HL Deb 09 July 1941 vol 119 cc695-728

THE EARL OF LISTOWEL asked His Majesty's Government, in view of public statements recently made by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, what steps they are now taking to implement the provisions of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act; and moved for Papers. The noble Earl said: My Lords, I have tabled this Motion with the support of my noble friend Lord Faringdon in the hope that it may be possible for the Government, through the noble Lord opposite, to give us another review of Colonial policy. It is now some six or seven months since we had a very interesting review of that kind from the late Lord Lloyd, and this is perhaps not an inappropriate moment for another stock-taking.

With your Lordships' permission, I will glance back for a moment at some recent developments in Colonial policy. Just over a year ago, in June, 1940, Parliament accepted a measure that seemed to promise the beginning of a new phase in Colonial administration. The somewhat worn principle of trusteeship, which had at least given us the Mandatory system in place of plain annexation of the German Colonies after the last war, had been more often honoured in the breach than in the observance; and this less than halfhearted acceptance of principle was bound to persist so long as Colonial territories were to be regarded mainly as markets for our manufactured goods, or as sources of cheap raw materials or of highly profitable investments. That is to say, so long as our Colonies were looked at from the primarily economic and egotistical viewpoint. Even—and I think this is interesting because it is so recent—the Colonial Development Act of 1929, which authorised Parliament to spend up to a million a year on opening up the economic resources of the Colonies, was aimed at relieving unemployment in this country and not at stimulating production of those subsistence crops which are the mainstay of the native inhabitants.

But last year it seemed that Colonial policy had really taken a new turn. The Colonial Welfare and Development Act, passed through Parliament in June, enabled us to spend more than we have ever spent before—up to £5,000,000 a year for ten years—directly on raising the standard of living and improving the Social Services of our 60,000,000 Colonial subjects. They were no longer, according to this Statute, to be the playthings of economic forces over which they had no control, for the financial assistance and scientific advice would be forthcoming from this country to equip them to stand on their own feet. Then, casting our memories back to last summer, scarcely a month later came the collapse of France. Our attention was diverted from these freely-accepted Imperial responsibilities to the defence of this island against an impending invasion, and every penny we could raise "vent into aeroplanes and other war equipment. But last autumn we succeeded in winning the Battle of Britain, and from that time there has been, I think, very generally, a steady recrudescence of interest in Colonial problems. This revival of public interest culminated in some speeches delivered by the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in the month of May. The tenor of these interesting statements—I hope the noble Lord will correct me if I should misinterpret him even slightly—was that, though the war situation did cause a temporary set-back to our schemes for Colonial development, the time has now come when the provisions of last year's enactment would be put into practice.

I hope that the noble Lord, whose modesty is so well known, will forgive me if I quote one or two passages from these public statements. They are all of very general importance as an indication of present policy. Speaking at the Overseas Club at Manchester, on May 27, the noble Lord said: The difficulty is that our Colonial development has been haphazard. It is only recently that the House of Commons has taken an intelligent interest in it. In the interest of the Colonies and ourselves we must go in for a much more active policy of grants for developments. To-day the Colonies are, to a large extent, neglected estates. Unlike the Dominions, they cannot help themselves. It is up to us to see that they get a fair deal. Then, in broadcasting in the Empire Service on May 14, the noble Lord was I think even more specific about the revival of the temporarily discarded policy laid down in the 1940 Act. He said that, war or no war, we could not allow anything to depress the conditions of the very many in Africa whose present standard of life was all too low. On the contrary, we hoped, despite the war, to do something to raise these conditions. The British Empire, he added, was not to be deflected from its civilising mission even by the greatest war in history. We intended to go ahead, with local man-power and local resources, with the policy of development and welfare contained in the Act of Parliament passed last year.

That last sentence is perhaps the most pregnant with meaning of all the remarks that the noble Lord made at the time. These encouraging and generous words were spoken only a few weeks ago. What I am hoping is that the noble Lord will, in this matter, take us into his confidence and tell us what plans he has for the preparation and application of development schemes in the near future, and that he will also reveal to us, if he can, how much money it may be possible to expend on them. The Colonial estimates for the present year include a sum of £400,000 for schemes under the 1940 Act, an increase of £300,000 on the year before when it was generally agreed that the Act was a dead letter. We hope that this is not the full measure of the Government's generosity. I need not remind the noble Lord opposite that the Royal Commission over which he presided with such distinction, recommended an immediate grant of £1,000,000 a year for twenty years to our territories in the West Indies alone. At the present moment we are, according to figures publicly given, contemplating an expenditure of considerably less than £1,000,000 a year on all Colonies, Mandated Territories and Protectorates in the Colonial Empire. For a more generous financial policy I I think we shall have the support of the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack, because it was he who sanctioned the expenditure of funds under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act when he was himself Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am sure your Lordships will agree that a step of this kind, taken at the beginning of such a difficult period for us, was an act of far-sighted statesmanship.

I should like to address one or two questions to the noble Lord, Lord Moyne. It would be interesting to know which of the Colonial Governments have already submitted to the Colonial Office development or welfare schemes and which are known to be actively engaged on their preparation. It is, for instance, common knowledge that Sir Frank Stockdale and a staff of expert advisers are collecting material for detailed schemes in the West Indies, which is perhaps the noble Lord's favourite of all the different elements in the Empire; but I should like to ask whether anything of the same kind is to be done in West or East Africa or in our other dependencies overseas. Are any preparations on foot? An essential preliminary for schemes of this kind is the information about local conditions provided by a census. The forthcoming census in Jamaica will be generally welcomed, but I imagine—I hope the noble Lord will correct me if I am mistaken—that its use will be limited to the preparation of a register of voters under the new franchise; it will not, therefore, assist in the matter of schemes for welfare and economic development. I hope that I am mistaken there, and perhaps the noble Lord will be good enough to go into greater detail on this when he replies. This preparation of a census is surely the sort of thing which can be done almost entirely out of a Colony's own resources, and is therefore peculiarly suitable to war conditions. I do not think that it is unreasonable to suppose that in the year which has elapsed since the passage of the Act of 1940 some of the Colonial administrations have already made their plans.

Another question which I should like to ask is whether anything will be done in the near future to stem the soil erosion which is proceeding at such a dangerous pace in Kenya and in Southern Rhodesia. Yet another question—I hope that the noble Lord will forgive this bombardment, but our principal object is to extract information from him—is whether there is any hope of grants for irrigation or for works of capital development, or of grants for agricultural and veterinary research, on which the best use of the land depends. These are, it is true, wider and larger schemes, but they are all recommended in recent Reports. No less urgent than the alleviation of malnutrition by stimulating the production of mixed subsistence crops is the need for those elementary Social Services which the Colonies are at present too poor to afford for themselves. We could surely begin now to counteract the prevalence of minor ailments which undermine health and nutrition, and which were described so fairly in the Report of the Commission over which the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, presided. We could surely begin to alleviate these conditions by the training of doctors and medical staff recruited from those on the spot, without bringing anyone overseas and using British shipping.

Even the greatest enthusiasts for the Colonial Development and Welfare Act will no doubt agree that what we can achieve at the moment is, of course, limited by the demands of the war on our money, our man-power and our shipping; but, as the noble Lord pointed out in a recent speech, much can be made out of local resources and local manpower. Our indebtedness to the Colonies is steadily mounting up, and something must be done to discharge our obligations. The Colonies have been very hard hit indeed by the severance of their export trade through the blockade and counter-blockade. The makeshift alternative arrangements that we have given them cannot compensate in full for the loss of their principal markets for sugar, bananas, cocoa, palm oil, citrus fruits and other such products of tropical agriculture. We cannot absolve ourselves of responsibility for permitting the whole Colonial Empire to depend on the vagaries of international trade. We encouraged, I fear, a lop-sided export economy at a time when we should have been teaching the Colonies gradually to adapt themselves to self-dependence in a protectionist world.

We have recently been placed under a new obligation by the vigour and warmth of support for our cause which has been forthcoming from the Colonial Empire. We remember with gratitude and admiration the part played by West and East African troops in driving the Italians out of Abyssinia and Italian Somaliland, and the loyalty of, our Colonial subjects has been no less conspicuously displayed by the subscription of over £14,000,000 in money gifts to the Imperial Treasury. It is impossible to estimate the real sacrifice that these gifts will entail, but there can be no doubt that the somewhat paradoxical situation in which the parent country is receiving so much from, and giving so little to, its impoverished offspring is one which can easily be used against us by such a champion of oppressed peoples as Dr. Goebbels. In America the German propaganda machine is full of stories of British exploitation of native races in India and Africa. We can hope to convince the neutral countries of our sincerity only if we are prepared to adopt a Colonial policy which will demonstrate by deeds, and not by words alone, or even by Acts of Parliament, that we are actually to-day, in the midst of the greatest war in the whole of our history, helping our Colonial subjects to build up their own Social Services and to lay the foundations of a sound and prosperous economic order. I beg to move for Papers.


My Lords, I rise merely to add "my support to the plea which my noble friend has made, and, above all, to his request for generosity in the treatment of our Colonial territories. The noble Lord has said, and justly, that the passing in war-time of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act was evidence of our appreciation of our position as trustees for the Colonial peoples; but I believe that not only is this measure a measure of generosity, but it is also one which will bear valuable material fruit for the home country. It is surely clear that after this war we shall very largely have disposed of and dissipated our foreign investments, and the only means by which we shall be able to pay for imports from abroad will be by our exports to foreign countries. If by developing our Colonies we can increase the consumption of those Colonies, we shall create for ourselves invaluable customers who, by taking our exports, will enable us to do something, at any rate, towards maintaining our imports and, with our imports, our prewar standard of living. I do not know whether His Majesty's Government had this selfish view in mind when they passed the Colonial Development Bill. I do not believe they had. I believe it was a Bill inspired entirely by a sense of their responsibilities to our Colonial peoples; but I should like to stress these extremely valuable results which will, in my view, come to us personally from this expenditure, even at this time when expenditure is so difficult.

At the present time, as the noble Earl has said, we all recognise the difficulty of carrying out any measures which entail the use of shipping space or of raw materials. There is, however, as my noble friend has already indicated, very considerable work which can be done under the Colonial Development Act which would not require shipping space and would not use up materials needed for the war effort—in particular, measures such as research, which certainly requires personnel, but personnel not in such numbers as to be unprocurable even at this time. My noble friend has spoken of statistics and the need for census figures. I should like to add the need for vital statistics, without which it is perfectly impossible in any country to have any reasonable scheme of social welfare. My noble friend has spoken of soil conservation. This is a matter, however difficult it may be at this time, which is not in my view ruled out by the two difficulties I have already enumerated. It is a problem which must be dealt with at the earliest possible moment. I would add that an Act was passed in the Kenya Legislature for dealing with soil erosion and conservation. I believe that a certain amount of adverse comment has been made in the Colony on the fact that the funds required for this purpose were not forthcoming. I hope very much that the noble Lord, the Secretary of State, will be able to assure us that these funds will now be forthcoming.

When last I spoke to your Lordships on Colonial subjects, about six months ago, I pressed upon the late Lord Lloyd, then Secretary of State, the desirability of making now those international contacts which, it seemed to me then and seems to me now, we are in a particularly good position to make, having so many foreign Governments here in London. So many of the African problems, for instance, undoubtedly require international co-operation. One has only to mention certain of the famous pests from which Africa has suffered and is suffering-tsetse fly, locusts, anopheles mosquitoes. With all these it is difficult, if not impossible, to deal on a provincial basis. The possibility of dealing with these pests on a continental basis is now within our reach, and I hope the noble Lord will be able to tell us that something is being done along these lines. In addition there are diseases—human, animal, and plant—which can be dealt with, and perhaps only be dealt with, equally on lines which pay no attention to frontiers. It has been suggested that there might be some possibility, in the case of human disease, of using the many refugee doctors that we have in our midst at the present time.

A new Colonial policy is undoubtedly one of the peace aims which we must have. His Majesty's Government have already made it clear that access to raw materials is to be given to all in a new and peaceful world after the war, I believe, as I have said, that before that, in present circumstances, with so many Allied Governments here in London, at least the initial talks might be taking place with this object in view—the object of evolving the skeleton of a post-war Colonial policy. It is my belief, which will probably be shared by noble Lords who are interested and, like so many noble Lords, are well informed on Colonial subjects, that very little can be done in the Colonies without a very large measure of education. This requires personnel only, and not shipping space or raw materials. I believe it would be possible, and I am quite certain it would be desirable, at this time to start the building up of cadres of teachers for our Colonies everywhere. Without education it will be doubly difficult, if not impossible, to carry out the schemes because, for their success, they must have the conscious and understanding co-operation of the people themselves.

In this connection might I make a suggestion which I hope the noble Lord will not consider frivolous? Would it be possible to make greater use of the wireless? I have a vision, as it were, of a small African village in which the headman has been given a wireless receiving set and taught how to use it, and round which at a given hour in the evening, after work, the people could assemble. In the African villages probably the men could be collected at other times as well as the evening, since I believe it is the other sex which is principally made to work there. In any case, whether that be so or not, when the men are free they could be collected round the wireless, and the Governor himself could speak to them on subjects which are of daily interest to them. Knowledgeable speakers could be obtained to speak to the women on health services, maternity services, and child welfare. It seems to me that the distribution of a certain number of wireless instruments throughout our Colonies would be a quick and efficacious way of doing some practical education which would take a very long time to do if we had to wait for the training of teachers.

I come to the question of agriculture. That, as it seems to me, is the fundamental question for all our Colonies. My noble friend Lord Listowel has already mentioned the need for a reorientation of Colonial econonmy—an economy which must come to be more self-supporting than it ever has been in the past, which must aim more at raising the standard of living of Colonial peoples and less at producing goods for export, a resource which the Colonies have found so painfully liable to attack from outside economic conditions and circumstances. Along with this policy of the reorganisation of agriculture—in which again it seems to me that much should have been done and must be done about the redistribution of land, and about the planting of peasant proprietors on the larger estates in many of the Colonies—should go a policy which I recognise to be more difficult at the present time, though when the noble Lord, the late Lord Lloyd, replied to me, he did say that the point was under consideration and was not being lost sight of by His Majesty's Government. I refer to the need for subsidiary industries in the Colonies themselves. I am afraid that it must be admitted that in certain respects a good deal of our past Colonial policy, as the noble Lord suggested, gave material which has been used and is being used against us by the propagandists of our enemies.

I would like to remind your Lordships of the unfair results of taxation in some of the Colonies. Frequently the produce of a Colony pays an inadequate contribution to the Colony's economy. In particular, I would point out instances of exemption from Excess Profits Tax in British Guiana of the mining companies, and in Malaya of the rubber companies, both of which are at the present moment making very considerable profits. I do not think your Lordships can deny that a certain share of the taxation of those profits should justly and rightly go to the Colonial Exchequer. It is an unfortunate result of war, and one which I think His Majesty's Government and the Colonial Office should discourage, that in several of the Colonies there has been a tendency to forgo the grants that have been received in the past, and to postpone schemes which those who have experience or knowledge of the Colonies will hardly be likely to say were premature. This policy of putting off schemes for social welfare is one which I hope the noble Lord will discourage to the fullest possible extent.

I have received a curious piece of information to the effect that on his sales of cocoa in this country the Minister of Food has been driven to make profits out of it and to use those profits in paying some part at any rate of the subsidies which he has been paying to keep down prices on other foods. I do not know whether my information on this point is correct, but if it is I would suggest that there is a certain ungenerosity about making a profit of this kind. I am not suggesting that it is not correct, it is perfectly correct, of course, for a Ministry like the; Ministry of Food to pay for these subsidies out of profits on other articles. That is entirely correct and entirely desirable, but I would suggest it is, not fair to make a profit on a Colonial produce for which you are in fact paying a very reduced price and a price which is bearing very heavily upon the producer. I have been unable to confirm my information on this point, but if it is accurate I should like an assurance from the noble Lord that some part at any rate of this profit will be returned to the producer in West Africa.

I should also like to ask the noble Lord, in perhaps more detail than the noble mover of this Motion asked him, exactly what schemes are being evolved for expenditure of moneys under this Act, and in particular I should like to ask what schemes, if any, there are in existence for the opening up and development of British Honduras and British Guiana. These territories have been thought by many in a position to understand their problems and their possibilities to be territories which might drain off the superfluous population of some of the West Indian islands, and give a good standard of living to an enormously increased population. I should like in conclusion to stress that in putting down this Motion my noble friend and I have no desire to be vexatious. On the contrary, we hope to be able in this way to strengthen the hand of the noble Lord the Secretary of State. I do not knew if it is justified or not, but some of us have an impression that the noble Lord, who is an expert on Colonial problems, may perhaps be finding himself to some extent hampered by the notorious procrastination of the Colonial Office. If we have been able to help him in this way, then we shall certainly have more than justified our Motion.


My Lords, the Motion on the Paper relates primarily to progress under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act passed last year, and I am very grateful to the two noble Lords who have spoken for the very helpful suggestions which they have made and the various questions which they have asked. I am also very glad of their invitation to review the wider aspects of Colonial problems against a somewhat broader background of war-time finance and economics. The war has been very uneven in its effects on different parts of the Colonial Empire, but to a fortunate few whose products have been in demand and have fetched high prices it has brought abounding prosperity, especially to Malaya and to Northern Rhodesia and to others in a lesser degree. In these cases there has been no need for assistance from the home Exchequer. On the contrary the tendency has been all the other way, and these fortunate Colonies have not been slow to offer generous assistance to our war effort which has been gratefully accepted by the home Government. In other Colonies while there has not been abounding prosperity there has been at least no violent interruption of their pre-war economy Most of the West Indies, for instance, especially those dependent on sugar, arc if anything rather better off than before the war. The whole of their sugar is bought by this country at a good price and there is a growing volume of employment in connection with the American bases.

Other Colonies have not fared so well. Some, such as Malta and Cyprus, are cut off from their ordinary trade by then-geographical position. Others were threatened with the loss of all their overseas markets or were unable to find the necessary shipping to move their goods to those markets. In such cases it has been necessary for the United Kingdom Government to come to their assistance. Lord Lloyd in December gave your Lordships an account of the measures which had been taken up till then. West African cocoa and palm products, East African sisal, Palestine citrus and Jamaican bananas have all had their difficulties, but Government action has been taken to meet those difficulties either by buying up the crops in bulk or by financing the growers in other ways. A more detailed statement of what has been done is being published to-day in reply to a question in another place. We also gave the same support to the Colonies of the Belgians and the Free French, which found themselves suddenly deprived of their home markets on which they had been mainly dependent. I cannot give a figure for this form of assistance, as some of the expenditure will have come back as the products liquidate. The total involved as far as can at present be judged will probably not exceed about £2,000,000. The noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, asked about profit which he understood to have been made on cocoa. Well, the first year we certainly made at the Food Ministry a heavy loss. Things are going better now, but there is no intention of making a profit. I think we must leave it to the Ministry of Food to buy the crop and to treat the transaction as a whole, but I can assure the noble Lord that there is no intention of profiteering at the expense of the grower.

Thanks to the measures that have been taken many Colonies have been saved from any serious distress. But for some they were not sufficient and direct grants have been required. Thus Malta, where conditions are practically those of a siege, has very naturally been faced on the one hand with the complete cessation of all exports and on the other hand with the necessity of large expenditure. Consequently assistance to the tune of over £1,000,000 a year has been necessary. In such cases there has been a new and generous spirit in the administration of grants. The old procedure has been simplified and under war conditions the Treasury have maintained the standard of ordinary Budget expenditure without the meticulous control of traditional methods. In short, by one means or another, either by the fortunate disposal of their products or by the grant of assistance from this country, a reasonable standard of prosperity has been maintained in most parts of the Colonial Empire.

There are exceptions that still cause anxiety. In Nigeria, for instance, the Government have been forced to eat heavily into their slender resources, and we may have later on to extend to them the assistance already given to other Colonies. But in general embarrassment is now more likely to be caused in the Colonies not by a lack of money but by the shortage of imports upon which to spend it. We are familiar with the problem caused by the lack of consumer's goods in this country where the consumption of things like clothing has to be reduced because the war is taking up the necessary labour and machinery. We have to guard against the danger of inflation in the Colonies by much the same methods as are familiar to us here, though we are not in a position to operate the same efficient machinery of control that exists at home.

So much for what may be termed war emergency relief. I turn now to our longer term policy of Colonial development. Until 1929, as your Lordships will remember, assistance was only given to Colonies in case of urgent need. Colonies were discouraged from becoming dependent on grants by the close Treasury control which was imposed in all cases of grant aid. This was so hampering in administration that it was certainly a great encouragement of self-help. Then in 1929 the Colonial Development Act was passed. It did most valuable work, but it was linked up with assistance to unemployment in this country so that its benefits were restricted mainly to capital grants or loans for purposes on which the poorer Colonies could not afford maintenance or interest expenditure. Grants for such a vital service as education were outside the scope of this measure. Moreover the total of grants could not exceed £ I, 000,000 a year. The Act had therefore its limitations. To meet these last year the Colonial Development and Welfare Act was passed. It was framed on much more generous lines. In the first place its limit was £5,000,000 a year plus £500,000 for research, and as was announced by the Government at the time of its passage but for the war it might have been still higher. It covered, as its title implies, welfare purposes as well as developmental purposes in the widest sense. Finally it made it possible to give recurrent assistance over a period of years without the stigma of pauperism formerly attaching to a grant-in-aid.

The war has of course affected the degree to which we have been able to carry out this long-term policy. It has, as I have explained, increased the number of emergency grants to keep Colonial Governments; going but it has reduced the possibility of carrying out development work. In the process I think it is true to say that the distinction between a grant in aid of ordinary administration and a grant for development is becoming a little blurred. There are still the two separate Votes—the Colonial and Middle Eastern Services Vote and that for Colonial Development and Welfare—but the line of demarcation between them is a somewhat difficult one to draw. So, if our accomplishments under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act have not been great, I would ask your Lordships to remember that the emergency assistance given under other Votes is very substantial and that it covers social expenditure which might have come within the scope of the Colonial Development and Welfare Vote.

Our policy under the Act has suffered considerable fluctuation. In June of last year, at the time of the collapse of France, a telegram was sent to the Colonies saying that it would not, in the then circumstances, be possible to make much immediate progress under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, as vital resources and the energies of Colonial Governments were needed for the war effort. It was indeed realised that the West Indies were in a special position, and exception was made for schemes of purely local import not only in the West Indies but throughout the Empire, but this exception was hedged about with conditions, and as a result relatively little advantage was taken of it. I know that at the time of his death Lord Lloyd had come to the conclusion that some further encouragement should be given to Colonial Governments to submit schemes under the Act, but he had no time to give effect to this intention. I found myself in cordial agreement with his view, but at the same time it was becoming increasingly obvious that demands from the Colonies for supplies from this country and from the American Continent must be reduced to essentials, and I therefore thought it desirable to review the whole policy which Colonial Governments should be invited to pursue, having regard to those two opposing, and on the surface somewhat contradictory, considerations. On the one hand there was the need to call upon those people in the Colonies who enjoy a standard of living similar to that of this country to support similar sacrifices in their consumption of non-essental goods, and on the other hand there was our obligation to maintain and if possible improve the standard of living of those less fortunate but more numerous classes in the Colonies whose existing standards fall short of the minimum we regard as desirable.

I have discussed these questions and tried to reconcile the two tendencies in a long Dispatch sent a few weeks ago to Colonial Governors in which I have dealt first with the need for limiting personal consumption of imported goods, pointing out the need for saving shipping space, foreign exchange and productive capacity. The Colonies are asked to achieve these purposes by control of non-essential imports, by taxation to limit spending power and by war savings. As an example of the attention which is being given to this purpose, the West Indian group of Colonics are arranging to hold a Conference very shortly under the Chairmanship of Sir Frank Stockdale, Comptroller of Development and Welfare, so as to concert a common policy in import control. I have also pointed out to Colonial administrations that even where taxation is not necessary for the immediate balancing of their Budgets, it is desirable, just as in this country, that spending power should be reduced by diversion to the coffers of the State of a greater part of personal income, at least for those persons living on European standards. That is necessary in order to avoid inflationary tendencies.

If this policy results in a greater yield of revenue than is required to balance the Budget, well and good. There are few Colonial Governments which could not do with more revenue. In the past some of them—it would be invidious to particularise—have been so generous as to offer their surpluses as gifts to His Majesty's Government for the prosecution of the war. I have felt somewhat uneasy about acceptance of these gifts, whether we were morally right to take them. It does not seem proper that the poorer Colonies should be permanently deprived by the generosity of their sentiments of the opportunity of building up reserves that they may sorely need in the future. Accordingly what I have now proposed in the Dispatch is that if they have surpluses available for the time being, those surpluses should be lent to His Majesty's Government without charge for the duration of the war with the intention that they shall be repaid when required by the Colony concerned for post-war development. This will, not, of course, prevent outright gifts by those more fortunate Colonies which can feel assured that they possess adequate resources without any further accumulation of reserves. Still less will it affect the desire of private individuals in the Colonies to contribute to the war effort by making gifts of money. The total so far received from the Colonial Empire either by gift or loan amounts to over £20,000,000. When you add to that the tremendous effort that has been made by African Colonies in their man-power and their splendid achievements in the African campaign, it really is amazing that the Colonies have been able to offer such splendid support in our war effort.

So much for what I may call the restrictive side of my Dispatch. The rest of it deals with the other side of the dual policy which I have recommended to Colonial Governments, that is, our obligation to raise as far as possible the standard of life of all those classes in the Colonial Empire whose standard is at present below an adequate minimum. This duty is in no way lessened by the fact that we are at war, although the war necessarily not merely lessens the extent to which we can carry it out, but in some cases will make it a difficult task even to maintain existing standards. What is perhaps more important is to plan ahead so that, when normal conditions return, schemes aimed at a permanent improvement in standards of living can at once be put into operation. I have urged Colonial Governments to do their best to frame plans for the future—though their very limited staff and their many preoccupations will, I fear, make elaborate planning very difficult at present—and in the meantime I have begged them not to be afraid of submitting schemes for assistance which do not involve imported material or personnel. There will, I hope, be quite a number of schemes, especially on the social welfare side. Colonies can be assured that if they can put up good schemes which do not interfere with the war effort the money to finance them will be forthcoming.

It is too early yet to expect any immediate result from this Dispatch, but it may be of interest to give the figures of schemes dealt with up to date under the Act of last year. I leave out of account certain schemes to be completed over a series of years under the old Colonial Development Act. Apart from this liability, we have under the new Act approved about twenty-four schemes involving a total expenditure over a period of years of about £380,000. Of these the largest so far are two schemes in Cyprus, £200,000 for reafforestation and £42,000 for a water supply scheme in the Paphos area. Thirty-four more schemes are being considered involving a total expenditure of about £800,000, and we know of at least seventy other schemes coming along.

The great majority of the new proposals are the result of the work of the Comptroller of Development and Welfare in the West Indies. Sir Frank Stockdale was appointed to this post last year, and with his experts has now made a preliminary survey of nearly all the West Indian Colonies. Naturally, owing to the intensive examination which he has been able to give to these schemes and the discussion which has taken place with the local Governors, the West Indian schemes are much more nearly ready than schemes in Africa and elsewhere. The West Indian schemes so far received deal mainly with agriculture and public health improvement. I quite agree with what the two noble Lords have said as to the disadvantage of building so much as many of these Colonics have on export economy. One of the main lessons which we learnt on the Royal Commission was the disadvantage that had been suffered in the West Indies by excessive concentration of effort upon export crops. Plantation agriculture has reached a high standard of efficiency, but peasant agriculture is lamentably ill-balanced and wasteful of soil and opportunity.

The noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, asked about soil erosion in Kenya. We have not so far received any application, but it is just that type of case for which the Development Fund was designed and we have got from the West Indies already interesting applications of the same type. I have here a list of some of the West Indian applications which are coming along. They cover such matters as antimalarial drainage (£I0,000 for Grenada), water storage (£35,000 for Barbados), and many agricultural proposals from some of the more backward islands such as Nevis (£2I,000). They cover I think all the particular objects which the noble Lord mentioned.

It was Lord Faringdon, I think, who also asked about British Guiana. Well, we are helping there. We have helped that Colony very much by wiping out nearly £I,000,000 of public debt. I agree that there was not much immediate prospect of that debt being paid, but still it has meant the removal of a prospective burden and freed the hands of the Government for undertaking other local drainage works, which, being for the benefit of only a small section of the people, are perhaps not so suitable for the grants from here as larger proposals. As to British Guiana and British Honduras providing likely openings for settlements, I can say that we went up to the Rupununi in British Guiana where it was proposed to settle Jews, and I am afraid we were not impressed by the prospects. As to British Honduras, whereas there are certain mountain areas where £ limited amount of settlement could take place, I do not think it is likely to be a very large scale proposition.


It, was not really for Jewish settlement that I was suggesting that this should be used, but for the settlement of West Indians of African descent, who, I understand, are greatly overcrowded in certain of the islands.


I think that if there is any settlement in British Honduras it will probably be required by local persons of African descent because they are very much overcrowded in some of the coastal districts. I was not really speaking about this from the point of view of Jewish settlement, because I think there is such a very great amount of congestion in the West Indies, owing to the increase of population and the lack of proportionate increase in their resources, that it is likely that any opportunity for moving' people to vacant land would be required by the local inhabitants.

Sir Frank Stockdale is surely right in starting with agricultural improvements, as standards of living could be raised and malnutrition—which is such a terrible problem in the Empire—decreased by stimulating products native to the Colonies and of high nutritive value for mutual exchange, with the products of local craftsmen. The noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, asked about education. So far, the Comptroller has not submitted recommendations in regard to education as he wished with the help of his education expert, Mr. Hammond—who has great experience of West Indian conditions, having first been Educational Adviser in Jamaica and afterwards having worked in the Leeward and Windward Islands for the Carnegie Institute—to have the opportunity first of examining the whole field. We are in active discussion with them on the question of going ahead with certain educational developments. One 0f the difficulties is to know just how far we can go when the local needs involve standards which are considerably higher than some of the Colonies can ever be expected to pay for out of their Own resources. We are examining all these problems in the most generous spirit and as soon as we can get these proposals formulated, we shall certainly go ahead with anything which can be dealt with by local resources.

I would like to say a word about the post-war prospects. The prosperity and the future of the Colonies must be profoundly affected by the changes brought by the war. Quota schemes for imports from various countries and commodity schemes to ensure various producing countries a fair share of the world market are rapidly superseding older systems of tariffs as a means of controlling the direction of trade. Not only Colonial trade but also Colonial development in the widest sense will inevitably have to be regulated and controlled by Governments much more than Was necessary before the war. It will not after the war merely be a matter of readjusting surpluses. Neither the supply of what the Colonies want to import, nor the demand for what the Colonies wish to export, nor the supply of the necessary ships for transport of goods will immediately reappear. The organisation of export marketing which we have already achieved with the Colonies of our Allies will have to be continued in some shape. Whether on a world-wide or on a regional or a continental system, it will surely be necessary to have some co-ordinating authority.

We are, of course, keeping in very close touch with the Colonies of our Allies in Central Africa, and the Governor of Nigeria, who is Chairman of the West African Governors Conference, is just about to have the first meeting and to confer upon these subjects with General de Larminat for the Free French, and Governor-General Ryckmans for the Congo. We are also in daily touch with the two Governments concerned and also with the Government of the Dutch East Indies.

Besides the question of economics there will be many other problems, scientific, administrative and political, that will have to be dealt with on more than a local plane. Machinery for that purpose will have to be devised. These changes will not come of themselves and much thought and wise leadership will be required. For this purpose we must keep up and strengthen the efficiency of our Colonial Services. The personnel is now carrying on under heavy handicap owing to the large proportion who have been called on for military and other war services. Even during the war, therefore, after consultation with the military authorities, we are keeping up a measure of recruitment for the administrative, agricultural, legal, medical and other technical branches so that there shall be no gap in the structure of the Colonial Service when the men who have been retained over age and for other reasons are released at the end of hostilities.

I have also set up within the Colonial Office a small official Committee to prepare the ground for the decisions which will be needed to plan Colonial economics under the new conditions after the war and to collect the facts that will help us to deal with the many other post-war problems that will arise. Wise decisions will only be reached if based on the fullest information, and we are very fortunate in having secured as Chairman Lord Hailey, who since his great African Survey has carried out two other inquiries in connection with our African Colonies and their relations with those of Belgium and Free France. The Committee is primarily a preliminary fact-finding body. It is working in close touch with various outside non-official organisations, who are in a position to assist it in its inquiries. The noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, stressed the need for a new deal in Colonial policy to meet post-war conditions. I hope that the preliminary steps which we are now taking may, when the time comes for decision on post-war Colonial problems, provide the necessary information to enable the Government to give far-sighted direction to Colonial development and to the social improvements which may thus be secured to the population for whose welfare we are trustees.


My Lords, I am sure that there is no one who has had an interest in Colonial affairs who will not feel a sense of disappointment that the operations under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act have had to be not entirely deferred but at all events curtailed. I know that the noble Lord who introduced this debate did not intend, by some remarks which he made, to invite us to discuss whether that Act represented a late effort of repentance on the part of the British public, whether our former sense of trusteeship was half-hearted or incomplete, and whether we did in fact regard the Colonies in the past as a source of income or assistance to ourselves, but were now prepared to recognise in a fuller sense our obligations to them. I know that he did not intend that, and I myself shall not endeavour to lead the discussion on those lines; but, if I may mention your Lordships the conclusion at which I arrived in the course of a somewhat special study of Colonial affairs of late years, it is that the sense of trusteeship has never from the first been absent, but of late years it has taken a more constructive interpretation. That is due to a variety of causes, and not least to the far better means which we now have at our disposal through the extension of Social Services and the like in the Colonies, of obtaining information as to the actual physical and other conditions of the people, and to changes which have taken place in this country, in which social work has entered far more largely into the activities of government, and in which the position of the State as supplying the Social Services has acquired a new importance.

We need concern ourselves little, however, with the origin and causes of the Act. It was welcomed, and welcomed most heartily, by all who had an interest in Colonial affairs. I myself have had some opportunity of judging of the way in which it was received in the Colonies themselves, in the course of a stay of very nearly twelve months, first and last, in the British and other Colonies. It appealed there to all classes of people. Its influence and the impression which it created have extended beyond the Colonies to which the: Act itself applied; its influence has been felt in Southern Rhodesia, and I feel that it will give a stimulus also to the Union of South Africa. It met with the greatest appreciation from our French and Belgian neighbours, and perhaps the most interesting feature of that appreciation was their recognition of the sense of self-confidence and the steadiness of purpose of the British people who, at that juncture in a war so difficult and devastating, could undertake a commitment of such a nature on behalf of the dependent peoples.

At the same time, however, I was able to see something of the obvious embarrassment of the Colonial administrations in the face of the difficulty of undertaking that careful and systematic planning for development which proper and judicious expenditure under the Act would involve. It was not so much a question of the absence of shipping or other transport, or even, perhaps, of the difficulty of importing personnel from Great Britain, though that personnel, even on the research side, is exceedingly difficult to obtain. It was cue to the fact that there had been a very heavy call on all the Colonial Services, particularly in Africa, for men to serve with the new Forces which were being raised there. It was obviously difficult to obtain men who had knowledge of the local language and customs, and the first strain fell on those very technical and scientific services whose duty it would be to undertake planning of this nature.

I do not desire to weary your Lordships by giving too many illustrations of the far-reaching character of some of these problems, the extent to which they require the most careful planning and the extent also to which they require what is an additional difficulty in time of war, the cooperative planning of various Colonial units. One such illustration, however, would certainly be the necessity of protecting our Colonial peoples in Africa from the effects of wide infestation owing to the prevalence of the tsetse fly. I doubt whether it is usually recognised how wide this mischief is. In Tanganyika something like two-thirds of the country is infested with tsetse, and five-eighths is so infested in Northern Rhodesia; with the result that not only are the inhabitants entirely deprived of the use of milk and meat in their diet, but they are unable to face the introduction of those methods of mixed farming which are perhaps the best, or it may be the only, solution for the poverty of the African soils.

Take another illustration, the necessary steps, again requiring a co-operative effort, to restrict the movement of rinderpest. In the eighties of the last century rinderpest caused an epidemic among the cattle of the African continent, which had effects which have been written not only in tribal but even in the political history of Africa; and there have been some fears lately lest this disease should be attempting to recover some of the territory which we thought that it had lost. Those two illustrations perhaps refer to the sphere of preventive measures, but there are problems of a more constructive nature, problems requiring equally systematic and equally inter-Colonial co-operation. Such a problem is that of secondary education. There are few of our Colonies which have either the means or the necessary trained teaching staff to undertake secondary education, and already we hear of arrangements being made between territories such as Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia for joint institutions of this nature.

There is one more illustration which perhaps your Lordships will allow me to give, this time from the economic field. Hitherto, as has been suggested, much of our attention has been directed to problems of export production, or at all events to problems of production. In a world in which the producer of primary materials is always somewhat at the mercy of an industrialised world which has need of those materials, and in a world, moreover, in which primary materials are apt to be in surplus, placing their producers still more at the mercy of the industrialist, it is clear that if we are to assist the primary producer to achieve better standards of life we must attend not only to questions of production but to questions of marketing. That applies equally to export production and to subsistence production; indeed, it is, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, himself mentioned, to the improvement of subsistence production and subsistence marketing that we ourselves must look for such an improvement of the internal resources of the Colony as will enable it eventually to undertake the financing of its Social Services from its own revenue.

There is involved in this the whole question of building up the financial structure of the Colonies. The larger finance of every country is built up on the mass of small transactions and petty savings of the innumerable body of small people, and it is to that problem of marketing and saving facilities that we now have to pay attention. There, again, is a problem which requires research by economists and the knowledge of sociologists, since social and economic habits cannot be distinguished in the Colonies, and inter-Colonial co-operation. There has been, therefore, great advance in giving effect during the present year to the Development Act. The noble Lord, the Secretary of State, has referred to the appointment of a Committee in the Colonial Office for dealing in advance with problems of this nature which we may have to face at the end of the war. He has described that Committee's function as largely fact-finding. That must be so in the circumstances, but it must start by taking account of the existing situation in the Colonies and, in particular, it must examine those questions to which both the noble Lords who introduced the discussion have referred—namely, how much has already been done under the action of the old Development Act or by the assistance of the new Act, or indeed from the resources of the Colonies themselves, in the promotion of Social Services.

So far as the Welfare Act is concerned, there is a mass of material already to hand; some schemes have been submitted by the Colonial Governments. But most of all I feel that that Committee would be able to rely on the assistance and advice of numerous scientific and other bodies in the United Kingdom who are interested in problems of that nature. Its task will be to collect material and give precision to the issues. In other words, we may hope it will be able to pave the way for that planning which must be undertaken on a larger scale by the Colonial Governments themselves, and perhaps to give, both from the experience of this country and by pooling experience of our own and other countries, some kind of direction and guidance to them. I have referred to the very wide range of these problems. They are all of them urgent, some of them imperative, and that encourages me to express a hope to the Government that the Colonies may not in the long run find themselves suffering not merely from the delay that has been caused, but financially also from this enforced moratorium in our well-doing. It may be, perhaps, that in happier and what I may describe as post-Hitler days we may see legislation which will provide for the Colonies not only the normal contribution which they would have received under the Act but some additional contributions in order to make up for these losses that they have sustained by the delays consequent on the war. That is a hope I commend to the Government, and for which I trust I may in due time receive the support of your Lordships.

May I venture on one concluding remark? Colonial development has four stages. The first is the rudimentary stage of introducing peace and order and that amount of stability which will allow the inhabitants of the country to take the first steps to secure their own material welfare and advancement. The second stage is one that follows fast on the first—namely, taking measures to prevent the exploitation of the inhabitants of the Colonies by private interests or to safeguard them from the abuse of authority. There follows a third stage, more positive, more constructive, a stage which involves the expansion of the Social Services. That is a stage which is of the highest importance. It is, as I say, of a positive and constructive character, and it is one which should engage all our energies. There is a final stage, a stage in which the fulfilment of our trusteeship for the Colonies will be tested by ourselves in Great Britain and also by the Colonial peoples by the measure to which we have afforded them opportunities for the management of their own affairs and by the extent to which we have admitted them to partake of self-governing institutions I think we can say we have achieved, and very fully achieved, the first of these two stages, even in that vast area of more backward lands which were added to the Colonial Empire by the expansionist policy at the end of the last century. But everywhere, and especially in those more backward areas, our problem now is to deal with the third stage, the constructive stage of the expansion of the Social Services. Much has been achieved. I should be unwilling that anyone should think that the picture presented, and truly presented, of the state of affairs in Northern Rhodesia, on the one hand, and in some part of the West Indies, on the other, prevails throughout the Colonies. It would be by no means a true picture. There has been great advance in the Social Services, but I feel myself—and I am sure I shall receive support for this—that it is this type of, work which must now engage our attention, not necessarily to the exclusion, but perhaps even in precedence, of questions of political advancement.

Out attention for the moment must be concentrated on the improvement of physical health and social standards. You cannot build up political liberties on dwarfed bodies or stunted intelligences. I venture to repeat here a remark I had the temerity to make elsewhere—namely, that we may well hope the time will not come when the people of the Colonies, and the people more particularly of those backward Colonies, will say to us, "We asked for bread and you offered us a vote." We cannot satisfy our sense of trusteeship in that way. Much, as I have said, has been achieved, but we must now bend to that task all the constructive thought of which we are capable. We must give it all the consideration that our own experience and the experience we can gain from the study of other people can supply, and we must give it all the financial assistance that our circumstances will permit or our sense of obligation will inspire.


My Lords, I think your Lordships will all agree that a debate of this character would not have been complete if my noble friend Lord Hailey, who has just delivered such an able and well-informed speech on the subject, had not taken part in it. I rose for three minutes only, having been Chairman of the Rhodesia and Nyasaland Royal Commission, to express my satisfaction that he was able to give some evidence of the favourable reception in that part of Africa of the passage of the Colonial and Welfare Development Act. Although no nation in the world except Great Britain would have dreamt of embarking in the middle of a great war such as this upon unforeseen industrial and social developments involving on the part of the National Exchequer an immense outlay of public money, there is no question that with the enemy propaganda on the one hand trying to disparage our treatment of the native races in our various widespread Colonies, and on the other hand the magnificent support in money, material and human endeavour which even the least civilised natives of Central Africa have afforded during the present contest, it was most desirable to make it perfectly clear that this was not shop-window legislation which it was not our intention faithfully to carry out now.

The noble Lord, the Secretary of State, has made it perfectly evident that that is not the impression that has gone forth among both the white men and the natives of our various British Colonies. But, while thanking my noble friend the Secretary of State for his most interesting and reassuring statement this afternoon, I cannot help expressing the hope that somehow or other, in what I may call tabloid form over the wireless, the various Colonies, and particularly their native populations, will be assured that this money is going to be expended, and that its expenditure is not wholly going to be delayed till after the war. I was very glad indeed to hear Lord Hailey refer more particularly to the need for coping with the tsetse fly and animal disease, and to the difficulties presented to human health by malnutrition. All over that vast area that I travelled three years ago with my Royal Commission, the conditions really were more than depressing. It was almost sickening to think that within a territory over which at least for the time the Union Jack was flying, there was such an immense amount to be done both in the matter of education and elementary agriculture, and, more particularly perhaps, with regard to medical treatment. All that, it appears, the Colonial Office is to put its hand to, with determination to carry out, in order at any rate to show that our promises are to be relied upon and that we mean business in these particulars.

There is one impression that we all gained when we travelled that vast area three years ago, and that was that there is a lack of a due sense of responsibility on the part both of the white population and of the natives, and I am going to venture to urge, although no one feels more strongly than I do the necessity of priming the pump in the matter of industrial development with Treasury finance, that it is most-important to take care to develop amongst the white people and the native races a due sense of responsibility for the development of their own country. I hope that will always be borne in mind when money is forthcoming from our own Treasury. I do not want to take up any longer time, but I feel that it would be a generous gesture to our various Colonies at the present time, and particularly our African Colonies and Protectorates, if we made it plain that we mean to carry out to the full the provisions of this Act, which was passed exactly a year ago. That would be of immense value in furthering the successful prosecution of the war. I for my part desire to thank the Secretary of State for his able, interesting and informative speech.


My Lords, I shall intervene for a few minutes only on two points. Lord Hailey has told us of many sources from which the Colonial Office and Colonial Governments will draw in the administration of this fund, and I share the hope that the administration of the fund will not be unduly delayed. But he was too modest to mention one source from which they will draw, and that is his own encyclopædic and monumental work on Africa. I want to support a proposal which was made by one noble Lord who spoke—I think it was Lord Faringdon—namely, that expenditure on wireless and radio is an expenditure that need not be delayed at all. I feel that to be of tremendous importance. I was in some small degree a pioneer in it myself. I was not the originator, it was Sir Arnold Hodson, a very active Governor, who gave me the original idea. He had started loud speakers as a broadcasting system in the days before broadcasting was much known in the Falkland Islands, and we extended them in West Africa. The experiment was a tremendous success. We had a debate on propaganda the other day. Well, the Governor there was able to make himself a real Minister of propaganda and of information through that means, and it was enormously appreciated. It was a money maker, too. We provided some money to start with, and we were able to declare a I0 per cent. dividend and to have a very generous depreciation or amortisation account. So this expenditure on radio need not wait.

I will give another example, although I must admit to your Lordships I have a financial, but a not very lucrative interest in it, because I am a director of the controlling company. We were asked to develop a broadcasting system in Malta and we did it, not in a very lucrative way, by means of a very fruitful partnership with the Colonial Government in Malta. I heard from the Governor the other day, when one of his special officers was home, how invaluable that broadcasting system was in Malta to-day. It enabled the Governor—and he is indeed a father of his people there—constantly to talk to them on the radio and to talk to them through this broadcasting system in an intimate way which he could not do if he had to talk to them at large on the air. I do not think I am revealing any secret when I say he is able to do this now without having what he says picked up everywhere. I know that my noble friend the Colonial Secretary is just as alive as I am to the value this has been in Malta. At a time when we want to make the Colonial Empire understand what this war is for and what is happening and when rumour is rife—and nowhere does rumour spread so quickly as it does among native populations—how valuable it would be if throughout or in as many as possible of these colonies a really good broadcasting system was in operation by means of which genuine news and right views could be expounded.

The noble Lord also said he hoped opportunity for co-operation would be taken now when great Colonial Governments are here. I share that hope, but I would not like him to think it would be anything new. I remember more than ten years ago when I was in Uganda finding to my joy Belgians and British working side by side in the research station there. He knows probably how closely we worked with the Dutch in many developments between our own Colonial Empire and the Dutch Empire.

I only want to add this. No one certainly will accuse: me of a lack of keenness or lack of interest in the marketing of Colonial products or the development of a market for them; indeed that is of vital importance. But I should not like to think that the whole of this money was going into that kind of development, or that indeed we were banking on the external market as in a large degree the solution of the growing population in these Colonies. There will be times of slump and times of boom. You may develop your marketing schemes, and you must develop them to the fullest possible extent, but you will not solve the economic problems of these teeming Colonial populations by relying upon the external market, however much we can raise the standard of living outside, however much we can get co-operation in different countries and in the different markets of the world.

We must strive for that to the full; but we are not going to solve these problems unless they are approached from the point of view of making the native cultivator live on his holding rather than off his holding. I am sure that is profoundly true of the problem you have to face in Jamaica, where you have to be quite ruthless in taking land and putting people on to it. But do not assume that you are going to solve that problem by being able to buy the whole sugar crop or banana crop. In time of war look at your danger: no ships available with their refrigerating space to bring the bananas home. Please God we shall never go through another war. Still, we shall go through times of economic difficulty, and our aim should be to make these Colonies as far as we can self-supporting, and to train up the native, because education comes into this very much. We must train him to get the best living he can on his own holding. We must get people supporting themselves in the country. Then it is the extra, it is the export, from which the surplus of his wealth comes and from which the mutual trade between the countries will come. That surely is something for which we need not wait. That does not depend upon shipping. That is a side to the problem which we can very well tackle now, and it needs above all tackling now when, owing to transport and other difficulties, it is so difficult to absorb the products in the market.


My Lords, I can speak again only by leave of the House, but one or two points have been raised in the debate to which the House would like a reply. First, as to the amount of the Vote. It is true only £400,000 is down for this year, but there is no difficulty in financing larger schemes if they come through, either from other Votes or by means of a supplementary estimate. Several noble Lords have spoken about the wireless and about the educational and propaganda value of increasing opportunities. Well, there has been a big development throughout the Colonial Empire in setting up wireless stations and organising information. I do not know that this is a complete list, but there are certainly ten stations now working in the Colonial Empire: Singapore, Aden, Nairobi, Accra, Lagos in West Africa, Trinidad, Palestine, Malta and Mauritius. These will make known our case to the Colonies, but it is very important also that we make it known to other friendly countries.


May I intervene one moment to ask whether that extends to a good reception station in the Colony which then relays the thing so that it can be taken off through loud speakers?


Yes. I cannot give the exact details, but steps are being taken to supplement the local resources for reception, and to see that these services of information are used among the populations for whom they are intended. The noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, mentioned the necessity for making our case known in friendly countries and said that it is most necessary we should answer the libels about Colonial exploitation which are so popular with our enemies. I am looking forward to seeing Sir Gerald Campbell in the next few days, and finding out what more we can add to our already existing efforts to make our Colonial story known in the United States. The United States are coming into contact with our difficulties and our efforts in the West Indies, and I am sure they will be very sympathetic to the fuller information which we wish to give.

Another point I ought to mention is this. I misinformed the House about cocoa. Many of the purchases of these Colonial products have been made by the Ministry of Food, but cocoa from West Africa is actually purchased by the Cocoa Board. If there is a profit it is hoped that we shall be able to give it back in some form or another to West Africa. It is premature to count on a profit. The first year showed a loss, and if the prospects seem better at the moment, it does not follow that the whole transaction will reveal a profit when a final balance is struck. The only other point is this. The noble Lord asked privately whether we should be able to publish this Dispatch. It was not written for publication, but for the information of the Governments. We indeed requested them not to publish it because we felt it would not be desirable to publish it piecemeal. It was rather long to expect it to be published as a whole. I will certainly go into the question. I see no reason in principle why it should not be published, and after I have consulted the other Departments concerned I hope I shall be able to accept -the noble Earl's suggestion.


My Lords, I think you will agree that this debate would have been notable merely if it had elicited the maiden effort from so outstanding an authority on Colonial affairs as Lord Hailey. It would indeed be presumptuous for me to congratulate one who has spent a lifetime on these problems, but I am sure I shall voice the general sentiment if I say that I hope the noble Lord will intervene as frequently as possible in future on similar occasions. I think this debate is also notable on account of the extraordinarily interesting review of recent developments in Colonial policy which we have listened to from the noble Lord opposite.

We are deeply grateful to him for giving this account of the work in his Department. It was gratifying to learn that some effort is being made to prevent a further deterioration in the wretched standards of the Colonial peoples; it was disappointing—I think we all share the sentiments of the noble Lord, Lord Hailey—to know that so little can be done at present under the Colonial and Welfare Development Act; but it was somewhat reassuring to learn that schemes are on foot for Colonial reconstruction the moment the war is over. In this respect the setting up of a Committee in the Colonial Office is certainly a good token. That was a piece of good news, and I am sure that this project of large-scale Colonial development will be part of the general picture of post-war reconstruction. I am particularly grateful to the noble Lord for saying he will publish his recent Dispatch to the Colonial Governments. It will greatly interest all concerned in Colonial welfare and will act as something of an antidote to enemy propaganda. I think we are all grateful to those who have taken part in this debate, and I now beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.