§ Mr. MILLS
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is in a position to make any statement with regard to the representations which have recently been made to him on certain matters affecting Indians in Kenya by the India Committee under the chairmanship of the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. J. Hope Simpson)?
I will take the subject in the order raised by the Committee:
- (1) Immigration: My position is that if the danger ever arises of such an influx of immigrants of whatever class, race, nationality or character as may be likely to be prejudicial to the economic interests of the natives, I hold myself entirely free to take any action which may be necessary. The conflicting statistics which have been laid before me have not enabled me to reach a definite conclusion as to the extent of the net Indian immigration. Accordingly, steps will be taken to create a statistical department to obtain accurate information with regard to persons of all races arriving in or departing from Kenya. Meanwhile the Kenya Immigration Ordnance will not be enacted.
- (2) Franchise: I have given careful consideration to the representations in favour of a common roll, but I am not prepared to resist the conclusion arrived at in Cmd. 1,922 of July, 1923, that in the special circumstances of Kenya, with four diverse communities each of which will ultimately require electoral representation, the communal system is the best way to secure the fair representation of each and all of these communities.
- (3) Highlands: I consider that the Secretary of State for the Colonies has no alternative but to continue the pledges expressed or implied which have been given in the past, and I can hold out no hope of the policy in regard to agricultural land in the highlands being reconsidered.
- (4) Lowlands: It was proposed to reserve an area in the lowlands for agricultural immigrants from India. The Committee made it plain that it is averse from any reservation of land for any immigrant race. Subject to that it suggested that before applications for land in the lowland areas are invited the opportunity should be taken of sending an officer, experienced in Indian settlement and agricultural methods, to report on the areas. At present any consideration of the matter is in suspense, pending the receipt from the Colony of reports from the native and agricultural points of view on the areas in question.