§ Mr. DONNER
I beg to move, in page 128, line 28, after "(Civil)," to insert:the Irrigation Branch of the Indian Service of Engineers, the Indian Forest Service, the Indian Forest Engineering Service.
§ 5.46 p.m.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to the fact that if we are to have a discussion on this Amendment it will have to be taken as covering the Amendment in the names of the same hon. Members on the next Clause.
In page 129, line 7, to leave out from, "secure," to the end of the Clause, and to insert:efficiency in any Province he may appoint persons to any Civil Service of or civil post under the Crown in India.A Division, of course, will be taken on the further Amendment, if it is thought necessary but the discussion must be on the Amendment which I have just called.
Duchess of ATHOLL
On a point of Order. I would submit that Clause 234 does not embrace merely the Irrigation and Forest services but other services as well, such as agriculture, which are not mentioned in Clause 233.
§ The CHAIRMAN
I realise that fact, and if the Noble Lady prefers not to have this Amendment called but to have the other Amendment called I will do so, but I do not propose to call both Amendments for discussion.
§ Mr. DONNER
In that case might we have a discussion on both Amendments in one as you, Sir Dennis, have suggested
Duchess of ATHOLL
Do I understand from your Ruling, Sir Dennis, that we cannot discuss both these Amendments but have to take our choice as to which one we are going to discuss?
§ The CHAIRMAN
I thought I had explained it. We are following a practice which is very common in Committee. There are two Amendments on the Paper. They are different Amendments, I agree, but they are directed practically to the same point, and a great many of the arguments on the one would apply to some extent to the other. On the Amendment which I have called I propose to allow the discussion to be such as will cover the Amendment standing in the names of the same hon. Members on the next Clause. In that event, if those bon. Members desire, when we come to the later Amendment they can
584 have a Division upon it. I should be prepared to select it for the purpose of a Division, but not for the purpose of a discussion, and therefore all arguments which hon. Members desire to address to the Committee on this matter, whether in relation to this Amendment or in relation to the Amendment on the next Clause, will have to be put on this Amendment
§ 5.49 p.m.
§ Mr. DONNER
I thank you, Sir Dennis, for your Ruling. I should explain, at the outset, that it has been arranged that I should move this Amendment in order to put the case for it as broadly as possible before the Committee because we believe that we have an overwhelming case. That will enable the Noble Lady, the Member for Perth and Kinross (Duchess of Atholl), later in the Debate to raise any points which, from her greater knowledge, she will be able to show that I have omitted. Under the Act of 1919 the Irrigation and Forestry Conservancy were made provincial subjects, but owing to their importance, as far as the welfare of the peoples of India were concerned, these two services were retained as reserved subjects under the control, not of Ministers but of the Governor and the Executive Council. These two services in the superior grades were maintained as all-India services and recruited by the Secretary of State and it is our object to try to retain that recruitment in future in the hands of the Secretary of State. The Lee Commission in 1924 retained that system and indeed laid down that for the future the Irrigation service should be 40 per cent. British and that 40 per cent. of the Forestry Service should also be British. Unless the Amendment is accepted these two departments will be transferred to the control of Provincial Ministers and British recruitment by the Secretary of State will be stopped. That will mean in practice the disappearance of the British element.
I need not weary the Committee with the reasons for that assertion because I understand that copies of the memorandum published on 1st April in the "Morning Post" by Sir Michael O'Dwyer have been supplied to all members of the Committee. Therefore there is no need to over-emphasise this point. But I would say that those two 585 services are a purely British creation. I do not wish to side-track the discussion or to get out of order, but I do not think I would be breaking the rules, if I asked the Committee to bear in mind that the lesson to be derived from all other transferred departments is a lesson of deterioration of efficiency and of administration. I would also draw attention to the range and extraordinary importance of the subject of irrigation in India. There are 75,000 miles of branch canals and distributaries in India and the value of the crops supplied with water through Government works was no less than 86 crores of rupees in 1934. These two services have brought prosperity to great masses of the people of India. I should like next to read an extract from the first volume of the Report of the Statutory Commission. The Commission say on page 274, in reference to irrigation:The progress made in the last generation is astonishing. In 1926, 28 million acres, or nearly 13 per cent. of the total cultivated area of British India was irrigated by Government works. New projects under construction will add 10 million acres, Dart of them in Indian States, to the total.Therefore the Statutory Commission supports my Amendment. In fact the Bill as it stands is contrary to the Simon Report. I notice that the Secretary of State shakes his head. Perhaps he will allow me to quote from the second volume of the Statutory Commission's Report which uses very strong language indeed on this subject on page 289:There is also some evidence that political necessity"—That is, as distinct from administrative necessity—requires that these services should be provincially recruited. But some of the heads of these departments take another view. We ourselves see strong advantages in the preservation of all-India recruitment particularly for the irrigation service.On the same page we find these words:We very much doubt whether India is yet in a position to find all the personnel which it requires to maintain the administration of these two departments, both of which demand not only the highest technical knowledge but the most resolute administrative zeal. If European recruitments in these two branches were to cease to-day or were reduced to the occasional enlistment of European experts on short time contracts—as we feel would be the case if these services were now entirely 586 provincialised in all provinces—a risk would be taken which would be on a purely administrative view very hard to justify.That is the view of the Statutory Commission—that from a purely administrative point of view, the transfer would be very hard to justify. To take that one point of recruitment on, short time contracts to which I have drawn attention, surely in practice that would not be possible for this reason. If you once transfer the Department and the British element in the service either stops altogether or is decreased, you cannot draw sufficient recruits from this country because India has been up to now the nursery and training ground of these experts and it takes them up to 10 years to reach the standard of technical knowledge adequate for these purposes. If the Government intend to pursue this course —I hope they will not do so—they will be attempting to apply a political remedy to an economic grievance. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he thinks he is really justified in taking this risk which the Simon Commission considers would be hard to justify. In the first volume of the Statutory Commission's report we find on this subject very strong language indeed. It speaks of the maintenance of the channels of distribution of supply among the cultivators as being of great importance and on page 275 we find this statement:Unjust or illicit distribution may lead to fierce disputing between neighbours and water in a thirsty land is a terrible temptation.That is the verdict of the Statutory Commission and you could not use much stronger language than that, apart of course from bad language. But if that is the verdict of the Statutory Commission may I now draw attention to the Majority Report of the Joint Select Committee which, as Sir Michael O'Dwyer points out had not the courage of its convictions. On page 188, paragraph 309, the report states:The continued recruitment of an adequate number of highly qualified engineers, European as well as Indian, is clearly essential to the efficiency of the irrigation system on which the prosperity and indeed the very existence of millions of the population depend … after a close examination of the question our conclusion is that the irrigation service ought to become a provincial service.Here we have the Majority Report of the Joint Select Committee which gives 587 reasons against the Government and then decides in favour of the Government and then has the assurance to say that the Committee was not packed! In paragraph 311 of the Report we find this addition:Our recommendation does not of course imply that the Governments in India should abandon the recruitment of necessary personnel from England.Unless my Amendment is accepted that is precisely what the Government are going to do. They go on in the next sentence to say:The High Commissioner for India in London already recruits specialist and expert officers of various kinds in England, as the agent of the competent authorities in India, and the Governments in India will doubtless continue this practice.That brings us back to the point with which I have endeavoured to deal, namely, that it is not possible in practice to recruit men on short-term contracts on account of the number of years it takes to train such men and because India has been the nursery and training ground for these men in the past. May I draw the attention of the Committee to the position in China. Since 1911, since the days of Sun Yat Sen, irrigation has fallen to pieces and there have been great epidemics of cholera. No man can say by how many tens of millions of people the population in China has decreased. I had a letter last week from China which estimated the decrease at over 100,000,000 people. That may be an exaggeration, but, in any case, it is clear that the population has decreased owing to epidemics and the breakdown of irrigation by a very great number. What is the position in British India? Surely it is that, thanks to the efficiency of the irrigation service and its extensiveness, the population in the last 60 years has increased by 60,000,000 people, and practically the whole of that increase is due to and depends on the efficiency of the administration in the irrigation service. If that service went wrong, or if it were to deteriorate as a result of the transfer, as other departments have deteriorated after transfer, the Government would have to face a drop in the population and the responsibility for that drop. Again, if I may refer the Secretary of State to the Simon Report, Vol. 1, page 274, we read a striking and significant sentence: 588In the Punjab over 10,000,000 acres are already artificially irrigated.May I draw attention to the words "artificially irrigated"? That means that if that service were to deteriorate cultivation would no longer continue. If it does not mean that, the word "artificially" has no meaning at all. The Report continues: "Modern engineering skill has diverted water from the rivers and created on these barren plains three great 'colonies' peopled from overcrowded districts elsewhere." It goes on to say how much the people themselves have benefited from it and how the Provincial Government have benefited by £1,000,000 a year. Are the Government prepared to brush aside what I submit is the extremely powerful argument contained in the Simon Report, and even to brush aside what the Majority Report of the Joint Select Committee emphasised when they said that the very existence of millions of people depended on this service of irrigation? If that be so, surely the Government are risking the well-being and safety, and indeed, as the Majority Report said, the very existence of millions of the population, and put no greater value on these lives than they would on a 5-franc counter in the Casino at Monte Carlo. I cannot believe the Government will do such a thing. If by transferring these two great services you get deterioration of efficiency, no one can tell the limit of the lamentable results that may ensue. Even now erosion and water-logging through ignorance are not unknown, which leaches the fertility of the soil and reduces the value of the crops.
In all I have said I have left out the one great Oriental factor which I do not believe that this Committee or any other responsible body can afford to leave out in considering this question. That is the question of bribery. I have said that irrigation is a purely British creation brought about by British integrity, resource and impartiality, which has no counterpart in present times or during the centuries in the past. Certainly, therefore, bribery is going to enter into this question of water. If any hon. Member disbelieves that, I would ask him to consider the position for centuries past when, throughout Asia, the question of water has never yet been divorced from the question of bribery. There will 589 be in India, whether bribery and ignorance, or both, enter or do not enter into it, those who will get too little and those who will get too much water. In the case of those who get too little, the value of their crops will decrease; and in the case of those who get too much, the value of their crops will decrease also through water-logging. If there be any deterioration of this service there will plainly be a drying up of the sources of revenue over an area of 30,000,000 acres, the largest area irrigated in the world. The amount of producing land will therefore contract, and there will be no place to put the dispossessed people. In that connection, may I remind the Committee that the land titles that exist in India were decided to a large extent by us when we first entered that country? Therefore, if the value of the land of the peasants, who are doing their best to eke out a living, decreases, they will turn upon us in their rage and fury, because they will say that we are responsible for their poverty. Surely the position is ticklish enough already. Agricultural prices are low and are likely to remain low. Therefore, the slightest derangement or deterioration in the irrigation service cannot but cause the most lamentable results.
I would like to say a word about the forestry service and the need for the maintenance of the British element. Here we have a chorus in unison in support of this Amendment. We have not only the evidence of the Statutory Commission; we have the emphasis which has been laid upon the value of this element in the Majority Report of the Joint Select Committee, and the Lee Commission's report of 1924. In the Statutory Commission's Report, Volume I, there is a passage, in paragraph 306, of the greatest importance. It deals with the valuable economic asset which the present forestry administration is, and says:It is an asset which could easily be frittered away and the pressure for a shortsighted exploitation of forest resources is strong. … It is not enough that Government should nave a right policy in the matter; expert knowledge, professional enthusiasm and firmness in administration are essential in the controlling staff. From the nature of the work, defects in forest administration may not show their full efforts for many years.590 That seems to me most significant, and it is particularly significant because, in the next Clause of the Bill, something is said about the Secretary of State being able to intervene if there is deterioration, but the Simon Report makes it clear that the results of that deterioration may not show for several years. That surely strengthens the argument in favour of this Amendment. Lastly, the Statutory Commission say:The heads of Forest Departments in their evidence stressed the need for the maintenance of the European element in the Service and we were the more impressed by their view because the life of a forest officer, which has many attractions for young Englishmen, makes less appeal to the educated Indian than a career in any other service.If European affairs were not so serious, I am sure the Foreign Secretary would have been present to speak in favour of the Amendment because, although the passages I have read are from the Statutory Commission's report, it is, none the less, the Simon Report. We have then this great weight of evidence, and I hope the Government will accept the Amendment. I will trouble the Committee with one further quotation only. It is from "The Moral and Material Progress and Condition of India," which was published by the India Office on 18th December. On page 87, this report says:Proper conservation has a far-reaching value in the sense that forests have an acknowledged influence on the character of the climate, the extent and distribution of rainfall, the depth and quality of the soil and the prevention of erosion which either destroys the soil entirely or leaches away its most valuable chemical properties.I do not believe that that has ever been disputed. If the forestry service is not maintained, you will get too much water rushing down from the Himalayas in one season and too little in another, and the country will be in a perpetual condition of feast or famine. The Statutory Corn-mission have pointed out that it would be hard to justify transfer on the grounds of political demand, and that on purely administrative grounds alone this transfer is not justifiable, and will create great risks. If the Government withstand this Amendment, surely they will be guilty of nothing but arrant defeatism and the most shameful betrayal of the best interests of millions of people, about whom their own Majority Report says 591 that their very existence depends on the efficiency of the irrigation service. If the transfer is made and our fears fructify, then we shall be guilty of and will witness a shameful retreat of civilisation.
§ 6.13 p.m.
Duchess of ATHOLL
My hon. Friend the Member for West Islington (Mr. Donner) has clearly brought before the Committee the magnitude of this problem and the tremendous effect which it has on the welfare of millions of peasants in India. I should like to bring before the Committee some striking evidence on which the Statutory Commission framed their recommendation—at least their opinion—that it was desirable that British recruitment for irrigation and forests by the Secretary of State should continue.
Duchess of ATHOLL
If my Noble Friend had listened, he would have noticed that I altered the word "recommendation" to "opinion." I will come to the details of what they said later. There is no doubt what their opinion was.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
If the Noble Lady quotes from the Statutory Commission, she should quote them correctly. The commission said that this was a matter which was worthy of the further consideration of the Government.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I intended dealing with this matter later, but as the hon. Member, who was a member of the commission, has challenged me, I wilt deal with it now. In paragraph 330 of their report the commission devote nearly a page to this subject. First they speak about irrigation, and then go on to say:The work which the Forest Department performs may be less spectacular in its immediate results, but in many parts of India it is scarcely less important than irrigation. It is a matter of great moment both for the revenues and for the contentment of India that this asset should be prudently developed and skilfully exploited. We very much doubt whether India is yet in a position to find all the personnel which it requires to maintain the administration of these two departments, both of which demand not only the highest technical knowledge but the most resolute administrative zeal. If European recruitment in 592 these two branches were to cease to-day or were reduced to the occasional enlistment of European experts on short time contracts —as we feel would be the case if these services were now entirely provincialised in all Provinces—a risk would be taken which would be, on a purely administrative view very hard to justify.I ask the hon. Member for Lime house and my Noble Friend if those words do not constitute an opinion in favour of the continuance of British recruitment for those two services.
§ Lord E. PERCY
Will the Noble Lady read the words at the end of the preceding paragraph, on which the whole of her quotation depends?
Duchess of ATHOLL
It says:We think that the question in relation to irrigation and forests is of such importance that the authorities in India should have an opportunity of considering it further in the light of the general scheme of constitutional reform which we are putting forward, and we therefore do not propose on this head to do more than summarise the evidence we have received and to indicate some of the considerations that must be weighed in coming to a final decision.What I previously read seems to be a logical sequitur of this. It means that after penning the sentence which my Noble Friend asked me to read they arrived at this conclusion:If European recruitment in these two branches were to cease to-day… a risk would be taken which would be, on a purely administrative view, very hard to justify.They went on to refer to the fact that the Royal Commission on agriculture in India, presided over by Lord Linlithgow, which had reported two years before, had recommended—anyhow expressed an opinion—in favour of the value of European experts in agriculture in India.
§ Mr. ATTLEE
It is a fairly long pasage. They put forward a number of considerations and also set out other considerations with regard to the transferred services but, as the Noble Lord pointed out, it is not a recommendation, they refer to it as a matter which should be considered.
Duchess of ATH0LL
I am ready to waive the point that this was not a definite recommendation, though I think the absence of one was rather a failure of duty on the part of the Statutory 593 Commission. I think it was their business to make definite recommendations, but it does not seem to be correct to say that they only put forward considerations. The sentence I have read clearly indicates an opinion:If European recruitment in these two branches were to cease to-day or were re-duced to the occasional enlistment of European experts on short time contracts…a risk would be taken which would be, on a purely administrative view, very hard to justify.If that is not an expression of opinion I do not know what is.
§ Mr. DONNER
I would point out, in support of the Noble Lady's contention, that the very next words are:Our opinion in this respect is reinforced.
Duchess of ATHOLL
The Commission definitely use the word "opinion," which was the word I used before my Noble Friend interrupted me. But this is not the only reference the Statutory Commission make to the subject. Later, when summarising their recommendations, after expressing the opinion that the recruitment for the security services, the police and the Indian Civil Service, should continue, they say:It is a matter for consideration whether the irrigation service and the forest service should not be similarly recruited.I agree that that is a weaker statement than the former, and, if the hon. Member for Limehouse will forgive me for saying so, I think the fact that the two statements are not actually on all fours is a weakness in the report of the Commission of which he was a member. Still, I do not think he is entitled to say that the Statutory Commission expressed no opinion on the subject. They at least asked in their final sentence that the matter should be considered, and, therefore, with all due respect, I do not think that the Secretary of State, in giving evidence before the Joint Select Committee, gave a correct interpretation of this passage when he said that the Statutory Commission left the matter open. I only hope that the Joint Select Committee had the advantage of being presented with some of the evidence which the Statutory Commission had had before them when they arrived at the pronouncement they made. I will now try to give this Committee some idea. of what that evidence was. 594 They heard evidence from the then chief engineer of the Sukkur barrage in Sind, Sir Charlton Harrison. He stressed the tremendous importance of the impartial distribution of water, which must be perfectly obvious to us all. It has been well said that the man who controls the distribution of water in an irrigation scheme has power equal to that which would be possessed by the man who could give or withhold rain in this country. It is a tremendous power, and anyone can see the endless opportunities there may he for evading the obligation of impartiality; how easy it may be through inefficiency or other reasons, to let a canal get silted up and in that way, or by not opening a sluice at the right moment, to prevent water reaching a particular area of land, with the result that that land will produce nothing and the people dependent on it may starve. The Simon Commission were told by Sir Charles Harrison that Indian engineers, though often technically efficient, were subject to outside influences pressing on them to make a partial distribution of water, influences which often made it difficult for them to carry out their duties as efficiently and impartially as they would wish to do. This witness told the Commission how his own Indian officers had said to him that they themselves recognised that British officers were in a far stronger position than they were, because they were not exposed to the pressure of members of their community or their family to give them more than their fair share of water.
The chief irrigation engineer of the United Provinces spoke of the fact that there was a considerable amount of corruption in the service, that the wealthier landowners and cultivators tried to bribe Indian subordinate officers to give them more than their fair share of the precious water. This officer told the Commission how both British and Indian engineers tried to stop this corruption, but how the British were more insistent on checking it. He said the only way to stop this corruption was by insistent Checking of the amount of water allowed to everybody, and that in this work the Indian officers helped, but that the British officers were more insistent and more conscientious, and did not hesitate, in cases where they found there had been a breach of trust, to dismiss a man. Therefore, 595 they were better able to keep up the standard of probity.
Then the chief engineer of the Sukkur Barrage said that because of the pressure to which Indian officers might be subjected to make a partial distribution of water there were demands from all over his area to supply British officers. Cultivators felt that that was the only guarantee of an efficient distribution of water, and that with even 58 per cent. of his officers British he could not meet the demands. The chief engineer of the United Provinces said that his Indian officers had frequently told him that the complete Indianisation of the irrigation service would be disastrous. Could there be any stronger expression of opinion than that from men who might think that British officers stood in the way of their employment and promotion 4 He said that if the services were entirely Indianised appointments would not be made on merit, but that communal and domestic pressure would largely influence them. Again, the Joint Select Committee heard a very strong and comprehensive statement on this matter from the late chief engineer of irrigation in the Punjab, Sir Raymond Hadow. He told them how the Punjab peasants desired British officers, because it gave a security that there would be impartiality, and he told the Committee that he had frequent appeals to replace Indians by British officers. He also said that the Indians were not always such good administrative officers as the British, and that they might be hampered by complaints made on a communal basis. A Moslem might fear that a Hindu irrigation officer would not give him a fair deal in the matter of water or a Hindu might fear the same of a Moslem officer. He said that there were frequent complaints which, when he inquired into them, were often found to be quite frivolous and made only on communal grounds. Most interesting and most important of all, he said that he had often been assured in private by politicians that they would be glad for British recruitment to continue but that it was very difficult for them, with all the Nationalist feeling, to express that opinion openly. It seems tragic to think that information given by this chief engineer should not have carried more weight with the Joint Select Committee. Sir Raymond Hadow advocated the 596 definite retention by the Secretary of State of recruitment of 40 or 50 per cent. of British officers. He stressed the point that the recruitment must be by the Secretary of State. He said provincial recruitment would not be of the slightest use, chiefly because the colleges and universities of this country would not trust that method of recruiting. He said the Secretary of State's guarantee was greatly valued, and that he did not think that any other method of recruiting would secure the men necessary. It does seem tragic that the Report, while stressing so strongly the need of recruiting an adequate British element for the Irrigation Service should not have made a definite proposal for the securing of that element by the only assured means possible.
I now pass for a few moments to the question of recruitment for the Forestry Services. Forests are of very great importance to human welfare in India, because they prevent erosion and so minimise the flooding which might overwhelm valleys and render thousands of people homeless. It is not too much to say that if the forests of the United Provinces and the Punjab were destroyed the peasants of Bengal would be bound to suffer. Then the individual in the villages derives great value from the forests. They provide him with fuel, and that saves him from having to burn manure, which is a very common form of fuel there. The use of manure for fuel is of course a very bad thing for agriculture, as the people are not able to use the manure for improving the land. Witnesses before the Simon Commission and the Joint Select Committee stressed the difficulty of getting the right type of Indians into the forest service. That service has been open to them since 1893, and so we have had time in which to test them. All the witnesses stressed the point that it is not a service which always appeals to those Indians who can pass the necessary examination. Such men tend to prefer a less lonely life and have not always got the physique that enables them to stand the fatigues of the life. On the other hand, it is a life which is very popular with many British young men, and it therefore attracts a good type.
It was said that as a. result of the transference of forests in Bombay no Britishers had been recruited since that 597 time. The Conservator of Forests in Bombay told the Statutory Commission how forests had worsened since the transfer in view of the fact that there had been more forest fires. He therefore regretted the transference, but he was more nervous still about complete Indianisation of the service. After his experience for some years of being in charge of the transferred forests department in Bombay under an Indian Minister, he still wanted 50 per cent. of British officers chosen by the. Secretary of State. Provincial Governments would not be able to attract the right type of man. The ex-Inspector General of Forests for India, Sir Alexander Rodger, told the Joint Select Committee that one result of the transference of forests in Bombay and Burma had been a tendency to understaffing of the various services or the promotion of unsuitable people.
Then we have again to recognise that Indian officers may have to meet greater difficulties than British officers in carrying out their duties. The country is overrun with cattle and the villagers are apt to want more grazing in the forests than is compatible with the due conservation of the forest and that results in much trouble and often in incendiarism. The Statutory Commission had evidence that members of the Legislative Council might bring pressure to bear on forest officers if they got into conflict with people who were grazing too many cattle in the forests and it was obvious that such pressure was more difficult for Indians to resist than for British officers.
Again, all witnesses before the Statutory Commission and before the Joint Select Committee were strong for the retention of British recruitment. The Bombay Conservator wanted 50 per cent. and Sir Alexander wanted 25 per cent. He expressed a preference for recruitment by the Governor-General rather than by the Secretary of State, but his main point was that he wanted central recruitment, and, like all other forestry officers examined by the Statutory Commission, he wanted retention of some powers of guidance or control by the central Government. But Forestry is now to he completely provincial and the Federal Government will have no power of supervision over provincial forest departments. As the Central Government is to lose 598 the power of guidance, we more than ever need the retention of British recruitment. We ought to bear in mind and have clearly before us the fact that there was the strongest possible evidence before the Statutory Commission for the retention of a strong British element recruited by the Secretary of State, both in irrigation and in forestry, and that there was equally strong evidence for the retention of British recruitment in irrigation and forestry before the Joint Select Committee.
I turn for a minute or two to the retention of the power of British recruitment in the services already transferred to Indian Ministers, such as agriculture and education. It is all the more important to draw attention to these, because no evidence was heard by the Joint Select Committee in regard to most of them. The Committee only heard evidence in regard to one transferred department, namely, the transferred department of health. That fortunately is safeguarded in the Clause as it stands, but in regard to the other departments of agriculture, education and public works, no evidence was heard by the Joint Select Committee from men who had served in those departments, and who could speak as to how the departments had fared under Indian ministers and since the British element had been disappearing. As a result of the adoption of the Lee Commission's recommendation in 1926 that Provincial Governments should. be responsible for recruiting for the departments transferred to Indian Ministers, there has been little or no British recruitment in those services.
I quite understand the Government adopting this recommendation, as an experiment was being made in handing over those departments. Any further advance was to depend, under the 1919 Act, on the use made of the powers which were transferred, and it was perhaps natural that it should be felt, "let us give them complete charge and put the power of recruitment into their hands." But there is clear evidence of deterioration since then, arid we have every right to ask whether we should still cling to our decision to give effect to the Lee Commission's recommendation, and whether we are still justified in acting on it. Take, for instance, agriculture. Anyone who 599 has read the report of the Royal Commission on Agriculture will know how many recommendations were found to be necessary in that Service, which is of vital importance to the community. They will remember the numerous recommendations that were made and the opinions arrived at by the commission, which I have already read, as to the European experts who were necessary to promote the' welfare of agriculture. I understand that what was said about agriculture includes also the veterinary service.
In education, as we know, the Statutory Commission made very full inquiry through a special auxiliary committee. That committee presented a very depressing picture in regard to primary and secondary education, and the Report summed up that education was now in a most critical position. One of the chief recommendations of the Hartog Committee in regard to remedying the serious deterioration which has taken place in education was that the recruitment of Europeans should be put in an unassailable position. Yet the Joint Select Committee heard not one witness who could tell them about education. No doubt they had seen the report which has since come in from the education commissioner of the Government of India, saying that there has been very little improvement in education since the Statutory Commission's Report, but the Joint Select Committee ignored the very strong recommendation in regard to recruitment which was made by the committee appointed by the Statutory Commission. Again, the Simon Commission had evidence of deterioration in public roads since the transference. There is striking evidence of the condition of the roads in India a few years after the transference, in that the Government of India took back into their own control all roads of strategic importance. They laid down in 1926, five years after the transference, that they should say exactly how the Provincial Governments should keep up those roads and how they should be constructed. That was a clear indication that they were not satisfied with the upkeep of the roads by Provincial Governments.
All these services are essential to human welfare and to the success of the provincial autonomy which the Bill brings into operation, and I earnestly beg the 600 Committee to consider seriously whether they are prepared to let this invaluable power of recruitment pass out of the hands of the Secretary of State by passing the Clause as it stands. No one associated with the Amendment suggests that the appointment of a Britisher should put an Indian out of a job. The Amendment is not proposed in any narrow spirit. We wish to bear witness to the fact that there are many capable Indians in the Services who have done admirable work, but we say that so long as there is strong community feeling, or very strong caste or family feeling, and a very generous sense of family responsibility, it is inevitable that Indians must be subject to a great deal of pressure which makes it very difficult for them to carry out their duties as conscientiously as they would wish to do. Very often they may be put into impossible positions in which it is not fair that they should be placed. Because we feel that to-day and probably for many years to come India will need British help to get the best out of her own sons and because we want to see the two nations working together in co-operation and partnership, we ask the Government to consider the Amendment.
§ 6.42 p.m.
§ Mr. KIRKPATRICK
If I had oratorical power like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill), I might string together a number of synonyms and suggest that the Amendment is shallow, hollow, without depth and inconsequent—to sum up—inconsistent. The Amendment directly negatives the purpose of the claims advocated by the Noble Lady the Member for Kinross and Western (Duchess of Atholl). It is calculated to deprive the Anglo-Indian and the domiciled community of opportunities which they have had and will have, and of which they have taken full advantage in the past. Those opportunities have proved the very great capacity in the Indian Service of engineers in all branches of civil engineering such as irrigation and certainly railways.
Duchess of ATHOLL
Are there any domiciled Europeans who have been recruited by the Secretary of State?
§ Mr. KIRKPATRICK
I am sure there are and many have been promoted by the Executive Government. The hon. Member for the English Universities (Sir R. 601 Craddock) has extended experience and technical knowledge of India, and he would agree with me that many of the most distinguished officials and engineers, not to mention soldiers, police officers, forest officers and irrigation officers who have risen to the highest posts in India, especially engineers, were members of the Anglo-Indian domiciled community. I refer particularly to the engineers turned out by the Engineering College of Roorkee from which came one of the foremost most irrigation engineers of our time with a, world-wide reputation. I prefer the Clause as it stands, as it will enable the Anglo-Indian and domiciled European communities to be eligible for and to secure just such appointments as the proposed Amendment seems to seek to remove from their scope.
Does my hon. Friend suggest that we should be actually debarred from making any appointment of this kind?
§ Mr. KIRKPATRICK
No, but you are not obtaining at the present moment the recruits for these posts that you are able to obtain in India. The Clause as it stands would continue to give to the Anglo-Indian and British communities in India. the opportunities of which they have in the past so creditably and successfully taken advantage—not for employment as subordinates, as depressed classes, as segregated depressed people, such as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth and others who supported a previous Amendment were so anxious to secure for them. Perhaps the Secretary of State will confirm my statement that the Clause as it stands is specially designed to give special opportunities to engineers trained in the engineering colleges and universities in India.
§ 6.47 p.m.
§ Lord E. PERCY
I wonder if my hon. Friend the Member for West Islington (Mr. Donner) and my Noble Friend the Member for West Perth (Duchess of Atholl) will allow me to say that the first rule of wisdom in a committee of the House of Commons is not to alienate from yourselves every possible support that you may get from any quarter of the Committee except what happens to be your own quarter; and that the best way to alienate support is to exaggerate your facts and at the same time to insult everybody within hail that you possibly can. 602 [HON. MEMBERS: "Who insulted any body"?] My hon. Friend the Member for West Islington, in a moment of oratorical fervour, threw down the Report of the Select Committee, and said that that was surely a packed committee.
§ Mr. DONNER
What I said was that the Majority Report gave explicit reasons in favour of my case and my Amendment, and against the present proposal of the Government. All that I said was that, this being so, they had the assurance to say that they were not a packed committee.
§ Lord E. PERCY
That is precisely what my hon. Friend says. His argument was a perfectly legitimate and very interesting one, but it was perhaps not exactly tactful. My reason for opening my remarks in that way was to protest against the assumption on which I think the Amendment is based. The Amendment, however, contains a point which the Committee ought to consider very carefully. It is a point which has caused me, and I think many other supporters of the Government's scheme, more hesitation and more difficulty than any other point. I am not now referring to the question of occasional appointments in the already transferred services; I do not think that that proposal would be of very much use to anyone; but I want to concentrate my remarks on irrigation. The Mover and Seconder of the Amendment both re-referred to the report of the Statutory Commission and the majority Report of the Joint Select Committee, but, because they were very anxious to prove their case, they missed what was obviously the most remarkable fact about those two reports in relation to irrigation. As my hon. Friend the Member for West Islington pointed out, both committees felt very strongly the necessity for continued European recruitment, and yet the Statutory Commission, in spite of their very strongly expressed opinion, explicitly refrained from making a recommendation, and merely suggested that the matter should be reconsidered. What, then, does my hon. Friend the Member for West Islington say? He says that the Joint Select Committee made a recommendation which was not easily reconcilable with the opinion they had already expressed.
What was the reason for this strange hesitation on the part of both these com- 603 mittees? The reason, I think, is clearly this: It is all very well to say that you are weighing an economic as against a purely political consideration, but there are political considerations which are not considerations of mere politicalamour propre, but considerations of government. In this matter of irrigation, the fact which, if I may use a vulgar expression, sticks out all over it, and which was referred to by the supporters of the Amendment, is that irrigation is of the very life of especially one Province in India, the Punjab. It is of its very life, and therefore of the very essence of its government. If you were to reserve the whole irrigation service and refuse to make it a transferred department, you would, as I think everyone will admit, prejudice the reality of provincial self-government, especially in the Punjab. Indeed, you would almost destroy that reality. That, of course, is not a proposal that is being made at this moment, and it was not made by the Statutory Commission. But, short of that, if you retain recruitment of the whole of the superior irrigation service in the hands of the Secretary of State in London, you are not merely retaining here functions which are equivalent to the functions of a public service commission charged with recruitment. This Amendment would place the irrigation officers recruited by the Secretary of State in precisely the same position as the police officer or the Indian Civil servant; that is to say, the Secretary of State would really control, not only the pay and pensions and general conditions of service, but every post, every appointment, and every promotion in the service; and it would be fair and reasonable for Indian Ministers, or, indeed English administrators, in a Province like the Punjab, to feel that the intrusion of that continuous control over all the administrative machinery of a service like irrigation was an almost intolerable interference with the administrative freedom of action of the Minister. The Minister responsible to the Legislature for the welfare of irrigation, for the welfare of a certain irrigated tract, would not be able to send there the officer whom he considered to be the most efficient officer, because there would be this control from London. 604 It is for that reason that there was such hesitation on the part of the Statutory Commission and on the part of the Joint Select Committee in drawing what otherwise appeared to be the 'logical conclusion of the situation, namely, that the Secretary of State should for the present retain the recruitment of the irrigation service. I would ask my Noble Friend the Member for West Perth to observe that that was not the proposal to which she referred, made by Sir Raymond Hadow. His recommendation, which he stated in his preliminary memorandum, was as follows:I recommend that recruitment be done by the Secretary of State, on the understanding that the recruits are servants of the Government for which they are recruited for all purposes of promotion, censure, etc. It may possibly be necessary for the Secretary of State to lay down the scale of pay and pensions which he finds necessary to secure satisfactory recruitment, though this is to be avoided if possible.
Duchess of ATHOLL
My Noble Friend will agree that Sir Raymond was very strong on the question of British recruitment by the Secretary of State.
§ Lord E PERCY
That is precisely my argument. I speak entirely for myself, but, I did not follow up that recommendation, because it was introducing an entirely new kind of relationship between the Secretary of State's services and the local government. It was introducing a system by which the Secretary of State was the recruiter for the service, but, beyond a certain very small minimum, retained no control, or very little control, over the recruit's subsequent service. At the moment I did not feel that that innovation, which some people might have regarded as the thin end of the wedge for similar treatment of other of the Secretary of State's services, was a feasible proposition. But, the more I have thought over this subject since then, the more doubtful I have become about the particular compromise which the Joint Select Committee recommended. They recommended provincialisation of recruitment plus a power of the Secretary of State to resume. I do not think that resumption of recruitment by the Secretary of State would be a very easy thing to effect when once recruitment had been transferred away from him. I do not think it would be 605 possible to prove inefficiency; I do not think it would be possible to say, once recruitment had been handed over, that only two Englishmen had been recruited in the last three years, and the Secretary of State thought that four ought to have been recruited, or that none had been recruited and he thought there ought to have been two. I do not think that that compromise will work. I have come increasingly to the conclusion that the recruitment for these services ought to be retained in the hands of the Secretary of State, and that that ought to be done— and here I hope my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) will support me, as I am trying to support himߞ on the basis recommended by Sir Raymond Hadow, namely, that recruitment by the Secretary of State for this purpose does not entail the full responsibility of the Secretary of State and the full control of the Secretary of State over all the subsequent service of the recruit.
I believe that this in an innovation that we must make if we are to combine the necessity for retaining a strong European element in the service with giving to Ministers, especially in the Punjab, a reasonable feeling of control over the administration of the service. I believe that we must make this innovation, and that we must endeavour to work out a proposal which will enable Sir Raymond Hadow's suggestion to be combined with the reality that the irrigation engineer is in the service of the local government and under the control of the local government, subject only to certain overriding conditions. Clearly if that is the line on which you try to go, this Amendment in itself will not do. The Amendment would go further than we reasonably can. I want to ask the Secretary of State whether—I do not suppose that he is prepared to say what an irresponsible Member of the House, like myself, can, that I have changed my mind on this important issue—he is prepared to consider this change in policy. I do not ask him for an answer immediately. It is certainly a change which would make for the greater security of India in a most important service, a change which would satisfy much hesitant opinion in this country, and a change which, under the conditions I have suggested, need not entail any invasion of what I think the Ministers of the Punjab 606 Government may fairly claim, that their responsibility to their Legislature for the efficiency of irrigation shall be a real responsibility, and that they shall have sufficient control over the service to make that responsibility a reality.
§ 7.2 p.m.
§ Sir S HOARE
Three separate issues have been raised in this discussion. Let me say a word about each of them in turn. First the Noble Lady the Member for Kinross and West Perth (Duchess of Atholl) made the proposal that we should go back to the state of affairs in which we appoint officials to transferred departments. I suggest 'to the Committee that it would be a great mistake to contemplate a return to a state of affairs of something like 20 years ago when we really have no evidence to show that Indian Ministers on the whole have not administered satisfactorily the transferred departments. There have been, no doubt, faults in the administration of the transferred departments, as indeed there have been faults in the administration of every department both here and everywhere else in the last 15 years, but there is no evidence to justify us in going back on the advance that we made at the time of the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms; and it would be, in my view, the gravest possible error to make a reversal of policy of that kind just at the moment when we are to extend the field of Indian responsibility.
The next point that was raised was in connection with the forestry administration, the proposal being to reserve the recruitment for the forestry department in the hands of the Secretary of State. Here, again, I suggest to the Committee that we should be unwise to alter the proposal of the Joint Select Committee. The administration of the forests, I quite admit, is of very great importance, particularly in certain Provinces. It is, however, worth noting that in the province where forests play the biggest part in the provincial life, namely Burma, the forestry administration has become a provincial administration, the local Government has continued the recruitment of British recruits, and upon the whole the administration of the forests has not been unsatisfactory.
§ Sir S. HOARE
In Bombay there has been no such recruitment of British officials. None the less I do suggest to the Committee that we should be unwise to retain the recruitment as the service of the Secretary of State. It would considerably diminish the field of responsibility in a good many Provinces, and I do not see any justifiable reason for taking action of that kind. I do, however, admit that we might wisely, at an appropriate place in the Bill, emphasise the recommendation of the Joint Select Committee that in an expert service such as the forestry service central recruitment by the Public Service Commission has many advantages, and I think we might emphasise what was in the minds of the Joint Select Committee, that we should stimulate and encourage the provincial administration to make use of the Central Public Service Commission for that type of recruitment.
Now I come to the much more difficult question of irrigation. I agree with my Noble Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) as to the difficulty of this question, so difficult in fact that the Statutory Commission could not make a recommendation about it, so difficult in fact that the Joint Select Committee's recommendation is in the nature of things of a very experimental character. Let me divide the question into two parts. There has been underlying one or two of the speeches to which we have just listened, the suggestion that the irrigation department ought to be reserved and not transferred to the local administration.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I repeat what I said. It seemed to me in the course of the discussion—I am not referring to anything the Noble Lady said—that there was underlying the speech of my hon. Friend who moved this Amendment the feeling that the department ought to be reserved. The second issue is the method of recruitment. I believe that it would be a profound mistake to reserve the department. I believe, further, that you cannot have effective provincial autonomy 608 in a province like the Punjab if the department of irrigation is reserved. Irrigation enters into almost every detail of the life of the Punjab, and to reserve the department in the Punjab would be really to reserve nine-tenths of the life of the province. That, I suggest to the Committee, would be a mistake for more reasons than one. In the first place, it would cut right across our attempt to initiate provincial autonomy. Secondly, I am assured that it would set against us almost the whole of the provincial opinion in the Punjab, and that in it self would be a disaster. The Punjab is one of those provinces which, I believe, is going to administer its affairs very efficiently. It is one of the provinces in which, I believe, provincial autonomy is going to be eminently successful, and it would be a profound mistake by attempting this comprehensive reservation to turn against us the province which, above all others, is determined to make its autonomous government a success.
§ Mr. DONNER
I certainly never suggested that it should be reserved. I said that under the 1919 Act it was reserved.
§ Sir S. HOARE
As there is—I will not say unanimity but general agreement that the department should be transferred, let me pass to the other issue, the issue of recruitment. There have been three separate propositions made to the Joint Select Committee. The first proposition was that the recruitment should remain in the hands of the Secretary of State. Against that proposition there was a very considerable opposition in India. Next there was the proposition that the Secretary of State should recruit, but that the Provincial Government should settle the terms of service and be responsible for these officials' subsequent career. Thirdly, there was the proposition made that instead of the Secretary 609 of State recruiting, the recruiting should be by the Governor-General. Let me dismiss the third proposition. The Joint Committee came to the view that there was no great advantage in considering a proposal of that kind. If it meant nothing more than a, change of name, there were objections against doing it, and if it meant a substantial change in the type of recruitment it was likely to effect injuriously the type of recruit.
Having dismissed that compromise type of proposal, let me come back to the issue between the Secretary of State recruiting and the provincial Government being responsible for the conditions of service of the men the Secretary of State recruited. I am inclined to think, much as I would like to consider the suggestion of my right hon. Friend, that it is very difficult for the Secretary of State to recruit and then to free himself of responsibility for the recruit's subsequent career. There is no advantage to be gained by the Secretary of State recruiting, and then the local government imposing such conditions of service as would make it impossible for the recruits to remain in service or to have a suitable career. When it comes to the Secretary of State recruiting and being responsible for the subsequent career of the men that he recruits, it means a considerable change of method in contrast with the proposal that we are making in the Bill. Our proposal is that the local government should recruit and administer the service, that the Governor should keep his eye very closely upon the recruitment and upon the administration of the Irrigation Service, and that there should be a power of resumption of recruitment if an adequate number of British recruits is not being appointed.
That is frankly an experiment, 1 agree, and as an experiment it is open to criticism, but I would not at all say that it is the last word to be said upon the subject. I am prepared after the Debate to-day to look into the question again. After all, it is a question of method rather than of principle. We are all agreed that for many years to come we wish to see an adequate number of British engineers in the Irrigation Department, and particularly in the Irrigation Department of the Punjab, and it is a question which of these two methods it is better to adopt. I am very anxious myself to 610 adopt a method, that, while effective in itself in securing the purpose which we have all in mind, will not turn public opinion in the Punjab or in India solidly against us. I think, therefore, that the best of the courses I can adopt this evening, is to say to my right hon. Friend and to the Committee that I will look again into this question of method, but I feel that if we do make a change in method we should find difficulties in the proposal which my right hon. Friend has made, and we should probably find that it would mean continuing the Secretary of State's recruitment, reserving certain posts as we reserved them in the case of all the Secretary of State's services, and giving the recruits the same protection that we give to officials in the other Secretary of State's services. But, as I have said, I will look into the question again. It is a question of method; it is not a question of principle. A satisfactory result has been reached, namely, that almost the whole of the Committee are definitely against the reservation of the service and the only question between us is the question of method as to the actual recruitment.
§ 7.19 p.m.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I wish that the right hon. Gentleman's knowledge of Church history was as adequate as is his knowledge of India. It will be remembered that although there was a timeAthanasius was contra mundum there became a time when themundum was with Athanasius, and only a year ago I was called Athanasius on the ground that I was the only person who was opposed to the Federation of the Indian States whereas now the entire mundum of British-India has come round to my point of view.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I hope that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will withdraw that because I have never been led back again. I have always had the same views.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
Good, but at the time of the Round Table Conference I was in a very small minority and I am glad that at that time I had such good company. But India has become the mundum. Here too I think that the Com- 611 mittee will find that I am speaking what India will be thinking and that is they are put by the Government into an extremely difficult position. We are dealing with the whole of India where the problems are diverse from Province to Province; we should be tackling all these problems from the point of view of each Province in turn. There is no satisfactory ground for treating the decentralisation of the whole of India on exactly the same lines. I am perfectly certain that in the Province of Madras for instance all the subjects will be dealt with admirably by the Provincial Government. The real difficulty is that we are dealing at one and the same time with civilised Provinces like Madras and with completely uncivilised Provinces like Sind and the North-West Frontier. We may leave out the North-West frontier in the particular question of irrigation. But as the Noble Lord said it is a problem more particularly of the Punjab and of Sind, and we must look how it affects those particular provinces. I ventured to say that I thought it was for the people in the Provinces to decide on a matter like this, and I still adhere to that view. Throughout we have disregarded in all our Debates the opinion of the people of India and now we disregard the people who have to suffer from partial irrigation.
I am prepared to say that in nine out of 12 of the provinces of India the proposal of the Government would meet with the approval of all the people who want the water, but I am doubtful whether that would be so in the case of the Punjab, and I am certain that it would be disastrous to the Hindus of Sind. You have two provinces where you are imposing upon the people a Government totally different from this and from the rest of India. You have the communal problem run mad in both those provinces. You have in Sind, which under the new irrigation scheme is even more intimately affected by the question of irrigation than the Punjab itself, a permanent Mohammedan Government. The Hindus might just as well have no votes; under this communal electorate system in Sind, the minority has no protection whatever. At the present time most of the cultivators in Sind are Mohammedans, but there are certain communities of Hindus coming in, particularly under the new barrage 612 scheme, to cultivate in Sind. What is the position of those people in Sind going to be? If they are dealt with, as they have been up to now, by a completely impartial administration all would be well, but the Hindus know that they cannot expect impartial administration from a permanent Mohammedan majority. It is no use to say that they ought to expect it or that they are wrong. They do not believe that they will get it. I am not acquainted with the facts in Sind, but from the stories they tell me the power you put into the control of the people who control the water is even stronger than the power put in the hands of the people who control the land.
We know that in the Punjab they passed legislation debarring, not by name, but in effect, Hindus from acquiring agricultural land which has ever been in the hands of the Mohammedans, of the agricultural tribes, which are the Mohammedans. If they deprive them there already of all the opportunities of getting land, is it really very far-fetched to say that the administration of irrigation would be directed in exactly the same direction, both in the Punjab and in Sind? If you are convinced that it is vital that one particular caste or class in the community should cultivate the land and that another particular caste should be merchants, that one population should be town dwellers and the other agricultural cultivators, can you be surprised if, when you put the power into the hands of the agriculturists they use that power to squeeze out cultivators of the other class and prevent any more of the Hindus coming in to cultivate the land? I say that in these provinces you are putting a power which not only may be used but will be used, used with the conviction that the people who are using the power in that way are doing the right thing by their country and by their people. Ought we to inflict upon the minority in these two provinces the danger of being deprived altogether of the protection of this House?
I come to the second point. In the first place I say that it is a problem which should be faced by different methods in each Province, and it will make no difference either to Sind or the Punjab whether the original appointment is made by the Secretary of State or by the Provincial Government. There 613 may be a few more Englishmen appointed but most of the actual operation of irrigation is done by subordinates and by Indians. The real point of the Amendment is that if it is carried, not for India but for Sind and the Punjab, then you would then have this House responsible and the Secretary of State could be asked questions about it and he would be responsible for the whole of the administration of the irrigation service. The whole Debate has been on the question of appointment, whether a few more Englishmen shall be appointed or not. I do not think that that is a matter which concerns us by any means. It is not by any means the most important part in this Amendment. The real importance is the responsibility of the Secretary of State and therefore this House for the administration of this particular service.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN (Captain Bourne)
I think that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is mistaken. Whether this Amendment is carried or not, cannot affect the responsibility of the Secretary of State in regard to irrigation.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
If pay and promotion are reserved to the Secretary of State that is what I consider to be responsible administration. As long as the Secretary of State is responsible for this he is still the person to be asked as to the conduct of the people who are actually administering the water supply. I think that that is rather a wider question than the mere appointment of a few Englishmen. I am ready to believe particularly in these two Provinces that it is much wiser to have Englishmen responsible than to have people who have the narrow caste view of responsibility. The main thing is that we should be able to ask questions about it and criticise it, and it should still be in the power of people here to correct what may be the manifest injustice of the actual administration of this life-giving service in India. It is by far the most important service. The forests are of very little importance compared with water, and the railways are of very little importance. It is the actual life-blood of the whole of the people of the Punjab, and there are the whole of the people of Sind in future dependent upon this question. Therefore, if it were possible to make any change in the Bill at all and for instance to leave Sind to remain with 614 Bombay so that there should be no danger of racial oppression there, if it were possible in the Punjab to have a general electoral roll so that—
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman should try and keep more closely to the Amendment.
§ Colonel WEDGWOOD
I am trying to show that this Amendment would depend very largely upon the form of government administering the Clause. That form of government depends immensely on whether the Government is an irremovable partisan Government or whether it is a government such as we have here, which is always anxious to meet the wishes even of the other side of the House. If the right hon. Gentleman is considering the possible Amendment of this Bill in the interests of the people of India, and not of a few appointments of English officials, will he bear in mind that most of our objections to the Bill arise from the establishment in four Provinces of a statutory majority and a helpless minority.
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Sir H. CROFT
I do not want to stand between the Committee and my hon. Friend the Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald), who is able to speak with such experience on this subject, but I will not detain the Committee long. We are very grateful to the Noble Lord opposite for his remarks on this question, but I do not think his suggestion would meet the point or give any satisfaction to the politically minded people of the Punjab. Why we feel so strongly on this point is that many of us have been brought into touch with some who have given lifelong service in the irrigation work of India, and, quite frankly, we have heard the most alarming stories with regard to the future. We have been told again and again by men who have held responsible positions that, although Indians are training hard and in 50 or 100 years' time you may find them equally qualified to look ahead, you cannot at present get many Indians employed in the irrigation service to think five, 10, or 15 years ahead; and the stories which one has heard and firsthand evidence with regard to the extraordinary neglect of the little mechanical, engineering appliances necessary to maintain the efficiency of irrigation are most startling. Indeed, we have heard upstairs 615 in the Committee room real authorities state that they believe that if we do not keep a firm control, at any rate for some time, we may have a reversion to the most appalling famine conditions such as we had in years gone by. For that reason I feel that it is most important that the Secretary of State should maintain his hold over recruitment and over the general scheme.
I think the Secretary of State would find it amazingly difficult to reassume control of recruitment, as is suggested in the Bill, once he had passed it on. You never can reassume this power, in any scheme of devolution or self-government, once it has been given, and therefore I hope the Committee will not rely on that possibility. We hear Members in many quarters of the House say, "After all, we must not offend the Indians by refusing to give them full control of irrigation," and so on. But these ideas did not spring from Indian minds. It is one of the greatest tributes to the whole British system in India that we started out on these marvellous irrigation schemes, and I feel that it would be madness, where the whole life and fortunes of such vast numbers of people depend on the efficient running of irrigation, if we did not do everything in our power to see that the Secretary of State still retains control of that vital service. I support the Amendment.
§ 7.35 p.m.
I was very surprised to hear the Secretary of State at the end of his speech state that this question of recruitment for the irrigation services was not a matter of principle, and that there was no difference of opinion between those who supported the Amendment and those who supported the Bill. I could not understand that statement, because it is fundamentally a matter of principle in the Amendment, as to whether we shall or shall not continue to have in the irrigation service in India a continuation of a proportion of English officials. I consider that it is definitely a question of principle. The principle which obtains at present, that European officials shall continue, will be done away with under the Bill. The whole basis of the irrigation service, the efficiency, integrity, good administration, and freedom from the corruption and bribery which, unfortunately, undoubtedly 616 exist in India as in other places, is lessened because of the English element in the service, and those who support the Amendment feel very keenly that if we eliminate the English official from the irrigation service, there is no question that the administration of that service will go down.
The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State also said that this was an experiment. If that experiment should fail, the results of that failure would be disastrous to the welfare of millions of people. Some 270,000,000 people are dependent for one-quarter of their food on the efficiency of the administration of this irrigation service, and 60,000,000 cultivators are directly dependent upon it for their livelihood, and I do not consider this Committee is justified in sanctioning an experiment being made in the irrigation service. We have no right to make an experiment as regards this service. It is entirely due to British engineers and British capital that we have built up what is one of the greatest boons and blessings to the people of India and a bulwark against the recurrent famines from which India has suffered in the past. We have no right to take the risk that such a state of affairs might be brought about again, either partially or to a very great extent due to the lowering of the efficiency of this irrigation service. We feel most strongly that it is absolutely essential that the English officials should be continued in the irrigation service.
Evidence has been given from various parts of the Committee this evening in support of that contention, and the evidence given by irrigation and forest department officials was very definite on that point. The Statutory Commission and the Joint Select Committee were in favour of it, although they did not recommend that it should be put into the Bill. They realised the risk, but, as the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) said, it was really a political question which decided their recommendation that this matter of the appointments to the irrigation service should be transferred to the Provinces. That is not a very good argument when the results of a failure in the irrigation service would be so disastrous to the people of India, and I do not think we have any right to take that risk.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Sir MURDOCH MACDONALD
What offends me is that in the actual Clause of the Bill, not in the Amendment now being discussed, the irrigation service should not be, equally with the Indian medical service, put under the Secretary of State, but apart from that point as to whether one service or another should be reserved, I think I can agree with the Secretary of State that it would be very wrong to take out of the hands of the people of India the control of the irrigation service. If I understood the Under-Secretary rightly, British subjects will still be appointed to these services, at least for quite a number of years to come, because, as I understand it, the appointments will fall under a board, and the actual Governments themselves, while asking for recruits, will get them through this particular board on which there will still be a certain number of English people, and, as a consequence, the service will be recruited very much in the normal manner as it has been in the past.
As to the special case referred to by the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), where communities exist in an area which are totally at variance with each other, there I can understand a great difficulty will arise if the members of the service controlling, say, the water supply are wholly of one religion. But is that at all likely to follow? I can imagine the present colleges of India turning out young recruits, and I do not suppose that in those 'colleges they look for a moment at what their religion is. They are turned out on their merits, and they will be seconded to the various Provincial Governments and put into positions in the various irrigation services arid it is not at all likely that any Provincial Government will insist on all its staff being of one particular religion, notwithstanding the fact that there might be a very strong majority of people of a different religion from whom that staff has been recruited, so that the particular point that my right hon. and gallant Friend was attempting to make I do not think really holds water.
In the case of the country with which I have been associated for very many years, namely, Egypt, I have been trying while sitting here to think if I ever heard of a Christian being oppressed by a 618 Mohammedan in regard to his water supply, and never once do I recollect having heard of such a case. There are Christians in the irrigation service in Egypt, although the country is very largely—14 to one, I think—Mohammedan, and these officers rise up in the service and some of them whom I know personally now occupy very responsible posts. There is no differentiation as far as I know made between them.
There is no ordinary likelihood of a, breakdown in an irrigation service being caused by corruption. Corruption depends entirely upon the question of whether or not there is an adequate supply of water. Whenever there is an adequate supply of water, there is little or no possibility in the lower ranks of anybody doing anything to help one particular person or hinder another. When there is an adequate supply of water everybody must get their fair share and the people who control the water cannot just help whom they please. I have known in Egypt of difficulties arising when there has been a shortage of water. I remember a very high authority in Egypt asking me if I controlled the irrigation service. I replied, "Well, I think I do." He replied, "No, you do not." He further said, "Do you think the inspector-generals control it; they do not?" He went through the list from the inspectors down the various ranks until he came to the people who turn the smallest valve, and he said they control the water supply, and I have to pay them when water is short to get a supply.
In the case of India I have no doubt that exactly the same thing will arise. In Egypt that form of corruption was not controllable even at the time when there were plenty of English people on the staff. The English staff kept the senior Egyptian staff right and helped to keep them right. I must say this for the Egyptians, that during the long years that I was connected with Egypt, only two senior Egyptian officials were accused of doing anything that they ought not to have done in regard to their work. So far as the irrigation service in Egypt was concerned, the real trouble was, and is, and always will be, that when there is a shortage of water there will be corruption in the lower ranks and in the very humblest servants of the irrigation service. I believe that that also would be the case in India. 619 As to the necessity for the Secretary of State controlling the irrigation service, it is not apparent to me why he should do so. If for a number of years to come there is an adequate number of English engineers added to the service, to help the senior men and to advise on new schemes, and India is only partially completed yet so far as irrigation is concerned. Egypt is about two-thirds complete. In view of the work that has to be done in India, I hope that the Secretary of State will see that there is a strong irrigation service maintained. He has taken power in Clause 244 to see that a sufficient number of efficient people are employed in the irrigation service. I feel, therefore, satisfied with what the Secretary of State has said this evening. So long as I understand from him that the local Governments of India will depend on the Civil Service Commission to appoint the men and to select them, there is no reason why he should interfere except a serious breakdown should take place, when his duty would be to step in and see that an efficient service was secured.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ Sir H. CROFT
Can my right hon. Friend give us an indication that he will be able to meet the general idea that has been put forward on the Report stage. If so my friends and I will endeavour not to prolong the discussion.
§ Sir S HOARE
I would repeat what I said earlier, that I am ready to look into the question of method. By that I mean that I will consider the proposal that the Secretary of State should make recruitment of officers, and should be responsible for their subsequent careers. I must, obviously, consult the Government of India. However, I am prepared to look into the matter with an open mind, and in view of what I have said I hope the Committee will accept the assurance from me that I am prepared to look into it sympathetically.
§ Mr. DONNER
In view of the assurance given by the Secretary of State that he will look into the matter between now and the Report stage, I have no desire to press the Amendment.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I do not wish to prolong the discussion but this is one of the most frightful responsibilities that the 620 House of Commons has ever been asked to take, in my experience. I am not in the least bit moved by the extremely well-informed and weighty speech of the hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald). The fact is that one-fourth of the food of India is grown on artificial irrigation and that of the 353,000,000 who live in India more than 100,000,000 have been brought into existence during the last 50 years. Now you are taking a step which although it may seem quite safeguarded for the first few years, undoubtedly means the jeopardising of that service and its efficiency.
§ Sir S. HOARE indicated dissent.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. I do not know whether he will live long enough to see the results, I hope he may, and I hope they will not be what I think they will be. This is a step more fraught with peril to the lives of 100,000,000 of people than any that the House of Commons has taken. It is against the advice of the Statutory Commission.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
I think it is so. I have read their very clear statement on the subject. Undoubtedly you are going to take upon your shoulders the responsibility of undermining the means by which these new-come millions get their new-found food. You are doing that. It is only part of the general wreckage. It is only part of this vast process of liquidation of what Britain has done in India. What can we do on these benches. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) has said that we will submit and not press this matter to a division because the Secretary of State used some words, words which may mean anything or may mean nothing.
§ Mr. CHURCHILL
It is not for me to decide whether I will divide. The right hon. Gentleman has used certain words which we understand will mean some reconsideration. It is little enough of concession that we get. It is rarely that we get the slightest suggestion made that there will be any response to the arguments we put forward, but on this occasion the Secretary of State has said that 621 he will consider the matter again with an open mind, and he even went so far as to say that he would consider it sympathetically. That may be a reason for our not dividing but it is no reason for any man in this House who holds the views which some of us hold bearing in the slightest degree the responsibility which rests upon those who are, in my opinion, tearing to pieces the under pillar upon which the lives of the Indian masses depend.
§ 7.54 p.m.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I should not have taken part in this Debate except for the closing words of the right hon. Gentleman. I consider that he has made a most serious charge against the Indian people; a charge of a most wounding and injurious character. He began by saying, quite truly, that this matter concerns some 100,000,000 of the Indian people and he then went on to argue that the entrusting of responsibilities to Indian hands willipso facto undermine the whole fabric of the irrigation system of India. Has ever a more serious charge been made against any people? I do not recollect in the history of this House to have heard against even an enemy of the British Empire a more wounding charge than that which the right hon. Gentleman has made against our fellow subjects in India, by suggesting that they are so corrupt, so incompetent, so inefficient that if they are entrusted with this great charge they will undermine the whole fabric of India. Is that the way in which good will between Great Britain and India is being endangered by opponents of this Bill?
We have every reason to protest, and for this reason, that before the right hon. Gentleman's speech we had just heard an address from the greatest authority on irrigation in this House, the hon. Member for Inverness (Sir M. Macdonald), whose whole life has been devoted to this subject. In words which are memorable he described how the irrigation system worked in Egypt and said that in the whole of his recollection of that system he only remembered a few cases where any servants of the irrigation service in Egypt had failed in their duty.
§ Mr. ISAAC FOOT rose—
§ Earl WINTERTON
The hon. Member is in the habit of interrupting even when he agrees. It is a growing habit. I was 622 not referring to him, but to my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill. I do deplore the speech which my right hon. Friend has just made. I do not think that it is going to help either the administration of this Bill when it becomes an Act or the relationship between this country and India. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made a perfectly fair offer which I understood was accepted by an hon. Member who is associated with my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping in connection with the Bill. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has promised to look into the question of whether recruiting for the irrigation service shall be in the hands of the Secretary of State. Surely, we can leave the matter there until the Report stage.
§ Duchess of ATHOLL rose—
§ 7.59 p.m.
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member for Islington, West, (Mr. Donner) said that he did not wish to press the Amendment, and, in view of that fact and the fact that we have spent a considerable time on the discussion, I think we might dispose of the matter now.
Duchess of ATHOLL
I merely want to ask a question of the Secretary of State, because we are not quite clear on a certain matter. We are very grateful to him for saying that he will look again into the extremely important question of British recruitment for irrigation. Is he prepared also to look into the question of the continuance of British recruitment for the forest services?
§ Sir S. HOARE
What I said about the forests was that I would look into the possibility as to putting a paragraph in about central recruitment on the lines of the Joint Select Committee. Further than that I cannot go.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ Mr. ANNESLEY SOMERVILLE
The Noble Lord has protested against the insult offered by the opponents of this Bill to the people of India.
§ Earl WINTERTON
I never said anything of the sort. The hon. Gentleman must really not misunderstand me.
§ Earl WINTERTON
He made a direct reference to me, and I made no direct reference to the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot). I was going to say that the hon. Gentleman has no right to say that I stated that Movers of the Amendment had insulted the people of India. I said the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) had made a serious charge, and J confined it to him.
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
My recollection was that the expression used by the Noble Lord was "the opponents of the Bill."
§ Mr. SOMERVILLE
What we were hoping to gain by this Amendment was to ensure that a sufficient supply of efficient experts would be available for these services and more particularly for the irrigation service. There is a doubt in the minds of Indians themselves whether they can supply a sufficient number of efficient personnel. I was very pleased to hear the response of the Secretary of State to the Noble Lord the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy).
§ Amendment negatived.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ Mr. MORGAN JONES
I beg to move, in page 128, line 30. to leave out "Secretary of State," and to insert "Governor-General."
I have listened patiently to the last half-hour's discussion on the other side, and I felt very much like the Irishman asking the old question, "Is this a private quarrel, or may anyone else join in?" The only one who has ventured to say one modest word immediately had his head almost bitten off in what seemed a most undeserved way.
§ Mr. JONES
May I venture now to direct the attention of the Committee to the Amendment I have in my own name and in those of my hon. Friends? May I ask, Captain Bourne, whether I may take together this Amendment and the other two Amendments—in page 128, line 32—to leave out "Secretary of State" and insert "Governor-General," and in 624 line 41, to leave out "Secretary of State" and insert "Governor-General"?
§ The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN
I think it is obvious that these three Amendments cover the same point and the same applies to the next Clause. The point is whether the appointment should be in the hands of the Secretary of State in this country or the Governor-General in India.
§ Mr. JONES
I am much obliged. In the three Sub-sections of the Clause the Secretary of State is made responsible—in the first Sub-section for the appointments to the Indian Civil service, the medical service and the police service; in the second Sub-section he is to make appointments to those civil posts that will be held in connection with the discharge of the Governor-General's responsibilities; and in the third Subsection it will be the responsibility of the Secretary of State to determine the respective strengths of the services. The point that we are making is short and quite clear, namely, as to whether that responsibility should be exercised by the Secretary of State in this country or by the Governor-General in India. I do not at this point want to enter into the larger issue as to whether the Provincial Governments or the Federal Government should have a much larger voice in these appointments than will, in fact, be the case under the operation of this Bill if it is carried as it now stands. That is another issue entirely.
The point that we are raising is a more limited one, as to whether it would be more appropriate that the Governor-General should make the appointments than that the Secretary of State should make them. The Secretary of State, some time ago, in reply to a speech which I did not myself hear, made the observation that it really is a limited point, a more restricted point, and with that I entirely agree. Throughout the discussion on the previous Amendment, expression has been given constantly to the sentiment that the Indian people will not be fit to discharge this or that function. If I were moving on this occasion that the Provincial Governments or the Federal Government were to exercise this responsibility, I should controvert the argument used on the previous Amendments, but what is the merit of our proposal? In practice I suppose
625 there is not very much difference between the appointment by the Secretary of State and the appointment by the Governor-General. The chief merit of our proposal is that when the appointments are made by the Governor-General, the responsibility does remain in India, and it is not exercised in this country. In practice, perhaps, there is not very much in it, but it must have a very different psychological appeal to the Indian people when the appointments are made by the Governor-General rather than by the Secretary of State. I am assuming that what in practice will happen will be that the Secretary of State, who will be 6,000 miles away from India, will naturally not know very much about the characteristics and the competence of the various people who apply for these posts. He must, to a very considerable extent, rely upon the advice he gets from India as to the type of work which has to be done and the functions which have to be discharged. Indeed, should imagine that in so far as it applies to Indian applicants, he must rely upon advice as to their suitability as well as upon the Governor-General.
It is true that in the case of applicants from Britain who want to enter Indian service, perhaps the Secretary of State would be in a better position than the Governor-General, because the Governor-General would then be 6,000 miles away, but it seems to me that on merits, so far as determining the suitability of the candidates for particular posts is concerned, the Governor-General would be in just as favourable a position, to put it no higher, as the Secretary of State himself. There is the second section, the recruitment to the Governor-General's staff, that is to say, that cartel of people to fill the civil posts connected with the discharge of the Governor-Generals special responsibilities. Why should the Secretary of State in this country be better able to determine who are most suitable people to discharge that function than the Governor-General would be 2 Clearly, on the face of it, the Governor-General would be much better able to do that than the Secretary of State. Lastly, what special grounds would there be for insisting that the respective strengths of these services should be determined by the Secretary of State? Why should this problem be determined here in London rather than by the Governor-General?
626 As a matter of practice in the operation of the function of appointment I see nothing to justify the reservation of the appointment to the Secretary of State as compared with the Governor-General. On the other hand, there is the additional merit in favour of our Amendment of the psychological effect produced on the Indian people by reserving the appointment in India. Clearly the sum total of advantage lies in our Amendment rather than in favour of the proposal of the Bill as it stands.
The principle is very narrow, but I would like to make this appeal to the Committee. I have sat here day after day listening to all sorts of arguments, and I have seen this reservation and that reservation, this service gone and that service gone, and I am beginning to wonder what in the mind of the Government themselves the Indian people are deemed fit to exercise. If you are some day hoping to see these Indian people discharging this function of self-government efficiently, you really must capture their good will. You cannot do it if you keep on frittering away these little details of functions here and there, and making them feel that though you are ostensibly giving them some form of home rule, in practice you are reserving these things to people from this country. I cannot imagine that the reservation to the Secretary of State of these functions, as laid down in this Clause, can have any other meaning or intention than to make quite sure that the proportion of Britishers in these services is not to be reduced below a certain figure. That may be a point of view that hon. Members on the other side think defensible. but I think it is indefensible, because for me, if I may borrow a phrase which sometimes is used by the Secretary of State, the outward and visible sign of self-government, after all, is that they have a, larger share in determining the personnel of those who manage the various services in the land. I am not actually urging in this Amendment that the Federal Government or the Provincial Governments should do so. I am asking that if you will not grant that, at least leave the appointment itself in India, even if it cannot be discharged by the Governor-General. I think I have conveyed the intention that we have at the back of our Amendment.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ Mr. BUTLER
The Committee, I think, will appreciate very readily the point which has been put so clearly by the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones), and they will sympathise with him for the time he has had to sit listening to what he regards as a domestic quarrel. I can assure him that it was a matter of extreme importance—
§ Mr. BUTLER
The hon. Member wishes that the recruitment for the All-India services should be in the hands of the Governor-General. I take it from his speech that the Amendment should read, "the Governor-General in his discretion." He does not mean that the Governor-General in this case should act on the advice of his Ministers.
§ Mr. BUTLER
We have to choose one or other, and I am obliged to choose that hon. Members mean "the Governor-General in his discretion," as that was the sense of the hon. Member's speech. The hon. Member is suggesting something which the Joint Select Committee regarded as being a question of form rather than of substance. In reality the "Governor-General in his discretion" would be the representative of the Secretary of State; he would be performing the office of recruiting for the All-India services for the Secretary of State. The Amendment does not go as far as the memorandum of the Joint India Delegation which took up the point which was considered in some detail by the Joint Select Committee and the hon. Gentleman discards what was desired in the memorandum, that the officers under the Federal Government should be recruited by the Federation and that the officers under the Provincial Governments should be recruited by the Provincial Governors.
§ Mr. BUTLER
I think we are now clear as to what the hon. Member desires. It being really a question of form rather than of substance, the Amendment does not assume the importance it might if it had been definitely a case of transferring this recruitment to the hands of Indian Ministers. However, the hon. Member raised some important points. He considered that it would be more convenient for the Governor-General on the spot in India to recruit these essential services, and that this would in fact give greater confidence in India. If this were really an Amendment under which the Governor-General in his discretion did the recruiting of the All-India staff, I do not think Indians would consider that the position was very much different from that which we suggest, that the Secretary of State should recruit and control the conditions of the services. We envisage it from the point of view of securing the best men to serve India in the future, as indeed they have done in the past, and we are obliged to take the advice of the Joint Select Committee. We consider that you will get the type of officer required more successfully if you recruit these All-India services through the Secretary of State, and let him control their conditions of service. If it were thought it would result in any ill-feeling in India, I could understand the wish to adopt the other course, but if you refer to the testimony of the Lee Commission on the services in India and to the Statutory Commission, you will find that they tell us of the loyalty with which members of the All-India services have served Provincial Governments, and, in the transferred services, how they have done their duty in the way that we should expect. Judging from experience, there has been no difficulty at all, and the minimum of friction is evidenced by the fact that members of the All-India services have served under Indian ministers and Indian Provincial Governments. By adhering to the provisions of the Bill, we see no future grounds of difficulty. After the visit of the Lee Commission to India and in the years following certain services were transferred for recruitment to Indian authorities. It is proposed in the Bill to reserve three main services: the Indian Civil Service, the India. Medical Ser- 629 vice and the Indian Police. We regard these services as absolutely vital to the future of India, they have vital tasks to perform, and in order to fulfil these tasks we must adhere to the form of recruitment suggested in the Bill.
Let me deal with two other points in answer to the hon. Member's speech. I think it would be a mistake, at a time when we are introducing such vast changes in the Government of India, to make this immense change as well. Certain services have been transferred; we intend these three important services should remain. Following the advice we have received, we consider that it would be a mistake to make another big change in the method of recruiting at a time when we are making these changes in the government of India. There is no question of absolute finality in our decision. The Joint Select Committee recommended that after a certain period there should be an inquiry into the operations of these services. I will not develop that point, because presumably we shall have an opportunity of discussing the matter on a later Clause which provides the necessary machinery to operate any future change which is made. There is, therefore, this provision for a future inquiry. On the strength of this future inquiry, because it would be a pity to make an abrupt change when there has been no ill will or difficulty in the All-India services serving under the Indian Government, and because it will lead to greater efficiency, I shall have to refuse the Amendment.
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Major MILNER
I am rather disappointed at the speech of the Under-Secretary. He knows that there is great attraction to the Indian mind in something that is done in the same form in India as it is done in this country. When I was in India I met a number of well-educated men who had the OFFICIAL REPORT sent out to them, and who knew a great deal more of what was going on in this country than a great number of people in this country. The real significance of the Amendment is to make sure that these appointments, if only in form, are made by the responsible Governor-General in India and not by the Secretary of State in this country. I have referred on previous occasions to the objections which Indians have to so-called government from Whitehall. It is a real 630 and substantial objection, and I sympathise with it very strongly. If these appointments are made by the Governor-General in his discretion, although he makes them under the direction of the Secretary of State, the Indian public will think that a, considerable concession has been made to their point of view. They will feel that greater regard will be paid by the Governor-General to their interests than is likely to be paid by the Secretary of State, although the Secretary of State will still be advised by the Governor-General in these appointments. I should have preferred, and my party would have preferred, that these appointments should be made by the Governor-General in the case of the Federal Government or by the Governors in the case of any of the Provincial Governments. But there was no point in moving the Amendment in that form. As there is no possibility of the Government agreeing to these particular appointments being made either by the Governor-General on the advice of his Ministers, or by a Governor in the case of a Provincial Government on the advice of his Ministers, my hon. Friend moved the Amendment in the form in which it is before us, desiring that the appointments should be made by the Governor-General in the exercise of his discretion.
I do not know whether or not there is any likelihood of the Under-Secretary reporting to the Secretary of State the feeling of those on this side of the Committee, which I should have thought the Under-Secretary would have felt was the-right one in the eyes of the Indian public. I hope that my hon. Friend will go to a Division on this matter if same indication is not given that the matter is likely to receive consideration. I always recollect what happened on an occasion when I desired to recommend an-individual for appointment, not to a post but to a certain list. I inquired from the appropriate Government Department whether they were in a position to put this individual on the list. I was told by the Department, "Oh, no, we have. nothing to do with it at all. The appointments are made by So-and-So," and they mentioned a high functionary outside. I asked, "How does the high. functionary know the right man to appoint "The answer was, "If you press the point, the high functionary does not know; he has to refer the matter back to us." I wrote 631 and made my recommendation to the high functionary, who took the advice of the Government Department concerned and the gentleman was appointed.
That is a ridiculous and roundabout way of dealing with a matter, but it is precisely what is likely to take place in these appointments. An appointment, according to the Bill, is to be made by the Secretary of State. Except in the case of a few appointments from this country, where examinations may be held, the Secretary of State has no knowledge whatever of the respective capacities of those who are to
§ undertake the duties. He therefore refers back to the Governor-General, who will make inquiries as to the Indian competitors or applicants and will advise the Secretary of State accordingly, and the Secretary of State will then appoint. That is an absurd way of doing the thing, and one which of necessity cannot appeal to the Indians.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 193; Noes, 30.633
|Division No. 143.]||AYES.||[8.30 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Gluckstein, Louis Halls||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.)||Gower, Sir Robert||Morrison, G. A. (Scottish Unlver'ties)|
|Albery, Irving James||Granville, Edgar||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Alien, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Mulrhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.|
|Apsley, Lord||Greene, William P. C.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Grimston, R. V.||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Patrick, Colin M.|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Pearson, William G.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Penny, Sir George|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Hartland, George A.||Percy, Lord Eustace|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Harvey, George (Lambeth, Kenn'gt'n)||Petherick, M.|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brograve Campbell||Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Bernays, Robert||Haslam, Henry (Horn castle)||Procter, Major Henry Adam|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Radford, E. A.|
|Blindell, James||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Ralkes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Braithwalte, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston)||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Hornby, Frank||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M.(Hackney, N.)||Reid, William Allan (Derby)|
|Burnett, John George||Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg)||Remer, John R.|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.||Rlckards, George William|
|Cadogan, Hon Edward||Jamleson, Douglas||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Jennings, Roland||Ross Taylor, Walter (Wood bridge)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Joel, Dudley J. Barnato||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Jones. Lewis (Swansea, West)||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (lslington, E.)||Ker, J. Campbell||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Clayton, Sir Christopher||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Samuel, M. R. A. (W' ds' wth, Putney).|
|Colfox, Major William Philip||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Sandys, Duncan|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Law, Sir Alfred||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark. Bothwell)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Leckle, J. A.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Leech, Dr. J. W.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Lewis, Oswald||Smiles, Lieut,-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Croom-Johnson R. P.||Lindsay, Noel Ker||Smithers, Sir Waldron|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Lockwood, Capt. J. H. (Shipley)||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Loftus, Pierce C.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Lovat,-Fraser, James Alexander||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Dickle, John P.||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Spencer, Captain Richard A.|
|Donner, P. W.||Lyons, Abraham Montagu||Spens, William Patrick|
|Doran, Edward||Mac Andrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G. (Patrick)||Stevenson, James|
|Dunglass, Lord||McConnell, Sir Joseph||Storey, Samuel|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||MacDonald, Rt. Hon. J. R. (Seaham)||Strauss, Edward A.|
|Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Strickland. Captain W. F.|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||McLean, Dr. W. H.(Tradeston)||Sutcllffe, Harold|
|Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen)||Magnay, Thomas||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)|
|Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Maitland, Adam||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Makins, Brigadier-General Ernest||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Fremantle, Sir Francls||Martin, Thomas B.||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Fuller, Captain A.G.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Ganzoni, Sir John||Meller, Sir Richard James||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Waterhouse. Captain Charles|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham)||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Gledhill, Gilbert||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|White, Henry Graham||Wise, Alfred R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Whiteside, Borras Noel H.||Womersley, Sir Walter||Captain Sir George Bowyer and|
|William, Herbert G, (Croydon, S.)||Worthington, Dr. John V.||Major George Davies.|
|Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Batey, Joseph||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Cleary, J. J.||Grundy, Thomas W.||Milner, Major James|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Jenkins, Sir William||Salter, Dr. Alfred|
|Daggar, George||John, William||Thorne, William James|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Lawson, John James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Dobbie, William||Logan, David Gilbert|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Lunn, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Mr. Groves and Mr. Paling.|
Resolutions agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ 8.38 p.m.
§ Wing-Commander JAMES
I apologise to the Secretary of State for protracting the discussion on this Clause but I wish to take this opportunity of getting information upon a rather important matter. When we were considering Clause 11 the right hon. Gentleman told us that the Governor-General could have any staff he wanted to enable him to carry out his special responsibilities in respect of the protection of minorities, and I believe that the functioning of that staff can be discussed or at any rate referred to on Sub-section (2) of this Clause. I wish to ask the Secretary of State how he visualises the actual working of a staff appointed by the Governor-General in connection with the special responsibilities which I have mentioned, and perhaps the simplest way of making my point plain and of getting information upon it, would be to indicate the sort of situation which I believe may have to be met.
Not only in Clause 11 of the Bill but also in paragraph 11 of the Instruments of Instruction to Governors and Governors General it is made clear that the special responsibility of the Governor extends to the safeguarding of the rights of racial minorities, and I wish to know how this responsibility would apply in the case of primitive tribes. Purely for purposes of illustration and elucidation of the kind of situation with which I w ant the right hon. Gentleman to deal I would ask the Committee to suppose that it has been reported to the Governor-General that there is oppression of a primitive minority, say in the Central Provinces. No doubt there will be plenty of busybodies like myself or the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) 634 who are interested in these matters, and by whom such things will be reported or it may be reported to the Governor-General by the counsellor whom he has perhaps, under Clause 11, detailed specially for this particular duty.
In such a case, the first thing the Governor-General would do would be to examine the situation for himself. He would find that in that Province—and I repeat I am only using this as an illustration—there were some 4,065,000 odd members of the primitive tribes out of a total population of 15,000,000, and that in the Legislature of that Province they had only one seat out of 112. And that, of course, perfectly useless to them, as the Franchise Committee expected. He would also find that these 4,000,000 people had no direct measure of protection by exclusion or partial exclusion, that is to say that the ordinary law made by caste people for caste people was running in the Province. That is a supposition which at the present stage of the Bill is not unwarrantable, although I hope it may be corrected later in the Bill. Suppose that the people whom I have described were being oppressed—not a wide assumption in view of the past record of that Province. For example, one remembers the liquor laws of 1921, and the question of labour recruitment in which no doubt, hon. Members opposite take a great interest.
The Governor-General faced with that situation might also be faced—again not an unwarrantable assumption in view of past history—with a Government in that Province which is at best negligent of, or at worst actively hostile to the interests of those people and therefore unwilling to act on its own initiative. The Governor-General would then feel obliged to make special appointments under Subsection (2) of this Clause in connection 635 with the exercise of his responsibility. How does the Secretary of State visualise the situation which would then develop? How will the appointments be made; and, when they have been made, how, in these circumstances, can the holders of those appointments be expected to carry out their functions?
§ 8.43 p.m.
§ Sir S. HOARE
I am not sure how far the hon. and gallant Member's question is relevant to this Clause, but as you, Sir Dennis, have allowed him to put the question I will give the answer. The answer is that in the case of an excluded area—
§ Wing-Commander JAMES rose—
§ Sir S. HOARE
I gather from my hon. and gallant Friend's attitude that that is not what he wants me to deal with, and I will stop at once. I will deal only with the case of the scattered aborigines in a Province like the Central Provinces.
§ Wing-Commander JAMES
But at least half the primitive tribes in the Central Provinces are in homogeneous blocks.
§ Sir S. HOARE
In any event, the answer is that the Governor, in a case like that, would act under his special responsibility and would see that a sympathetic official was posted to deal with the situation.