HC Deb 12 December 1945 vol 417 cc568-70W
Squadron-Leader Donner

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the subject of inter-territorial co-ordination in East Africa.

Mr. George Hall

Yes, Sir. After consultation with the Governors of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika His Majesty's Government are today issuing as a basis for public discussion proposals for the future management of the inter-territorial services in East Africa. Full details are given in a paper of which copies are being placed in the Library of the House and which I shall be glad to send to any Member who may be interested. In summary, the proposals are as follow:

The existing organisation of the East African Governors' Conference has grown up gradually over a period of years to meet the growing need for co-ordination of policy between Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika in peacetime, and, more recently, to enable the Territories to make their maximum contribution to the war effort. There is, however, no permanent constitutional basis for the common ser vices and no effective means of securing the backing of public opinion for their operation; nor, except by the cumbrous procedure of passing Bills through all three territorial Legislative Councils, is there any method of enacting common legislation where this is required.

The proposals being published as a basis for discussion are designed to remedy these defects and to secure the following main objects.—

  1. (1)To provide a constitutional basis for the operation of the common ser vices.
  2. (2)To secure the more efficient co- ordination of policy and action, particularly in the sphere of economic development, communications and research.
  3. (3)To associate representatives of the public of all races with the management of the common services.
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  5. (4) To provide effective means of enacting common legislation where this is required.

Full details of the proposals are contained in the paper being published today. Their main features are as follow:

  1. (1)An East African High Commission would be established, consisting of the three Governors under the chairman ship of the Governor of Kenya, which would be responsible to the Secretary of State for the Colonies for the operation of the common services.
  2. (2)The High Commission would be supported by a strong central executive consisting of a secretariat and departments.
  3. (3)Inter-territorial advisory boards with unofficial representation world work in close co-operation with the central executive. A number of these boards exist already and each of them would be associated with one of the principal officers of the executive for the operation of a particular service.
  4. (4)An East African Legislative Assembly would be established with representation of all races and all three Territories, to legislate for the common services and in certain other matters, mostly economic, where common legislation is required. The powers of this Legislative Assembly would be strictly defined by Order in Council so as not to conflict with those of the territorial Legislative Councils.
  5. (5)The common services to be operated in this way would be those existing at present with two principal additions. The existing common ser vices are defence, posts and telegraphs, income tax, meteorology, civil aviation, currency, statistics, research, higher education, the anti-locust and anti- tsetse services and the wartime organisation for production and supply (to be replaced in due course by whatever inter-territorial economic organisation it is decided to establish on a permanent basis). In addition, the Tanganyika Railways would be combined with the Kenya and Uganda Railways, while the co-ordination of plans for inter- territorial trunk roads would be secured by central machinery. The Tanganyika Customs Department would be amalgamated with the existing combined Kenya and Uganda Customs Depart- 570 ment. There is already a customs union between the three Territories and a common tariff.

The proposals do not involve political closer union or the fusion of the three Territories. The three Governments would remain responsible as at present for the administration of the Territories and, except where common legislation was involved, the three territorial Legislative Councils would continue to function as at present. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom would retain, as at present, the ultimate responsibility to Parliament for the administration of the East African Territories, including the administration of the common services to be operated under the machinery de scribed above.