§ Mr. GRENFELL
asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs whether he will lay upon the Table the statement commending the Union Governments offer of £35,000, which the resident commissioners in the South African protectorates were instructed to communicate to the native authorities in the three territories?
Mr. M. MacDONALD
The following is the statement:
In the course of the discussion in May last between Mr. Thomas, then Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, and General Hertzog, the Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, it was agreed that endeavours should be made to establish closer co-Operation between His Majesty's Government in the Union of South Africa and the Administrations of the High Commission Territories in matters affecting the Territories' interests. In pursuance of this aim the Union Government have volunteered to assist financially and in other ways with certain schemes for the improvement of conditions in the native areas of the Territories.
As regards Basutoland it will be remembered that in the report of January, 1935, the Commission appointed by the Secretary of State for Dominion 2063W Affairs to inquire into the financial and economic position of that Territory recommended that the United Kingdom Government should make a grant for anti-soil erosion work in Basutoland. Recognising the urgency and importance of this work the Union Government have offered to assist financially to the extent of half the cost and have also placed the experience gained by their engineers who have been engaged on similar works in the Transkei and other parts of South Africa at the disposal of the Basutoland Administration in the carrying out of the scheme.
As regards the Bechuanaland Protectorate, the commission which reported in 1933 on the economic and financial position of that territory stated that at every stage of their inquiries, whether they related to agriculture, to cattle or to human health and amenities, they realised that the absolutely essential condition to any progress was the improvement of the existing water supplies and the provision of new supplies. The commission suggested that improvement should be brought about by the provision of wells and dams and by the clearance of the main channels into which the river Okavango divides its delta. The improvement of these water supplies would benefit the Protectorate. The Union Government have offered to place their wide experience in regard to the provision of water supplies at the disposal of the Administration of the Protectorate and also to assist financially to the extent of half the cost of such works as may prove to be necessary.
As regards Swaziland, the commission which reported in 1932 on the economic and financial position of that territory stressed the necessity for measures for the conservation of water in the native areas, particularly in the low veld, by the provision of dams. This question is now being investigated, and the Union Government have offered to provide half the expenditure involved if a satisfactory scheme for the purpose can be arranged.
His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom are convinced that the co-operation which His Majesty's Government in the Union of South Africa have thus most generously offered will be productive of considerable benefit to the three territories, and they feel sure that the offer will be cordially welcomed by the native population.