HC Deb 22 May 1922 vol 154 cc846-7W

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the propos-d referendum in Southern Rhodesia is to be proceeded with; if so, upon what date it will he held; and whether, before the decision of the referendum is carried into effect, an opportunity will be given to the House to discuss and vote upon the question?


The answer to the first part of my hon. Friend's question is in the affirmative, hut I am unable at present to state when the referendum will be held. The inquiry, in the latter part of the question, is one which should be addressed to the Leader of the House.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) to whom the proposed referendum in Southern Rhodesia will be sent; whether the referendum will be made to the whole white community of 30,000; and in what way, if at all, the wishes of the 900,000 natives will be ascertained;

(2) whether it is proposed to issue a referendum in Rhodesia with a view to ascertaining the wishes of the population upon its future form of government; and whether the two alternatives in the referendum will be responsible government or incorporation into the Union of South Africa?


As regards a referendum in Southern Rhodesia, the position remains as stated in paragraph 15 of my despatch to the High Commissioner for South Africa of 22nd December last, published in Cmd. 1573, except that the delegation there referred to was duly appointed and has conferred with the Union Government. Legislation will be needed in Southern Rhodesia. before the referendum can be held. It is contemplated that the voters should be those qualified to vote for the election of members of the Legislative Council. The interests of the natives would be safe guarded, according to the result of the referendum, either by the special provisions in the draft Letters Patent, or by the Union Government in the exercise of its responsibility for native affairs.