HL Deb 11 May 1949 vol 162 cc564-88

6.38 p.m.

Debate resumed.


My Lords, I regret that I did not notice that the time for the Royal Commission had drawn so near. I should not have ventured to give my own reactions on this Report to the House at such length were it not for the fact that I myself only last year made a somewhat extended study of the conditions in Tanganyika, district by district. I have only one word to add in reference to what the Report has said, and to what the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, has said on the subject of the inter-territorial organisation. The Report speaks with two minds on that subject. The recommendations of the Mission are by no means clear, although it has repeated some of the fears expressed to it by Indians and by Africans as to the possible result of this measure. I myself do not share those fears. Indeed, I look forward to the time when the High Commission organisation will result in a much closer integration of the territories, and in a form which will make the High Commission itself a more effective institution than it can hope to be at present.

6.40 p.m.


My Lords, I have listened with great interest to the two previous speakers on this Report, and I will not detain your Lordships for long. The noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, started his speech by saying that he did not doubt for a moment the sincerity of the people who compiled this lengthy Report, but that perhaps they overestimated our resources. I quite agree. The noble Lord, Lord Hailey, who speaks with enormous authority on any problem concerned with the African Continent, where his vast experience has given him the opportunity of comparative study, rather took the line that we all regard this Report not with satisfaction but with a certain measure of relief. My Lords, this bulky volume was compiled after six weeks' visit to Tanganyika by the Commission of the United Nations. It is proverbially said that spectators see most of the game. Six weeks is not very long to study the problems of 6,000,000 people living in 36,000 square miles.

This book is rather like one volume of the London Telephone Directory; but it is not so strictly factual. It contains some warm praise for what we have done and what we are doing, some criticism to which I will address myself briefly, and some mistakes of fact which Lord Hailey has mentioned; and it reproduces a number of factors to which we, the administering authority have had no opportunity of making any rejoinder, so they stand as indictments which as yet are undefended. In our Colonial Empire one thing never changes: there is always something to praise, there is always something to alter. As Lord Faringdon has said, we are not afraid of criticism. I was glad to hear him say that we have had nothing to be ashamed of in the past and nothing to be ashamed of now. I think perhaps that shows some slight change of heart.

As regards the past, the Report pays a warm tribute to our administrators and our technical officers, a tribute with which we on this side of the House will mostly warmly wish to associate ourselves. I would particularly like to add my good wishes to the new Governor of Tanganyika, Sir Edward Twining. I had the great honour some fourteen years ago of working in a junior capacity under him in the Uganda Protectorate, and if His Majesty's Colonial Service possesses a more competent officer than he is they are indeed lucky. I would also pay a tribute not only to those who are there now, but to the hundreds of men and women who in the past, by years of unselfish effort, have built the Tanganyika we know to-day. The Report pays tribute to the freedom of political expression which the Commission encountered. That is no inconsiderable tribute in these days, for while political expression is greatly valued here, there are only too many countries in the world where it has vanished for a long time to come. I fully agree with what has been said, I think, by both noble Lords, that this Report takes no account of the progress that has been made already, no account of what has happened since we first came to Tanganyika round about the year 1920. Looking back from where we are now it is a long way to the point at which we started.

Now, my Lords, I will address myself as briefly as I may to the criticisms, not in detail as the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, has done, but to one or two criticisms which I believe have been directed at fundamental principles. Much has been said about political development, and I should like to read these words from page 33 of the Report, which says on the matter of political development, that there is a degree of definiteness about very immediate next steps, far less assurance concerning the steps to follow, and an apparent void beyond that to the ultimate goal. Later, it says: This lack of political planning cannot but have an adverse effect on the rate of progress. Our long Colonial experience in this country is that you cannot have a blue print for political development, nor can you have a time-schedule which will tell you when a country is going to reach complete political independence. A German observer said More the war, very acutely, that the secret of the strength and maintenance of the British Empire was that we always refused to adopt any overall paper plan, however attractive that plan might appear at the time. If we were to comply with what is obviously wanted in that sentence of the Report, and had planned and carefully dated the plan which would show when political development would one day become absolute, that document would be at the best a sham and at the worst a deception.

I think the people of Ceylon, who have paid tribute to our stewardship when they were our wards and we looked after them, would all agree that we would have done a most monstrous disservice to them if we had tried to hurry that process twenty years ago and perhaps rush them through by strokes of the pen to the status they now enjoy. When people ask for self-government in the Colonies what they ask for is really responsible government. That is something that we in these Islands invented. It depends on one thing—toleration. It is, in fact, government by toleration. In countries where you have very dissimilar tribes and small nations, each inheriting ancestral feuds and hatreds and different religions, you cannot offer completely responsible government until these antagonisms have been so ironed out that government by toleration can be assured.

I come now to the subject of inter-territorial organisation, with which the noble Lord, Lord Hailey, wound up his admirable speech. It is said in the Report which has been quoted on this point, that it is much disliked by Africans as well as Indians. The Report spends 32 pages on the point of inter-territorial organisation. It quotes both African and Indian opinion; it even quotes a single opinion, gleaned from a single non-official European whom the Commission encountered at some stage. As has been said, the Report speaks very much with two minds, and I think that the chapter on inter-territorial organisation is to a great extent invalidated by the phrase that appears on page 4, where it says that the Commission found it impossible completely to study the subject. Either you study this subject completely, or you do not study it at all. The trend to-day is towards larger and larger groupings. U.N.O. is, I suppose, the consummation of that. Between the historical grouping of the British Commonwealth and Empire and the Western Union of Nations we are trying to reach some kind of inter-territorial organisation. I believe that inter-territorial organisation in Africa is on its way, and must come at no distant date. I believe that it will be for the benefit of everybody. After all, famine and pestilence know no frontiers. There are enormous savings and enormous strength in grouping these territories together. If we have them, then indeed we shall have an approach to partnership on a continental scale.

Now for the very important matter of agriculture. In this regard I think we find the most important words in the Report. I will refer to them very briefly, because Lord Hailey has already quoted them: European colonisation should be curtailed, and the strictest control envisaged to keep it to the barest minimum, consistent with the development of the territory. My Lords, it goes on from there. I may be doing the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, an injustice—I hope that I do not—but while he was speaking I could not escape the impression that he believed that the white man had no real right in Tanganyika, other than for a short time as technical adviser. That is a point to which I will return later.

In the rest of this Report—I will not go into further details, for they have been fully discussed already—problems of labour are dealt with. Lord Faringdon was very much upset at the idea that direction of labour takes place in Tanganyika—as indeed it does here. He referred to the ground-nuts scheme which I shall leave the noble Earl to tell us about when he replies on behalf of the Government. He will, doubtless, inform us what measure of success it is achieving. I do not think that anyone who knows the country can agree with the recommendation in the Report that all the different and diverse problems of African labour can be settled by the simple expedient of raising wages. The Report goes on to deal with the provision of schools, hospitals and public health facilities generally. After all, in many ways educational facilities and hospitals in this country leave a lot to be desired. We continue to try to improve them, for it is a continuous process. We have gone a long way in these matters in Tanganyika, and we hope to go very much further—and that in a not very long time. I do not think that anyone who has studied the problem would deny that welfare waits on development. We might plan thousands of schools and thousands of hospitals to-morrow, only to find them closed within a short time for lack of revenue to maintain them. In fact, social services and the high level of employment which obtains in this country would come down like a house of cards unless based on solid economic prosperity.

I will take two further excerpts from the Report and then I will quote no more from it. It says two things which, as I believe, are very true. The crucial problem for Tanganyika, it states, is to find the financial resources. On a previous page, dealing with the inter-war years, the Report points out that political uncertainty discourages the investment of private capital. That is a good thing to have in mind as a background when we are considering this matter, and when we are thinking over the meaning of that word "curtail," as it is used in the phrase "curtailing European colonisation." Lord Faringdon said that the Commission, not unnaturally, regard themselves as trustees for the people of Tanganyika. Who are the people of Tanganyika? They are the African population, the Indian community and the European community. The European community have carried out a vast proportion of the development of that country on which its welfare rests. That is an unchallengeable fact. And development must continue to rest to an enormous degree on their leadership, their technical skill and their investment.

As Lord Hailey has said, we should not encourage a flood of European settlement that would push the African population back and hack, from the better to the worse lands. There is a balance there, and finding that balance is a challenge to us. This is a design for a great partnership, a partnership which a great African once described as "the harmony of the black and white keys." if European colonisation is curtailed, I believe that it will also curtail that leadership and that technical assistance which the African so badly needs. If you allow Europeans only thirty-three years tenure of their land, they will be tempted to extract as much as they can from it in that short time, then to lay it waste and leave it, at the end of the period, a blowing desert. If you create for the European a climate of insecurity, you will discourage all further enterprise and investment, and destroy that good will upon which all development must rest. This is a matter of particular importance in a country like Tanganyika whose principal asset is its mining, which requires high technical skill, high enterprise and considerable investment.

I would like to draw the attention of your Lordships to a concept which I think is not clearly understood by the compilers of this Report. The Council which they represent did not invent either the word or the idea of "trusteeship." It was first used in a House of Commons Committee nearly 110 years ago in just that sense; but we in the British Colonial Empire have been moving, over the last few decades, away from the idea of trusteeship, pure and simple, and towards the idea of partnership, the partnership of the two races, the greatest partnership the world has ever seen. The Trusteeship Council of U.N.O., as an experiment, sent this Commission—the first which they have ever sent out, I understand—to study conditions on the spot. It must be remembered that we in this country, and in fact the people of every country of the Commonwealth, have done our best to make the United Nations Organisation a success. We have put up with a great deal of what I might term interference with our own concerns, which other great Powers, such as Russia and the United States, would not have considered.

Just imagine for one moment what would have happened if this Commission, with all their good will, had come to Britain for the same period—a period of six weeks—and had moved rapidly about these Islands conversing with miners, shopkeepers, housewives and so on. They might well have come to the awkward conclusion that His Majesty's Government were not a to rule. That, of course, would not absolve His Majesty's Government from their responsibility for continuing to rule until constitutionally relieved of their task by another Government at the next General Election. I am sure that all reasonable men will be prepared to harken most carefully to the advice and the recommendations of such a Commission as have drawn up this Report. But ours is the responsibility for the future of the people of Tanganyika. It is a responsibility of the Government, through Parliament, to the taxpayers and voters of this country, and nothing can relieve us of that responsibility for the future wellbeing of more than 6,000,000 Africans.

My Lords, I will end on this note. The Commission's Report draws attention to the allegedly pedestrian rate of progress between the wars which they ascribe to a feeling of political insecurity. If, in spite of all their good will and all their good intentions, the Trusteeship Council inadvertently created a feeling of insecurity by well-intended recommendations at the wrong moment, that indeed would be a most tragic thing.

7.0 p.m.


My Lords, there is not much I wish to add, especially to what Lord Hailey has said, but I would like to say that Lord Faringdon's appreciation of the quality of the Report seems to me entirely fair. It is a not unfriendly document. But however favourably disposed one may be to the tone of the document, one still cannot get away from the fact, which I think was underlying what Lord Hailey said, that it is really a very irresponsible document. Frankly, it surprised me that the chairman of the Commission, with the administrative experience which he has, should have lent his signature to a document of this sort. I think it is irresponsible because I do not believe that any four persons, however well-intentioned, however hard-working, however knowledgeable of the country they might be, could within the measure of time they spent in the country draw up a really competent Report going into such detailed subjects as they have in this document.

When one also read:, in the introduction to the Report that they were unable to examine the problem of closer territorial association, and then, on page 4, that the Commission visited only six of the eight provinces in Tanganyika and were not able to extend their itinerary southernwards, it does seem a little ambitious to make recommendations of the sort contained in the Report. That is why I think it is fair to criticise it as light-hearted and rather irresponsible.

Furthermore, in the presentation of certain facts in the Report, I think the Commission have been guilty, I am sure quite unconsciously, of misrepresentation. I refer to the point mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Hailey, which was also mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon—namely, the alienation of land. The statement on page 102, as presented, is misleading. It clearly suggests that there are only 6,000,000 acres of land under cultivation. Any unqualified person would suppose that there were only 6,000,000 acres that could be cultivated, and out of that 2,000,000 odd had been alienated. It may be true that 2,500,000 acres have been alienated, but of that a very large part has been taken over by the Overseas Food Corporation.


That is in addition.


The point I am making does not depend on figures. If the activities of the Overseas Food Corporation in developing Tanganyika were cut out and put in a separate compartment, the proportion of alienated land to the total amount of cultivable land would be much lower. This brings me to the question of the use of the land, to which I have referred more than once. In this scheme—and whether it be a failure or a success is immaterial—we have the background of what I might call the plantation development of Africa. It is not the development of agriculture by Africans in their own form. In its present form the scheme is in marked contrast to the type of development in the cotton-growing area of the Sudan. In the Sudan a corporation was formed with the ultimate object of seeing that the land should be farmed by natives and not by a European corporation. This object has now been achieved and the concession of the corporation has been terminated. We have an example there of development in which the native is cultivating the land for himself.

The principle behind the Overseas Food Corporation development seems to me one which is open to criticism, especially as the acreage involved is very large. Therefore, baldly stated as it is here, it gives an impression, which ought to be corrected by His Majesty's Government, that a vast amount of alienation for white settlers has been taking place and is still taking place. Of course, that is not so. This is not going to be a white settler's area, although it is going to be an area of plantation development. Personally, I do not think that that is the right kind of development for that part of Tanganyika, any more than I should think it the right kind of development in any other part of Africa. The Commission's Report is misleading, and I hope the noble Earl who is to reply will correct the impression it certainly would leave.

When some weeks ago the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, put down his Motion to draw His Majesty's Government's attention to this Report, I think only two copies of the Report were available in this country, one of which luckily I was able to secure. It is only because the noble Lord's Motion was postponed that other members of your Lordships' House have had an opportunity of seeing the Report. If these Reports are to be taken seriously in this country—and, after all, they are directed at the administration of the Government—it is only reasonable that the document should be circulated in sufficient numbers and in such a form that it becomes accessible to the public, so that the public may themselves have a view of the subject. It is neither fair to the public nor to your Lordships' House to have to debate a document which is so extremely difficult to obtain. Indeed, had the noble Lord's Motion been taken when originally put down, I should have been obliged to protest that it was not a subject which could properly be debated, because nobody had been able to see the document. That is not the fair and proper way to deal with this matter. I am not imputing blame to the Government, but the machinery for making this Report available is obviously much at fault and needs correcting.

The third point in the Report which I wish to raise is one touched on by the last two speakers. It is the question of inter-territorial organisation. It seems to me peculiar that a large portion of the Report should be devoted to this extremely complicated and important subject and that the Commission, after reproducing a number of views, which I do not think are serious or important, add without comment a summary of the statements in the paragraph above. This is a matter of great importance, and if the Commission are going to deal with it and give views, they must not just leave the views of other people to speak for them. If this, as has been suggested, is a compromise between divergent views which may be held by two different bodies of opinion in the Commission, then it would seem to me appropriate for the different views to be expressed in a Minority Report or a Report with which the chairman could disagree. But an expression of view on that subject, as on other subjects, seems to be called for, and not to express a view at all is, at the lowest, to run away from the question altogether, and, at best, to advertise the views of people whose views had very much better not be advertised.

Your Lordships are well aware that, for historical reasons, the whole of Africa has been carved up into administrative areas which bear virtually no relation to geography, to ethnic divisions or to economic units. One of the most ridiculous divisions is the division between Tanganyika and Kenya which, among other things, cuts the Massai in two pieces, for no other reason than that it was the line drawn on the map when the Germans and ourselves, knowing little about either country, decided in Europe that that should be the line, without going to look at it on the spot. There is no doubt that we ought to re-draw a great many of these boundaries in the state of the world to-day, and make them more logical. The world is far from perfect, and that possibly is an entirely Utopian suggestion, whether applied in East or West Africa. But there is one way round these difficulties—namely, to group smaller territories into larger units. By doing so, you automatically attenuate or even abolish the boundaries, quite apart from the merits of developing territories as larger units. I do not necessarily refer here only to British administrative territories, but to territories of Africa generally which may be administered by more than one European Power, and which really require to be developed as units of more than one territory. A fortiori it seems to be essential that these territories under British administration should be developed as larger rather than smaller units, if for no other reason than to get over the difficulty of these ridiculous boundaries that have grown up in history.

That aspect of the inter-territorial organisation, and criticisms of it, has been too much neglected, both by the Mission and by other critics of inter-territorial organisation and closer union. It is one that I think needs bringing out whenever the subject of closer union, or whatever it may be called, is discussed. In the case of the East African grouping, it seems to me, whatever may be the criticisms and fears—and no doubt some are justifiable fears—it is inescapable that that territory must be developed as a whole. There we are obviously up against a very great difficulty which is well known to your Lordships—namely, that we have what was a mandated area in Tanganyika, another type of administration in Kenya and a third type in Uganda. It has been held that these different statuses of territories are incompatible with the conception of a whole. I do not believe that is so, because, as I understand from what the Secretary of State for the Colonies was reported as having said (with which, if the published version of what he said is even remotely correct, I am in agreement), it must be remembered that Tanganyika, who her it was a mandated area or not, and whether it is now subject to the attentions of the Trusteeship Council or not, is a British territory administered by His Majesty's Government. That is an inescapable fact, just as it is a fact that the Belgian Congo is administered by the Belgian Government.

If His Majesty's Government are administering Tanganyika, and are also administering Kenya and Uganda, they have a duty to administer as a whole, and provided that they follow the principles which they themselves laid down in agreeing to the Mandate in the first place, and that they accept the responsibilities involved under it, no one has the right to say that they shall do this or do that. None of those things is incompatible with closer union in East Africa. I hope the noble Earl who is to reply will have something to say on that point, and notably on the subject of what the Secretary of State for the Colonies is reported to have said within the last few days in regard to Tanganyika. I know one has to take newspaper reports and statements made overseas with some care and prudence, but evidently the Secretary of State said something which I think noble Lords in your Lordships' House will be glad to have repeated here.

The point that emerges from this difficulty of a different status for Tanganyika, Kenya and Uganda leads me to the last point I want to make. It is rather a difficult point, and I do not want to be misinterpreted. The idea of trusteeship for African and other undeveloped territories is, as Lord Tweedsmuir said, a very old-established principle in our British conception. It was not invented by the League of Nations; it was not invented in 1918 or 1919. We have always regarded ourselves as trustees for the development of backward and primitive territories. The formalisation of this trustee principle in the Mandate which was given to us, and which we accepted at the end of the First World War, however right it was in theoretical conception—and I personally think it was right, and I do not in the least regret that the idea was put forward—has, in the case of Tanganyika, produced some rather strange and rather undesirable consequences.

If we had just announced publicly to the world that we were going to administer Tanganyika under that Mandate as trustees for the people there, I do not believe that we should have encountered the same difficulties as we have encountered by having it a formally mandated territory. It is that formalisation which allowed a lot of well-meaning but not always very wise people to come and look round, and advise us on what we ought to do. It also created that feeling of uncertainty to which Lord Tweedsmuir, Lord Faringdon and others have referred, about investing in the development of the country. If the idea gets abroad that our administration of a certain territory, which does not belong to the Crown but to somebody else, can be terminated by a third party (which, as a matter of fact, the League of Nations always held it could not be), it is perfectly reasonable and understandable that people should be diffident about investing their money or investing their lives there. There is no shadow of doubt that in the thirty years that have elapsed since the Mandate was granted, one of the reasons why Tanganyika has not developed so quickly as it might have done—and I agree that it has not—has been the fear that the Mandate would come to an end; and no one knew what would happen after that.

It is an unfortunate thing that this very well-meaning conception of trusteeship formalisation under a Mandate should have had the effect of a brake, a dragging effect, on the development of the country, instead of being a stimulus. Had that trusteeship not been formalised as a Mandate, I do not believe that brake, that dragging effect, would have been felt, and I think Tanganyika would have developed possibly with the same speed as certain other territories in Africa. The noble Lord, Lord Hailey, will bear with me if I refer to the very happy times that he and I spent together in the Belgian Congo in the early part of the war. I, knowing very little about it but under the guidance of the noble Lord, saw in a short space of time the immense progress that had been made by the Belgian Administration there, unfettered and unhampered by inspecting committees—missions who go out to advise people on how to administer things they are quite incapable of administering themselves.

Relatively there is no doubt, from the state in which the Belgian Congo was thirty years ago, and the state in which Tanganyika was thirty years ago, that development in the Belgian Congo has been more rapid than in Tanganyika. I attribute that to the hampering effect of uncertainty; of well-meaning people butting in on things they know very little about—of which it may be said that certain parts of this Report are the logical conclusion—of people coming out for five or six weeks to tour round a territory of the size of Tanganyika, without even taking the trouble, as a Commission, to visit all the provinces in the country. That they should then proffer advice, is not helpful either to the administrators in Tanganyika or to His Majesty's Government who are trying to develop Tanganyika. Both the Government and the administrators have my sympathies over the treatment they have received at the hands of an itinerant Commission of this sort, which is the direct consequence of the formalisation of a great and noble ideal which never ought to be formalised. That ideal ought to have been applied by practice, habit and custom, and not formalised under the League of Nations or U.N.O. into a Trusteeship Council or a Council on Mandates which tied the hands and created the uncertainty from which we have suffered there, and for which we are now criticised. From that point of view, I regret the Report which has been the subject of this debate. Although not unfriendly, the Report is still very injurious.

7.21 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Faringdon for the thoughtful speech with which he opened this discussion, and for his special solicitude for the Africans in Tanganyika. I congratulate him on evoking the interesting and uniformly helpful speeches to which we have listened from the Benches opposite. I think we are indebted particularly to the noble Lord, Lord Hailey, for his contribution, which was outstanding, both for the range and accuracy of its information about conditions in Tanganyika, and for the sagacity of its advice on matters of policy. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, is not here at the moment, but I know that he had a pressing engagement elsewhere. I should like to say that I appreciate his reference to the new Governor, Sir Edward Twining. I agree that he has high qualities, and I am sure that we all wish him the utmost success in his new appointment.

In reply to the request made by the noble Lord, Lord Rennell, for information about a recent statement of policy, made by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State, I would say this. The gist of what my right honourable friend said was that the United Kingdom is the administering Power in Tanganyika under our trusteeship agreement, and that there will be no weakening of our position in respect of these administrative responsibilities. I am glad the noble Lord agrees that it is the right policy, and I am sure that his view will be shared by all members of the House.

Much of what has been said this afternoon by way of criticism and comment on our administration in Tanganyika has been based on the Report of the Visiting Mission sent to this Territory by the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations. This Mission addressed itself with the utmost good will to its task, but they laboured under one great and inevitable disadvantage. The Mission consisted of people who, whatever the excellence of their other qualifications may have been, had no first-hand knowledge or experience of Tanganyika. Its members were able to spend only a period of six weeks in a Territory of some 360,000 square miles—which is considerably larger than many European countries—where communications by road, rail or air are, in many parts, extremely limited, and where social conditions and political organisation vary enormously from one tribal group to another among the 120 tribes that constitute the bulk of a widely scattered population.

It is, therefore, not surprising that those who have had longer and more direct experience of Tanganyika should find that some of the conclusions reached by the visitors after their brief stay in the Territory have fallen wide of the mark. The Mission included members with such a distinguished record in the Colonial field as its Chairman, M. Laurenti, an elder statesman of the French African administration, and Mr. Chinnery, the Australian representative with a wide knowledge of primitive peoples in the Southern Hemisphere. The key to the association of experts of this calibre, with some of the more doubtful conclusions and recommendations in the Report, no doubt lies in the following passage at the end of the introduction. With your Lordships' permission I will quote this passage: The observations and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the precise views of each member of the Mission. The desirability of submitting a unanimous Report to the Council may have resulted in the formulation of an average opinion on particular points to which the Commission as a whole finally subscribed. It has appeared to the Commission that this method is more in keeping with the aims of the Trusteeship System than would have been the case if more or less divergent shades of opinion had been repeatedly stated. We should all, I think, agree that the Mission did their best to discharge the responsibility with which they had been entrusted, and that their members had consistently in the forefront of their minds the interests of the indigenous inhabitants of the Territory.

That is also our primary responsibility as a Trustee Authority, and we welcome the opportunity provided by such studies as the Mission has made of focusing world opinion on our conduct of the affairs of Tanganyika. If our common aim of contributing the utmost we can to the social improvement and political advance of the indigenous inhabitants is to be carried out in practice, it is of course essential that we, as the Administering Authority, should not only be willing to accept valid criticism of our work, and if necessary to alter our methods and amend our ways, but also that we should refute criticism based on a superficial knowledge of fact, or on failure to grasp the practical difficulties in the way of social reforms or constitutional developments desired by everyone. This is the spirit in which we and the Administration of Tanganyika have studied the Report of the Visiting Mission, and in which I shall reply to the strictures of the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon. I have no doubt that some of your Lordships will wish to draw your own conclusions, and to examine for this purpose both the Report of the Visiting Mission and the observations made in reply by the Administering Authority. The latter document has been published to-day, and copies of this document, and of the Commission's Report, have been placed at your Lordships' disposal in the Library.

I should like now to pass on to deal with some aspects of criticism. I will start by a brief and summary outline of our policy and practice in relation to land settlement in Tanganyika. The policy governing land settlement in this Territory has been clearly and recently stated as follows by the Governor—and I do not think it would be challenged by the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, or by the members of the Visiting Commission: The needs of the African inhabitants of Tanganyika must have priority, and land should not be allocated to non-native settlement, whether from enemy estates or other areas, unless it can be shown that the land in question is not required for native occupation and is not likely to be required in the foreseeable future. I think it will found that the allocation of land in Tanganyika has conformed to this principle of giving proper priority to the requirements of the indigenous inhabitants.

The Mission said in their Report that there were 1,800,000 acres under non-indigenous cultivation, leaving 4,500,000 acres under African cultivation. It might be thought from these figures that a few thousand Europeans and Indians farm one-third of the total cultivable area, leaving the balance of two-thirds for the use of the whole African population of approximately 7,000,000 persons. But this would be a dangerously false conclusion. I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hailey, for the figures he quoted, and I would like to reinforce his argument. Whereas the figure of land farmed by non-indigenous land holders cannot be increased, the figure for African cultivation can be increased, and the area of cultivable land available to the indigenous inhabitants is vastly greater than 4,500,000 acres. After taking into account the area of forest reserve, and other areas in the Territory not suitable for agriculture, there are some 40,000,000 acres used only by the indigenous population for cattle pasture. The African farmers break new ground each year for the cultivation of their annual crops, and allow the land which they have used in the preceding year to revert to pasture. The African still goes in for shifting cultivation, and he could easily take more land for his crops if he wanted to. In fact, it is only in very limited areas that it would be in the least accurate to speak of land shortage.

In the course of their recommendations on land settlement the Mission recorded their view that all ex-German estates should come under African ownership, preferably on a co-operative basis. But in our view the best way of relieving the pressure of population in this part of the country is by opening up new areas for African cultivation, which will be larger in size than all the ex-enemy estates added together. To make effective this policy of opening up new areas for Africans, 155,000 acres of land lying immediately below the present area of native occupation on the lower slopes of Kilimanjaro are to be developed at Government expense for tribal expansion. It should also be remembered that a considerable area of the ex-German estates lies in the north and north-west of Kilimanjaro, well away from the populated part of the district, and is not suitable for occupation by any agricultural tribe. A much smaller area is already used for growing coffee, tea, and sisal, and is elaborately equipped with factories and plant in accordance with the latest and the most scientific methods of cultivating and processing these products.

These estates can be run only under expert non-African management, and their transfer to tribal occupation would obviously impoverish the country. It is not a practical suggestion at this stage to put ex-enemy estates under co-operative African ownership. Co-operative principles and modern farming methods are not yet sufficiently understood by the Africans themselves for sucessful application to estate ownership and management. In the Moshi and Arusha districts about 14,000 acres of ex-German land will, however, be made available to the African population. Most of this land, I understand, will go to the Chagga, who were referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon.


Can the noble Earl say what proportion of ex-German land that would be?


I think they are getting roughly 13,000 acres of this part of the ex-German estates.


I meant, how much of that particular neighbourhood?


It is in the Moshi and Arusha districts, but I cannot give details of that particular neighbourhood now. I shall be very glad to ascertain the particulars.

The Mission seem to have taken the view that the Government should forthwith formulate a plan for the transfer to African farmers of the area now under cultivation by the Overseas Food Corporation for ground—nuts and sunflower crops. But although we agree that ownership and control should ultimately pass to African hands and that it may well be exercised on a co-operative basis, it seems likely that the transfer would be a gradual process, and there can be no question of handing over this undertaking at an early stage—even if the present Government were anxious to disclaim a project in which they take considerable pride and before its economic success had been assured. There must necessarily be a lengthy period of preparation and instruction before the indigenous inhabitants can hope to make a business success of such a vast and complex agricultural experiment.

In examining the political advice tendered by the Visiting Mission, we of course agree with them that the object of policy must always remain the preparation of the inhabitants for self-government, and that consideration should be given to every practicable measure for accelerating their advance towards this goal. Where I think we disagree with the Report and with the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, is about the pace at which advance towards a representative system of government in a tribal society can be made, and the time required before the indigenous population can contribute to the provision of an efficient and responsible administration. In our view, a too rapid movement towards these objectives, by failing to take into account the political immaturity of the rural African population, would imperil the standard of living and the steady political progress of the Territory as a whole.

We regard the introduction of a representative and popular system of local government as a necessary foundation for representative government at the provincial level and ultimately at the centre. Once we have established representative elements and tribal councils we can then proceed to build up a chain of representation through district and provincial councils to the membership of the Legislative Assembly. The first stage in the development of representative institutions must necessarily involve the gradual adaptation of tribal traditions and authority to modern political requirements. Not until this first step in the evolution of African democracy has been taken will it be possible to secure popular representation at higher levels, and to avoid the abuse of some extensive powers at these levels by sectional interests.

The noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, has complained that there is insufficient African representation on the Legislative Council. He admits, of course, that there are already four African members and that Canon Gibbons, who was originally appointed to look after African interests, has remained among the European unofficials on the Council. It is the function of the fifteen official members of the Council to watch over the interests of the African majority of the population. Moreover, it would be quite unwarranted to assume that all the European members of the Council, excluding Canon Gibbons, regard themselves merely as representatives of purely sectional interests and are indifferent to African interests.

Nevertheless, we hope in the not distant future to increase the present African membership and to draw on Africans from the different Provinces. It is, however, extremely difficult at the present stage of African political development to find Africans who are both able to play a useful part in the work of the Council and are recognised by the mass of the African population as speaking in a representative capacity for them. The danger of forcing on Africans representation by Africans at a hot pace is that it will result in practice in the representation of sectional interests which often run counter to the interests of the rural communities which form the bulk of the population. Before the mass of the people can safeguard their own interests it will be necessary, as I have already said in referring to the method of developing self-government in Tanganyika, to build up a system of representation by popular choice at the tribal or local government level.

The Mission refer in their Report to the inadequacy of the social services provided by the Administration for the local inhabitants, particularly in the field of education. But they fail to suggest how the poorest of the three British-administered territories in East Africa is to pay out of its limited resources for improvements everyone would like to see. Pointing out the inadequacy of the ten-year plan for the expansion of the African education services, the Mission press for gradually extended facilities but do not attempt to say how those facilities are to be paid for or how the teachers are to be provided. We agree, of course, from every point of view, about the importance of the expansion of education services for Africans, but unfortunately lack of funds and trained personnel prevents at present a more ambitious programme of development. The criticism of the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, in this regard seemed to me to be extremely sound. On the other hand, considerable progress has been made in recent years. The total appropriations for education in the Territory's budget for 1948 amounted to just under 10 per cent. of the Government's total expenditure for the year, as compared with just over 5 per cent. in 1938. It therefore doubled in ten years. The war made it impossible to carry out plans for further improvements in the social services, but what is now being done for education illustrates the importance attached to such post war measures by the Government of the Territory.

Local revenues are being supplemented for the financing of the ten-year plan for education by a grant of £1,250,000 from the United Kingdom Government under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. It would, however, be unwise to provide more outside financial assistance than the Territory can expect to furnish from its own resources in time to come, and to build up education services to a scale which would be beyond the capacity of the local revenues ultimately to support. In the field of technical and vocational training for Africans the Government training school for ex-Service men near Dar es Salaam turned out 1,606 African craftsmen by the end of 1948, and there are still 300 men in training. There are five Government schools and ten mission schools in the Territory, the curricula of which include technical and vocational training. Pupils at these schools numbered 526 at the end of 1948, as compared with 301 in 1947. In addition, the Overseas Food Corporation's technical training centre at Ifunda, in the Southern Highlands Province, is turning out trained Africans for the ground-nuts scheme at the rate of about 1,000 per annum, so that this technical and vocational training is going forward at a rate certainly not equalled in the history of our responsibility for this Territory.

The noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, expressed serious misgivings about the effect of the Labour Supply and Utilisation Ordinance. I do not know whether he is clear about the legal position. This is an Ordinance which has been passed but which has not come into administrative operation. I hope that I can convince him that these misgivings, which were shared to some degree by the Visiting Commission, are unjustified, because they are based on an understandable misconception of an enactment which aims merely at relating the limited labour supply to urgent and essential occupations. This Ordinance will not in any way interfere with the rights or the freedom of African workers. It contains no element of compulsion. The noble Lord spoke of direction. We do not attempt to direct African labour, and Africans will be as free to offer or refuse their services as they have been in time past. Nor will it restrict the workers' right to organise and engage in collective bargaining; indeed, the Administration does everything possible to encourage trade unionism among African workers. It will not discriminate in favour of the Government and large employers in the Territory, for small employers were consulted and their views were fully considered before this legislation was enacted. This Ordinance deals only with recruitment, and I think it should be made quite clear that it will not restrict or interfere with the right of the African to seek employment for himself. The employment figures for 1948 show that no more than 28,000 out of a total labour force of 327,000 persons at work in the Territory were recruited. That gives an indication of the probable distribution of the labour force if and when the Ordinance becomes effective. Its provisions would thus not affect more than about 8 per cent. of the total labour force of the Territory.

The noble Lord also took exception to the use of penal sanctions in labour contracts. We have_ of course, agreed to the International Labour Convention dealing with penal sanctions in dependent territories, and this Agreement includes an undertaking to abolish such sanctions progressively and as soon as possible. I would like to stress the words "progressively and as soon as possible," because they imply that we are unable in all cases to terminate these penalties immediately, and that we ourselves are to judge how soon and at what moment it will be practicable to do away with those that remain operative. I need hardly add, however, that we share to the full the noble Lord's desire that this practice should cease in all our Colonies and Trust Territories at the earliest possible moment. The only one of these breaches of contract for which there is now provision for a penal sanction in the labour laws, of Tanganyika is desertion.

I would remind the House that the effect of desertion on food supplies in this Territory, where labour is often irreplaceable and comes from great distances, would be much more serious than would be the case in a highly developed European country. The object of this penalty is to protect the Africans themselves from the disastrous results of an interruption of essential work. Nevertheless, we are anxious to find, and we are constantly seeking, other inducements for the maintenance of contractual obligations; and the possibility of withdrawing the penal sanction for desertion is constantly in the minds both of the local Administration and of those who serve at the Colonial Office.

On the subject of the inter-territorial organisation, a subject which has been referred to by several noble Lords and which has received some adverse criticism in the Report, I would say only this. It should surely be perfectly clear to everyone that this inter-territorial organisation is purely administrative, and that it was set up to work certain common services for the benefit of the inhabitants of all these territories; it does not interfere with the political independence of Tanganyika or its continued administration by us as a Trust Territory. If that position were clearer to the minds of some of our critics, I think they would admit that this inter-territorial organisation could only redound to the benefit of those for whom they have a responsibility. I ought to add this in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, who asked me a question about the position of the Chagga. Two-thirds of the former German estates in the Arusha district will go to the Chagga tribe. I am grateful to those noble Lords who have taken part in this debate for a uniformly constructive and helpful contribution to the subject. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, having been given the opportunity for this valuable discussion, will be prepared to withdraw his Motion.

7.49 p.m.


My Lords, at this late hour you will naturally not wish that I should follow up any points. I would, however, say that in the figures he produced—I say this with the greatest respect, and with some diffidence and trepidation—the noble Lord, Lord Hailey, did not actually give a fairer picture than did the Visiting Mission. His figure of 123,000,000 acres, I thought, was also a little misguiding. I was not wholly satisfied with what the noble Earl said on this question of land; nor was I happy about what he said with regard to the Labour Supply and Utilisation Ordinance. As I said, it did not seem to me to matter very much whether or not you called it direction of labour, if in fact you gave the man no option where he could go. I thought the noble Earl's defence of penal sanctions as a protection for the African was a little far-fetched. I may have misunderstood him. I thank him very much indeed for his full and, on the whole, satisfactory reply. With your Lordships' permission, I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.

House adjourned at ten minutes before eight o'clock.