§ 3.8 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON rose to call attention to the situation in Kenya with particular reference to the recent surrender terms offered to Mau Mau terrorists; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, in rising to move the Motion standing in my name, I am anxious to make it clear from the start that a growing anxiety about the capacity of the Kenya Government would probably never have found public expression, at least so far as I am concerned, had it not been for what I regard as a disastrous gamble with principles—I mean, of course, the recent surrender terms offered to the Mau Mau terrorists. Naturally, one is reluctant to embarrass any Government which is making an attempt to deal with an emergency, but when a Government seems to be gambling with the principles and the public respect upon which its own position must finally rest, then a protest seems to me to become a public duty.
§ In looking at the situation in Kenya, I propose to confine my comments, in so far as it is possible, to the emergency which was declared in October, 1952, and which is still with us in February, 1955. We pay a lot of attention nowadays to world opinion and it seems to me not unreasonable to pay at least some attention to public opinion in the country where the trouble has occurred. If the Government has not succeeded, or has forfeited public confidence in the country where it functions, then surely it stands condemned. A much clearer picture is possible to-day than in 1952, of the way in which the Mau Mau rebellion was planned and the reason why its aims and objectives have obtained such a hold on the Kikuyu tribe. Leakey and other authorities have made that quite clear. If I may repeat them, the main aims were: to drive out all foreigners; the destruction of Christianity; the seizure of all land for African use; the restoration of ancient customs and independent self-government. There was thrown into those aims a strange one, which was the cessation of soil conservation. In fact, as has been explained, that was a clever appeal to the women of the tribe, because most of the work in relation to the soil conservation is done by the women. It is, of course, easy to see why 1129 the destruction of Christianity occupied such a high place in their aims, because any study of this emergency cannot hep attracting one's attention to the fact that the core of the resistance amongst the Africans to Mau Mau has been among the African Christians.
§ The movement was planned for many years under the guidance of Jomo Kenyatta and his chief lieutenants and others, and arms were being collected and stockpiled against the great day. An elaborate organisation existed with a system of deputies ever ready to take over in case the heads were arrested. As long ago as 1941 the Kikuyu Central Association had been banned as a subversive organisation, but when that Association was banned the task was taken over by the Kenya African Union which, with its preponderant Kikuyu membership, increasingly became a mere mask for the Mau Mau movement. How the movement for so long escaped the attention of the Kenya Government remains a puzzle. The ground was psychologically fertile for the evil crop sown by Kenyatta and his group. The impact of Western European economy, in all its many ways, upon a primitive tribal system had fatally shaken it disrupting the discipline and the tribal control upon which Kikuyu lives had been based. A generation was growing up which was adrift from its spiritual moorings.
§ Some of their cherished tribal customs, such as polygamy, female circumcision and so forth, were condemned by the Christian churches; so there sprang up separate African churches based upon Christianity as acceptable to the Kikuyu. It was then that the diabolical brain which was planning the Mau Mau rebellion gave it the clever religious twist which founded a new religion. Sedition and worse were spread by means of hymns, written to the old familiar tunes of Hymns, Ancient and Modern. When Kikuyu meetings were apparently swaying in religious fervour to the strains of "Abide with Me" or "Onward, Christian Soldiers," or even the National Anthem itself, the congregation was in reality being exhorted to wipe out Europeans and all foreigners. We now appreciate that Man Mau is a rebellion with a devilish emotional appeal to men and women alike. As I have tried to indicate, it stepped into a spiritual vacuum and filled it with promises which 1130 cleverly embraced the elimination of almost every social, economic and political discontent.
§ Leakey tells us that the taking of even the first Mau Mau oath is a major mental shock to the Kikuyu, while the oaths grow increasing foul and obscene in their rites and ceremonies up to the utter degradation of the eighth oath. The oath-takers apparently become outcasts, unclean and uncleansable, utterly degraded in the eyes of native law and custom. They are therefore doubly bound to the association with others equally depraved. Furthermore, this authority is of opinion that the first oath can be cleansed and redeemed; the second and third oaths possibly may be; but in all probability redemption from the other oaths is utterly impossible. That is an important point. I have ventured to give this slight and inadequate sketch because it is essential to know something of the special background of Mau Mau in order to judge whether these new surrender terms can make sense, apart from any question of principle. The Government of Kenya have many difficult problems arising out of the pressure of rapidly increasing population, the need of a new wage structure, and, above all, the need of moral sanctions to enforce decent social behaviour; but these things cannot be tackled adequately until the Mau Mau movement has been crushed.
§ How have the Kenya Government fared in the past two and a half years of growing enlightenment about the power and nature of Mau Mau? Not very well. They have been unhappy in their judgment, slow in action and lacking in firmness, self-confidence and decision. To an outside observer, the long-drawn-out tolerance of conditions in Nairobi and of Mau Mau dominance in the capital city, the absence of a clear lead from the Government in matters such as the organisation of the Home Guard, of land policy in its various aspects, villagisation and so on, indicate, I suggest, a lack of grip and understanding. The hesitations of the Government are reflected in the Police and the Home Guard, and even in unofficial dissensions. Kenya, to me, resembles a ship at sea in a storm, with no-one on the bridge. When the storm broke in 1952, and caught the Government unawares, the blindness of the group of men in charge of Government came in for some merited criticism from 1131 the public, but the matter ended there. There was little indication that the Government had learned their bitter lesson. The men who had forfeited the confidence of Kenya apparently retained the full confidence of Whitehall.
§ It is true that the key to Kenya lies in Nairobi. "Operation Anvil" last year dealt a long overdue blow to the Mau Mau organisation, but there is growing uneasiness about the time taken over screening those who are detained and the uncertainty as to their future. One has to remember that the bulk of the Kikuyu tribe are sitting on the fence waiting to back the winner. Most of them, either willingly or under compulsion, have taken at least the first Mau Mau oath. Even among the loyalists, many disapprove of the methods of Mau Mau, but they have much sympathy with many of their aims and objects. And what have they seen during the past year? They have seen loyal chiefs and members of the Home Guard arrested and prosecuted for maltreatment of the enemy in one way or another. They have seen a Government apparently so preoccupied with the enforcement of their incomprehensible law as to exclude justice as understood by the people.
§ We are told that the hold of Mau Mau on the Kikuyu tribe is failing and that increasing success against them is due in no small measure to the help and co-operation of the Home Guard. But it also appears that the morale of the Home Guard was severely shaken by the actions of Government so that it became necessary to declare an amnesty for past offences—that is, offences committed before January 18. Prosecutions, already Initiated before that date, however, were to proceed. To appreciate the full nature of the Kenya Government's descent, let us look at the first parleys of this nature in August, 1953. The Mau Mau gangsters were offered life but not liberty, except that the offer did not apply to men against whom there lay a prima facie case of murder. The Government's conditions then were: no negotiation with any gang leader, no general amnesty, no cessation of military operations. The treatment of Mau Mau in detention was to be in no way affected by the offer.
§ Then in April, 1954, came the notorious negotiations through the captured 1132 Mau Mau leader known as "General China," after which the promise of life and no trial for murder was apparently extended even to murderers who surrendered by a given time. And now, three weeks or so ago, there has been made the definite offer to those who surrender of no prosecution for any offence committed before January 18. It is said that the offer was forced on Government as the only way out of the legal mess in which it had become involved: that the morale of the Home Guard had been very gravely undermined, and that administrative officers were deeply concerned over the Government's clumsy handling of a body of men who had risked their lives, and the lives of their relatives, by opposing Mau Mau. All this muddle had arisen over the obstinate refusal of Government to declare that a rebellion or a war was taking place. And so one emergency regulation after another has been piled up, until even a Supreme Court judge, with the expert assistance at his disposal, can hardly find his way about them. How much less can a district officer or a native chief be expected to digest them!
§ And to expose the disingenuousness of refusing to call this trouble a rebellion, let us look at the figures since its start in 1952. Civilians killed have amounted to 30 Europeans, 19 Asians and 1,316 Africans. For security forces killed the figures are: 38 Europeans, 2 Asians, and 470 Africans. The wounded totalled 62 Europeans, 12 Asians, and 392 Africans. The figures relating to Mau Mau are: Mau Mau killed, 7,811; Mau Mau captured wounded, 844; Mau Mau captured unwounded, 349; Mau Mau surrendered, 828; Mau Mau terrorists hanged for murder, 223; Mau Mau terrorists hanged for other capital offences, 568; Mau Mau terrorists hanged for non-Mau Mau capital offences, 30. These figures, I may say, do not include Mau Mau casualties in air attacks, or the many thousands now in prison or under detention. It is estimated that there are upwards of 6,000 or 7,000 Mau Mau supporters lurking in the forests of the Aberdares and Mount Kenya.
§ If there is no rebellion and no war, what then are the Mau Mau gangsters? Surely they are just crime-sodden murderers, or, at best, accessories to murder, who have broken the criminal law. And it is with criminals of this kind 1133 that the Kenya Government propose to do their immoral deal. As I see them, the terms are never likely even to induce any leaders to surrender. They hold this new religion of theirs too deeply and are too seriously committed. If the leaders do not surrender, it does not matter how many thousands of others surrender, because with the leaders still in the forest it has been amply demonstrated that those who surrender can be made up by fresh adherents.
Elspeth Huxley, who is herself from time to time a resident in Kenya and knows the country intimately, has pointed out that the Government claim that they cannot halt the process of law; yet, when they wish to treat with the Mau Mau gangsters, they can altogether suspend them.
It is such sophistries as these"—
I am quoting now the words of Elspeth Huxley—
which, unfortunately, have brought the British code of law, framed for men at peace, in a country long civilised, into so large a measure of contempt and distrust among Africans to whom we bring it as an untarnished offering.
I suggest, with the deepest regret, that the Kenya Government have not been loyal to their loyal supporters; nor is it reasonable that the security forces, in handling a situation of this kind, should be subjected to the commissar-like activities of the C.I.D.
§ The defenders of the Governor of Kenya say, in effect, that the end justifies the means and that no price in principle and prestige is too great to save Kenya from further agony and ultimate financial collapse. What a confession of failure! Such an amnesty could, at its most inconceivable best, purchase only a temporary lull, while the undefeated forces of evil went underground and planned for another effort later. It is no use, as I see it, proclaiming that the worst of these men will be held for periods extending to a life sentence. How can they be detained in the face of the popular clamour which is certain to arise in this country, that we are detaining hundreds or thousands of men who have never been given the privilege of a trial? It is very easy to say that these men will be detained indefinitely, but I suggest that our experience is that the Government would not be able to withstand the clamour here that they should be either 1134 tried or released. It is an interesting comment, too, that now, three weeks after the offer, the number of surrenders is negligible, and I see, I think in yesterday's papers, that it has been necessary for the authorities to throw a cordon round Nanyuki, where 1,000 Kikuyu have been detained as suspect Mau Mau.
§ I have said nothing about the alleged irresponsibility and lack of discipline of the Kenya settlers. I do not want to enter into Kenya politics here, but I am tempted to remark that the resentment of the Kenya settlers seems to have some justification in the continued inadequacy of the Kenya Government. Lest I be misunderstood, let me say that in my eyes the Kenya Government are the heads of Government in Nairobi. To my own personal knowledge, the field administrative staff and the staff of many departments, such as especially the agricultural and educational departments, are doing splendid work in most discouraging circumstances. Lastly, at the time of what I am tempted to call the "Lyttelton Unsettlement," the Secretary of State stated quite clearly that the Governor's powers remained undiminished, which means, in effect, that only the Secretary of State can control his decisions. It is therefore in this direction that one must look.
The strange volte face of Mr. Michael Blundell in his views about surrender terms, and the change which twelve brief months have wrought, are a relatively minor matter, since he is manifestly in no position to affect the issue except by resignation. But I think it is relevant to quote the views of this unofficial member of the War Cabinet only ten months ago at the time of the "General China" proposals. He was then the leader of the unofficial Europeans in the Council in Nairobi. This is a quotation from the Official Report. He said:
It would be perfectly legitimate to treat with enemies but it is utterly wrong to treat with criminals. If this Council would examine the records to which China has been a party, the murders, the butcheries, the arson and the filth of the oaths, I believe that honourable Members on this side of the Council will inevitably draw the conclusion that honourable Members opposite have the hallmark of expediency as the principle of their Government and to principles at all. The ordinary citizen of this country of any colour will become inevitably convinced by this action that Government has become a party to these brutalities, to these murders and to these filthy oaths.
Those were the views of Mr. Blundell ten months ago. We are not given any reason why there has been this complete change in his attitude towards such action by Government.
The situation in Kenya is grim in the extreme. If I may quote again the lady whose knowledge of Kenya warrants some quotation from her views, she said recently:
The Kenya situation does not arouse confidence. There is little unity of purpose, little team-work, not only among settlers but between the regular police, the police reserve, the administration and the Army.
She goes on to say:
But it is amongst the heads of the civil Government that changes must come, both of heart and of personnel, and come quickly, if the war in Kenya is to be won.
I agree with that opinion. When open hostilities are over, immense problems await the Kenya Government in every aspect of administration, apart from the need to re-educate the Kikuyu tribe, which, in itself, as I view it, will represent at least twenty-five years of concentrated work by specially trained officers. A change will have to come over the civil high command, and the impression of almost leisurely approach to problems clamouring for instant decision and sure unhesitating action must give way to a more vigorous approach. The present pressures have no doubt been built up over the past twenty years, and, indeed, warnings must have been received and disregarded. Formerly we could charge the Kenya Government with inadequacy, but now, in addition, one must regretfully add a charge of lack of principle and lack of loyalty to its own supporters. To-day any Englishman looking at this record might well turn and say to the British Government:
Indeed, the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my Credit in Men's Eye much wrong:
Have drown'd my Honour in a shallow Cup,
And sold my Reputation for a Song.
My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.41 p.m.
§ EARL JOWITT
My Lords, I thought it right to rise at this early stage in the debate in order that I might declare, on behalf of Members on this side of the House, quite plainly and unambiguously what their position is; and also because, having held for a longer time 1136 than any other living person the great office which the Lord Chancellor now dignifies, I thought it would not be inappropriate that I should say something about the questions of law that are here involved. In doing so, I feel sure that I shall say nothing with which the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor will not find himself in complete agreement.
I cannot claim anything like the experience of the noble Lord who has just spoken, but I have this connection with Kenya: I did go out when I was Lord Chancellor to open the East African Court of Appeal. I was there for some time, and I had the chance of seeing the country and meeting a large number of the settlers, who were very kind to me and looked after me. I was there again at this time last year, when I was able to see the change that had occurred between 1951 and 1954. Before saying anything else, I should like to pay tribute to those people who went out from this country and settled in that land. When they went out there, what was it? It was malaria-infested; it was largely swamps; it was the scene of inter-tribal jealousies and wars; it was a constant area for slave trading. They went out there and tilled, worked and drained the land, and planted the trees; and they restored prosperity to what was absolutely barren and waste land. I thought, speaking by and large, that the European settlers there showed that they were rather acting as fathers to the people, who were very primitive people, and that they were deeply concerned with their welfare. Indeed, by reason of the hygiene and health which they introduced, they brought upon their shoulders this particular problem, because the population started increasing enormously, and the pressure on land went up. I formed a high view of the attitude which the settlers were taking, though I confess there were a few, as I thought, in 1951–they were a small minority—who took rather that view which we associate with the view taken by the Union of South Africa in regard to these matters.
After two and a half years of this struggle, it would not be in the least surprising to find that some of these people had been under great and constant strain—I saw it myself last year. It is easy for us to criticise from a comparatively safe distance. I want to make 1137 that position perfectly plain. I have no illusions about these matters. It was quite obvious to me that the Kikuyu were a very primitive people. I know, of course, as everybody who has read those filthy oaths which are in the Library of this House must know, how dreadful and depraved and absolutely intolerable are the Mau Mau people. But as I see the problem, it really can be put in this way. The population of Kenya is over 5 million Africans, of whom over one million are Kikuyu, and the other communities number 155,000. Those are the figures quoted in the Report which was published last year. It is impossible to govern the African millions by force: the important thing is to gain the respect and confidence of the native people. The Mau Mau are even worse enemies of the Kikuyu than they are of the white settlers, and the problem, as I see it, is: How can we win over the mass of the Kikuyu people against the Mau Mau?
There went out in January, 1954, a small Parliamentary committee consisting of six members, three from each side of the House. They made a unanimous report in almost record time. It was, I think, a most valuable report. It might be worth while to ask them to go out again to see how they think things are going now. After they had gone out, Mr. Lyttelton (as he then was; Lord Chandos, as he is now) went out and introduced a system of multi-racial Government. So far from referring to that as the "Lyttelton unsettlement," I believe that was a courageous thing to do, and that he was entirely right in the course that he took. I think there must be no going back from that policy. On the contrary, I believe that we must expand and develop it, gradually and sensibly, as time goes on.
That brings me (I am not going to discuss now the details of that policy; it would be rather beside the point) to the offer of January 18 of this year, that any person voluntarily surrendering would not be prosecuted—not, as the noble Lord said, that he would be set at liberty, but that he would not be prosecuted—coupled with an amnesty for offenders against the forces of law and order. I believe that the Government were right to take that course. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, in his letter to The Times, and in his speech to-day—though it was more pronounced in his letter to The Times—viewed it with "profound horror and 1138 shame." He referred to it as a "sordid bargain," "a breach of faith" and "an immoral deal"—from all of which I gather that he does not agree with it. I should have thought that the language which the noble Lord used would have been regrettable on the lips of an immature schoolgirl; but I think that, coming from one ex-Colonial Governor to another, who is confronted with an appallingly difficult problem, the language in which he couched his objection was altogether deplorable. I hope the noble Lord will forgive me for saying that quite definitely.
It is natural enough that strong feelings there should be. If the noble Lord goes back to history, he will remember reading at the time of the Matabele Rebellion that General Carrington, after there had been great atrocities there, made a similar sort of offer; and he will remember that the settlers there showed strong resentment. But fortunately in those days there was a very remarkable man on the scene. Cecil Rhodes. Disregarding those protests and showing his great courage, he rode out from Bulawayo to the Matoppos with a few friends, virtually unarmed, raking care to go in single file so as to impress the others that there was no hostile intent. There he sat, on an anthill nearby the site where his body lies buried now. After a long time—because the Africans move slowly—the African chiefs came in; they put down their assegais at the feet of Cecil Rhodes; and the revolution was over and peace ruled in the land. I would ask the noble Lord who has criticised this offer: what is his alternative to this course? Because it seems to me obvious that there must, sooner or later, be a political settlement. The problem will never be solved in any other way. In the long run, our great asset is our reputation for justice and fair play, and it is the belief in these qualities which will ultimately enable us to triumph.
The second feature of the noble Lord's speech, and also of his letter, which I regret is that I think he made light of some of the dreadful things which have been done by the loyal Kikuyus and even sometimes, I regret to say, by Europeans. They have been terrible deeds which have stained our reputation. Far more easy, as I see it, is it to excuse those deeds when done by the Kikuyu than when they are clone by Europeans. I do not say that 1139 they are widespread—I do not know. I do not think they are common—again I do not know. But that they have occurred on occasions, however rare, is all too true, and I intend to read to your Lordships two short passages from judgments of judges of the High Court recently delivered. I consider that for a man in the position of the noble Lord to gloss these things over as a mere instance of being too enthusiastic or too indiscriminately loyal is doing no good service to the cause of law and order.
It may be natural enough for the loyal Kikuyu who have suffered from the brutalities of the Mau Mau to pay them back in their own coin. We must try, however hard it may be, by way of example to show that that is not our method. Whilst making all allowances, we must do our utmost to see that these things stop. We must paint these events in their true colours. There is nothing whatever to be said for massacring disarmed prisoners or for employing torture to exact confessions. These things are repellent to the Christian ideal and repellent to the British system of justice. He who tries to gloss them over as a mere excess of loyalty, or to make light of them, is doing no good service to our good name.
I refer, if I may, to a case which was decided on December 10, 1954. I have the judgment in my room, and I quote from the judgment of Acting Judge Oram. In a case before him—and I want your Lordships to realise how grave these things are—he said:It appears that there exists a system of guard posts manned by the headsmen and chiefs, and that these are interrogation centres and prisons to which the Queen's subjects, whether innocent or guilty, are led by armed men without warrant and detained and, as it seems, tortured until they confess to alleged crimes, and then are led forth to trial on the sole evidence of these confessions.The place of detention was Ruthagathi. The judge went on:What sort of a place was Ruthagathi? It was a barbed wire enclosure surrounded by a stake moat and provided with a drawbridge. It was presided over by a team of men who had one function in life, that was to extort statements or confessions by fear, and if necessary by violence, from every hapless person sent or brought there, the innocent with the guilty.The judge then went on to describe a so-called "confession book" to which was 1140 attached the thumb mark of the prisoner. He said:It is easy to write the lies one wants to write and deliberately force the thumb of the witness on it when he was half-conscious"—he was half-conscious because he had been brutally beaten. Then the person from whom a confession had thus been extracted was taken before an African court sitting at Karatina. The judge said that that court isabysmally perverted. It is a travesty of justice. It is not justice at all but naked oppression, and throughout the year"—this passage deals with the quantity of these cases—hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pleas of guilty and convictions on the one charge were secured.The one charge, I think, is consorting with the Mau Mau. The judge went on:From the patent injustice of this court, which was known to every tribesman in the reserve, flowed fines at the rate very often of 6,000 shillings per sitting, that is thousands of pounds in the course of the year. One would have thought at least that the steep incline upwards of fine money would have attracted attention at District Headquarters, or the African Courts Officer would have sat sometimes with the court to see how it operated, but no European ever sat with this court.Then, with regard to the particular prisoner before him, the judge said this:Let me conclude therefore by saying that the loyalty of the accused was more apparent than real, and he was using his reputation for loyalty to cover criminal activities.I suppose that that is what Doctor Johnson meant when he said that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel. I merely tell your Lordships that, after thus being tortured and confessions extracted from them, two of these men were shot in cold blood.
The next short citation I make to your Lordships is a decision of the East African Court of Appeal, reported in The Times of December 24 of last year. The judges said:What legal powers of detention these teams have, or under whose authority they act, we do not know. But whatever be the authority responsible, it is difficult for us to believe that these teams could continue to use methods of unlawful violence without the knowledge and condonation of that authority. Such methods are a negation of the rule of law which it is the duty of the courts to uphold.It is in that context that I find disquieting the sending out of Colonel Young to investigate the affairs of the police and his 1141 coming back for some reason which I do not fully understand. I appreciate that with regard to pending cases it would be wrong for the Administration to interfere with cases which are already before the courts, but obviously such cases may be dealt with, in substance, by the prerogative powers of which, after conviction, the Governor would, of course, be possessed.
What, then, ought we to do? It is quite obvious that the fight, the battle, against the hard core of Mau Mau must go on. I think, also, that there must be a careful consideration of this Police problem; there must be some reorganisation of the Police. Internment is, of course, inevitable; but do not let our internment become indiscriminate. Do not treat the innocent, or even reluctant initiates, as though they were the hard core of Mau Mau. I have an uncomfortable feeling that the internment to-day is altogether too indiscriminate.
Recently there was a case of an African chief called Mundia who was tried in the Nyeri district. He was accused of murdering a prisoner, and was acquitted. I do not question the decision. I know nothing about it, but during the course of that case evidence was given as to the system of this internment. It gives me great anxiety. It appears that the native chiefs prepare rough dossiers of suspected persons, which are typed out by an African clerk. The district commissioner then prepares from time to time the number of vacancies in each detention camp. District officers allocate so many vacancies to each chief. The dossiers are not checked by any European officer. Detention orders are signed on the strength of the information contained in the dossiers. No check is made from the dossiers and the sources of information are completely anonymous. It is true that an appeal tribunal exists under Detention Regulations, but it is very little used; and, from the information I have—and I have the means of getting rather reliable information—I am able to say that I doubt whether one in a thousand of the internees knows of the existence of this appeal tribunal.
The result is that masses of innocent people are herded together with the guilty, and there is only too great a likelihood of their becoming infected with Mau Mau. General Erskine estimated 1142 that of 60,000 internees, 20 per cent. (that would be 12,000) were "white"—that is, completely innocent—and yet after nine months only 300 have been released and 2,000 added. That is not satisfactory. Regulation 18B was a very unpleasant necessity, controlled during the war, first by Sir John Anderson (as he then was) and later by Mr. Herbert Morrison. It was very carefully watched. There were complete facilities for appeal tribunals; the cases were gone through and screened. This method of shutting people up may be necessary, but if you are going to resort to it, it is incumbent upon those employing the method to see that every possible safeguard is used. I have quoted the evidence in this case of Mundia—I am not able to say whether or not the evidence is true, but it has not, as yet, been contradicted—and I should like the noble Lord to deal with it in due course.
It seems to me that a far better system of screening must be introduced. It must obviously be under the control of European officers, and it must be much speedier. Unless this is done, our long-established reputation for British justice will become impaired. So, in addition to the fight against Mau Mau, which has to go on, there should be a positive side of our policy. Political reform and political advancement for the loyal Kikuyu must be undertaken. The Report of the Parliamentary delegation of January, 1954, saidAfrican leadership will certainly be required and means of developing this are indispensable.That is taken from paragraph 20 of their Report. What steps are the Government taking to develop African leadership? because their only chance of winning the souls of the masses of the Kikuyu is to do it by their own leaders.
My Lords, we believe that the future of this community lies in a multi-racial community, in maintenance of law and order and the observance of law and justice, enforced by an honest and not a corrupt Police. We believe, further, that there must be an opportunity for everyone, whatever his colour, to succeed, so long as he possesses the necessary character, education and technical skill. I will add only this. I believe that one of the most important tasks before the Government of Kenya is to develop an educational system. The teaching in the schools was, I believe, in the past largely 1143 tainted by subversive doctrine. According to the best of my knowledge and information, there is no evidence yet that the Communists have got their finger in this particular pie. But if this sort of situation exists, it is obviously one which the Communists might begin to exploit. We have, I think, very little time to lose. I believe that the well-being of Kenya depends on the observance of these principles and the re-establishment of that system of law and justice for which this country is famous and which has been the most precious gift that we have handed down to our various dependencies.
§ 4.8 p.m.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTER-BURY
My Lords, the Motion before us draws particular attention to the surrender terms offered to Mau Mau. On that special topic I do not wish to add anything to what the noble and learned Earl has just said. I entirely subscribe to every word with which he rebutted the observations of the mover of this Motion. The Motion also refers to the general situation in Kenya. It is about that that I should wish to say one or two words, drawing attention to matters of very great importance which have been urged by Christian leaders in Kenya constantly for the last two years.
The noble Lord who moved this Motion said it was essential to take into account the views of the people in Kenya; and, indeed, that must be done. He said that one of the chief motives of Mau Mau was to destroy Christianity. That is also true. It follows that we must give careful heed to the opinion of leaders of Christian communities in Kenya. I may say, in passing, with regard to the amnesty offered to Mau Mau, that so far from regarding it as a surrender of any kind of principle at all, Christian leaders put out a statement that they welcomed it. They welcomed it on a condition to which I shall come, that it is properly followed up—but that is another matter. If I go on in some sense to criticise the Government, I do it not in the least to reproach them but to encourage them to do better what I know is their fundamental principle and purpose. Only on January 28 last, the leaders of the Christian Churches saw the Acting Governor and had a conversation for two and a half hours with him. 1144 I mention that to show that there is real contact and co-operation between the Governor and the Christian forces, and an understanding and a true desire on both sides to carry this thing through to a possible conclusion.
The first point I wish to underline is that, again and again, the leaders in Kenya complain that the loyalists among the Kikuyu get no recognition and no encouragement, but are, on the contrary, exposed to continuous injustices—and the noble and learned Earl has indicated what is meant by "an injustice," and how horrid it is. Many of these loyalist Kikuyu who are loyal to law and order, and many of them also because they are loyal to their Christian faith, have suffered martyrdom. One would at once think as a result there would be every kind of encouragement to look after the loyalist Kikuyu; but, in general, they are still made to suffer hardship and injustice. Some members of the Administration forget that there can be such people as loyalist Kikuyu. Some of them assume—I say this on evidence from those who have observed the situation in Kenya—that every member of the Kikuyu is guilty, and they do not look for or accept evidence put forward to show that they are innocent.
The East African Standard, which I gather is the principal European-owned paper in Kenya, in a leading article on Friday last referred to these loyalists and said:They find themselves bracketed with the suspects when there is any incident or screening operation. They have very little sense of real security, and in some the spirit of bitterness is developing.It goes on to deal with the problem of the screening, and says of those who are declared to be "white" or trustworthy:They should be given every possible help to get back to their employment."—from which, incidentally, they have been swept without any regard.It is reported that they are first called upon to serve a period with a Home Guard unit, 'just to prove their loyalty.'The article goes on:A person proved 'white' should suffer no further disabilities. He should be sent back to his job at once and prove his loyalty there.We all recognise the terrible difficulties, but I would emphasise again the figures to which the learned and noble Earl drew 1145 attention. General Erskine said he thought that 20 per cent. of the detainees would be found to have a clean record, that is to say, out of 60,000 something like 12,000 would be "whites." The noble and learned Earl said that so far, nine months later, only 300 have been released. I am able to correct that figure it has grown to 400 out of 12,000. There must be something wrong in the way in which this particular problem is being dealt with. Beyond doubt, many who are ready to be loyal have been swept up in these detention camps, and if the process had been more deliberate they would never have been arrested at all. They are detained month after month; they are exposed to bitterness against the Government and to direct infection by the Mau Mau and their agents. I do not think I need underline that particular point any further. But surely this is the moment, when the Mau Mau are on the defensive and very largely driven back into the forests, when every possible means must be employed to encourage security and trust in the hearts of those who are ready to redeem the situation. Therefore, on behalf of those who know the situation at first hand in Kenya, I would first urge that the Government should go a long way—run risks if they like—towards speeding up more releases of the "white" and "near white," many of them "grey," and showing to the loyalists that they are really trusted and appreciated and can live their lives in security from the forces of law and order.
That brings me to the second point upon which I wish to say a few words. As the noble and learned Earl has said, the supreme task at the moment is the restoration of law and order, and the removal of fear—European's fear of the African, the African's far more subtle and manifold fear of the European. How can that fear be removed? Here, I can only repeat that many things have been done by the forces of law and order which violate the first principles of law and order and make those who might trust us regard even the principles of ordered society as hostile, untrustworthy and hateful to themselves. I cannot put the case more forcibly than the noble and learned Earl has put it. He has produced evidence from the legal side. Those who are Christian leaders 1146 would merely endorse that evidence and say that they have seen these things with their own eyes.
Let me say here that I have the fullest sympathy for all those who have found themselves faced with this crisis. When the storm broke a small body of high-minded and devoted administrators and trained personnel had to deal with the deluge, and all they could do was to recruit any additional forces they could find from anywhere—that was the only possible course, and nobody could blame them for it. But what was the result? Inevitably, there was brought into the forces of law and order a great number of persons, untrained and unequipped for the hardest task that could be given to any man to do—namely, to control his own passions in the heat of a cruel war against horrible and dastardly things. We cannot be surprised if there were breakdowns under such a strain. The Government, two years ago, recognised that there was the greatest possible reason for anxiety and that there were many horrible things which were being done by the forces of law and order. Ever since then they have been trying to correct them. But what alarms us and the Christian leaders out there is that apparently the Government's efforts have been comparatively unsuccessful. The results remain disturbing up to this present time.
Again, as the noble and learned Earl said, Colonel Young's resignation cannot but increase that sense of disturbance. The Government's statement on Colonel Young's resignation is a strange one. It says that the common aim between the Government and Colonel Young was thatthe Kenya police should be regarded as impartial custodians of the law and should command the trust and confidence of the public.Then the statement goes on:Colonel Young thought that for this end the police must be given more independence and power to deal with abuses in the Home Guard arising from lack of discipline.One would have thought that to be an unexceptionable consequence, but the Government appeared to take a different view, which I will paraphrase in this way: to think that the Police would be impartial custodians only if they were handcuffed to the Administration and to the military. That is a very queer way of securing that they shall be guardians of law and order.
1147 At that moment came the amnesty. It is to be remembered that it was an amnesty not only to the Mau Mau but to all those in the forces of law and order who had committed crimes and offences against law and order. The mere fact that there had to be such an amnesty is evidence that there was a real evil there, doing untold damage. Obviously, it is a strange thing to have to give an amnesty to one's own defenders of law and order just as an amnesty is being given to the Mau Mau. Both amnesties are to be welcomed in order that there may be a chance of starting with a clean sheet, on two conditions: first, that this time the Governor's stern warning of January 18 shall be obeyed to the letter. May I remind your Lordships of what he said:From this moment onwards any of you or any other person who commits any offence will be prosecuted with the full strength of the law.That is right. It means that the forces of law and order have to rise to the challenge and determine that they will free themselves from any chance of accusation and will back the Governor in that critical situation.
The second condition I would make is this. There must be a considerable number of people—European, alas! and African—who have profited by this amnesty and who will have no fear of consequences for acts they may have committed; but one cannot suppose that they will necessarily change their nature. They remain the people they were before, whether in the forces of law and order or outside. They are centres of poison and infection. Are the Government going to set up rehabilitation centres for such people? I am perfectly certain it is a positive and real need that those who, within the forces of law and order, have shown themselves suspect of betraying their own principles should be honestly subjected to a rehabilitation process as real and effective as that through which the Mau Mau are put; otherwise they cannot contribute anything to the one necessity of to-day: the restoration of trust all round and liberation from fear.
The chief problem now is one of reconstruction, helping the loyalists, re-educating some of the security forces themselves and greatly hastening the process through the detention camps. May I say here, in fairness to the Government, 1148 that my evidence is that they are doing splendid and imaginative work in the schemes which are now in progress in the work camps, bringing all the resources of modern understanding to bear to ensure that those camps shall be healthy and wholesome places in which reconstruction of character and outlook is done effectively. The purposes are the same throughout, and success here can be achieved only by full co-operation, in a spirit of faithfulness and trust, between African and African—for that has to be restored—between African and European and, not least, between European and European. Perhaps the worst feature of this whole business would be any sign of disunity or ungenerous spirit of division between Europeans in Kenya.
I would add only that the Christian Churches are anxious and ready to do anything they can to help bring about the spiritual renewal which is necessary. They have plans for a wide variety of rehabilitation work in prisons, in detention camps, in newly-established villages, in Nairobi and in other towns, among youth, among women—who are not the least important people in this context—and among potential African leaders. That work will cost the Christian Churches a great deal, and doubtless there will, in time, be an appeal to the Christian people of this country to enable that work to be done. But perhaps even more necessary will be the supply from this country to the Government and to the Churches of men and women who can bring with them the healing and constructive spirit without which there can be no future at all for Kenya. Finally, may I say that, regarding it as a sign of our goal and a Sacrament of the Faith with which we pursue it, I look forward, God willing, to consecrating in Uganda in two months' time two Africans, one of whom is a member of the Kikuyu tribe, to be assistant bishops to the Bishop of Mombasa in Kenya.
§ 4.25 p.m.
THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES (LORD LLOYD)
My Lords, the Kenya Government has come in for some pretty rough handling by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, this afternoon. As we are all aware, the noble Lord has had long and varied experience of Colonial affairs and his views on these 1149 matters will, I know, always be listened to with respect by you. This fact adds to the serious nature of the criticisms which he has made this afternoon, criticisms which are not confined merely to the recent surrender offer made by the Kenya Government but which extend to the whole handling by that Government of the present emergency in Kenya. Moreover, since the ultimate responsibility for affairs in Kenya—including the surrender offer—rests with Her Majesty's Government, the noble Lord has in fact criticised the whole policy of Her Majesty's Government; and in view of the source and the nature of those criticisms it is certainly essential that your Lordships should consider them with the greatest care.
The history of the emergency is well known to your Lordships and I need not deal with it in any detail this afternoon; but, considering and weighing the criticism which the noble Lord has made, it is important that noble Lords should have regard to the nature of the problem which has confronted, and which continues to confront, the Kenya Government. We must face the fact that over the last two years there has been in Kenya not merely a series of individual crimes nor a mere crime wave; there has been organised terrorism on a gigantic scale in which the whole of the population have been put in fear of their lives. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, asked why this development had not been treated as a rebellion. There are various practical reasons why that has not been done; it is partly because, technically, there is no such offence known under the law in Kenya, and also because considerable difficulties are created by the fact that the Kikuyu tribe is split and the question arises as to who is rebelling against what.
Whether or not the noble Lord calls it a rebellion, it is perfectly clear (and I do not think Her Majesty's Government have ever said anything different) that there has been what amounts virtually to a civil war in Kenya. No police force in the world could protect the public against such a danger. To their great credit, a small part of the Kikuyu tribe, in which Christians have been prominent, has openly stood out against the terrorists; and round this nucleus there has gradually been built up a Home Guard pledged to defend their own homes and to wipe out the Mau Mau. Many 1150 of the loyalists have paid the price of their loyalty—1,300 Africans have been murdered by Mau Mau; but as the movement has gathered strength, they have been able to present real resistance to the terrorists and have stood up to protect their own homes. This has led to a situation approximating to civil war, not only within the Kikuyu but extending beyond the tribe to the British settlers and other communities. The mere containment of this situation is employing not just the whole of the Kenya Police but no fewer than nine battalions of troops—including battalions of the King's African Rifles and the Kenya Regiment—and some 22,000 men of the Kikuyu Home Guard. That is the scale of the emergency. It is in the light of these quite exceptional circumstances that I should like to deal with criticisms of the Kenya Government that have been made in respect of its administration of justice during the emergency.
We all believe in the rule of law as practised in this country, whereby the law is completely independent of the Executive and pursues the ends of justice without fear or favour of any man. And, believing as we do in our domestic system, we wish—and rightly so—to see it established in other parts of the Commonwealth, just as we wish to see established democracy and constitutional government. But I submit that just as in the establishment of these other things, so in the maintenance of law and order, we have to take account of local conditions. And as far as Kenya is concerned I would remind your Lordships that until the coming of the emergency the Kenya Police virtually did not operate at all in the tribal areas.
The administration of the African areas has been based upon a policy of developing African institutions and upon an established procedure of working through African tribal authorities and other African local government bodies. The Provincial Commissioner is, within his Province, the principal executive officer of the Government, and under him are established, as the executive of the central Government, the district commissioners, the accepted hierarchy of headmen and the tribal police. These authorities have statutory powers under the Native Authority Ordinance. The Provincial Commissioner is responsible to the Governor for the peace and good 1151 order of the Province and the efficient conduct of all business therein, and law and order in the areas has been maintained through the chiefs and the unarmed tribal police.
Therefore, before the emergency there did not, and in the nature of things could not, exist a system of maintaining law and order in Kenya exactly similar to our own; and it is virtually only since the emergency that the Police have been introduced into the African areas to reinforce the other authorities responsible for the maintenance of law and order. It may one day be possible to introduce into these areas a system more nearly similar to our own, but, like most things in Africa, this will certainly take time, and a number of prejudices and ancient customs will have to be broken down. Up to now, for example, the police constable, generally speaking, has not been traditionally looked on by the inhabitants of the African areas as a friend of the people, in the way the constable is so looked on in England. On the contrary, he is often regarded with some suspicion by the people whom he serves. He is frequently a member of a different tribe and is regarded as an alien. Nor is there any tradition in African society of the responsibility of the citizen to support the forces of law and order.
The conception of the common constable is based upon the assumption that the community is a homogeneous one with a common language and a common background, that the law is commonly accepted and observed as the will of the people, that the responsibility of the citizen towards the maintenance of law is accepted and that the police force operating in the country is drawn from men whose background and training enable them to be completely impartial. None of these circumstances at present exists in Kenya. In any circumstances it would have taken time to change these concepts and to remove from the Administration its responsibility for seeing that law and order is maintained; certainly a sudden change in them in the depths of the emergency would, in my opinion, and, I think, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, be quite impossible.
But in addition to the factors to which I have just referred there have been superimposed the circumstances of the 1152 emergency. The police in this country could do nothing without the co-operation of the public. Imagine a situation in which everyone is too frightened to come forward to tell what he knows of a crime for fear that he will be murdered tomorrow; imagine a situation in which you cannot know who is your friend and who is your enemy. If one considers all these things one must surely come to the conclusion that the methods of keeping the peace in the form in which we have it here are not possible in Kenya at the present time. Let it not be thought by this, however, that I am implying in any way that injustice reigns to-day in Kenya. All terrorists against whom formal charges have been made are given a fair trial, although, I admit, owing to the nature of the emergency capital punishment has been imposed for a number of offences for which it could not be imposed here. I would add that at the present time the question of the offences for which capital punishment should be awarded is under review.
There are two problems to-day in Kenya which do not exist in this or, so far as I know, in any other civilised country. The first is a problem occasioned by the fact that any member of the Kikuyu tribe who is not known to be your friend may turn out to be your enemy, either through fear or through contamination by the Mau Mau. In a majority of cases it will be impossible to prove in a court of law that a man is associated with Mau Mau, either because of lack of suitable evidence or because witnesses are too frightened to give evidence. The Government, whose main duty, after all, is to protect the loyal elements in the community, and who if they fail in this, their first responsibility—and this is a point I would emphasise—can never hope to rally waverers to their cause, could not well leave these elements at the mercy of men who might well commit a revolting murder without qualm. Hence the necessity, which I think your Lordships have generally accepted, of screening suspects and of detaining those who are shown to be supporters of the movement. As your Lordships are aware, the object of the screening is broadly to separate the sheep from the goats.
Screening involves three categories of people. First, there are the "irreconcilables"—dangerous Mau Mau adherents 1153 such as executioners, court officials, oath administrators, and active gang members. Such people are either tried in court for Mau Mau offences, if sufficient evidence is available, or detained under Governor's detention orders. Next, there are the "contaminated" Man Mau supporters, not regarded as sufficiently dangerous to be classed as irreconcilables. They are detained first in detention camps, and are progressively being moved to works camps in the Central Province, where they undergo additional local screening, usually by their own elders, to see whether they can eventually be released, and are given every opportunity to rehabilitate themselves. In this connection I should like to express my gratitude to the most reverend Primate for the tribute he paid to the work that is being done in these camps for irreconcilables, and, in exchange, I should like for my own part to pay tribute to the work which is being done by the Church to help in that task, which is, as he said, the vital one before us in Kenya. Finally there are the "harmless," who are returned either to their employment or to the Reserve, where relief work is provided for those in need.
Here I am reluctantly compelled to draw your Lordships' attention to a Church Missionary Society pamphlet which has had wide circulation and which no doubt some of your Lordships will have seen. It is entitled Kenya—Time for Action. I do this with great reluctance, but I feel I am bound to do it. I do it with great reluctance because I am very sorry that a Society for which I have such great respect, a society which has co-operated with us in the Colonial Office in so many fields and which has done such wonderful work in Africa and elsewhere, should have published this document. My own views on this pamphlet were well expressed by the Bishop of Mombasa, Bishop Beecher, a man of the highest reputation in Africa, with deep knowledge and experience of its problems and an acknowledged expert on the Kikuyu tribe. The Bishop, after making it clear that the document was published without his knowledge, criticised it as being "one sided and particularly unfortunate." I do not think that anyone with any knowledge of the Bishop could fail to attach great weight to his opinions on such a matter. I do not want to question for one moment the sincerity of those who wrote this 1154 pamphlet, but I cannot help feeling that in a delicate situation of this kind those concerned might have come to the Colonial Office before publication, to hear the other side of the story, or that at any rate they might have consulted the Bishop on the spot.
In this pamphlet, along with other allegations, there is contained the charge that completely innocent people have been arrested as suspects and that, further, many people have been detained for months without screening. So far as these allegations are concerned, I should like only to say this: first, that in the circumstances I have described it is inevitable that some innocent people may be arrested for screening. This is certainly very regrettable, but it is difficult to see how in the circumstances this possibility could be eliminated. As regards the keeping of people for months in detention camps without screening, here again there is always a possibility of such an abuse. It is directly contrary to the regulations and everything possible is done to avoid such cases and to ensure that the regulations are strictly obeyed. Your Lordships will appreciate that screening has to be done by elders of the Kikuyu tribe, who are the only people who are in a position to carry out such a task. I think the noble and learned Earl said that he had heard that the screening teams operated without any control from the administration. Here, again, I am very ready to investigate any cases he has to bring forward, but that is certainly not what is intended. The intention is that all screening teams should operate under close control from the administration.
§ EARL JOWITT
My Lords, I do not think I said to the contrary. What I want the noble Lord to deal with, however, is the matter of the time which is being occupied. Of course it is inevitable, when one takes in people in an emergency, that one must take in the net some innocent people. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to have an efficient system of screening which operates quickly, so that the innocent ones may get out.
I entirely agree with the noble and learned Earl, and if he will listen to me for a minute longer I think I shall be dealing with his point. The pamphlet also suggests that the screening process is unjust. Here, again, I am prepared to admit that any process of this 1155 kind inevitably leaves open the possibility of a miscarriage of justice. After all, that is why we have the whole apparatus of law in this country. I can only say again that every possible step is taken, by checking and cross-checking, to eliminate this possibility to the maximum, and an inquiry is now being conducted, at the Governor's request, into the whole system of screening. This inquiry is being made by Sir Vincent Glenday, the Speaker of the Central Legislative Assembly. So we have that point in mind. I agree that the object of screening is to try to separate the sheep from the goats as quickly as possible, in order to return the sheep to civilisation, but the noble and learned Earl must appreciate the difficulty of this process in the circumstances of this emergency.
Admittedly—we all should agree about this—the whole system of detention is one we all instinctively dislike, but noble Lords must be aware that it is one which has been forced upon us only by the circumstances of the emergency. I am bound to say that those who have suggested that the system could be abolished at the present time have a duty to propose some better system which will safeguard equally well the lives of the law-abiding community. As regards the future of detainees, this is generally admitted to be one of the greatest problems which confront the Government of Kenya today. Clearly the object must be to release as many as possible as fast as it is safe to do so, as the noble and learned Earl has said. But the question of rehabilitation is a question of changing men's minds, and of eradicating the Mau Mau oaths and attitude to life, and inevitably this will take time.
At this stage, I feel your Lordships will probably wish to know the present situation as regards the numbers of detainees. Of the 46,200 persons held in detention, 15,000 are already in works camps, and 31,200 are in the reception centres of Manyani, Mackinnon Road and Langata. By June this year, the accommodation available in the works camps will have risen to 30,600. The most reverend Primate will appreciate that it is in the works camps that rehabilitation is carried out. Releases from works camps back to normal life are now planned to take place at the rate of 1,000 a month, which I think is in excess of the figure given by 1156 the noble and learned Earl. This figure will be somewhat offset by newly detained persons, mainly the organisers of the "passive wing" and those arrested in operations, and by the success or otherwise of the present surrender offer. Another point to which I should like to draw your Lordships' attention is that all those regarded as harmless, except ten convalescents, have been released from the reception centres, and that already 9,500 of those whose loyalties are, or may be, divided, but who are not irreconcilables, have been passed from the reception centres to works camps on their way to eventual release. To those concerned about this matter, I hope that these numbers will provide a certain comfort. I think it shows a much improved situation.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, could the noble Lord say how many "whites" have been released?
Not yet. It is hoped that by June of this year the process will have been completed, and that all at present in detention camps who qualify for transfer to works camps will have moved to works camps where, by their behaviour, they can earn their eventual freedom. So much for the problem of the detainees. I am sorry to detain your Lordships, but this is a matter of great importance.
The second problem to which I have referred is the fact that in Kenya today it is not the Police alone who have the power of arrest. This, obviously, is due to the fact that the emergency has placed a burden upon the shoulders of the police which they cannot carry by themselves. In consequence, the Kikuyu Home Guard now have the power of arrest in the capacity of tribal police, although this will be considerably reduced when steps at present being taken to absorb the Kikuyu Home Guard into the regular tribal police reserve and into watch and ward units have been fully implemented. Clearly the putting of this power into the hands of those who have not been accustomed in the past to its exercise has increased the 1157 dangers of malpractices. As your Lordships may know, the Kikuyu Home Guard have orders to hand over to the Police within twenty-four hours any suspects arrested, but I am bound to confess that the fact that Home Guard posts and Police posts are often widely separated means that there are occasions when some delay in this regard is inevitable.
Once more I must mention the C.M.S. pamphlet, which not only refers to such malpractices but suggests that the Government of Kenya have condoned them. I do not dispute that it would be impossible to deny that serious malpractices have taken place, though here again I cannot entirely forget the circumstances in which such malpractices have arisen. In this world violence is apt to beget violence, and when one remembers all the atrocities and brutalities which he has seen inflicted, often upon his kith and kin, it is perhaps not entirely a matter for wonder that there should have been occasions on which the loyalist African, with his still primitive background, should have stepped outside the law. But I feel sure that your Lordships will share my view that even if it can be comprehended, it is not a matter which could possibly be condoned. And I feel sure that your Lordships will also agree that anyone making a charge that such practices have been condoned by the Kenya Government should, in all fairness, produce the evidence on which that statement is based. Such facts as are public would, I submit, seem to prove that this has not, in fact, been the policy of the Kenya Government. Otherwise, how came it that a number of loyalists were prosecuted on charges of this kind?
The noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, has mentioned the case of Chief Mundia—and I, too, should like to refer to it—a loyalist Chief who, in the judgment on his case, was declared to have brought hard work, energy and courage to the discharge of his duties in combating terrorism. He was nevertheless accused, together with a headman and two Kikuyu guards, of murdering in July, 1954, a prisoner who had been detained as a suspected terrorist. Before the trial he said that he trusted British justice and was glad to stand his trial. His confidence in British justice was not misplaced, since, after a trial lasting no less than three weeks, he and the other accused were all acquitted.
1158 In connection with this particular trial, the noble and learned Earl mentioned certain irregularities which came up in the evidence. All I can say on that is that, so far as I know, although they were alleged to have occurred, no proof was ever produced that they did occur. However, I will certainly look into that again, although the case is dead, to see whether there is any evidence to show that that was so.
§ EARL JOWITT
It was not so much irregularities: it was rather that the evidence explained the system which was employed in order to put people into internment. I went through the system in the dossiers, which was that given in evidence in that case.
That was certainly alleged by one witness in the case, but I do not think it was ever substantiated; and certainly it was not in accordance with the system as I understand it to exist. I thought I should deal with that point, because it is totally at variance with the system as laid down and as I understand it to be practised.
Furthermore, on the question of condonation of these offences by the Kenya Government, I must draw attention to the fact that between the beginning of the emergency and May, 1954, twenty-six persons were convicted of killing or maltreating Mau Mau suspects. In addition, three Europeans were convicted by civil courts of the offences of common assault. A Kikuyu guard leader and five other Home Guards were convicted of murder, or of being accessories after the fact, for shooting two suspects who were probably innocent. I mention this in order to show that action has been taken by the Kenya Government in cases of ill-treatment and assault which have been clearly brought to their attention. In those circumstances, I feel that to suggest that the Kenya Government deliberately condone such malpractices is without foundation. Certainly that has not been suggested this afternoon by any speaker—I am referring, of course, to this pamphlet, which does, by implication, suggest that. I think it is important that that point should be made.
Nor is it fair to say that the Kenya Government are satisfied with the present state of affairs or complacent in this 1159 matter. In a situation such as exists in Kenya to-day it is of course always possible that some malpractices may have escaped the attention of the authorities. No doubt such cases have occurred, and there is always the risk that they may occur again in the future. But to argue from this that the Government are prepared to condone such things is really a travesty of the truth. Indeed, at the present time fresh steps are being taken by the Government to try to reduce to an absolute minimum the possibility of such abuses.
The Kikuyu Home Guard have been reorganised on a more regular basis. Nine hundred have been recruited into the tribal police of the Central Province, 6,400 forming a tribal police reserve, and the remainder are being converted into unarmed village protection units. Home Guard posts will in future be sited wherever possible next door to Police posts, in order to avoid delay in the transfer of prisoners from the Home Guard to the Police. Methods used to hold and interrogate persons in the course of Kikuyu Home Guard operations are being revised, and a new system for the reception, examination, subsequent custody and disposal of suspected captives, surrendered terrorists and potential detainees is being worked out at the moment.
Special holding camps and interrogation centres under the control of the provincial administration and under close responsible European supervision are being established. Steps are being taken to ensure that no persons should be held in these camps or centres for longer than is required to enable the necessary inquiries to be made. Persons who have been examined are to be disposed of in one or other of the following ways: first, by transfer to the district commissioner for decisions as to whether or not the issue of a delegated detention or a restriction order would be justified, and to what works camp the person concerned should be sent; secondly, by transfer to the Special Branch for further interrogation; thirdly, by transfer to the C.I.D., with a view to prosecution before the courts; and, lastly, by release. In telling your Lordships all this—and I apologise for detaining you so long—I hope to show you, in the first place, the difficult con- 1160 ditions in which the Kenya Government have had to operate; secondly, that the Kenya Government are not, and never have been, complacent about these matters; and thirdly, that the Kenya Government do not condone, and never have condoned, malpractices amongst Kikuyu loyalists.
Let me turn now to the question of the resignation of Colonel Young which, not unnaturally, has aroused considerable comment. The reasons for Colonel Young's resignation are set forth in a statement made recently by my right honourable friend and agreed by Colonel Young, to which the most reverend Primate referred. This statement appeared in Hansard of Februrary 2. In the circumstances, and since this was an agreed statement, there is obviously little that I can add to it, beyond pointing out to your Lordships that it must be considered against the facts which I have put before the House during my speech.
The most reverend Primate suggested that it was an odd statement in that the Government did not agree with Colonel Young that the complete integrity of the Police, and the preservation of law and order, would be served by altering the present relationship in the tribal areas between the Administration and the Police. I have tried to follow up that point in my earlier explanation of the system that had existed hitherto in the tribal areas. It is against that general background that this statement should be considered. Personally, I would wish to express the regret of Her Majesty's Government that Colonel Young, who has rendered such valuable service in other fields, should have felt unable to continue as Commissioner for the full year, and I should like to take this opportunity of paying tribute to the valuable work he has done during the tenure of his post.
Having dealt with the difficulties which confront the Kenya Government over the question of law and order, I feel that I ought now to turn for a minute, as briefly as I can, to the most important thing in Kenya to-day, the supreme objective of the Kenya Government and of Her Majesty's Government—that is to say, the steps to end the emergency. The growing strength of the Administration and the Police and the building up of the Home Guard have freed the military to take the initiative against the gangs, and the number of incidents recently initiated by the 1161 security forces has begun substantially to exceed those initiated by the gangs, in contrast to the position in the earlier period of the emergency. Coupled with the increasing difficulties which the gangs have been experiencing in obtaining food, both as a result of the control measures taken by the Government and through the increasing reluctance of some sections of the tribe to give them support, their position in the reserves has become more and more untenable.
As the noble Earl said, it is believed that the bulk of them have again withdrawn to the forest areas in the Aberdares and Mount Kenya. Last month, therefore there was launched against them a concentrated drive known as "Operation Hammer," in which General Erskine has been able to employ more troops than ever before—nine battalions in all. At the same time, there have been a number of signs that the terrorists are beginning to crack. For instance, in Nyeri and Fort Hall men have surrendered who have been in the forest for over a year, unlike the hangers-on who, up to now, have formed the bulk of surrenders and whose disillusionment had come fairly quickly after joining the gangs. There have been other indications over recent months that many terrorists are tired of the struggle and the life they are leading, that their morale is declining and that it is only the fear that there is nothing waiting for them but the scaffold which prevents them from discontinuing the struggle.
These signs, which it had become impossible to ignore, gave rise to the hope that the time was ripe for encouraging large-scale surrenders and thus hastening the end of the emergency. Obviously, if the terrorists are now thinking of surrender, "Operation Hammer" is a very opportune moment to bring in waverers or terrorists worn down by the hard life of the forest, since it will break up the already disrupted gang organisation and make their life harder still, whilst the influence of hardened gang leaders over their followers will be at its lowest ebb while they are being chased by the troops. It was in these circumstances, and in the light of these considerations, that the recent surrender offer was made. The terms of the new offer, which is more favourable than either of the previous surrender offers, are, I think, familiar to your Lordships and I need not go into them now.
1162 As your Lordships will be aware, the amnesty which has been extended to the terrorists has also been extended to those loyalists who were believed at one time or another to have been guilty of serious malpractices. I do not think I need say a great deal about the criticisms of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, on this aspect. He has been dealt with very adequately, if I may say so, by the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, and by the most reverend Primate. But if I must say anything, let me say this. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, has suggested that it was an offer made out of weakness, and a breach of faith with the loyal population of Kenya and a sordid bargain—to use the words of his letter to The Times. It is not difficult to understand the feelings of those, both in Kenya and elsewhere, who have seen and experienced the atrocities committed by the terrorists and who feel that full retribution should be exacted for all crimes committed by the Mau Mau. Those are natural feelings, and one can sympathise with them. But, at the same time, surely our first consideration must be for the well-being for the loyal community in Kenya as a whole. As long, as the emergency continues, there can be for them no security, no prosperity, and no real advance, either constitutional or economic. Surely, in these circumstances, it is our duty, and our first duty, to take every step within our power to bring this grim situation to an end. The offer, after all, was not, as the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, suggested, made out of weakness, but as a deliberate attempt, carefully timed, to accelerate what was believed to be the beginning of the crack in the morale of the gangs.
Whether or not the attempt will succeed it is too early to say, though the latest results give some grounds for encouragement. Up to February 8, seventy-three terrorists had surrendered, and I heard before I came into the House that this figure has been further increased. Taking the figure of seventy-three up to February 8, this averages twenty-four weekly, compared with a weekly average during 1954 of eleven; so it is more than double. But the chances of the success of a step of this kind must always be a matter, surely, for the judgment of those who have the responsibility, and whether success comes or not, they would surely have been wrong to neglect 1163 any step which appeared to them likely to achieve so important a goal.
Let me now turn for one moment—and I am coming now to the end—to consider the future. For although, inevitably, the main energies of the Kenya Government have had to be devoted to the emergency, they have been able also to devote some thought to the future, just as we in the war were able to start plans like the Colonial Development and Welfare Act for the benefit of the Colonies. As the noble and learned Earl rightly said, the main problem of Kenya in the future will be the solution of her multi-racial difficulties; and he asked what we were doing to teach the Africans leadership. The multi-racial problem is a serious one in any Colony and, clearly, the situation is not made any easier, so far as making progress over such a problem is concerned, by the emergency. Nevertheless, I must again draw your Lordships' attention to the fact that a new Council of Ministers has been set up, for the first time in Kenya on a multi-racial basis. I agree that it has not gone very far, and that there is much more to do and many problems to be solved. But it has been set up in the emergency. It is apparently satisfactory, and that is one thing we have done to teach leadership to the various communities in Kenya. Of course, at the same time, the Government in Kenya are studying the problems of reconstruction and rehabilitation, and much good work is being done now, despite the emergency, towards the improvement of African agriculture.
I close with these words. We must all hope that within a measurable space of time the emergency can be brought to an end, and that it will be possible to put into operation these plans which are now being prepared for the benefit of Kenya and its people. In the meantime, until that day arrives, I hope that this afternoon your Lordships will give a measure of encouragement and support to the Kenya Government which is facing tasks of such difficulty and such magnitude with great courage and determination.
§ 5.8 p.m.
My Lords, I had the honour for some years to be a missionary of the Church Missionary Society, not, indeed, in the diocese of Mombasa, but in the neighbouring 1164 diocese of Uganda. And, while congratulating the noble Lord who has just sat down, I should like to take up the cudgels on behalf of that Society and to examine a little more closely the charge which the noble Lord has brought against it. Before I do so, may I make it quite clear that I had no part in the councils of the Church Missionary Society at the time when it was preparing this pamphlet, or in its production.
The noble Lord was very careful in his words. He was careful to say that the Society seemed to suggest, by implication (I hope that I am quoting him correctly), that the Government of Kenya condoned crimes among the security forces. Now may I read a passage in the pamphlet which I think must be the passage to which the noble Lord was referring:In the absence of an adequate official statement, rumour has it that under Colonel Young's direction, an increasingly vigilant police force had uncovered an alarming number of contraventions of the law and of elementary standards of decency and reasonable restraint by some whose duty it was to be upholders of civilised standards against barbarism; but that Colonel Young found reluctance in some official quarters to support the taking of proceedings against these offenders.I do not know whether that is the passage which the noble Lord had in mind.
Perhaps the noble Lord would read a little further. If he will read the next four or five lines, he will come to the pith of what I had in mind.
Before I accede to that request, may I point out that there is a very great difference between "the Government of Kenya" and "some official quarters." The passage goes on:A correspondent of Kenya Weekly News referred to the matter thus in the issue dated January 14, 1955.I am afraid I do not know where the paper the Kenya Weekly News emanates from. So far as I know, it is not a production of the Church Missionary Society. I imagine that it is one of the weekly papers in Kenya, but I am open to correction. This correspondent in the paper says:I am reliably informed that members of the administration have attempted to take a reasonably flexible attitude to alleged Kikuyu Guard malpractices. It was the Police who took the sterner, more inflexible line. Colonel 1165 Young, before his departure for England, is believed to have considered that Kikuyu Guard malpractices were widespread and that the attitude of the Provincial Administration towards these matters was not all that it should have been—particularly from the Police viewpoint.
What is necessary is to point out that what the Church Missionary Society's pamphlet does is not to make the assertion made in this paper by a correspondent, but to quote. That they did quote it is not, I think, entirely surprising, in view of the statement which Government itself has agreed with Colonel Young. Perhaps I may read an extract—it is reported in Hansard of February 2, 1955 (Vol. 190, No. 15, col. 969):Colonel Young explained to the Secretary of State that in his view no progress towards this aim could be made unless the Police were given a greater measure of independence in the performance of their functions than they at present possessed in the Emergency areas and unless it was recognised that the respect of the public for the impartial administration of the law was seriously jeopardised by the activities of the Home Guard whose powers were liable to abuse owing to their lack of discipline.It is perfectly true, as the noble Lord has pointed out, that the Bishop of Mombasa describes the pamphlet in question as being "one-sided and particularly unfortunate," "One-sided" it may be, but what about the allegations made on the one side? There has been no suggestion that the Bishop of Mombasa impugns any of the facts that are asserted in this C.M.S. pamphlet; and it would be surprising if he were to do so, for only a few days after that pamphlet had been published he and other leaders of Christian churches in Kenya went to see the acting Governor, Sir Frederick Crawford. This is what The Times reports about their meeting:Last month reasons for concern"—the Church leaders said—were set out in a memorandum submitted to the Government. The issues discussed have included the continued use of the system under which the Governor's power to make detention orders is delegated to senior administrative officers. To-day's delegation put before Sir Frederick Crawford some evidence of alleged reprehensible activities still being carried out by security teams. The Church leaders emphasised their view that the entire rehabilitation programme for scores of thousands 1166 of Kikuyu, Embu and Meru in detention camps must be considerably speeded up. They were also concerned about the treatment of loyal members of these tribes,et cetera.Sir Frederick Crawford gave the deputation a renewed assurance that indiscriminate action against the Kikuyu population because they were Kikuyu was entirely contrary to Government policy, and that there was every intention of encouraging the loyal and punishing the subversive elements.Nobody learns with any surprise that that is what Sir Frederick Crawford said. Of course, we know that that is the attitude of the Government of Kenya; that is known by the leaders of the Church Missionary Society and by the other leaders of the Christian churches in Kenya.
§ The noble Lord asked: "Why, before publishing this pamphlet, did not the Church Missionary Society consult the Bishop of the diocese?" I think it is a reasonable question to ask. But if I had been on the Committee of the Church Missionary Society which was dealing with this matter, this is what I should have said: "The Bishop, together with the leaders of other Churches, is engaged in negotiations with the Governor of Kenya. We believe that it is our duty to draw attention to certain allegations before the forthcoming debate in the House of Lords. Shall we write to the Bishop of Mombasa and ask him to approve this pamphlet? No. We know his views. We know the reports that we have received from his diocese. We will issue this upon our own responsibility without troubling him and without in any way running the risk of embarrassing him in his dealings with the acting Governor of Kenya."
§ Then, says the noble Lord: "Why did they not come to the Colonial Office to hear our side of the case?" The burden of the charges that have been brought to-day by the noble and learned Earl on the Bench opposite and the most reverend Primate is not that the Government's attitude is wrong, not that the Government have done nothing, but that what has been stated time and time again has not been successfully fulfilled. We know the difficulties: it would be unfair in any way to minimise them—I certainly should not wish to do that. But we have been hearing for two years now that it was the Government's determination to 1167 stop bad things happening in the security forces in Kenya.
§ I think that the Government of Kenya and Her Majesty's Government here owe a very great debt to the Church Missionary Society, and to the other Christian bodies in Kenya, for the restraint which they have shown. They are, by the nature of their work, in very close touch with Africans—in closer touch, I venture to say, with African opinion than are the majority of Government officials or settlers. They have, as your Lordships know, a deep concern for Africans, as have others, as persons; and yet, in spite of the things that have been happening since October, 1952, these societies and leaders, while they have made repeated representations in private to the Government of Kenya, have refrained from any kind of public or concerted public protest. Why have they done that? They have shown that restraint—a restraint which I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, would agree has been imitated widely in this country, by the Press and by others—because they know that Mau Mau is wicked, because they know that it is necessary to use force against the gangs, and because they know that in the heat of war it is inevitable that some injustices should occur. But this restraint has now been ended by the publication of this pamphlet. Why did the Church Missionary Society publish it? I imagine that there were two reasons: first, because their missionaries know the conditions in Kenya, and are deeply disturbed by them—and who can wonder after the evidence that has been brought to this House to-day?—and, secondly, because they have been deeply shaken by Colonel Young's resignation. The Governor deplores the bad things that he admits have been done by the security forces. He declares that the Government intends to stop them. But has it not happened too often in our Colonial history that the right thing has been done too late? What assurance have we that the sincere determinations proclaimed by the Government over the last two years are now really to be carried out?
§ The noble Lord who spoke last has a fluency and rapidity of speech which I myself greatly envy, and I am afraid that I am not fully seized of the practical measures which he assures us are about to be taken. One, I gather, is that the 1168 Home Guard are to be absorbed into the tribal police. Obviously, that is going to be a considerable operation. But I wonder whether it is going to cure the evil habits into which some of the Home Guard appear to have fallen in recent years? I myself did not feel that anything that the noble Lord told us gave us very strong security that things would be so much better than they have been in the past, although I hope that I am wrong. It is, of course, necessary to liquidate the gangs. The physical force of Mau Mau can be conquered only by might; but the psychological aspect of Mau Mau—because Mau Mau is an attitude of mind; or as the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, I think rightly, calls it, a religion—can be conquered only by right.
§ It is impossible for your Lordships to emphasise too strongly how essential it is that all who perform, in admittedly difficult circumstances, the tasks of preserving law and order in Kenya, shall not only be strong but shall also be clean. Mau Mau will not be confined to the Kikuyu, a happier future for Kenya will not be begun—indeed, I doubt whether the emergency itself will be ended—unless the injustices that have been referred to today are rooted out. I hope that we have better things to look forward to in the future; but do not let the noble Lord, who, if I may say so, should be deeply grateful to the Church Missionary Society for the restraint which they have shown for two years, turn to them and say "Why did you not come and ask us what our policy was?" That policy has been stated time and time again. It is not a statement that we want; it is not understanding of the desires of Government that we want; it is to see visible results of that policy on which we are all agreed.
§ Ought we then to consider whether it would be desirable, as the noble Lord, Lord Milverton has suggested, that there should be changes in high places in Kenya? Who are we to judge? How can we judge? We have not the full facts before us. But we have had this statement as to the reason for Colonel Young's resignation. It does not seem to me to be a full enough statement, and I should like to suggest, not in order to embarrass the Government but in order to assist them in their difficult task in Kenya, to invite Colonel Young—so well known in 1169 this country for his work in the City of London; so well known for his work in Malaya; sent out to Kenya because we knew what a great man he was—to make a far fuller report than this agreed statement, on conditions in Kenya and the remedies that he would suggest. I believe that that might be of great advantage to the Government of Kenya in prosecuting their difficult task of seeing that we conquer not only the force of Mau Mau but also its hold on the imagination of the people of the Kikuyu tribe.
§ 5.28 p.m.
§ LORD TWEEDSMUIR
My Lords, I am in complete agreement with the last words that have been said by the noble Lord who has just sat down. We shall not win this battle purely in the field; we shall win it in men's minds as well. This has been a most interesting debate so far. I have the greatest regard for Lord Milverton's experience and knowledge. I think this is the first time that I have ever found myself in somewhat serious disagreement with him, but I am sure he will forgive me. Those who have spoken after him have taken the line that I propose to take: that we should spare no possible human effort to smash this Mau Mau snake. I believe that we are approaching a rather favourable moment. In the last six months our affairs have greatly improved. We are acting now, with this amnesty, not out of weakness but out of a strength that, six months ago, we did not possess. I believe that this amnesty is right, not only in conception but in timing as well. I hope it will not be left to hang in the air; I hope it will be prosecuted vigorously—by leaflets, by radio, by broadcasting aircraft, day after day if possible, in order to bring home to the minds of these people the fact that they would do well to surrender.
I hope the surrender offer will be left open for quite a long time to come. The noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, in his speech earlier, drew a parallel with Cecil Rhodes' journey into the Matoppo Hills which stopped the Matabele rebellion, recalling how Rhodes, with a few companions, almost unarmed, went right into the Matabele country and was approached by the warriors, apparently bent on war. When the warriors saw Rhodes they dropped their arms to the ground, and conversations began. The 1170 noble Earl stopped there, but I should like to add a postscript to that story. Cecil Rhodes, even with his incomparable authority, and with the advantage of being known by the whole Matabele tribe, had to confer with that tribe on terms almost every day for two solid months. So I feel that we should keep this offer open for a good long time.
It this offer is not put forward, what are the alternatives? Are we seeking, or just hoping, to win outright by the slow steps of a war of attrition? The rains are coming on in the Aberdare Forest. There are probably other noble Lords besides myself who have been in that forest. I believe that an amnesty will become intensely telling in the last weeks of next month when the rains approach, a time when war-like operations by European forces become not so easy. Supposing that an offer were to be made couched in terms requiring them to come in waving a green branch, with the warning "You will be tried and then hanged," I think that would have no very great response. If, by a miracle, it did, could we contemplate hanging between 5,000 and 7,000 men?
The principle of detention has been generally accepted by every speaker, so that I do not think I have to defend it myself. It is a most regrettable necessity. There are about 46,000 men in camps, and some people feel that they should all be brought to trial. But law is a mechanism, and if one overloads any mechanism its movement is choked and may be brought to a halt. I asked an eminent legal expert how long it would take, say, twenty-three judges to bring 46,000 people to trial. And he answered, "Approximately six years." Anyone who was innocent, and whose trial came on last, might therefore have to wait six years—and would have served a six-year sentence—before his innocence was proved.
I entirely agree with those who say that we should show the most immense care in our screening. Great responsibility rests upon those charged with this work. As I see this detention, it is like dealing with an infection, such as smallpox, by which those who can quickly be proved to have had no contact with a sufferer should be quickly released. Those who obviously have the symptoms of disease would be detained, and those who have been associated with those who had 1171 the disease would also be detained until it was clear whether or not they were going to catch it.
The noble Lord, Lord Hemingford, referred at some length to a C.M.S. pamphlet, which has also been mentioned by other noble Lords this afternoon. I have the greatest respect for the C.M.S., but reading this pamphlet I regret the somewhat restrictive use of the word "Christian" which occurs all through it. This pamphlet has been quoted in the Observer, by the most reverend Primate this afternoon, and also by the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt. I would draw the attention of the noble Lord, Lord Hemingford, to these words:That was nine months ago and General Erskine himself announced that it was estimated that 20 per cent. of the detainees at a typical camp would be found to have a clean record.The noble Lord, Lord Hemingford, mentioned the Kenya Weekly News. I can supply him with knowledge that he might wish on that point. This is a very responsible Kenya newspaper, and on February 4 it said this:The Kenya Weekly News is authorised to state that General Erskine never said that 'a proper inquiry would show that one-fifth of those held at a typical camp had a clean record'.That is a very important mis-statement coming from one side or the other.
My Lords, I should like to point out that this is covered by inverted commas preceded by the words "in the letter quoted above." I have yet to find which is the letter referred to, but I think it is the one to The Times, published on January 22. Is that so? The officers of the Society, the president, chairman of the executive committee and chairman of the Africa committee, wrote a letter to The Times newspaper which many noble Lords will have seen on January 22. In that letter they say, "That was nine months ago," and then the passage quoted by the noble Lord. Whether they are correct or whether the Kenya Weekly News is correct I am afraid I am unable to inform the noble Lord.
§ LORD TWEEDSMUIR
I am much obliged to the noble Lord for that explanation. I should be very surprised if the Kenya Weekly News went so far as 1172 to say it was "authorised to state" without cause, and it is a point which should be cleared up because it could mislead many people in an already misleading situation. But let nothing that I have said on that last point concerning detainees be held to suggest that I agree with those who feel we should shorten, streamline, or in some way abrogate the process of law, when a man is brought before a court charged with a specific crime. I do not think you can ever shorten the full processes of law in a case before the court. It has been said that the African does not understand our legal processes, and that may be true; but I would never be on the side of those who favour any abrogation of our process of law. Many loyalists who stood up for us, and for their religion, have shown courage well nigh saintly. But, as in politics, extremists on the one side will always beget extremists on the other; so brutality begets brutality and undoubtedly shocking incidents have occurred among men who were loyal and on our side. If we have an amnesty for the terrorists it would, of course, be only just and fair to have one as well for those of our loyalists who are charged with crimes.
When King Charles II returned to the Throne in Britain in 1660, noble Lords will remember that an Act was passed which was intended to soothe away the bitterness of the Civil Wars by pardoning all those who were not regicides. It was called an "Act of Indemnity and Oblivion." In the years that followed, his disgruntled followers came to call it an Act of indemnity for his enemies and of oblivion for his friends. Let us keep a balance here. We took a necessary risk in recruiting forces of untrained levies into the Home Guard and other units on our side; for, as the most reverend Primate has said, we had absolutely no alternative. Where brutality has occurred—the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, put it into words for us all—"We can comprehend it but we cannot condone it."
I do not think I am being patronising in saying that in the last twenty years the general opinion of the White settlers on political matters has become vastly more moderate. I do not think I am being patronising, because the views of the two major political Parties in this country have also changed considerably during that 1173 period, and perhaps they, too, have become more moderate. It is very difficult for us to put ourselves in the position of the Kenya settlers. It is easy for us to understand their fury, their hatred at the bestial murders of their own kith and kin, their white neighbours and loyal Africans who have stood up for them. It is greatly to their credit that they have not taken the law into their own hands. I say that advisedly, because in many countries in the last hundred years where similar circumstances have occurred, that was exactly what happened. Many hard things are said about them. It is not surprising if they say many hard things back.
The Kenya farmer is unlike the Malayan planter or many other people with whom he is often associated, for all he possesses is sunk in the land he farms. He is sensitive, hypersensitive, about that land. If he has not got that land, he has nothing—unlike the Malayan planter, who is nearly always employed by a large company on the management of their land. What the Kenya settlers produce from the land has created an economy for Kenya, and the result of their work and production has produced the standard of living—or a large part of it—that the African now enjoys. They dispossessed no one when they took that land: it was vacant and empty. I would say to them, with great respect and humility, that I do not believe that the principle of the White Highlands can continue inviolate forever. I believe the time will come when, on terms as between willing seller and willing buyer, men of other races must be allowed to have land there, on condition that they show they can make the best use of it. The Royal Commission on Land will be reporting, as I understand, in about two months' time, and I shall be very surprised if they do not deal with this subject. This is an undiscussable subject to many of my friends in the White Highlands. I beg them to think about it. No action will take place until 1960–there has been a pledge on that. Let them turn their minds to it, and see whether some reasonable solution cannot be found before the matter becomes one of bitter recrimination.
In conclusion, I should like to pay a very great tribute to Mr. Michael Blundell who, in the most difficult times, has done a very fine job. We will certainly smash the Mau Mall snake. We all hope that it will be possible to do so at a not very 1174 distant date. But our optimism should always be guarded. Snakes remain lethal even when they have ceased to breathe, and we shall have a long and difficult time rebuilding that country. We are now witnessing the last fight of the Old Gods—and just how strong they are we have had bitter reason to know. This is a glimpse of the old dark heart of Africa, which was there before we went there and would return to it if we left. The reconstruction of this country, once the snake is slain, will be matter for men of all races. Never let it be said that any man who was really loyal to us, and upright, was ever forgotten for his loyalty.
§ 5.43 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, it would be superfluous for me to join the many noble Lords who have expressed criticism of the Motion which has been moved by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, but, having been one of the two Members of your Lordships' House who were privileged to take part in the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference in Nairobi, I think it is suitable that I should say a few words. The first thing that in my view needs saying, because it is very little realised in England, is that the emergency does not cover the whole of Kenya. Travelling through Kenya, after the strain, tension and bitterness of Nairobi, the White Highlands, the Rift Valley and the Central Provinces, when one came to the Coast Province at Mombasa or the Nyanza Province at Kisumu it was most marked to find a totally different atmosphere, the atmosphere of a normal, well-run Colonial Office territory with no racial bitterness such as you get in other territories. So let us remember that what we are discussing now, the Kenya emergency, applies only in part of the territory.
But in that part there is this very acute problem of the active Mau Mau terrorists, organised in gangs operating in and from the mountainous districts of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares. Through the courtesy of one of your Lordships, Brigadier Lord Thurlow, I and some other delegates were motored into a corner of the Aberdares to see the administration by the King's African Rifles in the operations that have to take place. When the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, expresses his disapproval of an amnesty offer, I wonder whether he realises what it is he is asking for. He 1175 is asking for this campaign to go on almost indefinitely. What is this problem? It concerns 7,000 men in an area of several thousand square miles. The greater part of the area is covered by tropical forest such as Lord Milverton probably knows much better than I do. The part through which I was motored was peculiar, I think, to that part of Africa, in that at that altitude—7,000, 8,000 or 9,000 feet—there is a bamboo forest containing trees 40 ft. high with stems as thick as one's arm. This forest is so dense that it is almost impossible for armed men to get through it. And operations like that are being conducted by, we are told, some 22,000 men, I think some twelve battalions. To cover an area like that would need, not twelve battalions but ten times that number. It is an operation that would be quite out of the question. So all that could happen, if there had been no amnesty offer, would be that this campaign would drag on and on and on.
We know what it is doing to the Kenya Government. We know of their ten-year plan under which they planned to devote 52 per cent. of the resources year by year to the economic development of the country, 24 per cent. to social services, and 4 per cent. to security measures—police, prisons and so on. In the last two years the proportion spent on security has gone up to 20 per cent. We know also that Her Majesty's Government felt compelled to come to the help financially of Kenya, and in December, 1953, Mr. Lyttelton announced that £6 millions would be made available to the Kenya Government by the Home Government. Incidentally that was intended to cover their needs up to the end of the Financial Year 1954–55. As we are approaching that now, I wonder if the noble Viscount who is going to reply could say whether any further financial provision is intended after the ending of the grant and the loan that were announced a year ago. I am afraid I have not given the noble Viscount notice of that question, so I shall not expect him to answer to-day.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS (VISCOUNT SWINTON)
I will find out if I can. I do not know at the moment.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
The financial strain of the emergency is, obviously, one 1176 very strong reason for ending it as quickly as possible, because Kenya can never be a settled country and develop to the full for the benefit of all races living in it unless there is money for development, for opening up territory, for improving water supplies, and for bringing fresh land into habitation. But apart from the financial need there is the question of detention, about which many noble Lords have spoken. There is no doubt that when there is an emergency, with emergency legislation, it is accompanied by very undesirable circumstances, particularly by screening. There seems to be no safeguard for a man who might be accused by a lifelong enemy of having communication with Mau Mau. He is brought before a screening team, and nobody knows how disinterested or judicially minded they are or how impartially they will examine a man's record. There is possibility of endless malice and injustice, and indeed corruption, in any system where people are examined and detained on the word of a few members of the general public. It is a most sinister feature that any Kikuyu or other African can be accused and put in detention on the word of a screening team, without the possibility of an appeal or a fair trial in open court with proper evidence.
The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, mentioned the figure of 46,000 in detention. Other figures have been given—I have heard 58,000. We know that the process of sifting the innocents from the others is very, very slow, and that the process of rehabilitation is slower still. That seems to me to be the second problem facing Kenya: how to deal with the detainees. If rehabilitation is going to be a process of individual treatment in camps, lasting a long time, the number of converts resulting from that rehabilitation will be numbered in dozens and not in thousands, as would need to be the case to make any serious inroad into the detained population. And the 50,000 are nearly all men: not only is their labour withdrawn from the Kenya economy but their wives and families are left in the reserves and represent a further drain on the economy, because often they have to receive assistance from the Government in order to maintain life. I think the progress in the works camps must be speeded up, and that sooner or later the fact will have to be faced that men who are only 1177 mildly contaminated, who have been persuaded or intimidated into taking one or two oaths, can be released from detention.
Beyond that there is a further problem, to make sure that the Mau Mau movement does not arise again once it has died or been crushed. A number of eminent people have expressed opinions on what has caused the Mau Mau rebellion and on what has been its history, but nobody among all those I met in Kenya—and they were people with lifelong experience of the country—was ever so dogmatic as the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, in saying exactly what were the motives behind the movement, what was its history and what were its causes. All the opinions I heard in Kenya were to the effect that there was a variety of motives behind Mau Mau, no One of which could be cured by any one remedy. There was a mixture of nationalism, the land grievance and the frustration and uncertainty caused by the breaking up of the old tribal beliefs and civilisation. These motives have acted on members of the tribe in different ways.
The fact that the land grievance is a real one was brought home to me very clearly when every one of half-a-dozen men I questioned in one camp said that the argument advanced to him for joining the Mau Mau movement was that he would get more land—that land would be taken away from the Europeans and given to the Kikuyu. If the Kikuyu tribe fell for that kind of argument in the numbers in which they did, it shows that something much more than the ambitious plotting of a few wicked men was responsible, as the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, would have us believe. There is this deep-seated grievance. While it is not possible to solve the land problem in Kenya easily, and we shall not know the recommendations of the Committee for some time, there is no doubt that one measure will have to be the better utilisation of the land resources of the country, as the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir said, by some modification of the system in the White Highlands, in conjunction with the opening up of large tracts of country which need only capital expenditure to make them habitable. That and the relaxation of tension that will follow the end of armed rebellion seem to me to be the only prospects of a satisfactory settlement.
1178 I hope it will not be thought in Kenya that the fact that this debate has been held on the terms on which it has been held means that there is any doubt in this country about the actions of the Kenya authorities. I am sure that in his Service days the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, often said, "Trust the man on the spot." I think we should follow that motto. I think also that in this House we should beware of making personal attacks on Ministers in Colonial Governments. I hope very much that the general expressions of opinion in your Lordships' House which have been so markedly in favour of amnesty will overcome any ill-effects that the Motion might otherwise have had.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, I should be more impressed by what the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, said in his closing sentences if he and other noble Lords on that side of the House, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury and the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, had not themselves criticised most fiercely the Kenya Government and their actions. The noble Earl is living in a glasshouse when he throws stones at the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, who inaugurated this debate. One of the things that I deplore about this debate—I do not suggest that the debate should not be held; that would be impertinent on my part—is that the unfortunate Kenya Government and the unfortunate Administration have been attacked from all sides of the House. I cannot believe that that will strengthen their hand. We in this country can persuade ourselves that black is white and white is black, but I cannot believe that a debate in which practically every speech has criticised the Kenya Government, who are doing their best in most difficult circumstances, and has inferentially criticised the Secretary of State, and inferentially criticised Her Majesty's Government, is going to have a reassuring effect in Kenya.
§ EARL WINTERTON
The noble Earl criticised them because they permitted these alleged outrages to take place.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
The noble Earl must have misheard me. I never mentioned that subject in my speech.
§ EARL WINTERTON
—in which case I withdraw what I have said. But certainly the speech of his noble and learned Leader was very critical of the Kenya Government.
§ EARL JOWITT
I was not in the least critical of the Kenya Government. I quoted from two judgments which showed that irregular things had been done and that some officials must, presumably, have known about them. I do not think the Kenya Government knew anything about them, and I never said that.
§ EARL WINTERTON
The noble and learned Earl is an ex-Lord Chancellor, and he has been long enough in public life to know that if you criticise the officials of a Government, inferentially you criticise the Government. The Government are responsible for those officials. The noble and learned Earl cannot say: "I am criticising the subordinate officials, but I have no criticism to make against the Kenya Government." That is a view which cannot be taken up, even in this illogical country. I do not say that he is not entitled to criticise; I merely say that he did so.
I find myself in agreement with many of the things said by the noble Lord who moved the Motion, but I do not find myself in agreement with his general conclusions. I have every reason to believe that the best authorities on the subject, including the military authorities here and in Kenya, believe that the action taken was the only one that could be taken. But I do not think it ought to go out from this House that, because it is a regrettable necessity, it is anything but a regrettable necessity. I do not think I am misquoting the noble Earl, Lord Lucan—in fact, I took down his words—in saying that he asked: "What is the alternative?" He 1180 went on to say, with the local knowledge which he possesses, that it would be almost impossible to carry on the war in the Aberdare Forest, and that the alternative would be that the war should drag on and on. I am afraid that we shall be faced with that alternative if this amnesty policy does not prove successful. Nobody has said this afternoon—perhaps my noble friend the Leader of the House will tell us—that it has succeeded. It is doubtful whether it will succeed. I think it should be given every chance to succeed, and I hope that your Lordships' House is prepared, and that another place is prepared—as I am sure it is—to support Her Majesty's Government in any further measures that may be taken.
The situation is not like that which existed at the time when we handed over government in India and Burma to the Indians and the Burmese. Those who called themselves "diehards" might well have said that there we handed over government to successful insurrectionists. But that is not the problem that any Government would be faced with in Kenya, where they have 50,000 Europeans. The rebellion cannot be allowed to succeed; it has got to be quashed. The only quarrel that I have with Her Majesty's Government—and I am sure the fault is mine—is that they do not describe this as a rebellion. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, gave reasons why it could not be described as a rebellion—apparently the word "rebellion" is unknown to the Kenya Government or the laws of Kenya. One might ask: When is a rebellion not a rebellion? At any rate, my sympathy is strongly with the Kenya Government and with Her Majesty's Government, and I hope that one effect of this debate will be to show that there is support for them in general, and that there is determination in your Lordships' House to see this matter brought to an end, by whatever methods the Government may think right. Here I would, with the greatest respect, as a new Member of your Lordships' House, appeal for support for the Government even if they do appear to do things with which some noble Lords on either side of the House may not agree.
I do not want to detain your Lordships for any length of time, but I want to make one reference to two speeches which we have heard, one from the noble and 1181 learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, and the other from the most reverend Primate the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury. I should say, in parenthesis, that I have given the most reverend Primate notice that I should criticise his speech, and I understand that he could not remain. To put it in the most mild form, I thought that in both speeches there was a certain overweight concerning these regrettable events that have occurred in Kenya.
I, like a good many other Members of your Lordships' House, have taken part in guerrilla fighting—in fact, I took part in one of the first guerrilla campaigns, a rather over-advertised campaign, which is the subject of certain comments outside this House at the present time. You do not fight guerrilla warfare by the methods of the Y.M.C.A. You do not say to your opponents: "I love you, and if you will only love me everything will be all right." And it is guerrilla fighting, on both sides, to some extent, both by the loyal Kikuyu and by the Mau Mau, that is going on in Kenya. Indeed, the condemnation which the Kenya Government have shown, which the Secretary of State has shown, and which the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, showed this afternoon, is really quite sufficient.
I find it difficult to understand the moral outlook of this country in many respects, including the moral outlook of some Members of your Lordships' House. I was in Hamburg in the year 1948, as the guest of the Army. I was taken round by the distinguished officer who was in command of the British Forces there at that time. He showed me a portion of Hamburg, and he said (I am sure your Lordships' will not mind my quoting his words): "I am not a politician, and I am not expressing an opinion one way or the other, but I thought it might interest you to know that 60,000 people, nearly all civilians, were killed there in three nights by our bombers; many of them were women and children and a lot were burned to death." I do not remember any protest from the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, or from the most reverend Primate at that time. Those people were not all Nazis. Of course, they would be entitled to reply that some of the Kikuyu are not Mau Man—that is true—but nor were all these people Nazis.
1182 Cecil Rhodes has been quoted this afternoon. The best phrase that Cecil Rhodes ever used was when he referred to the "unctuous rectitude of the British people"—what the French really mean when they talk of "perfide Albion." I should have thought that there was an overweight given to the comparatively few instances of illegal and cruel conduct in Kenya, and that some of the sympathy (which has not been given in Church circles, I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Hemingford), might be given to the millions of Christians who have been tortured to death behind the Iron Curtain. A little more sympathy might have been spent on them, and a little less on the people who have allegedly been ill-treated in Kenya. That is not to make an attack on the Church Missionary Society, who have a very difficult job to do. It is unfortunate that the missionaries are not popular with the white settlers, and usually the white settlers are unfair to the missionaries. I agree that they have adopted a statesmanlike attitude, but I do not think that their views should be given overweight.
I want to say to your Lordships' House—and I am sure the noble Viscount who is to reply will agree—that the general message which should go out from this House to-day to the Kenya Government is: "While mistakes may have been made, we are behind you. We are behind the officials. We are behind the loyal Kikuyu. We are not inclined, because we are not in a position to know the facts, to be too critical of some of the things that have been done, and we believe that the emergency, or whatever you like to call it, can be brought to an end only by a mixture of force and tact." One of the silliest things ever said, even in Britain, was the statement that "force settles nothing." Of course it settles a great deal. It won the last war; and there are circumstances where force must be used. Obviously, however, other things besides force come into the picture. I can see nothing to criticise in the attitude of Her Majesty's Government; and while I think that the noble Lord who introduced this Motion was fully entitled to bring it forward, and, so far from attacking him, as some noble Lords have done, I would say that I admire his courage in bringing it forward, I do not agree with his general conclusions, and I support Her Majesty's Government.
§ 6.12 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
My Lords, I wish to support Her Majesty's Government in their policy of amnesty and conditional surrender. There is nothing more negative, unconstructive and hopeless than the policy of demanding unconditional surrender. That policy was invented by General Ulysses Grant in the American Civil War—"Unconditional Surrender Grant" is what he was called. Speaking as the son of a Virginian and the grandson of somebody who fought at Gettysburg, I can say that if there had been the chance of a surrender on conditions affording some generosity, some tolerance, some saving of face, the ghastly period of reconstruction which the Southern States underwent and which created such bitterness after that war would never have happened. I have talked to many anti-Hitler Germans who said to me, "You know we were in a hard place in the war. We knew that the only people who could overthrow Hitler were the Generals. We would say to the Generals, 'You have got to do this'." The Generals would say, "Do we get any advantage by doing it?" They would communicate by underground channels with our side, and all we would say is, "Surrender unconditionally and see what happens." It may well be that many thousands of people lost their lives and the map of Europe was very unfavourably drawn because of that policy. Any form of approach must end in some form of political settlement. The time to make it is when you are winning and not, as in Indo-China, when you are obviously beaten. Now, when our security forces have been steadily getting increasingly good results in Kenya, surely this is the moment, when people see the hopelessness of resistance, for them to see that they are given some hope if they surrender.
Having said that, I wish to take up what the noble Earl, Lord Winterton, said about the security forces. It is we who have to take the ultimate responsibility for this. The Chinese had a very wholesome habit, in that if there was a rebellion in a Province, the Governor of that Province automatically had his head cut off, without investigation of the cause of the rebellion, because, if he had done his job properly, the revolution would never have happened.
§ VISCOUNT ASTOR
I would certainly say that the Administration in Kenya before the present Governor, who allowed this situation to arise and did nothing about it, should certainly, if not have their heads cut off, be severely condemned. The whole situation has been revealed in a book by a travelling American journalist, Negley Farson, who exposed the Kenyatta activities. Nothing was done. That book showed the whole picture of what was going to happen. It was neglected because of the optimistic climate which existed in the African Department of the Colonial Office of the last Government. If I may say so with great deference, there were insufficient administrative officers, and a neglect of the Police and the C.I.D. It is because we had a Government in Kenya which either did not know what was happening, or did know and did nothing about it, that we have had to organise these improvised security forces, young men not police-trained, who, faced with the most horrible murders, have to try to get results. We have had to call the loyal Kikuyu to arms because of our own defects in administration in the past, and they use the only methods they know.
It is very easy to criticise the security forces and there is a great deal of hypocrisy talked on the subject. Anybody who has had anything to do with happenings like the Arab rebellion in Palestine before the war knows the difficulty of getting information out of the enemy, and so forth. One cannot deal with these matters with kid gloves. No one wants to see such methods, and everybody hates them, but for Heaven's sake! let us make an end of it and forget the cases which have already been started. I would appeal to the noble Viscount the Deputy Leader of the House to see whether the Government can consider making this amnesty retrospective, and to include any cases which are now on the files, because I think our friends have the first claims on us, even when they have been misguided.
1185 Finally, may I suggest that the problem of the future is going to be what status we can give the educated African in Kenya. Can we give him the proper housing, so that he can live in conditions commensurate with the education he has received, and so that he can raise himself and give some leadership to his own people? It is remarkable what wonderful results have been achieved by the Christian Kikuyu in Kenya. All the people who have sneered at missionaries should bite off their tongues. There is a lot to be gained from seeing how the Belgians have used a very enlightened administration in the Belgian colonies, associating religion with education so that they do not get merely what the Duke of Wellington called "clever devils," but people with a moral foundation for their education. If we are going to encourage the missionaries to take a bigger part in Kenya, so that instead of the debased religion of Mau Mau they can get the benefit of a Christian religion, it behoves Europeans equally to give an example of that Christian religion by abandoning practices such as colour bars which are wholly incompatible with that religion.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ LORD TEVIOT
My Lords, I will not detain you for long, because we have had a long and interesting debate. There are, however, just one or two questions upon which I wish to touch. I was a little distressed, particularly at the beginning of the debate, at the abuse—I can only call it abuse—of my noble friend Lord Milverton. I do not see any objection to an ex-Governor writing a letter to The Times. Should he not do so, if he feels that he can contribute something which will be to the benefit of the important question in which the public are interested to-day? I do not see any reason to criticise that.
The noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, referred to the Matabele and the Mau Man. I was in Africa long before a great many of your Lordships were born. After the Rhodes episode, I lived up-country quite alone—I was prospecting at the time—with the Matabele. You cannot compare the Matabele, who, as your Lordships know, are a branch of the Zulu race, with the Mau Mau. They never did anything like what is happening in Kenya to-day; they were a different type altogether. In my view, they had 1186 immense qualities. My experience of them was that one could trust them. They seemed not to know what it was to tell a lie. They were the most truthful and devoted people, when you got to know them, and found yourself working with them. I can see nothing of that sort in the case of the Mau Mau. I think Lord Milverton's letter, in which he described what has been going on there, does not require any watering down. It is the truth; it is what has happened.
I have been a little shaken by what has been said by some speakers in regard to this surrender offer. I was horribly shocked at it when I first saw it: it seemed to me to cut at all the laws of civilisation and the laws of God, and to be a bonus on crime. That was the effect it had on my mind. Please God that what my noble friend Lord Lloyd has said will be successful! I gather that the opinion in the House—I think the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, said so—is that the Mau Mau must be fought; we must go on fighting them. It seems to me extremely difficult to go on fighting people and, at the same time, hand out terms of surrender which seem to let them off, with no punishment for the evil that they have done. There is another aspect which has not been mentioned this afternoon in this House. Let us think of those families, both white and Kikuyu, who have had their relations murdered and tortured, and who are now living in a state of fear and distress. I wonder what views they take of this amnesty offer to the very people who have caused them all this misery. I am not satisfied that this offer will be successful, though I hope, with the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, that it may be.
There is one point that has emerged all through this debate—I think that my noble friend Lord Winterton touched on it. In my view, there has been quite serious criticism by the most reverend Primate, and also by the noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, that the Administration in Kenya has not been good. We have had instances cited of what happened here and there. The question was asked: Did the Administration know about it? If they did know about it, why did they not stop it? After all, this has been going on for two and a half years. I feel strongly that if, as the result of what is happening to-day, and as a result of the Government's policy, there 1187 is not very soon a drastic change in the situation out there, then the Administration should be altered: other people should be put in who would, we hope, govern the country and institute an Administration which would clear up all these terrible things that have been going on.
My experience and judgment tell me that the surrender offer, which I consider to be definitely a weak move in history, has not been a success. It was the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, I think, who referred to unconditional surrender. We had it in the last war. It has happened before. My own view is that, by and large, it is better to take the strong line with such people as we have to deal with here: the Mau Mau, your Lordships should remember, are not civilised people; they are murdering savages—there is no doubt whatever about that—and I do not think we can deal with them in the sort of way in which we might deal with people who had a large percentage of education and culture.
I am very glad that the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, brought this matter before your Lordships' House. His Motion has produced an interesting debate; it has brought out some ideas, and it has instructed some of us in the maladministration that has been going on. I hope, as I have already said, that what the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, hopes will come about through the Government's policy will have the effect that he anticipates, and that before long we shall see a complete change in this deplorable situation.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ LORD SHERWOOD
My Lords, I rise to say a few words from these Benches. I should like to explain, first of all, that I am one of those most remarkable and undesirable people, an absentee landlord; that when, after the war, my collieries had been taken away, I invested money in Kenya; that I invested something up to £30,000, built a house and bought a property; and that I have never been there, nor am I ever likely to go there. It is a very nice house and I meant to go there as and when I wished, or to send friends. But what has occurred? It is quite absurd. Since then absolute anarchy has come about. It is no good mistaking the fact that either the Government here 1188 —it does not matter to which Party they belong—or the Administration there have not succeeded. After all, we here, especially in this House, are the ultimate deciders of what happens and what our policy should be. What are we faced with? As letters here from my agents and lawyers who run my estate show, they do not know whether it is a rebellion or what it is. They cannot tell me whether or not my insurance is valid. It is valid if I am there, but perhaps not if I am not there. How I can protect my own property, which is considerable, they do not know. Those are the problems the Government have to face.
I am not going to attack what has happened in the past, other than to say that the policy has not succeeded. The noble and learned Earl, Lord Jowitt, and the noble Lord, Lord Milverton were both right in their points as to where we are heading. The Government here, who really control the Administration over there, have now put forward this new plan. Not only for myself, for the interests which I have, but as a Liberal, I say that it is no good not facing the fact that we have failed, and that we have got to take the medicine, irrespective of its taste. This plan must be given a chance. I believe that if we do not support the Government on this matter we shall not get anywhere at all. We have been given no other policies from which to choose. We must support this policy of the Government.
I would go even a little further. Perhaps the amnesty might have been extended to the 60,000 who are now in the concentration camps. Where do the people who surrender go to? They go into concentration camps. The question has been forcefully put: What happens after they are put into certain categories, such as "grey," "grey-white," or "near-white"? One may say, in regard to colours into which they are put, that they are almost dual creations. They remain there, and I, who have invested my money in a bad area of the country, cannot get any workmen to work because they are all locked up. My chief herdsman was executed because three cartridges were found in his pocket. I do not know who put them there, or, if he put them there himself, why he did so: but that was the end of it. I once employed 220 people, but now I am not allowed to employ them. The 1189 economy which I, as a Liberal, believe in, is that you can make a Colony pay only if it is a financial success—if from it you can build up something which will provide a proper basis for human life to exist. I fully support the plan which is now put forward for the extension of the idea of an amnesty. I hope it will be extended, because the alternative is absolute chaos.
§ 6.33 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, we have had an interesting debate and one which I feel, or at least hope, will eventually, when we have heard the final Government spokesman, clear up a lot of points about which a number of us have felt considerable concern. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, who opened the debate, expressed almost wholesale condemnation of the Governments in Kenya and in this country for their handling of the situation against the Mau Mau, and particularly for their surrender terms. My noble and learned friend Lord Jowitt, supported the principle behind the surrender terms, but was profoundly disturbed, as I think are many of us, on both sides of the House, by some of the recent happening in Kenya.
I was surprised to hear the noble Earl, Lord Winterton, criticise not only my noble and learned friend but also the most reverend Primate and others for venturing upon what he described as criticism of the Government. Surely, one can support the Government in a policy which most of us do support, namely, the surrender terms policy, without giving them complete carte blanche, so to speak, over everything else? When one remembers the long and distinguished career of the noble Earl, Lord Winterton, in another place, he is about the last person that I should have expected to criticise anybody for criticising the Government. Certainly, when he was in Opposition he was one of the most persistent critics that any Government ever had, and one cannot say that his criticisms were always justified: there must have been times when the most impartial observer would have said that the criticisms of the noble Earl were by no means justified. At all events, whether they were justified or not, I think the responsibility of this House, as a House of Parliament—Parliament, of course, being ultimately responsible for what happens in Kenya—is to look most 1190 carefully into events there and to make such observations upon them as we think fit.
It seems to me that the surrender terms and the amnesty, on the one hand, and Colonel Young's resignation, on the other, are almost inexplicably bound up. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, has to-day described the surrender terms as "a disastrous gamble with principles." But are they? Perhaps we had better examine the situation as it appears to us, having heard a number of noble Lords of great experience in affairs of State.
We are faced in Kenya with an insurrection of a fanatical and ferocious kind by a large number of Kikuyu tribesmen. There is a resistance to it by a Colonial Government whose forces include nine battalions of British Regular troops, African Regular troops, Kenya Territorials, Regular Police, Special Police and Kikuyu Home Guard. As has been pointed out, many of those troops, police, special police, and Home Guard, are young and inexperienced men. Politically, we have a situation in which two different societies, centuries apart in culture, in outlook and in education, with a certain amount of intolerance on both sides, are trying to live together in a comparatively small space. Unfortunately, the white settlements, including Nairobi, are practically all within the areas claimed, rightly or wrongly, as their tribal areas by the Kikuyu, who are the most politically-minded tribe in Africa. That is a difficult and explosive situation at any time, and it has exploded, for one reason or another.
We have had disturbing reports of what has been happening on the side of law and order, or what should be law and order, and on the part of those who preserve it and are responsible for securing it. We know that ferocity breeds ferocity and that brutality breeds reprisals. I thought that my noble and learned friend Lord Jowitt made a grave statement to the House when, speaking, as he did, as a former Lord Chancellor, he quoted from judgments of the East African Court of Appeal and from a judge of first instance. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, appeared to me not to treat those judgments with the gravity which they deserve. I do not blame the noble Lord because he has only recently come 1191 to his office—it is a very difficult office to occupy, as I know only too well, and this is a matter of considerable complexity. I did not feel, however, that he replied to the gravamen, so to speak, of my noble and learned friend's argument. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, quoted at some length from a pamphlet of which I personally had never heard before—it has not been before your Lordships, and we have had no opportunity to read it—and he then proceeded to put up a number of arguments, demolishing, so it was supposed, this particular pamphlet.
If the noble Lord will forgive me for interrupting, may I point out that the points contained in the pamphlet were, in my view, substantially those which had been raised by various noble Lords on this very subject. Admittedly, the pamphlet has not been laid in your Lordships' House, but it has had wide circulation and I am surprised that noble Lords should not have seen it. I dealt with the pamphlet because I thought it very important that the arguments it put forward should be answered.
§ LORD OGMORE
The pamphlet may be important, but the pamphlet is not a noble Lord. A noble Lord, the Leader of the Opposition, has come here with a quotation from judgments which are matters of record, not something which some unexplained anonymous writer has written in a pamphlet. These are judgments of the highest court in East Africa, the Court of Appeal. When my noble friend comes here and quotes a Court of Appeal judgment, what on earth is the use of Her Majesty's Government replying to a pamphlet? I cannot understand it at all. Let us take the very important point made by my noble and learned friend. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, said there was no evidence that the Administration was in any way implicated in these abuses under screening. My noble friend quoted from the judgments of the Court of Appeal—
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
May I just say that the noble and learned Earl (I think he will bear me out) quoted this judgment, but said he did not attack the Administration, and that he had no reason to suppose the Administration knew anything at all about these malpractices.
§ LORD OGMORE
My noble and learned friend said he knew nothing, apart 1192 from what was in the judgments, which implicated the Administration, but this is what the court said, after referring to the large number of fines and the large amount of fines:One would have thought at least that the steep incline upwards of fine money would have attracted attention at District Headquarters, or the African Courts Officer would have sat sometimes with the Court to see how it operated, but no European ever sat with this court.That statement is taken from the judgment of Mr. Justice Oram. The East African Court of Appeal went further and said this:What legal powers of detention these teams have, or under whose authority they act, we do not know. But whatever the authority responsible, it is difficult for us to believe that these teams could continue to use methods of unlawful violence without the knowledge and condonation of that authority. Such methods are a negation of the rule of law which it is the duty of the courts to uphold.I can think of no graver charge of this nature than that, made in a judgment of the Court of Appeal in East Africa. That is the point to which we on this side of the House should have liked the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, to address his speech, rather than to refer to some pamphlet which, presumably, could have been answered by another pamphlet. Let pamphlet speak to pamphlet, and let noble Lord speak to noble Lord. If we are to have a battle of pamphlets in this House, we shall enter the fray and pamphlets shall flutter from one side to the other like autumn leaves.
In this particular context may I also point out that the report of the Parliamentary Delegation to Kenya, Command 9081, in paragraph 36, is also relevant. They say:We were also disturbed by the attitude of a section of European public opinion towards the sanctity of the law and the general question of police malpractices. For example, we were informed that a fund had recently been started with the object of paying the legal expenses of European members of the security forces accused of committing offences 'in the course of their duty.' Activity of this kind, taken in conjunction with protests in the Press and elsewhere when proceedings are instituted against Europeans in the security forces, is tantamount to giving moral support to breaches of the law. Open displays of contempt for the law should be condemned just as sternly as breaches of it, for it is clear that once public opinion takes this course, no matter what the circumstances, the results are bound to be the disrepute and ineffectiveness of law and order.1193 That quotation comes from the unanimous report of a Parliamentary delegation to Kenya made in January of this year. It is a very important factor which we should take into account.
I was very glad to hear that the Government in Kenya had decided to ask Sir Vincent Glenday to undertake an inquiry into this whole question of screening practice. Knowing Sir Vincent, who was formerly Resident at Zanzibar and has had great experience in East Africa, I have no doubt that the inquiry will be conducted with every possible care, and that we shall hear from him the whole truth in this particular matter. There is no doubt that there have been considerable tensions in Kenya, not only, as has already been said, between African and African, but also in the European camp. To some extent, these tensions came to a head in the difference of view between the Government and Colonel Young over the Home Guard.
The most reverend Primate, in his speech to-day, referred to the one big issue when he quoted from the Answer given by the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, to a Question by me on February 2. This difference of view can be boiled down to the question: Who is to control the whole of the Police and Home Guard operating in Kenya? Is it to be the Police chief, the Commissioner, or is part of the force (not the military force, but the Police, Home Guard, and so on) to be controlled and disciplined, if at all, by the Administrative Officers in the various localities? In spite of what the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, has said on that point, I strongly suggest that we must have all the Police in Kenya under the Commissioner of Police and responsible to him, whether they are regular or special Police.
The surrender offer was made and was linked with the amnesty to those fighting the Mau Mau. That offer may have been necessary because of the need for an amnesty—we do not know; but there has been some such suggestion. At all events, Mr. Wilkinson, the Deputy African Affairs Officer in the Nairobi Corporation, was quoted in the Manchester Guardian as saying:The Home Guard is becoming as dangerous to the Colony as the Mau Mau.The reaction of the white settlers to the Mau Mau surrender offer has, on the whole, been adverse, and they have held 1194 a number of meetings at which very inflammable statements have been made. In the circumstances obtaining when the meetings were held, it was perhaps not unnatural for people to let off steam in this way, and I do not propose to repeat those statements, although I have a number of reports from various meetings of settlers at which things were said which were far more critical of the Government than those uttered here today, even by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. What has not been said to-day is that the Asian and elected African members of the Legislative Council have supported the surrender offer and the amnesty terms, as have a number of Europeans in Kenya.
The difficulty inherent in this situation, as many noble Lords rightly point out, seems to be that of trying to stamp out a disorder of this kind in an orderly way, and of dealing with the persons who are suspected not as members of an opposing military force but as civilians whose guilt must be proven according to the normal process of law. Now the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd—that last statement being accepted as describing the policy of Her Majesty's Government—is forced back on to the police system, because, if you are going to deal with people according to the normal processes of law, that presupposes that you have a police system to deal with them. Lord Lloyd, in my view, put up a very weak apologia for the fact that not only have we no real police system in the Reserves—and they constitute a very big area of Kenya—but there is no possible likelihood for some years to come of our having such a system. He said in so many words—and I took it down—that the police did not operate at all in the Kikuyu Reserve.
May I correct the noble Lord upon a point of fact? He must have taken my words down wrongly. I said that the police did not operate virtually—and I was speaking of the time before the emergency. It is a small point, but I think we should have it correct.
§ LORD OGMORE
I do not know what "virtually" in this connection means. Either they operate or they do not. I do not know how policemen can operate "virtually." Perhaps the noble Lord will explain that further. How does a policeman operate "virtually"? How does he "virtually' catch a burglar or fail to catch one? The Government's attitude, 1195 of course, is entirely negative where it should be positive. If the tribal system is no good, so far as the Police are concerned, then we should institute a modern police system. That is what, I presume, Colonel Young wanted. I do not blame the present Government for not having a complete police system in Kenya when the trouble started. In spite of what Lord Astor said, I do not blame the last Government, because, in fact, ever since there have been Colonies this has been the system: that is to say, you have a small force of Police on modern lines in the towns or, in West Africa, in the small Colony as differentiated from the large Protectorate, and in the rest you have these so-called tribal police. They are usually quite inefficient. They generally spend a large part of their time hanging round the chief's house, waiting to run errands for him. Very often they are men whom the chief wants to pension off or to provide with a soft job. In fact, for years past this system of police has proved—as one knew it would prove—to be quite useless, when it came to the test. In various Colonies—and Kenya is one of them—that has been so.
The whole case of the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, about the Police is that there was no efficient, or, indeed, any real, system of Police in the Reserves. That was his whole case. The reason for it, as I have said, is that it has long been the tradition that you had an entirely different system in the Reserves from that in the European areas. I have long felt that that was a mistake and that the time had come when the whole of the Police in a Colony ought to be under a Commissioner. You cannot alter these things in two minutes: it takes time, as the noble Lord said. But I am certain that the Government ought to say, here and now or at least when they have considered the matter—"We believe the time has come when there should be a modern system of Police in any particular Colony, and that all the Police in that Colony should be under the Commissioner; and we will work to that end. The police will, eventually, we hope, have the same relationship with the people of the Colony as the police in this country have with the people here; that is to say, they will be guides, philosophers and friends to those who need their help."
1196 My Lords, I have only one or two further words to say. The suggestion has been made in this country that it might be possible to have separate areas for the Kikuyu and for the settlers in the White Highlands. I, personally, do not think that in the present circumstances it would ever work. These people's lands are inextricably mixed up. That is what has been suggested, however, and it is a suggestion that might be considered, though I, personally, do not think there is hope of any good coming from it. I think that the suggestion which my noble friend made about education is a very valuable one. I believe he mentioned the question of the education of women. At the times when I was in Kenya, before this trouble started, I was always told that it was most difficult to carry out educational work among the women of the Kikuyu and yet it was most needed. It was most difficult because in various ways it conflicted with the immemorial practices and customs of the Kikuyu tribe. Therefore, the women were to a great extent lagging far behind in education, as compared to the men folk. I am certain that that is one of the most important things to which the Government here and the Government in Kenya must attend. We have to educate the people of Kenya, and to educate women as well as men. Unless we do so we are never going to deal with this question, which is to some extent one of lack of education.
One of the main reasons why Jomo Kenyatta and his followers and supporters set up at Kithenguri a teacher-training establishment, and also established Kikuyu schools throughout Kikuyu-land, was that at that time there was no satisfactory or comprehensive system of education in Kenya for the Africans. It was because there was this vacuum, so to speak, that Kenyatta and his friends and supporters came in and were able to fill it. They were able to get students into their schools and into the training college at Kithenguri because the people desired above all things an education for their children. Successive Governments in this country and in Kenya can at all events regard that as one of the ways in which Kenyatta and his followers were able to get this stranglehold on the Kikuyu people—it was through these schools.
Finally, I should like to say a word on the general position so far as the terrorist campaign and the way we are dealing 1197 with it is concerned. Simple people, as we know, have long memories. I most sincerely hope that nothing will be done for short-term advantage that may store up long-term bitterness and hatred. I know it is easy, sitting here three thousand or four thousand miles away from Kenya, to say things like that, but I am certain that many of the far-sighted people of all races in Kenya would say exactly the same as I now say on that score.
§ 7 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
My Lords, this has been a wide-ranging debate and in the course of it many interesting speeches have been made. One advantage of being the speaker to wind up is that nearly all the speeches have answered one another, and the admirable and full speech that my noble friend the Under-Secretary of State, Lord Lloyd, made, has, I think, given an exposition of the whole affair which was greatly needed. I daresay, judging from the way it was received, that it satisfied the House by its scope, its comprehensiveness and its frankness. I should therefore like to deal for just a few moments with what was the main purpose of this debate. This is really a Motion to ask the House whether it approves or disapproves of the surrender terms, and says virtually—I beg your Lordships pardon; I must not use that word—that we ought not to approve.
Before I come to that matter, may I answer the most reverend Primate the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, who is no longer here? He gave some figures of releases. I have had a most careful search made in the Colonial Office and nobody can find whence this figure of 400 came. I am not challenging it. If the most reverend Primate said that 400 people were released, I am sure that 400 people were released; but where the figure came from and what proportion of other figures it represents, I do not know. But I can give the House these figures. Everybody has agreed that we have to put a large number of people into internment for some time—for as short a time as possible where they do not merit long internment. Of course, when big sweeps are carried out, many people are brought in, and we must not be too critical about that. We all did it in the war. The noble and learned Earl and I shared the responsibility for sweeping in a lot of people under Regulation 18b, 1198 when we thought that this country was going to be invaded after Dunkirk. We said that they must all go in because we dare not take the chance of leaving them free; but we examined them and let out as many as we could as quickly as we could. This process is not very different.
In the two and a half years in which this rebellion, or battle, or whatever we are calling it, has been going on, of some 266,000 people who have not been sent for trial but have been detained, 53,000 were let go at once and were not even taken to any camp after questioning. Of the rest, 103,900 were let out as soon as they had been screened, because they were recognised as people who could be safely let go. I do not know how long it took to do that. Possibly some got out in a day or two, but in a sweep like the big Nairobi operation, when some 40,000 or perhaps 50,000 were swept in, screening took much longer, and I daresay some of them might have been detained almost a month before they were screened. I have one more figure. Of the people who were put into works camps and who were "greyed"—that is a description of people who are moderately bad and cannot be returned to liberty at once—between June, 1954, and January, 1955, 6,000 were released, some of them because they proved to be "white" and some because the authorities were satisfied that they had changed their minds. I thought I ought to give the House those figures. I am not criticising the figures given by the most reverend Primate, but I do not want them to stand alone. If they had, it would have looked as if only 400 people had been found innocent and let out. The figures I have given put a different complexion on that matter.
The noble Earl, Lord Lucan, asked me a financial question. I am sorry I cannot answer it to-day, but I think that in a very short time there will be a concurrent announcement here and in Kenya. I know that the noble Earl will appreciate that the announcement should be made in both places at the same time. I come to Lord Milverton's charges. I have a great respect for the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. He has had a very distinguished career. I had the privilege of recommending him for his first governorship and I worked with him as a Governor when I was Secretary of State 1199 for the Colonies and later as the Minister responsible for Central Africa and East and West Africa during the war; and he has rendered great service. But here I echo something which the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, said, and I can say this from personal knowledge. All through the noble Lord's career, if there was one principle that he inculcated into me and other Secretaries of State, it was the principle of trusting the man on the spot—that is, the man on the spot with responsibility. And it is not at all a bad principle, unless the man on the spot is demonstrably wrong, in which case you get rid of him—or should get rid of him. In Kenya, the men on the spot have been unanimous. The Governor, the Commander-in-Chief, against whom nobody has said a word—he is a man with a great record as a commander—and the War Council are all unanimous that this surrender offer ought to be made. I think it would need very strong reasons to turn them down; and the general opinion of the House has been that we were right to sustain them in this offer.
I can fully understand, though I do not agree with, the criticism and anger of the men who, with their dauntless womenfolk, have been standing lonely guard and have seen the most unspeakable atrocities committed. I know the country. I know these men. I know what they have done for their country before all this started. A great deal of nonsense is talked about the White Highlands. The best farming in the whole of East Africa—I might perhaps even say, the best farming in the Continent of Africa—is to be found in the White Highlands. All around them is erosion: the miserable cows are eroding the land, the goats are eroding the land—and the goats are worse than the cows. Alone in the White Highlands the settlers carry on that ideal farming, employing thousands of Africans and teaching them in the most practical way how to farm. The greatest disservice we could possibly do to Kenya society would be to turn these excellent farmers out of the White Highlands. I can realise their criticism, but I really must say that I think we look for more balance in those who criticise from a safe distance.
It is the duty of a commander to take cool and calculated decisions, and if the commander in the field does not keep 1200 cool and calculated, he will pretty soon blunder. It has been said that this is war. I do know whether it is a rebellion, but certainly there is a war, and fighting is going on. In this lies the answer about the Police. I think that in peace time probably everybody would agree that the Police ought to have an independence; but where murder and sudden death are rife, and anybody may be shot up or murdered at any moment, where really the whole place is a battlefield, it is silly to talk about the Police as if you were talking about the Police in Knightsbridge or Piccadilly. That is a very different proposition. In areas of battle all forces must be integrated for one purpose, and that is to win the war—and that war we certainly will win.
I agree with the interesting speech of the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, which was none the worse for being short—I believe the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, made this point, too. The best way to prolong war is to tell your enemy that there is nothing for him to do but to go on fighting. If he surrenders, you have won. There was a passage in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, which, quite frankly, I did not follow. I think I am right in saying that he said this surrender offer would be of no use, even if we got thousands and thousands of the rank and file of the Mau Mau to surrender, unless we also got the leaders to surrender. I think that is an extraordinary proposition. Let me take an analogy from the late war. The noble and gallant Earl, Lord Alexander of Tunis, won a remarkable victory in Tunisia. Tens of thousands of Germans surrendered to him; but General Rommel got away. I never heard it suggested that the noble and gallant Earl did not win a remarkable victory when he took the surrender of all the rank and file of the Germans in North Africa, even though the commander escaped.
In this strange war, where the victims are countless civilians who long for peace, surely we must think of their present plight and their future. Over 1,300 civilian Africans (I am sure that that is a considerable under-statement) have been killed; and these were loyal Africans. I think that, on consideration, the noble Lord who spoke last will be rather sorry that he quoted from some obscure writer in some paper who said that the Home Guard in Kenya was as dangerous as Mau 1201 Mau. I think the noble Lord would be sorry to give currency to a libel of that kind.
§ LORD OGMORE
He is not an obscure writer; he is an official of the security forces in Nairobi, an official of the Government. He said this, and it is the sort of thing which we hope to-day the Government will refute. What is the use of a House of Parliament if we cannot get the Government to refute such a statement?
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
I do not retract at all. I do not care whether he is a security man or what he is; but if he is a security officer, he had better keep the traditions of the security service, and keep quiet.
§ VISCOUNT SWINTON
Then I hope that action will be taken about him. I am talking about the noble Lord. I say that this was not a right or helpful thing to say. There have been wrong things done by some people in the Home Guard, but to say this about these people, who are an essential part of the forces, many of whom have been killed on active service, side by side with our own troops, does not help.
What is the response to this offer of these Africans who are risking their lives all the time? When they were addressed, as a great many of them were, by the Governor and the Commander-in-Chief, these loyal Africans who have been standing by the Government were all for the action which has been taken. It is quite untrue to say that this is an offer which has been made from weakness. It has been made from strength; and it is a wise thing to talk from strength. It has been made when a major operation is in progress. I do not know whether it will succeed, but I sincerely hope that it will. The offer has been most carefully timed for the moment when the Commander-in-Chief in the field wishes it to be made. Surely on that we ought to rely on the Commander-in-Chief.
If it is said that we must never make an offer of surrender, what is the alternative? Are we to fight on until every single person has been killed? I thought that to-day we talked about co-existence. What seems to me to be the alternative is a process of extermination. Surely we 1202 will not stand for that. The offer that was made at the "General China" time came near to succeeding; it was only an unfortunate chance skirmish, where some people got involved together, that stampeded 1,200 Mau Mau who had collected and were about to surrender. If there is to be a surrender offer at all, then the terms must be sufficiently attractive to induce them to surrender. It is no use saying to them: "You will be no better off if you surrender than if you fight on." That is the way to make people fight on.
Now let me say a word or two about detention—I do not mean the detentions in the past, but the need for detention and what constitutes detention under a surrender offer. It is not a judicial process: it is an executive act; it is an act of State. It is not a penalty but is something in the interests of the State, and is intended to give security and confidence to the tribe who, above all, want freedom from tyranny. Of those who surrender, some—the weak, deluded or coerced—will no doubt be able to return almost at once. Some, certainly, can be rehabilitated, cleansed and reformed. Others, the hard core, the utterly irreeoncilables (and there are some of these people, as there are dyed-in-the-wool Communists in Malaya) into whom this bestiality has got to such an extent—and other things, too—can probably never be cured; in the interests of the future happiness of Kenya, they have got to be kept out.
A personal memory, going back more than twenty years, may be permitted. I was faced on a much smaller scale than this with the same sort of problem in Kenya—I think it was actually among the Kikuyu. There were bad murders going on—robberies, and every kind of crime and mischief. It was perfectly clear that this was all inspired by a little group of medicine men; they were a little clan within the clan, and there was no doubt that they were behind it all. With my full approval—I did it when I was on the spot—these men and their families were taken and put down somewhere where they could live quite comfortably, but well away from the tribe. That action was greeted with the greatest thankfulness by the tribe, because the plague spot was removed; the terror—and people who do not know Africa do not know what the 1203 terror of the medicine man can be—was removed, and the land had peace.
My noble friend Lord Astor raised the question of the amnesty, otherwise I should not have gone into it. I think we are all agreed about the amnesty for the loyalists. Nobody had questioned or, I think, would question, that it was right and necessary to have an amnesty at least as a counterpart of the surrender offer. My noble friend asked whether it could not go a little further, and whether it was right to continue the cases which were actually before the courts. That was a matter which greatly exercised us here, as I am sure it did those in Kenya. I was very interested (there are no politics in this) to note that the ex-Lord Chancellor said it was obvious that it was right to do that, and that the cases should continue. As he has truly said, there is always the prerogative of mercy in the hands of the Governor. I think the best answer was given by Chief Mundia himself who was on trial on a capital charge—a test case if you would have one. His own statement, while he was awaiting trial—or perhaps his trial had actually begun in the Court—was, "I trust British justice, and I am glad to stand my trial." I am glad to say that, after a very full trial, he was acquitted.
I believe that we are nearly all at one that this surrender offer is right. Cannot the House be completely at one in the message which we send out to these people to-day? I think the House would be true to itself, and serve the best interests of Kenya, if those in Kenya could feel that I was echoing the feelings of the whole House in this final speech in sending them a message of confidence and hope, confidence, certainly, that the campaign will be pursued as quickly as possible to a successful conclusion (and we can help that confidence by giving encouragement to the Commander-in-Chief and all his forces) and hope that when it is over we shall build up a land not only of material progress and political advantage but, perhaps most important of all, of true moral and spiritual values.
§ 7.23 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, I do not wish to detain the House any longer at this late hour, other than to say that I feel this has been a most instructive debate covering, as the noble Viscount has just said, a very wide scope. It has revealed a variety of views, but there is little doubt that most of your Lordships approve of the surrender terms. I do not propose to say anything about some of the criticisms made of my opening remarks, or about some of the misgivings about what I was actually trying to say. But the noble and learned Earl, the Leader of the Opposition, was kind enough to pay me the compliment of comparing me to a hysterical schoolgirl. I should not normally have noticed the compliment, but perhaps I may quote to him the remark made an hour or so ago by another noble Lord, who said, "I would be proud of my daughter, hysterical or not, who could draft a letter to The Times of that quality."
I should also like to make one extra personal explanation to the noble Viscount, who said that my remark that the amnesty was of no use unless it induced the leaders to surrender was unintelligible to him. I did actually mean that, exactly as I said it; and if he will forgive me for saying so, I do not think his analogy was quite a fair one because, rightly or wrongly, I was under the impression that the number of Mau Mau in the forests has generally been limited by the amount of ammunition and arms available to them. I understood that it would be quite easy, if you took away the 6,000 or 7,000 who are there today, to get 6,000 or 7,000 more to fill their places if the leaders were still there. That was the point of view I was putting, rightly or wrongly—that all that matters is the leaders. I do not wish to detain the House any longer, and I therefore ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.
§ House adjourned at twenty-five minutes past seven o'clock.