HL Deb 17 July 1957 vol 204 cc1312-29

6.47 p.m.


My Lords, I was saying when the House adjourned that I felt that the Chairman of the Corporation had a certain predilection in favour of banking and moneylending as opposed to direct projects. But the current Report, which we are discussing, shows that more and more of the direct projects initiated in the early years are bearing fruit and are now justifying the pioneering of the first Board. Fourteen of the direct enterprises made profits last year—four more than in 1955. Their profits aggregated about £477,000, which was an increase. Seven direct enterprises made losses, but these losses totalled only just over £105,000. Of that comparatively small sum of £105,000, over £77,000 was lost by one of the enterprises, the Macalder Nyanza Mines, which had teething troubles. As to the other six losing projects, between them they lost only £28,000, and none lost over £14,000. In view of those figures, I feel that those who laid the foundations in the early years must now be feeling some encouragement. I think that some of the projects upon which Lord Reith laid his hand might equally have succeeded, with perserverance and patience.




I am glad that the noble Lord has broken silence—whether his intervention is in order or not. But, at any rate, that is an opinion widely held, and in reply to his cry of "Nonsense!" I will only say that I hope that the one investigation which perhaps can be described as a project which is included among his eight new projects will meet with great success and yield abundant profits.

I must refer to another matter which keeps recurring in these reports—that is, the special losses account. These losses move through the pages of these reports like a wailing banshee, an uneasy ghost which nobody seems able to lay. Put in a nutshell, the Colonial Office refuse to agree to the Corporation's figure of £8 million for special losses, attributable to projects started before 1950, and the Corporation refuse to whittle down the amount, and they press for a waiver of interest on the whole of it. During the last two years, the Corporation have met the interest commitment by a wide margin, but they seem to feel that they must eschew risk in order to obtain the money with which to pay the Treasury interest.

I have done my best to make an analysis of these special losses from information given in the Reports since 1950, and I would put the losses at about £6½ million. In doing that, I have taken no account of deductions which should be made for the sale of assets of abandoned projects, such as Eleuthera, Andros and Cramer Estates, which were finally disposed of last year. The price of land in Eleuthera has trebled since the Corporation bought the land from Mr. Arthur Davies in 1950. If that is so, the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, seems to have made a very good bargain in that transaction. Sales of land in Eleuthera in 1956 must have shown a profit on the price paid in 1950, and it seems unrealistic to regard the final loss, if there is indeed any final loss, as the figure estimated at the end of 1952. Surely, when reckoning up the special losses, account should be taken of special gains and gains on sale of assets. I have in mind the sale of such Corporation interests as Chilanga Cement, Trinidad Cement and East Africa Industries. So far as I know, these sale prices have never been disclosed. I should say that the reckless sale of assets is as bad as reckless expenditure and should be searchingly inquired into.

If the figure of over £8 million is realistic, as the Corporation maintains, then I can understand the Corporation pressing to have the whole slate, not just a part of it, wiped clean. If the failure to get rid of the special losses, both interest and capital repayments, is the reason why the Corporation lean towards finance house business and safe investments to pay their interest bill, then the sooner the matter is straightened out the better for the cause of improved colonial development on the lines laid down by the 1948 Act, which are just as sound to-day as they were then. But if there is to be a special losses write-off—and I should not be opposed to that—it ought not to be allowed to go through without an independent inquiry into the necessity for the write-off and into the method employed in realising assets.

These are some of the points which make me feel that the Corporation and the Colonial Office are at cross purposes. But I wish at once to dissociate myself entirely from any suggestion that these cross purposes are due to any personal feelings existing between the Colonial Secretary and the Chairman of the Corporation. They are far too big men to let their personal feelings come into such a matter as that. But if these differences of opinion are not reconciled, they may provoke bad blood and jeopardise the future of the Corporation's operations. It would be very difficult for such a Corporation to continue to function if it were chronically at issue with the Colonial Office. I do not want to use that terrible cliché "frustrated", but I think that, members of the Board of the Corporation perhaps feel rather hamstrung. To quote a saying of the day, perhaps they are not "Angry Young Men" but "Angry Old Men" over these matters. Of course, the Government expect to have the last word on policy Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it—' What makest thou?'". The Government must have the last word. In any case, I am not prepared to agree that the Corporation's difficulties are entirely to be laid at the door of the Colonial Office; that, so to speak, the noble Lord, Lord Reith, has been given a job but the Colonial Office withhold from him the necessary tools.

In connection with the Resolution of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, which I will certainly vote for if he presses it to a Division, I notice that the recent Labour statement on colonial policy has advocated the more vigorous initiation and prosecution of direct projects by the Corporation. This is in line with the original purpose of the Act and is in line with what I have been saying this afternoon. I cannot say that I feel that such a policy has marked the chairmanship of the present incumbent. It was never the intention of the Labour Party, I am sure, that the Corporation should be a finance house, and that it has become so is the work of the Chairman and not of the Government. I think it would be advantageous were the Corporation given a statutory direction that no more than 10 per cent. of their projects should consist of advances at fixed interest involving little or no risk. There are plenty of banks and finance houses to do that sort of business.

In conclusion, I hope the noble Lord, Lord Reith, will allow me to say that I can feel sympathy with him at having to sit and listen to some of the criticisms which have been made and to which, by his office, he is prevented from replying as any other noble Lord under criticism is entitled to do. I hope he will believe that these criticisms are made in complete good faith and without animosity to him, to his Board or to the Corporation which he directs.

6.59 p.m.


My Lords, although I welcome the opportunity which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, has given us to debate a subject of the greatest interest and importance, I cannot agree with the precise terms in which his Motion is couched. It seems to me inappropriate that the noble Lord should wish to challenge Her Majesty's Government for doing something which clearly they have not done—namely, restrict the operations of the Colonial Development Corporation. The noble Earl, Lord Perth, when he spoke, made it clear that there is still £15 million available out of the balance of £100 million, and I would point out that that matter is mentioned in the Report itself, which says that although £85 million out of the total sum of £100 million, is definitely committed, the balance of £15 million "may be required" in order to bring these projects to fruition—not that it is needed immediately, or that it will be definitely required. Therefore, quite clearly, £15 million is still available, added to which the noble Earl did say that negotiations are now proceeding with the Colonial Development Corporation about increasing the amount of loans allowed to be outstanding. Therefore, I submit to your Lordships that the major part of the case of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, falls to the ground immediately.

The second important point the noble Lord made—because I believe that the other strictures he passed on the Government are largely of an administrative and organisational character—dealt with the emergent territories. As that is a matter which has been fully discussed by your Lordships, I am not going to say much about it to-night—certainly not as much as I should have done otherwise.

I must admit, however, that even after hearing the speech of the noble Earl the Leader of the House I am somewhat worried. I cannot quite get out of my mind the plight of those people that I visited last January in the Northern Territories, Ghana (and it is well known to your Lordships that the Northern Territories, however much we may welcome the independence of Ghana, did not ask for, or really want, their independence to be linked to Ghana), who live at the end of a magnificent road, built through the Coast Construction Company by the Colonial Development Corporation, to Bolgatanga, and are dependent for their existence on Colonial Development and Welfare grants. Your Lordships will remember that the C.D. and W. grants will also be withdrawn on the gaining of independence. There is a splendid agricultural project there, where primitive peasants are living, rather cheek by jowl, at a density of 380 to the square mile, or even, in some cases, 800 to the square mile, trying to scratch a living at what can hardly be called subsistence level. They are being taught good husbandry, in the fullest meaning of that word, rather in the same way that it is being carried out so brilliantly, and much more rapidly, under the Native Land Husbandry Act in Southern Rhodesia. I am worried as to what will happen to those people.

I know that the Government of Ghana intended last January to ask Her Majesty's Government for a loan of £30 million for the exclusive development of the Northern Territories, to be spent over a period of ten years, knowing full well that the economic balance and prosperity of that country, and possibly its political stability, may depend on that development and the expenditure of that sum. I mention that point because I feel—and in this respect I disagree, to a certain extent, with my noble friend Lord Lloyd—that we have some responsibility in this regard, and it is in our own interests to see that political stability is safeguarded in a country where one cannot say that democracy is yet firmly established.

When I was trying to get into perspective the whole problem of investment in the Colonies I had recourse to the Report on the Colonies for 1956–57, presented to Parliament last month, of which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, made use in a part of his speech, referring to figures of imports and exports. Your Lordships will find it there stated (I think it is on page 84) that over the next few years the Colonies are planning to spend £150 million per annum on their development—five-year economic programmes drawn up at the instigation and with the encouragement of the Colonial Office itself. Out of that total sum, 10 per cent., at least, is to be provided from Colonial Development and Welfare grants; and as to the balance, between a half and two-thirds, let us say some 60 per cent., will be found from the financial resources of the Colonies themselves. That still leaves a substantial gap of some 25 per cent. or even 30 per cent. to be raised by external loans. So it is quite clear that, although the Colonial Development Corporation could never close that gap, there is immense scope for it to operate in the Colonies in assisting them to find the necessary money. And it is fairly clear, I think, that when the sum which is now under discussion is agreed upon there must be a substantial increase in the amount made available to the Corporation, although I have no doubt that it will not be enough to satisfy many of your Lordships, and certainly not enough to satisfy all the desires of the Colonies.

I should like to mention one or two specific cases, for this is the only opportunity we have of discussing the affairs of the Colonial Development Corporation in any detail. I would draw your Lordships' attention to the fact that under the economic programme put out by the Government and Federation of Nigeria, where they will have to raise £30 million from external loans over the years 1956 to 1960, I think I may not be far out in guessing that they are depending upon, or hoping to be able to rely upon, participation of the Colonial Development Corporation to the tune of no less than £10 million.

As an example of the value of the work of the Colonial Development Corporation in Nigeria I would cite what has been done in Lagos. Those of your Lordships who have visited Lagos, as I had the good fortune to do earlier this year, and have seen the work of the Lagos Executive Development Board and the Nigeria Housing Development Society, cannot fail to have been impressed with their achievements. A great stretch of land has been reclaimed along the port for subsequent industrial development, and low-cost housing is going on in and around Lagos, in conjunction with the clearance of slums, which can only be described, I think, as among the worst in the world: they are horrible, terrifying—a perpetual invitation to cholera and the bubonic plague, which has not been unknown there in the past. I do suggest that if any alteration is to be made in the constitution of the Colonial Development Corporation, and any expansion of a financial nature is to be extended to it, there is at the same time room for closer co-operation and co-ordination between the Corporation and the Colonial Development and Welfare Organisation, which, I believe, is controlled directly by the Colonial Office.

As an example of how this co-ordination might work to advantage, I would cite two projects in Nyasaland, one actual and one potential. The potential one is that of the Shire Valley Hydro-electric Power Scheme, in which the Colonial Development Corporation has repeatedly expressed interest, and on which research and investigation work has already been done by the Governments concerned. Since this is a case where money is not available—there is no question of this difficulty of alternative finance arising; the scheme is more or less "bogged down" for lack of finance—surely it is one where the Colonial Development and Welfare people might step in with an initial grant, in anticipation of the subsequent participation, on a profitable basis, of the Colonial Development Corporation with the Federal Government.

If that were done, it would to some extent, I suggest, make amends for the other scheme I am going to mention—the fiasco of the Nyika Forestry Development Syndicate. Your Lordships will know that that has been discontinued this year, largely on account of the lack of transport facilities—in other words, the roads and communications are inadequate. If that scheme had been worked out originally, in consultation with the C.D. and W. officials, possibly there might have been a grant to lay those roads, so that it would never have been necessary eventually to discontinue that scheme on that ground, which I understand was the main reason for the withdrawal of the private partners in that enterprise.

While we are on that scheme there is another reason given in the Report for the discontinuance of the Nyika Forestry Development Syndicate. To get the words right, I will quote from the Report. It says: But when negotiations between Syndicate and Nyasaland Government were resumed in November "— that is last year— difficulties inherent in the long-term leasing of a large area of African Trust land, on top of the well-recognised risks of a project such as this, led the Syndicate to conclude that the project must be discontinued… I would ask the noble Earl, Lord Perth, when he replies, if he could perhaps clarify that situation, as all these schemes are started in collaboration with, or rather with the encouragement and knowledge of, the colonial Government concerned. Why was that difficulty not foreseen at the outset? I would also ask what is the precise difficulty now affecting this long leasehold, and whether such a difficulty, which is bound to arise in the future, cannot be resolved? I should be grateful if the noble Earl could reply to that point.

While I am on the Nyika scheme, I feel that I must bring up another point which is not particularly to the credit of the Corporation, though as an admirer of the Corporation and its staff I do so regretfully. When I was in Southern Rhodesia last March and this Scheme was discontinued, a statement was issued from the London office, I understand—not from the regional office—of the Colonial Development Corporation, giving, amongst other reasons, that this scheme was discontinued also because of the uncertainty of the political situation. That statement caused grave distress and dismay, not to say considerable anger, not only in Nyasaland but throughout the whole Federation, and was, I believe, the subject of a formal protest from the Federal Government. I hope the noble Earl can give an assurance that his right honourable friend the Secretary of State will see that no such thing occurs again. Also I trust that the noble Lord who is Chairman of the Corporation has already taken steps to see that in future no official of the Corporation gives out statements of a political or semi-political character.

While upon that topic, I feel that I should touch upon the point which the noble Lord, Lord Winster, raised—I was not going to mention the name of the gentleman concerned but the noble Lord did. There was the question of this letter from Mr. Arthur Gaitskell in The Times—a letter of a highly controversial character, and far from complimentary to Sir Roy Welensky and the various people in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. I may be wrong here, but I feel that perhaps a principle is involved, and I should be grateful if the noble Earl could give his view, and possibly the official view of the Government, when he replies, as to the propriety of a member of the Board indulging in public and in the Press in political controversy, especially when it concerns a Colony with which the Corporation on which he serves is concerned. This is a statutory Board, and the members are appointed by the Secretary of State. I thought I should mention that subject, and perhaps there can be an official ruling upon it.

That brings me, naturally, to consideration of the case of Southern Rhodesia. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, did not get the facts quite correct—and in fact he was put right by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, when he spoke—in that the operations of the C.D.C. in Southern Rhodesia are virtually excluded altogether; and they cannot be for the benefit of Southern Rhodesia. They can be placed in Southern Rhodesia only if they are for the benefit of the two Northern Territories of the Federation. Noble Lords opposite, of course, had the opportunity, when they created the Colonial Development Corporation in 1948, of including Southern Rhodesia, but they were content to rest upon the definition of a "Colony" contained in the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940. The definition there is that "Colony", for the purposes of the Act, is not a Colony possessing responsible government.

There seems to be an anomaly here, and I would seek a clarification of what is "responsible government." Is it different from what we understand normally as self-government? I ask that because it occurs to me that before Ghana achieved independence, it must surely have had self-government, under the 1951 Constitution, and its own Prime Minister; and yet the Colonial Development Corporation was permitted to operate in the Gold Coast. And what of the situation of Nigeria, where Eastern and Western Regions are about to have self-government bestowed upon them? Is that not "responsible government"? I seek clarification of the subtle difference between "responsible government" and "self-government". Either the two Regions I have cited in Nigeria should be excluded—which is far from being my wish—or Southern Rhodesia should be included in the operations of the Colonial Development Corporation.

I have already detained your Lordships too long, and I would only say, in closing, that I feel that the attitude we take to-day to this smaller problem of the Colonial Development Corporation will affect very largely the feeling outside this House of what is likely eventually to happen in the Commonwealth as a whole. I would only echo the words of the Leader of the Liberal Party, speaking in another place in that excellent debate on Commonwealth and Colonial Resources (I think it was called), some two months ago, when he said that he hoped the House would not evade the fundamental issue of what the people of this country are prepared to give up for the sake of the Commonwealth and Empire—and, if I may add in my own words, for their own sakes. For I am sure that investment to the maximum possible limit, and even beyond it, in the Commonwealth and Colonies will benefit in the near future the people of this country and generations of Englishmen to come.

7.20 p.m.


My Lords, it would be tempting to follow the noble Lord who has just sat down into a general review of Commonwealth and Colonial development, but we should need several more days for that, so I propose to refer only briefly to some of the points; that have been brought up in his debate. The impression I get from this debate is that it is thoroughly disappointing. I think that my noble friend Lord Ogmore will feel the same. The points he raised have been dealt with by the Government spokesman, but, to my mind, the replies carry no conviction at all. There was the point about whether the Corporation had, in fact, reached the limit of their statutory borrowing powers. The noble Lord, Lord Hastings, said that there was still £15 million available. I notice, however, that paragraph 14 of the Report says that £85 million out of £100 million was committed, but on top of that there was £38 million of capital requirements for new schemes under examination. Those are schemes which are not fully accepted but I think the Corporation feel that they are morally committed to them, and that carries the requirement of capital far above the £100 million limit. Before I go any further, I should mention the very notable speech from the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, which we all heard with great pleasure, knowing what a respected and loved figure his father was here. When the noble Lord comes and delivers a speech out of experience of one part of the world, Malaya, and gives us the benefit of that experience, we congratulate him and hope we shall often hear him again.

The noble Earl, Lord Perth, dealt with a good many of the points of criticism that were raised, and he also brought in the Labour Party's new policy pamphlet on economic aid to the Colonies. None of us have any complaint of that: it is perfectly fair, and we are not in any way ashamed of this policy pamphlet. Indeed, it seems to most of us to be a tremendous advance in giving in broad outline and a certain amount of detail the policy that a Labour Government would pursue. But I would ask that, when it is quoted and commented on, that comments should be fair ones; that they should not be short phrases extracted from their context, and the policy should fee looked at as a whole.

The noble Earl quoted something about planning. The phrase about planning was taken out of its context. He complained of the pamphlet saying that the Corporation should play a much greater part… in planning the balanced development of the Colonies. If he had taken into account the whole of the previous paragraph, which explains that what is advocated is the co-operation of the Corporation and its finances with local interests and local colonial Governments and their finances, in order to ensure a balanced development of the territory, then surely nobody would quarrel with it. He complained that the pamphlet gave no credit to this country or to the members of the Oversea Civil Service for what had been done in the Colonies. But this is a pamphlet on economic aid, and there is no mention of political or administrative subjects. It would be out of place to go into a general review of our record in the Colonies. On pages 9 and 10, however, the pamphlet details the sums set aside by this country for colonial development over the last ten or fifteen years. On page 20, it quotes the total sums allotted, and it does so in order to draw the lesson of the inadequacy of the sums that we have spent up to now.

The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, gave us a glimpse of an attitude of mind that I thought went out in politics in this country sixteen or seventeen years ago—the idea that a Colony could have only the social services that it could afford to pay for itself. That concept of Colonies was abandoned, I think, with the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1940, which I believe was carried through Parliament by the noble Lord's father himself, the late Lord Lloyd. Ever since that day it has been accepted that we in the home country must contribute towards the development and welfare of the peoples of the colonial territories, and it was disappointing to hear that the old conception is still in the minds of some noble Lords. The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, spoke as if the only thing that mattered in Colonial development was that capital should get as much per cent. interest as possible, so that investors should get their money back. Those ideas, we hope, are dead.

I should like to refer, briefly and regretfully, to the noble Earl, Lord Perth, who mentioned the agencies outside the Commonwealth from which capital investment might come. They are mentioned in the Labour Party pamphlet because they are part of the whole picture of aid from the highly developed to the underdeveloped countries of the world, and that, as we all know, is probably the greatest and most dangerous problem in the world to-day. It was deplorable to hear the noble Earl, particularly with his tradition, refer to "odd foreign bodies" when he meant the World Health Organisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and even S.U.N.F.E.D., which surely has been talked of and discussed for two or three years. For one of Her Majesty's Ministers to protest that he knows nothing of it and that it is a "queer foreign thing" is very deplorable.

There is one other question which arose in the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and which I should like to follow up. Do I understand from him that every project that the Colonial Development Corporation has before it has to be submitted for approval to the Colonial Office? It may be that I misunderstood him, but something he said sounded very much as though that was the situation. If that is so, what on earth are the Chairman and Board of the Corporation supposed to do? Do we collect a lot of distinguished people and pay them high salaries and then allow them no discretion at all? I think we ought to hear more about what the situation is.

Finally, the basic question really is that of the emergent territories. It surely is no question of a two-tier Commonwealth. Rather facile phrases like that do not get us much further. The basis is need. If a country needs outside assistance and outside capital investment, we see no reason why it should not have it. India has been mentioned. We have been contributing for a number of years to help India economically through the Colombo Plan. If there is a call for further investment in any of the older self-governing countries of the Commonwealth—well, why not? As to what we mean in regard to the emergent territories, surely it is totally unrealistic to say that they must show their credit-worthiness. How can a country that has newly achieved political independence at the same time be completely economically independent? The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, put his finger on the trouble, which is that their political advancement has outrun their economic strength.

With one proviso, which I will come to in a moment, I would say that it is surely grossly unjust, and there is something of malice about it, in the idea that if you give political independence you then immediately turn off the tap of economic aid altogether. The proviso I would make is this: that the emergent countries are sensitive of the word "colonial". I think there is a clear case for the title to be changed. There is no reason why it should be changed to a large extent; the word "Commonwealth" could be substituted for "Colonial". The initials and their goodwill could remain. Clearly, there is a case for that. I would end by saying that I, and I think my noble friends, are deeply disappointed that the Government are not able to give any further help.

7.32 p.m.


My Lords, with your Lordships' leave I will make a few finishing remarks, because, as you know, the noble Earl, Lord Home, has had to go off for some very important reason, and so he spoke a little early. First, I should like to say what a pleasure it was to hear the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, make his maiden speech. Curiously enough, some few years ago I, too, made my maiden speech on the subject of the Colonial Development Corporation. It seemed to me that the noble Lord spoke as an "old hand," practised in the ways of the House. I, and I think we all, look forward to hearing many more speeches from him. It was not only a first-hand tribute from someone who knows Malaya and the activities of the Corporation there. He asked me two specific questions. One was if the Corporation is to continue with projects which are already in operation, what is the meaning of the words "if necessary"? We are up against the usual problem there. It is quite impossible to give a clear definition which will operate in every individual case. It must be something which will be decided according to the circumstances of each individual project, and as a matter of record we are looking into the various projects at this time with the Colonial Development Corporation to try and get some guidance. He also asked whether the Corporation would be allowed to continue further finance for the Industrial Development Corporation. The answer to that is, No. I think the same answer is applicable in relation to the Federal Land Development Authority.

Lord Lloyd made some interesting suggestions on how any new money that may be coming to the Corporation should be made available. I know that due attention will be taken of these suggestions. Lord Milverton asked one or two specific questions. He asked whether the Corporation is fulfilling its purpose. My answer to that is, Yes. He further asked whether there was more scope for the Corporation in the Colonies. Again, my answer most emphatically would be, Yes; and we think it is of first importance that the Corporation should concentrate on the Colonies. I assure your Lordships that there is no danger of atrophy if it continues its activities in these fields.

Lord Winster made various points about the presentation of certain items in the Report. I know that these will be given proper and due weight and consideration. He also made certain comments on the eight new ventures which the Corporation has started this year. I must confess that I have not had an opportunity to go into each one of them in detail, but I am sure that in two or three respects he is wrong in saying that they are only straight loans. If he likes, I will take up that matter further with him outside the House.


My Lords, I would say that the nature of the loan and the advance varies in the case of the seven different investments, but, in any case, they cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called direct projects.


I do not think we need go into further argument on this point. They have to take an equity interest in the venture and its fortunes. Lord Hastings made one or two points which I thought I might possibly answer later, because I have not received notice of the details. It is, of course, of great interest to hear certain comments of his which come first hand. He made a suggestion that there may be co-operation of a kind between the Corporation and Colonial Development and Welfare, by which the Colonial Development and Welfare met the Corporation and then the Corporation carried on. I think that that is a dangerous concept, because it certainly sounds to me like some form of hidden subsidy.

The noble Earl, Lord Lucan, referred again to the question of the borrowing powers of the Corporation and just where they stand. I do not think there is any point in going further into that matter, because, as has already been announced, more money will shortly be forthcoming for the Corporation. I am sorry if the noble Earl feels that I was unfair in certain respects in my quotations from the Labour Party pamphlet. I will only say that I shall be happy to leave the record to speak for itself. In relation to the international agencies, I may say that I was not running them down; I was merely saying that it seemed to me a curious thing—and I will repeat this—that the pamphlet goes into considerable detail about the activities of international agencies but makes no mention at all of the activities of the Colonial Service or Oversea Service in regard to what it has done here.

My Lords, this has been a most valuable debate. We have had many valuable suggestions, all of which will be noted and, in certain cases, I am sure, acted upon. I hope and believe that many of the misunderstandings which have arisen—such as the charges that Lord Ogmore mentioned in the Report—have been cleared up. What is interesting to me is not the past but the future, and I can assure noble Lords that our aim is smooth working with the Colonial Development Corporation, which I know is their aim, too. We have heard that the Colonies are to have more money; but we have also heard that the Corporation is not to have an expansion of its activities in the independent Commonwealth beyond what has already been announced—that is to say, in one or two of the independent countries it will now be able to carry on what it has already begun, but it will not take on new projects. I will not go further into the reasons for this decision. My noble friend Lord Home has touched on them, and the matter will be further developed in the White Paper. All I will say is that we have to consider the broad policy and the facts and realities of our economic position; and it is that, and no doctrinaire judgment one way or the other, which has convinced us that the proper rôle for the Corporation is colonial development, and only in the most limited sphere, where it has already started, work in the independent Commonwealth.

7.40 p.m.


My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have contributed to this debate. I felt, and still feel, that

it was necessary, to have this debate. This is a Report laid before Parliament which contains very severe charges, and it was necessary that Parliament should debate them. I want to thank the Ministers also for the care they have given to their replies; I shall say something about the contents in a moment, but they have been careful in giving the House all the information the Government wish it to have. I am particularly grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Home, for giving us a preview of the White Paper. We cannot say very much about it because we have not seen the actual text and have not heard the contents, but he has given us some indication of what they are likely to be. I should like to join with other noble Lords in congratulating the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, on a very interesting and informative maiden speech: we shall hope often to hear him make a contribution in our discussions.

I was glad to receive confirmation that there was no personal feeling or animus in this matter between the Secretary of State and the noble Lord, Lord Reith, in spite of what one might have thought to the contrary, in view of the situation which has arisen over the Report; but I accept the statement made by the noble Earl, Lord Perth. One can only assume that the reason for the Government's attitude is a doctrinaire one. As my noble friend Lord Lucan has said, we on this side are dissatisfied with the Government's reply. We feel that it is evasive, that both the noble Earl, Lord Home, and the noble Earl, Lord Perth, have been full of specious promises of which they have been unable to give any details—and it is actual, definite detailed promises that we require. In those circumstances, as we are dissatisfied, I must ask your Lordships to divide on my Resolution.

On Question, Whether the said Resolution shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 18; Not-Contents, 41.

Attlee, E. Burden, L. [Teller.] Quibell, L.
Lucan, E. [Teller.] Crook, L. Reith, L.
Haden-Guest, L. Shepherd, L.
Alexander of Hillsborough, V. Lawson, L. Sinha, L.
Stansgate, V. Mathers, L. Winster, L.
Milverton, L. Wise, L.
Archibald, L. Ogmore, L.
Kilmuir, V (L. Chancellor.) Swinton, E. Hastings, L.
Hawke, L.
Lansdowne, M. Colville of Culross, V. Howard of Glossop, L.
Stonehaven, V. Lloyd, L.
Buckinghamshire, E. Luke, L.
Dundee, E. Ashbourne, L. Merrivale, L.
Fortescue, E. [Teller.] Bennett of Edgbaston, L. Mills, L.
Glasgow, E. Birdwood, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Gosford, E. Chesham, L. Remnant, L.
Grey, E. Conesford, L. Rockley, L.
Howe, E. Congleton, L. St. Oswald, L.
Morley, E. Digby, L. Strathclyde, L.
Onslow, E. [Teller.] Dovercourt, L. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
Perth, E. Fairfax of Cameron, L. Tweedsmuir, L.
St. Aldwyn, E. Grantchester, L. Waleran, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Resolution disagreed to accordingly.