HL Deb 11 May 1949 vol 162 cc546-63

5.17 p.m.

LORD FARINGDON rose to call the attention of His Majesty's Government to the Report on Tanganyika of the Visiting Commission of the United Nations Trusteeship Council; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, Colonial debates seem to me to have one major defect, and that is that they tend to range rather wide. I am afraid the debate this afternoon could easily lead to that defect; we might well have a useful, and indeed protracted, discussion on any single one of the headings under which the affairs of Tanganyika can be grouped. I shall restrain myself, however, and keep strictly to the terms of my Motion, drawing the attention of His Majesty's Government to the contents of the Commission's Report. I shall take the items in the Report in the order in which they are set down by the Commission, and I shall then ask for information under various headings. What we should like this afternoon is a statement by His Majesty's Government on their reactions to this Report.

I should like to say first that I welcome this Report. It is a commonplace for people to say that they welcome criticism. Of course they always go on to say that they welcome it, on condition that it is well-informed and constructive. But when the point at which the criticism is made is reached, I have yet to meet anyone who found criticism of himself well-informed or constructive. I hope that in the case of this Commission's Report, which does contain criticisms, by implication if not directly—though some of them, I think, are fairly direct—His Majesty's Government will prove an exception to this rule. I think it is fair to say that this Report is couched in a thoroughly friendly tone. I think all of us, for example, would welcome the sincere and, as we all know, well-deserved tributes which are paid by the members of the Commission to the members of the administrative and technical services in Tanganyika. As I say, the tone of the Report seems to me a friendly one. That, of course, is not unexpected.

I would remind your Lordships of the composition of the Commission: it consisted of an Australian, a Frenchman, a Costa Rican and a Chinese. Of those four, two might be expected to have perhaps slightly anti-Imperialist outlooks, but none of them comes from a country from which we here would expect factious or gratuitously unfavourable attacks or criticisms. I think that some of the Commission's remarks are due to a lack of appreciation, if I may put it in that way, of the position 6f this country vis-à-vis not only Tanganyika but its other Colonies. Of course, the Commission's members will have regarded themselves, in so far as they represented the Trusteeship Council, as the guardians of the people of Tanganyika. It is natural for them to try to obtain for their wards as much as possible; we cannot reproach them for that. But they should remember that this country has many Colonial responsibilities beyond its trusteeship territories. Even if this country's resources were considerably less limited than in fact they are, we should still not be in a position to give to all our Colonies the services on the scale which the Commission think desirable, and which we should think desirable in the case of Tanganyika. Not only do the Commission sometimes show themselves a little too parochial-minded, but sometimes they do not seem to recognise the shortages of this post-war world.

I make these remarks now because they will enable me to say very little indeed, or nothing at all, on certain other headings. The Commission seem to be somewhat unappreciative of the shortages in the world to-day. There are shortages of materials, and there are shortages which at the present time are even more serious and more difficult to overcome—namely, shortages of personnel. I think it is not fully appreciated by the Commission that for educational and for medical services the fields of recruitment have been much limited by the war-time years during which the men who could have been recruited for these services—and, of course, for technical services as well—and who would have been going through their periods of training, were not in fact having that training and therefore are not available. The Commission also recognise that previous to the war and, indeed, in the inter-war years, this particular Trust Territory was, as they themselves express it, on a "care and maintenance basis." That is a phrase which I, when I was in the Territory, frequently had employed to me by members of the Administration, and it appears to have been used to the Commission.

The Commission, I may say, do not show themselves critical of that fact. They recognise that in the unsettled period, when there was much doubt as to whether or not this Territory might be handed back to Germany, it was inevitable that such a policy should be the policy of the Administration in Tanganyika. They recognise that this "care and maintenance" policy has inevitably been a brake upon progress, and that there are arrears to be made up. But it seems to me that perhaps these considerations have not weighed enough, or at any rate have not been made sufficiently apparent, in the Report of the Commission. The Commission deal first with the political advancement of Africans in the Territory, and they remark at once on the small number of Africans on the Legislative Council of the Territory. They remark, too, on the fact that there are no elected Africans on that Council. Of course, we should all desire—I am certain that it is the desire of His Majesty's Government—that there should be elected Africans on the Governor's Legislative Council—and, indeed, on the Executive Council too. I am quite certain that it is the policy of His Majesty's Government to arrange for the election of such Africans as soon as they are available and as soon as an electorate adequately informed is available to elect them. I would say that, if there is any weight in this attitude—it is hardly a criticism—on the part of the Commission to this particular matter, it is rather a question of the amount of emphasis placed by the Administration on this particular development.

The Commission go on to discuss the setting up of district and provincial councils. They remark on the successful setting up of the Chagga Council and also of the Sekumaland Federation. The Sekumaland Federation was being set up at the time that I was in Tanganyika, and I saw something of the discussions which were then going on. These two amalgamations are, in some ways, extremely hopeful and encouraging, but of course they do not cover a very large amount of the Territory. I should be the last to underrate the difficulties of setting up anything like a representative council at district or provincial levels. On the other hand, I think that the setting up of such councils must depend very largely on the enthusiasm of the Administration for such a cause. Much pressure can be brought to bear, and I think it is worth trying experiments, even at the risk of disappointments. I would commend to the East African department of the Colonial Office the extremely progressive and, indeed, adventurous policy that is being pursued in West Africa at the present time. I realise that in many ways the problem is greater, but in Nigeria there are native areas which are as backward as those in East Africa.

I have found one thing in the Commission's Report which has, I confess, caused me a certain amount of despondency. It is a suggestion by the Administration that provincial councils, when they are set up, should all apparently contain representation for all the communities in Tanganyika—Europeans, Indians and Africans. It is true that in many of those provinces, or at any rate in some of them, there is justification for representation of the minority groups. But there is no justification for representation on all provincial councils of those minority groups, since they do not exist in all the provinces. I should deeply deplore the setting up of communal representation in any of our territories. One would have thought that by now the Colonial Office had had sufficiently bitter experience of communal representation and would have striven to avoid it at all costs. It would seem to me that a reservation of seats, or even nomi- nation, is preferable to the division of the population into communities by the setting up of communal electorates.

The Commission go on to suggest the setting up of a Territorial Council. Here, frankly, I do not follow them. I would be interested to know whether His Majesty's Government have any such idea. I should have thought that, having set up district and provincial councils, the top level would have been the Legislative Council, to which representatives could be sent from the provisional councils I cannot see why you want an African Territorial Council—indeed, it would not be African, according to this suggestion that there should be a communal representative on the councils at lower levels. A Territorial Council of all the communities is proposed, but if there is a Legislative Council, I cannot see why there should be a Territorial Council at all. That was a suggestion which seemed a little difficult to understand.

The next item on the Commission's Report is the question of inter-territorial organisation, on which the Commission clearly have considerable doubts. They admit that for administrative reasons, at any rate for some of these services, there is a good case for such inter-territorial organisation. They remark, however, on the intense dislike of Africans and also of Indians for this inter-territorialism. They remark, too, that there is a possible danger to the prospects of development in Tanganyika. They report a fear which was expressed to them that Mombasa would draw away traffic from Dar-es-Salaam and that certain industries which are already more developed in Kenya might, under a Customs Union, tend to prevent the development of similar industries in Tanganyika. It would be interesting if His Majesty's Government could, in this connection, give us some information about the policy of the industrial council which authorises the setting up of additional industries. Particularly alarming is the remark of the Central Development Commission of the Tanganyika Government quoted on page 65 of the Report—namely, that the existence of the customs agreements has seriously undermined Tanganyika enterprise and Tanganyika revenue, and that without these agreements Tanganyika could be a flourishing country.

I would make it clear that this is not a criticism with which I wish in any way to associate myself. I am very conscious of the advantages of inter-territorial organisation, but it is natural, I think, that the United Nations Trusteeship Council, who have a particular responsibility for the trust territories, should be anxious that nothing in such an organisation should have a detrimental effect on any trust territory involved in such an arrangement. It also seems to me, and to the Commission, in some ways unfortunate (though of course I can see practical reasons why it should be so) that the headquarters and all the inter-territorial organisations should be at Nairobi. The Commission Report next passes to the economic advancement. They treat agriculture rather tenderly. We in this House know how injudicious it is for the inexpert to deal with, agricultural matters, and the caution of the Commission seems to me to be well placed. Here again, however (and I come back to my opening remarks), they suggest that while it is emerging from the doldrums additional technicians should be employed for the improvement of African agriculture. I will not repeat myself, except to say that again this question of technicians is not so simple as it sounds; there is not the apparently unending supply which the Commission seems to believe exists from which technicians can be obtained.

Then we come to what is perhaps the most controversial part of the Report—namely, the land problem, and in particular the questions of non-native land settlement and the alienation or re-alienation of ex-enemy estates. My Lords, I found in the Report two figures which I confess were a complete surprise to me. They say that to non-natives there has been alienated 1,846,278 acres out of a productive area of 6,334,000 acres. That is a very high percentage indeed, and one of which, frankly, I was unaware. It is a percentage which, I think, goes a long way to justify the recommendations of the Commission. These recommendations, since they are brief, I will read to you. They are very clear and they seem to have been well considered:

  1. "(a) All Mission lands not now directly required for churches, hospitals, schools or other necessary social or religious centres should be returned to the Africans.
  2. (b) European colonisation should be curtailed and the strictest control exercised to keep 552 it at the barest minimum consistent with the development of the Territory and the present and long-range needs and interests of the African inhabitants.
  3. (c) As a general policy, all ex-German estates should come under African ownership, preferably on a co-operative basis. Appreciating the importance of continuing production on such estates, and particularly sisal estates, the Commission suggests that in those instances where Africans are not immediately capable of operating such schemes, the Administering Authority should consider schemes whereby such estates under African ownership might temporarily continue under non-African management until such time as the Africans are trained to assume full management."

My Lords, I saw something of this problem, and when I came back to this country before the end of the war I was certainly very hopeful that the ex-enemy lands would be used to satisfy a pressing African need. For example, the Chagga, perhaps the most progressive and active tribe in the territory, who live and cultivate coffee on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, are very short of land. When I was there, attempts were being made to settle them in the valley, where the land was not so suitable and the climate was not suitable, either to themselves, not being accustomed to it, or to the production of coffee. I am not aware what is the decision of His Majesty's Government in this matter. I hope they will be able to say that all land at Kilimanjaro above 3,500 feet and up to the forest line will be used for African settlement and development. Again, there are the estates of Oldeani. When I was in Tanganyika this was explained to me as a particularly delicate matter, because these lands which were alienated were recommended by the Bagshaw Report for African occupation, and the Bagshaw Report was taken by the Mbulu tribe as a guarantee by the British Government that these lands would be given to them. I hope very much that His Majesty's Government will now be prepared to say that they are to implement the Bagshaw Report.

This question of white settlement is one which I am not going to discuss in detail to-day. It is a very wide question. There is a great deal to be said on all sides; it has more than two sides. However, in this particular connection I would suggest that His Majesty's Government should be extremely cautious in their alienation of any further lands in Tanganyika. Alienation of arid, unproductive land, like that which is being developed more or less successfully by the ground-nuts scheme, is clearly to the advantage of the territory, and even though the development is unsuccessful may not be to its disadvantage. However, such alienation would clearly come within the terms of the despatch of the noble Lord, Lord Hall, in which he laid down that no land that was required for African occupation, nor any land likely to be required by Africans in the foreseeable future, should be alienated. We are all aware that there is in Tanganyika a serious shortage of land into which Africans can be moved. Such movement is necessary if erosion is to be stopped in the areas already occupied. It seems to me, on reading this Report, that it is very improbable that there is much land which is neither needed for African occupation nor likely to be needed in the foreseeable future.

The Commission then deal with the question of mines and mining royalties. They point out that royalties seem to them to be very small. It must be remembered that we desire the development of the wealth of this territory. As the Commission point out, such wealth constitutes the capital of the territory and its development must redound to the advantage of the territory. On the other hand, if we desire this development, clearly conditions under which foreign capital can be induced to undertake it must be sufficiently attractive. The Government's memorandum on Colonial mining policy appears to be one which would commend itself—certainly it would commend itself to me; but one is sometimes a little doubtful whether it is completely understood and operated in the Colonies themselves.

The Commission deal with the question of industries, and, in particular, with that of textile industries. All of us, I think, are aware of the extreme importance to all Colonial territories of the development of the secondary industries. This particular development in Tanganyika refers back again to the disadvantage of inter-territorial organisation. The Commission point out that so far as the ground-nuts scheme is concerned, the advantage of the scheme to the territory must depend on three things: the eventual transfer of the enterprise to the people of the territory, an increase in revenue and the establishment of model communities. I think we all would agree that those are the three principal desiderata. However, at the present moment and in the present state of development of the scheme, it is clearly impossible to outline the best method, means and procedure for handing over this scheme to African administration, even when Africans are competent to take it over, which will be clearly in the distant future. An increase in revenue may be looked for if the scheme is successful and if the groundnuts (this was clearly one of the Commissions anxieties) are sold at a reasonable price. If the ground-nuts scheme of the Overseas Food Corporation makes a profit, there will be an increase in revenue. However, the Commission express some anxiety, which I am sure His Majesty's Government can set at rest, lest ground-outs should be sold at cost price to the Ministry of Food. As for the setting up of model communities, as your Lordships are aware, that has always been one part of the policy of the Overseas Food Corporation, and ore which I think all of us have considered to be amongst the most important. But at the present stage of development it could hardly be expected that such communities would be fully established and under way.

The Commission then turn to the question of labour. They point out that, as has constantly been said, labour in Africa is extremely inefficient. They attribute such inefficiency to lack of medical, educational, and public health facilities. The Commission deal later on with the question of educational and medical facilities. These, again, are services which are cramped at the present time by reason of the under-developed situation which existed at the end if the war and the same shortage of personnel which I have just mentioned. They also attribute much of the inefficiency of labour to low wages; they express the opinion that wages in Tanganyika are much too low. That is a question about which I could not find it possible to differ. They say, and I think with reason, that were wages higher, there would be more encouragement to the employers of labour to improve the efficiency of labour by training and instruction. They express the desire that a minimum wages ordinance should be introduced, that trade unions should be encouraged and that the Workmen's Compensation Act should be implemented. They also express sonic anxiety lest a stem of insurance should be held up indefinitely, as it is apparently being held up at the present time by reason of the lack of progress of a similar scheme in Kenya.

Further, they express anxiety about the continuation of penal sanctions for non-fulfilment of contract. Incidentally, I was glad to observe from a question which was answered in another place that one of the two grounds for penal sanctions—the use of abusive language—has now been abolished. I hope His Majesty's Government may find it possible to state that they expect shortly to abolish penal sanctions for breach of contract. I know it is said that employers spend a great deal of money bringing African labour long distances to work on sisal or other estates, and that if the contracted man breaks his contract it means that they have been involved in that expense to no purpose. That is true. But if conditions of labour are, in fact, made sufficiently attractive, I cannot believe that there will be breaches of contract.

Moreover, complaints are constantly being made by Africans that recruiting is, perhaps, over-compulsory; that is to say, men are driven to leave their homes for work owing to the need to earn money to meet taxation, and that undue influence is sometimes exercised by a recruiter through the chief. It is alleged, rightly or wrongly, that the chief sometimes receives payment. Were there no penal sanctions and were a man free to quit should the conditions of labour which he found when he reached his place of prospective employment be so unsatisfactory that he desired to leave it, that particular complaint, I believe, would no longer carry any weight. I hope very much that His Majesty's Government will be able to say not only that they will abolish this last penal sanction but also that they will, to the best of their ability, discourage the continuation of contract labour, which is one of the major curses of Africa.

Another of the curses of Africa is migrant labour. There can be no doubt that it is largely responsible for the high incidence of venereal disease, on which the Mission remark. The labourer should be encouraged to take his family with him and settle in his place of work. I have found in this section something of which I was unaware and which, I confess, filled me with definite alarm— namely, the account of the Supply and Utilisation of Labour Bill. This seems to me a fantastic ordinance to be brought in by my noble friends. This Bill is going to direct labour—it sounds highly practical and sensible—to places where it is most needed.


Shame! That is what we do here!




Horrible: I agree. It is said that there is no intention of forcing any man to go to any place to work, but where there is already the situation that he is obliged to leave home to pay taxes—


Just like here.


The noble Viscount has my condolences.


I go abroad sometimes.


I hope the noble Viscount's journeys are wholly profitable, not only to himself but also to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If the amount of labour which every industry is to be allowed to engage is fixed, it seems to me that there is very little difference between directing a man to work at a particular employment and leaving him no choice. The Committee which are to operate this Bill consist almost entirely of representatives of employers of labour, and employers of labour in Tanganyika are not without blemish. The Commission report on their visit to sisal estates. They saw admirable labour lines on certain estates to which their visits were arranged by the Sisal Growers' Association. On the other hand, they admit that on visiting another estate, to which their visit had not been arranged, they found labour conditions deplorable. I myself saw the labour conditions on sisal estates and some of them were worse than deplorable; they were scandalous. The Commission very fairly point out that these conditions on some of the estates might have been due to the fact that the estates were ex-enemy property to which the companies operating them were uncertain they would have eventual title.

I have taken rather more time than I would have wished at this late hour, and I will say no more about the medical services. The major criticism of the Report—if one can call it criticism, because it is couched in friendly terms—has been of lack of a sufficiently wide and thorough development. I have already said why, in my view, such a development is not feasible at the rate and on a scale which the Visiting Commission, and no doubt the Government and the Administration, would desire. The Commission make rather similar remarks about education, but they do not say anything about mass education, where, in my opinion, a far more deserved criticism might be aimed at the Administration. When in the Territory I had the impression that mass education was regarded by the Department as an amiable but not practicable notion held by many visitors which it was necessary to humour.

In conclusion, I would say that I welcome this Report. I believe that the Administration and the Government have nothing of which to be ashamed. I think that in having our defects and shortcomings and even the unattainable ideal pointed out to us, no harm is done. I hope that this Report will be the first of many from the Trusteeship Council, from which we ourselves shall be able to see, and the world will be able to see, the really great work which I believe British administration has done, can do and will do in the British Colonies and the territories entrusted to our care. I beg to move for Papers.

5.55 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, has asked the Government to give their reactions to the Report of the Visiting Commission, and I am venturing to trouble you with some reactions of my own before His Majesty's Government do so. I fear that I approach the subject from a somewhat different angle from that of the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, because I do not belong to the school to which I know he will agree he at one time belonged, which was in favour of a large measure of international administration of Colonial areas, apart from international supervision. I will not go into the reasons why so many of us disliked that principle. But when the whole question came to be discussed at San Francisco, we were obliged to accept the fact that His Majesty's Government were constrained at that time to agree that the former Mandated Territories should become Trust Territories. They were not in the position of the Union of South Africa, which refused to make their previous Mandated Territories into Trust Territories on grounds which, fortunately for themselves, they could urge with some local justification.

But though we all accepted the fact that the former Mandated Territories would have to become Trust Territories, we viewed with a great deal of apprehension the constitution of the Trusteeship Council. It is not a body of men appointed on account of their knowledge or interest or experience of Colonial affairs; it consists of nation members. There was every reason to suppose, as many of us said at the time, that the representatives of these constituent nations would reproduce in the Trustee Council some of the national prejudices, dislikes and enmities which have found so large a place in the discussions of the United Nations Organisation itself. Therefore, it may well be imagined that some of us viewed with considerable anxiety the first Report of a Visiting Commission in regard to Tanganyika. The noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, has said that he found it in places parochial and inappreciative of some of the difficulties of obtaining men and material, but on the whole he welcomes its criticism and regards it as friendly, I cannot go so far as that. I would go so far as to say—and I think I shall have many with me—that, though we cannot regard it with satisfaction, we can at all events regard it with some measure of relief, for it is something, if I may put it in that way, far better than we at one time might have anticipated.

I am discussing here, of course, merely the Report of the Visiting Commission, which has not yet been the subject of a full discussion in the Trusteeship Council; we still have to await what the Trusteeship Council may say on it. But, taking the Report of the Visiting Commission as it stands, I find, in addition to the parochialism to which Lord Faringdon pointed, in the first place, a singular inability on the part of the Mission to recognise the great change that has been effected in Tanganyika since we took over the Mandate in about 1920. Remember that the years that have passed have been difficult years, first, as the result of the First World War, and secondly, owing to the retardation of all our efforts during the recent war. I find, in the second place, many mistakes of fact, on which I will not dwell, because I have no doubt that the Colonial Office will take the opportunity of having them corrected. But there is very noticeably a failure to assess the character of the Associations or other sources from which the Commission received representations. It appears to be unaware, for instance, when it repeats some remarks of a Clerks' Association in Arusha on the subject of recruiting, that there is no recruiting in Arusha; and when it quotes the Sakumaland Chiefs on the subject of alienation of land, it is apparently unaware that no land has ever been alienated in Sakumaland.

There is, again, reason to conclude that some of the members of the Visiting Commission did interest themselves in seeing that what were merely put forward as explanatory memoranda, and the like, on the part of certain bodies they consulted, such as the Chagga Council, should take the form of a direct memorial to the Trusteeship Council. In that, I think, they went well beyond their functions. Finally, everyone who reads these papers must be struck by the fact (it is a fact, I admit, which tells against the Trusteeship Council itself rather than against the Visiting Commission) that the Council permitted itself to discuss a number of these memorials, and, indeed, to begin taking into discussion the Report of the Visiting Commission itself, before it had the opinion of the Administering Authority on those memorials. That, I think, was not only injudicious, but showed an entire lack of a judicial sense, for by doing so it gave publicity to a large number of memorials on which there is much for the Administering Authority to comment—memorials, moreover, couched very often, as memorials of that nature are apt to be in India or Africa, in exaggerated language. I need not remind your Lordships that in so many of those quarters statements that are made are not meant to be evidential, but are meant merely to be illustrative.

I have stated what from my point of view are some of the defects in this Report. Having done so, I will agree that there is much in it that deserves our attention, much that is not unfriendly and much, indeed, which shows some appreciation of what the Services themselves in the territory have done, or are trying to do. There is a tribute paid to the difficulties and complexities of administration, and to the spirit shown by our administrative and technical officers. On the whole, I think it is fair to say that there is not in the Report quite so much evidence of that somewhat unrealistic idealism, or of that deep seated prejudice, that some people show when dealing with Colonial affairs. Indeed, if I might read between the lines, it seems to me that this Report is in itself something of a compromise between the French and Australian members, on the one side, and the Chinese and Costa Rica members, on the other.

I will proceed further to illustrate my own feelings on the subject of the Report by taking two points which have attracted attention already in Tanganyika, which will, I have no doubt, attract attention here, and with which the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, has dealt: one is land and the other is labour. As regards land, Lord Faringdon pointed to a figure in the Report which he said caused him some discomfort and, indeed, amazement. I will give the House a certain small range of figures which I think will show the whole subject of alienation of land in Tanganyika in a somewhat better proportion than does the Report of the Commission. There are in Tanganyika as a whole 220,000,000 acres, from which we must deduct 97,000,000 as forest reserves, or urban or mining areas and the like. Therefore, there remain approximately 123,500,000 acres which can be regarded as available for use by cultivation and by other means, such as pasturage. It is true that out of that only 6,250,000 acres—a figure to which Lord Faringdon referred—are cultivated.

But that does not by any means represent what the Visiting Commission refers to as the productive area. The fact that you have under shifting cultivation at one time 6,250,000 acres does not mean to say that that is the limit of the productive area. As everyone who has travelled in Tanganyika or studied its conditions knows, there are vast areas there which are still untouched, which could be just as productive as many of the areas that have been brought under cultivation. It is a mistake to suggest as the Mission suggests that the total productive area is only 6,250,000 acres. But the Mission have mentioned this fact in order to draw certain conclusions from the amount of alienated land. Let me give the correct figures now. The land that has been alienated to non-natives amounts to 1,846,000 acres. That, of course, would be a high proportion of 6,250,000 acres, but it is not so high a proportion of 123,000,000 acres. It is less than 2 per cent. of the whole area available for cultivation and similar uses.

I note another fact: that in German times an area of 1,993,000 acres was alienated to non-Europeans. Therefore, the area as it stands to-day is actually less than that which was alienated before we took over the Mandate. There is one other point with regard to land. There is only a very restricted area which is useful for European farming or settlement. Actually, there are only about three areas—almost pockets in view of the large areas available—in the whole of Tanganyika. The greatest difficulty has always occurred in regard to certain lands in the neighbourhood of Kilimanjaro, such as Arusha and Moshi. It is those lands which attracted most of the attention of the Visiting Commission. German alienation there did put a ring fence round some of those lands, and left very little for the expansion of what is one of the most active peoples in Tanganyika. But the whole of that problem is an exceedingly difficult and complicated one, and if your Lordships are interested in the matter I would commend to you the Report of Mr. Justice Mark Wilson dealing with those lands and suggesting a future line of treatment for them.

The Mission was well aware of the difficulties of this particular problem in that particular area, but it has committed itself to a general statement of principle: that European settlement should be curtailed and kept at the bare minimum consistent with the development of the territory. I myself regret any such broad statement of principle relating to a question which is essentially a series of local problems. I see the matter as follows. There are a few areas, notably in the two districts named, in which the extension of European settlement might be a real injury to African interests. Undoubtedly settlement there should be curtailed, unless fresh areas can be made available in the vicinity by the extension of water facilities and the like, as has been suggested in Mr. Justice Mark Wilson's Report. Secondly, there are some areas, though by no means large, where European settlement can be extended, and no one can have any serious doubt as to the benefit which would result, not only to the resources of the territory as a whole, but to the natives in the neighbourhood, by the extension of European settlement in that limited area. But, thirdly, there are vast areas where there never has been European settlement, and where it would be unproductive and inadvisable to extend it.

I believe that this is the right way of looking at the matter and not a generalisation so wide as that of the Mission. I believe also that this is a better statement of the case than will be found in the generalisations which we get from some quarters in Tanganyika itself—generalisations to the effect that the future of Tanganyika rests entirely on a great expansion of European settlement. I think myself that that is an exaggeration. I attach great value to European settlement. The value which European settlement can have, not only materially but in other ways, to the natives in the neighbourhood, has been amply proved in East Africa. But, as I have said, the field for such settlement is very small in proportion to the total area. Any artificial stimulation of settlement in the larger field in which it is not really suitable, would mean only a loss of capital and a wastage of energy.

I turn now to the question of labour. May I say that if the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, will look at the revised version of the Ordinance for Labour Supply and Organisation, he will find reason to modify some of his criticisms. I would also like to put to the House, in view of what the noble Lord said about recruiting, that recruiting in Tanganyika supplies a very small proportion of the labour forces as a whole—perhaps less than 10 per cent. of the total labour force. I pass to the main conclusion of the Mission: that African labour is underpaid and that an all-round increase is necessary. In saying that, the Mission is only repeating what has been said by some Governors and other authorities in Tanganyika itself, particularly in regard to labour in the sisal industry as it was some years ago. As a general proposition I think we must all accept it, though I do not consider it should be stated in that summary form and without its qualifications. In the first place, I think you have to look at the proportion of the wage-earning population to that of the population which lives on a subsistence economy. The wage earners number only some 340,000 out of 6,000,000. The present wages may look small, but it must be remembered that they are accompanied by rations. I notice that the scale of rations laid down by the Government provides for something like 3,500 calories, which I think is more than I have myself enjoyed at times in this country. I should like here to pay a tribute to what I know has been done, not only in some of the newer sisal plantations, but also in some of the mines, for improving the conditions of African labour and their accommodation, and, after all, conditions of labour are more important than the actual wage. But as regards wages, I think there is no advantage in pushing wages up out of all proportion to the costs of subsistence, because if that is done, as all experience has shown in Africa and elsewhere, the only result is absenteeism, irregular working and inefficiency. Further, though we would all agree that wages must be raised, this must be accompanied by measures which will bring to African labour some sense of discipline and responsibility—two things in which it is greatly lacking. That is not only a task for the employers by raising wages; it must be the gradual result of other social advances, in the nature of education and the like.


My Lords, I regret to interrupt the noble Lord's speech, but as he will no doubt remember we are awaiting a Royal Commission. Therefore, if we can resume afterwards we should be pleased to listen to what he has to say.

House adjourned during pleasure.

House resumed.