HL Deb 01 November 1961 vol 235 cc27-116

2.43 p.m.

Debate resumed (according to Order) on the Motion moved yesterday by Lord Melchett—namely, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty as followeth:

"Most Gracious Sovereign—We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament assembled, beg leave to thank Your Majesty for the most gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."

VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLS-BOROUGH had given Notice of his intention to move, as an Amendment to the Motion, to add at the end of the proposed Address: but humbly regret the failure of Her Majesty's Government to take any effective steps to remedy the grave state of the economy of the nation". The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I am rather doubtful about which Bill the noble Lord, Lord Chesham, has just introduced. I hope that it was not the Bill that we passed through this House on the initiation of the Government and which was dropped at the end of last Session. I hope that the noble Viscount the Leader of the House will see to it—whether it is that Bill or the Weights and Measures Bill or any other measure on which we do all the "chores" in the beginning—that if the Government drop it and reintroduce it, the Bill should be introduced in another place. I have not had any word directly about this, though it may have been mentioned through the usual channels. But I think that after all the work this House has put into these Bills in the last two or three years, if they are not carried through, and are introduced a second time, they ought to be introduced in another place first.

It has been my custom, when addressing your Lordships' House on the gracious Speech from the Throne, to start by saying how much we always feel indebted to Her Majesty for the manner in which she opens Parliament for us and for the clear way in which she presents her speech. I also take the opportunity of saying how grateful we are to her and to her husband and to other members of the Royal Family for the great public duties they carry through and for their wise service to the State and to the people. I hope that I may be forgiven, and that I am not out of order in any way, if, in adding my tribute to those paid yesterday to the Royal Family, I say that we ought not to forget at this moment the great services of Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret. I should like to send a general message of good will and best wishes to the Princess at this particular time, to let her feel that we are bearing in mind all the duties that she has carried out for the State.

In coming to the humble Address, the first thing I want to say is that I am in a little difficulty with the authorities of the House. There is an Amendment on the Order Paper to-day in my name, but the rule has been brought to my attention that no Peer can speak twice. In this House it is the usual practice, on official Motions or official Amendments, to do no more than put down the name of the Leader of the Party as the noble Lord who is going to move it. Unfortunately on this occasion, the Amendment was put down in my name and I shall not be moving it on Tuesday. The mover will be one of my colleagues. But in view of the Amendment having been moved by another noble Lord, I shall, I think, be entitled to wind up, and therefore to receive all the castigations which the noble Viscount the Leader of the House will no doubt have prepared.

I reckon that the gracious Speech from the Throne this year is either the eleventh or the twelfth we have had in the lifetime of the Conservative Government since the Labour Government came to an end, and therefore I think we are fairly entitled to say that it is an appropriate time for passing judgment upon the situation at which we have arrived at the end of an unbroken ten years of majority rule of a Conservative Government. No doubt my own contribution cannot cover the whole field, but I shall be supported in my criticisms by noble Lords who follow me from these Benches in the course of the debate.

I cannot help thinking of the opening remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, who made such an excellent speech yesterday. He said [col. 6]: I feel that at no time since the end of the Second World War have your Lordships reassembled at Westminster to be confronted with quite such a menacing situation abroad and, at the same time, such challenging problems at home. I entirely agree with that, but I wish that we could have been in better shape to meet the problems that arise. Some of my reasons for saying this will emerge shortly.

At the same time, we do not want to refrain from accepting those paragraphs in the gracious Speech with which we agree. We all support the first main paragraph on policy, in which the Government undertake to continue to give resolute support to the United Nations. We have always supported them when they do that, though at one or two different times we have had to criticise them because we thought that they were not doing that sufficiently well. If we can take it that it is their very sincere intention to carry out this paragraph, we can tell them that they can always count on our support in this direction.

I can say the same about the spirit which is expressed in the second paragraph, with regard to the desirability and the promise of effort to achieve better relations between East and West and to seek peaceful co-operation with all countries.

The next question—that of Berlin—is one which has now been with us, and causing great anxiety, for a good many months. As the Prime Minister said in the other place yesterday, there is not, perhaps, much more that can be said at the moment. But he recognised that the situation is changing and building up all the time. No doubt it will not be long before your Lordships have to come back to this matter with further Questions, seeking further information, and for further debate on the subject.

However, we feel that the situation is so menacing, largely as a result of the extraordinary behaviour of the Prime Minister of the U.S.S.R., Mr. Khrushchev, that we have to be exceedingly careful not to miss any reasonable occasion for going into negotiation and we have to be careful that when we do go into negotiation we shall not at any stage repeat the mistakes of years ago, of merely offering appeasement. What we have to do to improve the relationships between East and West is to get down with them to hard facts, to argue them out and to publish to the world what is the result. I hope that it may be possible (I do not know what the noble Viscount, the Leader of the House, may think about this) to get across to the people of the U.S.S.R. and the satellite countries more information about what the real situation is. After all that has been said, perhaps this is not the occasion to go over the question of the bomb and fall-out, on which perhaps we may have more information next week from the noble Viscount, when he speaks to us on the subject in his rôle as Minister for Science. There is no doubt that it is a very menacing situation, and I hope that the machinery which has been announced for dealing with any of the more immediate effects, like the fall-out of radio-active iodine and so on, is absolutely primed to the very limit, ready for action whenever it is required.

I then come to the next paragraph: The North Atlantic Alliance is now more than ever essential for the continued safety of Europe and the world. I think that is something upon which the House can be fairly unanimous, too. After all, it was the poor, wicked Socialists who initiated all the original negotiations which led to the building of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. I wish that some of the aims we had then in objective could have been reached before now. But there is one thing upon which I think I should say a word, and say it rather strongly; and it is this: that whatever other conditions were obtaining in 1951 (and these we can debate at any time) we handed over to the Conservative Government then elected a very powerful Army, a very powerful Royal Air Force and a totally different kind of Royal Navy from that which we possess to-day. I wish that, militarily, we were, I will not say as strong, but nearly as strong as we were in those times.

My experience as a Minister for a good many years has been that our thinking as Ministers is completely lacking unless it is prepared to cover contingencies. Contingencies arise at all times in different places and for different reasons. But if we are to be a real influence in the world, we must remember that we need a backing, whether we are in alliance or, as in 1940, have to stand alone—alone because of our lack of preparation before—whenever our efforts are required. I have said this once before in this House, but as I think it is something worth thinking about, perhaps I might repeat it to-day. Some of us are getting old, like the noble Earl, Lord Swinton. I am sorry: we are merely partners in the same difficulty there: I referred to the noble Earl because he has had a lot of experience of defence matters. But I look back over my long life, and I say this with conviction: I have never known a capitalist Government in this country with sufficient forces at the time of an emerging crisis to back the policy which they have been persisting in following in their foreign and Commonwealth spheres. Never once. That could not be said of the position when we left as a Labour Government in 1951. I ask Members of this House to keep that fact in mind.

There is this to be said, too, in regard to the announcement which is in another paragraph (it will save my touching on it when I come to it) as to the Government's plans for dealing with present difficulties in the Armed Forces. When it comes to making adjustments—making up if required, as the Prime Minister put it; I want to be fair—in the situation now, he looks, in the first instance, and in the first instance only, to what? —to extending the time of service of those who would not be there but for the National Service Act, 1947. And in the second place, he turns to a selective call-up from the reserves of National Service, both those who are in their most recent period there and subject to call-up and those who are in a lesser degree to be called up. No doubt the Prime Minister sometimes feels incensed by interruptions from certain quarters in the other place—interruptions which we certainly do not support, as we have shown by our actions—but it is just as well to remember that, when it comes to the test of defending the right and standing for our country, this country and Parties ought to stick together, determined to achieve a safe as well as a righteous end.

The opportunity will come for further reference to this question when the Bill, which I take it is to be presented on the military matters, comes before the House. You will have to take certain financial measures, among other things; and there is also a proposal generally to reorganise your system of reserve forces. The reorganisation, however, is not to wait altogether, apparently, because you are proposing two other things. The first, to begin late in 1961, is an attempt to form a reserve of Regulars on a voluntary basis. When I look back to 1957, and remember the warnings uttered from various parts of the House upon the dangers in that White Paper, and how terribly our defensive aspect has changed since then, I begin to wonder, too, why it is that this idea of forming a voluntary reserve from the Regular Forces (which from that time on you ought to have prepared for and begun to put into operation) was not begun in these last four years.

I look at the next proposal which is coming along, and that is that the Government are going to turn to the honourable, well-tried, and patriotic Territorial Force. They are going to look to them also to form a special reserve. I sometimes hear suggestions of "Stop and Go" with regard to economic policy. Mr. Maudling, the President of the Board of Trade, said the other day (I forget whether it was Brighton or not; there was a lot said at Brighton) that they did not pursue "Stop and Go" for fun. But when I think of the necessity now to go to the Territorial Army and ask for them to have a special volunteer reserve for call-up, I wonder whether the Government were really thinking about that when they made such depredations upon the Territorial force in the last three or four years. What a pity it all is! All these things must be taken into account when you are considering the ten-year record of a Conservative Government. I hope we shall hear a little more about this from the Government.

The Government make a short reference to the situation in the East. I must say that at the end of last year I was greatly encouraged by the general report of the Foreign Secretary as to the policy he was pursuing in regard to Laos, and very much hoping that as a result some peaceful arrangement might have been arrived at. I am sure that he did his utmost to secure it. But, if my ears are right, when I listen to the home and foreign news and the reports from abroad it seems to me that we have reached a situation in Laos to-day which is more dangerous than it has been at any time in the last ten months. When I look at the very brief paragraph in the gracious Speech, I wonder whether we can have a little more information about the situation now. As I understand it, the position is that the guerrilla warfare has greatly expanded, and while it is suggested that the Laotian regular forces are stronger than they were, and feel that they would be able to meet a massed onslaught from the North from their defended cities, the fact is, so it is reported, that the regular forces of the Northern Territory are likely now to follow up the extraordinary progress which has been made in the districts in that territory by the guerrilla warfare.

The next paragraph, on disarmament, I need not ponder about. The words that were added in the second copy of the gracious Speech are important. We can agree with them. Then I look at the top of the second page, and I should like to say a word of congratulation upon the progress made in providing independence for Tanganyika and Uganda. Of course, Mr. Macleod is no longer Secretary of State for the Colonies. One cannot but have been interested in the comments of various papers, including Conservative papers, as to the reason for the change; whether, as a Canadian paper said, it was a rebuke to a Minister who had not satisfied his Party in the Colonial Office, or whether it was an actual promotion to make him, as it were, the heir to the Prime Minister's throne of the future, in advance of others. But I think we 'are all agreed—those in the Labour movement, at any rate—that Mr. Macleod has conducted with great difficulties (because he was beset behind and before) what was literally a continuation of the Labour Government's colonial policy. In so far as that has been progressing in the years of the Secretary of Stateship of Mr. Macleod, he has always found us very largely in support. We are glad that Tanganyika and Uganda are ready, and we must have a special look at the constitutional changes proposed in the West Indies, When they are made. We cannot comment on them to-day because we do not know what they are.

I must say a word or two about the next paragraph, which refers to the European Economic Community. I suggested, perhaps in a rather light tone yesterday that the noble Lord, Lord Amherst of Hackney, might have been specially chosen as an agriculturist to put forward the European Economic Community case. In reading Hansard of another place this morning, I read that the Prime Minister himself said literally the same thing about the honourable Member for Lowestoft. He said that the honourable Member was a noteworthy agriculturist, and that he had very much appreciated what he had said about the capacity for British agriculture to stand up to the competition of the European Common Market. I dare say that is so. But the credit for that ability to stand up does not lie with the Government; it lies with the 1947 Act, and in the whole pressing forward with continuous rehabilitation and increased efficiency which has been continued on the land.

When I look at some of the things which are being said by responsible Ministers from time to time, I begin to wonder whether agriculture will be able to stand up. I think perhaps the most biting and noteworthy thing in the Prime Minister's speech at Brighton was his promise of a "cold douche". That is what the European Economic Community evidently means, in the mind of the Prime Minister, and that is a curious situation. If we match it with the paragraph in the gracious Speech dealing with agriculture, there is the usual promise of the Government to give support to an efficient and prosperous agriculture in this country. However, when I go back to Brighton—I keep on looking at Brighton; I cannot help it—I must say that I was very interested in what Mr. Heath said. He said that the agricultural objectives of the Treaty were similar to those of the British Government. I wonder. Think it over.

Mr. Soames said at Brighton that even if we did not join the Common Market, we should have to change the present support system and bring it into line with the Continental method where the farmer got his return from the market rather than from the taxpayer. That may be a very worthy objective of Tory policy; but what does that mean to the consumer? It must, I think, mean much higher prices for the consumer or a much lower income for agriculture in this country; certainly not to be facilitated by the opening of home agricultural production and its market to competition from the European Economic Community. Perhaps a word or two in season might correct me if I am wrong, but I think these things need a great deal of care.

We shall perhaps have to discuss agriculture specially later, but what I am disturbed about is that, whilst Parliament is agreed that for the time being it will support negotiations, we have now gone in with statements both by Mr. Heath and by Mr. Sandys that we do not desire in any way any amendment of the Treaty of Rome. In other words, in my view, that means that we are committed to the whole of the political programme of the European Economic Community before we go in—and I believe that that requires a great deal of careful consideration.

I think it is a great pity that that had to be said because (I go back to some notes of some weeks ago) it seems to me that the statement made by Mr. Heath on October 16 was just three days after the issue of a statement by the French Pan-European Union Committee, one of General de Gaulle's committees. What that statement said was this: In 1956 the British underestimated the virtues of the Economic Community project. In 1961 perhaps they have overestimated its merits. They have suddenly been gripped with panic in the face of a sick economy. They have flung themselves into the water for fear of rain. Did Mr. Heath rush in, three days after that statement, in order to make sure that the success he was asking for would come because they had agreed in advance to accept the whole of the Treaty of Rome? I think those who are interested from one side or the other in the matter ought to be able to get to know the true facts of the situation.

I do not propose to say anything to-day concerning the fourth paragraph on the third page of the gracious Speech about the Government's policy for maintaining the stability of sterling, because I think that will best be covered in our debate on the Amendment next Tuesday, and I do not wish to weary your Lordships on the one thing, although I can assure you it is very much in my heart.

My Lords, the question of securing the co-operation of both sides of industry in the better co-ordination of the national effort is something which is of very great importance. Yesterday, in another place, Mr. Macmillan said something which was very worthy on getting co-operation and good feeling, and that kind of thing, but I just could not understand how the Government could have thought their actions in recent months were likely to lead to that good feeling. Above all, the terrific precedent of the breach of faith with regard to the observance of contracts with public servants has certainly given no encouragement to those who organise such public servants, whether they be administrative, executive, clerical or industrial. I could give a number of instances which have been under consideration, but I do not wish to do so at this stage, because some of my colleagues will want to mention them next Tuesday. Perhaps, however, I may give a little personal experience.

There has recently been a holding back of an award of a tribunal for public servants of the Admiralty—that is, store-house men and so on. By the kindness of the present First Lord of the Admiralty, one of our own Members, Lord Carrington, I had the opportunity to visit the Portsmouth Dockyard in September and to see things for myself. What I discovered there was that when the Government talk about running away from the principle of comparability of wages, and how they are dealing with tribunals, they usually ride off on such words as "an average wage". I asked the Admiral Superintendent at Portsmouth whether I could see the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Whitley Council—after all, 22,000 employees work in the Portsmouth Dockyard. He said that I could; and we had a very friendly talk.

What was pointed out to me was that one of their principal troubles was that they cannot get labour. They are very short; they are losing labourers hand over fist. I think the total they have lost in the last two or three years runs into 800 in that one category. So I asked what the wage was. The wage of this Government labourer-employee, needing to have the know-how of the dockyard, is £8 7s. 0d. a week. It is true that the weekly hours of these men are 42, while those of the farmworker are 46; but a farmworker has a minimum labourer's wage of £8 9s. 0d., and in many cases in the agricultural industry there may be a free, or very low-rented, cottage and other facilities, with no travelling, or little travelling, and all meals at home. The farm worker is earning it and I want him to have it. But what about the man on £8 7s. 0d. a week in Portsmouth, with all the difficulties of rent, especially since the Government's Rent Act? Are you going to make him have a wage pause? I hope that the House will be willing to face up to detailed cases like that when it comes to consider the general principle.

And what is there to encourage the people in these industries in the Government's action in other spheres when they know that this follows within a few months of handing over tens of millions of pounds in prospect in the next 18 months for surtax payers? I want to see a getting together in our crisis in this country—a crisis which is foreign in origin; which may be (although I hope not) military, and which certainly is fundamental in our economy. Because, my Lords, if one's economy is not sound—and I agree with the Prime Minister on this—you can ill-afford to maintain the forces necessary to support your policy, your benevolent policy, your peace policy, against those who would destroy it. And so I am very anxious about the action of the Government.

I am even more concerned when I come to think of the remedies for getting an expansion of industry and when I see some of the actions taken by Mr. Brooke, who is already on the reduction path. And what I hate to see most of all about it is his mean reduction of the numbers of people to be trained, especially where people who would otherwise be wholly incapacitated, may be made useful by training, and the proposed cutting down of those to be trained in various classes of the Health Service. That seems to me to be fundamentally wrong.

The Conservative mind is always very strange to me, and I dare say that some would say that the Beaverbrook Press mind is the most strange of all. I saw a leader in the Daily Express directly supporting Mr. Brooke in all that he was doing largely to reduce Government expenditure, and in the same paper, the same issue, there was a tremendous plea for a very large increase in scientific training. "What is £5 million?", they say. I wish we could get a little more consistency in applying these things and I hope that the Government will not be led, by such praise from that quarter, into a reduction of training of people who could help in the economy of the country and in the health of the country.

Then I want to ask, if I may, a question upon the paragraph about immigration. This is, I know, an exceedingly difficult question. But I want to ask, first of all, about the timing of it. Is it intended to introduce this measure at an early date? In the second place, has there been specific consultation with the Commonwealth Prime Ministers upon the kind of proposals which are outlined in the gracious Speech? If we cannot have answers to those questions, it is difficult to see how we can do anything other than gravely criticise the Government. We want to know the answers to those two points.

On the point about timing, it is a very peculiar time to talk of limitation of immigration on the basis which has always existed in principle: that a British citizen, wherever he might reside, should have free entry into the Mother Country, whatever his race or colour. That has always been the rule. Yet we now have this proposal: at such a changing time in what was the Colonial Empire, when the different forces and influences at work in that Empire, as country after country takes over, are having their effect; while we are discussing the future of the white settler in Kenya; while we are discussing whether there will be a block or not upon any new settlement; while we are discussing the various factors in the Central Federation in Africa. So I should like an answer on this point about the timing. I must say that we require something very specific to justify going back upon the great principles on which we have relied in the past. In the last war, all those of us who did any kind of job, ministerial or otherwise, knew what it meant to this country to have not only the immediate loyal, active, military support of the large Dominions but, from Colony after Colony, very valuable troops indeed, who did service in all parts of the world. I shall be interested, later in the debate, to hear on that particular point the testimony of the noble Earl, Lord Swinton.

If you are going on with a measure of this kind, then Parliament surely must be given some wonderfully good reason. Is it social? Is it industrial and economic? What really are the reasons? Or Ls it merely that at the very time when our immigration has largely increased, without which we could not have provided, in a time of full employment, the various services that are carried on, the Government have failed to provide houses and sufficient assistance to the local authorities in all the extra social charges upon them of accommodating new immigrants? I think we shall need a very full and a very wide explanation.

My Lords, I apologise for having spoken at some length, but may I just say two other things? First, I hope that during the course of the debate on Tuesday we may raise the question of privately-owned pipelines. I will not say any more upon that matter now. But I am concerned about the paragraph at the top of the last page, which tells us that the Government will propose what I gather are favourable amendments in the present position of workmen's compensation and industrial injuries benefits. I am not quite sure what alterations in the administration of the schemes for family allowances, national insurance and so on, may mean. One could read all sorts of things into that. Would some member of the Government tell us, in a fair amount of summarised synopsis, what is intended to be covered in those respects? Again I apologise for having been so long, but as I read the gracious Speech these things occurred to me again and again, and I felt that I ought to give voice to them. I miss other things which I think ought to have been in the Speech. I miss any specific terms about weights and measures. I miss anything to do with the Shops Act, which years ago was to be amended, and which would have been amended by a Bill that was passed by this House and sent to the other place. And then there is the outstanding need for protective measures for the staffs and the improvement of the accommodation in shops and offices. All these are missing from the gracious Speech. I hope that we may have some explanation of the omission, and, in spite of everything else chat I have said, I hope, for the sake of the country, that the Government's administration will improve.

3.28 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition opened his remarks with tributes to the Royal Family which I feel sure will be endorsed in every other quarter of the House. I do not propose to repeat what I said yesterday, words similarly used by other people, but I am sure we all agree with what the noble Viscount has said, and that our message to the Royal Family will certainly go forward with great sincerity and loyalty.

I was glad to notice that the noble Viscount made no bones about making a Party speech in this debate—indeed it is the usual thing to be done—and therefore it opens the gate for me to follow suit, up to a point. Like him, I feel that it is probably necessary to go back a little on immediate past history before examining in some detail the gracious Speech, in so far as one is dealing with specific points to-day. Parliament was recalled, as your Lordships will remember, in the middle of last month, during the Recess, to discuss the general international situation. We had quite an interesting debate, but personally I cannot feel that the tension of the international situation was greatly eased by our deliberations; nor that the recall of Parliament was more than a well-justified gesture on the part of the Opposition to emphasise that the present Government, in their third term of office, possess a declining confidence by the electorate which first returned them to power so long ago, as it seems now.

That diminishing confidence in the country seems to me to relate not only to their handling of foreign affairs in general—I must make a personal reservation here in respect of our Foreign Secretary—but also to home affairs in general, as well as to their curiously hesitant and woolly and, I fear, not very inspiring handling of the affairs of the Commonwealth and of all British dependencies whose prosperity and wellbeing were the cherished care of both Liberal and Conservative Governments during their emergence and development, for the most part in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

My Lords, I think a number of you will agree with me that it is dangerous and unsatisfactory for any Government to remain too long in power. Staleness and over-confidence are only two of the more obvious disadvantages. The crux of the matter is that public opinion, having recorded, but without overwhelming confidence, its preference at the last General Election, veers away, in the nature of things, from the unthinking devotion which it professed for the handsome lover of yesterday, who is apt perhaps to have become rather a bore to-day. We should be thankful that a General Election is not a religious sanctity in which man should not put asunder what only man has put together. I think it must be obvious both to the Conservative Party, now forming the Government, as well as to the Labour Party, that the strength of their support lies among those who basically and generally believe in the new progressive elements in their respective policies and tendencies, rather than the Tory and the Socialist elements of the old order.

What I find difficult to understand, and even to forgive, is that with the knowledge over ten years that this country is progressively-minded and, on the whole, with respect to noble Lords on my left, anti-Socialistic, the present Conservative Government buries its head in the sand and proclaims to the country "Us, however bad we may be; or else Socialism, which we know you don't want." My Lords, it seems irresponsible, knowing that they cannot remain in power for ever—or perhaps some of them think that they can!—that the Government do not take pains to ensure that when at last they fall, the alternative Government should be of that Liberalistic hue—I am not talking as a Party man at the moment—which to-day embraces the views of most thinking and conscientious people throughout the whole country, however they may vote now in fear of dogmatic Toryism or of dogmatic Socialism.

I speak, of course, as a Liberal. Our ideas, which are naturally unpopular during the waging of class war, are increasingly being adopted by Tory and Labour alike. We have little bitterness about that. There is, of course, a certain amount of wryness that we are still suppressed by condescending derision and also by an undemocratic electoral system, for it is interesting that approximately a 20 per cent. Liberal electorate has only a 1 per cent. representation in another place. But what we believe the country, in fact, wants is a general sort of Liberalism (with a little "1" if you like) which is slowly, but much too slowly, being adopted by the other two Parties. Every belated adaption of both their policies is really towards more Liberalism. Our clothes are being stolen right and left. But we welcome this belated larceny. All I would say is that if you must so dishonourably steal our clothes, for heaven's sake!steal them earlier, and in greater quantity.

I take the reference in the gracious Speech towards proceeding towards membership of a Common Market as a progessive decision. The Conservative and Labour Parties are split over this matter; the Liberal Party happens not to be. But, having taken this difficult and even adventurous decision, how is it that the Government are so negative and apologetic about it all? It is either a good thing or a bad thing. We who think it is a good thing for prosperity and progress, not only in Europe but ultimately for the world and certainly-for the Commonwealth after initial difficulties, cannot understand why the Government, after suppressing certain moans and gypsy warnings at their Brighton Conference, do not explain it to us with confidence and enthusiasm. They should be in a mood of jubilation, not of apology. Where is their enthusiasm? What has gone wrong? Cannot we be told frankly the resultant position of the Commonwealth countries, some of whom will, of course, need a period of adjustment before they see ahead the full light of greater prosperity under the new arrangement? Canada and Australia, being large countries, can doubtless adjust their own great economies in the long run. But what about the smaller territories—for instance, New Zealand, where we know there may be a great initial hardship in their agricultural disposals, and where, of course, we have a particular fraternal affection both for the people and the country, so like our own.

I admit it is not helpful to job backwards, but it is the opinion of many, I think, that in Empire affairs in general we have so far stumbled through by applying far too late principles which should have been applied earlier, and which had been often advocated from both Parties on this side of the House. Central Africa, of course, is an outstanding example of a political tragedy dating from the time when we entreated the Government to go more easily on federation. We did not oppose it. We said that we would support it when it was going through, but that it should go through with more restraint. South Africa is a problem on its own, where progressive opinion here and reactionary opinion there fell tragically apart and led to an impasse. Ghana is a sad enigma, in which both our hopes and our prayers are involved. But has the Conservative Government recently handled all the Ghana affairs very expertly? We do not know the full story.

What appears to have happened in the Commonwealth in general is, that over the years we have colonised with two worthy and creditable motives, whatever our adversaries may say. The first principle was exploitation in the very best sense of the word; the development, with justice and fairness, of the untapped wealth of new lands and primitive peoples, to our mutual benefit, theirs and ours. The second was the moral principles of giving education and of leading towards emancipation the less advanced races. These were not incompatible objectives. Of course, there were occasional failures, and admittedly a few gross breaches, but I am not one of those who denigrate the enormous advantages which we, as British colonists, gave to many backward peoples. Let us admit that on the side of profit and loss both we and our overseas friends have done pretty well over the last 200 years or so. But, unfortunately, that epoch seems to be drawing to a close.

On the educative and emancipation side how do we stand? I think we have succeeded here, too. But for some reason we are caught quite unprepared for the result of our success. We have wanted the backward native to be educated and to know the meaning of culture and civilisation. In two or three generations this has, by and large, come about, but not in full degree; and we are now faced with the superficially educated calling for full equality, even in the delicacy and intuition which are the fruit of century upon century of experience, which they have not got. An illustration of this crudity in an immature, though highly educated, nation is in the unforgivable and insensitive crime of the last few days of Russia, who has failed in three hundred short years to assimilate the refinements of any ancient civilisation.

We are not really prepared for this upheaval in national and racial balances, and I wonder whether in this predicament we are best represented by the most Right wing of our political Parties whose chief differentiation from the wild men of the Left is that the Conservative Party still contains, no doubt to their embarrassment, a few reactionaries who would, even now, confidently confront any foreigner with the outdated spectacle of Britannia—and, since nobody rules the waves, a rather notional and skeletal Britannia, possibly wearing nothing but a bent trident and a lunatic fringe.

As a general solution, I would suggest that Her Majesty's Government must bend towards national opinion in this country more than they have done. I would also add that they do not sit in power merely to represent the Conservative voters; they represent the whole nation. Their responsibility is also to make sure that our political machinery can, when the time comes, give us an alternative Government which truly reflects the wishes of the electorate. The two big Parties do not do this. The smaller third Party is, I suggest, a nucleus for thoughts and a possible basis for construction, even if old labels and cherished badges might have to be discarded in the bringing to birth of something much more representative than to-day's patchwork adaptations of a 19th century political machine.

My Lords, the gracious Speech seems to many of us to reveal a poverty of imagination on the part of the Government, and there is considerable scope, as the noble Viscount mentioned, for criticism and for suggestion. The references to giving support to the United Nations and to the North Atlantic Alliance would seem to me to override in importance every other single topic in the whole of the gracious Speech. With a strong and stable Atlantic Alliance, all is possible; without it, nothing is possible. There, surely, is the real basis of the survival of all the liberty and all the precious civilisation which passed into the trusteeship of Western Europe after the fade-out of Greece and Rome.

There are only two other subjects in the gracious Speech to which I shall refer, quite shortly. The first is an unfortunate reference, as I think it, to industry as being composed of "two sides"—as it were, in battle array. My Lords, it is time that these two sides were regarded as one side, since their aim of mutual prosperity is, of course, a common one. Industry does not exist for the benefit of proprietors and shareholders. It does not exist to provide gainful occupation for workers. These two interests are purely by-products. Industry exists, surely, because of and on behalf of the consumer, and it is the consumer interest which must predominate, however scared the Tories may be of the trade unions, and however shortsighted the workers may be about X being paid more money than Y.

The second point to which I would refer is the proposal to control immigration by legislation, which was touched upon by the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough. Personally, I fully support the suggested powers for the expulsion of the criminal element; but, without committing myself at this point, I confess to some unease about putting legislation on the Statute Book to debar our own British subjects from their age-old privilege of full access to the Mother Country. I should have preferred to see considerably more consultation with the territories concerned, with a view to a solution by examination and, possibly, by financial and local practical aid. But, my Lords, I do not prejudge this matter, and I readily acknowledge that it is a very real difficulty. In connection with immigration there arises the matter of housing—because they are very closely connected. The trouble here is, indeed, completely linked up. I am surprised that there is no mention in the gracious Speech of housing, which, of course, deeply affects our own people, as well as immigrants. It is surely well known that our housing situation is a serious one. Are the Government shelving or pigeon-holing this great social problem which once—and very rightly—they took so seriously?

Finally, I would ask why there is no mention of the problem of old people, whom we know in many cases to be in dire distress. Scraping together every sort of assistance and pension and pitiably shrunken incomes, there are thousands in this so-called Welfare State whose plight would melt almost any heart. Cannot something be done for them, and done soon? I do not want to be ungracious. I do not criticise the Government for not being infallible; but I do ask them to be receptive to some of the arguments which we on this side of the House put forward in good faith and with hope.

3.44 p.m.


My Lords, the debate on the Address in reply to the gracious Speech provides us with an opportunity for a very general discussion on all kinds of subjects which we are likely to discuss in greater detail later on in the Session. I think your Lordships all admired the thoroughness with which the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition went through nearly every item in the gracious Speech. If I may say so, I did not think he was a bit too long, and I have always greatly enjoyed the dialectical vigour of the noble Viscount, upon whom the years sit so lightly. This is the first time I have ever heard him complain about anybody else's age. I hope he will never get to the length of complaining about his own.

I welcome, I think, everything he said about foreign affairs, which I thought was helpful to the country. On defence—which, of course, is always a matter of the greatest concern to all Parties—we applaud the noble Viscount's desire that we should be well-armed and strong: and I understand your Lordships are to have a debate on defence to-morrow. With regard to economics, I am delighted to hear that the noble Viscount intends to speak again on his own Amendment next week, and I shall not try to anticipate the castigation which he expects to receive from my noble friend the Lord President the Leader of the House.

The noble Lord, Lord Rea, expressed the not entirely unheard-of opinion that this Government have been in office for too long, and I dare say that it would be easy to persuade him that his own Party has been out too long. I should like to assure him that I have never thought of Liberals with anything like a condescending derision, and I have not the slightest objection to his pleasure in seeing me or anybody else wearing any old clothes which he may have left lying about from time to time. While the noble Viscount opposite suggested that we were too enthusiastic about the Common Market, and that we might even have put up, in both Houses, Members moving and seconding the Address to advertise it, the noble Lord, Lord Rea, thought that we were not nearly enthusiastic enough. I do not intend to pursue what either noble Lord said about that. I should have thought that when you are entering into negotiations of this kind the right thing to say is absolutely nothing. We have always sought and desired economic association with the Six. We have always equally desired to safeguard the economic needs of New Zealand, which Lord Rea particularly referred to, and other parts of the Commonwealth.


May I ask a question? Would the noble Earl give this advice to Mr. Sandys and Mr. Heath, that they shall not go on doing such things as they have done, so giving away the case in advance, or the political issues of the Rome Treaty?


My Lords, I thought the criticism was that they had not revealed anything which we were negotiating about, which I should have thought was the wisest thing to do at the present time.




But I know, my Lords, that it is the general wish of your Lordships to-day to have a wide discussion on external affairs—foreign, Commonwealth and colonial. We have already had a two-day debate on external affairs the week before last, during which the Foreign Secretary gave a very full picture of the situation abroad; and I think he did so to the full satisfaction of your Lordships in all parts of the House. Tonight, my noble friend Lord Perth will be able to answer at length any matters concerning the Commonwealth which may be raised to-day.

But, my Lords, whatever part of the world we may be talking about, either in the Commonwealth or outside it, the broad, underlying question of our time is always the same. From time to time during the war, President Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill used to state the objectives for which they thought we and our Allies were fighting, among which were what the President once defined as, "the four freedoms"—freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. There were a few people in Great Britain, and a great many more in the United States of America, who hoped that our Communist Allies might help us after the war to build up those freedoms in all parts of the world. But, in fact, since the war ended the free nations of the West have been mainly on the defensive, struggling to save as much freedom as they can from the merciless aggression of Communist tyranny. And, my Lords, the pattern of this aggression has grown so familiar to us that we have long ago ceased to look on it as abnormal in this twentieth century world in which we must all live.

The organised perversion of justice as an instrument of totalitarian government; the practice of brain-washing of arrested persons: the mass extermination of inconvenient people; the concealment of truth from ordinary men and women from behind the Iron Curtain, and the dissemination of falsehood everywhere else are looked on as natural and, indeed, praiseworthy by the ruling class of Communism. These things are the common practice in nearly half the world to-day; and, what is perhaps even more regrettable in some ways, they are sometimes admired and imitated by people in the other half who worship power. The threat of nuclear war is a major instrument of Communist policy, together with the use of conventional weapons, wherever it is considered that local armed aggression may be successful. And no opportunity is neglected of promoting civil war or disaffection in any country which is not part of the Communist empire.

At the present moment the most critical areas of danger are Berlin and South East Asia, both of which were fully covered by my noble friend the Foreign Secretary the week before last. As for Berlin, we hope and believe that negotiation may produce a settlement, while we do not regard the freedom of the people in West Berlin, or their right of access to us, or our right of access to them, as negotiable. As for South East Asia, since the week before last the prospects of a peaceful settlement in Laos have improved: they seem more hopeful now than they were then. On the other hand, the situation in South Vietnam has become worse in the last fortnight—and I think that possibly the noble Viscount opposite, in speaking of organised terrorism and aggression, intended to refer to South Vietnam and not to Laos. As the noble Viscount no doubt knows, the trouble in South Vietnam is Communist-led and Communist-trained. The guerrillas there are using terrorism and murder and military force in an attempt, first, to disrupt and then to overthrow the established Republican Government of South Vietnam.

This campaign is organised by the Communist authorities at Hanoi, in North Vietnam. It is under their full direction and close control. The main features of the campaign are violence and subversion, and include widespread assassination of officials and supporters of the Government; the infiltration of guerrilla units from the North into the South; attacks on villages; violation of demilitarised frontier zones, and armed attacks on the territory of South Vietnam which are led by units officered by regular officers in the Communist army from the North. That all constitutes a gross violation by the Hanoi authorities of the Geneva cease-fire agreement for Vietnam, and it is a serious threat to the peace of South East Asia. I should like to add that we have noted with admiration the brave manner in which the people and Government of South Vietnam are standing up to the treacherous and violent attacks against them which have been unleached by the Communist authorities in Hanoi.

But, my Lords, Berlin and Vietnam are not the only places threatened by Communist aggression, or by Communist subversion. The strategy of Communism has always been to make us concentrate our attention upon one point in our defences while they prepare to attack another. To-day it is Berlin, tomorrow it may be Finland or Sweden. Or it may be the Middle East, as it was five years ago; or it may be Africa, where resistance is sometimes softer than it is in Western Europe. The peoples who are often most vulnerable to the deceptions of Communist propaganda are those who are removed by only a few generations from primitive savagery and from the practice of slavery; and the reasons for this are not at all difficult to understand. In our old and sophisticated Western society, whose wealth on both sides of the Atlantic is now growing at a pace which has never been known before, we are accustomed to blame ourselves, with some justice, for our preoccupation with material comfort and pleasure. But this charge cannot reasonably be brought against the hundreds of millions of people in Africa and Asia who are living near the border of starvation and whose numbers, thanks to the medical services and the freedom from war which Western Europe has brought to them, are increasing so much more quickly than their economic resources. It is our moral duty to give them economic help, not because we worship material things, but because their basic material needs must be satisfied before they can fully enjoy civilised freedom which we want them all to share with us.

Of course, what they need most of all is capital goods in order to develop their own resources, and the direction of this economic aid into the most useful channels is a vast problem which cannot be undertaken by one country alone, but only by the concerted action of Western Europe and the United States, Canada and other countries. I know your Lordships are glad to see that Japan has joined the Development Assistance Group advisory council on foreign aid, which is now holding its fifth meeting in Tokyo. The total amount of aid given to underdeveloped countries from the West, either bilaterally or unilaterally or through the International Bank, amounted last year to the very large sum of £2,500 million. If we compare that with aid given by the Sino-Soviet bloc, which started offering help seven years ago, in 1954, we find that the total amount of drawings by these underdeveloped countries from Sino-Soviet sources since that time has amounted to only £300 million; that is, an average of about £45 million a year. In fact, the aid given by Britain alone in 1960 and 1961 has been over £300 million, which is as much as the total amount of help given from Communist sources since 1954.

Your Lordships will probably remember the British estimate for 1961, excluding private investment. The total is, as I say, over £300 million; Government aid is about £180 million. This figure has been increasing by about £30 million a year for some time. As the Chancellor had to make clear, owing to the foreign exchange position we have to try to hold it to that figure for next year, and I think that that illustrates the need for us to take measures to put our economy in order and improve our balance of payments. I was very glad to hear yesterday my noble friend Lord Amherst of Hackney, and I should like to congratulate both him and my noble friend Lord Melchett on the most delightful speeches with which they moved the Address. I was glad to hear Lord Amherst of Hackney say, from some official figures he had, that in order to fulfil our obligations towards the Commonwealth and the rest of the world we needed to increase our balance of payments by £500 million a year.

In these new countries which we want to help in this way towards full civilisation, freedom is a very tender plant which needs to be carefully nourished. I know some of your Lordships feel that, in the case of some of the more primitive territories to whom we are giving political freedom, we have exposed this plant to the air a little too soon. Whether we take that view or not, I think we shall all agree that the gift of political freedom to a primitive people does not consist merely in the negative act of withdrawal; it means also educating the people and their leaders in the art of liberal government.

One of the measures mentioned in the gracious Speech is the Bill which will very soon be before your Lordships to give independence to Tanganyika. The date is advanced now to December 9, when His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh will be going there for the ceremony of independence. My Lords, whatever we think about the pace of our political advance in. Africa, I hope your Lordships will all agree in commending the statesmanship and common sense of Mr. Julius Nyerere in the negotiations which have led up to this legislation that is about to be introduced. The discussions which took place at Dar-es-Salaam this year were, I think, very encouraging to those who hoped that we were going in the right direction.

The Government of Tanganyika expressed the hope that the Territory's continued participation in the common services provided by the East Africa High Commission would be possible without any infringement of the country's sovereignty, and the delegations agreed that it would be in the interests of all the parties—that is, including Kenya and Uganda—to ensure that the common services which are now being provided by the East Africa High Commission should continue to be provided on an East African basis, whatever constitutional changes might take place in the future in East Africa. And arrangements were proposed for continuing the operation of these services, when Tanganyika becomes independent, in a way fully compatible with the sovereignty of Tanganyika. That organisation, my Lords, will come into being a day or two after Tanganyika's Independence Day as a result of an agreement to be concluded between Tanganyika and Britain, Britain representing Kenya and Uganda.

I think your Lordships will be glad to note the constructve agreement for our continued economic co-operation with East Africa which has also been arrived at. The financial undertakings have been accepted by the Government of Tanganyika as a generous settlement which will be of great help to them, to their programme of economic development. I have no doubt that my noble friend Lord Perth, when he comes to speak later in the debate, will have more to say about the future of East Africa. Meanwhile, I think your Lordships will agree that in Tanganyika, Nigeria, and other places, too, the events which have taken place in the last two years are a very fine achievement during his term of office as Minister of State for the Colonies, under two or more Colonial Secretaries.

My Lords, what a contrast these things are with the relations between the Communist Powers and the subject peoples under their rule! If we take the steady progress of these territories towards freedom, leading, we hope, to a fruitful association between Britain and those territories to whom she is giving political liberty, but who are entirely free, as they decide, either to continue in association with us or not, how does that compare with the treatment of the Baltic countries under the dominion of Russia, where so many of the population have been deported, and where the leaders of society have been replaced by Russian managers? Or with the Moslem communities of Turkestan, who have no say in the administration of their country which is ruled by Russian force? Or in Tibet, where the innocent, inoffensive population, I am afraid, have been very largely exterminated in order to suit the designs of their Chinese oppressors? Or in East Germany, surrounded now by barbed wire, and with a wall in Berlin, in order to prevent the oppressed slaves of Communism from escaping to freedom? In the course of history there are one or two cases of great Empires, like those of Rome and China, building walls to keep invaders out. I think this is the first instance there has ever been of an Empire which has built a wall in order to prevent its own unhappy subjects from going somewhere else.

My Lords, the power and strength of Communism rests at home, in Communist countries, on oppression and on deceit. Abroad it rests on naked power and bullying threats. This explosion last week of the 50 or 50-plus megaton bomb is intended to terrorise the world so that other nations may acquiesce in the aims of Soviet foreign policy. The actions of Mr. Khrushchev are like the actions of the leading gangster whom we often see in a Western film, who goes into the saloon bar, pulls out a couple of revolvers, and starts shooting out all the lights just to show everybody what will happen to them if they try to interfere with his plans for robbing the bank. In these pictures you will often see half a dozen other people in the bar scuttle away and hide under chairs and tables. I think we must admit that Mr. Khrushchev's experience of the so-called uncommitted nations may occasionally have suggested to him that the more brutal and outrageous his own acts are, the more timid and uncritical these uncommitted nations are likely to be. That, at least, is the theory on which Mr. Khrushchev is now acting. But surely, my Lords, the true lesson of this monstrous explosion which took place at the beginning of the week ought to be that, in an all-out nuclear war, neutrals would suffer as much as the protagonists, and that the moral luxury of lecturing both sides at the same time is really not going to help anybody to avert this great catastrophe.

Our policy, which we intend to stick to in spite of the disappointments we have suffered, is to seek real international disarmament, accompanied by genuine and trustworthy international inspection. No one in his senses would ever think of agreeing to disarmament without inspection, especially when one of the countries concerned has deliberately kept us for two years at Geneva discussing the abolition of nuclear tests under a pledge not to start them again, while all the time it was secretly preparing to break that pledge and start the most powerful and dangerous succession of tests which the world has yet seen. Nevertheless, we intend to persevere with patience in our work for disarmament—multilateral, controlled disarmament. We also intend to pursue a policy of peaceful co-existence with Communist countries. What we mean by "peaceful co-existence" is mutual toleration, accompanied by the will on each side to learn from anything which it can find to be good in the social system of the other, as the Prime Minister tried to make clear in his Russian visit two years ago.

We are well aware that when the Russian Government speak of peaceful co-existence they do not mean the same thing as we do. I do not know if your Lordships have been following the proceedings of the twenty-second Congress of the Communist Party which have been going on in Moscow for the last fortnight and which came to an end last night. The main issue discussed there was whether their policy of peaceful co-existence ought to be reaffirmed. It appears to have been opposed by the Chinese, by the Albanian Communists and by Mr. Molotov and the Stalinist minority of the Soviet ruling class, who adhere to the Stalinist belief that nuclear war is inevitable. The advocates of peaceful co-existence, who are now dominant in Russia, use this phrase to mean not toleration but the subjugation of the world without nuclear war. These 28 nuclear explosions in the last eight weeks, the barbed wire round Germany, the prison wall in Berlin, the bullying and browbeating of Japan, of Iran, of Finland and Sweden; the world-wide campaign of lies in the Press and on the radio; the forged documents criminally fabricated and circulated in Africa to discredit British liberal policy, the censorship of news and the jamming of wireless—all these form part of the Soviet view of peaceful co-existence. As Mr. Khrushchev himself put it in his speech to the Congress on October 17-or at least in the speech which began on October 17; I forget how many days he took to finish it—he said: Peace and peaceful co-existence are not quite the same thing". I think that that statement may be described as a masterpiece of delicate understatement.

Nevertheless, my Lords, we shall continue to work for peace and for peaceful settlements in all disputes. Let us do this with our eyes open and with knowledge of the truth about the people with whom we are dealing. If we succeed in getting a peaceful settlement, as we all hope, of the Berlin question, do not let us sit down and think that all our worst troubles are over. They may be only beginning. Our nerves as well as our brains must be trained to work and fight for freedom for as long ahead as we can foresee—perhaps it may be until long after the present generation of the Communist ruling class has passed away.

One of the subjects discussed by the Twenty-second Communist Congress last week was the Russian plan for economic and social development during the next twenty years, a plan with the purpose of which we can all sympathise—more abundant consumer goods, more leisure, better retirement pensions, free medicine and free bread. I wish that they had included a few more other free things besides free bread, which, after all, has always been provided for slaves all through history. Man cannot live by free bread alone. How much better would it have been if this plan had included a little free speech, free thought, free Press, free movement, freedom in choosing a job, freedom to travel and freedom to mix and talk with free people in other countries! I do not believe that there will ever be a truly peaceful coexistence between Russia and the West until there has grown up in Russia an educated and genuine public opinion which is spontaneous and not created by a small oligarchy of doctrinaire rulers.

In this country we allow free expression of opinion, which some of our country men use to agitate and demonstrate against the possession of the nuclear deterrent. Most of us believe that their activities make war much more likely than it would otherwise be. I believe, further, that if we all decided to be Red, rather than dead, then nuclear war in a world divided between two or more Communist blocs would be almost certain. Anyway, it would be a great deal more likely than it is now in a world where there is some free public opinion.

We all sometimes wish that our unilateralists in Great Britain would go and demonstrate in Russia instead of getting in other people's way here. A month or two ago, a small group of Western students who were protesting against nuclear tests, and whose spirit I greatly admire, did travel from California, by way of Europe, where they picked up a few more students, to Moscow. In London they were allowed freedom of expression. In Moscow, when a meeting was arranged at the University, the authorities tried to stage-manage this and to limit freedom of discussion. But the Russian students protested against this and plainly showed their eagerness to allow free discussion of their visitors' views on disarmament. I think that this small incident—and there are others we could quote—shows that many Russian people, and particularly the younger generation of Russia, are anxious for the free exchange of ideas, which their masters will not allow. We must be very patient, for we shall have to wait, on our guard, for a very long time. But it is not impossible that, one day, the 200 million of ordinary men and women in Russia may be willing to help us, as we should like to help them, to make a better world for all our children.

4.20 p.m.


My Lords, the debate on the Address is the one occasion in the year, as your Lordships know, when any subject can be raised, and the speeches of the noble Viscount the Leader of the Opposition and of the noble Lord, Lord Rea, who leads the Liberal Party, certainly ranged, rightly, very wide; for, after all, they were making the principal speeches for their Parties in this debate. The speech of the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, equally covered a broad field, for he was replying to them. But to-day I understand the debate is mainly to be devoted to the Commonwealth and the Colonies, and it is on one or two facets of that vast subject that I propose to concentrate my remarks. In particular, I want to refer, like the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, to one of the main trouble spots in the world to-day—what may be called a no man's land in the cold war, and that is, of course, the Continent of Africa.

The week before last, as the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, said, we had a debate on international affairs, in which there was much discussion of the international aspect of some of the more recent developments on the African Continent. I hope that perhaps at no too distant date we shall have yet another day devoted to events in the Congo, which to my mind, at any rate, remain very disturbing. To-day, however, the debate is likely to be concerned more with recent developments in those territories in Central Africa for which our own country is entirely responsible; and the purpose of the few words which I shall address to your Lordships this afternoon, at the risk of being dubbed by the noble Lord, Lord Rea, as a reactionary or perhaps a tassel on the lunatic fringe, is to appeal to the Government and, in particular, to the new Colonial Secretary, whose appointment I am sure we all warmly welcome, not indeed to alter their policy towards the emergent territories, for that policy I hope and think is common to us all, but to consider whether the pace at which it has been carried out during the last few years has not proved in practice to be unduly rapid and fraught with danger to the territories themselves. The noble Lord, Lord Rea, himself posed this problem very well, I thought, but he prudently refrained from suggesting any solution.

The late Colonial Secretary, Mr. Macleod, said in a recent speech that in these matters—I hope I do not misrepresent him—it was safer or better (I forget which word was used) to go too fast than to go too slow. And I rather gathered from what he said this afternoon that the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, on the whole, shares that view. But I thought that rather wiser counsel, if I may be forgiven for saying so, was that given by the Foreign Secretary during the debate on the International Situation in this House the week before last, when he said this—and those of us who have had any experience of Africa will know how true these words are [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 233 (No. 122), col. 339]: …from my knowledge of Africans, I know that you cannot hurry them in their constitutional developments. But that, my Lords, with all deference to the Government and, indeed, to the noble Earl himself, is exactly what the Government seem to many of us to have done; and we are, I am afraid, beginning to see the results. The White Paper which was published at the time of the Lancaster House Conference on Kenya last year described, as your Lordships will remember, the objective of the Government for their African territories as parliamentary government on the Westminster model. And they have indeed pressed forward, I think, in all their African territories to achieve as soon as possible just that: independence from this country and parliamentary government on the Westminster model.

But what I think the Government did not realise quite enough is that parliamentary government on the Westminster model is not an end in itself. It is merely a device—and I would emphasise this—for bringing about what the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, rightly described this afternoon as the fundamental aim of our policy, and that is the greatest attainable measure of liberty for the individual citizen to think, say and do as he wishes. That is why we like it here; and it is the only reason why we like it. If parliamentary government produces that result, it is a good form of government; if it does not produce that result, it is a bad form of government: it has failed in its primary purpose. In our own country we believe that on the whole it works, and I think this is partly, at any rate, because we are a very experienced and highly civilised people. But would anybody say that it has been an equal success everywhere it has been tried?

In one African territory, Ghana, we recently granted a constitution which was, broadly speaking, on much the same lines as our own—the noble Earl, Lord Lis-towel, will correct me if I have misrepresented the position. What has been the result? Already, within, a very short time, judging at least by the accounts we get from the Press, the Prime Minister has become virtually a dictator; some of the leaders of the official Opposition are in exile, and most of the rest are in prison; and liberty of speech and action for the ordinary man exists, I will not say hardly at all, but not to a very great degree. That has been the result in Ghana. Whatever may happen in Tanganyika—and certainly Mr. Julius Nyerere, by every account we hear of him, is a man of quite unusual attainments—we have no reason to suppose, judging by the present attitude of Mr. Mboya and the other African leaders in Kenya, that when that country get its independence the result will be very different.

Yet Her Majesty's Government seem determined to press on with their universal panacea of Parliamentary government on a Westminster model with a very wide electorate, just as here, even though the majority of the electors in those countries can neither read nor write and can have little or no understanding of most of the issues which are bound to face any Parliamentary electorate. Ministers have been warned again and again that to go too fast might mean disaster, especially in countries like Kenya, which has a white majority to whom the wealth of the country is mainly due.

What has happened? Just what has been predicted. First, a great majority of the white farming community, to whom, as I have said, the prosperity of Kenya is mainly due, has completely lost confidence both in Her Majesty's Government here and in the future of the country itself. Some, by all accounts I have heard, are already leaving for Australia, South Africa, or anywhere where they may hope to have that protection for the future of their farming operations and the security of their wives and families which they have regretfully concluded minorities will not be able to expect under the present African leaders when Kenya gets independence. And many other farmers, who for one reason OT another cannot leave the country, are ceasing to plough back their profits into the farms; they are getting them out of the country while it is possible to do that. According to my information, doctors and schoolmasters, too, are beginning 'to leave the country. And as the Colony of Kenya nears independence, that stream may well become a flood. Now, lastly, the Africans themselves are beginning to revert to their tribal divisions and their tribal animosities. Kenyan nationality is not something natural; it is something created by Britain, and it may well be that it will last only while Britain retains some control.

I often have it said to me, "All that may be true, or, at any rate, there may be a measure of truth in it. But things have gone too far. It is too late to do anything." Indeed, it is very late. But there are, I believe, things that could still be done which would help to restore the confidence which is being so rapidly lost. First of all, the white farmers could be bought out by Her Majesty's Government at some level of values which would have to be agreed, and they could be paid in bonds which would be guaranteed, not by the future African Government in Kenya, which is not likely to make the bonds very negotiable, but by Her Majesty's Government themselves in London. If the farmers felt that they had a nest egg outside the country which would be available for their wives and families if the worst came to the worst, I believe that, so far from their being encouraged to leave, they would be far more ready to take the risk of staying on now, either as managers for the Government or as tenants of the Government on farms which they formerly owned, and for which in many cases they have a very deep affection.

Secondly, an announcement could be made—and if it is to be made it should be made very soon—that while the next step, the step to full internal self-government, might well be taken as soon as there seemed any prospect of its being a success, the last step, the step to independence, ought not to be taken until Her Majesty's Government are fully satisfied that the Colony is ready for it. I hope that the new Colonial Secretary will at any rate consider the possibility of acting on these lines. It really seems the only way now of saving Kenya from something approaching economic collapse.

I should now like to turn for a few moments to another territory in Central Africa, the Federation of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland. Here, as well, is it too much to hope that, while of course constitutional advance must continue, the Africans, to repeat the Foreign Secretary's phrase, shall not be unduly hurried in their constitutional development—in other words, that they shall not be asked to run before they can walk? Many people, I am sure, not only in the Federation itself but in the United Kingdom, were startled and, indeed, rather shocked by a sudden announcement made a few weeks ago, in the very middle of the Katangan crisis, clearly implying that if violence ceased in Northern Rhodesia, Her Majesty's Government would be willing to consider modifications in the new Northern Rhodesian Constitution which had been agreed only so lately as the end of June this year. It is perfectly true that the Governor has announced to-day—it is in the evening paper, I think—that there will be no further general review of the Constitution. But he seems to envisage modifications; and I cannot help feeling that this in itself is deeply disturbing, for your Lordships will remember that this particular agreement was reached only as a result of very hard bargaining on both sides. It was an agreement negotiated, as it were, down to the last comma, and it was, I think, clearly understood at the time that it was to be regarded as a carefully balanced compromise, not subject to amendment.

If anyone has any doubts of that, I should like to quote some words from the Governor of Northern Rhodesia's Address which he gave to the Legislative Council in that country on June 27, words which, I submit, to any normal person admit of only one interpretation. This is what he said: There is no doubt that the months of uncertainty which have attended the formulation of a new Constitution for Northern Rhodesia have had damaging effects on the life and welfare of our people and have hindered the economic progress and development of the Territory. This state of uncertainty has now come to an end with the announcement yesterday of Her Majesty's Government's plans for our constitutional future. He added at a later stage in his speech: That the new Constitution will not please everyone in all its details, I am fully aware. To have done so would not have been possible. But, taken as a whole, this new Constitution can be considered a significant step forward in the Territory's political progress and (what is no less important) I believe it meets our needs. Those were the words quoted verbatim from the Governor's address. An address by the Governor to the Legislative Council on an occasion of such vital importance to the territory must, I think, have been passed by the Secretary of State. Not only did the Government allow the Governor of Northern Rhodesia to put that interpretation on the agreement, but they allowed Sir Roy Welensky to fight the battle of the referendum on the new Constitution for Southern Rhodesia—a battle which, I remind your Lordships, the Government here very much wanted won—on that assumption. It was only when the battle was won that the Colonial Secretary, on behalf of the Government, suddenly turned round and indicated that this was no hard and fast agreement but proposals—that was the word I think which was used—subject to amendment.

Is it any wonder, in those circumstances, that large numbers of people in the Federation, including the Federal Government itself, whose good name was directly involved through its support of the Northern Rhodesian agreement during the referendum campaign for Southern Rhodesia, felt that they had been badly let down? The Times, in an article last week, tried to explain away the Government's action by saying it was the result of serious disturbances in Northern Rhodesia. But there really is no substance for the use of a word like "serious". No doubt there were disturbances, and that was perhaps to be expected. But they were only, by all accounts I have had from that country, local and sporadic. Indeed, had they been so serious as to put in jeopardy the security of the State, the Federal Government had the right under the Federal Constitution to send in Federal troops, and they never found that necessary.

My Lords, I have been severely castigated in the past by Government spokesmen because I criticised the actions of the late Colonial Secretary and the Government in relation to Africa. But I ask them now: do not they feel just a little uncomfortable when they think of what they allowed the Governor of Northern Rhodesia to say in June last, and Sir Roy Welensky to say in the course of the referendum campaign, and then look at what they are saying now only three months later?

If that be true of the Government, what am I to say about some sections of the Churches in their contributions to this particular subject? I do not know whether other Members of the House have seen a resolution passed by the British Council of Churches on September 20 of this year which must, I think, be regarded as blessing a statement made by the Africa Committee of the Conference of British Missionary Societies, since they print it in full in their resolution and make no qualifications or reservations to it. That statement of the Africa Committee enters most violently and controversially into the position in Northern Rhodesia. Rather surprisingly, it appears to regard it as being absolutely legitimate for Governments to alter firm agreements if it is convenient for them to do so. It even seems to think that it is morally right in certain circumstances for them to do just that, and puts forward proposals of its own for amendment of the Constitution which go considerably further even than anything the Government have said or, I believe, contemplated. To quote the words of this statement—and here the British Council specifically support it—Her Majesty's Government should at once declare its intention to see an African majority in the Northern Rhodesian Legislature in the near future, and should grant an interim Constitution which must clearly lead to this result. Nor is this all. Having gone so far and told the Government what to do now, at once, in a situation which is of intense delicacy—a situation, too, where they have themselves none of the grave responsibilities of Government—they go on further and say: Finally we"— that is, the Committee— are of the opinion that the social and economic aims of Her Majesty's Government in Central Africa can no longer be achieved by the continuance of the Federal structure as at present imposed, and that the first step to achieve these aims (through a freely negotiated association of the peoples of Southern Rhodesia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland) is the attainment of representative government in Northern Rhodesia as well as in Nyasaland. My Lords, that may seem very nice, but what does it in fact mean? What it means is the ending of Federation—Federation which has been emphasised by the Monckton Committee to have brought immense benefits on the country and peoples concerned—and the handing over of Northern Rhodesia now to a Government dominated by African extremists. That is what it means.

I recognise, of course, that it may very fairly be argued that churchmen as well as laity have a perfect right to express their own honest opinions. But what I have found startling, and I must admit rather shocking, is that they say in effect quite roundly that their view is the only Christian view. I am not going merely to make that statement; I should like to explain to the House what I mean. the only way I entirely agree, that they quote a resolution of the Christian Council of Northern Rhodesia, with which they indicate they agree and which runs as follows: The Council considers that the present proposals for the Northern Rhodesian Constitution will intensify racial antagonism and therefore fail to provide the basis for the building of that orderly, non-racial society which is the earnest desire of the Christian Church; and that they are therefore a burden on the Christian conscience, because it is clear"— this is odd— that the proposals are unacceptable to the great majority of the people". I speak, I can assure the House, with great humility on this subject, because I recognise the deep personal piety of the signatories and the high motives which I am sure inspire them. But the resolution, for which I think the British Council of Churches must surely, by publishing this statement, share responsibility, seems to me, frankly, a classic example of muddled thinking. For if everything is to be condemned which is, to quote the words of the resolution, "unacceptable to the great majority of people", why, my Lords, Christianity itself should never have come into being; for that most certainly at the start was "unacceptable to the great majority of the people". And to say that it is a burden on the Christian conscience not to hand over the country to people most of whom are of a very primitive type and in no way inspired by Christian principles, merely because there are more of them, really seems to me a very extraordinary doctrine. If the basis of the new Constitution is to be non-racial —I think nearly all of us agree with that—surely the criterion should be fitness to exercise a vote intelligently; and yet that is not even mentioned in either the statement or the resolution.

I hope your Lordships will forgive me for having raised a matter of this character, which goes beyond the scope of our usual discussions in this House, and I warned the most reverend Primate that I was going to do so; but I feel very deeply about it, for this resolution, no doubt, has gone out throughout Central Africa as the voice of United Christendom, and it certainly is not that.

My Lords, I know that those who feel as I do have been strongly criticised in many quarters for the views we hold but we have never in fact been reactionary. We have never believed in standing still; we have always believed —I certainly do—in a steady evolutionary advance for the peoples of Africa as elsewhere. But let us never forget why it was that Livingstone and people like him went to Africa. It was to preach ordered peace and ordered liberty in lands which had never known them. That was their crusade and it is a crusade which, as I think the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, said this afternoon, has been crowned with an amazing measure of success. But do not let us now become the dupes of our own words, and kid ourselves that the battle is yet won. By all means let us help the Africans to advance to greater and greater measures of self-government. That is the only way. I entirely agree, that they will learn what civilised government means. But to grant independence prematurely—and we had better face it—may mean a loss of all that during the last century we have taught them. Do not let us risk that. Let us make each foothold firm before we advance to the next, for only so shall we attain our goal. It is in that spirit that I hope the new Colonial Secretary, whom I am sure we all congratulate on his appointment, will approach his task. By doing so he will, I am very sure, carry with him the good wishes of all of us in whatever part of the House we may sit.

4.47 p.m.


My Lords, I propose to follow the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, if in little else and certainly least of all in debating oratorical power, in dealing with certain problems arising at the present time in the Commonwealth and Colonies overseas, and I do so particularly because we have the great advantage of having the noble, Earl, Lord Perth, to wind up the debate this afternoon and to reply to our views.

First of all I should like to say this. We all read in the papers this morning that one of the most violent hurricanes in recent years has hit the town of Belize. I was in Belize some time ago and I remember both the vast number of biting insects and, alas!the dangerous fragility of most of the buildings. I should like to express our profound sympathy with those who have lost their homes, those who have been injured and those who have lost their means of livelihood in Belize, and also to express the hope that the Government will carefully consider the desirability of providing financial assistance towards repairing the damage that must have been done to the town. This has often happened in times past when the West Indies have been hit by hurricanes and by other catastrophies. Indeed, I well remember the rebuilding of the town of Castries after it had been burnt down. I hope the noble Earl will consider doing this at the earliest possible moment to bring comfort to those who have suffered this great affliction in Belize.

I should like next to refer to Africa, and, first of all, I know that we all, on both sides of the House, welcome the statement in the gracious Speech that Her Majesty is looking forward to her journey to West Africa. I am convinced from my own experience in that part of Africa that Her Majesty will receive as magnificent a welcome as any she has ever had on her visit to other Commonwealth countries. Prince Philip was the most popular visitor by far during my time in Ghana, but when he returns with Her Majesty from West Africa I feel certain he will realise that he has been taking part in the most popular visit in the living memory of Ghanaians. And I have no doubt, although I cannot speak with the same degree of certainty and personal assurance, that that will be the case in the other West African countries which Her Majesty will visit. I am quite convinced, too, that nothing could do more to strengthen the ties with these West African nations, between them and us and them and the Commonwealth, than this visit. Finally, I should like to follow noble Lords who spoke yesterday in expressing my immense admiration for the spirit in which Her Majesty is facing this tiring tropical tour, and respectfully wishing her and the Duke of Edinburgh every success.

To turn to East and Central Africa, which have been the main subjects of Lord Salisbury's speech, we, of course, all welcome the approaching independence of Tanganyika and Uganda. That is something that is most satisfactory to both sides of the House. But the political situation in other parts of British Africa is causing many people a great deal of concern, and that concern was shown by the the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. I noted that he dealt most fully in the course of his speech with the situation in Central Africa and in particular in Northern Rhodesia, and, if I may say so, although my views are different from his, I thought he was absolutely right in regarding that as the most difficult and important problem with which we have to deal at the moment. It may not be necessary—I hope it is not necessary; I do not think it is necessary, but I will do so all the same in case it is—to warn the Government that one wrong step at this time in Northern Rhodesia will plunge that country into grave disorder and racial strife. A stage has been reached where any further concessions to those Europeans—and, of course, only some Europeans are represented in this way—represented by the United Federal Party, will convince the African nationalists that they have no chance of gaining power by constitutional means.


My Lords, to be quite accurate, I was not suggesting any further concession. All I was saying was that the Government should stand by what they had agreed.


If the noble Marquess will be good enough to follow what I should like to say, he will see that perhaps we put a different meaning or interpretation upon the word "concession" and, our view of what has actually been agreed is different. I fear, and this fear is shared by many people who live in Northern Rhodesia and who know it much better than I do, that the Africans will be driven to resist what they regard as a threat of permanent white domination by unconstitutional means unless they are shown at this time that they have an opportunity to achieve political power by the ordinary Parliamentary machinery which the Northern Rhodesian Government and Her Majesty's Government are proposing to set up. I venture to say that we cannot justify to the Africans in Northern Rhodesia the withholding of political and constitutional advance at a reasonable rate. We cannot justify the withholding of this advance, which we are giving to Africans everywhere else in British Africa.

The pace obviously must be different in countries that are multiracial, where there are several races, like Kenya and Northern Rhodesia, as compared with countries that are purely African, like Nyasaland or Uganda, but in Northern Rhodesia the Africans are beginning to doubt whether we mean them to advance at all to ultimate self-government as an African country, and they are beginning to believe that we want to keep the white minority in power by denying them a majority in the Legislature. At any rate, the United Federal Party, the two African Nationalist Parties and the Liberal Party of Northern Rhodesia interpret—and on this they all seem to agree—the latest constitutional proposals of Her Majesty's Government as giving the advantage in elective power to the 22,000 European voters. These June proposals are extremely complicated and almost impossible, I should think, for the ordinary voters to understand.

Where I differ, I think, from the noble Marquess—although I am going to leave to the noble Earl, Lord Perth, the defence of his case and I daresay the noble Earl, Lord Perth, will agree with me—is that whereas the broad outline of the proposals was agreed, it was also made clear at the time that machinery for implementing those proposals was subject to further discussion and that alterations in matters of voting and constituency boundaries, and so on, might well be made. However complicated these proposals may be, no one doubts that they are less favourable to the Africans and more favourable to the European than the original February proposals. The most disconcerting thing about the change in the Government's mind between February and June is that it appears to have been moved, to some extent at any rate, by the intervention of Sir Roy Welensky and the Federal Government. At least, that was what Sir Roy Welensky himself claimed in a speech in Bulawayo on June 30, and I should like to quote one sentence: As a result of our representations a considerable number of modifications were made"— that is, modifications in the proposed constitution.

Successive Secretaries of State for the Colonies have said that the Federal Government has no right at all to interfere in the Constitution of the territorial Governments. If Her Majesty's Government yield again to what appears, at any rate, to be the pressure of the Federal Government, they will be yielding to what is clearly, according to the Constitution of the Federation, a form of unconstitutional pressure, because the territories are directly related to Her Majesty's Government in their structure and not to the Federal Government.

I am sure changes could still be made in administrative matters connected with these proposals which would secure the acceptance of the African Parties and the co-operation of all races in the government of the country. I do not want to be too technical, but it seems to me that the essential change is this. The Government have fixed a minimum percentage of votes or a minimum number of votes as one of the essential requirements for a successful candidate for a national seat, and your Lordships will remember there are going to be fifteen national seats, and those seats will hold the balance of power. This percentage of 12½ per cent. works out, in fact, far more favourably to the Europeans than it does to the Africans, because, of course, there are many more Africans than Europeans. What I am suggesting to the Government is that the percentage requirements should be lowered in order to give the Africans at least as reasonable a chance as the Europeans. I am not, of course, talking at this stage about a majority of Africans securing an African majority in the Legislature, but at least I think it would be highly desirable to have a good percentage which represented liberal opinion generally, both African and European.

I am sure the only way to avoid disaster in Northern Rhodesia is a reconsideration of the voting and constituency arrangements. I am very glad that the Government and the Governor have decided, now that order has been restored, to consider representations that either side may wish to make on this subject, and I hope that these representations will be considered quickly, so as not to leave Northern Rhodesia in suspense, and that the decision will be such as to ensure peace and orderly development for that country.

That brings us to the question, upon which the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, did not touch, of the next meeting of the Conference which was held last year to review the Federal Constitution. Even if this Conference has to be postponed until the second half of next year, I greatly hope that the Government will not re-convene it until all the territories are working their new Constitutions—until Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia have had their elections, and until both these new territories, together with Nyasaland, which has had its election, 'have a chance of working their new Constitution. Only in that event shall we see a genuinely representative Conference. I know, of course, that the Monckton Commission said that the Federation cannot continue in its present form: of that we are all acutely aware. But surely it is better that it should continue for another year than that superficial changes should be made now and the whole Constitution thrown—


With all deference to the noble Earl, so far as I know the Monckton Com- mission never said that. They said that there might be a plebiscite after a certain number of years. The noble Earl, Lord Perth, will be able to answer that more fully than I can, because I am speaking without the book. But I do not believe that the Monckton Commission ever said that federation could not continue in its present form. All their argument was in favour of its continuing.


The noble Marquess and I are both speaking without the book, but I myself am convinced, and I think many others agree, that that is what the Monckton Commission said, even though we cannot quote the words of the Report. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Molson, is not here because he served on the Commission and would be able to put us right. But I hope that the Government will not hurriedly reconvene this Conference until the political situation in Africa is much clearer and more stable than it is at the moment. Perhaps when he replies the noble Earl, Lord Perth, will be able to say something on that subject.

Before I leave Africa I should like to ask the noble Earl (and again this is a question addressed by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury) whether he can say something about the future of Kenya. The release of Kenyatta a few months ago was followed last week by his acceptance of the leadership of the K.A.N.U. Party. I hope that the Government will persuade the Kenya Government to remove the restriction on his entry into politics now that he has become leader of this most important African Party. Since his release he has not done anything that can be regarded as a politically dangerous tendency; and he has shown that he is a moderate influence in Kenya politically, especially from the point of view of racial cooperation. It may, of course, now be possible, although it will be even more difficult, for him to reconcile the tribes in Kenya. That is a big and difficult problem. But in any event he can surely do more on the lines of what he has been doing up till now, as a member of the Legislature, than he can outside it. Keeping him out will only add to the grievances of the African political Parties.

I also hope that the noble Earl will be able to say something about land in Kenya. I cannot agree with the noble Marquess that it would be a practical proposition for the United Kingdom Government to offer to buy out all the European farmers in Kenya. Moreover, I think that if they did it would be a disaster for the Colony of Kenya because the presence of these farmers is essential to its prosperity. But I think that something should be done about the small European farmer in Kenya. The small European farmer in Kenya has been made an offer of payment over a period of years from the Kenya Government for his farm. The terms are so unsatisfactory that it is impossible to expect him to accept. I believe that there has been a drought in Kenya for the last two years, and farmers are extremely badly off and to expect them to accept payment over the period of seven years, which is what has been offered, is utterly unreasonable. The other thing is that, as they are not willing to sell, the whole scheme of African resettlement, and the settlement of African farmers on Kenya's Highlands, will fall to the ground. I hope that the noble Earl may be able to say something encouraging about the steps that are being taken by the Kenya Government to meet the position of the European farmer.

I hope that he may also be able to say something about the future of Constitution building in Kenya. I know that the noble Marquess thinks that we are going too fast. I, on the contrary, share the view of the Government that we are going at about the right pace. I think it is far more dangerous to go too slowly than it is to go too fast in the achievement of self-government in Africa. Surely what is happening in Portuguese territory in Africa, and in Algeria, is the best example of what happens when you go too slowly.

My Lords, I should like, in conclusion, to follow my noble Leader in saying something about the proposed legislation to control immigration from the Commonwealth. I believe that we all deplore this proposal—and the word "deplore" was used, I think, by a noble Lord opposite. The Government call it deplorable, but they say that it is necessary. We find it deplorable, and we hope that it is unnecessary. Naturally the Government will try to convince us to the contrary and we shall certainly listen to their argument. We are also convinced that it will be extremely damaging to the Commonwealth. Everyone agrees that the influx of coloured immigrants has created serious social problems in this country, the most serious being probably that of housing. But the shortage of housing which results in overcrowding in some conditions is surely a national problem, and one that should be solved by a much bigger national building programme. Of course the local authorities have had to cut down their building programmes—that is part of the financial policy of the Government. We maintain that that, in turn, is due to a failure to adopt a policy which would have enabled this country to expand at a much more rapid rate. Surely the right, and the only, solution, without adverse repercussions on the Commonwealth, is to tackle this social problem as a social problem, and to try to meet the requirements of housing, education and so on in regard to these coloured immigrants.

What some people in this country fail to realise is that we are only one of eleven Commonwealth countries which will be affected closely by restrictions on immigrants, and that many of our sister nations will deeply resent these restrictions. We are proposing to give up our traditional policy of the open door, which has been one of the most important ways of showing that our relationship with the Commonwealth is something entirely different from our relationship with even our closest friends among foreign countries.

I should like to ask the noble Earl, following my noble friend and Leader, to what extent and in what way the other Commonwealth Governments have been consulted in this matter. As I am sure the noble Earl will agree, it is not sufficient that they should have been informed; they must have had the opportunity of expressing their views: they must have been consulted. I am surprised that a matter of this importance was not discussed at the last Prime Ministers' Conference—at least, we have no record of its having been discussed at this Conference. I do not think we should act in the way proposed in the gracious Speech without trying to get agreement, or at least acquiescence, at the highest political level. And the way to do that is not by exchanges between Governments—and I have no doubt that some exchanges have taken place; the noble Earl will tell us about them—but by face-to-face talks between Prime Ministers.

My Lords, I do not think that the Government could have chosen a more unfortunate moment, from the Commonwealth's point of view, to introduce this legislation. Although no doubt this legislation will not discriminate between the races, the practical effects of it will be to keep out coloured immigrants. It will appear to the new Commonwealth countries in Asia and Africa that we are, in fact, discriminating against their people, against coloured people. These new countries are precisely the countries where Commonwealth ties are newest, and therefore weakest, and where we think they most need strengthening. Nor will this be an encouragement to other British territories in Africa, at present on the way to self-government, to make the Commonwealth their home when they become independent.

But perhaps the most unfortunate mistake of timing is that these proposals coincide with our decision to try to enter the Common Market. This decision has already shaken and dismayed the Commonwealth. Yet we go on, in the same year, to propose the closing, or at least the part closing, of our open door to Commonwealth citizens. My Lords, everyone knows that the free movement of labour is one of the objects of the Treaty of Rome, so we are apparently willing to give free entry to foreign workers from the Continent at the very moment we are proposing to bar the door to workers from Commonwealth countries. Can we really say that we are more willing to have poor workers from Italy, Southern France or Germany than we are to have poor workers from the West Indies or Pakistan?

Of course, it is often said on the other side that Commonwealth countries do not open their doors to British immigrants, and that we should treat their people in the same way. Apart from the principle of the thing, I think there are two answers to this argument. One is this: that it is surely our duty to keep this door open even if others have failed to do it. There is one moral consideration here, I think. Our own standard of living has been built up in the past on cheap foodstuffs and raw materials from many parts of the world, including, of course, our own Commonwealth, and, in a sense, we are paying a debt by admitting our impoverished neighbours from the Colonies and from Commonwealth countries. There is also (and this is the second answer to this argument) a very practical advantage to us in having these people here. They take on the heavy, dirty, unpleasant jobs that British workers do not want to do. Without this addition to our labour force we should not have achieved the full amount of expansion in production that we have achieved in the last few years. Even if it is less than we expected or desired, at any rate it is some degree of expansion; and if, in the future, our economy is to go on expanding—and we hope much more rapidly in the future than it has done in the past few years—we shall need all the labour we can get.

My Lords, that is the sort of fear that we on this side of the House entertain about this proposal to restrict immigration. I am quite certain that it is causing profound concern in the Commonwealth. It seems to me, looking back over the years since the war, that it is a sad irony that the Conservative Party, which has always been the champion of Empire and Commonwealth, should have done more than any other Government in the past two years to strike vital blows at the fabric of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is not going to disintegrate. That has not happened, and I am sure that it will not happen, so long as new countries wish to continue to be in the Commonwealth. But the stresses and strains under which the Commonwealth is suffering, at the moment are certainly due to the policy pursued by the present Government.

5.16 p.m.


My Lords, as an old Colonial Secretary I should like to be associated with what the noble Earl said in sympathy to the people of Belize, and I am sure that that goes for all of us in all parts of the House. There are only two territories to which I had intended to devote the few observations I want to offer to the House, and Northern Rhodesia was not one of them. But, my Lords, having been pretty closely associated in the past with all these matters, and having heard to-day the speech of my noble friend Lord Salisbury and the speech of the noble Earl, I must give it as my considered opinion that I think the Government would make the worst of both worlds if they did not stand by the considered judgment on the Northern Rhodesian Constitution which they announced to both Europeans and Africans through the mouth of the Governor in such clear and precise terms, and which, indeed, they announced to us in both Houses of Parliament, where it received full endorsement. I do not pretend that it received that from the noble Earl, but it received it from certainly all their supporters in both Houses and, I think, a number of people of no particular political opinion.

My Lords, the two territories I want to say one word about are Kenya and (I make no apology for coming back to it in this debate, because it impinges on the whole of the African territory) the Congo. In Kenya the situation is in some ways, as I see it, more simple, but in others it is more serious. Politically, I think it is simpler because, as I gather from what I read, everybody in Kenya now accepts that before so very long Kenya will achieve independence. Economically, the position seems to be much more serious. Economically and financially, there has been a progressive and rapid deterioration. Anyone who knows Kenya knows that the whole of the economy of that country depends upon the European farmers, and uncertainty as to their future security has already produced an agricultural crisis in that country.

Production is badly down. The production of Wheat is far less than it was, and the production of maize is far less. This is partly due, it is true, to drought, but it is largely owing to a failure to farm in that intensive way in which Kenya has been farmed in the past. In recent months vast quantities of maize have had to be imported, for which the country really cannot possibly afford to pay. On these farms—and anyone who knows them knows how intensive and progressive the farming is—forward planning has become practically impossible. Indeed, men who have been some of the best farmers in any Continent are now, instead of developing the land and getting increasing production, tending to mine the land and get out of it just what they can. And, my Lords, it is not just because of agriculture, but because that is the key to Kenya, the decline has carried over into commerce and industry where there is serious and increasing unemployment.

Unless this trend can be checked and confidence restored, the country will be bankrupt. I am not sure that it is not on the verge of bankruptcy now, but it will certainly be bankrupt long before it attains independence. This is not a question where the interests of black and white conflict. It may be, when one comes to voting in Rhodesia, one can argue it this way or that. I do not think there is anybody in any quarter of the House who would contend for a moment that the efficient farming of Kenya is not just as much the interest of the African population as it is of the European population. There is, quite frankly, only one solution to this common problem, and that is to give security to the European farmers.

Many years ago it fell to me, as Colonial Secretary, to appoint the Carter Commission on Land in Kenya. It was an extremely competent body, and it conducted the most exhaustive inquiry there has ever been into Kenya land and Kenya land problems. Every claim, legal, equitable, or historical, was examined, and they recommended very large increases in the native areas. Over 1,470 square miles were awarded to various tribes and reserves. Another 1,150 square miles or more were given to meet present and future economic requirements, so far as they could be foreseen; and, in addition, something between 900 and 1,000 square miles were added for good measure, but not allocated to any particular tribe. In making those recommendations—and I venture to read these words to the House because I think they apply with as much force to-day as they did when Carter and his colleagues wrote them—the Commission said, in paragraph 1979 of their Report: These recommendations"— these enormous accretions which were given— may perhaps give rise to a natural apprehension among Europeans that the extent of the Highlands may be again diminished. One of the main objects of our Report has been to frame recommendations which would is a really terrible problem for the instil a feeling of security in the minds of the natives with regard to their lands. If, in doing so, we had only transferred the feeling of insecurity from the natives to the Europeans, we should not feel that we have succeeded in our task. We therefore recommend that the boundaries of the European Highlands should be safeguarded by Order in Council, so that the European community may have the same measure of security in regard to land as we have recommended for the natives. And in 1939, I think it was, an Order in Council was made giving effect to those recommendations.

Now I know that a year or two ago that particular 1939 Order in Council was revoked in order to facilitate further land planning in Kenya; but I am quite certain, and I am sure the noble Earl, Lord Perth, will bear me out, that there was certainly no intention—and my noble friend was in the Government at the time; perhaps I was too—that the security given by the Order in Council of 1939 should be undermined by the new Order. If Kenya is to be restored and is to be economically viable, the confidence of the farmers in their title and in their tenure must be re-established.

My Lords, I differ in method, though not, I think, in broad intent, from my noble friend Lord Salisbury. Compensation or financial guarantees—though there is certainly a strong equitable claim for those—I do not think will really afford a solution of the problem, a solution in the interests of the whole of Kenya. The skill and enterprise of these European farmers is essential. I am sure most of them want to stay there. That is where they have made their homes; that is where they have built up their remarkable achievement; that is where they have lived and want to go on living their lives. My Lords, we have countless constitutional conferences; Lancaster House is open every day to one or another. I do not complain of that. But surely the most urgent conference which should be convened now is a conference on land and to work out a charter, a charter which all need and a charter to which, I believe, now they are seeing more and more the realities of the position, all Africans and Europeans would be brought to accept and subscribe to. At any rate, I make that, I hope not un- constructive, contribution towards what is a really terrible problem for the future, because I cannot conceive of any worse heritage when you go into independence than complete bankruptcy and economic frustration for the whole of the future.

I want also to put one or two points to the Government about the Congo. In doing so, it is certainly no reflection upon Lord Lansdowne's admirable speech a week or two ago, and still less a reflection upon that mission which he conducted in the Congo and at Ndola, which was as plucky as it was practical. But events move so rapidly in that place, and reports are so uncertain and so conflicting, that I make no excuse for asking for reliable information and also for asking, if I may respectfully do so, for a clear statement, in the present situation, of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, how they are implementing it, and how they propose to implement it. As I understand it, the Government originally supported the United Nations intervention in the Congo in order to prevent what I may call a "Spanish situation". Indeed, I think that was the phrase used by at least one member of the Government, perhaps by the Leader of the House. By that I mean a situation in which there were warring factions and outside nations sending in arms and men to support one faction or the other. That was a most desirable thing to do and it was their hope, as it still is the hope of all of us, that the Congelese would settle their own future by peaceful agreement.

I think that to most of those who know the country and its infinite variety and diversity a federal solution would appear the most hopeful and the most practical. Surely the Congolese people will be wise to look North to the great country of Nigeria, also very diverse in its population, where a federal solution has been so completely successful and is working so well. But, of course, that is for the Congo to decide. What I think is utterly wrong—and I must say this emphatically—is that the United Nations Organisation should try to force a solution and coerce any of the provinces. I was profoundly shocked, as probably most of your Lordships were, by the armed intervention of the United Nations troops in an attempt, which nearly succeeded, to seize strategic points in Katanga. I have no doubt that they had the support of Dr. Nkrumah, but then, Dr. Nkrumah has made opposition a criminal, if not a capital, offence in his own country. As we know, it had been accompanied by some extraordinary calumnies by Mr. Nehru on this country, and the operations there had the support of Mr. Nehru. Again, that was not surprising, because it was precisely the technique which Mr. Nehru himself had employed in Kashmir.

But I am sure that the intervention—the armed aggression, I had almost called it—was not supported by Her Majesty's Government. That has stopped and there is a cease-fire, thanks largely to the expedition and skill of my noble friend Lord Lansdowne. But I ask the Government this: what is the present position? What did that cease-fire mean, and what does it mean? According to one United Nations official it means that Leopoldville can attack Katanga, but Katanga cannot have weapons or troops to defend itself. Really, cet animal est frès méchant: Oland on l'attaque il se défend. The Government will help us and certainly will help the Congo if they can speak out in this debate and say what are the facts and what are their intentions.

Having spoken on the Congo, I feel that I cannot close without a word about the many Belgian civilians who have been working there, because in the two years during the war in which I visited many parts of the Congo I saw the work of these men—administrators, missionaries, teachers, doctors, agriculturists, technicians and welfare workers, These men were not "alien mercenaries". These men were devoted volunteers, brave and devoted volunteers, who gave of their best in the high tradition of British trusteeship, of which we are so proud; and I think that there are many in your Lordships' House who would wish me to pay that tribute to these men to-day.

5.36 p.m.


My Lords, it is very appropriate that on this first regular day of the new Session we should devote the major part of our time to the Colonies and to Commonwealth affairs. The gracious Speech itself contained many references to the Colonies and to the Commonwealth. We have just con- cluded here in London a most successful Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, in which a number of Members of your Lordships' House took part as delegates. Finally, we have a new Colonial Secretary. And I should like to take this opportunity of wishing my old friend Mr. Maudling the greatest success in his difficult task. I should also like to pay my personal tribute to Mr. Macleod. In the two years during which he held the important office of Colonial Secretary, he has become a highly controversial figure. Whether or not one agreed with all he sought to do, it must always be said of him that he had the courage of his convictions. Certainly in the most recent negotiations on Uganda, he scored an outstanding success, which will be acclaimed by all.

I noticed the other day that when the present Colonial Secretary made his initial speech in the debate on African affairs in another place, he mentioned that Mr. Macleod had held office at a time of intense difficulty. While no one would dispute this, I wonder whether the difficulties of the past two years can compare in terms of magnitude with those which my noble friends Lord Chandos and Lord Boyd of Merton experienced when the emergencies of Malaya, Mau-Mau, Cyprus and Nyasaland were at their height. I can well remember the day when it was perfectly normal for the Colonial Secretary to have over 100 oral Questions down on the Order Paper in one afternoon.

It seems to me that the difficulties which the Colonial Secretary has to confront to-day are of a different character. We are up against the hard core of our Colonial problem—namely, the issue of the multi-racial society. This is something which, generally speaking, has defeated the efforts of the statesmen of many other countries. We have only to look at the Union of South Africa, Algeria or, I might even say, the Congo, to recognise this truth. To us in this country it presents a special challenge, not merely because of the debt which we owe to the British men and women who have been encouraged by previous British Governments of all Parties to go out to these territories and make their lives there, but also because the strength of our position as the leading member of the Commonwealth depends on the fact that the Commonwealth itself is multiracial and that we in the Commonwealth can show the world in miniature the pictures of what we should like to see in general application—the ability of countries of all races and creeds to understand one another's problems and settle them by agreement.

Having regard to this, it seems to me all the more unfortunate that at this time, as announced in the gracious Speech, Her Majesty's Government should be contemplating steps to deal with immigration into this country which, however the regulations may be worded, must in fact be regarded in the West Indies and, to a lesser extent, in India and Pakistan as directed against people of a different colour. I understand very well the difficulties involved in the social developments to which the noble Earl opposite has referred. I understand, and indeed I have always supported, the proposal that there should be some powers to deport undesirables. Not having yet seen the proposed legislation, it is impossible to comment on the measures which are to be introduced to restrict the entry of British subjects coming here for the purpose of working. No doubt we shall have the opportunity of debating these matters in due course, but meanwhile I would urge the Government to exercise the greatest care to avoid anything which can be construed as discriminatory in the matter of colour.

I see that immigrants from Southern Ireland are to be included in the scheme, and there seems to be some suggestion that they may be accorded special treatment. I feel most strongly that no preference whatever should be given to white citizens of what is, after all, a Republic outside the Commonwealth, as opposed, for example, to British subjects from the West Indies, whose economic prospects in their own country are hazardous in the extreme and certainly worse than those in Southern Ireland. Do not let us forget that one of the reasons why Fidel Castro was successful in his revolution in Cuba, just next door to Jamaica, was that he was able to exploit the distress and unemnloyment of the peasants and urban proletariat of Cuba.

This matter of emigration from the West Indies has assumed an even greater importance in the face of the, to my mind, tragic decision of Jamaica to leave the Federation of the West Indies. I hope sincerely that some way may still be found of preserving the valuable common services which have grown up between the West Indian territories concerned. What is certain, however, is that the reorganisation and constitutional changes resulting from Jamaica's decision, which are in fact referred to in the gracious Speech, are bound to be made more difficult by any increase in unemployment as a result of cutting off immigration into this country.

The gracious Speech states that Bills will be introduced to provide for the independence of Tanganyika and Uganda. I think that we all welcome these developments. So far as Tanganyika is concerned, we were all pleased to see that the Government had had second thoughts about the amount of financial assistance to Tanganyika over the next few years. I hope that our efforts will not end there, and that in any future East African Federation, which in the nature of things is bound for many y ears to be economically weak and vulnerable, we shall continue to maintain our financial assistance. Personally, I have always felt considerable sympathy with the views of members of the Opposition, and, indeed, of some of my own Party, who have favoured the continuation of investment by the Colonial Development Corporation in new projects in territories which have become independent. We have in the C.D.C. an instrument ready to hand for continuing to give technical and financial aid to the emerging territories; an instrument which they know well, which is well established, and to which no strings are attached. I have never quite understood our Government's reluctance to reconsider their attitude on this matter, and I hope that they will do so now.

While Sir Patrick Renison in Kenya has still many difficulties and anxieties ahead of him, it is pleasant to be able to reflect that the last official act of Sir Frederick Crawford, the Governor of Uganda, yesterday was to sign a new agreement with His Highness the Kabaka of Buganda. This is, we hope, the end of a long chapter of unhappy relations between Britain, Uganda and Buganda. It is a settlement to which the good sense of all parties contributed but in which the Mission of my noble friend Lord Muster undoubtedly played the leading part.

So far as Kenya is concerned, we are going through a particularly difficult and anxious period. I myself was not one of those who opposed the release of Jomo Kenyatta, subject always to security considerations. Quite frankly, I never saw him in the light of a great new Kenya leader; but I did believe that his continued detention was an irritant in an already highly difficult and complex situation. All that has happened since his release does not convince me that he has shown any further signs of coming the great national leader the people were hoping for. He has apparently been willing to sacrifice his desire to become a national leader in favour of his relations with the Kikuyu tribe and with K.A.N.U., particularly now that he has accepted the Presidency. As he has said on several occasions, he is still the same old Kenyatta, and now he comes out as the leader of the Kikuyu.

But, my Lords, what is significant seems to be this: that a number of other former Mau-Mau leaders are now being received into K.A.N.U.: and from what they are saying one can only assume that, like the Bourbons, they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing new, Jomo Kenyatta has been cautious to the point of ambivalence over such matters as European land rights. But Mr. Paul Ngei, the Kamba ex-Mau-Mau leader, who surely would not have been allowed to speak on so many occasions in the presence of Kenyatta and other leaders without permission, has been openly demanding, in most offensive and threatening terms, the take-over of the farms of Europeans. All this, with the increase of trespassing and squatting on European farms, and the breakdown of the talks, has caused us the greatest anxiety, and it is no wonder that the Governor, in his broadcast the other day, said that he was dispirited and frustrated. He has just been over here for talks with the Colonial Secretary, but I suppose that it is too much to hope that the Government will be able to tell us anything about them this evening.

My own view is that in these circumstances, K.A.D.U who have shown great courage, should be encouraged to go on with the task of governing; and both parties should be told that when they are ready to resume constitutional talks around the table together we shall be glad to provide the necessary facilities. Any such talks, in my view, should certainly include consideration of K.A.D.U.'s recent proposals for regionalisation, or what one might almost call cantonisation, of Kenya. I have always felt that tribalism in Kenya constituted a far greater danger and stumbling block than the relations between Africans and Europeans; and certainly the truth of this is now being borne out by events. I noticed the other day that Mr. Mboya, during a recent visit to Addis Ababa, accused Britain and what he called other Imperialists "of seeking to divide and rule by encouraging political kliffercinces between the main Parties. That was a very different thing from what he said on arrival in London the other night, when, on the television, he expressed surprise that Britain, having implanted the two-Party system in her overseas territories, should now be seeking to secure a united national front in Kenya. He then added, in a way which I do not think bodes well for the future: I personally believe in a one-Party system". I thought that rather sinister.

We are able this week to welcome the arrival in London of two remarkable men, both of whom, in their different spheres, are, I believe, seeking, with all sincerity, to find solutions to this vital problem of the multi-racial or plural society in Africa. I am referring, of course, to Mr. Michael Blundell and Sir Roy Welensky. Mr. Michael Blundell is already here, and I should like to take this opportunity to say that, in the face of the many criticisms to which he has been subjected, he has shown the greatest courage and self-sacrifice in working for what he believes to be the real interests of Europeans in Kenya and of Kenya itself. It has not been an easy task for him, and I am sure that at times he must have suffered greatly. I have no doubt that the Government will welcome this opportunity of drawing on his great knowledge and experience in deciding on the tactics to be pursued in the immediate future.

So far as Sir Roy is concerned, he is well known to many of us here. He, too, has been grossly misrepresented and maligned, particularly in the British Press, of almost all political denominations. In his case, of course, unlike Mr. Blundell, he is portrayed as a Right Wing ogre and a diehard whose only aim is to stem the pace of African advance. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sir Roy Welensky's aim always has been to push on with African political advance, provided that the government remained in the hands of responsible people. That is not really so far removed from the Prime Minister's definition, in his "wind of change" speech, that the criterion should be merit and merit alone—though that, I am afraid, is a conception which in some places has been wearing a little thin of late.

Here I should like to refer to the constitutional plan for Northern Rhodesia. I do not think that any of us who have been following events in recent years in Central Africa very much liked the February Constitution, or its elaboration last June. We should have much preferred to see the Lennox-Boyd Constitution of 1958, which of course was supposed to last for ten years, built up so as to increase greatly the African representation. However, the pass was in fact sold by the recommendation in the Monckton Commission Report that there should be an African majority in Northern Rhodesia forthwith, and this, as one prominent Liberal leader in Northern Rhodesia told me a year ago, pulled the carpet from under his feet.

The late Colonial Secretary, in his February Constitution, sought to arrive at a compromise. In its final form as set forth in the June White Paper, the scheme, though highly complicated, at least provided that nearly one-third of the candidates should have to draw support from all races in order to be elected. Although some enthusiastic supporters of the United Federal Party have claimed otherwise (and I think that was a claim which was mentioned this afternoon by the noble Earl opposite), in my view it is quite impossible to judge whether or not the draft Constitution would throw up an African majority. But at least it would afford a better chance of ensuring that those who are elected have the goodwill of all races.

Therefore it was with considerable dismay that many of us learnt on September 13, from a Colonial Office statement, that there was some chance of the Constitution being watered down in the face of violence in Northern Rhodesia, inspired, undoubtedly, by the United National Independence Party. The Prime Minister's message to Mr. Kaunda, in reply to his letter of the 18th August, was quite categoric on the point of Mr. Kaunda's responsibility. There can, I think, be no doubt whatever that, had Mr. Kaunda wished to prevent these acts of violence and disorder, all he had to do was to say the word. The announcement, however, that subject to the cessation of violence and disorder further representations from the parties concerned would be considered, seems to me to constitute a deplorable concession to violence itself.

In the debate in another place on July 25 last, there was no suggestion by the Colonial Secretary that the arrangement announced in June was not final, in the sense that it was on this Constitution that the next elections would be held. There was, of course, no suggestion whatever of a permanent white domination of Northern Rhodesia. And, my Lords, undoubtedly the terms of the Northern Rhodesian Constitution played a considerable part in the favourable result of the referendum on the Constitution of Southern Rhodesia.

What took place in the meantime to make the Colonial Office have second thoughts? One can feel only that it was the rejection by Mr. Kaunda of the Constitution, and the launching of the campaign of violence and intimidation by his followers. I do not know what the Colonial Secretary has in mind to do when he receives in due course the written representations of the parties, but, from the announcement which I gather has been made to-day by the Governor, I understand that it is to be limited to matters of detail. I hope that that is so. But on the points to which Mr. Kaunda has taken exception both Mr. Macleod and the noble and learned Viscount who sits on the Woolsack have been perfectly clear.

The present Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, when asked in another place on July 25 wheher he wholeheartedly supported that section of the Constitution which ensured that every candidate in the National seats must have 400 votes, replied. "Yes, indeed", and he went on to refer to the alternative of 12½ per cent. I understand that that is the figure which Mr. Kaunda would now like to reduce to 5 per cent. I would remind your Lordships that this very figure of 12½ per cent., though I agree in a somewhat different context, was in fact suggested for discussion by my noble friend on the Woolsack in his speech on March 7 last, in which he said that this might be taken as the amount on which people would lose their deposits—that is to say, one-eighth.

So far as the Asian and coloured seat is concerned, it has been suggested that this has been picked out of the rest of the National seats to take away votes from the United National Independence Party. Personally, I am inclined to think that the Asians are more likely to vote for a European if their votes are mixed up in a lot of other votes than if they are being asked to vote among themselves for a particular candidate. In any case, it was the Monckton Commission itself which advocated that there should be some form of separate representation for Asians and coloureds.

For all these reasons, my Lords, I hope that the Government will not give way to any form of blackmail by the United National Independence Party, even if, as Mr. Kaunda has recently threatened, they do decide to boycott the elections unless these changes are made. People in this country are sometimes apt to forget that U.N.I.P. is not the only African Nationalist Party in Northern Rhodesia. The African National Congress, under Mr. Katilungu, has great influence and many supporters, particularly in the Copper Belt. They are not stooges; nor should we wish them to be so. I have no doubt that, in a fair fight with U.N.I.P., the African National Congress would command a considerable measure of support. Again, the paramount chief of Barotseland has made it absolutely clear that he and his Ministers are not willing to subject themselves to African extremist rule. So if U.N.I.P. and Mr. Kaunda, with the encouragement they have received from so many quarters, from Belgrade to Accra, decide to boycott the elections, I am sure that there are many Africans who are perfectly willing and capable of filling their place. I have no doubt that, so far as the mass of the Africans are concerned, all they want to do is to get a Constitution in being, to get the elections over, and to get on with their own business in peace.

When one looks at all these problems, and their complexities, one is bound to sympathise with the new Colonial Secretary in his tremendous task. 'I was much encouraged by many of the things that he said in his first speech, and not least 'by the quotation in his peroration that, "before you can have justice you must have security". It would be a brave man who would make any firm prediction as to how these events will unfold themselves. But however great the difficulties, I cannot help feeling that, despite the great anxiety of Europeans, particularly, of course, in Kenya and in Northern Rhodesia, things in East and Central Africa do look a little better than they did six months ago. Some of the African leaders seem to have learnt something. More and more Europeans have come to realise the inevitability of genuine co-operation with the Africans, if they and the territories are to survive and prosper. The British Government have, I think, arrived at a more realistic understanding of the position of the Europeans, whose welfare I think they always desired, but whose feelings and fears were often discounted or ignored.

We are to-day watching the greatest conscious experiment in history in creating a non-racial society on a democratic basis. It is something far more difficult than has ever been attempted before, because of the vast differences of history and background of the races concerned; because of the comparatively short time, unlike the West Indies, they have lived side by side, and because of the dangerous effects and influences of the cold war, of Communism and Pan-Africanism. It is too early yet to say whether it can succeed; but at least there is some progress, and there is hope.

5.59 p.m.


I intend to occupy a very few moments of your Lordships' time on one specific matter in the gracious Speech, to which several noble Lords, including the noble Lord who has just sat down, have already referred; that is, the proposal to control immigration into the United Kingdom. I should like to go a little further, if I can do so without insubordination, than my noble Leader, Lord Rea, and express my full sympathy with what I think I may call the apprehension and suspicion voiced by the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel. Of course we do not yet know exactly what controls Her Majesty's Government have in mind, so that it is impossible to say a great deal at this stage. But my own opinion—and it is my personal opinion—is that it is lamentable that any controls on these lines should be found necessary.

The Prime Minister said in another place yesterday that a limit would be placed only on the number of immigrants who have not a place of employment or who have no special skill. I want to ask what kind of sense that makes when it is to the unskilled, or the relatively unskilled, occupations that immigrant labour is going almost exclusively, and when all immigrant labour has to date been fully and immediately absorbed. The number of unfilled vacancies in Britain to-day is still very nearly as great as the number of unemployed. London Transport alone, for which immigrant labour has shown itself specially suited, has a staff deficiency to-day of 4,500, and is recruiting workers direct from Barbados, as reported in The Times yesterday, at the rate of 100 a month. As the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, has pointed out, nationals from Common Market countries will be allowed free entry into Britain if we join. Yet British subjects are to be restricted.

A great deal has been said in talks about the Common Market of the special considerations that will be allowed to Commonwealth countries, and I want to ask whether this proposal is an example of the kind of special consideration which the Commonwealth is going to receive. I feel that we here in Britain are responsible for the conditions in their own countries which forced these people to emigrate. They are our responsibility. A Jamaican does not want to leave home any more than, as I can vouch from my own experience, an Irishman wants to leave home. The remedy, I submit, lies in improving living conditions in the countries concerned, and not in destroying or abridging the vital and long-honoured rights of Her Majesty's subjects overseas.

6.3 p.m.


My Lords, to-day there is much talk of the United Kingdom's possible entry into the European Economic Community, and I was delighted to see in the gracious Speech that Her Majesty's Government are to maintain consultation with the Commonwealth in the coming talks. Surely the time has come when the ties between the Commonwealth and this country must be cemented even further than in the past. To achieve this, I believe it is essential that we should understand each other's differences because differences do exist even though we may speak the same language. In my view, this means that more Members from both Houses of Parliament should visit the Commonwealth, and that there should be more visits from the Commonwealth to this country. What, then, is at present hindering this? It is one thing, and that is expense. I have just come back with a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation from Canada, and now I can realise that that Association cannot send as many people to the Commonwealth as it wants to. I believe that in the past a delegation has been to Canada about once every five years, and now it is intended to send a delegation about every three years, but it will have to be curtailed in numbers. Therefore, all along the line the great hurdle is the cost.

One of the major items of the cost must be travel. I should like to suggest that, to get many more people flowing between the Commonwealth and this country, Service aircraft and ships might be used. There must very often be empty seats and berths on Service 'planes and ships plying between the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Why should we not make use of them? Another suggestion is that, instead of accommodation being provided always in hotels—and, rather naturally, the accommodation is in the best and most expensive hotels—why should not more hospitality be given in the homes in the countries? The mere fact of staying in homes rather than in hotels helps to bring about, I believe, a better understanding. I venture to suggest that nobody can express a really informed view about the affairs of any country unless they have actually visited that country.

When I was in Canada I sowed the seed of this suggestion that service ships and aircraft might be used, and wherever I went I found that this suggestion was well received. So I hope that Her Majesty's Government will follow it up and try to work out a practical solution with the countries of the Commonwealth. If the Mother Country and our great Commonwealth are to pull together as a team, which they must, then it is essential that all of us in the United Kingdom and in the Commonwealth should understand each other's differences.

6.7 p.m.


My Lords, in what seemed to many of us, and certainly to myself, a most admirable speech yesterday the noble Lord, Lord Melchett, said many wise things. One of them, if I may read from his words in dealing with the foreign situation, was this [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 235 (No. 1), col. 9]: So we have been driven back once again to the age-old method of keeping the peace by the balance of power. That, surely, is right. I think we must look at all the proposals which are now being put before us in the field of foreign affairs, and of Colonial and Commonwealth affairs, in that light, to see just how we are setting about this job of obtaining the right form of balanced power: to put it perhaps rather more bluntly, how we are succeeding in keeping those who used to be our Colonials and are now part of the Commonwealth on the side of the free world, making sure that at any time, at any emergency, and during the long dreary period of a cold war, they are firmly on our side.

To-day the debate has dealt largely with different aspects of that question of what is going on in different parts of the Commonwealth. The only general comment I should like to make on that is that I wholeheartedly agree with what my noble friend Lord Listowel said in answer to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury: that there is far more danger in this respect in going too slowly than in going too fast. While I would not endorse in every respect everything the Government are doing in the matter of the Commonwealth, at least I would certainly support them in not going any slower than they are at the present time. I believe (and several of your Lordships who have spoken already clearly share this view) that one of the most retrograde steps we are taking or are proposing to take at the present time—and I hope it will be modified—and one of the steps which is going to have the most adverse effect on retaining the loyalty, good will and co-operation of the Commonwealth, is this proposal to limit immigration into this country. So far as I am concerned, this is a matter of deep principle. I believe it is wrong for this country, the Mother Country of the Commonwealth, physically to restrain other members of the Commonwealth from coming into it.

Even though the younger countries of the Commonwealth may do so, so far as we are concerned it is not for us to follow their example. It must be for us to give them an example. What is more, we consider ourselves, whatever our own individual religions may be, a Christian country. We consider ourselves governed by Christian ethics and we must remember that we are enjoined to love our neighbours as ourselves. And while it is too starry-eyed for us to think that that means that we must throw wide open the doors of this country to every other country that ever is, that is something we should aim at. We cannot achieve it to-day, but at least do not let us close even slightly such an opening as there already is in the door of entry into this country, particularly when it allows in those who are close members of the Commonwealth.

My Lords, it seems to me that there are three groups of people in this discussion on immigration, which has been talked about widely and very seriously and very responsibly throughout the country in the last weeks and the last months. There are those—and I am very nearly one of them, though perhaps not quite—who say that, come what may, we must never close the door to any member of the Commonwealth at all. No argument can be strong enough to allow that to happen. There are others, and I think they are the majority, who believe in unfettered immigration if it is possible, but because they consider themselves realists, because they are realists, they say there are certain occasions when restriction may be necessary for the welfare not only of this country but of the Commonwealth itself. There may be too few houses; there may be too few jobs; and there may be a whole series of reasons. Thirdly there is the group, and I say that they are a very small minority, who are basically anti-foreigners, who are basically anti-black—some with the courage to say so straight out, but others masquerading under the need to recognise the housing shortage and to prevent riots, and all the rest of it. They would support measures to restrict immigration which were far more stringent than in fact the present conditions demand.

My Lords, I could not help feeling while I was considering this problem this morning that there was something in The Walrus and the Carpenter which had some bearing on this problem and which was apt to-day. I have looked it up in the Library this afternoon and it is worth reading quite a lot of it. I shall not weary your Lordships by doing that, but. if I may, I will read two verses. You will remember that as they were walking along the beach they encouraged the oysters to come: And thick and fast they came at last, And more, and more, and more"— and so on. Then, towards the end: 'It seems a shame ', the Walrus said, 'To play them such a trick. After we have brought them out so far, And made them trot so quick!' The Carpenter said nothing but The butter's spread too thick!' Whether he was a disgruntled surtax payer, or someone who had "never had it so good", I do not know. 'I weep for you ', the Walrus said, 'I deeply sympathise.' With sobs and tears he sorted out Those of the largest size. Holding his pocket-handkerchief Before his streaming eyes. Do not let us be like that. If we do not want these people in, let us say so. But do not let us say we should like to have them if only we could, but there is not quite enough butter to go round so they will have to go without. With those people, with that group, there can be no compromise. I think it is possible that those of us who are firmly convinced on the grounds of principle that there should be no restriction on immigration, and those who genuinely would like to see that situation but who feel there may be some need for it, can work together for what, after all, is the thing that we both believe in.

But before we can do that we must get these facts of the immigration problem abundantly clear. We must know why it is they are coming; we must know how many are coming; we must know how many are likely to come; how many are absorbed into work, and so on. I cannot give you those figures—I hope the Government can do so—but we know, and the noble Lord who has just spoken, Lord Kilbracken, made this clear, that at the moment in this country, in spite of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's restrictive practices, there is still no widespread unemployment. We hope it will go on; and we know that those immigrants who are coming in from foreign countries are, in the main still, able to get jobs. Many of them are unable to get suitable houses; that is quite true. But many of our own people are unable to do so. As my noble friend Lord Listowel and others have said, the answer to that must surely be to build more houses rather than keep some people out.

How many people is it thought that in fact we should be keeping out? How many people in fact are coming in? To deal with the present time—these figures are from The Times this morning, and many of your Lordships will have read them—for the whole of 1960 there were 61,400 immigrants into this country from the Colonies and Commonwealth. In the first nine months of 1961 that figure rose to 88,650. An estimate for the whole year might be 100,000, perhaps a little more. If these restrictions are not going to be unduly severe, if they are not really going to cut right across the whole immigration from the Commonwealth, we cannot expect to keep out many more than 10 per cent. of the people who otherwise would come in. Even if the number of 100,000 to 110,000 were to double in the next year, that would mean that we should be keeping out only 20,000 people, something like 6,000 or 7,000 families; and that cannot really have very much effect on the housing problem in this country. Do not let us use houses as an excuse. I know that there are indeed sad cases; I know that there are areas in London and in the provinces where we find great overcrowding, where we find perhaps the beginnings of racial prejudice in its worst form, just as in parts of Hampstead in 1938 and 1939 we found some beginnings of racial prejudice against the Jewish refugees from Germany. That was always bound to occur, but let us keep it in proportion and let us realise how many people are affected by this and how many would be affected by any proposed legislation of the Government.

When it comes to criminals, convicted criminals, by all means let us send them back to their home countries. I myself do not think we shall find any significant number of criminals coming from the more distant parts of the Commonwealth. I am told—I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Kilbracken, is not here, as fie might be able to refute this—that if we were to return convicted criminals from Eire to their country it would go quite a long way to solving the overcrowding of our prisons at the present time. I am not against that at all. I do not think it is a measure which would need any serious or far-reaching legislation.

Returning to some of these facts that we must keep in front of our minds, the Prime Minister yesterday in another place stated that the present rate of immigration was running at something like 4,000 a week. That, indeed, is a very high figure; it is a figure which does cause one a certain amount of alarm. But we must remember that two factors have contributed to making that figure a particularly high one. In the first place, this is the normal seasonal time for most immigrants to come into this country. In previous years there has always been a bulge in September and October, and there is no reason to think that this year should be any different; so that that is by no means the average figure over the year.

But there is another factor Which is of great importance. Naturally the people in the West Indies, particularly in Jamaica, have heard of this proposed legislation. They are "trying to beat the gun", crowding on to the ships, and the rate has risen rapidly, so that if this legislation comes into force they at least will be here. That is the second factor that has exerted itself on the figure of 4,000. There is also a third factor. A large number of the people who are coming this year into this country are women and children coming to join their husbands and fathers who have, at any rate in their own eyes, made good, Who have got themselves a job, got themselves somewhere to live and who have enough money to bring their wives and families over here. That is a very great reason leading to the increased number of immigrants who are coming here at the present time. In fact, in the past six months 88 per cent. of the total of immigrants from the West Indies have been women and children coming to join their husbands and their fathers. Those I believe to be the actual facts, so far as we can ascertain them, and, as I said, I hope that the noble Earl, or at some later stage some other Government speaker, will give us more of these facts before we decide on what should be done.

I should like to take up a point which again another noble Lord has already raised, and that is why these people leave their homes. After all, it can be no very great joke for somebody, whether he be a Pakistani, an Indian or a West Indian, to leave the country, the village in which he has been born and in which he has been brought up, to leave the sort of community life that he is used to, the sort of work he is used to, above all the sort of climate he is used to, and come to this unknown Island many thousands of miles away, among people of strange and different habits. That is not a thing which is undertaken lightly and it is not a thing normally which is undertaken happily. It is undertaken on a large scale only if conditions in their own home countries are such that they can see no prospect either for themselves or for their children.

That must be our responsibility. What has happened in the past is our responsibility; and of that there is no need to talk now because we can do nothing about it. But we are responsible also for what is happening at the present time and what is likely to happen in the future. We have already had debates on this subject, and I was glad to hear the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, mention investment by the Overseas Development Corporation in non-colonial territories. If we really want to tackle this problem of immigration we must tackle it at its source, and we must, to the best of our ability, make certain that the conditions in the home countries of these people are such that they can there lead a decent life and feel that there they have an opportunity of bringing up their children to get a decent education and have proper facilities for developing into better human beings.

We should, in my opinion, not only devote more resources, even though we are short of resources, to the provision of these facilities, schools, universities, roads, dwellings, services and all the rest; and here again I should like to take up a point which was made by the noble Lord, Lord Melchett—I was about to say "my noble friend, Lord Melchett", because many of the feelings that he expressed might so well have come from this side. The point that the noble Lord made was the need for long-term contracts for the underdeveloped areas and, in particular, for our own Commonwealth territories. We can do more to help them, more to retain that balance of power, more to ensure that they are on our side in the years to come, by giving them security for what they produce—tin, rubber, oil seeds, or whatever it may be—than by any other means. That is something to which I hope we shall give far more attention, rather than to these purely short-term, ad hoc, restrictive measures of trying to deal with a short-term immediate problem.

I sincerely hope, for the sake of Commonwealth unity, and, above all, for the sake of the Christian principles in which we in this country believe and upon which the moral leadership which we still exert in the world and which, I hope, we shall go on exerting is based, that we shall give serious second thoughts to any suggestion whatsoever of restricting immigration from the Commonwealth.

6.28 p.m.


My Lords, before the noble Earl replies, may I put a point to him in regard to Commonwealth affairs? The country has been shocked with the continued explosions in the Soviet Union. I believe there have been two further ones since the big bomb was let off the other day. We in this country are most concerned with fall-out in our own country, and so is Europe. I should like to know from the noble Earl whether the information that is available to Her Majesty's Government has been passed on to the Governments of the Colonies and the Commonwealth. Many of those Colonial countries will have large numbers of people who will be vulnerable to fall-out, and I should hope that the information that is available to Her Majesty's Government, and I would say any resources that Her Majesty's Government may be able to make available to those Governments, should be made available to the people within our Colonies and Commonwealth.

I do not know the reasons why the Russians continue to explode these bombs. It may be to create fear in the Western camp. It certainly will create fear in the countries of the Commonwealth and the Colonies. Those people will be very vulnerable to fear, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will see that the information they have, and, if necessary, resources, such as dried milk, will be made available to the peoples in our Colonies, if it is necessary. If the noble Earl cannot give me that information this evening, I wonder whether we can have it to-morrow when we have the defence debate.

6.29 p.m.


My Lords, we have, on this first day of the debate on Her Gracious Majesty's Speech, paid most of our attention to Commonwealth and Colonial matters; and that, I think, is both right and proper. I recall that both the noble Lord, Lord Melchett and the noble Lord, Lord Amherst of Hackney, in one respect or another, touched on these Commonwealth affairs, remarkably in a non-controversial way. Indeed, they showed great skill in dealing with the subjects in a non-controversial way, yet keeping all our interest alive. To-day, of course—and I am not surprised—there has been more controversy; and that at this time is good. After all, these are things which deeply concern us, and if we were all singing with the same voice we should not get the right answers to them.

I recall also that this is the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association which has been referred to by many noble Lords. I do not have to go into the value of this Association. As your Lordships know, its great value is that so many from so many parts of the Commonwealth all get to meet each other. I think it is worth recalling that 50 years ago there were six members of this Commonwealth Association. At the meeting the other day there were over 60; and of that number 12 were main branches—that is, territories which have achieved independence; another 12 were nearing that winning post; and another 12 were, if I may put it this way, in the straight.

That, surely, is a tribute to the policy we have been following in the colonial field over the years and, more particularly I think, for the last two or three years. Frankly, I do not understand the noble Lord, Lord Rea, who felt that over the last several years we had not done so well or as well as before. I am confident that our record in regard to this time will stand examination. I will, in defence, give a detailed exposition on that when I have done with the political or the economic events in the territories. The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, I believe, made rather the same point. But again, I really cannot accept that in the last two years, somehow or other, our policy has failed or has been a blow at the Commonwealth.

The noble Lord, Lord Forbes, made the suggestion that we should do more to help in arranging visits to Commonwealth territories under the auspices of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. Of course we, as a Government, already make a considerable grant, some £20,000-odd, to the C.P.A., and leave it to them to decide what is the best means of spending it. All the same, the further suggestion which he has made to-day is certainly well worth consideration, and we shall give it that.

The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, raised a point which I think we all agree is a most important one. I know that my noble friend the Leader will look further into it, but I would say just this about it: that of course the risks to so many of our colonial territories, in particular, and to many of the Commonwealth countries, is much less than for us because the latitude in which they are placed is broadly not in the same danger zone, if that is the right word to use, as we are.


I was thinking in particular of Hong Kong which is, I think, more or less in the direct line of the fall-out.


Whether or not it is, I think that the suggestion was a most worthwhile one, and we will certainly look into it further.

There has been a great deal of discussion on whether there has been continuity in our colonial policy. In some respects I have no doubt that it is right that, whether it is Conservative, Liberal or Labour policy, there has been that continuity. I have been fortunate to serve under no fewer than three Secretaries of State for the Colonies—namely, Lord Boyd of Merton, Mr. Macleod and, now, Mr. Maudlin. I am not going to make comparisons between my experiences under Lord Boyd of Merton and Mr. Macleod. What I would say is that working with them has been fun; it has been inspiring, and it has been rewarding. I would also say that there has not been, nor is there, a change of policy because one man comes in and another goes out. All your Lordships know that it is not the policy of one man, it is the considered policy of Her Majesty's Government which always prevails in such matters.

As so many of your Lordships have said, the main problem that we live with to-day is in connection with some of the territories that are multi-racial. I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, who said that these are the most difficult; and I agree. The problem that we face is not to go too fast (I think that perhaps the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, would say that we were going too fast), yet not to go too slow. I believe that the world as a whole, the Commonwealth in particular, and the people in Africa, trust us in our colonial policy. Further, I am quite sure that, while we must not lose that trust, we must at the same time ensure that no-one who is under our care is hurt. That is what we have tried to ensure, and what we shall continue to try to ensure.

How can I best help your Lordships in replying to the debate to-day? I think it is probably easier if I make, as it were, a tour d'horizon of the various countries, dealing with the various points that have been raised in that way. I am sure that the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, will not expect me to-day to touch on the Congo—no doubt that will come up at a later time. But let me start with the British Honduras.


I quite appreciate the noble Earl's point, but it would be of great help to the House to have an answer before this debate is over.


I am sure that that will be borne in mind.

Perhaps I may turn first of all to British Honduras, about which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, asked a question. I am afraid that we have not at present all the information we should like, but there is no doubt that a disaster has occurred and that this hurricane passed over Belize and that a tidal wave followed. So far, only two deaths have been reported; but the reports are not complete and, as we have had no news from the area, it is feared that the villages and townships in the Stann Creek district received the full force of the hurricane. Relief measures are being co-ordinated by the Red Cross in Jamaica. Two American destroyers are expected to arrive to-day, and H.M.S. "Troubridge" is on her way, with relief supplies, and is expected to arrive at dawn to-morrow. I know that I am expressing all your Lordships' thoughts when I say how deeply we regret this disaster. As always, of course, we will consider what further help we can give in such a matter.

Then another tragedy has occurred in one of the Colonies in the last month or so—I have in mind Tristan da Cunha. Those poor people have all had to leave their island and are now on their way to this country in the "Stirling Castle" They will arrive at the end of this week and, with the help of the Army, arrangements have been made to put them temporarily into a camp. The Red Cross, the St. John Organisation, the Women's Voluntary Services and others are all working to ensure that they will be well received and comfortable there, Clearly, it is far too early for me to say what the future holds. One will want to have discussions with them on what they themselves would like. At that time, of course, we will consider all the suggestions which have already been put forward.

I will just touch on one part of the Commonwealth or the Colonial Territories which has not been mentioned—namely Malaya, Singapore and the Borneo and Sarawak Territories. As your Lordships know, Tunku Abdul Rahman is coming over here in a short time for talks with the Prime Minister and other Members of the Government on proposals for a Greater Malasia. As I have already said, in answer to a question a short time ago, these proposals were looked upon as constructive and were welcome.

Now perhaps I may turn on to the West Indies. Of course we all regret that the great experiment of ten years of federation has, so far as Jamaica is concerned, come to an end. But there it is. We always said that it was open to the people themselves to decide, and the referendum went against continuing with the Federation. The sequel to that is that we have agreed that we will be ready to give Jamaica independence some time, and as early as possible, in the coming year. What about the rest of the territories? My Lords, it is too early to say what may be the outcome there. Trinidad is shortly to have elections, and others of the territories have not expressed their wishes—and this is what counts. But I would agree very much with the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and with him I hope all these territories will see that the common services which have been of such immense value to them will continue, whether the Federation, in its present form or amended, goes on or not.

So, my Lords, I come to Africa. In Africa we have the two main sources of anxiety, the two main areas which have been discussed at considerable length by various noble Lords this afternoon—namely, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and the territories of East Africa. Let me first touch on the Federation and, in particular, let me talk about Northern Rhodesia. First, we have the unhappy fact that over the last several months there has been considerable unrest and, unhappily, there have been deaths. Some twenty people were killed and many were injured. While it is quite true, as the noble Marquess said, that events were, happily, local, none the less they were very serious in themselves. But, again, there is good news on that matter, in that the Governor has today announced that the various emergency measures that he had to take to control the situation can now be removed—and, indeed, he has removed them from today. That is a good sign of normal conditions having returned. Indeed, the only restriction that now prevails in Northern Rhodesia is the banning of public meetings without permission, and I am sure that nobody would think that, under these conditions, that was something to be wondered at.

That is a very happy state of affairs, and with it there goes into action, if I may put it that way, the sequel to what was announced on September 13-namely, that when normal conditions were restored it would then be possible to consider certain changes in what was announced on June 26 as proposals for constitutional advance in Northern Rhodesia. Before I touch on that perhaps I ought to make it clear to the noble Marquess, and to one or two other noble Lords, who felt very unhappy that we had suggested we were ready to consider changes, that What we announced on June 26 was not an agreement. Unhappily, there was no agreement between the parties concerned on what was the right answer for Northern Rhodesia. I wish there had been agreement. What Her Majesty's Government had to do was themselves to lay down certain proposals—and I would stress the word "proposals"—which they thought were the best compromise and the best steps to take to achieve a further move forward for Northern Rhodesia. But, my Lords, it would surely have been wrong to have stood on that absolutely pat. If somebody could make a good point on detail, it ought surely to be considered. It was precisely that which we said on September 13 we were ready to do, and it is precisely that which is to 'happen now.

The Governor has made a statement to-day on just what is going to happen, and it goes as follows. He announces the fact that there no longer need be an emergency, and he says: This opens the way for consideration to be given to representations on those aspects of the proposed Constitution for the territories which attracted criticism after the announce- ment of the 26th June which may now be the subject of representations to Her Majesty's Government. The opportunity now offered to the parties to the constitutional conference and discussions which preceded the June announcement to represent their views does not mean"— and I would stress this— a further general review of the proposed Constitution. It is going to be limited to one or two points which have caused particular anxiety—that, for example, of the percentage which should be necessary for qualification in the elections.

Various noble Lords have talked about that matter in detail. I am not sure that one wants to get involved in what is a very complicated and difficult issue here; but what is certain is that, whereas, for the European, qualification might have amounted only to less than 5 per cent. of the African vote, for the African the qualification would certainly be 12½per cent. There are certain reasons which may justify that, but it is the kind of point that surely one has to look at again. It is that sort of thing at which we want to look again. Or, again, there is the question of the Asian seat. I know very well that the Monckton Report came out in favour of it, but I must say that we were rather taken aback when we found that many of the Asians strongly objected to this proposal. I am not saying what we are going to do; I do not know. We are going to see what the representations may be.

But, surely, under those conditions, and on that sort of detail, it would be a mistake if we just said, "We will not even listen; we will not even look." It is not due to blackmail; it is not the breaking of any agreement. It is something which I am sure is the natural and right course to follow. Furthermore, the Governor is having talks at this moment with one or two of the Party leaders over there, and if, by any chance, those Party leaders, or the Parties in Northern Rhodesia, could themselves come to a conclusion in this limited field, and would so tell us, there is nothing we should like more. That, indeed, would be the ideal way of proceeding.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl whether that would be the case if Sir Roy Welensky disapproved?


I do not understand the purport of the noble Lord's question. I said that what would be the ideal thing would be if the Parties over there—and one of those is the United Federal Party—were together agreed on what was the right course to follow.


If I may say so, the noble Earl said the Parties in Nyasaland.


If I said Nyasaland, I stand to be corrected. I think I said, or meant to say, Northern Rhodesia.

The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, talked about the British Council of Churches. I hardly feel that he would expect or think it was appropriate for me to try either to defend them or to support what he said. This is surely something which they will consider in its own light, and I can leave it at that.

On the question of the Federation, there was considerable discussion about, for example, just what the Monckton Report said. I think it was the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, who made one point and the noble Marquess made another—or, if not made another, questioned what he said. On that, I am not sure that the answer is not a draw—some-where in between the two. I have had the advantage of looking up what the Monckton Report said, and there, of course, they come down strongly in favour of federation, but they say that it is too much disliked to survive in its present form.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl. That is exactly the quotation I had in mind but which I could not remember.


Well, my Lords, honours are about even. At any rate, we have now clarified the point.

There has been considerable discussion on whether the next step to the Federal Constitution should be taken before the elections have taken place in Southern Rhodesia and in Northern Rhodesia, or whether they should await the outcome of those elections which, with the best will in the world, cannot be before the summer of next year. I think I can best say what may be the Government's view by quoting what was said by the Commonwealth Secretary in another place, I think only last week. He said this [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 646 (No. 166), col. 483]: Theoretically and logically, it would be right to wait until the elections have taken place in the three territories and new Legislatures and Governments have been formed on the basis of a new Constitution. But that may be rather a long time, and I think that we must consider whether further steps should be taken in the interval. In other words, my Lords, we frankly do not know at this moment.

Then another point was raised as to where we stand in relation to the Federation. Again I should like to quote. The Commonwealth Secretary said (col. 483): …I still firmly believe in the rightness of the concept of federation…But I must say what I have said before, that I believe that the Federation can continue only if it wins the general acceptance of the population as a whole within a reasonable time. That, my Lords, perhaps helps as to the various points which have been raised by various noble Lords on the question of federation.

Now I turn to Tanganyika, which is an easy and happy matter to turn to. I can only echo what Lord Amherst of Hackney said: that one of the most striking things here is the harmony of the races, the way Tanganyika is going into its independence, with harmony among all races there. Remember, there are many European settlers with European farms—all in harmony. I should also like to pay my tribute to their Prime Minister, Julius Nyerere, who I am happy to say is a friend of mine, and who has done such wonderful things in leading his country to the stage it has now reached.

Let me turn next to Uganda, where suddenly there is daylight. We had clouds in Uganda for many years, and the problem there looked insoluble. There was anxiety in many parts of Uganda at the predominance of Buganda. They feared that at the time of independence Buganda would try to rule them all. On the other side, the same fears existed: Buganda thought that the rest of the territory, which is more in numbers by three times, would take away from them many of their old-established authorities and customs. So there we had the classic case of both sides fearing, and both sides, therefore, being extremely difficult and unwilling to consider sitting down and talking one with the other. Then, as I say, suddenly there is daylight. We owe great thanks to the Kabaka and to the leaders in I3uganda. We owe great thanks to the Kings of the other territories. We owe thanks to all the politicians who took part in that Conference. And, of course, all this would have been far more difficult if it had not been for the help we were given by the Munster Commission, the Commission of the noble Earl, Lord Munster. Having got to the round table, as I said, suddenly daylight comes, and we are able to announce that on October 9 next year there will be independence.

I am not pretending, my Lords, that there are not still one or two difficult problems to solve, but I think and believe that, with the expectation of independence next year, when they come to these problems they will find a solution. To me, it is a particularly happy event that the announcement of the end of this Constitutional Conference was almost the last act, if not the last, of Mr. Macleod, the Secretary of State; and it is, I think, a fitting finish to that very distinguished period that he had as Secretary of State, when so much was done to lead the colonial territories on into independence.

Last in my African tour, but not least, and perhaps most important, and most talked about by your Lordships, I come to Kenya. I cannot pretend that one is entirely happy about the situation in Kenya, but somewhere I have the same sort of hope as with what happened in Uganda—that suddenly the light will come. It is a curious thing, but in some ways the situation is not dissimilar. One had, as I said, these fears between various of the tribes and the Kingdom of Buganda. Here we have the fears of various of the tribes in relation to the Kikuyu. On the other hand, perhaps the Kikuyu are also afeard of what the other tribes may do—perhaps "tribes" is a bad word; a better word to use is "minorities"; and in these one would include the European settlers.

The Governor has been over here and is taking back a message from the Secretary of State to try to help the people of Kenya to solve the difficulties they have run into in the last month in their discussions on constitutional progress, and other matters. I cannot anticipate that message (I am sure your Lordships would not expect me to do that), but I can express the hope that all those in Kenya will study that message most seriously and act on it. For they really have the key to their future. We can only try to guide. The solution must lie with them. Too long, I think, have they taken the view: "Oh, well, if we don't agree we can turn to London and they will find the answer". But they have now reached the stage when that is not the right way to proceed. The right way to proceed—because they are, after all, in a more advanced stage; and independence must be something which one can see on the horizon—is for them to settle their own differences and to make up their own minds.

The noble Earl, Lord Swinton, I think quite rightly, said that the most important thing at this moment was the economic situation in Kenya, and he pointed out how, if one could not get security and get the economy built up, all this talk of progress towards independence would have little meaning. He is very right when he says that the economic situation is extremely serious. We are, indeed, having to make considerable grants in aid at the present time to enable the economy to go forward. I think it is worth while recalling what was said in a memorandum by K.A.D.U. (the Kenya Africa Democratic Union) and K.A.N.U. (the Kenya African Nationalist Union), a memoradum which they wrote, I think, in July. It was an agreed memorandum between the two of them, which they wrote before they went into these constitutional talks which so far have stalled. What they said was this: The Committee agree that land titles, including tribal rights and private property rights, shall be respected and safeguarded in the interests of the people of Kenya, and that fair compensation shall be paid for any land acquired by any future Government for public purposes—that is, schools, hospitals, and so forth. That is a very encouraging statement. I know that this principle has not yet been put into effect, but I think that we have a fine base on which to work.

Various suggestions were made in regard to the question of land. The noble Marquess suggested that we should buy out European settlers. Here I feel very much with the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, that that would not be in the best interests either of Kenya as a whole or of the settlers, the great majority of whom are most anxious to stay in the country. The point was made—and I think it is a good one—that the land settlement scheme on which we have been working with the Kenya Government, in conjunction with the World Bank and the Colonial Development Corporation, and which we are supporting to the extent of £5 or £6 million, for buying land from European farmers who wish to leave and settling Africans on it, is not working quite satisfactorily. It has been found that the seven years over which payment is promised is too long a period. I am not sure that it is too long, but we have to find an acceptable basis, because it is important that we should go ahead with this scheme on which so much work has been done. So we are concentrating on the land question, and on obtaining security and confidence in the economic field, even more than on anything else.

I will not touch on what my noble friend Lord Dundee said about the East African High Commission and the Conference here a short time ago, beyond saying that at that Conference we had all the political leaders of Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika, and a representative of Zanibar, and I am sure that noble Lords, had they been there, must have been been immensely encouraged at the spirit shown and the determination to work together in the economic field. Whether that, in its turn, will lead to federation is not for me to guess, but clearly such a move would be in the interests of the peoples, if that is what they chose.

I come to the proposed immigration Bill, on which many of your Lordships talked; in particular the noble Lords, Lord Kilbracken and Lord Walston, spoke on nothing else. The noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough asked about timing, about why we were introducing the Bill and whether there had been consultation. On timing, I am sure that he would not really expect me to give him an answer to-night. This is something which we have said is to come up and the timing is something which the Government must decide in consultation in the ordinary parliamentary procedure. Obviously, it must not be delayed too long, because that is a bad thing.

I think that the other two questions will best be dealt with when the Bill comes before us. Then is the moment to debate them in detail. Of course, nobody likes the need to bring in this Bill, because we all know how greatly we benefit from the people who have come from other Commonwealth and colonial territories into this country. That, of course, under control, will go on. But there has been a flood of immigrants in the last few months. As the noble Lord, Lord Walston, said, the figures in August and September were around 4,000 a week. It may or may not be right that there were special circumstances which led to that, but that is something which no Government can contemplate going forward unhampered. I reaffirm what has been so often said: that there is no question of discrimination for one race or another. I can best give our view on this question by quoting what my right honourable friend, the Prime Minister, said yesterday in another place. He said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 684 (No. 1), col. 43]: We do not contemplate a total ban on immigration or anything like it, but we have a scheme in mind under which there would be a limit placed only on the number of immigrants coming here for work who have not offers of employment in advance or have no special skill", I would make only this one additional comment, because a noble Lord said that if people had no skill they could not come in, but if recruiting is going on from Barbadoes or elsewhere for a particular service over here, the recruits will have an offer of employment, so they can come in.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl whether between now and the introduction of the Bill the specific proposals which may be in the draft will be the subject of consultation with the Prime Ministers of the Governments affected?


My Lords, I will see that attention is drawn to the noble Viscount's paint, but it is normal to have consultation, and I can tell the noble Viscount that in the case of the Colonies we asked for their views about this very difficult problem some little time ago. I cannot say that they came back with enthusiasm upon it, but various points they made were valuable and helpful.

I should like to touch on one or two other matters. Several noble Lords raised the question of whether we were doing enough to help the Commonwealth economically. I would make the point that in the last year the total of our help was over £180 million, the highest figure ever reached. Of course we should like to do much more, but your Lordships know the problem we face and the need for watching what we send overseas in the way of funds unless we can get more exports.

The noble Lord, Lord Melchett, mentioned a possible way of helping by commodity stabilisation. Her Majesty's Government have always been in favour of such schemes, provided—and this is a very important proviso—we are not expected to "go it alone", because we cannot. In such schemes it is essential to have the main consumers as well as the main producers involved. It is not sufficient for us to say that we alone will stabilise this, that, or the other product which may be of particular interest to a Commonwealth country. In that way lies disaster.

Others will be speaking about the European Common Market, but, speaking in a sense personally although it is the general policy of the Government, I am all for it, if we can ensure that the interests of the Commonwealth and of the E.F.T.A. countries are taken care of. I believe that it is exciting, both politically and economically. Taking the economic side, which is of particular concern to the Commonwealth, I am sure that if we are successful in our negotiation and join the Common Market there is every chance of great economic expansion, in the area of the Common Market, an expansion which in its turn must benefit the Commonwealth, which can export more to it. I should think they benefit not only in terms of further exports, but also in terms of the greater opportunity of getting capital from the countries which would then be covered. But naturally, each member of the Commonwealth is particularly anxious to safeguard its own interests.

I remember well that about three months ago I went to the West Indies to talk about this question of the Common Market and in each of the territories it was said that this, that and the other were vital. I then asked them for the list which I should bring back so that we should know just what items were of particular concern. There were some 25 items and broad heads, and I remember the first was arrowroot and the last was something called tonka beans—I am not sure what those are. But it shows how one tries to cover everything; and while it is important, one obviously cannot take care of all those things. I am not going to touch on agriculture; my noble friend Lord Waldegrave will be speaking on that tomorrow. But my belief has always been that in this country our agriculture is as efficient as any in the world, and if that is right, then I do not see why we should fear.

I would end on one general thought, which perhaps is inspired, as was the beginning of my speech, by the thought of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and it is this. We give to our Colonies what we believe is best—namely, Parliamentary democracy on the Westminster model. We naturally give it to them, because over hundreds of years we have evolved this system and we believe it is the right and ideal one to go for. But I do not think we should be too sad if others of the territories when they become independent do no follow exactly the same pattern. I think that often we are apt to forget what a tremendous moment it is for one of these countries when they actually become independent. This is something quite different. There is a moment still when they can come back to us, and then there is the next moment when they are on their own. They have ahead of them development and so forth.

Naturally at that time we find there is an inclination to have one Party. We see that, for example, in Tanganyika. Or, to take the example of Sierre Leone, there they formed a National Front just before independence, and to-day they have a National Front Government. There may be one or two people in opposition, but, broadly, they work it that way. If that should happen, as I say, I do not think we ought to take it too tragically. They are striving at a most difficult time, and in that time we are continuing to give them what help we can, including the help of the civil servants who remain and who we are doing all we can to ensure will remain. What counts above all else is the independence of the judiciary and the independent rights of the individual. I have been struck how at every constitutional conference in which I have taken part—and there have been a great number—there has never been any question but that all those present have always said: "This independence of the judiciary and the rights of the individual we want entrenched in the Constitution, so that, whatever may come, it is very difficult if not impossible for them to be upset". We will continue on this path for those Colonies which are still in our care, in the belief that they will treasure and safeguard such freedoms.


My Lords, I beg to move that this debate be now adjourned.

Moved, That the debate be now adjourned.—(Lord Silkin.)

On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly.

House adjourned at sixteen minutes past seven o'clock.