HL Deb 24 July 1935 vol 98 cc781-842

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


My Lords, I have to acquaint your Lordships that I have it in command from the King to signify to your Lordships' House that His Majesty has been graciously pleased to place at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Government of India Bill His Majesty's interest in the territorial and other revenues at the disposal of the Crown in India and in all other matters appertaining to the Government of India for which the Bill makes provision. I beg to move that the Bill be now react a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Marquess of Zetland.)


My Lords, I rise to oppose this Motion as one who has had the honour to represent the constituency of Lancaster in another place and as one who has been deeply impressed by the weight of argument by which the noble Earl, Lord Derby, supported an Amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, claiming more consideration for the rights of Lancashire trade as representing the general ground upon which the trade of all England deserved more safeguarding and consideration. The Government's attitude in reply to that speech was, in the first place, that acceding to that Amendment would hurt sentiment in India; and in the second place, that there were adequate safeguards in the recondite and oracular clauses to be found in other parts of the Bill.

On the first point I ask your Lordships to consider whether sentiment in Lancashire and throughout industrial England is not as strong and as worthy of attention as sentiment in India. Moreover, when the Ottawa Agreements were accepted the Press announced that the Indian Government assented to the principles of the Ottawa Agreements. There may be persons connected with politics in India who will disagree with the principles of the Ottawa Agreement, but certainly the people of India as a whole cannot be bereft of gratitude to the people of England, and the vast majority of the people of India who pay taxes care little or nothing for politics and do not know the meaning of the expression "Dominion status." The argument of the Government based on safeguards in the Bill is entirely fallacious, inasmuch as the Bill itself and the clauses that purport to safeguard are very largely overridden by the Instruments of Instructions. The Instruments, of Instructions have been printed, but they have been read by very few and their existence is almost unknown. In reference to this particular point concerning trade and concerning undue interference with trade, there is a most astounding provision to the effect that the Governor-General is instructed not to take action which is contrary to the views of his Ministers in regard to trade policy or the fostering of Indian commerce And trade interests.

What is their policy? Their policy is to take the trade of Lancashire and the trade of England unto themselves. In the Instruments of Instruction, which are now only in draft, the Governor-General is enjoined to support his Ministers in taking away the trade of Lancashire. It does not matter if in the body of the Bill there are safeguards which might be used by the Governor-General at his discretion in a contrary direction, but there are instructions that he should do just the contrary. He is instructed to follow a "yes and no" policy as regards trade and to pursue what I would call a "black and white" course of action. That is one of the reasons for which I trust that this Motion for the Third Reading will not be carried.

But there are reasons of even greater weight than that. The constitutional structure of the whole Bill is very regrettable, in particular because the Instruments of Instruction are prefaced by a paragraph across the front page in large type to the effect that they cannot be formally submitted to Parliament for approval until the Bill has become law. That is an invitation not to read them. But they are more important than the Bill itself, for they take away fundamentally a very large portion of the safeguards which lie in interpretation. We have sixteen Schedules to this Bill, and these Instructions should have been made a Seventeenth Schedule, in so far as they cover principles. Any deliberate judgment on the Bill by this House or the other House without a study of these Instruments of Instructions is necessarily fallacious. It is good political chess to throw away some moves of procedure in the political game, to arrange that one thing shall be done without people looking at it in order that afterwards another thing may be done whether it is liked or not. But here the rights of the Rulers and Princes of India are involved. With them we have Treaties, made with themselves and with their ancestors, which are binding in honour, not merely on the Parliament of England but also on the Crown and on the traditions of the English people. We propose by this Bill to impair those sovereign rights.

We invite the Princes of India to join in a Federation. Is it a Federation, or is it a conglomeration? The Bill is to have no effect until a certain proportion of these Rulers have acceded and until both Houses of this Imperial Parliament have separately expressed adhesion to these Instruments of Instructions. But the Princes of India are also invited to propose Instruments of Accession, of varying tenour. One Prince may say: "I will join the Federation on these terms"; another that he will join on other terms; another just on something to show that he has not said "No", and another on a great deal, in order to make himself popular through having said everything that was wanted. Is that a Federation? Federations elsewhere, as with the States of Australia, have been based on a similarity of conditions.

But we also have what is much worse in this Bill. There is fortunately a very large section of India—I use that word "fortunately" from a Lancastrian point of view—under the Princes and so long as these territories are under the Princes we have every reason to hope that there will not be discrimination against the trade of Lancashire and England. The interests of the workers of this country coincide with those of the Princes, and we ought to support their interests and open their eyes to the political by-ways and dangers of acceding to this Federation. That is how we can help the trade of India, in the hope that in return England shall have by law the most-favoured-nation treatment, the least that can be hoped for from friends, and this should be assured to us.

Then, under the Rulers of India we have, if you please, one-man rule on paper. Seldom in the history of India has there been a better form of government. An intelligent despotism is there undoubtedly the best form of government, and we are enabled to ensure that that despotism is intelligent by means of the Residents. Perhaps the Princes were tempted at one time, before their eyes were opened, to think that it would be a very nice thing to get rid of all the Residents, but now they see that they must be very generous with their Treasuries and have the advice, the very beat advice, that this country and other countries can give them to prevent their sovereignty from being undermined piecemeal and made to disappear. In fact, the, wording of the main point in the draft of the Bill, apart from the draft Instructions, is reminiscent, of the invitation: 'Will you come into my parlour?' Said the spider to the fly; 'It's the prettiest little parlour That ever you did spy.' It is also reminiscent of what happened in Ireland under Grattan's Irish Parliament. The non-success of that government is now a matter of universal regret to anybody who has read the history of Ireland and compares it with the events of the present day.

We are undermining the sovereignty of the Princes for another reason, apart from what is contained in the draft Instructions as to the relations of the Governor-General and the Governors of Provinces with their Ministers. Apart from the immense difficulty of selecting Ministers from legislative bodies partly nominated by the Princes and partly elected, Ministers will have to be chosen under the very great difficulty of having anybody as Prime Minister, a difficulty so far realised that in the structure of the Bill there is no mention of a Prime Minister and no mention of a Cabinet. In fact, we have mentioned that the Governor of a Province or the Governor-General can go and preside at meetings of Ministers. I ask your Lordships, are they Ministers when the Governor-General comes to preside at their deliberations? What is there to prevent their having little meetings of their own, when they like and where they like, and arranging their policy in a way which may not be altogether in keeping with the policy of the King's Representative?

Besides the difficulty of giving a substantial quid pro quo to the Princes through their nominees, and the appointment to Ministerial office of one or more of their nominees, we have Clauses 45 and, 93, whereby under certain conditions the Governor-General can assume all non-judicial functions—not merely the functions of the Legislature but all functions. I suppose that means the absorption of such portion of the sovereignty of the Princes as may have been transferred by the Instrument of Accession. That pro- portion may be more or less, but there are measures for continuing to absorb their functions step by step. What is worse for the Princes, anyone familiar with the history of Constitutions knows that once the great fly-wheel of democracy is set in motion in this way there can only be one result.

We are embarking on this great experiment which we call a Federation, but it is not comparable with the Federation of Australia. There is no similarity between the two. We have a Federation in the Malay Straits, and there has been a Federation in the Leeward Islands. I am not referring to the Federation of to-day, but to the Federation of a hundred years ago. That did not work. It all disappeared, and this form of Federation which is suitable for Nordic nations, and which is being superseded by one man Government in Nordic nations, is not congenial to life in the tropics. And it is not only the Federation of the Leeward Islands which has had to be suppressed in a high-handed manner. We have had the Constitution of Malta twice suppressed in the last twenty years. I congratulate the Government, in regard to this Bill, that they have had the courage and straightforwardness to draft Clauses 45 and 93 without any ambiguity, but although those two clauses are very clear there are dozens of clauses in the Bill repeating the expression that the Governor-General is to act on his own discretion and on his own individual judgment, while in some others he is to act on both. One is bewildered to understand what those clauses mean, until you get hold of the draft instructions, and there you can see what the whole thing means. My Lords, as the price of this experiment annual sums variously estimated from £4,000,000 to £8,000,000—some people quote a much higher figure—are to be raised from the Indian people, who are still unable to pay all they ought to pay in taxation. That is the price of this experiment—this method of undermining the rights of the Indian Princes and making it difficult for successive Governments of England to stand by our treaties.

What would be the result of this expenditure? There will be more Ministerial posts, secretariats, and positions of all sorts, and for three or four years there will be an appearance of peace and contentment, because it will take a little time to absorb that £4,000,000 to £8,000,000 a year. Therefore it will take a little time before there arises a new group of those who are asking for more status and a greater share in administration. It will be said that Dominion status is not mentioned once in this Bill. The majority of another House of Parliament does not appear to be in favour of the grant of Dominion status, and I am sure that 90 per cent. of the members of your Lordships' House would not vote for any clause in the Bill that mentioned Dominion status, but we have it hidden away in the draft Instrument of Instructions. On page 10 it is declared that Dominion status is the objective of the Bill. That is where we are driving, though whether the contemplated variety of Ministerial government would immediately set to work to obtain that end, or not, may be held in doubt.

Let me remind your Lordships of what happens when there is a divergence between a Governor and his Ministers, even when those Ministers are not selected by a Prime Minister but are selected and dismissed by a Governor. There are divergencies of opinion, there are talks and representations. A Governor may persuade them or he may not. If he does not persuade them two courses are open. Either the Governor agrees with his Ministers, and nobody hears anything about it, or he does not agree with them. In the latter case they may either submit or they may compel the Governor to look for other Ministers. If the result of a Dissolution is favourable to the policy of the Governor, the King's Representative remains, but if not he may go. We have had a magnificent example in New South Wales, where the Governor, Sir Philip Game, dismissed his Ministers. Public opinion was behind him. There was a Dissolution and the country was exceedingly grateful that the prerogative of the Governor had been exercised. When that principle was brought before His Majesty's Ministers in another place, and the question was asked whether the Governor of New South Wales had received instructions, it was said that he had not; that when a Governor was appointed he was a servant of the country and he had to exercise his own individual judgment in everything.

It may happen that he does receive instructions and he does not feel able to act in conformity with those instructions, as happened in New South Wales where I was not able to signify the Royal Assent to a Bill put forward by a Premier who had changed sides with three colleagues, in order to form a majority the other way, having been elected as a Labour Premier and wanting to prolong the life of Parliament as part of a Parliamentary bargain. The consequence of the disapproval of the Secretary of State was that I went home on leave with full pay to the end of my term of office. That is the prospect which this Bill holds out for Governors in India. A Governor, when he first goes out, if he is wise, does nothing for a year, he does a little the second year, and spends the last year in going away. How can you expect a Governor who has just arrived or who is going away to oppose his Ministers who desire to give a preference against Lancashire, when the millowners of Bombay are pressing for protection?

How can you expect a Governor in such circumstances to go against his Ministers when the vernacular Press in India is all on one side? Indeed, how can you have two Parties in the Legislature when there is only one Press manufacturing public opinion? If there is no provision by which a Governor can turn round and find somebody who would have the pluck to go to the country and stand the chances of a General Election, the Governor becomes the slave of his Ministers. And what is to happen if Clause 45 is put into operation and the Governor cannot find another Minister and we then have Martial Law? Under Clause 45 a Governor can perform any and every function except as regards the Judiciary. For every function that he has to perform we have Martial Law established under a Statute of this Imperial Parliament.

I feel that I have gone far enough in discussing constitutional points, and I may be asked what should be done. If your Lordships' House is to maintain its ancient prestige, the duty we owe to our ancestors and to our country and to our opportunities is that of an effective "House of Review." I appeal to your Lordships not to waste all the work that has been put into this. Bill to improve it. If it goes down to another place, in forty-eight hours or less it will be rushed through, and all the Amendments will either be rejected or adopted in toto. Certainly they cannot be considered. Few have time to study the new reprint of the Bill in the time available, and to see whether the fundamental Amendments made by your Lordships do or do not fit in. I think the members of your Lordships' House who are absent have a right to receive all the necessary Papers by post and to make up their minds whether they should come here or not and vote against the Bill, knowing what they are dealing with. Let there be time to turn out the best Bill that this Parliament can turn out, with due deliberation, and let the Bill come back with the Instruments of Instructions embodied in a Schedule thereto, so that we may know what we are driving at.

What is said against this Bill to-day is justified not only in the interests of Lancashire but also in the hope that the Indian Princes and the leaders of thought in India will reflect that perhaps it may be better for India to go on for a little time as it is. Enactment depends upon the Princes. Why should this burden of unpopularity, with the danger which it means to their dynasties, be put upon their shoulders by us We ought also to have a model of the Instrument of Accession to Federation—at all events there should be no large margin of dissimilarity. And it is to be honed, further, that when the Instruments of Accession and the fixing of a date, come before your Lordships' House we shall have an opportunity to discuss thoroughly whether the time is ripe for trying this expensive experiment, and that we shall not be asked to vote for the adoption or rejection of these Instruments en bloc. Now we are being asked to swallow documents without even having had time to read them.


My Lords, I should like briefly to express my very great astonishment at the distrust implied by the noble Lord who has just sat down in the safeguards embodied in this Bill, because we mush all realise that it is only owing to the extreme effectiveness of certain safeguards embodied in the Maltese Constitution that we have the privilege of listening to the noble Lord this afternoon. If these safeguards had not been effective he would no doubt be usefully and fruitfully employing himself in quite a different island. I should have thought that when the noble Lord talks about a Governor being the, slave of his Ministers, no one could testify with greater sincerity than the noble Lord himself as to the power of a Governor to carry on his Government, even when faced with recalcitrant and obstinate Ministers, backed up with such eloquence and intelligence as we have heard this afternoon.


My Lords, for more than four and a-half years I have had daily contact with this problem, and now that the end of a long and sometimes weary journey is in sight I find myself not full of joy, but with a certain sense of melancholy, because I am going to be very lonely without, this Bill when it is passed. We have helped on the Joint Select Committee to bring this Bill to life, but personally my paternal pride in it is not one of blind adoration. From my point of view the Bill has serious defects of limb and vitality, but now that it is born I can only hope for the best in its future career. What useful and appropriate things can any of your Lordships say about this Bill at this time? I find myself greatly tempted to re-state many of our old criticisms, to lament the policy of the Government in rejecting all our suggestions, and I could speak at length and with great feeling of the thrifty discrimination of the Government, which led them to accept without acknowledgment all our acts of co-operation whilst refusing to give us one single thing in return. I will only say that we have tried in our discussions of this measure to be co-operative, but no plea that we have made has been successful, and no grievance that we have stated has been removed. We have had to suffer grief silently whilst the Bill has been passing through your Lordships' House. Conscious of the obedient battalions behind them, the Government adopted a spirit of haughty non-co-operation; but we did at least gain one victory over His Majesty's Government in that we showed ourselves more generous and more co-operative than themselves.

Our main complaint about this Bill has not been in regard to the details of the political structure, but in regard to the way in which it touches, or fails to touch, the social and economic problems of the Indian people. We have sought to put first things first, and, as we see this Bill, it ignores the conditions which afflict the Indian workers. It shows concern for the landlords and the merchants and the Princes, all of whom are abundantly able to look after themselves, but the attention that is paid to the future welfare of the millions of Indian workers is meagre, if not entirely non-existent. I said that we had tried to put first things first. What are first things as we see them? First, will this Bill make happier and enlarge the life of the millions of hapless people who now earn their meagre bread in India? Will it secure good will and co-operation in that degree which will make India a satisfied and eager partner in the great British Commonwealth of Nations? Will it give the conditions of progress which will secure to them increasing social improvement?

Our appeals in this regard, I restate, have been mostly ignored, and it has sometimes seemed to us as though we lived in an entirely different mental world. We have not approached this matter from the standpoint of Party. I say for my Party that we should have been ashamed to make Party capital out of a measure of this magnitude and importance. But we do look with alarm at the future economic and social relationships which are to be established in India in the future. As we see it, we are providing the Eastern world with all the apparatus of cheap production. We are placing in the hands of the Indian capitalists power to exploit the already economically impoverished workers of India, and to flood the world markets with goods produced by workers at an incredibly low level. This Bill seems to us to hand the future of the Indian worker over to those people, to whom we are also giving special privileges.

I do not know what your Lordships expect to happen from such conditions. We, for our part, foresee the gradual exclusion of Western goods, not only from India but from Asia. We see the cementing of Eastern opinion against the Western world, discrimination not against England but against, as I say, the Western world. If your Lordships are going to rely upon communal differences in India to overcome that problem I believe you are living in a fool's paradise. When that issue confronts the Indian people there will be no differences in India. They will stand solidly together against the Western world. Does any one suppose that the interests which are being pampered and protected in this Bill will reward your generosity in the way that you expect? Why do the mill owners of Bombay and Allahabad supply funds for Congress agitation? Not to protect and preserve markets for Lancashire, but to bait the swim for a golden catch of their own at some future period. It is to the avarice of these people that you are handing over, unprotected, the workers of India. We have stated many times, and we now state for the last time, that we will have no part in that transaction, and we warn you, if we may, of its consequences.

As we look at this problem, the way out appears to be clear. It should be approached, not from the standpoint of the needs of the manufacturers and the landlords, but from the standpoint of the needs of the workers. Secure to them higher wages and better housing conditions, give to them increased purchasing power, and you will have a real barrier erected which will be the greatest possible safeguard against cheap production by semi-slave labour. That would be the very best safeguard that could be erected; but, until organisation is possible for the Indian workers, some adequate protection should be given to them in the legislative sphere. They should be dealt with generously in the matter of reserved seats, not for their sakes merely, but for the sake of that good relationship which we all desire to sec grow between India and ourselves. All this seems to us to be sun-clear, and yet, when we mention it, the looks on your Lordships' faces suggest a belief that we ought to be certified and put under some kind of restraint.

That is our last grumble about this Bill, a grumble that we do not expect to be effective. But, looking at the future, there are two appeals that I make without the slightest hope that they will be accorded. First of all, I think it is immensely important that this great, experiment in India should start with the good will of the Indian people, and that to gain that it is worth sacrificing pride or anything else. I therefore feel that the Bill would have the very best chance if it were accompanied by a gaol delivery of such political prisoners in India as may still be interned. Secondly, I look with alarm at the position of the Scheduled Castes and also of the organised workers of India, not only in regard to their economic position, but in regard to their equipment for the work they will have to face. A vast responsibility will depend upon those organisers and workers, and, personally, I should like to see it made possible for a few selected persons from the Scheduled Castes and the organised workers to visit this country just to see how our democracy works, how a trade union is run, how municipal bodies operate, how we in this Parliament hold fierce contests on matters of principle and yet retain private friendships and continued good will. If we could give them a glimpse of these methods it would be some basis upon which to build, and I think it would repay us a thousandfold. I hope that some effort will be made to early that into effect, not by any Party or by the Government but in some sort of way that may enable it to be clone. If nothing else can be done, I shall try to persuade the Trade Union. Congress itself to take the matter up.

I would like to conclude on another note, a note of hesitating advice to the Indian people that they, with all their differences and hesitations about this Bill, should yet accept it and work it to the full. I would ask them, in their disappointment, to reflect upon the history of the Party with which I have the honour to be connected. We, too, began in a hopeless minority. We had not the slightest chance of carrying one of our propositions. We suffered defeat and we endured calumny, but we waited cheerfully. We never fell to the temptation of non-co-operation or violence, and at this day the record of our Party is not tainted by a drop of human blood. You get what you want by equipment and diligence and efficiency and not by non-co-operation, and I hope the workers of India will set their faces like flint against any temptation to non-co-operation and violence, for, my Lords, non-co-operation in a democracy is the sin of sins. Democracy is the one form of Government in which neither a man nor a group of men may loaf or sulk without dishonour. The working faith of a reformer, as I understand it, is: Get what you can, work what you get, and wait until you can get what you have not at present got. Therefore I think that the Indian people would do well to receive this Bill, without any enthusiasm it may be, but at the same time in the full determination to work it for what it will give.

Finally, I venture to bespeak for them the sympathy, the toleration and the understanding of people in this country. We have a thousand years of experience behind us. Democracy fits us like a well-cut garment. But they start at the beginning. They have to tread the pathway of trial and error. They are undertaking a task that will make a demand upon all their powers. They will have to possess faith and caution, industry and self-mastery, and, above all, infinite patience. If they find critics as no doubt they will who hide their achievements and exaggerate their mistakes, they will also find ardent friends in England, I believe in all Parties of this country. I speak for my own because I cannot speak for any other; yet I feel that in this I could speak for all. We at any rate shall be ready at all times to place at their disposal any helpful experience of our own. So, my Lords, in parting with this Bill, I can only say that we send it to them as a certificate of their right to nationhood, with affectionate regard and complete good will, and we wish them good speed in the inauguration and conduct of the latest and the most interesting of the new Parliaments of the world.


My Lords, I should like to be allowed to say a very few words in parting with this Bill. I am sure all of us echo what fell from the noble Lord opposite in the last sentences he has used in regard to our position now and our position in the future. My noble friend Lord Strickland, as I understood him, made the suggestion that it would be a good thing if further discussion on this Bill could be postponed to a future date. I did not observe that that suggestion met with any great enthusiasm. At the same time I am hound to say, speaking for myself, that I should be very glad from one point of view if the suggestion could be adopted, because I feel strongly that the more this Bill is discussed, the more we become acquainted with its details, the less popular it becomes, and I regret very much that further time cannot be allowed to it from that point of view alone.

I recognise that we have got to accept facts. This is not, a time to go into de- tails of the Bill. Personally, I am convinced, using such little judgment as I possess, that this Bill will not be a success. The Government have embarked on a measure far too large, far too involved to be found workable. I none the less hope that I may be wrong. I sincerely hope that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and those of us who have supported him in opposing this Bill, may find ourselves in the position in the future of not being justified in our opposition. I am not one who is ambitious to adopt the rôle of "I told you so." This matter is one that is far too serious and far too dangerous to be taken lightly from that point of view. None the less I gravely fear that the future result of the passing of this Bill is going to be very detrimental not only to India but also to this country. I should like to say one word in recognition of the way my noble friend below me (the Marquess of Zetland) has conducted this Bill.


Hear, hear!


If I may say so, I think he has shown most excellent temper and great perseverance, and, so far as I am concerned, I thank him warmly for such concessions as he has found it possible to give us. At the same time, lest he should be puffed up by such eulogy, let me hasten to add that I do not think he has been over generous in the number of his concessions, and, personally, I am inclined to think that the day will come when he will regret not having listened to some of the proposals that have come from these Benches.

In conclusion I only want to say that this has been a very difficult and a very trying time for many of us who have felt it our duty to separate ourselves from our friends in opposing this Bill. But I feel that both they and we have a just right to congratulate ourselves that we have done it with so little loss of temper and with nothing like a serious split in our Party. I look forward now when this fight is over to our being all united once more ready to take up the cudgels on behalf of the policies we represent.


My Lords, during the many discussions which have taken place with regard to India, I have not hitherto, except for a few words in Committee, spoken on the subject. Perhaps your Lordships will bear with me, therefore, for a very few moments if I speak on the last stage of this Bill. I venture to think that the debates in this House have shown, despite a good deal of difference of opinion, an extremely friendly spirit, and they have been conducted on a high plane. I think all the Amendments which have been introduced from both sides, however much we may have differed about them, have been introduced with a really serious object. May not this be a hopeful sign for the future, that the spirit which has been shown in this House, and which if I may venture to say so was shown in the words of my noble friend who has just spoken, may continue to exist after this Bill has been placed on the Statute Book?

As has been said before, I believe that the differences between us have been differences of degree rather than of principle. There has not been that definite cleavage between Parties which sometimes exists, as, for instance, there might have been if there had been no other justification for this Bill than that it had been introduced to satisfy various theories rather than a sequence of preceding events. When I went to India in 1924, if there had been in existence in India a form of government which had seemed satisfactory, a form of government which had implemented the object for which it was designed, and a form of government which would seem to have been growing stronger and stronger as time went on, no theories, no ideas of democracy, no desire for change, which sometimes affects all kinds of administrators, would have caused me to support this Bill. But I did not find that state of affairs. I found something entirely different, and I could not obtain any evidence that there was likely to be any improvement as time went on in that system of government which was having, as I believed, such unfortunate effects alike upon the Ministers, the electors, and the people.

Therefore, I have supported all the way through this Bill because I believed it to be the only alternative, because I believed it to be a workable alternative and an alternative which would not perpetuate the worst faults of the old system of dyarchy in the Provinces and weakness in the Centre. The measure of co-operation and of non-co-operation which attends any Constitution is surely in the long run to be the measure of its success or of its failure. May we not hope that all those who are concerned and interested in India, and the wider public which during these last few years has been taking so much greater and deeper and so much more knowledgeable an interest in India will give us the measure of that co-operation?

We must expect disappointments in the future—that is inevitable—and we must meet them with patience. For when a greater liberty is given to people either in public life or in private life, they are perhaps at first, before they sober down, more concerned with the enjoyment of their emancipation than with the responsibilities which it entails. I believe that in the future we shall see more and more Indian gentlemen who have a stake in the country corning forward to bear a responsibility which they will believe to be a real one. I believe that that will be of the greatest value to India in the future. In the past histories of the two countries I think we shall agree that each has given much that is good to the other. May we not, then, now hope that India will accept this measure in the spirit in which it is offered to her, and that when the dust of controversy dies down all Parties in both countries will do their best to make the Constitution, upon which so much examination and so much consideration have been spent, a really workable one and, as I hope it will prove, a durable one for the great problems which we have to meet?


My Lords, it is nigh on twelve years since I ventured to address your Lordships' House. I do so now for two or three minutes with the greatest diffidence and trepidation, because I am fully aware of the high offices that noble Lords have held in India, and also in this country with regard to Indian affairs, and of the fact that they have spent long periods in India and therefore have great experience and knowledge with which I cannot hope to compete. But I feel, as a member of your Lordships' House, that I cannot divest myself of my individual responsibility in a matter of such vital importance as this, nor can I hand over my conscience to the care of someone else however much, greater his experience may be than mine.

I am certain that there are noble Lords in this House who feel as I do, and I am absolutely convinced that all over the country there are hundreds and thousands of supporters of the present Government who feel misgivings in their minds and unhappiness in their hearts because, to put it at the best, they are doubtful of the results of this great experiment. I have tried to find arguments from those who supported tile Bill that would convert me to its merits, but I was entirely unconverted by such arguments as that we should have to do something, and that the clock could not be' put back. Clocks very often ought to be put back, if they are wrong! I should like to ask the noble Marquess in charge of the Bill one question which I think would satisfy many supporters of the Government in the country, and perhaps while I do so I might with the greatest humility congratulate him on the extreme ability with which he has conducted this Bill through the House and the spirit of conciliation which he has shown towards the Amendments which have been brought forward. The question I should like to ask him is this: Is this country in honour bound by anything other than or beyond the words of the preamble to the Act of 1919—that is, the desirability of establishing and possibly of modifying or restricting responsible government in India? If it could be clearly answered that this country is not bound by any pledges other than that, then I think this Bill could be considered on its own merits.

If this country is bound to give some further measure of responsible government, I suggest that there are five prerequisites or postulates which should be in any measure that is passed. The first is that it should be acceptable to the majority of the peoples of the country to whom it is given. The second is that there should be some reasonable assurance that authority would be maintained by the new Constitution and that administration would be more efficient than it has been in the past. The third is that there should also be some reasonable prospect that there would be greater material benefits to the working millions of India, material benefits in the way of health, productivity of the land or protection by the law. The fourth is that there should be some reasonable probability that the various nations, religions, castes, and communities of India would work together harmoniously and with good will to try to carry out the new Constitution. The fifth—and perhaps this is as important as any of the others—is there should be an absolute certainty of budgetary stability, so that any Government that might be formed could have a reasonable chance of carrying out its duties without being restricted as to resources.

Those five pre-requisites are absent from the Bill. As the time is short, I will only touch on them. Of the first I ask, is there any one who thinks that the Princes have given anything other than a very mild acquiescence to the Federation? What is their position? They are protected autocrats; they have their rights which have been granted to them and which we are bound to respect and keep. They are going into a Federation in which they would be in a minority. They would pitted there against the best brains of Indians, who would naturally be jealous of their privileges and rights and would be likely to see whether those privileges and rights at some future time could be taken away from them. They have therefore nothing to gain.

Let us turn for one moment to another and an entirely different class, the intelligentsia. Talking of the intelligentsia, I understand that they can be numbered at something like 2,000,000, against the 350,000,000 in the whole of India. Very often, when reference is made to hurting the feelings of India and touching the susceptibilities of Indians, it really means, not the susceptibilities or feelings of India, but those of this minute fraction of the intelligentsia. What is their view? We know that the most violent portion of the Congress Party, which is, I suppose, the most organised and the only organised Party there, say at once that if they work this new Constitution it will be worked, not for what it is, but in order to get further concessions in the future. They admit that their ultimate aim is to get away entirely from British rule, to exterminate British rule and to have done entirely with British domination. Even they do not care about the Bill.

Now I come to the most important class of all, to the working millions to whom the noble Lord, Lord Snell, referred and in whom he naturally and rightly takes a great interest. What I ask—and perhaps the noble Marquess would tell us this— is whether there is any evidence at all to show that these working millions think that they will get any better deal, any advantages, by being administered by educated Indians—educated Hindus. What extra advantages will they get? Will they get a better deal through the administration they will get under this Bill than they have had under the British domination under which they have been hitherto? All the evidence that I have been able to get shows that they hold up their hands in horror—the agricultural labourer especially—at the idea that they are not going to be administered in the future by British administrators. Therefore I say that it would reassure all those of us who dislike having to take a different view from the Government if we thought that any substantial evidence could be brought forward to show that these working millions, the agricultural millions, will do any better under this Bill than they have done in the past.

I will pass, only for about a moment, to the members of the Indian Civil Service, Too little has been heard about their views. After all, they have administered India in the past and we owe an incalculable debt of gratitude to them for what they have done in India. Surely, their opinions should be worth listening to on the effect which they think the Constitution will have. There is therefore no class at all in India to whom this new Constitution is acceptable.

Now I come to my second point, and that is that there ought to be some reasonable assurance that, under the new Constitution, authority will be maintained and administration will be more efficient. You perhaps might say: "Well, what assurance could you have that that will be so?" Sufficient attention has not been paid in the framing of this Bill to the experience and the wisdom of the statesmen of the East. There have been great experiments in electoral Governments in Asia among Eastern peoples of late times. What happened to the electoral institutions of Turkey will be fresh in your Lordships' memories. They started in the last century, somewhere about 1876. That experiment was a complete failure. They tried again at the beginning of this century, again without success, and now, at the present time, Turkey is governed by a Dictator, though the forms of constitutional government exist, and the names of deputies have to be submitted to the Dictator before they are elected. In Persia the same thing happened. Under our influence constitutional government was set up. It was a, total failure, and for twenty years after there was more disorder, trouble and bloodshed in Persia than before. It was one of the darkest periods of Persian history. So also in China was the attempt a failure.

I suggest that if recourse had been had to the experience of the East of these electoral institutions, it would have been found that in every case what started as an electoral institution came in the end to be an autocracy or a dictatorship, and -that, while some of the forms of constitutional government might remain, that was the net result. I say that so far as the experience of Governments in Eastern countries is concerned no assurance is to be gained from it that this Bill will have a stable formation, and that there will be a reasonable chance of upholding authority.

I am sorry to detain your Lordships so long, but I would ask what material benefits the millions of India are going to get under this Bill. Is it likely that they are going to get any increased productivity of the soil, or that under this responsible government more scientific methods will be employed, or that their Medical Services will be improved, or, above all, that the efficacy of the Police will be as good as it has been? The Police in India, up to now, have had the support of the Government behind them. Will they have that same support in future? In England the Police have the support of the general public, but we must remember that the millions of India are more dependent upon the Police than we can imagine in this country. It is a very vital thing to them that they should have the unbiased support of the Police, and that the Police should feel that they are at liberty to do what they think right, apart from differences of caste, religion or race. I think that under this new Constitution there will be a terrible strain put upon the Police, and that the result will be to damage the position of the working millions in India.

Then I come to the question of what chance there is of these antagonistic races, warlike and unwarlike, of these opposing religions and clean-cut divisions of caste, running this new Constitution amicably and well. Lord Snell spoke in a very moving way about the co-operation which he hoped might occur between all classes in India in carrying out this new Constitution, but I suggest to your Lordships that it is quite impossible for us who breathe the serene air of this Chamber to understand the bitterness and strife, the inconceivable bitterness, that exists between Hindu and Moslem. We know that bloodshedding may be taking place even at this moment, and are we to suppose that these cleavages of race, caste and community can at once settle down together in amity and work a new Constitution? With regard to budgetary stability, I know that a Commission is going to sit. I only trust that a Report will come from that Commission which will be absolutely clear and convincing, that for the Provinces and the Federation there will be ample funds to carry out the provisions of this Bill, and also an ample reserve fund for any contingent liability, such as war, or famine or earthquake, or any other contingency that may arise.

I have been most anxious ever since the provisions of this Bill were promulgated to be converted. I have been an anxious inquirer. I will tell your Lordships why I have been anxious to be converted. It is because I believe, from the bottom of my heart, that the motives which have actuated the Government in bringing forward this Bill have been motives of righteousness, altruism and unselfishness, and I do not think we can imagine any other nation in the world who, having administered an Empire, as this Empire has been administered by the British—having administered it with undoubted benefits to the people governed, and with great unselfishness—would be willing of its own free will to hand over the power into the hands of others. I say "with great unselfishness" because if we look at France, for instance, which has a great Moslem Empire in Morocco, Tunis and Algeria, we see that all French goods go into those countries without any tax whatever, whereas we allow the governed country of India to tax our goods up to the hilt. I had hoped that I might have been converted. I am sorry to think that the outcome of this great measure of righteousness may be very terrible. Indeed I see before me disorder and disturbance and, possibly, bloodshed and the greatest catastrophes. I hate the garment and the rôle of Cassandra, and my only prayer is that my anticipations may be as entirely incorrect about the future as my convictions are sincere.


My Lords, without pretending to be an expert on the subject of Indian history, I believe that it is generally accepted that all the widely differing nations of this sub-continent, with their no less widely differing religions, languages and customs, have never shown the slightest sign of any ability or desire to coalesce on their own account. The history of India, so far as the native races are concerned, is one long story of dissension and disorder which has been checked only during the periods in which some foreign conqueror has established his sway over greater or lesser areas of the country and has been in a position to maintain order by means of physical force. There is not in Indian history the faintest suggestion that order can be kept throughout India by any native administration, or in any manner except by physical force controlled by a despot or an oligarchy. British rule in India has up to the present been conducted strictly on these lines. It has rested absolutely upon the presence in India of an irresistible British Army, and, from the moment that system was introduced up to the present time, such has been its success that almost unbroken peace has continued for nearly two hundred years.

Meanwhile there has suddenly appeared in the Western world the phenomenon of modern democracy. In Great Britain modern democracy is exactly sixty-seven years old. In many other countries it is much less. In so far as the theory of modern democracy rests on anything, it rests on the idea that all human beings are equal—an assumption that is obviously false. It has been extremely unsuccessful in practice, so much so that, in spite of every kind of advantage which it has enjoyed owing to the spread of knowledge and the use of mechanical power, there is not a single democratically-governed country to-day that is not growing steadily poorer, from that besetting sin of democracy, living on capital. It has already provoked violent reactions in many important countries, and, where it survives, is everywhere engaged in a frantic attempt to make the poor rich by encouraging them to consume the sources from which wealth comes. This is the sacred political gospel that is to supersede the reign of peace in India that has for so long been maintained by the British Army.

A completely new system, everywhere in process of collapse from its own inherent defects, is voluntarily to be entrusted by Great Britain to certain arbitrarily chosen blocks of Indians, most of them of very doubtful loyalty to this country. These people are, in theory, to have almost absolute powers to do exactly what they like, but in practice they will have no power to do anything at all without the permission of the British Government, because the irresistible British Army is to remain in India. Among the powers nominally to be handed over to Indian democracy is that of penalising British trade with India. Barriers may be set up against British trade from which the trade of other countries is free. This is (nominally again) quite definite. His Majesty's Government have in so many words refused to accept an Amendment designed to remove this power, and as, of late years, Indian politicians have already been allowed on various pretexts to impose tariffs which have reduced British imports by more than half, it can only be supposed that His Majesty's Government are prepared to swallow any fiscal measures that Indian democracy may see fit to take.

The excuse for all this and a lot more is that everything must be done to preserve Indian good will. There is not, and there never has been to the ordinary observer, the slightest trace of good will towards this country on the part of any considerable number of Indian politicians. Anybody believing this is simply deceiving himself, and deserves no pity. It is our old acquaintance the confidence trick in its most blatant and bloated form. Democracy in the hands of Indian politicians, who must be utterly helpless to overcome any serious resistance to such laws as they may be permitted to pass unless they can secure the support of a foreign Army over which they have themselves no control, is a contradiction in terms of so preposterous a nature that it is hardly possible to discuss it with a grave face.

I will content myself with putting to your Lordships one or two cases that occur to me as practically certain to arise. One of the first things that an Indian Legislature will do will be to introduce immensely expensive Social Services, the only means of paying for which, even temporarily, will be by repudiating their debts to this country. The Indians will point out, quite justly, that they are merely following our example in introducing subsidised wages, widows' pensions, housing subsidies, higher education for the masses, etc., etc., and what is good for Great Britain must be even better for India, as India is poorer and therefore in greater need. What is this country going to do about that? Again, fighting is bound shortly to break out between Hindus disloyal to this country and Moslems loyal to this country. The Moslems, being fighting men, will certainly win, but the Hindus, being in the majority, will have the law behind them. The disloyal will ask for the help of the British Army to defeat the loyal. We all know what happened last time the British Army was ordered to fight against loyalists in support of rebels. The whole business of governing India has indeed developed into the priceless muddle that was inevitable from the moment the politicians began to ignore facts in favour of their own theories.


My Lords, at this stage I do not propose to go into the merits of the Bill itself, but there are a few things that I think it is necessary to say. In the first place, let me reiterate the witness that another noble Lord has given to the courtesy and patience with which the noble Marquess has conducted these debates. Now the infliction of irritation and boredom is an inseparable accident of any sustained opposition to a big Bill, and we may imagine many a Minister who would have reacted to this ordeal in a manner very different from that of my noble friend. But I think, on the other hand, he may give us—I mean the Opposition to this Bill—a certain credit. When you consider the magnitude of this Bill, the 400 to 500 clauses and the sixteen Schedules, and when you consider the opportunities that are open to an Opposition, owing to the licentious procedure of your Lordships' House, it may be imagined what we might have done; and I think the noble Marquess ought to give us credit for having restrained our natural desire to enter (to use a transatlantic phrase) into the glorious filibuster that was open to us. Lord Clive has played a most worthy part in organising opposition to this Bill, and I think he might well say, in the words of the first Lord Clive: "I am astounded at my own moderation."

The Bill is now in its last stage. All I can say in its favour is that it is far better than the White Paper, and I believe that the noble Marquess himself and others who represented what I may call the central view on the Committee, are at any rate entitled to take credit for that. But having said that, I can say little more. There seems a strange notion in a certain school of Liberal politicians who are not represented in this Chamber at this moment, that all ills may be cured by the grant of franchise and polling booths. They regard them as having what I suppose may be termed some pan-therapeutic property. I am afraid I cannot share what I believe to be a delusion. The modern franchise may work well in a homogeneous community like our own, with the long experience of its working; but to apply it suddenly in the belief that it will appease the traditional passions, the racial divisions, and the lasting antagonisms of a diverse Continent is in my belief to hope for too much. We are told that there might be grave trouble in India if we do not consult Indian opinion. I am afraid it is only too probable that there may be grave trouble in India whether we pass this Bill or any Bill or no Bill. But we shall not avert it by the illusion that by passing this Bill, with all its anomalies and contradictions, we are able to prevent what we fear we may have to grapple with, but which in our present procedure we can do nothing to avert.

Speaking for myself, not since I did what I could to help my noble friend Lord Carson in 1912 have I opposed any Bill with such zest and satisfaction as the present. And, while I am mentioning his name, I most deeply regret that that great man is not now with us, owing to age and infirmity, to attack this Bill with that pungency peculiarly his own. I know he detests this measure hardly less than that measure of twenty-odd years ago which he so strenuously opposed and which, in great part, he was able to destroy. But the Bill is now passing. Three things I think have helped it. In the first place there was a suspicion that the opposition to it cloaked certain private plans and designs on which I need not expatiate. There was that suspicion in many people's minds. Secondly, it was greatly helped by the opposition of the Socialist Party. Many a man in both Houses said to himself: "When this Bill is opposed by the Socialist Party it cannot be such a very bad one." When they have seen, to take two examples, Mr. Lansbury and Sir Stafford Cripps going into the Lobby against it, they have been very chary of bearing them company. In the third place, I believe the Bill has been helped by its own complexity. Many a man in both Houses has said, seeing this enormous document: "It is impossible that I can master this. I must trust someone. On the whole I like the Government, not without cause in other regards, and therefore I must trust them." Owing to the enormous weight of this Bill it has been impossible in either House really to thrash it out so that its true provisions have been known. These three things, I believe, have been powerful aids in the passage of the Bill.

What should now be the attitude of those who oppose it? I take no pleasure in fighting my own friends, but on a matter of this sort it is inevitable. I imagine that, if you meet your best friend on the other side in battle, you kill him if you can, but if you both survive you dine together auspice Baccho—after the peace—and that is the proper social and ethical attitude. I quite agree that after this Bill has passed we must not make things harder for those who will have to administer it. That nasty German word Schadenfreude must have no place in our vocabulary. Another noble Lord has said that to use the words "I told you so" is unworthy of any patriot. After all, we have common enemies to fight, and we may have to fight them in no distant space of time. When this issue is for the moment—only for the moment—out of the way, I know of nothing that need divide the Government from its friends except one thing, and that is if they still neglect to face the constitutional issue at home. But, as regards the administration of this Bill, I think we who have fought them hardest should do nothing to allow it to be said, either in respect of the Secretary of State or of whoever may be the next Governor-General of India, that we made his hard task an impossible one.


My Lords, I rise for two or three minutes after the vigorous and varied denunciations to which we have listened from noble Lords who have come before us, to say only a very few words in general support of the Bill. My noble friend Lord FitzAlan told us he was not at all satisfied with the discussions, and wanted them to be prolonged. I do not know that I have his insatiable passion for discussion because I am inclined to think—indeed I know—that there is no Bill that has ever been before Parliament since the days of Simon de Montfort which has been submitted to so close an examination, which has been so much considered and reconsidered, and every clause of which has been submitted to the most minute and unremitting examination. I only want to say, if I may, one word about what the noble Lord, Lord Snell, has said, because he gave us a most vigorous denunciation of the Bill. He told us, I think in so many words, that by the Bill we were handing over to the capitalists the exploitation of the workers of India. I was very much alarmed by those phrases, but I was rather consoled by the reflection that if the noble Lord was so seriously disturbed by the Bill he would have voted against it, and I do not think he has done that and that, perhaps, lessens the fears which he expressed.

May I say, without patronage or arrogance, that I have listened to the attacks and criticisms delivered upon this Bill by my noble friends in this House, and having been a member of, and sat through, all the Round-Table Conferences, the Joint Select Committee, and everything else, I confess to a feeling of admiration for the skill with which they have not left one single point unprobed or unexamined. My noble friend Lord Rankeillour said he had no sentiment of irritation against those who had opposed him. I suppose some people have. I never can enjoy those feelings. I am so fond myself of political controversy that I am only too grateful to those who give one the opportunity of raising it.


I think my noble friend has misinterpreted me. What I did say was that it was an unavoidable infliction of irritation and bore- dom on my noble friends in the course of this struggle, but it could not be helped.


I can only say, as one of the noble Lord's friends, that I have been neither bored nor irritated by his interpositions. What more than that can I say? I listened, again, to a very vigorous interpolation by the noble Lord, Lord Rochdale. I do not think I heard his eloquent voice in your Lordships' House during the earlier stages of this Bid. I do not think I heard him on Second Reading or during the long discussions in Committee, and I rather regret that he should have reserved his vigorous and general condemnation of the Bill for the last stage when, of course, it is obviously difficult for myself and others, always open to conviction, to change our minds. But may I say that every one of the points that the noble Lord has mentioned—and I am not going to attempt to reply to them to-night—has been discussed and' dealt with. My noble friend Lord Lloyd might say has been "replied to." I was going to use the other word "answered," but, surrounded by so many noble Lords Who are opposed to the Bill, I hardly dare use that word. The points have been discussed over and over again, and the noble Lord must not think, because we are not now replying to them all, that they are not readily susceptible of discussion and answer.

Having listened to all these denunciations, having heard this Bill criticised and condemned by some of the most skilful debaters both in this House and in another place, and having had the pleasure of listening to my noble friend Lord Salisbury in constant and vigorous criticisms, I ask this question: Is it not rather a remarkable thing—and after all we have been told that we are the only people who understand democratic Government and have been at it for a thousand years, which is a little exaggeration but I am not on the historical point for a moment—that after all these tremendous denunciations, the majorities in both Houses have been overwhelming in favour of this Bill? I know there is a natural suspicion of majorities among minorities, but I think it is worth remembering by noble Lords who put forward all these objections that the most silent members of both Houses, who have come not so much to speak but to listen, and who have listened to the arguments on both sides and must be considered not to have been committed but to have formed a well trained jury for the consideration of these matters, gave all these tremendous majorities to the decision that this Bill should pass.

I should like for a moment, if I might; to get away from that general atmosphere of gloom and depression and of prophesied evil. I have been a good many years in public affairs, and have heard a great many denunciations of Bills as they have passed. I think it is the common experience that those who have taken a more cheerful view of the future are just as likely—I will not put it higher—to be right as those who talk of failure and of gloom. I feel that under this Bill there must be and there is bound to be a rather critical attitude in India, but I am one of those who believe that when, in spite of safeguards and limitations and all these things which look rather large in a Bill even of 500 clauses, it is found what opportunities and wide a field for administration and legislation are open to them, these opportunities will not only absorb their energies but will give them a totally different outlook towards the Bill when they come to work, administer and manage it. Sometimes I feel that we are perhaps a little arrogant in assuming that we are the only people who can manage democratic institutions.


Where else are they managed?


I was just going to finish the sentence if I may. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, is, I think, a most determined critic of democratic institutions in other countries. Sometimes I think, from his criticisms, that he is rather doubtful about the success of democratic government even in this country. But I will not deal with that at the moment. I do not think that we should assume that we in this country have the sole monopoly, because we have been at it so many hundreds of years, of working these institutions. Business is not done in that way. There is a certain freedom, a kind of free trade as it were in ideas and practices, and I think it is a little unwise to assume when these great increases of authority and administrative power are being granted, that they necessarily are going to be misused. I must admit that all through these long discussions I have been very much influenced by all the statements, pledges and promises contained in Acts of Parliament and so on which have been given as regards India. With many of these, I confess, at, the time I have not always been in full agreement, but I have always recognised that once they have been put into Acts of Parliament or in solemn pronouncements of State they become, as it were, the common law of the attitude of the Government of this country towards India, and that the very worst thing that could be said against this country—a thing which certainly, so far as I am concerned, I will never countenance—is that there should be a legitimate opportunity for India or any other country to say that we have been untrue to those pledges which we have so solemnly affirmed and reaffirmed on many occasions.

I say this as far as one's own political conscience is concerned, that I believe this Bill, with all its limitations and compromises (necessary in so large a matter) is the fulfilment of all those pledges and that we can feel we have in every way discharged our trust. As regards what is to happen afterwards in administration, that really casts a great responsibility upon the Indians themselves. They have these large duties thrown upon them. I think it is a pity that at this stage we should fill the air with lamentations of the ill success with which this measure is going to meet in India. I would rather send this Bill forward on its Third Reading with the hope that we shall be tolerant, perhaps, of the way in which this measure is carried out; that we shall give credit to the Indians of desiring to carry out these proposals in the spirit in which they are offered to them; and that we shall wish it at least that measure of success which is the utmost thing we can wish to any human institution.


My Lords, the closing passages of my noble friend's speech might have been taken almost verbatim from a similar occasion on the Irish Bill when we were all enjoined to be jolly and happy and glad and let all recriminations cease, because all was going to be for the best in the best of all possible worlds.


I never suggested that. I thought I was expressing myself in much more careful language. I never suggested anything about the best of all possible worlds. I simply said that here we had fulfilled pledges which were given to the Indians and that we hoped everything would be for the best.


I did not mean to quote the noble Earl textually. I was trying to give a general idea of what he was suggesting—that we should all be cheery and not gloomy about the suture of the Bill which is about to be passed into law. All I was trying to do was to suggest that just the same arguments were used in respect of the Irish Bill in the debates upon it. I am sorry if I in any way exaggerated, but I think that I have now at any rate given a fair description of what the noble Earl said. Having said so much, I shall try at this last stage of the measure to emulate the brevity of previous speakers, and I should not like to be an exception or fail to pay the same compliments which my noble friends have paid to the Secretary of State for his conduct of the Bill. I think we all agree that he has most agreeably solved the problem of how to show the maximum of conciliation with the minimum of concession.

I cannot get away—I am sorry if I offend my noble friend here—from a feeling of deep drama and tragedy as to what is happening in this House to-day. The whole history of 150 years of our rule is being despatched in a few speeches. After all that has been said and done in this long controversy, what does it amount to? Either India is fit for self-government or she is not. If she is fit for self-government then surely it was madness on the Government's part to hedge their proposals round with manifold restrictions which were as ineffective as they are irritating. If, on the other hand, India is not fit for self-government then the Government have done a grave and perhaps, as the noble Lord, Lord Snell, pointed out, an irretrievable mischief to the Indian peoples that may adversely affect the lives and fortunes of millions of people for a hundred years to come. Perhaps you will say that there is a third alternative and that India is partly, but not fully, ready for self-government. That probably is more near to the truth. If that is so, then it was the Government's bounden duty to retain a firm hold of the Centre so that they could resume their power swiftly to rescue and restore a situation of chaos if it occurred.

The Government have done none of these things. They have acted now so that in the future there can be neither good government nor self-government. Where security reigned fear shall now step in. Where a million people lived in the protective shade of an absolutely impartial rule millions must now crouch under the shadow of a hostile majority in many a Province of India. And in the innermost counsels of the Government and holding in their hand the key to the whole of Britain's strategic position in the East will be the Congress Party, avowedly and quite openly the enemies of this country and pledged, openly pledged, to overthrow our rule even more fully than the present rulers of Ireland when we made the Treaty. Those are the facts, and they are not in dispute.

The Government can have only one defence to urge for flying in the face of those facts. They could say, as they have said, that responsibility will change all these things. I well remember my noble friend the Secretary of State once in the proud full sail of a peroration saying: "Give them responsibility and then Ministers will behave responsibly." I hope lie will forgive me for reminding him of my reply. I said it was not true; that it was very easy and pretty to say those things, but that it had been proved untrue of Ireland, of Egypt, of Malta, of Ceylon, and of almost anywhere in the East virtually. You cannot say that. They were all given responsibility and they did not behave responsibly. Nor will they in India, for this is a form of self-government entirely exotic and foreign to all the history and traditions and temperaments of the peoples of the East. It is no reflection on their ability to say that they have not reacted to responsibility, but I am absolutely confident that they will not become responsible people in the sense in which the Government use that expression.

I believe this Bill will do grave hurt to the people of British India, and I wish that the noble Lord, Lord Snell, who made an eloquent appeal for India, and his Party had shown a less tepid opposition to the Bill if they actually thought it was so terribly harmful to the people of India as we think it is. It is largely because I believe the Bill will bring untold misery to the masses of the people that I have put up such opposition as I could offer. I believe the Bill is bad for the masses of the people of India, and I believe that we have no right morally to abandon the peoples of India and hand them over to their enemies, to people not competent to govern them. I believe that is a wrong thing to do.

I say that if it is bad for the people of India it is also gravely harmful to the Princes of India. I believe that if the Princes of India enter the Federation—I say this advisedly and with some considerable experience of Native State administration—it will definitely be the end of their order. I have never been blind, and no one who has been in India can be blind, to certain evils inherent in Native State rule, but I have always recognised that there are great virtues and values as well in that rule—a rule that is very often extremely good and has the great advantage that it is buttressed by tradition, understood of the people and even, I think, generally supported by love and affection for the personality of the Ruler. Those are great things in government. But with the disappearance of that order or its enfeeblement, which I believe to be bound to come, I think we shall have gravely damaged the whole structure of efficient government in India.

I have only one thing to add. If I think this Bill is bad for the peoples and the Princes of India—though very possibly quite advantageous, temporarily, to professional politicians in India—I believe it is also going to do tragic hurt to the wage-earners of this country. We urged your Lordships, and we urged the Government, in the Committee stage to accept an Amendment to incorporate the principle of Imperial preference in the Bill. We were amazed at your refusal to insert so obviously just a condition, a condition that was accepted at Ottawa even by Indians themselves. You refused to have anything to do with it. What followed? What followed was even worse. On Report we introduced an Amendment asking only that goods made by British workers should not be treated worse than those made by foreigners. It is almost incredible that any British Government should have rejected an Amendment of that kind. The plight of Lancashire and of the derelict areas to-day makes it incredible that the Government should definitely refuse an Amendment to the effect that our wage-earners should not be treated worse than foreign wage-earners.

We can only assume this system whereby a duty can be put on British goods where none is put on foreign goods to be part of a definite plan. I say it is utterly indefensible not only because of our past record in India, or because of our actual present rights in India, but also because of the free access to our great Crown Colony markets which we give to Indian goods and Indian traders. I was glad that the noble Earl, Lord Derby, voted for our Amendment, but I hope he will forgive me if I say that it seemed to me to be an act of death-bed repentance to Lancashire workers. My noble friend's great and justly deserved popularity and influence in Lancashire have done more, I feel, to carry this Bill through than probably anything else. But I for one—I say it in no critical sense of my noble friend—do not envy him the responsibility which he has incurred with the wage-earning people of Lancashire.

That, as your Lordships will be glad to hear, is the last I have to say. I cannot get away from the feeling of grave tragedy which surrounds us to-day. Nobody who has read the history of India, as your Lordships all have, can easily get into the galloping, easy satisfaction which we have been urged to assume in this House to-day. I, for one, believe that you are delivering India and its peoples over to a sour cross indeed, and I, for one, am glad that I have had nothing whatever to do with it.


My Lords, I should like, on behalf of these Benches, to add our testimony to the way in which the Secretary of State has conducted this Bill through your Lordships' House. He was obviously confronted with a very difficult task. He became Secretary of State, I think, on the very day of the First Reading of this Bill in this House, and I am glad to feel that your Lordships, at any rate, share our gratitude to him for the skill, the courage and the ability with which he has piloted what we believe to be a great and good Bill through this House.

Your Lordships have listened, and perhaps inevitably listened on the Third Reading of the Bill, to what in another place was called, I believe, "inspissated gloom" about the effects of this Bill when it comes into operation. It was my good fortune to be in the deliberations of which this Bill is the final result for no less than five years. I have looked up some of the records of the views which were expressed about other similar Constitutions before they were enacted: the American, the Canadian, the South African and the Australian Constitutions; and one and all were accompanied by the kind of prophecies to which we have listened this afternoon. In many cases there was the very gravest doubt whether, the opposition to them being so formidable, they would ever be enacted into law at all. I am not going to pretend that you can argue directly from the conditions in the Dominions and the United States to the conditions, so very different, in India, but I venture to think that the fact that there is no great enthusiasm for this Bill to-day, either here or in India, is on the whole a good omen. We have seen many Constitutions created since the war, representing the theory or the triumphant ideas of a single class or Party, and most of those Constitutions have crumbled into ruins. The Constitutions which have survived have been the Constitutions which have represented long and careful compromise, on the basis of fact, interest and opinion in the countries with which they were concerned; and I do not think that anybody can say that the framers of any Constitution ever weighed more carefully all the interests, all the dangers, and all the forces which are involved in the Indian Constitution than the framers of this Bill. Therefore, I venture to think that the very fact that there is no great enthusiasm is in itself an omen that what has been worked out with so much care and thought will endure far longer, and endure far more successfully, than some of your Lordships have prophesied to-day.

The noble Lords for whom I am speaking to-day have consistently supported the main principles of this Bill since the day when its really vital principles—Federation, Indian responsibility in the Centre and the Provinces, and adequate safeguards—were adopted as its foundation. There are many matters of detail in which we could have wished for other solutions, but we have never wavered in our support of the Bill based on those fundamental principles, and we are not going to waver to-day. We are going to give a whole-hearted vote in support of the Bill. Why have we taken this view? I think, if I may summarise it briefly, that we have taken it for this reason. What has been the fundamental difficulty about Indian Government in the last fifteen years? Nobody can pretend that the problems of Indian Government since the War have been anything like comparable with the problems that confronted this country in India before the 'War. There is a fundamentally new situation with which we have had to deal, and that situation has arisen fundmentally from one fact: tae rapid rise of a politically-minded class in India.

The reason why the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms did not succeed in enlisting the support of the politically-minded classes in India behind good government, law and order and social reform in India in the way in which it was hoped, was that they did not transfer real responsibility for Indian Government to Indian shoulders. Not only was the Government of India itself, the Executive, wholly responsible to Parliament here and quite irresponsible to the Indian Legislature, but in the Provinces the Governor was responsible for the two vital functions of finance and of law and order. Therefore we are still, under the Constitution of to-day, as the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, quite truly said, responsible for all aspects of Indian Government in effect, because the transferred powers were limited by the amount of finance which the Governor and the Executive Councillors felt able to divert to them. Therefore I was a little surprised when the noble Lord, having said some of the things he said this afternoon, was apparently prepared to hand over to certain personages who, to my astonishment, he described as the enemies of their country, the control, the immense and vital control, of the Indian masses which inevitably belongs to Indians themselves.


I said "of this country "not" of their country".


Then I withdraw my remark; I misunderstood the noble Lord. The central fact in India during the last fifteen years has been, not the decline, but the rise of the politically-minded classes in India. That is not a phenomenon which is to be found in India alone, it is a world-wide phenomenon. It existed first of all in the Dominions, it has developed in every country in Europe, and it is passing with immense rapidity from one end of Asia to another. It is symbolised in my mind most clearly by the central fact that there are hundreds of thousands of students in Indian Universities to-day, quite as many as there are in the Universities ill this country, practically every one of whom is turned out by those Universities demanding that Indians shall take the responsibility for Indian affairs on their own shoulders. Those men and women are going to be the leaders of India to-morrow, if they are not the leaders of India to-day. Now, how are you going to get the support and the co-operation of the politically-minded classes?—a minority, if you like, but the kind of minority which in every country in the world controls politics. How are you going to get the support of those classes for good government in India? That is the essential issue as I see it to-day. In my view, and I have never altered that view, there is only one way of securing that support, and that is by giving them a primary share of responsibility for government in India.

During the last fifteen years this class on the whole, or in very large numbers, have created difficulty in India. They have contributed nothing; they have obstructed; they have thrown their weight against social reform. If you give them responsibility there is good hope, and I believe certain hope, that they—even they—will put their weight behind law and order, behind social reform, behind economic progress, and behind the development of good government in India instead of obstructing it. It is in that hope and expectation that we on these Benches support this Bill. Secondly, if you do not enlist the support of the political classes, you are going inevitably to be driven into repressing them. You cannot go on with the Government machinery which exists in India to-day unless you adopt the major principles of this Bill and put the primary responsibility for good government inside India on Indian shoulders, while Great Britain maintains responsibility for the defence of India against external attack, and maintains the special safeguards which enable us here to intervene in the event of a grave menace to the tranquillity and peace of India, and so on. In those respects you are inevitably going to be driven to follow the line of the dictatorships in Europe, and repress every form of political activity; to close the Universities, suppress the Press, and introduce in India the kind of dictatorship which exists in Europe. That, I think you will agree, is not only contrary to all our principles but could not possibly survive, for the reason that this country itself is a democracy, and inevitably in a few years is going to get a form of Government which would refuse to maintain that system.

Those are the basic reasons why we, on these Benches, feel that difficult as the situation is going to be, dangerous in many respects as it is going to be, the central effect of this Bill is that it holds out a probability, and in my view a certainty, that the political classes in India will in future assume their share of responsibility for good government in India, instead of making it more difficult. And if that happens the problems of the future are going to be entirely different from the problems of the past. I sometimes feel, when I listen to some of the speeches made by noble Lords who oppose the Bill, that the difference between us is as to the degree of confidence that we have in the ability and public spirit of the political classes in India. In my view there is an immense fund of ability and an immense quantity of public spirit in India which are only waiting to be mobilised in support of good government, once you do the essential thing of placing upon those shoulders responsibility for government instead of leaving them to obstruct the powers that they want to get rid of because they want to assume responsibility themselves.

The noble Lord, Lord Snell, criticised the Bill, with some justification I think, on the ground that 'it did not give adequate representation to the working masses. I think that in so far as it is reactionary in any sense of the word it is due to changes made in the Bill by the increase of the Second Chambers and the substituting of indirect election for direct election, but I would venture to remind him that some 43 per cent. of the adult male population of India is to be enfranchised, and that means that a great deal of power will be in the hands of the ryot, the villager and of the population of the towns, in proportion as they learn to use it. They will probably have the same struggle to make to secure their rights as did the masses in this country. This Bill will not go forward without putting into the hands of the masses of the people of India very considerable levers with which to protect and promote their interests. While I support what he said with regard to the need of training members of the Depressed Classes and trade union leaders in the Parliamentary arts I do not think that this Bill is quite as reactionary as he would lead your Lordships to believe because, if it were, I do not think that we on these Benches could support it with the consistency that we have done.

Finally, one last question which, as in the case of Lord Snell, I feel inclined to address perhaps more to some of my friends in India than to noble Lords in this House. Does this Bill meet what I believe is the fundamental spiritual feelings in India? Does it transfer real responsibility for their own affairs on to Indian shoulders? Does it make possible the ending of that barren strife between British and Indian as to where responsibility should lie? Does it make possible steady movement towards full self-government in proportion as the Legislatures show their capacity to discharge that responsibility? I believe it does these things. The question of the speed with which India will develop towards that Dominion status which, as has been said repeatedly, is the natural issue of Parliament's declaration of 1920, will in the future fundamentally rest upon the Indian Legislatures themselves. If the Indian electorates return Legislatures containing stable majorities capable of maintaining in office competent Ministries, there will be no need for intervention by the Viceroy or the Governors under the special responsibility clauses, and there will be steady and inevitable progress towards full responsibility in India, exactly as there has been in the Dominions.

If, as I hope, that proves to be the case, it will be because the new Ministers will have at their disposal an independent, competent and experienced Civil Service, protected in their rights, on which they will be able confidently to rely both for advice and the execution of the policy upon which they decide. If, as has happened in more than one country in the last fifteen years, partly owing to economic breakdown and partly owing to external danger, which does not exist in India, the Legislatures become dominated by Party faction or communal feeling, or become corrupt through the pressure of financial and sectional interests, and the unity, good government and financial stability become grossly in danger, I believe that Indian opinion itself, as in other countries, will thank heaven for the safeguards, will demand that they shall be put into effect, and will support the Viceroy and Governors in putting them into effect. This Bill in my view puts opportunity and responsibility into India's hands. It now rests with India to say how that opportunity is to be taken, and how that responsibility is to be discharged.


My Lords, I hope I shall confine my remarks to a very limited period of time this evening, for there is a very large measure of unreality about the present discussion. We all know that this Bill is going to pass into law. All the arguments that we have stressed have been stated over and over again in both Houses of Parliament. We have been defeated, and now there is nothing for it except, of course, to accept the situation. I do not think we need even trouble your Lordships to divide this evening on this Bill. I am not surprised, of course, at the speech of the noble Marquess who has just sat down. He likes the Bill. The Bill is a Liberal Bill. Of course he likes a Liberal Bill. It has every note of Liberalism about it. Of course he believes in it. He was sanguine that these Liberal nostrums of the nineteenth century will still have effect. I do not think myself that contemporary history justifies it. He even—I almost used a stronger word—had the boldness to quote other Federations in support of this Bill. Federations are breaking down all over the world. Does he think the Federation of the United States is a success? He must be a very sanguine man if he thinks so.


Certainly it is not breaking down.


It is not coining to an end, if that is what he means by breaking down; but if he means it is an exhibition of good government, he takes a very different view from that which I take. Wherever the Federal system exists it works with the greatest difficulty, even where it is applied to the white race, mostly of our own blood, well trained in political knowledge And experience, with tradition and knowledge behind it; and you are going to hand this system of Federation in India to a conglomeration of nations with forty-two different languages and two or three different faiths, with no sympathy whatever as between one anal the other. My noble friend Lord Lothian hopes for the best. Well, of course, so do I. I reecho every word that was so well said this afternoon by my noble friend Lord FitzAlan. For us who are, I hope, public-spirited it must be a matter of the deepest hope that all the evils that we have prophesied will not come true. We may be wrong. I speak with great humility. Undoubtedly the vast majority of both Houses disagree with us, and my noble friend Lord Peel, who I think is no longer in his place, thought that that settled the question. He thought that all these majorities must be right. My noble friend voted in the majority when the present Irish system was established. He was quite as sanguine then as he is now of what the result would be. And just east your eyes across the Irish Channel and see the result of what the majority of that day did. I take no credit to myself, but I was then in a minority. I am not ashamed of the votes I gave during that crisis. My noble friend Lord Lloyd and myself and others are now again in the minority. Well, we may be wrong. I speak with all due humility and diffidence, but it does not follow that because you are in a minority you are wrong.

I see no enthusiasm for this Bill anywhere. My noble friend Lord Lothian grasped that nettle. He said: "What an excellent thing it is—this Bill is unpopular everywhere, unpopular in India and unpopular in this country." I think he said: "It is more likely to be right than if it had been popular." That is a fine robust humour. But, for people who set out to meet and satisfy the aspirations of the Indian people I think it is rather a curious point of view to take, and I think a recent point of view as far as my noble friend is concerned. A very short time ago he would have been very proud if he could have said that the Bill had been well received in India. He said that the great change in India was the appearance of the politically-minded classes. It is a change, but a change which I should have thought would have indicated to any man of experience the necessity for caution. They are very dangerous, these sudden emergences of politically-minded classes. They are quite inexperienced, they know nothing from experience about constitutional tradition. They never worked it, and they do not understand it. And of course they require more guidance than the people who are not politically-minded. My noble friend sees no danger. He says: "Oh, throw upon them responsibility," quite sure that if they have responsibility they will answer to it. Why do people go on saying things like that when the whole world shows responsible government to be failing in one country after the other, with no sense of duty developed because of the responsibility thrown upon them? Why should my noble friend think that India will do better in that respect than the countries of Europe we see around us What ground has he for that claim? Of course, I quite admit he is a Liberal, but still even Liberals learn sometimes. For my part I have the example of Ireland before me, and I know what happened there.

We have no responsibility, those few of us who vote against this Bill: that rests upon Parliament. It would be impertinent if I made any complaint at the attitude of your Lordships. You have acted as you thought right; I have nothing to say against you. But my noble friend Lord Rankeillour was fully justified in saying that one of the main reasons is that it was impossible for your Lordships to grasp the full import of this Bill. I am quite sure that a great many of those I am addressing and a great many more outside in the country say: "We do not understand the Bill. We cannot understand it. We had better trust the Government, and above all we had better trust the Indian administrators, the ex-Viceroys and ex-Governors who sit in either House of Parliament, and who have told us that on the whole it is the best course."In that I am not surprised, and therefore the major responsibility does rest upon those ex-Viceroys and those ex-Governors. They are the people who have to answer hereafter in history for what happens. If I felt quite certain that they were convinced that they were advising Parliament to-day what was for the real benefit of the Indian people I should be happier; but I am afraid it is a sort of conviction of the impotence of the British people any longer to say what they think to be right and to insist upon what they think to be right. Who can think that it is wise to have this wide measure of responsibility in the Provinces and in the Federation all created at the same time? Who can think that it can be anything except grossly imprudent. But these ex-Viceroys and ex-Governors have told your Lordships that it is the right thing. I should be sorry to be in their shoes.

That is all I have to say. As I have said, this discussion is unreal, but this is the end. As for the noble Lord, Lord Snell, may I say that I almost agree with every word of his speech except this, that he did not oppose the Bill—I mean not except in his speech: he did not oppose it in his votes. But for the rest there has been no thought for the welfare of the masses in the passage of this Bill. None of the Government speakers have ever addressed themselves to that aspect of the question. I quite understand the noble Lord's view. But for us we have finished. We have no quarrel with my noble friend, of course. We have no quarrel with the Government—nothing but gratitude for the courtesy with which they have treated us and admiration for the ability which they have shown. We are very, very much obliged to them. We do not agree with them, but we hope for the best. That is all that we have to say upon the India Bill.


My Lords, may I make just one remark in reference to what the noble Marquess said about Federation? In this case you will have as head of the Government under Federation somebody appointed by the Crown in this country, supported by 60,000 troops in India. There is no comparison with federation in the United States, with an elected President. That ought to be borne clearly in mind.


My Lords, my first words in bringing this debate to a close must certainly be words of gratitude to noble Lords in all quarters of the House for the patient and the courteous manner in which they have treated me throughout these prolonged discussions. The noble Lord, Lord Snell, suggested, I think, that adequate recognition had not been shown of the part that the Party with which lie is associated had played in shaping this Bill. If that indeed be so, let me take this opportunity of making good that omission. I recognise to the full the part which has been played by the Party led by the noble Lord opposite, both in the proceedings of the Round-Table Conferences and as members of the Joint Select Committee, as well as during the discussions in Parliament since. Though I know that in many respects they consider this Bill falls far short of what they themselves would like to be offering to India at the present time, I am grateful to them for the helpful attitude they have adopted towards its passage. I am equally grateful to the noble Marquess, Lord Reading, to the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, and to those who are associated with them for the restraint and patience they have shown during these long debates; and perhaps I may say I am grateful, above all, to those many noble Lords who, I know, at great inconvenience to themselves, have come down to your Lordships' House time after time, only too anxious, I feel well assured, to make their contributions to the debates in support of the measure before your Lordships, but who have refrained from doing so because they thought that by so doing they were best easing the passage of the Bill. I am indeed deeply grateful to them.

May I finally say how much I appreciate the courtesy which has been shown to me by those with whom on this question I confess I profoundly differ? We have had great differences of opinion, sincerely held on both sides. I have never denied the sincerity with which noble Lords hold the opinions that have driven them to fight the Government on this issue. They, I know, have allowed me, and those of my friends who have supported this measure, an equal sincerity in the views which we have put forward. My task, though by no means an easy one, has for this reason been far from an unpleasant one. I appreciated very greatly the words of the noble Viscount, Lord FitzAlan, amongst others, and the noble Lord, Lord Rankeillour; and may I say, with regard to the speech which the noble Lord, Lord Rankeillour, made this afternoon, that I think I have never listened to a more generous speech, or to a more valuable speech from the point of view on which I am about to appeal to your Lordships—namely, from the point of view of brushing aside those misunderstandings in India with regard to the attitude of this country towards their aspirations. I shall have more to say on that aspect of the case before I sit down. May I say, pleasant though my task has been, owing to the courteous treatment which I have received from all quarters of your Lordships' House, that I did feel a shudder pass through my frame when the noble Lord who opened this debate suggested that we should now take further time to consider at our leisure the provisions of this Bill. I think it was Calvin who once said that a study of the Apocalypse either found a man mad or left him so. I feel perfectly convinced that if the suggestion of the noble. Lord were now to be adopted, and we were to begin de novo and go through all the discussions of this immense measure again, I should be running a serious risk of undergoing the fate which Calvin predicated in the circumstances to which I have referred.

In the course of the speeches which were delivered this afternoon certain questions were put to me. The noble Lord, Lord Rochdale, asked me whether I could assure him that the country was not bound by anything but the preamble of the Act of 1919. If the noble Lord will turn to the earliest pages of the Report of the Joint Select Committee, he will find that it was there laid down that they considered that the policy of this country towards India had been laid down, once and for all, by the preamble to the Act of 1919, and that it was not therefore necessary for them to take into account any glosses which might have been placed upon the words of that preamble at any time since it was first promulgated. But when the noble Lord asks me, as I think he did, whether other pledges had beer given which should be honoured by the people and Parliament of this country, I must say to the noble Lord that he must be his own judge. If he listened to the debates which took place with regard to the Communal Award in the course of our discussions last week, and perhaps earlier, he would realise that many noble Lords regard the Communal Award as being a solemn pledge.


A pledge by the Government.


It may be a pledge by the Government, and of course it is for any noble Lord to decide to what extent he may hold himself bound by a solemn pledge given by the Government or not. As I said, that is a matter for the noble Lord's own conscience. Then the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, twitted me with regard to some peroration which I apparently rashly made in connection with this matter, in which I said: "If you wish to see people acting in a responsible manner, you must give them responsibility." As a general proposition I absolutely adhere to the truth of that suggestion. The noble Lord himself, if I may say so, seemed to me to indulge in a peroration this afternoon, though it came at the beginning of his speech and therefore might more properly be described as a prologue. He told us that he felt he was living in an atmosphere of deep drama and depression. I regret that the noble Lord should find himself in so pessimistic a frame of mind. The noble Lord was the very embodiment of pessimism in everything he said, and I could not help recalling a saying by the late Lord Cromer with regard to one of the races of mankind which is generally assumed to be of a pessimistic nature, the Slavonic race, when he said: "It must be a singularly unpleasant thing to pass through life feeling all the time it would have been better that you had not been born." I am really afraid that is the kind of frame of mind which the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, has worked himself into over this Bill, and I hope that the more optimistic forecast, with which I myself entirely agree, of the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, will prove to be the correct forecast and that the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, will in time find it possible to shed this garment of pessimism in which he is at present arrayed.

But let me refer to another observation; I think it was made both by the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, and by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. They are convinced that this Bill is going to be a disaster from the point of view of the masses of India. I do not doubt for a moment that they are perfectly sincere in holding that view; but may I remind your Lordships that they are not the only spokesmen of the masses of India? The masses of India have spokesmen of their own, and at the Round-Table Conference and at the sittings of the Joint Select Committee the spokesmen of the masses of India, in the form of Mr. Joshi and Dr. Ambedkar and others, had some very strong things to say with regard to the position of the masses of India under the existing Constitution. If noble Lords are sufficiently interested in this aspect of the case I would beg of them to read the speech which was made by Dr. Ambedkar, the representative of the Depressed Classes in India, at the beginning of the very first session of the First Round-Table Conference in this country.

What did Dr. Ambedkar say? He said that they in India, and those whom he represented, the masses of India, the Depressed Classes, the downtrodden, appreciated the justice of British rule, but, with all the British desire to see justice done to them, the British were disabled, particularly in the matter of social reform, from giving to them the justice which they desired to give, and for this reason. Social reform in India is inevitably bound up with religious practice, religious customs, religious traditions, and for that very reason, the British Government in India, feeling compelled to adopt an attitude of strict neutrality in all matters of religion, were disabled from effecting those measures of justice in the matter of social reform so far as the Depressed Classes in India are concerned. And what did he add? He said: "Give us the vote"—the vote which noble Lords hold is a foolish thing to give the people of India—" and we will see that we get justice in all these matters in respect of which during so many years and so many generations we have been suffering."

The hour is late and I do not wish to detain your Lordships at greater length, but I must in conclusion make an appeal, more particularly to the Indian people. It is very easy, and indeed I think it is almost inevitable, that the peoples in India should misunderstand the attitude of the people of this country towards them in connection with a measure of this kind. It is inevitable that those who oppose the Bill should figure far more prominently before the public than those who support it. Their oratory is greatly out of all proportion to their numbers. That is inevitable, and the debates which we have enjoyed in this House both on the Report stage and on the Committee stage of this Bill have been a very good illustration of that. It has been inevitable that by far the greater number of the speeches that have been made should have been made by those who are critics of the Bill. Now Indians are very liable to misunderstand that. They think we must be lukewarm in the offer which we are making to them of this, as I think, great measure along the road towards the goal which the people of this country have set up as the object of their policy towards India. I would beg of them not to be misled. There is, I believe, behind this Bill a great measure of good will on the part of the people of this country to the people of India.


Hear, hear.


Let the Indians realise that that is so. I believe myself that in the provisions of this Bill, though they may not realise it at the present moment, there is that which will test to the full their capacity for administration and for government, but in my view what is actually contained in the Bill is really of less importance than the spirit in which the Bill is offered to them. Let us try and create in both countries a will to rend aside this veil of misunderstanding which is embittering the relations between the two peoples. After all, why should we not live in amity together? India has a great contribution to make to the advancement of mankind. Why cannot we co-operate with them and secure by our co-operation a synthesis of all that is best both in East and in West? That, my Lords, is the ideal which I set before myself, and which I am sure your Lordships would wish to support, and may I suggest to my Indian friends, in one last sentence, that there is a wealth of wisdom in a proverb of their own which is to be found in the Dharma Pad or Path of Right, the Buddhist Book of Proverbs, which runs as follows: Enmity never comes to an end through enmity here below; it comes to an end through non enmity. This has been the rule from all eternity.

On Question, Bill read 3a, with the Amendments.

Clause 47:

Provisions as to Berar.

Now, therefore,—

(1) While any such agreement is in force— (c) any provision made under this Act with respect to the qualifications of the voters for the Provincial Legislature of the Central Provinces and Berar shall be such as to give effect to any provisions With respeect to those matters contained in the agreement.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved, in paragraph (c), after "Berar," to insert "or the voters for the Council of State." The noble Marquess said: My Lords, the object of this Amendment is to secure to the people of Berar, which under the new Constitution will for the purposes of sending representatives to the Legislature be treated as part of the Central Provinces, their right to vote for a member of the Council of State. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 34, line 9, after ("Berar") insert ("or the voters for the Council of State").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 83:

Provisions with respect to certain educational grants.

83.—(1) If in the last complete financial year before the commencement of this Part of this Act a grant for the benefit of the Anglo-Indian and European communities: or either of them was included in the grants made in any Province for education, then in each subsequent financial year, not being a year in which the Provincial Legislative Assembly otherwise resolve by a majority which includes at least three-fourths of the members of the Assembly, a grant shall be made for the benefit of the said community or communities not less in amount than the average of the grants made for its or their benefit in the ten financial years ending on the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and thirty-three:

LORD LLOYD moved, in subsection (1), after "them," to insert" as defined in Part I of the First Schedule to this Act." The noble Lord said: My Lords, I explained the object of this Amendment quite fully to your Lordships on the Report stage, and I do not want to repeat more than one or two of the arguments. The Government were, not able to accept the Amendment and I think the gist of their argument against it was that whilst we say that the children of Indian fathers and European mothers are not Anglo-Indians the Government say they are. I failed to convince my noble friend the other day, but I think we are right, and at any rate we have a great deal of evidence on our side which has not been disputed. I know that the Government want the definition of an Anglo-Indian as the son of an English father and an Indian mother to be accepted only for franchise purposes. I have tried to show that this definition is not only a franchise definition. It is a definition which is applied in every walk of life.

I told my noble friend the other day that for legal purposes the same definition applies. He will find in the Criminal Procedure Code that the definition of an Anglo-Indian depends on male parentage. He will find that for military purposes in the Indian auxiliary forces the definition is "a British subject of European descent in the male line." My noble friend Earl Winterton, when Under-Secretary of State, made the matter quite clear in another place when in answer to questions he said: For purposes of employment under Government and inclusion in schemes of Indianisation, members of the Anglo-Indian and domiciled European community are statutory natives of India. For purposes of education and internal security, their status, in so far as it admits of definition, approximates to that of European British subjects. —which, of course, is European father or grandfather and legitimate issue. For all these purposes, therefore, we have the same definition, and in the Government of India Blue-book he will find them classified in just the same way for employment. In fact, it is the absolutely universal law that the child traces his parentage and nationality through the male and not the female line.

I pointed out that there are grave disadvantages if this rule is not applied in this case. I pointed out that where you have an Indian father and a European mother you may get introduced into the European and Anglo-Indian schools religious differences because a child assumes normally the religion of his father and all the native customs that ensue. I have had some discussion with my noble friend since the last debate and I am afraid he is going to resist this Amendment, but I would appeal to him, if he cannot accept the Amendment, to do the next best thing and to say across the floor of your Lordships' House something to this effect, that he would give directions to Governors of Provinces that the educational grants in aid of European and Anglo-Indian communities would not be prejudiced by the admission of these children. I am aware that there are these children in the schools already and little or no objection is taken to the children being in the schools. But Anglo-Indians object, and rightly, and Europeans also object to their being admitted as Anglo-Indians. They fear that, with the financial stringency that may occur, if these children come in ever increasing numbers into the schools that will make less the share of the money for all concerned and thereby Anglo-Indians will be prejudiced. I hope my noble friend can say as much as this, because I am certain that it is the intention of the Government that the schools should be for Anglo-Indians and Europeans, and I am equally sure the Government could not possibly desire that these children should in fact be prejudiced by the admission of these non-Anglo-Indian children.

Amendment moved— Page 53, line 39, after ("them") insert ("as defined in Part I of the First Schedule to this Act").—(Lord Lloyd.)


My Lords, as the noble Lord has informed your Lordships I have had some discussion with him and I have also been in consultation with the Government of India in regard to this matter. The Government of India are most anxious that the present position should be safeguarded as it is by the clause as it stands. What the Government of India attach importance to is this: That in these cases, and some of them are after all meritorious, as in other cases in which the child of a white mother is brought up on English standards, it should be entitled, as it is at present, to the advantage of attending these schools.

The noble Lord asked me whether I could say across the floor of your Lordships' House anything that would make it clear that in the main it was intended that the schools should be for Europeans and for the children of European fathers and Indian mothers. No doubt in the main that is so, but it is not wholly so. There are at present quite a number of children who are the offspring of Indian fathers and European mothers who are attending these schools, and I should be very sorry to see anything inserted in this Bill which would make that impossible in the future. Undoubtedly it is the duty of the Governor-General and of the Governors of the Provinces to see under their special responsibility for protecting the interests of minorities that the financial provision made for these schools is not endangered in so far as the offspring of European fathers and Indian mothers is concerned, and I think the noble Lord may rest assured that the Governor-General and the Governors will see that their duties in that respect are duly discharged. I am afraid I cannot accept the Amendment.


My Lords, I thank my noble friend for what he has said. Perhaps I am a little greedy and I wish he had gone further, but I am grateful for his assurance. In the circumstances I beg leave to withdraw.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 89:

Power of Governor to promulgate ordinances at any tone with respect to certain subjects.

(4) if and so far a; an ordinance under this section makes any provision which would not be valid if enacted in an Act of the Provincial Legislature, it shall be void:

Provided that for the purposes of the provisions of this Act relating to the effect of an Act of a Provincial Legislature which is repugnant to an Act of the Federal Legislature, an ordinance promulgated under this section shall, until disallowed by the Governor-General, be deemed to be an Act of the Provincial Legislature which has been reserved for his consideration and assented to by him.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved, in the proviso in subsection (4), to leave out "until disallowed by the Governor-General." The noble Marquess said: My Lords, this Amendment is to put right a small mistake which has occurred in Clause 89. The Governor-General is actually given no authority to disallow an Act; it is only the King who can disallow an Act. Of course, the Governor-General can refuse his assent to a Bill, but that is a very different thing, and it is ire order to put that right that I move this Amendment. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 58, line 25, leave out ("until disallowed by the Governor-General").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, the next Amendment is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 58, line 27, leave out ("his consideration") and insert ("the consideration of the Governor-General").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

VISCOUNT BERTIE OF THAME moved, after Clause 129, to insert the following new clause:

".—(1) The Governor-General in the exercise of his individual judgment shall make regulations controlling the exhibition of cinematograph films in British India and any expenses incurred in respect of the snaking of such regulations and the enforcement thereof shall be charged on the revenues of the Federation.

(2) If any provision of a Federal or Provincial law is repugnant to any such regulation the regulation shall prevail and the Federal or Provincial law shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be construed as derogating from any powers conferred on the Governor-General under this Act."

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I wish only to detain your Lordships for a very short time on this Amendment, because the issue is clear-cut and the Amendment itself is self-explanatory. The point is, as I mentioned on the Report stage, that some of the cinematograph films have a very bad influence socially, morally and politically, and there should be some sort of uniform control. When I raised the point and made an appeal to the noble Marquess to put down an Amendment himself, he said: I do not think that any addition to the Bill is necessary to deal with this matter. Cinemas and other kindred subjects are subjects for legislation by the Provincial Governments, and they will be dealt with in the future precisely as they are at the present time. How does the noble Marquess know that they will be dealt with precisely as they are now, and what guarantee is there that they will be so dealt with? My noble friend Lord Mount Temple asked: Do I understand that any powers that may be vested in the Governments are not in any way infringed or diminished owing to this Bill? Do the same powers remain as heretofore? The noble Marquess, in reply, very frankly admitted that he did not think so. He said: No, I do not think that that can be exactly the position, because the character of the Government will be somewhat altered. In future the Government will be a responsible Government, and the legislation will be passed by the responsible Government in the Provinces if they wish to alter existing laws. So the fact remains that weak laws may still further be weakened. In reply to my appeal he also said: Legislation, if I remember rightly, already exists in the Provinces. The noble Marquess, Lord Crewe, said that "there have been complaints of a number of films." If there is room under the present system for complaints, are the Government satisfied, and are your Lordships satisfied, that this should remain so? In my view the law wants some strengthening, and I think that uniformity is the best way of bringing that about. Then I have one further argument in support of this Amendment in favour of films being under the control of the Governor-General: that the matter is to some extent akin to defence, and should on that account be co-ordinated. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— After Clause 129, insert the said new clause.—(Viscount Bertie of Theme.)


My Lords, I can quite understand the feelings of the noble Viscount in this matter, but I am afraid that it will be quite impossible for me to accept the new clause which he now proposes. To do so would, in effect, be at the last hour to impose another special responsibility upon the Governor-General, the special responsibility of dealing with cinematograph films. If the noble Viscount would look at the Seventh Schedule of the Bill, which deals with these matters, he would see that ample provision is made. Legislation with regard to cinemas, theatres and kindred subjects will be found as item No. 35 in List II, which sets out the subjects which are to be dealt with by the Provincial Legislatures. The noble Viscount will also see that there is a note to this effect "but not including the sanction of cinematograph films for exhibition." Now, if the noble Viscount will look into the Concurrent Legislative List of subjects, List III, Part II, item 33, he will find that this matter is dealt with not only by the Provinces but also by the Federal Government, so that the Federal Government have power to pass legislation with regard to matters of that kind—that is, the sanctioning of cinematograph films for exhibition. The noble Viscount referred to some remarks of mine in which I said that it was possible that the position in the future would not be exactly the same as it was at present. All I was referring to was an alteration in the actual nature of the Governments, as he very rightly said. But it is really very improbable that existing legislation which is already there will be repealed, either by a Provincial Government or by a Federal Government, in a case of this kind.

To make the matter quite clear, let me just remind noble Lords of the control which is exercised under the existing law, which will continue to be the law until it is repealed. Under Section 7 of the Cinematograph Act, 1918, it is provided that any Provincial Government authorised by the Governor-General in Council may constitute Boards for the purposes of examining and certifying films suitable for public exhibition. In the Act there is an appeal from the decision of the Board to the Provincial Government. A certificate granted by any Board of Censors is valid throughout India. There are, however, the following safeguards—and I would ask the noble Viscount's attention to these safeguards. In the first place, a District Magistrate, or in a Presidency town or Rangoon the Commissioner of Police, is empowered to suspend at any time the certificate of any film pending the orders of the Provincial Government, and that Government can then declare that the film is deemed to be uncertified.


May I ask the noble Marquess whether that is after it has been shown in public?


Yes, that would be after it has been shown in public. Presumably the Board of Censors would see the film first. It is to be examined by a Board of Censors, and the Board of Censors would, no doubt, if they were in doubt, ask for advice. Those are the powers given to District Magistrates and Commissioners of Police, and there are other safeguards with which I need not trouble your Lordships. I really think that the position is as safe as it can be under the existing law, and that there is no probability that the new Government are going to repeal a law of that kind. It would be no more in the interest of a Government of the future than it is of a Government of the present day, that they should have undesirable films shown within their jurisdiction. As I reminded the noble Viscount, the other clay, in the event of the display of a film affecting any of the special responsibilities of the Governor or the Governor-General, he would then be entitled at once to step in.


My Lords, I think that perhaps the matter is met. Perhaps it was owing to my negligence in not having read the Bill more often than I did, or perhaps it was owing to the fear of the terrible effect which reading the Apocalypse seems to have on some people, that I did not grasp the situation. I beg leave to withdraw.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 242:

Application of preceding section to railway services, and officials of courts.

242.—(1) In its application to appointments to, and to persons serving in, the railway services of the Federation, the last preceding section shall have effect as if for any reference to the Governor-General in paragraph (a) of subsection (1), in paragraph (a) of subsection (2) and in subsection (5) there were substituted a reference to the Federal Railway Authority.

(2) In framing rules for the regulation of recruitment to superior railway posts the Federal Railway Authority shall consult the Federal Public Service Commission, and in the recruitment of officers generally shall give effect to any instructions which may be issued by the Governor-General for the purpose of securing, so far as practicable to each community in India a fair representation in the railway services of the Federation, but, save as aforesaid, it shall not be obligatory on the Authority to consult with, or otherwise avail themselves of the services of, the Federal Public Service Commission.

LORD LLOYD moved, in subsection (2), to leave out "the recruitment of officers generally" and insert "recruitment to such posts and in recruitment generally for railway purposes shall have due regard to the past association of the Anglo-Indian community with railway services in India, and particularly to the specific class, character and numerical percentages of the posts hitherto held by members of that community and the remuneration attaching to such posts, and." The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have some reason to hope, after a consultation with my noble friend, that he will feel able to accept the amended terms of my Amendment as it appears on the Paper. You will remember that there was a shorter Amendment originally put down. That has now been amplified to meet more specifically the anxieties of the Anglo-Indian community. One of their anxieties concerned the percentage of posts to be kept for them, and the other was not only that they were to have the percentage of posts, but were to be kept employed in the same classes and character of employment as they had hitherto enjoyed. They had very good reason for anxiety over this.

There has also been added the word "remuneration," which is very important to them, because the scales of pay have deteriorated so terribly in recent times, and I might tell your Lordships that a European or Anglo-Indian boy fireman only gets ten rupees a month for the first few years. You will realise how impossible it is for anybody to live on that pay. These are matters which I believe are being enquired into. They are all very grave and therefore I am grateful to my noble friend for allowing the word "remuneration" to come into the Amendment, as well as for his sympathy and assistance about it. There is only one thing which I am not very happy about. I have already put it to my noble friend. I am not going to press it, but I wish very much that there could have been incorporated in the Statute the agreed percentages of the Government of India Resolution of July, 1934. Nowhere in the Statute are those percentages mentioned. The Anglo-Indian community were admitted to have 8.8 per cent. of the railway official appointments, and they are given only 8 per cent., which means a loss of 1,000 posts in a small community. They have also suffered greatly by retrenchment, and so I feel that if in some manner or other lily noble friend could either across the floor of the House or in an Amendment give some specific assurance about the percentages, it would be a very good thing.

I would just like to remind the House of the many pledges that have been given to the Anglo-Indians. In every single case from the Montagu-Chelmsford Report onwards, for the last fifteen years, the same claims have been put forward by the Anglo-Indian community, and have met with the same sympathy and the same acknowledgment in each one of those Reports. Added to that, when his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales came out to India on his memorable tour, he used these words: I shall watch the progress of your community with the closest attention. You may be confident that Great Britain and the Empire will not forget your community, who are so united in their devotion to the King-Emperor, and who gave such unmistakable tokens of their attachment to the Empire by their great sacrifices in the War. Those are notable words, of which any community might well be proud, and I believe they have been very well earned. The other day, when I ventured to bring the claims of this community before your Lordships, I think there was scarcely a single ex-administrator, whether an ex-Viceroy or an ex-Governor of India, who was not strongly in sympathy with my proposal. I do hope therefore that my noble friend will conclude his good work for the Anglo-Indians—and I would like to assure him of my gratitude in that respect—by giving to them an assurance about percentages. I will only add that I believe the Anglo-Indian community are satisfied with the position in the Customs, but I assume that the general terms in the Amendment, which deals with posts in the Postal and Telegraph Services, and railways, will, if accepted, apply also in general terms to the Customs. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 147, line 25, leave out ("the recruitment of officers generally") and insert the said new words.—(Lord Lloyd.)


My Lords, when the noble Lord raised this question a few days ago I promised him I would look into the matter and see whether this was the best way of safeguarding the interests of the Anglo-Indian community. I said at the time that I was a little doubtful whether it was really wise to put words of this kind into the Bill, since I thought it might create prejudice against a community specially selected for mention in this way. I am still not at all sure that in that opinion I am not right, but I realise the fact that the noble Lord himself, and I dare say many other noble Lords, disagree with me in my judgment on that point, and I am not therefore going to resist the Amendment if the noble Lord thinks this is the best way of dealing with the matter. I must, however, make it clear that of course these words are purely declaratory. As he would be the first to admit, they do not bind anyone to anything, but merely state in the Statute what is the intention of Parliament with regard to this particular community. I must make it clear also that the words which have been added to the Amendment with regard to remuneration cannot be held in any way to be a promise that special rates of pay will be provided at any time for particular communities.

Having said that, let me add, and I think he pressed me on this point, that it is the intention of the Government that the existing policy in this matter—that is to say, the policy laid down under the Government of India's Resolution of July, 1934—is the policy which they intend should be pursued, and if he asks me for an assurance on that point I am perfectly willing to give it to him. That is our intention and, more than that, the draft Instrument of Instructions proposes to instruct the Governor-General and the Governors that in the matter of securing "a due proportion of appointments in Our Services to the several communities" they shall be "guided in this respect by the accepted policy prevailing before the issue of these Our Instructions," unless they are "fully satisfied that modification of that policy is essential in the interests of the communities affected or of the welfare of the public." I may add that it is my intention to inform the Government of India that the Resolution of July, 1934, is to be regarded by them as the "accepted policy," in those words in the Instructions from now onwards, and I hope that with those words the noble Lord will be satisfied that we are doing as much as is possible to safeguard the interests of this very meritorious and deserving community.


My Lords, may I in the fewest possible words express my warm thanks to my noble friend for the trouble he has taken, and for meeting these claims? I know it will give the greatest happiness and satisfaction to people who are anxious about the matter in India.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

LORD LLOYD moved, after subsection (2), to insert the following new subsection:

"(3) In framing the rules for the regulation of recruitments to posts in the Postal and Telegraph Services, the Governor-General or person authorised by him in that behalf shall have clue regard to the past association of the Anglo-Indian community with the said Services, and particularly to the specific class, character and numerical percentages of the posts previously held in the said Services by members of the said community and to the remuneration attaching to such posts."

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this Amendment is consequential.

Amendment moved— Page 147, line 32, at end insert the said new subsection.—(Lord Lloyd.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 261:

Secretary of State to act with approval of his advisers.

261. The powers conferred by this Chapter on the Secretary of State shall not be exercisable by him except with the concurrence of his advisers.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved to leave out "Chapter" and insert "and the subsequent Chapters of this Part of this Act." The noble Marquess said My Lords, this Amendment is to ensure that in various matters affecting the Services in India the Secretary of State shall act with his advisers. Under the Bill as originally drafted this provision ought to have been made clear, but owing to what was little more than a drafting error it was not made clear. The sole object of this Amendment and of one on Clause 436 is to make it clear that in these matters the Secretary of State acts with the advice of his advisers.

Amendment moved— Page 161, line 2, leave out ("Chapter") and insert the said words.—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Clause 436:

Secretary of State to act with approval of his advisers.

436. The powers conferred by the foregoing provisions of this Chapter on the Secretary of State (other than powers in relation to Defence Services) shall not be exercisable by him except with the con- currence of his advisers and the advisers of the Secretary of State appointed under the provisions of this Act relating to India.

THE MARQUESS OF ZETLAND moved to leave out "foregoing." The noble Marquess said: This is merely a repetition in the case of Burma of the Amendment which I have just, moved in the case of India.

Amendment moved— Page 277, line 12; leave out ("foregoing").—(The Marquess of Zetland.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(The Marquess of Zealand.)

On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.