§ 3.37 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the general purpose of this Bill is to enable Her Majesty, by Order in Council, to make provision for the dissolution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. As your Lordships know, the Federation was established under an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament, and it is accordingly for the United Kingdom Parliament to make legal provision for its dissolution and for the manner in which it is carried out. That the Federation is to be dissolved will, I know, be a matter of deep disappointment and regret to many in your Lordships' House. The Federation was a venture launched in high hopes, and in the minds of many, both here and in Central Africa, it represented a noble ideal of partnership between the races.
839 It is not my intention this afternoon to attempt to analyse why, in spite of the Federation's undoubted achievements, particularly its economic achievements, these initial hopes have not been fulfilled, and why the original idea has not, in practice, been achieved. In the interests of the territories and their peoples, in the interests of those individuals who will be personally affected by the ending of the Federation, we must now look not to the past, but to the future. This much, however, I must say. Her Majesty's Government were faced with a situation in which two territories were not prepared to remain in the Federation. Her Majesty's Government have felt bound to take the decisions they have (and it was with a sense of the gravest responsibility that they did so) because, in their view, the realities of the political situation in Central Africa admitted of no other course.
When Her Majesty's Government accepted some months ago that a territory which wished to withdraw from the Federation must be allowed to do so, they took the view that a Conference between the Governments should be arranged in order that there should be joint discussion of the problems to which this new situation gave rise. As your Lordships will be aware, this did not prove to be an easy task, partly because discussions with Southern Rhodesia on her future independence had not yet been brought to a conclusion. May I say in passing that, so far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned, the position on this issue remains as stated in the letter which my right honourable friend the First Secretary of State wrote to the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia on June 14th last. He there said,You will remember that when we met in London we discussed possible amendments which might be made by your Government to the Southern Rhodesia Constitution which would result in broadening the basis of representation in the Legislature, and would take effect as soon as possible. We also discussed the future development of policy on non-discrimination. So far as we are concerned these matters remain for further discussion".There the matter rests.
That, in spite of all difficulties, the Conference eventually assembled at Victoria Falls on June 28 and completed its work within four and a half days, 840 represents I think a considerable achievement on the part of my right honourable friend the First Secretary of State, as well as being a tribute to the statesmanship and the spirit of practical collaboration shown by all the Governments concerned. There was full agreement at the Conference that arrangements should be made for the orderly and speedy transfer of Federal responsibilities to the territories. That, I would emphasise, was the desire of all the Governments. It was also quite obvious that all the complex problems which this process would involve could not be settled by the Conference itself, and that special machinery would have to be set up to deal with them.
There were, however, certain important matters on which, in the view of the Conference, those responsible for carrying its work forward would need guidance. Your Lordships will have seen from the Conference Report, which was recently published as a White Paper, that these matters included such vital and difficult problems as those arising in connection with the Federal public services, the apportionment of Federal assets and liabilities, citizenship, and so on. The views of the Conference on these questions are set out in the Report, and in general I do not think I need enlarge on them this afternoon. I would, however, say a word about the problems of the Federal public services. These are of particular importance both from the point of view of the individual Federal public servants themselves, and also because the way in which they are resolved will closely affect the operation of the present Federal services after they have been transferred to territorial control. There is first the need to absorb as many Federal civil servants as possible into the service of the territorial Governments. Secondly, there is need for fair terminal arrangements for those who cannot be absorbed, or who leave the service. There is also the need to secure the discharge of obligations of both past and present civil servants in respect of their pensions.
Finally, there is the issue which was raised at the Conference in regard to compulsory secondment. I should like to make it clear that no suggestion was made that there should be any compulsory transfer on a permanent basis. The issue arose only in respect of a limited period immediately following the transfer 841 of Federal functions to the territories, during which public services must be maintained while time would in practice be needed to apply and work out in relation to individual officers whatever terminal arrangements might be agreed. No one wants compulsory secondment for its own sake. The problem is to devise a solution which takes account of the practical difficulties arising in the period immediately following the transfer of Federal Departments and which at the same time can be regarded as reasonable and equitable by the Federal Officers concerned. I am glad to be able to inform your Lordships that all these problems are already being considered in Salisbury by representatives of the Governments, including Her Majesty's Government, in consultation with the Federal Public Services Association.
The machinery set up by the Conference to carry forward its work is fully set out in chapter 2 of the White Paper, and there are only two points to which I should like to refer briefly. First, there has been no delay in setting this further consultation in train. Work has already started on a number of questions, including, in particular, that of the Federal Public Services to which I have just referred. Secondly, I should like to draw your Lordships' attention to the decision of the Conference to establish a special committee on inter-territorial questions. We do not regard the dissolution of the Federation as a purely negative process, and your Lordships will have noted from chapter 5 of the Conference Report the views expressed on this subject to the Conference by my right honourable friend, the First Secretary of State, when he stressed that it wasthe United Kingdom Government's declared policy to seek to assist in the evolution of effective new forms of collaboration between the territories when the Federation came to an end, forms that would be acceptable to each of them and help to preserve and promote in particular the economic prosperity of all".I think that we can feel a special satisfaction that the Conference should have made provision to enable questions of inter-territorial collaboration to be further studied by official representatives of the Territorial Governments, assisted by Federal officials, in a special committee under United Kingdom chairmanship.
Before I come to the Bill itself I should like to explain briefly what the Bill does 842 not do. It does not deal with the future constitutional development or independence of any of the territories. Moreover, it is, as I pointed out at the opening of my speech, an enabling Bill. It specifies certain matters on which provision will or may need to be made by Order in Council, but it does not attempt to lay down what those provisions shall be. We are therefore not called upon, in considering this Bill, to decide the nature of these provisions. The detailed arrangements eventually to be made can be determined only after further inter-Governmental discussion through the machinery established at Victoria Falls.
May I now turn to the actual provisions of the Bill? Clause 1(1) is a general provision which enables Her Majesty, by Order in Council, to provide for the dissolution of the Federation and the distribution of Federal functions to the territories. It also enables the making of the necessary "incidental, supplemental, and consequential" provisions. Clause 1(2) sets out a number of matters in respect of which such "incidental, supplemental, and consequential" provisions may be made. Clause 1(2)(a) covers the transfer of Federal functions to the Territorial Governments and also enables provision to be made by Order in Council in regard to Federal Assets and Liabilities, including the Public Debt. What provisions may eventually have to be made in regard to the latter problem I cannot, of course, say at this juncture. The Conference agreed that there should be a special subcommittee to deal with this in the light of the Conference discussions, and to make recommendations. It will be for this post-Conference machinery also to consider the question of an apportionment Commission, and to recommend the appointment of such a Commission with appropriate terms of reference, if it considers that one is needed.
Clause 1(2)(b) enables provision to be made as necessary for members of the Public Services of the Federation. As I have already indicated, the Conference agreed that immediate attention should be given to the working out of arrangements which would secure equitable terms for all Federal Officers and the discharge of obligations towards them. As the Report of the Conference makes clear, members of the Armed Forces and the 843 Judiciary, as well as Parliamentary officers and employees of statutory bodies, will be included in this consideration. Clause 1(2)(c) regarding matters pending before Federal courts and tribunals at the time of dissolution is, I think, self-explanatory. I would only add in passing that, as stated in chapter 9 of its Report, the Conference agreed that the question of a new Court of Appeal in place of the Federal Supreme Court was a matter to be pursued between the territorial Governments.
I now come to Clause 1(2)(d). This provides for the existing Federal legislation to be continued in force in the territories, by Order in Council, after the Federal Government's powers in respect of any given functions cease. This is subject tothe powers of the authority having power to legislate in the territory after dissolution".The subsection also makes it possible for the order to empower a territorial Government to modify or adapt Federal legislation for its own use following dissolution.
Clause 1(2)(e) enables provision to be made for the modification or adaptation of any Act of Parliament or any Instruments having effect thereunder. The Acts of Parliament in question are mainly those dealt with by Section 13 of the 1953 Order in Council which lists a number of Acts where reference to the Federation has to be substituted for reference to a colony or to Southern Rhodesia. The territorial Constitutions, however, are also Instruments made under Act of Parliament. While it is not proposed to amend any territorial Constitutions under this Bill, it has been thought desirable that the limited purpose of this subsection should be made clear. It is therefore expressly provided that this shall not authorise the amendment of the Constitution of any territory.
Clause 1(2)(e) also includes certain provisions relating to institutions or bodies which may be constituted jointly for all or any two of the territories. I have already referred to the discussions at Victoria Falls on the subject of interterritorial collaboration. The territories, or any two of the territories, might agree to set up a joint body or institution to operate on their behalf in some particular field, and might wish that some provision should be made by Order in Council for the 844 exercise by such a body or institution of the functions which the territories had agreed. There is no question here of the territorial Governments having any such body or institution imposed upon them. Whether or not such a body or institution were to be established, and if so whether any action should be taken by Order in Council under this subsection, would be a matter for agreement between the territories themselves.
Clause 1(3) enables provision to be made for any matter covered by Clause 1(2) as from such time before dissolution as may be specified in the Order. It is not contemplated that the transfer of all Federal functions to the territories should await the final dissolution of the Federation. Indeed, it was fully agreed at the Victoria Falls Conference that, wherever it was found practicable, arrangements should be made for such transfers in advance of dissolution. Satisfactory arrangements would, of course, have to be made regarding the men and money to run these services. Clause 1(4) enables provision to be made for a territory to withdraw from the Federation in advance of dissolution, and for the powers in this Bill relating to dissolution to be applied in that event. In fact, however, for reasons which I will go on to explain, it should now be possible to deal with the dissolution of the Federation as one single operation so that there will be no need to have recourse to this particular provision. Your Lordships will have read in Chapter 2 of the Conference Report that it was consideredthe effective operation of the machinery would be hampered unless the Nyasaland Government were fully associated with it on the same terms".The Conference therefore invited the Chairman to seek the agreement of the Nyasaland Government to associate itself with this machinery. I should explain that arrangements for the withdrawal of Nyasaland were already fairly well advanced, but the Working Party responsible for making these arrangements was still operating under terms of reference which assumed the detachment of Nyasaland from a continuing Federation. This assumption had now become unreal. I am therefore glad to inform your Lordships that, given the target date of December 31, 1963, for the dissolution of the Federation, the Nyasaland Government have now agreed to 845 participate in the general arrangements to be made for the dissolution of the Federation.
May I now say a word on Clause 2, subsections (2) and (3)? I am sure your Lordships will agree that in general any Order in Council under this Act should be subject to Affirmative Resolutions. At the same time we have thought it right in subsection (3) to make provision for the work to be carried forward as necessary during the period of the Summer Recess, and we have therefore included subsection (3), which requires any Order made before October 1, 1963, to be subject to the Negative Resolution procedure only. It is not possible to say how far it may prove necessary to have recourse to subsection (3), since this will depend on the progress made by the committees set up by the Conference. I should like to make it clear, however, that it would not in any case be possible to deal by Order in Council before October 1 with such major general questions as the Federal public service, public debt, and so on. Any action by Order in Council before October 1 would be confined to the transfer of such individual Federal functions to the territories in the case of which it was agreed that orderly transfer arrangements could be made at that time.
In dealing with this matter in another place, my right honourable friend, the First Secretary, said that he would consult further with the Governments concerned on the question, including this particular provision in the Bill. From the inquiries which have now been made, it is clear that there is a desire for this provision, in case it should be needed for the purpose I have stated. I hope that, with this explanation, your Lordships will agree with me that Clause 2(3) should form part of this Bill. It was agreed by all Governments at the Victoria Falls Conference that, wherever practicable, functions should be transferred in advance of dissolution, and I am sure that we should not appear to be lacking in that sense of urgency which is so essential if this complex operation is to be brought to a conclusion in a prompt and orderly fashion. I have done my best, I hope at not too great length, to expound to your Lordships the provisions of this Bill. I commend it to your Lordships, and I beg to move that it be now read a second time.
§ Moved, that the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ 3.58 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I am sure we are all grateful to the noble and learned Lord for the clarity with which he has described the purpose and content of the Bill. I could have wished myself that he had dealt at greater length with some of the matters of policy involved in the winding up of the Federation, and also that he had said something about other matters that were raised at the Victoria Falls Conference, such as the relations between this country and Southern Rhodesia. I have no doubt that other noble Lords will wish to ask the noble and learned Lord questions, and I am sure we shall all be delighted—and it will not weary us at all—if he is able to answer at rather greater length than is usual when it comes to the final speech in the debate.
We on this side of the House welcome this Bill, and we congratulate the Government on having introduced it. It is not often that we can talk in this way about a Government Bill, and it is all the pleasanter when it happens. It was said of King Charles I that nothing became him so well in his life as the leaving of it, and I think it is also true of Her Majesty's Government in their dealings with the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. Even more than the Bill, we welcome the agreement between the territorial Governments and the Federal Government represented at the Victoria Falls Conference about the system of government in Central Africa.
For the first time since the Federation was set up in 1953 there is substantial agreement between the representatives of Africans and Europeans about their own political future. The importance of this agreement is that it is not just between Governments, but is between the races; because representatives of the races were present at the Conference at Victoria Falls. So much of the difficulty in the past has been due to the fact that there has been a deep cleavage of opinion between the Africans and the Europeans in Central Africa about their political future. But they have at last agreed to dissolve the Federation and to replace it by three separate countries whose voluntary collaboration will decide their future relationships.
847 The Federation could not have continued in its present form, as the Monckton Commission reported some years ago, without the use of force. I am glad to see that the noble Lord, Lord Molson, who is, I think, the only member of the Commission present in your Lordships' House, will speak later in the debate, and I hope that he will bear out my view that the circumstances which have arisen since the Commission's Report have made it impracticable for their recommendations to be carried out, and that in fact dissolution of the Federation is the only possible course at the present time. I am quite convinced that, if the British Government had delayed much longer and secession had been withheld, the Federation would have gone out in bloodshed and violence. But the timely, if belated, action on the part of Her Majesty's Government and the good sense and reasonableness of their African partners are bringing about the dignified and efficient transformation of a single political unit into its three components.
Partnership between the races is just as essential in Central Africa as it is in East Africa. But partnership depends entirely on equality; it is the only possible basis for partnership. From my experience of Africa, I would say that partnership is possible only after independence, because colonial rule inevitably gives the African an inferior status. It was for that reason that partnership was impossible and impracticable so long as the Federation lasted, but I believe it can become a reality when it has been wound up. But, after all, it is not the failure of the Federation that really matters to us at the present time: the great hope for the future which this measure of agreement between the races represents.
I was very glad that the noble and learned Lord referred to this, and I am sure we all agree that we should not waste time this afternoon on postmortems or sterile recriminations about British rule and the rise and fall of the Federation. The essential thing is that we still have responsibility for the 8½ million inhabitants of the three territories. It is their future which is our concern at the present moment. Let us be thankful that the long and bitter controversy about the Federation is over 848 at last and that there is a better chance than at any time during the past ten years for the Parties of this country to formulate and support a common policy for Central Africa.
My Lords, tributes have been paid—indeed, an eloquent tribute was paid by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor in his speech this afternoon—to the diplomatic skill of the chairman of the Victoria Falls Conference, the First Secretary of State, in steering the Conference past the shoal of walk-out and breakdown to its unanimous conclusion. But the chairman's skill would have availed nothing without the willingness of Sir Roy Welensky, Mr. Kaunda and Mr. Field to sacrifice many cherished objectives to save the Conference. Sir Roy Welensky has said many hard things about the British Government and the Labour Party, and many hard things have been said about him; indeed, some of the hard things I saw reported again in the Press this morning. But no one can have failed to appreciate the co-operation that Sir Roy Welensky and his Government are giving in what must be a most distasteful task, that of winding up the Federation.
The statesmanship of Mr. Field is evident because, despite his failure to get any undertaking from the British Government about immediate independence for Southern Rhodesia, he came to the Conference and played a constructive part in all its work. It was most satisfactory, I think, that the Conference, as the noble and learned Lord has pointed out, decided to set up two committees of officials, one to deal with the "unscrambling" of the Federation and the other to deal with the no less important task of collaboration between the territories. The setting-up of this machinery recognises the fact that the closest possible economic co-operation between the three territories is highly desirable if they are not to lose the economic benefits of Federation after the political tie-up is over.
There are certain Federal matters in which the British Government have special responsibility, and I should like to ask the noble and learned Lord some questions about them. First—and this is a matter to which the noble and learned Lord referred in his speech—there is the Federal Republic service and its 35,000 849 employees. I hope, as the noble and learned Lord said, that most of the Federal public servants will be willing and able to join the public service of the three territories; indeed, there will be a very great need of them, for quite a long period of time. But, of course, these public servants must be free to choose. We are responsible for the break-up of the Federation, and it would surely be right for the British Government to say that no Federal servant shall be worse off when he loses his present employment. A statement of that kind would be reassuring to the public servants of the Federation
Will the Government be willing for example, to provide the money needed to compensate civil servants who want to retire or whom African Governments do not wish to employ? I am quite sure that the Government will secure equitable settlements, but I am also quite certain, as the noble and learned Lord is aware, that it would be impossible for the Territorial Governments to shoulder this enormous burden of compensation. This, of course, ties on to another point to which I think the noble and learned Lord did not allude: that it is reasonable that the territories should take over their share of the Federal indebtedness as well as their share of physical assets; and the Federal Governments of the two Rhodesias have already agreed to do so. But here again the financial obligations may prove too heavy.
Then I should like to ask the noble and learned Lord this question: Do Her Majesty's Government acknowledge their moral responsibility towards holders of Federal stock? It is a very big sum of money—I believe it is £285,000 million.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
To me, the thousands would be quite a large sum; but I am grateful for the correction. I do not see how we can get out of this responsibility, but I was not at all reassured by what the First Secretary of State said during the Second Reading debate in another place. I should like to quote his words—and since he is a Minister, I am entitled to do so. He said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 680 (No. 145) col. 1431]:… the attitude of the British Government would have to be considered in the light of our general policies on overseas aid.850 My Lords, this is not a matter of aid; nor of charity. It is an obligation towards certain people who may suffer financial loss because the British Government have decided to dissolve the Federation. I hope that this will not be considered as a matter of aid, which, of course, applies equally to all the overseas countries to which we give aid, and that the Government will appreciate that the circumstances here are quite different from those which are usually responsible for our contributions of aid to developing countries.
The third matter about which I would ask the Government—and this is again a matter to which the noble and learned Lord did not allude—is the problem of the division of the Federal Armed Forces between the territories. I am clear, from what the First Secretary of State said in another place, about the position of the Army, which will be divided on a basis of recruitment; that seems a reasonable way of dealing with it. But I am not at all clear about the Air Force. The Government are proposing that all squadrons of the Federal Air Force should go back to Southern Rhodesia—at least, I think that is their proposal. May I ask whether Northern Rhodesia is satisfied with this proposal and, if not, is the matter still open for them to raise it before any final decision is taken?
I would ask a further question on this subject. Who is going to pay for the maintenance of the Southern Rhodesian Air Force if the Federal Air Force is transferred in its entirety to Southern Rhodesia? It would surely be an intolerable financial burden for the Government of Southern Rhodesia. Looked at from the British point of view, how can we justify, from the standpoint of our own strategical requirements, the maintenance of fighter squadrons in the heart of Africa? That, presumably, would be the alternative if we wished to cover the cost of these squadrons ourselves. I have seen an enormous amount of Government money wasted by small countries in Africa on armed forces that are really completely useless, apart from their prestige value. Will the Government do their best to persuade the Government of Southern Rhodesia that a powerful air force is quite unnecessary for a country of the magnitude of Southern Rhodesia, with its financial resources, and will the British Government 851 accept responsibility for the future of the Federal Air Force? It is not possible for us to say what the figure will be, but I think it is a responsibility the Government ought to accept.
These are matters in which the British Government have a very direct responsibility, but the arrangement between the territories for economic co-operation after the Federation has been dissolved are, of course, entirely matters for their voluntary co-operation. The more voluntary co-operation there is between them the better for the economic development of the whole area. I think all noble Lords would agree about that. They, not we, will have to decide how much co-operation is possible, and for how long. There will, of course, be much less than there has been hitherto under the Federation, and unless there is a change of policy in Southern Rhodesia—and I should like to come back to that in a moment—the two Rhodesias will drift steadily further apart. Mr. Kaunda has said that he wants joint management of the railways, Central African Airways, and Kariba. But another aspect of his policy is that he is already planning an alternative rail route through Portuguese territory. I fear that the racial policy of Southern Rhodesia will continue to be the big obstacle to co-operation with the Northern Territories. However much their economic interests may prompt them to work together, so long as there are these big political differences it will not be possible for them to achieve that degree of economic co-operation which is so desirable. Unless there is a rapid improvement in race relationships in Southern Rhodesia and a more liberal policy on the part of the Southern Rhodesian Government, I fear the economic links between North and South will become fewer and more tenuous, and economic barriers may easily grow up.
This brings me to the discussion which took place—and I hope the noble Lord will refer to this discussion—at Victoria Falls between Mr. Butler and Mr. Field about the Constitution of Southern Rhodesia. I am glad that Mr. Butler was just as firm about his refusal to give independence under the present Constitution as he had been during the earlier talks in London. The fact is that to grant Southern Rhodesia independence under the present Constitution would cer- 852 tainly break up the Commonwealth. African and Asian countries would not accept the new member, and some of them would almost certainly walk out. It was for this reason, I believe—although I may be wrongly informed and I know the noble and learned Lord is in a better position to know the facts than I am—that the old Commonwealth countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, warned Mr. Field when he was in London that they could not agree to Southern Rhodesia joining the Commonwealth under its present Constitution.
There are some people who say that if we do not grant independence to Southern Rhodesia in the very near future, Southern Rhodesia will take it, but I am sure that that is not the case. The statesmanlike conduct of Mr. Field in co-operating over the arrangements for the winding up of the Federation makes it most unlikely, almost unthinkable, he would do anything of the kind. He knows better than any of us that this would be a political and economic disaster for the people of Southern Rhodesia; he does not want them to become cut off from the outside world like the people of South Africa.
If this line of action is ruled out, the only path to independence is one that will give the African population of Southern Rhodesia a larger share in its government. The danger of a deadlock—and we seem to have reached a position of deadlock at the moment, because that was the import, I thought, of one reference the noble and learned Lord made to the position—between the British Government and the Government of Southern Rhodesia about constitutional change is that it is bound, if it goes on long enough, to lead to violence.
It will lead to violence partly because there is no safety valve in Southern Rhodesia, no constitutional means at the moment for the Africans to express their political aspirations, and partly because, judging from the views that were expressed at the Addis Ababa Conference by the other African countries, they are only less militant about British Africa than they are about Portuguese Africa because they respect our intention to transfer power quickly to African hands and they admire the record of achievement of independence in British dependencies and colonial 853 territories since 1947. So we cannot allow a deadlock of this kind to continue, and I hope the Government will take the initiative by inviting the Government of Southern Rhodesia to a constitutional conference to which African leaders of Southern Rhodesia would also be asked, at which a further broadening of the Constitution could be considered and discussed. I hope the Government will do what it can to bring the two sides in Southern Rhodesia closer together. It seems to me it could play a very important part in this direction.
I nevertheless think it is only fair to Southern Rhodesia that our long-term policy should be made perfectly clear. I wish the Government would say, as we have said, that we cannot hand over Southern Rhodesia to minority rule. This would be completely contrary to British policy. We have never done it under any Government, whether Conservative or Labour, during the period since Indian independence in 1947, the period in which the British Empire has been transformed into a free commonwealth. The last time we did it was in 1910, and that was a very unhappy precedent. Whatever Mr. Butler has said in private—and that, of course, I do not know—he has not said in public that majority rule is a condition of independence. I am sure it would be better for Southern Rhodesia to know where it stands and to realise that it cannot expect more from a Conservative Government than it could expect from a Labour Government.
Of course, I know there are differences of opinion about this in the Conservative Party; but, judging by one speech made in another place by Lord Balniel—to my mind by far the best speech made from either side in the debate on the Second Reading—there are Members of another place like himself, Conservative Members, who would resist to the utmost any Bill introduced into this Parliament to give Southern Rhodesia independence so long as minority rule continues. If this cannot be done without splitting the Conservative Party, is that not another reason for a Conservative Government to say it will not be done?
I am perfectly certain the reputation of this country in Africa, at the United 854 Nations and in the outside world as well, and, indeed, more important still, the survival of the Commonwealth in its present form, will depend on how the Government deal with the constitutional position in Southern Rhodesia. This, of course, is an even tougher problem than federation. It can be solved only if we stick to our principles and if the leaders of Southern Rhodesia continue to act with the wisdom and moderation they showed at Victoria Falls. I strongly commend this Bill to your Lordships. I hope you will pass it during the course of the afternoon and that it will reach the Statute Book at the earliest possible moment, because I am quite certain its passage into law will do this country enormous good, not only in Africa but throughout the world.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, like the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, I welcome this Bill, and I believe that the Government have been wise in bringing it in at this juncture. Like him, too, I do not propose to spend any time in going into the past, except to make two comments. The first is that the Government were warned by many of us in 1953, in this House and in another place, that this sort of thing might happen if they proceeded with their intention to force federation on this area without the consent of the African inhabitants. Happily, or unhappily, depending on how you look upon it, our forecast has been proved correct, and this Bill to-day is part of the statutory culmination of that unhappy series of events which, in my view, need never have taken place.
The other delving into the past, a little more into the past, has been prompted by Lord Listowel's remark about Lord Balniel. If I am not mistaken, Lord Balniel is, partly at all events, a Cecil—he belongs to the family of which the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, is such a distinguished head. It is an odd thing to remember that there would probably never have been a Southern Rhodesia at all if Lord Salisbury, the distinguished Prime Minister of the nineteenth century, had had his way; or, at all events, had even heard that there was a project on hand to seize a large part of the 855 present Southern Rhodesia. So frightened was Cecil Rhodes that Lord Salisbury might get to hear of what he and Dr. Jameson were up to in their raid on the Matabele that he hid in the bush for several days in order to prevent a telegram, should one be sent by Lord Salisbury, from reaching him—the second of Cecil Rhodes' private wars, both of which were started and successfully carried out by him in the teeth of probable opposition from the then Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, who knew nothing at all about them until they were over. One cannot conceive of that situation to-day; but when we talk of Southern Rhodesia it is just as well to remember its origin—this buccaneering adventure against the wishes and, indeed, without the knowledge of the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury.
This Bill before us to-day is, in fact, a blank cheque. There is little in the form of facts that are given in it, and there are few facts also given in the Report of the Central Africa Conference (Cmnd. 2093) which was held in the Victoria Fails Hotel. That is inevitable; because, of course, the details have to be worked out, not by the Government of this country alone but in consultation with, and in agreement between, the Government of this country and four other Governments. Therefore, it is quite impossible for us to have a great many details to-day. But I think we can, as the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, has already shown, draw attention to some of the main features upon which we feel there should be agreement. I should like to reinforce a great deal of what he said in this respect.
It is perfectly true, as the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has said, that many of the functions are to be transferred to the Territories which at present comprise the Federation but will soon be independent. There will, of course, be questions to face: how many civil servants they are going to take over; what financial arrangements will be made, and so on. But there are some functions that cannot be taken over—at least, I have seen no suggestion that they should be. Presumably the Railway will still remain the Railway. It is difficult to carve up the Railway. It could be done, but it would be most inconvenient. The Airways Corporation also is not easy to 856 carve up. It is a small one, but most efficient. It is one of the few airways in the world that makes a profit. It seems a pity to carve up Central African Airways: it is already almost unique. So far as I know, Central African Airways and Cambrian Airways are about the only two in the world that make a profit.
There are some other functions which it would be a great pity to break up. I feel that considerable attention should be given by the Governments concerned to having a continuing organisation in respect of these common services. Such an organisation must be set up straight away. There must be no waiting until the exact moment of dissolution on December 31. A continuing organisation ought to be in being to-day, getting ready to take over things, and not waiting until the last possible moment.
Then there is the Federal debt, the total of which was rather exaggerated by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, on his first mention of it, but which, even on the true figure, is a considerable amount. I feel as he does, that the British Government have a good deal of responsibility with regard to this debt. I do not believe that, with an infant Federation like this, which had no backing except the pledge of Her Majesty's Government that they were going to continue it under an Act of Parliament, anybody would have invested money in a Federal debt of this kind. If anybody can convince me to the contrary, I shall be pleased to be so convinced. There are a number of noble Lords here who have a good deal of experience of the City and finance. I shall be glad to hear from them that I am wrong, but I think I am right. If that is so, it means that these people invested hundreds of millions of pounds in order to develop the Federal services and the resources of the Federation on the understanding, and with the applied assurance, that Her Majesty's Government backed this debt. I believe that we have a responsibility here. I do not know what the legal responsibility is, but certainly we have a moral responsibility; and it would be an altogether dreadful thing if we let down those who had invested in this debt and took part of the debt for future development of this area.
Then, with regard to the Federal services, again I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, that civil servants 857 joined the Federal service on the understanding that it was going to provide a life's work and a career; and these people may or may not wish to go to the Territorial Governments. I hope that they will continue with the Territorial service; but if they do not wish to do so, I feel that it is their choice and no one should impose a choice upon them. Here again, I think the British Government have a considerable responsibility.
Unhappily, it has already been said by Northern Rhodesia that they propose to impose tariffs on imports from Southern Rhodesia as soon as possible. As a free trader myself, I object to tariffs of all kinds, everywhere, if they can be avoided. Surely this is one place where one would hope they could be avoided. Between Northern and Southern Rhodesia there is an absolute community of interest. Northern Rhodesia requires the coal from Southern Rhodesia, and Southern Rhodesia provides various services from Northern Rhodesia to get out the copper once it has been produced. I think it would be a pity if they started up various tariff barriers against one another immediately, almost before the end of Federation. I hope that it will be possible to avoid that.
With regard to the military forces, I had intended to ask a question, and I am glad that the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, did so. There is no need for me to expand it, but I should like to support his question, because I think that the future of the Rhodesian Air Force is something on which we must have an assurance. It is not like many other of these things. After all, the Air Force is largely dependent upon us here in this country. They obtain aircraft from this country; spares, equipment, training manuals, and assistance of various kinds: and, as we all know to our cost, Air Forces are extremely expensive items and are likely to be far more expensive in the future.
I cannot believe that Southern Rhodesia is going to be able to afford an Air Force, even if it needs one. I do not know why Southern Rhodesia in particular needs an Air Force. Very few of the new States of Africa have got Air Forces. Presumably, Northern Rhodesia is not going to have one; Nyasaland is not going to have one; nor are Tanganyika, Kenya and Uganda. Why should Southern Rhodesia believe that it is any more likely to be 858 attacked than anybody else? In fact, it cannot afford one. This year it is hoped to keep the deficit on current account in Southern Rhodesia down to £580,000, which will bring the accumulated deficit to just over £3 million. In other words, it cannot afford to pay for an Air Force, and I have a strong feeling that, in all probability, it is the British taxpayer who will be asked to supplement the Budget of the Southern Rhodesia Government in order to provide for the Southern Rhodesia Air Force. I therefore feel that we ought to look at this point a little more closely.
My Lords, there are one or two other matters that I would mention. First, in regard to the Court of Appeal (this point was not mentioned by Lord Listowel, but it was mentioned by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack), for years past several of us in this House have been pressing for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to put itself in a position to carry on when these countries become independent. There is a tendency for them to leave the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee when they become independent, or soon afterwards. I think they do this for two reasons. First because they never see the Judicial Committee. It never goes around, it is not peripatetic; it sits here in Whitehall, and secondly, until recently very few of the countries' own judges became members of the Judicial Committee. The late Lord Chancellor, Lord Kilmuir, from time to time gave us indications that he had some sympathy with this point of view—I do not know about his successor.
I believe that it is most important to retain a Supreme Court of Appeal for the whole Commonwealth. Even now, many of the judges in the Commonwealth, and people who teach at universities are getting worried, because as we turn from Empire into Commonwealth there is no longer one Supreme Court of Appeal for the whole Commonwealth as there was for the Empire. There are very great divergences between judicial decisions on various matters. I do not think that from a legal point of view, it would be a good thing to continue in this way; and if we could retain the Judicial Committee, or evolve that into a Commonwealth Court of Appeal, it would be an extremely good thing. I am quite sure, from my own 859 knowledge of these various countries, that the independent overseas countries will not agree to such a course unless occasionally the Court sits in their own territories and unless some of their judges become members of it. I believe that there is at the moment a judge from Nigeria and also one from New Zealand on the Committee. That is a very good sign.
The other point I wished to make is in regard to the need for trade and aid. We must not suppose that just because we pass this Bill all our responsibility is at an end. That is not so. I believe that we have tremendous responsibilities, both in aid and trade, towards all these developing countries, whether they are so-called "colonial" countries, or whether they have achieved full independence; and we must help them in every possible way we can. I am very glad that President Kennedy, in a recent speech, has given the green light, so far as America is concerned, by hoping that there will be a strengthening of the international monetary system. He said that this hope reflected the concern of the United States that adequate provision should be made for the growth of international liquidity to finance expanding world trade over the years ahead. This attitude on the part of America to world liquidity will help tremendously in the economies of the underdeveloped countries.
Unhappily, although a number of countries are prepared to give a certain amount of aid to developing countries there is by no means the same even modified support for trade. As we saw from some of the speeches on the Finance Bill in this House yesterday, as soon as there is any question of trade from one of our young Commonwealth countries beginning in any way to impinge on trade in this country there is immediately a cry for a quota or tariff barrier, or something of that sort, with the purpose of keeping out the trade of that Commonwealth country. What is the good of giving them aid unless we also take their trade? I believe that we should do both. We must recognise that it is impossible either to give aid or to do trade with our Commonwealth friends and co-partners without at times some sacrifice in our own economy. You cannot give and at 860 the same time retain; giving must mean a certain amount of sacrifice.
Finally, my Lords, I would support Lord Listowel's plea for a conference at an early date with Southern Rhodesia to try to expand the constitutional basis of that country. I believe that if we make it known that our policy in Southern Rhodesia is exactly the same as it has been everywhere else, whether in India, the Far East, South-East Asia, Africa, or the West Indies—that is to say, universal adult suffrage—we shall be doing the right thing.
§ 4.38 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, we must all be extremely grateful to my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor for the very clear exposition he has given of this Bill. I am sure it has been extremely valuable to your Lordships. Indeed, if I intervene at all in this debate to-day it is not, in any sense, to oppose the Bill, nor to go back into the past—not even to enter into discussion with my noble friend Lord Ogmore as to what my grandfather really thought almost eighty years ago. I would only comment that, as I listened to him, I could not help thinking that it was rather typical of the Liberal Party to live so very far in the past. But at any rate, I do not live there. In my view, whatever we may feel about the past controversies between the Government here in the United Kingdom and in the Federation, we must recognise that federation is now dead and nothing can bring it back to life again, though, if I may say so, I firmly believe that the names of Lord Malvern and Sir Roy Welensky, who have been so closely associated with its short but distinguished history, will live on for future historians as men, not behind, but ahead of their times.
The fact, however, remains, my Lords, that the Federation, if not for ever, at any rate for the time being, is dead; and in these circumstances everyone, both here and in Central Africa, whatever their past views may have been, must be prepared to face up to the new situation and see whether, even without any political connection between the three territories, some basis of co-operation can be found which will inure to the greatest possible benefit of the peoples of Central Africa. Even if, in the present political sphere, that is at present impossible, there surely 861 are other spheres—and here I agree, wholeheartedly, if I may say so, with the noble Earl, Lord Listowel—where much could be done. To give one instance, there is the sphere of health, where a great deal could be achieved, and there are yet other concerns of common interest between all three territories, Kariba, the railways, the air services, all of which have been mentioned this afternoon, where, with good will (and, of course, without good will nothing could be done) things could, I believe, continue, under some sort of international public utility system, not so very differently from what has obtained in the past.
It is to facilitate that possibility, as I understand it, that provision is made in Clause 1(2) of the Bill for the setting up, by agreement, of institutions or bodies constituted jointly for the territories. That, I take it we shall all feel, is a most valuable provision. There are, of course, aspects of the winding up of the federal Constitution which must cause us all concern. There is, first of all, the debt. But as I understand my noble friend Lord Colyton is going to speak of that, I shall not trouble your Lordships with it this afternoon. Then there is the position of the Federal civil servants, of which much has been said already. What is going to happen to them? They are some of the casualties, if I may so describe them, of the dissolution of the Federation. They had dedicated their lives to this service and now it has, as it were, crashed about their ears and they are left in the ruins. I thought that the White Paper was rather vague about them. It merely said that it was agreed at the Conference that as many as possible should be absorbed in the territorial service. But suppose they do not want to go into the territorial service—and I can imagine that men coming from the federal service might not get a very cordial reception there—what then? I do hope they will be given a completely free choice, and that no undue pressure shall be exerted on them.
It seemed as if that situation had already been entirely clarified by the assurances which were given by the First Secretary of State, during the passage of this Bill in another place, that there would be full consultation with the Federal Public Service Association, and that no attempt would be made to impose 862 on them permanent compulsory secondment to the service of the territorial Governments. But the latest information I have—and it is quite recent—seems to show that the sub-committee which has been set up to consider this question is likely to recommend that the federal officers shall either be forced to accept territorial offers, or lose their compensation; and that the territorial representatives on the sub-committee are exerting considerable pressure in favour of this course. I hope, therefore, that we may have to-day in this House a very clear reaffirmation of the assurances given by the First Secretary of State; an assurance that, if the sub-committee produces proposals which conflict with these assurances, Her Majesty's Government will reject them; and also an assurance that, if the civil servants do not feel able to accept even temporary compulsory secondment to the territorial service, they will not be deprived of any compensation due to them, owing to the ending of the service to which they had, as I said, devoted their lives. These federal civil servants are our responsibility, and I feel it is essential that they should not suffer from our action in dissolving the Federation.
My Lords, I have spoken quite briefly of one or two detailed questions which seemed to me to arise from the Bill. But what, frankly, is worrying me most, on looking at the position as a whole, is one much larger consideration. How far is civilisation as we know it—the civilisation that men like Livingstone went to Central Africa to implant—going to be able to survive at all in Central Africa in the new situation with which we are now faced? I read the speeches made in another place last week during the Second Reading of this Bill, and they seemed to me still to be inspired—and I thought the same might be said to be true of the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, this afternoon—by a passionate and rather pathetic belief that one had only to introduce a system of unrestricted democracy, based on one man one vote, for our troubles to be over; for the establishment of peace and prosperity in the land; for the perpetuation of free institutions; of equality of justice for all sections of the population; of lions lying down everywhere with lambs in the best of possible worlds. My 863 Lords, I believe—I hope as much as anyone else here—that democracy is the best form of government yet devised, for those who can work it. I most cordially hope that we shall always be able to preserve it in this country, where we have a very long experience of democratic Government.
But recent events in many other countries should surely have proved to us, if we did not know it before, the truth of that classic dictum, that the cycle of government moves from dictatorship to oligarchy, from oligarchy to democracy, and that a further turn of the wheel brings mankind inevitably back to dictatorship. I am afraid we must face the fact that, where countries are not yet sufficiently advanced for full democracy—and, my Lords, it is the most difficult form of government in the world to operate—they will go straight back to dictatorship, with all that that involves in the way of the destruction of those free institutions for which we ourselves stand, and which we had hoped to implant in Central Africa. That I suspect—and I hope I am wrong—is pretty certain to happen in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, just as it has to a great extent already happened in Ghana and Tanganyika.
But Southern Rhodesia, at which I should like to ask your Lordships to look for a moment, presents, I feel, rather a different picture; for she is at a different phase in the cycle of government to which I referred just now. She is at the phase of oligarchy. Southern Rhodesia, since the arrival of the white man, has been ruled by a section of the population who are not the majority but who have been regarded, at any rate until quite recent times, as having an inherited experience which fits them to occupy a special position in the sphere of government. It is this oligarchy that has, in fact, as we all know, governed Southern Rhodesia, just as a similar oligarchy governed our own country for upwards of 700 years until not so very many years ago. Anything that smacks of oligarchy is, I know, now considered very shocking by many people in this country; as more wicked, curiously enough, in many cases than straight dictatorship. But I, personally, do not feel—and I am sure there are other noble Lords who will agree— 864 that there is anything inherently wicked about oligarchy. It is a form of government that comes into being to suit the needs of a community at a certain stage in its development: and for a people at that particular stage of development it may be the very best form of government.
And, my Lords, after all, who are these oligarchs, these wicked oligarchs, who are so furiously attacked to-day? They are people exactly like ourselves, people of British outlook with a British background, people inspired by British traditions. If they, living on the spot, are convinced, from personal experience, that the African population is not yet ready for full democracy, are we to say that they are necessarily wrong; and are we necessarily right to assume that they are just digging in their toes for a permanent, built-in white domination when they may be merely trying to go forward at the best and the safest pace?
My Lords, what lesson do I draw from what I have said? I suggest it is this. So far as Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland are concerned, I have nothing to suggest. There the die is cast. They will, I believe, pass rapidly through the phase of a rather bogus democracy and proceed as quickly as may be to one or other form of dictatorship. But Southern Rhodesia is different. Here, could we not allow the oligarchy to pass through to democracy, as it must pass, at its own pace and in its own way? Could we not at least try the experiment of not jogging its elbow the whole time, as I am afraid I thought the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, tried to do this afternoon? I may very likely be told—I think Lord Listowel implied it this afternoon—that the Government have to consider the views of people outside Rhodesia—the Afro-Asian group, the United States, the white members of the Commonwealth, and so on. But, my Lords, I would suggest, if I may say so with very great deference, that in spite of what the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, has said, the Government would be very unwise to pay too much attention to such siren voices.
After all, the Afro-Asian group want only one thing: they want to get the white man entirely out of Africa; and, surely, we cannot accept that. They do not care a tinker's cuss (if I may be 865 excused such an expression in your Lordships' House) for democracy or free institutions. Or take the United States of America. In the United States, my Lords, they do not really care so much as all that about the full equality of races, as we know from what is happening at this very moment in their own country. And finally, as for the white members of the Commonwealth, it is certainly not for me in this House to criticise their policies; but if I were, for instance, an Australian, I must confess that I should be very chary, taking into account my own Government's "white Australia" policy, of encouraging outside interference in the internal affairs of other countries. Our duty in this country, I should have thought, and our Government's duty, is not to listen to outside voices but to judge the Rhodesian problem for ourselves on its merits.
Or I may be told—it has once or twice been hinted to me in this House—that I advocate the policy I do merely because I have personal interests in Southern Rhodesia; but I do hope that noble Lords will believe that that is not my reason. I have indeed, as your Lordships know, a share in some farming operations in the country; for I have always had a great affection for Southern Rhodesia since I went there originally, as far back as 1908, and especially so after being in at the start of the multiracial experiment. But I have continually expressed exactly the same views about Kenya, where I have no interest of any kind. No, my 'Lords; it is not any personal reason that has led me to take the line I have in these controversies: it is because I feel so passionately that we in this country are tragically deluding ourselves in our attitude towards Central Africa.
No doubt those who take these views have convinced themselves that, when they talk about handing over these countries to full democracy, at their present stage of development, it is a democracy such as we have here that they will get. But, in fact, the very opposite is the truth. It is not democracy they are going to get: it is dictatorship. It is suppression of all, or most, of those liberties on which civilised life rests, not only for the 300,000 white Rhodesians, whom we have encouraged to go out there, but for the Africans themselves. This, my Lords, is what the Southern Rhodesians know 866 perhaps better than we do here, 5,000 miles away. I have no doubt at all that they will always try to act, even in this agonising situation, with strict constitutional propriety: but they might well be driven to a point—that point which was reached by the British settlers in our American colonies 180 years ago—when they felt that they had no option but to take their destiny in their own hands. I do implore Her Majesty's Government and the whole House not to drive them to that point. That, I feel, would be tragic, not only for themselves land for us, but for the world: here, I am afraid, I come, at the end of what I have to say, to exactly the opposite conclusion from that of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel. Do let us have an end to all this haggling and boggling to which we have become accustomed in the last few years. Do let us give these people their independence without more ado. If we do, I feel confident that, being of British stock, blood of our blood and bone of our bone, they will prove worthy of it.
§ 4.56 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, in moving the approval of the proposal for a Central African Federation on March 24, 1953, in another place, my noble friend Lord Chandos said this [OFFICIAL REPORT (Commons) Vol. 513, col. 659]:The policy at which we aim in this scheme is far-seeing. It is to foster a partnership of the races upon which a great and prosperous State will grow. The political and economic advancement of all its inhabitants can be secured only by the races working together, and to federate, I suggest, is to try to bring them together.To-day we are meeting to carry out the purpose of destroying all that was built up in 1953 and since. The Times newspaper, in a leading article on July 11, talked about themelancholy and necessary task of demolition.Melancholy, my Lords, yes: necessary, no. I do not believe that, when history comes to be written, it will be possible to justify the successive steps of omission or commission whereby the Federal structure of Rhodesia and Nyasaland has been, little by little, eroded and undermined, so that to-day we are meeting to discuss the funeral rites.
I have often pondered the reasons which in 1960 led Her Majesty's Government to embark upon the dramatic change 867 of policy now loosely defined as, "the wind of change". I have my own ideas on the subject, but I shall not inflict them upon your Lordships this afternoon. Whatever the reasons, Her Majesty's Government decided on that course; and so, instead of holding the reins firmly in their hands, they allowed them to drop, with an occasional touch of the spur. So this has brought us to the calamity—and I can use no less strong a word to-day—with which we are faced. The Monckton Commission, of which my noble friend Lord Molson was a member, at the end of Chapter 4 of their Report, said that to break up the Federation at this crucial point of history would bean admission that there is no hope of survival for any multi-racial society on the African continent and that differences of colour and race are irreconcilable.They went on to say that they could not agree to any such conclusion, and they then developed their ideas as to how this could be avoided. All this has gone by the board. No attempt was made to work out a fresh constitution on these lines. In the face of African nationalist intransigence, one position after another was abandoned, until we came to the moment when the late Governor-General of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, in his last speech from the Throne, felt himself bound to refer to "the betrayal of the people of the Federation". Now we are left to tidy up the bits.
The Victoria Falls Conference, from which this Bill flows, can be described only in the most limited sense as an attempt to further some other form of association between the territories. According to the Report—and almost, as it seemed to me, as an afterthought—the chairman suggested that the conference should give some thought to the range of subjects in which the question of inter-territorial collaboration arose.
As the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said, a Committee on inter-territorial questions was indeed set up. In the terms of reference the emphasis is firmly on dissolution and its results; and it is on this dissolution that we are called upon to concentrate mainly this afternoon. The Bill, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said, is merely a blank cheque giving the Government, by means of Orders in Council, powers to dissolve 868 the Federation and to redistribute its functions, property and liabilities among the territories. Now I think, apart from what may be described as the urgency of the situation, having regard particularly to the future of the Federation's civil service, no one could regard this procedure as satisfactory. All these arrangements affecting the lives and future of millions of people, including these 35,000 civil servants, are to be dealt with by Orders in Council. It is true they are subject to an Affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament; but, as we all know, that means that we cannot vary their terms. But even this provision does not run for the period of the first three months up till October, when Parliament will not be sitting. These orders will take affect automatically and are subject to annulment only when Parliament reassembles—and then it will be too late to do anything.
We had an assurance from the First Secretary of State in another place that this Negative Resolution procedure would not be used (and, indeed, we have had that assurance repeated by my noble friend this afternoon) for major issues, such as assets, liabilities, the public debt or the public services. All the same there are bound to be matters—I can think of one, for example: the breaking-up of the Federal broadcasting service—on which there may be many opinions and which may well come before the Committee for consideration during the next three months. I can only say that I regard this helter-skelter procedure of dissolution as most unsatisfactory. The whole business took only a matter of a few hours in another place with less than one hour in Committee. I can recall in the summer of 1953 that we took no less than three days in Committee alone in another place; it is an indication of how things have changed. As Mr. Butler explained, the Bill depends on the Report of the Victoria Falls Conference; and it is on this White Paper that we must rely alone for some indication of what is to take place.
Let us consider what the break-up of the Federation involves. In the first place it means the end of the common Customs tariff and the common system of taxation, under which the gross national product rose from £383.3 million in 1954 to £546.8 million in 1961. As other noble Lords have said, it is clear from 869 the recent statements of the Northern Rhodesian leaders that they intend to impose tariffs against Southern Rhodesia at the earliest possible moment. This, I fear, disposes of any hopes of maintaining a common market, as had earlier been foreshadowed. No doubt the damage to the economy of Southern Rhodesia will be substantial, since her exports to Northern Rhodesia affect some £28 million, or 10 per cent. of the economy of Southern Rhodesia.
It may be argued that a return to the very close trading relations with South Africa which were deliberately broken by the Federation Government in 1955, coupled with drastic external tariff increases, would solve the problem of Southern Rhodesia. That may be so in the long term, but it has been estimated that the effect of the possible change in the tariff position in Northern Rhodesia, together with the effect of secession in Nyasaland, will concern no fewer than 55,000 jobs in Southern Rhodesia—where unemployment is already high. Northern Rhodesia, with its limited consumer market, is unlikely to sustain a high rate of growth, and any attempt to raise tariffs drastically could only aggravate the high cost of the economy. We must never forget the geographical isolation of Northern Rhodesia and its complete dependence with its one commodity economy—copper—on Southern Rhodesia for power and transportation. Of course, in the latter case this dependence is shared with the Portuguese in Mozambique and in Angola. Then there will be the severe effect on Northern Rhodesia of the separation through the loss of access to the Federal market for its existing secondary industries.
In Nyasaland the effects will be even more drastic. The Federation Government has been pouring money into Nyasaland and spending as much as ten times more on certain public services as was spent before federation. In the nine years since federation, the Federal Government spent almost £41 million more in Nyasaland than the total it received from the territory during that period. Nyasaland's development is bound to be retarded, with an inevitable increase in unemployment. Here, again, one is bound to draw attention to the danger of any open breach between Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia or South Africa. It is estimated 870 that 200,000 Nyasalanders are employed in those two countries at any one time. Should this flow be interrupted, or, still worse, reversed, the economic situation of Nyasaland would be disastrous. Nyasaland, again, is totally dependent on Mozambique and the goodwill of the Portuguese for its rail communications with the outside world. I am glad to say that at the present time there is considerable goodwill between the Malawi ministers and the administration in Lourenco Marques.
My Lords, this overall decision to break up the Federation was taken by Her Majesty's Government and is their sole responsibility. It is they, I consider, who will have to foot the bill, not only by making good the funds hitherto provided by the Federal Government to Nyasaland but by ensuring that, as far as possible—and I do not rate it too high—some form of advance in development will continue such as would have been assured by the continuation of the Federation. I do not think it is unfair to say that these problems to which I have referred were virtually untouched in the Victoria Falls Conference and, indeed, are scarcely mentioned in the White Paper on which the present Bill is based. I hope that my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, when he comes to reply, will be able to enlighten us as to how the Government hope that some of these grave results of the breakup of the Federation are to be counteracted.
A further and formidable effect of the dissolution, and one on which the White Paper has some bearing, is that of ensuring further investment capital to the three territories. During the years 1954–62 the Federal Government raised £64 million in long-term loans and £30 million in medium-term loans in the domestic capital market. A further £66 million was raised abroad. In addition, £28 million was raised in the Federation and nearly £47 million abroad for the construction of the Kariba Dam. Further, the capital market was still further assisted by the establishment of the Central Bank.
The Federal Government, in a paper submitted at the Victoria Falls Conference, pointed out that the economic strength of individual territories would not be equal to the strength of the Federation as a whole. They further 871 argued that, as the dissolution of the Federation was an exercise of sovereign power by the British Government, in the interests of the people of the territories and of creditors the British Government should themselves assume the responsibility for these obligations. The British delegation, on the other hand, held that if the United Kingdom took over liability for debts they should also take over liability for the corresponding assets. This, of course, would produce an intolerable situation. They therefore took the view that the assets and liabilities should be shared among the territories, and the British Government should be called upon to step in at a later stage only if help were required, in accordance with their general policy towards Commonwealth countries.
There are two very real difficulties in this matter which appear to have been overlooked by the British delegation. The first is the fact that the possibility of raising funds in the future for these territories will be gravely jeopardised if there is no guarantee on existing federal commitments. The second (and I would most seriously draw my noble and learned friend's attention to this point) is that part of the external loans are held in the United States, and unless the existing guarantees of the Federal Government are renewed in some form or other acceptable to the New York Stock Exchange, the latter would find itself obliged to delist these loans, with disastrous effects on the values of the securities concerned. It would clearly be quite unfair to give any special guarantees in the case of funds raised in the United States compared with those raised in this country or in the Federation itself. Having regard to the attitude put forward by the Government, the only solution I can suggest—and I should like to hear the noble and learned Lord's comments on this point—is that each tranche of the Federal debt when it is broken up, should be guaranteed by the individual Territorial Government concerned and that Her Majesty's Government should be associated with the guarantee in every case. This seems to me to be the only course which would meet the requirements to which I have referred.
In the case of the Kariba project, the loan of £28½5 million from the Inter- 872 national Bank for Reconstruction and Development is already severally and jointly guaranteed by the Federation and by Her Majesty's Government. The Colonial Development Corporation loan of £15 million and the Commonwealth Development and Finance Company's loan of £3 million are guaranteed by the Federal Government alone. On the three Federal Government loans which make up the balance of £28 million on Kariba, the Federal Government has obligations to original lenders, but the Federal Power Board has no contractual obligations at all. In the case of all these loans I suggest that a similar procedure should be followed—namely, a guarantee by the Northern and Southern Rhodesian Governments, with an associated guarantee by Her Majesty's Government.
A further arrangement in this case is that some body would be required to be set up to take the place of the Federal Power Board. It will not have escaped your Lordships' attention that the whole Copper Belt production is already largely dependent on Kariba power, and the installation of a second line to Kitwe would make it almost entirely so. For this reason the acceptance by the Northern Rhodesia delegation in principle of inter-territorial collaboration in regard to Kariba was welcome but inevitable. They also accepted, in principle, co-operation in regard to the railways and Central African Airways, and for certain joint interim arrangements in regard to currency. It seems to me that these proposals fall far short of what is required if the services in the territories are not going to be gravely damaged. I need only draw your Lordships' attention to the effect on postal charges, telecommunications services, higher education, agricultural research, irrigation schemes and many other fields of activity, if the existing machinery of collaboration is now to be totally demolished.
I should like to turn to three further matters covered by the White Paper on which I think we require further assurances from Her Majesty's Government. The first is the question of the future of the existing members of the Federal public service, a matter on which several noble Lords have already spoken. The Federal Government, it will be remembered, has given a firm undertaking that 873 no officer will be compulsorily transferred to the service of a territorial Government. As I understand it, the Northern Rhodesia delegation at Victoria Falls were anxious to see some requirement of compulsory transfer, and this issue is now being discussed by Committee A, which was set up as part of the post-Conference machinery. Like my noble friend Lord Salisbury, I have heard indications that the fears of the Federal public servants in regard to transfer have not been dispelled by what has been going on in that Committee. I feel that it would be wholly wrong to lay down any terms which involve compulsory transfer to one of the territorial Governments, even for a short time.
Although we are clearly anxious that as many civil servants as possible shall be enabled to continue the excellent work they are doing, there are many of them who would not be willing, simply on grounds of conscience, to continue their service under a régime in which multiracialism no longer plays a part. We must not forget that there are also a number of officers recruited from the Federal Service from outside the territories whom it would be quite unfair to ask to transfer permanently to a territorial service. In this connection, I should like to ask my noble and learned friend another question: can he tell me whether the terms of the Colonial Pensions (Increase) Act, 1962, will be applicable to members of the Federal Service who may now retire, or to members of the territorial services, once the territories become independent? This question refers, of course, to increases in pension in line with increases in the cost of living on the same basis as increases are given to civil servants in this country. In the case of Federal civil servants, only the British Government will be able to assume this responsibility, for by that time there will be nobody else left to do so. In the case of officials in the territorial services, I assume that when the territories do achieve independence these officials will be included in the Schedule to this Act so that, should the territorial Governments not pay the appropriate increases, they will be able to obtain payment from Her Majesty's Government.
I should like to say one word about citizenship, which is dealt with in chapter 8 of the White Paper. As the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chan- 874 cellor said in our debate on Kenya last week, this is a most complicated issue, and I do not want to enter into it in any detail today. I do, however, find it a little difficult to reconcile what the noble and learned Lord told us last week with what the White Paper lays down for the terms of reference of the Committee of Experts, whereby in appropriate cases there would be provision for double, or even triple, citizenship.
I am aware of the general features of dual nationality, which exists all over the world, but I have always assumed that there was some difficulty in regard to dual citizenship. There is, I believe, a clear legal distinction, and it was this factor which made it impossible for the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor to give us the assurance that we desired in regard to Kenya last week. The statement in the White Paper gives me some encouragement to hope that some more satisfactory solution may be found in regard to the retention of British citizenship in Kenya, but the question I should like to ask my noble and learned friend is: "Would the provisions of the White Paper make possible the retention of United Kingdom citizenship, and, indeed, also the status of a British subject, in the event of one of the territories concerned either leaving the Commonwealth of its own free will or, alternatively, being forced out?". I realise that I may be told that this is a hypothetical question, but I pose it mainly in order that it may be studied by the Committee of Experts, when examining the question of citizenship.
Then, my Lords, I would refer to the statement, in chapter 9 of the White Paper, that the Federal Supreme Court would come to an end with the dissolution of the Federation, and that the question of a new Court of Appeal was a matter to be pursued between the territorial Governments. I should like to ask my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor why the question of a future territorial Court of Appeal should not be settled through the post-conference machinery before the dissolution of the Federation. Before the introduction of federation, there was a Rhodesia and Nyasaland joint Court of Appeal, which sat six times a year, at Salisbury, Bulawayo, Livingstone and Blantyre. Is there any reason whatever why we should 875 not forthwith revert to that position, leaving any possible changes to be negotiated thereafter by the territorial Governments? I hope that it may not be too late, even now, to adopt this suggestion. I should also like to ask my noble and learned friend what provisions are being made for the continuation of appeals to the Privy Council.
Neither in this Bill nor in the White Paper has there been any discussion of the future constitutional developments in the territories themselves. However, the Northern Rhodesia Government has already asked for a Constitutional Conference, with a view, I presume, to the introduction of full internal self-government as a preliminary to independence. It is also reported that Dr. Banda is seeking independence by the end of this year. As things have developed, I do not see how we can oppose these proposals.
At the same time, I think it right to draw your Lordships' attention to the highly disturbing events in Northern Rhodesia which have been revealed by the Commission of Inquiry now sitting into the causes of unrest and violence on the copper belt. Here it is a ease of acts of violence perpetrated by one African nationalist Party against members of another African Party. Recently, in another place it was announced that in the past six months there have been 1,257 incidents in Northern Rhodesia with some political implication. Twenty persons have lost their lives as a result of such disturbances. In this present Inquiry one district commissioner after another has got up to describe these events in their full horror—events which seem to have been mainly the work of the United National Independence Party youth brigades and the illicit, so-called Zambia police. One district commissioner compared the youth brigades with the Nazi Jugend in Germany; and another, only last Friday, is reported in the Daily Telegraph as having described the actions in the mining town of Bancroft as "like Germany before the night of the long knives finally removed Hitler's Opposition".
My Lords, this is what is happening every day between supporters of U.N.I.P. and the African National Congress, and in certain areas, according to reports, the latter Party is being entirely destroyed. 876 It is hard to believe that Mr. Kaunda is personally encouraging these deplorable activities—and I do not believe it. But something more is needed: it seems necessary to call upon him to come out openly, and not only rebuke his adherents but take active steps to disband the youth brigades and other terrorists involved in these activities. It should also, I feel, be made plain that these incidents are bound to affect the attitude of Her Majesty's Government towards further constitutional developments and the timetable for independence. I believe that Her Majesty's Government still adhere to the view that no territory should be granted independence unless they are satisfied that it is free from violence and fear; that condition certainly cannot be said to exist in the Copper Belt in Northern Rhodesia to-day.
We know, my Lords, that immediately before the Victoria Falls Conference the First Secretary of State and the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia had further conversations, quite separate from the Conference, about Southern Rhodesia's demand for independence. We understand—and my noble and learned friend has confirmed it this after noon—that little or no progress was made. We have all read the exchange of letters between them on this matter which were published in the form of a White Paper last June. I have no hesitation in saying that, in my judgment, Southern Rhodesia should be given her independence forthwith. The 1961 Constitution formed a new and advanced step forward in the constitutional development of Southern Rhodesia and in the direction of a fully democratic and multiracial society. Now that the Federation is to be dissolved, this process must be taken a step further. There is no doubt whatever that had there been no Federation, Southern Rhodesia would have been independent long before this. The Government of Southern Rhodesia has shown itself to be fully competent to discharge the functions of an independent sovereign State. Certainly it would be out of the question to delay the independence of Southern Rhodesia one day after either of the other two territories had acquired their independence.
I appreciate the dilemma in which my right honourable friend the First Secretary and the Government find themselves 877 placed in this matter. But I beg them, as did my noble fiend Lord Salisbury, not to be intimidated by outside pressure, whether from the Afro-Asian bloc, the United States Administration or by the threats of members of the Commonwealth, to delay the grant of independence to Southern Rhodesia. I have no doubt whatever, from my personal knowledge of Mr. Winston Field and the great mass of Europeans in Southern Rhodesia, that they seek nothing better than to proceed by proper stages to a fully democratic system in which all races can play their part. To this extent, the noble purpose of those who created the Federation ten years ago may stall be preserved.
I think that perhaps Mr. Winston Field would be well advised at the appropriate moment to give some further tokens of the intentions of his Government in this respect, though I quite understand that he feels unable at the present stage to go back on his election pledges. But with the combined wisdom of Mr. Field and his Government, together with, I feel sure, the sound advice of Sir Roy Welensky in these matters, and coupled with a reasonable and helpful attitude on the part of Her Majesty's Government, I cannot help feeling that it should not be impossible to find a compromise which would be acceptable to all. Should that, unfortunately, prove to be impossible, and should the other territories of the Federation in due course be granted their independence, I can only say that I agree with my noble friend Lord Salisbury that the Government and people of Southern Rhodesia could not be blamed if they took matters into their own hands.
My Lords, I could never bring myself to vote in favour of this Bill, which I can regard only as a disastrous setback in the affairs of 9 million Africans, Europeans and Asians living in the Federation. Although the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor calls upon us to recognise practical realities, I believe that three years ago the reality was totally different. It is we in this country who have let the Federation down. In concluding, I should like to address one word to Sir Roy Welensky and his colleagues in the Federal Cabinet. Although this unhappy Bill is now going forward to become law, let Sir Roy be 878 assured of the place which he holds in the hearts of the British people; and of their admiration and gratitude for the part he and his colleagues, past and present, have played in the building up of the Federation with its immense benefits to men of all races. However dark the situation may appear to us at this moment, I feel quite sure that their work was not wasted and that from the ruins of the great edifice which we are tearing down to-day will emerge, in process of time, other institutions which will bear the stamp of Sir Roy's courage and integrity and his faith in the future of the people of his country.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ EARL DE LA WARR
My Lords, I should first of all remind your Lordships that I have some personal interests in Southern Rhodesia. In company with friends, I farm a certain amount of land there. I trust that my judgment is not influenced by that, but of course it is influenced by the love that I have come to have for both the land and the people of that country. Like all other noble Lords who have spoken to-day, led as we were by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, I recognise that there is no point whatsoever in looking back. I have no intention, therefore, of speaking of the tragedy—for tragedy I think we most of us agree it is—of the breakdown of the Federation; and I deliberately use the word "breakdown" rather than "failure", because federation has not failed: it was succeeding.
Nor shall I make more than a passing reference to the steady sapping of belief in the good faith of the British Government over the last few years in Rhodesia. It is all the more a tragedy, in that it occurred in this territory, Southern Rhodesia, and in the mind of a statesman, Sir Roy Welensky, than whom this country has never had more loyal or devoted subjects. But it is not the past that matters. Where do we go from here? The Federation has gone, but the three territories and the 9 million or so people who inhabit those territories remain. What of their future? There is little to say about Nyasaland or Northern Rhodesia. They are both virtually out of the Federation. One has attained self-government, and the other soon will have done so; and we must wish them well.
879 The real problems, surely, are the economic relations it is possible to maintain between the two Northern Territories and Southern Rhodesia, and the one about which the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, spoke; namely, independence for Southern Rhodesia. To-day we none of us know what arrangements will be made between these three territories. We know that Mr. Butler has been struggling manfully for arrangements that are important—I think one is entitled to use the word "vital"—to all of them. But unfortunately we also know that neither common sense nor economics always prevail in human, and certainly not in African, affairs, though the fact that on page 10 of the White Paper certain agreements are suggested between the territories on power, transport, and so on, are, I think, encouraging.
It is important to remember—and I hope Southern Rhodesia will bear this in mind—that Kariba power, transport, coal, and so on, are the only cards she has to play. We must assume, therefore, that she will not give those cards away at the beginning of negotiations before receiving some satisfaction as to reasonable co-operation in other fields. Fortunately, if the negotiations do not go as well as we hope, the cards are not too unfairly distributed. Southern Rhodesia needs labour from Nyasaland, but Nyasaland would be severely hit if she lost what is in fact her main export. Northern Rhodesia has copper, a very great asset, which puts her in a strong economic position, provided the price of copper is maintained. But it is virtually her only asset. She will, of course, quite wisely, try to build up her own industries, particularly her own light industries. But as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, told your Lordships, she has only a small employed population—I think it is just over 250,000. She has also to keep in mind the effect of a heavy tariff system on her cost of living.
The trouble about cards like these, on both sides, is that they are virtually sanctions, and if they had to be applied they would bring ruin and chaos to the whole of Central Africa. So we must hope and pray that good sense prevails, and that the game of universal throat-cutting is not started. It would mean not a game but a war which no one 880 could win. The really important question we have to ask ourselves is this: Why does the possibility of difficulty or conflict even arise? Equally, why can there be any doubt about Southern Rhodesia being fit for independence? I am sorry that the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, are not here at the present moment, because I hope to some extent to reply to some of the points they made.
If we cast our minds back two years, we may remember that the noble Earl, Lord Home, spoke of the danger of what I think he called "standards of double thinking", by which he meant allowing one country to get away with a standard of behaviour which we were not prepared to tolerate in another. He was speaking on international affairs in general; but this is, I am convinced, the main problem we have to face in connection with Southern Rhodesia. It is the sort of thinking that at one end of the scale allows Russia—the greatest of all Imperialist powers to-day—to be one of the leaders of anti-Imperialist thought—and, at the other end, allows Kenya, in claiming freedom from white rule, to establish the rule of the Bantu over the Somali. As the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said, it takes no account of the policy of white Australia in judging Southern Rhodesia. It allows India to walk into Hyderabad, Kashmir and Goa without protest; Egypt to bomb villages in the Yemen, and America, with her troubles in Alabama and the Southern States, to lecture us, who have given freedom to nearly 600 million people since the war! It then proceeds to attack Southern Rhodesia.
With this background in mind, and I hope your Lordships will not think I have travelled too far afield, let us go back to Southern Rhodesia. Is the criticism on constitutional grounds (certainly the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, spoke very much of constitutional faults), in that Southern Rhodesia is not yet a full democracy? But what about other members of the United Nations—Russia, the Iron Curtain countries, Yugoslavia, Ghana, Ethiopia, and most of the Middle Eastern countries? Why not take independence away from Ghana?—I am not suggesting that, of course; but I am suggesting a standard of single thinking.
881 After all, Southern Rhodesia's Constitution of a year ago was laid down after a Conference with all Parties and all races, and it was fully agreed by all who attended, except the extreme European Right Wing. It is true that three weeks later the African Nationalist leader, Mr. Nkomo, went back on his agreement, but at the time he gave his agreement. It was not only endorsed, but actively pressed on Southern Rhodesia by Her Majesty's Government, in the person of Mr. Duncan Sandys.
Inherent in that Constitution is a certain future majority for Africans. It can be speeded up by Parliament, but it cannot be slowed down without the agreement of all races, including that of Africans. It may or may not go quite far enough or fast enough in everybody's view; and, speaking for myself, I should be inclined to favour speeding it up. But delay for a maximum of twelve or fifteen years cannot by any stretch of the imagination be termed permanent white domination, as it has been described. My Lords, if African States cannot negotiate with Southern Rhodesia because of her Constitution, leading as it does to a future African majority, how can they do so with the dictator countries, with all their forces devoted to the permanent continuance of dictatorship over their own and other races whom they now dominate?
If the trouble cannot logically be constitutional, is it then because of racial discrimination? We all know perfectly well that here we have a very deep human problem; and I, for one, say quite clearly that I could have wished that Southern Rhodesia might have advanced more rapidly in that sphere. I have always been quite open on that point. But in Malaya the Malays and the Chinese have yet to integrate; in Ceylon the Singhalese and the Tamils are frequently in open conflict; and African students are leaving Russia and Bulgaria and other Iron Curtain countries to-day because of racial discrimination. Americans have had the Negro with them for over 200 years, yet I have met Rhodesians who have been horrified by the treatment they have seen accorded to Negroes in the Southern States of America.
Europeans have been in Rhodesia, we always say, for 70 years; but actually, in 882 terms of any effective numbers or any effective system of government, the period is very much less. To-day, over one-third of Salisbury University is African, with all races working, playing, eating, and living in common. Not for Southern Rhodesia a battalion of infantry to force one Negro into a hostile university, with the opposition led by the State Governor and the chief of police. In Southern Rhodesia, the Post Office, banks, cinemas, railways (both as regards employees and passengers), and a great number of hotels accord equal service without discrimination. The chambers of commerce and professional bodies not only permit but welcome African membership. The monthly journal of the African Farmers' Union is printed by the European Farmers' Union. All grades of the Civil Service are open to Africans. I know perfectly well—and I repeat this—that it would have been better if some of these things had been brought about earlier; but, once again, unless we work on a system of double-thinking and double standards, it would seem hard, nay, imposible, to disqualify Southern Rhodesia on grounds of racial discrimination.
Is the trouble, my Lords, to do with social and economic standards? There was a Conference of African States held in Addis Ababa two years ago, in 1961, so presumably the facts and the conclusions coming from that Conference are not prejudiced in favour of the European. According to figures given at that Conference, the proportion of children between five and fourteen years of age at school is 3.8 per cent. in Ethiopia; 7.7 per cent. in Mali (I mention Mali because it was one of the States sent by the United Nations to report on whether Southern Rhodesia was responsible); 22.4 per cent. in Liberia which has been governing itself for generations; 50 per cent. in Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland; and 83 per cent. in reactionary Southern Rhodesia. In Liberia there is one hospital bed to every 4,000 of the population; in Nigeria, one to every 2,200; in, Ghana, one to every 1,100; in Southern Rhodesia, one to every 330 of the African population. African wages in Southern Rhodesia have risen from £12½ million in 1948 (not very long ago) to over £60 million in 1961. African savings were £600,000 a year in 1948. I am afraid I cannot give your Lordships the 883 up-to-date figures, because African and European savings now seem to be combined, but African savings rose from £600,000 a year in 1948 to just on £3 million in 1958—that is, in the space of ten years.
We cannot in this country now determine the attitude of the two Northern Territories towards Southern Rhodesia. With independence, or even self-government, that becomes their affair. But the point of the remarks which I venture to make to your Lordships is that we can be clear about our own attitude. It is we who will have to take the decision as to how far to levy taxes on our own people in order to finance the needs of these countries, swollen as they may be, if economic co-operation is unreasonably refused. It is we who must decide whether to be forced into a decision against granting independence by a threat from any member of the Commonwealth to leave it if we do so. After all, we have to ask ourselves just how valuable a Commonwealth is if it can be kept together only by submitting to blackmail. I greatly dislike saying that, but I believe it is something that must be said.
For my part, like the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, I hope that Southern Rhodesia will help the position by making reasonable concessions in the matter of voting rights and land apportionment. For myself, if I venture to express an opinion on her affairs, I think it would be right for her to do so on the merits of the question, quite apart from any bargain. But, in any event, in an impasse such as that which faces us to-day no one can expect not to have to make concessions. A head-on collision can lead us nowhere. But having said that, I return to my point that we must judge Southern Rhodesia by the same standards as we judge other States, whether they be black or whether they be white. And if we do so, she will come very well out of any comparison with a great many other States, perhaps a majority of members of the United Nations, with whom everybody is very pleased to trade and whose right to independence is unquestioned.
My Lords, I think it would be wrong and ungenerous to close without congratulations to the First Secretary of State for what he was able to bring out 884 of the Victoria Falls Conference, and to wish him well. I know it is very easy to say that nothing really concrete has come out of this conference, but he has at least kept people talking to each other; and while there is talk there is hope, hope for a reasonable settlement embodying economic concessions between the three Central African territories, some political concessions on the part of Southern Rhodesia and independence for her as well as for her two northern neighbours, independence, of course, within the Commonwealth. Sir Roy Welensky and Mr. Winston Field, Mr. Kaunda and Dr. Banda, have all done, and certainly said, things in the past that might suggest to us that compromise between them is impossible. But since embarking on these discussions they have each and every one of them shown signs of real statesmanship. Therefore, my Lords, I trust that in agreeing to this tragic Bill we shall feel we need not do so with a sense of complete despair, because we can at least hope for common sense and statesmanship in these countries to prevail, led and guided, as is being done, by the wisdom of Mr. Butler.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, in rising to make a brief contribution to this debate I am trying to keep in view the fact that this is merely an enabling Bill. It is in fact an obituary notice empowering the Government to deal with the situation created by the death of the Federation. Doubtless contributions towards this demise have been made by all Parties here and in Central Africa as well. Further enumeration of them would, I know, serve no useful purpose now, and I do not propose to go into them. But I would merely remark in passing that I am sorry to say that I think a major contribution has been made by Her Majesty's present Government. The climate of vacillating incoherence in which their African policy has drifted along, and their anxiety to placate every vocal African politician, has made them less than fair to the European community whose pioneering work has built up an economy which was conferring ever greater benefits upon all races in the country. The habit of trimming their sails to every wavering gust of wind has, as I see it, rightly or wrongly, left an impression of purposeless expediency.
885 Be that as it may, I want to look briefly at this Bill and its immediate purpose, the legalisation (I suppose one may so describe it) of the machinery decided upon by the Central Africa Conference held at Victoria Falls a month ago. The First Secretary of State is certainly to be congratulated on his success in getting the delegates to meet at all and to consider, in something approaching a co-operative spirit, the steps necessary to give effect to the dissolution of the Federation and the orderly transfer of power and responsibilities. One must, however, endeavour to keep in mind that all the problems, which are many, complex and potentially controversial, remain to be solved by the series of committees and sub-committees which have been set up. It is true that a certain amount of general guidance was given to the committees, and your Lordships are familiar with the terms of the July White Paper (Cmnd. 2093) presented to Parliament by the First Secretary of State.
There is also a comprehensive White Paper of 120 pages entitled The Break up: Effects and Consequences on the two Rhodesias. This was presented to the Federal Assembly on June 26, 1963, by the Federal Prime Minister. If your Lordships will allow me, I would quote a relevant paragraph from the foreword which seems to me to summarise better than I have seen it done anywhere else the consequences of dissolution:… the consequences will extend to the education, health and well-being of all Rhodesians and their children; to the basic economic structure of the two Rhodesias, to agriculture, transport and communications, power supplies and the post office; to such vital issues as the public debt, currency and coinage; and to the security, well-being and future of Federal civil servants, members of the defence forces and officials of Parliament, the statutory bodies and similar organisations, for whose loyal and efficient service over the past ten years the peoples of the territories have reason to be deeply grateful.That paper, presented to the Federal Assembly, deals with every aspect of the problems involved. I do not think it should be any part of this debate to go into detail on these matters, but perhaps I may be allowed to quote a very brief final paragraph on the subject of the Armed Forces as an instance of the consequences, external too, of the dissolution to the Rhodesias. It says:What the Federal Government has achieved in its defence forces is not only a balanced 886 Army and Air Force but a balanced whole. They were the final deterrent to a serious unrest in this part of Africa; they were ready to play their rôle, as required, in Commonwealth defence. In both cases, the Army and the Air Force have demonstrated their willingness and ability. The position of the Armed Forces, as in the case of the other parts of the Federated Government machine, is that the future of the whole or the component parts is an unknown quantity. If it is assumed, as seems only logical, that each of the territories will require a defence force, then what has been achieved and built up under the Federal Government will be broken and the three pants cannot have the strength or the quality of the whole as it stands to-day.I have not been able fully to appreciate, or to understand, why the noble Lords, Lord Listowel and Lord Ogmore, have been so anxious to single out Southern Rhodesia and urge that it should be rendered defenceless; they said that it had no need of defences. But none of this argument has ever been applied to the numerous other countries, with perhaps far less reason to have suitable defences.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord for no more than a moment, I think he did not quite follow the point made by myself and by Lord Ogmore. We did not say that Southern Rhodesia should be defenceless. We said that it should have its share of the Army. But with a share of the Army, its defences would be comparable to those of other African countries of the same size.
§ LORD MILVERTON
I am sorry if I misunderstood the noble Earl. I felt that he was rather minimising the needs of Southern Rhodesia. But, in any case, perhaps this is a suitable moment to express my complete agreement with what the noble Marquess, and the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said about the tendency of certain noble Lords to offer gratituous advice to a country like Southern Rhodesia on how it should run its own affairs. To my mind, it must be extremely provocative for competent people to have others who do not live in their country and have no experience of what it is like living there, constantly intruding advice upon them, and criticism too, about how they run their affairs.
The failure of the Federation is a human tragedy as well as an economic one. The Government assure us that the dissolution has come about because of the political realities of the situation. 887 To my mind, that phrase carries us no further at all. It all depends on what one accepts as a political reality, or a political reality so dominant as to enforce acceptance. It seems to me that in Africa political realities are practically non-existent. Everything is in such a fluid state that there is hardly any such thing as a political reality there. The self-interest of each country points to the wisdom of agreement and co-operation with each other, and I am not sure that this will not come more easily to these countries when they are freed from the interference of Whitehall and Westminster. I think there is far more likely to be amicable co-operation in the three countries we are now discussing when they are freed from this interference and, in modern times, this unnecessary overlordship.
I have deliberately avoided any discussion of the problems facing the Committees. They are all set out in the White Papers, and it seems to me that the time to discuss them must be when the Committees have reported their conclusions. Anxiety for the proper treatment of Federal staff is naturally acute, as is the desire for the effective continuance of the university. Financial obligations and their future assumption are also, of course, of paramount importance. The position again in relation to that has been succinctly stated by the Federal Government recently, when they said:Britain's sovereign power set up the Federation, and Britain's sovereign power will now destroy it. While the Federal Government was in being it pledged the public faith to many people—to those who worked for it, to investors, to bodies which looked to it for income, and so on. In the same way as its power so to pledge the public credit was given to it by Britain, so it is a British decision that suddenly deprives it of any power to honour its pledges. It is for Britain now honourably to accept the consequences flowing from the exercise of its sovereignty, and to assume responsibility for the liabilities of the Federal Government.That seems to me a most reasonable statement of the case, and it is one which the taxpayers of this country will doubtless soon become fully aware of. Of course, it will take into consideration the fact that a certain amount of financial liabilities of the Federation will be taken over, and willingly taken over, by the Rhodesias; but that will still 888 leave a large amount for this country to shoulder.
I have no further comment at this stage, except to express a hope that those who are pleased to see the end of this Federation will reflect that it was, and is, a noble enterprise, nobly conceived, and that its failure need not detract from its high purpose. It is surely a subject for sorrow to-day, rather than rejoicing. The spirit of these lines, which are well-known, is, I hope, in Mr. Butler's mind to-day:Yet I despised not nor gloried,Yet as I wrenched them apartI read in the razed foundationsThe heart of that builder's heart:As he had risen and pleaded,So did I understandThe form of the dream he had followed in the face of the thing he had planned.So if the First Secretary gives full weight to those thoughts when his own constructive dreams are perhaps frustrated by human frailty around him and come to naught, he, too, may be able to write the epitaph as he abandons these dreams or the construction of them, without bitterness and despair, and writes across the record:Only I cut on the timber,Only I carved on the stone.After me cometh a builder,Tell him I too have known.I should like to conclude by endorsing fully all that has been said in praise of, and sympathy with, Sir Roy Welensky and Mr. Winston Field; and to say that I, too, can see no reason why we should be intimidated into refusing to Southern Rhodesia the independence which she has richly deserved and is fully capable of honourably shouldering.
§ 6.9 p.m.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, I do not know why my noble friend Lord Milverton should think that those of us who support this Bill and approve the general policy of Her Majesty's Government do not share entirely with him and his friends their deep regret that the great and idealistic project of Federation launched ten years ago has in fact failed. Sir Roy Welensky, in a recent speech, attributed the collapse of the Federation to the Monckton Report. To do so is as reasonable as to attribute to a consultant, called in to diagnose 889 and to prescribe, the death that may result after his advice has not been accepted. In the summary of our conclusions we set out our four outstanding findings. They are to be found in paragraph 340—and here they are:
Because of those three findings of fact, the fourth thing was that
- "(1) Federation cannot in our view be maintained in its present form.
- "(2) A dissolution of the Federation would lead to poverty, hardship and distress".
- "(3) The three territories could best go forward if they remained linked in a Federal association."We proceed to outline a number of changes, constitutional and other, to remove the main objectionsto Federation. Our proposals included the possibility, at a later stage, of secession. That, we thought, was the only way to obtain from Africans who were hostile to the Federation the patience to wait and give a chance for the Federation to make a fresh start. I felt no confidence either that the Africans would show the necessary patience, or that the Europeans would be willing to try a fresh start. And, since the Europeans did not try the fresh start, there was no encouragement for the Africans to show their patience. In fact, nothing was done to conciliate African sentiment. Two noble Lords speaking from quite different angles, the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and my noble friend Lord Colyton, have both said that no action has been taken in order to assist Federation during these last few years. That, of course, is quite true. The disaster that we foresaw and tried to avert has now come.
When I was invited to become a member of the Monckton Commission, the Prime Minister said to me that the dangers which faced us in Central Africa were twofold; on the one hand, another Servile War; or, on the other hand, of a Boston Tea Party. My classical knowledge not being equal to that of the Prime Minister, I had to look up what I had known in my schooldays; that is to say, what was the Servile War. I found that there was a long guerrilla war led by Spartacus and his gladiators, supported by slaves, which continued for a long time until, with great difficulty, it was suppressed by Crassus. The Boston Tea Party I think we all understand. This was before the Prime 890 Minister's visit to Central Africa, and it shows his clear political vision and his capacity for producing illuminating historical analogies. I think that the First Secretary of State, in his conduct of the Conference at Victoria Falls, has shown astonishing patience and skill, and the outcome so far can fairly be described as brilliant; but I am sure that he will be the first to say that we are far from being out of the wood.
I do not intend to indulge in recrimination, but it is important to reply to some of the criticisms that have been made of Her Majesty's Government and of both political Parties in this country. Sir Roy Welensky so towers over his colleagues (whom I notice he does not usually describe, as other Prime Ministers do, as "my colleagues" but as "my Ministers") that he must carry a very large share of personal responsibility for what has happened since the Monckton Report was presented. Inability to see the situation as others see it is almost an occupational disease of Ministers. Indeed, Joseph Chamberlain, in his old age, remarked that when one has retired from politics one stands astonished at the blunders one made as a Minister. And, of course, not only was Sir Roy Welensky Prime Minister, but, as one of the remarkable men who were fathers of the Federation, it was difficult for him to perceive any defects in his well-beloved offspring—a shortcoming from which other fathers frequently suffer. The result is that he was made so angry by the reference to secession (which we included only in a desire to preserve federation) that he certainly never understood the Monckton Report—and I sometimes wonder whether he read it.
I have previously described the various steps between 1953 and 1960 which led to increasing African bitterness against federation. There is no need to repeat now what I said. But what we must bear in mind is that the open efforts by the Federal Government to obstruct and defeat constitutional reforms for Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland (both of which the Monckton Commission considered to be necessary) gave public confirmation to the African belief that the Federal Government was an instrument of the European community in its efforts to delay African emancipation. What had been an African theory and belief 891 was shown and admitted to be a fact. That is what made the dissolution of the Federation inevitable.
My Lords, we are left with the difficult problem of Southern Rhodesia. Our constitutional theories debar us from intervention in a Colony which was given self-government in 1923. But it is not only a matter of constitutional theory. We lack the power. And with the transfer of so much of the armed forces of the Federation to Southern Rhodesia, the power would have been more completely lost than it was in the past. We can, however, continue our present line of conduct. Just as we passed an Act last year increasing the rights and liberties of Southern Rhodesia, in return for a quite substantial constitutional reform, so we can say that the further step of granting independence to Southern Rhodesia will not be made until a far more liberal Constitution has been introduced.
It is not surprising that opinion—not confined to one Party—should be opposed to any grant of independence to Southern Rhodesia at the present time. There is, first of all, the proscription of the African Opposition. In an earlier speech I begged noble Lords to refrain from condemning one of the repressive Acts passed pending the outcome of certain prosecutions, which I had been told were likely to show that there was a conspiracy and that the Government had to take drastic action to deal with it. So far I have seen no evidence to justify that legislation. I am disposed to think that it was like the alleged Nyasaland murder conspiracy, which was inquired into and found by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Devlin not to be a reality. I rejoice that a British court, true to the principles of British law, presided over by the Chief Justice, Sir Hugh Beadle, should in an impartial interpretation of the law have ordered the release of Mr. Nkomo.
Secondly, the attitude of Africans to Southern Rhodesia has been very much influenced, first by the defeat of Mr. Todd in the General Election of 1958, when he was succeeded by someone regarded as being less liberal than he, and then in 1962 by the defeat of Sir Edgar Whitehead, who had gone as far as public opinion would allow him to go in the direction of removing racial discrimination. That is not a good augury for the 892 future, and undoubtedly had much to do with the break-up of the Federation. The Monckton Report said that a complete change in the attitude to racial discrimination in Southern Rhodesia was an absolute essential if the Federation was to be preserved. Thirdly, at that time it was understood that the Land Apportionment Act was likely to be substantially amended, if not repealed. I understand that the new Government has announced its intention of retaining the Land Apportionment Act very much as it is at the present time. Fourthly, there still remains discrimination. I would say to some of my noble friends who take a contrary view, that there is a difference between majorities discriminating against racial minorities, however reprehensible that may be, and a racial minority ruling over and discriminating against a racial majority. I think there is a fundamental difference between the two which should not be overlooked.
My Lords, Her Majesty's Government face an immensely difficult problem, and it is only fair to realise how much hostility this country would incur if the Government were prepared at the present time to grant independence to Southern Rhodesia. It certainly would incur the enmity of the United Nations. If it be argued that that is dominated by the Afro-Asian group, I would say that the condemnation would not be confined to them or to countries supporting them. In the second place, my information (I do not know whether my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack will feel justified in commenting upon this matter) coincides with that of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel: that Canada, Australia and New Zealand would not be prepared to agree to Southern Rhodesia's obtaining independence within the Commonwealth if there were not a fundamental change in the Southern Rhodesian Constitution. I cannot entirely agree—indeed, I cannot agree at all—with my noble friend Lord De La Warr, when he describes an attitude of that kind on the part of the members of a club as being "blackmail". I think a more apt term would be blackballing. Then, finally, there would be a large body of opinion in this country which would be hostile to any such step.
I regretted that my noble friends Lord Salisbury and Lord Colyton seemed to express some sympathy with Southern 893 Rhodesia if it were to adopt independence on its own as an act of force majeure. But I would say to my noble friend Lord Salisbury that, however little some of us may agree with his views, I am sure there is no noble Lord here, and there are very few people in the country, who would think that his sincere and passionately held views on a matter of this kind were in any way influenced by his financial interests in Southern Rhodesia. Indeed, I think that one can look to an entirely different, an hereditary, explanation of this. I recall that his grandfather, the Prime Minister, led the Conservative Party to oppose the principle of Home Rule for Ireland. It is clearly within my recollection, for I was already in politics, that his father was largely responsible for a certain split that took place in the Conservative Party on the question of Home Rule for India. It is therefore only natural filial piety on the part of my noble friend that he should follow in the steps of his grandfather and father and oppose a similar step in the case of Central Africa.
I do not think that we need go into details about the matters that are being dealt with by the committees in Salisbury. I would, however, say to the Government that I hope they will not necessarily accept the advice that has been given to them from both sides of the House with regard to Federal civil servants. I believe that one of the great mistakes we have made in the last ten or fifteen years has been that the terms of compensation to colonial civil servants have been such that they have often been encouraged to retire from the service rather than to continue to serve.
With regard to the national debt, I would say this. The debt incurred by the Federation is represented by very valuable assets in that territory, and those assets should enable the interest upon those debts to be paid. Therefore I see no reason why the territories which have been benefited by the creation of the Kariba Dam, and other assets should not be in a position to service the debt that was incurred. I hope the Government will be very chary of giving, at the present stage, any guarantee of any parts of the public debt that they have not already guaranteed. To do so would be a clear invitation to some African Government in the future to repudiate its liabilities, knowing perfectly well that 894 this burden would be carried by the British taxpayer.
My Lords, in conclusion I would say that the moderation and statesmanship shown at the Victoria Falls Conference justifies us in feeling some slight measure of optimism for the future. I hope that the realities of the situation will result in the self-governing Governments of those territories coming together in agreement, in order to form some kind of Customs Union or economic understanding, in place of the Federation that was forced upon them in the past. I am sure that that is essential for the prosperity and well-being of their peoples; and I hope, therefore, that the statesmen concerned will show the realism to do what is necessary.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I am extremely glad that the noble Lord, Lord Molson, made the remarks he did concerning the feelings of those who, like myself, welcome this Bill. That in no way means that we are at all less sad than other noble Lords at the reason for it and the failure of Federation. I think we all feel sympathy for all those people who were involved in the experiment of Federation, whether we agree with them or not; and, just as I felt great sympathy for Sir Grantley Adams when the Federation of the West Indies came to an end, I similarly feel sympathy for Sir Roy Welensky now that the Federation of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland has come to an end.
I am glad, also, that the noble Lord, Lord Molson, and other noble Lords gave praise to the First Secretary of State for what he was able to achieve at Victoria Falls. But we must be under no illusions about what he was able to achieve. What he did was to put out the fire which had already destroyed the building. There is now nothing left. He has for the moment prevented the fire from spreading, and he has for the moment prevented loss of life—and his ability as a fire-fighter is considerable. But all he has done now is to clear the way for the future, for those who now have to build upon the wreckage which has been left behind as a result of this fine idea, which was carried out in an incompetent and a blind manner.
Although I agree also with the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor 895 that it is our job now to look to the future, I do not think that it is right for the country to let the present Government off so lightly and say, "We will not look to the past at all. If there is blame, we will not pin it upon anybody. We must now get on with the future". Do not let us spend too much time talking about the past, but let us be quite sure in our own minds that the Government have failed in this, and have failed in an abysmal manner. Their failure is all the worse because, as the noble Lord, Lord Molson, has told us, the way in which this failure might have been turned into a success was pointed out clearly, unequivocally, by the Monckton Commission, and was ignored entirely by people, not only in the Federation itself, not only by Sir Roy Welensky and his colleagues, but also by Her Majesty's Government—and that, I think, must also be made abundantly clear in this debate.
However, my Lords, having said that, let us now move on and see what we can do to make up for this waste of years, this waste of effort, this disillusionment that has resulted from the past mismanagement; and let us see, also, what we can do to restore the confidence, the good will and the desire to co-operate which has been so rudely shaken. Because we must create—it is the job of those of us here—a new Commonwealth where there was a former Empire. Although we all talk about it, and although we all pay lip service to it, there are far too many people who do no more—and I specifically exclude the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, because he also mentioned the need for building up the Commonwealth, but he is not one of those who does no more than pay lip service to it; he works for it. We must realise that it requires not only work by individuals but thought, clear and honest thinking by the Government, if we are going to have a Commonwealth which in fact means anything at all and is not simply a form of words which is trotted out on certain occasions.
It is too late to deal with all the many interesting points which have been raised by noble Lords who have spoken in this debate, but I should like to deal with a point which I think was first raised by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury and was also mentioned in different forms by various other noble Lords who have 896 spoken. That is this question of democracy in these territories of Central Africa: what form of Government there is; what form of Government there should be. He said that there are some—and I think he included my noble friend Lord Listowel in this—who have what he described as "a pathetic belief" that all our troubles will be over if we can create a democracy based on "one man, one vote". He then went on to tell us the thesis first put forward, I believe, by Polybius in Greece: that there was the movement from dictatorship to oligarchy, then from oligarchy to democracy, and then, if that failed, back to dictatorship. My Lords, I think that when such people as Polybius, and later Machiavelli, put forward that thesis—and there is no significance in the fact that it was Machiavelli who supported this strongly—they were referring to city states. That is sound enough: I will not argue with that. But it would be very dangerous to suggest that what ancient scholars and theoreticians felt was the right form of dealing with their own city states, and the normal course of evolution, could automatically, and without any alteration, be applied to these vast areas of Central Africa.
In spite of that, I think that in general that is the correct form of evolution; and our differences with the noble Marquess and his friends lie, not in his assessment of that evolution but in this timing of it. He said that Southern Rhodesia was at the moment being governed well by an oligarchy, and asked, "Why should we throw bricks at these people—honest men, good men, doing a good job? Leave them alone. Do not jog their elbows "—I think those were his words—"and, in due course, democracy will appear when they think it is right". But if we look back over history, we shall find very few rulers, whether they were dictators or oligarchs, who happily and willingly gave way to the higher stage of development in government. Their elbows had to be jogged—and their elbows were jogged in very uncomfortable manners, as the noble Lord, Lord Molson, quoting the Prime Minister, said, in the Servile Wars, and on many other occasions.
We cannot leave it to oligarchs, any more than we can leave it to individuals—and possibly noble Lords on the other 897 side may feel this more strongly than we do at the present time—to choose the time of their going. How often do we hear people say, "I should like to retire. I should like to give up this arduous burden and hand it over, if only there was somebody capable of carrying it on "? That is what the oligarchs say, whether it is in Southern Rhodesia, whether it was in Ancient Athens or wherever it may be—and their elbows have to be jogged. So I do say, with all deference to the noble Marquess, that, whether we think the oligarchs of Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, have done a good job or have not done a good job, now is the time for the great step forward to be made to the next evolutionary stage of democracy.
I would take up just one more point which the noble Marquess, and also the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, made. This threat of secession by Southern Rhodesia—which, with the noble Lord, Lord Molson, I deplore—is analogous with what American colonies did because of the blindness of what was at that time His Majesty's Government; and because of the refusal of that Government to face the facts. Before and after that step the American colonists had to take pretty stern action against the indigenous population, the Red Indians. It was not just a peaceful taking-ever of power; it entailed the slaughter of the people who were there first; it entailed pushing them farther away from their territories into strange lands; and it led to many hardships for future generations in the United States and to the cruelty of the Indian wars.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, is the noble Lord arguing that it would have been better to leave the Red Indians in control?
§ LORD WALSTON
I am not arguing that; but I am arguing that the acquisition of independence by what is now the United States was not done in a peaceful, happy and harmonious way, but in a manner which world opinion to-day would not tolerate. It was done because our Government at the time were blind to the true facts and refused to face them; and they refused to listen to people who knew what those facts were.
I should be very unhappy, indeed, if any words of the noble Marquess or of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, were 898 taken by Europeans or others in Southern Rhodesia to mean that there is any support at all in this country—though I am sure that it was not meant that they should get this impression—for any faction that was considering the question of secession. But, rather, I hope that attention will be paid to the words of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, urging Mr. Winston Field to make concessions. I think "token concession" were the words used by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton; the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, was a little more expansive and talked in general of concessions to the feelings of the African population. I hope those observations will be listened to far more than the other remarks.
I should like to turn to what I consider to be some of the more positive things which Her Majesty's Government can do now in order to rebuild this burnt-out wreck of the idea of Federation. First of all, let us look at the common services, which have been referred to by my noble friend Lord Listowel and other noble Lords. I agree—and I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, takes this point—that it is quite reasonable that the three territories should have their army, their military forces, in the manner as laid down, on the basis of their recruitment. But when it comes to the air force—and here my noble friend made a differentiation, as did the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore—we find no reason at all for that to be at the disposal of Southern Rhodesia.
§ LORD COLYTON
I am grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. Is he aware that the Royal Rhodesian Air Force is, in fact, recruited almost entirely in Southern Rhodesia?
§ LORD WALSTON
Yes, my Lords, I am aware of that fact. I am also aware that the aircraft they fly come entirely from this country. I would suggest that the air force should be kept in being, but under the control of Her Majesty's Government, either directly or by some form of ad hoc body. And in the same way I suggest that as many of the common services as possible should also be administered in that manner; in other words, retained under the control of the United Kingdom pending the entire independence of all three territories. When that time 899 comes—which I hope will not be long delayed; and I will come to that question again—then will be the time to hand over all the retained common services: the air lines, the railways, Kariba and the rest, including, I hope, the universities, to joint authority agreed on between the three independent territories. That could form the basis of some new eventual Federation stemming from the common services and the common interests engendered in that way. I would once more disagree with the noble Marquess when he said that Federation is dead and nothing can bring it back to life. I believe that it is possible by some sort of action eventually to bring Federation back to life.
Another way by which I feel we can help these newly-independent territories is in a manner that we discussed a few days ago when we were dealing with the Bill concerning the Commonwealth Development Corporation and the Colonial Development and Welfare Funds. As I said on that occasion, countries such as these have an enormous need for the basic investment with which to develop not only their economic life but their general standard of living and education and understanding of affairs. The Colonial Development and Welfare Funds, as we heard from the noble Marquess who replied for the Government, are not cut off from the newly-developed independent countries. Schemes in train are completed. New schemes cannot be started. This is the time to start a new scheme, as well as completing the old. I feel here that we should be failing in our duties to help create the Commonwealth which the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, said we should, and with which we all agree, unless we were prepared to give some material assistance of this kind.
I have just touched on education in dealing with the universities. Without a vast increase in education we cannot have the progress we want to see in the world, and the newly independent countries cannot have the progress they want to see, and without which they can never develop the form of civilisation to which they aspire. That entails money. It entails teachers of course, but it entails money for buildings, for the staffing of teacher-training colleges. There are some; but there is a need for more; 900 and there is a need for training for technical education too.
Here I would like to commend to Her Majesty's Government a scheme which I understand was put to them several years ago in a somewhat different context as a practical and far-from-expensive method of helping in this manner. We need all forms of education it is true; we need literacy and, in the first place, we need the ability to read. Understanding of what is read is needed more than the ability to write. But, as anyone with experience of such territories would amply confirm, there is an enormous need for what one can call the "white collar class", the people who are going to be the local government officials, the medium-rank civil service, the floor managers, or whatever they may be called, in the shops and banks, as well as agricultural craftsmen, electricians, plumbers and people of that kind. No country will be able to progress without an increasing supply of such people.
The scheme to which I have referred envisages the training of such people by bringing them from whatever territories they come and placing them in similar occupations in this country. Some people have already been found—public-spirited departmental stores, farmers, local authorities and banks—who are prepared to take these people and sit them side by side with their own typists, electricians, shop assistants and clerks for a year, enabling them to understand not only our work but our way of life, at no cost to the Government of this country or of the sending country. If that can be organised through the Government and transport to and from this country arranged, it would do a great deal of practical good as well as have a great psychological effect in those countries and make them feel we are anxious to help them in a practical manner.
The final point I wish to make on the rebuilding of goodwill in the Commonwealth comes back to what so many noble Lords have spoken of—that is, discrimination. The noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, gave us some interesting and encouraging figures concerning the decrease of discrimination in Southern Rhodesia, and I accept them happily. I 901 know they are true. But it is also an indictment that there should be any need to boast about these figures. As the noble Lord, Lord Molson, said, bad though the discrimination of a majority against the minority is, the discrimination of a minority against a majority is infinitely worse.
§ EARL DE LA WARR
My Lords, I was not boasting about these figures. I was contrasting Southern Rhodesia with America and other countries where discrimination exists and saying that it is unfair to pick out Southern Rhodesia, where they are not committing that sort of discrimination.
§ LORD WALSTON
There is a difference between the United States and Southern Rhodesia on an historical basis. Although Southern Rhodesia is self-governing, it is a Colony of this country, and the United States is not. Although I do not wish to defend the United States and the discrimination practised there, to pick out one small group of universities where discrimination is practised from the vast number of universities where it is not is not entirely a fair comparison.
For all that, we are agreed that there is less discrimination in Southern Rhodesia than there has been and less than there is in some other countries. But there is still discrimination of a substantial kind. I received to-day an account which is entitled "Plans to open Salisbury City to African Traders." It is now being proposed by the Salisbury City Council Health, Housing and African Administration Committee that the City Council should ask the Governor to declare the central business and commercial area of the city one in which land may be acquired, leased, used or occupied by an African for business purposes. Until this proposal has been acquiesed to, as I am sure it will be, it is still impossible for an African to open a business or trade in a very large area of Salsbury. That is discrimination on a substantial scale. Even if this proposal is granted, the African will still not be allowed to live there. As we have heard from the noble Lord, Lord Molson, the Land Apportionment Act is in existence and shows every sign of continuing to be in existence. So long as that exists, there is discrimination.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I think, to be absolutely fair, the noble Lord should say that this change which is now proposed in Salisbury is in fact a variation of the Apportionment Act.
§ LORD WALSTON
It is, but only in a very restricted area. I do not deny that it is a move in the right direction and I give credit for it, but we must remember that there is still a long way to go before it can be said that there is anything approaching non-discrimination in Southern Rhodesia. All noble Lords who have spoken on this matter have ignored the major indictment of discrimination—which is the discrimination when it comes to voting. Until that has been removed, we cannot say Southern Rhodesia is a free democratic country.
Finally, I would underline what my noble friend Lord Listowel has said. We believe that independence should be granted to Southern Rhodesia as soon as possible, but we further believe that we cannot, and must not, grant independence under the present Constitution. The longer we wait, the greater the tensions will be and the harder it will be to arrive at the form of co-operation and living together which we all desire. I sincerely hope that Her Majesty's Government will not now sit back and say that they have put out the fire, the Chief Secretary of State has done a magnificent job, and now they need do nothing but leave it to the people there. Now is the time to press on and create something new. That cannot be done under the present Constitution in Southern Rhodesia.
The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said, and rightly said—and this is one occasion where I wholeheartedly agree with him—thatwithout goodwill nothing can be done. There is a lot to be done in these territories and we must have the goodwill and co-operation of all people there, whatever their background, whether they are Africans of one generation or of one hundred generations, or who went out there only ten years ago we must have the goodwill and co-operation of all those who love the country, as I know the noble Marquess and the noble Earl, Lord De La Warr, love it, even though it is not theirs, and of all those who love the people who live there. They must work 903 together and be led by their political leaders—Dr. Banda, Mr. Kaunda, Mr. Field and the others. That is the service they can and must render to these territories, and we here must give them all the assistance we can in carrying out that great and difficult task successfully.
§ 6.59 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I venture to say that few who have heard this debate in your Lordships' House, at least after it started, will have realised that the subject under consideration was the question of giving a Second Reading to this Bill. Apart from the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and the noble Lords, Lord Ogmore and Lord Walston, who said that they welcomed the Bill, little was said about the Bill at all. The only critic of the Bill was the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and he was critical of one provision, to which I referred when I moved the Second Reading. So, in dealing with the Bill and the question really before the House, perhaps it could be argued that I need confine myself only to the criticism of the Bill. However, it would be discourteous of me if I were to take that course.
If I may, I will deal with that criticism straight away. The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, drew attention to the fact that certain Orders in Council would be made before October 1 of this year which were subject only to the Negative Resolution procedure. I dealt with that point at some length in the course of moving the Second Reading, and as I said then, after the point had been raised in another place my right honourable friend made inquiries of the Governments who are dealing with these matters—that is to say, Governments other than Her Majesty's Government—and the fact is, as I then indicated, that the Governments concerned are very keen that this particular provision should be inserted in the Bill. I hope that that explanation will satisfy the noble Lord.
The noble Lord, Lord Walston, talked of the Government here having failed, and of the waste of years that have led to the situation which exists to-day when I have to move the Second Reading of this Bill before your Lordships. I would dissent from him most strongly when he 904 talks of the wasted years. I think everyone will agree that the Federation has brought great economic benefits to these territories. I do not think it is right, therefore, that we should regard the years of existence of the Federation as wasted years. But, again, I think it is not right to ignore the fact that, as those years went on, so did difficulties with regard to the continued existence of the Federation arise. The noble Lord, Lord Molson, drew the attention of your Lordships to the finding of fact of the Monckton Commission, that federation could not be maintained in its present form. I drew attention to the fact that Her Majesty's Government could not maintain a Federation of three Territories, two of whom were bitterly opposed to any form of federation continuing. In my view, it really is not a correct representation of the position for the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, to seek to represent that determination of this Federation is a matter that is due solely to a decision of Her Majesty's Government. It is their decision, it is true; but it is one based, as I have said before, on the realities of the situation.
Little of this debate has been devoted to any question of the past, although some of it has. The speech of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, was mainly devoted to what had happened in the past, and the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, also said a good deal about that. But most of the debate to-day seems to me to have turned on two questions: what one might expect to be in the Orders in Council that will come before your Lordships if they are made under this Bill; and, secondly, the position of Southern Rhodesia. May I say straight away, in relation to the question of independence of Southern Rhodesia, that I stated the position in the course of my opening speech to your Lordships, and I cannot elaborate further on it. The discussions between my right honourable friend the First Secretary of State and Mr. Winston Field are not concluded, and in these circumstances I do not think it would be right for me to animadvert upon that subject further than I did in moving the Second Reading.
A number of questions have been raised dealing with the problems which do arise, and have to be dealt with— 905 some of them, as I am sure your Lordships will realise, difficult, complicated and somewhat intractable problems. On many of them your Lordships have expressed your views. I will deal with as many of them as I can, quite shortly, in this concluding speech, but at this late hour I will resist the temptation to accept the invitation of the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, to speak at greater length than is usual upon these occasions. The noble Earl raised the question of the Federal public service, as did several others of your Lordships, including, I think, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. I thought it right to deal with this matter at some length in moving the Second Reading, and in particular with regard to the question of compulsory secondment. I had hoped that I made it clear that there is, so far as I am aware, no question of compulsory permanent secondment. But this is merely a temporary provision.
The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, raised the point that there should be freedom of choice for the members of the Federal public service as to where they should serve, and that no civil servant should be worse off as a result of the dissolution of the Federation. On the first point, as the First Secretary of State said in the Committee stage in another place on July 16, there is no question, so far as Her Majesty's Government are aware, of permanent compulsory transfer to a territorial Government service. The basis of the discussions now taking place in Salisbury on the dissolution machinery is understood to be arrangements for voluntary secondment for the limited transitional period.
Her Majesty's Government recognise the importance of the second point—namely, that no civil servant shall be worse off. They and the three territorial Governments are anxious that as many officers as possible should be absorbed into the Federal Government services. The terms on which they may be so absorbed, and in what circumstances recompense should be available to those whose terms and conditions of employment may be changed, or whose employment is brought to an end, are matters at present under discussion and negotiation between representatives of the Governments concerned in Salisbury. That, I am sure, is the best way to reach fair 906 and reasonable solutions, and, if your Lordships will forgive me, I should prefer not to say more to-day that might prejudice those negotiations.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, as I understand it, there are two forms of compulsory secondment. There is permanent compulsory secondment and temporary compulsory secondment. The noble and learned Lord has made the position for the permanent compulsory secondment absolutely clear; but there is the other point which I mentioned in my speech. I had information from what I regard as a reliable source that pressure was being exerted on the sub-committee considering this subject in favour of a decision whereby a Federal civil servant who refused temporary compulsory secondment would be deprived of any compensation in respect of his service under the Federation. I said I hoped that that was not true, and that if there was any suggestion of it, I hoped Her Majesty's Government would come out strongly against it.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Marquess. He dealt with the point of temporary compulsory secondment, to which I, too, drew some attention in moving the Second Reading of the Bill. I can neither confirm nor deny the information the noble Marquess has put forward in the course of this debate. Bearing in mind that all these arrangements will have to come before your Lordships for consideration, I think that that will be the time at which to comment on them. I should feel rather embarrassed about expressing any view while negotiations are going on.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Perhaps the Lord Chancellor would pass on to the proper quarter what I said on this subject.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I can assure the noble Marquess that I will bring to the attention of my right honourable friend the First Secretary all that has been said in the course of this debate.
The next point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and by others of your Lordships, including the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, referred to the position of what I might call Federal stock or Federal debt. On this matter I cannot add much to what has been said already 907 in the White Paper. The question of handling the public debt was discussed at the Victoria Falls Conference. It was agreed that a special committee should be set up within the post-Conference machinery to carry forward consideration of the vital and complicated financial problems connected with the apportionment of Federal assets and liabilities, and it must now be left, I feel, to this Committee to tackle this range of subjects. We cannot be expected to anticipate their conclusions and the result of that work.
Then there was a question raised by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, about the position with regard to the Royal Rhodesian Air Force. The position with regard to that can be stated quite simply. The Victoria Falls Conference agreed that all the units of the armed forces, with certain exceptions, should remain at their present stations, passing under the control of either Southern Rhodesia or the United Kingdom, in the case of Northern Territories. As the Royal Rhodesian Air Force is stationed entirely in Southern Rhodesia, it was clearly envisaged and understood that it would fall to Southern Rhodesia. The practical problems which remained to be tackled in regard to the defence forces will be discussed directly between Governments, and the whole matter is one of relevance to the apportionment of assets and liabilities.
The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, apart from raising the interesting question of the membership of the noble Marquess's family, described this Bill as a blank cheque—and so, of course, to some extent, it is. It is, as I have said, an enabling Bill, and I am sure your Lordships will agree that, having reached this decision that the Federation must be brought to an end; having secured agreement to that, and having had a unanimous report from the Victoria Falls Conference, it would be stupid indeed if we were to delay or to hold up that process unduly. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, asked about the Court of Appeal. That is a question which I gather will be taken up by the three Governments among themselves. But I understand that Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland have already shown some reluctance to have one. Whether or not they have a common Court of Appeal is, of course, a matter 908 for them. I must say that I personally hope they will decide that there are considerable advantages in having one.
With regard to the question of recourse to the Judicial Committee—whether or not there will be one in the future—that question is not related to the issue whether there should be a common Court of Appeal; and whether there is an appeal to the Privy Council will depend on the Governments concerned. All I can say is that we shall do all we can to encourage recourse to the Judicial Committee from these three territories in the future, and I hope that we shall be able to persuade them that it is to their advantage. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, drew attention and made some observations about the rôle of the Judicial Committee as a Commonwealth International Court. I must say that I hope very much that it will develop that way, and that is one of the reasons why I am personally extremely keen to see the right of appeal maintained and, if possible, enlarged.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for that expression of sympathy with the point of view I put. Although I do not ask for an answer now, I would ask him whether he will take under consideration the other matter I put; that is to say, the possibility of the Judicial Committee sitting in these various territories from time to time.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, that proposal has been under consideration more than once, and I am quite certain that it will be considered again. There are difficulties with regard to it, but occasions may arise when those difficulties can usefully be dealt with.
The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, made a speech which I must say I found extremely interesting, though I do not think he will expect me to comment on his observations in relation to Southern Rhodesia. He said—and I entirely agree with him—that since one accepts the fact that Federation has, or will shortly, come to an end, some basis of co-operation must be found. I agree with him; and I believe that the fact that it was possible to secure such a measure of agreement at Victoria Falls is a good sign for the future. I am not for one moment saying that we shall 909 not have, and the territories concerned will not have, great difficulties to overcome. But I feel that the successful conclusion of that Conference augurs well for the future, or, perhaps I should say, better for the future than many of us could have imagined six months ago. I think we should be very careful not to say or to do anything which would prejudice the growth of a tender plant which we all hope will grow and lead to a real and strong co-operation between these territories, based on their voluntary association. If it is so based, then I believe that that co-operation will endure to the great benefit of all those territories and all the people engaged therein.
My Lords, I have already said a good deal in relation to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton. I do not think that he was fair to my right honourable friend the First Secretary when he rather suggested that only at a late stage had my right honourable friend been concerned with thoughts of future co-operation between the territories. For months and months my right honourable friend has had that firmly in his mind, and in many speeches and in many utterances he has drawn attention frequently to the need for co-operation. He asked a question about citizenship. I could not quite follow why he thought there was any discrepancy between the White Paper and what I said recently in this House on citizenship in Kenya. I do not think there is the slightest discrepancy. I think he must be in some slight confusion over a very technical branch of the law. If he likes to write me a letter about it, I will certainly let him have a reply. I do not think there is the slightest conflict between what I said and what is in the White Paper.
I think I have covered most of the points which have been raised in the debate, which has been wide ranging and interesting, and I should like to conclude with this note. I know full well that to the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, to Sir Roy Welensky, and many others, the 910 fact that a great Federation is coming to an end is a great disappointment and a great blow to them. We can only hope that what will grow up in its place will be something the growth of which will be in a way accelerated by the fact that it starts from the ashes of the Federation. I do not think I can usefully add anything to this interesting debate which has taken place on this important measure.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a; Committee negatived.
§ Then, Standing Order No. 41 having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of July 23) Bill read 3a, and passed.