HL Deb 24 February 1955 vol 191 cc457-94

3.50 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, in the unavoidable absence of my noble friend Lord Lloyd, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. I have no desire to delay the House for any length of time in explaining its purpose, as I understand that your Lordships wish to have a full discussion upon many aspects of Colonial Development and Welfare. I suppose it would not be incorrect to say that there are few more fascinating subjects and stories in the evolution of our Colonial Territories during the twentieth century than the progress which has been made in their economic and social advancement, and this Bill which I ask the House to approve adds yet another chapter to that tale.

The two principal Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, of 1945 and 1950, provided a sum of £140 million to be spent over a ten-year period ending in March next year; and that money, as noble Lords will remember, is to be spent on the development of the resources of all our Colonial Territories and on the welfare of their peoples. The purpose of the first four subsections of Clause 1 of this Bill is to extend until 1960, the period during which expenditure may be incurred, and to make available a further sum of £80 million. At the same time, it raises the annual ceiling of expenditure from £25 million to £30 million, and also the annual ceiling of expenditure on research from £2½ million to £3 million. The fifth subsection of that clause deals with the position of the Tanganyika Agricultural Corporation. The House may remember that the Overseas Resources Development Act, 1954, which I introduced last year, laid down that any part of an unspent balance of the £6 million which was provided by the similar Act of 1951 should be made available to the Government of Tanganyika for the operations of the Agricultural Corporation. For accounting convenience, this money will be available through Colonial Development and Welfare channels but will not count against the total provision of £220 million given in the Bill. The second clause enables the Anglo-French Condominium of the New Hebrides to be eligible for Colonial Development and Welfare assistance. Under the existing Acts these Territories have hitherto been excluded.

I hope that I have explained adequately the general purposes of the Bill, but there are a few additional observations which I feel that I should make. It may be said, with some element of truth, that there is no immediate need to introduce legislation, as the old Acts still have a year or more to run. However, we have decided to present new legislation to Parliament now, for we have found, through experience in the workings of the previous Acts, that to ensure continuity and to avoid any uncertainty there should be one year's overlap. Moreover, experience has taught us that a period of ten years is too long for realistic planning and for assessing the needs of the Territories, and that a period of five years is a far more practicable term.

It is known, as I think noble Lords will realise, that at the end of next month a sum of £40 million of the original figure of £140 million will remain unspent, and this, together with the extra £80 million which will be provided under the new Bill, will make available a sum of £120 million for expenditure in the Colonial Territories during the period ending in March, 1960. This figure was reached after assessing carefully the needs of the Colonial Territories, and, as the House will have noticed, allows a very sharp increase in expenditure over the period. In fact, it gives an average of £24 million a year, compared with the present annual rate of £14 million—an increase of 70 per cent. We are satisfied that this increased measure of assistance will enable the Colonial Governments to maintain the steady pace of development, taking into account the other resources which are available to them through their own local revenues, local surpluses and reserves, local loans and the loans which are likely to be raised on the London money market. All these sums of money must, of course, play their part in the further development and expansion of the Territories.

The Colonial Development and Welfare funds should not be looked upon as the sole or even the major source of finance for the development of these places. It is an important and valuable supplement to their own existing resources. I have no doubt that noble Lords who are interested in the subject will have already made themselves acquainted with the Command Paper which was published at the end of last month and which gives a full and ample account of all that has been done with Colonial Development and Welfare funds from 1946 onwards. That Paper, moreover, describes the rôle which these funds have played in the development of the Colonies.

I think it would be true to say that, in the past, Colonial Governments have placed the major emphasis on economic works and basic services, and although it might be said that a somewhat high proportion of Colonial Development and Welfare funds has been spent on the social services, it should be remembered that this is largely due to the fact that many Colonies have used their grant money to erect schools and hospitals, while devoting loan funds to revenue-earning projects, such as railways, power stations and ports, and so on. There is always the danger—and I feel that we should recognise it—that too much may be spent on social services, and that, as a result, some of these Colonial Territories may find difficulty in meeting recurrent charges from their revenues—charges which, let it not be forgotten, must continue to increase if the social services of all kinds continue to expand. In point of fact, however, nearly all Colonial Territories have always kept a watch on this particular danger, and I believe that the course which successive Governments have followed since the inception of the principal Act in 1945 has been right and proper.

I am certain that the House will agree that there would be no use whatever in racing along at breakneck speed in the field of social services if no increase in the financial return could be assured. I think the Colonial Territories realise that they must now balance their programmes in such a way as to advance cautiously yet courageously, and sow in their paths the seeds of eventual success. However strong the desire to do so, they must not allow their sentiment for social advance to outweight their economic needs and to outrun their financial capabilities. If they do, they may well become financially a backwater in the stream of steady progress. I believe that in drawing up their future programmes the Colonial Territories will continue the sensible and realistic policy which they have followed since the Act of 1945 was passed. I think I need say no more at this stage, but later on in the debate I shall endeavour to answer the questions which may be addressed to me dealing with the contents of this Bill. I now beg to move that this Bill be read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Earl of Munster.)

4.2 p.m.


My Lords, we on this side of the House naturally welcome the Bill which the noble Earl, Lord Munster, has introduced to-day. If anything, we would say that the provision the Government are making for the next five years is rather on the small side. Except in that regard, we have no criticism to make of the amount. This debate gives us an opportunity of considering the progress of the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund during the last nine years and the best method of using the money that is now to be voted during the next five years.

During the last nine years half the money voted by Parliament for the Fund has been spent on social services. This raises a point, upon which the noble Earl touched in his speech. Paragraph 85 of the White Paper referred to by the noble Earl (Cmd. 9375) says: C.D. and W. funds have thus been spent on a wide variety of projects. Nearly half the money has been devoted to the social services; education has especially benefited. Schools, universities and hospitals have been built; campaigns have been waged against malaria, tuberculosis and yellow fever. Water supplies and improved sanitation have been provided for the growing towns, and grants made for new housing. About 19 per cent. of expenditure has been devoted to economic projects, mainly agriculture and irrigation. Departments of agriculture have been expanded; … No one would deny, of course, that great advances have been made in the social services. The noble Lord, Lord Winster, can bear testimony, and has done so, to the eradication of malaria in Cyprus, a great work for which he has had no credit at all, so far as I know, from the supporters of Enosis; but it was a great work. Similar work has been done elsewhere, although perhaps not to the same extent in one place. Nevertheless, I feel that we must now look carefully at the temptation to spend too much money on social services and too little on the economic services.

The first ten-year plans were passed by a committee set up in the Colonial Office, of which for a time I was chairman—I believe that my noble friend Lord Listowel followed me in that seat. At that time we were faced with a situation in which an enormous amount had to be done in social services. In many cases there were very few social services at all. We had to make up for the leeway left by the war; we had to spread the butter as evenly as possible over the bread, and in some cases, frankly, it had to be spread very thinly indeed. Now, however, after the money which has been spent during those first nine years, I think we can consider whether it is necessary to spread the butter evenly in future or whether it would not bring greater results if in some places we did not spread the butter at all, and in others provided a little jam as well.

One of the great temptations about spending money on social services rather than on economic services is that the effects are quickly seen when money is spent on social services. If a hospital is built, everybody can see it, and great kudos results to the local Government and to the Governor, who perhaps has his name, or his wife's name, used as the future means of reference to the hospital. So, in preparing these plans, civil servants will always be tempted to spend money on hospitals, sanitation, even on roads, and the like, very necessary though they are. There is always a disinclination to spend money on economic projects because, in the first place, it is difficult to see results; secondly, there may be no results, and thirdly, if there are results, they may be a failure. Yet without economic projects and aid, in the long run local Governments may not be able to maintain the social services, because they may not have the necessary revenue. That is a very real danger.

If I may quote once more from the White Paper, paragraph 92 says: Many Governments, however, would be able to provide proportionately rather less finance from their own resources than they had done over the recent boom years. Their revenues have fallen; ordinary expenditure is rising as a result both of increasing costs and of residual expenditure arising out of past development (for example, the cost of running new schools and other social services). On the other hand, some Governments and other public bodies have accumulated large reserves. … So that in some cases, particularly in the West Indies and other Territories which have not had large increases in their economic resources, there is a danger that they will be unable to maintain many of the social services which have been created and which have resulted in a decrease in the death rate and an increase in the number of infants who survive their first year.

The White Paper says, in paragraph 90: Improvements in health conditions are shown in the falling mortality rates. Death rates between 1935–39 and 1952 fell by over two-thirds in Hong Kong, by about a half in Singapore, British Honduras, Cyprus, Malta and Mauritius, and by about a third in Zanzibar, the Federation of Malaya, Bahamas, Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands and Fiji. In Cyprus and British Guiana, Mauritius and Fiji these falls are partly due to successful anti-malarial campaigns, and a major factor throughout has been the reduction of the infant mortality rate. Between 1935–49 and 1949–53, this fell by three-quarters in Malta, by a half in Singapore and Cyprus, and by over a third in the Federation of Malaya, Barbados, British Guiana, Jamaica, the Leeward Islands and Mauritius. So I think there is no doubt that we have to strive the whole time in the Colonial Territories for an increased economic development at the same time as we carry on with social development. I am not against expenditure on hospitals and other social amenities—I hope that will be clearly realised: all I say is that to have these amenities, and to increase them without at the same time increasing the economic resources of the Colony, may run the Colony into great difficulty, partly by an increase in the population living there, and partly by the fact that the local Government have to finance the ordinary current running expenditure out of their resources, and may be unable to do so.

The Government's proposals include finance from the International Bank, from the City (although I imagine that after to-day's drastic step by the Chancellor of the Exchequer there will not be so much money from the City available for the purpose), by technical help from the United Nations, and also by finance under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. The noble Earl, Lord Munster, has told us to-day that £80 million is to be allocated for the next five years towards Colonial development; and added to that there is the £40 million unspent—he has not said why it is unspent—from the last grants under the old Act, which makes £120 million in all. Perhaps the noble Earl can tell us, when he replies, why £40 million, which is a large proportion of the total expenditure authorised under the old Act, has not been expended.

What is the money to be expended on? This is rather vague. In paragraph 91 of the Command Paper we are told that it is to be expended on development work. That is rather like saying that when it is raining it is wet, and that when it is wet it is raining. On would expect a Colonial Development and Welfare Fund to be spent on development, and it is not very illuminating for the White Paper to say that it is going to be spent on development work. Perhaps in his reply the noble Earl will tell us in more detail how he anticipates that this large sum will be expended.

Before going on to more general topics, I should like to ask one question with reference to Clause 2 of the Bill. As your Lordships know, the New Hebrides is a condominium; that is to say, it is administered by the Governments of the United Kingdom and France. In case of dispute, I may say that the dispute has to go to the arbitration of the King of Spain—I imagine that that would present a rather difficult problem in the event of any dispute between the two countries responsible for the New Hebrides. It is anticipated that France, the other partner in the condominium, will make some similar provision to this for the people of the New Hebrides?

Since the previous Act was discussed in your Lordships' House the Labour Party, at their Annual Conference, have given considerable attention to the question of the economic and social development of the Colonial Territories, as well as to the political advance of their peoples, and they have produced a Statement of Policy on Colonial Affairs which deals at some length with this particular question. I do not propose to read the whole of it, but I should like to read that part which refers to the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. It says: The Colonial Development and Welfare Act has made a valuable contribution to the economic and social development of the Colonies. Labour will make increased funds available under the Act. In 1947 the Labour Government set up the Colonial Development Corporation to undertake pioneering work and to promote the diversification of the economies of the Colonies. The rôle of the Corporation should be re-examined in the light of the experience gained. In particular we shall consider how the work of the Corporation can be made to combine more effectively with the Colonial Development and Welfare schemes so that they complement and supplement each other. I feel that this is an important statement, and it shows one of the ways in which we can best spend a good deal of the money, or some of it, at all events, which is now available. In my view, what is needed most in the Colonies in the expenditure of this money is both research and pilot schemes. By "research," I mean research into a large number of projects; not basic research, in the sense of splitting the atom, or anything of that kind, but research in the application of much of the knowledge that we in this country have to Colonial problems. I consider that in this field we have an enormous opportunity. Research is often unspectacular, and, of course, it is long-term. It is never very popular with people in the Colonies, because there are no immediate results; but it is the basis of true development.

I would direct your Lordships' attention to Command Paper No. 9303, the recent Report of the Colonial Research Council and the various Research Committees, which sets out what has been done in the year under review. Paragraphs 5, 6 and 7 deal in some detail with the work and give a fascinating account of the large number of important projects with which the Council have dealt. They say here: About 33 per cent. of the gross allocation of £13,000,000 has been for agricultural, animal health and forestry schemes, 15 per cent. for medical research, 12 per cent. for fisheries research, 10 per cent. for tsetse and trypanosomiasis research, 9 per cent. for social science and economic research, 8 per cent. for insecticides research. 5 per cent. for research sponsored by the Colonial Products Research Council, 3.3 per cent. for anti-locust research, and 4.6 per cent. for miscellaneous schemes including building and road research"— They go on in more detail than I can do this afternoon to describe some of the important work which they have done throughout the Colonial Territories in that way. For two and a half years I was Chairman of the Colonial Research Council, and I had an opportunity of inspecting at first hand the most important work that is done in this field. The research institutes in the various parts of the Colonial Territories are rendering services which I am sure will have enormous results in years to come. But, as I have said, it is a slow business; it is unspectacular, and it does not always appeal to the man on the spot, particularly as in many cases the research institutes operate and act for a region and not necessarily for the particular Colony in which they are located.

They also often get failures. It was found in Africa, for instance, after spending a good deal of money and time on showing farmers how to develop their oil palm trees in different ways, that the way they were doing it, and had been doing it for centuries, was, in fact, the best. That effort might have been said to be a waste of time and money, but unless these things are tried out we cannot tell whether the farmers are using the best methods, and all methods, including ones which have never been tried out before, have to be tried out. No scientist, I imagine, would for one moment claim that every bit of work that he had done or that his institute had done was successful. Everybody is bound to have some failures as well as successes. The other suggestion I made is that there should be pilot schemes. I do not think anyone would disagree about that, or would want to rush into large schemes in the Colonies without, first of all, a pilot scheme. The trouble in the past has been that there has not been any organisation by which these pilot schemes could be carried out, and new and ad hoc—to use the modern expression—ideas have had to be tried and new and ad hoc organisations have had to be set up.

Now we have an instrument which, as the Labour Party policy says, should be used more and more for purposes of this sort; and that instrument is the Colonial Development Corporation. I think that the Government should cease arguing with the Colonial Development Corporation over past moneys lost and past capital expenditure. They should allow them to write off the whole lot, to start afresh, and use them as I have been suggesting in your Lordships' House for years past: the Colonial Development Corporation, with moneys to be provided under the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund, should try out pilot schemes in the various Colonial Territories. Here you have an organisation which can do it. Here you have the finance to finance such an undertaking. If you did that, you would have an organisation, and you would prevent them from feeling all the time that if they do undertake any pilot scheme they may have the cost of it as an intolerable burden round their necks for years. The Colonial Development Corporation was never intended to be a mere finance house; it was intended to blaze the trail in Colonial Territories in areas and in activities which private enterprise has been unable to attempt. It should be used by the Government, as I have said, on these pilot schemes. Many of them will be risky, but they must be done by a paid managing agent in the Territories, I think, too, the Government could well co-operate with the Uganda Development Corporation and with other Territorial Corporations of that kind, a few of which have been started by the Colonies themselves in this manner.

There are two other things I should like to say. The first is that the Government have recently made a most important statement on the peaceful use of atomic energy. It was made in your Lordships' House by the Lord President of the Council on the 15th of this month. Among other things the Lord President said this [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 191 (No. 20), col. 4]: Her Majesty's Government also look forward to the time when the United Kingdom will be able to assist other countries, not only, as now, with their research and development programmes and with training their scientists and engineers, but also by exporting nuclear power stations for the generation of electricity, especially in areas where generation by other means may be difficult or more expensive. Then the noble Marquess referred to the White Paper, a copy of which I have here. That is a very important statement if it means what it says—if it means that in fact the Government are going to export these nuclear power stations for the generation of electricity and other power in undeveloped territories. I should therefore like to ask the noble Earl whether the Colonial Territories come under this definition, because in many cases they need power. I would suggest that when the Government are in a position to export nuclear power stations, the Colonies should be at the top of the list for receiving those stations. The noble Marquess, in making the statement, was rather indefinite as to time. He did not give us any indication as to when these stations would be exported, or, indeed, when any such stations would be built. But perhaps the noble Earl to-day can give us some indication, and tell us whether it is far in the future, whether it is entirely visionary or whether we may expect that within the next few years, possibly within the time when this Colonial Development and Welfare Act is to operate, these stations will be made available to the Colonial Territories.

Colonial development in the last analysis is a question of men, money and materials. The money and the materials are easier to obtain now than they were at one time—the materials are easier, at all events. The right men, however, are by no means easy to obtain, and I would say that at the present moment that is the chief difficulty in Colonial development, particularly as in some cases the granting of a measure of Colonial self-government has tended to make the technicians and professional men rather chary of being engaged by Colonial Governments. In my view, Colonial Territories not only will need a large number of professional and technical men but will welcome them. I was pleased to read a letter recently in The Times from the Ministers of the Northern Nigerian Regional Government, welcoming the suggestion that those administrators and technical officers who were released and available from the Sudan service might well find important opportunities for service in Northern Nigeria. That, I think, is one indication, and an important indication, of how the minds of the Ministers in the Colonies are moving. I think it might well be said that in most other Territories too—in the Gold Coast and other areas where a considerable amount of self-government now obtains—the Ministers would welcome an increasing flow of technical assistance from this country. I have nothing further to say, except to reiterate that noble Lords on this side welcome this Bill, and regret only that the sum available is not greater.

4.27 p.m.


My Lords, I listened with great interest to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore. This is a short Bill with enormous implications, and it would easily be possible to let one's imagination and scrutiny range over its vistas, and make a very long speech. That is a temptation to which I shall not give way. On its actual financial structure, I believe that the five-year period is a much more realistic one. I think that the one year overlap which the noble Earl, Lord Munster, mentioned, and the raising of the annual ceiling of expenditure, make administrative good sense. Those outside your Lordships' House are frequently under the impression that Colonial Development and Welfare are the only moneys which go towards Colonial development. Your Lordships of course realise that they form about 20 per cent. of the total sum that is devoted. There are many other sources. There are the annual local appropriations of the Territories concerned; there are the local surpluses that can be used, and there are the local reserves to be dipped into before you go to the wider pastures of the London market or the International Bank. Besides that, there is that enormous inflow of private investment, whose global total is difficult to assess, but must work out, since the war, into several tens of millions.

I believe that the measure and percentage of development is about right. I think it is a good thing that as much development should be done with the Colonies' own resources so far as is practicable. I have always found, travelling around, that when you were shown schemes that they have carried out, or were carrying out, with their own resources, they took, if possible, an even greater pride in them. But there are some Territories to whom nature has been somewhat niggardly, who have not those resources and who must operate almost entirely on Colonial Development and Welfare money. The question is often raised about some point of joinder between Colonial Development and Welfare and the Colonial Development Corporation. I think most people tend to forget that Colonial Development and Welfare is not an agency; it is merely a vote of money which, as the noble Lord pointed out, was to purchase men and materials. It would be to murder a metaphor to describe them as going on parallel lines, because in several parts of the Colonial Empire, unlike parallel lines, they meet; but they do form some kind of complementary pattern. It is important to realise that this is merely a vote of money and, as I said, not an agency.

The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, quoted from the Labour Party's Colonial policy an interesting statement in which he said that his Party would devote "increasing moneys" to this. It is very important to realise that development expenditure has a ceiling. The overall ceiling has been calculated, over the period under review, as being at £600 million of expenditure. As the noble Lord has pointed out with great force, you can build all the hospitals you like, but if the Territory cannot keep them going out of its own resources they will immediately close. You will then have a great deal of development but very little resulting welfare. You can press it to the point where you are faced either with Colonial bankruptcies or frantic steps taken by the Government of this country to prevent them. To talk of vastly increasing the expenditure makes an arresting headline, but it is not a mature plan. I think we all agree that the real power of development comes from continuity and steady momentum, and not from the progress in a series of laboured leaps.

The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, made a point with which I entirely agree. He drew attention to the great temptation to spend very largely on social services, to the detriment of economic plans. It is an old platitude that welfare wails upon development and it is in that expensive basic development that you may wait a long time to get anything back. That priority is often overlooked that should go to roads and railways, and that should go to electric power and water supplies. In East and Central Africa it always strikes me that one of the main problems is communication. Those parts that are accessible become more and more highly developed, and those parts that are not accessible naturally remain undeveloped because they are not accessible. The Uganda Railway was built as a military measure to put an end to the slave trade in the interior of the country. It was a winning blow in the slave trade war. The wheel came full circle in this last war, when that railway, and the development that had followed it, enabled us to make a powerful strategic base in that part of the world. That is a priority which I feel should never be overlooked: the needs, however expensive, of communication.

The next thing in East Africa is a need for industrialisation, either in the form of light industries or even of heavy ones. That is a development which will have to be watched with the greatest care. Asia has a long tradition of cities; Africa has none; and if we have a second industrial revolution in Eastern Africa centred on one or two large industrial centres we may find ourselves faced with the same kind of trouble which has been associated with the growth of Johannesburg. I believe that industrialisation has to come in that part of the world. As I see it, that form is the best form when you have a series of small industrial centres and avoid the great urban conglomerations. The White Paper, on page 20, paragraph 85, says: Moreover the C.D. and W. system has enabled the scientific and technical knowledge concentrated in the United Kingdom to be brought to the assistance of Colonial Governments and institutions. The importance of this help cannot be measured by the comparatively small sums of money involved. The work done by the Colonial Research Council, and the number of advisory councils on its periphery, has been of immeasurable value for a great number of Territories. That is just one more example of how you cannot measure the beneficial changes merely by the amount of money laid out. I think we should all like to pay a tribute to those leading scientists and others who give so much of their time to this work on a voluntary basis.

That also extends to the educational sphere, to a great extent. I should like to ask the Minister this question. We have at the moment three Colonial universities, four university colleges and a fifth coming into being in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland, and numerous colleges of arts, sciences and technology. The momentum of this development is continuing. In which Territories is it hoped to put up the next colleges? So much for money. The matter of materials has now become very much easier. You have a great scheme like the Owen Falls Power Dam. It took a long time to accumulate all that was needed there. I watched that dam being built. It was like an army bringing in its siege engines to reduce the stronghold of a primeval power, to subdue and harness that power.

The real crux of the thing is the men. It is the difficult part, because you must have the best men, and the demands for them in the United Kingdom are now very great. In The Times on February 22 I read that a Medical Manpower Commission, under the chairmanship of Mr. Henry Willink, was to sit to decide how many doctors would be required for medical practice in the future and how many medical students would therefore be required for training. I should like to ask the noble Earl, Lord Munster, whether in those calculations the needs of the Colonies were taken into account. That is one part. The second part is this. If men are going to invest the capital of their lives' activities, they must have a feeling of confidence in the future. A young man who is making up his mind about a profession cannot, I think, fail to be unfavourably impressed by the vast criticism of the efforts of the men in the field. I do not attach so much importance to the criticism that comes from abroad, because it is the essence of nationalism that you must overstate your case and inevitably will deal hard and indiscriminating blows in the course of it. But much of the criticism that comes from this country is spiteful, ill-advised and does immense harm.

I was at Oxford twenty-one years ago. Those of us who wanted to spend our lives in the Commonwealth and Empire, doing a job, had the choice of three Services open to us—the Indian Civil Service, the Sudan Service or the Colonial Service; and they were hard to get into, in that order. War has brought frantic changes in its train. It is a very curious irony of fate that the two Services that were the hardest to get into have now closed their doors to the United Kingdom. There are men who devoted quite a few years of their lives to gaining immensely valuable experience and who are finding that they cannot use that experience any more and are throwing themselves on this country in search of a job. When you go looking for a job, there is all the difference in the world if you are one day under forty years of age or one day over forty years of age. It is curious how experience in these Territories is of little help in obtaining employment in Britain.

I joined the Colonial Service on the basis that exists to this present day, where one was allocated to a Colony and that Colony became your paymaster. When your service was over, it paid your pension. Your future was tied up with the future of that Colony. A young man now pondering a career would wonder whether he could expect any reasonable security of tenure in view of what has been happening all over the world. Now this idea, which I shall touch on, has often been raised before. I did not then support it, but I was slowly driven to the conclusion that the logical course of events is to have some kind of Commonwealth Service, with a central paymaster, where men can be moved either from one Territory to another administered by the Colonial Office, or to others which are the responsibility of the Commonwealth Relations Office or the Foreign Office. But it means that somewhere or other, in that vast complex of countries, they would have a job for life. I would never encourage anyone to seek a slavish adherence to security, but a prudent man when seeking a life's career expects, and has some reason to expect, some modest security of tenure. In this great momentum of Colonial development I should like to see considered, first, a scheme for the setting up of this Service (it should not be a very difficult thing to do), with Colonial Development and Welfare funds as a source of emolument.

But, further, we are finding in countries like West Africa, and indeed almost all the Colonies, a new word appearing: "expatriate." The sons of the peoples of the Territories are, now going into the Colonial Service, and they work opposite men from this country. The men from this country get higher pay, because, after all, they had to go out to the Colony and set up house, and possibly keep two establishments. If that original conception of a Commonwealth Service seems too large an operation to undertake at one time, we could remove a great deal of friction which is coming about by paying the Colonial servants in those Territories exactly the same basic rate, which would come out of the Colony's fund, and making up the extra which a man deserves as an expatriate out of the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund. As I said, it took me a long time to come to this point of view, but I believe it is the logic of our circumstance. Unless we can maintain an absolutely even flow of the kind of men we want, the momentum of the whole venture of Colonial development will falter. It is that steady momentum we require to take the peoples of these countries towards that widening horizon from which they can hope for a better life.

4.43 p.m.


My Lords, I think we all agree that we have listened to a most interesting and lucid explanation by the noble Earl, Lord Munster, in introducing the Second Reading of this Bill. He explained to us what the Bill sets out to do, and how it intends to do it. Any criticisms which have been voiced here or in another place have been of quite minor importance. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, who made a most interesting speech and whose views on Colonial affairs naturally command respect, made little constructive criticism of the Bill. Although this is a little Bill, it seeks to carry out a great ideal. The full debate which it evoked in another place has shown what enthusiasm it commands on all sides. I assure your Lordships that I am not going to take up a long time airing my views on this Bill, except to say that I welcome it most heartily, and just to take up one or two points of interest.

I should like to go back to the point which has been stressed by most speakers here and elsewhere: that with the best will in the world it is impossible to spend more than a certain amount of money between now and October 31, 1960. We all know that the limiting factors are the length of time it takes to plan and carry out construction schemes of any magnitude and the lack of technicians available for all these various enterprises. I know that technical training is taking place, both in the Colonies and in this country, but it is a slow process to undertake technical training; it takes a long time to attain the finished product. In this respect, I would point out, private enterprise is playing a considerable part. I have personal knowledge of many firms who have trainees and apprentices from different parts of the Colonial Empire; they welcome them. These men eventually, when they return home, become splendid ambassadors for British industry. With the knowledge they have acquired in this country, they benefit their own home countries, and at the same, time they help the trade of this country because they naturally tend to favour the products of Great Britain, the country in which they have received their training; and I think that this is as it should be.

To my mind the most difficult of the problems arising from the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts is the question of priorities. On this matter there is room for a great deal of honest conflict of opinion. So far, what has been said both by Lord Ogmore and by Lord Tweedsmuir covers the same line of thought as my own, but I think there has been too much emphasis on welfare. That may sound hard, and even callous, but I feel that there is little point in initially spending money on welfare projects, and so increasing the population, unless there are going to be food and work for the increased population. I have never visited Africa, as have so many other noble Lords, but I have seen the problem at close quarters in India, Pakistan and Egypt.

My own view would be, first, to increase food production. To do that, it will be necessary to employ new methods, needing a large capital investment. At the same time, I think we should go ahead with construction schemes on roads, water, land reclamation, et cetera, which will give employment to a large number of the native population. Then is the time to go in for the welfare and social services. Last of all, except for the technicians, I think should come education. I know that some, though perhaps not all, noble Lords opposite may disagree with this view, but I think it is the right way to tackle the problem. What is the use of encouraging these native people to increase their numbers when they will have nothing to eat and no work to do? That situation merely creates discontent; and, quite naturally, there will be little gratitude for the money that has been spent.

I have touched on the problem of priorities. There is just one further point that I should like to make—namely, the desirability of co-ordination between the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund and the Colonial Development Corporation. I think it is fair to say that there have been occasions in the past when there has been a lack of co-ordination between these two bodies. Surely there should be co-operation between the two on long-term policy. As an example, I should like to see schemes introduced by the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund, followed up by an investment by the Colonial Development Corporation; and, finally, private capital coming along to help in the further expansion of the project. The purpose of this Bill is simply to promote the social and economic advance of the people of the Colonies, and as such I commend it to your Lordships' House.

4.51 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Earl who moved the Second Reading has said that this is a Bill which increases, by no less than 70 per cent., our annual expenditure over the next few years from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund. The difference between our debate and that on the Bill when it was before another place is that in your Lordships' House no doubts have been cast on the adequacy or otherwise of this sum. That question was raised in another place by the Opposition, and the official Opposition Leader took the view that, while this Bill is satisfactory, the sum provided should be greater. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, to-day gave the answer to the question, "Is this enough?", in the affirmative, having regard to what he defined as the limiting factors of men, materials and money.

The limits of our ability are based not upon sentiment but upon practical considerations, and noble Lords who have spoken in this debate have touched upon the limiting factor of technical education and technical manpower. I believe that it is quite easy to get planning indigestion and to start a large number of schemes without the necessary technical manpower to carry them out. I believe investigation will show that the underspending by the sum of £40 million—referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore—in part results from technical shortages in various Colonies. I would, therefore, give support to what has been said by all noble Lords who have so far spoken in this debate regarding the tremendous and vital importance of improving technical education facilities, so that we, and the Colonies themselves, can provide the necessary technicians.

If I support the view that the amount provided by the Bill is enough, that is not to say that in some places in the Colonial Empire we could not do more, and do it rather more quickly. I would refer in this connection to one particular Colony, Gibraltar. I recently had the honour of being part of a Parliamentary delegation from both Houses of Parliament which visited this splendid and loyal Colony. Gibraltar is now passing through a difficult time economically, due to circumstances outside her own control. She is suffering economic restrictions—I will not go so far as to use the word "sanctions"—imposed by Spain, due to major questions of Anglo-Spanish relationship. She is having her customary trade and interchange of personnel and tourist traffic damaged through restrictions imposed by orders from Madrid. In the long run, Gibraltar must live in close and friendly relationship with a neighbourly Spain. That will come about; this is a passing phase. But now, while this difficult phase continues, is the time when Her Majesty's Government could show extra urgency and speed in providing help to Gibraltar by way of Colonial Development and Welfare schemes which are, I believe, already under active consideration.

I do not want to cite these particular schemes except to say that, for instance, there is an acute housing problem which will be solved only when military establishments in Gibraltar can be moved to another part of the Rock. That project is under consideration but will take eight years for completion, because the military properties in the town have first to be sold to provide the financial proceeds with which new military establishments can be built. I believe that there is here a typical opportunity for Her Majesty's Government to provide immediately monies from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund, so that that financial delay of eight years can be materially cut down. The Minister knows of projects for the development of Gibraltar harbour, water oil bunkering, better quays and other things. My plea to-day is that this single Colony of unsurpassed loyalty, which gave a great welcome to Parliamentarians from our Houses of Parliament, and which at this moment is going through a peculiar and particular phase, merits peculiar and particular treatment. Here is an instrument by which that need might quickly be filled, and I hope that the Minister may be able to give encouraging information on the subject of Gibraltar.

I have only one general point to raise. To secure lasting benefit, aid by the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund must be linked to buoyant and healthy economies in the several Territories which receive that aid. There has been some discussion to-day about the relative merits of social welfare and productive schemes and their encouragement by this Fund. I would only remind your Lordships of a paragraph in the Stockdale Report of 1945 which said: It is essential that financial assistance under the Development and Welfare Act should be directed towards the development of productive activities which will help to meet the existing situation and provide a greater measure of employment in the future. I feel that that passage is justification for the view put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Jessel, and other noble Lords, that basically the major part of this aid should be devoted to the productive effort and to improving the economies of the Territories, rather than to social welfare schemes.

Most Colonial Territories are producers of primary products. The policy of Her Majesty's Government is aimed at an expansion of world trading, at multilateralism, and adherence to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, with no restrictions or discrimination in trade. I am not going to argue the merits or demerits of that policy this afternoon—we have argued it before and no doubt Parliament will argue it again in the future. But I would submit that one effect of the policy which Her Majesty's Government are following is that the Colonial economies are exposed to the full blast of world price fluctuations in the primary products which those Territories produce.

Sometimes that is to the advantage of Colonial Territories. The cocoa industry in West Africa, for example, is doing splendidly; and tin-miners in Malaya are getting satisfactory economic prices. For others, however, this exposure to the full blast of world prices is experienced by them while they are still developing new techniques and learning how to market their primary products. In Dominica, for instance, there is very considerable unemployment to-day because Her Majesty's Government have thought it wise to put lime oil on general licence. In certain West Indies Territories there is grave difficulty because they are not going to be able to sell their citrus fruit juice, owing, so it is said, to American-subsidised competition. I know that we cannot hope artificially to insulate any Colonial Territory against the facts of world price levels for all time; but we can, and should, shelter them front sudden shocks and rapid price movements which have exaggerated detrimental effects on economies that are dependent upon one particular product—what I would call (to use a horrible term) "mono-economies."

One example is that we were able to help Colonies in the West Indies by the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. Her Majesty's Government have gone to Geneva and asked for some relaxation of the provisions of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to enable us to help our Colonial primary producers. That request has been referred, I understand, to a Working Party in Geneva. I would ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can give us any information as to the progress, successful or otherwise, of these conversations at Geneva, because a successful outcome of these conversations is tied up with much of the value which the Colonial Empire will get from the Fund that we are discussing this afternoon. It is no use producing if you cannot sell, and in the United Kingdom we have a duty to try to find markets for what we are urging should be produced.

Some responsibility rests with the United Kingdom, also, if private investment is to continue as a main source of Colonial development—as it must. On the one hand, the ability to invest depends on a favourable balance of trade. As the noble Lord, Lord Chandos (then Mr. Oliver Lyttelton), said: "You cannot invest a deficit." Equally, on the other hand, it is impossible to live on unsold or undersold stocks—and that is what is happening in the West Indies at the present time. The vital importance of the Colonial trade exceptions at Geneva cannot be exaggerated in respect of the West Indies difficulties, and I would ask Her Majesty's Government how far these negotiations have gone. A hypothetical question to which I probably shall not get a successful answer is this—are the Government really in earnest in this matter? Are they conducting a mock battle, with blank ammunition, or have they got their weapons loaded? Are they willing to be aggressive at Geneva if the other parties do not grant us these very reasonable concessions for which we are asking and which would be of inestimable value to our Colonial trade? My Lords, having said those few words, I would merely add that I give my general support to the provisions of this Bill and the purposes for which it has been introduced.

5.3 p.m.


My Lords, in rising to take a brief part in this debate, may I begin by saying that I agree entirely with every word said by the noble Lord who has just sat down. I also find myself in almost complete agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore—though in his case I have to make certainly—one exception. I do not share Lord Ogmore's doubts about whether this amount is adequate or not. I am fully convinced that the amount which this Bill provides is as much as it would be wise to provide. I am particularly in agreement with Lord Ogmore on the subject of research, but, as he said, research is not spectacular and is not, therefore, a popular thing, and it is difficult perhaps to impress its value on the people of the Colonies. That is a part of our difficulties in development, as I shall hope to make a little clearer in a moment. Before going on to make the few general remarks which I want to make I should like to say that I listened with appreciation to Lord Tweedsmuir's sketch of a Commonwealth Service. But, attractive though that idea is—and I do not wish to depreciate it—in practice I see very considerable difficulties in providing, for instance, for the training of such officers. Certainly administrative officers could not be trained in such a somewhat nebulous service, and it is difficult to see how continuous employment could be provided for the technical and professional officers. Indeed, I have some considerable doubt whether it is a really practicable scheme.

I should like to congratulate the Government on the White Paper and the picture which is contained therein. In particular, there are some things which I think cannot be too often emphasised. I fully appreciate that it is not possible to say anything new at this stage on the subject of Colonial Development and Welfare because it has been so thoroughly well examined and discussed. But there are some things which I think cannot be too often repeated. The first of these is that the fact that these provisions are of relatively recent growth is no reflection upon the past. It does not mean that we have neglected our duty in the past; but it should serve to emphasise how much we owe to private enterprise which throughout the nineteenth century bore the whole burden of Colonial development. The second point is the increasing consciousness of the duty of Government and the fact that, with the lessening capacity of private enterprise to utilise capital in this way, the Government have now taken a part. One should always remember that the great industries which are the bulwark of many of the Colonies—tin, rubber, sugar, citrus fruits and so forth—were all developed by private enterprise, and at best we can hope that the result of Government intervention will, in the future, provide as good examples of what can be done.

On page 21 of the White Paper I think lies the whole kernel of the question. There it is recorded that a despatch to Colonial Governments emphasised that forecasts of developments should be based on a realistic assessment of Governments' physical capacity and ability to bear the recurrent charges, that proper emphasis should be put on work which would strengthen the territories' economies, and that the greatest possible use should be made of local resources including reserves of all kinds. I think that extract answers many of the criticisms which have been made and explains some of the difficulties. I suggest that in this connection it is really no use talking about acceleration of pace: you cannot accelerate development by just pouring out money. Development as we understand it (and in the course of my life I have had only too much opportunity of observing this), implies a change of life for the people of the country concerned; a revolution, often, in custom and attitude of mind. And there is a severe limit to the possibilities of pace in such matters. We want, I presume, to lay foundations on which one can build a stable economy, and undue haste leaves the whole structure unstable. We do not, surely, want to institute a world-wide system of Imperial poor relief. The aim is to help people to help themselves; and no more than that. For permanent success, in any case, the inspiration and the driving power must be indigenous. We can assist and guide and teach, but the rest lies with the people concerned.

It is, I submit, not sense to talk of the poverty of the world is if in some way it were our fault. It is not, and never has been, our fault. If we look at our record, it is one of magnificent achievement, the details of which are there for every student to recognise. Much remains to be done, I know, if these people are ever to approximate to our own standards of living, but the effort and the accomplishment must be surely their own. There is that limit to what we can do. We can no more buy prosperity than we can buy liberty. It has to arise from the will and industry of the people. What we can do is to help to create the conditions in which they can win their own way to a better standard. I suggest that they are false friends who encourage any man, or any community or any nation, to think that they are entitled to any given standard of living. Prosperity is not the birthright of man. What is his right is the opportunity to develop his capacities, his own human resources and the resources of his country, to the utmost benefit of himself and of mankind. After all, a country can be so placed as to have no mineral resources, a poor soil and a hostile climate. No amount of aid can give such a country the same standard as countries more happily endowed by nature.

That is why the principle behind the Colombo Plan so much appeals to me. It is, to quote it once more, the simple principle of helping people to help themselves. After we have trained the technical staffs and given every aspect of education its chance, so many factors—climatic, geographical and human—enter into the problem of development: the presence of minerals in accessible places, the fertility of the soil, the proximity of markets, and the industry of the people and their managerial skill. For instance, it is no use asking, as has been asked, why the coal deposits of Tanganyika are not worked. The obvious answer is that the time is not yet ripe. It would mean the expenditure of millions of pounds in communications, railways and so forth, and that must be a matter for the future. Again, it is no use erecting hydro-electric power stations in a country whose people have not the means to purchase the power and where there are not the industries which that power could supply.

Something has been said this afternoon which illustrates the old confusion about the Colonial Development Corporation and the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund. There is no need to emphasise once more that they are two such different things that they could not be run together or in the sort of co-operation that is suggested. The Colonial Development and Welfare Fund is placed for certain purposes at the disposal of Colonial Governments, whereas the Colonial Development Corporation is a separate entity which works, truly in collaboration with the Colonial Governments, but under its own management.

Administration is a practical job and the administrator has to face facts. He is not able to indulge, as the politician often can, in dreams of things as he would like to see them. He has to relate those dreams to the human factors which limit his possibilities of action. To refer again to the Colombo Plan, your Lordships may remember that in one of the recent reports it was said that if the population of the South-East Asia territories continues to increase at its present rate, in about ten years' time, after all the expenditure of millions of money and of energy and effort, the net result will be that so many more score millions of people will be living on the margin of subsistence. It has been well remarked by somebody that this is a classic instance of the wisdom of the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass, when she said to Alice, "You have to run as fast as you can in order to stay where you are." That is a problem of our own creation, and it is a problem which we have created all over the world. We have brought people peace, security and better health, and as a result we have encouraged a great population increase. Our anti-malarial measures in British Guiana, Cyprus and Mauritius are instances in point. Therefore, the greatest problem of all is the agricultural one, the production of adequate food.

Irresponsibility is probably the greatest obstacle to development. One cannot say that it is the fault of the taxpayers of this country that population increases at an alarming pace in so many places in the world. That is a matter for which the people of the country are themselves responsible. So, when we talk of self-government, surely we have to emphasise that it covers self-government in every meaning of the term, individual as well as national. People exclaim that there is room for so much more development. Of course there is. This not being the Kingdom of Heaven, there is imperfection all over the world, and we are setting ourselves in a small way to tackle as rapidly as we can such small sections as we have some influence over. In short, I think that in Colonial development, the motto ought always to be "More haste, less speed."

As has been rightly pointed out, it is possible to invest money too fast, with disastrous consequences. It is easy to picture the Colonial Empire as a country flowing with milk and money, but that will not bring happiness to its people. Wherever we have gone, we have improved their lot substantially. Steadily we have grown more conscious of our ability, and indeed our duty, to help them to progress. But we need to keep our perspective straight and not to lose our sense of proportion. A good deal has been made of the point of recurrent expenses—and, indeed, that qualification must always limit our activities. We have always to bear in mind that it is no use saddling a country with recurrent expenses which it cannot hope to meet. We have always to try to bear in mind that the State we wish to create has to be solvent. In the world in which we live to-day, nature favours the economically efficient, and economic and social realities matter far more than the symbols of political independence. Political independence is, after all, only one aspect of the ability to stand on one's own feet. To my mind, it is not right to talk of our success being dependent on our ability to answer the challenge of other peoples for a higher standard of living. Our success—if that is the right way of looking at it—depends surely, first of all, on our ability and willingness to help them, but still more on their ability and willingness to help themselves.

I congratulate the Government on this Bill, and even more on their steadfast determination to keep their feet on the ground and to plan within the limits of human capacity. I would make one final remark, which is half irrelevant but may perhaps serve as a footnote. We are indeed a curious people. Of the 78 million Europeans in the Commonwealth, 50 million are concentrated in the small and over-populated area of this country. We are proposing to spend twenty times as much annually on Colonial development as we spend on assisting emigration to the half-empty lands of the Commonwealth. We have people in this country working themselves up into a frenzy of vicarious philanthropy about what ought to be done to help the dependencies—and, indeed, not only the dependencies but the undeveloped countries all over the world; but at the same time we seem to view with cold detachment the urgent need for population of British stock in what used to be called the White Dominions. It may be magnificent, but it certainly is not wisdom. I support the Bill, but I am left wishing that some of the surplus enthusiasm for Colonial development might be channelled off into measures for encouraging emigration from these over-populated islands to the empty lands of promise in the Commonwealth.

5.23 p.m.


My Lords, I had not intended to take part in this debate, and I am certainly not prepared to follow the noble Lord who has just spoken and others in their wide-ranging and interesting speeches on this subject. However, two or three things have been said by noble Lords which seem to me to call for some comment. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, said that he was quite content with the sum of money proposed in this Bill and did not think that any more was needed. Anyone who has been to some of the African Territories must have come away with the feeling that there was no end to the things that needed to be done, and the only limit to the money that needs to be spent is the limit imposed by the practical problems of planning, manpower and materials.


If I may interrupt the noble Earl, that was precisely the point that I was trying to make.


I thank the noble Lord. But for anybody to say that the amount of money is enough would seem to me to convey a wrong impression of the consciousness that most noble Lords must have of how much there is still to be done in these Colonial Territories. I will resist the temptation to follow the noble Lord in his remarks about past neglect, and about what we have or have not done in the Colonial Territories in the past: it is a tempting subject, but at this late hour I am sure your Lordships would not want to go into it.

Another matter that was mentioned by a number of noble Lords was the question of the balance between funds spent on social services and economic objects. I think the answer to those who say that there is a danger of spending too much on social services lies on page 21 of the White Paper, in the sentence quoted by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, where it says: The greatest possible use should be made of local resources. Some Colonial Territories are better endowed by nature with their geographical situation, minerals and resources than others, but what they all have in common is human beings. At present we are not making use of the human resources of these territories. In many African territories less than half the children have even primary education. The number who go on to secondary and further education is a dwindling proportion, and the proportion is almost infinitesimal, when it comes to turning out fully educated men and women, on whom the burden of the development and the political future of these countries must depend. Until we have got full health services and the opportunity for this higher education, we cannot say that we are making full use of the most important local resources in these countries. Therefore, surely, this is no time to say that too much money is being spent on the provision of schools and hospitals, and the other subjects embraced in social services.

The point made by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, that money should go to help people to help themselves is, I believe, already essentially a part of Colonial Office policy, in that adult education and community development are designed precisely to stimulate local initiative and self-help. I myself saw one of the development centres in Northern Rhodesia, which over the years has been gradually growing on a specific grant under the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts, and which in this far distant region of Barotseland was doing precisely what the noble Lord wants. That is part of the social services upon which some noble Lords have cast doubt. Incidentally, according to the Appendix, the expenditure on economic projects is not far short of that on social services. If I have added the figures correctly, £36 million has been spent to date on social services and £29 million on roads and communications and agriculture. While on that subject, I cannot resist mentioning one of the economic projects which I feel would have most far-reaching results in the Nyasaland Protectorate. There is a scheme for controlling the waters of the Shiré River, providing land drainage, irrigation and stabilisation of the lake level, with enormous benefit to that country. But it is a large and expensive scheme, and unless it can find a place in a grant from this Fund there seems very little hope of this tremendous improvement taking place in that country.

There is one further word I should like to say about the Colonial service, and I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, is not here. I would not attempt to follow him into the interesting suggestions he had for the service. Visiting a number of territories of Africa last year, I was struck with the dearth of young entrants into the Colonial Service. In almost every territory I went to the story was that the administrative service was so many under establishment, and the number of new cadets entering was far too small to fill the vacancies. The Colonial Office should make more efforts to make known the advantages of the Service. I believe that there is inevitably a feeling in the public mind that all the Colonies will get self-government quite soon so there is no future in the Colonial Service. I think that nothing could be further from the truth, and that there is a fine career open for a considerable time to come. We want the very best men and, moreover, now that the Colonial Development and Welfare Acts have another lease of life, I think the work of the Colonial administrative officer will be much more fruitful and more rewarding, and should be a career which will attract many of the best men.

5.32 p.m.


My Lords, I feel grateful to noble Lords who have taken part in the debate this afternoon for the general support they have offered on considering this Bill. It is quite true that some noble Lords have ranged far and wide, but I shall do my best to reply to the many questions most intimately connected with the Bill which were addressed to me. It was probably generally agreed by all speakers that the Colonial Governments may have spent too much money in the past upon their social services, but, as I think was rightly said by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and others, in point of fact there were very few such services in existence in 1945. We have gone a long way to build up these services in various Colonial Territories. Nevertheless I agree most cordially with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that we should strive now to increase the economic development of the Territories in order that we may give employment to the many inhabitants in all these different lands, but in doing so, we must be careful not to neglect the social services which have been started since 1945 and no doubt serve a most useful and beneficial purpose in the Territories.

Then the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, asked me about the Condominium of the New Hebrides. The British and French High Commissioners have recommended assistance from Colonial Development and Welfare Funds and from the Colonial Development Corporation, for purposes which I mentioned in my introductory remarks. As assistance was excluded from the 1945 and 1950 Acts, we have included it in this Bill and it will be possible for contributions to be made. Now I come to what is possibly the main complaint against the Bill—namely, that there is insufficient money allotted under it. May I see whether I can deal with this matter in some detail. The two principal Acts, the 1945 and the 1950 Act, allotted a sum of £140 million. On Table 3 of the White Paper your Lordships will see that the sum of £120 million has been committed and just over £100 million has been actually spent. That is where we get the unspent balance of £40 million which is to be added to the money provided in the new Bill. But let us remember that the provision under the old Acts was for a period of ten years, so we have, in the course of nine years, actually spent £100 million with a year's balance unspent. But under the terms of the 1950 Act, £20 million was provided which was kept in reserve and allotted only against a proven need in the years that lay immediately ahead. This expenditure of Colonial Development and Welfare money is dealt with by no fewer than fifty Colonial Governments, and I cannot guarantee, any more than can the noble Lord opposite, that every penny which Her Majesty's Government in this country should allot through a Bill of this character will, at the end of five years, be spent. Of course, when Colonial Governments knew that new legislation was contemplated before the expiry of the 1950 Act, many of them husbanded the resources which they had for wise and careful expenditure in the time that lay ahead.


I am grateful to the noble Earl for this explanation. I take it that £20 million is allocated—that is, half of the £40 million—although not spent. That is what in fact it amounts to, is it not? Therefore, so far as future schemes are concerned, there will be £100 million and not £120 million to be allocated. Although £120 million will be spent or it is hoped will be spent, there will be £100 million allocation. I take it that that £20 million of the £40 million has been allocated and unspent, and the other £20 million has been neither allocated nor spent.


I am afraid the noble Lord is inaccurate. What I said was this. The original figure was £140 million; that was the figure which was allocated. According to the White Paper, £120 million has actually been committed, but the expenditure up to the year 1954–55 amounts to just over £100 million, so there is still a reserve of £40 million which has been added to the £80 million of new money provided by this Bill. Where I think the noble Lord probably mistook what I said, was that I was discussing the Act of 1950, whereby a sum of £20 million was provided which was kept in reserve against the proven need in the years which lay ahead. But there is a sum of £120 million which is available from the passing of this Bill until 1960 to be spent in Colonial Territories.

I should like to add one further comment on this matter. With Colonial Governments, we went very carefully into this question and a considerable examination was made of the forecasts which had been submitted as the likely expenditure over the period of the next five years. Those figures were worked out according to the physical ability of Governments to carry out this work. Indeed, the noble Lord knows as well as I do, from his experience at the Colonial Office, that it is no good suddenly increasing the rate of carrying out a new capital works in Colonial Territories if you have no staff, if your surveys have been inadequately carried out, and if you have insufficient equipment. Moreover, as was said by my noble friend Lord Milverton—and how right he is!—the people in the Colonial Territories should help themselves. I think I can do no better than quote words which have become very well known now and which were spoken by the late Colonel Oliver Stanley in 1945, when introducing the Act of that year. He said: I want to make it plain that this Fund is never intended to be and never could be the sole and permanent support of all the social requirements of the whole of the Colonial Empire. In the long run, the social standards of the country must depend upon its own resources and must depend upon the skill and energy of its own people and the wise and full use which they make of their internal work. Indeed, my right honourable friend was perfectly correct. I would only add this. If it is found that this money is insufficient during the period between now and 1960, Her Majesty's Government can always come back again to Parliament.

The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, raised another question on the matter of research. If he will turn to Table 5 of the White Paper, at page 30, he will observe that expenditure on research has increased from £169,000 in 1946 to £1,250,000 in 1953. There has been a gradual building up of research over the years, and, as I see it, the new ceiling of expenditure under this Bill will be nearly three times as much as the previous rate of expenditure. As my noble friend, Lord Milverton, said, research has always been an essential part of all development. I would go further and say that it invariably tends to take on a sort of snowball effect, because the first stage of research will naturally lead to a further stage thereafter. For instance, if there were time, I could quote to your Lordships numerous examples of research centres which have grown from small beginnings to fair size enterprises. In this question of research there is one limiting factor, and it is a vital one, in the pace at which one can travel. As your Lordships know, there is a serious shortage to-day of individuals suitably qualified and competent to work in these fields, and the scarcity of scientists is due to the calls which have been made upon them by the Government and industry everywhere. I was interested to inquire from the Colonial Office about the number of research officers who are now employed and, from a very low level, the latest figure they have is 452.

I turn now to deal with the question mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, and by my noble friend Lord Tweedsmuir—namely (as I understood the question which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, originally asked), whether the Colonial Development Corporation and the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund could work more closely together. This is not the first time this proposition has been made in this House and in another place. On innumerable occasions we have heard it suggested that those two bodies should be integrated in the use of the funds which are available to them. I honestly think that there is some misconception in this matter—there is certainly a misconception about their respective functions. The Colonial Development Corporation was constituted, in the first place, to work in the commercial field and was required to "break even" over the whole field of its activities, taking one year with another. The purpose for which it was constituted has not been altered since.

On the other hand, the Colonial Development and Welfare funds are used for the basic services, and do not enter, and have never entered, into the commercial field at all. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and others who have spoken this afternoon know full well that both the Colonial Development Corporation and the Colonial Development and Welfare funds have a great contribution to make to all forms of development, but nevertheless both have completely separate and different functions to perform.


I am not at all denying what the noble Earl says, nor do I want the Colonial Development and Welfare funds to go into the commercial field. All I am saying is that in the past what has often been lacking is a pilot scheme. We have not had the machinery to provide that pilot scheme. You can use the Colonial Development Corporation, I suggest, as the machinery for your pilot scheme, as a managing agent for funds from Colonial Development and Welfare, even though this may not have been contemplated. After all, the Colonial Office are not like the Bourbons; they can learn and they can remember; and, with their memory of past experience, they can achieve something new. This is something new.


I have every recollection that, in the course of last year and the year before, the noble Lord and I have previously crossed swords on the question of pilot schemes for the Colonial Development Corporation, but I do not want to be drawn into the activities of the Colonial Development Corporation to-day, when we are dealing with the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund. I will, however, go as far as this with the noble Lord, and say that it is possible for Colonial Governments who are using Colonial Development and Welfare funds to co-operate with the Colonial Development Corporation in undertaking investigations into development projects. I can quote to the noble Lord two offhand; one is a farm in Gambia and the other is the rice fields in Borneo.

The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, also raised the question of atomic energy to develop the Colonial Territories. It is the intention of Her Majesty's Government to keep a watchful eye on this question. I say at once that I should be misleading your Lordships if I gave the impression that there was any likelihood whatever of our seeing the application of atomic energy to Colonial developments within the period covered by this Bill. As the noble Lord knows full well, the problems involved are technical and very complicated. There is the question of recruiting and training the technical officers required to carry out these plans. But I am certain that, not within the period of this Bill but no doubt one day, the Colonial Territories will benefit as the result of what was announced by the Lord President the other day.

I turn from that matter to deal with two questions which were asked by my noble friend Lord Tweedsmuir, who informed me that he would have to leave early. He mentioned the Colonial Research Council, of which it happened to be my lot to be chairman during the time I was at the Colonial Office. I would whole-heartedly support everything that my noble friend has said about that body and the various advisory committees: they are all doing a splendid job of work. The members of that Council and those committees offer their services free of cost, and at times at considerable inconvenience to themselves. My noble friend asked me also whether it was intended to set up further colleges. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State has this matter well in mind. It is his intention that other colleges of science and technology should be set up, but I should not like, for fear of misleading the House, to give any indication as to where they will ultimately come into being.

Another question put to me was about the Willink Committee on Medical Practitioners, and I can say there is no doubt that the Committee will take into consideration the needs of the Colonial Territories for medical officers from this country. Finally, the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, raised a very interesting question, which was mentioned also by the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, about the interchangeability of overseas civil servants. I feel sure the House will realise at once that this is a major question of policy, and I do not think it would be proper for me to deal with it to-day, because I do not think it comes within the scope of the present Bill. In any event, it would seem to me that it would be inappropriate to use monies from the Colonial Development and Welfare Fund for this particular purpose.

I now turn to the questions raised by my noble friend Lord Balfour of Inchrye. He mentioned to your Lordships, quite correctly, that the people in Gibraltar are now going through a difficult time economically. He will recollect that my noble friend Lord Reading, in a statement in this House some time ago, promised that Her Majesty's Government would give every possible support to the people of Gibraltar. The passage of this Bill will afford an opportunity of giving practical effect to that determination. Not only have we actively considered it, we have gone one stage further. It is intended to give Gibraltar substantially increased assistance from this Fund, which I think will enable the people out there to get ahead as quickly as possible with their plans for development, including, of course, the commercial port and the housing programme which the noble Lord mentioned.

Then the noble Lord asked me whether I could give him any information about G.A.T.T. Here I would say at once that I do not intend to-day to be drawn into a discussion on whether the progress made at Geneva has been successful or otherwise. My noble friend knows as well as I do that those discussions are still in progress, and I could not in any way whatever anticipate their conclusions. But, as the noble Lord is well aware, the position of the West Indies is possibly unique in the Colonial Territories and is constantly in our minds. I think I have now replied to all the many questions which have been addressed to me. I would only add once again that I am grateful to noble Lords who have taken part in this discussion. I hope that the House will now be prepared to give this Bill a Second Reading. We can then, as I said in my opening remarks, look forward to a new chapter in our Colonial history.

On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.