THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, I think this is a convenient moment to make a short statement, which I am anxious should be made before the House rises, on the Bechuanaland Protectorate Constitution.
As Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, I received proposals from the High Commissioner for the establishment in the Bechuanaland Protectorate of Legislative and Executive Councils. The Legislative Council will have an elected unofficial majority, with equal numbers of European and African unofficial members and one elected Asian member. The Executive Council will have an official majority, and also with equal numbers of European and African unofficial members. I approved these proposals, which are almost identical with the unanimous recommendations of the Constitutional Committee, which were endorsed by the Joint Advisory Council. A White Paper setting out the proposals will be laid as soon as possible.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Earl for giving us this statement. I am sure that in all parts of the House we are always ready to welcome any particular step forward in the constitutional development of such territories as our Protectorate of Bechuanaland. I notice that there are to be elected members of the Legislature, and I suppose that there will be some basis of voters' rolls. I do not know whether it is convenient to ask now—or perhaps it will be shown in the White Paper—how the roll will be made up, and what sort of time will elapse before an election takes place.
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, I should rather like to leave the details. The details have really all been agreed out there, by Africans, Europeans and Asians and the Joint Advisory Council, and they are acceptable. I think that the franchise proposals are acceptable, too. Therefore I should rather like the thing to be seen as a whole in a White Paper before commenting on parts of it.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, may I welcome the proposals in the statement 902 and ask the noble Earl whether it is not a fact that, owing to these and other imaginative proposals, the High Commission territories are becoming examples to other territories in that part of Africa?
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, that is certainly our intention, and I hope that we have gone some way to achieve it.