HC Deb 01 August 1958 vol 592 cc234-8W
Mr. Page

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what proposals he is able to announce with regard to the economic development and administration of the High Commission territories.

Mr. Alport

In the course of my recent visit to the High Commission Territories, I formed a high opinion of the standards of the Administration. The High Commissioner is, however, considering, in the light of his almost four years' experience, what recommendations he can make for changes or improvements in the existing system.

2. As I informed the House during yesterday's debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill, it has been decided in principle that a Commission should visit the three Territories shortly to consider salaries and conditions of service.

3. I also announced that the Adviser on Co-operation to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Mr. B. J. Surridge, would visit Bechuanaland to enquire into

Basutoland Bechuanaland Protectorate Swaziland Total
CD. and W., 1955–60 £1,073,000 £1,334,000 £1,000,000 £3,500,000 including £113,000 in reserve
C.D.C. Capital approved Capital approved Approved
£3,007,000 £9,190,000 £12,197,000
Spent to 31.12.57 Spent to 31.12.57 Spent
£1,853,000 £5,731,000 £7,584,000
Loans £258,785 £559,161 £343,781 £1,161,727
(also £1 m. from Barclays Bank)
Grant-in-aid £1,500,000 £1,500,000
(for period 1956–60)


6. Money from Colonial Development and Welfare funds has been used to finance the Mountain Road which will greatly assist the development and administration of this beautiful but remote area.

7. There have been encouraging discoveries of diamonds which are being worked under the terms of an agreement between the Paramount Chief, on behalf of the Basuto nation, and Colonel Jack Scott.

8. In the absence of evidence of mineral resources, other than the diamonds already mentioned, attention has been directed to the development of Basutoland's water resources. The Administration are continuing hydrological research and the collection of data on the Ox-Bow Lake Power and Water Scheme.

and report on the appropriateness of co-operative methods for the cattle industry of the Bechuanaland Protectorate. He will also discuss the co-operative movement in Basutoland.

4. In view of the increase on the legal side of the High Commissioner's work, a full-time Attorney-General has been appointed.

5. The table below shows the contribution made and to be made from United Kingdom sources, to the economic development of the Territories over the period 1955–60.


9. Money from Colonial Development and, Welfare funds is being used for the development of water supplies in hitherto waterless areas, particularly in the south and south-west.

10. A regular air service has been instituted between Francistown, Maun and Ghanzi, which has already proved its value to the northern part of the Protectorate. Air communications will be of increasing importance to this huge Territory.

11. Small manganese and asbestos mines are being worked in the Southern Protectorate in the Bangwaketse and Bamalete Reserves. Negotiations concerning the mineral resources of the Bamangwato Reserve are in progress between the Bamangwato and a mining house.

12. The cattle industry is the life-blood of Bechuanaland. A thorough review of the industry has recently been carried out by an officer of the Administration. The results are being studied. The Lobatsi abattoir, the Colonial Development Corporation's prime contribution to the economy of the Territory, has recently made a contract to supply meat to Israel. It is only since the abattoir has been in existence that Bechuanaland has been able to sell to non-contiguous territories, such as the Belgian Congo, and now Israel.

13. A survey is to be carried out which will assist in the difficult task of providing for the welfare and good administration of the Bushman tribes in the Protectorate.

14. Tribal Advisory Councils are being set up in the Territory and I was very glad to have the opportunity of attending at Serowe the first meeting of the Bamangwato Tribal Advisory Council.


15. Colonial Development and Welfare funds are providing a large proportion of the finance required for the modernisation of the main roads.

16. A licence has been given to the Swaziland Iron-Ore Development Company Limited to prospect for iron-ore on Bomvu Ridge in North-Western Swaziland.

17. Arrangements have been made for the production in Swaziland of up to 80,000 tons of sugar per annum. Progress has been made in the provision of the necessary milling capacity for sugar production in the North and South.

18. There are a number of other projects for the development of the agricultural and mineral resources of the Protectorate which in due course will add substantially to wealth of this very promising territory.