you treat it as under Section 15, which is what I gather it is said we should have done, and make the provision which Section 15 involves of an equivalent quantity of land somewhere else, you will really not satisfy the native at all. This is what would happen. The Kakamega is an area which is more than twenty miles, as the crow flies, from the nearest frontier of the Native Reserve and probably fifty miles from any available land which could be supplied in substitution. Let us assume the granting of a mining lease. In some cases it might reach a maximum of 100 acres, but we may take fifty acres as a fair average figure. That might extend over bits of the land of two or three families, but on the contrary it might all be the land of one family. What is the good to a family which has an area of land in Kakamega, and has fifty acres of that land taken away, to be told that it may have another fifty acres of land some fifty miles away—another fifty acres which it could treat as part of its original area? That is an offer which need only be studied to be recognised as absurd.
It would be no satisfaction to those natives to tell them: We will give you fifty miles away a piece of land as big as your whole holding." The family does not want to be taken out of its clan and away from its tribe and, to use the most rev. Primate's expression, dumped down fifty miles away on another area with which it has no associations, separated from its neighbours and its friends and relations, and left there to fend for itself. That is no help to the native, and if you told the native that you are giving him land for land because you are going to give him this equivalent of fifty or a hundred acres fifty or sixty miles away, he would think you were mocking him, as indeed you would be, and not making any serious effort to deal with his problem.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
I suggested that he should have the option if he desires. I said that it was very unlikely in the circumstances that that option would be taken advantage of, but the offer of the option would have the greatest possible effect in showing the desire of the Government concerned to adhere to the terms of the original Ordinance.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I treat with the greatest respect anything that the most rev. Primate suggests, but, unless he had suggested it, I should not have thought for a moment that such an offer as I have indicated would have been treated as an indication of a genuine desire by the Government to do any good to the native, or to meet his wishes. It would have been treated by the native as a mere mockery, as, indeed, according to those who know the natives, it must be. You cannot conceive of a native living under the conditions which, I am informed, prevail in this part of East Africa, forming a part of the clan and the tribe that is settled in a particular area—you cannot conceive of him ever wanting, or being thankful for, an option to go and live by himself on a little area with his family forty or fifty miles away from those among whom he has been brought up. What he does want is to be assured that there will be sufficient land in his own neighbourhood for him to cultivate; and what the Governor is doing, and what he has assured us in Dispatches, which I think have been published, he is able to do, is so to rearrange the holding, in a case where an area is granted for a mining lease, as to ensure that the family will have in some cases the rest of their own area to cultivate, if it is sufficient; in other cases some provision from the area immediately contiguous to their own, which may be a clan holding, or it may be a tribal holding; or, in other cases, perhaps a provision from the land of a neighbour, who, in turn, will be provided for from land on the other side a little further off.
And the Governor tells us—and, after all, his sincerity has been vouched for by the noble Lord, Lord Lugard—that that is a practicable policy, and one which he is able to carry out. That, in our judgment, is the reasonable and fair way to deal with the native. Of course, if you merely say: "We have taken fifty acres away, and have provided another holding, which is just as good, and you must be satisfied with that", he may well have a grievance. But your Lordships will appreciate that, in addition to making this re-arrangement of the land area, it is expressly provided in the Ordinance that the native is to have as compensation for what is happening complete compensation for the full value of the crop, 601 for the full value of any sort of erection that may be there, complete compensation for disturbance, and, in addition, the complete freehold value of the land as part of the compensation, just as if it had been bought, although in fact it is not being taken permanently at all. So that nobody can suggest, I venture to think, that the native is not getting all that any reasonable man could ask by way of compensation, provided that you are starting with this proposition, that you are to allow gold mining to go on at all. And I cannot help thinking that there is a very great deal in what my noble friend Lord Moyne said, when he pointed out that the real grievance here—and it is a grievance, I do not dispute it—lies not in the fact that you are amending the Ordinance, but in the fact that under the 1931 Ordinance there is power to go and prospect and to find gold in the Native Reserve. The most rev. Primate, I think it was, said that the natives were profoundly disquieted—
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Before the noble and learned Viscount goes further I should like to ask—because it is important, and our only desire is to find out the truth—will he tell us what security the native possesses for his land, and what assurance that he will be allowed to stay there?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
He has the security of the Government behind him, and of the Native Commissioner, and of the local native land board, who will make the necessary arrangements.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
But, as I understand, in East Africa the right to any bit of land is entirely the right of the family to which the native belongs, who can eject at any moment it pleases any stranger whom it has reason to suspect.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
It is necessary for the Governor to intervene and it is because the Governor is satisfied that this rearrangement can be carried out that we are able to reach a solution of what otherwise is an insoluble problem. This really does bring me to a point which, I think, is important. The most rev. Primate pointed out, and my noble friend Lord Lugard pointed out, that the natives, as they said, are profoundly disquieted with what is going on in the way of Europeans 602 coming in and looking for gold, sinking pits, and washing streams; all that is very disturbing to their minds. I can understand that that is so, but what is the answer? The answer to that must be: "We will not allow gold to be looked for in a Native Reserve." Now, that is a possible policy; I do not disguise it. It is a possible policy to say: "We think that the native does not want to be disturbed by miners. He wants to enjoy his land for agricultural and pastoral purposes, and we will not allow any gold to be looked for or found in the Native Reserve." But that policy is expressly disclaimed both by the most rev. Primate and by the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, because the most rev. Primate said that he acknowledged that the goldfield must be developed to the full, and Lord Lugard said the same. And the Government take that view too.
The Government take the view that under existing conditions—we know something of the stress under which people in Kenya are living; we have heard of it in the debate—to refuse to allow a goldfield of this value (as we hope it will be) to be developed in Kenya would be a gross wrong, not merely to the white settlers but to the natives of Kenya, who would be deprived of the great advantages which must result from the wealth which would flow from any such discovery. I leave out of sight for a moment, although I do not ignore, the great advantages which would accrue to the world at large if there should be any substantial discovery of gold, because nobody knows better than the noble and learned Marquess what has been in the past the great stimulation of economic development and the great prosperity which has followed upon any large gold discovery in any part of the world. At any rate we feel—and I gather that is not challenged—that you must allow the goldfields to be developed.
If you allow the goldfields to be developed then you of necessity get the disadvantages which the most rev. Primate pointed out, and to which Lord Lugard called attention, of the native being disturbed in his position and disturbed in his mind. But that the Ordinance is not what is disturbing him or causing him disquiet, I think, is best proved by this fact, that up to date there has not been a single mining lease granted 603 under the Ordinance. Its operation has never yet been called into play. And therefore it is obvious that what is disquieting the native mind is not something which is happening under the Ordinance, because nothing whatever has happened under the Ordinance. It is, as the noble Lord, Lord Moyne, pointed out so plainly, the result of the fact that gold has been discovered and the native's instinctive dislike of the influx of the gold prospector and the gold miner which necessarily follows upon that discovery.
Then I want to point out, because I think this is important—if the most rev. Primate will forgive me introducing something almost polemic at the moment—it is not true that this is a turning point in the history of Kenya, upon which the future of millions of our fellow-subjects may depend. This is avowedly a temporary measure which will operate probably for a few months. The position with which my right honourable friend was faced was that this prospecting had taken place. This gold had been discovered. Something had to be done to provide for mining leases which people were entitled to claim as the result of their discovery. He could of course have said: "Whenever there is a mining lease asked for, say, for a hundred acres, I will first call together the Native Council of this area of 64 people and ask them whether I shall grant a mining lease. Having done that, I shall go some fifty or sixty miles away and plot out a hundred acres equivalent in value to those hundred acres. I shall say to the family which is dispossessed, 'You have no grievance; I have consulted the Native Council.'" If that were done nobody could say that you had not carried out the Ordinance, but it would not have carried out our undertaking that a native should have an effective occupation of sufficient land to cultivate.
What my right hon. friend thought was that the best way of dealing with the situation was to ask the Commission, which was fortunately on the spot, to deal directly with this problem which was directly within their terms of reference, to deal with it exhaustively as part of their general report when they had been able to ascertain more accurately than we can the dimensions of the problem or what was likely to be the extent of the goldfield, and that mean- 604 while we should make temporary provision by which every family dispossessed would have a sufficiency of land to cultivate and have full compensation, to be administered by a native board, for any disturbance or inconvenience to which they might be subjected. We have made inquiries as to the extent to which this is likely to operate. Again, we can only a little bit guess, but we are informed by the Governor that as an outside limit he thinks that the most that it is possible to anticipate will be done under this Ordinance would be the granting of, say, ten leases of, say, a maximum of 100 acres, which would make in all a maximum area of 1,000 acres or 11 square miles out of 3,294 square miles, and that the maximum number of people affected would be something under 300 out of 346,000 or thereabouts, who live in this area.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
How is the Governor able to arrive at these figures unless he already knows the date after which this Ordinance will not operate? If it would only operate for a few weeks it would of course make a great change.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
The Governor, I imagine, makes this calculation on his knowledge of the extent to which prospecting is going on, the number of applications for mining leases, and what he foresees or thinks will be the maximum number of leases likely to be granted within any reasonable time. I cannot say that the Report of the Carter Commission will be received within five months or six months, but I gather it will be received in all likelihood in the present year. I cannot say that legislation is going to follow at once. It is a Report which will receive careful consideration before its final conclusions are accepted or translated into action, but it is going to be dealt with of course with all reasonable and possible despatch after its reception. It is not a matter of some legislation in the Greek Kalends, but within a comparatively reasonable time. It is only until these recommendations are received that this Ordinance purports to operate.
I would like to show to your Lordships how completely it satisfied the people best qualified to judge. Reference has been made to two politicians, Sir Edward Hilton Young and Mr. Ormsby-Gore, as 605 being two people who have made investigations as Chairmen of Commissions: they are both members of the Cabinet which is bringing this Ordinance into force. Sir Edward Grigg, the late Governor, has already written to the Press and expressed his approval of the Ordinance. Lord Moyne, who only recently paid a special visit to East Africa, has stated his approval of the Ordinance. The Governor, General Byrne, to whom we have already had a testimonial paid by my noble friend Lord Lugard, also supports the Ordinance. The Native Commissioner, whose duty it is to know what is in the interests of the natives, was actually the person who introduced the Ordinance into the Kenya Assembly. The very learned and devoted Canon Burns, who is specially charged with defending the interests of the natives of Kenya, spoke in favour of the Ordinance. My noble friend Lord Onslow, who was Chairman of a Committee which investigated the East African problem, has spoken in favour of it. The Carter Commission, which was asked to find a permanent solution for this among other difficulties, approved of the passing of the Ordinance into law. The Native Board which is set up under the provisions of the Ordinance of 1930 also approved of it. So I think I have a unanimity which it would be difficult to exceed in favour of its provisions in the minds of all those best qualified to express an opinion, including the men on the spot, whom it is my instinct to trust whenever I can.
It has been said: "Even if you are right in legislating, as you are doing, in regard to the land you should at least consult the Native Council." My noble friend Lord Passfield made an impassioned appeal and asked why should we not even now consult the Native Council. That proceeds from a misunderstanding of what is provided in the Ordinance. Under the Ordinance you would have to consult the Native Council each time an application for a lease was brought up. You would have to summon them on each occasion and ask them whether this or that exclusion was in their opinion right. It would be highly inconvenient. It would be the very thing which Lord Passfield said would be most objectionable—constantly asking them about small things instead of consulting them about big things. It would serve 606 no useful purpose. I think it is very likely that the Native Council—I make this concession to those who object to the Ordinance—would advise against any grant of any mining lease, not because it was on the terms of the Ordinance, but because they object to any mining going on in the area, at any rate until they have learned a little more of the benefits which follow in its train.
What you do want to ensure, as I understand it—and I think the most rev. Primate will agree here—is first of all that the natives know what is being done, know the general policy which is being enunciated and carried out; and, secondly, that there is an opportunity for the local people in a particular place to be consulted about a particular mining lease which is going to be granted there. Those are the two things we want to ensure; both of those we have carried out. The Governor himself went down to the areas and had a series of meetings with the natives. Reference has been made to that in a speech from which Lord Moyne quoted. He elaborately explained to them the policy of the Government, what was happening about the mining leases, and about this prospecting area, so that they might not be unduly alarmed or disturbed in their minds. He explained also the necessity of going on with the mining.
So far as any individual area is concerned, your Lordships, if you have studied the Ordinance, will find that before any step is taken there must first of all be consultation with the Central Board, and the Central Board must refer the matter to the local native board on which natives are to be represented. Those provisions, as your Lordships appreciate—the most rev. Primate appreciates them—are not affected by the Ordinance at all. There has also to be consultation on any specific case with the Central Board, which in turn must refer to it to the local board, and if the native representative on the-local board does not agree then his dissent has to go before the Governor, and in the last resort before the Secretary of State. Therefore we have ample provision, first of all for securing that the general policy has been made as plain as it is possible to make it, and secondly for ensuring that in any individual case full weight shall be given to any particular local objection, and full oppor- 607 tunity shall be afforded for explaining to the natives, and considering their representation on, any particular lease. That, I am afraid I must say, I still think is a much more effective method than each time summoning the Native Council from all this vast area, the great bulk of whom would not know the case at all, and solemnly asking them their opinion without any intention of taking it if it happened to be adverse. That, of course, avoids the difficulty, which Lord Passfield has pointed out inevitably results from that policy, of making the natives think you are perpetually worrying them with some fresh application or some fresh demand for further development in your mining policy.
There are one or two specific questions which I may not have dealt with. I have tried to deal with them all, but there is one in particular that I remember. I was asked whether or not we intended to allow prospecting to go on in other parts of the Native Reserve. What has happened with regard to that is that Sir Albert Kitson, who is, I suppose, the best authority for the purpose, has been invited by the local Government, with the approval of the Colonial Secretary, to go out and inspect the whole area and make recommendations. His recommendations have been received and have been made public. The report, I think, was published some few days ago. No final decision has been taken upon his recommendations so far as I know, but I think I am bound to say that so far as I know the mind of my right hon. friend the Colonial Secretary it will take a great deal to persuade him to depart from a recommendation given after full investigation by the person who was chosen for that purpose, and whose authority and ability for that purpose are unquestioned. Therefore I think it is probable—I will not say more than that—that the recommendations which Sir Albert Kitson has made in his report will be accepted and given effect to.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
May I ask the noble Viscount a question? Do I understand that prospecting, according to Sir Albert Kitson's report, may very probably go on, perhaps on a large scale, before the Carter Commission Report has been sent in and considered?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I think undoubtedly the prospecting may very likely commence in those areas where Sir Albert Kitson has recommended prospecting. I have not studied his report closely. I think some of the areas he advises should be kept for exclusive licences, and that, of course, would take a great deal longer. But there are some which he advises shall be prospected, and in those I think the probability is that prospecting will take place. Mining leases would not, however, be granted for a very long time to come, because there would first have to be the discovery of gold, then the staking out of claims and the working of claims, and ultimately the application for a mining lease. If we may take the analogy of the existing goldfield, gold was definitely ascertained there fourteen or sixteen months ago and there has not yet been a single mining lease.
§ LORD LUGARD
May I ask whether the Mining Ordinance excludes from prospecting all Native Reserves except with the written consent of the Central Land Board? Has that written consent been applied for definitely for any area, and has it been given, and has the Secretary of State been made aware of any such application?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
The Native Lands Trust Board, I think it is called, which is referred to as the Central Board, has under the terms of the Ordinance to be consulted. Of that body the Governor is a member. It has to be consulted before prospecting takes place in the Native Reserves. Before any prospecting does take place the provisions of that Ordinance will be complied with. I am not in a position to tell my noble friend, because I do not know, whether there has been yet any application to that Board for leave to prospect in any Native Reserve other than those Reserves in which prospecting is at present taking place. I thought it fairer and more candid to say to the most rev. Primate that so far as I know the probability was that if it came before my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary his inclination would be to follow the advice of Sir Albert Kitson. I do not in the least mean to suggest by that that the whole of the precautions which are laid down in this Ordinance will not be carried out. On the contrary, it is essential they should 609 be carried out, and there is nothing in the amending Ordinance which interferes with that.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
Will the noble Viscount indicate that while prospecting licences in accordance with the Kitson report may be issued it will be considered inadvisable to grant leases, especially leases for any length of time, until the whole question of the character and the control of the gold mining has been determined, and until the Carter Report has been published?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I am afraid I cannot give a very definite answer to that because I am not dealing with my own Department. I am dealing with the policy in the areas in which prospecting has taken place and in which there is a immediate possibility of mining leases being asked for. With regard to other areas there is no prospecting at present, and I think it in the last degree improbable that the stage to ask for a mining lease is likely to be reached before the Carter Report is received. I cannot go further than that because I have no information to give to your Lordships' House.
Then I was asked whether the Government would undertake to develop the mining areas by something like a public utility company in which they held a large proportion of the shares. I should think it was in tie last degree unlikely that the Government would do anything of the kind. I think to take a speculative share in a speculative enterprise at its most speculative moment would be very unwise, and there is no real analogy between running a railway, for instance, and starting prospecting for alluvial gold in an African river. Although I have no authority to give a pledge about it, I should be very much surprised if this Government lent itself to anything of that kind. The noble Lord, Lord Pass-field, suggested that the rents, by which I think he meant royalties, which came from gold, belonged in some peculiar degree to the natives. I have already dealt with that. The revenues of the land, which I think are fixed in the Ordinance, belong to the natives and will be applied for their benefit, but the royalties for the gold belong to the 'Colony as a whole and will be utilised 610 for the benefit of the Colony as a whole, which includes both natives and white settlers.
I do hope that in putting what I have before your Lordships—I am afraid imperfectly because I am speaking about matters which do not lie within my own purview—I have been able to satisfy your Lordships that a great deal of the criticism which has been directed against Government policy is based upon a misconception of what that policy really is, and that when you examine the real facts of the situation your Lordships will be able to say that the men on the spot are the men who know better than anyone else where the real interests of the natives lie. These men, believe me, are not less sincere in their anxiety for the honour of this country and for the protection of native interests than ony one of your Lordships. You will feel that these men can be given a reasonable degree of confidence in regard to what they have recommended and what the Government have accepted, and that they have not been doing anything unworthy of our reputation or anything which in any way conflicts with the interests of those natives for whom we agree we are trustees; but that, on the contrary, they have taken a reasonable and fair way of dealing with a very real difficulty, and that the methods they have taken will commend themselves to your Lordships' House. I desire only to add that I have no more Papers to lay before the House and that therefore possibly the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, will not think it necessary to press his Motion.
LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
My Lords, may I ask the noble and learned Viscount one question? Can he give an assurance that no natives will he dispossessed until the Carter Commission has reported?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
The answer is, obviously, no, because the whole purpose of the amending Ordinance is to prevent mining being held up until the Carter Commission has reported. We think it important and, in fact, necessary that once a person has been given a licence he should be given within a reasonable period a lease. The amending Ordinance provides measures under which those leases will be granted.
LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY
I must have misunderstood the noble and learned Viscount. I thought the Carter Commission was going to report immediately.
§ LORD LUGARD
My Lords, at this late hour I do not propose to make any further remarks. I thank the noble and learned Viscount for the assurances, such as they are, which he has given. I cannot say that I am entirely satisfied. I did hope in particular that, he would have been able to assure us that no further prospecting should take place. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, although it is somewhat irregular I hope I shall be allowed, as I said something at the beginning, to add a word to what the noble Lord has said. I am grateful for the way in which the noble and learned 612 Viscount dealt with the matter, and I feel sure that while we regret the cause of the absence of tine Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies the matter could not have been more eloquently dealt with. At the same time there are points which are a little unsatisfactory. What I should like to ask from the noble and learned Viscount is an assurance that the Government will not act upon the recommendations of the Carter Commission until there has been time for Parliament to consider the Commission's Report. I think that is very important.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
It is only by leave of the House that I can assure the most rev. Primate that I will put that request before my right honourable friend.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.
§ House adjourned at twenty-five minutes before eight o'clock.