§ 3.10 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ELIBANK rose to ask His Majesty's Government whether they have now considered the recent Report of the 684 Rhodesia-Nyasaland Royal Commission; whether they have consulted the Governments concerned regarding it, and what action they propose to take in respect to the various recommendations contained in it; and to move for Papers.
§ The noble Viscount said: My Lords, the noble Marquess, Lord Dufferin, did me the courtesy this afternoon to ring me up to tell me that he had to broadcast at half past two, so that he might be a little late in arriving here, and not be present at the commencement of the debate. He asked me to express his regret that that should be the case. This Motion that I have down on the Paper to-day is one of very great importance, not only to the part of Africa to which it refers but to the whole of our Colonial Empire, and the Report which has been issued by the Royal Commission, under my old friend Lord Bledisloe, gives a very lucid and comprehensive review of the subject with which it deals. I should like to congratulate my noble friend, whom I see in his place to-day, upon that Report, not because I agree with it entirely—I do agree with some of the conclusions, though not with the main conclusions—but because of the way the Report is drawn up and the way in which the case has been presented. I should like also to congratulate my noble friend upon the copy of the Report which he has placed in the library of your Lordships' House. It is a new idea. That Report contains photographs of the various places which the Commission visited, of the natives, and of many scenes of the greatest interest in the part of the world upon which they were reporting. I hope that it will be taken as a precedent, and that the Chairmen of other Commissions going out to parts of the Empire will illustrate their Reports and place them in the library in the same way as my noble friend has done.
§ This great central plateau of Africa with which the Report deals must play a very important part in the economic and political spheres of that part of Africa, having regard to its size and to its population. When I tell your Lordships that the three Territories concerned, Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland are together five times the size of the United Kingdom, and that they contain a population of 5,000,000 natives and nearly 75,000 to 80,000 Europeans, then your 685 Lordships will understand how important they are. A few weeks ago I spent several weeks in renewing my acquaintance with Southern Rhodesia, and in travelling by air, by motor and by train over a great part of that territory, and incidentally into Northern Rhodesia. Here I would like to emphasize the importance which air transportation plays now in areas of that size—how unifying it can be in its influence, how it shortens the distances and brings closer the administrative machinery and the commercial enterprise. And during that visit I was able to survey this question which I am presenting to your Lordships to-day.
§ While at Livingstone—which is just across the Zambesi—in the Livingstone Museum I found a letter written by Livingstone in the year 1858, in which he outlines a dream of his for a great colonial development in that part of Africa under the British flag. However, it was not to be Livingstone who realized that dream, but Cecil John Rhodes, who, some forty years afterwards, through a Chartered Company operating for profit, realized his great ideal and added to the British Empire, and to the British Crown, a territory of very great value indeed. That dream of his was further materialised some few years afterwards by the addition, through that same Chartered Company, of what is now known as the Nyasaland Territory. So Rhodes, who at one time had written and had said that he believed the future of South Africa should be a Federal South Africa from the Cape to Tanganyika, under the British flag, had gone a long way to advance what he had in mind.
§ But owing to certain political, administrative and economical circumstances, the single country of Rhodesia, which Rhodes had founded, was split into two parts, Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia, and Southern Rhodesia, which forms about one-third of the territory, became a Colony with responsible government under a Prime Minister. Here I may be allowed to pay a tribute to the present Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Mr. Huggins, who perhaps is one of the most progressive, most enlightened and most sagacious statesmen in the British Empire to-day, because under his guidance Southern Rhodesia has advanced and is still advancing in development, and is progressing in every 686 direction. Rhodesia was split, as I have said, into Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia, the latter being kept as a British Protectorate, under what can be described as virtually Crown Colony government, and Nyasaland was kept on practically the same basis.
§ What was the actual question which the Royal Commission had to answer? What were their terms of reference? They were asked to decide whether any form of closer co-operation or association was desirable and, if so, what form it should take. In a sense the most interesting part of this Report is that the Royal Commission agreed in principle—though there are certain minority letters, not reports—that amalgamation was in the future a natural and desirable thing; in other words, that it was something that must come in time. But their main difficulty in advising immediate amalgamation was the native question, with which I propose to deal directly. But they did advocate—and this is important—that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom should recognise immediately the principle of amalgamation, and give effect to it as soon as possible. I may say at once that I sincerely hope that His Majesty's Government will give effect to that recommendation and immediately recognise the principle of amalgamation. So far as I am concerned, I should like His Majesty's Government to go still further and follow on that decision by immediate amalgamation.
§ In the Report itself there is a suggestion that an Inter-territorial Council should be set up, whose objects should be:
- "(i) to examine the existing Government services of the three Territories and bring about the greatest possible measure of co-ordination in those services; and
- (ii) to survey the economic needs of the whole area, agricultural, industrial and commercial, and frame plans for future development in the light of that survey."
§ I turn back for a moment—and I hope my noble friend will forgive me for decimating his Report to this extent, but he will recognise that what I am trying to do is to have amalgamation at once, and not amalgamation in the distant future—I turn back to his Report, and I find that in one section of it, as a step towards this amalgamation, he recommends that the two Territories of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland be immediately amalgamated under one Governor. Whilst in practice that may seem all right, it would in effect be a delaying measure. Obviously it would be said, "Until these two Territories are amalgamated we can do nothing about the bigger scheme; you will have to wait for it." That means that perhaps it would take two or three years to get that amalgamation done, and when that amalgamation was done, it would be said, "We shall have to see how it works before we start to talk again about the bigger scheme; and consequently about eight or ten years hence we can begin to talk about the scheme of amalgamation"—which the Report recommended should be adopted in principle at once by His Majesty's Government. I sincerely hope that the Government will not adopt that recommendation.
Let me turn to the native question, which the Commission described as the
principal bar to immediate amalgamation. When I read this Report, I seemed to feel that a conclusion had been arrived at which was not justified by the evidence in the Report. It seems—I do not know whether it is correct; my noble friend will be able to say when he speaks—that the principal bar is the conditions affecting the natives in Southern Rhodesia; and yet, when I look at the Report, I find that they are better off than in the other two Territories, so far as agricultural services and medical services are concerned; indeed the Report itself recommends other Territories to study what Southern Rhodesia has done in those two respects. I turn to another part of the Report, and I find this in reference to Barotseland, which forms part of Northern Rhodesia. This is an extract from the Report:
Barotseland has enjoyed a settled native government for a longer period than any"—
The quotation has been copied exactly, but I am sorry I cannot give my noble friend the page. It is as follows:Barotseland has enjoyed a settled native government for a longer period than any other part of the area covered by the terms of reference, but there is little sign that the native peasantry has derived any substantial advantage from the fact. Provision for education and medical services appears to have been somewhat seriously neglected, and even at Mongu (the capital) these services leave much to be desired.My noble friend accepts that. If you read other parts of the Report you find that the conditions of the natives in these two Territories which cannot be immediately amalgamated are not so satisfactory as they are in Southern Rhodesia. I would like here to turn to an extract which I have taken from a compendious volume, a wonderful survey called An African Survey by Lord Hailey, which I would advise everyone to read who is interested in these questions in Southern Africa. Lord Hailey says:Lack of agricultural development amongst natives has left them largely dependent on the labour market for earning money.The fact of the matter, presumably because of the possible settlement of Europeans in these northern Territories, is that there is a certain shyness to go ahead with this amalgamation.
689 I suggest to your Lordships that where European settlement of a good character, properly looked after, has gone hand in hand with native development, the natives have benefited a great deal more than where they have been left to their own devices and have had no example of any kind to follow. That is a difficulty in the northern Territories to-day. These natives have to go away to get employment. They find to-day in the Copperbelt employment which they did not find before. If there is any reason at all why the natives in Northern Rhodesia are progressing better to-day than before, and if they are being given better conditions in medical services or any other services—although we are told they are getting very little—it is because of the development of the Copperbelt and the moneys which have come into the local Treasury and which provide them with these benefits which otherwise they could not obtain. It may sound an anachronism, but it is absolutely true, that the best conditions in all these Territories are to be found where civilised Europeans are working and developing them side by side with the natives. Southern Rhodesia is a striking example of this.
The pass system is a system which has often been criticised ignorantly in this country by well-intentioned people. This pass system is in force in Southern Rhodesia as it is in every part of the Union. As one who lived in South Africa for some five years, and consequently understands a little about the conditions under which people live there, I can assure your Lordships that with the large preponderance of natives living in uncivilised conditions under the kraal system it would not be possible for European communities in towns and settlements to live comfortably and securely in their property, and sometimes even in their womenkind, unless this pass system was enforced. If strange natives could come into these towns and settlements and wander about with no bar to their movements, there is no knowing what could, and does, often happen. I can assure your Lordships that the pass system is not so bad as it is painted. So far as Southern Rhodesia is concerned, it is being relaxed wherever possible. I was speaking to the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia on this very point 690 quite recently, and I am sure he will have no objection to my saying here and now that this system is being relaxed wherever possible in favour of the educated and civilised native. That such a system should be desired and will have to be installed in the Copperbelt in Northern Rhodesia is not extraordinary after what I have just stated to your Lordships.
There is very little difference between the conditions under which these natives live in the northern Territories as compared with Southern Rhodesia, because, wherever you go in these Territories, the old native communal system has been split up owing to the large numbers who have gone down to the mines of the Rand, the different mines in Rhodesia, and so on, and who have become separated, if I may put it that way, from their old tribal customs even when they get back to their own kraals. Consequently these differences which have been held out as being so great are really very little indeed in actual practice. I suggest to your Lordships that if there are such differences, if amalgamation is not going to take place at once these differences are going to become greater. When the object of this Report, which is amalgamation, ultimately comes into being, then it will be more difficult to bring these differences together than it would be to-day when they are so little apparent and when, as I have already indicated, far better conditions with regard to medical and agricultural services exist in Southern Rhodesia than in the other two Territories.
I am going to recommend to His Majesty's Government that, concurrently with the establishment of this Inter-territorial Council—and of course that is subject to the three Governments being consulted and agreeing—there should be set up an Inter-territorial Native Board to consider very carefully all the questions of native affairs so as to correlate them and prepare a scheme for their administration at the same time as the Inter-territorial Council is preparing a scheme for amalgamation in respect of other matters. Here again, as in the case of the Inter-territorial Council, I wish to recommend to His Majesty's Government that at least two direct representatives of the Imperial Government should sit on that Inter-territorial Native Board to look after the interests of the natives from the 691 point of view of the trusteeship of this country. This would enable the whole scheme for amalgamation to be prepared from an expert point of view and from every point of view.
I can assure your Lordships that Europeans in the three Territories concerned have the strongest desire to-day for immediate amalgamation, There is, as I say, very considerable feeling in this direction, and the delay in coming to a decision is affecting the relationship between Europeans and natives in the two northern Territories. It is arousing a belief in the minds of the natives in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland that they will not receive proper treatment if the two Territories are amalgamated with Southern Rhodesia. On the other hand, the Europeans feel that what is a legitimate and necessary project is being unjustly delayed because of the native question. The longer this goes on the stronger will grow the feeling between the two races, and when amalgamation ultimately does take place, as I submit it must and will, it will do so in an atmosphere which will create very great difficulties for the Administration which has to take it over. I therefore urge the Government to cast off their indecision, if I may call it so, and, in their capacity as trustees for the natives and Europeans, take immediate action in a manner which is essential for the general development of all these three Territories for the welfare of both the black and white races inhabiting this part of Africa.
Finally, let me say this. The map of Africa shows that the three Territories under discussion lie exactly between Portuguese West Africa and Portuguese East Africa. Very shortly the Portuguese East Africa Government are taking over what is called the Mozambique Concession and will administer this large Territory themselves. All the trade of the three British Territories finds its exit to the sea through Portuguese East Africa, who hold the littoral and all the seaports. To-day representations by them are made singly and independently to that Government by the Governments of those three Territories, but as the trade increases, as it surely will, points are certain to arise that will require greater force in their negotiation. As one unit they would carry much greater weight than the three would separately because union is strength. 692 Even to-day it might be, from my own knowledge, a great advantage in those negotiations if those Territories were amalgamated.
But apart from this, it is highly important that in these disturbed days places under the British flag should come together and hold together wherever they can. The larger the units the greater the chances of success they have in combating the insidious anti-British propaganda and treachery which are now springing up and are to be found in most parts of the British Empire, and which is promoted and fostered by our potential enemies. The amalgamation of these three Territories under discussion would seem an obvious act for this reason alone. Therefore I venture to hope that for these and the other reasons I have given His Majesty's Government will deal with this whole question with vision and vigour, and that a further step will be taken immediately in the direction of preserving and solidifying the British race and traditions in this part of Africa, and, as a result of this, leading on in the future to the realization of Rhodes's foremost ideal, a Federal South Africa from the Cape to Tanganyika under the British flag. I beg to move.
§ 3.45 p.m.
§ LORD LUGARD
My Lords, the Royal Commission of which the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, was Chairman, calls attention afresh to many problems which have been discussed by previous Commissions, beginning with the important Parliamentary Commission of 1924–5 under Lord Harlech. The Majority Report of the Royal Commission records the opinion that the time is not ripe for the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Rhodesia, but asks His Majesty's Government to state, without delay, that they approve it in principle. We have, I think, had recent cause to feel that it is unwise for a Government to commit themselves prematurely to the acceptance of a principle which the frequent changes of to-day may later render unacceptable, and meantime may give rise to serious misunderstandings and charges of broken promises.
The principle for which it is sought to obtain the approval of His Majesty's Government means that a Territory nearly double the size of Southern Rhodesia would, in conjunction with it, become self-governing with its extremely sparse 693 native population, though with the exception of the Copperbelt or railway zone, it has only a negligible European population other than officials. The Royal Commission, like that of Sir Alan Pim of the year before, point out that this vast area is lamentably deficient in educational and medical services, and the problem is how the cost of these services and of material development such as roads can be met. In the opinion of the Commission:The total revenue available to a United Administration on the basis of the current figures would not be as large as the revenues now collected by the three Governments separately.They add thatso far … from resulting in a reduction in total expenditure … it would call for further expenditure.Though the royalties on copper, which constitute the sole wealth of Northern Rhodesia, belong to the British South Africa Company, the tax on profits which would otherwise accrue to the Inland Revenue Department in this country provides more than half the revenue of Northern Rhodesia. The natives are admittedly taxed to the full limit of their capacity, and the immense distance from a seaport makes the export of native produce impossible. The Commission point out that on amalgamation the new self-governing State could no longer count on the grants from the Imperial Exchequer.
It is obvious, therefore, that the cost of financing the Administration and providing the social services which the Royal Commission consider to be essential will fall very largely on the revenues of Southern Rhodesia which for the past three years on an average have been more than treble the revenue of the Protectorate. Will the European communities when they realize after amalgamation the extent of the demand, and it is too late to revert, be willing to shoulder the burden? Mr. Huggins, the Premier, under whose capable Administration Southern Rhodesia has made such notable progess, is an optimist, but I venture to submit that it would be prudent if estimates were prepared of the total cost involved and of the revenue which can be assured to meet it, before His Majesty's Government are asked to commit themselves to the principle of amalgamation and to support a scheme which 694 must either make very heavy demands on a comparatively small community or else result in the denial to the natives of these social services which are so essential.
The Commission note that in their terms of reference particular mention is made "of the special responsibility" of His Majesty's Government "for the interests of the native inhabitants" in all the Territories. It is, therefore, of primary importance to consider how those interests will be affected by amalgation. The policy of the Government in regard to the natives in the two Protectorates is fully described in the Report. In brief, it is based on the principle that race or colour shall be no bar to holding any post and that native races, however primitive, shall be trained to manage their own affairs with progressive responsibility, judicial, executive and financial. This objective was described urbi et orbi by the noble Viscount, Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary, in his memorable speech on June 29 at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, as being "the ultimate goal of British Colonial policy, near or distant according to the capacity of the people concerned."
The Commission tell us that the officials who have to carry out this policy become "a target for criticism by the local unofficial community" in Northern Rhodesia, and in fact that it is a main reason for their desire for amalgamation that they should escape from Colonial Office control. There is, on the other hand, a "striking unanimity" among the African population in opposing it, for they fear the native policy in Southern Rhodesia which, on amalgamation, will, of course, be extended over the North. Employment in the Civil Service is there reserved for Europeans, and natives, we are told, are not employed in any capacity above that of messenger or, in some cases, as agricultural instructors at a wage of £30 a year. There is a colour-bar restriction on skilled labour in the cities, and Africans are at present entirely unrepresented in the Legislature, either directly or indirectly, except by the Chief Native Commissioner. The fact that only thirty-nine applicants out of 1,250,000 could vote at the election of European members of the Legislature does not accord with the ideal which the Chairman in a separate note visualises as "a 695 solid bloc of British territory under one democratically elected Government."
The Commission, however, do stipulate that:Provision should be made for adequate representation of native interests in the Legislature … (which) at a later date need not necessarily be confined to Europeans"—a provision which would obviously be unacceptable to the European community, and for which the constitution of Southern Rhodesia makes no provision. With the growth of education amongst the natives discontent is sure to rise in regard to racial discrimination—a discontent which it is hoped the principle of local native self-government would allay—but the natives of Northern Rhodesia would, on amalgamation, no longer enjoy the privilege which they have at present of being trained by officers who have studied the technique of what is called indirect rule which has been adopted elsewhere.
The administrative staff of Southern Rhodesia is recruited from locally-born candidates of somewhat lower emoluments than those at which cadets were appointed by the Colonial Office. The educational standard, we are told, is that of matriculation, but even at that standard, the numbers qualified have not been found sufficient. The Southern Rhodesia Civil Service already absorbs between 13 and 14 per cent. of the adult European population of both sexes who are on the voters' roll. Mr. Huggins tells me the staff are well suited to deal with the natives, and that they are very carefully selected, and we may take it for granted that they are men of the highest integrity with an earnest desire to be impartial. On amalgamation, the Royal Commission point out, the whole Civil Service will be of this class. Since there would be no possibility of promotion by transfer to other Colonies the Service would not in any case be attractive to candidates who come forward at present for Colonial Service. On the other hand, the candidates selected by the Appointments Board of the Colonial Office from the public schools, the Universities and other sources are highly trained and they have no local affinities or local interests to challenge their impartiality.
The Report quotes Mr. Huggins' description of his "parallel develop- 696 ment" policy, which is an adaptation of so-called indirect rule or native local self-government to those States like Southern Rhodesia, in which there is a large nonnative population, which is restrained from acquiring responsible government because it is a small minority, while the African population resent the exclusion of their educated leaders from any voice in the Government which bears some relation to their numbers. The policy adopted by Mr. Huggins aims at avoiding a racial friction by giving to each race full opportunity for self-government according to its own tradition without interference from the other. But in the description which is quoted in the Report there is one vital omission from the description of it which I gave to the Joint Parliamentary Committee in 1931, which I understand Mr. Huggins adopted as his model. If native councils are to develop until they form a single representative council they must be under the direct control of the Governor and not of the European Legislative Council in which they seek no representation. The Union of South Africa, under the inspiration of Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr and others, has gone some way along this path in its Representation of Natives Act, 1936.
I can very fully appreciate the difficulties which Mr. Huggins encounters in carrying out this policy in Southern Rhodesia, for he would find it very difficult to carry it out so long as the native population is scattered over the country in upwards of eighty separate reserves and half the country is reserved for Europeans. In view of the attitude of a section of the Europeans in both North and South Rhodesia, to which the Commission have called attention, I cannot but feel some misgiving for the future when the time comes for Mr. Huggins to retire and his powerful influence on behalf of the natives is withdrawn. May I in this connection venture to remind your Lordships of the precedent created in India by the successful operation of the Scheduled Districts Acts of 1874 and 1919? Orders in Council under the Government of India and the Government of Burma Acts of 1935 perpetuated those former Acts and excluded, wholly or partially, regions and populations to whom, in the words of the Act, "a representative form of government would be wholly unsuited." The Acts declare that "no 697 Act of the Federal or of the Provincial Legislature shall apply to an excluded area unless the Governor by public notice so directs." In Burma 45 per cent. of the area and 14 per cent. of the population are classed as excluded areas under the Governor's direct control and independent of the Legislature. In India the population thus excluded numbers about 13,000,000.
I would apologise to your Lordships for having spoken so long on the question of native policy had I not thought it essential and of primary importance to the decision on amalgamation. The belief that amalgamation would commit Southern Rhodesia to a northward in preference to a southward, or what has been called a "Kaffir," policy is perhaps the strongest argument in its favour, but the same objects can surely be achieved by ever-closer economic ties with the North without political union, the more so as the mineral industry, which is vital to both Rhodesias, depends very largely on the supply of native labour from the North.
The Royal Commission recommend the immediate unification of Northern Rhodesia with Nyasaland. It is a country in which I feel some personal interest: for over fifty years, before it had been taken under the control of any European Power, I was associated in a small way with its fortunes. Nyasaland would then become a distant outlying province. Its capital, Zomba, is over 600 miles in a direct line from the capital of Northern Rhodesia, Lusaka. There are no communications by road, and if there were they would have to be circuitous, in order to avoid crossing and recrossing Portuguese territory. Nyasaland would lose its separate entity, its Governor and its Legislative Council, and with them the local patriotism and public service which have so distinguished its unofficial citizens. The Commission under Sir Edward Hilton-Young considered that its affinities lay rather with its northern neighbours than with the south, for like them it was in the free trade zone with the Conventional basin of the Congo. There are many, especially in Scotland, who would be glad to see Nyasaland retain its separate individuality and be enlarged by the inclusion of the northern and eastern provinces of Northern Rhodesia, with whose populations its 698 people are closely allied. They would in any case use the route via the lake and the Zambesi Railway to the Port of Beira. The great difficulty is to secure an adequate revenue for these unmineralised territories. The kingdom of Barotse in Northern Rhodesia, like the province of Buganda in the Uganda Protectorate, and the Sultanate of Zanzibar, is in direct treaty relations with the Crown, and its status cannot be altered except by mutual consent. It will remain a small satellite State enjoying a restricted autonomy under its own king.
I have only one word in conclusion. Allusions to the obligations of trusteeship are sometimes stigmatised as "highfalutin'," or with a more opprobrious epithet by our Continental critics. But there is no need to remind your Lordships that in the case of the three South African Protectorates His Majesty's Government have made it fully clear that they cannot divest themselves of their trust, or pass it on even to a Dominion, against the will of the inhabitants and unless they are assured that it is for their real welfare.
§ 4.6 p.m.
§ LORD SNELL
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Viscount for putting a Motion on the Paper which enables your Lordships to discuss this very interesting and important Report. I should myself have wished to introduce a discussion of this kind, except that I offend so often in bringing Motions before your Lordships, and I was afraid to do so. The Report contains a great deal of information about a most interesting and promising part of the Empire, and it is more desirable that a report should be considered and rejected than that it should be ignored. The work that has been given to this Report at any rate merits that your Lordships should pay it very close attention.
At the present time we are all very anxious about the existing conditions in the Colonies and the Empire over a very wide area, and it is a great misfortune that our attempts in recent years have been so deflected from the development of our great Empire estate to international, especially European, affairs. But we must not neglect them altogether. I do not want to say more than a few words to-day, but as I understand the African problem it is that there are two divergent 699 systems in operation there. The first is where British influence is so powerful as to produce a type of civilisation that is based upon white preponderance and a colour bar. The other policy is where officials appointed by the Colonial Office, and not the settlers in a particular area, are in control and try to develop native experience with the idea that ultimately something approaching self-government will be possible. The first of those, two policies represents paternalism and exacts obedience of the natives to the white settlers. The second view believes that the African is capable of quite indefinite development, and it envisages a system in which the native is not to be regarded as a reserve of cheap and docile labour but develops into being a good African. We hope this policy will breed loyalty to the British Commonwealth of Nations. The second policy, of course, requires a longer vision than the first. If the noble Viscount will forgive me for entering a word of criticism upon his speech, it was that his outlook seemed to be influenced almost entirely by the welfare of the Europeans in South Africa—I am not saying to the neglect of the natives.
Might I interrupt the noble Lord? I regret if I gave that impression, but it was not in my mind. What I did say was that the development of the natives, from a material point of view, always went ahead better alongside the European, and more speedily than when the native was left alone, without any capital being brought into his country or anything to produce those medical and agricultural services which he has got in places like Southern Rhodesia.
§ LORD SNELL
I am of course aware of the interest of the noble Viscount in the natives, but my objection to the view he put forward is that if you crystallize the present position of the natives by the amalgamation of these separate forces you are taking a short view of what will be required, and I am not sure that the white populations in Northern Rhodesia and in Nyasaland would be quite happy about the proposed scheme of amalgamation. In Southern Rhodesia there are about 60,000 white people, but in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland there are only 12,000, and so in reality, for good or for evil—I am 700 not saying it is for evil—it would be a mere extension of the Southern Rhodesian policy, because the white minorities in the other places would have to agree to what was done.
I do not want to interrupt the noble Lord unduly, but I want to say that the white minorities are very anxious to see this done. I saw two telegrams, each of about 150 words and costing a good deal, last week. They were sent, one from Northern Rhodesia and another from Nyasaland, urging that steps be taken for immediate amalgamation, because they believed in it.
§ LORD SNELL
I have not that information which the noble Viscount possesses, but I think, if your Lordships will permit me to say so, that we should pay very great attention to what has been said to us by the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, whose long experience in Africa requires that every word that he feels it right to address to us should be most seriously considered. It must be a great comfort to him that he has lived to see so much of the policy that he inaugurated in West Africa become a matter of general desire in the Empire. All that I have wanted to say this afternoon is that we need to be careful about the steps we take. I am not criticising Southern Rhodesia in the least. It is a most entertaining and delightful country, and one that I should very much like to revisit. So it is not against Southern Rhodesia that I am speaking. But the Labour Party feel that their particular responsibility, when these questions come before Parliament, is to see that the interests of the natives are not overlooked. It is that position that I desire to place before your Lordships on this occasion.
The Report, on the general matter of amalgamation, seems to me to be rather inconclusive. There are reservations made by some of its members. Mr. Mainwaring, who represented in particular the Labour point of view, feels that until there has been a clearer exposition of the Labour policy amalgamation should be postponed. He thinks, also, that the native policy of the United Kingdom Government, as operative in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, is likely to serve the native interests better than any immediate amalgamation. That is the point which I desire to put before your 701 Lordships—not that amalgamation should not be seriously considered, but that when it is considered the interests of the natives should continue to be a dominant factor in our minds. With those remarks I again say that I am thankful to the noble Viscount for having brought this matter before your Lordships, and am also grateful to Lord Lugard for giving to us the benefit of his great experience this afternoon.
§ 4.18 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
My Lords, I could wish that there had been more of your Lordships present here this afternoon to take part in a discussion upon a very vital problem, affecting the whole future of the native race or native races in different parts of Central Africa. For my part I certainly cannot complain of either the tone or the substance of any of the comments that have been made upon the Report of the Royal Commission, of which I had the honour to be the Chairman. I should like to assure the Leader of the Opposition, without any hesitation, that the whole of the Commission had throughout their investigations, both here at home and in the course of a most strenuous tour in every part of these three Territories, the interest of the native as being the predominant factor in influencing their recommendations. Indeed, our terms of reference invited us specifically to place the interest of the native in the forefront of our investigation.
Perhaps I may be allowed to remind your Lordships of the constitution of this Royal Commission, because, quite frankly, so far from expressing any disappointment in regard to the degree of agreement to which we ultimately came, I cannot help being surprised at the large measure of agreement which we reached on a problem which we approached, if I may say so, from somewhat different angles—necessarily so. We had on our Royal Commission Mr. Ashley Cooper, a director of the Bank of England and a governor of the oldest industrial company in the world, the Hudson Bay Company, a man of very large financial and industrial experience, with no small knowledge of our overseas territories; we had two gentlemen who had had experience in the service of, or under, the Colonial Office, who were able to bring what I may call inside knowledge as to the working of the 702 colonial system in its application to African Territories; we had—and he was indeed welcome—as one of our Commission an eminent lawyer, a member of the House of Commons, who was also a leading authority on education, representing in another place the Welsh Universities; and we had Mr. Mainwaring, to whom reference has already been made, who not only had considerable experience in regard to labour policy and the conditions of mining, particularly coal mining, in which he himself had in the past been employed, but was quite obviously determined to do all in his power to see that the interests of native labour in the mines were not overlooked.
Although I do not pretend that, starting with a somewhat different outlook upon what I may call a vital Imperial problem, we were wholly agreed in the details of our Report, I do say that I greatly welcomed and was much surprised at the fact that it was found possible, after the most strenuous and meticulous investigation of the whole of this difficult problem, for us to sign a joint Report of some 250 pages, entirely agreeing that if amalgamation could not be conceded at once, at any rate it was a principle worth striving after, and that a half-way house, in the sense of setting up a co-ordinated system of national services of every description, might be treated as a first step in that process. There is an old Latin motto, quot homines tot sententiae. I cannot imagine any problem to which that motto is more applicable than the problem of how the native ought to be treated as a factor in the development and administration of our overseas Territories in Africa.
Of course I cannot be expected this afternoon, even if I had the inclination, in the course of some ten minutes or so, to re-tell the story which we have told, as I say, in some 250 pages, after the most careful investigation, largely in loco. But I myself should like to thank my noble friend for bringing this matter before the House, and I appreciated and enjoyed the eloquent terms in which he initiated the debate by pointing out what were the ideals of that great Empire builder, Cecil Rhodes. Also I think he referred to one whom I am inclined to regard, at least in relation to these Territories, as an Empire builder, David Livingstone—who, by the way, some 703 sixty years before Cecil Rhodes's work commenced, had initiated some degree of social reform in Nyasaland, and had laid the foundations of a system of education there which has enabled the Nyasaland native to be, I think it will be admitted by the noble Lord, Lord Hailey, the best educated native to be found in the whole of Africa. It is because he is so well educated and because his skill has come to be so universally admitted that he is in such great demand in the neighbouring Territories, not only on the Rand but also in the mines, the gold mines and the asbestos and chrome mines of Southern Rhodesia, and also, of course, in the copper field in Northern Rhodesia.
The tribute which has been paid by my noble friend Lord Elibank, and also by the noble Lord, Lord Lugard, and by the Leader of the Opposition to Mr. Huggins, the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, I should like most warmly to endorse. By the way, after listening to Lord Lugard I am inclined to add that there are colleagues of his, and very particularly Mr. Tredgold, whose aspirations and enterprise in regard to the development of the country and to the welfare of the natives are at least as strong and sincere as those of Mr. Huggins. My noble friend Lord Elibank advocates immediate amalgamation, and appears to deprecate what I have described as the half-way house, that of an Inter-territorial Council, as being clothed with indefiniteness such as is calculated to lead to deferment, and he appears to advocate the giving of more executive powers to this interim authority.
I think the noble Viscount has misunderstood me. What I suggested that Council should have were powers for the preparation of a scheme—not executive powers—as has been done in other parts of the world where amalgamations have taken place.
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
My answer to that would be that the noble Viscount does advocate more executive powers in a preparatory sense being given to this Inter-territorial Council. The difficulty, of course, is that you are dealing here with a self-governing Colony, on the one hand, and two Protectorates under the British Crown on the other, and self-governing countries are extremely jealous of any interference with 704 their autonomous power. We deemed it desirable, if not necessary, to approach this matter with all due delicacy, and to suggest, rather than that there should be any appearance of any definite or executive authority vested in this Inter-territorial Council, that they be allowed to approach their problems in their own particular ways, and bearing fully in mind that they were not all on the same basis of autonomy. I am bound to say I did not quite follow all that my noble friend advanced in regard to Barotseland, and in regard to what appeared to be an impression of his that the difficulty of achieving immediate amalgamation was based upon a suggestion that the policy of Southern Rhodesia was less convincing in regard to the native race than that of the northern Territories. The trouble was not that the native policy in Southern Rhodesia is less favourable in our judgment to the native race, but simply the fact that the two policies were inherently different. The attempt, at short notice, to amalgamate these two Territories on a basis of native policy which was so inherently divergent seemed to us to be an almost impossible, and certain an undesirable, task.
As regards the pass system, to which reference has been made, I do not think that anywhere in the Report we condemned the pass system. Certainly we never intended to condemn it, but we do criticise it as being in the opinion of the natives too complicated for them fully to understand and appreciate, and therefore somewhat harassing to them in its execution. Indeed, so far from deprecating the pass system, we have pointed out that the representative of the Nyasaland natives in Southern Rhodesia emphatically supports the pass system as carried out in that country, in connection with the two cities of Bulawayo and Salisbury, as being in the interests of the Nyasaland natives. I shall not attempt to follow further the arguments of my noble friend Lord Elibank except to say that with the greater part of his arguments I am in entire accord. His conclusions, I am afraid, I cannot fully accept.
Of course no one can listen to Lord Lugard on a subject like this without realising that we have among us probably the greatest authority upon political questions affecting the native races to be found anywhere in the British Empire, and in fact his classical work The Dual 705 Mandate was a work which we all studied before we embarked on this task. I hope that at an early date my noble friend will issue a fresh edition of The Dual Mandate—I think it is something like twenty years since it was published—bringing the history of these various attempts at solving the native question up to date. If Mr. Huggins can rightly be described by my noble friend as unduly optimistic, surely my noble friend Lord Lugard may be described as rather unduly pessimistic. At any rate, when he says that it is unwise for the Government to commit themselves in principle to the plan of amalgamation, I venture with all respect to ask him what is going to be the alternative, what is going to be the other objective which these Territories shall be asked to pursue in the interests alike of the Europeans and of the native race?
He referred particularly to, and emphasized, the cost of administration. It is perfectly true that in days gone by it has been found impracticable to carry out as large a policy of social reform in the interests of the native race in Northern Rhodesia as the Colonial Office and various Secretaries of State—particularly my noble friend Lord Harlech—have most ardently desired. I do most warmly welcome, and I am sure all my colleagues would welcome, the five-year plan which has lately been put in hand by the Colonial Office for the improvement of the social services in Northern Rhodesia. But I should like to say to Lord Lugard that, after a somewhat careful investigation of the present position and prospects of the mining industries in Southern Rhodesia and the copper mining industry in Northern Rhodesia, we are all of the opinion that the financial prospects of Northern Rhodesia are better and more assured than those of Southern Rhodesia. In fact, there is every reason to believe that the Copperbelt—where a very high grade of copper is being got at relatively low cost as compared with the other copper enterprises of the world, and as the result of an inter-trade arrangement between the copper producers in different parts of the world and the enormous reserves that the Northern Rhodesian Copperbelt possesses—will bring material wealth to Northern Rhodesia in days to come on a larger scale than Southern Rhodesia can expect from its small, ill- 706 organised, and ill-financed mining ventures. In so describing the mining of Southern Rhodesia I exclude the big asbestos undertaking at Shabani and the Wankie Collieries—in some senses the most wonderful colliery undertaking in the world—and also the chrome industry, which, in the light of present and prospective demands, seem likely to have considerable prosperity in days to come.
Lord Lugard seems to desire that in any combined Legislature the natives of these three Territories should be adequately represented by natives. Lord Lugar himself would probably be the first to admit that we are a long way from finding it possible to obtain in that part of the world natives who are sufficiently educated and well-informed to take upon themselves the burden of representing their race in any Legislature. At any rate, that problem we explored very carefully, very thoroughly, and we came to the conclusion, on the evidence of the natives and the missionaries who do so much to look after their material interests and social welfare, that for a time, at any rate, we should have to look to sympathetic, well-informed Europeans to represent the native people in any form of combined Legislature.
Lord Lugard also seemed to deprecate, as a stepping stone to a larger scheme of amalgamation, an early combination of the administrations of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Quite frankly, we came to the conclusion, after probing this problem somewhat carefully, that there is a real waste of money which is so badly needed for social and educational purposes in these Territories in having a separate Governorship with all the concomitants of separate administration in little Nyasaland—little in territory although big in native population—and that if only all that money which is now expended on that separate administration could be devoted to social and educational work for the benefit of the natives, it would be a very great boon to them and to the country generally.
All of us who sat upon the Royal Commission are, of course, conscious that our Report rejecting the proposals of immediate amalgamation of the two Rhodesians must be a bitter disappointment to the Prime Minister, Mr. Huggins, and at least three-quarters of the whole 707 white population of Southern Rhodesia. But after meticulous investigation on the spot we have unanimously accepted the principle of amalgamation and advocated certain interim measures as calculated to draw these three Territories more closely together and materially enhance the welfare of all their inhabitants both white and black, ultimate amalgamation being an object to aim at through these means. What we have in fact advocated is a halfway house to the desired goal on the footing, if I may change the metaphor, that half a loaf is better than no bread. I think it was just fifteen years, when we were in South Central Africa last year, since the British South Africa Company relinquished the control of the two Rhodesias, in one case to a responsible, locally-elected Government and in the other to the Colonial Office. Now what became very apparent to us, and I am sure would be apparent to any independent-minded person visiting both those Territories with no prejudices and in a judicial spirit, was that there is a vitality and progress to be seen throughout Southern Rhodesia and unfortunately stagnation in almost every direction throughout both the northern Territories, but particularly Northern Rhodesia.
Sir Alan Pim's Report has been referred to, a Report furnished to my noble friend Lord Harlech, on the eve of our leaving England in April of last year, and I would only mention two paragraphs in that Report, or three at the most, which are to be found on page 345. I refer to them particularly because this was a perfectly independent investigation by Sir Alan Pim, a gentleman of great repute, who was asked by my noble friend to inquire into the financial and industrial condition of that country. I am sure my noble friend must admit that the account that he gives of the conditions in that country was most distressing. Incidentally, we took an immense amount of trouble in taking evidence in different parts of Northern Rhodesia to see whether this rather serious reflection upon the effect of the Administration in Northern Rhodesia was justified, and I think I may truly say that in no really material part did we find that Sir Alan Pim's Report was incorrect.
I think we all probably admit that the two most important social services may be 708 regarded as health on the one hand and education on the other. He says:The standard of native education is very backward in spite of the large number of schools, and of about 110,000 children on the rolls only 27,000 are in schools subject to inspection and only 5,000 in standard classes. As a result there are few educationally qualified candidates for any responsible work. More co-ordination is needed among the missionary societies who carry on most of the work of native education. Girls' education is very backward and more schools are urgently needed in the Copperbelt. Progress in education cannot be made without advances in health and nutrition.And here perhaps I may be allowed to say that I came very strongly to the conclusion that whereas something like 50 per cent, or more of the whole of the native population in these Territories is affected by some morbid condition, what you may call affected by some disease, trifling or otherwise, a very large amount of that disease is due to malnutrition, and indeed the experience in the Copperbelt is proving that to be so. Very interesting experiments that are being made in the Copperbelt show that the efficiency of the native is seriously impaired by the same factor of malnutrition. And by malnutrition we do not necessarily mean insufficient food but, to a much greater extent, an improper balance of food, there being in most cases far too much starchy food and very little protein. The experiments being made in the Copperbelt alone have disclosed the fact that by balancing the ration and giving the natives a due amount of meat during the week not only do they become at least twice as efficient with a greater degree of cheerfulness in their work, but they develop to more than twice the usual extent their immunity to the diseases which surround them.
As regards health, Sir Alan Pim in his Report says:Except along the railway line and in European areas"—incidentally I may say that over 90 per cent, of the whole of the European population is to be found along the railway line and in two very small areas, one in the neighbourhool of Abercorn, in the extreme north-east of Rhodesia, and the other near Fort Jameson, on the borders of Nyasaland. Except in those areas—the medical service is very defective and more than half the Territory has not even the most rudimentary medical facilities.On further inquiry I discovered that there were several parts of Northern Rhodesia 709 over an area of something like 15,000 to 20,000 square miles in which there was no medical service of any sort available for the natives. Well, I repeat all that, because I want to ask quite seriously, when we talk as we do about the trusteeship of our Government and of the Colonial Office, and about all the responsibility which we are supposed to show there for the people's welfare, whether we are entitled to say that the trusteeship as carried out and the responsibility shouldered in Northern Rhodesia is really producing results that are comparable to what we find in the self-governing Territory lying to the south.
Now, my Lords, you may ask what is the trouble? Well, I unhesitatingly say that in one case you have got a real desire on the part of the white community to develop the country, to improve health conditions, to advance as far as possible education with a sense of responsibility to the whole community. Although I am quite prepared to admit that up to recent years Southern Rhodesia has not made the progress which many of us would like to have seen in those matters of social welfare for the natives, no one can deny that during the last five to ten years there has been most notable progress in all these matters under the lead of the enlightened Prime Minister, Mr. Huggins. What do we see in the other Territory? In Northern Rhodesia, whatever may be the natural resources, except, speaking generally, in the copper field and at Broken Hill, where lead and zinc are being got, and incidentally vanadium, I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that there is no material economic development going on at all. You may ask what is the reason. I have very little doubt what is the reason. It is because there is no great incentive on the part of the white population to lay out either their capital or their energies in developing the country's resources. I want most earnestly to appeal to His Majesty's Government here to take some steps, amalgamation or no amalgamation, some definite, enlightened and strenuous steps to develop the country in order to obtain thereby more wealth from this large area and to attend more carefully and particularly to the vital requirements of health and education throughout the whole area.
710 My noble friend Lord Harlech may ask me what would I recommend. It has been suggested by Lord Lugard, and I quite agree, that those who are acting for and under the Colonial Office in South Central Africa are most reputable, well equipped, honest, enterprising men who are doing their best. But what is their position? They are not technicians. They are graduates, most of them, well-educated graduates of Oxford University. They have not got technicians at hand, and they are not technicians themselves. So far as the junior officers are concerned, they have not any very great sense of responsibility and the whole of the officers in our judgment have not nearly enough personal independence and authority considering their educational and natural equipment. Men who are perfectly competent to decide upon schemes, always assuming they have technical knowledge or technical assistance, who are perfectly competent to deal off-hand with the minor administrative problems, have to refer those problems to a series of officials until eventually most of them reach the Colonial Office. That is the element which stultifies progress, that is the element which causes stagnation throughout the whole of the country, and that is the element which I most sincerely hope as the result of our mission will be dealt with and dealt with without delay.
Your Lordships have probably heard of the doctrine of paramountcy. The doctrine of paramountcy, which was enunciated I think in a memorandum which was issued by the Colonial Office in 1930, has done appreciable harm. It has done harm to natives and Europeans alike and would, I am sure, not be advocated by those who impartially explored the actual conditions on the spot. The only hope for South Central Africa, in my judgment is to treat white and black as partners, as complementary factors in the economic development and social progress of their country. For this purpose there must be mutual confidence fostered by the Government and also some sense of individual responsibility, not only on the part of the administrative officers but also on the part of the non-official white population and the natives. I venture to say that as long as the natives trust, as they do, like children, to His Majesty the King and those who advise him in this country to look after their 711 welfare, as long as they have that implicit childlike trust in their fortunes being cared for in this country, with no encouragement to make an effort for themselves to work out their own salvation and shoulder their own responsibilities, you are going to get no appreciable progress in advancing the economic welfare and the social advantage of the native population.
I entered upon this task with an open mind, and carried it through to the best of my ability, with a modicum I suppose of judicial competence, and in my humble judgment, as long as these people are tied to the apron strings of the Colonial Office to the extent that they are to-day, there is going to be no definite progress towards the desideratum of ultimate self-government. The trusteeship of the United Kingdom is ideal in theory and on paper, but the state of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland illustrates in somewhat glaring colours the extreme difficulty of exercising that trusteeship efficiently longa manu at a distance of 6,000 miles without full knowledge of the rapidly changing conditions consequent upon industrial development and detribalisation. My noble friend referred to detribalisation. It is going on to a very serious extent, and the results of that detribalisation have not in our judgment been fully recognised and appreciated. Also, I would like to ask, if responsibility is borne exclusively by the Home Government in regard to these Protectorates, with consequent irresponsibility on the part of the inhabitants, whether white or black, of these countries, how is any such territory ever going to evolve into a self-governing unit of the British Commonwealth of Nations?
Another matter I should like to mention, because it is interfering so very seriously with the economic development of Northern Rhodesia, is the prevalence of the tsetse fly. I do not know whether your Lordships are aware that five-eighths of the whole of Northern Rhodesia and about one-half of the whole of Tanganyika Territory are entirely depopulated so far as cattle are concerned, including a large area of potentially good pasture land, owing to the ravages of the tsetse fly. We have advocated that in every national service in the three Territories there should be co-ordination and consultation, but I 712 hold that there is absolutely no sphere in which co-operation and co-ordination is more essential than in that relating to animal disease and particularly the ravages of the tsetse fly.
There is one other thing I would mention before I utter my final suggestion, and that is that, if amalgamation is the optimum and eventual objective, as long as these Territories remain separate they will continue to develop their vested interests, which are already growing up in an administrative sense and which will make them much more difficult ultimately to combine if combination is deemed desirable. There is only one paragraph in the Report, to be found on page 214, which I regard as of immediate and outstanding importance. It is as follows—remember, we all signed this:For our part we believe that Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland will become more and more closely interdependent in all their activities, and that identity of interests will lead them sooner or later to political unity. If this view should commend itself also to Your Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom we recommend that it should take an early opportunity of stating its acceptance of the belief.There is a feeling of insecurity, a feeling of no confidence, prevailing throughout the whole of these Northern Territories to-day, largely aroused, I quite agree, by the non-solution of this long-outstanding problem of whether these Territories are to coalesce or not.
But I venture to say that unless and until a clear and unqualified declaration to this effect is made by His Majesty's Government, there seems little or no prospect of an awakening of that feeling of confidence and security inherent in the definite objective which is indispensable to progressive development of this part of Africa. I must apologise for taking up so much of your Lordships' time, but I venture to hope that, whatever may have been in the past the policy, and indeed the admittedly good intentions, of successive Secretaries of State for the Colonies, the Government will be good enough to bear in mind that this Report is an honest attempt to find a solution of an outstanding difficulty and do their best to solve it.
§ 5.1 p.m.
§ LORD MARLEY
My Lords, I shall detain your Lordships for a very few minutes only, but I have just come back 713 from some five months in South Africa, including Southern Rhodesia. While am speaking entirely for myself in this matter, I think it is possible that an independent objective observer may have something to contribute to the problem we are discussing. We have just heard a speech from Lord Bledisloe which deserves most careful consideration, because it is backed by the Report of his Commission, which he has quoted and which recommends this statement by the British Government. The Report perhaps does a little more than Lord Bledisloe claimed for it, because it gives within itself the objections to immediate amalgamation, and I hope that these will accompany any decision by the Government to carry out the recommendations of Lord Bledisloe given on page 214 of his Report. In other words, even if the Government merely made a statement, as he recommends, it would be useless unless they included in it those factors which the Commission considered to be necessary to final amalgamation. I very much hope that the Government will say something along those lines if they are able to accede to this recommendation; or, if they are not, that we shall have a categorical and clear statement as to what they propose should be done to make this amalgamation eventually possible.
I suppose that anyone going out to these Territories is bound to be acutely aware of the strong feeling everywhere; and I am inclined to think that as an objective observer I could find two reasons why I should like to see amalgamation of these three Territories, as recommended. The first of those reasons has been referred to in your Lordships' House: it is really in the interests of the natives themselves that this amalgamation should take place. These Territories are too small—I do not mean in mere size but in capacity—to exist alone. It is not that the representatives of the Colonial Service are tired, incapable, or wicked in any way; it is simply that there is no possibility of such an economic development inside these small Territories that prosperity could be brought to the native. If you have a small area without industry, then no amount of energy, no amount of personal initiative, nothing but enormous and ever-increasing expenditure from the Colonial Development Fund would make possible a development of the social services to anything like the 714 extent to which we believe they ought to be made available to the native population. The Territories are too small. Industry is essential if we want to see the higher standard of life which we should desire for the natives.
It is not a purely humanitarian point of view. I am rather tired of mere humanitarianism. Let us get on to the economic fact that the native can be a consumer of products, and by consuming these products he not only raises his own standard of life but he also builds up the prosperity of the industry producing the goods which he consumes. It is not mere humanity, it is to the common interest of the white industrialists and the native consumers—who in fact are the producers in most of the industries with which we are concerned—that this industrialisation should take place; and it cannot take place if these areas are so small and so inadequate that, as has been pointed out, there is almost no industry, with the single exception of the copper mines in areas such as Northern Rhodesia. With the consequent poverty there is bound to come the malnutrition and the educational poverty to which reference has been made, and the stagnation spoken of by Lord Bledisloe in his very important speech.
He quoted the Pim Commission, which makes tragic reading in many parts of its Report. I do not want to go over what has already been said, but I should like to refer the House to page 286 of the Pim Report, where we see that "the average standard of native education is regrettably low"; where we see that "the obstacles in the way are as much physical as mental"—in other words, that hungry people cannot learn. On page 290 we see that the medical provision for the native population is entirely inadequate, and that out of twelve native hospitals "five are very bad" and only two, those at Ndola and Living-stone, are considered by the Pim Committee to be good. On pages 294 and 295 we see that the public health service is inadequate, that there is practically no maternity or child welfare work; and that "an improvement in the standard of nutrition is essential to any real advance either in health or in education." Of course, an improvement in the standard of nutrition means an improvement in the economic condition of the native, and you cannot have that unless the British 715 taxpayer is going to continue to supply money for this purpose or we can develop the industrial possibilities of these areas.
We have exactly the same points brought out in the Committee presided over by the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr—the Nutrition Committee. I see the same sort of statements at page 24 of the Report of the Committee on Nutrition in the Colonial Empire which was only issued a few days ago. It says, for instance, that in Northern Rhodesia there is in a certain area a marked deficiency of fat (only one-eighth of the European standard) in the native dietary, and that there is a deficiency of animal protein, which may even be entirely absent. You can get endless quotations from this Report on nutrition about deficiency diseases—scurvy and pellagra are underlined. We also get a very interesting suggestion in the Report which I think was referred to in passing by the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, and that is as to the work of the Rhokana Corporation, where they are conducting an experiment on the basis of better food for 6,000 employees in the copper mines, which will cost £7,526 a year more than the former diet. The manager writes:If an increased efficiency of so little as 5 per cent. could be guaranteed by the balanced dietary advocated, it would be a sound economic proposition.For long I have believed that we have to bring into line sound economic propositions, as well as the development of better food and better health, and that has distinctly been the policy of the Rand Mines and the Chamber of Mines in Johannesburg, who have developed to a very high extent the scientific nutrition of the native workers in the mines. I think Lord Bledisloe mentioned the possibility of 50 per cent. improvement in efficiency, and if so, that would make a valuable addition—
§ LORD MARLEY
That is all the better, and I am very glad to have that suggestion, because it underlies what Lord Bledisloe himself brought out, the fact that the industry of Northern Rhodesia might be a very important contributory factor in the development of Northern Rhodesia and of the three Territories if amalgamation took place, and unless we 716 have that we cannot bring the standard of life of the natives up to the standard that we desire. I came across exactly the same position in Swaziland. There you have a territory of 6,704 square miles, with a European population of 2,735 and a native population of 152,159, without any industry whatever, and backward in all the social services, not because anybody is wicked or neglectful but because there is no industry, and because there is a limit to the extent to which the Colonial Development Fund will meet the ever-increasing deficit of Swaziland.
The time has come when these little areas cannot stand alone, and must be amalgamated, and we are told there is native opposition. I do not know, but I discussed this matter with native chiefs all over various parts of Africa, and I came to the conclusion that there is something inherently wrong in a system which we believed, I suppose, to be right, which gives a subsidy to a native and in a way uses him as the means by which we get into touch with other natives. It is obvious that if we give a man£1,000 a year he is not going to jeopardise that income by saying too much against a continuation of a system which gives him that income. It is not venal. It is natural, and I believe that this system, which I think is called "indirect administration," really prevents us getting into touch with the minor chiefs or head men, and the natives themselves, so that we have a wrong interpretation of what is really the factor behind the native position. I never saw more poverty, more ignorance, and more disease than I saw among the ordinary natives, miles away from the railways and the roads, in those areas. I never saw such suffering, and yet the chiefs, who represent them, tell us that they do not want any change in the position.
I think again that it is a mistake to imagine that the natives are not capable of skilled work. For instance, in Southern Rhodesia I saw native skilled labourers employed by the Southern Rhodesia Government in building the houses in the villages which were occupied by the native married people in the greater cities. In Luneve, Bulawayo, Highfield, Salisbury and Victoria Falls there were the skilled natives actually making the concrete blocks, tiles and beams, and building the houses in which finally they would live. It seems, therefore, from the 717 point of view of the interest of the natives, that the sooner we get amalgamation, and these bigger areas, the better chance there is of being able to develop the standard of life of the natives, educationally and nutritionally, as we would desire.
The other point which I desire to raise is the second reason for amalgamation, which I do not think is mentioned adequately in the Bledisloe Report. It is the military question. It is a curious thing, but there has been developing recently a realisation that the small unit State built up after the Treaty of Versailles has not been a success altogether. This question of self-determination has certain faults, and it creates certain difficulties, which have led now to a reconsideration of the value of the larger units such as we were taught 150 years ago in the federal development in the United States of America. These larger units, this possible form for Africa of what was carried through in America many years ago, I think may become vitally important in view of the possible threat to British interests in Africa by the aggressor Powers at the present time. I do hope we shall not have what I think was mentioned by one speaker this afternoon—this nationalist resistance to a limitation of sovereignty. It is a bad thing, bare nationalism, if it interferes with what is a vitally important development—namely, amalgamation.
I cannot help thinking that the Colonial demands of Germany in Africa are becoming increasingly insistent, and that we do need to hold out against these demands a stronger organisation such as the unification of Southern and Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland would present. I personally would go even further, and would like to see a much closer unity with the Union of South Africa. I believe that it is by building up this great bloc— I do not know whether it was Mr. Rhodes's idea, but anyhow I have no doubt that he had no conception of the present threat of the aggressor Powers—that we may combat this pressure. The development of Nazi influence, we cannot deny, is growing. I myself, for example, on visiting a native school found one of the books of a senior pupil, who would become a teacher among natives the following year, filled with pictures of Berlin and swastikas and "Heil Hitler! "and all those various insignia of aggressiveness 718 which exist to-day. I traced this down, as a result of a couple of days' work, to the teaching in a German Catholic mission in the neighbourhood, which the Union Government has subsequently found to be increasingly a danger. This was in the Union, but the same thing is going on in other parts, and unless we combat that we are undermining the possibility of maintaining our position in the future.
Finally, let me say that I think it would be a profound mistake to underrate the possibility of the development of this aggressiveness, in the two Portuguese territories of Angola and Portuguese East Africa. If we examine the map, we find that if these two Territories were to join they would do so right across Northern Rhodesia, and would form an impossible barrier to our own communications with South Africa. It would therefore seem that the stronger the barrier we can build up against this possible development, the better it would be for the future of our own influence, an influence which we hope and believe is a good influence in South Africa as a whole, and in particular the part of Africa which lies south of the Equator.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ LORD HARLECH
My Lords, I regret that July 31 is the end of the cereal year, and that this debate had to be postponed to this day, because, as Chairman of the Wheat Commission, I had to attend to important duties which prevented my hearing the earlier part of the debate. I am glad I arrived in time to hear a great deal of the speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, to whom, as Secretary of State when the Commission was appointed, I naturally owe the deepest debt of gratitude, as well as to his colleagues for the tremendous amount of work they have put into the preparation of this Report and the very full way in which they have placed the complex and difficult issues that arise in this question before both South Central Africa and those interested in this country. They certainly could not have been more judicial or more fair than they have been in the way they have done it. Having said that, may I say that I am not quite so happy about some of the remarks that fell from my noble friend? I think he went out of his way to pay nothing but tributes to Mr. Huggins, nothing but encomiums on the glories and the progress of Southern 719 Rhodesia, and the only thing he had to say about the efforts of Colonial Governors and the Colonial Service in Northern Rhodesia was "nothing but stagnation." I do think he over-did it, and lost his judicial attitude.
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
I very strongly resent that suggestion. I have no doubt the noble Lord was not in the House, but I took the opportunity earlier in my speech of testifying most fully to the great competence, the great earnestness, sincerity and enterprise of all those who form the administrative staff in the two Territories.
§ LORD HARLECH
Yes, but I heard him say that when they got to Northern Rhodesia, what did they find? "Nothing but stagnation" were the words he used.
§ LORD HARLECH
He adheres to that, and I want to protest very vigorously against that assertion by the Chairman of a Royal Commission who visited that Territory. I have twice visited that Territory, first in 1913, when it was under the rule of the British South Africa Company and there was only one Rhodesia. All I can say is that what has been achieved in the last ten years is not to be dismissed as "mere stagnation." Take the actual development of the great copper field. It has only been recently discovered, but it is remarkable, the speed with which it has developed and, above all, the way in which the Government and mining enterprise have co-operated in that field to secure good conditions, not merely of health, but social environment and the like, for the thousands of natives working in that field. I know the present Labour Adviser to the Colonial Office, Major Orde Browne, will bear me out that there have been few enterprises of a capitalistic industrial character where there has been more thought in the attempt to establish from the start in the Copperbelt the best possible conditions of life for natives, inevitably industrialised by the opening up of vast resources of value to the world.
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
We have most fully testified to our realisation of that fact. In fact, I have more than once in public, since I returned to this 720 country, apart from our Report, testified to the fact that I have nowhere in the world, including this country, found more care and more expenditure for the material advantage of the employees in any industry than I found in the Copper-belt of Northern Rhodesia.
§ LORD HARLECH
I am very glad to hear that to that extent the noble Viscount is prepared to qualify the statement that in Northern Rhodesia, under the Colonial Office, he found nothing but stagnation.
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
I really must again rise to protest. I was talking about the Colonial Office system, as it operated in those Protectorates. If he is prepared to assume to himself that this marvellous development and great enterprise in this great industry in Northern Rhodesia is due to the Colonial Office, I will say no more.
§ LORD HARLECH
No, it is due to the proper co-operation between the agents here and those responsible for the technical development and management of the copper field. That is the point. I think that the underlying note of the noble Viscount's speech was that the Colonial Office system is bad and hopeless, and that amalgamation should take place because under the system of Crown Colony Government the true welfare of the natives is impossible, that progress is impossible, and development is impossible. All I can say is that if all that he said about the official life and the official attitude applies to Northern Rhodesia and to Nyasaland, I am afraid it applies to the whole Colonial Empire under our ordinary system of Crown Colony government. It is a most formidable indictment by a man of his experience, the indictment that he levelled this afternoon against the Colonial officials in those Territories.
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
I am afraid I must rebut that. I have taken the greatest possible pains in my Report and in public in this country to make it clear that there is no possible criticism of the officials. What we do criticise—and I am not alone in criticising it—is the Colonial Office system as it operates, in spite of the efficency and enterprise of the officials. I am going to have a great deal more to say about this if my noble friend is going to follow this line, and I 721 am going to point out the appalling relative amount spent in administration there compared with the niggardly amount spent on social services. I carefully avoided saying anything of the sort out of consideration for him and his Department.
§ LORD HARLECH
I am no longer in the Department, and my withers are un-wrung. It is an indictment, then, not of the officials, but of the whole system of Crown Colony Government and of the Colonial Office as such.
§ LORD HARLECH
As operating in that country. I would observe that one of my noble friend's own colleagues, for whom, I hope, he has some respect, Mr. Fitzgerald, thought it only right and fair to append a note, a very valuable note, to the Report of the Royal Commission which he signed, pointing out that it is rather hard to indict the Colonial Office and the Colonial Office system for a condition of affairs in countries which, like other parts of the Colonial Empire, are only at the beginning of their development. Remember that Northern Rhodesia, until quite recently, and Nyasaland still, are wretchedly poor countries. Distances are vast, and in Northern Rhodesia you have fewer native people to the square mile than in any other part of British Africa.
The noble Viscount referred to the tsetse fly. That is only one of the many reasons why Northern Rhodesia is a very refractory country. When he says that these Colonial Office officials know nothing about the technical development, certainly it has been my duty ever since I was connected with the Colonial Office to emphasize the importance of getting, not more administrative officers, but more technical officers and training them at the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture, getting more veterinary surgeons, getting more doctors, increasing the public works department; and the emphasis that has been laid in the Colonial Office during the last few years on providing the Colonies with technical services has been a feature of recent British Crown Colony policy. Therefore I feel, as the noble Viscount has said what he has said about what I was really responsible for until the last two years, I must defend 722 myself a little against his strictures. I think his criticism this afternoon has been just a little bit overdone.
Now let us get away from that to the main issue—namely, amalgamation. Should His Majesty's Government, here and now, make a declaration that amalgamation is to be the policy? I read the note put in by the Conservative Member of the House of Commons on this Royal Commission, Captain Orr Ewing. He writes, and there is something in it—in fact there is a good deal in it—amalgamation of the three Territories is a desirable aim, but I do not consider that it is inevitable.If that is the position, I hope His Majesty's Government will not commit themselves here and now to what I may call one of these general declarations as a result of which people out there and people here go on arguing for years as to what they mean in practice. Take one to which Lord Bledisloe referred,—"paramountcy," the Duke of Devonshire's famous declaration in this House and in his White Paper in 1923 of the doctrine of paramountcy which has disturbed Africa throughout, because it was one of those fine sounding declarations which, when you came to analyse it and put it into practice, and asked "What is the next step, what are you going to do about it?" you had great difficulty. I hope His Majesty's Government therefore will not make a declaration on this unless and until they are prepared to say exactly how they are going to implement it, and what is the first step they are going to take towards the implementation of their policy.
These general declarations or promises are extremely dangerous. I must say I am unconvinced—I share the view of Captain Orr Ewing—that amalgamation between the Territories north of the Zambesi and south of the Zambesi is inevitable. It may come in time, but I do not regard it as inevitable. Quite frankly—this is my personal view—I have long been in favour of the early amalgamation of Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. They are both under Crown Colony administration, and Nyasaland is much too small—it has no mineral resources—to support a separate staff. When I was there on the second occasion I remember the ridiculous system 723 whereby the Governor of Northern Rhodesia, in order to get from what was then the capital, Livingstone, to the eastern part of his Territory, had to go all the way round through Nyasaland. There is no doubt Nyasaland is separate from Northern Rhodesia for purely historical reasons. There is no economic or other reason why they should not be one. I am quite convinced that Nyasaland cannot, and can never, afford alone the kind of personnel, or the numbers of personnel, that it should have for the care and responsibility of what is, after all, easily the most populous of the three Territories we are now considering, with over 1,600,000 people in it.
Why do I say that I am as yet unconvinced about amalgamation? I am apprehensive of one thing, and that is one item in connection with native policy. I quite agree that the native policy of Southern Rhodesia has been almost revolutionised by Mr. Huggins, and is among the most progressive and most enlightened in Africa, but at the same time the native policy of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland has also been drastically changed in the last few years, and dates from the advent of Sir Hubert Young, first as Governor of Nyasaland and then as Governor of Northern Rhodesia, under whom, with the consent of the Colonial Office—first my predecessors and then myself—the whole system of native administration has changed. Therefore, in all the Territories, what you may call general native policy as regards native administration is experimental. The final conclusion—which one is right and the other is wrong—I do not think we can judge. That is one of the reasons why immediate amalgamation is so difficult.
But another point that makes me apprehensive is how far north is the industrial colour bar going? I believe that is vital to the copper mines, and it is vital to the whole of Africa. I am not talking now of the statutory colour bar which they have in the Union of South Africa. I am talking of the kind of colour bar frankly and openly advocated by white Labour Parties in other parts of Africa. One can understand why. They want to prevent competition in getting jobs, and in doing the best-paid jobs, by emergent, rising, and increasingly skilled Africans. I am convinced that if there is one thing 724 which trusteeship involves, and if we mean anything by our trusteeship, it is the right of the African to have a free chance to make good in the industrial field, and to be allowed, without interference by threats of strikes among European employees and the like, to learn a skilled trade and to operate that skilled trade. If he cannot do so, if he is inefficient, let him fall by the way, but the one chance that I see is that the African should have a fair field and no favour in the mines and in the industrial world to make good and become a skilled craftsman. That is education of a practical kind that would be a real sign of an advance of the native people.
Now let me come to Lord Bledisloe's conclusion. With a great part of his case I agree. I agree that the attempt to govern alongside each other Native Protectorates, regarded primarily as Native Protectorates, under a Crown Colony system and historically associated from the beginning with a very vigorous white democracy with self-government, is an extraordinarily difficult thing to perpetuate. The whole political ambition of the white settlers in Northern Rhodesia is for amalgamation with the settlers and colonists in Southern Rhodesia, and there is no doubt that the Crown Colony system of government can only be perpetuated in that country if there is not merely a more economic development—because that I believe is coming as a result of the development of the copper field and of the ancillary industries and agriculture that are bound to spring up in connection with that development—but also an absence of what I might call the official answer, the red tape, the official machine. In a position of that kind, unless there is real, intimate social as well as administrative association between the officials selected by Downing Street and the unofficial mining, agricultural and trading interests in that country, then Crown Colony government is doomed.
Another thing. I think the work of the Colonial Office as I have known it, in training and selecting men, and in general supervision of the policy, is good, and I claim that in the provision of technical services, which is an entirely new development, such as education and medical services, the growth of the Colonial Office on that side has been very remarkable, 725 but the Colonial Office is astonishingly weak as a Board of Trade, terribly weak. Half our troubles in the West Indies and in West Africa, half the "hold-ups" arise because there is a certain inclination not on the part of all but of some officials, some of them highly placed both in Whitehall and out there, to regard any big enterprise as big business to be exploited, but of the small trader, the man of straw—and everybody falls into one of these two categories—there is a kind of suspicion. Now you cannot develop those Territories, you cannot bring the native on, you cannot do your duty by those Territories unless you have enterprise and unless you have capital. I have been again and again to successive Chancellors of the Exchequer for capital. I remember the early days when we took over Northern Rhodesia, yearly having to go cap in hand to the Treasury for a few pounds for another doctor.
You cannot finance the development of the Colonial Empire by grants-in-aid voted by the House of Commons annually on the Votes of the Estimates. You have got to get in traders, capitalists, industrialists, miners and the like, and unless there is a mutual confidence, a mutual understanding and a mutual co-operation, as I believe there has been, perhaps more than anywhere on the copper fields in Northern Rhodesia, and better relations between those interests, the whole system of Crown Colony government is going to break down. I should be sorry to see it break down, at any rate too soon. Why? Because I agree with those who say that if it is going to break down, and if we have got to give self-government and clear out, withdraw the agents of Parliament and withdraw the Colonial Office and its control, we are not justified in handing over those Territories with their millions of native inhabitants unless and until the native can play some part in protecting his own interests. I am convinced that that is fundamental. Therefore I say I would hasten slowly in the abolition of Crown Colony control in tropical Africa, but I would like to see a very considerable change of attitude both out in Africa and in Downing Street towards the need, the paramount need to-day, for stimulating and encouraging trade, industry, commerce and activities by the leaders of industry in this country 726 and by the people who can develop the country.
§ 5.47 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT TRENCHARD
My Lords, I will not detain you for more than a minute or so, because I did not intend to speak, but after the speech of my noble friend Lord Harlech I would like to say as shortly as I can that if you are going to improve civilisation amongst the natives you have got to improve the standard of living, and if you are to improve the standard of living you have got to improve trade. There are only three ways of improving trade in our Colonies from the standpoint of civilisation. One is by the Government putting money not only into roads and railways but into the development of the country. It may take five or six years to improve trade and, therefore, the standard of living. The second way is by private interprise, and the third is by both the Government and private enterprise. At present no encouragement is given to put private enterprise in. The encouragement is confined to railways and mines.
§ 5.48 p.m.
THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (THE MARQUESS OF DUFFERIN AND AVA)
My Lords, I must first apologise to your Lordships for having missed the first few remarks of this debate. I hope my noble friend Lord Elibank explained that I had a longstanding engagement to broadcast, curiously enough on the very subject of malnutrition to which many noble Lords have referred. I must say the Colonial Office share all the sentiments which have been expressed on that subject in the course of this debate. My noble friend who put this Motion on the Paper probably does not regret having done so. I am sure he will agree with me that we have had a most interesting and instructive debate, much of it relevant and all of it very interesting. I feel, therefore, all the more regret that my own contribution can only be of such a negative character. I do not desire to say nothing in many words, but I would like to explain shortly to your Lordships the position as it at present stands.
As I think has been pointed out, the importance of the decisions that we have to take on this matter can hardly be overemphasized. Here we have a Report 727 covering an enormous area, about half a million square miles I understand, with 4,000,000 people, affecting the political, social and economic interests of Europeans, Africans and Asiatics, and it is only natural, therefore, that His Majesty's Government must take their time before coming to a decision which, as my noble friend Lord Harlech pointed out, is of vital importance to the future of this part of Africa. We would have thought long even if certain recommendations had been made unanimously by a Royal Commission, but in this particular instance it is only too clear that we have to go even more carefully because, although it is true that the Commission signed the Report unanimously, yet there are so many glosses and explanations and interpretations of a personal character that it really requires most careful judicial consideration to discover exactly what was the position of each individual member even with regard to this main question of amalgamation.
Therefore, it was obvious that we had to frame our decisions in the light first of all of discussion or consultation with the local Governors, having asked them to take into consultation their own local opinion. Moreover, we have at the present moment, as has been said, the very fortunate chance of the visit of Mr. Huggins, to whom so many deserving tributes have already been paid, which will enable us to discuss the matter fully with him in the light of the opinion of Southern Rhodesia. At the present moment, the position is that we have received Despatches from the Governors expressing their own views and their interpretation of local opinion. Discussions are taking place between the Secretary of State for the Dominions and the Secretary of State for the Colonies and Mr. Huggins. Your Lordships will therefore see that it will be quite impossible for me to give any indication whatever, even if I knew it, of what the eventual decision of His Majesty's Government may be with regard to the Report as a whole.
I do not think therefore it would be wise for me to comment at all on any of the remarks that have fallen from various noble Lords in the course of the debate. I only would say that I thought the speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard seemed to suffer a little from 728 lack of gratitude, considering the very strong and powerful position that he holds on the West Coast of Africa and the great regard in which the Colonial Office has always held him and his enterprise. But I will give this assurance—perhaps it is unnecessary to give it—that in the whole of our consideration of this Report, the Government will keep steadily in view one object, and that is to promote as speedily and effectively as possible, the interests of the inhabitants of these Territories, irrespective of race. That will be our goal, and beyond that I do not think I can go this afternoon. I need hardly say how much His Majesty's Government welcome this debate, because it will give us much guidance in framing the proposals we shall eventually lay before your Lordships in the light of the very lucid and careful Report for which we are so grateful to my noble friend Viscount Bledisloe. We are indeed grateful to him, and I think that as I found a champion in my former chief the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, I need not pursue that unhappy question as to whether or not—
THE MARQUESS OF DUFFERIN AND AVA
—whether or not the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, really means to attack the whole system of Crown Colony government. There is one other thing I will say. It has always been understood that the responsibility of Parliament for the welfare of the races in the various Territories with which we are concerned is a matter in which all Parties are keenly interested, and it has always been the practice when a statement on policy on this subject has been contemplated that the Government of the day should consult the Leaders of the Opposition Parties before the terms of any such statement are finally settled. My right honourable friend announced in another place that in pursuance of that practice there will be a consultation between the Government and the Opposition Leaders before any statement is made on behalf of the Government regarding the Report of the Royal Commission. When that statement is made, I hope—here I agree with my noble friend Lord Harlech—that it will be definite and not vague, and that it will then give us another opportunity of debating this most interesting and important subject.
§ 5.56 p.m.
My Lords, I should first like to thank those noble Lords who have come here this afternoon to debate this subject. I venture to think that it has, as the noble Marquess has just said, been very worth while. We have had a most interesting debate. It has been a debate which has wandered, perhaps, in a sense a little beyond the principal subject with which we are dealing, but I am sure it has enlightened your Lordships on a great many points connected with the native question in Africa which will be of very great benefit not only to this House but to the public outside. An entirely new point of view has been expressed this afternoon in regard to the relationship between the white man and the kaffir. For many years it has been supposed that in native territories development by the white man, the European, alongside the native could only be deleterious to the native. In fact, in West Africa so long as I can remember a policy of that kind has very largely been carried out. In these Territories which we have been discussing this afternoon that has been the policy in the past; but at last it has begun to be realised, and it has been expressed in no uncertain language this afternoon from all sides of the House, that if you are going to obtain the material advancement of the natives in degrees of comfort, in standards of living, in their general condition, you can only do so if you provide the capital and the energy and the enterprise which come from the European side. That is a most important point, and if that is once realised and becomes a policy, then it is just as easy to see that that policy is carried out to the advancement of the natives as it was to see a policy carried out which was of a contrary nature.
I should like to defend my noble friend Lord Bledisloe from the—I do not want to use the word "attack," which was made upon him.
Well, may I put it that I should like to clear up the point that was contained in the expression "stagnation"? I know exactly what my noble friend means. He did not mean it in the way my noble friend Lord Harlech has taken it; I know he did not 730 mean that. What he meant was that there was not the advance going on, the progress, the general development of the whole Territory through enterprise, which would give the natives the agricultural and medical services which they ought to have. When he used this term I understood exactly what he meant, and I agree with him. We all agree with him; the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, agrees with him, because in the last part of his speech he entered into a dissertation upon the Government and the Colonies which I can say gave me great gratification, because at last we have an ex-Colonial Secretary who has only just left office telling us what we ought to do in our Colonial Empire in order to stand up to the responsibilities which are ours.
I sincerely hope that the present Colonial Secretary, the very distinguished man who occupies that position to-day, a man who has shown by all his actions that he has the good of the Colonies and the Empire at heart, will weigh up very carefully the important utterance that came from my noble friend Lord Harlech this afternoon. If that were the only thing that had come out of this debate, I should have said that the debate was worth while. But I am not so content with the answer that was given to me by my noble friend on the Front Bench. I did not expect very much more, as he indicated to me that it would not be a reply that would give very much pleasure. But one crumb of comfort fell from his words. While at the end of his remarks he talked about the statement that was going to be made, a little earlier on he referred to some proposals. Now I wonder what they were. He used the word "proposals": any proposals that were framed by the Colonial Office would be placed before your Lordships' House in due course. "Proposals" and "statement" are two very different words, and I sincerely hope that the first and not the second will ultimately reach your Lordships.
In conclusion, I would like to say that in my speech I made certain recommendations for the Inter-territorial Council at once assuming the position of an expert body to draw up a preparatory scheme. I also recommended that an Inter-territorial Native Board should be appointed concurrently with the same object, and that on both these bodies 731 there should be representatives of the Imperial Government in order especially to look after the interests of the natives. My noble friend Lord Bledisloe said that half a loaf was better than no bread, and in the light of what he stated about an executive body I should be quite happy to see that Inter-territorial Council proceed along the lines which the Commission have recommended, subject perhaps to the personnel and representation being altered to some extent. After all, that is a matter which would have to be considered and arranged with the Government of Southern Rhodesia. But I would in that event solemnly urge that a limit of time should be placed upon the operations and the functions of that body.
The noble Viscount himself, or the Commission, says in paragraph 499:It may be expected that, as the work of the Council proceeds, a state will be reached when further substantial progress will only appear practicable through the complete amalgamation of the administrations.Then it is suggested that the Council might be entrusted with the task of drawing up the Constitution. I venture to suggest that a limit of time should be placed upon the operations of that Council that it should not take more than two years for its first function and one year for its next; that is, three years only, or at the most four years, for the whole of those operations. If the Government were able to accept a proposal of that sort—which, after all, would be accepting the recommendations of the Commission with a slight limitation of time—I think that we might see a satisfactory ending to this matter. There is no doubt that in the three Territories all 732 the Europeans are, as has been stated, already in favour of this amalgamation.
My noble friend Lord Harlech referred to Captain Orr Ewing's note at the end of the Report and said that he was generally in agreement with it. The sentence which refers to amalgamation reads:I believe that amalgamation of the three Territories is a desirable aim, but I do not consider that it is inevitable.May I take it that my noble friend does agree that it is a desirable aim? That is also important. I hope your Lordships will pardon me for making rather a long speech at the end of this debate, but there were so many points of value, and the whole issue is of such great importance in the part of the world to which we have been referring and in South Africa as a whole, that I felt you would pardon me for doing so. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.
§ The LORD CHANCELLOR acquainted the House, That the Clerk of the Parliaments had laid upon the Table the Certificate from the Examiners that the further Standing Orders applicable to the following Bill have been complied with:—
§ British Overseas Airways.
§ And also the Certificate that no further Standing Orders are applicable to the following Bill:—
§ Senior Public Elementary Schools (Liverpool).
§ The same were ordered to lie on the Table.
§ House adjourned at eight minutes past six o'clock.