HL Deb 03 June 1964 vol 258 cc489-91

2.45 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the second Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will state the total amount contributed to Basutoland over the past ten years by the British Exchequer by way of gifts, loans, grants-in-aid, et cetera; and by the Overseas Development Corporation, the International Development Association, and/or any other governmental organisation, listing the total from each source separately.]


My Lords, the total amount contributed by the British Exchequer to Basutoland over the past ten financial years is —7,290,556, of which more than half was grant-in-aid. I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the full details for which my noble friend asked. The Commonwealth Development Corporation and the International Development Association have not yet provided financial assistance to Basutoland.

Following are the details referred to:

(a) Grant-in-Aid 4,551,955
(b) C.D. & W. Grants 2,300,637
(c) C.D. & W. Research Grants 9,249
(d) Contribution to the Coal-brook Relief Fund 10,000
(e) Technical Assistance (Special Commonwealth African Assistance Plan) 8,715
(f) Exchequer loans under Section 2 of the Colonial Development and Welfare Act, 1959 410,000


My Lords, while it is manifest that this Territory is heavily dependent upon Her Majesty's Government for aid in conducting its Government and developing its social services, and while it is manifest that in the early years of independence, having regard to the lack of natural resources in the country, it will continue to be very dependent, can we have some assurance that, in arranging terms for independence and discussing them, Her Majesty's Government will contemplate that whatever else this old country does in respect of this small territory in Africa, which has since Victorian times been dependent upon us and very loyal to us, we will leave our responsibilities there honourably discharged?


My Lords, I can most certainly give my noble friend that assurance. Of course, I should like to emphasise now that after independence Basutoland will, if it remains in the Commonwealth—and the Basutos have expressed their desire so to do—be eligible for financial assistance on the same basis as other Common-wealth countries.


My Lords, before the British Government cease to have responsibility for Basutoland, will it be possible for them to advise the Basutos on the steps that are necessary to be taken by them before foreign capital, especially capital of an international character such as the Bank's, can be employed in and attracted to the country?


My, Lords, of course Her Majesty's Government will give any advice that we are able to give to the Basutos. My impression is that the Basutos are quite ready to listen. Of course, this will be a matter for them.