§ 2.42 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON rose to call attention to recent Government statements on developments in Kenya; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg leave to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. Events in Kenya during the past three months have been moving at breakneck speed. The new Constitution was published in the middle of April, and the elections were held towards the end of May. On the 2nd of this month the Colonial Secretary announced the conclusion of discussions with the Kenya Ministers. He said that, in the light of plans for the establishment of an East African Federation before the end of the year, a conference would be held in September to determine Kenya's final Constitution, with a view to her obtaining her independence on December 12.
§ Previously, at the end of May, Mr. Sandys had announced further important financial assistance to Kenya in the field of resettlement and development, together with provision for the so-called compassionate cases. These announcements, affecting as they do the whole future of Kenya and the lives of all its inhabitants, obviously require the most careful examination by Parliament. Once again, thanks to the time made available by the Government, it falls to your Lordships' House to undertake the task of surveying the affairs of Kenya.
§ When we last debated the state of Kenya, in December, on the Motion of my noble friend Lord Salisbury, I cannot imagine that there was one single Member of your Lordships' House who would have prophesied that one year later uhuru would have become an accomplished fact. It is true that at the time some of us were complaining of the delays in putting the decisions of the second Lancaster House Conference into effect. That was because we believed it was important to put an end to uncertainty, and because we 5 were anxious to have the longest possible time for the new regional institutions to find their feet before full independence came along. Now the regions, with their separate assemblies and their powers over land, education, health, local government and law and order, are to have only six months to establish themselves before Britain finally withdraws. It is not, I think, an arrangement which any of us really likes or which we had hoped for. Indeed, I have always felt that, in principle, the longest possible period of full internal self-government was desirable before the actual date of independence. I also very much dislike the practice of calling for a new Constitution almost before the ink on the last one has dried.
§ This is something which has occurred, I am sorry to say, as a result of the "wind of change" policy, and which is particularly unsuitable to East and Central Africa, where the gap between the development and standards of one section of the population and another is so much more marked than, for example, in West Africa. It is ironic that it was in the selfsame speech which initiated the "wind of change" that the Prime Minister laid down that the criterion should be individual merit and merit alone. In fact, it was the abandonment of the principle of multi-racialism at the first Kenya Lancaster House Conference a few weeks later which has led to the present situation under which the European Community of Kenya, with all their experience, skill and background, are virtually debarred from taking any part in the government of the country which they themselves have created.
§ The reasons adduced by the Colonial Secretary for so drastically cutting down the period of self-government was the need for Kenya to attain full sovereignty in time to join the new East African Federation to be established and admitted to the United Nations by the end of this year. I have always strongly favoured the conception of an East African Federation, which, though dreamed of by many, from the days of Sir Harry Johnston down to Sir Edward Grigg, became a matter of practical politics only when it was espoused by that great man, President Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika. I fully concede that the attainment of this goal is of overriding importance, and more than justifies the reduction of period of self- 6 government to six months and all the risks involved therein.
§ No doubt there will be many difficulties to be surmounted in regard to federation, but President Nyerere and the Prime Ministers of Kenya and Uganda have already achieved a large measure of agreement. It is only right that one should pay tribute to the vision and, I would also say, the altruism of these three African leaders and their ministerial colleagues, who have shown themselves prepared to sacrifice the power and trappings of individual sovereignty in favour of the greater good of the whole area. I hope they will soon be joined by Zanzibar as an original member, but though I can see a strong case for admitting Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi and possibly other territories at a later date, I think that they would be well advised to consolidate the position, in the first instance, with the four existing members. But the very fact that independence is to come so soon makes it all the more incumbent upon us to make sure that the final Constitution for Kenya is right and, above all, that the safeguards for minorities are absolutely watertight. This, in essence, means the safeguards for the smaller tribes embodied in the regional machinery and the Senate, and the safeguards for individuals enshrined in the Bill of Rights.
I apologise to your Lordships for having to go into some constitutional details in regard to this matter, but I think they are important. It will be recalled that when the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, the then Colonial Secretary, first visited Kenya in November, 1961, he said this:
The great danger I see is fear, fear of discrimination, fear of intimidation, fear of exploitation. I have seen enough to be convinced that there is truth underlying these fears.
Then he went on to say that, if the rights of individuals were to be safeguarded, Kenya would need other governing authorities with their own rights which do not derive from the central Government but are entrenched and written into the Constitution. It took seven weeks, with much hard bargaining, for the Lancaster House Conference of 1962 to reach agreement on the Constitution which contained the regional and other safeguards regarded as essential by the minority tribes and which satisfied the basic
requirements of the KANU delegates in regard to the powers of the central Government. The agreement was finally accepted by all the parties and signed by virtually all the then elected members of the Legislative Council.
§ What were the minimum safeguards to which all these parties agreed? First, there was the provision of an impartial and independent judiciary, with an ultimate appeal to the Privy Council, entrenched in the Constitution in so far as its interpretation and the enforcement of the Bill of Rights is concerned. Secondly, there was the Bill of Rights itself which covers personal liberty, freedom from slavery, freedom of movement and conscience, freedom of speech and protection from racial discrimination and security of property rights—all, your Lordships will agree, I am sure, of vital importance. Thirdly, there was the provision of an Upper House in the Legislature, representative of the regions and with special powers in respect to amendments of the Constitution, especially the entrenched clauses. Ordinary changes in the Constitution would require a 75 per cent. majority in each House, while changes in the entrenched clauses and the Bill of Rights would require a majority of 90 per cent. in the Senate.
§ Fourthly, regional assemblies were to be set up with administrative and legislative powers having the force of law derived from the Constitution, and not by delegation from the central Government. Exclusive powers would include land transactions, both from outside and within the scheduled areas which we once knew as the White Highlands; education up to intermediate level; local government; parts of the public health service; day to day responsibility for law and order; their own civil service and police force and adequate sources of finance secured to them by the Constitution. Finally, if a state of emergency were proclaimed by the central Government, it would require a resolution passed within a week by a majority of each House, subsequently agreed at 65 per cent.
§ The right of appeal to the Privy Council will presumably disappear completely after independence, since the intention, apparently, is for Kenya to 8 become a republic forthwith and to be thereafter integrated in an East African Federation. This means that the ultimate safeguards for European, Asian and other individuals will go by the board, except in so far as there is a right of appeal to the local courts. Europeans can hardly expect any protection from the required 90 per cent. majority in the Senate against changes, to their disadvantage, in the Bill of Rights, though, of course, this safeguard is invaluable to the minority tribes. It may be asked why these far-reaching and, indeed, rigid safeguards are so essential to the smaller tribes. The fact is that Kenya is not, like Tanganyika, a collection of tribes, but an agglomeration of races: Bantu, Hamitic, Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, with Arabs, Europeans and Asians thrown in for good measure. All these tribes, from the Giriama down on the coast to the Kalenjin and Abaluhya in the West, are at one in their fear of the Kikuyu-Luo majority and a potential Kikuyu dictatorship. Let us hope that these fears are illusory, but let us also face the fact that they are there.
I feel, nevertheless, that we must give credit where credit is due. I had never expected that I should find myself paying a tribute to Mr. Kenyatta in your Lordships' House, but I must nevertheless do so. His constructive statesmanship since he assumed office as Prime Minister is one of the most outstanding features of the Kenya scene during the past six weeks. In his speech at Nakuru, two weeks ago, he said:
I can assure you that I and my Ministers will do what we can to make the country go forward. The Government is going to be one of the people and for the people without discrimination—a government of Kenyans, of all races and tribes.
Then he had a friendly word or two to say for the rôle of the Opposition. Mr. James Gichuru, the Finance Minister, in his budget, has taken a similar non-discriminatory line.
§ It has been argued in some quarters that this moderation was only to be expected in the period before independence. My view is that our proper course, while displaying the utmost vigilance, is to take these words at their face value. But if so, it is all the more incumbent on Mr. Kenyatta and his more responsible colleagues to place a 9 curb on those members of his Government who give utterance to wide accusations and threats, including such outrageous statements as that put forward by Mr. Fred Kubai calling for the employment of ex-Mau-Mau generals and the enrolment of the unemployed of Kenya in an Army of liberation against Southern Africa. Until the Government of Kenya speaks with one voice and backs this up with actions, these fears will remain. Only a week ago the Leader of the Senate made a speech threatening the very existence of the Opposition. To-day, your Lordships will have seen a report in the papers of Mr. Mboya burning copies of the Mombasa Times and the Nation, and threatening the freedom of the Press. It is no isolated incident. He has done so before on a number of occasions.
§ I must ask my noble friend who is to reply this question: will he give us a categoric undertaking that at the Independence Conference no change whatever will be made in the safeguards for minorities in the existing Constitution except with the free and willing agreement of the KADU Opposition? This, of course, applies in particular to the required majority of 90 per cent. in the Senate for changes in the entrenched clauses and the Bill of Rights, both of which were so warmly welcomed by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, in our debate on June 15, 1962. It also applies to the required 75 per cent. majority for other constitutional changes and the 65 per cent. majority for the endorsement of a declaration of a state of emergency.
There is no doubt whatever that Her Majesty's Government are fully committed to the maintenance of these safeguards in full. My noble friend Lord Lansdowne made out a powerful case for the present Constitution in his speech on May 15, 1962. The then Lord Chancellor, my noble friend Lord Kilmuir, in replying to the debate, went still further and described the safeguards in the greatest detail and endorsed them fully. He also said in terms [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 240, col. 615]:
… the new Constitution, whose framework is set out in the Report of the Conference, is intended to be the Constitution which Kenya will have when it attains independence.
As regards the attitude of the Kenya Government to this issue, the signs are
not propititious. Mr. Mboya, the principal spokesman at the recent consultations with the Colonial Secretary is said to have described regionalism as "dead and buried." He is also quoted as having said that at the final Independence Conference:
We shall have token representation by the Opposition.
This is totally unacceptable, and if Her Majesty's Government are going to honour their promises and guarantees they must say so, and say so at once. It is no wonder that leaders of the minority tribes and KADU Governments in three out of six of the regions are getting restive. It is no wonder that Mr. Ngala is asking for autonomy for the Coastal Strip.
§ If Her Majesty's Government in any way appear to yield to pressure from the Kenya Government for a modification of these safeguards without the full agreement of KADU, then we are in for trouble. Tribal dissensions, which Mr. Kenyatta has, I believe, done his best to iron out, will re-emerge with full fury. There will be further demands for autonomy and secession. And if this is regarded as justifiable in the case of the Somalis, how is it possible to deny it to the coastal tribes, the Abaluhya and the Kalenjin? The whole delicate settlement of 1962, so painstakingly reached, will then be in jeopardy. The fact that the Kenya armed forces and police are largely recruited from the minor tribes makes the situation even more perilous.
§ So I beg my noble friend to make it clear that in the forthcoming Conference, which will have sat and probably terminated its labours before we meet again, they will be acting, not as an independent arbitrator but as one of the partners to the 1962 deal, and fully committed to the settlement arrived at then. Some people may argue that because the provision for a 75 per cent. majority for ordinary changes in the Constitution and a 90 per cent. majority for changes in the entrenched clauses was not included in the actual Constitution, it can be abandoned or varied in the final Independence Conference. The fact is, as I was informed by high authority in Kenya only three months ago, that the only reason it was not included was that during the period of internal self-government the power to make any 11 change must remain solely with Her Majesty's Government, and its inclusion in the Constitution would therefore have been inappropriate. I should like to ask my noble friend to reaffirm that to-day. This is really the crucial issue so far as the future of Kenya is concerned. We are trying to build a Kenya nation, and we can do so only if the mass of African inhabitants are substantially agreed as to the terms on which they will become part of such a nation. We are fully committed to the existing terms and we must see them through, unless there is change by agreement of all the parties concerned.
§ I have referred to the fact that Europeans—and, of course, the Asians, too—have, despite their large numbers, virtually passed into a political limbo since the new Constitution was introduced. It is tragic, but it is a fact. What the political future holds for them none can foretell. For the moment those who have decided to stay—and I pay tribute to them for their courage, their calmness and their love for Kenya which have dictated this decision—remain aloof, rather mistrustful, and yet, I must say I felt on my last visit, more relaxed than they were a year ago. Will they always have to remain on the sidelines, or will they one day be able to return to play a part, albeit a secondary one, in the political life of their country? Shall we ever find, as we are now seeing in Jamaica, black voters electing white candidates to Parliament? For the moment we have, as in other independent African territories, racialism in reverse. As long as it is a fact that no European stands a chance of election, however strong his qualifications, we are face to face with racial discrimination in an extreme, practical, although perhaps not legal, form; and it is this sort of thing which, as I understand it, President Kennedy is trying to put right in the United States to-day. Unless some cataclysm occurs to drive the Europeans out altogether, we must hope—indeed we believe—that they will show the same ability to face up to a new situation as Britons have shown all over the world throughout the centuries in the face of unexpected situations and difficult problems.
§ KANU and KADU in their election manifestoes both recognised that the continued presence of the Europeans was necessary to the economic life of the country. Those 12 who have decided to stay and make their homes in Kenya, come what may, are doubtless anxious to play their full part as citizens of Kenya. But the African leaders, if they are wise, will seek to make things easier for the Europeans, and not more difficult. The Europeans do not expect privileges; but, equally, they do not expect to be treated as second-class citizens; and they must not be subjected to special pressures or humiliations such as those which have recently been imposed upon some European residents of Nyasaland. Above all, in the matter of citizenship, it is to be hoped that the Kenya leaders will show wisdom and statesmanship.
§ We have always been told by the Government that this question of citizenship must wait to be settled at the final Independence Conference. Now that moment has arrived. Everyone understands that the African leaders feel that they have a right to expect the permanent European residents to become citizens of Kenya, even though it is now to become a republic. There are, perhaps, some who will not wish to do so, but even they must not be penalised, particularly in regard to the right to hold land. I feel very strongly that, if this is not already covered by the Bill of Rights, it should be expanded to meet this fresh purpose.
§ Clearly, in making this choice many people will be greatly influenced by whether they can also retain their British nationality. There is no reason on earth why they should not do so. Examples of dual nationality exist all over the world. In the Argentine, for example, there is a British community of 20,000 to 30,000, domiciled there for generations, who hold British nationality as well as being loyal citizens of the Argentine Republic. The British Nationality Act, 1948, lays down the qualifications for British nationality and contains provisions whereby British subjects living in foreign countries, or in the older Commonwealth countries may acquire British nationality for their children by registration. What I believe is required in the case of Kenya is, first, that there shall be no attempt to deprive Kenya citizens of any other nationality they may possess; and, second, that provision shall be made for the registration of British-born children by adding Kenya to the list of Commonwealth countries 13 set out in subsection (3) of Section 1 of the British Nationality Act, 1948. I have no doubt whatever that this matter is of the greatest importance to the peace of mind of what have come to be known as the "stayers" in Kenya. Should there be any reluctance on the part of the Kenya authorities to meet the point, I trust that Her Majesty's Government will take any necessary unilateral action for that purpose, if necessary by legislation.
§ Other noble Lords who follow me will no doubt be seeking information in regard to the operation of the land settlement schemes referred to in the Colonial Secretary's statement of May 28. All I would say on this matter is how much I welcome the appointment of Sir Richard Turnbull as Chairman of the Central Land Board. His great knowledge of Kenya, and his affection for Africa and its people, will certainly greatly assist the easy operation of this body, albeit with its more limited functions. I should like also to welcome the Colonial Secretary's proposals for the increase in the working capital of the Land Bank, and Her Majesty's Government's plans for helping the so-called "compassionate cases". As regards the latter, I am not sure whether the sum proposed will be sufficient to meet all the requirements or whether all those at present included in the scheme properly qualify. But I understand that these matters are still under discussion.
§ My Lords, I do not propose to attempt to deal at any length with the numerous financial and economic problems with which Kenya is confronted at this pre-independence period. Mr. James Gichuru, in his Budget speech last month, deliberately stressed the unfavourable features in the present economic situation. They are, of course, numerous. Increasing unemployment, private investment still hanging back, a prospective deficit next year of £3 million, and complete dependence on British Government and other overseas assistance on a large scale are all bound to cause anxiety. Yet, as Mr. Gichuru said in a subsequent article, in spite of his best efforts to emphasise the gloomy side, cheerfulness keeps breaking in. In 1962 exports were again at a record level and the balance-of-payments position is better. And the fact, as I found in the town of Mombasa, that one of the worries to-day is the need for greatly 14 increased berthing facilities does not bear out the fears of a pending economic collapse in Kenya or Uganda.
§ But, ultimately, everything will depend on agriculture, and for this three requirements exist. First, the large-scale plantation owners must receive assurances of security and peaceful conditions necessary to encourage them to revive investment. Second, the European farmer must be afforded facilities and given the confidence to enable him to continue his work. Third, the African farmer, and particularly the new smallholders engaged in growing cash crops, must be provided with markets for their produce. In this latter respect I believe that we in this country can do a great deal to help. If the facilities for the development of air freight recently announced by the Chairman of B.O.A.C. are provided, I see no reason why we should not take large quantities of the excellent vegetables, fruit, and even flowers, produced in Kenya and have them flown over to us during our winter months. This matter of markets cannot be over-emphasised from the point of view of the success of the land settlement schemes, for which Her Majesty's Government are committed to spend sums of up to, I believe, £30 million. So, if we want to get value for our money we must find the markets for the produce of these smallholders.
§ Another important factor is the future of co-operative schemes. Here again I have some anxiety in regard to the administration of the co-operatives in Kenya. I am also worried about the damage which they are threatening in some respects to the individual traders and agriculturalists. Finally, there must be a continual search for fresh possibilities of agricultural expansion—such as the cattle-ranching scheme now being developed in the Coastal Province. All these things are vital. There are no prime movers in Kenya, and there are virtually no resources of raw materials. On agriculture the future of the country must depend.
§ All these things—security, law and order, economic progress—depend on an agreement at the Independence Conference which is satisfactory to all parties in Kenya. It may entail concessions; but if so they can be brought about only by consent. It may be argued that once the British go, the stronger Party will, 15 in any event, be able to enforce its will. The fact is that in the case of Kenya this could be accomplished only through bloodshed, and that is something which the KANU leaders must be at least as anxious to avoid as are KADU.
§ A heavy responsibility will devolve upon the Colonial Secretary. I am sure that when he goes into this Conference he will have the great advantage of the presence with him of the Governor, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, who has already made such a vital impact on Kenya, and to whose work I should like to pay a tribute. Nevertheless, my right honourable friend will require all his courage and strength, and alas! I feel that he has already given away some of his trump cards. We wish him well, but we shall absolutely expect him to honour, in word and in deed, the pledges and assurances to the minority Parties in Kenya so fully and formally endorsed on behalf of the Government in your Lordships' House only fourteen months ago. At the same time, we hope that the African leaders, on both sides, will show tolerance, moderation and a spirit of compromise in seeking to build this new nation. We say from the bottom of our hearts with Mr. Kenyatta "Haraambee"—"Let us work together". My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.12 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I should like to start—I am sure that I am speaking for everyone in doing so—by thanking the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, not only for giving us the opportunity to discuss Kenya again before the Constitutional Conference in September, but also for his most constructive, responsible and helpful speech. He will not, I know, think me impudent in paying him these compliments.
I thought the tone of the noble Lord's speech, with its approval of Government policy, with its friendly references to African leaders, was symptomatic of the change of opinion in Kenya, and I think here, that has taken place in the past year. I am quite certain that that sort of speech will do a great deal of good when it comes to be studied in Kenya. I hope that the debate is not all quite so harmonious as this, because, if so, it will not be much of a debate; but 16 there are certain things that we all have in common, and they have to be mentioned and emphasised. I should like to say how glad I am that the Government have advanced the date of independence for Kenya to December 12, so that it can join the East African Federation before the end of the year. That will also make it possible—which is extremely important—for the East African Federation to qualify for membership of the United Nations during the coming Session of the General Assembly. I think the Government have done very well indeed to remove the remaining obstacles to federation.
The federation of the British East African territories, has, as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, pointed out, been considered on many different occasions in the last forty years, and, indeed, even earlier; but there was always one insuperable obstacle: the fear of the Africans in the adjacent territories of domination by a White Kenya. Federation was therefore something that could never be achieved under British rule: we could prepare the ground for a closer political association only by setting up a system of common services in the three territories. That we did, and I am sure that everyone, both in Kenya and here, will look back on that act as one of the central foundations of the new Federation. The Federation that will come into being at the end of this year will be soundly based on the consent of the people of these territories, of which, of course, two are already independent. It will owe its existence primarily to the initiative and vision of an African statesman, to whom I was glad the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, paid a well-deserved tribute, President Nyerere of Tanganyika. Let us hope that its first members will be the nucleus of a wider Federation, and that they will succeed in attracting other countries in East and Central Africa.
We all hope that this East African Federation will remain in the Commonwealth. It will have to make the choice in the future, when it has been set up. There is a possible difficulty—if foreign countries join the Federation. I remember that a difficulty of that kind occurred when Ghana proposed political union with Guinea but we did not consider that the flexibility of the Commonwealth ruled out the possibility of a continuation 17 in the association of Ghana as a member of the Commonwealth with the United Kingdom. So this is a matter we shall approach, I am sure, with an open mind.
I think it is important, as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said, that Zanzibar should be able to come in with the other three African countries. I believe that it is important for a reason which was not given by the noble Lord: that Zanzibar should be able to negotiate terms for accession before the Federation has been actually set up. I think it will have a much better chance of negotiating on equal terms if it negotiates at the same time as the other three territories. When we consider how, with our long political experience since we became independent nation States in Western Europe, we have failed to bring about even the loosest political association between the countries of Western Europe, we cannot but admire the success of new countries in Africa in achieving federation so soon after becoming responsible for their own affairs. So far as Kenya is concerned, I do not suppose there is any example in history of any other country that has been willing to give up its independence within a week of getting it; and here again the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, paid a well-earned tribute to the statesmanship of the leaders of the Kenya Government. Another way in which I think the Government could help the East African Federation at this stage, and also assist one of its potential members, would be to approach Zanzibar at the earliest possible moment to discuss independence. An election has just taken place, and if the Party with the majority still wishes to accede to the Federation, as one imagines it will do, then I hope there will be no delay in starting these negotiations.
It is essential, of course, that a number of matters should be settled between ourselves and Kenya before independence, and I am glad that the noble Lord opposite has sought this occasion to draw the attention of the Government to these matters. They are not, of course, all covered by the revision of the Constitution; there are other matters as well. The primary purpose of the Conference is constitutional, but there are other matters that should be dealt with. The most urgent of these matters, to my mind, is to prevent more bloodshed and violence 18 in Kenya as a result of the attitude of the Somalis in the North-Eastern Region.
I hope that the Government will make another, and even greater, effort to get agreement between Kenya and Somalia about the future of the Somalis before independence. If this effort fails—I hope it will not fail, but there is always the risk that it may—I believe that we should ask for the good offices of the United Nations. Somalia agreed at the Addis Ababa Conference to settle her differences with other African countries by peaceful means. Kenya must obviously be no less keen to obtain a peaceful settlement with Somalia, as a Somali rising would be a catastrophe just after independence. Perhaps both parties would agree to a United Nations presence in the North-Eastern Region, which would make sure that neither disregards its obligations to refrain from violence in the pursuit of its aims. That, I hope, is a possibility for preventing violence which the Government would seriously consider if they fail to bring the parties together.
Another matter which I think your Lordships would agree should be dealt with before independence, is defence. I agree with the proposals in the White Paper about defence. I am glad the Government have agreed with the Kenya Government to dismantle the McKinnon Road base and to withdraw British Forces within a year; although of course I am bound to point out that the Government's lack of political foresight has wasted many millions of the money of British taxpayers in the equipment and installation of that base. I hope the Government will make it clear to the Kenya Government that no British troops will be available after independence, even if they are still stationed in Kenya. Clearly, after independence the Kenya Government will have to rely on its own army, and it will have some battalions of the King's African Rifles to preserve order and to protect it from external aggression.
I have no doubt that in these negotiations we shall ask for certain rights for the Royal Air Force—staging rights and overflying rights—and I hope that we shall continue to give financial assistance towards the military forces of Kenya. But again, I think it is most important that we should conclude a defence agreement before Kenya becomes independent, 19 because it will be much easier for us to negotiate such an agreement with the Government of Kenya than with the Government of the Federation, if defence is a power which Kenya wishes to transfer to the Federal Government.
But the main business of the September conference will of course be the independence Constitution. I hope the Government will make it clear to all the parties at this conference that the terms of reference will allow them to discuss any and every aspect of the present Constitution, and that they will not be restricted to the transfer of powers now exercised by the British Government. For instance, the Bill of Rights and other minority safeguards, to which, quite rightly, the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, attaches so much importance, should certainly go into the new Constitution. Of course, all the minorities are affected, but I am thinking particularly at this moment of the protection that will be given to the Moslems in the Coastal Strip. The noble Lord did not refer to this, although he may have had it in mind. But I am sure that those safeguards are necessary, and that with these safeguards there should be no hesitation about incorporating the Coastal Strip in Kenya, as Sir James Robertson recommended in his Report.
Here is the first point upon which I disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Colyton. I hope that the Government will not tie their hands before the conference. The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, was a Minister of State at the Colonial Office, and I have no doubt that he attended conferences on colonial Constitutions. We have both done that. I cannot recollect any instance of the British Government tying their hands in advance of a constitutional conference.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Earl for giving way. The fact is that the Lord Chancellor in this House stated to us that the Constitution which was agreed upon last year as a result of the conference, was the final Constitution for independence.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
The final Constitution for independence is going to be discussed at this conference. I cannot believe that that was the basis 20 of the undertaking; but perhaps the noble and learned Lord, when he comes to reply to the debate, will give us the precise terms of the undertaking. However, I hope that the Government will allow discussion of every aspect of the Constitution, and that they will pay serious attention to any change in the Constitution that is required by the delegates. I am quite certain that if they try to limit the terms of reference or to prevent certain methods from being discussed, there will be serious danger that the conference will break down.
As the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, pointed out, there has been a great improvement in relations between the communities in Kenya during the past year, and the great weight of fear and uncertainty under which they laboured during the approach to self-government has been removed by the responsible attitude of Ministers in the new Government. Some Europeans were afraid, for example, that they would pay exorbitant and crushing taxes to meet the cost of independence. But the last budget did not increase income tax at all, and was intended, as the Finance Minister pointed out, to help the farmer. The budget is being worked out without the assistance of a subsidy from the United Kingdom, which it has been having for quite a long time, and a 5 per cent. increase has been forecast for the gross national product in the current year. That may or may not be over-optimistic. We are forecasting a 4 per cent. increase upon our national economy. That, again, may or may not be unduly optimistic.
However that may be, the economic future of Kenya will depend on the willingness of Governments and private companies to bring more capital into the country. The Government here are already making a generous contribution to financial aid in grants and loans. I believe the amount for the current year is running at about £10 million. But it should not be forgotten that a country's need of financial assistance is greater immediately after independence than it was at any time before. This is a temporary need, but it is a need that is experienced by all the British Colonies on attaining independence. If we could increase our contribution by the relatively small amount required to cover the whole of the compensation required for expatriate civil servants instead of only half, which 21 is what we are paying at the present time, this would have a great political effect as well as releasing the Kenya Government from a heavy liability. I have not asked this question because I do not think it is necessary, although if I should have asked it I hope that one of the Ministers replying for the Government will give me an answer. I am assuming that the arrangements for the retirement and compensation of expatriate officers and for the payment of their pensions will be completed before independence. That is another of the matters that will have to be dealt with before independence.
As the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said, the European farmers deserve a great deal of praise for their willingness to take the risk of remaining on their farms. I believe there are about 1,000 of them who are doing so, and I think we ought to be prepared to help in cases of genuine hardship where farmers are living outside the resettlement areas. I think that in these hardship cases, without having to spend a lot of money, we could offer to buy out the owners. Those who continue in the country will, of course, have a key rôle to play in the economy of Kenya. This will be the last debate before the Constitution Conference in September, and I think we should all wish to express our strong desire that this Conference may have a happy outcome for Kenya, and that it may result in the framing of a Constitution in which all the communities and tribes of Kenya will live in amity for many years to come.
§ 3.30 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COLONIAL AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE)
My Lords, we have listened to two most constructive and helpful speeches, and I should like to add my tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, for the most constructive tone of his speech and the generosity with which he has spoken of the African leaders, who so richly deserve his praise. I know how much at will be appreciated by your Lordships that he called particular attention to the services which have been given by the Governor of Kenya.
This debate will give us an opportunity to survey the situation in Kenya as it is to-day, and this afternoon we shall hear further speeches from noble Lords who have great experience and great knowledge of Kenya, and also great 22 affection for Kenya as a country. The statement which I made on July 2 made it clear that the decision to name a date for Kenya's independence arose directly from the information we had received about the plans now going forward with such great energy and enthusiasm in East Africa for the creation of a Federation of Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda, and, we hope, also Zanzibar. Your Lordships are aware that the British Government wholeheartedly welcome this great enterprise. If we have been reticent about it in the past, it is because we did not wish African leaders to feel that we were in any way trying to influence a matter which must be their concern. The will to federate is East African, but, of course, if we are called upon for help we will most certainly give it. The East African leaders are confident that they can bring their plans to a successful fruition, and I believe that one of the reasons for their confidence is the fact that they have a sound basis upon which to work.
Your Lordships will remember—and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, has just referred to this—that the East Africa High Commission, which the British Government helped to construct in 1948, by co-operation over a wide range of services has provided the economic framework for a Federation. The High Commission, which served Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda—and in some respects Zanzibar—had a self-financing group consisting of the East African Railways and Harbours Administration and the East African Posts and Telecommunications Administration. There was also a non-self-financing group dealing with income tax and customs and excise, civil aviation, meteorology, statistics, and a wide range of other scientific and research services. The Commission not only brought about a wide measure of co-operation: it also helped in the creation of an "East African approach", particularly through the Central Legislative Assembly. The value of this organisation was amply demonstrated by the Tanganyika Government's decision to continue to use it after that country became independent.
In the light of that decision, however, modifications were necessary, with the result that the Commission was transformed into the present East African Common Services Organisation. This 23 Organisation has its own independent sources of income from taxes on certain company profits and from a share of customs and excise revenue raised in the area. The Organisation has not only preserved the links established by the High Commission but has also developed them. In the political field this is particularly apparent; the three leaders of Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda are now the central policy-making authority of the Organisation itself. So that out of inter-territorial economic co-operation has come, first, more frequent administrative contact, and secondly, closer political identity. For these reasons there is justification to hope that a sound Federation will be born, and one which will contribute to the prosperity and stability of the area as a whole.
From the economic point of view, Kenya's transition to independence presents more problems than most other former colonial territories, and the reason is obvious. The wealth of Kenya has in a very large measure been built up by the European community, and your Lordships on many occasions have paid tribute to the impressive contribution which that community has made in Kenya. In the new Kenya, this economy will in due course become quite different in character, because it will be based primarily on the economic activities of the African population. It is of fundamental importance that the transition to this newly based economy should be as smooth as possible, and this has been the underlying principle of the large-scale settlement schemes for which we are providing the bulk of the money.
These schemes have been designed to help produce in a substantial part of the Highlands an orderly and progressive change from European to African farming. In this process, they are helping to remove much of the former emotion and controversy which has always been associated with Kenya land problems, they are helping to restore a market in land, and they are providing opportunities for those European farmers who wish to make their homes elsewhere. Side by side with these land schemes, we are increasing to a very large degree the resources of the Kenya Land Bank, about which I shall say something in a moment, so that we can also deal with the situation 24 of farmers in areas not allocated for African settlement in the immediate future.
We are spending large sums of money on other development in Kenya. British aid for development in Kenya for their financial year 1963–64 was announced, as your Lordships will remember, by my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary on May 28. I should like, for the record, to give your Lordships the main items. These were up to £4,600,000 for the main land settlement programme. The whole cost of the programme is about £27 million over five years, of which the British Government will be providing about £19 million. Then there is up to about £700,000 for the purchase of farms, mostly outside the resettlement areas.whose occupants for reasons such as age, infirmity or remoteness of the property are exposed Ito special risks.These farms will be bought as an addition to the land settlement programme in the current financial year. There is up to £1 million for the Land Bank to finance transactions outside the settlement areas. This will enable some European farmers who wish to leave to sell their farms either to Africans or to other Europeans, including those who have been bought out under the settlement schemes but who wish to continue farming in Kenya. And there is up to £4,100,000 for other projects such as health, education, agricultural development and irrigation.
We are also providing some £26,000 for passages and minor incidental expenses for elderly or infirm British peoplewho wish to return to Britain but are without means.The arrangements for reception at this end are being co-ordinated by the Women's Voluntary Services, and I should like here to say that in this connection we owe a great debt of gratitude to my noble friend Baroness Swan-borough. The total development aid, therefore, as the noble Earl told us in his speech, to be provided to Kenya in 1963–64, including the farm "compassionate cases", to which I have referred, therefore amounts to £10,400,000. These arrangements, as I have explained, include proposals for dealing with the various categories of hardship cases for 25 which we have recognised that special help is justified. But, my Lords, we realise that the problem alas! is not wholly solved. There are a number of persons—perhaps about 150 in all—who, because of the nature of their property, cannot be satisfactorily fitted into the resettlement programme. We have been in consultation with the Governor about these to see whether we can devise a scheme of assistance which will meet their case also.
Both the noble Earl and the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, who introduced this Motion, referred to the Land Bank, and I would make a specific mention of it myself. I know it has been suggested that the £1 million to be provided by the British Government for the Kenya Land Bank is not enough, and a sum of £5 million to be spread over five years has been mentioned by a number of people in the past as likely to be needed. It is not possible to forecast what the eventual requirement may be. Both the Kenya Government, in putting forward their request for assistance, and the British Government, in accepting it, have deliberately confined their attention to the more immediate future.
I should add that applications in the early months of 1963 were coming in at a rate which if maintained would have amounted to about £3¼ million a year. The Bank's requirement of funds is, how ever, less than this. In the first place, there are repayments to take into account and these have amounted to about £250,000 a year so far. In the second place, some applications are withdrawn and others are either rejected by the Land Bank or scaled down because either the borrower has insufficient credit or the land is too highly valued. I am sure your Lordships will agree it is essential that the Land Bank should maintain ordinary business standards, and it should therefore satisfy itself that each individual transaction is sound. If, in due course, the Kenya Government find that more money is needed for the Land Bank, the British Government will examine any request from them in the light of their other contributions to Kenya's economy.
My Lords, in his speech, the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, laid, quite naturally, great stress upon the question of the Lancaster House Agreement, and indeed he addressed a Question to me on this sub- 26 ject a few days ago. I will remind your Lordships that it was stated in paragraph 19 of the framework of the Kenya Constitution, which was agreed at the Lancaster House Conference last year, that changes in the Constitution would require a majority of 75 per cent. of each House—I am repeating some of the observations made by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, as I wish to get this absolutely correct on the record—except that particular changes which affected the entrenched rights of individuals, regions, tribal authorities or districts would require a majority in the Upper House of 90 per cent. With only a few exceptions—and this the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, referred to, also—all who took part in the Conference subscribed to this Agreement, including, of course, the British Government. The parties to the Agreement will be represented at the forthcoming Independence Conference.
The reason for devising this amendment procedure is perfectly clear. We had between us carefully worked out the principles which underlie the new Constitution, in the knowledge that it would foreshadow the Constitution under which Kenya would enter into independence. Perhaps it would be useful if I were here to quote the exact words of my noble friend Lord Kilmuir, which he spoke in your Lordships' House, and to which the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, referred [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 240, col. 615.]:Nevertheless, it was made clear at this Conference, as it was at the Conference held at Lancaster House two years ago, that independence is the ultimate objective for Kenya, and it is the intention that the Constitution which will be brought into operation—that is to say, the Constitution covering the period of internal self-government—will give effect to the agreed 'framework' so far as possible. It will thus foreshadow as closely as may be the Constitution with which Kenya embarks on independence".Those were the words to which my noble friend Lord Colyton referred.
At Lancaster House, arrangements were agreed with the object of providing a strong and effective central Government, while at the same time ensuring decentralisation of the powers of government to effective authorities capable—and I quote from the White Paper—"of a life and significance of their own". All groups agreed that the Constitution which would finally emerge as the Independence 27 Constitution for Kenya should not be subject to easy alteration. If amendments were to be made they would have to be supported by a very considerable body of opinion in the Kenya Parliament. The percentages agreed were devised in order to make it unlikely for the Government of the day, even with a large majority, to be able to carry amendments without significant support from Opposition groups. This principle, my Lords, is of cardinal importance.
At the Independence Conference the British Government will not suggest departures from agreements to which they are a party. Although the proportions agreed for amending the Constitution were not questioned at Lancaster House, we now know that they are considered by some to be unduly restrictive, and we must therefore expect that this matter will be raised at the Independence Conference. My Lords, while we shall not depart from our position that there must be effective safeguards to ensure the basic and fundamental principles of the Constitution, and (and this is most important) that the proper balance between the centre and the regions shall be maintained, we shall nevertheless be prepared to discuss such reasonable arguments as may be put forward which are consistent with our position.
Reference was also made in the speeches of both the previous speakers to the question of citizenship. I am well aware of the anxieties that many people feel on this score—as to what the status of the European population of Kenya will be when Kenya becomes independent. Now if, as we all hope, the independence of Kenya is closely followed by the establishment of a Federation with Tanganyika and Uganda, citizenship is likely to become a Federal responsibility. For the present, however, we should perhaps consider this question in relation only to Kenya's forthcoming independdence. Those Europeans who plan to remain permanently in Kenya after independence will no doubt be ready to assume the obligations of Kenya citizenship. At the same time, there may well be people of United Kingdom origin who, while wishing to identify themselves with Kenya, would be reluctant to renounce their United Kingdom citizenship and thereby sever completely their links with this country. While I cannot anticipate 28 the decisions which may be reached at the Independence Conference, I wish to make it quite clear that if such people are obliged to renounce their United Kingdom citizenship and wish at some future date to return permanently to this country, the British Government will ensure that they will not find any unnecessary difficulty put in their way, and the Home Secretary will be prepared to consider using the discretion given to him by the British Nationality Act, 1948, to enable them to regain United Kingdom citizenship after a shorter period of residence than the five years normally required of Commonwealth citizens. Does the noble Lord wish to say something?
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I just want to ask my noble friend whether that would apply also to their children, and their children's children, after registration at the British High Commissioner's office in Nairobi?
§ LORD COLYTON
Would this apply to the children of such holders of British nationality, and to those children's children, providing they comply with all the formalities of registration at the British High Commissioner's office?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I am not sure whether I understand my noble friend's question aright, and, of course, none of us can anticipate what is going to happen, but what I am saying is that in the event of people of United Kingdom origin having to lose their United Kingdom citizenship, no difficulties would be put in the way of their returning to this country should they wish to do so; and, furthermore, that the Home Secretary would be prepared to consider exercising his discretion in their favour in the matter of their regaining their United Kingdom citizenship. So I am not quite certain how the question of the children of these people really arises. I do not think it does.
My Lords, as has been said the Constitution for internal self-government came into being in Kenya on June 1, only six weeks ago; and since then I am sure it is true to say—and this has been referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton—conditions in Kenya and 29 the new Government's policies have resulted in a steadying of confidence in Kenya's future. It is not a dramatic or a great resurgence of confidence, but a definite, if cautious, rise in hopefulness. It is shared by the European community in general, as well as by other significant sections of the population and by friendly interests outside. I am told that it is also coupled with a desire by the Kenya Government and Opposition Parties alike to maintain relations of trust and friendly co-operation with the British Government through all the important developments that lie ahead in the very near future. My Lords, I am sure that all of us in this House—and, indeed, in the United Kingdom as a whole—welcome this attitude and wish to see this confidence grow.
§ 3.57 p.m.
THE EARL OF ENNISKILLEN
My Lords, I would crave your indulgence in to-day addressing your Lordships' House for the first time, and I am particularly happy that the occasion should be one when Kenya is the subject of debate. It is a subject in which I have the keenest interest; therefore, it is, as you may imagine, with very mixed feelings, after having lived for a long time in that country as a settler, farming, and having been more recently connected with politics, and having worked alongside the Africans in both fields, that I approach my task to-day.
The White Paper before us is an indication of the speed at which events in Africa move. They are never still; they are seldom completely disastrous; but they are never far off being difficult and, in some cases, dangerous. It is certainly a great relief to us all and a matter of admiration, as has already been said, that the new Government have so quickly seized the opportunity to cement the three East African Territories, to follow the lines of the High Commission and to build on the foundations which were laid by this Government for that purpose. But the White Paper is also significant in many ways for what it does not say. A lot of what it does not say has already been spoken of this afternoon, by far more able speakers than myself; and a lot of what it does not say is set down for discussion in Nairobi, and, finally, at the Independence Conference which may take place in London. Therefore I do not think, 30 aside from wearying your Lordships, that this is the proper time to go into great detail. I think this White Paper is significant for two reasons: first, as I have already said, because of the advance which Kenya has taken so quickly during the last months; and, second, because it gives us in Britain and Her Majesty's Government the chance to have a final look. And I hope that that final look will be taken very carefully.
One of the greatest contributory causes of confusion in Kenya—and I tell your Lordships this because I think it is a fact—is that so often statements that are made with the very best intent at the time prove impossible later to fulfil. This, I think, has caused great alarm and despondency, particularly among our fellow kinsmen in Kenya. But I should like to say that they are appreciative of the efforts which are now being made to help Kenya and, in some cases, directly to help the European. Those cases of direct help to which I refer are, of course, the compassionate cases; and we have heard with gratitude of the generosity of the grants of money towards these people, I can think of no better way of money being spent at this time. I think it is important that the people of this country should understand and appreciate that this money is to help people who went out to Kenya with every bona fide intent of supporting Her Majesty's policy in a Crown Colony. They have since fallen on hard times, not particularly of their own making, and have encountered difficulties which they would be unable on their own to resolve.
Also, I think it is important that the people of Kenya—and I mean particularly the majority people of Kenya, the Africans—should understand what we are doing now in spending money on our people there. I know the African appreciates the importance of our not abandoning them and leaving them to become a problem for the new Government who will take over from us. It is our responsibility; we must see it through; and we can never off-load it on to anyone else.
I looked at this White Paper from the point of view of a revision of our policies—and I do not mean by that the destruction of what has already been done, which I think is right, but from the point of view of doing the most 31 helpful thing we can for Kenya before independence is achieved. I came to the conclusion that the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, summarised this when he told us of the Government's financial support. I would therefore only say that the land settlement schemes which are being financed largely by money from this country are an essential side to this programme; and they are successful. They may have various small failures; but what scheme of such magnitude would not? In the main, however, they are successful. We are getting Africans on to the land, and that is the important objective. Provided that, as it is now announced, Her Majesty's Government are to support the Land Bank for those areas which are otherwise unaffected by such settlements, and provided we are sucessful in getting Africans on to the land, then I think that there is a chance of stabilising and increasing the general agricultural productivity of the land of Kenya.
I believe that this is a continuing responsibility. I believe that it cannot be disposed of as one year's grant, although I realise it is difficult to assess what the sum of money would be, and I know that the British Treasury is always very reluctant to deal in anything but inches. I welcome most particularly the fact that if the money now given to the Land Bank proves insufficient Her Majesty's Government will support any request from Kenya for an increased amount to finance this work. I believe it is fundamental to the progress of Kenya, and I believe it is one of the best ways not only of helping the African but of helping our own people to have some freedom of choice which they would not otherwise have.
There is one other aspect of finance on which I should like to touch, and that is the question of development money. It is well enough to provide, or to see provided, money for purchasing capital goods, but, as those of us who are landowners or who are in business know, the capital sum required is nearly always about one-third of the cost of maintaining, producing, and making a success of a venture. I would therefore make a plea that development money to the Agricultural Finance Corporation of Kenya be maintained as cheaply as it 32 can possibly be done; because it will be very difficult for the new African farmer to keep solvent if he has a heavy repayment responsibility. He must have money provided, preferably free of interest, for a number of years, and afterwards with varying interest. Without that he will find it very difficult. Kenya is not an easy country to farm, as we have proved. The African will, I know, produce crops in places in which one might have thought it was quite impossible to do so; and I have every confidence that, given the chance, he will produce abundantly from the land. But he will need the chance of very cheap money for development.
There is one other point. Our own people, the people of our own stock, who decide to stay in Kenya must be actively and interestedly supported. I am grateful for the expressions of sympathy and pride that have been used this afternoon in connection with them. They need every form of support during this difficult transitional period—though in saying that I do not mean special treatment or anything of that sort. They are perfectly prepared to face the future with an African Government, and to accept African leadership. That is why they are staying in the country. But in the past, I regret to say, the European settler of Kenya has been a target for criticism and ill-informed hostility. He has been called "land-grabber", and other things. How very far from the truth is that idea!
My Lords, I stand before you to-day as a son of one of the men who first went there. We did not steal the land. We did not go there to be Prime Ministers. We did not go there, I believe, to do anything except to farm, to make a home and to have fun. And we had a lot of fun. Let us be sure that we acknowledge that. It has been a great deal of fun, and I hope that those times will come again for all those in Kenya. We took up land that was granted under Crown lease. We took up land for which we paid. We did not shoot the local inhabitants in order to get that land. And as late as 1960 Her Majesty's Government were extending the lease of land from 99 to 999 years for quiet and peaceful enjoyment.
That is the picture of Kenya. It is a picture in which anyone who has been associated with the building of Kenya 33 may, I feel, take an immense pride. May Kenya long go forward and be what it already appears to be, a leader in its area of the world! I am quite certain that, in the final judgment of history, a country will be judged not on its deeds, not on its successes, not on the independence that is granted, but on its final treatment of its own people; on its final support of its own nationals when they are in distress or otherwise in difficulties. It is with the idea of continuing responsibility for their support that I end what I have to say this afternoon. I thank your Lordships for your forbearance.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I did not wish to interrupt my noble friend in the course of his admirable maiden speech, but may I intervene here to say that there was one point where I think he misunderstood me? The noble Earl agreed that it was difficult to forecast exactly what the requirements of the Land Bank might be, and appreciated that the Treasury were not interested in considering hypothetical situations. But he went on to say that he was glad to learn that the British Government would support any request from the Government of Kenya if more money were needed. I think perhaps that this was a slip of the tongue. What I in fact said was that the Government would examine any request from them in the light of their contributions to Kenya's economy.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, it falls to me first to congratulate my noble relative Lord Enniskillen on his first-rate maiden speech, so objective and so moving in its moderation. It is our proud boast in this House that, whatever subject may be raised, we can always find an expert on it; and this clearly has been no exception to that rule. It is, of course, difficult for those who live in England, 4,000 miles away, with the best will in the world, to capture the true atmosphere of a country like Kenya. But the noble Earl lives in the very middle of Kenya's problems. He has lived there all his life. That is why I think that a speech like his is so valuable. I am sure that we are all most grateful to him for making it possible for us to hear him here and I can assure him that, when it is possible for him to speak again 34 about that part of the world which he knows so well, he will always be listened to with the closest attention. I would also thank the Government, if I may, for finding time for this debate. It is not easy, I know, to spare a day in your Lordships' House for a new debate at this time of year, when so much is coming up from another place to be disposed of before the Summer Recess; and yet this was clearly a matter of very real urgency.
In all the debates we have had up to now in recent months on Kenya, whenever we have asked for a declaration from the Government on almost any aspect of policy, we have always been told that we must await the final negotiations; and we have been obliged very reluctantly to accept that position. I say, "very reluctantly", since some of us, at any rate, have always had an uneasy feeling that when the final negotiations took place Her Majesty's Government might feel themselves obliged to give way, as so often before; and then it would be too late for us, or for anyone else, to do anything about it.
But now the day of reckoning is at hand. We have been told in a recent announcement that Kenya is to have complete independence before the end of this year. One must assume, therefore, that the final negotiations on many as yet undecided but vitally important points will shortly begin. Yet we have still had, at any rate up to to-day, little or no information on matters for which some of us feel Parliament here—that means us—have a special responsibility. And this, I suggest, is still more important since we are all going away in a few days' time for our summer holidays, and by the time we come back, which may not be until the end of September or even October, the final negotiations may have reached an advanced stage and we may be faced with a fait accompli.
The noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, if I may say so, has clearly been anxious to help us as much as he could. That was why, I take it, he spoke so early in the debate. But I cannot help feeling that there are a good many aspects of Government policy about which we are still very much in the dark. If one felt absolutely confident that Her Majesty's Government would take a firm line in these negotiations, this perhaps need not worry us too much. But, unhappily, 35 in the light of past experience of what has happened, both over Kenya and over other parts of Africa, I am afraid we can have no such perfect confidence. I am terribly afraid even now that if the African leaders dig in their toes Her Majesty's Government may give way as they have given way before. If that is so—and I hope it is not—it is far better that they should say so now, and then we and the loyal people of Kenya will know where we are. But if, on the contrary—as I hope—they intend to stand firm on essentials, that would be a weight off all our minds.
I may, of course, fairly be asked: "What are these essentials of which you speak?" That is clearly not a question which those of us who have during recent months criticised the policy of the Government should burke. Actually, most of them have already been mentioned this afternoon, either in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, with which he opened this debate, or in subsequent speeches. There is, first of all, and perhaps most important of all, the land question. As the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, has just told us, the Europeans of Kenya—and they are mostly of British birth—are largely, one might almost say mainly, engaged in agriculture. What is to be their future? Are Her Majesty's Government going to insist, in the forthcoming negotiations, that they shall have some security of tenure as part of a final settlement; or are they going to make no conditions and just wash their hands of them? That is, I understand, what the Kenyans of European origin are at present waiting most anxiously to know. Evidently, the question of safeguards is of essential importance in this moment of transition.
It is indeed possible, in dealing with this land problem, that there may be what may be described as a middle line—some middle course on which agreement might be reached as a basis of settlement, and which would safeguard the essential needs of the European mixed farmers, who are, I gather, the core of the problem at the present time. I should like to say just one word about this middle line.
Your Lordships may have heard of a proposal to combine numbers of small mixed farms in much larger land cor- 36 porations. Such a scheme as that might, I think, have considerable advantages, both from the point of view of the farmers themselves and also from the point of view of the new independent African Government. For the new African Government would get rid, to a great extent, if not entirely, of the individual European landowner, who would be bought out at some price by the corporations—and I have always understood that it is these individual European landowners who are the main bugbear of the African leaders. The land corporations might also be useful, in the eyes of the new African Government, from the point of view of the export trade; and, of course, Kenya needs an export trade perhaps more than ever before, if she is to survive as a viable State. And, looking at the point of view of the farmers themselves, these should be able to dispose of their farms to the corporations, not, of course, at their full value, but, at any rate, at some value, and they might continue to live in their homes and farm their lands, if they were suitable to do it, as executives of the corporations.
An opportunity would also be provided for good African farmers to work for the corporations in a similar capacity without the investment of the large sum of money which the purchase of a farm might involve. And finally, so I am told, schemes of this kind could be financed by an extension of the existing machinery of the Land Bank, to which the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, referred just now with such sympathy. They would need, as I understand it, no new machinery. I was—though I am sorry to say for only a short time—in Kenya this spring, and I found that this corporation idea was gaining steadily in favour. The noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, did not mention it directly this afternoon, but much of what he said, I thought, was quite in harmony with it, and I very much hope Her Majesty's Government will bless it and raise it with the African leaders in the conversations which are to take place.
Another matter on which I think it is essential that Her Majesty's Government should make up their minds before the coming of independence to Kenya, is what are known as the compassionate cases, which means, of course, the cases 37 of those whom, for one reason or another, it is urgent to get away from Kenya as soon as possible. With these, I know well, the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, is very familiar; and I know too how hard he has tried to help over them. When I was in Nairobi in April I took the opportunity to make a special inquiry into these. As we all know, there are four categories. There are those who own farming property but who are too old, or perhaps too crippled, to continue on their own, or who, for other reasons, find it especially necessary to move out of the country. Then there are those who, for similar reasons, find it necessary to leave the country, but who are not farmers but owners of residential properties or small-holdings, mostly in towns. Thirdly, there are those who have very small incomes, but no capital to fall back on if things go wrong. Finally, there are those who are, in effect, already destitute and living on grants—grants which might well not be continued after independence.
There are not a great many, as I understand it, in the category of most urgent cases—only about 500—and in some of them the money involved is quite small. It would require only the payment of passages back either to England, or possibly South Africa if they wanted to go there. I would emphasise that they are mostly old people, and very often extremely old people, for whom the Kenya officials themselves say the situation might be desperate if they were not got out. I know that Her Majesty's Government are very conscious of this; for it was announced on May 28 that they were proposing to provide £700,000 for cases exposed to special risks. But if I understood the announcement aright—and perhaps I did not—this sum was meant to be available mainly, if not entirely, for farmers, and some of the people in the other categories are equally urgent.
There are also a few cases—not very many—who do not seem to come into any of these categories. I had a letter the other day from an aged couple who are in this sad situation. They are both 74 years of age, and they have built up a business as hotel keepers in a hotel at a height of nearly 9,000 feet, which is very high for people of that age. Before the Lancaster House Conference their 38 property, which they had built up by their own efforts, had been valued at £30,000. But now they would be happy to sell at less than half that price, if anybody would take the hotel. They said in their letter, rather pathetically, that they are without a pension of any kind, and that their all is invested in Kenya; and it must be remembered, I repeat, that they are both 74 years of age. Yet, apparently, they do not come into any category. That is the type of case of which one cannot think without distress and even a feeling of humiliation that it is not possible to do something for them. I beg Her Majesty's Government, if the sums they have made available are even now not enough to deal with the most tragic cases, to consider providing, at any rate, something more. We constantly talk of ourselves as an affluent society. Surely, we could spread the benison of our affluence rather more widely than we have done up to now.
Next among the essentials I would put the retention of some British troops in Kenya to carry the country over at any rate the immediate period of the transfer of powers. I do not intend to do more than just mention this matter—not because it is not of the first importance, but because I understand it is likely to be dealt with by other speakers. Nor do I mean to say anything at any length on the East African Federation, for the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, have already dealt fairly fully with that. Like both of them, I wish the Federation well—indeed. I suppose we all do. The only note of caution I would sound is this. I hope it will not begin with too large a combination of States. Federations are particularly difficult political entities to run successfully. The balance of power as between the central Government and the Governments of constituent States is always a very delicate one, as we have seen only lately in the Congo. It would be far better to start on a fairly small scale and gradually expand the area in the light of experience, than to start too big, as the Congo did. That way disaster lies.
Finally, and in some ways most important of all, I would put the question of British citizenship, of which the noble Marquess has just spoken. Whenever I have asked about this in your 39 Lordships' House in the past, I have always been told that it was being reserved for the final negotiations. But, surely, it is a matter which cannot be postponed any longer. On this, at any rate, I had hoped very much to have a clear, categorical answer this afternoon, for this reason. If any of us were living in Kenya to-day, especially in view of all the uncertainties of the future, for what should we be inclined to struggle to the last? I know that the retention of British nationality—so that one could know that one was still British under British law—would stand pretty high on my list. It is not merely our natural loyalty to Her Majesty The Queen; it is not merely the natural pride of British men and women in being British which would influence one's feelings. There is also the sense that the very fact of having British nationality gives one a feeling of security, however impalpable that may be, in a new and possibly alien world.
I am not suggesting for a moment that Kenyans, of whatever colour, should not adopt Kenyan nationality. Almost certainly the new independent Kenyan Government will insist on that. But we here, I feel, should make it clear that, whatever the Kenyan Government says, in our eyes, at any rate, those who wish ought to be able to retain British nationality as well. To give way on that, which is so vital to our countrymen in Kenya, would, to my mind, if I may speak quite plainly, be contemptible. I had hoped that we might have an absolute assurance on this point this afternoon. But I understood from what the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, said to us just now that the present view of Her Majesty's Government is that they will not allow these people their retention of British nationality. The best that Kenyans of British birth can hope for, according to the noble Marquess, will be that if they want later to return to the United Kingdom they should be able to get their British nationality back in a shorter period than other aliens. To my mind, that is not nearly good enough. These people, who are our kinsmen, should be able to retain their British nationality now. I hope that my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, when he replies to the debate, will be able to announce to us that the 40 mind of the Government is not closed on this matter and that they are ready to consider it further before the negotiations begin. I am quite certain that nothing less than that would satisfy either your Lordships or the British people as a whole.
Now, my Lords, I have done. To me, at any rate, and I expect to other noble Lords here this afternoon, this is—and I cannot conceal the fact—a very sad occasion. I cannot but feel that the record of the present Government, with regard to our territories and our responsibilities in Africa, will go down as one of the dingier chapters in our history. My noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor last week, speaking of the Central African Federation, said that we had to "face realities". When a man or a Government say that, my Lords, it is only too often a sign that they are going to retreat. Sir Winston Churchill in 1940 did not talk of facing the realities: he created the realities. He said that he would not preside over the liquidation of the British Empire, and many of us in the Conservative Party, at any rate, must wish more than ever that he was at the helm now.
But it is no use looking back. The harm has been done. The British colonial empire in Africa, over which so much work has been done, is as good as dead. One thing, however, we can still do: we can strive to secure that even when we have left these countries, when we no longer rule over them, those who believed in Britain—whether they be white or black—and who stood by us when times were bad here during the war, shall not suffer by our departure now. That, hope, will be the strong determination, not only of many of us in this Chamber this afternoon, but of Her Majesty's Government, too. If—and I stress the word "if"—that be so, we shall all wish the Government success in the negotiations which are about to begin.
§ 4.37 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, before I start my own speech I should like to refer briefly to three other speeches: first of all, the wholly admirable maiden speech made by the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen. I am another kinsman. I think he spoke with modesty and, in a sense, with under-statement. His father and uncle, who were pioneer 41 settlers in Kenya, were among those induced, persuaded, cajoled, to come out and develop an empty country between the coast and the source of the Nile. They were in a country so empty, owing to tribal warfare and disease, that in the early part of this century the Government of this country offered a large territory to the Zionists so that they might establish their kingdom under an independent governor in Kenya. I think the noble Earl, finding himself a successor to such prosperous herds on a great ranch, had perhaps even forgotten the great losses incurred by the pioneers before they mastered the country's local diseases. I have heard it said in Kenya, and written and published in the Press, that the white man came, stole the Africans' land and left them poor. Now that, as the noble Earl has said, is a thumping lie, and it was most satisfactory to find the World Bank visiting the country recently and commending the standards of cultivation of the settlers.
I should like to turn to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and join in thanking him for this opportunity of speaking again on Kenya. He spoke of the position of the minor tribes, and referred to the Somalis in a sense that I should like to take up. Some of the minor tribes are those I administered when young. My health was impaired in their service. They are all staying in Kenya proper. Whatever happens to the N.F.D., they are remaining. They are people I have loved, worked for, served and prayed for for forty years. I am not one to fail to support and to think about safeguards for them.
If I have said little about those tribes on behalf of whom the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, spoke, it is because I have seen nothing particular where I could make a contribution. I tried in one case. I thought it barbarous that the Masai should be cut in two; one half in one sovereign territory and the other half in another. So I took soundings, through an intermediary, with the Prime Minister of Tanganyika, into which country I believe they would prefer to be a united people, and asked what his reactions would be if I proposed it in your Lordships' House. He said that it would be extremely embarrassing and would receive no support. That was the only way in which I thought I could make a contribution.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for giving way, but in making his reference to the coastal tribes, is he aware that Mr. Ngala, leader of the Opposition, who is a member of one of the tribes in the Coastal Province, has himself recently put in a demand for autonomy, and undoubtedly, if safeguards are not retained in the Constitution, he will be demanding full secession on the lines of the Somalis?
THE EARL OF LYTTON
I have attended to that point with the greatest care. I read the report of the Commissioner, I visited the Mayor of Mombassa and I heard all shades of opinion not so long ago. I am conscious that Mombassa regards Nairobi as an upstart and barbarous city. As Cathage was to Rome, so is Nairobi to Mombassa. I appreciate the point, only I did think that the Commissioner was right when he said that the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Coastal Province would wish to be part of independent Kenya and, if that is true, I cannot see where else we can go. I do agree with the noble Lord, and I think it is probably a safeguard that if the minor tribes are dissatisfied, and if they should happen to be associated with Kamba, they will just secede, and the pencils and ballot boxes of the Kikuyu and Luo will not stop them from doing it. I hope I have satisfied the noble Lord.
In the third place, the noble Marquess referred to the question of nationality. Is it really necessary to become so pernickety in these matters as we have become in the past forty years? One of the most distinguished of my colleagues in Kenya—one who worked and lived there; served in the army out there, though he had never been with the British Army; was awarded the M.C., and mentioned in despatches; died of blackwater fever; was wrapped in a Union Jack, and had a firing party fire over his grave—was a Swedish baron; nothing else. He was never naturalised. Why should these things have become so impossible in these days?
I must go on to the part of Kenya which has become, as it were, my particular province, simply because it seems to be a part which has been so seriously mishandled. I wish to-day to sum up with a plea that the future of the people 43 of the N.F.D. should be settled in accordance with their views, and before independence. I had thought that this same plea had been made during our discussion on this subject on April 6 by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, but I understood him to make quite a different plea this afternoon.
To sum up, there are two views. The great majority of the people of the area are secessionists who wish their land to be joined with the Somali Republic, with whom they have a long common frontier. Most of them, but not all, are Somalis. The non-secessionists are what I should like to call, for the purpose of my speech, "unionists", who wish to remain in Kenya. The unionists and the secessionists occupy different parts of the N.F.D. There are a few small areas presenting problems, but all of them are soluble. It is an area where, in the main, the legitimate claims of both secessionists and unionists can be met.
The documents of Mr. Maudling's short reign reveal a clear and sensible set of moves to settle the secession problem before the introduction of internal self-government. The N.F.D. delegates to Mr. Maudling's Conference in London made it known that secessionists would not serve under a Kenya Government whose leaders had threatened to oppose secession by force and to expel secessionists.Anyone who wishes to secede, let him pack his camel and go",was an expression used by Mr. Kenyatta. The United Kingdom Government then published a four-fold undertaking. One, to appoint a fact-finding commission; two, to make a decision on the commission's findings; three, to do so before introducing internal self-government; and, four, before changing the status of the N.F.D.
The term "on the findings" was understood by all to mean "in accordance with the findings". Kenya politicians, foreseeing secession, uttered threats. The Somali Government, aligning themselves with the principle of self-determination, said,If the result shows that the N.F.D. wish to form part of independent Kenya, we shall raise no objection.The N.F.D. people, confident of fair play from the British Government, proclaimed 44 their different allegiances openly, with enthusiasm and in good order. Everyone, including the Regional Boundaries Commission, believed that the word "on" from Mr. Maudling meant "in accordance with". Nobody dreamed that the equivocation of Mr. Maudling's successor could make it mean "contrary to". After less than a year of Mr. Maudling's successor all this has changed. The secessionist area of the N.F.D. is virtually a police state under the Kenya Government, at the head of which is the man who, whatever his merits—and I have had occasion to say things in his favour in your Lordships' House—has uttered the most violent of all the threats against secessionists. N.F.D. secession leaders have been extradited and dispersed by order of the British Governor. Is it surprising, my Lords, that once again John Redmond, cheated of home rule, has been replaced by the assassin Michael Collins?
Hitherto my appeals to your Lordships have fallen mainly on deaf ears. I want to-day to begin by calling your attention to the position of the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, who was in the Chamber earlier to-day, but is not now. On June 29 the noble Lord, Lord Henderson, was a signatory of a letter to The Times from the League for the Self-Determination of Peoples. The letter was, in effect, a denunciation of Red colonialism in Eastern Europe. On June 26, in connection with our debate on Foreign Affairs, I had invited his support in connection with our breach of relations with Somalia. Quite understandably, and inevitably, he could not deal with such a small matter on so great an occasion, and he passed my appeal to a noble colleague, who turned it down. In view of the noble Lord's international prominence as a self-determinist, I am writing him a letter asking him if he can find time to extend his zeal from Eastern Europe, where we have no jurisdiction, to the N.F.D., where the verdict is ours. I gladly support his own plea for the freedom of Eastern Europe.
If I may proceed to another noble Lord, some of your Lordships may remember that I supported the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, in connection with the Central African Federation. His theme at that time was "territorial independence before federal integration". On this we 45 are now all agreed. Yet on June 26 the noble Earl reversed his plea and argued that the N.F.D. secession area could not expect to join independent Somalia save in the context of both being absorbed in the East African Federation. He mentioned the Federation as something new, whereas of course it was fully discussed by Mr. Kenyatta and the Prime Minister of Somalia in Mogadishu about a year ago, a fact which I mentioned to your Lordships when I suggested the importance of noting Mt. Kenyatta's views on federation. I suspect the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, of really disliking self-determination in connection with Africa, but I would invite him (and I wish that he were here to listen) to dispel the impression that he opposes colonialism only when it is white and has not the least objection to it when it is black.
If I may turn from the Labour Benches to the largely unoccupied Liberal Benches, so far I have looked in vain for a liberal atonement of past Liberal injustices. Your Lordships have heard from me already that a Liberal Prime Minister started the cannibalisation of the Somali people when, in the teeth of all his election pledges, he invaded Egypt. A second Liberal Prime Minister completed the subjugation of the Somali nation and its dismemberment. This was Mr. Lloyd George, who, fresh from his share in the wicked Treaty of Versailles, brought to an end the 21 years of Somali national resistance by the new, safe, cheap, nasty method of bombing them from the air. Are Liberals still deaf to the cry of the Somali people for their freedom, or is it simply that they are absent, ears and all.
I now ask your Lordships to support my third and final appeal to Her Majesty's Government, to decide, themselves, the N.F.D. question forthwith, and to decide it in accordance with the wishes of its inhabitants, which they know. I would remind your Lordships that my first appeal, on April 6, was rebuffed by the evasions of the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, who played a record of "His Master's Voice" composed before my criticisms had been uttered. The three or four of us who were present at that time will remember that he played it with such sonorous dignity as to bestow even upon its irrelevancies an air of pomp and circum- 46 stance. This is a talent which could well be applied one day in the near future, I hope, to the proclaiming of a people's freedom in accordance with their rights. On June 26 the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, rejected my second appeal more brusquely than the noble Marquess, and in two ways: first, by quoting from correspondence not available to your Lordships between two Prime Ministers; secondly, by giving a version of Somali Government policy put about by the Kenya Government.
I reply to this to-day by referring to the correspondence itself, of which I have photostat copies, and to the latest statement of Somali Government policy, of which I have a carbon copy. There is in the correspondence the Somali Premier's urgent cable of February 12 and Mr. Macmillan's reply by letter of February 21. My Lords, there is a Somali proverb, "Truth and error have different footprints". In truth the signature, so far as I am able to tell, is that of Mr. Harold Macmillan; but the "footprints" in the letter are those of Mr. Duncan Sandys. There is, for example, a misleading error of omission which has been pointed out in the Somali White Paper. There is the equivocation to which I have been referring in the use of the word "on", blatantly paraded. There is the familiar fallacy of refuting the wrong point. For example, it is not the most serious charge against the Government that they failed to be final but that their interim decision was prejudicial. It put the unionists within the fold of the home rule which they desired. It put secessionists in the power of those who had already proclaimed secession to be treason. It opened the door to the canvassing and threats of Kenya politicians, while shutting the mouths of Somali and Rendille secessionists. That is the decision which Mr. Macmillan declared to be without prejudice and which he defended on the ground of not having promised that the decision would be final.
In the light of this let-down, pray listen to Mr. Macmillan's concluding remarks:It is our firm intention that your Government will be given an opportunity to express their views before any final decision is taken on the future of the N.F.D., and I would like to repeat that assurance.You might suppose, my Lords, that our own Prime Minister was for some extraordinary reason not already aware of the 47 views of the Somali Government. But I note, as I read the cable to which he is replying, signed by the Somali Prime Minister, that there in front of him in the cable are the views of the Somali Government expounded in full with precision, with restraint and dignity. An assurance of such slender import given at a moment when you have broken a pledge of great importance to a man is surely no more than a request that he takes your word at a moment when you have ceased to be creditworthy. But when the man's views are at the same moment lying fully stated in an urgent cable in front of you, surely this misnamed assurance is just a fatuity, void and patronising. The Somali Government decided that in the light of unfulfilled undertakings Mr. Macmillan's assurance was without value. I invite your Lordships to agree with them.
If the Government will not give you the papers, I will. I turn to the version of Somali Government policy given in this House on June 26 by the noble Earl, Lord Dundee. The noble Earl appeared, cane in hand, like some outraged master of an approved school. The delinquent Somalis had behaved inexcusably but they were learning wisdom. These are almost his words, as recorded in Hansard. Having in response, as he said, to agitation, thrown over their only friend, they were now going, cap in hand, to the Kenya Government for such terms as might still be available in the light of true contrition. In answer to this, I cannot do anything else but quote from the carbon copy to which I have already referred:Note Verbale. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs presents its compliments to the Embassy of the United States of America and has the honour to request that the contents of this Note be conveyed as a matter of urgency to the Government of the United Kingdom.Some foreign Press and radio reports have been giving a misleading interpretation of the recent contacts which the Foreign Minister of this Republic has had with the Prime Minister of Kenya on his way back to Somalia from the African Summit Conference at Addis Ababa.The Government of the Somali Republic wishes to make it quite clear that the Somali Foreign Minister in his private talks with the Prime Minister of Kenya did not express any opinion which can be taken to indicate a change of policy by this Government on the question of the Northern Frontier District.48The policy of the Somali Government on the Northern Frontier District has consistently been, and still remains, that the British Government bears the sole responsibility for settling this issue before Kenya attains independence, in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants of that area, as expressed in October, 1962, to the British Government through the special commission for the Northern Frontier District.The position of the Somali Government in this connection should not be interpreted as an excuse to delay the independence of Kenya. The Somali Government has long advocated the early independence of that neighbouring African country, and strongly supports the demand of the people and government of Kenya that they be granted their independence immediately.It is the responsibility of the British Government not to leave as a legacy to an independent Kenya contentious issues with the Somali Republic, such as that of the Northern Frontier District, which would impede the development of good and friendly relations between the two countries.As to the proposed East African Federation the Somali Republic reiterates its policy to support fully any political and economic regional groupings of African States as a prerequisite to the ultimate realisation of a political association embracing all African countries.However, it is the view of the Somali Government that a federation cannot successfully evolve unless outstanding territorial and boundary problems between the component States are settled beforehand.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Embassy of the United States of America the assurances of its highest consideration.This Note was addressed to the Embassy of the United States in Mogadishu and was signed on June 13, 1963, thirteen days before the noble Earl, Lord Dundee, gave us a different version in this House. Your Lordships must make what you think right of the evidence which I have put before you in three speeches—on April 6, June 26 and to-day. I conclude by repeating once more, and for the last time, my appeal that the N.F.D. problem be settled as already promised in accordance with the expressed views of its inhabitants by the British Government before independence.
As a postcript to my appeal, I would remind your Lordships that during the last Kenya debate I supported the plea for early elections from a correspondence with scores of persons of all races in Kenya. One noble Earl described them as "voices from Kenya". I now note that the date for independence is set 49 for December 12. I have already mentioned in this House the forthcoming Federation as contemplated by the African leaders, and, naturally, there is nothing in it which I would not support. But you may ask me, "Having been in touch with African leaders in Kenya, why have you not said anything to them on this problem of the N.F.D.?" I have, and my expression of opinion is the precise opposite of that which I understood noble Lords to say. I gave it as my opinion—and it is no more than my opinion—that the public recantation of their anti-secession pledges was not in the least necessary, and might even be distinctly imprudent; that it was the British Government's business, and all they had to do was to refrain from violence when the Uhuru which we had given them was bestowed on others. This, then, I repeat, is my final request; that the Government dispose of the N.F.D. problem in accordance with the wishes of its people.
§ 5.3 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF SWINTON
My Lords, I must apologise, first to my noble friend Lord Colyton, that owing to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to be here in time to hear his speech. I wish to intervene only briefly upon one point which I stressed in some questions that I put to my noble friend the Minister of State on the last occasion. If I do that, it is not from any lack of sympathy with other points that have been raised, and particularly the clear right of what are called the settlers (I prefer to call them the citizens) of Kenya to their full title to the lands which they have developed so ably and occupied for so long.
If anyone has any doubts on that matter, I recommend him to study the fin lings of the Carter Commission which I Sot up more than 30 years ago, and which I had fondly hoped had settled for all time the question of land titles. It was the most thorough and authoritative inquiry one could possibly have. It showed, without any possible shadow of doubt, that the title of the so-called settlers to their farms in the White Highlands was absolutely thorough and complete, legal, and had nothing to do with taking lands away from tribes. On the contrary, the Carter Commission went on to say that although the case for giving 50 more land to the tribes had not been made out on any large scale, yet, in order that there might be a feeling that there was justice for everybody and that the title to the White Highlands might be settled once and for all, they recommended a large grant of land additional to the reserves, and that was carried out by Orders-in-Council. I should like to have that on the record, in view of all the nonsense—and I must say, insulting nonsense—which is spoken, not by well-informed persons in your Lordships' House, but by much less informed or ill-intentioned people out of doors. It is just as well to have it on the record.
But what I wish briefly to press for to-day is an undertaking from the Government as to what is going to happen to the regions, the minorities, the individual tribal rights in Kenya. I listened carefully to the speech of the noble Marquess. It was comprehensive, and he quoted from a number of other speeches. He said that no decision could be taken until everybody had had their say. He said—I do not think I misjudged him—that it would require strong argument and reason for altering what had taken place at Lancaster House; but at the same time he wondered whether there would be strong representations made to get away from the Lancaster House Conference decisions—above all, that most important decision that to alter the rights of the regions which were written into the Constitution would require a 75 per cent. majority. As I understood him, he said that he could not go further than that to-day, and that we must wait for the Conference; that Her Majesty's Government would be one of the parties at the Conference. That may be so; but I do not want Her Majesty's Government in this matter to have a casting vote or to give a decision. If they are going to give a decision on the matter, then they can tell us now—they can respond by giving us some assurance now.
Those who know it so much better than I will correct me if I am wrong, but the Lancaster House Conference would never have succeeded, there would never have been the agreement on which this Constitution is based and on which Kenya is to be given its independence before the year is out, unless those absolute undertakings had been given to the tribes represented by KADU that they would have their regional self-government, and 51 what would be the functions which would pass to the regions. Those of us who worked on the Federation in Central Africa, which we hoped would succeed, know how vital is the importance of being careful about what functions are going to the centre and what are going to the regions. That was all laid down perfectly clearly; and, because we would all agree that we looked ultimately to Kenya obtaining independence there was written into the Constitution the provision that this Bill of Rights, as it were, involving these regional tribal rights, would be safeguarded, and that after power had passed from us to the independent Kenya Government it could not be changed without the 75 per cent. majority.
§ THE EARL OF SWINTON
I am much obliged. It is 75 per cent. in one case, and 90 per cent. in another. It is all in the Appendix to the White Paper. I ask my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor to give us an assurance on this matter. He can do so, because this is not something that has to be left open, or ought to be left open, for the Conference. After all, the Kenya Constitution which is going to come into force will require the Act of Her Majesty's Government, and presumably an Act of Parliament, to bring it into force. I take it that there will be an enabling Act for an Order in Council to be made. I think that is correct. This Constitution certainly cannot be settled without the full approval of Her Majesty's Government.
Therefore, it rests with Her Majesty's Government to decide whether or not these pledges are going to be honoured. I sincerely trust that they are. I do not believe that by "waffling" about this—I do not want to use an offensive expression—the Government are going to make it any easier either for themselves or for the Conference when it assembles at the end of September, or whenever it is to be held. I believe that a clear statement now would clear the air and make the Conference much simpler. If you bring them here—the KADU people suspicious, anxious, all the more determined to insist on their rights (and they are their rights)—and you have loft the matter in the air, the other side, who have now formed the Government and who have the 52 majority, will feel that they have only to press a little more and it will be all right; that they can reverse the 90 per cent. and the 75 per cent. and when they get their independence can play about with the Constitution exactly as they please. I do not believe you are going to make matters easier by doing that.
My Lords, I would add this. We all want the new Constitution to succeed. We all want, above all things, that there should be peace in Kenya. There has been enough disturbance and suffering and murder done there. But if you are going to take things away from these regions and from these tribes—tribes who are passionately devoted to keeping their own rights and who are profoundly suspicious of the large Kikuyu tribe and their much more efficient organisation—and if you want an absolutely certain way of starting disorder and, I fear, bloodshed (and we were told that we must face reality) then I am perfectly certain, knowing something of this country and how easy it is spontaneously to stir up suspicions and conflicts there, that this is the way to do it. After a year or two apparently there will not be any British troops there to keep law and order. Under whose command are the police going to be? If the forces of Jaw and order are not to be suspected of having one tribal affinity or the other—I do not care whether it is Kikuyu or Masai—it is essential that there should be forces of law and order which are recognised as being independent and which are going to do their duty. I beg my noble friend the Lord Chancellor to give us his assurance to-day that Her Majesty's Government will stand by the Lancaster House Conference and refuse to be stampeded into changing it.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ EARL DE LA WARR
My Lords, we are all extremely grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, not only for giving us a chance to have this discusssion, but also for the positive lead he has given us in his speech. There are, however, two anxieties which he mentioned, and although the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, has dealt very thoroughly with them, I should like to add my voice in support of what he and Lord Colyton have said.
There are anxieties on behalf of both Europeans and Africans. There have 53 been references to the Lancaster House Conference; and the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, spoke at some length on the arrangements that were then made for the safeguarding of the Regional Governments that were to be set up. He referred, as did Lord Swinton, to the figures that were needed for alteration of those arrangements. Figures are all very well. It may be that figures can be negotiated about, but those agreements were primarily between two parties, KANU and KADU. Never mind whether it is 60, 70 or 80 per cent. Surely what really matters is whether Her Majesty's Government are prepared to alter those arrangements without the full agreement of both parties who attended Lancaster House. The House is entitled to a firm answer from the Lord Chancellor on that question.
The second anxiety that has been expressed is about the position of the European. Many points have been raised on this matter, but I shall refer to one only. The noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, in the remarkable maiden speech he made to your Lordships to-day, on the whole expressed, I think, the satisfaction which most of us are inclined to feel with regard to the financial arrangements. When one is dealing with finance one always like a little more than one is able to get, but on the whole the noble Earl expressed satisfaction.
The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, emphasised the point which must be concerning us very deeply, a point on which the whole House will, I trust, be in deep disagreement with the statement of the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne. I refer to the question of citizenship. As I see it, the question of resumption of citizenship is entirely in our hands: it has nothing to do with discussions with the representatives of Kenya. It may well be that the Kenya Government, as I think has been done by one or two other Governments, will make it a condition of Kenya citizenship that British citizenship is renounced; or, at any rate, there may be a deprival of a British passport and so on. That is something which we may like or dislike, but it is within the functions of the Kenya Government to decide. But what they have no right to decide is the terms on which we allow a Briton, who has been forced to renounce his 54 citizenship, to resume it when he wishes for one reason or another to return to the country of his birth.
The terms suggested by the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, are a mockery of the meaning of the words, "I was born a Briton". I do not know whether the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor can say anything further on this at the end of this discussion, but I hope that both he and the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, will realise that they will encounter very deep feeling indeed, unless they are able to satisfy us on this matter. One point which I think the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor could answer is whether or not I am right in asserting that the terms on which a person is returning from Kenya, having had to renounce his citizenship but wishing to resume it, are entirely a matter for us and nothing to do with any conference with the Kenya Government.
My Lords, I feel, too, that some appreciation should be shown in your Lordships' House of another point. Do we who live here in this country, with all our comforts and security, appreciate the desperation—and I use that word advisedly—of the decision which the settler is called on to make? I refer particularly to the settler, because there is a vast British community who are not settlers; but it is the settler who essentially has established himself so much as a part of the country. Possibly a generation or so ago he and his family went out from this country, frequently encouraged to do so by the Government, as the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, told us; going out perhaps to farm, as the noble Earl said, and also with a sense of having a pleasant life and so on. But many of them were also inspired with the feeling that, by going out to develop a remote part of the British Empire, they were doing something to help that country.
Certainly, in most of our young days the settler was doing something which was considered a fine act, a patriotic act. But now, if he stays, he has to face a complete revolution of life. He has to be completely in the power of a very different race, with a very different culture. He has to think of the future of his children, the type of 55 education they are going to receive, the opportunities that they are going to have for employment in that country, knowing that, quite naturally, the African desires to Africanise as quickly as possible every job worth having. None of us can question their desire to do that, but it is a fact. Now it is understanding and sympathy with that position which is demanded of us. I only hope that something of the depth of this problem will be realised by the African himself. After all, everything that is worthwhile in those countries; every road or bridge or railway; school or hospital or factory; the wonderful farms, the wonderful work that has been done in the African Reserves, improving the agriculture there—all have come from the Europeans.
One hopes, too, that the African will realise how important this matter is to him in his own interest. At the present moment, at the beginning of this year of self-government, there is an immense amount of good will; and very rightly and very sensibly a great number of allowances are being made. But good will, if abused, can run thin; and with the claim for equality the tendency to make allowances will, over the years, inevitably weaken. Africa to-day wants capital; it wants technicians. In the case of Kenya, dependent as it is for 80 per cent. of its exports on the settler, it still needs the settler. I believe that everybody is in the mood, the provider of capital, the technician and the settler, to provide as much help and support as possible. But one would say to the African that it is not merely a matter of justice for the European: it is that the attitude of the newly independent Government is ultimately going to decide the continuance of this co-operation. On that point, my Lords, I must say that I speak with considerable, long-term confidence, for the reason that I have had personal experience of it from helping to run a company in another newly independent country where the whole racial conflict is over; where we have for years been meeting each other individually in our private houses, in our clubs and in our hotels; where, with the declaration of independence, the British proved by their actions that they wished them well; and, finally, where the newly independent Government, finding itself in an undisputed 56 position, has dealt extremely fairly with the Europeans.
I believe that perhaps the most encouraging thing about this debate today was the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen. Not only was it a very good speech, but it was a speech of one who for years has lived in Africa, and the son of a father who has lived for years in Africa, under very different conditions. The noble Earl has shown by the attitude that he has adopted to-day that he accepts quite wholeheartedly this entirely new situation, whatever the difficulties it may present him with in his family, personal or business connections. I believe that he is typical of the great mass of Britons out there in Kenya; and I therefore hope that we shall close this debate, later on, in a spirit of confidence that, though we have to face a considerable period of teething troubles, there is very great hope that with the spirit that is being shown on both sides, this country of Kenya, with all its difficulties, will win its way through to a prosperous future.
§ 5.34 p.m.
§ LORD TWINING
My Lords, I join with many of your Lordships in expressing gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, for having put down this Motion. I apologise for having been absent during his speech, and during the speech of other noble Lords, but I had an important and inescapable engagement. I think it would be proper for me to declare an interest, as I own a small property in Kenya, where I spend some time each year, and I have other interests there. I hope that, not having heard the other speeches, I shall not go over the ground that has been covered already.
It had been widely understood that when internal self-government was granted to Kenya it should be allowed to operate for some time before the final steps to full independence were taken, but the recently-issued White Paper informs us that Her Majesty's Government have agreed to grant Kenya independence on December 12 next. The reasons which are given for this are that sufficient progress has been made with the discussions between the Governments of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika to form an East African Federation before the end of the year. Although I am sure your Lordships will welcome such a step 57 in principle, we have been given no information as to the form it will take. We can only hope that the Constitution of the proposed Federation will have been agreed to before the conference which is to be held at the end of September to settle the future form of Kenya's Constitution, and that its terms will be found to be satisfactory and acceptable.
Ever since I first went to East Africa in 1923 I have followed with interest the various discussions that have taken place and the steps that have been taken to bring about the closer union of the East African territories, with the ultimate aim of federation. There has always been resistance to these ideas, particularly from Uganda and Tanganyika, because of fear that Kenya would become the dominating partner—which in those days was interpreted as white domination.
We succeeded in establishing a High Commission, which administered common services and which co-ordinated many important policies which affected the three territories. This, undoubtedly, was of great benefit to East Africa as a whole. The High Commission has been replaced by a Common Services Organisation, which is operating efficiently under the able administration of a Ghanaian, Mr. Adu. But the new proposals go much further. They envisage the establishment of a political Federation, which will mean that each country will have to give up part of its sovereignty.
This, indeed, will be a notable achievement if it comes about, because these new countries value their sovereignty above all else. They jealously prize their status symbols, such as national flags and national anthems, and they attach very great importance to their national vote at the United Nations. For them to give up their separate votes at the United Nations will be not only a sacrifice but an act of statesmanship of a high order. But I believe that they appreciate that a single Federal representative will carry more weight and influence, and that the loss of their individual votes will in the long run prove to have been worth while. Provided the Federal Constitution is acceptable we should give it our support and congratulate the sponsors on their wisdom and far-sightedness.
Some of the East African political leaders have publicly stated that they 58 hope that other countries will join the Federation, including Zanzibar, Somalia, Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, and perhaps, Burundi and Rwanda. Should such an enlarged Federation come about, it would indeed be an important and practical step to bring nearer the fulfilment of the Pan-African ideal of a United States of Africa—a dream which is very dear to the African people. The proposal for an East African Federation entirely changes the political situation there. Intractable problems which tended to become of exaggerated importance in one country will diminish in size in a Federal set-up, and fears of domination by one tribe or one set of interests will be dissipated. In fact, local problems will be seen in a better perspective, and this, I believe, will be an important contribution towards a stable future. We can only hope that, with this new background, the conference to be held towards the end of September to settle Kenya's future Constitution will produce a result which will be lasting.
We have seen in recent times how easy it is for a Constitution which has been carefully drawn up and solemnly accepted to be scrapped, the safeguards enshrined in it to be discarded, and a new Constitution adopted which is not always to our liking. I will not weary your Lordships with comments on the existing Kenya Constitution. It is the result of long negotiations handled with great patience and skill by the Colonial Secretary and the Governor. I should like to pay a tribute to Mr. Malcolm Mac-Donald who, in the short time he has been Governor, has won the confidence of the Africans to a remarkable degree. But we shall be deluding ourselves if we think that any Constitution which is acceptable to us immutable. We must remember that when we grant independence to a country we are giving its Government the right to change their own Constitution if they so wish. Several leading African politicians in Kenya have already publically affirmed that once they have full powers they will change those provisions that do not conform to their own ideas.
I notice that in the White Paper the British Forces in Kenya are officially described as the "British military base in Kenya". I have always understood that the word "base" is a technical 59 term and implies installations, workshops and massive stores; in fact, a fully-equipped base from which a well-balanced military force can operate. In international affairs a foreign base established in a sovereign territory has a special meaning which, to uncommitted countries, is sometimes sinister. Perhaps for this reason, and because, in fact, we have not a base in Kenya in the technical sense of the word, we seem to have studiously avoided using the term in the past. We have referred to the troops in Kenya as being part of our strategic reserve stationed there. Perhaps I am attaching too much importance to this. The important statement in the White Paper is that neither the British Government nor the Kenya Government wish us to retain our troops in East Africa and that the British Forces will be withdrawn over a period of a year after independence. If this is our intention it is all the more important that we should convince the African leaders that they must take adequate steps to enable them to defend themselves.
In Kenya there are three battalions of King's African Rifles. In Tanganyika there are two infantry battalions and, in Uganda, one, with another to be formed. Seven infantry battalions, excellent troops and well-trained though they may be, do not form an army. If we take into account the two and a half companies of motor transport and one signal unit, the local forces in East Africa cannot be regarded as a balanced force. There is no artillery, no armour, no engineers and none of the auxilliary units that are necessary for an effective military force. And there is no air force. The three territories have immensely long land frontiers with poor strategic communications. Long stretches of these frontiers are subject to security hazards of quite a formidable nature.
We all hope that a solution will be found for the Somali problem, but if, unfortunately, a settlement is not reached, Kenya is very vulnerable on its Northern frontier. We have seen in other parts of the world, quite recently in Yemen, a foreign Power intervening with substantial military forces, and this could happen in Somalia on a scale which would make the local forces in East Africa no match for such a menace. We must offer all the assistance we can to enable them 60 to build up an effective military force adequate not only to deal with internal security situations but capable of defending their frontiers. Moreover, we must bear in mind that Her Majesty's Government are at present meeting the cost of the larger part of the expenditure on African troops in Kenya. The sum is, I believe, about £2 million per annum, and it will be difficult for the Kenya Government to find such a sum except at the expense of the development of social and other services which they are so anxious to expand.
Finally, my Lords, there are two points which I wish to make about the internal situation in Kenya. I find that the image that has been conjured up in the minds of people in this country is that Kenya is a territory with a dangerous internal security risk, with widespread unrest and lawlessness which could at any time flare up into serious disorders which could easily get out of hand and result in life and limb becoming unsafe. While we must not be blind to the dangers that exist, I believe that they have become rather exaggerated. I am often told by my friends that I am foolish to pay long visits to Kenya. But I must say that during my last visit, which extended to last April, I had never known the country more relaxed and the African population so smiling and friendly. In fact, when I am in Kenya and see the English newspapers and read of the murders, the armed robberies and other crimes of violence—to say nothing of the road accidents and the other startling goings on over here—it makes me sometimes wonder whether I am wise to leave the relative security of Kenya in order to face the dangers which, according to the news reports, beset us in this country.
The other matter is the attitude of the Africans towards the Europeans, particularly the farmers. There are tens of thousands of Africans who have for many years been in close association with Europeans, and who are on the best terms with them. They regard each other with mutual respect and affection, and I can see no reason why this state of affairs should not be lasting. The Europeans who wish to remain are showing their willingness to adapt themselves to the new conditions, and I believe not only that have they an important part to play in the future 61 of Kenya, but that the Africans themselves realise this and will welcome their presence provided that their attitude is what it should be.
My Lords, we are committed to granting independence to Kenya and we have reached the point of no return. The African leaders, or some of them, are showing a realistic approach to the many problems that beset the country and they are confident that they can make a success of their task. I am sure that we wish them well and that they can rely on us for our sympathetic support.
§ 5.47 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, I rise to make a brief contribution to this debate. I should like to begin by congratulating very heartily the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, on what seemed to me a magnificent maiden speech, informed as it was by a very intimate, personal knowledge of the subject of the debate. I do not propose at this stage to deal with any of the main questions which have been before your Lordships this afternoon; they have already been dealt with far better than I could deal with them by other speakers. Perhaps it will be adequate if I say, with all due respect, that I agree with every single word uttered by the noble Marquess and with most of what was uttered by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton. I qualify that statement because I do not feel quite the same degree of optimism that he expressed.
I know it is no good mourning over the past, and I do not propose to refer to the past except to say what I feel I must say: that the record of Her Majesty's Government in the handling of the Kenya affair over recent years has been lamentably and discreditably weak. I hope that in the coming final negotiations they will at long last show the strength which several speakers have implored them to show over these very vital questions. The only point I am going to emphasise in these brief remarks is one which has not received any attention this afternoon; and that is the administrative side of these questions. We are now at the end of the passage. On December 12 Kenya is to become independent, and the reason for that—and it is a very good reason, superficially at any rate—is that it will 62 facilitate the forming of the Federation of three countries which I think we all approve and with which in principle we heartily agree.
I want to emphasise that none of this eliminates the difficulties about Kenyan independence. It is only superimposing on those difficulties the immense administrative difficulty of forming a Federation of three countries, one of which is a one-Party State and believes firmly in remaining a one-Party State, and another has three kingdoms; and then we have Kenya, which is rent by tribal and personal jealousies and mistrust. When complete independence comes and the Federation is formed, what a temptation to KANU to follow out what many of its leaders have publicly said they will do, which is to form a one-Party State and follow the example of their neighbour and fellow-member of the Federation! Where, then, will go all these pledges to the minorities? What are they worth? We all know, surely, that these things are not worth the paper they are written on. The only security for such pledges is good faith and good will, and those two qualities have been conspicuously lacking in recent years.
I do not want to be too pessimistic. I am not making any accusations. I am, I hope, confining myself strictly to the facts. I agree that federation is a great ideal, but I have some personal knowledge, in much more favourable circumstances, of the administrative difficulties which confront a new Federation. Even one with my slight personal acquaintance of Kenya and East Africa knows the immense lack of essential personnel, both in quantity and quality. It does not matter how great the leaders may be—and the Africans have thrown up some very able and capable men—without the essential framework of a competent civil service and competent departments of all kinds the best Cabinet in the world is powerless and quite unable to face the unusual difficulties which confront a new Federation. Surely it is not necessary to restate these things.
And think of the position of the ordinary man in Kenya. He has not yet developed a loyalty to Kenya, and he is going to be asked to develop a loyalty to this new Federation. It does not mean a single thing to him. These are all difficulties which the people on whom this 63 responsibility is going to fall will have to face. I am emphasising these things because this is the last chance for the British Government to try to introduce some sense into these arrangements before December 12, after which it will be too late. I merely want to emphasise how important and essential are these administrative difficulties and I hope that they will be kept in mind.
§ 5.54 p.m.
§ LORD SOMERS
My Lords, I feel that I have no right to join in this debate, since I have never been to Kenya and have no first-hand knowledge of the problems which are confronting both the native Kenya people and the English in those parts. But I should like to stress one point: I want to support the plea put forward by the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, on the question of the Somalis. I think it is fairly obvious that when local traditions, race, culture, and even religion, are so different from those of the people across the border in Kenya, there can be no real union between the two. The Somalis have been more or less autonomous for several years, and they are unanimous in wishing to remain autonomous and not to join with Kenya. This is not merely a matter in the hands of the Kenya Government, but is also a matter for us, since this will be one of the questions discussed. Unless we have the strength of mind to insist upon this, I am afraid that the only result will be unrest, dissatisfaction, bad feeling and, in the end, something worse. The difference of race is profound, and cannot make for satisfactory union between the two people.
We have heard one speaker tonight who has an intimate knowledge of this subject-I refer to the noble Earl, Lord Lytton. Nobody can doubt that he has an intimate knowledge of this subject, having spent his whole life there. He has worked with the people and knows them. When these subjects arise, Her Majesty's Government show an extraordinary unwillingness to listen to anybody who has expert knowledge and information. I remember a debate we had not long ago on the question of Rhodesia, when we had three speakers with such knowledge. One was the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, who had flown all the way over from there to 64 attend the debate, and who should have first-hand knowledge, because he is a Member of the Rhodesian Parliament. We had the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who also speaks from personal and intimate experience, and we had my noble friend Lord Milverton, who has the same first-hand knowledge. Yet when we came to the end of the debate, the Government speaker (I cannot remember who it was) did not comment on any one of those three speeches. He passed them over, brushed them aside, as if they had no significance. On this occasion, having heard the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, I hope that Her Majesty's Government will pay rather more attention to those who know about the subject and will have the strength of mind to carry out what they feel is right.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, at the outset I would say that it is a great pleasure for me to be the first from these Benches to congratulate the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, on what has been so rightly described as a truly magnificent maiden speech. I associate myself with everything that has been said about it. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, hoped that we should hear the noble Earl frequently again "on matters connected with Kenya". I imagine that he did not mean to restrict the noble Earl to Kenya: I should very much like to hear him on many other subjects also. As a farmer in this country, and also in tropical parts of the Commonwealth, I am happy to welcome another speaker who not only can speak with knowledge on agricultural subjects, but also, I believe (perhaps I am rather biased in this), by reason of his training and experience, is qualified to speak on many other subjects.
In listening to all the extremely interesting speeches in this debate, it has become clear to me that the problem really is one of responsibility: that our Government have at the present time, as they have had for so many years past, responsibility towards Kenya. But I must stress that our responsibility is towards Kenya rather than to any one particular race, group or minority. When I say "Kenya", I mean the people living in Kenya. We must look upon our responsibility as being all-embracing of all types and groups of people who live there.
65 Undoubtedly, as some noble Lords have quite rightly said, we have a special responsibility in matters of hardship to individuals from this country who have gone out to Kenya—or perhaps it was their ancestors—and who now, finding conditions very different from what they were led to expect, feel that they can no longer stay there. That is a particular and limited responsibility—small, but none the less important. We have tried on various occasions—I have done it myself—to persuade the Government to treat such people with generosity. In the early stages they refused to make any special provision for such people. They have now had second thoughts, and I am sure we are all grateful to them for that. We should have liked those second thoughts to be a little more generous, but at least there has been some acceptance of this responsibility, and that is all to the good. But the responsibility is so much wider than that. It is not discharged when we simply deal with that small group, but is, as I say, a responsibility to the 7½ million people living in Kenya at the present time.
I think it is worth reminding ourselves at this stage of how those 7½ million people are made up. Overwhelmingly they are Africans. There are at the present time only 63,000 Europeans, something like 180,000 from India and Pakistan and 40,000 from Africa. In other words, out of the 7½ million there are fewer than 300,000 who are non-African. That is something we must not forget. I am not in any way minimising the problems of the minorities. The fact that they are small minorities, rather than large minorities, does not make it any the less incumbent upon us to look after them and protect them, so far as we are able. A minority is not less important, if you are thinking in human terms, because it is one rather than 1 million. But when you are thinking politically, as we are forced to, there is a need to retain some balance in this and to remember how those minorities are made up.
How can we set about dealing with these responsibilities that we have? As has emerged from this debate, I think that there are two primary issues. One is the economic issue—because unless the new Kenya prospers economically we shall have failed in our duty and respon- 66 sibility to Kenya; and the other is the issue which, in the broadest terms, one can call the issue of racialism. I think the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, was absolutely right in his opening speech to draw our attention to what he called the danger of racialism in reverse. My only disagreement with him is that it is not in reverse; it is just straightforward racialism. Racialism is exactly the same whether it is blacks who hate whites, whites who hate blacks or whatever it may be. It is straightforward racialism which is one of the greatest challenges that we have to face in Kenya.
Again I agree entirely with the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, when he says that the Europeans who remain in Kenya must not be second-class citizens. Whether there are 62,000 or 620,000 of them out of 7½ million, they still must not be second-class citizens. The noble Lord is absolutely right, also, when he says that Europeans must have the right, as the Africans will have the right, to own and let land. With all those points I am in complete agreement. But I cannot help feeling that we in this country are on dangerous ground, or at least difficult ground, when we preach to the new African Government in Kenya its duties with regard to racialism when we and they look at our record in this country. How can we say that in the new Kenya that is emerging the white minority must have equal rights with the Africans to own land, when in this country, as we know full well, the law of the land gives protection to the white majority to forbid the letting of houses to coloured people? This can be written into leases, as your Lordships know, and can be enforced with the full authority of the law of the land. That puts us in a very weak position when we say to the Africans in Kenya that they must not do what we in this country do.
And when, too, only recently, we have heard from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor that it is certainly undesirable, and possibly legally out of the question, to frame a law which would make illegal incitement to racial hatred, how can we say to the new democracy which is struggling to find its feet in Kenya, after we have been building up a democracy for centuries: "You must not do these things. 67 You must have in your brand-new Constitution sufficient safeguards to prevent this form of racialism arising"? That is something we must seriously think about when we are talking of these matters. But that does not diminish one whit my agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, in saying that we hope in Kenya they will have no such racialism and no such discrimination, whether it be against the Europeans, Asians or members of their own African race, but of different tribes.
One of the greatest encouragements to me in this matter came from the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, who, without going into any theory, showed clearly that he was aware, as so many ordinary sensible people in Kenya are aware, of the fact that the future of Kenya lies in the co-operation of all people. The noble Earl gave me the impression—I hope that I am not being over-optimistic in this—that among the ordinary people, who really produce the wealth of the country, matters of race do not figure very large; that they will get on with their jobs, regardless of whether they are working with Europeans or, Asians, with somebody from another tribe or somebody from their own tribe.
That leads me on to the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, and the important and difficult problem that he posed to us of the question of the Northern Frontier District. Before touching, on that shortly, I would answer a question he asked of my noble friend Lord Listowel. He asked whether we on this side opposed colonialism, the oppression of minorities wherever it is found, or whether we simply opposed colonialism when it was white oppressing blacks. I think I have already given an answer to that, and probably the noble Earl knew it before he asked it. We undoubtedly (as I think noble Lords on all sides of the House do) oppose the oppression of minorities and colonialism, in that sense of the word, whether it be the oppression of blacks by blacks, blacks by whites or whites by blacks—it makes no difference of any kind at all.
Turning to the question of the Northern Frontier District, I thought it was more than a disappointment, it was 68 a source of considerable worry to me, that the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, in his speech made no mention whatsoever of this problem, which is probably the most difficult problem which is going to face the new, independent Kenya. Whether he did it because he did not feel it worthy of mention; whether it was because it was too hot a chestnut for him to touch, or whether, as I hope, he did it because it is something with which the noble and learned Lord will deal in his reply, I do not know. But I sincerely hope that we shall have an answer to this question, because it is not something we can lightly push aside.
There are about 400,000 people—a small proportion, admittedly, of the total population of Kenya, but a sizeable number from the point of view of the politics of Africa; an important group of people, with their connecting link with Somalia and the northern parts of Africa—who, so far as one can make out from the polls conducted by or under the auspices of Her Majesty's Government, voted to the extent, so I am informed, of over 87 per cent. for union with the Somali Republic, as opposed to remaining in Kenya. I am not saying that we should accept that figure as it stands and say, "All right; let them go." I think that would be the wrong decision to take. I am quoting it only because it shows that there is a strong body of opinion in a very important area of Kenya which has expressed its views for secession from the new, independent Kenya. While I sincerely hope that they will not secede, and that they call be persuaded to remain in Kenya when it becomes independent and federated, it is not something where we can happily stand by and see the express wishes of this minority completely overridden and disregarded in the negotiations which are to take place under the auspices of Her Majesty's Government.
Let me turn to the second point where I suggested our responsibility lay; that is, on the economic side. It is reasonable here to deal only with agriculture, because in a country like Kenya, as we have heard from so many speakers, agriculture is far and away the most important single, economic enterprise, accounting as it does for something like 85 per cent. of the total exports of the 69 country. Here I should like to repeat what I have said on previous occasions in these debates, and associate myself strongly with the noble Marquess and the noble Earl, Lord Swinton, and also the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, concerning the White Highlands. There can be, and must be, no question in the minds of anybody, in or outside your Lordships' House, that this is land which has been stolen from the African population. It is nothing of the sort. It is land which was allocated in order to protect the Africans from the encroachments of Europeans, and land which the Europeans, by their own efforts, have made into some of the most valuable land in Kenya, which has contributed probably more than any other area to the wealth of Kenya. That must be stated.
But I am quite sure that the time has now come—and this is a hard thing to say—when, in spite of the implicit assurances which have been given to the people who cultivated it that it will be theirs for 999 years, that state of affairs cannot remain. You cannot have a contented, prosperous and stable Kenya if you retain what fifty or sixty years ago seemed a fair form of distribution up until the second half of the twentieth century. The treatment of those people who have been, not deliberately, but unfortunately, misled by Her Majesty's Government, should be generous; but they cannot retain complete right to that land. There must be, as there is at the moment going on, a comprehensive land reform throughout the whole of Kenya. That is a problem which we have seen.
Those of us who have given thought to it have seen with interest in many countries in Europe and Asia how it has been operating for the past ten or fifteen years and even, in certain countries, before the war also. Whenever you get land reform, you almost inevitably get a diminution in total output for the first few years. It is an unpleasant fact, but it is a fact which has to be faced. But if you resist, as some countries have done, the urge for the redistribution of land, and the wealth which goes with the land—and the first example was France in the years before the French Revolution—you finish up with an explosion of some kind. So there must be land reform in Kenya, and the Govern- 70 ment are right to have followed that policy. They may be wrong, as I believe in certain cases they are in the details in which it has done it, but I will not go into those at this stage.
I would suggest that there are two examples of land reform which are well worth studying, both by Her Majesty's Government and by the new Government of Kenya. One (it may shock some of your Lordships that I say this, but I think it is an example which has given good results, both socially and economically) is the land reform that has taken place in Yugoslavia since the war, where they have to a certain extent retained the advantages of large-scale farming. While it would be disastrous if that were done away with in certain areas in Kenya, I believe that we should do away with the social and political drawbacks of having an undue concentration of land and power in the hands of one or two individuals, particularly if they are Europeans in an African country. That is a point which I believe is worth study.
I believe also that the co-operative enterprise of the Gizera cotton scheme in the Sudan (which is one of the great successes of the country, and which is talked about far too little in this matter of land reform) is another example which might have some application to Kenya itself. Undoubtedly the Land Bank should be made greater use of than is the case at the present time. Undoubtedly the Treasury should be pressed—and I hope the noble Marquess will help in pressing it—to make more funds available for this sort of thing, because that is where our responsibility lies. If we are sincere in saying that we are responsible for the future welfare of this newly-independent country, we cannot do it without dipping quite deeply into our own pockets; and money spent on that type of thing will pay us very big dividends indeed. Thirdly, I will throw out one more suggestion to the noble Marquess. If we can in some way offer to the cultivators of Kenya, and if they wish to accept it, some security of the prices of their main products, whether it is in the form of commodity agreements, long-term contracts, or what-have-you, I would say that that also will do even more good than actual giving of loans even at low rates of interest. After all, there are only three or four of the main products 71 which, because of their size, would be worth considering; and these are, in order of priority, coffee, tea, sisal and, possibly, pyrethrum. Certainly, coffee, tea and sisal are all matters which can well be dealt with under this form of commodity agreement.
Time is getting on and I do not want to weary your Lordships by going into more detail, much of which has already been covered. We certainly do give a very warm, general welcome to the independence of Kenya and to the idea of federation. It is something which I think all of us believe in. We have had various disappointments; that of the West Indies, and the more recent disappointment of Central Africa with the failure of federation. Perhaps we, and Her Majesty's Government, have learned from these failures, and perhaps the Federation of East Africa will be the success in this trio of attempts. But, my Lords, it is difficult. This is not an easy thing to do. It is not simply agreeing that there shall be independence, hoping that there will be federation, and leaving it at that. But, undoubtedly, in my view, it is going to be easier for federation to achieve success if it comes earlier rather than if it comes later and before the forms of Government in these territories become stratified and harder to work in with each other.
There should be praise for Her Majesty's Government for the steps they have taken, and here I would disagree most profoundly with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who said—and these are his words as I wrote them down—Our record in Africa will go down as one of the dingiest in our history".
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I do not think the noble Lord has got it quite right. I said "The record of this Government".
§ LORD WALSTON
I amend that, with possibly greater pleasure, if I may say so. There is certainly no objection to the noble Marquess feeling that way. We have pointed out the faults of this Government in Africa and they have been many. But the recent attitude towards East Africa, and Kenya in particular, is far from dingy in my view. It may not be the most scintillating jewel 72 in the crown of the Colonial Office of the present Government, but at least the jewels are beginning to shine with a little added lustre and I think that there is this chance of success. It is a chance which is worth taking and, if it succeeds, it will certainly add considerably to the dignity and reputation of this country in the African continent.
In this context I should like to say just a few words on this question of British nationality for the British minority in East Africa. I have the greatest sympathy, naturally, as have all your Lordships, with United Kingdom citizens, or subjects of Her Majesty, who do not want to give up their British nationality. I also sympathise very much with the grave decision which has to be made by any of them who finds himself, for one reason or another, resident in a country which is no longer part of the United Kingdom. But I think it is extremely difficult for any individual to have allegiance to two Governments of two sovereign States, and I think he has to make the decision to which it is going to be.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, is the noble Lord opposite not aware that there are literally thousands of people who enjoy dual British nationality? As I have already mentioned, there are over 30,000 inhabitants of the Argentine who for hundreds of years have lived in domicile there but have continued to keep British nationality as well as enjoying Argentine citizenship.
§ LORD WALSTON
I do not know how many there are, and I am certainly not an expert on this complicated question of dual nationality. I only know from personal experience that it was impossible for my wife, who was born of British parents in the United States, to remain a United States citizen and have a British passport at the same time. My sons had the right to United States citizenship if they chose at the age of 21 to exercise that right, but if they voted in a British Election, or if they served in the British Armed Forces, which at a certain period they were forced to do, they lost their United States citizenship. There may be some countries which are prepared to allow people to have dual nationality, but I can see no difficulty whatsoever in this country saying that 73 we shall allow British nationals to remain British subjects even though they live in Kenya. It is, surely, purely a question for the Kenya Government to say whether they will allow them to live there and have certain privileges without becoming Kenyan subjects. If they then decide to become Kenyan subjects because, on balance, they think it is better, living in that country, to become so, and then for other reasons wish to come back to this country, it is up to Her Majesty's Government of the day to decide whether or not they should be re-admitted immediately without formality, having abandoned their other nationality.
I share the hopes of the noble Lord that Her Majesty's Government would be generous in that respect, but I do not think we can impose upon a sovereign government of a newly independent country a condition that part of allowing independence will be that they will allow people to have a nationality of that country and of this country also.
§ LORD SOMERS
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord, but surely he is wrong about this question of dual nationality. After all, Kenya and Great Britain are going to be part of the British Commonwealth, and if the Commonwealth is going to mean anything surely it must mean certain mutual privileges. My sister, for instance, has lived in the United States for years but has never lost her British citizenship. She is a citizen of the United States, but is still a British citizen.
§ LORD WALSTON
As I said, I am not an expert on this complex problem. All I can say is that the noble Lord's sister is rather more clever than my wife in this matter, because she was unable to do so. I think we are taking an unduly serious view of this matter. As I say, I agree that it is a very difficult and hard decision to make for people to decide which is going to be their country, but I believe that it is a decision they must make. I suspect that a great many of the British subjects at present living in Kenya will decide that they will, in fact, live there as aliens and will retain their British nationality. Whether or not the second or third generation will go on in that way is another matter. I imagine that they would eventually become assimilated. But if any of them should make the choice that they prefer to be citizens of 74 the country in which they live and work, and where they are bringing up their families—in other words, as citizens of Kenya—I do not think we should strain too much to see that they have the right to retain at the same time the nationality of this country.
In conclusion, I would echo the words of the noble Lord, Lord Twining, in his optimism about Kenya, his recognition of the peacefulness and progress that that country has shown. Looking back over the past few years, and remembering the trials of Mau Mau and the resultant economic stress, the uncertainties about the future, the bitterness that there was at that time, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Twining, that there are sound grounds for optimism. And the chance of success in this, I believe, will be all the greater if the difficulties which have been mentioned in the course of this debate are frankly recognised; are not pushed under the carpet; are not ignoredx2014;as I am afraid the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, is inclined to ignore them—but are brought out into the open and discussed, now and in the September Conference.
My Lords, Kenya is, in its own right, a great country. It has a large population, a growing population. It has a mixed group of people who are able to offer all forms of services to the country and who have offered those services. The partnership between these people is the keystone or foundation stone on which the future prosperity and greatness of Kenya should be based. But there is this further partnership, the partnership between the three territories of East Africa; if that is brought together and cemented, it will cause to arise in Africa an area which can be of the greatest possible influence for political and economic progress. And we on this side of the House sincerely hope that the results of the September Conference will be such as to enable that Federation to proceed.
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD DILHORNE)
My Lords, I must confess that I have never found it an easy task to reply to any debate in your Lordships' House, and I regard it as a somewhat more formidable one to-day, in view of the observations made by my noble friend 75 Lord Somers about the last time on which I did it in relation to the debate on Rhodesia and Central Africa. I shall endeavour to refer to the main issues raised in the debate, and it may be that I shall not mention by name, as I did not on that occasion, as he reminded me, everyone who has spoken in the course of the debate. But before I say any more, may I join in the congratulations extended to the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, on what I found a most interesting maiden speech? The whole debate has been interesting, but I for one am extremely glad that he came here and spoke as he did, and I join with those who expressed the hope that we shall hear him speak in the future, not only on Kenya but on other subjects as well.
I shall do my best to answer the specific points raised in this debate, and having listened, I think, to all of it (except, I am sorry to say, that I missed the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton), it seems to me that there are two main subjects with which your Lordships would wish me to deal. One is amendment of the Constitution and the second is the question of nationality or citizenship. I want to deal with both those subjects, but I should like first to deal with the other matters raised in the debate. I hope I shall not be criticised if I deal with some of them fairly briefly, because I do not think that at this time any advantage would be gained by my extending my answers with regard to them.
The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, asked whether the arrangements for a compensation scheme, and for pensions for expatriate civil servants, would be settled before independence. I can assure him that they will be. A compensation scheme has been settled and is in operation now: the Kenya Government have requested financial assistance to help them to meet their share of the cost, and that request is being considered; and all public service pension rights are entrenched in the Constitution.
The noble Lord, Lord Somers, as well as the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, raised the question of the Northern Frontier District and Somalia. I am afraid that I cannot add anything to what my noble friend Lord Dundee said on this subject when he was winding up the debate on 76 the International Situation held in your Lordships' House as recently as June 26.
Then the noble Marquess raised the question again which he had touched upon in an earlier debate, the last debate on Kenya affairs. He suggested that there should be a kind of land corporation from which, as I understand it, suitable people of any race would be able to obtain loans on easy terms to acquire land and bulk it up into large company holdings. We have given careful consideration to this proposal, but it is not without a number of difficulties. The noble Marquess suggested that company holdings established with African participation might be more acceptable in an independent African country than farms privately owned by expatriates. A scheme on the lines proposed might also help to restore confidence in Kenya in the immediate future. On the other hand, it is difficult to see how the bulking-up of farms in this manner could have any effect on output, except to the extent that owners might otherwise abandon their farms. In economic terms, it is probable that expenditure on ordinary development—for example, on African agriculture—would prove a far better investment for the Kenya economy. Indeed, the land purchase element and capital involved would, for the most part, merely facilitate the export of private capital. There is no reason why European farmers should not bulk their holdings without a scheme of this sort, if they wished to, and the recently approved increase in the funds of the Land Bank could help in this respect.
Secondly, there is the question of finance. We already have considerable commitments for aid to Kenya over the coming years for land settlement and compensation to overseas civil servants. For land settlement and other development expenditure alone, as your Lordships have been informed, we have already agreed to contribute over £10 million in the coming twelve months. It will also be necessary to provide a large part of the finance for the compensation scheme which is now in force. We are also helping with Kenya's forces, and we shall shortly be discussing with Kenya the British assistance after independence. The scheme for consolidation of farms into company holdings would involve additional expenditure by the 77 British Government of at least £2½ million a year, which is apparently to be quite separate from any other development aid given to Kenya. The British Government would, however, have to look at this in the context of all its other financial commitments to Kenya.
A suggestion has been made that the Colonial Development Corporation or the Commonwealth Development Finance Corporation might help in providing funds. It is difficult, however, to see how their participation would be of assistance, since both organisations have to work on a commercial basis and it appears to be a cardinal point of the scheme that loans should be provided well below commercial rates of interest. This is also something which the Kenya Government would wish to consider. The proposals recognise that they would not be prepared to take on additional loan burden for this purpose, and that if the money were available they would want to use it differently. The fact that, according to the scheme, the money would be quite separate from development aid given to Kenya emphasises the fact that the scheme has little to do with the development of Kenya's economy and might be regarded as a form of compensation for European farmers who wish to leave. It has all along been recognised that a number of European farmers will wish to leave, and we hope that the land settlement schemes (in so far as they provide for the purchase of land) and the increase in the resources of the Land Bank, will to a large extent, although in a different way, meet the purpose which my noble friend had in mind. On grounds of finance alone, these proposals clearly raise great difficulties, and any advantages which they may possess would seem to be outweighed by the real difficulties in, and objections to, their implementation.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, may I ask my noble and learned friend a question? Is he telling us, in fact, that the Government have turned down that scheme, or is he merely telling us how difficult it is?
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I was at that moment telling your Lordships how difficult it was. Your Lordships can draw your own conclusions from it. I am afraid that the noble Marquess will not regard that part of my reply to his 78 speech as satisfactory. I hope to be able to give him more satisfaction when I come to a later part.
The noble Marquess also raised the question of dealing with compassionate cases. He referred to the provisions for those owning farm property, and also drew attention to those owning residential or smallholding property. We are aware of those cases. Some of them are sad cases. From the information I have, however, I do not think that the number of them is as great as the noble Marquess gave. I think he mentioned the figure of 500; I believe that it is well below that. I can certainly tell him this: that we realise the difficulties of those individuals concerned, some of them owning residential property or smallholding property with some income which would enable them to live elsewhere, but without the money for the passage home or to establish a home elsewhere; and some of them having a small income but having no capital. All I can say at this moment is that their position is under urgent and detailed consideration. That will not go quite as far as the noble Marquess might hope, but I think he will know that I would not say that unless it were really the case.
Perhaps I might now turn to what the noble Marquess said was one of the essential conditions of independence—namely, security of tenure. May I say a word about that, and about the points which have been raised concerning safeguards respecting individuals and property rights in Kenya, which of course is linked with the present provisions concerning the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council? There is a natural anxiety that, to facilitate Kenya's accession to an East African Federation, the adaptation of the present Constitution will be so extensive as fundamentally to erode the complex of safeguards which it now contains. This is not a matter which is exercising Europeans alone, and none of the noble Lords who have spoken in this debate has suggested this. There are growing numbers of Africans who, in addition to Europeans and Asians, have an increasing stake in land and therefore a vested interest in the preservation of property and other rights—indeed, a vested interest, if I may put it this way, in stable conditions generally and fair-minded government in particular.
79 At present, existing titles and interests in land are confirmed by Section 193 of the Constitution. Property rights are secured under Sections 6, 170 and 171, which provide against compulsory acquisition of property except for certain public purposes, which are defined. They also provide, where acquisition takes place, for a right of access to the Supreme Court of Kenya, either directly or on appeal, with an ultimate right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Other safeguards affecting the rights of individuals are provided under Chapter I of the Kenya Constitution. My noble friend Lord Lansdowne has informed your Lordships of the British Government's position on this whole question—namely, that there must be effective safeguards to ensure that the basic principles on which the present Constitution was constructed are unimpaired. I do not think that there is any radical difference of opinion in Kenya on the need for safeguards of the kind to which I have referred, and I have no doubt whatever that the people of Kenya as a whole will be anxious to retain the protection of fundamental rights which the Constitution presently provides.
It would be premature, before independence negotiations take place, to say much more about the present provisions. Much is bound to depend on the judicial arrangements which the East Africa Governments will be able to agree among themselves in respect of the new Federation. I think that this must be recognised. At the same time, both the main African Parties have subscribed to the importance of having an effective and impartial judicial system, and it is certain that important interests in Kenya attach great value to the link with the Privy Council. If I may here interpose on a personal note, I, for one, of course, should be extremely sorry to see that link broken, and I am glad that as a result of the grant of independence that link need not be broken, and that it need not be broken as a result of the creation of this Federation. Our road is, I think, clear—to do all we can to help ensure that the Independence Constitution for Kenya provides for a system of justice that will command general confidence. I will say a word or two later about 80 particular points raised in the debate about the Constitution.
I should now like to turn to a further point which the noble Marquess made, about the use of our forces in Kenya during the next year. He suggested that their presence would be necessary, though he did not elaborate the point. I should like to make it clear that we do not contemplate the use of British troops in circumstances which would amount to interference in the internal affairs of any independent Commonwealth country. This is our attitude as regards Kenya. I do not think that any useful purpose would be served in trying to define hypothetical circumstances in which the troops might be used at the request of the Kenya Government.
My Lords, I think that I have covered most of the subjects raised in this debate, with the exception of the citizenship and nationalisation questions, and of the word or two more that I was proposing to say about the present Constitution and fears expressed in the course of this debate with regard to its amendment. A great deal of work went into the Constitution which resulted from the Lancaster House Conference. It was carefully thought out and certainly should not be lightly departed from. I think one has to recognise this possibility: that, without in any way departing from the balance between the centre and the regions, it may at the same time be necessary, if we are to get the present Constitution of Kenya into the Constitution of the Federation, to make some adjustments with regard to the Constitution of Kenya. Therefore, if that be the case—and I am not saying it is—I should have thought that it would be unwise and wrong to shut the door firmly and to say that there can be no amendment of any kind of that Constitution.
But, having said that, I should like to make it quite clear that we do not intend to allow the balance between the centre and the regions to be upset. But it would be going too far in the present circumstances, having regard to the situation which might arise from the creation of the Federation, to exclude all possibility of amendment at the next Conference that takes place.
§ EARL DE LA WARR
My Lords, if the noble and learned Lord Chancellor will allow me to interrupt him for one 81 moment, does that mean that any alterations which are made will have to be agreed between the two African Parties, KANU and KADU, who originally came to that agreement?
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Any alteration will have to come before that Conference. I am not going so far as to say that on any suggested change one Party should have the power of veto. All I can say is what is the attitude of Her Majesty's Government to any change, and that is what I have done.
I will turn to the question of citizenship. I have listened to all that has been said in this matter, and I realise how difficult it is to deal with such a technical subject with any degree of accuracy. There have been a good many inaccuracies, to which I will not draw attention, in our debate on this subject; and, I expect that, unless I am very careful, I shall add to their number. At any rate, I shall take it fairly slowly and, I hope, accurately. A great deal has been said about people remaining British subjects. One of the big changes made in our law of nationality in 1948 was to draw the distinction between being a British subject or a Commonwealth subject and a citizen of the United Kingdom or citizen of any other country. Under the British Nationality Act, 1948, it is provided, by Section 1, that citizens of a large number of Commonwealth countries are just as entitled to call themselves British citizens as citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Therefore the change effected by according independence to Kenya does not mean that the inhabitants of Kenya will not be entitled to call themselves British subjects. I want to make that perfectly clear. In Kenya to-day there are a large number of people who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and your Lordships have shown concern—and rightly so, if I may say so, with great respect—about their postion.
In relation to Tanganyika and Uganda, and I think in relation to other territories on acquiring independence, special provision has been made in the enacting legislation on the following lines. United Kingdom citizenship is withdrawn from persons who acquired the new citizenship automatically on the day of independence but is not withdrawn from persons who had specified connections 82 with the United Kingdom. For this purpose a "specified connection" means that the person himself had been born in the United Kingdom; or that his father or father's father had been born there, or that he or his father's father had been naturalised or registered as a United Kingdom citizen. That is the line that is normally drawn in our Statutes on this particular matter. I have been asked a number of questions on this subject, and I hope that I have made it clear that, whether or not they become citizens of Kenya, they will still be entitled to call themselves British subjects by virtue of Section 1(3) of the 1948 Act.
The question was then raised: can United Kingdom citizens retain the status of United Kingdom citizenship if they also become citizens of Kenya? That has been spoken of as "dual nationality". Those who become Kenyan citizens automatically will retain citizenship under the Independence Act if they, their father, or paternal grandfather were born in the United Kingdom. And there is absolutely no prohibition of dual citizenship under our British law. The problem therefore rests entirely on whether Kenya would allow Kenyan citizens to retain any other citizenship. The same choice rests with other countries—reference has been made to-day to the Argentine and the United States of America. That is one of the matters which an independent country has to be able to determine for itself.
A question has also been raised with regard to the children—I think that the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, interrupted my noble friend Lord Lansdowne in order to raise a question about that. It is difficult to explain the matter shortly. Under Section 5 of the 1948 Act a child born anywhere outside the United Kingdom and Colonies whose father is a citizen by birth automatically acquires citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies by descent. If the father is himself a citizen by descent, his child acquires that status if the father is in Crown service or if the child is born in a foreign country and the birth is re6stered at a British consulate. This means that in the normal way only the first generation of children born in a Commonwealth country acquire United Kingdom citizenship by descent, whereas in 83 foreign countries the status may be transmitted, subject to registration of birth, to subsequent generations without restriction.
That differentiation may at first sight strike your Lordships as curious. The reason for this distinction is that the possession of any citizenship of any Commonwealth country, equally with possession of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies, confers on a person the status in our law of British subject or Commonwealth citizen. When the Act of 1948 was framed it was considered right that children of United Kingdom descent born in foreign countries should be able to inherit British nationality without difficulty—which, within the scheme of the Act, meant inheritance of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Where, however, a child automatically acquired the citizenship of the Commonwealth country in which he was born, he thereby automatically also acquired the status of British subject, and when that Act was passed it was considered inappropriate that, save in the case of the first generation child, he should also acquire United Kingdom citizenship by descent.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, might I ask one further question on this point? I quite appreciate what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has said—that under British law an inhabitant of Kenya whose father or grandfather was born in the United Kingdom has a right to United Kingdom and Colonies citizenship. He also said that a good deal would depend on the attitude of the Kenya Government. Supposing the Kenya Government did not agree to that? Would we maintain our point of view, or would we give way to their point of view?
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I am not quite sure whether I follow what the noble Marquess means, when he asks: if they did not agree to that, would we maintain our point of view? But if I understand him correctly, if he is asking whether we would depart from what I have said to be the present law, I would say quite firmly that we would not. I hope I have understood the noble Marquess correctly. I go one degree further—this is what I think my 84 noble friend Lord Lansdowne was referring to. If, for instance, the Kenya Government—and, as I say, I hope it will not happen—passed legislation which made it necessary for someone in the exercise of his choice to choose between citizenship of Kenya and citizenship of the United Kingdom, then, if he chose citizenship of Kenya and then wanted to revert to citizenship of the United Kingdom and returned here later on—it is to those circumstances that the passage of my noble friend's speech applied. I hope that I have made that clear, and I hope that I have given the noble Marquess and the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, greater satisfaction on that point than I was able to do at an earlier stage.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I think I understand the noble Lord aright. But if there was a great amount of difficulty on this question between the Kenya Government and the United Kingdom Government, which we hope will not happen, then the individual in question, so far as he satisfied the British qualifications, would continue to keep his British passport.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
There would be only the division which would take place on the ordinary lines—if I may put it that way—on independence, which I dealt with earlier on. Let us assume that there is independence, and after that there are persons who are citizens of the United Kingdom and the Colonies. We should not pass any law which would deprive them of that citizenship. They have it under the Act of 1948, and we should not agree to change the law adversely to United Kingdom people living in Kenya, when we have not applied it anywhere else. As I said, it is terribly difficult to keep this clear because the law is very technical on this matter. What I am trying to make clear is that, first of all, you have to have your agreement as to how to provide for the situation on the grant of independence.
I refer your Lordships to what happened in Tanganyika and Uganda in relation to that, and that is the pattern which I think has been followed in other instances. If after that date we have someone who is a United Kingdom citizen, we should not, I am sure, alter our law with regard to that, and if, 85 because of legislation passed in Kenya, that individual found it necessary to give up his United Kingdom citizenship it would be his choice. But, also, if later on, after he had made that choice, he wanted to regain United Kingdom citizenship, then the passage in my noble friend's speech would apply. My Lords, I hope I have now dealt fairly fully with that particular point. The noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, put the question to me whether, accepting that Kenya might prohibit dual citizenship, it was purely a matter for the United Kingdom to determine the terms on which United Kingdom citizenship could be regained by persons of United Kingdom origin who had renounced United Kingdom citizenship, and were returning to this country. I can affirm that the answer to that question is in the affirmative.
I hope I have now dealt with the major points raised in the course of this debate. As I have said, it seemed to me a most interesting debate to listen to. Some of the speeches had a certain note of foreboding; the speech by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, came rather in that category. On the other hand, the speech by the noble Lord, Lord Twining, looked forward with a certain degree of optimism. I do not think that any of us can be complacent about Kenya's future, and none of us can pretend that there are not difficulties and dangers ahead. But I think that it is right that we should try to get into perspective the current developments in Kenya.
It is, I think, salutary in this context to compare the Kenya of to-day with that of, say, five years ago. Then, Kenya was still in a state of emergency; African elected members were refusing to co-operate in the recently amended Constitution; there was extreme racial bitterness and potentially a very explosive situation indeed. At that time we had not thought it prudent to state unequivocally that independence was the goal for Kenya. We made the position clear at the opening of the first Lancaster House Conference, when it equally became clear that Kenya's Government would pass progressively into the hands of an African majority. Despite many gloomy prognostications at the time that this heralded independence within a matter of months and in the most unfavourable conditions, it has in fact turned out that we shall have had four years to 86 prepare for the final act of independence. This period, short as it may seem to be by some standards, has in fact been of the greatest benefit to those who will succeed us.
Few people would have dreamed, in the immediate aftermath of the emergency, that in the space of only a few years African Ministers would be sitting round the Council table with European and Asian colleagues, freely discussing some of the most controversial issues in the country, the problem of land, security questions and so on. And the experience which the Kenya Council of Ministers has gained of real problems of government in the last three or four years, the awareness they have shown of economic and financial problems, and more recently their awareness of fears among the tribes, have, I believe, done much to produce in Kenya's present leaders a sense of the obligations of government, and a responsible feeling that Kenya's position in the world and, indeed, the welfare of her people will be largely determined by the manner in which public affairs are conducted.
My Lords, I do not myself think that it helps to bemoan so-called lost opportunities and to display a lack of confidence in the ability of Africans to run their affairs. In Kenya we have had to steer a difficult and delicate course, and so far I think that we can fairly claim to have succeeded in avoiding the dangers of precipitate abandonment of responsibilities, on the one hand, and of holding up African advancement for too long, on the other. The noble Marquess in the course of his speech rather chided me for using the expression "facing realities", which he seemed to think was an expression used as a signal for retreat. It was not meant with any such significance when I used it. I will not use the expression to-day; but, if I might, I will use the expression that the noble Marquess used two sentences later. He said that it was no use looking back to the past. On that note I should like to conclude my speech to your Lordships, and to say that I agree that it is no use looking back to the past. But, in the light of our experience of the last five years, I do feel there is ground for a certain degree of optimism about the future of Kenya and of those who live in that country. 87 I know that it is the wish of your Lordships, wherever you sit, that that country may have a happy and prosperous future ahead of it.
§ 7.9 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I should first like to thank the Government again for finding time for this debate. I hope that they will feel that it has been valuable, as I do. I should like to thank all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate, but perhaps particularly my noble friend Lord Enniskillen who sits here for the first time. We listened to his moving, sincere and very convincing speech with great pleasure, and we certainly look forward to hearing him again. However, my Lords, if the proposition as finally enunciated by the noble Lord who sits on the Woolsack is correct and if after independence the Kenya Government were to pass a law saying that those who acquire Kenya nationality will no longer be entitled to enjoy British nationality, I feel that this will be the last time that we shall hear the noble Earl in this House.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I do not think it is the case that the Kenya Government, when Kenya is independent, can pass a law depriving anyone who is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies of that citizenship.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I am very glad indeed to hear that. Perhaps I misunderstood. But certainly that same proposition does in fact deprive many of the old pioneers in Kenya, some of whom are the fourth, fifth or sixth generation there, of their British citizenship, as I understand it, in certain circumstances. Then there is also this question of the children. Surely, when in 1948 the British Nationality Act was passed, the conditions in relation to the Commonwealth were entirely different from what they are to-day. Surely we should look at this matter again and consider whether there should not be amending legislation to give the child of British parents living in one of the new Commonwealth territories the same rights to British nationality as he would have enjoyed if he had been born in a foreign country. I am afraid that I and, I think, my noble friends will feel it necessary to 88 reserve our right to press the Government further in this matter. Then, again, in connection with the safeguards of minorities, we have had the explanation—and I was grateful for it—from my noble friend Lord Lansdowne, and we have had the explanation of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack. What we have not been told, first of all, is whether KADU, the minority Party, will be fully represented at the Independence Conference; and we have certainly not been told that no changes in this Constitution, in respect of which formal pledges and guarantees were given in your Lordships' House only thirteen or fourteen months ago, will be carried out except with the consent of all the parties concerned. That, again, I feel is a matter on which we shall have to press the Government very hard indeed.
I will no longer detain your Lordships. I am grateful for the attendance of so many here late at night. I will repeat to my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary my good wishes for his participation in the forthcoming Conference. I hope that he will not allow himself to be intimidated by threats—even by threats to leave the Commonwealth in certain circumstances—into taking actions which we in this House and in the country as a whole would deplore. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.