§ 3.15 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS AND FOR THE COLONIES (THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE)
My Lords, I know that your Lordships will regret to hear that my noble friend Lord Lansdowne has been taken ill and that, therefore, the responsibility for moving this Bill a second time has devolved upon my shoulders. What I should like to do, with your Lordships' permission, is to introduce the Bill and go through its clauses, and leave my opening speech at that. I know that a number of your Lordships wish to comment on the Bill and I will do my best to answer such points as are raised during the debate when I wind up. I have no wish to ask for the forbearance of the House, but I may say that this particular Bill arrived in my "in" 755 tray only this morning. I have not seen it before, so for the shortcomings in my speech I ask your Lordships' forbearance.
One particular point that gives me very great pleasure in introducing the Second Reading of this Bill is that my grandfather, when Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1923, made a famous pronouncement—it is now called the "Devonshire Declaration"—which I think, to the great credit to this country, has never been contradicted. It is a pronouncement which I am immensely proud should have come from my grandfather. I feel, therefore, that I have some historical connection with the Bill I am now about to introduce.
As your Lordships will know, this Bill provides for Kenya to become fully independent as a member of the Commonwealth. The Independence Constitution itself will be promulgated by an Order in Council. It is intended that this Order should be submitted to Her Majesty in Council shortly after the Bill has received the Royal Assent and that it should come into operation immediately before December 12—the day of Kenya's independence.
As your Lordships' House will be aware, the Independence Constitution will be based very largely upon the present internal self-government Constitution of Kenya, though certain changes have had to be made—partly because of the very fact that it is now to be an Independence Constitution and partly as a result of certain decisions which were taken at the recent Constitutional Conference and which are explained in the Report of that Conference published as a White Paper in October.
On past occasions Members of your Lordships' House have shown great interest in the constitutional arrangements to be made for Kenya, and these have been the subject of debate on more than one occasion, especially after the 1962 Lancaster House Conference and again in July of this year. No doubt, some of your Lordships will wish to comment on the final Constitutional settlement during this debate, but I think that it will be better if, at this part of the debate, I confine my remarks largely to the Bill itself and certain other matters closely connected with it. The most convenient 756 way for me to proceed will be to go through the Bill clause by clause.
For the most part, the provisions of Clause 1 are entirely common form. Subsection (1) provides that as from December 12 the British Government no longer have any responsibility for the government of Kenya, and subsection (2) (coupled with the first Schedule) provides that, as from the same date, Acts of our Parliament do not extend to Kenya as part of its law, and the Parliament of Kenya is a fully sovereign Legislature which is subject only to the restrictions imposed on it by the Kenya Constitution.
I should, however, like to say a few words about subsection (3) of Clause 1. Those of your Lordships who have read the Bill will know that this defines Kenya so as to include the territories which are at present comprised in the Coastal Strip or, to give it its formal name, the Kenya Protectorate. I need not tell your Lordships that the Kenya Protectorate is at present part of the dominions of His Highness The Sultan of Zanzibar, but, like the rest of His Highness's dominions, it is under Her Majesty's protection and, by virtue of an agreement concluded with one of His Highness's predecessors in 1895, it is at present administered as if it were an integral part of Kenya; that is to say, it belongs to the Sultan of Zanzibar but is administered by the Kenya Government.
Your Lordships will recall that, just before the internal self-government Constitution for Kenya was introduced, it was necessary to consider how this would affect the 1895 Agreement, and, as a result of that consideration, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies reached an agreement with members of the Zanzibar Government by which it was accepted that the Coastal Strip should continue to be administered as part of Kenya during Kenya's period of internal self-government.
During the recent Independence Conference it was necessary to take the matter further and to consider what arrangements should be made concerning the Coastal Strip once Kenya and Zanzibar had both achieved their independence. As a result, if I may say so with all respect, of great statesmanship on the part of His Highness the Sultan 757 of Zanzibar and his Ministers, and Ministers of the Kenya Government, the matter was resolved very successfully in the following way. The Government of Kenya gave certain highly satisfactory assurances to the Government of Zanzibar concerning the continued protection of the special interests of the inhabitants of the Coastal Strip, especially in relation to freedom of worship, the position of the Chief Kadhi and other Kadhis, the teaching of Arabic in schools, and similar matters of particular concern to the Muslim inhabitants of the area.
Following on this a formal Agreement was concluded on October 8 providing that that part of His Highness's dominions which now form the Kenya Protectorate should be transferred to Kenya as an integral part of that country on the date when Kenya becomes independent—that is, December 12. I think your Lordships will agree that this is a very happy solution to this question and one which augurs well for the future relations between Kenya and Zanzibar, who are close neighbours. The fact that they managed to solve this difficult problem in such a happy way is cause for great rejoicing from all well-wishers of the two territories.
Another matter which, though not strictly relevant to subsection (1) of Clause 1, is connected with the question of Kenya's boundaries, and which it is right that I should mention, is the vexed question of the problem of the North Eastern Region of Kenya. I know that certain of your Lordships are concerned to raise this during the ensuing debate. This is, I know, a matter of much concern—indeed, it must be a matter of concern—to all who have at heart the welfare and stability of East Africa. It would not be right for me at this stage to describe in detail the recent history of this problem, nor to set out in detail all the considerations which have led the British Government to take the decision that this area must go into independence as part of Kenya. All I will say is that, in the absence of agreement to the contrary by the Kenya Government and the other interested parties, Her Majesty's Government took the view that it would be quite wrong for us to take a unilateral decision about the frontiers of Kenya and to attempt to impose a decision against the wishes of the Government of Kenya, whose 758 Ministers had already made it very clear that any such decision would be quite unacceptable to them.
My Lords, I now turn to Clauses 2 and 3, which deal with citizenship. This, too, is a matter of great concern to this House, and I therefore propose to deal with it in some detail. I feel quite sure that I shall not cover at this stage all the points which noble Lords will wish to raise in the debate, but I will do my best, in winding up, to reply to any points raised which I do not cover now. May I, first of all, say a word about the arrangement of these provisions? Your Lordships will observe that in this Bill we have found it convenient to split up the topic into separate sections, the first making certain modifications of the British Nationality Acts consequential upon Kenya's attaining independence and acquiring its own citizenship; and the second defining categories of persons who, even though they may become Kenya citizens, do not thereby have their United Kingdom citizenship taken away from them. In fact the substance of these two clauses is exactly the same as the corresponding provisions which have appeared in earlier Independence Acts, but it was considered that this rearrangement made the legal position clearer to the ordinary reader. I hope that your Lordships will agree that this is so.
Turning from this purely technical question of arrangement to the more important question of substance, it will be evident that one cannot see the picture as a whole unless one looks not merely at these two clauses which describe the position in our law but also at the provisions regulating Kenya citizenship which will appear in the Kenya Constitution itself. A full account of what those provisions will contain is set out in the Report to the recent Conference, but perhaps I can best summarise them by saying that to a very large extent they follow—indeed, are based upon—the citizenship provisions which appear in other independent Commonwealth countries, especially Tanganyika and Uganda. In particular, it will be seen that the Kenya Constitution, like the Constitutions of Tanganyika and Uganda, and of many other Commonwealth countries, will not permit dual citizenship except for a limited and transitional period.
759 My Lords, I know that this is a decision that will disappoint many Members of this House, but the Kenya Government felt strongly that this was a matter which they should themselves face and resolve, and that they should keep in line with what had been done in Tanganyika and Uganda, their neighbours; and we have to recognise that we cannot dictate to an independent country who its citizens shall be. To offset this, no doubt, as I say, disappointing decision, I should however draw your Lordships' attention to two special features—features whch I think I am right in saying will be welcome to the House—of the Kenya citizenship provisions.
The first is a purely transitional provision, to the effect that during the first two years after independence citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who were ordinarily resident in Kenya at independence will enjoy all the rights of Kenya citizens except the purely political rights of voting and standing as candidates in national and regional elections. The significance of this period of two years is that it corresponds to the period during which those members of the European community in Kenya who do not become Kenya citizens automatically on independence (for example, those who were themselves born in Kenya but whose parents were not) have to choose whether they will exercise their right to be registered as Kenya citizens.
The second special feature—which is a permanent one—is that all citizens of any Commonwealth country, as well as citizens of any foreign country which the Kenya Government may specify for this purpose, shall have the same rights and privileges as a Kenya citizen has under the Constitution and other laws of Kenya, if a Kenya citizen has those rights and privileges under the Constitution or other laws of the country concerned. I think I can best sum up the position by saying that this is a reciprocal arrangement. It will be appreciated that so far as United Kingdom citizens are concerned this means that they will have, broadly, the same rights and privileges in Kenya as a Kenya citizen has in this country. These include, of course, the rights and privileges of most concern to them: the right to own land; to carry on business and 760 so on—all those things which really matter in day-to-day living and day-to-day life.
It is against this background that I now turn to the provisions of Clauses 2 and 3. They deal with three main matters. First, they provide for the inclusion of Kenya in the list of Commonwealth countries in Section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act, 1948. The significance of this is that a person who is a Kenya citizen will, in our law, possess the status of a British subject or Commonwealth citizen (the two terms are interchangeable) and will be entitled to all the privileges that go with that status in our law, even though he may no longer be a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
The second matter is the amendment of the British Protectorates, Protected States and Protected Persons Order in Council, 1949, so as to remove the reference to the Kenya Protectorate. This, of course, is a consequence of the incorporation of the Coastal Strip into Kenya. It means that a person will no longer be able to acquire the status of a British protected person by virtue of a connection with the Coastal Strip, but, in order to avoid making any persons Stateless, the proviso to Clause 2(1) lays down that a person who is now a British protected person by reason of his connection with the Coastal Strip shall not lose that status unless and until he becomes a citizen of Kenya.
The third matter concerns the loss of United Kingdom citizenship. Clause 2(2) of the Bill provides in simple terms that citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who automatically become Kenya citizens on Kenya's independence shall lose their United Kingdom citizenship. I hasten to add, however, that this is all subject to the provisions of Clause 3; and Clause 3 provides that no person shall be deprived of his United Kingdom citizenship if he has what I may loosely call a "substantial United Kingdom connection". What this means in detail is that he retains his United Kingdom citizenship if he or his father or his paternal grandfather was born, naturalised or registered in the United Kingdom or in a place which is still a Colony after December 12. The wife of such a person is in the same position. The provision which I have just 761 described must, of course, be read against the background of the fact that under the Kenya Constitution a person will become a citizen of Kenya automatically on independence only if he is a second-generation Kenyan; that is to say, if both he and at least one of his parents were born in Kenya. Accordingly, a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies will be deprived of his United Kingdom citizenship under Clauses 2 and 3 only if he not only has that degree of connection with Kenya but also does not possess the substantial United Kingdom connection that I have just explained.
There is one other matter that I should explain before I move on from this complicated but very important question of citizenship. As I have said, the Kenya Constitution will not permit dual citizenship. What this means in practice is that a person who does not possess Kenya citizenship but wishes to acquire it, for example, by registration or naturalisation, will first have to renounce any other citizenship that he may possess. It also means that a person who automatically acquires Kenya citizenship but who also possesses another citizenship will be required to renounce that other citizenship within two years, failing which he will lose his Kenya citizenship. An example of the first case would be a United Kingdom citizen who was himself born in Kenya but both of whose parents were born in this country. He has two years in which to exercise his right to be registered as a Kenya citizen and, if he does exercise that right, he will be required first of all to renounce his citizenship of this country. An example of the second case is a United Kingdom citizen who was born in Kenya and one of whose parents was born in Kenya. He automatically becomes a Kenya citizen on December 12, but, assuming that he has a substantial United Kingdom connection because, for example, his grandfather was born here, he retains his citizenship of this country. In his case, if he does not renounce his citizenship of this country within two years he will lose his Kenya citizenship at the end of that period.
This means—and all of us recognise it—that many persons of British stock in Kenya will be faced with a very 762 difficult and painful decision. On the one hand, they have, or they wish to have, Kenya citizenship. Kenya is their home and for both practical and sentimental reasons they wish to associate themselves fully with its life. On the other hand, citizenship of this country means much to them and to their families and they do not wish to renounce it if this means that they thereby cut themselves off from this country for ever. I know that this is a problem which worries very many of the Europeans in Kenya and, on their behalf, many Members of your Lordships' House. It is a problem which has also given grave concern to the British Government, and it is against the background of this problem—although not, I should say, with sole reference to Kenya—that we think it right to make an important change in the nationality laws of this country.
As has already been announced in another place, the Government propose to introduce as soon as possible legislation which will enable people with close connections with this country, who have had to renounce their citizenship of this country as a condition of acquiring or retaining the citizenship of another Commonwealth country, to regain it without being required to fulfil the normal conditions for registration.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, I appreciate that the noble Duke is speaking under difficulty, but can he say whether this will apply also to those Asian peoples who live in Kenya who are British subjects and have retained their British passports? The noble Duke used the word "Europeans". I hope that this will include the Indian community who have this close connection with this country.
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords, I should like to answer that question with some reserve, but, as I understand it, the intended legislation will include the Asian community who live in Africa. I hope and believe that I am right in this. My understanding is that the Asians will be covered by the umbrella of this Bill. I feel sure that what I have just said, and what was said in another place, will relieve many of the anxieties felt by your Lordships' House on behalf of those persons in Kenya and 763 elsewhere in the Commonwealth who have hitherto been faced with this difficult problem.
I turn now to Clause 4, to the more routine provisions of the Bill. Clause 4 and the second Schedule provide for the modification of various laws in consequence of Kenya's becoming independent. The laws which are modified in this way are, of course, laws which operate in this country. The clause does not purport to operate as part of the law of Kenya. There is one very slight qualification to this that I should perhaps mention. Your Lordships will see that subsection (3), in effect, permits an Order in Council extending the life of the Army and Air Force Acts, 1955, for a further year to operate as part of the law of Kenya even though it is made after Kenya's independence, provided that it is made before the end of the year. This rather unusual provision was included, of course, only with the agreement of the Kenya Government. The effect of it is that it will now be possible for those Acts to be continued in force in Kenya so as to apply to British soldiers and airmen who will remain in Kenya after independence for the agreed period of one year during which British military facilities there will be run down.
Clause 5 of the Bill brings to an end the position in which grants and loans under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1959, can be made to the East African Common Services Organisation. This organisation is one with which I have had something to do, and I should like to pay a warm tribute to what it has done to the benefit of all the three Territories in East Africa. It is a splendid example of economic co-operation within the three Territories. This body is the successor body to the former East Africa High Commission, and was set up when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. Provision was then made to enable grants and loans to be made to the Organisation, despite the fact that it included one independent country, and a similar provision was made when Uganda became independent last year. Now that Kenya is to become independent and the organisation will consist entirely of independent countries, it is no longer appropriate that the machinery of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act should 764 be used for the purposes of giving aid to the East African Common Services Organisation.
Clause 6 deals with a matter which I know is also regarded as of great importance by noble Lords on all sides of the House, and indeed throughout the country and in Kenya—namely, appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. As your Lordships will remember, the Judicial Committee—and I speak with all deference in front of my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor—is the apex of the judicial system of Kenya and can be regarded as a most important element in the machinery which has been set up, with the agreement of all concerned, to protect the integrity of the Constitution and, in particular, the rights of individuals and the rights of minorities.
It will not perhaps be out of place if I remind your Lordships at this stage that during the recent Conference it was agreed that these provisions, including the ultimate right of appeal to the Judicial Committee, should be among those which are most deeply entrenched; that is to say, they can be altered only with the consent of a 75 per cent. majority of all the Members of the House of Representatives and a 90 per cent. majority of all the Members of the Senate. It was considered that, in view of Kenya's new status, it would be more appropriate if the Judicial Committee were itself made part of the hierarchy of Kenya courts, so that appeals would in future lie to the Judicial Committee itself, rather than to Her Majesty in Council, who would then refer the case to the Judicial Committee for its advice. In this way the form would be brought into line with the substance and possible grounds for misconception removed. Clause 6 makes provision for this to be done by Order in Council and the provisions which it contemplates will in fact be included in the Constitution Order in Council.
Clause 7 deals with the jurisdiction which Kenya courts at present have under the Colonial and Other Territories (Divorce Jurisdiction) Acts, 1926 to 1950. Under these Acts certain colonial courts have jurisdiction in certain matrimonial cases where the parties are domiciled in the United Kingdom, rather than in the Territories 765 concerned. This is not an arrangement which can properly be continued after independence, as will be appreciated, and Clause 7 therefore terminates the jurisdiction in respect of Kenya courts, except as regards proceedings which have been instituted before December 12 this year. Clauses 8 and 9 are merely ancillary to the rest of the Bill and do not, I think, call for any explanation.
I am sorry if I have gone through this Bill at too great length. Kenya had a very special position in our Empire and will, I think, have a special position in our Commonwealth, and I hope your Lordships will forgive me if I have dwelt at some length on this Bill which I know has caused much heart-searching among many Members of this House, and indeed in many parts of the country. In moving the Second Reading, I know I have the feeling of the whole House that we wish Kenya every success and great prosperity on the great step which she will take in less than a month's time. Independence, although a great achievement, is not only an end, it is also a beginning; and to those statesmen who now have the good of Kenya, with all its different peoples, in their hands, we wish God's blessing and every success in their great undertaking. My Lords, I beg to move.
Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Duke of Devonshire.)
EARL ST. ALDWYN
My Lords, I have it in Command from Her Majesty the Queen to signify to the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Kenya Independence Bill, has consented to place Her Majesty's Prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
§ 3.45 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I am sure we are all extremely sorry that the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, was unable to be here to-day and about the reason for it, but I can assure the noble Duke that he performed the function no whit less admirably than we should have expected the noble Marquess to do had he been here. He has taken us through the Bill in an exemplary fashion and pointed out what it is proposing to do, and I will follow him on only two small points.
766 It seems to me that the important point of nationality, to which he referred at some length, has been dealt with in a manner which should give, I do not say complete satisfaction, but adequate satisfaction to most people. Whether it in fact turns out all right in the end, as I personally believe it will, depends on the confidence which those who are hesitating which way to turn have in the future of Kenya and in its administration. I hope that the confidence which we have in this will perhaps be even strengthened by a speedy reversal of what I can only call the somewhat unfortunate decision of the present Kenya Government to exclude a Member of another place from participating in the Independence celebrations. That would certainly give a very great boost to confidence which already is there, and I hope that it may be taken.
The other point which I should like briefly to take up with the noble Duke is the matter of the common services. I quite understand the technical reasons for the clause in this Bill, but I hope it does not mean that the common services will now be left entirely to fend for themselves, but rather that methods will be found, as they can be found, to assist these essential aspects of the life of the Territory in further development, not only for the sake of Kenya itself but for the sake of the three Territories which we sincerely hope will before very long find themselves able to come together in some form of Federation. I personally do not mind if it is a very close one or a looser "Common Market" (if I may use the phrase) type of living together, but undoubtedly the welfare of the people of that area will be greatly strengthened if they can work together, both economically and also in their social development.
I spent a few days in Kenya not very long ago, and I left there with a considerable degree of cheerfulness about the future. The attitude of the Europeans as well as of the Africans, the officials and the ordinary people, was very different indeed from what I expected to find. There had been a complete change in a matter of a few months from an attitude of despair and fear and despondency to one of determination—I believe that the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, mentioned this when he spoke on this on the last occasion—on the part of all concerned, Europeans 767 and Africans alike, to see that the future of Kenya was a good one and that those who were there were going to work together for their common good.
I do not think enough credit can be given to the various people who have been involved in this. All who are prominent in Kenya, and many people not of prominence, have played their part. I am convinced that the present Governor, by his attitude and his skill, has done a very great deal to bring this about. I am quite certain that Mr. Kenyatta, particularly by his speech to the Kenya farmers, played a great part in it also; and undoubtedly the leaders of the rank and file of the European settlers and the Kenya farmers have also made possible this spirit of co-operation, which many of us feared a year ago would never come about. It is something which will enable us to look forward with greatly increased confidence to the future of this new country.
In spite of that, there are undoubtedly very serious difficulties ahead. The noble Duke mentioned the Northern Frontier District. I will not pass any judgment on that, other than to say it is no good closing our eyes to it. We know there are going to be difficulties for this new country and we only hope that they will be solved in a just and reasonable manner, and, above all, without bloodshed. There is a large body of people in Kenya to-day of all tribes, but mainly from the Kikuyu tribe, who have no opportunity for work and who have no land. They represent a very real threat to the future development of that country, and to its peaceful development. Attempts are being made now by land settlement—the million-acre scheme—to cope with this problem, and they are good attempts. There again, credit should go to the Government for thinking this up; to the officials who are working the scheme, and also to the Europeans who, without any form of compulsory purchase, have voluntarily given up their land (they have sold it, and the price at which they have sold it is a very fair one) so as to make it available for the scheme.
But in spite of that, my Lords, there are bound to be difficulties. One has to recognise the fact that in the initial stages any change of ownership of a farm, particularly when it is from a large-scale mechanised farm to smaller, 768 as it were, peasant holdings, is going to have an unfortunate effect on agricultural production. In this particular case the new settlers have been confronted with additional problems. There has been exceptional cold, exceptional drought, exceptional floods. Anyone who is a farmer knows that the weather is always exceptional; but these have all come together and have made it still more difficult. The difficulties there are being overcome to some extent by the co-operation, not only of the Kenya Government, the Kenya officials and the new settlers, but also of the old settlers.
I should like to tell your Lordships of one small experience I had which made a great impression on me and, to my mind, augured very well for the future. I was taken to see one of the settlement areas and I was shown round by a young man, the son of a European settler, who was a genuine farmer. His father had been a farmer there, and he himself had been to Cirencester and got his degree and returned to Kenya in the hopes of farming on his father's farm. But, unfortunately for him, this particular estate was in the settlement area, and his father had sold it, so there was on longer a farm for him to work. Instead of throwing in his hand and saying: "To hell with this country! I'm going to get out. I'm going to England, to Australia or wherever it may be", he said: "No; Kenya is my country. I'm going to stay here." He said he was going to work in the first instance with the Government Service as an advisory field officer on the actual area where his father had formerly farmed, in an attempt to make this settlement work. After a while, if all goes well, if the confidence which I have mentioned already is shown to be a true confidence, he then intends with the money he has received for the sale of his father's estate to buy another farm, to settle down and farm it. My Lords, that is the type of co-operation which is wanted there and which is going to make this new country succeed, and it is to the credit of those individuals that that sort of thing should be going on.
But that is not enough, I am afraid. These million acres are not going to provide enough employment for those 769 who are already out of work, who are land hungry, who are work hungry or who are job hungry; and some pretty drastic action must be taken if those people are not going to constitute a real threat to the new Government of Kenya. More land must be found—more than a million acres; possibly two million acres—so that those people can be found somewhere where they can live, somewhere where they can work, somewhere where they can grow food and earn money. But in addition there must be industrial development. There must be more finance coming into the country for the setting up of factories, secondary industries, transport and all the rest of it. Some of the finance, which in the old days came in and then in more recent years has been held back, must be and should be private finance. Some should come from the World Bank, but some should come from the Commonwealth Development Corporation and other sources, because, as I have said on many occasions and yesterday also, unless we can ensure that these new countries have a prosperous future to look forward to, unless we can ensure that there is work available for all the hundreds of thousands of people who are living there at the moment without work, we can never expect that there will be stability and good government.
In spite of those words of warning, which I think it is only right to put forward at this time, I want to associate myself very strongly indeed with the good wishes of the noble Duke. I can assure him that we on this side of the House look forward with the greatest confidence and the greatest hopes of success to the new Kenya which is shortly to emerge. My Lords, I should like to say one final word before I sit down. I must offer my apologies to the noble Duke and to the House, because an appointment which I have had for many weeks now is going to take me away from the House before the debate is finished.
§ 3.55 p.m.
§ LORD MORRISON OF LAMBETH
My Lords, I speak now by courtesy of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, to whom I am very much obliged. I am in even more acute trouble than my noble friend, Lord Walston. I have a 770 meeting of the National Police Fund at the Home Office, with the Secretary of State in the Chair, in three minutes' time. I shall, however, be very brief. I am also obliged for the courtesy of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, for agreeing to follow me, whereas it was to be the other way round, and thus I am able to say the very few things that I want to say about the case of Mr. F. M. Bennett, Conservative Member of Parliament for Torquay.
My Lords, I think it was agreed at Lancaster House between the Government and the Opposition Parties of Kenya that each of them should be free to select a certain number of people to be invited as guests at the Independence celebrations. The Opposition Party, exercising what it thought to be its free discretion, included Mr. Bennett among the ten persons whom it would wish to invite for the celebration of Independence. We are accustomed to this kind of arrangement in both Houses of Parliament, whereby each Party selects its own people freely and the other Party does not attempt to interfere. It is true that Mr. Bennett acted as an adviser to the Opposition Party on constitutional matters in connection with the framing of the Constitution, and he supported their view that there should be an adequate degree of regional government. He did not, of course, function in the official negotiations, and, so far as I know, he has made no speeches in Kenya upon the matter. In the circumstances, therefore, if the mere fact that he was an unofficial constitutional adviser to the Opposition—which is not at all uncommon in these matters—were held against him, then I think it would be open to regret that he should for that reason be denied access to Kenya on this occasion.
But since then the Government of Kenya, through Mr. Tom Mboya, whom I met and had lunch with in Nairobi when I was visiting East Africa some years ago, has decided that Mr. Bennett cannot be admitted to Kenya, at any rate on this occasion for this purpose. My Lords, we have no power to give instructions to the new Government of Kenya, and none of us would seek to do so, but I would appeal to them, as one who has taken some interest in Kenya and who wishes the country well with everybody else, for their own good 771 beginnings and good reputation, not to persist in this refusal to allow Mr. Bennett to make his journey to Kenya.
Mr. Bennett has seen me personally. I have known him before. I have no reason to think that he would be likely to be a subversive influence in Kenya if he went there. I think it is a great pity that he should be denied this admission, because it gives rather a bad beginning to the independence of Kenya, which we are supporting through this measure this afternoon. My Lords, I say those few words because I feel them deeply, and not out of any wish to try to presume on the rights of the Kenyan Government legally to do what it has done. I want only to express my regret and my own sincere hope that the decision can even now be reversed. I may say that the view I have expressed was also expressed by Members on both sides of another place, and there seemed to be general feeling in the House of Commons that it was unfortunate. I therefore make these observations, and if Her Majesty's Government can, without any improper interference, make suitable, even unofficial, representations on the matter, I think it would be good, because it is a great pity that this decision should have been taken.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I must first of all say how sorry I am that the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, is indisposed. I trust it is only a very temporary indisposition, and that he will soon be with us once more. To-day, we have a Bill which has long been awaited, both here and in Africa. Some have awaited it with enthusiasm; some have awaited it with trepidation. To-day it is before us, and, in a way, this is an historic occasion. Over the years we have often debated Kenya in this House, and, as I say, this was the time which was looked forward to with conflicting emotions by those who spoke in the various debates. Personally, I am very glad that the Government have included in the Bill all the present territory of Kenya. I realise that this may not be a unanimous view, but I think it would have been most unfortunate if the Government had, at this particular stage, cut off parts of Kenya and had made stipulations for the future of those parts. At this stage surely Kenya 772 must go forward in the same shape as it has been in the past.
I myself have every confidence in the future of Kenya. I have been out there on various occasions over the years, and I was there last year. I have noticed over the last, say, ten or twelve years—in fact it must be more—enormous development in Kenya which has perhaps not been so apparent to those who have lived there throughout the period. And I have every confidence in Kenya. I believe, of course, that it will need a great deal of assistance, both from the United Kingdom and from the International Bank and other agencies. The days have gone when it was thought that a country which became independent could immediately paddle its own canoe without any help from anybody else. Indeed, it seems to me that to-day no country, except one or two, can carry on without assistance of some kind or another. Even we ourselves have from time to time had to call on international assistance, and I think this will certainly be true of Kenya.
It is an interesting speculation as to what is independence. Why do people strive for it? Are they any happier or better off when they get it? The fact is often queried in this House. Why do people want it?—they will not be any better off. The truth is, I think, that it is against human nature to be ruled by an expatriate race. It is human nature that one wishes to have some say in one's own fate, however small that say may be. It is only natural that people should wish to have independence for their country, and to have a say in the future of it. Whether they are any happier or better off is, of course, another question. It seems to me that they are happier, because I think they get rid of a great deal of anxiety and of psychological difficulty when their own people are running their affairs. Whether they are better off depends largely on how those affairs are run. In some cases, undoubtedly, they have been better off after independence; in other cases they have not. But that again is a matter which it is not possible for those who grant the independence to decide: that is a matter for the future. It is interesting to realise that over fifty countries have become independent since 1945, and that as to the question 773 of being better off there is no universal answer.
So far as Kenya, in particular, is concerned, I am very glad that the present Governor, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, will be the Governor-General. He is a man of very great experience, and I believe that the Kenya Government are very wise in advising Her Majesty the Queen to continue him in office in these difficult days immediately ahead. That act in itself shows that they are anxious to do everything they can to make those difficult days as easy as possible. As to the racial harmony or disharmony in Kenya which has always been talked about, I feel that both Europeans and Asians have a fine future in Kenya, provided they accommodate themselves to the idea that it will be an African State, a predominantly African State; that there will be very few privileges in future either to the Europeans or to the Asians. But, provided they accommodate themselves to that idea, I am perfectly certain that there is a great future; for both Asians and Europeans are badly needed in Kenya.
Far more difficult than the inter-racial question is the tribal question. The noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, has touched upon one aspect of it to-day—or, anyway, one development of an aspect of it. We have already seen that the Parties are based mainly on tribes, and there is bound to be some difficulty in the immediate future in that respect. I believe that the Government have been absolutely right in not going for a federal system in Kenya. For one thing, in Kenya they have not a sufficient number of people trained and able to run a federal system, which we all know is not only extremely expensive in manpower, but also very difficult to work. Moreover, it would intensify this tribal difficulty that I have mentioned. I feel that the Government are right in building up Kenya on a unitary basis, with a fairly strong local government system, the regions being basically local government units. In fact, it is much the same as we in my Party are hoping to develop in this country. Perhaps the Government, having decided on proportional representation in British Guiana, will take (I hope they will) a leaf out of Kenya's book and develop regional councils here.
774 My Lords, I should like to join with the noble Lord, Lord Morrison of Lambeth, in regretting the fact that the Government of Kenya have excluded Mr. Bennett. In my view this is most unfortunate at this time. It has possibly not been the decision of the Government as a whole, but perhaps of only one Minister, and if it could be reversed it would, I feel, be a very good thing for us all.
There is just one point I should like to make about the Commonwealth, because, listening to the debate in this House yesterday and to various other debates, and reading the papers, I have been rather surprised at the lugubrious forecasts as to the future of the Commonwealth. I do not think they are in any way justified. Who could have foreseen, twenty years ago or less, when the Empire was in existence, that the Commonwealth would develop in the way it has done—as a free association of free peoples, all independent, sovereign States, and yet joined together in the way they are joined—and the fact that, in the overwhelming number of cases, the various territories which ceased to be colonies would apply to become Commonwealth members? The fact is that they are closely interested in the Commonwealth, in the whole idea of the Commonwealth.
There was one little ceremony we had recently in the Commonwealth Institute which I think gives an indication of the way it is moving. To the Commonwealth Institute Her Majesty the Queen came and brought with her the President of India. The Queen, accompanied by the Duke, invited the President of India to open an exhibition of Canadian art. The Canadian High Commissioner was the host. It may be said that that is quite a small thing; but it was in itself a fine indication of what is happening in the Commonwealth. As a Governor of the Commonwealth Institute. I see the day-to-day work in the Commonwealth, not only in the Institute but in various other bodies and organisations.
There is only one point of criticism I should like to make—and it is not criticism of the Bill; it is criticism of another body, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. I think it is true to say that I have spoken on every Independence Bill since the first one, which 775 was, I think, for Burma, in 1947; and for the last seven or eight years I have made the point that the Judicial Committee ought to be peripatetic—that is, to move around. And it ought to consist of more members from the Commonwealth than it does. But the Judicial Committee has firmly resisted any such suggestion; it remains static in Whitehall. It does not move.
The result is that, over the years, a number of these Territories have, either at the time when they became independent or later, ceased to send their appeals or allowed appeals to go to the Privy Council. I think this is a great pity. I think the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council have shown themselves to be unimaginative and obtuse in not accepting the challenge of the age, as was done when, 700 or 800 years ago, the King's Justices went around England—and it was much more difficult to do that then than it is to-day to go to the Commonwealth Territories. The King's Justices in those days created the body of law, the Common Law as it is now.
But what is happening to-day? Under the Empire there was one court, which was the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and one system, and basically one set of decisions. To-day, if the independent countries of the Commonwealth cease to send their appeals to Whitehall to the Judicial Committee, diverse judgments are being given on the same point; and this is a great worry to those who take an interest in these matters. But I will say no more; I have said it so many times it is almost like a gramophone record. But nothing happens. The noble Duke will say that he has heard what I have said and will report it to his right honourable friend, or to the Lord Chancellor; and nothing will happen except that in a short time, perhaps, another country will go and things will continue in the same way, and I shall be left with the last independent country; and the noble Duke or his successor will say exactly the same thing. It is a sad story. However, I have made my point once more. In conclusion, my Lords, I wish every possible success to Kenya, and I hope in the not too distant future to go out to that country once more and see the new State in operation.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, as other noble Lords who have spoken, I should like to express my warm sympathy with the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, on his illness. The noble Marquess has, as I know from my own personal experience, shown himself to be outstanding in his untiring efforts to help those who have suffered and are suffering as a result of recent political events in Kenya and in his understanding of the difficulties they are facing. I hope, as we all hope, that he may have a rapid recovery. And, secondly, my Lords, I should like to apologise for inflicting myself on the House on two successive days; but I am sure that you will all agree that the Kenya Independence Bill, the Second Reading of which is before this House this afternoon, does mark a milestone of the first importance in the connection of our country with Africa. This, I think, is equally true whether we regard it—as some of your Lordships, I am sure, do—as the beginning of a glorious new era; or whether, as others possibly do, as, maybe, the last act in a long tragedy.
To go back into the past at this stage would, I feel, and I am sure that other noble Lords will agree, be rather a futile exercise, whatever views we may hold; and I do not propose to review all the past history of Kenya this afternoon. The die is cast; the agreement has been reached between Her Majesty's Government and the new Kenya Government; and there can be no going back on it. All we can do this afternoon is to give Parliamentary sanction to it and hope that all will go well. I would only say this. There is not, I imagine, any difference between any of us as to the ultimate end which we in this country seek to achieve in matters such as this. In other words, I take it that we are all in agreement as to the main aim and object of British colonial policy. It is, in simple words, to transfer power to the peoples of the countries concerned, of whatever race, religion or colour they may be, so that they may become masters of their own destiny in both internal and external affairs. That has been the ultimate goal of our policy for many decades past. That is the summit of the ladder which colonial peoples 777 have been encouraged to climb, from pure Colonial Office administration at the bottom, through the various degrees of internal self-government, to full membership of the Commonwealth at the top.
But there has also been another great principle which I believe to have been of equal importance and which has governed British colonial policy in the past and has always been adhered to, throughout the great days of the British Colonial Empire. It is this: the pace at which colonial peoples could climb from the bottom of that ladder must be conditioned by their capacity to conduct their own affairs, after our departure, on a basis of what may be comprehensively termed "free institutions". By this we have meant, with toleration towards minorities and with freedom for all to speak, write and think whatever they wish, within the limits of the essential security of the community as a whole. These, as I understood them in the old days when I used to be Secretary of State for the Colonies, were the two guiding principles of British colonial policy. That is what we regarded as our mission to introduce into what I may describe, without offence, as immature countries.
I hope that noble Lords will not feel that I have wasted the time of the House in redefining these principles. I have done so because I believe they are relevant both to recent events in Kenya and to the situation with which both Kenya and this country may well be confronted in the near future. With regard to the first principle, the training-up politically of immature peoples to govern themselves, I take it there will be general unanimity of view in all parts of the House. It is with regard to the second principle, which is, in effect, the matter of pace, that difficulties have arisen. Some have thought that we have gone too fast; some that we have gone too slowly; and some that we have been just about right. My Lords, as you know I belong, broadly, to the first school of thought. I believe, as I said yesterday in our debate on Central Africa, that the indigenous peoples are not yet sufficiently advanced politically for the type of government which we are conferring on them. However, I do not propose to stress that this afternoon.
All I wanted particularly to deal with, in the few moments that I address your 778 Lordships, is the problems which are likely to face a country like Kenya which has been given independence when it is not yet, if I may so express it, what would normally have been regarded as sufficiently advanced to walk alone without any leading strings. How will that affect all the various elements in the population—the African, the European, the Asiatic? That is what we have now to consider. How will it affect the economic viability of the country? How will it affect the maintenance of law and order, on which all true civilisation rests? All of them are aspects which may appear very varied and widely different from each other in character, but which are in fact very closely linked together.
First, let me take the economic aspect. What are the prospects there? As we all know, the economy of Kenya depends mainly on farming and, up to now, at any rate, mainly on European farming. That is not to say—and I do not say so for a moment—that there are no good African farmers. I believe that there are numbers who are excellent. But the bulk of the export farming, on which the economy of Kenya has depended, has been carried on by Europeans. What are the prospects for them?
I am afraid that my information is that they are not good and that they are not improving. In this, I fully appreciate, I may differ from what has already been said by the noble Lord, Lord Walston, and he has been there since I have. I only hope that he is right. But my information, I would say, is very recent indeed, perhaps even more recent than his. There is, as I am told, increasing evidence, perhaps for the reasons which the noble Lord himself has given, that there is a steadily increasing demand by the African population that European farms should be transferred to African ownership. In that situation, perhaps naturally, such European farmers as remain are ceasing to plough back any more capital into their farms, and that is likely to mean, with the passage of time, an increasing number of landless, unemployed and perhaps lawless Africans, wandering about the countryside, with all the threats to law and order that must inevitably result from such a situation. And that, in turn, must inevitably react unfavourably on the morale of the remaining Europeans—a kind of snowball 779 effect. Indeed, I was lately told by a friend who is a shrewd observer of the Kenya scene that, in his view, five years would about see the end of the individual European mixed farmer in Kenya.
Now, that may seem to be unduly pessimistic, but I doubt very much whether the Government, on their own information, would greatly question it. Such, I believe, is the present situation, and if that is correct, if what I have suggested is in fact happening, I am afraid that the Government here may well have some pretty serious decisions to make—and, it may be, at very short notice. They may have to embark on a rescue operation much larger than anything they have hitherto contemplated. It may well be that they are already facing up to this possibility—I do not know—and are already taking some steps to anticipate it. I am told that more money is being made available to deal with what are called compassionate cases. I know the House will be glad to hear anything that the noble Duke, in the speech with which he winds up this debate, can tell us about this.
There is also one measure which, I understand, is being pushed forward—I think it was mentioned by the noble Duke earlier to-day—to enable United Kingdom citizens in Kenya who have had to take up Kenyan nationality to revert to their own, if their position becomes impossible. For all these measures I am sure that all of us are grateful to the Government. But there are, in addition, my Lords, other measures which I believe could be taken and which I believe ought to be taken without undue delay.
The situation in the Central Province—the Kikuyu Province—is, according to the latest information that has reached me, especially explosive in its possibilities. I gather from what has been said in another place that the Secretary of State is contemplating a further review of the land position, with a view to a possible extension of the one million acre scheme. Could that not be pressed forward, so that farms in especially dangerous areas could be taken over at an earlier date? That, I am sure, would be a help, if only in preventing tempers in those especially explosive areas from rising to boiling point.
780 In this connection, might I suggest once more that special consideration should be given to those farms in what I have called the dangerous areas which are owned by ex-Servicemen who came out under a Government settlement scheme after the last war and were required, in order to qualify for assistance under that scheme, to dispose of all their assets outside Kenya? There is also, I suggest, the possibility that the Government might give further thought to the idea of great land corporations, which I think I myself broached in this House a few months ago. They could be farmed on a basis which would give the maximum possible support to the Kenya export trade, and the idea of corporations of this kind might not be so antipathetic to the African mind as that of individual European landowners. These are some of the suggestions which I would diffidently put to the Government and to your Lordships this afternoon.
In what I have said up to now, I have not mentioned those other factors which are complicating a sufficiently tangled situation in Kenya. There is the tribal problem, to which the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, referred. There is the position of the Northern Province, the Somali Province. There is the loss of revenue to the Kenya Government, which is likely to result from the departure of British troops from that country—no small loss—and so on. I hope and think that these special aspects may be dealt with by other speakers. But I am sure that I have said enough to leave the House in no doubt of the formidable potentialities of the situation, as they have been described to me by men in a position to know.
There are, of course, it must be said, also some brighter sides to the picture, which I am sure we should not ignore if we are to have a fair assessment. One—and here I warmly agree, if I may say so, with what has been said by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore—is the decision of the Kenya Government to appoint Mr. Malcolm MacDonald to be Governor-General after the coming of independence. That I think, is wholly good. Mr. MacDonald, during the short time he has been in Kenya, has won, I believe, the confidence and affection of both the Europeans and the Africans, 781 and we can be sure that he will give wise and moderate advice to the leaders of the new country.
Then there is the need of Kenya for foreign capital, which may well of itself incline the leaders of the Government there to more moderate courses. Both these are considerations, and no doubt there are many others, which may go some way to lightening what I still believe to be the prevailing gloom in that country. But I cannot pretend, from the latest information that I have—and it would be wrong if we, any of us, misled your Lordships in this matter—that the outlook will be anything, for the immediate future at any rate, but anxious. Of course, I and those with whom I have personally been in touch, may be quite wrong. Things may turn out far better than is at present feared. Kenya may surmount, without the troubles which some of these people at present anticipate, her present problems and anxieties. If that is so, I can assure your Lordships that no one will be more glad than I shall. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor may trounce me to his heart's content, if that proves to be the case.
If I have spoken as I have to-day and yesterday, I can assure your Lordships it is only from a sincere sense of duty. It would have been much easier to make some anodyne remarks and then go home to tea, scrupulously avoiding any awkward questions. But that is, I am sure, something which no one would wish to do. Each one of us, if he is a Member of this House, with the responsibilities of a Member of this House, must give the best advice he can on subjects on which he happens to have any special knowledge.
If I were asked what my advice would be, I should put it very diffidently in this way. There is an old Latin saying which seems to me particularly relevant to the present situation in Kenya. It is:Si vis pacem, para bellum",which I would translate in this particular context: "If you want the best, prepare for the worst". That, I firmly believe, things having reached the pass they have, is the best course for this country to follow. That, very diffidently, is the advice I would give to Her Majesty's Government and to the House to-day, when we are met here in 782 Parliament at this anxious and critical juncture to pass the Kenya Independence Bill into law. We must all wish the new State well: there must be nobody who does not wish that. But, in doing so, I submit to your Lordships that we must not forget those men and women, both of our own race and also of African race, who have worked so untiringly together, in good times and bad, to create from virgin savannahs and forests a great and growing modern country. It is fitting that we should remember them to-day.
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, I should like to add my sympathy to the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, and also my tribute to him for the help he has given in these difficult Kenya constitutional questions over the past few years. I do not think there is any Member of your Lordships' House who has not looked forward to the day when Kenya would obtain her independence, either by herself or as part of a wider East African Federation. So it is that on this day, when we are being asked to give a Second Reading to the Kenya Independence Bill, I should naturally wish to join with others in sending to all the people of Kenya my congratulations and good wishes.
It would be wrong and hypocritical for me to say that independence has come about under all the conditions and at the precise date that I should have wished. I, too, like my noble friend Lord Salisbury, do not intend to rake over the ashes of the past; but the fact remains that Kenya does occupy a special position among the emerging British Territories which have achieved independence in recent years. It is, in fact, the first British country in Africa in which there is a large proportion of European settlers, who, together with the British civil servants and businessmen, and, of course, with the help and labour of thousands of Asians and Africans, have built up the economy of the country to the high level which it occupied a few years ago. I should, quite frankly, have preferred that the European element should continue to play an important rôle in the political life of the country for a number of years to come. Indeed, what I should have preferred to see would be a genuine multiracial system in which a man's part 783 in running the affairs of the country would be governed by his ability and his capacity and not by the colour of his skin. This, however, was not to be, and we must face facts as we find them to-day.
Having regard to the great diversity of races and tribes in Kenya, I have always attached importance to the development of political life there on a regional as well as on a national basis, and for this reason I welcomed the Constitution which finally emerged from the Lancaster House Conference of 1962. I had hoped that the longest possible time would be given to enable the embryo regional institutions to develop under a régime of self-government before full independence was achieved. In fact, they will have been operating for a period of only a few months, and in some departments and services the powers and the necessary finance have not yet been transferred to the regions; and, in the case of education, this will not take place until after independence.
When we debated this matter on July 15 last, there were, I think, many of us who, while concerned about the speed of the move towards independence, made no attempt to secure the deferment of the date, because we believed that it formed an essential part of a plan to establish an East African Federation by the end of this year. That hope has now been disappointed. Perhaps we were a little naïve to think that this could possibly be achieved so quickly. I note that the ubiquitous Dr. Nkrumah has condemned East African Federation as being neocolonialism, which it obviously is not. Nevertheless, although this will, of course, be entirely a matter for the three countries themselves to decide, I hope that the three leaders will concentrate their efforts on finding a solution to the problems facing the establishment of an East African Federation, which I feel sure would bring many benefits to all concerned, and, incidentally, would create the third largest State on the African continent.
At the recent Kenya Independence Conference in London changes were made in the 1962 Constitution which we had been categorically assured by Her Majesty's Government would be 784 the Constitution with which Kenya would enter into independence. Some of these changes, in my judgment, represent an improvement; but others were such as to cause considerable concern to the KADU opposition, representing mainly the minority tribes, though I understand the position has now been accepted by Mr. Ngala, the leader of the opposition. So far, so good. But I cannot let this occasion pass without referring to what has become such a common feature in dealing with colonial affairs in the past few years; that is to say, the demand for a new Constitution before the ink on the last Constitution is barely dry, and, more serious still, the wholesale breaches of pledges of good faith which have sometimes been involved.
Looking back over the history of Kenya over the past ten years, starting with the Lyttelton Constitution of 1954, it is no wonder that the European community there should feel that they have been badly let down by Her Majesty's Government, not once, but many times. Fortunately, something is now being done to help the European farming community in their difficulties, and at the same time to build up and develop the system of African farming, whether in larger African farms or in peasant holdings. I do not propose to go into all these matters in any detail to-day. All I would say is that I am convinced that, despite the million acres scheme of purchases of European land, the remaining European mixed farmers, as my noble friend Lord Salisbury said, as opposed to the ranchers and plantation owners, are bound to go through an extremely difficult time, and may well in the end find it impossible to carry on under the new conditions. For this reason, I hope that Her Majesty's Government will keep a careful watch on the situation, and show the greatest generosity in providing finance to buy out further numbers of European mixed farmers, as and when this proves necessary.
I would meanwhile make one further and immediate plea to Her Majesty's Government, and it is that they should reconsider their attitude towards the claims for special treatment for the Settlement Board farmers, to whom my noble friend Lord Salisbury has already referred. These men were encouraged 785 to go out there after the war. They were given security of tenure for 48 years, and were promised such amenities as European schools, hospitals and so forth. Now they find themselves obliged to stay in Kenya, because they cannot sell their farms at anything like their proper value. There were only 300 of them to begin with, and 100 have already been bought out under the million acres scheme. I do beg Her Majesty's Government to deal with the remaining 200 as a special case, and to provide the necessary finance to purchase their farms at proper prices. It seems to me that in this matter we have a debt of honour to these ex-Service men which we cannot repudiate.
I should also like to add one word to what has already been said about the ban which has been so unjustifiably placed on Mr. Bennett, the honourable Member for Torquay. Mr. Bennett was invited out there as one of the official guests of the KADU opposition. No reason has been given by the Kenya Government for declaring him a prohibited immigrant. Mr. Bennett acted as constitutional adviser to the KADU opposition—which at that time was the Government—for a period of over three years. This was done with the full knowledge and approval of Her Majesty's Government, and with the knowledge of the KANU Party, who themselves have a similar constitutional adviser over from India. Mr. Bennett never at any time indulged in any improper activities in Kenya during his visit there, and he is on the best of personal terms with many of the KANU leaders, including Mr. Jomo Kenyatta.
It is not only Mr. Bennett's personal position which is involved. This arbitrary action can serve only to increase inter-tribal suspicions and hostility at a time when they appeared to by dying down, and when it is, above all, essential that the Opposition should have confidence in the good faith of the Kenya Government. I hope that the very strong criticism which the Colonial Secretary and many others of all Parties in this country have expressed of this untimely and, I feel, unworthy action on the part of the Kenya Government will lead to its reversal, even at this late stage.
786 It is a truism to say that the economy of Kenya is still almost entirely dependent on agriculture in one form or another. Kenya has no mineral resources except soda ash; no prime mover. Ranching, sisal, tea and coffee plantations still make up a large part of this agriculture, but for the immediate future, and for some time to come, the European mixed farmers will have an important part to play. As I said before, I doubt whether, in the long run, they will survive. But if Kenya is to continue highly productive farming enterprises over the next critical years, the Kenya Government must strain every nerve to make it possible for these farmers to survive and to remain efficient. Cattle thefts and illegal squatting must be strictly put down. Animal health regulations must be strongly enforced, at any rate so far as it is possible with some of the new African owners of cattle.
Sir Michael Blundell recently told the Nakuru Rotary Club that when the new Government was fully responsible there would be a big improvement in law and order. I hope that Sir Michael proves to be right. He also said that the chances were that the number of European farmers in the Nakuru area would decline. I hope he is wrong, but there again he may well prove to be right. It will be remembered that on August 12 of this year Mr. Kenyatta, the Prime Minister, made a powerful appeal to European farmers to stay to farm and to farm well. If this is still his view, European farmers must receive positive assurances as to where they can farm, and for how long. Clear guidance in these matters from the Kenya Government after independence is vital in the interest not only of the European farmers themselves but of the economy of Kenya as a whole.
As the noble Lord, Lord Walston, said in his speech, we must also, in considering the state of the economy after independence, look to the future of industry and commerce in Kenya. There is inevitably a tendency there, which I noted when I was last out there this spring, now that the days of British colonialism are numbered, to turn to other nationalities in industrial and commercial matters. Certainly, there has been a new scramble for Africa in this field. French, West German, Italian, Israeli, Japanese and 787 other business men are increasingly entering the Kenya market. We clearly cannot hope to keep the lion's share of business that we had in the past, but I suggest that it is vital that British business men should take active steps to secure that we are not driven out still further.
I fear that the City of London is not at this time prepared to provide capital for industry or commercial projects in Kenya on the scale that is required. Other nations, however, are taking a longer view in regard to such investment. Soon, no doubt, after independence, there will be an influx of East German, Czech or Polish men engaged on industrial or commercial projects. If we are to hold our own, I suggest that we should do well to consider how in these business matters we can put forward schemes for mixed enterprises with British capital and local capital provided by the Kenya Government, or from other sources. If the Kenya Government have not got the necessary finance, the World Bank, as the noble Lord suggested, might be asked to help, and I entirely agree with the noble Lord that the Commonwealth Development Corporation should also be urged at this stage to increase its activities in Kenya. My noble friend Lord Howick of Glendale, who has such tremendous experience of that country, will know better than anyone else how this can be done.
My Lords, if I have to some extent wandered away from the Bill we are debating, I would say in justification that if Kenya independence is to be real and successful it must involve economic as well as political independence. For this reason, it is useless to ignore the many economic problems which lie ahead for Kenya. What we must do is to try to help as best we can. I have no doubt we shall do so, and most gladly, because of our consciousness of the great part which men and women of British stock have played in building up Kenya in the past. To those of them who remain behind, we can assure them that they will be ever in our minds and our hearts. We send them our good wishes for the future and, at the same time, we address to the Government and all the people of Kenya our warm congratulations and hopes for their success in independence.
§ 4.47 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, before I start I should much like to join others in sympathy with the noble Marquess who on previous occasions has listened to me almost alone, and submitted patiently to my attacks upon him. I hope that there is nothing that is likely to prevent his returning for the same sort of function again quite soon.
Before starting on the speech which I have prepared, I should like to take up three points in the speeches of other noble Lords. The first is that of the noble Duke with regard to the Sultan of Zanzibar. I think that anyone who knows Mombasa, which is in the Coastal Strip, will know that the Sultan's quiet presence, with his flag representing a Muslim authority without power—power that has gone—floating from the ancient Christian Portuguese Fort Jesus, represents a spirit of multi-racial tolerance which is to be found in Mombasa and not elsewhere. I think that the tribute should go, not only to the Sultan but to the Sultan's people, who have so gracefully come into the fold of Kenya. They did it because they are not viable on their own; nor would they be viable with Zanzibar. The majority of the people wanted it.
Secondly, with regard to the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, I thoroughly endorse what he said, and only regret that I am not entirely familiar with what is being done about Asians. But I feel, pledge after pledge of a privileged position having been given for over 60 years to white settlers, that although the pledges cannot now be met in the manner in which they were made, the responsibility remains to every community which built its home and invested its capital and risked its all on those pledges. I should like to mention the least of the communities, not because they are the most important, but because they are forgotten—I refer to the Goans. There is a saying in Nairobi, "The keys of all the white men's safes are in the pockets of the Goans". They are a trustworthy community, and they have suffered the armed invasion of their territory on the coast of India. There they have lost a meagre prosperity which they had enjoyed for centuries, and they have nowhere to go. They are our 789 children. If you would like to repair what we did not do and what we were unable to do, as recorded in the protest of the President of Portugal about us on that occasion, here is a small contribution to make to people who are really Portuguese.
Thirdly, I should like to endorse in almost every particular the economic warnings of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and, in part, those of the noble Lord, Lord Walston. I feel strongly that in the "Back to the land" movement Mr. Kenyatta and others have brought into being something of a Frankenstein monster. It is not a solution; it is merely a passionate urge which has been fostered; and it has immense dangers, because the need of Kenya, as I see it, at the present moment is a complete economy. I am assured by the greatest experts that the population is increasing five times as fast as the most optimistic land settlement can possibly settle people viably on the land; and to a considerable extent the present settlements are not viable. Therefore, it does seem that we, or somebody outside Kenya, should join with the Kenya Government to form a planning authority for something more sensible than the passionate urges of land hunger which are going to ruin everything.
I am going to turn to what your Lordships are probably expecting me to turn to, the North-East Region—in other words, Clause 1, subsection (3), which defines the boundaries of Kenya. It is said indeed "Be it enacted"; and we are in the most solemn way bestowing the precious gift of freedom on most of the country. Yet in the case of one-third of the Territory we are depriving the people of freedom; and that is so unjust, so pregnant with dangers of a high order, that I crave your Lordships' indulgence while I dwell on it with some fresh material. My purpose in doing so is to put down an Amendment which I shall ask to be put to the vote on Monday.
This injustice is brought home to me, in the first instance, by a letter from the Secretary-General of the International Council for Islamic Minorities in the United States. He has written to the Prime Minister in the same sense, sending me a copy. The letter is dated October 27, 1963. I wonder whether the noble Duke will let us know in due 790 course what answer is being sent. The Secretary-General referred me to the Atlantic Charter, and mentions it also to the Prime Minister. In this connection, he mentions this North-East Region, inhabited by Somalis who wish to rejoin their mother country. I had difficulty in obtaining this copy of the Atlantic Charter—it is apparently so seldom read. It comes tied up with another little document on basic English; the only connection between the two being that Sir Winston Churchill is connected with both.
This is the Secretary-General's point. The Atlantic Charter arose from a meeting of the Prime Minister and the President of the United States in the dark days of August, 1941, when the two considered it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they based their hopes of a better future for the world. First, "the two countries seek no aggrandisement, territorial or other". Second, "they desire to see no territorial changes that do not accord with the freely expressed wishes of the people concerned". My Lords, do we still subscribe to the Atlantic Charter, or do we not? It is on that basis that I am going to argue—on the basis of justice. Have we abandoned justice because it is too difficult, or for some other reason? I should like to refer to the almost incredible steps that have been taken to find out the wishes of the people of this area; to proclaim them to the entire world; to lead them to believe that their wishes were going to be granted, and then to refuse those wishes. I would also suggest that it is not too late to go back on this violation of human rights as proclaimed by us in the Atlantic Charter and in many other documents.
I have been sent by the same authority, as an illustration of the measures we have taken to suppress the wishes of the people and force them to express other wishes, a report of the riots at Isiolo on May 24, 1963. This was sent to me from California. The report is from the Governor of Kenya in answer to a request, and this is what it amounts to. In an area which includes the headquarters of the Northern Province (the Northern Province is wider than the N.F.D. or the North-East region), and in an area which on the ethnic maps of Kenya is labelled "Somali", where the 791 great majority of the population are Somali, or sympathisers with Somalia, although there are minorities, the boycott which the Somalis proclaimed for their areas, where it was 100 per cent. successful, was expected to be very largely successful at Isiolo, too. They said: "We shall not vote; we have been cheated; we were promised by the British Government a decision in accordance with the findings of the N.F.D. Commission, and we have been cheated". That was their view. Even supposing they were misguided in this view, that was their unanimous view.
Then it was decided to hold elections in a most peculiar and risky manner, a manner which would be absolutely turned down by any chief constable in this country. The police divided the community into sections; those where the boycott would be effective and those where it would not, unless the Somalis interfered. By that means they proposed to have a democratically elected representative for the whole lot, including the majority who would not vote. Anticipating very serious trouble, they hauled in 105 police officers and 100 rank and file; and the election started. On the first day a complete boycott; then the trouble, as they knew it would, began. The Somalis, men, women and children, arrived, with stones, which of course are objectionable missiles. They interfered with what was going on, not because in the normal course they dislike other people voting but because it was a device to rig an election and procure a candidate who was not representative at all. The police were so pressed, by perhaps more than ten to one, that they were obliged to open fire deliberately to kill. I cannot say I blame the police in any way. They killed only four. I see among the names Amina, who is a woman, but women and children were there. There is nothing to blame the police for. But this is not the way we went out to apply British justice to those parts. We did not go out and get ill and die, many of us, in order that this should happen, that people should be shot, that a false candidate should come out and it should appear a democratic thing.
This is how I have replied to my inquirer on this subject, and I invite your Lordships to take the same view 792 as I do: that this whole business is flagrantly unjust. By a simple Amendment to this Bill you can remove the injustice. I wish the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, were here, because he disagreed with the views I have just been expressing, but he disagreed in a way (I hope he will read Hansard) that I felt left scope for securing his agreement if I pointed the situation out. First of all, he objected only on the ground that the shape of Kenya would be spoiled if a piece were lopped off, and then he added, on my side I thought, that it was against human nature to be governed by expatriate races. That is just what it is; the Somalis are another race.
Very well. After this happened, as your Lordships probably know, an African, Mr. David Dabasso Wabera (he may have been a Kikuyu), a District Commissioner of Isiolo, going about his business was ambushed. That is the sort of settlement you get, where the lex talionis operates. Thereafter, I am informed, advertisements are appearing in the Press—there was a letter in The Times to this effect—to get white men to serve in this area where the up-country Negroes do not care to be involved.
I do not wish to imply that there are not people in Africa who have a sense of justice, and in that connection another friend sent me the proceedings of "The Kenya We Want" Convention, opened by the Mayor of Nairobi on the Feast of St. Grouse, on August 12, 1962. The Mayor is Alderman Charles Rubia, an African, and among other things this is what he said:I make no apology for talking about freedom. Freedom and justice are words that in some countries have lost, or are losing, their meaning.He goes on to refer to the Romans, and then he continues:Edmund Burke's words ought to be written in fire at this Convention.And then he quotes Burke:'Justice is itself the great standing policy of civil society, and any departure from it, under any circumstances, lies under the suspicion of being no policy at all'.Surely that is well said by the African Mayor of Nairobi, Alderman Rubia.
What has been said in this House? I wish the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, were here, because when I raised this subject in an almost deserted House he said, "Yes, justice; but the 793 noble Earl does not realise that it is very difficult". The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, who I believe is going to speak, said, "Yes, the noble Earl does not realise it is too dangerous". I wrote to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and in reply he said, "It is too late". All I have heard in this House is "Too difficult", "Too dangerous", and "Too late". I am sure that the difficulties and dangers are going to be very much greater unless we are just.
I was asked by the noble Marquess when we discussed this matter—and he most courteously invited me to the Colonial Office to discuss it with him—to be practical. I have therefore gone into the question of this particular area and compared it with other possible secessions of which we have heard. The area is clearly definable; the population are virtually unanimous; they have a common frontier with their mother country of 350 miles; the purpose is not fission, as it is in the case of the KADU republic splitting away because they do not like something; it is fusion with the mother country they love. It is also not a question of Balkanisation; if you lop off a piece from one and add it to another it does not alter the number of States concerned. According to the Regional Boundaries Commission, it would not diminish the viability of Kenya in any way whatsoever—another important factor. It is, in fact, a liability of something like £300,000 a year—one of the poorest counrties in the world. It would cause no administrative confusion; so say the Regional Boundaries Commission. And at the other end there is a willing receiver. That was not so with the Masai, whose case I tried to take up; there was no one willing to receive in their case. Therefore there are eight reasons which totally distinguish this particular secession from others.
I feel obliged to give you the verdict of the N.F.D., but before I do so I would explain that after our last debate I sent Hansard to the Prime Minister of the Somali Republic and said, "You see the Government's answer. It is virtually 'I did not hear what you said'." The words are in brackets in Hansard. That is virtually the answer that was given to my third earnest appeal for justice. I said to him: "You 794 are a member of a country which is a small country in a continent which is deaf to your pleas. I am an unimportant Peer in a House which is deaf to mine. You must draw your own conclusions. I will go on doing what I can. I cannot hope for very much." Your Lordships will remember that on April 3 at the conclusion of my speech I quoted an Indian proverb:He who finds himself in the mouth of the lion will appeal for help even to the tiger.I hope that the obvious conclusions were drawn from that.
I have not heard from the Somali Prime Minister since, but I noticed in The Times just about the time of the signing of the Test Ban Treaty that he was entertained to dinner by Mr. Khrushchev. He then flew to Peking where he was received with acclamation by a crowd said to number a quarter of a million people. The two dictators are on the point of coming together again—as in the case of Wal Wal, which is only a few miles from this place, one has promised aid to defend the freedom of the Somalis and the other economic aid to develop the scheme F.A.O. are surveying between the rivers.
The noble Earl, Lord Dundee, in correspondence with me assures me the Government believe this matter can be properly settled in an African setting and in an African setting alone. I ask your Lordships to agree with me that the reason why we have done this thing is the objections of Ethiopia, supported by the United States, and wrongly supported by a tradition of the Foreign Office, and that we therefore have against these little Somalis the Ethiopian Empire the British Empire and the American Empire. Only one of those is African. The result of our last debate was to add two more Empires; so the Russians and the Chinese are also there. That is our act. Now there will be trouble.
But I have no wish to threaten. I feel that we cannot ask Her Gracious Majesty to sign an Act of Parliament if we know and believe it to be unjust. That is what I am arguing—that it is unjust. But there is the other picture. Here is the verdict of the unfortunate people of the N.F.D. When they came up to London, with not a quarter of a million people to meet them, the 795 Colonial Secretary declined to see them. The noble Marquess did his best, as he often does, to take a place in an impossible position but he gave them no hope, only an abundance of cigarettes.
This is the verdict of the N.F.D. I hope that you will take it that it is so, because I am not going to tell anybody who wrote it, where he wrote it from, where he is now or whom he represents. It is:All Peter Thomas could say was, the sending of military troops to retain the N.F.D. by force for the Mau-Mau leader, Jomo Kenyatta, the person responsible for the death of thousands in Kenya a short while ago. It seems almost certain that the only thing Her Majesty's Government understand is terrorism.That is the verdict of the N.F.D.
I do not wish to threaten or prophesy or predict anything. My belief is that there will be terrorism and that it will take some time to mount. I have been associated with terrorism—not, I must say, on the bad side, but on the other side—in Ireland, Jugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece. It is a terrible thing, and especially in that form patronised by the Government of Sir Winston Churchill in the last World War—dreadful things happened. I am the last to wish that it should happen again, but it will; and these people will have a right to set up a resistance movement, as we would. Anybody who sings Rule Britannia ought to feel as they feel. This is their country. Considering how exasperated these unfortunate people feel, still dismembered when everybody else is being given the right to rule themselves, I think I ought to refer to the ungracious lack of support bestowed upon them by the Pan-African Movement.
The reason why all these countries in East Africa, Central Africa and West Africa are getting their freedom so quickly is that, at the end of the last war, the United Nations decided to set up, after a period of trust, an independent State of one of the tiniest and the poorest of the lot, the Somali Republic. It is that precedent which every other African State has been able to quote in demanding its own rapid freedom. What have they done? All they have gone to do at Addis Ababa is to use the doctrine which they have used to get us 796 out—in other words, the sanctity of Colonial boundaries, which they have denounced for forty years as awful and improper. These boundaries are now sacred and inviolable. So far as I can see, the only principle of unity at Addis Ababa is hunting the ghost of George III. There is no Territory that is not going to be theirs in time if they wish for it, yet there is no support for the little Somalis. I cannot see that Somalia could do other than they did, and in my opinion the action of Mr. Khrushchev is a contribution to peace; it has balanced the scales so that there is a chance of justice.
That is all I have to say this evening, except that I want to propose an Amendment, to add at the end of Clause 3 (1) the words "except the North-East region". When the time comes I will try to point out who are the principal obstructors of justice, and in so doing I shall be obliged to make use of a secret report from which I shall quote. It is a peculiar secret report, in that it is secret in the Foreign Office but it has been published in 1936 in the Giornale d'Italia. I presume I shall be infringing the Official Secrets Act by quoting from it here in English, but that I may do so in Italian. So I trust that noble Lords will brush up their Italian, because it is a key report on what the Ethiopian Colonial Empire really is.
§ 5.16 p.m.
§ LORD MERRIVALE
My Lords, I hope that the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, will not consider me discourteous if I do not follow him over the ground which he has covered so extensively and with so much knowledge. I, too, should like to send my words of sympathy to the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, for I, too, believe that he has shown considerable understanding in the last few weeks in regard to the particular point I wish to raise this evening; but I am quite certain that the noble Duke will be as understanding in this matter as his colleague.
In view of the provisions of Clause 1(1) of this Bill, I feel that this will be the last opportunity that we may have for airing this matter in any detail; I would refer to the plight of approximately 200 ex-Service men who are now farming in Kenya. I believe there is a strong moral obligation on the part of Her Majesty's 797 Government with regard to these men. My noble friend Lord Colyton referred to a debt of honour. I would add the words of an independent learned counsel, Mr. Elwyn Jones, Q.C., who says:The moral obligation of the British Government in the circumstances is overwhelming.He goes on to say that the fact that technically there is no legal redress does not, in his view, diminish the extent of that moral obligation.
Of the initial 320 ex-Service men, some, as was mentioned by my noble friend Lord Colyton, were bought out as a result of the million acre scheme, and the land selected for purchase was land which was adjoining native reserves; and others, fearing a deterioration of the situation for their families, relinquished their farms and thereby suffered severe financial loss. Here we might remember some words which were written in the Settlement Board's publication of 1945. The title of the publication is Accepted Schemes for European Settlement. That publication says that these men were selected because they were settlers of the right type, who, apart from having a sufficiently wide knowledge and experience of farming, were men of good character, prepared to work hard and physically fit; and it was men with good war-time records who were principally attracted. The farming life which was offered to these men was to have provided them with ample rewards, as mentioned in the publication to which I have referred. But, as has been said by both the noble Marquess and the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, their future appears to them to hold grim prospects, in spite of the reassuring words of the Settlement Board's statement in paragraph 44, which reads as follows:A tenant shall have security of tenure for himself and his heirs so long as he and they farm the land properly.I feel that Her Majesty's Government should heed the words contained in the editorial of the Daily Telegraph of October 18 this year concerning promises to settlers. I should like to quote a few words from it:As for Mr. Kenyatta, behind his jollity there is anxiety. There has been a formidable revival of the secret land army, and he may soon not be in a position to honour his word.Perhaps I might also be allowed to draw your Lordships' attention to some remarks contained in a front page article 798 in Nation, a publication which appeared in Kenya, on October 13, 1963. This mentions the existence of an anti-Government group whose aim is to make Kikuyu "have-nots" turn against the "haves" of all races. On November 22 my right honourable friend in another place referred to the problem of landlessness and unemployment being recently aggravated by the movements of considerable numbers of Kikuyu. This appeared in column 1395 of Vol. 684 (No. 9) of the OFFICIAL REPORT of another place. What I am asking now is that this problem of the ex-Servicemen should be viewed by Her Majesty's Government with compassion and understanding.
I fully recognise that, as has been mentioned by previous speakers, Her Majesty's Government have agreed to undertake a review of the situation arising out of the working of the million acre scheme, and the extent to which the scheme should be extended, and that this will be done within the next few months. But, my Lords, as was mentioned by my noble friend Lord Salisbury, these men have in the past put into the Settlement Board Scheme all the resources and capital which they had in this country in order to take advantage in Kenya of the promised prospects and security of tenure. They may now find themselves in dire financial difficulties owing to the fact that few of them have been able to accumulate capital, as any profit over the years has had to be put back into the farms. As over 90 per cent. of these families wish after independence to return to this country and make a fresh start—no easy task at their stage of life—could my noble friend give an assurance to-day that the urgent problems of these ex-Servicemen will be included in the review of the million acre scheme?
I should like to refer to some remarks which I heard last Saturday when in France, made by the Ambassador for Senegal, Mr. Darbousier, in a delightful speech—in fact, it was a paragon of understanding. He referred in his speech to the relationship between Africa and the Western Powers, and stressed the need for unity, for co-operation and, above all, for tolerance. In conclusion, I should like most heartily and warmly to add my sincere words of hope for a satisfactory 799 achievement of independence for Kenya and for its success and prosperity. I hope that the leaders of that country may be able to show the tolerance which is so needed, and I feel that one way in which this could be done would be by allowing Mr. F. M. Bennett, M.P., to attend the Independence celebrations.
§ 5.28 p.m.
THE EARL OF ENNISKILLEN
My Lords, I should first like to join with other noble Lords in regretting the absence of the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, and to add my words of thanks to him for what he has done, and for what I am sure he will continue to do, for Kenya and those of us who have had dealings with him in respect of Kenya. I propose to touch on various points, and although it is difficult at this stage in the debate to do so without reiteration, I will do my best to avoid that wherever possible.
My first comment concerns the introduction by the noble Duke of the question of citizenship, which I would say is deeply welcome to the people of Kenya. As I understand it, they will now have the opportunity to resume their birthright or their inheritance as of right, should it become necessary for them to do so once they have given it up, in order to support the new country of which they are members. It is, naturally, a matter of regret that the Kenya Government was not able to see fit to accept the principle, as we do in this country, of dual nationality; for I feel that Kenya would not have been the loser in any such agreement. But it is right, I suppose, to say that at the stage when we pressed, both in Nairobi and in London, that dual nationality should be granted, the attitude was that it was not acceptable in Tanganyika and Uganda and that it would be hopeless to have it in the isolated instance of Kenya. It is, therefore, with regret that the battle of dual nationality was so quickly given up in the instance of the other two territories.
I would add one further word on citizenship. I should like to assure the Kenya Government that those who feel so strongly that they are unable to give up their British nationality will not, in my view, prove any less successful citizens of Kenya merely because they are unable to vote or take part in politics. I am quite sure they will serve the 800 country well in every other way and will be a great asset, one that I trust Kenya and her Government will accept and foster.
My Lords, reference has already been made, particularly by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, to the question of the landless and the unemployed, and to the difficulties facing the Kenya Government in the future. I, too, am most anxious in this respect, and I therefore welcome the assurances given in another place by the Secretary of State, Mr. Sandys: that there would be a further review of the situation in regard to land purchase and African settlement thereon. I trust that such a "re-look" at the future will take into account not only the necessity for a great deal of financial support to the Kenya African Government, the independent Government, but also the fact that those people who are now living in the area outside the million-acre settlement scheme, as it has come to be known, are the very people whom this country has asked to maintain their farming activities to support the economy of Kenya. Any question of their being treated less magnanimously, less justly, or in any other way than the people who have been treated hitherto in the million-acre scheme would, I feel sure, be quite unacceptable to your Lordships or the British people.
The position in regard to the land outside the million-acre scheme is peculiar. There is no question that it is under serious threat, not from any basic design but from the fact which I think can well be seen in the words recently uttered by President Nyerere in Rome, when addressing the F.A.O. He said, inter alia, that Governments in the underdeveloped regions had to secure an improvement so great that it demanded a complete social and economic revolution in the individual countries concerned. I do not believe any of us feels that those words are anything but accurate, and I believe that, in facing such social and economic revolutions, there is no question in the mind of anybody who knows Kenya—whether he be an African or a European—that longing eyes will be cast upon people who own land in areas and in positions and of a type that could so well be utilised by the indigenous peoples of the country. Therefore, the pressures which the Kenya Government 801 will have to face will be almost irresistible unless there is in the future a great deal of assistance, a great deal of understanding, and a great deal of co-operation from Her Majesty's Government here, whose prime responsibility must still remain.
There is practically no market at present in land outside the million acre scheme. There are, it is true, certain farms which are changing hands, but the market that those are involved with could more accurately be said to be that of the land speculator. Of course, that means that that land, when it changes hands in that fashion, is in no way satisfying the latent demand of the African people themselves, who claim, and I think justly claim, that they should have first call. They have no capital, and capital and development money must be provided in a form that can be utilised by them to their own success, to farm and take the place of those who may wish to leave.
I do not consider that, in the reappraisal of this land, it should be thought of as just a further extension of the million acre settlement scheme. In other words, I do not believe that the Kenya Government would wish, nor do I believe that anyone with the economy of the country at heart would wish, that this land should be fragmentised at uneconomic levels. But I do believe that land should be able to pass into African ownership on a willing buyer—willing seller basis, and that the proper course of action is that money for such purposes should be filtered through the Land Bank, who have proved themselves more than capable of dealing with such land transactions; and, further, that development money should be found for the Agricultural Finance Corporation to support the new owners.
I do not believe that Kenya can have real confidence in her future until this land issue has been further resolved. It is still the one root cause in Kenya of distress and disturbance. But I do believe that the political and economic advantages of the million acre scheme, to which Her Majesty's Government have so generously contributed, have led to a better understanding for the utilisation of land in the new Kenya to come, and have done a great deal of good.
802 The other thing that I feel we must yet do from here is to ensure that, as Kenya—as so many other speakers have already commented—is dependent on her primary produce as virtually her sole source of livelihood, she can sell her produce in the markets of the world once she has produced it. That, I believe, is going to be one of her greatest difficulties. I believe another noble Lord said that he was not quite clear what was intended in the Bill on the question of the withdrawal of financial support to E.A.C.S.O., the East African Common Services Organisation. I, too, am in doubt as to what this really will entail.
If, by any conceivable chance, it should entail a running-down of finances to that particular body, which is charged with research into the affairs of veterinary, agricultural and other primary products, that would be disastrous for Kenya; and I would go further and say that it would be a very short-term insurance policy for this country itself. There is already the threat of disease. There is already the threat, and it is a serious one, of the new types of foot and mouth disease. They stem from the Continent of Africa. We have exterminated them from our own ground, but they will return if we cannot maintain in research the kind of services we have built up to such a very high standard in these East African Territories.
I should like to say just one word in regard to what have become known as the compassionate cases in Kenya, and I should like again, as I did when I spoke before, to thank Her Majesty's Government for what they have found it possible to do for these particular people. I believe that they have tried their best to meet the case, but I still think there may yet be cases which need their help, and I sincerely hope they realise that these people depend on them and cannot be allowed to be a liability in any way whatsoever upon the new Kenya Government. In this connection, I should like to say I believe that the £700,000 which was paid towards the farm compassionate cases has gone a long way to meet the problem, but there are still cases which, for one reason or another, have not been assisted and which are terrible and glaring examples of what can happen to people in times such as these. I would also 803 thank the organisations here at home which are looking after these people who are in such distress when they arrive here.
I would say one word, too, on the question of the Constitution with which Kenya is now going forward to independence. Like the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, I think all of us in Kenya thought there would be more time than we have in fact had. I do not intend to recriminate—it would serve no useful purpose—but I think we may take comfort from the fact that there has been as little departure as there has been from the framework of the Lancaster House Agreement, for the Secretary of State must have been faced with an appalling problem, having given away all his cards before he started playing by announcing unilaterally the date of December 12 without discussions with the parties concerned and before the Conference to settle the final Constitution. I pay tribute to him for being able to make such a settlement as he did; and a tribute, too, to the Kenya Government and to what is now the Opposition for being realistic in their attempts to come to the best possible agreement, which is what I believe has been obtained.
My Lords, I do not think there is anything more with which I need detain the House, and I apologise for the repetition of other noble Lords' remarks. However, I should again like to refer to the remark made by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, who said that Kenya is the first experiment of its kind in that it is the first country which has a really significant element of European people to receive independence—and may I say that they include a really significant quantity of our own British people who have made their homes in that country. They are not there just to trade: they live there. They live there as we live here in Britain. Therefore, it is obviously with tremendously mixed feelings that we see Kenya launched now into a new chapter of history.
Obviously and naturally we all hope for the best. I am not one of those who think the worst, but I am going to say this. I am quite certain that their future depends upon our attitude in this country, and upon how we are able to help the new Government of Kenya—not 804 by handing out sweets all the time (I do not really think that that is the way they want to be helped), but by really walking alongside her and showing her that we are partners within the Commonwealth and are there to help in every way we can. If we do not do that we shall no doubt, as has already been said, have the Germans, the Czechs, the Japanese, the Chinese and probably the Russians coming in, and they perhaps will do it better. I do not believe they can; and I am quite sure that the future of our own people in that country depends upon the ability of Her Majesty's Government to impress upon them, and to encourage the Kenya Government in, our friendship, which I believe the African appreciates, understands and will accept.
I have one last word of warning on this. Whenever the question of land is raised, mention is always made of the mixed farming areas. There are other large interests in Kenya. There are other areas of land which cannot fall under any form of settlement scheme, and which are owned, backed, supported and led by our people. Those people were granted leases by the Crown, by Her Majesty's Government, through the Kenya Government. Now if—and I say this only as a possibility—things go mightily wrong in Kenya, I do not believe that, in the final analysis, we should shirk our responsibilities for those leases, those promises that were made in the past.
My Lords, as one who has lived and farmed in Kenya, and is continuing to farm in Kenya, may I conclude simply by saying, on behalf of the people—my own people, whom I had the honour to represent for a short period of time in the Kenya Legislature—how deeply we have always appreciated your Lordships' courtesy and your Lordships' help and the help of the British people and of our other friends in Britain who have supported us and wished us well. If Kenya is a success, it will be largely due to their support. I end by joining with all noble Lords in wishing Kenya the best possible success in the future.
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I am sure we all feel that we are particularly fortunate this afternoon to have had a Kenyan, the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, taking part in our debate. 805 He spoke with great knowledge of the farming and land problems in Kenya, and I am certain that the Government will attach special weight to his advice; but, more than that, I cannot help feeling that his example is one of the best omens for the future of Kenya. I should like to follow my noble friend Lord Walston in expressing my sympathy to the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, on his illness; in thanking the noble Duke for the way in which he introduced this Bill; and in congratulating the Government (something I cannot often do but am pleased to be able to do on this occasion) and, in particular, the Secretary of State, for overcoming all the obstacles in the way of early independence for Kenya.
Apart from the speech by the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, we have had a remarkably harmonious debate on this Bill. This shows how much we have the welfare of Kenya at heart; and I am sure it will do good when it is reported in the Press of Kenya to-morrow morning. I would disagree with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, only on his pronunciation of Latin. I was instructed differently in my school days—but that is perhaps not relevant to this debate.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, there is not very much between us. But I was glad that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, suggested that we should write off the past and turn our minds to the future. That is what I propose to do for a few moments.
The greatest internal problem of the new Kenya—and this is the greatest problem facing all the new African countries on attaining independence—will be the maintenance of national unity. British rule was the cement which united the tribes in Kenya in common opposition to it. When British rule ends, the cement of this common antagonism will go. The strains and stresses of tribal rivalry will then become a real threat to the unity of the nation. If KANU and KADU succeed in sinking their traditional rivalries in common patriotism, if there is tolerance and restraint by both sides, then, indeed, Kenya will have a real chance of growing 806 into a great and prosperous African nation. Kenya will be the first multiracial country in British Africa to achieve independence. Its success will be all the more important to the Commonwealth for this reason. It is a good omen that there has been no considerable exodus of any of the minorities, Arab, Indian or European. The British farmers—of whom the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen is one—on whom the economy of the country depends, deserve a great deal of credit for their courageous decision to stay on and face a future which is necessarily uncertain. They have taken a calculated risk; but the Kenya Government has already demonstrated that if they show, as I am sure they will, the same loyalty to and love of Kenya under African rule as they have shown under British rule, it will go halfway to meet them.
The greatest and most immediate danger to the new Kenya will come from outside. It is in the explosive situation in the North-East Region, which used to be called the N.F.D., to which the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, has referred. While I think that he is absolutely right to stress the urgency and seriousness of this risk to the people of Kenya, I am afraid that I cannot follow him any further. I am bound to say, with much regret—because I have a great deal of respect for the noble Earl and for his views—that we on this side of the House will not be able to support his Amendment to the Bill on Monday. I will explain why.
We all agree that it would be the worst possible tragedy if fighting between Kenya and Somalia were to mar the first year of Kenyan independence. But after December 12 Kenya will become an African country and will therefore be an African and not a British responsibility. It is true, as the noble Earl pointed out, that until December 12 it remains our responsibility; but I agree very much with the noble Duke that the British Government cannot now detach territory from Kenya and transfer it, against the wishes of the Kenya Government, to a foreign country. Whatever might have been done in the past (and I am not going into that now) it is inconceivable that any responsible British Government, of any Party, would do such an act at the present time. We 807 therefore have to think in terms of what will happen after December 12. It is surely a good sign that diplomatic Missions will be exchanged between Kenya and Somalia, so that their differences can be discussed through diplomatic channels. Let us hope that both sides will try to resolve these differences by agreement and not by violence. They are both bound by the Charter of African Unity and by the Charter of the United Nations to settle their differences by peaceful means.
The explosive situation that I have described will certainly become worse if the great Powers pour arms into Africa. Somalia has recently received several million pounds' worth of arms and equipment from the Soviet Union. This is bound to increase tension between Somalia and her neighbours, and threatens to bring the cold war into Africa. I wish that the Western Powers and the Soviet Union would agree to limit supplies of arms to Africa. We do not want each side in the two great world blocs to arm their friends. The countries concerned should be allowed to settle their differences between themselves without any pressure from outside powers.
Now, my Lords, I will say a word about the political future. The reason, of course, why the Government brought forward the date of independence for Kenya and introduced this Bill was to facilitate the entry of Kenya into the East African Federation. This will not now happen as soon as was then expected. The advantages of federation are obvious and we, at any rate, have laid the foundation by means of the Common Services Organisation. But the decision to federate is now one for an African Government to take. The only duty we have to discharge is to place no obstacle in their way. But the splendid idea of political federation is, at any rate, still very much in the minds of all the African leaders.
There is one small cloud on the horizon of independence, and I think that almost every speaker in this debate has referred to it; I mean the ban on a Member of another place, Mr. Bennett, from the Independence celebrations. As has been pointed out, it happens that Mr. Bennett 808 has been the adviser to the Opposition Party, KADU. This ban would be of less importance—and I am sure Mr. Bennett would agree—if it were only a ban against one individual; but it is particularly important because it affects the relations between the Kenya Government and the Opposition in Kenya and between Britain and Kenya. Africans (this is my experience, and I am sure that it is shared by all who know them) are outstanding for their generosity and lack of resentment. Whatever the offence Mr. Bennett may have caused to the Kenya Government—and neither I nor others know what this offence has been—it would be a splendid gesture of forgiveness and reconciliation from the Kenya Government if this ban were to be lifted, and if Mr. Bennett were allowed to join with all the others who go there in the celebration of National Independence. I am glad that all speakers on this side of the House have made this plea to the Kenya Government, because the Government know that we have always been friends of African nationalism and they will understand the friendly spirit in which this plea was made.
My Lords, for those of us who were not privileged to be in Nairobi to take part in the celebration of the first National Day in Kenya, this is the last occasion on which we can express our good wishes for the future, and I know that all of us on this side of the House would like to say from the bottom of our hearts how much we wish the Government and the people of Kenya happiness, prosperity and success as a great new African country.
§ 6.2 p.m.
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords, I should like first to thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this afternoon's debate for their extraordinarily constructive and well-informed speeches. Coming somewhat fresh to the subject, I find that in some cases they were almost too well-informed for my comfort. I will deal as adequately as I can with the various points that were raised.
First, I would follow the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, in what he has said about the banning of Mr. Bennett from attending the Independence celebrations in Kenya. As this is essentially a 809 matter for another place, I hope that your Lordships will forgive me if I content myself by quoting what my right honourable friend said in the debate in another place on Kenyan independence [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 684 (No. 9), col. 1396]:I must make it quite clear that I do not believe there is any justification for this action. I am deeply disappointed that the Government of Kenya should have decided to act in this manner towards a Member of this House, especially at the moment when we are all anxious to rejoice with the people of Kenya on the achievement of their independence.He went on to say:I therefore trust that the Kenya Government will give very serious thought to this matter, not only for the sake of justice to my honourable friend but for the sake of happy relations between our two countries at this great moment in Kenya's history.I would endorse what the noble Earl has said, and I feel sure that what has been said in this debate on all sides of the House in regretting this action will influence the Kenya Government to have second thoughts and to revise that judgment. I hope that your Lordships will think that is sufficient about what the noble Earl called "a cloud in the sky".
I wish now to follow the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and other noble Lords in saying how glad we all are that Mr. Malcolm MacDonald is to continue as Kenya's first Governor-General. It is a source of great reassurance to us all. I would pay my own extremely humble but very sincere tribute to the work that Mr. MacDonald has done in all parts of the globe on behalf of the British Commonwealth. In him the Commonwealth have a strong and valiant servant, and I wish him well in the new rôle on which he is embarking.
The next point, perhaps in some ways the most important point raised in the course of the debate, is the question of land sales. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and the noble Lord, Lord Merrivale, have pleaded that those ex-Service farmers who were settled in Kenya after the war under the European Agricultural Settlement Trust should receive special treatment. My right honourable friend has given very much anxious thought to this problem. He has seen representatives of this body of settlers. After weighing all the considerations, he has come to the conclusion that it would not be right to give 810 specially favourable treatment to this section of British farmers as opposed to the rest of the British farming community in Kenya. It is not a decision that he took lightly, but in weighing all the factors he felt that on balance the course of greater justice lay this way.
Noble Lords have alluded to what is called the one million acre scheme. To this has been added an additional scheme, by which farms of which the owners are infirm or old and therefore have special risks are also to be purchased. In this way, something like 1½ million acres will be purchased and made available for African resettlement. In these schemes, something like one-third of those who were settled under the European Agricultural Settlement Trust Scheme will have had their farms purchased.
The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, made reference to the problems posed by the Central Region. Her Majesty's Government are very conscious of these problems. There is increasing pressure from the Kikuyu in this area. Recently the Kenya Government have come forward with proposals to meet this problem which has arisen in recent months and Her Majesty's Government have undertaken to provide additional funds to meet this very special need, which they accept.
There is one other thing that the Government are doing to alleviate this problem. When the million acre scheme was first introduced it was agreed that in its last year of operation, 1966, the Government would review the scheme and agree to participating in an extension of the scheme should the need be pressing. We now feel that 1966 is too far away for this review and propose that it should be undertaken within a few months' time, so that we have advanced the date from 1966 until some time next year. These are measures which may not go all the way to meeting what noble Lords have said about this very difficult problem, but they show that the Government are conscious of the problem and are taking active steps to meet it.
I would next come to the vexed question of the North Eastern Region. I think that we all have been moved by the impassioned plea of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, but before I come to this matter I should like to say just one 811 thing about pledges. The noble Earl made the statement that countless pledges had been made over the last sixty years. I should like to quote one pledge to the House. It goes as follows:Primarily Kenya is an African territory and His Majesty's Government think it necessary to definitely record their considered opinion that the interests of the African must be paramount and that, if and when those interests and the interest of the immigrant races should conflict, the former should prevail.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Duke. That was said in 1923, I believe, and it was specifically in an Indian context. It was never dreamed by anybody out there that the departure of white settlers or the diminution of their privileges were in question at all. An Indian employer, if he is a Patel, employs 40 other Patels, he does not employ Africans at all. Therefore that pledge was given in the light of an issue between ourselves and the demand of the Indians—not Africans. It was thought that this privilege, which has in cases been renewed since that date over Her Majesty's signature, did not contemplate the departure of the white settlers. This is a new situation. These pledges were not undermined by that one having been renewed since. I never said they should not be abandoned, but I tried to say that they exist.
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords, my grandfather has been dead for 25 years and it is not possible to know what he had in mind when he made that pledge; but there it is in black and white and it has not been contradicted. To turn to the problems posed by the North-Eastern region, I have listened carefully to what has been said, and, of course, in particular to what was said by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, in winding up. This is a subject which must cause grave concern to all of us who wish the future of Kenya well. The British Government have given much long and anxious attention to trying to find a peaceful and honourable solution to this. In spite of the fact that the Somalis broke off relations with this country, we called talks between ourselves and the Somali Government, with the Kenya Government represented, in Rome in August of this year. Our delegation was led by the gentleman whose position the noble Earl, 812 Lord Lytton, could not recall, Mr. Peter Thomas. I can inform the noble Earl that Peter Thomas is a Minister of State at the Foreign Office. But try as we might to find a settlement equitable and fair to all parties—and our delegation tried very hard—we failed to do so.
Furthermore, the future of the North-Eastern region was considered during the recent Independence Conference, and it was agreed that the people of the region should be given a fresh opportunity to elect a regional assembly, either before or shortly after independence, and to send representatives to the National Assembly. These arrangements would give adequate opportunity to the inhabitants of the North-Eastern region to enjoy in full measure those benefits of the new Constitution which are expressly designed to give all the peoples of Kenya a large measure of self-government in the conduct of local affairs.
The present human rights position, including those relating to principal workers, are to continue in the present Constitution and will be among the most strongly entrenched. I can only add my humble plea to the people of this region to take advantage of the considerable benefits they get from this new Constitution. As the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and other noble Lords, including Lord Ogmore, said, at this moment, with independence for Kenya less than a month away, it just is not practical that we should act unilaterally and give away a piece of Kenya over and above the heads of the Kenya Government. What was good enough for British Kenya must surely be good enough for Kenya's Kenya. It is something that no Government could be expected to do; that is, to carve off a portion of a country's territory within a few weeks of that country's becoming its own master. This is a serious problem, and one which can be solved only with wisdom and forbearance by the statesmen in Kenya. We are trustees of this territory and our trusteeship is coming to an end, and at this stage it would be a grave breach of that trusteeship to hand over that territory from the control of the Kenya Government.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, if I may interrupt again, I did raise this matter on May 15, 1962. This is not the first time, but the fifth time.
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
I feel that there is nothing I can add to what I have said.
I should like to say a word on citizenship. I did deal with this fairly fully, but I have an uneasy feeling that I may have misled the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, who is not here at the moment. He asked me whether the new legislation about the resumption of citizenship which is to be introduced as soon as possible would apply to the Asian community in Kenya. I have now clarified the position. Whereas the new legislation will apply as of right to those who have a substantial U.K. connection—that is by birth or ancestry—those who have not will have the benefit to reassume United Kingdom nationality at the discretion of the U.K. authorities. It will be at their discretion, but I feel sure that the discretion will be liberally interpreted. But I must make it clear that the Asian community will not be on a par with those of British birth.
I should like to say, in conclusion, how impressed I have been by the tolerant attitude of noble Lords speaking in the debate. Even those two scourges of the Government, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, have only beaten us with feather dusters, rather than with scorpions, as they have sometimes done in the past. I was interested to notice that perhaps there was a split in their ranks on this occasion, because, whereas the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, talked of the last act in a long tragedy, the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, opened his remarks by welcoming the prospect of Kenya's independence. I hope that perhaps divided the scorpions will fall. I hope I have answered most of the points raised. The noble Lord, Lord Merrivale, asked specifically whether, in the new review of the land settlement scheme, the interests of the ex-Servicemen would be considered. They will not be considered in a specific group, but in the general review that we will undertake in a few months' time.
I should also like to pay my tribute to the noble Earl, Lord Enniskillen, who added very much to the debate, speaking as he did with first-hand knowledge. I agree with the noble Earl Lord Listowel, that such a speech coming 814 from him, with his knowledge of and his interest in the country, augurs well for the future of all races in Kenya. I can only conclude by saying that I join with other Members of the House in wishing Kenya well in setting out on its great journey of independence. I shall look forward to seeing the noble Earl opposite at the Independence celebrations, which I have the good fortune to be attending. I feel sure that the Government and people of Kenya will be pleased that this House, which sometimes is considered to be the centre of reaction, wishes Kenya well at the birth of its independence.
§ On Question, Bill read 2a, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.