HL Deb 29 July 1957 vol 205 cc245-61

4.10 p.m.

Debate resumed.


My Lords. I should like at the beginning of my remarks to acknowledge with gratitude the kind things that have been said in this House, and outside, about the work of the Constitutional Commission over which I had the honour to preside. And I should like to make it clear that we set out to work as a team. We did work as a team, and each and all of my colleagues is fully entitled to his full share of any credit that our work may have attracted. It may not be out of place that I should make some general remarks on this occasion. I would not pose as an expert on Malaya because I was there less than six months. But, of course, I did have. as did my colleagues, unusual opportunities of seeing a great variety of people and of hearing their views, formally and informally; and I think I can safely say that each of us left Malaya feeling that we had the personal friendship of a considerable number of people in that country—and people of all races. I think that, in those circumstances, perhaps, we got almost more help from our informal contacts than we did from formal representations.

I can confess now that I went to that country with some misgiving. I knew, of course, that there were the ordinary problems that confront any country setting out on a career of independence, but in Malaya there were also peculiar problems inseparable from a multi-racial society—a society in which the Malays outnumber the Chinese (though not by very much), in which there are a large number of Indians and substantial communities of other races. Then there is a further matter which I felt might make difficulties. Seventy or eighty years ago. Malaya was in many ways far behind most other countries. To-day, Malaya is far in front of many other countries in just those ways; and such tremendous progress in such a very short time must necessarily make it more difficult to establish a stable society. But there are a number of factors which undoubtedly make for stability, and I am bound to say now that when I left Malaya I felt a great deal more confident about the future of that country than I did when I went there.

May I take first the economic side? If there is any truth at all in the view that a high standard of living means political stability, then Malaya undoubtedly has the highest standard of living, for the ordinary man, of any country in South East Asia and very probably has the highest standard of living of any country in the whole of that continent. That is due largely to natural advantages, but I think one must pay tribute to the progress which has been made, and to the great efforts which have been made by those who have built up the rubber and tin industries. The rubber industry has been built up over the last sixty years or so; the tin industry over a longer period. And the wealth those industries have produced has not only created a public service throughout the Federation of a character which is far superior to those in most other countries with a comparatively short history, but has filtered down to the ordinary man, the ordinary family, very far removed from any direct contact with those two industries.

For the future, it would undoubtedly be unwise to rely on the continued prosperity of those industries as sufficient to maintain the economy. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that industry must be developed, but I would say that even more important is the right use of the land of the country. We thought it necessary to devote a great deal of attention to that aspect, because there were certain unsatisfactory features about the present situation. We came to the conclusion that there was no reason why forestry, in particular, should not become a very great producer of wealth for the new nation. But that will, of course, require a great deal of skill and time and thought and money. Even with the rapidly rising population of Malaya, I think there are good hopes that the present standard of living can be maintained, and even improved, over the coming years.

But much more important than the economic side is the political side, because without political stability nothing else will really matter in the end. Here I think that Malaya starts with one great advantage. I could find no sign of personal ill-feeling between the members of the different races. Much credit is due to every race concerned, but I do not think we should forget the example that has been given by British officers who have devoted their lives over the last eighty years or more to the welfare of that country. I saw no sign of any social or racial intolerance, and I do not believe that there ever has been any in that country—I mean, personally, as between individuals—but, of course, that sort of thing can be stirred up. There are trouble-makers in the country, and trouble could be stirred up in Malaya. I do not think that it will be, however. I put that view on three grounds.

In the first place, the ordinary Malay voter struck me as a person who had a surprising amount of political sense—I say a "surprising amount" because the apparatus of democracy is very new in that country. I think there are great hopes of the ordinary voter there showing pretty mature political judgment. Secondly, I would comment on the ability, the wisdom and the strength of character of the Alliance Party leaders, who have already, I think, contributed a great deal to the prospects for the future. I hope that Tunku Abdul Rahman will not consider me presumptuous if I mention him and say that, in my judgment, he has already put himself in the select company of statesmen of the modern world.

It is impossible to over-estimate the importance of Malaya for the future. Success means a great deal not only to the inhabitants of that country, who are comparatively few, but to a far wider circle. It is very important for us and for the whole of the Commonwealth. Economically, Malaya is unique in the sterling area, but politically the success of the new Malaya is even more important. I do not think that we can hide from ourselves the fact that the political future of South East Asia is precarious; and I believe that if Malaya makes a success of the future, as I think she will, her success will be an example to her neighbours. But if Malaya should not be a success, then to my mind the future of the whole of South East Asia is dark indeed. The march of progress has now brought us to a point when it is difficult to say of any country that its future is assured, but it seems to me that one can easily say of Malaya that its future looks more promising than the future of most other countries in that part of the world.

That brings me to my next point. For many reasons but, put at the lowest, for our own selfish advantage, it is of the utmost importance that Her Majesty's Government should give every possible assistance to the new Federation, because so much depends on the success of the next few years, and it would indeed be a pity if it went wrong by reason of some lack of timely help. I should like to say a further word on a kindred matter. I have heard rumours—I hope that they are not well founded—that those who direct the investment of private capital are somewhat hesitant about the future of Malaya. I think that I can best express my own view in this way: I believe that Malaya is one of the minority of countries to-day where there is fair prospect that foreign capital will receive proper treatment. I hope that there will be an influx of such capital as is required for the development of the country; and if it is forthcoming, I believe that it will be wisely used.

I pass to the problems that confronted us on the Commission more especially in drafting the Constitution. I do not wish to go into details about these matters (I do not think that it would be wise), only to make some general remarks. I think that we recognised the peculiar problems of the country. We certainly tried not to copy slavishly from other Constitutions, and I am happy to think that most of our recommendations have been accepted in substance. Of course, there have been a good many changes, but we all recognised that on political questions we should not have the last word. The greater part of the changes have been in the direction of giving more freedom to the Executive and to the Parliament of Malaya, and correspondingly less extensive guarantees of individual rights than we had recommended. But, of course, holding the balance is a matter of political judgment, and it is a matter where, as we recognised, those who have the responsibility of governing the country ought to have a very large say in determining the final shape of the Constitution. I cannot speak for my colleagues, because I have not heard from them since the White Paper came out, but speaking for myself, I am not dismayed at the changes which have been made.

The other changes, which do not come into the category I have described, are mostly of minor importance. I would mention only two. One is the establishment of Islam as the State religion in the Federation. As we set out in our Report, we were specifically asked by the Rulers, who are the guardians of Islam in their respective States, not to put anything of that kind in the Constituion. But they have changed their minds since we were in Malaya, and. speaking for myself. I see no objection in the change that has been made in the Constitution following upon that.

The other matter that I think I must mention is citizenship. The changes with regard to citizenship of the Federation may be substantial, or they may be simply paper changes. I do not myself regard the changes as of vital importance, but perhaps we were more interested in Commonwealth citizenship, and I am glad to say that Commonwealth citizenship has been retained. I will not trouble your Lordships with the extremely technical matter of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. There has been a change made there, but I think I am safe in saying that the practical interests of those in the Federation who are at present citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies—and they are in a much wider class than inside Penang and Malacca—will not be prejudiced in the long run by the changes that have been made. Therefore it seems to me that the substantial changes which have been made, although I recognise their importance, have not destroyed, though they may have shifted, the balance which we tried to keep.

I hope that your Lordships will allow me to say a few words about the form of the new Constitution. We devoted a great deal of time to drafting the Constitution and, as has been said, my colleagues are very eminent jurists, all but one of whom have had considerable experience in this matter of drafting Constitutions. Our draft has been extensively altered. In most cases there has been no change in either the substance or, I venture to think, the clarity of the articles. Drafting is largely a matter of taste, and some people may like the new form and others the old. With regard to the majority of changes, I do not think it makes a ha'p'orth of difference. Some improvements I readily admit, but I regret to say that in some cases, where no change of substance has been intended, the new form is considerably less clear than the form which we recommended. In one case, at least, a form which we considered, and deliberately rejected, for practical reasons, has now been inserted. Why, I do not know. I think that part of the explanation is that clarity has been sacrificed to brevity.

I am bound to say that when I come to the drafting of the new provisions which have been made necessary by changes of policy, I am uneasy. There is one extremely important new article which is so drafted that I could not venture to prophesy what view a court would take of it. If the court takes one view, then an extremely important change has been made, of which there is not a whisper in the White Paper and which I am sure was never intended. To have an important article left in such a position of ambiguity and obscurity seems to me extremely unfortunate. That is not the only one. I realise that time was very short for the draftsmen, but I venture to think that if less time had been wasted on making unnecessary alterations, then perhaps the necessary alterations might have received further consideration. I regret to have to say it, but the drafting of this Constitution falls far short of the high standard of drafting to which your Lordships are accustomed in Government Bills in this House.

I also regret the dropping of a clause which we included in order to enable fundamental rights to be more readily ascertained and defended. It is said in paragraph 53 of the White Paper: Sufficient remedies can best be provided by the ordinary law". It appears to have been forgotten, however, that the ordinary law of this country grew up in a country where there is no written Constitution and where there are no guaranteed rights. Therefore it is not very surprising if the ordinary law is hardly adequate for a Constitution which sets out to guarantee individual rights. I regret to trouble your Lordships with these technicalities, but I feel bound, in the interests of the reputations of my distinguished colleagues, to disclaim all responsibility for the form of the Constitution. I must just leave it at that.

I would not end on a technical note. The best Constitution cannot ensure success. Success requires political steadiness in the electorate, and wisdom and forbearance in the leaders. But those qualities exist in Malaya, and I believe that they exist to such an extent that they will be able to cope with the problem in front of them. There is a very long task in building a united nation in Malaya after Merdeka Day, but I do not believe that it is beyond the powers of those who will have to shoulder the burden. I know that I speak for all Members of the Commission over which I presided when I say that we acquired, and we retain, a very personal and sincere liking for the peoples of that country—I should now say the people of that country—and we shall retain a keen interest in their future. I am sure that, on behalf of all of us, I may express our confident good wishes for the success of the new independent Malaya.

4.32 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to support the Second Reading of this Bill which makes it possible to grant independence next month to Malaya. The people of Malaya have reached political maturity, and we now give them the key to their own future. We cannot anticipate easy days lying ahead for them, but if the Federation Government show the same statesmenship and tolerance, and if the people of Malaya keep faith with their Government, many of the problems will solve themselves. But the Government and the people of Malaya will find, as many other nations have found, that overnight, by a stroke of a pen, a nation is not created. The real worth of a nation is its people, more so than its own economic resources. Malaya is a country of many people—Malays, Chinese, Indians, Pakistanis, Sinhalese, Eurasians and Europeans from many countries—who are very different in language, custom, religion and temperament: yet they have succeeded in living in peace and harmony together.

A statesmanship and tolerance has been obvious from the conduct of the leaders of the various racial groups in the Federation of Malaya. I think it quite remarkable that only three years ago the Federal Legislative Council was an entirely nominated body, and now Her Majesty's Government, with confidence in the leaders of Malaya, feel that they can grant them their independence. One of the dangers to stable government in Malaya is that the organisations and associations which make up the Federal Legislative Council and the Government are organised on communal lines; and there is an obvious danger that these associations will think on communal lines, and not nationally. This danger has so far been averted by the example set by the leaders of these various associations. In my view, it would be an advantage if the Alliance Parties gradually ceased from being communal associations and became a political Party. Faced in a Legislative Council and in the country by a political Party or an Opposition, they could offer alternative economic and political programmes.

In the debate on the Colonial Development Corporation two weeks ago I urged help for Malaya in its early days of independence. I do not propose to pursue that subject this afternoon, but I think your Lordships will agree that a dependent country economically does not transform itself overnight by attaining political independence into an independent economic unit; there is bound to be a period before any country can attain the status whereby, in her own right, she can attract private capital. Malaya has a stable Government, a Civil Service second to none in South-East Asia, and a virile and intelligent people: in fact, as good a prospect as any for foreign investment. But, detracting from all these attractions, are the unsettled conditions in the neighbouring countries, and, of course, the brooding shadow of China. I trust that it is the firm intention of Her Majesty's Government to give continued aid to Malaya in these early days of independence.

I believe that we in this country are under some obligation to Malaya. Apart from her contributions to the sterling account, Malaya has stood firm since 1948 against a Communist insurrection. My impression, being in this country, is that we here do not really appreciate the exact price that the people of Malaya have paid since 1948 in combating the Communist terrorists in Malaya. Our own forces and those of the Commonwealth have shown great courage and tenacity in the appalling conditions in the jungles of Malaya. The noble Earl, Lord Home, mentioned the Australian and New Zealand troops. I think at this stage we should pay tribute to those wonderful men from Nepal who make up, I believe, four or five battalions of Gurkha troops, and the wonderful soldiers from Fiji, the First Battalion, the Fiji Regiment. But I think your Lordships would be surprised, as I was, to find out what the casualties were, since 1948, among Malay troops and civilians in Malaya. I have figures for the period from the beginning of the insurrection to February of this year. The Police have lost in action against the terrorists 1,338 killed, and 1,579 wounded; the military forces have had killed in action 508, and wounded 924. These men all took up arms in protection of their country. But the price that the unarmed civilians had to pay was even greater. They have had killed 2,453 and a further 805 missing must be presumed dead; and wounded, 1,379.

I think this is a good opportunity to remember three High Commissioners who each have played a great part in making this Bill possible to-day. I think of Sir Henry Gurney, who was killed by the terrorists at Fraser's Hill. I think of Sir Gerald Templer, who became High Commissioner on the death of Sir Henry Gurney and who brought about a change in the battle against the terrorists. I think also of Sir Donald MacGillivray, whose quiet work has done much, I believe, in making the present Constitution acceptable to so many different sections in Malaya.

It is quite right that we should pay tribute to the great men of Malaya, and I think on this occasion we should remember also the more humble men. I think of the planters and the miners, who kept their vital industries open. I think we should remember the engine drivers, who kept the mail trains going through the night, in spite of repeated mining and ambushing. I think we should also remember particularly those wonderful women of the Red Cross and the W.V.S. who, unarmed and unescorted, went into the jungle to bring medical supplies to the villages of Malaya. Many civilians have paid the great price. Apart from threats to their lives, they have had to face reprisals against their families. These people will not need any monument of stone. I believe that this Bill, which we hope to pass this afternoon, is their memorial; for if they had not stood firm against the Communist terrorists this Bill would never have been possible.

We have a great obligation to Malaya, for if Malaya had gone Communist I believe all South-East Asia would have gone. Malaya is the key to South-East Asia, and I hope Her Majesty's Government will remember that fact on any occasion when they are approached for assistance. Just before he was taken from us, my father was preparing a speech on his visit to Malaya to deliver in your Lordships' House. I should like to say something that I know he would have liked to say. He was greatly impressed by the quality and calibre of the expatriate civil servant—that is, the British civil servant working in Malaya—his obvious devotion to duty and his affection for Malaya and the people. The wives of these expatriates and the wives of Europeans working in commerce and in industry all played their part in the many charitable organisations. Many of these faithful servants are now coming back to this country, their services no longer required. The Government of the Federation of Malaya have been, I believe, generous in the way of compensation and pension. But many of these people are in the prime of life. They come back to this country, looking for a home and employment. I would ask Her Majesty's Government and, through your Lordships' House, industry and commerce, to try to find openings for these people. I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken or propose taking in assisting these expatriate civil servants.

I have carefully avoided any comment on the problems of the Constitution. As the noble Lord, Lord Reid, has said, we cannot pretend that it is perfect, and that all sections of Malaya are satisfied, but I believe that, in the circumstances, it is the best that can be devised. The words and phrasing of a Constitution, however, are secondary compared with the spirit in which it is interpreted. I hesitate to give any advice to the people of Malaya, but this I will say. I believe that the leaders of U.M.N.O. and M.C.A., the main partners of the Alliance Government, are aware of the dangers of racial strife, and are determined to be fair to all sections of the community. But that is not enough. All sections, particularly the more militant part or section of the Malay and Chinese community, must show equal tolerance to each other and make no demands that they know will meet with bitter opposition and resentment from the others. If I may say so, they should follow the example of the British civil servant, who has worked so hard to make independence possible, thereby sacrificing his own personal career. Given tolerance, the constitutional problems will solve themselves.

I am glad to have had the opportunity of speaking in support of this Bill. I should also like to take this opportunity of wishing the Rulers, the Government of the Federation and the people of Malaya good fortune and happiness in their new independence, and I am quite sure all ex-Malayans would wish to be associated with those good wishes.

4.47 p.m.


My Lords, this Bill has been generally welcomed by the noble Lords who have spoken to-day, the noble Lords, Lord Ogmore, Lord Reid and Lord Shepherd. They all have one advantage over me, in that they have spent either a longer or a shorter part of their life in Malaya. I feel sure that what they have said is of particular interest to your Lordships' House, and will be remembered and commented upon in Malaya itself.

The Bill is unique in that it provides for the independence of the Federation of Malaya, although nine out of the eleven States comprising this Federation were never colonial or British territories; rather have they always retained their own sovereignty under their own Royal Rulers. At the same time, for the last seventy years association between these States and the United Kingdom has been of the closest. We can share with the inhabi tants of the territories in the pride of Merdeka Day, August 31, knowing that in partnership we have built and developed their country so that to-day, as has been pointed out, it enjoys the highest standards of living in that part of the world.

It is less than ten years ago that the Federation of Malaya Agreement, which set the goal of eventual self-government, was signed. Since then, there have been steady and successive steps in the constitutional process towards that end, and despite all the efforts of the Communists, who, as noble Lords will remember, exerted every effort to disrupt this Agreement of 1948, we are now at the stage of its ending, and the Communists have failed to conquer the territory. The failure of this effort is, of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has said, particularly a Malayan triumph. But it is also, in a real sense, a Commonwealth triumph, because it has been not only the Malayan forces and United Kingdom forces which have fought, but also Australian and New Zealand units and battalions from East and Central Africa and Fiji. This joint Commonwealth effort is to continue, for the Malayan Government have asked that the Commonwealth Brigade should continue to help wipe out the remaining terrorists.

Not only is the success against the Communists a Commonwealth triumph, but the success of the constitutional instruments, as Lord Ogmore has pointed out, is also, in a sense, a Commonwealth success. The Commission which was set up under the chairmanship of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Reid, contained distinguished representatives of three Commonwealth countries, apart from the United Kingdom. There was Sir William McKell, from Australia, Mr. B. Malik, from India, and Mr. Justice Abdul Hamid from Pakistan; and from this country, apart from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Reid, who was chairman, there was Sir Ivor Jennings. Indeed, if it had not been for illness, the representative of one other member of the Commonwealth—Canada—would have taken part in the Commission. It is indeed a great tribute to the Commonwealth, and to the impartiality and wisdom of Malaya, that the Commission has done its task. This Commonwealth effort is a cause of great satisfaction and promise for the future, and it has been convincingly crowned by the welcome given to Malaya's forthcoming independence at the recent meeting of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers.

The Constitution that has emerged, was, as your Lordships know, first fashioned in a most skilful and comprehensive way by the Commission, and I want to echo the tribute of others of your Lordships to Lord Reid and the Commission. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said that there had been no thanks in the White Paper to the Commission, but I think we must remember what was the purpose of the White Paper. Its explanatory introduction begins: It is the purpose of this White Paper to describe the more important changes in the recommendations of the Constitutional Commission which are now proposed. That in itself, if I may so put it, is praise and thanks to the Commission, because if the Commission's Report was not a substantial document in its own right it would not be worth while issuing a whole White Paper pointing out the various changes and why they have been made.

The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, also said that there were no other thanks given, but, with your Lordships' permission, I will read out what my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies said in another place a little while ago. In particular I would refer to what he said about the drafting of paragraph 3 of the White Paper, which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said was unhappy and ungenerous. My right honourable friend said: The intention of that paragraph"— that is paragraph 3— was to make clear that the reviewing work of the draftsman did not involve any alteration of principle or policy, but was concerned solely with wording. In trying to make this clear, t tear that we may, unintentionally, have given the impression that the Commission's drafts did in fact contain substantial inconsistencies or ambiguities."— and this is what I wish to emphasise— This was not so, and it was not our intention to suggest that it was. I apologise to the House and to the Commission if the White Paper in any way gives that impression". I have paid tribute, my Lords, to those who wrote the Constitution. I would only say that I am very sorry if anybody has been upset. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Reid, made certain comments on the Constitution as it is now drafted. I do not think it would be appropriate for me to cross swords with him. I can only express the hope that the Parliamentary draftsman, in whom I have full confidence, and he will both prove to be right, and that in fact the Constitution will work—because we all know that the spirit is more important than the word. Perhaps I might add, as further proof about the Constitution and its acceptance generally, that in the last few weeks it has been unanimously accepted by the Federal Legislature and the Legislatures of Penang and Malacca.

This Bill does not grant self-government, but enables Her Majesty the Queen to enter into an agreement to establish an independent Federation of Malaya and to provide by Order in Council for its implementation. It withdraws United Kingdom protection and jurisdiction from the Rulers, and arranges for Penang and Malacca, at present part of Her Majesty's Dominions, to join the Federation as two new States on equal terms with all the other States. At the same time it preserves the United Kingdom nationality status of those, and particularly those who are known as the "Queen's Chinese," who are now citizens of these two States. After Merdeka Day, all citizens will look to the Federation as their nation to whom their loyalty is due. I do not believe your Lordships would wish me to elaborate further on the citizenship question. It has already been touched on by the noble Lord, Lord Reid, and the happy thing is that it is accepted by one and all.

I think at this moment it might be appropriate for me to answer a question raised by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, about Clause 2 (4) of the Bill. He asked why mention has to be made of Southern Rhodesia. The answer is that this subsection is interpretative. It defines the laws which the United Kingdom Parliament is amending in consequence of in-dependence. The definition includes generally the laws of our dependent territories, but it was necessary to exclude the laws of the Central African Federation in order to avoid encroaching upon the self-governing powers of the Central African Federation. It is a technical, interpretative point, and I hope that what I have said will answer the noble Lord's question.

Not only does the Constitution cover excellently the immense difficulties we all know about race, but it also deals with religion, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Reid, pointed out. Originally there was no thought of having a State religion, but subsequently those concerned felt that it was best, and it is now laid down, that Islam will be the State religion. Under Articles 3 and 11 of the Constitution, however, tolerance for other religions and freedom of religious observance are fully enshrined and safeguarded. So far as religious education is concerned, Article 12 lays down that there is to be no discrimination on the grounds only of religion, or indeed of race, descent, or place of birth, and every religious group has the right to establish and maintain institutions for the education of children belonging to its own religion. So I feel confident that the religious safeguards in the Constitution are all that one would wish.

My Lords, those two subjects, religion and race, are ordinarily material for great strife, but this Constitution has, I believe, avoided the pitfalls and is a triumph of good sense and tolerance. All concerned are to be congratulated most sincerely, and particularly the Chief Minister of the Federation. Tengku Abdul Rahman. I had the privilege of meeting him when he was over here with his colleagues a few weeks ago, when we were drawing up the finishing touches to the Constitution. I have seldom seen a more understanding appreciation of other points of view than was shown by those who were present at these discussions.

Turning now to economic questions, I agree with the noble Lords who have spoken that it is of first importance that we should continue to help Malaya in building up her economy. Her Majesty's Government are to provide up to £20 million over the next five years to help deal with the emergency. They are also providing £14 million in cash and kind towards the cost of building up Malaya's army. This is a generous and continuing aid, and it will allow the Federation to use its own resources for its own economic development. We might have done it the other way. We might have left those expenses to the Malayans and ourselves provided the direct economic aid, or loans in one way or another; but, while that might have been more profitable for us, it would have been less generous to Malaya. So. although our aid takes this particular form, I think your Lordships will agree that in fact we are doing a great deal towards continuing help to Malaya.

Your Lordships all know the great economic strength of the Federation, which has been based largely on the rubber plantations and, to a lesser degree, on tin mining. It is hard to remember that at the beginning of this century all of this wealth was practically non-existent, and it is a great satisfaction to know that it was British enterprise which started it and took a great part in its development. I have little doubt that United Kingdom private capital will continue to play a great rôle and that Sir Henry Lee, the Federation Minister of Finance, and the Malayan Government will surely act wisely and well so as to encourage more investment from overseas. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, mentioned the question of a capital market as recommended by the International Bank. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, also stressed the importance of our giving advice and help. I can only say that I echo the importance of these developments and feel confident that not only the Government itself but private enterprise also will continue to help in every way possible.

Turning for one moment to the Colonial Development Corporation. I would say to your Lordships that while it is true that it is no longer to put new funds into new enterprises, it is still available for management, and can still continue in relation to certain existing investments, where the necessity arises. The important thing for Malaya is that its credit will be of its own making.I have no doubt that its credit standing will be of the highest and that it will continue to be one of the great strengths of the sterling area and that the dollars that it earns will contribute generally to the well-being of the Commonwealth.


May I ask the noble Earl this question? It is a fact, is it not, that the new Malayan Government is welcoming finance from outside—external finance?


Certainly it is a fact; and various statements have been made recently stressing that. Of course, in so far as we can help we will do all we can, but it is a delicate animal and needs to be nursed by Malayans themselves.

Some disappointment has been expressed in Malaya by certain groups at their position in the Constitution. Compromise, however, is the essence of a Constitution, and Her Majesty's Government are confident that all groups have been fairly treated. To-day, Malaya has a wise and multi-racial government. Its foundation has been laid not only by the Malayans but also by many British officers. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Reid, said that they had been operating for eighty years, he thought, in Malaya. I think the time goes back probably 170 years.


I was referring only to the Malay States.


But, whatever the date, I feel that we should all wish to pay the warmest tribute to what has been done, not only by the three High Commissioners mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, but by one and all who, by their devotion and hard work, have contributed to making Malaya what she is to-day. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, asked what was to happen to the expatriates, who are coming back to this country. I think the answer is twofold. First, wherever possible, we are going to arrange to place them in other services overseas. Secondly, we are setting up over here a re-employment bureau. I would echo the wish of the noble Lord that those in industry and elsewhere here will do all they can to help those who do come home. It remains for me to commend this Bill for its Second Reading and to join with other noble Lords who spoke, and the whole House, in wishing the Federation a great and happy future as a full member of the Commonwealth family.

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

Then, Standing Order No. 41 having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of July 15), House in Committee: Bill reported without amendment. Bill read 3a, and passed.