§ 3.56 p.m.
§ Debate resumed.
§ THE DUKE OF MONTROSE
My Lords, it now falls to me to get the debate going again on the subject of the Motion before the House in regard to Central Africa. I should like to start by making my own position clear. A good deal of mention has been made during this debate of the fact that there are at least two political Parties in the Governments both of the territories and of the Federation. It may be that only some noble Lords know that I sit on the Benches of Her Majesty's Opposition in the Federal House. If anything is to be adduced from the fact that I have come a long way to take part in this debate, I hope it may be that while, as in any other Government, there is a good deal of squabbling between Her Majesty's Government and Her Majesty's Opposition, when it comes to facing national questions we genuinely tend to stand together.
Among the matters that I think we may consider are domestic matters is the question whether the Federation should continue in its present form or not. The Opposition Party there are in agreement really with what formed the first statement in the general conclusions of the Monckton Commission: that "the Federation cannot, in our view, be maintained in its present form". The Commission made that belief even more important by the statement with which they started paragraph 267 of their Report, where they say:So strong is African opposition in the Northern Territories to Federation in its present form that the very word has become a term of abuse.I will not enlarge upon the various alternative forms of association there might be, but I will now say that all Parties—at least the official Opposition and Her Majesty's Government—stand together in a determination to ensure, whatever Constitutions or whatever Governments there may be, either territorially or federally, not that government remains the prerogative of white supremacy, but that it remains in capable and civilised hands.
It has been very easy to see in this debate how, by putting the cart before 399 the horse, a twist has been given to this determination of all the Europeans who live in Central Africa. It is quite clear, I believe, that to hand over the reins of government now to African majorities, who would automatically elect men untrained in the art of government to the Government, would lead to chaos. I think that we could have expected that Her Majesty's Government in this country would consult responsible people—by which I mean, of course, the Government in the Federation—as to the sort of steps and the sort of pace at which African political advancement would have to go if government were to be retained in responsible hands. A good deal has already been said about the fact that Sir Roy Welensky believed that he had every claim to be consulted in his capacity as Prime Minister. In a speech he made in the Federal Assembly as recently as February 27 he elaborated on this point. Perhaps I may quote what he said:At the Conference in 1952 and 1953 it was clearly recognised by representatives of all the Governments that the Federal Government would have a special standing in relation to the Territorial Governments on any contemplated changes made in their constitutional arrangements. That must be obvious to all. Otherwise an ill-conceived amendment to one Territorial Constitution could well have jeopardised the whole system of Federal administration.He went on to say that it was difficult to find the right word to explain the relationship that would have to exist between Her Majesty's Government here and the Federal Government, and he said it was finally agreed that the word "consultation" should be used—but it was never meant to imply that the views of the Federal Government would merely be sought and rejected.I think it is fair to say that in Northern Rhodesia at least once, twice, and again, three times in seven years, the short seven years the Federation has existed, constitutional changes have been made in Northern Rhodesia with just as little reference to the Federal Government as that which Sir Roy Welensky complains about.
I do not think the now well-known speech speaking of "the wind of change" need have been made to us or to the people of Southern Rhodesia. We are well aware, those of us who live out there, of the aspirations of the African people to advance politically, and we take steps on our own account to accommodate 400 them. What we are afraid of, I can assure you, is not just black government; what we are afraid of is rank bad government. I believe that any one of your Lordships would be hard put to it to try to prove that our fears are unjustified by pointing to a country where African political advancement has been granted at the speed advocated by the present Colonial Secretary and where the result has been good and democratic government. I think you would be hard put to it to prove that the fears in Southern Rhodesia are unjustified. To us the speed appears to be absolutely breakneck and slap-happy.
The aim, as you know, my Lords—and many of you have been out in Rhodesia—is to try to build up a civilisation out there and to train the African people to join with us in this progress from the savagery of 70 years ago to a state where to-day there are in the Federation in one Territorial Government, Northern Rhodesia, and in the Federal Government African Cabinet Ministers.
My Lords, what is the effect upon the European people who have made Africa their home when such an eminent person as Sir Charles Arden-Clarke, who was one of the Commissioners on the Monckton Commission, makes a statement that in his estimation standards will have to be lowered if a policy of partnership is to be achieved—the sort of statement, unfortunately, repeated again only recently by the right honourable gentleman the Colonial Secretary when addressing an audience in this country. It is a very astonishing thing. The same line of thought is evidenced in a speech made by an honourable Member in another place when discussing the Northern Rhodesian proposals. He said:Whether one thinks the black African can do as good a job as the European or not is immaterial.My Lords, what is this process of appointing a Government? Is it really a game, or are we going to try to appoint the best men we can find in the country to run the country? When we say, in reply to statements of the kind I have quoted, that we are not prepared to lower our standards, I would ask noble Lords in this country to realise—as I am sure they will admit—that they themselves have seen many standards fall 401 in this country. When we say that we are not prepared to lower standards we do not mean—the Rhodesian people do not mean—that we are not prepared to do without two or three house servants, or two or three garden boys. That has happened here, and many noble Lords have had to "take it", and like it. I never thought, as a boy, that I should see my father helping to wash up dishes; but I did before he died. He did not complain, and neither shall I complain if I have to do the same in Africa; nor will the Rhodesians. But what the Rhodesians do mean is that they are not prepared to see standards of government; standards of integrity in the Administration, in the law courts; standards in the health services and in the education policy or of education in the schools, go. Why should the Rhodesian be prepared to educate his son at any lower standard than any noble Lord in this House, or anybody in this country, for that matter? They are not prepared to see democratic procedures go. They are not prepared to see a Government that locks up 50 per cent. of the Opposition.
The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, spoke no more than the truth when he spoke about bitter feeling growing up in the country. You cannot expect people who have spent a lifetime—in many cases the lives of two or three generations of whole families—building up businesses and farming enterprises that are the assets of the country and are the absolute skeleton upon which the progress of Africa must depend, to he prepared to see that just thrown away with the stroke of a pen. When it looks as if that is going to happen can one wonder that there is a feeling of bitterness. And it is perfectly true to say that this feeling of bitterness has grown up during the period of office of the present tight honourable gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
My noble friend Lord Salisbury dealt with some of the constitutional moves that have taken place in Kenya, upholding a contention that this gentleman was (I think this was the word he used) "unscrupulous". Of course, this was hotly contested by the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor when he intervened. It is therefore with some trepidation that I shall try to uphold the 402 point made by the noble Marquess, because I could not help noting, I must say with great admiration, that since the noble and learned Viscount ascended the Woolsack some years ago to assist the House judicially he has lost none of the art of the advocate; and he demonstrated to us yesterday an equal facility to defend his right honourable colleague the Colonial Secretary and to prosecute the most noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. He contested the term "unscruplous". Perhaps I am using a term that may bring less odium on my head when I say that I believe that I have evidence here which may persuade your Lordships that the Colonial Secretary is at least a fast worker in pursuing his political aims.
The noble and learned Viscount charged the noble Marquess with failure to produce evidence, Perhaps even at this late stage in the debate I may be permitted to produce evidence from what, to me, is nearer home than Kenya, as was quoted by the noble Marquess when he said that the right honourable gentleman the Colonial Secretary had forfeited the trust of the so-called white settlers. I most certainly agree, as I have already said, with that contention. I hardly dare be so rash as to emulate the example of the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor, and say that I should welcome his intervention, but I have no doubt that he will intervene if he feels that what I have to say is not substantiated. It is only as short a time ago as August, 1960, that we had the Conference at Lancaster House on the Nyasaland Constitution. The proceedings are recorded in Command Paper 1132, and paragraph 8c deals with the qualifications required by voters in Nyasaland under the new Constitution. It prescribes as a fundamental requirement that a voter must be either a British subject or a British protected person belonging to Nyasaland. This is not something that was merely proposed at this Conference; it was something that the Conference actually agreed to.
It was also agreed, in paragraph 17, that a Working Party should be set up to draw up detailed recommendations for such matters as the definition of the franchise qualifications listed in paragraph 8A. As we know, the Working Party duly met and recommended, among 403 other things, that the vote should be extended to certain Portuguese Africans. I am advised that neither the term "British subject" nor "British protected person belonging to Nyasaland" can be said to cover Portuguese nationals. There again, the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor will correct me if I am wrong in that interpretation. Before the Working Party's Report ever saw the light of day, at least so far as the general public were concerned, the Secretary of State, in the face of the strongest possible protests from the two members of the Nyasaland Executive and others, and indeed of the Federal Government, too, accepted the Working Party's recommendation and on January 3 of this year translated it into legislative effect.
That is the background. I would ask your Lordships just to follow the methods that were employed by the right honourable gentleman the Colonial Secretary in order to bring this about. I think one might have expected that a franchise law for Nyasaland would be enacted by an Ordinance of the Nyasaland Legislative Council and that the Bill for this purpose would have come first, I suppose, to the Nyasaland Executive Council and would then have been introduced to the Legislature, after which the First, Second and Third Readings would have followed in the normal way. But this was not the method employed by the right honourable gentleman. He chose to empower the Governor by an Order in Council to deal with the whole matter by regulation. Your Lordships will see that by adopting this procedure democratic processes were entirely by-passed, and that the dictate—it is nothing less than the dictate—of the Secretary of State was made law in this way.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, would the noble Duke forgive me for interrupting him? Would he not agree that the Secretary of State was acting on behalf of the Government and was not acting on his own account? Is he therefore indicting the whole of the Conservative Government?
§ THE DUKE OF MONTROSE
I think that is a matter that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin should answer himself. Some of us wonder very much whether 404 these actions of the right honourable gentleman, the Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs, are his own actions, or whether he is merely doing what he is told. If he was doing what he was told, I think the situation, so far as we are concerned, is much more serious than if he was acting off his own bat. Your Lordships should be aware that it is actions of this sort that have contributed to the building up of what the noble Marquess referred to as a miasma of suspicion. Your Lordships should remember this, I am sure, because these matters were the subject of close questioning in your Lordships' House in February.
I am sure your Lordships will also be interested in, if you are not already aware of, the answers given by the right honourable gentleman when he was questioned in another place at an earlier date. The question arose yesterday of whether the right honourable gentleman could truly be called disingenuous. I think it may be worth while studying the answers he gave in another place to the questions that were put to him. He frankly admitted that the regulations had not been submitted either to the Executive Council or to the Legislative Council of Nyasaland. Surely that is a rather surprising admission. When he was questioned as to whether it would not have been better to do so the right honourable gentleman replied that he did not think so. He said that it would have been one-sided because the Malawi Congress Party had no members in the Legislative Council.
My Lords, surely that was a rather lame excuse. The Working Party consisted of exactly two civil servants; and if they are short of politicians they are not short of civil servants in Nyasaland; for your Lordships will know that there are several civil servants in the Legislative Council of Nyasaland, including, of course, the Attorney-General. Was the Law Officer of the Crown not capable of putting the Government side of this suggestion to enfranchise aliens if the matter had been opposed—as undoubtedly it would have been—by other Members of the Assembly? Surely that answer is not good enough. I ask your Lordships to study these questions and to judge for yourselves whether or not the Colonial Secretary was disingenuous.
405 Now to those of us who live in the Federation the question of course, arises of the recommendations in the Command Paper 1295 on Northern Rhodesia, where the proposed qualifications for the franchise are dealt with. Here we are informed, in Annexes II and III, of the qualifications for the Upper and Lower Rolls. We find that a voter must be a British subject or a British-protected person by virtue of his connection with Northern Rhodesia. In view of the action of the Colonial Secretary in the case of Nyasaland we want to know: are we to expect that when this recommendation is translated into effect it also will he dealt with by an Order in Council and, perhaps, the whole of the legislative process contemptuously by-passed? Are we to find, in this case, that various Congolese tribesmen, of whom many thousands live and work in Northern Rhodesia, are to be included among people who are to get the franchise? These points are extremely important to us, and as somebody who lives in that country I believe that in the case of Nyasaland they were "put-across" by pretty fast work.
It is this kind of high-handed action and lack of candour that has contributed to the complete lack of trust that we have in the Colonial Secretary. I believe that some figures were mentioned, and it was suggested that some 95 per cent. of the population have that lack of trust to-day—
§ THE DUKE OE MONTROSE
Yes, I would reply to the noble Lord, and the black as well. In fact, one of them, Mr. Matthews Phiri, himself a victim of intimidation at the hands of the Malawi Congress, actually protested in person, to the right honourable Gentleman the Colonial Secretary at the actions I have described. I associate myself wholeheartedly with what the noble Marquess has said. And although it was much more gently put, I think the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, also felt that there had been a good deal of incompetence in the way the whole problem had been tackled by this gentleman.
406 A great deal of emphasis has been given to the speed at which advancement should go, and on that speed will depend the whole question as to whether Western civilisation is to continue at all in Africa. What is the aim of the so-called "freedom fighters" of the various States in Africa, all of whom, I believe, now have offices in Cairo? Mr. Joshua Nkomo, who comes from Southern Rhodesia, I believe, was the last of these so-called "freedom fighters" who maintained an office here in London; and noble Lords may have seen it reported in the newspapers last week that he is now spending a so-called "holiday" in Cairo.
The attitude of the people who are organising these African "freedom fighters", and African nationalist movements, from Cairo, backed as their effort is, by Russia and China (I do not think acting together for one purpose, but each for their own aims) has in view no less an object than to drive the white man right out of Africa. That is something about which I am sure, no matter how it may be camouflaged in words, or in statements to the effect that partnership is a great ideal. We should like to think it is their true and only aim, and we are quite prepared to go on working along those lines and to hope that the future may bring Africans to adopt that policy. But the "freedom fighters", the gentlemen who have been referred to by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, as "moderates" are by no means as moderate as he thinks. I had to give what I suppose is called a wry smile when the noble Earl mentioned Mr. Kaunda as a moderate. I believe, the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, has already quoted Mr. Kaunda's statement about the possibility of events in Northern Rhodesia which would make Mau-Mau look like a child's picnic if his demands were not met. It is all very well to try to write that off as loose talk but probably noble Lords are aware of the fact that no less a person than the then Governor of Northern Rhodesia described the Zambia Congress as "Murder Incorporated". And the founder of the Zambia Congress was Mr. Kaunda.
I often feel there seems to be an absolute curtain over this country against information which is not in line with the policy which the Government here 407 wish to follow in Africa. There is a very good book which I mention, since Papers have been called for. It is called The Reluctant African, by a well-known American negro journalist, Louis E. Lomax. Because he had dealt a good deal with the question of Negro advancement, he got right on the inside of the African freedom movement, and I believe that, though he himself is a Negro, it must have been that he was so frightened by what he saw there that he wrote the book. I should like to quote what he reports was said to a meeting by Mr. Mboya, who I suppose some noble Lords here would also maintain is a moderate. Mr. Mboya said:The Europeans know they are finished in Kenya. Now, all they want to know is if we are going to pay them for their land. The civil servants know that they are done here. Now, all they want to know is whether we are going to give him a pension. Every day they stop me in the streets and they ask me: 'Mr. Mboya, are you going to take our land? Are we going to be compensated? Are we going to get pensions? ' I tell them: 'Do not ask me to pay you. Tell your troubles to Macleod. Let him pay you.' As far as we arc concerned, the Europeans have lived off the fat of our land. They have had their compensation and pensions. They do not have anything coming. I say it now for all times, we are not going to inherit any colonial debts. If Macleod wants these Europeans to be paid, let him pay them. Then the Europeans want to know if they can stay on in Kenya. I tell them 'Sure' (Mboya said this almost doubling up with laughter. The audience knew what he meant.) But if they stay they must get out of politics. We are going to have an all-black Parliament and an all-black Government. We arc going to divide the land among our people. If the Europeans want to stay they can stay on as squatters. If they want to work they can work for us, and they must work on contract. They will come when we say come and go when we say go.—at which we are told, "the Africans applauded and screamed with glee." If anyone thinks that Mboya is working for racial partnership, I recommend him to study what I have just read.
One noble Lord who spoke this afternoon mentioned the fact that there appeared at these Conferences held in Lancaster House to be two pillars of extremism and it was very difficult to get any agreement. When Sir Roy Welensky spoke in the Federal House recently of "the new diplomacy" he referred to just that type of thing. He referred to the fact that these Conferences are organised on a basis of getting large 408 numbers of people here, most of them extremists, and of trying to drive his own policy slap through the middle, very often nearer the side of the particular Party which makes the most extreme demands. Is that the way to go about diplomatic negotiations? It is not a way, my Lords, that brings any feeling of confidence to those of us who are on the receiving end of what is going to be decided there.
To revert to this question of the loss of confidence of the Europeans in the Federation in regard to this country, I think it is fair to say that Rhodesia has always done its fair share, as a son, to fight for the Mother Country, starting, if you like, with the Jameson Raid, which set out from Rhodesia itself in order to get, or to try to get, rights for those people who were paying the taxes but did not have the vote in Johannesburg.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Duke? Is he seriously applauding the Jameson Raid as an act of British patriotism? I must have misheard him.
§ THE DUKE OF MONTROSE
Deplore. At all events, at that time though the Raid was not the direct policy of the British Government. It was the policy of the British Government to try to get control of the goldfields. I hear some noble Lords say, "Oh, dear!", but I think I shall be led too far off the track if I go into that question. But to continue: during the South African war, during the Great War and during the Second World War the sons of Rhodesia were prepared to risk their lives and fight the battles of the Mother Country. And to-day I think that they feel they should be entitled to look to the Mother Country, as one looks to a mother, for some trust in one's actions, for some faith in what one is trying to do, and for some support if one should run into difficulties. But they feel they have now abandoned that hope.
When I first went out to Rhodesia everybody talked about the Old Country: "Are you going back to the Old Country; are you going back home?" One does 409 not hear that any more. All one hears is, "Are you going overseas?" That is the new attitude. I am afraid that in the last twelve months the feeling that this is the Mother Country or that anything can be expected in regard to her looking after their interests has practically faded out. It is all very well for noble Lords to dissent from that. I know that here in this country, when you have demonstrations, such as "Ban the Bomb" marches, or political moves opposing the maintenance of the best means of defence we have, they are shrugged off as the sentiments of the extremists. But over there people say, "Good gracious me! They are not even going to defend themselves. Flow can we expect them to defend us?" People out there are finding it very hard to understand. My Lords, what is happening in this country?
We saw the refugees from the Congo. We put them up in our own homes. I had a family in my own home. We heard of the many atrocious crimes at first hand, nearly all of them with some loathsome sex slant and quite unmentionable. We heard all these things. And people in Rhodesia say, "Good heavens! If they can even find 5,000 people to demonstrate in Trafalgar Square and make a hero of the late Lumumba, there is a great sickness, surely, in Britain". I am telling your Lordships that that is what people are feeling out there. There seems to me to be some extraordinary sentiment abroad, if the line taken by the Press is to be taken as representing public opinion. We see defeats presented as victories, and any victories if they are of those of Britain are made to appear blameworthy. Immorality is made to appear innocent; literature which our fathers banned we set free for young people to read.
Is this really something that cannot be changed? Because, my Lords, I believe that the problem of Africa is not only in Africa, but here too. How does it come about? What has happened? Is it that the leadership of public opinion has been handed over entirely to television and the Press? Is it not still a fact that we, from this House and from the other House, and many young men and women in this country, could even now arrest the leadership of public thought from these vehicles 410 that I believe are to blame for a great deal of the trouble? The trouble is not only in Africa; the trouble is here, too.
The most reverend Primate the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury said truly that we should all—and I agree that we in Africa must do the same—seek in our own hearts where we have gone wrong. Winding up his address, the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, spoke on much the same lines and said, I think, that some new leadership was needed. If I may in my humble capacity say so, I will indeed try to think where as a man with his home in Africa, have gone wrong. I hope that noble Lords here will do the same.
§ 4.40 p.m.
Your Lordships will agree with me, I think, that it is a difficult proposition to have to follow on the speech of the noble Duke, which ranged from the Jameson Raid to Lady Chatterley's Lover. We certainly cannot complain of any lack of variety or entertainment. On the other hand, I really could not follow him, and I would say only this: that I deplore the expressions of personal criticism which have been made in this debate to-day and yesterday. I deplore them the more because the victim or the object of the attacks has been a man for whom, since he has assumed the office of Colonial Secretary, most of us, I think, on both sides of the House, have come to have a tremendous respect. I am sorry to hear that 90 per cent. of the white people in Northern Rhodesia have lost any respect for him, but I still believe that the respect that the Colonial Secretary has from Africans is one of our major assets in Africa.
I hope that, since this is a continuation of yesterday's debate, it may be in order for me to pay, not the conventional compliment to the noble Lord, Lord Molson, on his maiden speech, but a very sincere tribute. I think that the speech which he made in the House yesterday gave us the essential factual background for the discussion which we have been having to-day and yesterday, and we are all deeply indebted to him. He made it extremely clear, I think, That his object, and the object of the other members of the Monckton Commission, was, above all, to preserve the Federation, and that their proposals were all made with that object —and, my Lords, I think that all of us 411 in this House would share that anxiety and that desire. I myself share it, despite the fact that I was one of those who opposed the imposition of federation. I did so because I believed—in fact, I knew; and, of course, it has been proved that I was correctly informed—that the Africans of the territories were profoundly opposed to federation at that time; and their attitude has not changed.
This I deplore, because one had hoped that, when federation had gone through, the much-vaunted policy of partnership would conic into operation, the Africans would find that their fears were unjustified, and that in fact the Southern Rhodesian policy towards Africans would not spread to the rest of the Federation. The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said that there had been a number of events since the Monckton Commission were in Africa and made their Report which invalidated their conclusions, and he gave a formidable list of (how shall I put it?) pro-African measures in Southern Rhodesia. I hope that these may continue and that, if the Federation is to continue, these and other measures will combine together to reconcile the Africans to the Federation: because although, as I have said, I was opposed to federation, I have never denied its economic advantages, and if at this time the Federation were to fall to pieces the prospect of ever putting it together again would, I believe, be absolutely non-existent.
Curiously enough, however, I find myself in agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, in his criticisms of the Colonial Secretary's present plan. It is, I think an immensely ingenious plan and concept, as one might well expect from a man of the outstanding intelligence of the Colonial Secretary. I do not, however, like it, and I gather that neither Africans nor Europeans like it. I do not like it, curiously enough, for one of the reasons which has been advanced in its favour. I do not understand why it should be claimed that this particular, suggested Constitution will reduce or overcome racial politics and replace them with political politics. On the contrary, it seems to me that the proposed Constitution sets up a tripartite Parliament of which one-third is to be elected almost entirely by Europeans, and will evidently consist of Europeans; one-third 412 is to be elected by Africans, who presumably will elect Africans; and one-third, the composition of which I still find quite uncertain in my own mind—in spite of the statement by the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack, who generally contrives to make even the most abstruse and difficult problem so simple that even I can understand it. However, yesterday, I say with regret, he failed. I do not see how this other one-third is going to operate. It would seem to me that if any candidate, to be elected, must have a certain percentage of the votes of each of the two Rolls, the Upper and the Lower Roll, then surely it would be possible, would it not, for nobody to be elected at all? This seems to me a perfectly feasible eventuality and, indeed, not at all an unlikely one; and that, surely, cannot be one at which the Colonial Secretary is aiming.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
My Lords, perhaps I can help the noble Lord on this matter. It will be a percentage of the votes cast, not a percentage of the votes on the register, so that the thing that he fears could not occur.
Could it not? I am sorry, I still am not enlightened; but I am sure the noble Earl has studied it more closely than I have, though I doubt whether he has had a worse headache as a result.
§ THE EARL OF SWINTON
Could it not happen? As the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor put it yesterday, in order to be eligible you have to get more votes than in this country would forfeit your deposit. You have to get 12½ per cent. of the total votes cast in each block. Suppose there are ten candidates and each of them gets only 10 per cent. Nobody has 12½ per cent. Who is elected?
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
I think I would accept that, on the unlikely hypothesis of such equality, that could happen. I suppose the same thing could happen in this country, too.
My difficulty is that it seems to me that if all the votes were divided exactly in half, and all of one kind went to one set of candidates and all of the other kind went to the other set of candidates, then nobody would be elected. I may or may not be 413 wrong in this, but I think that we had better go forward to a far more frankly political, and democratically political, set-up in Northern Rhodesia.
The Africans have asked for and have insisted on two things, as I understand it: one of them is universal sufferage, and the other is an African majority. Now if the Federation is to continue, African support is essential. Unless you can get African consent and support for a Constitution, you may just as well tear it up and throw it in the wastepaper basket. Moreover, in tearing it up you will, of course, have ended federation. I believe, therefore, that any scheme must include and entail an African majority. I say that, subject to all the special arrangements you can make—Bills of Rights or appeals to the British Government here.
May I say here, in passing, that I much prefer an appeal to the British Parliament to any number of clauses written into a Constitution. We have had rather bitter experience of such clauses. I would have both. I would have also a State Council to look after the rights of minorities. But I maintain that you will not get African support unless you have an African majority. Once you accept the idea of an African majority, the question of the franchise becomes, I suggest, infinitely easier. I think it was my noble friend Lord Lucan who pointed out yesterday that there is all the difference in the world between an illiterate person in a country like our own, where public education is available —indeed compulsory—for all, and a country where education is available only for very few. Many of us who have had experience of primitive countries will be aware that to be illiterate is not to be, by any means, stupid, foolish or incompetent. If it were so, then many countries would not be operating at all.
Therefore, I do not like any of these special provisions for a franchise. They are all methods of favouring a particular race or a particular class in the State; and once you agree that you will have a democratic system, I believe it is no more difficult—in fact, I should think it easier—to draw up a register on a manhood suffrage basis than any of the newfangled franchises which are rather fashionable at the present time. Along with an African majority, a Common 414 Roll and a manhood suffrage, I should like to see reserved seats. I do not think it an ideal solution, but I should prefer it to any other, and I suggest it is the only solution under which you in fact get Africans voting for Europeans and Europeans voting for Africans. I believe that the Colonial Secretary would do well to reconsider his scheme along the lines I have suggested.
Finally, may I say one word in favour of moderation? This debate has, I think, been for your Lordships' House rather immoderate. Many things have been said which would have been better not said. Many things have been said outside the House which would also have been better not said. My friend Kenneth Kaunda's remarks were mentioned. I confess, having some personal knowledge of the speaker, that I have the highest opinion both of his character and ability, and I read his remarks in a somewhat different light. I read them not as a threat, but as a warning. So far as they may have been unwise and ill-chosen, I regret them; but I regret far more the calling up of the Territorials in Rhodesia. That I find to be a gross act of aggression, or a threat of aggression, one which I cannot sufficiently deplore and one which should never have been carried out. However, my Lords, I hope that Her Majesty's Government will stand firm. I should like a different Constitution than the one suggested by the Colonial Secretary because, quite frankly, as I have said, I believe his scheme has the disadvantages of racialism and impracticality. But whatever scheme is put forward, I hope very much that it will be accepted and will be worked successfully.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ LORD M1LVERTON
My Lords, in view of the references which have been made in most speeches, I should like to preface my remarks by some reference to the speech made yesterday by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. May I say that I should like, with great respect, to associate myself completely with what he said about the crisis of confidence and about the dire necessity that we should not ignore its existence. I do not propose to make any further reference to that, because I should not be able to make any new contribution, save such as may arise from the short study that 415 I want to make of the new proposed Constitution for Northern Rhodesia.
I am conscious of the necessity to be as brief as possible, in view of the number of participants in this debate, but I am also aware that there are some things which, though they may already have been said, cannot be said too often. So I do not propose, merely because a thing has been said before, to refrain from saying it again in the course of what I want to put before your Lordships. I propose to deal especially with the constituent members of the Federation, Northern Rhodesia, in particular with some reference to Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
As one looks at the map of Africa, one realises that the Central African Federation is surrounded by a sea of troubles and potential troubles. The worst of all her neighbours, the Congo, threatens to disintegrate into bloodstained chaos, and surely those responsible for government in the Federation must look apprehensively at the scene across their borders and must act on the motto of the Boy Scouts: "Be Prepared!". There is surely no justification for the criticism which has been made in this connection of Sir Roy Welensky, and for condemning and misrepresenting the Federal Government's preparations to be able to perform its elementary duty, if called upon, in support of Territorial Governments as the last bulwark of law and order. The mere maintenance of law and order is a paramount duty of the Civil Government of these territories; and of that I am fully aware. But the most reckless idealists amongst us must surely be conscious of the Nemesis that waits on weakness and unpreparedness.
In order to understand what the present Secretary of State has done in his published outline of a new Constitution for Northern Rhodesia, one has to be quite clear about recent constitutional history in the territories of the Federation, and about the policy evolved so clearly, and carried into effect so successfully, in the 1958 Constitution for Northern Rhodesia. It is this policy and this method of progressive fulfilment which have been changed: indeed, I would have said almost abandoned. It is true that the Secretary of State, in his speech in another place on 22nd 416 February, expressly rejected the racial approach, and concluded with these words [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 635 (No. 59), col. 518]:…there is only one thing that Her Majesty's Government can do, and that is to remember their responsibilities to all men of all races in that territory, to put forward their policies and, having done that, to hold steadfast on course. That is what we have done, and that is what we propose to do.My Lords, as I view it, that is precisely what he has not done, and what he is not proposing to do. If he has persuaded himself, as he may indeed have done, he certainly has not convinced me, or many others in this country, let alone the white Africans in the Rhodesias. Those of us who look at it like this have viewed for some time with growing apprehension the course which has been pursued.
Let the facts speak for themselves. In 1953, the Federation was founded to serve the security, advancement and welfare of all its inhabitants, and to foster partnership and co-operation between them. At the time there was a common voters' roll in Southern Rhodesia, from which Africans, as British subjects, were not excluded, some 500 of them being registered. I am aware that the qualifications were of such a standard that probably very few Africans at that time could attain them; but the roll was open to any African who could attain those standards. In 1954, the Northern Rhodesia Constitution was devised, extending the number of African representatives but not conferring the vote on British protected persons.
In 1957, the Federal Constitution was amended, the African representation being doubled. The Legislatures of all three territories, as well as the Federal and United Kingdom Governments, approved. In 1958, the Federal Electoral Act enabled Africans who were British protected persons to vote for the first time in Federal elections. In 1957, Northern Rhodesia was busy preparing electoral laws and a new Constitution; Southern Rhodesia was busy with her new electoral laws, and there was close collaboration between Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Incidentally, both the Federal and Northern Rhodesia Governments borrowed parts of the recommendations of Southern Rhodesia's Tredgold Commission.
417 In 1958, after long and detailed study, and close consultation between the United Kingdom, the Northern Rhodesian and Federal Governments, there emerged the Lennox-Boyd Constitution for Northern Rhodesia. The White Paper, Cmnd. 530 of September, 1958, contains Mr. Lennox-Boyd's dispatch of September 10. It is an historic document of great importance, which deals with a complex situation with inspired sincerity. It has been in operation for only two years. I presume that your Lordships are familiar with this great State Paper and for my purpose of comparison with the present project (in Cmnd. 1295) I need only mention its basic principle; that all members of the Legislative Council must feel themselves responsible to an electorate composed not solely of members of their own races but of all races. The nationality qualification is British subject, citizen of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, or British protected person by virtue of connection with Northern Rhodesia.
There is a qualitative franchise and a common voters' roll, comprised of two sections, the "ordinary" roll, with full qualifications, and a "special" roll, with lower qualifications, who choose twelve ordinary and six special members, besides two African and two European members in composite constituencies specially reserved for them. Every voter, whether ordinary or special, is entitled to two votes, one to be used in his constituency, whether ordinary or special, and one to be used in whichever of the four composite constituencies he belongs to. In all the twenty-two constituencies, all votes count in full, provided that in every one of the twelve "ordinary" constituencies and in the two constituencies reserved to European candidates the special votes may riot, in total, count more than one-third of the total or ordinary votes cast. I believe that the reason for this is that it was necessary, in view of the principles laid down by the Lennox-Boyd dispatch, to insist on all candidates being elected by the votes of all races who are citizens of the country.
The qualifications laid down for the "ordinary", or upper roll were those which were considered to be the mini- 418 mum which should be insisted upon in order to obtain responsible electors capable of using a vote sensibly. But it was felt that a rigid adherence to this principle, had it been extended over the whole electoral area at the time, would exclude so many Africans as to leave them with a grievance of under-representation. Therefore, as a temporary expedient—and I think that should be stressed—it was decided to give them some influence, though not a predominant one. Surely it is obvious that it would be a wrong and foolish thing to make special provisions to give some influence in the political situation to unqualified voters, to overdo it to such an extent as to put them in charge and make them have more influence than those with full qualifications. I suggest that that would be obvious folly.
The idea was that it would enable them to gain some political education in the process of exercising the franchise. It was anticipated that the growing prosperity of the Federation would release more funds for education and other social services, since much of the territory's prosperity is, and will be, progressively translated into measures for the advancement of the African. As the years pass by, increasing numbers of Africans will qualify as ordinary voters and so, it was envisaged, the necessity for a special roll would in due course disappear altogether. The African would have won his complete rights, because there would be an ample number of Africans qualified to have the ordinary vote, and the road would be wide open for the translation to the future which is so passionately desired, when the African will ultimately have that predominant position which it is now proposed to give him, recklessly and before he is ready for it.
May I add that, in the working of the Lennox-Boyd Constitution, it would not only be the Africans who would learn? The same lesson would be learned by the Europeans, since all political candidates would have to gain support beyond their own race and, when elected, would generally represent all races in their constituencies. Towards the close of his dispatch Mr. Lennox-Boyd wrote these words: 419…the arrangements have the advantage that they are designed to ensure that the pace at which African influence in political life will increase in the future will be determined by the pace of their general advance rather than by arbitrary decisions taken from time to time.The 1958 constitutional provisions as a whole successfully got away from the previous system under which the Northern Rhodesia Legislature had been composed of separate sectional or racial groups, each of them, as it was then, inevitably answerable to a section rather than to the community as a whole. Now, within two brief years, the present Secretary of State tells us in paragraph 2 (1) of his statement, the White Paper, Cmnd. 1295:It seems to me essential that this next stage of constitutional advance should provide for a substantial increase in the number of Africans in the Legislature.Very well, my Lords; grant that. But why not bring this about by some agreed adaptation of the existing system rather than by plunging into a totally new one of which the working and the results do not seem to have been clearly thought out? Why try to manœuvre Sir Roy Welensky and the Federation Government into acceptance of this scheme without arty time to study it properly?
We now learn from Sir Roy and Mr. Greenfield that the ill-considered scheme set forth in the White Paper, Cmnd. 1295, was the last of a series of four, differing widely in concept, all produced one after the other in three or four weeks. Apparently the "wind of change" blew over Lancaster House in very wavering gusts that night. It is surely fantastic that on January 3, 1961, the current Northern Rhodesia qualifications for the Upper Roll were used as an exact model for Nyasaland in regulations issued by virtue of an Order in Council. Within a week the Federal Government were informed that the Northern Rhodesian Upper Roll qualifications were to be lowered. As Mr. Greenfield tells us, it is also fantastic that in several of these plans for changing the Northern Rhodesian Constitution the system of cross voting is to be eradicated in Northern Rhodesia at the very time when, under the Sandys-Whitehead Plan, the system is to be implanted in Southern Rhodesia, where it does not at present 420 exist; and put there with the approval of us all.
That is where I think the weakness of the analogy of the noble Earl, Lord Perth, in his speech came in, when he said that if it is right and a good thing to have a new Constitution for Southern Rhodesia, why is it bad for Northern Rhodesia? There is no analogy whatsoever. What we welcome in the Southern Rhodesian agreement is that by general agreement there they will now advance to the excellent principles which have governed the Northern Rhodesian Constitution. There is no reason why, at a time when we welcome the advance of Southern Rhodesia to that system—which, my Lords, was meant to provide something which would last and not be dug up and changed every few years—we should propose to destroy it in Northern Rhodesia, its own home.
The constitutional changes of 1958 were negotiated between Governments after taking the views of political Parties into account, but the present Secretary of State has adopted this different technique. For approval of his latest plan, as we have heard several times in this debate, he gave Sir Roy Welensky and his Government from Saturday, February 11, to Tuesday, February 14, to reply whether they accepted it or not. Can it be wondered that the Federal Government view these methods with distrust?—especially as they remember the methods adopted over Kenya and over Nyasaland, where the points agreed between delegates at the Conference were extended by the operations of a Working Party into fields which had never been contemplated by the delegates. Legislation by Order in Council, as we have heard from the noble Duke, then followed, thus preventing discussion by the existing Legislature and circumventing any consideration by Executive Council.
My Lords, may I invite your attention to the plan in the White Paper, Cmnd. 1295, with all its glaring obscurities? This Paper, in my view, in its changes from the Lennox-Boyd plan, constitutes a reactionary retreat from the principles laid down in 1958. The holders of the 15 Upper Roll seats and the 15 Lower Roll seats respectively would, in practice, be much nearer to representing a purely white and a purely black interest than any of the categories of members under the present system. There would 421 thus be a significant move back towards communal representation. The 15 National seats are almost explicitly so designed that contests for them will be subject to chance. To minimise this chanciness, the white Africans, on the one hand, and the black Africans, on the other, would endeavour, I suggest inevitably, to gang up in the hope of avoiding a split vote. If so, there would be a further intensification of the communal division.
There are no doubt many capable Africans who want to play a co-operative and constructive part alongside their white fellow citizens; and it would be to the advantage of the Africans generally that they should do so to a continually increasing extent. But the current proposals—and this, I suggest, is a most important point—would be unlikely to bring such moderate Africans into the Legislature. Moderation, as I see it, would be at a discount. The Secretary of State's scheme seems designed to suit the extremists. I think that the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, who in their speeches said that the National group would be moderate men and Liberals, and so Liberals would control the future, are living in a land of make-believe: I do not see that result emerging from the election at all.
Constitutional changes such as we are now considering are usually stages in the process of handing over power. But handing over power inevitably means also handing over responsibility. We need to have always in mind, I suggest, the interests and wellbeing of the populations concerned. At Northern Rhodesia's present stage any ostensible extension of democratic processes needs to be carefully scrutinised lest it should lead to the acquisition of effective power by a comparatively small section who have never shown any capacity for anything except inflammatory speeches and the organisation of terror, whose horizons seem bounded by the acquisition of power for themselves, and who have even yet to show any noticeable concern for the future wellbeing of their fellow Africans. It could not be in the interests of the latter that their destinies should be effectively entrusted to such hands. Whatever may happen in a distant future, it is surely wrong for the 422 present protecting Power wantonly to facilitate such an emotional termination of their trust. However passionate may be the desire to hand over the power, and however deep and sincere may be the sympathy with the desire of Africans to manage their own affairs, there is—and I here speak on a subject of which I can claim some knowledge—a very definite administrative limit to the pace at which such terms can be translated into actual fact.
May I say once more what has already been said in the debate to-day? It is pure folly to indulge one's dreams of helping Africans who want to run their own affairs but are rot yet able to do so. It is pure folly to indulge in them and thereby assist them to bring disaster on themselves as well as other people. In Command Papers Nos. 1295 and 1301 these proposals are clearly labelled as "proposals", though the Secretary of State seems to have tried to make the Federal Government accept them as decisions, to form the unalterable basis of discussions about the details left so obscure in the proposals that perhaps we ought really to call them "proposed decisions" or "decided proposals". I do not know which of these amorphous phrases would best suit the obscurity in which they were born. If I read him correctly, all that Sir Roy and the Federal Government ask is that these proposals should be treated as such at Lusaka, being open for examination and discussion there, with Her Majesty's Government uncommitted and able to consider other proposals more in consonance with the Lennox-Boyd principles which, let us never forget, the Federal Government accepted and agreed two years ago. It may be held, perhaps, that this is what Her Majesty's Government mean to do, in which case we may hope that they will say so quite clearly. It is not much to ask that their proposals should be open to discussion after publication, since no opportunity was given for doing so before.
One final word about Southern Rhodesia. The White Paper Cmnd. 1291 is the record of a marvellous success in clarifying complex issues and achieving so wide a measure of agreement that the Governments of the United Kingdom and Southern Rhodesia could proceed to work out, in consultation with those con- 423 cerned, the details of a new draft Constitution. It is noteworthy that the Conference took place in Salisbury and was preceded by meetings of the Southern Rhodesian delegates from January 16 to 24, under the Chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Sir Edgar Whitehead. Unlike its counterpart, the Northern Rhodesian Conference in London, it did not meet in a vacuum, with no conference papers and no specific proposals. The constructive atmosphere which prevailed and the agreed compromise—only the Dominion Party dissenting—which gave no Party all it wanted, was a tribute to all those concerned therein. It is unfortunate that the delays and the handling of the London Conference have subsequently unsettled some of the African acceptance.
That then, my Lords, is the situation in Central Africa. The fate of the Federation and the hope of progress and happiness in its component territories are at stake. I hope that your Lordships have read the great speech (as I view it) made by Sir Roy Welensky on Monday, February 27, to the Federal Assembly when asking for the vote of confidence, which was subsequently given him in full measure. It is unfortunate that the publicity given to this speech by the London Press was so small, meagre and inadequate. It is the convincing speech of an honest and sincere statesman, a leader who inspires trust and stands on principles which no adroit evasion can shake. I can only say that if Her Majesty's Government reject Sir Roy's request for fair negotiation, the blame for a deadlock between Her Majesty's Government and the Federal Government will not rest on Sir Roy's shoulders.
The Secretary of State for the Colonies, like a modern Pandora, has opened the sealed Lennox-Boyd box containing the winged blessings of peace and prosperity, and they have fled. But at least Pandora shut the box in time to prevent the escape of Hope. If the Secretary of State persists in his present policy, and arbitrarily denies to the Federal Government the opportunity of free discussion so amply given by his predecessor, then Hope itself will fly away, leaving the Secretary of State and Her Majesty's Government in the unenviable position of the man who made a desert and called it peace.
§ 5.27 p.m.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
My Lords, we are now getting on in the course of this two days' debate on the vastly important question of what course of action has to be taken in Central Africa. We have debated this question on many occasions before. So far as my Party are concerned, we have been in touch with this for something like sixteen or seventeen years. We cannot forget that the original overtures with regard to the setting up of the Central African Federation were made to the Labour Government on behalf of those in Southern Rhodesia and the near neighbourhood who were interested in getting such a Federation. They wanted a link between Southern and Northern Rhodesia. Conversations went on for some time, and at one time the interviews which took place with the then Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. Creech-Jones and Mr. Noel-Baker, were of great importance in exploring the situation. In the course of those conversations, it seemed clear to me, from the reports I then received, and of which I have since reminded myself, that the views of the Labour Government were more favourable to the position of the native in Africa than seemed to appeal to those who represented Southern Rhodesia and the other places in their search for a Central African Federation. That is a little bit of the history which perhaps we might well remember.
Nor do I forget that the situation which has arisen has been in connection with the periods laid down for reconsideration of the matter from time to time. The Conference and the White Paper of 1953 stand out in my mind. My colleagues with me on these Benches will remember that in the course of the consideration of the Act of 1954 many protests were made from my late noble and learned friend Lord Jowitt and from the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, who unfortunately has removed himself into a less progressive position. Then Lord Silkin and others were constantly drawing attention to the dangers that we felt would be likely to arise unless it could be made perfectly clear —much clearer than we at first thought the terms in the Act were—that the protection of the British nation over Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland was in no way to be interfered with.
425 From time to time in the debates since then we have had to call attention to the real position, and to the fact that the British Parliament, acting on behalf of the British Government for the time being, should never be allowed to escape from their responsibility to those two Protectorates. We failed to get all that we wanted in regard to the Act, and the noble Marquess who spoke yesterday (and I will come a little later to some of the things he said) played a very active part in the passage of the 1954 Statute through the House. So he, like other members of his Party, bears some responsibility in regard to the period laid down for revision and the kind of date at which it could be expected the Central African Federation would move to complete and independent Dominion status. They have their share of the responsibility for some of the disappointments that have since arisen, and I do not think we must ever allow the House to forget these historical facts.
With regard to the position of my Party in relation to the matter which is under discussion to-day, let me say at once that we do not understand some of the attacks which have been made upon the present Colonial Secretary with regard to the Conference proposals, revising so soon what was called the "Lennox-Boyd Constitution" of 1958. We do not understand why these attacks are taking place in this way. I will come to deal in detail with that in a few minutes. But I am bound to say this: that if you look hack at the speeches of some important and responsible members—for example, the noble Earl, Lord Home, who was then Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations—as to the situation twelve months ago, you find that even he did not then see any likelihood of being able to get away with the kind of status of the African populations on the basis which seems to be so greatly desired by the white settlers there. The noble Earl was stating his attitude towards the Federation when he was about to depart on March 30 for Salisbury. and he said the prime purpose of his visit was to try to arrive with Sir Roy Welensky at the basis of preparatory machinery for the future constitutional equal partnerships between the races in the Federation, and Lord Home added that something new in the Commonwealth story was needed; the kind of in- 426 dependence attained by Australia, India and Ghana would not be sufficient for Nyasaland and the Rhodesias. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind as to what are the liberal tendencies in the mind of the present Foreign Secretary in regard to these Colonial matters, Dominion matters, and their relationship to foreign affairs at large.
Let me say this: when we are dealing with this matter and thinking of the whole colour problem, which is obviously going to be an important matter at the now assembling Conference of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, how many of us have read carefully—I hope we all have—and how many of us have been greatly heartened by the basic approach of Mr. Diefenbaker, the Canadian Premier, as reported in the Daily Herald this morning? When he was asked what his attitude would be in regard to this apartheid position he said, "I hope we shall, by word and deed, generally accept as fundamental the belief of each and all in the dignity, worth and equality of every individual, without regard to race or colour."
I wish that the white settlers, representatives of the minority white view in South Africa, would always regard the colour problem from that standpoint. It does not seem to me to be so at all. I remember the speech by the noble Viscount, Lord Malvern, speaking from the same Bench from which the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, spoke this afternoon. I will not go into any details, but I advise anybody who is likely to disagree with me to have a look for himself. I would mention only one point; when somebody with all the great public offices that Lord Malvern had held in Southern Rhodesia could refer to all Africans as liars, it does not give very great support to the kind of spirit on the colour problem that is evinced by the Prime Minister of Canada at the present time.
Now there seems to be in regard to the consideration of this White Paper a considerable amount of reference to what was called the Lennox-Boyd Constitution of 1958. I listened for a considerable time the other day to the debate in another place and I heard a good many of the views expressed by the 96 or 97 —it is one or the other; it is as close as that—with regard to the far greater 427 merits of the Lennox-Boyd Constitution than the one which is now presented to us by the present Colonial Secretary in the White Paper on Northern Rhodesia. I want to meet, if I may, some of the arguments which have been used in that connection. The last speaker, the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, is a man very experienced in colonial administration, although how he gets over that side of the House, and expresses all the views he did this afternoon after having first applied for membership of the Labour Party, before his elevation or during his elevation to the House, just passes my comprehension.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
The "winds of change", yes. I am obliged to the noble Viscount. I shall know whom to go to the next time I need a legal advocate. The emphasis upon the Lennox-Boyd Constitution has been that it was non-racial. We have had quite a procession of terms to describe the policies of those people who do not go as far as we want. We have been through the term "partnership", and we have been through the term "multi-racialism"; now we have got to the stage where it is highly fashionable to take about "non-racialism". But if they do not all add up to the same common objective, I do not know what they mean. I can see no other objective in sight for us than to try to get the largest amount of co-operation for all colours and classes of men in the country under discussion in order to reach the highest possible level of economic prosperity, of human association and friendship, and the development of the bonds of peace. And I should have thought that "partnership", "multi-racialism" or "non-racialism" would practically cover the same thing all the time.
This first term, of partnership, suits my Co-operative outlook upon life very well indeed, and I am quite prepared to see us go into partnership. Of what does the partnership proposed in the Central African places really consist? Is it a general, overall, human partnership, or is it an attempt to bend the desires and the wills of the African people to the great landed and business interests there? Which is it? We have listened to the 428 noble Duke this afternoon, and I have great difficulty in finding exactly how he arrives at his conclusion. The things he says about Africans to-day do not seem to match up to what I recollect him saying when he spoke early in 1959, when he said, "We trust and live at peace with 99½ per cent. of the native population." Of what are they so afraid?
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
They have been in existence as an organised State since 1890. If they had been doing their job and bringing on the Africans with education and social development ever since, and if, as he said last year, he could trust 99½ per cent. of the native population, what makes the difference now, and in their approach at the beginning of these recently held Conferences?
§ THE DUKE OF MONTROSE
Would the noble Viscount give way to me for one second? I should like to point out to him that in Southern Rhodesia, where we have been responsible for the education of the Africans, they are far in advance of the territories under the Colonial Office.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
I am extremely interested in that. I suppose that explains why it is that, although you have had an independently governed State since 1923, you have never once given a seat in that Legislature to an African. How does the noble Duke answer that?
§ THE DUKE OF MONTROSE
I will answer it in this way; that it is only a very few years since you gave them a seat in the North. It is only a very short time since the Africans were given a seat in the North, and under the new Constitution, if that is accepted, they will now get 15 seats in the South, too.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
The "pie in the sky" is at least coming down to earth, even in Southern Rhodesia. We have been waiting for the day for a very long time. It is 70 years since you began to work from that central city called by the famous name of Salisbury. It is 70 years, and there is not yet an African in that Legislature. Yet the noble Duke boasted, 429 in reply to me just now, that their natives are far in advance of any of the others. Apparently, they are the last to come in with any actual, direct African representation. I really am not very much impressed.
Is that the real attitude? The noble Duke said this afternoon that of course we knew and other people knew—but he repeated it for our benefit—that there was a member of the Opposition Party in the Central African Legislature. I suppose that means he is a member of the Dominion Party. What is the real goal of the Dominion Party? Is the goal the kind of thing he has been saying to us to-day? He recognises that policy. He does not want a Central African Federation on the basis of what it is now, at all. Does he want to split up the real places, in which there can be great economic results for the people in the Opposition Party, and those for whom they speak? Carve it up! Put Barotseland on the one side. Leave out all this part of Northern Rhodesia, and tack on the profitable industrial area, with the railways running through and the productive belt. That is what they want. Am I right? There is no answer.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER of HILLS-BOROUGH
What do you want? You certainly do not want the present Central African Federation. As to giving the Africans any improvement by any kind of African advance, let us look at the White Paper, to which I was coming. The noble Duke said in the course of his speech that of course there was on these nationalist matters complete agreement between his Party, the Dominion Party, and the United Federal Party.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
All right, national questions. I see that paragraph 4 of the White Paper, on page 4, says:The United Federal Party representatives"—and it is the opening of the Conference—…challenged the view that there was any justification either for a substantial increase in the number of Africans in the Legislative Council, or for an extension of the franchise.430 Is that the view of the noble Duke? He says that on these matters they agree with the United Federal Party. But let us look at what the White Paper says in regard to the Dominion Party. It says:The Dominion Party took the general line that a substantial increase of African representation in legislature and an extension of the franchise would imply a departure from the policy of non-racialism, partnership and evolutionary advancement.and therefore, of course, they were not in favour of it. Apparently, you people have learned nothing. You can wobble and wobble and read hard statements from stupid Communist adherents scattered here and scattered there, and you are afraid of your lives. When you have nothing else to say you come back and make the sort of gibe that you made this afternoon.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I think I must say, in defence of the noble Duke, that he has spent his life in that country, but the noble Viscount told us the other day that he has never even been in Africa at all.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
I should say to the noble Marquess that I have had just as much experience as he has, himself, in regard to dealing with world as well as home politics in this country. I have had the same opportunities, as other Members of the House of Commons or of this House, over fourteen years of Cabinet life, to get in touch with the policies and problems, and he must not try to patronise me on that basis.
I am now coming to the statement made by the noble Duke this afternoon. What was it in essence?—that the people of the Rhodesias had lost faith in the Mother Country; that they did not want to come back here; that we could not even defend ourselves, and how, therefore, could we be expected to defend British interests in the territories of Central Africa? I think that is a fair summary of what the noble Duke said. I say that you are afraid of your lives, for some reason or other, if there is any progress and advancement of the native populations, to whom we, ourselves have undoubtedly, brought a lot of good economic development. But from whom has it come? We have earned fortunes for members of the British Commonwealth; and those with an interest come along to the House to speak on it. I 431 have a great admiration for the business career of the noble Lord who spoke yesterday, and he would not hesitate for a moment to say, in respect of his interests in the British South Africa Company, and other things, that he has not done too badly out of Africa. The noble Marquess, who spoke so feelingly yesterday, said he was speaking for the majority of the white population in the Rhodesias. Perhaps he did not remember that since 1957 he has also been a director of the British South Africa Company.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I really think it is an abominable charge that I am allowing financial interests to interfere with my judgment. I hope the noble Viscount will withdraw that at once.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
I said that you spoke yesterday on behalf of the majority of people in the white minority in Africa. On the other hand, the noble Marquess must not be a law unto himself. As a rule, every noble Peer who speaks upon these matters in which he has a financial interest, declares it at the beginning of his speech. That is all I have to say.
VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH
On that point there is nothing whatsoever to withdraw.
Now I look at the attitude that we have had put before us this afternoon, and I say that if we want to get real progress in the future in these territories we shall have to recognise not merely "winds of change", as the noble Viscount said just now, but the actual certainty of the advance of races that when we were making and developing a great Empire were never in the position that they are now. And if you want to feel that you are doing justice in accordance with the highest Christian principles, the highest humanitarian principles, on the basis of the quotation I made earlier to-day 432 from the Prime Minister of Canada you must give advances to Africans, and increase their experience and their rights to self-government. I think it is absolutely bound to come.
I have spoken for a few minutes longer than I had intended, but I want to say another word to the noble Marquess before I sit down. Obviously when I interrupted him yesterday, I was displaying my first reaction to his speech about the Colonial Secretary, and I did not make any further reference to it afterwards. But I have read his speech most carefully this morning and I am bound to say that I much regret the attack which was so pointed, so direct, upon one who was not only an old colleague, but I think we in all Parties in the House would say, a colleague of his who is respected by all Parties. As I re-read the speech, I cannot find that there is any change in my first reaction to it, which was that the kind of illustrations used—he may have done it perhaps without careful thought—of the expert bridge player, handling the cards, using his wits, playing perhaps with friends in a party of bridge, but never ceasing to try to get the better of them by wit, tended to denigrate a judgment that ought to be made fairly upon the work and the contribution of a right honourable colleague.
But to the general public what else can it mean but two things?—that for the purpose of the theme in the debate in which we are engaged he, a statesmanlike Minister, must be shown not to be, sincere in handling this obviously important and vital Dominion and international problem. In the tricks which were attributed to him and in the class of things said, it sounded as if that lack of sincerity was because he wanted to make a great personal success of the objective to be aimed at on the platform of political advancement. I think that anybody that reads that speech carefully will be bound to say that that will be the general opinion of the public so far as they are versed in political proceedings and in political Party history, and I very much regret it. When things were put on such a factual basis afterwards by the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor who sits on the Woolsack, I was sorry that, perhaps before the end of yesterday's sitting, some 433 amelioration of the situation which had been created by the noble Marquess' speech could not have taken place. At any rate, I hope that the time has not altogether gone for something to be done in that regard.
In conclusion, I want to say two personal things. First, I want to say "Thank you" to my noble friend Lord Listowel for the manner and the tone in which he introduced the debate yesterday. I must apologise to the House for the fact that I could never hope to attain the equanimity and poise that my noble friend Lord Listowel has when he addresses the House. I feel deeply and I speak feelingly; I just cannot help it. But I share to the full the appeal which he made after he had been speaking for only two or three minutes, that it should go out from this House to Africans and whites alike, that however we may disagree on this point or that in the White Paper, the opportunity is now afforded, by the fact that the Governor has been asked by the Government to go out and look into the state of local opinion and feelings about the proposals of the White Paper, to develop the spirit of co-operation and to find out if there is any adjustment which is needed in the general statement in the White Paper as an approach to the advancement of the Africans and to co-partnership of government. Now is the time for them to do it. With my noble friend Lord Listowel, I appeal for that spirit to be developed.
I should not like to sit down without saying a word of thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Molson, for his maiden speech, made yesterday in a most difficult situation. I have lived over ten years in Parliamentary life in this House since leaving the other place, and I have seen much of the magnificent power, in debate and the like, of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who was a great Leader of the House and of the Opposition while I was in the Government. I know what a powerful opponent he can be in a debate. Therefore, I thought that Lord Molson, in his reply to the noble Marquess yesterday on behalf of the Monckton Commission (because he was a member of it), handled the task with great courage, with a great deal of Parliamentary skill, and, I thought, with absolute conscientiousness in relation to the views which he held and which he 434 had expressed as one of the members who compiled the Report of the Monckton Commission. I should like to congratulate him. And I want to ask those who still hold on to this diehard attitude with regard to the progress of the African in Central Africa, to change. I think they have to change for their own sakes.
The noble Marquess has resigned twice in his great political career. I know how we all applauded him when he resigned before the last war. Then he showed great courage and great determination. More recently he resigned over Cyprus. But his resignation did not stop the march of time as it affects the gaining of the freedom of nations. I would ask him, too, to reconsider his position. Believe me, as surely as we sit or stand, or speak or listen, in this House to-day, Jan Smuts was right sixteen years ago when he said to me in his High Commissioner's House what he probably had said to many other people:The world is on the march. We must be prepared to meet the situation, and accept what is necessary on behalf of the races.He was right, and we have been proving it.
Sir Winston Churchill opposed, tooth and nail at all stages, the granting of self-government to India. Nevertheless, the Conservative Party, through its Government, insisted on passing the Government of India Act, 1935. Great praise is due to them for it. India has now been independent for the last thirteen years, and your Lordships have just seen the result in the visit of Her Gracious Majesty to India, and seen the kind of reception the Head of the Commonwealth can get in a Republic which has been made a loyal, friendly, consistent member of the Commonwealth through the beneficence, the understanding and the faith that the British people reposed in them. And so I would ask all who are to-day dissident upon this matter to think again; to begin to love humanity for humanity's sake, and to co-operate, co-operate, co-operate.
§ 6.0 p.m.
VISCOUNT MASSEREENF AND FERRARD
My Lords, we have heard a great deal in this debate about the multiracial or, if you prefer it, non-racial society, which I believe Her Majesty's Government and the majority of your 435 Lordships' House fully endorse. In that case, to have some kind of breath of fresh air in this debate, I would ask why is it that the United Kingdom Government voted for the United Nations Resolution to expel all Belgian advisers from the Congo? If we want multi-racial societies in Africa, Katanga appears to be the only area in the Congo where there is law and order and some semblance of prosperity. In the rest of the Congo, as we have seen, it is the law of anarchy, chaos and starvation. We have the United Nations used as a stalking horse from behind which certain Afro-Asian nations, in conjunction with Mr. Khrushchev, try to attain their nefarious ambitions.
I am sorry to see that the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, is not in her seat, because I was hoping to query a few of her statements. But if I might just query one or two of the milder ones, I hope that that will be in order even if the noble Lady is not here. I understood her to say yesterday that the illiterate African knew which side his bread was buttered, the inference being that he could perfectly well manage his own affairs. The whole point is that if only the illiterate African really knew which side his bread was buttered all our troubles would be solved. We could have universal suffrage for, knowing which side his bread was buttered, he would vote overwhelmingly for Federation and partnership with the European population. We have heard, and the Monckton Report also said, that if the Federation breaks up there will be great poverty and hardship for the Africans.
Another thing which the noble Lady said which rather horrified me was [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 229 (No. 48) col. 339]:The literacy of the Africans is not a reflection upon them but upon their oppressors".Well, honestly! From the small amount I have seen in Africa I can say that to call our district commissioners oppressors, after the wonderful work that the white races have done in Africa to free the Africans from disease and fear, is really extraordinary. I could show the noble Lady parts of Africa and other countries which have their independence, where there is a black or native population and plenty of oppression, 436 appalling oppression which one would not have in a British Colony. I could show her natives oppressing their own people far more than any European would.
When I spoke in an earlier debate I, like some other noble Lords, expressed the view that the break-up of the Central African Federation would be a disaster to the progress of Africa; and I do not think there is any doubt, if we want a multi-racial society in Africa, that if the Federation does break up there is no hope of practical progress for the African. We shall have our theoretical progress, but you cannot eat constitutions. I fully realise the difficulties of Her Majesty's Government but I cannot help comparing them to the rather anxious horticulturist who plants a shrub but is too impatient to see it bloom and tears it up and casts it on the compost heap. Here I refer, of course, to the Lennox-Boyd proposals of 1958. In spite of what was said by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, the Government have really cast these proposals on the rubbish heap. They have cast them to one side.
Surely our policy for Africa ought to be a staged political advancement and not a series of constitutional gallops. Looking at these proposals I find quite a great deal to recommend them—especially the House of Chiefs and Bill of Rights. But I really cannot agree with the right honourable gentleman the Colonial Secretary that the proposals are multiracial. It appears to me that out of these 45 seats, 30 are racial. If we take the 15 National seats (the non-racial seats) this system of voting becomes so complicated that I cannot honestly see many Africans understanding it. I would not say I have low intelligence, but I was extremely bewildered by these proposals. Having listened to the extremely able explanation of them and the position with regard to these 15 seats which was given by the noble and learned Viscount who sits on the Woolsack, I now understand them—thanks to him.
I am extremely bad at arithmetic but one does not have to be a mathematical genius to work out that it could happen that an African might have, perhaps, double the votes of his European opponent and yet not be elected. Therefore, 437 I foresee great danger here. We may get bad blood because the African will probably feel that he has been cheated. Of course, he will not have been. I think these proposals are extremely clever—and I do not mean "clever by half". They are really very clever and I take off my hat to the Colonial Secretary for having thought them out. But I honestly believe the African will think there is something funny going on. After all, if we did not understand the proposals, we should probably think the same. I think that if we are to have democracy in Africa we obviously have to make it as simple as possible. I am wondering whether it is possible to have, as we have in England, a Common Roll and to educate the Africans up to it. It is far from simple having all these various complicated systems of voting.
Surely, our great desire should be to govern the African, until he can do it himself, completely justly for the underdog. I think that if we are going to do that we have to have government by merit. As the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said, we need more education, especially universities. We have, of course, done a great deal of education in Africa, but I really think that the whole future of Africa lies in every effort being put into education and universities in order to bring the Africans up to a franchise of equality, so that they can use their vote with responsibility. But I personally think that if we have lower franchise now—I do not say it will happen but it may happen—it may ruin any chance of democracy in Africa. The power will probably fall into the hands of extremists. It usually happens when the majority of voters are not using their vote with understanding. I understand that the Governor has the power of veto, and we have the Executive Council. But, my Lords, if the Legislative Council gets into the hands of African extremists, for how long can a Governor in the twentieth century—the latter half of the twentieth century—go on vetoing their proposals? He cannot, in fact, because there would come a time when he would have to shoot; and I do not think that any modern Governor in Africa would dare to shoot.
My Lords, I also should like to associate myself with certain remarks—not all the remarks, but certain remarks 438 —of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, when he supported the European races in Rhodesia, because I, like a great many of your Lordships have quite a lot of friends out there. We have heard other noble Lords, especially the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, and all of them are really very perturbed by these proposals, these Northern Rhodesian proposals in this White Paper. A few of these people in Rhodesia write to me, and it is also my experience that they have little trust in Her Majesty's Government. It is, I think, a tragedy. We have rather forfeited their trust, but perhaps it is not too late to regain it.
If I might take something out of the speech of the noble Viscount opposite, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, thought he was rather inclined to think that the Europeans in Rhodesia were hanging on for their estates and were prepared to keep the Africans under for the sake of privilege and their landed influence. My Lords, it is honestly not true. We heard the noble Duke say that he was perfectly prepared to do his own washing up, and it is obvious that he spoke from the heart and is utterly sincere. The other thing I think we have to remember is this—it has been said before, but we cannot repeat it enough. The Europeans in the Rhodesias have done a wonderful job. They have carved out this wonderful country, a prosperous community agriculturally and industrially. We have the Kariba Dam; we have Salisbury with skyscrapers, a wonderful city. The moderate Africans know perfectly well that if there is no white guidance and knowledge to lead Africa the whole country will revert to disease, famine and the jungle; it would be a tragedy.
I should also like to complain of the attitude of the Press. The majority of them—there have been one or two exceptions—either appear to be very misinformed or they appear to desire to mislead, because the Europeans have been rather held up as being a group of reactionary "has-beens". After all, Sir. Roy Welensky is a Liberal politician and there is no question that the Europeans are reactionaries. There are probably a few, I know, but the majority are not reactionaries. I would earnestly beg Her Majesty's Government to heed the European rumblings in Southern Rhodesia. After all, if we take the 1958 White 439 Paper, Part IV, paragraph 19, we see that it says:All parties are agreed that the new constitution must win the confidence of all"—and I emphasise "all"—the peoples of Northern Rhodesia.The proposals of the White Paper do not appear to have by any means won this confidence. The paragraph also goes on to say, speaking of the constitutional advance in general:The basic lines of constitutional advance now to be settled…should therefore be durable and not subject to drastic change every few years.My Lords, I quite believe that it is probably very difficult for the Government to adhere to the 1958 proposals now, having gone so far, but I beg them to try, anyway, to keep those proposals in mind, and to try to evolve proposals slightly nearer to the 1958 Constitution —or, as it is called, the Lennox-Boyd Constitution. Because, my Lords, how terrible it would be—though I do not think it would ever happen; it is unthinkable—if United Kingdom troops were ever face to face with their own kith and kin in Central Africa. It could be the end of civilisation as we know it. But, of course, we have to remember that that has happened before. It happened in Ireland. It happened when certain British regiments were ordered to march on Ulster, and the officers resigned their commissions. I do not say that this is a parallel situation; but it is terribly dangerous to ignore the Europeans in Rhodesia. The Government, as I know, have not completely ignored them, but I think that perhaps the Government have rather brushed them aside.
So, my Lords, I ask Her Majesty's Government to tread warily. What the country really wants, before all these Constitutions, is stability. You have got to have investment in the country. As I have already said, you cannot eat Constitutions. I should like it to be laid down in any new Constitution that they have a fixed term of years, because we cannot keep tearing up Constitutions. After all, freedom to starve is of no use to anyone. We have seen this happen in the Congo: for heaven's sake, do let us try to prevent that from happenng in Central Africa!
§ 6.24 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT BRIDGEMAN
My Lords, I have no qualifications at all for taking part in the discussion on the political problems which we have been debating this afternoon. Therefore, I hope that my noble friend who has just sat down will forgive me if I do not follow him in the remarks he made, except for two things. First of all, I agree that Constitutions are not good to eat. Secondly, I would say, for my part, that I absolutely refuse to contemplate any possibility of a repetition of a Curragh incident in Rhodesia. My reason for intervening in this debate is that from time to time I go out to the Federation on business trips. The last time I was there I was in the town where the constitutional conference was in progress. For the peace of mind of the noble Viscount who leads the Opposition, I would say that I represent no investment in the Rhodesias; I go out simply as an exporter, and what I am going to say now is derived from that angle of observation.
My Lords, there is one passage in the Monckton Report which I think has been disagreed with very little, and I hope I shall be forgiven for reminding noble Lords of it. That is paragraph 67, which says:If the Federation were now to break up, not only would markets contract and opportunities for employment diminish, but the credit worthiness which has made these advances possible would disappear.Then, in paragraph 69, the Report continues:To abandon all this, which has been built up by seven years' endeavour, would cause the economy of the area to suffer a set-back from which it might take years to recover.I do not think that those passages have been seriously challenged from the economic point of view.
I know that many have said—it is said in the Report, and my noble friend Lord Molson mentioned it in his speech yesterday—that a great many Africans strongly dislike the idea of federation. None the less, I question very much whether those who dislike federation on political grounds have cast their minds forward to think what would be the state of affairs from an economic point of view in the three territories comprising the Federation if federation were to 441 break up. After all, it is on the economic stability of those three territories that the employment of the people who live in them depends, no matter whether they are Europeans or Africans. Their economic well-being depends on the employment available in the territory.
I think it is rather difficult to realise, in all the welter of headlines describing criticism, failure and all the rest of it, how well the business of the Federation has stood up to all these political upheavals. In fact, it has been going ahead with remarkably little interruption. I am not at the moment, rather naturally, talking about dealing in land, which I know is a very difficult matter. I am talking of what is going on in industry, in mining and in agriculture itself, leaving out the dealings in land. Business is carrying on, though, admittedly, under a number of difficulties. For example, banking is not easy. A good deal of money has left the country, for better or for worse, and that has not been replaced. It is equally true to say that building contracts have slowed down quite a lot.
On the other hand, one can also say that places like Salisbury were, in any event, probably over-built. But people are carrying on; and not only that, but forward plans are being pursued. People are not stopping forward plans—the development of mines, of industry or of public utilities. Those plans are going on, as I see it, in the faith and the hope that these political disturbances will be only temporary and that, when they are over, business will be able to go on in the Federation as an economic unit, to the good of all those who live and work there.
Of course, none of this is news. It never comes into the papers in the same way as it would if everybody on the Copper Belt were out of work. In the same way, across the border in the Congo it has never been news, in all the stories of the disturbances in Katanga Province, that the big mining undertaking Union Minière stopped work for only two days. I think that is reliable information. Therefore, the Congolese who were working these mines lost only two days' work and, I suppose, two days' pay. But, my Lords, even if one does attempt to paint a less gloomy picture at the moment of industrial conditions in the Federation, I should think that there is bound to be 442 a limit; because, even though, fortunately, the key industries in the Federation are in strong and safe hands, like the mining companies, the Charter Company (represented here by my noble friend Lord Robins), the steelworks and all the rest of it, I suppose that even those strongly-held industries cannot carry on indefinitely unless confidence improves. I am quite sure that the Monckton Commission were absolutely right when they said that if Federation, by some disaster, ceased to exist—in other words, if the Federation territories were balkanised—it could only result in an economic setback of the first order. And the effect of that would fall on the just and the unjust alike—on Africans and Europeans, irrespective of race, colour, or nationality. That is something I think we ought to keep in the forefront of our minds.
If we may look at it from another angle, a setback of that sort would not merely hinder the productivity of the territories themselves, but would also have a very harmful effect on the creditworthiness of those territories. Every developing territory, like the territories of the Federation, requires outside credit in addition to the capital increase arising from its own operations. That credit comes only to countries which are creditworthy, and it comes from ordinary banking standards, or from standards especially designed and adopted for developing countries by such organisations as the World Bank, the Colonial Development Corporation and the Commonwealth Development Finance Corporation. Of course, we all know that there are sources of credit, possibly less respectable, which might be available to the Federation, notwithstanding that it had ceased to be creditworthy from any other standpoint; but I am not suggesting that loans of that kind would do the Federation or the countries comprising it any good in the short or the long run.
So, my Lords, we come back, almost inevitably, to this question of confidence, which has been mentioned by so many noble Lords in this debate. I do not want to re-cover the ground covered by other speakers yesterday and to-day, so I would simply say this. There is considerable lack of confidence in the way that the British Government have handled certain aspects of the present problem. I am not saying whether I think that is right or wrong, because I do not think 443 I am qualified to judge. But I am saying that, rightly or wrongly, for better or for worse, a lack of confidence exists in the minds of certain sections of the community in the Federation, whose confidence is essential to make the proposals work. Therefore, it is not a question whether that lack of confidence is justified or not; it is there, and has to be faced. Because until that confidence returns, every proposal, however sound or wise it may be, is bound to be suspect; and, as I said just now, until confidence returns there is no prospect of the credit-worthiness of the country returning, and therefore there is every prospect of retarding the development of the Federation right in the middle, so to speak, of its stride.
Therefore, it is the greatest pity—as I think my noble friend Lord Massereene and Ferrard said before he sat down—that under the present conditions in which we live every sign of returning confidence is bound to be played down, and every sign of lack of confidence is usually played up. That is a cross which those concerned in these negotiations have to bear; and no one bears that cross more heavily, I would say, than the moderate African, that most valuable and vital person in the whole of these negotiations whom we shall do everything we possibly can to support and fortify. I say that because the weight and pressure on these unfortunate people, who are so vital and who are doing their best, is something which must be almost unbearable. I do not think we always realise quite what pressure from suspect sources is put on people like (shall we say?) Mr. Nkomo in Southern Rhodesia. It would be very interesting to know what exactly were the circumstances under which that gentleman felt bound to repudiate the agreement which he reached with my right honourable friend Mr. Sandys. I am not expecting any information on that point, because it would be entirely wrong for the Government to give such information even if they had it. But I think we ought to realise that that is the situation in which everybody concerned in these negotiations, and more particularly the moderate Africans, have to conduct their affairs.
So I hope that the Government are informed about those matters, and that they really have sufficient information 444 to know how far this or that riot or disturbance is a genuine product of the local mind, and how far it is inspired and paid for from outside. Because if it is inspired and paid for from outside, then clearly no one in any quarter of the House, or in any part of the Government, should pay undue attention to it. After all, do your Lordships really imagine (to change the scene a little) that when there were anti-Lumumba demonstrations by students in, say, a dozen countries within two days, they were spontaneous acts on the part of the students themselves? I am afraid I do not. My mind went back to an interesting publication issued by a leading firm of stockbrokers in the City about twenty years ago called Money behind the Film. It was quite revealing in the more exciting days of the cinema industry, and I should like to see a similar book published called Money behind the Riots. I do not expect it to be available for anyone to buy on the bookstalls, but I hope that the Government have that book, or something like it, to guide them in their judgment on these various disturbances which get so much reporting in the Press, as compared with the things I have been talking about, like the continuance of business in the Federation, which get so little.
So, my Lords, without going back on to political ground, and staying, if I can, on economic ground, I feel that we have something in the Federation which, as the Monckton Report has said, has been built up over the years and which is vital to the interests of those who live in it. That economic strength sooner or later will be threatened by lack of confidence unless political confidence returns and unless these negotiations can be concluded or put on the right lines in a reasonably short time. If that can be done, then, my Lords, I, for one, am absolutely confident that the Federation, as an economic unit, will go from strength to strength; and, if it does, the political problems will sort themselves out in their own time, as I believe they usually do when people are happy and at work.
§ 6.38 p.m.
My Lords, I have heard enough speeches in your Lordships' House in this debate to make me hesitant and diffident about taking any rigid view on this huge subject. But 445 there is one thing I can do without any embarrassment whatever, and that is to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Molson, on his maiden speech. It was calculated to encourage, by its vivid authority and freshness; and the memory of it stays, I know, very strongly in the minds of many of your Lordships as well as myself.
The noble Marquess's speech yesterday, in particular, sets one thinking even more desperately about the implications of moving with the change in Africa. He has attacked the Colonial Secretary, who I feel, if it is not out of place to say so, is destined to be rather a great man. It made me think of something I once heard Dr. Banda say:A Colonial Secretary of the age of the winds of change, and not of the Eighteenth Century.I should not want to offend fate noble Marquess by stressing or referring to an African judgment. Nor should I want your Lordships to think that I am unaware of this bitter, almost pathological, disappointment of many Europeans in the Federation. But I think that the noble Marquess was going a little too far in saying yesterday that he spoke "for all white communities in Africa."
It is nearly a year since I stood among the tensions of the Central African Federation. I am very aware that the situation is a shifting quicksand that makes one diffident of judgment. I was in the Federation before the Congo attained independence, at the time of the Monckton Commission. Sometimes one's mind k literally poised between the favouring of two entirely different concepts, and one feels guilty if one does not categorically know what to think, even after two visits to the Federal territories—the first an interesting cross-reference, because it was just before federation came about; and in 1952, I spoke in your Lordships' House against federation. One sees the Europeans in the Federation prosperous and having done well for themselves in a new land, which could just as easily have been New Zealand or Australia, without the sea of a race problem. One sees them staking all, with their children playing on lawns kept green with revolving sprinklers among the pervading brown and the aspirations of the indigenous. 446 Then, suddenly, one sees how an aspiring African must be intransigent—and we know how intransigent they are—if he is to make a point at all or hold simple audiences; and this idea of "One man, one vote" must be thought of as the only method of redress for second-class citizens. That is basically the position where, without going too far, one can almost say that, on current record, the partnership is rather like that of the fisherman and his gillie, or even that of a lawyer and his own brief.
I sympathise with the noble Marquess if he thinks it criminal to give much more power to a lot of people obviously far more backward than the Europeans. But how far can you go beyond the principle of consent? And how far can you neglect the power of newly conscious peoples fighting with the atomic energy of quickly emerging awareness? It is not statesmanlike to say that a lion is a thousand years behind the times, and rather to be neglected in civilised terms, when he is powerful and is a lion. I conceive then that the prognosis of Mr. Macleod and the Government must be that they cannot afford to neglect African nationalism and must go with it, however much the incensed, extrovert European on the spot may deny it and go on talking about the "sport" practised by people at home of siding with the blacks. This policy of a Conservative Government is really the only one that, in the end, will make it possible for Europeans to live happily in the Federation at all.
I think of a Quaker worker whom I met several times in Salisbury, who likened Mr. Macleod's insight to that of President Roosevelt before the New Deal, when he saw the inevitable shape of the future and was prepared to go loyally with it. A phrase stuck in my mind that I read when I was in the Federation, or perhaps since, used by Mr. Tom Stacey, the Sunday Times Commonwealth correspondent, when be referred to the challenge of the Federation as "the most sophisticated challenge in the world". Indeed, it is. But one must realise that an artisan mood of so many on the spot does not easily rise to it; nor should we, necessarily. Well may one understand, without wanting it, a secessionist movement from Southern Rhodesia, as the 447 Africans of the North, under the protection of the Mother Country, get increasing satisfaction from the statesmanship of this island. There is a strong sense in which the Federation is emotionally split down the Zambesi—not just because it is a river—and always was. I have mentioned my earlier visit in 1952 to the territories that were to become the Federation. I found this time that the original loathing or hating of the Federation by the informed African people was unchanged; it was as if it had originally hit them so hard that the time interval did not matter. One might say that they are still trying to knock out the same salmon as they were seven or eight years ago. It makes one realise what this concept has meant to them, to go on hammering year after year. It is the same at this moment, and it shows the cancer of imposition.
Without looking backwards and accepting Federation in all its good aspects, and not wanting to wish it ill or approve the virtues, which the noble Viscount, Lord Bridgeman, mentioned, of a larger economic unit, I still feel that the problem is not economic but political and emotional. You might well say that economically no Nyasaland African has lost anything by federation; he might even have gained. But it is that threat of Salisbury over the hill, as much a potential as a fact; as much an idea as a thing that he sees in front of him. The Roman strategist, Hygenius, was right when he said that "Eyesight is the beginning of defeat". Indeed, for the European in the Rhodesias—for Nyasaland is really a proud African country—fears relate to "eyesight" and to threats unseen in the dark. And that is not all. It is the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil. The average European knows the other race only through his servants—at least, he does not know it in the bar-chat context. Moreover, the idea of an educated African is intolerable to some and, by implication, a challenge to their livelihood.
I am only thinking tentatively, but two things occurred to me while I was in the Federation which stress the incredible complexity of the situation. The first emphasises the huge range of overtones and undertones. I stood in a bar at a township near Salisbury, on the Bulawayo 448 rail tracks, talking eagerly, naturally and admiringly with tobacco farmers and railway supervisors. The conversation happened to be about the release of Dr. Banda from Gwelo gaol that week. One of them said, "Of course, Dr. Banda's got the education much more than you or I—but he's not civilised." The other thing that comes to me is a memory from seven years back, talking to my Afrikaans-speaking brother-in-law in the Orange Free State: "Always remember—fear of the African."
Too many thoughts jostle to justify many more words of my speech. There are obsessional feelings on both sides and we must go for moderation, the creative moderation of this Government. The very best is being done. How hard it is to realise, at home, under more vertical sunrays, the passions of the position, and to realise that the people on the spot are, very importantly, on the spot. Malicious London criticism hurts, but it must also he realised that those in Africa are sometimes rather like a person trying to execute a large canvas in a telephone box, trying to paint something into which it is impossible to get any distance.
There is a way, however, in which the outside eye can help, and certainly your Lordships can: by trying to understand the pathology of disappointment with the Mother Land. One understands so well in itself the wish to break out into a new life; getting fed up with Oxford Street and getting away to some other part of the Commonwealth. How much easier in the clear mental air of Australia! Here in Rhodesia you have got to be a statesman in your own tobacco barn. Let us hope they rise to it, so that we can be generous—and at any rate not sneering—to a verse-letter that appeared last year in the Rhodesia Herald:Clearer heads, with hearts as kind,Reside in Africa's sunny climeAs amid the fog and grimeOf Westminster.
§ 6.50 p.m.
My Lords, we have had a long debate and at this stage of the proceedings it is difficult to say anything that is either original or new. Therefore I hope your Lordships will forgive me if many of the points that I make have already been made by other 449 noble Lords. In the course of a debate such as this, as one would expect, a great many points of view have been put forward, and the only thing on which everybody would seem to be agreed (with, I think, two exceptions) is on the vital importance of the preservation of the Federation. I have not always felt that some of your Lordships were as conscious as I am of the critical situation with which we are faced when we talk about the preservation of federation. I do not feel, in the circumstances in which we find ourselves to-day, that anything is of very much value except to think of the best way we can somehow preserve something that everybody agrees is vital.
I do not think that the sort of speech made by the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough—a typical speech, I thought, of the noble Viscount—about the settlers helped the situation. I do not know that it helps very much to say who is to blame for this or for that. For myself, I feel that what is important is that we should face up to the situation as we find it. I believe it is important not only for this country, for Rhodesia and for the people who live there, but for Africa and for the whole world, that somehow or other federation should be preserved; and nothing much else matters except that we should concentrate our minds on how best it can be preserved in the situation in which we find ourselves.
I do not think it is worth wasting much time speaking of the advantages of the Federation, economic and political. They have been put forward by a number of noble Lords. Here, perhaps, although the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, is not here, I ought to declare an interest, because I happen to be a director of a bank with a subsidiary interest in East Africa; and perhaps the noble Viscount will take me up on that later. But, apart from that, the economic advantage until about a year ago—here I agree with my noble friend that there has been a vast change, from the banking point of view, in the last year—the economic progress made by the Federation, has been remarkable, and I think it augured well for the ultimate prosperity not merely of the white but of the black population. Economically it was a success. Politically, let us face it, it has not been such a success. 450 At any rate, we can say that the political advantages, although I think they are obvious potentially, are not yet a fact. Yet they are obvious, because, clearly, to have in the centre of Africa, the most tortured continent in the world to-day, torn in every direction, an oasis of stability, prosperity and common sense, not leaning on the one side to the extremes of apartheid or on the other to the extremes of the Congo, is something worth almost anything to achieve. This is something which is well worth fighting for.
Therefore, in those circumstances, one asks oneself: why should it be that in the Federation itself there are so many voices of both white and black people who wish to abandon this organisation? It is clear from the Report of the Monckton Commission that there are many Africans who wish to see the end of federation. I suggest that it is difficult to know, on African evidence, to what extent they really represent African opinion, because I think we all know that one of the most difficult things in the world—and my noble friend Lord Bridgeman stressed this—is to be a moderate African: you hardly dare say what you think. Therefore, it is hard for any of us to say how much of that African opinion really represents what people think in their hearts, and how much represents what they dare to say.
Equally, there are the extremes of white and black who feel, for other reasons, that they would rather be rid of federation. There, again, is a situation where what appears to be the best development for Africa is going to be sabotaged by the people within the Federation itself. Why do people in the Federation feel like this? I think we all know the answer, and I will not waste time by going into it at any length. On the African side there are many Africans who have never believed, and still do not believe, that the Federation means general racial partnership, and who have the fear that for all time they will be under the domination of a small white minority in Salisbury. Then, on the other side, there are many who fear that if power were to be transferred too rapidly to an immature African electorate their prospects would be fatally jeopardised, and who fear—and I think they have some right to fear when they 451 look just a little North and see what has happened in the Congo—not only for their property, but for their lives.
Finally—and I think this is something that we must face, and a great deal has been said about it during the debate—there is undoubtedly a considerable mistrust on the part of the white settlers of the policies of Her Majesty's Government. Again, I do not consider it is profitable at this stage of the debate—it is a matter which has been dealt with already—to go into the whys and wherefors or the rights and wrongs; I merely state it as a fact which is recognised, I think., by all your Lordships and certainly must be recognised by noble Lords in the Government. I would call in support of that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who, I think, was rather hardly taken to task for drawing attention to something which is a fact. After all, presumably, it is only right that your Lordships should be aware of what people feel out there.
In case it should be thought that there was any question of collusion, may I say that I notice that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, was supported by the most reverend Primate and also by the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose. The most reverend Primate lives in Lambeth, the noble Duke lives outside Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, and the noble Marquess at Hatfield, so there is no question of collusion. And yet they all tell the same story: that there is this definite feeling of mistrust in Africa. I think we must face that as a fact. Therefore, we have to ask ourselves this question: whether the Federation can proceed, or whether the forces of suspicion, mistrust and fear are now so deeply ingrained that the Federation is doomed, with all the disastrous consequences that I personally believe would come from such a situation.
In this situation (I think it is only right to say this from these Benches, and I have had some experience of it) nobody should minimise the appalling difficulties which face any Colonial Secretary at the present time. It is not easy, when you have two parties who are apparently irreconcilable, and it is easy to make mistakes. Therefore, I am glad not to be sitting in that chair. I never did: I sat only in a much smaller one below. But I can think of no more un- 452 comfortable place in which to be sitting at the present time. I do not think we ought to minimise the appalling difficulties that face the Colonial Secretary. Equally, I do not say that in all things he may have been entirely wise. But that is another matter. Let us not minimise the problems which confront him.
If we are going to have any future for the Federation, I should like as briefly as I can to say what are the various matters which we all have to face. First, we have to recognise the genuine fears that exist on both sides. It is clear that Her Majesty's Government recognise the fears of the African community. I am not quite clear whether they really recognise the fears of the white community. If I may say so with respect to my noble friend, Lord Perth, I felt that in his speech there was a little which would satisfy the Africans, but it was never suggested whether anything would satisfy the white community. I believe that if we are to be brokers in this matter we have not only to appear to be but must be absolutely fair to both sides.
Taking the affairs of the African community, I am bound to say I do not think that the white community in Rhodesia, over the last seven years and before that, have been entirely clever. I do not consider that they have done nearly enough to encourage Africans to believe that the Federation was really going to be a partnership. I do not think there has been enough done in education, in bringing on Africans to take on the job, which inevitably they are going to take on, of being the senior partners in this, I believe, great adventure. I do not think it is any good burking that fact, and I say it without fear or favour. One of the other things I am equally convinced of—and I have seen it in other African territories, and I believe it to be true—is that if you want politically immature people to become more mature, the best thing to do is to give them a job, just the same as if you have a difficult politician you generally put him inside the Government—he is less trouble there than outside, as the noble Viscount will know. I think there is a great deal to be said for that when dealing with the African people. Naturally, in my remark about the noble Viscount I was 453 talking of his great political experience, and we know that is true; I would not make any other suggestion.
Therefore I believe it is very important that, if we are going to train African people to run their own country, they should be given jobs, because there is a good deal of difference between a man who has only had to stand on a soapbox and abuse the Government—and I hope noble Lords opposite do that for many years to come—and the man who actually has to do the job. I am sure, equally, that if we are going to convince the Africans that federation is a reality and a partnership means something, there has to be a steady political progress in representation and responsibility, and such a progress must be seen. In doing that, we have also to take account of the other side of the picture. We have to consider the position of the white community. If I may say so to Her Majesty's Government, I do not think they have made a mistake, but they are giving an impression that when there is any question of doubt they favour the African side against the white side. I am not making any accusations. I am merely saying that that is the impression which has got abroad, and have even had that impression myself from some of the speeches.
Because people happen to be small in numbers and the unfashionable colour—because they ought to be black—it is no good letting them think that they are of no account. It is the white community who have made this country, and I do not believe a single noble Lord in your Lordships' House believes that this country can exist for very long in the future without them. They are essential, and therefore we cannot ignore them. We have to take account of their reasonable fears and apprehensions—I do not say their unreasonable fears, but their reasonable fears and apprehensions. Therefore, while on the one hand the black community wants the maximum political advance, the white community are not unnaturally fearful of too rapid an advance and of handing over too rapidly to people who, let us face it, have no experience of political power, and to an electorate masses of which can neither read nor write. It is all very well for us to talk, sitting here in the plush comfort of this House, but when you have farmed for genera 454 tions and everything you have is out there, you take a different view. That is something which we must also face. Therefore we have to take account of the views of the white community—the vital men, I think, in Rhodesia. I do not believe they are all extremists on either side—that the white minority are opposed to all proper advance. That is the sort of stuff we are hearing from the Benches opposite, but it is not true. Does the noble Viscount wish to interrupt me?
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER of HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I am quite prepared for the noble Lord to find instances where I have said that.
It is always an advantage to have an intervention from the noble Viscount. In point of fact, I do not think that is what they want at all. What I believe they sincerely and genuinely believe and fear is that you may immediately hand over power and a majority in the Legislative Council in Northern Rhodesia. Personally, I make no bones about it; I think it is a reasonable apprehension. I think that before you can give Africans a majority in any council they ought to have had some experience and ought to have shown some responsibility in government. Furthermore, I believe that there would be nothing that would more easily help confidence if the Africans were prepared to shoulder some responsibility and show that they were able to accept it. I am sure that would do more to restore confidence and further the political future of the Federation than almost anything else.
I believe that in that respect the fears of Sir Roy Welensky and those who support him are right and reasonable; and we have to pay attention to reasonable fears. I do not believe that at the moment any constitutional change which gives Africans an absolute majority in the Legislative Council in Northern Rhodesia ought to be put forward by Her Majesty's Government. I do not think that view is retrograde; I think it is fair and reasonable. It does not mean to say that there should not be an improved franchise, greater representation, or that more Africans should not have ministerial jobs, but it does mean to say that, until some responsibility has been shown by the Africans, they should not have complete power. I think that is right.
455 Finally, there is one argument I should like to say a word about. It is always said—and this is one of the strongest arguments I know on behalf of those who want to give increasingly more power, I think too rapidly, to African leaders—" Unless you give Mr. Kaunda everything that he wants, he will be subjected to much more extreme action; and better the devil you know than the devil you do not". Of course, there is a great deal of force in that argument, though it can be overplayed. But that is never applied the other way. From what I have heard from various noble Lords opposite, people would imagine that Sir Roy Welensky was the most violent and extreme reactionary who has ever been heard of. In point of fact Sir Roy Welensky was generally considered in Rhodesia to be rather a moderate leader, and, whether it is right or not, to be on the Left. Sir Roy has exactly the same troubles as Mr. Kaunda. He cannot lead his people any faster than Mr. Kaunda can lead his. It is no good going too far in the other direction, because you achieve merely the same result. Let us face this: in the end if you try to force the white Rhodesians further than they can go you crash the Federation just as surely as if you forced the black Rhodesians further than they can go.
May I say one word about the Constitution about which all the argument has arisen? I should like to reinforce what has been said by other noble Lords. I do not want to go too much into the whys and wherefors, but the fact remains that we have been changing Constitutions in Africa with bewildering rapidity over the last two or three years. I believe that in a country where more than anything else stability is needed at the present time it is a terrible mistake to do this, and I hope Her Majesty's Government will, if they reach a settlement on this occasion, have something which will have stability, which will last for a certain period. I will give one excellent reason why I think that is essential, and it is this. As long as the extremists, whether of Right or Left, believe that if enough fuss is made a Constitution can be upset in 18 months, no Constitution you can produce has any chance of success. Therefore, 456 unless Her Majesty's Government make it perfectly clear from the word "Go" that the next Constitution is going to last, I do not see that we shall get anywhere.
Next I should like to say this. I regret that we did not stick to the Lennox-Boyd Constitution. I think the Lennox-Boyd Constitution was good, in so far as it was carefully worked out to cover a period of, I think, ten years. There were two Rolls, but I think that is almost inevitable at this stage of African development; I do not see how you can get away from two Rolls to begin with, but what you should aim for is a Common Roll. The whole aim of that Constitution was that within ten years most of the people on the Lower Roll would have gone on to the Upper Roll, the Lower Roll would have ceased to exist; there would be the Common Roll which is basically what we all want. I think it is a pity to abandon that Constitution. It was elastic; it was flexible, and it could have been altered to a considerable extent as it went along, in favour of greater African representation, without tearing up the whole Constitution.
Frankly, I think this Constitution is so complicated that, in itself, it breeds lack of confidence, because nobody knows what it means. I do not believe that the white community will accept an African majority in the Northern Rhodesia Legislative Council, and I think that if Her Majesty's Government insist on driving that they will fail. Frankly, what they fear is that that is exactly what this Constitution will mean. The noble Earl yesterday said he was very glad he could not possibly say what it meant; it might be one thing or the other; he thought it was desirable. It may be desirable, but it is not what is desired by Sir Roy Welensky, and I do not believe so vague and indeterminate a Constitution will ever receive the support of the white settlers. Therefore, I hope that the Government will face up to the real problem and will try to look at this thing impartially (I do not feel they have been quite impartial) from the point of view of both sides; that they will start again, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, said, to achieve stability. Provided they are practical, not necessarily on the basis of this Constitution but perhaps of some other 457 Constitution as well, I believe there is hope of getting stability and progress in the Federation. If they do that, I know they will have the support of all your Lordships in the action They take.
§ 7.16 p.m.
§ LORD CRATHORNE
My Lords, I was very doubtful whether I should take part in this debate, because events move so quickly in Africa, and it is as far back as June last year that we left that country with the Monckton Commission. But having taken part in those most interesting months, I felt it my duty to intervene for a short time, if for no other reason than to congratulate my noble friend Lord Molson on his admirable maiden speech, in which he described our activities and a large amount of the contents of our Report. This evening I would not repeat anything that he said yesterday other than to re-emphasise once again what is so very often not appreciated: that the whole essence of our Report from beginning to end was the desire and determination to do everything we could to maintain and continue the Federation. That, I think, cannot be said too often, especially by those of us who served as members of the Monckton Commission.
During the last three speeches we heard reference to the moderate Africans, particularly from the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, and the noble Viscount, Lout Bridgeman; how difficult it is to obtain the views of the moderate African. I think that we on the Commission were in a very privileged position so far as that is concerned, because the extreme elements in the African community in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland boycotted the Commission altogether, and therefore the very large numbers of African witnesses who came to give us their views were moderate Africans and not extremists at all.
There is one other aspect of the Commission which has not arisen during the debate but about which I should like to say a word because I believe it to be of importance. Of the 25 members of the Commission, 23 signed the Report in toto, with certain reservations of matters of detail, however important those details may be. And among those 23 members were eight whom I would describe, for want of a better term, as white Rhodesians, distinguished citizens from 458 the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland who had spent a large part of their lives working in Central Africa and who were thoroughly conversant with the life and conditions in that country. Three of them came from, or were representatives of, the Federation itself; two from Southern Rhodesia; two from Northern Rhodesia, and one from Nyasaland. It is interesting to note that, with all the different points of view and the arguments which surround this most intractable problem, no reservation of any kind was made by any of those eight Commissioners to Chapters 3, 4, and 5 of our Report, which are the essence and the mainspring from which we jumped off. Chapter 3 presents in very determined language the attitudes of all the races to federation. Chapter 4 explains, again in most forceful language, the advantages and achievements of federation, and Chapter 5 sets out, very shortly, the general conclusions as to the solution.
Why was it possible for those distinguished white Rhodesians to subscribe unanimously to those chapters? Simply, I think, because, through co-operating, all of us together—the whole Commission—through our tours into far distant corners in all the countries comprising the Federation, saw and heard things which were as much a, shock and a surprise to them as they were to the other members of the Commission, those who had come from overseas. It is for that reason that we found ourselves so completely in agreement on the vital chapters.
Here, if I may, I would make just one passing reference to the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, yesterday. I can agree with him entirely that the main difficulty to-day in Central Africa is that there exists a crisis of confidence; but where If cannot agree with him, and cannot go along with him, is in saying that the main responsibility for this crisis must rest on the shoulders of the Colonial Secretary. In my view that is far, far from the factual position. When we arrived in February of last year, we found this crisis of confidence in every aspect of the work of the Federation. There was lack of confidence between the Africans and Europeans; lack of confidence between the Africans in one territory and the Africans in another territory; lack of confidence between Europeans in one 459 territory and Europeans in another territory; and lack of confidence between the Colonial Service in one territory and other civil servants in other territories. In fact, the whole situation can be described by this term "a crisis of confidence". Although we found every section of the community helpful in every way to the Commission, they were, alas! suspicious one of the other.
It is my submission, my Lords, that no satisfactory solution to the problem facing the Federation can be reached until this suspicion has been removed. That is why we thought it fit, and indeed necessary, to include paragraph 84 at the end of Chapter 5 of our Report, which is the short Chapter to which I have referred. As it is a very short paragraph, I thought I might quote it to your Lordships, because it is at the end of the main part of the Report, before we come to the detailed recommendations. It reads as follows:Certain facts are inescapable. The Federation can continue only if it can enlist the willing support of its inhabitants. The wisdom of Solomon himself, were we able to command it, would not suffice to make any constitution work without the goodwill of the people. We cannot create this goodwill. Unless both races genuinely wish to make this association succeed, unless they are prepared to understand and to meet each others' point of view, and unless both are ready to make some sacrifices, the new forms will do no better than the old. We can only recommend measures on which we believe partnership and mutual confidence can be built.In my view, this is the crux of the whole problem in Central Africa to-day.
But here I would remind your Lordships that we, as a Commission, were an advisory Commission, and our recommendations have been sincerely made in the hope that they may be helpful to all five Governments concerned—because it is five Governments, not one Government or two Governments, that are concerned. Perhaps in our two days' debate we have gained the impression that this range of problems concerns Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and Sir Roy Welensky in Salisbury. Of course it does: but they are only two aspects of a far wider problem. It is one that affects all five Governments. And I would say, without any hesitation at all, that the problems they have to solve are as difficult as any that five 460 similar Governments have ever had to face in the history of the modern world; because, in my view, upon the success that they may achieve here will depend the success of modern Africa. So much for the past, my Lords. I should like now to say a few words in regard to the future.
I would agree very much with what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said in the debate yesterday: that so far as the Federation is concerned, the Government would be well advised to follow the policy of going slowly, and of not attempting to force the issue. I agree that that would be unfortunate. Following on that, I would suggest that the Government have been wise in dealing with the Territorial Constitutions in the first instance, because unless the Territorial Constitutions had been tackled in the way they are being tackled—much as I want to see it happen—I could not see a happy future for the Federation. In the Territorial Constitutions everything is not bad; a lot of good things have emerged. For instance, during these past weeks in Southern Rhodesia a really good start has been made, as explained in Command Paper 1291, and I should like to join in congratulating both the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and Sir Edgar Whitehead, together with all those who worked with him, on the progress that has been made. I think that that is a most hopeful beginning to what I hope will develop into a satisfactory end, to the benefit of Southern Rhodesia and the Federation.
Unhappily, the same cannot be said for the Northern Rhodesian Conference, which is at present at an impasse. I do not want to say anything about it which might make it more difficult for agreement to be reached; and agreement must be reached if we are going to make progress in Central Africa. Agreement must be reached in Northern Rhodesia. I should like to refer to the Government proposals contained in Command Paper 1295, and particularly to proposals which have not been mentioned in our debates during these last two days but which are virtually agreed. I think they are the biggest advance there. The first proposal I would mention, which I support wholeheartedly from our observations there last year, is the proposal 461 for the establishment of a House of Chiefs in Northern Rhodesia. I believe that nothing but good can come out of this proposal in the administration of that country, and I do not think it has been mentioned in our debates during the two days that we have been discussing these problems.
The second proposal that I support wholeheartedly, and which in fact appears in our Report, is that the new Constitution should include a Bill of Rights designed to safeguard the rights of individuals and the interests of minorities. As I understand it, this is virtually agreed among all concerned. Those are two great steps forward, so everything is not bad there. That leaves the very real problems concerning the future of the Legislative Council and, above all, the problems of the franchise. Those of your Lordships, who may have clone the Commission the honour to read our Report in detail, will find that, when we were dealing with the franchise in our Report, we found ourselves in certain difficulty about finding a solution. This is the real crux of the present problem in the Northern Rhodesia Constitution.
In this regard, I would refer your Lordships to the speech made by my noble friend Lord Swinton, and to two concrete suggestions which he made to your Lordships, both of which, I believe, are well worthy of consideration by Her Majesty's Government. In prefacing his remarks, the noble Earl said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 229 (No. 28), col. 344]:The essence of Federation is racial partnership, and that is declared in the preamble to the Constitution",with the designing of which he had so much to do in those days. I agree with that statement, my Lords. While the noble Earl was attracted, as indeed I am, to the Government's plan as set out in the White Paper, he suggested a modification to it—namely, that it would be wiser to have a number of separate small constituencies and that the national constituencies should be much larger. I believe that there is much in that thought, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will give it careful consideration. The kind of proportions he suggested yesterday to your Lordships were one-quarter, one-quarter and a half. I am quite certain that he would not be tied to those figures, but his proposal 462 was for something of that order. In that way a more multi-racial system would be more quickly achieved than under the proposals set out in the White Paper. I throw out that thought to your Lordships and to Her Majesty's Government for further consideration.
The other point which the noble Earl made is one which many noble Lords have made again this afternoon—namely, that in any agreement which may be reached, and, we hope, will be reached, in Northern Rhodesia, it should be laid down in the Constitution itself that it should last a fixed number of years. I think that would be a wise consideration. I agree wholeheartedly with that suggestion. Many noble Lords have made reference to it. In recent years uncertainty has had a bad effect. I am not blaming anybody for that; it is the march of events and the speed at which things are proceeding. But uncertainty has had a bad effect. It is easy to be wise after the event, but had I happened to be in the position of either the noble Lord opposite or my noble friend, Lord Swinton, had I initiated the Federal scheme, I certainly should not have had it all reviewed in so short a time as ten years. There may have been arguments at that time which made that inevitable, but in the course of our work, interesting though it was, we were all the time thinking, This thing has not had time to get on; it has not had time to achieve success." That is the fact. In many ways it has not been a success. In some ways it has been a tremendous success. It has not had time to find its feet. So I would recommend wholeheartedly that any new Constitution should contain a definite and fixed term of years.
I would only say in conclusion that on the completion of our labours on the Monckton Commission I held the view that all would be well in Central Africa if we could overcome the immediate difficulties which face the Federation. I still hold that view, but I am conscious of the fact that great wisdom will be necessary by the leaders of all the various sections of thought, both European and African, if these immediate difficulties are to be resolved. I hope that we in your Lordships' House will be able to play our part in helping those who are 463 responsible to bring sanity out of a particularly difficult situation in Central Africa.
§ 7.34 p.m.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I find it difficult to follow my noble friend Lord Crathorne. I do not mean that I find it difficult to follow his argument, which was powerful, clear and persuasive, but within limits, if I may say so, because I was not convinced by the whole of it. I find it difficult to follow him in debate because his experience of this problem is a good deal wider than my own and, as a member of the Monckton Commission, he has had the opportunity which I have not had of making an extensive and continuous study of it. Yet, within the limits of my experience and my intelligence, I feel that I must say what I think. My noble friend said that he and his colleagues were genuinely anxious to preserve the Federation, and that every one of their recommendations was directed to that end. I accept that absolutely. I do not think that anybody who heard him speak this evening could doubt but that he was genuinely concerned with the future of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. I accept what he says about the effect on the white Rhodesians who were on the Commission of the evidence that the Commission heard. I can well believe that they, as well as the members from here, learned a great deal about conditions in Africa. I accept, and to some extent share, his faith in the House of Chiefs. I would myself have more faith in the House of Chiefs if T did not remember the Chamber of Princes.
Having said that, and having said that there was a great deal in my noble friend's speech with which I agree, I must say that he seemed to me in one respect to be glossing over reality, glossing over the facts of the situation. He said that the division between Sir Roy Welensky and his Government and Her Majesty's Government was only one of a number of divisions which had to be healed. That is true. But it is a fact that the gulf between Sir Roy Welensky and Her Majesty's Government is very real and very deep, and that if something is not done, if confidence is not restored, it will become completely unbridgeable.
464 I listened yesterday with your Lordships to the remarkable maiden speech of my noble friend Lord Molson. I listened to it with the greater interest because I was privileged to hear his maiden speech in another place. It seemed to me that yesterday he showed, though I suppose in a more developed form, the same capacity for clear thought, logical argument and personal conviction that he showed as a young man 30 years ago. I hope that my noble friend will forgive me if I make some comments on his speech. He advanced sonic powerful arguments. Some of us on this side I think had some difficulty in restraining ourselves from interrupting him while he was speaking. I think those arguments might fairly be answered as far as I can answer them.
My noble friend asked why it was that Sir Roy Welensky's Government, if they really believed in partnership, if they really believed in a non-racial Constitution, objected so much to the draft Constitution for Northern Rhodesia which, after all, contained the National Roll under which the best man would win irrespective of race. That, of course, is a paraphrase of my noble friend's argument; but that I think, broadly speaking, was his argument, The answer seems to me to be clear.
The objection of the United Federal Party to the draft Constitution is simply that, while its provisions do away with differences, it is based, in fact, upon an Upper Roll and a Lower Roll which can only encourage and intensify the racial feeling. The Lower Roll would certainly inevitably vote for colour and race. The Upper Roll in self-defence will be driven to the same conclusion, and the result will be that there will be thrown up in the National Roll what the right honourable gentleman the Secretary for Commonwealth Relations rather unkindly described in another place as "a collection of Joe Grimonds." I do not want to show any disrespect to the honourable gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party, whom I respect greatly and who I think I may say is a friend of mine.
One thing, however, is certain. What is going to produce chaos in Africa, what is going to produce in British Central Africa the conditions that exist in the Congo, is weak government. And no Constitution could be better designed 465 than this one to produce weak government, because the balance in the Legislative Council will be in the hands of no one knows who. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, yesterday, said he expected that the Africans would have the majority. The noble Earl, Lord Perth, said he did not know. My noble friend, Lord Molson, said he hoped the Africans would have a majority. Nobody knows. The only thing that is known is that the majority will be in the hands of a minority of the Legislature, and that they will hold the balance; and that, it seems to me, can only create weak government.
My noble friend Lord Molson used in his speech another argument which did not seem to me to be sound. I draw attention to it now, not to criticise my noble friend but because it is an argument which, I believe, is widely prevalent. My noble friend said that the constitutional right was in the hands of Her Majesty's Government and nowhere else. That is true; but it is also true that it is sometimes desirable, and sometimes wise and necessary, to exercise constitutional right with discretion. We have been through all this before—a British Government here dealing with a British population overseas. We went through it two hundred years ago, and there is one very marked parallel between the position of Her Majesty's Government vis-à-vis the white population of Southern Rhodesia and Lord North's position vis-à-vis the American Colonies. And it is this: in both cases constitutional right was on the side of the British Government. Lord North had the constitutional right and Her Majesty's Government have that right now, but it may be unwise for them to push their rights too far.
I should like to refresh the minds of my noble friend and your Lordships with something that was said in one of the greatest speeches ever delivered in the Parliament of Westminster by Edmund Burke—his speech on the conciliation of the American Colonies. He said:The question is not whether you have a right to make people miserable but whether it is not in your interests to make them happy. It is not what a lawyer tells me I must do but what humanity, reason and justice tell me I ought to do. I am not determining a point of law. The general character and situation of a people must determine what sort of government is fitted for them.466 That seems to me to be a weakness in the approach of my noble friend to these problems: too great a reliance being placed on the Constitution. It seems to me to be even more a weakness in the policy of Her Majesty's Government.
In his very interesting speech yesterday the noble Earl, Lord Perth, made one observation which, in some ways, seemed to me to be the most significant observation that I have heard in this debate. He said [OFFICIAL REPORT. Vol. 229 (No. 48), col. 300]:We must go forward"—that is to say, Her Majesty's Government must go forward with the Northern Rhodesian proposalsand without their help"—that is, the help of the United Federal Party,our task is very much more difficult.I believe that the noble Earl is wrong and that he is misunderstanding the position. If Her Majesty's Government do not get the help of the United Federal Party their task is going to be, not more difficult but absolutely impossible. There is one thing, above all else, that Her Majesty's Government have to realise which I do not think they realise yet. That is that the British people, wherever they may be—whether in this country, in the American Colonies or in Southern Rhodesia—are not going to be coerced. No matter how far-sighted may be the policy of Her Majesty's Government, how wise or how careful, if that policy depends upon the coercion of the British people, it will fail.
We have another instance closer at hand, which I remember well, though I was only a schoolboy at the time. It so happens that last week-end I was staying at Mount Stewart in Northern Ireland. I was looking through the visitors' book and I came to a page now nearly 50 years old which was signed by about twenty men headed by my father, men who once were well known in this House and in another place, who were the leaders of the Conservative Party. They had gone over to Ulster to sign the Covenant. I know many noble Lords, certainly on that side of the House, and I dare say on this side, thought that the action of the Conservative Party in those days was wrong- 467 headed. Perhaps it was; I do not want to argue that. Many people feel that it was unconstitutional.
§ LORD COLERAINE
I believe it was. But I think the noble Earl should appreciate this fact: that when a Constitution which is designed to protect British subjects is used to abolish their rights and liberties, it is the Constitution that goes to the wall, not their rights and their liberties. I believe that, by their stubborn resistance, as I regard it, in clinging against all advice to this draft Northern Rhodesia Constitution, the Government are playing their part. Southern Rhodesia, the United Federal Party, is not going to accept coercion of British subjects in Africa.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, might I ask the noble Lord what he means by "coercion"? Does he mean that the British Government are not entitled to decide what changes will be made in the Constitution of Northern Rhodesia?
§ LORD COLERAINE
In reply to the noble Earl, what I mean is simply this. If any Government in this country tries to force a British community under the domination of a Government that is alien to them, then the British Government will fail in its objective, whatever the Constitution may say. I do not say that that is a desirable thing to happen; I just say that, the British character being what it is, that is what happens, and that is something of which I think the Government must take more account than they are taking to-day.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether, in that situation, he would justify the British community defying the Constitution?
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, the noble Earl asks me if I would justify it. I am not seeking either to justify it or to denounce it. All I am stating is what I believe to be a fact, which is borne out by history and by our experience. Whatever the rights or wrongs may be, you will not get the British people, still less will you get the Conservative Party, and still less will a Conservative Government be able, to 468 coerce and force British subjects under a Government of a kind which they are unwilling to accept.
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord what he thinks about an African community that found itself in that situation?
§ LORD COLERAINE
I am not speaking now about the African character. The noble Lord is a better judge of that than I am. I am speaking about the British character, and I think I speak of what I know.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, will the noble Lord tell me, after what he said just now, who is the alien in Africa? He talked about an alien Government. Who is the alien in Africa?
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, since the noble Viscount has raised the question, if when he says Africa he means Rhodesia, Rhodesia was created by the white Rhodesian. If it had not been for the white Rhodesian there would be no Rhodesia. When the noble Viscount was born there was no such place as Salisbury; there was not one stone standing on another. There was no such country as Rhodesia. All that there was was a belt from the bush, the tiger, the antelope and the elephant.
§ LORD COLERAINE
Yes, I agree, the African—the African given over to disease, slavery, death and poverty. It was the white Rhodesian who created Rhodesia, and I defy the noble Viscount to argue otherwise.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, the very last thing that I would desire to do is to say a word against the white Rhodesian. But, none the less, on reflection I think that my noble friend will regret the word "alien" as applied to any community amongst those who desire to found their home in Africa. I believe that, on reconsideration, either now or later, he will be sorry that he used that word.
§ LORD COLERAINE
I certainly withdraw the expression "alien". The noble Viscount was giving it a technical meaning which I had not meant to apply to it.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I really do not think this is fair. I was giving it its ordinary and natural meaning in the English language. I am glad that my noble friend has withdrawn it, and do not want to say anything more about it. But if we are going forward on a non-racial basis in the Federation territory, we must be a little more careful of our words than to use the word "alien" of any race that has made its home in that territory.
§ LORD COLERAINE
Yes. I withdraw the expression "alien" unreservedly and without explanation. Perhaps I may say that it is impossible for a British Government to coerce the British population into a form of government which they will not accept. I hope that all sides are satisfied now.
I know that the noble Earl on the opposite Bench thinks that the Conservative Party, in the days of the Home Rule crisis, were wrong-headed as well as unconstitutional. What I think we have now to consider is whether Sir Roy Welensky and the United Federal Party are being equally wrong-headed from the noble Earl's point of view to-day. I do not think they are.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt again; but my point of view does not really matter. What really matters is the justice and wisdom in this situation. I do not think my point of view matters to anybody.
§ LORD COLERAINE
Then I think, with respect, that if the noble Earl expressed his point of view a little less now and more when he comes to speak, it might be helpful.
My Lords, the Southern Rhodesians see things differently from the way we see them. To them, these are matters of life and death: to us, they are, to a great extent, legal and constitutional abstractions. But these are not evil men. They do not seek to dominate the African for ever. They realise that the African's stake in his own government must be increased now, and that one day there must be an African majority. Public opinion here is inclined to equate the Southern Rhodesian 470 view with apartheid. Nothing would be further from the truth, or more absurd.
In my last—I was going to say spasm, but in my last moments of addressing your Lordships, I should like to quote from a very remarkable article in The Times newspaper. I do not refer to an editorial that appeared some weeks ago, but to an article on Rhodesia from their correspondent on the spot. This is what he says:Coming back to Southern Rhodesia after more than two years, one is none the less conscious of movement. There has been a change of thoughts perhaps even a change of heart. Change, alt all events, is in the air.Some years ago I remember remarking, on the eve of my departure, a solitary, thin-lipped embittered-looking old Rhodesian sitting huddled on a bench in Cecil Square marked 'Europeans only'. The figure seemed to me symbolic of the Rhodesia of those days. A fortnight ago I crossed Cecil Square during the lunch hour. Salisbury's office workers were spread about the grass, with their sandwiches and flasks, men clerks and girl secretaries, in laughing, chattering groups; and as I looked I saw that the groups were spatchcocked, white and brown, in unselfconscious proximity, The atmosphere seemed extraordinarily relaxed in comparison to that in South Africa or indeed in many parts of Africa which one visits nowadays.That, I believe, is the true picture of Southern Rhodesia; and what we have got to realise, it seems to me, if I may say so with respect, is that whatever may be the divisions between Sir Roy Welensky and his Government and Her Majesty's Government here, Her Majesty's Government in the Federation and Her Majesty's Government here are both advancing along the same road. The danger will be, as more than one of your Lordships have already pointed out, that if you drive them too fast, if you make the speed of constitutional development too fast, you will not hasten a solution; you will at best slow it down, and even, I believe, make it impossible.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, if I were my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Colonial Affairs, I should not welcome being attacked, or having my policy attacked so vigorously, by one so powerful as the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. But I should not complain, and I am quite certain that no one is more capable of standing up for himself than my right honourable friend. He will be able, I when the opportunity arises, to answer 471 the noble Marquess, and I am certain he will do it. I discern that a great many Members of this House thought that they had really had a day of it yesterday, and even the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor said that he had not heard the like of it in 25 years. He must have forgotten the days when he was in another place. It did not seem to me that the controversy yesterday went beyond the bounds with which we have all been familiar for years, and I do not take it as seriously as do some others. Indeed. I think the noble Marquess, even if he was a bit hot in what he said, or a bit pungent in the way he said it, rendered a great public service by calling attention to the way people in Rhodesia are feeling. From my own knowledge and concern with Southern Africa generally, though not particularly with Rhodesia, I am certain that what he told us was true. That is what the people feel, and this House ought to know it, and it ought to know it at the beginning of a debate, as the noble Marquess told it to us.
I really thought the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition excelled himself in his eloquence, and I thought he was surprisingly unfair, for so kindly, moderate, and even modest a man as himself, about the noble Marquess. The doctrine of declaring an interest is well understood by us all. Many a time has the noble Marquess declared his interest in Rhodesia. Do we have to do it every time? What are the limits beyond which we are free from declaring an interest? Does the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, have to declare that he is going to make a speech which might well be a public relations speech for the Co-operative Society?
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
Yes, my Lords. If the noble Lord will allow me to say so, many a time I have spoken on a trade matter in which co-operative interests have been concerned, and always I took great care to repeat my co-operative interests.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords. I am sure he did; but to-day he ended his speech with "co-operation, cooperation, co-operation". A magnificent advertisement. I thought.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
As regards the Monckton Report, I add my congratulations to my noble friend from another place, Lord Molson, on his maiden speech, which was up to the standards that I would have expected of him. I do not agree with much of what he said, because I do not agree with much of the Monckton Report. It is to be especially noticed that the Monckton Report emphasises the importance of the Federation, and there I am sure it is right; but when it advises us to try to preserve the Federation by making secession a matter for controversy for five years or seven years, I am sure it is wrong. I do not think secession should be offered voluntarily to any of the three territories, either to the two black territories to go on their own, or to the half-white territory to go to South Africa. I think we should make it clear that Britain does not think the time has come to permit that. I say that advisedly, because I believe that is in the interests of all three of these territories.
The Monckton Commission say that Nyasaland is not viable. Why, then, give a few politicians with very little experience the opportunity of deciding, or of calling upon an ignorant electorate to help them decide, that the time has come for secession? It seems to me to be asking for trouble. Nor do I agree with the Monckton Report proposal, or the suggestion, that powers should be moved from the centre outwards to the territories or the provinces. That is contrary to all history and to all patterns that have been followed by the Commonwealth, or by Dominions or by Federations. In Canada, Australia and America the tendency has been the other way: for the central Government—in this case the Federal Government—to collect powers and to collect authority rather than give them up. To start by giving up essential powers for the government of what ought to be one entity is, to my mind, a retrograde step.
Now I wish to declare myself as convinced that among the British there are about 3 per cent. of persons capable of executive leadership, political leadership, and other forms of leadership.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
I said "the British", and I meant what I said, and if my noble friend had listened he would have heard.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
I said I affirm a declaration of faith, that among the British there are about 3 per cent. of persons capable of leadership; I think no more. There are perhaps another 7 per cent. capable of being N.C.O.s. I do not see any reason why any other group of persons, whatever their race or colour, should be expected to have more, but I do expect them to have as many. Having said that, I have made it clear that what I am now going to say has no element of discrimination in it. I see no reason whatever why men in Rhodesia, in China, or anywhere else in this world, should not produce a small number of capable leaders with intelligence, integrity, and the powers of leadership. But this is not the only factor. Experience is needed. Experience is quite a different thing from intelligence and integrity. We have the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, proclaiming the doctrine of equality. No doubt there is equality in the co-operative society. All co-operators are equal, but not all make such good leaders as he. This should be remembered, because it is of the essence of this matter.
My noble friend the Duke of Montrose said that we cannot accept lower standards in Rhodesia. The Colonial Secretary said that that would be necessary. With respect, there I think the noble Duke is wrong. If you are going to give inexperienced persons the opportunity of being Members of Parliament or of being Cabinet Ministers before they have had decades to learn their job, you must accept lower standards. But it is a good thing to dilute that lower standard and have, say, two Ministers without experience among a bunch of Ministers who have experience. It takes a long time to learn to manage a democracy. I am not sure, from listening to some of the debates in another place before came here, that we have learned it our- 474 selves. May I remind your Lordships of a very brief aspect of our history? For 500 years before 1832 the British people were seeking to build up a parliamentary and a democratic system; that was 500 years before the great Reform Bill. Thereafter, it was about 100 years before we had adult suffrage, and about 120 years before we had an election with full adult suffrage. That is a very long time.
Now, my Lords, I do not say this in criticism, but I would rather illustrate my point about experience by an example here in Britain than by an example in Africa, lest I should be charged with discrimination. The Labour Party came into existence in 1900. It was 25 years before they formed a Government, and then, thank God!, it was a minority Government, and they were not very successful. I am sure that they would not claim that they were. It was not their fault. They had only one person who knew anything about it—Arthur Henderson. He had been in a previous Cabinet. How could they have done better? When the Labour Party came into real power, which was 25 years afterwards, the Cabinet had the immense advantage of the noble Lords, Lord Attlee, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough himself, Lord Morrison of Lambeth and Lord Dalton, and two or three others in another place, who had had considerable experience in previous Cabinets., some of them for five or eight years.
It is not to be presumed that a man who has a big mouth and is a great and successful demagogue, because he can whip the crowds up, shall we say, in Hyde Park, or even in Rhodesia or Kenya, would make a good Minister. You have to see him here first. Keir Hardie never was a Minister and I do not know whether he would have been a good one. Experience is needed for Ministers. Experience is needed for voters. Experience is needed for civil servants. And I may observe that the Labour Party had a successful time from 1946 onwards—as I am sure they would claim—because they had the inestimable advantage of having a trained Civil Service with hundreds of years of experience. These factors have to be taken into account. If I plead for caution in this matter of placing power in other hands, it is not because I do not think that men of all races can produce leaders and officers and N.C.O.'s of equal ability 475 and integrity with ours. It is not that. It is because they have not the experience. And they must be given the opportunity of getting that experience.
There is one other thing about this controversy that I want to mention. The democratic method which we follow here is exceedingly difficult to operate. The essence of it is that we exaggerate most of the time, overbidding our hand—I did not mean to use a bridge phrase. Do not your Lordships think that Sir Roy Welensky is overbidding a little? He has an election next year. Is not even Mr. Diefenbaker overbidding his hand just a little? The noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, rejoiced about his clarion declaration—about something that was not new at all. But he has an election next year. Are not we all occasionally looking over our shoulders at the voters in the marginal seats? How about these ridiculous people with black sashes on found in London, all getting photographed, some from this House? Are they not thinking of the marginal seats? We exaggerate a bit our democratic way of doing things.
I do not take such a gloomy view of these questions as a great many speakers. I do not even believe there is such a gulf fixed between Mr. Macleod and Sir Roy Welensky. What Sir Roy Welensky has said is that he wants a Government that is not a Government of colour, but a Government composed of men who are responsible. That is not very far from what Mr. Macleod is aiming at. Following this debate, which I think will be very good for Mr. Macleod to read, knowing his extremely able and flexible mind, it is my hope that he will find it possible, especially as Sir Roy Welensky is now in London, to get in touch with him and bring matters to a good conclusion.
Finally, I want to say one word about white men in all this. They have, indeed, turned the desert into flourishing gardens and rich verdant countries. They have, indeed, brought transport, brought civilisation and spiritual leadership, brought all that seems to make life worth while to Africa generally. They ought to be praised. But, more than that, it ought to be remembered, whether we all like it or whether we do not, that the gov- 476 ernment and management of these countries in Africa is in the hands of Europeans. You may say that it should not have been so. You may say that the Labour Party in 1946 and onwards should have been quicker about putting it into the hands of others, or that the Tory Government thereafter should have been quicker. But I am not looking backwards; I am looking at it to-day. The management and government of these African countries is in the hands of Europeans. Only through what we have done is it possible for them to carry on. Without our good will, they cannot go on. It will just become a Congo. That is something which we really must bear in mind.
Let us then go forward with the general agreement to give the blacks a much larger share in the governance of the country and regard them as equal, where they have the experience to make use of their equality. Let us do that. But do not let us imagine that they are ready yet for majority rule, for a majority in the Cabinet or for filling all the offices in the Cabinet. That, I am quite sure, is not the case. May I then pray that reason will prevail and remind your Lordships that there is…a divinity which shapes our ends, Rough hew them how we will.
§ 8.17 p.m.
§ THE EARL of LONGFORD
My Lords, the main speeches from this side of the House have already been made, and, if I may say so, finely made by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, the noble Viscount my Leader and the noble Baroness, Lady Summerskill, and they have been well backed up by other speeches, such as that of the noble Lord, Lord Noel-Buxton. Therefore, it does not fall to me to try to divide the time equally with the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, whom the House is most anxious to hear, but there are a few things which I should say.
Perhaps the two much respected noble Lords who spoke last will allow me to deal briefly with their contributions. I could quite happily spend the rest of the evening and many days to come arguing about these matters, either in private or in public, but since the noble Lord. Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, has mentioned the question of leadership, I must say clearly and definitely that we regard 477 ourselves as especially lucky in our Leader and we have never been prouder of him than we were this afternoon.
I know that the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, will not be surprised if I say that I was very much shocked by his speech, not by his historical argument—if he wants to have an historical argument, I would begin with the passage of the second Parliament Act, which was thrown out by 419 to 41 after it had been passed by another place. But it would take too much time to pursue these matters and the very terrible lessons to be learned from them. I am not speaking of what I rather thought was a slip of the tongue, when he referred to "aliens"—the noble Lord withdrew that word, but I cannot help feeling that he draws the distinction in his own mind between the people of British stock in these territories and the Africans. I cannot think that any happy future can await this country, if anyone of the noble Lord's eminence continues to draw a distinction of that sort in his mind. T was more shocked by something else. When I asked the noble Lord whether he would regard as justified an unconstitutional resistance to British authority, he said that he could not give any guidance. Out there I imagine that that would be taken as condonation and, indeed, encouragement, if the situation should ever arise. They would assume that he was too good a Parliamentarian in this place to make his meaning entirely plain. But if I were those gentlemen, and there were distressing problems now and in the future, I should regard that as direct encouragement. I hope that the noble Lord will say definitely that he was not encouraging to unconstitutional revolt.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I certainly would not encourage the white Rhodesians to revolt against constituted authority, and I would not condone it. But I was trying to warn the Government of the fact that if you push the British people too far they will react. I think it is a pity, but it happens.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I am grateful to the noble Lord for saying what he has just said. There remains a difference of speculation between us, but I am glad that he has removed the one meaning which could easily have been put upon his words.
478 Although he is not with us, I should like to congratulate once again the noble Lord, Lord Molson; I do not know whether he is likely to return, but if not, I had better congratulate him clearly and definitely now. We have all acknowledged the independence of mind of the noble Lord for many years. I remember that when a very eminent man approached the present Lord Molson as President of the Union about a forthcoming debate, Lord Molson drew himself up (he was a much younger man then, of course) and replied: "You will quite understand that I do not reveal the secrets of the Union to every chance inquirer." That will be remembered by the two ex-Presidents of the Union who sit opposite to me, arid they will probably also remember the answer, but I am not sure that I should refer to it in the noble Lord's absence. He has had a career distinguished for remarkable integrity. I was deeply impressed, as we all were, by his speech; and I apologise for the fact that. I was absent for the earlier part of yesterday afternoon.
I hope that nobody who reads this debate carefully will suppose that we are deaf and blind to the claims of the Europeans, the white man, in Rhodesia. I hope that the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, will not feel that. I disagree profoundly, I should think, with the noble Duke on all these matters, but we must salute him for travelling several thousand miles to be with us. That shows a remarkable public spirit which we do well to envy. But we hope that he will not go back and say that, at any rate, the Labour people in your Lordships' House are conscious of one race only, and that is the black race. He would have no justification for so doing, particularly after the things that were said in the first place by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, who I suppose has done—I was going to say more for the Africans than anyone in this House, but that might be too bold a claim with the noble Lord, Lord Hemingford, and other noble Lords sitting here, so I will say only that he has done as much as any noble Lord in this House. But also our interest and sympathy for the white man was brought out clearly by my noble friends Lord Silkin and Lord Noel-Buxton.
479 But the noble Lord, Lord Molson, in the course of the speech which has won such general acclaim, said one thing which, in my opinion, must be repeated from this side of the House in winding up. He said [col. 320.]:… the responsibility for this crisis in the Northern Rhodesian Conference rests fairly and squarely on the United Federal Party and the Dominion Party who are supporting them.That is the considered view of a Conservative ex-Minister and a member of the Monckton Commission, and I am sure it is the view of all on this side of the House and of many others who sit in other parts.
It is in connection with that that I think I should refer to the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, which has figured so largely in this debate. As I say, I was unable, to my regret, to be here yesterday while he was speaking, but I have, of course, since studied his speech carefully. As I entered the House I asked a noble Lord, not one of my own Party, what line the noble Marquess had taken, and he said: "I am not sure that he has complete confidence in the Colonial Secretary." That seemed to be one of the greatest understatements of all time, as I discovered as the debate wore on. But I heard the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor say that it was the bitterest attack on a Minister—and he could have added an ex-colleague, as my noble friend Lord Alexander of Hillsborough said—that he had heard in 26 years in public life. I am bound to say that when I read the speech my estimation was the same as that of the noble and learned Viscount, although I have not been in public life for so long.
Perhaps I can mention to the noble Marquess one or two things in that speech which seem to me to be particularly unfair—and I speak as one who has never been in the other place, and who learned at least a half of what I know about public conduct (I learned the other half from the late Lord Addison) from the noble Marquess when I came to this House after the war. I have always been grateful to him for that, as for many other things.
As I read his speech, my mind went back to something that Mr. Chamberlain said after the Jameson raid. He said: 480What is there in South Africa, I wonder, that makes blackguards of all who get involved in its politics?I thought there was something in Central Africa that had sent the noble Marquess "round the bend"; and I thought that because I have never heard him adopt that type of argumentation before. In the first place, I felt that the form of his speech was unfair. He came down to explain that there was this "crisis of confidence". That was fair enough, and his view of that, in a sense, has been supported by a number of noble Lords.
He appeared to be quoting views held by a number of white people in Africa, presumably far from the scene and who may not know much about the Colonial Secretary, but later in his speech he was lending his authority to their suspicions; and this became increasingly clear as he said that he considered that the Colonial Secretary, his old colleague, was rather unscrupulous. I do not think one could say anything more unpleasant about an ex-colleague. The noble Marquess shakes his head. But I think the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, said—I am not sure he said that Mr. Macleod would actually enjoy reading the debate, but that he ought to enjoy it. Frankly, if somebody had used that expression about me—and it was not the only expression used—I should feel that my honour had been reflected upon. I think that most people felt that; and if the noble Marquess does not understand that I am surprised, then it must be this African question which has destroyed his usual judgment and very fine sense of taste. That was one aspect.
There was another aspect arising from it. If these suspicions exist—and I do not deny them; I have met some retired ex-Colonial Servants and ex-business people who have talked about the present Colonial Secretary in a derogatory way—surely it was the business of the noble Marquess, who knows the Colonial Secretary well and has sat with him in the Cabinet, speaking to the world at large, to remove these suspicions, at least. He could criticise his handling of negotiations (heaven knows!, that is always permissible) but he could have removed any slur on the honour of the Colonial Secretary. But it seems to me that he did just the opposite: he developed and exacerbated any feeling of distrust in that way; and that struck me as extraordinarily unlike him.
481 There was another point, It was obvious that when the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor, in his usual thorough way, tried to find out what the charge was based upon, he could not find anything; and I do not think any further evidence has been brought in. Though the noble Duke referred to Nyasaland, it was not referred to by the noble Marquess. And there was a reference to Kenya; but the most that could be said there was that the method adopted was peremptory. The noble Duke used the terms "disingenuous" and "high-handed" more or less simultaneously, but there is, of course, a difference between the two. This particular reference to the method adopted in the Kenya negotiations would not constitute any charge on a man's integrity.
There was a charge that Mr. Welensky had been misled about the Monckton Commission. But if so, he was quite clearly misled by the Prime Minister, if anybody. Why did the noble Marquess then single out the Colonial Secretary and not the Prime Minister? The noble Marquess is not frightened of anybody. Why did he attack Mr. Macleod and not the Prime Minister? He probably thought that Mr. Macleod was the weaker link and he could possibly destroy a Colonial Secretary, but not a Prime Minister. At any rate, I am bound to say that that was an aspect which rather appalled me. But I have said enough on that side.
We come to the handling of the recent negotiations. I am not here to say that these various, elaborate negotiations have been perfectly handled. It may be that at a certain point Mr. Welensky was not given time. Of the various charges brought up, that struck me, on the face of it, as the most valid. No doubt the noble Viscount who is to reply will have something to say about that. On the face of it, it struck me at one particular point that he was not given enough time. It may be that he and his friends had to a large extent put themselves out of court by boycotting the proceedings, and that they had not established a very high claim. Nevertheless, I think that would not justify the Government if, in fact, they allowed them insufficient time for certain decisions. I am not necessarily assuming 482 that the Government handled every stage perfectly, but their actions, I feel, do not justify the charge made by the noble Marquess.
Then we come to the proposals themselves. We have been debating them for two days now, and I shall not become involved in the details. It seems to me that there is one strong point in favour of these proposals which was well made by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, yesterday. As there is little time, perhaps I may be allowed to say why they appeal to me particularly, and to quote what was said by the noble Earl. He said [col. 296]:… what matters very greatly"—under these new proposals—is that those having the main say in the Legislative Council and the Executive Council will he those who make the greatest appeal to all racesI thought that was a very important statement from the noble Earl; and certainly to me, and many of us, these proposals make a strong appeal. We in the Labour Party do not feel totally committed to the proposals. But they hold the field, and we wish to support them in that light as proposals, subject to certain modifications, which have a real chance of becoming a firm scheme coming into operation. Therefore, we hope and believe that the Government will stand firm on these proposals, or will depart from them very little.
The great question, of course, is the approach that will be made out there. We have been told (and it is not unnatural that we should have been told) by various speakers that Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia have put up a wonderful show. I am not here to say that they have or have not. But, of course, the more one argues that they have made a great economic! success—that the ruling people have made a great economic success out there—the harder it is to explain those facts which were brought out in the Monckton Commission Report, and were alluded to by the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough. The Monckton Commission point out, at page 77 of their Report (this was mentioned by an earlier speaker), that:There are at present no non-Europeans serving in the Southern Rhodesia Civil Service, though the Southern Rhodesia Government have announced their intention of taking early action to admit them.483 We understood from the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, who speaks with immense knowledge on these matters, and who to-day was very fair indeed, that that situation has now been altered; so perhaps there are one or two serving in the Civil Service. But when the Monckton Commission reported there was still no non-European in the Civil Service, and the noble Viscount brought out that there was no non-European member of the Legislature. We regard that as constituting a record of gross discrimination. That is our view of it, and I am afraid that we must say that clearly. We hope that that tradition will be altered, but in itself it constitutes a terribly bad tradition. May I finish my sentence before the noble Duke interrupts me? We may be sure to-day that there is no hope of peace or real ultimate development in these territories until that tradition is scrapped.
§ THE DUKE OF MONTROSE
My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for giving way. I must say, in explanation, that it is not quite true to say that there were no Africans in the Civil Service. The Civil Service was, and still is, divided into grades, and there have been Africans in the second and third grades. Indeed there have been Africans who have been promoted to the first grade. The first grade means that they are on the same wage basis as the Europeans. Of course there have been Africans in the Civil Service.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I am grateful for the correction, and I hope that the next edition of the Monckton Commission Report will carry it. I am simply quoting from one Report, which says:There are at present no non-Europeans serving in the Southern Rhodesia Civil Service…That is stated in black and white. So if the noble Duke would care to get in touch with the Stationery Department, or contact Lord Monckton of Brenchley first, he should get that put right. But, up to now, that must count as the truth for the purpose of public discussion.
§ THE DUKE OF MONTROSE
My Lords, perhaps I could emphasise the point if I say, for instance, that in the Department of African Education there 484 have been African schoolmasters for a long time: they were in Grade II of the Civil Service. They are now being promoted to headmasters—in fact, they have been for a long time. They have been moved up to Grade I, and receive the same salaries as the European headmasters.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, this is one of the valuable results of the journey that the noble Duke has made to this country. But this matter was referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton; and it is stated here, in black and white, that there are no non-Europeans in the Southern Rhodesia Civil Service. Therefore, I do not feel inclined to withdraw it, although I accept the addition or amendment which has been brought before us by the noble Duke. At any rate, that is a shocking record from the point of view of justice between races—I am afraid that nothing will alter my opinion in that respect. We have to make a completely new effort, and it may be that we are in process of making it.
My knowledge of Africa is negligible, but I did open the Livingstone Airport, which is probably known to the noble Duke, although I am told that it has been largely superseded to-day. I opened that airport in 1950, and I well remember the scene. I was on the dais, with the Acting Governor and one or two others. There were the Europeans in the enclosure; there were the African chiefs, on a separate dais; and behind the European enclosure were thousands of Africans, as far as the eye could see. There was an absolute colour bar on that ceremonial occasion, when a Minister of the Crown was performing that function. That was ten years ago, and Northern Rhodesia had been in existence for some time. I am saying only that there was an atrocious tradition of colour bar and discrimination, and I hope that that is being altered. For unless it is radically altered, there is no hope of peace in those areas.
I agree with what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and by one or two other noble Lords, about education. It is difficult to believe that education in those territories has been at all satisfactory. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, was extraordinarily fair on that point also. I myself feel that everything 485 depends on a bold educational prograrnme. Just take, for example, that airport. The £1 million which was spent on that would have been far better used on some form of African education. As I say, the airport has been largely superseded by Salisbury. It is a kind of white elephant which I suppose is associated with my name for ever—except that I have now changed my name and people may not remember it much longer. At any rate, that shows the priorities which existed until recently.
We must all look to the future. I have riot met Mr. Welensky for a number of years. I agree with those who think that he has elements of bigness, possibly of greatness; and now is certainly the moment when he can show them. I suppose that the greatest man associated in the minds of most of us with Rhodesia was Cecil Rhodes himself. My Lords, I am sorry. Apparently I have referred to Sir Roy Welensky as, "Mr. Welensky." Perhaps the day will come when he will be Lord Welensky, and he will, I am sure, be a welcome Member of your Lordships' House. No doubt there is a chance that he may become another Cecil Rhodes. But there was a good and a bad side to Cecil Rhodes. He was condemned publicly as the main architect of the Jameson Raid, and I do not think the noble Duke is going to press very seriously the argument that those who took part in the Jameson Raid were performing some patriotic service: I think that was a slip of the tongue. That was one side of Rhodes. But he will be remembered also for the saying that he stood for equal rights for civilised men South of the Zambesi. I am sure that if he were alive and at his best to-day he would be fighting for equality of races.
So far as we on this side of the House are concerned, we will support the Government in anything they may do to bring about justice and equality, recognising, as the noble Earl said, that this will require discipline on the part of the Africans. I hope that no one will suppose that we regard the Africans as people who are always right. We regard them as equal human beings, but not superior: not people who are better than white men. I hope that nobody suffers from some strange delusion about our attitude. We believe that the Gov 486 ernment, through Mr. Macleod and his colleagues, are giving a lead which may prove an untold blessing for that part of the world. If they faltered under unconstitutional pressure, or appeared to falter under the threat of unconstitutional pressure, they would deserve the curses of millions yet unborn. I myself believe that they will stand firm. I believe that Mr. Macleod is a man of great human understanding, and I believe that the noble and learned Viscount, when he speaks now, will lift our hearts by making it abundantly plain that the Government intend to go forward on the path of reconciliation on which I believe they have set their feet.
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, it now falls to me to discharge what I think anybody would regard as a heavy responsibility, and I hope that I may not fall short of what is required of me. If I do, I must ask for indulgence. This debate was put down as a debate on Central Africa. It has developed as a debate upon the White Paper proposals for the constitutional changes in Northern Rhodesia. My Lords, I could have hoped for nothing better. The one thing I would ask of everyone interested in public affairs in this country or in Africa is to read these proposals, to study them, to discuss them, and, above all, to keep on discussing them and not in any circumstances to walk out of any discussions there may be.
The French have a proverb: "The absent are always wrong", and I can remember very clearly my father talking to me, when I was a very young man, about the occasion when the German representative walked out of the Disarmament Conference in 1932. He told me then that there would be another war because the German representative had walked out of the discussions. My Lords, the one fundamental lesson that we all learn, sooner or later, in public life is that those who walk out of discussions are provoking violence by their doing so. I would therefore say: by all means let us discuss and criticise and argue about the constitutional proposals; and when the time comes to discuss them in Lusaka, let everyone who is interested, and who would properly be present, go there and discuss them, to see whether they can be improved and to see whether those whom they find all very easy to criticise in their 487 absence are quite so orgreish or foolish when they meet them in their presence.
My Lords, this debate has taken on many vicissitudes and there have been many notable incidents. There has been the dramatic—and I found it painful—clash between my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack and the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. I will revert to that in due course at the proper time. There was the maiden speech of my noble friend Lord Molson. I need not tell him how glad I was to hear him speak and how glad I was to hear the universal praise with which his contribution was met. It is the only time, the first time in ten years in this House, when I have had to congratulate on his maiden speech someone who was not only a person of eminence but also a close and intimate personal friend; and I can assure him that his presence here in this House after so long and intimate an association is a matter of great pleasure and gratification to me.
There is another old friend of mine who has spoken in this debate, the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, who made his second appearance, to our great pleasure, if he will allow me to say so, after a long and arduous journey. We have not always been on the same side. I am not sure whether we are on the same side to-day. But I must be the only living man who has been bitten by the noble Duke—indeed, I must be one of very few who have been bitten by a Duke at all. When we were playing the wall game against each other on St. Andrew's Day at Eton I was, in that civilised way which is permitted, knuckling his nose with the outside of my hand, not rubbing at all, and he said to me, "If you go on doing that I shall bite you". The noble Duke is a man of his word: I did go on doing that, and he did bite me. Our side won by one shy. I shall not bite the noble Duke this evening, and I shall quarrel with him only very gently, I hope.
In a more serious vein, I should also like to thank my noble friend Lord Swinton for what I thought was a very statesmanlike approach to this matter, and I was so touched by what he said at the very beginning of his speech that I should like to endorse it. He said (col. 343):I still think it is not helpful at this moment, and in this debate, to conduct a sort of inquest 488 into how and why we are where we are. I would say rather that the approach of all of us should be: facing the facts as they are today, what can we each contribute towards a solution which is right in principle and workable in practice…That is exactly the invitation which I would present to the House this evening. My noble friend, if he will allow me to say so, made a number of most helpful suggestions, which I do not think it would be worth while for me to discuss in detail at this time in the debate. All of them, however, are worth discussing, and the only comment that I would make about any of them is that they are so worth while discussing that I hope they will he discussed; and the only way and place in which they can be discussed, so that they can be properly evaluated, and so that it can be discovered whether any or all of them are acceptable, is precisely in those talks in Lusaka which we hope everyone will attend.
But I think my noble friend illustrated, by this extremely helpful approach, how very flexible the discussion can be—provided, of course, that we are not going to be charged with going back in good faith upon those who attended the discussions in London, a principle to which, with respect, we really must ask our friends to expect us to be loyal.
I was therefore very grateful indeed when, at the very outset of his remarks, the noble Earl, Lord Listowel—another old friend if he will allow me to say so, although one whom I now see more often than the noble Duke—made an invitation which, also, I think it would be right for me to accept. My Lords, the noble Earl said (col. 279):…I believe we all share the keen hope that nothing we may say will increase tension between the races, or be used to encourage either side to overstep the law. Perhaps, indeed, we might go one step further together. Could we not join in a friendly appeal to Africans and Europeans in the Federation not to allow their strong—and understandably strong—feelings about political issues to explode in violent deeds or unconstitutional behaviour?My Lords, I still think that is the right approach to this matter; and certainly so far as I am concerned, I am bound to say it is an invitation which I readily accept, and I hope to be loyal.
That brings me to the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, a speech to which we all listened and about which 489 I think I must say one or two words by way of criticism, without any desire to disregard the invitations which have been issued to me for restraint. If, in fact, the tension in this House has been raised during the course of the debate, and if arguments about principle, and objective arguments about the worth or the demerit of the Government proposals in the White Paper, or any other alternative proposals there may be, have given place to passion and to personal considerations, then I must say quite bluntly that the responsibility for that lies fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the noble Marquess. I think it has made it very much more difficult for all of us, and for that reason alone I feel I must say quite honestly, and without the slightest desire to wound, that I personally think the speech was a very grave error of judgment on his part, and that he will have to bear, in time to come, a very terrible burden of personal responsibility if things do not end as happily as we should wish.
I must, in the first place, make one point dear—indeed, but for this point I am not sure whether I should have mentioned this in any detail at all. The noble Marquess, in his conclusion—and I feel bound to say that it was about the only generous thing he said in the whole course of his speech—referred with feeling, with genuine and obvious feeling, to the isolated families of Europeans who have made Rhodesia their home and who stand to lose everything if things should go amiss. I can assure your Lordships that I, too, have them in mind. And, my Lords, let me assure you, since it is much more important (because what I have in mind perhaps does not matter very much), that my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary also has them very much in mind. But what I am not prepared to assume is that the speech of the noble Marquess, or the policy which he advocated in his speech, would make those very Europeans more secure or safer in the long run, or even in the short run. Nor am I prepared to admit—and here I differ from him—that in the long run the stake of us in this country is a smaller stake (if I may use his own expression) than their stake. It is precisely because we feel with passion that their safety and our safety are hound up together, and bound up with a policy of advance for the Africans within the 490 framework of partnership, that I feel so sincerely that the noble Marquess made a terrible blunder by delivering the speech that he made yesterday.
My Lords, the noble Marquess is a man of high lineage, noble family, distinguished personal achievements and great possessions which, here and in Africa, give him the right to speak about affairs and lend great weight there to what he says. Of him to whom much is given, much is required. From the noble Marquess we have learned to expect wise counsel, moderate language, restrained opinions, and a standard of personal conduct which is courteous and always in good taste. I have served in this House under the noble Marquess's leadership. I told him when he left us—I thought by another error of judgment —that I should be pleased to serve under him or with him again. I know the noble Marquess is one who has won the respect and admiration of almost every Member of this House. I am bound to say that in what he said yesterday he betrayed none of the qualities which I have tried to enumerate.
My Lords, I am afraid that I cannot even stop there, because he launched what I think the noble Baroness rightly described as a vicious attack, by beginning on a note of personal reference to the honourable way in which my right honourable friend had earned his living before he entered public life. He saw fit and allowed himself to use that personal reference to mount a series of what can only describe as insults, which I thought were utterly unworthy of the noble Marquess and, indeed, of the conduct of public life in this House. My Lords, we cannot all have great possessions, but we can all be proud of our personal honour. We can all be glad of our reputations as honest men. It was that which I thought the noble Marquess was seeking to take away from my right honourable friend.
I know that at the end of the remarks which he saw fit to make yesterday, the noble Marquess said that he did not charge my right honourable friend with disingenuousness but only with unscrupulousness. My Lords, I will not say that this is hair-splitting or logic-chopping. I will not accuse the noble Marquess of deliberately setting himself to outwit me or the House when he said that and drew that distinction; because, 491 in my opinion, to say of one man that he deliberately sets himself to outwit another is one of the deadliest insults than one gentleman can level at another, although he did not show the same scrupulousness—if I may use his own term —in dealing with my right honourable friend.
I will say one thing, and one thing only, to the noble Marquess in this connection. In drawing that distinction between unscrupulousness and disingenuousness, the noble Marquess (if I may borrow a phrase rather daring, I should have thought, to use in Parliament) was at least to me, "too clever by half". I am no card player. I am told that the noble Marquess is himself proficient at bridge. But if I sat down at cards with a gentleman who took refuge in that kind of distinction, I would leave the table before I lost too much money. The noble Marquess has twitted my right honourable friend—
THE EARL OF ARRAN
My Lords, may I interrupt at this stage to ask the noble Viscount whether he would cease his personal abuse and get on with his speech?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, the noble Marquess has delivered a violent personal attack against my right honourable friend, and I think, if I may say so with respect, that I am entitled to defend my right honourable friend. I would only say this before I move to another aspect of my continued criticism of the noble Marquess. I should prefer the Macleod rules of bridge to the Guggenheim rules, and if I had to choose between Marquesses I prefer the Queensberry rules to the Cecil rules, because the Queensberry rules at least prescribe that it is unfair to hit below the belt.
I belong to an old-fashioned tradition which believes that you should not make charges against other people's integrity unless you are prepared to justify what you have said by argument in detail. I would only reiterate what my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack said yesterday: that the only two respects in which the noble Marquess condescended to particularise related, first, to the Kenya Conference and, secondly, to the terms of reference of the Monckton 492 Commission. At this hour of the Kenya Conference I want only to say this: whatever can be said—and I have scrutinised most carefully the noble Marquess' allegations with regard to that—he could complain, although not, I think, justly, that my right honourable friend had a definite policy which he sought to impose. That may indeed, so far as the noble Marquess was concerned, be his unforgivable fault. But there was no basis whatever for making any charge against anybody's integrity.
The only other text upon which this extraordinary personal attack was founded was the basis of the terms of reference of the Monckton Commission, which, as one noble Lord pointed out (I think it may have been the noble Earl, Lord Longford), could have had no particular reference to my right honourable friend but only to the Prime Minister. Since this has been repeated not only by the noble Marquess in his attack on the Colonial Secretary but also by the noble Lord, Lord Robins, I feel bound to say to the noble Marquess, who is better aware than most of us about the conventions of our public life, that a moment's reflection would have reminded him that unless he was accusing the Prime Minister of a grave departure from the rules of constitutional propriety, which no one has so far done, no one, when the terms of reference were agreed, as they were, could ever have told in advance what the Monckton Commission would wish to report, what evidence they would choose to hear, or what view they would take about their terms of reference. I am sure the noble Marquess did not intend to make any insulting reference either to any member of the Commission or to the Prime Minister. But I must tell him that it is charecteristic of the reckless and illogical way in which he made charges against the Colonial Secretary that he should have introduced this topic as virtually the only evidence against the Colonial Secretary of being unscrupulous in his handling of the African situation.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I did not say that it was evidence of his being unscrupulous. I said it was very unfortunate, and so it was, because there is no doubt that when Sir Roy Welensky received his guarantee—we 493 have never been told what the wording of it is—he believed that he had been told that there would be no mention of the subject of secession. In fact there was, and he and all the Rhodesian people—I am sure the noble Duke will bear me out—regarded themselves as being deceived by the Government. It is a perfectly straightforward argument; there is nothing dishonest about it, and everybody knows it is true.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I have not accused the noble Marquess of being dishonest. What I have said is this, and I repeat it: that if that is not evidence of unscrupulousness against my right honourable friend, then the noble Marquess made a charge of unscrupulousness in these words against my right honourable friend without any evidence at all, and that was even more discreditable to the noble Marquess.
§ EARL WINTERTON
My Lords, may I ask the noble Viscount a question? Is he unaware of the fact that Sir Roy Welensky himself stated that he had been deceived? What has he got to say about that?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I have read all the statements, both by the Prime Minister and Sir Roy Welensky, and I think that my noble friend has got it wrong. What in fact and in truth happened—and it is as well to get the record straight, although this has no bearing at all upon the integrity of my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary—was that terms of reference were agreed be-between the parties, which at any rate in my opinion excluded a straight recommendation of secession; that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister refused either to extend or to abridge the terms of reference which were agreed, although he was pressed to do both, and that the Monckton Commission, of which two distinguished members have given evidence in this debate, rightly or wrongly (and for this purpose it is quite immaterial to ask which) decided that it was within their terms of reference to deal with the continuance of federation and to say that the federation could in fact he continued only if, at a later date, a qualified right of secession was in fact granted. That is what happened.
But this may be wrong. I have heard words used upon it. I think I heard the 494 noble Lord, Lord Milverton, say it was fatuous at such an early time. But whether it is right or wrong, it can in no circumstances form any basis for a charge either by Sir Roy Welensky, or, with respect, by the noble Marquess, that anybody was deceived by the British Government. The terms of reference were agreed. The Commission construed their own terms of reference with the benefit of legal advice from two ex-Law Officers, including its Chairman, and an ex-Law Officer of, I think, the Federation, and at least one Federal Judge from the Federation. They came to the conclusion on their terms of reference that they were open to raise that particular point.
§ My Lords, if I may move on—
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Hear, hear!
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
It is all very well for the noble Earl, Lord Winterton, and other noble Lords to ask me to move on, but some people feel that charges of distrust levelled at Her Majesty's Government or at one of Her Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State are things which ought to be taken seriously by those who reply for the Government, and if I did not think that, which I do, I pay the noble Marquess the compliment of believing that everything which he says on that score ought to be taken with double seriousness.
My Lords, may I inquire from the noble Viscount the Leader of the House when we may expect him to answer the debate instead of indulging in a tirade of personal abuse?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I was trying to answer the debate in my own way, and although I cannot expect the noble Marquess to agree with what I have been saying, I am sure he will feel, at any rate, that I have paid him a compliment by paying special attention to the speech which he made during the debate.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
I am delighted to hear the noble Marquess say that, because I did not intend him to value it very much. The importance of what he said, and the importance of the 495 debate, rests in the fact that he described the position as a crisis of confidence between ourselves and the people (or perhaps I must say peoples) of the African Federation. I would agree with the most reverend Primate that, of course, it is a very good thing to bring these questions out into the open. That I think is what the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, said. But it is one thing to bring into the open the fact that charges of untrustworthiness are being brought by our fellow subjects in another part of the world against Her Majesty's Government—and it is right that Parliament should know that—but another thing altogether for the noble Marquess or anybody in this House to endorse those charges as justified, and to say they are true.
§ A NOBLE LORD: Why?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
It is precisely because the noble Marquess has endorsed both charges and said they were true that I think it is necessary to look, and look again in detail, at the evidence upon which they are alleged to be founded. If I may say so, the cardinal error which was made by the critics of the Government's proposals and by those who saw fit to endorse those charges was contained in almost the very first sentence of the noble Marquess's speech, when he told us that he did not intend to examine in any detail the proposals which my noble friend Lord Perth had discussed. Instead of examining them in detail and criticising them in particular, the noble Marquess decided to launch out into what I can only describe (to borrow the felicitous expression of the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd) as "a tirade of personal abuse".
I want to do something which, though it may be a little dull at first, is, I think, worth doing even now. The noble Marquess and a number of other speakers, including the noble Lord, Lord Robins, proposed an alternative policy to that which we put forward. The policy was that we should revert to what they described as the Boyd Constitution of 1953. I think it is worth while, even at this hour, comparing the provisions of the Boyd Constitution of 1958 with the provisions which are now proposed by the Government, seeing first where they differ and then whether, in 1961, they 496 really form a tolerable alternative. Before I do so, in the interests of political consistency, I think it is as well to remind those who have put forward the Boyd Constitution as one solution which would be acceptable to the Federal Party in Northern Rhodesia of how that Constitution was received by the United Federal Party at the time it was produced. I have in my hands the Evening Standard for Salisbury, Rhodesia, of September 18, 1958, and I read these words about the Boyd Constitution, not about the Constitution which is now being attacked:The Federal Prime Minister, Sir Roy Welensky, in his 2,500-word attack to-day on the British Government's proposals for constitutional changes in Northern Rhodesia, said the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. Lennox-Boyd, had declined an invitation by the Federal Government to visit the Federation for 'full and frank discussions'…The Prime Minister gave the background to the negotiations. He said the Federal Government had been 'extremely critical' of several features in the original proposals and had stated its 'vigorous objections to features which had appeared to be retrogressive and unsound.' Sir Roy Welensky said in his statement: The Federal Government considers that the proposals are fundamentally unacceptable to all races in Northern Rhodesia because they represent no advance towards responsible government.…Turning now to more detailed aspects of the proposals, the Federal Government wholeheartedly endorses the desire expressed both in the Northern Rhodesia White Paper and in the Secretary of State's despatch to establish a political system which would operate on a non-racial basis. It firmly believes, however, that the final proposals, far from working towards the attainment of that objective. will militate against it".Then he used of the Boyd Constitution, as far as I can understand, the word "betrayal". It is all very well for noble Lords to come here and in speech after speech say they want to go back to that; but what guarantee have we that their views on the present proposals are going to be any more stable than their views on the other proposals? When the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, and I believe the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury (although I may in this respect misquote him) say to us "Expand the African franchise", I would say that if either of them will look at paragraph 4 of the White Paper under discussion they will see that the deadlock in the recent talks arose precisely because the United Federal Party and the Dominion Party refused what they now ask us to do.
497 Having said that, let us now consider what it is that we are asked to do—and I want to be as just as I can to what is an extremely complicated set of proposals in each count. First of all, is the composition of the Legislative Council more racial under the present proposals than under the Boyd Constitution? Is it more complicated? Is it more designed in favour of moderation?—because a great number of noble Lords who have spoken suggested that this was a retrogressive step towards racialism. Under the Boyd Constitution 12 seats would go to the Ordinary Roll. They are, in fact, all white and I will deal with the composition of the Ordinary Roll afterwards. Six seats which belong to the Special Roll (with the qualifications for which I will also deal) are black. There are then 4 special seats which, by the Constitution, are provided to be, as to two, reserved to whites, and as to two, reserved to blacks. That is not very unracial.
The present proposals provide 15 seats elected on the Upper Roll which with one qualification (into which I will enter in a moment) is the same as the Ordinary Roll at present. The only difference is an increase from 12 to 15. The second group of seats is 15 from the Lower Roll, which is an expansion (which, again, I will enter into in a moment) of the Special Roll. The remaining 15 seats will be competed for by the process which has been described as "unduly complicated".
Now, my Lords, what are these Rolls? —not really very different from one another between the Boyd and the present proposals. Under these Boyd proposals, the Ordinary Roll consisted, I suppose, of about 28,000 people, of whom 25,000 were European and 2,000, I think, were Asian. The only proposed difference is that, of the Upper Roll, 25,000 will continue European, there will be about 3,000 Africans and about 2,000 Asians—hardly opening the floodgates of democracy or of irresponsibility. Of the Lower Roll, under the Boyd proposals mainly (I think probably all, but certainly mainly) African, there are, it is thought, only 20,000 Africans out of a total population of 2½ million entitled to register at all; and, of those, because of a reason which I am about to develop, only just under 7,000 have thought it worth while to do so. The new Lower 498 Roll will include 70,000, presumably mainly Africans, although, as in both cases, it is technically a non-racial qualification—70,000 out of a population of 2½ million. My Lords, these are the revolutionary proposals for which we have been indicted in speech after speech by noble Lords in various quarters of the House.
Then, who are these 70,000 of the Lower Roll? We have heard a great deal about the moderate African. I do not know where our critics are going to find the moderate African. Is it going to be in the House of Chiefs? The White Paper reveals that the House of Chiefs made a demand, Which we rejected, for "One man, one vote". Is it among the headmen; is it among the hereditary counsellors; is it among the departmental councillors to native authorities, or any other members of native authorities; members of native courts; headmen of registered villages; pensioners; ex-Service men; or improved farmers? I do not know where you are going to look for the moderate African unless you look in quarters like these. And yet it is to these people, and to these people only, plus a literacy test, or with the alternative test of property, that we look for the 70,000 people who are going into the Lower Roll. My Lords, listening to some of the criticism which has been levelled against these proposals, one would think that we were going into some sort of Congolese Republic with universal suffrage. In fact, what we have proposed is an Upper Roll of 30,000 and a Lower Roll of 70,000, in each case out of a population of 2½ million.
I should have said that that really destroyed the case which I have to meet. But, of course, our case is much stronger, because in addition to those and to the National seats there are the six official members and an unlimited number of nominated members that can redress any lack of balance there may be. And, at the end of the day, the Legislative Council is only advisory. These are the proposals which are being described as improvident, reckless, going too fast in favour of the Africans, or tending to put power into the bands of the extremists. I have tried very hard to deal with these things fairly, but I cannot see how such a case can logically be put forward.
499 When it is said, as I think the noble Marquess said, that the proposed scheme is too complicated for a simple nation—I think my noble friend Lord Swinton thought that—I would only say that I wondered whether they had bothered to compare the complication of the method of counting votes under the Boyd Constitution with the method of counting votes under these proposals.
My Lords, if I may say so—and again I have to confess I am saying something complimentary—I absolutely agree with my noble friend when he says that the people of this country, and it may be of many other countries, like a system of election to depend, like a horse race, on who gets past the post first. It seems to me that the principle of the proposals is relatively simple. The only difference in principle between my noble friend's simile and the proposals is that I see the proposals as a steeplechase with one fence and he sees them as a flat race. Candidates who want to win must first get over a fence which says, "You must get l2½ per cent., or whatever percentage is ultimately fixed, of both Rolls. Then, you must get the highest percentage which is arrived at by treating the two Rolls as equivalent in value"—a sort of devaluation of the vote in favour of the Upper Roll.
That is not a very revolutionary proposal. It is infinitely simpler than this:In each of the twelve ordinary constituencies all votes would count in full, provided that the total of special votes may not count more than one-third of the total of ordinary votes cast in that constituency. Similarly, in each of the six special constituencies, all votes would count in full provided that the total of ordinary votes may not count more than one-third of the total of special votes cast in that constituency.To stop the scheme of representation at this point would, however, leave it open to two main criticisms".Then it goes on to deal with the criticisms, and continues:It is therefore proposed to create two additional rural constituencies specifically reserved for European members, and two additional urban constituencies specifically reserved for African members. The total area of the six `special' constituencies would for this purpose be regrouped into two constituencies, each containing one reserved seat for a European, and the total area of the twelve 'ordinary' constituencies would be regrouped into two constituencies each containing one seat specifically reserved for an African.500In elections for the two reserved seats for European members, all votes would count in full provided that the total of special votes will not be allowed to count more than one-third of the total of ordinary votes cast; and in elections for the two reserved seats for Africans, all votes would count in full provided that the total of ordinary votes will not be allowed to count more than one-third of the total of special votes cast.This is a scheme for which I was responsible, as was the noble Viscount, Lord Boyd of Merton, as the Minister; but there is one virtue which, in my wildest moments, I would not claim for it, and that is a greater simplicity than the scheme which is now proposed. Really, the only thing in which these two proposals differ is this: it is true that, to a modest extent, the role of the African is increased by giving him a chance to compete on the Lower Roll for fifteen seats and on the National Roll for fifteen seats, but even these proposals are not necessarily final. I must say, with great respect to those who have given a great deal of time, trouble and energy to criticising the proposals of my right honourable friend as a "sell-out", or as evidence that our bones are composed of a substance described as jelly, or as evidence of appeasement, that I do not think that reason alone can account for the extraordinary propositions that they have asked me to swallow.
I turn from that to some of the other criticisms which are made. I turn first to the action of the United Federal Party in absenting themselves from the talks last January. The facts of the matter are: they came in December, the talks were started, and they stayed away in January. We have never fully been told why. The reason given by the noble Lord, Lord Robins, in his speech yesterday is not, I think a satisfactory one, because, if that had been true, they would not have come at all. They thought, he said, that the Secretary of State had already made up his mind. But, of course, he had made up his mind, according to the same noble Lord, so little that he was, in the same breath almost, complaining that four successive and different drafts had been put before the talks. What has to be explained is why they came in December and not in January.
Here I would put before the noble Lords only one set of considerations. Was it really tolerable, on any view, that 501 the Constitution of 1958 would remain unaltered in the spring of 1961? This has already been said. I apologise to your Lordships for saying it again, but it is so important that I do not think perhaps I am wrong in doing so. The noble Marquess said that it was a great mistake in matters African, a mistake of which he claimed my right honourable friend was guilty, to treat one territory as sui generic apart from all the others. That is exactly what we have tried not to do. How far do noble Lords really think it tolerable, when the Boyd Constitution contains the proposals, excellent as they were at that time, which I have tried to described, that after we have given advance in Tanganyika, Uganda, Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia alone should be held back to the status quo of 1958? I should have thought it was unthinkable.
If that were not in itself a conclusive argument, I am bound to remind the House of the findings of the Monckton Commission. I will not at this stage quote the three relevant paragraphs, paragraphs 75, 81 and 82, and perhaps a fourth, paragraph 114. But what the Monckton Commission said was, that in its present form the Federation, which we all desire to retain, could not continue unless, as a guarantee of good faith, some further advance was made, inter alia, in Northern Rhodesia. So far were we from taking the Monckton Corn-mission's Report as binding upon us, that we rejected their finding for an African majority and, instead, put forward proposals which we believed, and which I believe now, really build the principle of non-racialism, partnership and moderation into the very structure of the franchise.
My Lords, if it be said that the European Parties Who stayed away were insufficiently consulted, I would say that that charge is not correct. I would say that it puts a Government in a very difficult position, to stay away from a Conference and then to claim that every stage, every change in the mood of the Conference, should be transmitted over a wire some 5,000 miles. The absent are at any rate sometimes wrong. I really cannot understand the force of the argument which complains because four successive drafts were sent. When it is said that only a week-end was given, I can only say that I would have understood the 502 force of that argument—I might even have endorsed it—if the reply to our proposals had been: "Give us a little more time; we have not had time to consult". But the answer was a flat and outright rejection, coupled with an accusation that a great proportion of the metropolitan countries had "bones of jelly" and were guilty of appeasement. There really is not very much in that.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, might I ask the noble Viscount one question? I do not think he has dealt with the criticism that, in the new scheme, there are 15 members to be elected on a solely European basis, and 15 on the lower qualifications who will be solely African. Is that not perpetuating a racial difference; and is it not destroying all sense in having a higher qualification, if it opens the possibility of that Government being ultimately run by people with lower qualifications?
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I thought I had dealt with that point, but I will deal with it, of course, because the noble Lord is always fair and courteous. I thought I had shown conclusively that, whatever else the difference between the Boyd Constitution and the Macleod proposals may be, they do not differ at all to the extent that they are racial, except that on the Macleod Constitution 15 seats are open to both races and can be competed for in such a way that it is impossible to predict the racial position.
I should like, however to add this—and I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving me the opportunity, and I do not think I am being unfair. At the end of the day, over the Legislative Council we have an Executive Council, presided over by, I suppose, a British—but at any rate a—Governor, with his officials; and the power remains in the hands of the Government. I cannot see that this is a retreat backwards towards racialism; it is certainly not intended as such. Our intentions were stated correctly by my noble friend: we want to build moderation and non-racialism into these new proposals. If I thought as the noble Lord does, I would still say to the others who will have an honoured place in the Lusaka talks that, if the intention of non-racialism and the intention of moderation 503 are not properly carried out, then let us discuss these things and see if we can make it better
My Lords, I regret that I have spoken so long, but I should like to close with one set of general reflections. We talk a lot about partnership—and sometimes I think that I am perhaps as bad an example of this as any—but we do not really reflect on what that means. It means, on the part of each of the two communities, whom, believe me, it is our desire to see at peace, a desire to grow together into one national consciousness. However much we may in fact fail to do it, that is our desire. It means, on the part of each of those communities, the abatement of something which, for reasons with which at any rate we can sympathise, even when we do not agree, each regards as its legitimate and natural claim. Having regard to the progress of democracy over a great part of the world, including a great part of Africa, it is surely comprehensible, even if we do not agree, that the indigenous races should say, "One man, one vote". We ask them, in partnership, to abate the full logic of that claim of number. I think that is reasonable.
May I say to the noble Duke how well he expressed himself to-day, and how well he illustrated, by the capacity with which he spoke, the fine Parliamentary tradition which has developed in the Federation and in its Parliament. He could not have done better than he did —leaving aside his arguments—because he showed the truth of what he was too modest to say. But we do not deride or depreciate the value of our own kith and kin. People who often, as in the case of the noble Duke and myself, have known each other since they were boys together do not decry or denigrate each other—those whom you know and love, who are bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh. As I see it, if there is to be peace and not bloodshed, if the two populations are to grow together, as we hope and pray they may, just as one side must abate the logic of sheer numbers so the other side must abate the claims based on their undoubted superiority in education, in technical achievement and in social organisation. That is partnership.
I have said hard words in the course of this debate. We all say hard words 504 when we feel strongly about things, and no one less than some of those I have criticised. I should like to appeal to this House, to the people of this country and to the people of the Federation, not to lose faith in the task which we are setting ourselves. We have given freedom to the white members of the Commonwealth—Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Since the war we have given freedom to those other members of the Commonwealth with coloured populations: India, Pakistan, Burma, Ghana and Nigeria. We are now approaching what is perhaps the most delicate but, may I say, the most important task of all—that is, to give responsibility and freedom to those parts of the Commonwealth where the problem is complicated by the existence of two races, of unequal numbers and at different stages of development.
Let us not lose our faith or our nerve, or fall out with one another if we believe, as I believe no less than the noble Duke, in maintaining the standards of public life and integrity in the administration of justice and of law and order. Of course, it will be a difficult matter. So far as I know, no nation in the history of mankind has succeeded in accomplishing this difficult task. But in seeking to achieve it, let us not start accusing one another of want of integrity and of standing still: for, believe me, the dangers of delay are far greater than the dangers of advance.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, it is not usual for a noble Lord to ask to speak in this House after the Government reply, and I can only do so by the leave of the House. I am subject to the leave of the House, and if it does not give it to me, of course, I sit down again at once.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, may I put a point of order? This is all very well. I think that the House may well want to give the noble Marquess permission, but directly you do that you accept the responsibility of the debate continuing.
§ SEVERAL NOBLE LORDS: Why not?
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, it is really for the House to decide, not for me, and I throw myself on the mercy of the House.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, this is perhaps not a matter for me, but I hope personally that the noble Marquess will think it right to speak and I hope personally that the House may give him leave.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, as I say, this situation is not usual, but then this debate in a number of ways has not been a usual debate. Therefore, I have asked leave to speak and I am grateful to the noble Viscount the Leader of the House for supporting my request. The noble Viscount has attacked me, I think the House will agree, in a speech of extreme violence. I do not really complain of that. If I may say so, I think that the very extremity of the violence towards a Member of this House whom your Lordships have known well for twenty years and who had the privilege of leading this House for fifteen of them has done his case no good. But I suggest that perhaps what he said may justify your Lordships in allowing me to give a brief answer.
I am not going into the charges which the noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, has made against me. Your Lordships, equally as well as I, can take a view of those. But I should like just to remind the House, and do it extremely shortly, of what I actually said yesterday. I would remind your Lordships that in the earlier part of my speech I was describing the views of the white communities throughout Africa on the Colonial Secretary. And we have it to-day, on the authority both of the most reverend Primate and of the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, that what I said about their views was entirely accurate. The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, asked me in an intervention (I copied out his words), whether I shared the views of these people, that the Colonial Secretary had ignored his duty towards the European community in Africa; and I said that, frankly, I did.
I have been told since, first by the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor and they by the noble Viscount the Leader of the House, that it was not the Colonial Secretary's intention to do that; and of course if they tell me that, I accept that it was not his intention. But I am much afraid—and I think no one can deny it—that 506 in fact that has been the effect of the policy pursued by the Government since Mr. Macleod took over the Colonial Office, and not before. And that is not my view alone. It is the view, as has been said by the most reverend Primate, of the white communities in Africa, and also, if my postbag is any guide, of a considerable section of opinion in the Conservative Party in this country.
I cannot pretend (I must say this) to regret having raised this question in the way I have. It was very painful for me—it would have been very painful for anyone—to say what I did. The noble Viscount, Lord Hailsham, has accused me of very unworthy motives, but if he is the guardian of his conscience, so am I the guardian of mine and my conscience is clear.
§ VISCOUNT HAILSHAM
My Lords, I should like to say frankly to the noble Marquess that I was quite unaware of accusing him of unworthy motives. It is quite true that I criticised his conduct as unworthy, and I still do.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I think that it is quite unreasonable for one Member of your Lordships' House especially to ask leave to speak to make what is practically a third speech in the debate, when he had a "jolly good go" when the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor was speaking last night.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, there is no doubt that this bitter feeling in Africa, to which I referred, does exist. And it still seems to me that it was the Government, and not I, who had a case to answer. This is the last thing I want to say. It is my sincere hope that in future the Government will be able to show, by their actions as well as by their words, that they are not differentiating against Europeans. They say that they are not, and it is for them to show it. Then, if that is so, I am sure that we shall all be able to go forward together towards a goal which, the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor said yesterday, is common to us all.
§ 9.48 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I think that the best thing I can do is to allow your Lordships to go home. I should like to express my warmest thanks to all noble Lords who have 507 taken part in this debate (there were no fewer than 29 in less than two days), more particularly for the effect which their words must have had in inspiring both races in Central Africa with a knowledge of the high sense of responsibility with which their future has been considered in this House. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.508
§ Moved, That the House do now adjourn.—(Viscount Hailsham.)
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I have to give Notice, on the Motion for the Adjournment of the House, that this matter of the order of Business tonight should be referred to the Standing Orders Committee.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and House adjourned accordingly at ten minutes before ten o'clock.