HL Deb 21 July 1936 vol 102 cc130-3

My Lords, in asking your Lordships to approve this Order, I feel I ought to give a short explanation of it. Section 94 of the Government of India Act last year provided that Aden should cease to be a part of India. Under Section 288 of the same Act power was conferred upon His Majesty in Council to determine the date upon which the separation of Aden should take place and make such provision as might be deemed proper for the government of Aden after that date. This Order is made in pursuance of the provisions of that latter section—Section 288—of the Government of India Act, and the effect of it is to fix April 1 of next year as the appointed day, and set up in Aden a standard form of Crown Colony Government with a Governor assisted by an Executive Council. The Order is in common form, and there are only one or two matters to which I need draw your Lordships' attention. The Order and the Royal Instructions which go with it make provision for the implementing of certain undertakings given to the Government of India. It was possible to insert, either in the Order or in the Instructions, provision for most of these undertakings. I only wish to draw your Lordships' attention to two of them.

The first is that there is to be an appellate jurisdiction from the Courts in Aden to such Court in India as may be specified in the Order. As the result of the Order the present position will be substantially maintained. That means that the existing relations between the High Court of Bombay and the District and Sessions Court at Aden will remain the same. The other point to which I wish to draw attention is a paragraph which gives effect to a further undertaking given fey His Majesty's Government that there shall be no racial discrimination or segregation after the change has taken place. As I have said, there were further undertakings. The majority of them are dealt with in the Order or in the Royal Instructions, and the remainder will be implemented administratively. I do not think there is anything else I need say in asking your Lordships to approve this Order, but I want to make three small Amendments in the Order which are really of a drafting character. These Amendments are to leave out the word "Aden" in three places and insert the words "the Colony." "The Colony" is the term used earlier on, and it was obviously through inadvertence that the word "Aden" was used in these three places. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Order, as presented to Parliament and reported from the India and Burma Orders Committee on Thursday last, be considered.—(The Earl of Plymouth.)


My Lords, may I say a few words as one who has been closely associated for some years with Aden and the Protectorate? I understand that this Order does not affect the Protectorate, so I need not allude to that further. The Aden Administration has for a number of years been very chequered and very mixed up with India and also with the Colonial Office. I only hope that this new status which is to be given to Aden will be to its own satisfaction. It has been a very flourishing fortress up to now, and I am glad to think that this change, which we all hope will be for the better, is taking place while Sir Bernard Reilly, who has done such excellent service, and who has lately effected a treaty with the Imam of the Yemen, is still in office. There were two main difficulties when this change was contemplated. One was owing to the dislike that the Indians had of being cut off from India, but I have no doubt that the fact which the noble Earl mentioned, that there will be a reference from the. Aden Courts to the Bombay High Court, will satisfy them. The other point was the difficulty connected with the salt question. The income of Aden was largely dependent on its very extensive salt areas, and India was the market to which the salt was taken. The idea was that India might put on a tariff against this salt, which would seriously hamper Aden in carrying out its administration, but I believe there is such a partiality for Aden's salt in India that it is very improbable that any such tax will be imposed.

Another point I would like to mention is this. I have made two or three visits to Aden, and I must say it is not an unpleasant place at all. Those who form the garrison can enjoy being there nowadays. They have an excellent water supply, good roads, and all facilities for amusement. Also they have these two great benefits—there are no mosquitoes and no newspapers! At the same time Aden is not a place entirely for pleasure. It is distinctly a fortress, and after its improved status I imagine it will be put in a stronger position. Recent events not far off in Arabia have made the importance of Aden far greater than in the past, and I only trust that under the new system of administration it will be put in a stronger position both for defence and as regards the lot of the people who live there.


My Lords, I should like to think the noble Lord for what he has said in connection with this matter, and particularly to add my tribute to the one he paid to Sir Bernard Reilly for the splendid work he has done in Aden for some time past now. With regard to the question of salt, I want to say that the Colonial Office realises the importance of this question. The matter is under discussion now, and therefore it is not possible for me to say anything definite, but it is hoped that the status quo may be maintained for the time being at any rate.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Amendments moved— In paragraph 21, page 7, line 5, leave out ("Aden") and insert ("the Colony") In paragraph 21, page 7, line 6, leave out ("Aden") and insert ("the Colony") In paragraph 21, page 7, line 8, leave out ("Aden") and insert ("the Colony").—(The Earl of Plymouth.)

On Question, Amendments agreed to.


I beg to move that the Draft Order be approved, as amended.

Moved, That the Draft Aden Colony Order, 1936, as presented to Parliament and reported from the India and Burma Orders Committee on Thursday last, be approved as amended.—(The Earl of Plymouth.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.