HL Deb 21 March 1967 vol 281 cc660-3

2.44 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (1) whether, since the Treaty between this country and Rhodesia in 1923, administration of the education of the African population of Rhodesia has ben entirely a matter for the Rhodesian and not for the United Kingdom Government;
  2. (2) what are the latest figures previous to the imposition of sanctions, for the proportion of the African population receiving education in Rhodesia compared with the countries of Nigeria, Tanganyika, Sudan, and Ethiopia;
  3. (3) what proportion of the cost of such education has been borne by the 661 white population of Rhodesia and what by the United Kingdom Government.]


My Lords, I assume that the noble Lord is referring to the Southern Rhodesia (Annexation) Order in Council and the Constitution contained in the Letters Patent of 1923. Under this Constitution education came within the competence of the Southern Rhodesia legislature. There are no directly comparable figures of the proportion of persons receiving education in Africa. Finance for education in Rhodesia comes from a number of sources, including direct and indirect taxation of the people as a whole, and from the missions and direct contributions by African people. The British Government made a loan of £355,000 in 1963 for African education; £2.6 million Commonwealth Development and Welfare grants were given to the Multiracial University College, Salisbury, between 1953 and the declaration of illegal independence, and we are at present contributing £250,000 per annum towards the recurrent costs of the College.


My Lords, I understood the noble Lord t6 say that no comparable figures for the various States in Africa exist. Is he aware that, according to the 1964 UNESCO Report—it is not a Report of the Rhodesian Government, but of UNESCO—in Southern Rhodesia 91.5 per cent. of the children of school age, between 5 and 14, were at school; in Nigeria, 40.8 per cent.; in Tanganyika 29 per cent.; in the Sudan 15.9 per cent.; in Mali 7.7 per cent., and in Ethiopia 5 per cent.?


My Lords, the noble Marquess has quoted figures, and I can quote others. What I said at the beginning was that it was difficult to get comparable figures, and I was, in fact, quoting almost verbatim from a pamphlet published by the illegal régime in Salisbury, which the noble Marquess probably has studied. The pamphlet says: Accurate figures are difficult to obtain for other countries in Africa". But since the noble Marquess requires figures, he will also bear in mind that in 1965, out of something like 643,000 Africans of school age in Rhodesia, only 56 were in the upper sixth forth; and that whereas the present régime is spending £6.6 million on the white population it is spending only the same amount for ten times the number of Africans in Rhodesia.


My Lords, if I may say so, the noble Lord has not really answered my question. What I asked was whether he was aware that 91.5 per cent of the children of school age were actually at school, and that the whole of the expense of African education in Rhodesia, with the exception of the one loan which he mentioned, is paid for by the Rhodesian Government; and that in fact in 1964, which is the last year for which I have a figure, 9 per cent. of the total budget of Rhodesia was spent upon African education.


My Lords, these figures are contained in propaganda which goes out from Salisbury, and I accept most of the figures there contained. It is true that the régime in Salisbury has done a lot for primary education in Rhodesia; and we accept that. I think that what has been done there compares more than favourably with other countries in Africa. At the same time, it is true that there is gross discrimination against Africans so far as secondary education is concerned.


My Lords, do the Government really think that putting on sanctions, with the object of ruining the country, is going to help African education, either primary or secondary?


My Lords, what we really think is that with sanctions we can prevail on the reasonable people in Rhodesia to adopt a political and educational system which gives equal opportunities to all deserving people, both black and white.


My Lords, is it not the case that as soon as you put on a forcible thing like sanctions even reasonable people cease to be reasonable? Is that not the experience of the Socialist Government with regard to strikes over a period of fifty years, and is it not true to-day of Rhodesia?


My Lords, I think that perhaps the noble Lord had better look at the original Question, which asked me for statistics about education.


My Lords, could my noble friend say whether there would have been this agitation if the Africans had taken power instead of the whites?