§ 10. Mr. J. Johnson
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that the Arab community of Zanzibar 1165 have refused to meet Mr. Coutts during his inquiry into the franchise for that Protectorate; that the situation is rapidly deteriorating; and what action he is taking in the matter.
37. Mrs. White
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the proposed electoral arrangements in Zanzibar.
§ Mr. Hare
My right hon. Friend is aware that the Arab Association is persisting in its refusal to co-operate with the Sultan's Government and the British Resident, and that it offered no assistance during the recent inquiry into methods of selecting members for the Legislative Council.
Mr. Coutts's Report is now being considered by the Sultan's Government with a view to its early publication in Zanzibar, and my right hon. Friend would not wish to anticipate this by a statement now. I hope that Mr. Coutts's proposals will dissipate the main objections to the programme for constitutional reform which have hitherto been put forward by Arab representatives.
§ Mr. Johnson
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the situation is an extremely dangerous one, and is not being helped by mischievous broadcasts from Cairo Radio, in Egypt? Will he look again at what I have termed the ill-advised proposals of the Rankine Constitution, which by communal electoral lists is splitting the Arabs from their old allies the Africans, in the island of Zanzibar?
§ Mr. Hare
I think that the hon. Member is quite right in what he has said about the Egyptian broadcasts, but I think he will agree that as these matters are being considered by the Executive Council in Zanzibar, and as shortly we shall hear from the Executive Council and be in a position to publish the Coutts Report, perhaps we could wait for that time before going further into the matter.
Whilst most of us regret the tactics adopted by the Arabs, and consider that boycotting is a rather negative way of approaching these problems, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of us have great sympathy with the principles they have put forward? If, when the Report has been published, 1166 there is still disagreement, will the right hon. Gentleman consider making a diplomatic approach to Zanzibar when he returns from West Africa?