HL Deb 01 December 1959 vol 219 cc1056-78

4.5 p.m.

Debate resumed.


My Lords, the two speakers who have preceded me in the debate are both noble Lords with tremendous experience and authority, who always speak in this House with considerable knowledge and whose speeches are listened to with great respect. I am afraid that I cannot claim to speak with anything like the authority of either of those two noble Lords. I am, however, somewhat comforted by the fact that the two experts disagreed fundamentally on almost every matter that has been raised in the course of the debate so far. So far as guidance to the House is concerned, the House is in exactly the same position as it was before the debate commenced, and therefore I can speak as if I were speaking with a clean sheet.

The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, who opened the debate, was so eager to jump in, possibly in front of his former friends on his left, in raising this matter before the Recess, as he said, that I think he has lost his normal eye for timing. I wonder what the noble Earl who is going to reply can possibly say this afternoon on the constitutional question. We are to have a Conference on January 18 at which all the political Parties from Kenya will be present; at which our own Secretary of State is to preside, and where he will be in the position of holding the balance between the parties.


May I ask the noble Lord this question? If this is going to be the doctrine that one must never have any debate in this House, however many years have passed without one, because a Constitutional Conference is pending, why is this doctrine not applied to Central Africa, on which there have been so many debates before the holding of a Constitutional Conference?


I was not laying down any doctrine; I was speaking about this particular case, where we are, so to speak, holding the reins and where we are endeavouring and hoping to get agreement among many different parties in Africa. In other circumstances it may be very proper to hold a debate: for instance, if it were a question of our putting forward our own views at the Conference, in order that different sections of the House and different sections of opinion might be expressed. But, as I understand this Conference (I may be wrong), that is not the case here. This is a Conference at which the various African parties are going to be given an opportunity of expressing their views, in the hope that as a result of the discussions some agreement can be arrived at among them.

I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, who also speaks with tremendous experience and authority, that I do not think he rendered a great service to the success of this Conference in the constant and repeated attacks he made on Mr. Mboya. The noble Lord may agree or disagree with his views—we are all entitled to have our views—but I think it is untimely at this stage, a few weeks before this Conference, to take the opportunity of attacking the views and the personality of one of the important participants in the Conference. That, I hope he will not mind my saying, is not the best way to achieve success. I would also say to the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, that the speech he made is exactly the sort of speech that is made on every similar occasion by those who are reluctant to advance the cause of independence as speedily as some may consider appropriate. I know that it is customary to pay lip service to the cause of freedom and independence: that it is hound to come some day, but that it must come very slowly, and that we must prepare the people for it. That is the orthodox traditional formula on these occasions. It is because, in a debate of this kind, it is almost inevitable that views will be put forward such as those expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, that I think it would have been better to defer this debate until after the Conference had taken place.

An additional reason for deferring the debate is this. The Secretary of State is leaving on a visit to Kenya next week. All of us who have at heart the cause of the advancement of the Colonies, and the gradual steps towards independence and their remaining in the Commonwealth, are greatly encouraged by the new outlook, the more promising outlook, which we have seen in our new Colonial Secretary. I feel that he ought to be given a chance to go to the country, to see the country, to talk to the people there, to form a judgment, and to come back and tell us what he thinks. One further reason why in my judgment this debate is premature, is that, while we all welcome the ending of the Emergency Regulations, we do not yet know what will be the form of the permanent legislation we are to see in their place. If it is merely to be a matter of putting the temporary legislation into permanent form, then, of course, the later stage will be worse than the former. But we do not know, and I should not wish to pre sume that that will be the case. I would hope, indeed, that we shall get rid of emergency legislation, whether in the form of regulations, or whether in the form of permanent legislation, and that it should be possible to give Kenya once more a chance of living a peaceful and orderly life.

There is one other thing I want to say, and that is on the question of the White Highlands. I appreciate the offer that has been made by the Kenya Government to permit people of all races in Kenya, white, black or coloured, to acquire land in the White Highlands, and that the only criterion will be good farming. But if this is to be more than a paper gesture some assistance must be given to the good farmer to acquire land, whether by way of purchase or lease. There may be many good farmers among the Africans or the Asians who cannot possibly hope to acquire land in either of the ways mentioned. Therefore this will be an entirely empty gesture, unless they are assisted in some form to acquire land where they are capable of making good use of it. I hope that the Government will take that point into consideration.

I wish to conclude, because, having taken the view that this debate is untimely, I do not wish to start up a fresh debate. Generally, I would say that we ought to move towards giving the people of Kenya the feeling that there will be no restrictions, inhibitions or differential treatment as between Europeans, Africans and Asians. I think that should be the note of the progress. Indeed, if there is to be permanent legislation in place of this temporary legislation, would it not be possible to incorporate in that permanent legislation some steps of a positive character? Instead of saying simply in this legislation "Thou shall not," would it not be possible to say also that these are things which we propose to do in the advancement of a cause which all of us agree must ultimately come—which some of us think should come more rapidly—but which in any case we ought to make a gesture on and take a first step. I believe that if it were possible to make an announcement immediately before the Conference with regard to the White Highland land, and if we were prepared to introduce legislation, or to incorporate in the legislation something on the lines that I have suggested—some positive advancement of the position of the Africans and the Asians—the atmosphere for the success of the Conference which is to be held would be much brighter, and there would be a reasonable chance of a successful issue from it for the benefit of all parties who are connected with Kenya and who earnestly desire its welfare.

4.17 p.m.


My Lords, I agree very much with a great deal that has just been said by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, as to the timing of this debate. I intervene only for a few moments because when once a debate has been staged in this House it is read a certain amount in this country, but it is read with most meticulous care and in great detail, as I know, by men of all races in the territories which we debate. I shall try to say nothing which could prejudice the success of the Conference. I hope I shall say nothing which does not show that I want more than anything—and I have had a long connection with Kenya—to see the successful partnership of all the races in that country.

I think we in this House, on all sides, desire not only to wish well to the very able new Governor who has gone there, but to pay our tribute of gratitude to the Governor who is leaving, Sir Evelyn Baring, for a long, devoted, sympathetic and courageous service in that country. People have talked to-day about the small, hard core of Mau Mau that is left. I did not hear anything from the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, about what I regard as one of the most remarkable achievements in the whole administrative history of the British Empire, and that is the rehabilitation of 99 per cent. of the Mau Mau, many of whom had been terrorised by these disgusting oaths and other things into their insurrection. With infinite patience and great skill these people have been rehabilitated in agriculture. Indeed I believe that the general feeling in the Kikuyu Province to-day is incomparably better than it ever has been. That is, without question, the result of the work of Sir Evelyn Baring and all those who, with his encouragement and support, have worked under him.

My mind goes back to the time when I first knew Kenya, and I agree with the description which was given of the quite deplorable state of African agriculture, with some of the best land being denuded. There was that extraordinary system, under which a cow was currency; it was the bride price, and a bad cow was worth as much as a good cow. The last thing anybody was going to do with a cow—there was not much chance of milking it; there was not much milk given—or a beast was to eat it. The Masai had a diet of blood and milk, which did not greatly invigorate the cattle. And then there came a new devaluation of the agricultural currency, if I may so put it, in that somebody discovered that ten goats were equal to one cow. So the goats proliferated, and there is nothing which destroys land and causes more erosion than the goat.

It is wonderful how good can come out of evil. As part of the rehabilitation there has been an incredible improvement in the agriculture of the Kikuyu and, indeed, of other parts. I particularly want to say this because when I was Secretary of State I set up the Carter Commission on the White Highlands, and very able work they did, not least in telling the true story of the White Highlands; and I know what enormous benefit to Kenya and to the Africans in Kenya good farming of the White Highlands has been. I am very glad indeed that the step is being taken now to open the White Highlands to African or Asian farmers. I think that the time is ripe for it in every way, because I believe that African agriculture has greatly improved. I accept, and I am glad it has been laid down, that the standard is not going to be race or any political consideration; that the standard of whether you are or are not to have a farm in the White Highlands is competence. I hope that the Agriculture Committee in Kenya will be more satisfactory in enforcing good farming than some of the county agricultural committees have been in this country, but I say that in passing. I am quite sure of this—and I know something of these Africans—that when you have got good African farmers on the land in the White Highlands, nobody will be keener to maintain the high standard of good farming and keep the bad farmer out than will be the African farmer himself.

I must say I was quite amazed at the irresponsibility with which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, advocated the release of Kenyatta and his hard-core followers.


My Lords, I did not advocate that. Neither the noble Earl, nor the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, listened to the speech. If they had listened, they would know that I did not advocate it; I said that the onus was on the Government to prove it was necessary. I should have thought that that was an axiom. I said I did not myself believe he was so important a person as people seemed to think. I did not advocate his release.


That is very interesting. It is rather like the subtle distinction we had between killing and murder; I never could quite see the subtle difference. I believe the noble Lord once held some minor office of colonial administration. If that is so, I say that the way he talked to-day is utterly irresponsible, and I say, moreover, that if, contrary to the considered judgment of the Governor on the spot, approved by the Secretary of State, who must, with that responsibility, make the judgment, there were any attempt to release this man and this hard core of followers without their full approval and their being satisfied that it could be done with safety, you might destroy the whole tremendous work of rehabilitation which Sir Evelyn Baring and his people have carried out. Nobody, let me assure the noble Lord, would resent it more than those Kikuyu who have been rehabilitated and now, without fear of the terror that was brooding over them, are able to conduct their lives and their agriculture in peace.

I would say one word about the constitutional talks. I am sure that the last way in which we can help those constitutional talks is to try to tell the representatives, whether they are the African, the European or the Asian representatives, or the Secretary of State, exactly what they are to do before they start. I do not think that that would be at all helpful. I would only say this, in view of what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said. I cannot for the life of me understand this obsession of "one man, one vote." It is quite true that we have come to it here, but we have come to it over not only a century but centuries, and we are quite ready for it. We are a wholly responsible electorate, as the last General Election showed. I remember some very wise words once said by the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, when we were in a Government together, about the risk of applying the Westminster model indiscriminately all through the British Empire. It is not at all a safe thing to do, to copy Constitutions, unless you can also assimilate characteristics. The reason the British Constitution works well in this country and in many of the other Commonwealth countries is that we share similar ideas of tolerance, fair play, ability to compromise, and so on. You have only to look round to see that independence and freedom do not at all necessarily mean the same thing. I can think of countries where independence has been given in the sense of sovereign government, but where there is little freedom for opposition or for anybody else.

I am in favour of the common roll as against pure communal representation, but I do not believe in "one man, one vote." I do believe in qualifications, which should advance because the whole of the Africans will advance. I believe in the qualification of education, and—I am not ashamed to say it—in these countries a little property qualification; and things may be weighted so that good education counts for more than property. But if you go for the fetish of "one man, one vote", you will, in fact, get a communal roll and not a common roll, because if you give equal votes to five million Africans and there are 100,000 Europeans and 80,000 or 100,000 Asians, what does it mean? Of course it means that you are giving community vote and community representation. Those things—they are simple facts; nobody is going to deny them—should be present in the minds of all of us. We all want to make progress, and as rapid progress as possible, on the road of partnership; but, as we have seen in Kenya in the aftermath of Mau Mau, the greatest benefit that this country has brought to the Dark Continent is liberty, freedom, justice and the rule of law, and the health and prosperity which our Colonial Services have brought. The best service we can render to those who are going into this Conference is to give them understanding and encouragement, and not least realism.

4.30 p.m.


My Lords, I shall not detain you long. Like a good many others in this House, I have what is probably a general knowledge, from what I have been able to read in the Press and elsewhere, of conditions on the continent of Africa, and in Kenya in particular, but I can profess none of the intimate knowledge which has been displayed by the mover of this Motion or by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. I have had some slight experience of contact with Africans, particularly those who have been active in the trade union sphere, as well as some of those in the political sphere. I also had the advantage of serving on the West Indies Royal Commission of 1938, which of course had the problem of dealing with what was virtually an African, or predominantly African, population in a completely different setting from that of Africa. It was my opportunity, in my Trades Union Congress days, to travel widely and to meet a good many of those who are now aspiring to self-government, and to be able to gauge in some measure their personal qualities and approach to that subject.

Broadly, I have only one qualification to make to what the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, said. Whilst always ready to listen to experts, I have never bound myself to accept their opinions. I think that is, broadly, a feeling which is shared by anyone who is responsible for the conduct of a large organisation, because when there are many experts, as we have seen to-day, they do not always agree in the kind of advice they give. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, at least in his Jamaican days, showed a progressive outlook which commended itself very much to myself and to other members of the West Indies Royal Commission. So I should be the last to accuse him of not possessing a progressive mind, or one that was not sympathetic to the aspirations of the native population of Kenya to secure self-government.

I think that what some of us found rather disturbing in the course of our travels to different countries was the rather too exclusive environment in which British Governors and their officials are almost naturally compelled to function. I myself felt, particularly when I was in the West Indies, that it would be of great benefit if our colonial servants (if I may so call them) in the countries I visited had the opportunity to mix more with the coloured population, in order that they could familiarise themselves more intimately and more closely with their views. I found too great a tendency to accept interpretations of the conduct, and indeed the aspirations, of coloured people made perhaps by those who were not entirely disinterested, as for instance the planters in the West Indies. I make that point not with any acerbity, but because it seems to me to entitle us to some measure of reticence and reserve in accepting what appears to be official opinion.

I myself, with, I suppose, most noble Lords in this House—I am sure with the noble Earl who spoke before me—have very deep sympathy with the aspiration of the African people for self-government. I am not one of those who entirely believe all that is said by the claimants of self-government. I know how, in my trade union days, I had to be extremely prudent before accepting all that was said to me on the merits of a case by my own members before meeting the employers, and I do not think any experienced person would be ready to accept everything that is said by Africans regarding their claims, or the merits of the particular view they are putting forward. None the less, basic sympathy with them in their claim, I think, must be in the hearts of everyone in this House.

I have been troubled on occasions, as others must have been, about the measure of readiness for self-government of particular parts of the African community. That is always difficult to gauge at a distance and when one is not living in the community, and it may easily be that in particular cases self-government is being sought after before those who are likely to be the self-governors have learned the basic principles of democracy as practised in this country. There have been signs—they were referred to by the noble Lord, without mentioning names in particular—that give one cause for concern in that respect, in the recently confirmed status of self-government upon parts of Africa. I believe that at the base of all these things is confidence. If the Conference which is to take place in January next year starts off with suspicion as to the aims of the British Government in its general attitude and its desire for a wider measure of self-government, then the Conference will be a failure. In passing, I may say that I sometimes feel that we are not completely appreciative of the measure of self-government which has been given to communities, or conceded to communities other than the European communities, by successive British Governments in the past twenty-five or more years.

I should like to conclude with a question to the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. I listened to his words but perhaps I did not hear all that he said. I heard the quotation with which he concluded, and with which most of us would entirely concur: that in the pæans of praise that we give to other countries and nations it is as well to remember some of the good things that have been done by British Governments. I entirely accept that. But did he apply that same quotation in reverse to the African population of Kenya? I listened carefully to his extended references to the merits of the white community, and what that community had done in Kenya, but I failed to hear anything from him that was really in praise of the African community.

5.39 p.m.


My Lords, there has been some query as to whether it was appropriate to have this debate to-day rather than at some other time. I would only say this: that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, did me the courtesy of asking whether it would be convenient or inconvenient for us to have the debate on the Motion which he had had down for some time, before the Christmas Recess. I said that we were quite ready to face it, and, having listened to various noble Lords who have spoken this afternoon, I believe that, on balance, it has been valuable to have this debate. I am supported in this by many of the wise things that have been said by one noble Lord or another. At the same time I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, recognises that I shall not be able to speak at any great length on constitutional questions, as such, ahead of the Conference which is to be held in January.

At the same time, I feel sure that it has been useful to hear the view of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, on such questions as inter-racial relations and, more importantly perhaps, for the people of Kenya to know that the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, supports the latest moves that have been made in relation to the "White" Highlands. Again, I believe we shall all benefit from the wise words of toleration from the noble Lord, Lord Citrine, which will give us some important guidance when we get into the Conference. I hope that not only we ourselves but those of all races who are to come to the Conference will take note of what he has said. At any rate, I assure your Lordships that Her Majesty's Government will consider most carefully all that has been said this afternoon. The debate comes at the start of what, I hope, are new and happy times for Kenya and a new chapter of progress towards self-government. We have come to the end of the Emergency, after seven years of Mau Mau. The Governor is making an "Act of Grace" in respect of all who committed offences in connection with the emergency before November 10. Those people are to be pardoned. Again, many restrictions on movement and on political activity are to be reduced or abolished.

Perhaps it will be useful if I touch straight away on the question of the Detained and Restricted Persons (Special Provisions) Bill. This is an ad hoc measure designed to hold certain persons detained or restricted under the Emergency Regulations as their release would present a security risk in their home areas and in the Colony generally, Copies of the Bill are in the Library of your Lordships' House. The task of reclaiming these persons will be carried on under the Special Commissioner recommended by the Fairn Committee. Your Lordships will know what a carefully chosen Committee this was, with Mr. Fairn himself, a leading prison administrator and also a leading member of the Society of Friends, as Chairman; Sir George Beresford-Stooke, for some time Governor of Sierra Leone, and Canon Bewes, a missionary with great experience in Africa. All of those members of the Committee recognised that in relation to some detainees there was a social and psychological problem and a task which had necessarily to be solved over a considerable period of time; and that for that purpose detention and restriction were undoubtedly necessary.

The Bill does not, however, contemplate or provide for fresh detainees, save in regard to certain terrorists who are at large, or certain individuals outside Kenya. The point I wish to make is that the category of those to whom the Bill will apply is known, is defined and is limited. That is of first importance and meets the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin.

There has been mention this afternoon of Jomo Kenyatta. I do not want to get into a controversy about this, but I feel that it is important to mention one or two of the facts. First, it should be clearly understood that the case of Kenyatta and his associates does not come within the orbit of the Emergency Regulations. They were found by a court of law to be guilty of managing and being members of an unlawful society, namely Mau Mau; and when sentencing them the magistrate said: I shall also recommend that you be restricted. Accordingly a restriction order was made, in accordance with the law passed in 1949 during the time of the Labour Government and used by previous Governments. When Kenyatta was actually released from prison he was removed to Lodwar where a house had been built and furnished and where he now is. He has been given a subsistence allowance for himself, his wife and children; and I believe the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, would like to know that the last reports I have say that his health is satisfactory. No one can forecast the very distant future in such cases as that of Kenyatta, but ultimately the issue rests, and must rest, with the Governor in Council. That is the point made by the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, and I entirely agree with him that in the last analysis the responsibility lies there; and we are happy to leave it in that way.

The second Bill that is to come in, with the end of the Emergency, is the Preservation of Public Security Bill, a copy of which is also in the Library of your Lordships' House. That Bill is an insurance against future troubles and is, as it were, a notice to would-be trouble makers. Regulations will provide for some control of political organisations and public meetings, but they have not yet been published; and in relation to them the Governor has said that he will not be guided by race or by politics but purely by his judgment of the needs of law and order. And he has said: I hope that experience will show that I do not need to use these controls. I intend in the coming weeks to give sufficient rope to judge for myself how much, if at all, they must be used. In this new chapter for Kenya, issues which, to date, have deeply concerned and divided the country—such as, for example, that of land tenure or political advance—are now being the subject of much debate in Kenya, which I am sure is a very good thing. And, as has already been pointed out, with this new chapter there are new people to act in the story—a new Secretary of State and a new Governor. But it must not be forgotten that it was the former Secretary of State, Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd, and the former Governor, Sir Evelyn Baring, to whom several noble Lords, and particularly the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, paid such right tribute, who patiently and with imagination over the years, and with the help of people of all races, have laid the foundations which may make new and, I hope, happier things possible in the years to come.

The Motion has been very widely drawn, but I do not think it is any the worse for that. It covers the political, economic and social sides of Kenya. In a word, it covers the life of the nation. The factor which is common to all these questions, political, economic and social, and which, indeed, dominates them, is, of course, the racial one. For Kenya to make any progress all four races must work together and move forward together. The one unchanging theme in the policy of Her Majesty's Government in past years, whether it was a Labour or a Conservative Government, has been progress on a multi-racial, or I prefer the term, non-racial basis. The latest outlines on this theme are to be found in the then Secretary of State's Despatch of November 24, 1958, and the statement that he made in another place on April 22 of this year. That statement was widely welcomed at the time. I believe that it will repay further study by one and all before the Constitutional Conference in January.

I will go over some of it again because I think it is of such importance. The statement laid down the conditions which must prevail in order that we shall eventually be able to hand over authority with a good conscience. Our responsibility was, and is, to all the inhabitants in Kenya of all races and communities, both backward and advanced; to abandon such responsibility prematurely would be a betrayal. These words, however, are not an idle excuse for us to drag our feet. We are doing, and will continue to do, all we can to help the people of Kenya onwards. We recognise that the progress of these people is not always easy. As is so often the case of multi-racial States, as various noble Lords have said, there is that curious, all-pervading atmosphere, very often of fear—fear lest one race may dominate or discriminate against others; and here we find it in Kenya as in many other territories. But it is essential that all citizens of Kenya play their part together—and they all have an immense part to play in the development of the country. Your Lordships will recall that it was to meet this fear of discrimination that the Council of State was set up in 1958, and I think it has, without question, already proved its worth.

It may be worth while to touch in some more detail on the conditions that were laid down in that statement to which I referred. The first condition is concerned with political and constitutional considerations and how Her Majesty's Government must be satisfied that the power will be exercised by people through representative Parliamentary institutions which they would not abuse. Having said this, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to go into any detail on immediate constitutional possibilities, which, of course, is the main purpose of the January Conference. I would just say that in a sense the work for that Conference has already started. Professor W. J. M. MacKenzie, who is Professor of Government at the University of Manchester., was appointed to advise all the parties to the Conference, and he is now making his second trip to Kenya. As your Lordships probably know, the elected members of the Legislative Council will be invited to the Conference, and one of the purposes of the Secretary of State's visit to Kenya at this time is that he may meet many of the people who are to be over here and make personal contact with them before the Conference. I am sure that that is a good thing, particularly when he can meet them on their own ground.

The second condition was general acceptance in the territory that every race and community has its part to play in public and economic life and that Kenya is the home of them all. That is a condition which cannot be achieved by a Government Bill or Government ukase. It depends on the co-operation of all individuals in Kenya. There are, I think, some promising signs that things are moving in the right direction—for example, the new land policy, which is that land shall be treated, in a word, non-racially on the yardstick of its efficient use.

Early this year, a first step was taken in the African areas with legislation to modernise their system of land tenure, together with the provision of certain safeguards for its use; and in October the Kenya Government made their proposals for land other than native lands. As the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said, these were bold proposals; and both in the "White" Highlands and in the native lands land transactions must from henceforth be judged on the basis of good husbandry and not of race. That basis of good husbandry, I think, means that the risk (which I believe was seen by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore) of fragmentation will not be there, because, after all, if there is over much fragmentation, it is not good husbandry, so it will not happen in that form.

The proposals have been attacked by what I call the Right Wing of the European settlers in the Highlands and, perhaps, by the Left Wing of the Africans, the latter on the ground that in practice it will not make much difference and does not satisfy African land hunger. I think that there is a confusion here. The question of African land hunger is something quite separate from the question of good husbandry and how land can be held. But reverting to the announced intention of the Government on land tenure, I think that the very fact that it has been attacked on the Right and on the Left probably means that the Government are about right. But the Government have not yet introduced a Bill, and their reason for that is that they want to hear every opinion and make quite sure that when they do introduce this Bill they have taken those opinions into account and have gone as far as they can to get things right.

It might be useful for me to digress for one moment on what has been done in the way of land consolidation and improvement over the last years. I would not be so gloomy about it as my noble friend Lord Milverton, but rather let me give you one or two of the facts. In Kikuyu-land to-day, in the Central Province, there are now 200,000 farmers who are freehold owners, and this process is steadily going forward throughout the Province. Steps have been taken in the Rift Valley and Nyanza Provinces along the same lines, and already half of Central Nyanza and large areas elsewhere in Nyanza Province have taken steps towards land consolidation, which in its turn will mean its more efficient use. These things which go on outside constitutional and political debate are, I believe, the things which really count and are laying the foundations of the wellbeing of the country.

As a matter of fact, this particular development in land is already paying important dividends for the African people. Although commodity prices have fallen in the last year or two years, the value of the cash crops that have been produced by the Africans has risen by nearly 20 per cent. to somewhere around £6 million. It is not a very great deal in relation to the output of the settlers in cash crops, but it is important progress, and I feel confident that with the figures I have given and the move that has now started it will go further. It is, in fact, an agrarian revolution that has taken place in a very few years, whereas in this country such an agrarian revolution took centuries to achieve.

Then there is another promising sign: that Kenya itself is tackling these very difficult problems which they had not really dared to face up to before because they were so difficult racially. Apart from land, they are now tackling the question of multi-racial schools. It is a difficult thing to tackle. Your Lordships know all the fears and feelings that it can raise, but more and more people are thinking about the problem and a voluntary start has already been made.

The third condition in the statement, my Lords, was that an improving standard of living can reasonably be expected with overseas or, indeed, local capital being confident that it will be fairly treated and will therefore either come in or stay in. I do not have to tell your Lordships the importance of this. Let us look at one or two of the figures. Exports from Kenya at the present time are, in round figures, £30 million a year; imports are £60 million. Now that difference has to be met either by help from Her Majesty's Government, which has been given in some degree, or, far more importantly, by capital from overseas. Without that continuing inflow of capital, or if something happened which made those who are already in the country wish to get their money out, one can see what desperate needs would arise. The whole progress of Kenya—the whole of its economic progress; and, more importantly, the whole of its social services, such as education and health, and its constitutional progress—would be checked, if not put back a long way. I cannot therefore, go all the way with the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore: that all that is needed is independence, and that then capital pours in.


My Lords, I do not want to over-simplify it. What I said was that there has always been an argument—we have heard it in this House for years past—that independence means disaster. That is what I was pointing out: that, in fact, up till now independence has often meant an enormous economic expansion—as in Malaya, Ghana, Nigeria, and so on. So that is not necessarily an objection to independence.


I am glad the noble Lord has made that point clear. I confess that I misunderstood him. I thought he said that all that is needed is independence, and that then capital pours in. But I think we all understand that what is essential in relation to capital coming in is confidence. Now confidence in Kenya has double importance: not only for overseas capital coming in, but for people who have already got their money there. My Lords, I would only say this: that confidence is a very tender plant. It can shrivel up overnight; and all the inhabitants of Kenya, of whatever race, must do all they can to cultivate confidence and to woo the investor.

The last condition which occurred in the statement was that there should be a competent and experienced Civil Service which has a reasonable proportion of local people and has the prospect, in time, of being wholly recruited locally. If one looks back at the history of various territories which at one time or another we governed and which are now independent, I believe that there is scarcely anything which we have given to them which is of equal importance to the fact that their Civil Service and their Judiciary have been mirrored on the traditions of the public service of this country. I do not wish to derogate from the work of the political leaders in India, but I personally believe that the strong and proud tradition of the Indian Civil Service has perhaps done more to hold India together and to enable it to advance than any other single thing. If this is a right judgment, then surely it must be our aim to do all we can similarly to build up the Civil Service in the various countries remaining in our charge. I know that every Colonial Government is doing its best to this end.

Let me give one or two figures for Kenya, which will also show your Lordships how much remains to be done. Leaving aside the figures for other races, in December, 1955, there were 68 Africans in senior posts in the Kenya Civil Service. Two years later there were 149; and now the figure is approaching 300—a very considerable advance. But, my Lords, we have to look at those figures against a total service of something like 4,000. We are determined—and the expatriate officers of Kenya are themselves doing all they can to help in the process—to get more and more locally recruited officers (and that means, in particular, the Africans) into the service; but it takes time. I do not wish it to be thought that we are insisting that there must be a 100 per cent. locally recruited service before self-government can be given. Of course not. But what I do say is that there must be reasonable certainty that there is a sufficient number of local people already in the service, already in senior posts, and, perhaps more importantly, in what I call "the pipeline"—the pipeline through education—before one can be satisfied that the time for self-government has come.

My Lords, I have mentioned education, and if I do not elaborate on education it is partly because I have been talking rather a long time; but I should not wish your Lordships to think that its importance is in any way neglected, by myself, by my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary or by the Government of Kenya. We know the tremendous efforts that they are putting into its development. Eighteen per cent. of its total net expenditure is being used for educational purposes.

I will just touch on the question of the Royal Technical College, because the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, raised the subject; and he gave me notice that he was going to do so. What happened was this. About a year ago there was a Working Party on Higher Education in East Africa under the chairmanship of Dr. Lockwood, who was then Vice-Chancellor of London University. Their task was to advise on the pattern of future development. The Committee made three main recommendations. The first was that the Royal Technical College in Nairobi should be reorganised and should become a University College in which both academic and profesional courses would have equal standing. My Lords, it takes time to carry such things into effect. There need to be talks with the various heads of faculties; and also one has to draw up various plans—and, indeed, a distinguished architect, Mr. Chitty, is going out next month to advise on such questions. The second recommendation was that there should be an inter-territorial University College in Tanganyika by 1965 or 1966, or as soon afterwards as possible. The third was that there should be a University of East Africa created not later than 1966, to which the existing university colleges that is, Makerere, in Uganda; the Royal Technical College in Kenya; and the planned Tanganyika College—would be associated as constituents. My Lords, I think the pattern there is an encouraging and exciting one, and it has been accepted with enthusiasm by all the East African Governments.

I do not want to enter into the controversy which I think the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, debated on social relations in Kenya at the present time; but I think I might mention an article, which may interest many of your Lordships and which happened to appear in the Daily Mail of to-day. I think it paints a picture of a very satisfactory relationship, to the astonishment of the reporter who went there. Again on this question of race, I think that the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, was at fault, or was mistaken, when he mentioned the three European Parties, and so forth. I think it is important to remember for example that the Party of Mr. Blundell is not a European Party; it is a non-racial party, and this has been true of one or two of the others as well.

Lastly, I will touch on one or two points that have been raised in the debate. I do not think I can possibly accept that Mr. Mboya is an immovable object, or that he or anyone else who will come to the Conference has made up his mind what he is going to do and will stick to it. I earnestly hope that when the time comes they will all be motivated by a much higher desire, namely, the good of Kenya, and I hope that that motive will prevail. It seems to me at times that too much attention is paid by the most able and most devoted citizens of our colonial territories to constitutional questions. I think that economic and social progress is at least of equal importance. In all these fields in Kenya, the important thing is that everyone accepts and works to the end that the African partner should progress, and progress fast relatively to the other races. I appreciate that in underdeveloped territories the Government, whether administrative or executive, plays a more important part in the daily life of the people than in more advanced countries. I understand, therefore, that those who want to lead their people—and I have particularly in mind the African leaders—are deeply concerned with political advance, but I believe that at this time this should not be an end in itself to the exclusion of all else.

The aim of the Government's policy in Kenya is well known: it is to establish Parliamentary institutions representative of the people, and responsible self-government. Therefore it is my strong hope that those taking part in the Conference—and many of them I count as my friends—will not seek control for any one race or any one group. Rather do I hope that they seek a stage in development which will enable the best of them, whatever may be their race, to participate in Government, to learn the art of administration and to help in achieving a fair standard of living in a Kenya free from oppression in any quarter. Then, when the time does come for self-government, the Kenyans will be able to take over effectively and fairly; and we shall rejoice.

5.13 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Perth, for what I think has been a forthright and encouraging speech, one that will bring a great deal of satisfaction to those of us who are interested in Kenya. I am also grateful to the noble Earl for the care which he has taken in answering the points of which I gave him notice. With reference to the allegations by the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, and by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, that I was "grossly irresponsible" in putting down this debate for to-day, I think that by now your Lordships will have seen clearly that I did consult the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and that if there had been any doubt in my mind and in that of the noble Earl, any feeling that this was an inappropriate time, a dangerous time, a damaging time, in which to have a debate of this kind, I should not have put down this Motion. But the noble Earl raised no objection. In fact, he thought, on balance, that it was a good thing. So I hope that your Lordships will not agree that there are the slightest grounds for the noble Lords to attack me for being irresponsible. I was also rather surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, attacked me for "rushing in" with this debate. I have been a Member of your Lordships' House for nine years and it seems rather late in the day to attack me for "rushing" into a debate. There was no rushing. The Motion was on the Order Paper and a date for it was arranged through the usual channels.

As regards Jomo Kenyatta, I have no brief at all for him, and I dislike the Mau Mau oaths taken by people in Kenya. I was making a point of principle, which I would make whether the man's name was Jomo Kenyatta or John Smith. The noble Earl did not disagree with that, and in fact gave the reasons. I should think that no democratic Government would disagree with my point. If a man is held after his sentence has been concluded, then the onus is on the Government to declare why they are doing so. I am certain that the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack would agree that that is a basic principle of law in a democratic country. As regards the attack on Mr. Mboya, I knew nothing about Mr. Mboya except what I have read in the Press. But if it is any satisfaction to Mr. Mboya, I would point out that nothing that the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, has said about him has been so had as what the noble Lord said about Dr. Nkrumah a few months ago, when the noble Lord attacked him even more bitterly.


Is the noble Lord referring to me?


Yes, I referred to the noble Lord as Lord Milverton.


My Lords, any attack by me on Dr. Nkrumah in your Lordships' House has entirely escaped my memory. I think that the noble Lord is confusing me with some other noble Lord. I should be glad if he could give me the reference.


My Lords, if my memory is at fault, I apologise to the noble Lord, but I shall look it up. I certainly recall debates, in which both the noble Lord and I were engaged, in which the noble Lord made very caustic comments about conditions in Ghana.


My Lords, I am afraid that I must interrupt the noble Lord. I remember making speeches about Ghana, but it certainly would not be true to say that I made caustic remarks.


My Lords, of course I accept entirely what the noble Lord says. I am sure that his recollection of his own speeches is far better than mine. But I assure Mr. Mboya, if he is worried about what the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, has said about him, that a true assessment of the position with regard to him was given by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, who, I think, put the position perfectly fairly to-day. I think that his comment upon the leader in an Africa territory is what we would all support, rather than the comment of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.