§ 3.19 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 have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Zambia Independence Bill, has consented to place Her prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time. The Zambia Independence Bill makes provision for the ending of Her Majesty's protection over Northern Rhodesia on October 24 of this year, on which date the territory will become the independent sovereign Republic of Zambia, when, at her Government's request, we look forward to welcoming Zambia as a member of the Commonwealth. Northern Rhodesia has enjoyed internal self-government since January this year. During this period the country has continued its steady development, and I am sure the House will agree that Dr. Kaunda and his Cabinet have displayed an impressive combination of energy and responsibility, and have demonstrated their ability in wide fields.
Shortly after the territory became self-governing, Her Majesty's Government were in touch with the Government of Northern Rhodesia in regard to the further steps necessary to move forward to full independence, and it was eventually agreed that the Independence Conference should open in London on May 5. The Report of that Conference has been published as a White Paper (Cmnd. 2365). In all its sessions, except the first and the last, the Conference met under the chairmanship of Mr. Richard Hornby, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary. As some noble Lords may be aware, tributes have been paid in another place to the way in which he helped forward the work of the Conference and I wish to associate myself fully and most warmly with these sentiments. With the exception of Cyprus, which was of course sui generis, 456 all our territories have hitherto gone into independence with a monarchical form of government, and with the Queen represented by a Governor-General. We are, therefore, breaking new ground in that Zambia, will move straight from its present status as a protectorate to that of an independent sovereign republic. I am quite sure that this should not be taken in any way as an indication that our friends in Northern Rhodesia have any antipathy to the connection with the Crown. Rather it should be seen as a realistic acceptance, right at the outset, of what many African countries have found, after only a brief period of independence, the medium best adapted to their political aspirations.
I might perhaps mention at this point that Dr. Kaunda asked Her Majesty whether she would agree to be represented at the Zambia independence celebrations. Her Majesty asked Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to undertake this representation, which she very gladly agreed to do.
The Constitution of Zambia will provide for an "executive" President. There may be those who feel that, as this new Constitution is one which does not embody the particular checks and balances which we enjoy in this country, for that reason it is less than democratic and thus a step on the road to eventual erosions of liberty. I feel that any such fears would be without foundation. I think it should be remembered that there are to be a number of important features in the Constitution, amendments freely and readily agreed by the Northern Rhodesian Government, which are specifically designed to preserve the liberty and rights of the individual, to limit the powers of the President, and to ensure that the Judiciary will be independent of control by the Executive. Perhaps most significantly, the Bill of Rights in the present Constitution is to be carried forward into the Independence Constitution. It will be entrenched by a special amendment procedure requiring a referendum, and there will be special provisions for its enforcement. The Constitutional Council which was established by the self-governing Constitution is not to be retained. The Council has, in fact, never met; but it has been agreed that broadly parallel functions shall be exercised, if needed, by a special Judiciary tribunal.
457 The Judiciary is to be independent, and any amendment of the provisions in the Constitution relating to the judiciary will also require the referendum process. The control of public prosecutions is to be in the hands of an independent Director of Public Prosecutions, whose relation to the Attorney-General will be comparable with the corresponding relationship in this country. There is to be a Public Service Commission for the Civil Service and there will also be a Judicial Service Commission. This new Constitution will contain many features which do not conform exactly with the Westminster pattern, but I sincerely believe that it is a workable Constitution to meet the special circumstances of Zambia. Most important, because it reflects in essentials the wishes of its people and has been freely negotiated, it is a Constitution which we may be confident will continue.
I turn now to the position of Barotseland. There has been a special relationship, as many noble Lords may know, between Her Majesty's Government and the Litunga of Barotseland since the earliest days of the British connection with Central Africa. The British protection of Barotseland has been exercised since 1911 through the Government of Northern Rhodesia, and as that Government has greatly extended its services generally through the whole territory it has similarly provided increased services in Barotseland.
The approach of independence made it necessary to consider new arrangements; and, following talks last summer with the then First Secretary of State, the Litunga agreed to take part in discussions with the Government of Northern Rhodesia on the question of the future relationship of Barotseland with Northern Rhodesia. Following lengthy negotiations the two parties agreed to sign a new agreement to be known as the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, which would replace all the old agreements and which would regulate Barotseland's special position as an integral part of the new Zambia. This agreement was signed in London by the Litunga and Dr. Kaunda on May 18, and has been published as a White Paper (Cmnd. 2366). This was a freely negotiated settlement, and one which will provide very considerable safeguards for the special interests of Barotseland.
458 As we know, independence presents many economic problems, and Zambia will require both advice and, despite its copper revenues, substantial economic assistance not only from Britain but from other developed countries. The British Government have recently announced a gift of £2¾ million to assist the Northern Rhodesia Government with the funding of the short-term debt which was taken over from the Federation at the beginning of this year, and in addition a long-term loan of £3 million, to enable the territory to provide its share of the compensation for overseas officials in Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service. There are also to be talks this coming autumn on aid for general development purposes.
Before commenting on the clauses of the Bill which is now before your Lordships' House, I should like to pay very warm tribute, in which I know noble Lords on all sides of the House will join, to the work carried out by the Northern Rhodesia Civil Service. This Service, together with the Northern Rhodesia Police, has long had an exceptionally high reputation for efficiency and devotion to duty, and I am glad to say that the figures we now have available indicate that a very large proportion of the expatriate officers in these services have shown their readiness to continue to serve the Government of Zambia after independence and to make their contribution to the building of the new Constitution.
Noble Lords may have noted, perhaps with some relief, that an Explanatory Memorandum has been provided with this Bill. It has, as noble Lords know, been customary in the past not to attach these to Independence Bills, and I hope that noble Lords will find this a helpful, if modest, innovation. Clause 1 establishes the Republic of Zambia on October 24, 1964. Clause 2(1) provides for the continuance of existing law until otherwise provided by the Parliament of Zambia. Clauses 3 and 4 deal with nationality matters consequent on Zambian independence and are on the same lines as the Malawi Independence Bill. This is the usual pattern when a British protectorate becomes an independent Commonwealth country. Clause 3(1) adds Zambia to the Commonwealth countries listed in Section 1(3) of the British Nationality Act, 1949. Zambian 459 citizens will therefore be British subjects or Commonwealth citizens in United Kingdom law. This clause also provides that Northern Rhodesia will cease to be a protectorate for the purposes of the British Nationality Acts. The effect of Clause 3(2) is that persons who are British-protected persons because of a connection with Northern Rhodesia will not lose that status until they acquire citizenship of Zambia. Clause 3(3) withdraws citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies from persons who acquire Zambia citizenship on October 24, 1964, and is subject to the exceptions contained in Clause 4. Clause 4 preserves the citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies of persons who become citizens of Zambia on independence, but who have a substantial connection with the United Kingdom, by which I mean any person who himself, or whose father or paternal grandfather, was born, registered or naturalised in the United Kingdom or a remaining colony.
Clause 5 enables Her Majesty in Council to provide for the jurisdiction, powers and procedure of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in respect of appeals from the courts of Zambia. Provision may be made under this clause, both in the law of the United Kingdom and in Zambian law, to give effect to the arrangements agreed at the Independence Conference by which the Judicial Committee can be used as an appeal court for Zambia. Clause 6 deals with appeals to the Queen in Council from the Court of Appeal for Northern Rhodesia which are pending immediately before independence. If arrangements are made between the Government of the territory and the British Government for continuing and disposing of these pending appeals, an Order in Council may be made by Her Majesty to give effect to these arrangements. Clause 7 terminates the divorce jurisdiction of courts in Zambia in respect of British subjects domiciled in the United Kingdom.
Clause 8 terminates all rights and obligations of the Crown and the Government of Northern Rhodesia which arise under any of the existing agreements, undertakings or understandings with the Litunga of Barotseland. I would add that the clause does not of course affect the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, to which 460 I alluded a moment ago. Clause 9 enables any necessary adaptations to be made in United Kingdom legislation consequent on the independence of Zambia. Clause 10 makes supplementary provisions in respect of Orders in Council made under Clauses 6 or 9 of this Bill or other Acts of Parliament. Clause 11 provides a Short Title for the Bill, and repeals certain provisions of the British Nationality Act, 1958, which become obsolete with the dissolution of the Federation.
Before I conclude, I should like to express, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, the great pleasure we have in being able to bring forward this measure. We wish the Government and people of Zambia a prosperous and peaceful future. We sincerely hope that the present warm and friendly relations we enjoy with Northern Rhodesia will continue with the new State of Zambia. Zambia is the latest addition to the family of the Commonwealth. It will be the nineteenth country of the Commonwealth. I know that I have the support of all Members of your Lordships' House in wishing Zambia, in this final step on the road to full sovereignty, every success in future.
§ I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Duke of Devonshire.)
§ 3.32 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I am sure we are all grateful to the noble Duke for the clear and effective way in which he has presented the Bill to the House, in spite of the fact that he himself did not take part in the Independence Conference or in the negotiations that led up to the Bill. I think the House always welcomes these Independence Bills. They are indeed in danger of becoming a sort of formality, but the good wishes they evoke to the new countries they bring alive are none the less warm and sincere, in spite of the fact that they are becoming something like a well-worn pattern of legislation.
I think that this Bill is of greater Parliamentary interest than other Independence Bills which your Lordships have dealt with during the current year—for two reasons. In the first place, as the noble Duke pointed out, Zambia 461 will be the first British Dependency to become a republic on independence without any intervening stage of constitutional development. Secondly—and this the noble Duke did not point out, but I would draw his attention to it—the discussion of the Bill in another place showed a sharp difference of opinion between the Government and Members on both sides of the House about the proper treatment of certain European officers now employed by the Northern Rhodesian Government. I will come back to that point later on in the course of my remarks.
The Republic of Zambia will become a new African State on October 24. This, of course, is United Nations Day. I am sure we are all glad that Zambia wants to be associated with the United Nations as well as with the Commonwealth family. By joining both international organisations, it will have the maximum influence on world affairs. And it is satisfactory to see that in Clause 3(1) of the Bill, Zambian citizens will also become Commonwealth citizens after independence.
But I believe that Zambia's greatest good fortune is that independence will see the continuation of the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. Everyone, I think, realises that in a new country it is the quality of leadership that matters more than anything else. I know, both personally and by reputation, all the leaders of our former Dependencies in Africa, and to my knowledge there is no one with a finer character or more balanced political judgment than Dr. Kaunda. I think this needs to be said, and to be said here, because in the past Dr. Kaunda has been subjected to much harsh and, I think, unjustified criticism, even in your Lordships' House. The choice by Zambia of such a leader is a wise one, because he has exactly the qualities that will be needed after he takes up the much heavier responsibilities entrusted to him by the new Constitution, on the assumption, which I think it is fair to make, that he will become the first President of Zambia, for an American-style President is an even more powerful person in the decision-making processes of government than an English-style Prime Minister.
The Secretary of State has said, referring to the new Constitution of Zambia: 462The Government, in practice, will be responsible to Parliament in much the same way as here in Britain.With respect, I disagree. I think this is mistaken. No doubt the noble Duke will defend his right honourable colleague, but my interpretation of the Constitution is that Zambian Ministers will not be responsible to Parliament, either in theory or in practice, as they are here. They will be responsible to the President, who will be under no obligation whatever to resign after an adverse vote in Parliament. That is to say, the situation will be the same as it is in the United States, where, if the President finds that a Bill is thrown out by Congress, he does not resign. Surely this is the whole essence of the difference between the new Zambian Constitution and our own.
The new Constitution has been described as a mixture of Washington and Westminster, but, in fact, it leans more heavily towards Washington than towards Westminster. In my opinion, this is entirely right, because the first requirement of the Constitution in a new African country is a strong Executive. What is happening in Northern Rhodesia is that that country is going straight from a Westminster Constitution to a typical African Constitution under an African Head of State, without any intervening period of independence within the Westminster framework. I am sure that Northern Rhodesia will take this big plunge successfully. I agree entirely with what the noble Duke said. I thought he put it very well, indeed, when he said that it wasa workable Constitution, that reflects the wishes of the people of Northern Rhodesia.We must, of course, expect—and this is something that we should all bear in mind—that this African country, though it will be the first to go into independence in this particular way, will not be the last. Our remaining Dependencies in Africa, when the time comes for them to reach independence, will expect to follow Mr. Kaunda's example.
I think it is more than a little hard that Sir Evelyn Hone, the Governor of Northern Rhodesia, who has shown that a Colonial Governor can be just as good a negotiator as a political Governor, will not end his service there as Governor-General. I hope that the Government—and this perhaps the noble Duke will 463 bear in mind—will not allow this accident (because it is an accident of fate) to affect their recognition of a great career in the public service. I myself knew Sir Evelyn Hone when he was in South-East Asia and I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, met him in his travels when in the Colonial Office. Every job he has filled he has filled with great distinction, to the greater glory of the Commonwealth Service.
I am sure that your Lordships' House is as delighted as everyone else by the noble Duke's statement that Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal will represent Her Majesty at the Independence Celebrations. I believe that this is the first time that a member of the Royal Family will be present at the inauguration of a republic within the Commonwealth. What a splendid thing this is! Surely nothing could do more to underline the fact that becoming a republic is entirely consistent with all the affection and regard which both republican and non-republican countries of the Commonwealth have towards Her Majesty and members of the Royal Family.
I will now pass on for a few moments from these non-controversial matters, about which he all agree, to the some-what more controversial subject of the so-called non-designated officers in the service of the Northern Rhodesian Government. In times past your Lordships have always insisted that civil servants whose careers and prospects are damaged by independence should receive compensation, and should be given a good chance, if they wished to do so, of taking alternative employment. We are entirely satisfied that the 1,200 (I think that was the figure given in another place) members of the Oversea Civil Service in the employment of the Government of Northern Rhodesia, the so-called designated officers, will receive thoroughly adequate compensation, and that for the younger men this compensation will serve as a resettlement grant which will enable them, if they wish to do so, to seek and find alternative employment.
What many of us are not satisfied about is the position of the 400—it is only a small number, but still they are people with just as much right to our consideration as the others—so-called non-designated officers of British or 464 Rhodesian origin. These men, of course, are not members of the Overseas Civil Service and, therefore, do not qualify for lump sum compensation in addition to their earned retirement pension. But because they are European, their careers are just as much prejudiced as those of the Oversea Civil Service officers by the Africanisation of the Northern Rhodesian Civil Service. This Africanisation is a very right and proper thing, which has happened in every single African country after becoming independent.
The Government of Northern Rhodesia have made these officers a generous and, indeed, unique offer of half the compensation received by the Oversea Civil Service officers, on two conditions: that is, if they are superseded for promotion or replaced by an African officer. This is quite admirable, so far as it goes, but it does not cover a man whose post is abolished or who wishes to resign to find alternative employment while he is still young enough to start a new career. Most of these men, if they are 40 to 45 or under, who feel that their careers are prejudiced, want the opportunity (thinking, quite naturally, not only of themselves but of their families) of being able, if they get the chance, to take alternative Government or private employment. At the present time, if these men were to leave the Civil Service of the Northern Rhodesian Government, they would take nothing with them except their retirement pension. Many of us feel that this would be a grave injustice. They have given the same service as the designated officers, and their careers have been cut short by the same policy—a perfectly justifiable policy, which we all welcome—of her Majesty's Government. They, too, surely are morally entitled to full compensation if they want to make a fresh start.
I am raising the matter this afternoon because, so far, the Government have not been willing to make any concession. Last Monday a delegation from all Parties and both Houses put the case for these officers to the noble Duke. He listened to us with his usual courtesy, but he gave nothing away. The Government's attitude in the debate on this Bill in another place was equally unyielding. This is why I am repeating this afternoon a plea to the Government 465 on behalf of these men. May I ask the noble Duke two questions which perhaps he would be good enough to reply to when he comes to wind up the debate? First, will Her Majesty's Government consider asking the Government of Northern Rhodesia to widen their offer of compensation to the non-designated officers to cover both voluntary retirement or abolition of office? Secondly—and I think this is equally important—will they consider offering to lend the Government of Northern Rhodesia the whole or part of the additional cost of compensating these officers, which would be a very small sum indeed? I would remind your Lordships that Her Majesty's Government are already lending the substantial amount of £3 million towards the cost of compensating the Oversea Civil Service officers, and this I think covers 50 per cent, of the total cost of their compensation.
I hope the noble Duke will not try to ride off this afternoon on the argument that these officers are the responsibility of the Northern Rhodesian Government and, therefore, we here have no responsibility for them. Surely we cannot wash our hands of these men, just because they were recruited in Northern Rhodesia and not in Britain. They are as much a British responsibility as the officers of the Oversea Civil Service.
I do not want to end what I have to say on this note. The last thing I want to do is to give the impression that we are more concerned about the future of these officers than about the future of Northern Rhodesia. Far from it! Zambia, as it will be on October 24, like the quality of mercy, is twice blessed: it has wise political leadership and exceptional economic resources—exceptional, that is, for any African country. With these assets, Zambia should certainly have a happy and prosperous future, and that is our fervent wish for all its inhabitants.
§ 3.46 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I should like to welcome this Bill and to thank the noble Duke for his clear exposition of its contents. I should also like on behalf of myself and my noble friends to welcome the news that Her Royal 466 Highness the Princess Royal is, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, to attend the independence celebrations.
This Bill is the first Independence Bill to come before the House after the recent Commonwealth Conference and, therefore, it has considerable significance. In fact, as your Lordships will know, the probability of this step was mentioned in the communiqué at the end of the Conference. I was rather surprised to hear the noble Duke to-day referring to the compliments that have been paid to his right honourable friend the Prime Minister in another place. We here also paid him some compliments, and I think that should be noted by the noble Duke, who I believe was here at the time. If I misunderstood him, I withdraw what I am saying, but I gained the impression that he referred to compliments to the Prime Minister in another place. If he did, I should like here and now to say that I, for one, and my noble friends, are very appreciative of the work of the Prime Minister at the Constitutional Conference, and of the staff of all those who took part in it. The noble Duke is looking rather puzzled, and we shall see from Hansard whether or not I am mistaken.
The significance of this Conference is very great for us all. It emphasises a completely new era in the Common-wealth. In fact, at this Conference, to a large extent, the new States took over and made the running; and I was delighted that they did. To take one example, the question of the Secretariat; for years and years those of us interested in the Commonwealth have been pressing for a Secretariat, but the older members, including, so far as I am aware, Britain, would not agree. Now this time the newer members have realised the need for a Secretariat. We shall have an opportunity of discussing these things at greater length on July 29. One thing I want to emphasise is that those of us on all sides of this House and elsewhere who refuted the idea that the Commonwealth is a farce and at an end have been proved right, and that the dismal Jeremiahs who have been preaching the imminent dissolution of the Commonwealth have been proved wrong. I hope that this will be realised in all quarters, whether anonymous or otherwise, where the Jeremiahs may be.
467 I notice that they have been very quiet since the end of the Conference.
Up to now, it so happens that many of the links between the Commonwealth countries have been more with this country and the various Commonwealth countries than between the other Commonwealth countries themselves. This has been described as, or likened to, a wheel, the hub being this country and the spokes being the various other members of the Commonwealth, some of whom are independent and some are not, and there being no rim. In other words, there was little contact between the various Commonwealth members themselves. That is one reason why I look with great favour on this idea of a Commonwealth Secretariat. I hope that Zambia will be one of those countries which will take great advantage of this Secretariat and will correspond and have contact with countries in the Commonwealth other than Great Britain.
The new countries of the Commonwealth tend naturally to be absorbed in their own problems. One of the great advantages for them of the Commonwealth relationship is that they are able to obtain a wider outlook on world affairs than they could obtain in their own territories. They have to realise that they must give as well as take. There is a great opportunity for them to take an active part in Commonwealth and world affairs, but that means, of course, that they have to think of other problems than the ones which particularly affect their own territories.
With regard to Zambia, our relationship with them is a comparatively recent one. In fact it comes within the memory of the older Members of this House; or if not the memory, at any rate the life time of them. It is to me amazing that Zambia should have been able to make such immense steps forward in the comparatively short time that they have been in contact with what we now call the Western World, when compared to South East Asia, India or West Africa. This means, of course, that their need is all the greater, and is particularly great because the change over to the present situation from a tribal society, such as the Matabele and the Mashona, has gone so smoothly. As the noble Duke has said, in this smooth transition we must not 468 overlook the work of the European expatriate civil servants, the expatriate police and others. Curiously enough, my first contact with Rhodesia was with the police. When I was a young law student, a friend of mine, believing that he had not done very well in the Sandhurst examinations, went along to the recruiting office and, without my knowledge, put us both down as recruits for the Rhodesian Mounted Police. I thought this was a very good idea, but my parents did not, and that was the end of my association with the Rhodesian Mounted Police.
I hope that these various African majorities will realise how important it is in any country to have expatriate communities. If we look at our own country, assuming we are one, which we are not, and omitting the fact that basically we are English, Welsh, Scots and Irish, we see the immense contribution that expatriate communities have made to this country throughout the centuries. In their various ways, the Huguenots, the Flemings, the Jews and others have made a tremendous contribution, and I am quite certain that we should not be in the position we are now without them. So it is important, I think, for African Governments and Oppositions to realise that they can never do without a great amount of assistance from European and Asian expatriates in their country. If they try to do without them, it will put back by many years their own progress in the economic, social and political fields.
We shall, of course, need to give them considerable help. I was interested to learn from the noble Duke how much that help is likely to be. It is not very great in comparison to some help we are giving elsewhere, but I suppose they have made an agreement on this and are comparatively happy about it. As to assistance other than financial help, I can do no better than refer to the brilliant speech of the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale, in your Lordships' House on June 24. In my opinion he said everything on that subject that could be said of assistance to these countries. I only wish that that speech could be made compulsory reading for everyone, either in Parliament, in Whitehall or at the United Nations, who has any impact on aid to these territories. I do not think I have ever heard a speech which was 469 so good and comprehensive on this subject as the maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Howick of Glendale.
With regard to Southern Rhodesia, I would particularly ask the Zambia Government to treat this issue with great delicacy. I am quite sure that if everybody keeps cool and calm everything will come out all right in Southern Rhodesia. I understand that at the moment there are difficulties over such things as visas and controls to go from one country to the other. In fact, a friend of mine who was at a conference at the Victoria Hotel not long ago had to cross the border six times in the same day, because it happened that the Conference was on one side and the hotel on the other. Every time he had solemnly to go through the process of getting his documents stamped. This is really nonsense, and I hope that very soon this sort of thing can be overcome, and that we shall not have any more of it.
The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, referred to the presidential system and said that this was the first time in which this system had come into effect immediately on independence. It gives very wide powers to the President. The first election is by secret ballot by the Legislative Assembly, but on subsequent occasions the election is to be by the electorate as a whole; so there is in itself a safeguard for democracy. I agree with the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, that this is right. I believe that our Parliamentary system in certain parts of Africa—I do not say elsewhere; for instance, in Malaysia they certainly work it extremely well—is difficult for them to work, because it does not accord with the tribal system. Of course, it did here in the beginning when this was the only House and certainly not an elected one—it is not now, for that matter. In those days, it was the only legislative body, the only consultative body, there was, and it was only much later that the idea of an Opposition grew up. The whole idea then was to prevent an Opposition. That is why in our Writ this mandatory and threatening language is used to get us here. It was not the idea that we came to oppose, but to bless the various proposals of the Sovereign. The same thing happens in Africa. The idea that you have an Opposition which is paid to 470 oppose the ruling faction in the tribe is unheard of. The tribe has a baraza, a meeting, and they all discuss at great length. Everybody has a word in it, and eventually the tribal leader sums the thing up and that is that—there is no further argument about it. So I think the presidential system now proposed for Zambia will probably be a very good one and will last very well.
I do not want to say much more. We are not taking up a great deal of the time of the House; there are only three of us speaking on this Bill to-day, but, after all, this is the last time we shall have an opportunity of discussing the affairs of this country and I should like to mention the Judicial Committee. I have been raising this point for about eight or nine years on every single independence Bill that has come up. I am happy to say that in these last two Bills the Government have met to a large extent, though not entirely, my views on this matter. Here again, in this Bill, is a proposal that there shall be a right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and I would make three requests to the Government, because this again gives us the opportunity of showing a little initiative in this country in this way. First of all, I would ask the Government, as I have done for many years past, to make the Court peripatetic occasionally, not always sitting in Whitehall as it has done up to now. Secondly, I would ask that there shall be more members of the Court from Commonwealth countries other than this country; thirdly, that younger members should be appointed to the Court. They need not all be Lords of Appeal in Ordinary; and this rather follows, of course, from my first suggestion that it should be occasionally peripatetic.
Whenever our Judges have gone out—the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has just been out to Malawi, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, and others have been elsewhere—they have always been tremendously well received. I am sure that in this way, with these members, the Judicial Committee would form a very strong and potent link with the Commonwealth. I for one (and Zambia have gone some way to meet us on this) object to these links being weakened by anything we 471 are not doing, when they can in fact be strengthened.
I was going to say something about civil servants, but there is now no need because the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, has laid the case before your Lordships extremely well this afternoon, and I support what he said. I think something should be done for those particular civil servants about whom he was speaking; that is to say, the locally-recruited officers other than of African descent—the ones for whom not enough seems to be done. They will not come under the overseas services aid schemes by which the British Government guarantee terminal benefits to the officers appointed from Great Britain. They are left out and they are going to be affected very badly. In places like Northern Rhodesia, with its great copper mines, a number of these people were affected, more, possibly, than in some other territories which are not so prosperous.
Furthermore, I welcome the Barotse-land agreement which has been proposed, and I should like to commend the wise statesmanship of all those who took part in the negotiations over Barotseland, because without it there might have been very serious difficulty.
That is all I wish to say this afternoon, except that I wish more noble Lords had been speaking. These territories still like us to lake an interest in their affairs, and this is the last time we shall have the opportunity of dealing with the circumstances of Zambia. As I say, I wish that more noble Lords had thought of taking the opportunity to speak this afternoon but, nevertheless, the few of us who have spoken make up, I hope, with the warmth of our support for the paucity in our numbers. On behalf of myself and my noble friends on these Benches, I wish Zambia every possible happiness and success in the days ahead.