§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
I beg to move, That this House do now adjourn.
Since our exchanges earlier this afternoon, and the declaration of a state of emergency in Nyasaland, it has become abundantly clear that the powers which the Governor of Nyasaland asked for are necessary. Since the declaration of the state of emergency, but not before, rioting has broken out, tear gas has been used and three Africans killed. [An HON. MEMBER: "Seventeen."] Maybe the number goes up as the news on the tape comes along. Since the declaration of the state of emergency, Africans have attempted to break into the prison at Mzuzu and, at Mzimbe, have placed road blocks to prevent the movement of troops.
The Colonial Secretary can dust off all the phrases which he used about Cyprus and bring them out again. He will have plenty of occasions to use them during the next few months. He will have plenty of opportunity to convince the British electorate that what we are faced with in Nyasaland is a group of power-drunk, mad African leaders desiring only their own power and willing to murder Europeans in the course of achieving it. If he dares to try that explanation once during the next few months he will be convicted of the grossest lie.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
Let us calm down.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The Colonial Secretary invites me to calm down. Frankly, confess that it is difficult to speak without heat about a situation which has been provoked by Her Majesty's Government by their own failure to take action over the last eighteen months and by their cowardice in yielding to the Federal Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland over a state of emergency which was quite unnecessary. If I speak with heat. I ask the pardon of the House. I will endeavour to contain myself.
280 I see the building up there of a classical drama and a situation in which we shall use force against the nationalist movement. We shall use all the arguments that we have used in the past and, in the end, we shall concede to force what we failed to concede to reason. It is the duty of the Opposition to warn the House and the country before this situation reaches the stage where truth cannot be unravelled from lies. That is why it is important that all of us should speak with all the power we can command about a situation which we have seen build up, about which we have warned the Government and about which they have failed to take the appropriate action.
I went to the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland eighteen months ago, with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association delegation. Our report was unanimous. It was signed by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service—a Minister for whom I have the highest admiration as, I think, most of us here have. It was also signed by the hon. and learned Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke), by the hon. and gallant Member for Eye (Colonel J. H. Harrison), by the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) and by my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl), my hon. Friend the Member for Southall (Mr. Pargiter) and myself.
This is what we said eighteen months ago:We found that the opposition to Federation was strongest in Nyasaland. Virtually all those to whom we spoke, whether Chiefs. African Members of the legislatures or leaders of Congress, and leaders of Asian organisations, were unanimous in their opposition. To them Federation has become a symbol for the frustrations and dissatisfaction which non-Europeans feel about their status in society. Vocal leaders of African opinion in Nyasaland told us that they were ready to sacrifice the economic and financial advantages that accrued to them from Federation. Indeed, they do not think much of these advantages. They argue that Nyasaland should receive greater financial help from the Federation than she, in fact, does on the grounds that she carries the biggest population and is the poorest of the three Territories. It is quite clear that to the Africans and the Asians the term partnership is not yet a reality.I ask the Colonial Secretary and the House to note the advice which we gave to the Government at that time.In our view, if the races in the Territories are to live together in amity the African 281 community must be made to feel that it has a large political stake in the Federation. This would mean a bold increase in representative government in the Territories, together with a substantial widening of African influence in the election of members of the Federal Assembly.The Government and the Colonial Secretary cannot say that they have not been warned about the situation that has been building up in this territory. Last March, the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party made a public appeal to the Colonial Secretary, asking him to concede substantially increased representation to the Africans in Nyasaland. Last June, the Governor was over here and he, too, pointed out in a public speech the overwhelming opposition of the Africans to federation and what was needed to put it right.
On 17th June last, the Colonial Secretary saw an African delegation from Nyasaland. They went away, if their conversations with me subsequently are to be believed, feeling encouraged by the way in which the Colonial Secretary had received them and the hope that he gave them that there would be a substantial increase in African representation. That was nine months ago. What has he been doing? The whole gravamen of the complaint on the constitutional side lies in the fact that the Colonial Secretary has failed within the last nine months to issue his proposals for reform of the Constitution when 1960, the date on which the fate of this territory is to be decided, is looming ever closer.
Northern Rhodesia has had its new Constitution. It disagreed about it. We had discussions in this House about it and Divisions about it. It has been trying to work it and has been registering for the electorate and for the polls, and polling will soon take place.
Concerning Nyasaland, we on this side have been pressing the Colonial Secretary, time after time, to say what he was going to do, when he was going to publish his constitutional proposals—if I had the time I could build up a formidable dossier against him and we have always been fobbed off with the sort of reply which we all know that the Colonial Secretary can give when he is not anxious to join issue on a particular question. There is a grave charge of neglect to be laid against the right hon. Gentleman in this matter.
282 The right hon. Gentleman will say that he took part in consultations and conversations. Consultations about Cyprus did not take all that time when there was a real desire to get down and discuss the matter. No one can convince me and those who have studied this matter that it would not have been possible for the Colonial Secretary to have anticipated a great deal of this trouble if he had himself taken the matter in hand and published the proposals that have been bruited about in the Press and in conversation during the last twelve months.
All of us who follow these matters know that proposals have been put forward, what the counter-proposals of the Africans were and that the Europeans, for many months, failed to come forward with any counter-proposals of their own. All these things seem to be common knowledge in the places where they are discussed. It is time— and long overdue, that the Colonial Secretary came forward and put these proposals before the House and the leaders of opinion in Nyasaland. What a tragedy this is for a territory, which as everyone who has been there knows, has had a record for peaceful and harmonious development. The Church of Scotland played a magnificent part in the early days in the development of the people of Nyasaland.
What has happened to sour and poison the relations? Federation. I have never heard anybody dispute that. The right hon. Gentlemen opposite are responsible for it. Collectively and singly they share responsibility for the unrest which exists in Nyasaland today. They were told about the opposition of the Africans to being forced into this tripartite arrangement, but they said, "No. The Africans do not know what is good for them." We know what is good for them. "Lord Chandos used to say," I can tell you that once federation is an accomplished fact all the reasonable, sensible body of African opinion will settle down. They will be quite happy to accept it."
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport) indicated assent.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The Under-Secretary of State nods. If he has been to Africa to see for himself he must know that it is the unanimous view that over the last six 283 years opposition to federation has become more and not less intense in Nyasaland. It did not need Dr. Hastings Banda to go there to whip up the Africans against federation; he was the catalyst which set fire to the agitation which already existed. He was merely the man who happened to be there at the moment. If it had not been him it would have been somebody else.
We are building up in Nyasaland a position in which a Territory is being forced into a constitutional path that it has no desire to follow, and which, indeed, is contrary to the path being followed by similar Territories in other parts of Africa. Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanganyika are all following the path to self-government. "Is there any reason," think the Africans in Nyasaland, "why we should not do the same?" There are 7,500 Europeans and 2¾. million Africans in Nyasaland. How can we ever hope that this will become a society in which European domination can remain an accomplished fact? How can we hope to ask the Africans to wait until—if I may use that choice word of Sir Roy Welensky's—they have become "civilised" and have reached the Europeans' standards?
Do we really think that in the light of the movement taking place in Africa—not only in our own Territories, but in the Belgian Congo and other foreign territories—the Africans in Nyasaland are so different from their fellows out there that they will sit quietly and wait until they have attained the standards that we set before they can have responsibility for their own government? People who think this must be living in a cloud-cuckoo-land, in the middle of the nineteenth century. I beg the Government to recognise, before it is too late, that the tide of history has rolled on irresistibly in Africa and that they cannot turn it back—not even though Captain Waterhouse is now living in Southern Rhodesia and begging the British taxpayer to support him in his interests out there.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. Member says, "Cheap", but it will be a dear proposition.
Hon. Members opposite should face the question: what responsibility has the 284 British taxpayer to protect the interests of Tanganyika concessions and other organisations which are operating in this territory? If that is to stand in the way of the achievement of self-government by people whom we know are entitled to it, and who should get it, and whom we should bring forward to self-government, what the Under-Secretary of State is saying is that it is cheap to ask the House to face the dilemma that hon. Members opposite should face, namely, that British commercial interests are opposed to the constitutional development of the people of the country. I do not know how far they are our interests.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
Is not the hon. Member aware that in the African context British enterprises, large and small, are the means of providing the wealth without which self-government will be a snare and a delusion?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am not going to be side-tracked into that argument this evening.
Our case against the Government is simply that they have either allowed themselves to be cajoled by the Federal Government. or agree with them, in the imposition of a state of emergency in a British Protectorate. Up to this morning, when the news came through on the wireless that there was a state of emergency in Nyasaland, there had been consistent denials by spokesmen unnamed. or by the Governor in person, about the need for a state of emergency in Nyasaland.
What has caused the change? We shall give the Colonial Secretary the opportunity to tell us. He failed lamentably to do so earlier this afternoon. We should like to know specifically from him —and the House is entitled to know it—what representations he received from the Federal Government about the need to impose a state of emergency in Nyasaland. This should not depend upon the whim of the Federal Government; it should depend upon the facts of the situation in the Colony.
We know what the attitude of the Federal Government has been, because The Times has set it out. When the Southern Rhodesian state of emergency was declared, the Prime Minister there said: 285If we only clean up the situation in Southern Rhodesia and nowhere else there is a risk of re-infection. I hope we shall find the other Governments follow the example that Southern Rhodesia has set.That was their attitude, and it is fair to deduce that since that time pressure has been put upon the Colonial Office and the Governor of Nyasaland to declare a state of emergency, even while he has been publicly saying that there was no need to do so. It is, therefore, right that the Colonial Secretary should tell the House whether that is or is not so, and if it is not he should make it clear that no approach has been made by the Federal Government.
From other published comments of the Prime Minister it seems that this situation has been deliberately provoked by the Federal Government and the Government of Southern Rhodesia. How else do we explain a sentence which, speaking of the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, says:He revealed that many weeks' planning had gone into the present operations"?How else do we explain a situation in which a strike of workers on the Kariba Darn was on one day described by the Minister of Labour as an industrial dispute and the next day found by the Southern Rhodesian Government to be a political conspiracy? We can hardly fail to reach the conclusion that because the Southern Rhodesian Government and the Federal authorities are becoming increasingly alarmed about the growth and influence of the African National Congress they have seized every excuse to provoke a situation in which they could clamp down on that organisation.
Is it not true that the Governor has now had to succumb, against his better judgment, to the views of the Federal Government on this matter? And we now import Southern Rhodesian troops into the territory—the very thing that the Nyasalanders feared. Everybody coming back from Nyasaland says that if there is one thing that the Nyasalanders cannot tolerate it is the thought of being dominated by the racial policies of Southern Rhodesia—and now we allow fuel to be added to those flames by permitting Southern Rhodesian troops to enter a British Protectorate.
I suppose that the crowning folly of all was to deport Dr. Hastings Banda to 286 Southern Rhodesia. "When the emergency is over", says the Colonial Secretary, "we shall restart constitutional talks". With whom? With Dr. Hastings Banda? Or shall we try, as in Cyprus, to find someone else to speak for the people of Nyasaland? The Colonial Secretary found that it was much easier to deport Archbishop Makarios to the Seychelles than it was to get him out again, and when he got the Archbishop out he provoked the resignation of Lord Salisbury. I wonder who will resign next time. I do not know; it may be the Colonial Secretary himself.
I believe that the Government have grossly mishandled the whole situation. They have mishandled it either because they have failed to react to the continuous pressure of the Federation, or they believe in what the Federation has done. The Federal Government are endeavouring to create the position before 1960 in which, whoever is sitting on the Government benches, whether it be the present Government supporters or ourselves, it will be impossible for this House to exercise its responsibilities towards this Protectorate.
I appeal to the Colonial Secretary. These people place themselves in the right hon. Gentleman's charge. This is a British Protectorate. Margery Perham asked, in The Times last week, "Is it sedition to want to remain a British Colony?" Have Government supporters, defenders of the Empire, reached the point where they are prepared to push the Nyasaland people into the Federation, to a fate that they do not want, rather than to retain them in the British Commonwealth and bring them forward to self-government? Is this what modern Conservatism means? Hon. Gentlemen and the Government are facing a real crisis of conscience here. History will determine whether they have answered it properly or not.
We have no doubt whatsoever about this on this side of the House. With all the sympathy and understanding for the position of the European settler there—I can understand and sympathise with it —I say that his future will be best safeguarded in Nyasaland, in Northern Rhodesia, and, indeed, in Southern Rhodesia if he could but see it, if he could come to terms with African nationalism and not try to repress it. That is the only way he can ensure a 287 long-term future for himself and his children.
Many of these Europeans want to stay in these territories; or course, they do, and, of course, they should have the opportunity of living their lives there. I would like to see them have it. I believe that they can be of great service to the territories if they remain there on the basis of equality with the Africans. If they do not, their future is either bloody for both of them, or, alternatively, African racial nationalism, which can be an ugly feature, will win.
I appeal to the Government now. Will they do two things? First, will they make an early statement of their proposals for constitutional reform? It is vitally necessary that the people of Nyasaland should know that when the 1960 conference comes they will be represented by a delegation which will comprise a majority of their own people. This seems to be absolutely vital if we are to hold the situation there. Secondly, let the Colonial Secretary re-echo once again the pledges that were given so definitely in 1953. Let him put them into his mouth again tonight and say, "We shall not hand you over to the Federal Government until you wish to go. We do not intend to give way either to pressure or cajolery by the Federal Government in 1960 and allow a measure of Dominion status to be conceded."
If the right hon. Gentleman says that, we shall not need the troops. They can go back to their barracks and the road blocks will disappear; provided that the right hon. Gentleman adds one other thing, "It is our belief that in 1959 the rôle that the British Government and Parliament will play in Central Africa is not to thwart the forward march of these people to control their own destinies in their own countries, but to aid and assist them to the best of their ability." If we do that, we shall have the permanent friendship of millions of people in Africa.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
An hour or two ago I made known the declaration of the state of emergency in Nyasaland and I answered a number of questions. I think I covered most of the ground. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) had no new material, and from time to time seemed to be run- 288 ning out of arguments. None the less, I will repeat something of what I said and will add to it wherever I can.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East has stated again this evening, as he did this afternoon, that the declaring of a state of emergency in Nyasaland and the arrest of Congress leaders had been taken by a reluctant Governor of Nyasaland. He said tonight that the Governor has succumbed to pressure and hinted more than once earlier on that it was condoned by a possibly equally reluctant Colonial Secretary, both on pressure from the Federation.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite have shown, in making this grave charge, an indifference to the truth and an utter disregard of the serious consequences of their words on their own future relations, whether in Opposition or in the unlikely event of their being in Government, with the Federal Government. The right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), whom I do not see here. and I am not surprised—
§ Mr. Callaghan
I do not know whether the Colonial Secretary heard what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said, which was that my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly is not well.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think my right hon. predecessor knows me well enough to believe that had I known that I certainly would not have said what I did. I cannot refrain from quoting what the right hon. Member for Llanelly said yesterday, for it is very relevant indeed to the argument that I must make. He said that the Federal Government werecompletely untrustworthy … to have responsibility and leadership."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, 2nd March, 1959; Vol. 601, c. 45.]That came from the lips of a former Colonial Secretary. The judgment of history upon an observation of that kind must be that a savage charge of that nature applies to the Socialist Party in Great Britain.
As a Government, the Socialist Party favoured the idea of federation. They left 289 the Africans puzzled as to what they really thought, and during months and years when the Africans were crying out for leadership neither Ministers here, nor, because of Ministerial orders, officials in the future Federation, were able to give the Africans a lead. Hon. Gentlemen and right hon. Gentlemen opposite completely lacked the courage to carry through what they knew in their hearts was the best thing for the Africans of Central Africa. They gave a miserable demonstration of weakness and indecision.
Now they are determined to try to break up the Federation by any means they can find, despite the assurances that Lord Attlee gave when he was Leader of the Socialist Party that, once federation came, the word of the Federation would become law and the Government of the day would try to help to make it work. The Socialist Party—and in this matter it is not their lunatic fringe but the Front Bench itself—[Interruption.] Perhaps I would not say that altogether, because I am not sure that this is quite an accurate distinction to draw. They put the worst possible interpretation on every word or action of a loyal and true friend of the United Kingdom, like Sir Roy Welensky. and they put the best possible interpretation on all the words and actions of those who would not hesitate to plunge their country into chaos and confusion. Determined to try to break up the Federation, they will use every excuse to do so. Today, the Nyasaland constitution; tomorrow, the affairs of the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse). In this vendetta against the Federation they are quite without scruple.
Needless to say, today's charges are, as usual, utterly untrue. The House will remember that Dr. Banda returned in July, 1958, to Nyasaland after nearly a lifetime spent in profitable work in London, where he was treated as a friend and welcomed by Londoners. His return led to disturbances, but at first they were the sort of disturbance that often happens when large crowds assemble and get out of hand. The Governor and I were both very anxious to give Dr. Banda every chance to help in the many constructive tasks which lie ahead in the Protectorate. However, it soon became quite clear that he was determined to reject any constitutional proposals which did not meet 290 the maximum demands of the Nyasaland Congress and then to create disturbances and to court arrest.
As I said earlier today, some days ago information came to the notice of the Government of Nyasaland which was of a very serious kind. I have seen this information. I am not in a position to disclose it—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—nor its source. Nor would any responsible Minister do so, nor any right hon. Member opposite who has ever held high office. I commend that thought to the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, who has not as yet had that particular privilege. That information made it clear that plans had been made by Congress to carry out widespread violence and murder of Europeans, Asians and moderate African leaders; that, in fact, a massacre was being planned. It was essential for the Governor at the earliest possible moment to strengthen the security forces. The Governor is responsible for the Africans, the vast majority of whom are loyal to the Administration.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am not disputing their opinions, I know their feelings about Federation, but the vast majority are loyal to the Administration in Nyasaland and wish to live in peace in Nyasaland. The Governor is responsible also for 10,000 Asians and 8,000 Europeans who, outside the main centres, live scattered round the country.
It was, as I said, essential for the Governor to strengthen the security forces, so he asked the Federal Government for troops. He asked the Northern Rhodesian and Southern Rhodesian Governments for police reinforcements and the Tanganyika Government for assistance at Fort Hill. It was becoming increasingly clear that the disturbance would make the declaration of a state of emergency inevitable. Had there been disturbances alone it would have been a natural step to declare a state of emergency at an early date. About the time when my noble Friend Lord Perth and the Governor of Nyasaland decided that it would be inopportune for my noble Friend to go to Blantyre for constitutional talks would have been a natural time, in those unfortunate circumstances, for a state of emergency to be declared. 291 It was a ridiculous suggestion that the Federal Government said that my noble Friend should not go. That was utterly without foundation.
There were grave disturbances in the Northern Province, and information coming to us showed that a large number of Africans—this has been reinforced this afternoon by further telegrams—were in deadly fear for their own safety and that of their families. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East suggested that the state of emergency has caused the outbreak of violence. He recalled the historic words, but I could apply them to him, "If he believes that, he would believe everything." There has been widespread violence in Nyasaland for the last ten days or so. The situation was exceedingly grave in the Northern Province, and there were serious disorders in the Central and Southern Provinces, but it was not the disturbances alone which filled the mind of the Governor. It was essential for the security forces to be strengthened before action was taken or appeals made for reinforcements. and these were quickly answered.
I have been asked a great deal about consultation. If hon. Members opposite chose to consult their former colleagues who have held high office in my Department, or in the Commonwealth Relations Office, I should be surprised to hear if they found those right hon. Members disagree when I say it is not the practice to disclose consultations carried on between Her Majesty's Government and a Government of a country in the constitutional composition of the Federation. This I can say, the Governor of Nyasaland, in arriving at the conclusion that he should ask for troops and declare a state of emergency, did so at his own exclusive discretion and not at the dictation of the Federal Government, given either directly to him or indirectly through me, or through Her Majesty's Government. As I said this afternoon, we approved fully of the action he has taken.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
From the central Government. The right hon. Gentleman has said that he did not exer- 292 cise his discretion as a result of an invitation. We want to know whether there was such an invitation?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If it will make the hon. and learned Member happy, I will dot the "i" and cross the "t". There was no such invitation.
This afternoon the Opposition made much of a report in The Times newspaper that the Governor had said yesterday that:no state of emergency was needed in Nyasaland to act against dissidents.I suggested to the House that if he was accurately reported the Governor may well have meant that a state of emergency might not be necessary before he could take certain action against certain individuals. I said there were, however, other things for which the declaration of a state of emergency might be necessary. Half an hour ago I managed to get through on the telephone and spoke personally to Sir Robert Armitage, who assures me that that is exactly what he meant. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite must really have taken part in a most extraordinary combination when they formed the Government of the day if they think it funny that Governors and Ministers sometimes speak with the same voice I have spoken of a number of things which it would be necessary to have for a state of emergency to be declared, things which really have nothing to do with specified individuals, like powers of Press control. the control of the use of roads and vehicles, the power to declare certain areas prohibited areas, to ban public meetings and to proscribe organisations. The Governor has in fact today proscribed as illegal organisations the Nyasaland African National Congress, the Nyasaland African National Congress Youth League and the Women's League.
§ Mr. Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)
Would the right hon. Gentleman tell the House by what legal authority protected persons, members of Congress, have been deported out of the Protectorate into a Colony and under what authority they are presently detained in Southern Rhodesia?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
They are under powers given under the emergency regulations, and as soon as I have received those from the Governor I will put them 293 in the Library. I hope that will satisfy the hon and learned Member. Although he might not agree with the policy, I hope it will satisfy him that the legal grounds are right. The Opposition suggested that the Governor had said yesterday that there would be no state of emergency. He emphatically denies this. He said:Exactly what we are trying to do I naturally cannot reveal to you and I would not expect you to press me on this.He told me today that he refused to answer questions on future actions and was really not pressed to do so.
Finally, the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East referred to the constitutional position and appeared to suggest that if swifter progress had been made as to the various nice adjustments of the numbers of Europeans and Africans in the Legislature there would have been no disturbance at all. I wish the difficult parts of the world were as simple as that. I have spent a great deal of time on an imaginative approach to the Nyasaland constitutional problems. It is not an easy thing, and no one who knows the problem will suggest that it is. I have given a great deal of thought and attention to it and seen a great number of people and had many talks with the Governor about it. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East is quite right that the Africans from Nyasaland who saw me not very long ago —[An HON. MEMBER: "That was last June.") I have seen them since. I see them without their having necessarily to go and report afterwards to the hon. Member. The Africans who came to see me from Nyasaland went away hopeful that there would be constitutional changes of an imaginative character.
I must remind the House where we stand in regard to the Nyasaland Constitution. I have repeatedly made it clear in the House that the Nyasaland Constitution, which came into being in 1956, would have to run until May, 1960, when the life of the present Legislature expires. I have also explained from time to time to the House, in particular to the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), that I have had considerable discussions, and the Governor has had considerable discussions, with the interested parties with a view to working out a new Constitution suited to the problems of Nyasaland.
It was our intention to bring these discussions to a conclusion this month, 294 and for that purpose the visit of my noble Friend Lord Perth was arranged. We wanted to have discussions through him with the Governor and with others, with all interested parties, as is natural and inevitable if they are to be successful, in a calm atmosphere in Nyasaland. Then came the disorders. The disorders in Nyasaland started before the visit of my noble Friend Lord Perth had been announced.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The reason why the Africans were so pleased after they saw the Colonial Secretary last June was that they thought that he had departed from his previous stand that he could make no changes until 1960. They left him under the impression that there were to be earlier changes.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I do not think that that is quite so. What they knew was that we would agree well before May, 1960, on what the changes thereafter were to be. Decisions, binding obligations and promises would have been entered into well before 1960. They were not as confused about that as the hon. Gentleman appears to be.
The disorders in Nyasaland started before the visit of Lord Perth had been announced. As soon as the announcement had been made, the Chief Secretary of Nyasaland interviewed Dr. Banda, told him about Lord Perth's visit and said that it was obviously necessary for the constitutional talks to take place in a calm atmosphere. In spite of this warning, and immediately afterwards, the Congress began to stir up even more widespread disorders, and it is their action which has led to the regrettable action which the Government has had to take today.
As I said this afternoon, I am afraid I cannot rid my mind of the feeling that there is something significant and sinister in the timing of all this in relation to the conclusion of the constitutional talks which the visit of my noble Friend would, I think, have brought about. I am forced to think that there are people in important positions in Nyasaland at the moment who do not want a tranquil atmosphere for talks and do not want the moderates to have a chance, or perhaps it is that they want to be able afterwards, when constitutional changes take place, to ascribe them to the violence that they have themselves created.
295 None of this must deflect us from our purpose. When law and order have been restored, we will most certainly resume the constitutional talks. Towards the end of his speech the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East asked me where we stood about the pledges given to the Africans of the Northern Territories. I say to him, with full truth, that we stand absolutely by those pledges, despite the fact that the Socialist Party has broken in a monstrous way the pledges given to the House by Lord Attlee when the Bill was passed.
§ 7.44 p.m.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
All of us who took part in the very long debates in the House some years ago on Central African Federation must be distressed, though I think not surprised, at the outcome in Nyasaland. It is some years now since I was in that territory, but I have kept in touch, as have other hon. Members in the House, with events there. It has not been for lack of warning by those of us who have some knowledge of that country that the Government have reached the present deadlock, because ever since federation was imposed upon the people of Nyasaland it has been clear to anyone interested in that country that only the most exceptional imagination and statesmanship, not only by Her Majesty's Government but also by the Government of the Federation, could possibly avoid trouble arising in Nyasaland.
Only a few months ago I had the privilege of going to the United States and meeting a number of people there who were interested in African affairs. [An HON. MEMBER: "Oh."] I do not know why that is thought to be funny. Whenever they asked me to give some appraisal of the situation in East and Central Africa my reply always was that the place in which trouble was likely to occur was Nyasaland, because the conditions in Nyasaland are such that the people there are passionately concerned that they should have assurances which so far Her Majesty's Government have signally failed to give them.
They look round the rest of Africa and ask themselves, "What is it that distinguishes us in Nyasaland from the people of Uganda? What distinguishes us from the people of Tanganyika? 296 What"—even more recently—"distinguishes us from the people of Somaliland?"
If ever there were people who are underdeveloped in Africa, it would be fair to say that politically the people of Somaliland are underdeveloped. Yet they have been given a promise that they will be almost catapulted into self-government in the immediate future, but the people of Nyasaland have been given no such pledge. On the contrary, they have failed to elicit from Her Majesty's Government any assurance that, if in 1960 they persist in their wish to dissociate themselves from the Federation in which Southern Rhodesia plays such a predominant part, they will have any consideration for that point of view.
It is quite true that, if one looks at the problem in Central Africa purely from the point of view of economics and finance, there are certain advantages to Nyasaland from being in the Federation. Those advantages are, in the minds of the Africans in Nyasaland, in no way commensurate with the tremendous disadvantage of being tied, as they feel possibly in perpetuity, to a country which, after all, many of them know very well. They may not understand the full constitutional meaning of federation, but there are very few people in Nyasaland who have not either themselves had direct experience of life for an African in Southern Rhodesia or had it second-hand from their relatives, because a considerable number of people from Nyasaland go to work in the Rhodesias and even in the Union of South Africa. Therefore, they know what they are talking about. They know what it means to live in a country in which the African is treated, time and time again, as a second-class citizen. For most of the Africans in Nyasaland it is just as simple as that. They want to be first-class citizens in their own country.
It is because they are so frightened of what may happen in 1960 and because they have had no real reassurance on that point that they have, regrettably indeed, taken matters into their own hands and have resorted to violence, although from such reports as we have been able to receive I find it very hard to believe that there is quite such a widespread conspiracy of such a nature as the Colonial Secretary has suggested. There were echoes in his speech, as my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. 297 Callaghan) quite rightly said, of speeches that we have heard on too many occasions in the House.
I have what I expect is one of the last letters that Dr. Banda sent to this country, not to myself, but to a mutual acquaintance, written precisely one week ago. Writing from his home in Limbe, he said:Though Federal and Southern Rhodesian troops are everywhere in Nyasaland and aeroplanes are droning overhead, the Africans are, at least up to the present, calm and even more determined to press their demands for secession and self-government. The only people who seem panicky and jittery are the Europeans, Asians and coloureds.He added:… the spirit of the people here has surprised even me. … Women, if anything, are even more daring than men.That, I may say, has been a not unusual occurrence in these affairs in Africa.
I have here also the protest that Dr. Banda sent on 23rd February to the Governor of Nyasaland against the sending of Southern Rhodesian troops into that country. That, surely, is one of the major stupidities of this whole situation. I have already said that, to put it at its lowest, trouble was possible in Nyasaland, and that that fact must have been evident to everyone for months past. There was the failure to give the political assurance that was the only way to meet the situation; but, arguing it simply on grounds of administrative and military preparedness, if Her Majesty's Government had had any intention of dealing with this matter in a statesmanlike way they would have made more intelligent preparation for it.
The most provocative thing that they could have done in an admittedly emotional situation was to bring in troops from Southern Rhodesia. That was the final act that would be expected by anybody knowing the territory to inflame things beyond control, and to lead to outbursts of violence which would be probably beyond the control of any African leader. This, I think, is made perfectly clear in Dr. Banda's statement to the Governor, in which he says:The sending of troops from Southern Rhodesia … confirms our original fears and suspicions about and against Federation.He goes on to say that ever since last October there have been discussions between the European politicians in 298 Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. They have been talking of a showdown, and it is believed this bringing in of troops from Southern Rhodesia is the showdown they have been discussing.
Whether that opinion of the situation is correct or not, it takes very little imagination to see that from the point of view of the Africans in Nyasaland, to bring in these troops must, to them, have been a signal for despair. The most elementary knowledge of the psychology of revolutionary movements would lead one to realise that if one really wanted to trigger off trouble in Nyasaland, the best way would be to bring in troops from the place that, above all, they feared.
I cannot conceive how any Government with a sense of real responsibility could have failed to foresee that this situation would arise. An hon. Friend whispers the suggestion that perhaps the Government did foresee it, and practised deliberate provocation. I should hesitate to go so far as to suggest that. I cannot believe that, at least, Her Majesty's Government in this country, foolish and misguided as they have shown themselves to be in one part of the Commonwealth after another, would be quite so stupid as to do that. But I should not be entirely surprised if there were not persons in Southern Rhodesia who would do that. Nobody who has followed the relationship between the Federal politicians in the Federal Government, under the influence of Sir Roy Welensky—who, I am afraid, we on this side find far less trustworthy than does the right hon. Gentleman—could be entirely free of a suspicion that there is an element of provocation in the situation.
I want to stress the failure, the abject failure, of Sir Roy Welensky and his colleagues in the Federal Government to do anything seriously to commend themselves to the Africans in Nyasaland. After all, they have had several years in which they might at least have done something. At every point they have said, "Look at what we are paying you out of the Federal Treasury"—and have thought that enough.
One may jeer at simple Africans who say, "We would rather be free and poor." They have had all these arguments about what they get, economically, 299 out of the Federation dinned into them time and again. They may not know exactly what they say, but they say it with the kind of conviction that cannot be withstood. They say, "We want to be free of this domination. We realise from what you tell us that we may remain poor, but we would prefer to remain poor."
These people are not entirely stupid. They realise perfectly well that the two Rhodesias are dependent on them for their labour, and it is quite foolish to suggest, as a former hon. Member has suggested in a letter to The Times, that secession from the Federation would mean that there would remain no economic link with the other territories. The other territories are dependent on Nyasaland for their labour. That would not come to an end overnight.
The people of Nyasaland reject the argument that they can be bought into the Federation. It is not just wild Socialist talk to say that the Federal Government have so lamentably failed in trying to win over to a constructive partnership what is admittedly the most emotionally antagonistic part of the population in the Federation. The Economist, a newspaper which is not rabidly Socialist in its outlook but which happens to have an extremely well-informed connection in Central Africa, said last week, in its note on this situation in Nyasaland:These events come at a time when Sir Roy Welensky"—this great statesman—has not yet taken an African into his Government, and before he has made a single liberal gesture towards the Africans of either Nyasaland or Northern Rhodesia.I believe that Sir Roy has made one gesture: Africans can now dine on railway trains if they are first- or second-class passengers. When Sir Roy had the opportunity, with politicians from Nyasaland who have now been discredited by people who are more vigorously inclined—I think particularly of Mr. Chirwa, a man of great ability—he did nothing whatsoever to try to conciliate them, or to co-operate with the African politicians in the Federal Parliament at Salisbury. On the contrary, again and again he jeered at them. He tried to humiliate them. To my mind, and I have followed this with some care, Sir Roy Welensky 300 simply threw away the possibility 'if bringing along the moderate opinion in Nyasaland that might have been conciliated and brought into some form of political partnership.
I believe that a considerable weight of responsibility rests on Sir Roy, but Her Majesty's Government here are not entirely free from responsibility, either. I do not wish to go over the recent constitutional discussions—my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East has dealt with that subject admirably—but I would remind the Colonial Secretary that in 1956, when the present Constitution was being discussed, I, accompanied by one or two other hon. Members who were all much concerned about the matter, pleaded with him that the 1956 Constitution was very far from adequate; that it was no sort of preparation.
We told him that with five African members for a country the size of Nyasaland it was ludicrous to expect them to learn the job of being members of a legislature and also to carry out the kind of political education and leadership needed in these politically backward, undeveloped countries. It was putting far too great a burden upon a handful of men. Is it any wonder, therefore, that outside the Legislature there has grown up a large organisation of the character of the African National Congress? A very great responsibility rests upon Her Majesty's Government.
As regards the present constitutional talks, the right hon. Gentleman has just said that it was agreed that there would be changes by May, 1960. That would be too late. What preparation is being given to African representatives who would wish to take part in vital constitutional talks in 1960 if the new Constitution is not to come into effect until 1960? Is it humanly fair to ask people in this situation, which they regard as of vital importance for the future of their people, to plunge themselves into discussions in that way without their being given time to prepare adequate representation?
I am perfectly certain that one of the basic causes of the present unrest in Nyasaland is the conviction on the part of Africans that, as far as they can see at present, they have no hope whatever of being adequately represented at the constitutional talks in 1960. Unless they have the conviction and assurance that they 301 will have real spokesmen of their own in a position of standing at the constitutional conference of 1960, no one in the House should be surprised that they take action into their own hands.
I believe that the Federal politicians of Central Africa and Her Majesty's Government in this country also stand condemned. Although we deplore violence and we recognise that violence is not the way in which we wish matters to proceed, we cannot but sympathise with and understand the actions of people who, having no other method to their hand for their salvation, resort, unfortunately, to violence.
§ 8.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East)
I feel sure that all of us in the House who care for Africa and have been there, as I have, on many occasions, are filled with sorrow that this debate is taking place at all. I am filled with sorrow, too, at some of the things which have been said. Merry nights, so it is said, bring sober mornings of reflection. I cannot help feeling that right hon. and hon. Members opposite will soon come to the conclusion that many of the things they have said in the last few days would have been better left unsaid. I except the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) who always makes her points in rational and moderate fashion, but I thought it was a little unworthy of her to refer to the Federal Prime Minister as someone who was untrustworthy, who took every opportunity to slight Africans, in view of the fact that he has only recently won an election in which he was supported substantially by large numbers of African voters throughout the Federation.
I thought it was singularly unworthy of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) to talk about a conspiracy instigated by the Federal Prime Minister. One could easily reply that there has been a concerted conspiracy on the part of certain people in Central Africa and in this country to wreck the chance of constitutional talks taking place in relation to the Federation as a whole, and Nyasaland in particular, in 1960. Such charges, I suggest, get us nowhere. They provoke antagonisms which make it difficult for men of good will of both races in Central Africa to press on with 302 the task of conciliation and understanding. They make it increasingly difficult for the moderates who are working to establish a conciliatory atmosphere.
Such charges undermine the position of men like Sir Roy Welensky and play straight into the hands of extremists, both black and white. Whatever Sir Roy Welensky's faults may be—they are not great when compared with his virtues—he represents the best hope for Central Africa. It may be that there are people in the House—certainly there are people in Africa—who do not care very much if matters do pass into the hands of extremists. I care a great deal about it. I know that all my hon. Friends care about it, and I suspect that a good many hon. Members opposite care about it, too.
I agree with the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East on one matter. Minorities in multi-racial territories are, of course, always unduly sensitive. There is the fear of being swamped and over-run. I thought that the great thing about the experiment in Central Africa was that we had set our hands to the task of creating a framework within which it was possible for both races to live without fear, for the African population in that part of the world to he brought to the point where they could take an equal share and, in countries like Nyasaland—let us be quite frank about it—in the course of time, where they could take the predominant share in their Government.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
Can the hon. Gentleman explain how this will be possible so long as Africans are not allowed to learn skilled trades and there is no technical education provided for them, as there is not in Southern Rhodesia?
§ Mr. Braine
On the contrary, I should have thought that the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu), who has visited the country, ought to know that the pace at which education is progressing in Central Africa is as great as anywhere in Africa today. It is true that a great deal needs to be done, but, after all, we are dealing with a people who, only a generation ago, did not know that the spoken word could be written down or that there were such simple aids to living as the wheel, the loom or the plough. This 303 is part of the difficulty of ensuring rapid advance.
§ Mr. Braine
In this debate, we are discussing primarily the affairs of Nyasaland, and I refuse to believe that the hon. Gentleman's assertion is correct in relation to that territory.
I am a sincere believer in the rightness and good sense of partnership. I believe that the gulf between the races ought to be bridged and can be bridged. For that reason, I say now, as I have said in previous debates of this kind, that all of us ought to weigh our words very carefully to ensure that this great work is not undone.
I have no quarrel at all with the unanimous report of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to which the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East referred. I entirely agree that there is in Nyasaland a need for more African representation. But we have already been told by my right hon. Friend that we were at the point of having consultations on the spot, and the Minister of State was on his way to have these consultations, when these disturbances broke out. It may be, since so many suspicions have been thrown about, that they broke out with the object of preventing the consultations taking place. At least, it is clear from the statements of some African political leaders that their object is not constitutional advance within the Federation, but a break with the Federation altogether.
The implication behind everything that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said was that the great mass of the people, the millions in Nyasaland, are behind this movement. I do not know what the source of the hon. Gentleman's information is. The Governor at his Press conference the other day referred to the fact that the African National Congress numbers 3,000 persons. Whether they can be said to be representative of the millions of inarticulate Africans I do not know. They may well claim to be. All I do know is that there are many other Africans, some of them political leaders—Mr. 304 Chirwa has been mentioned—who are in fear of their lives as the result of extremists gaining control of this organisation.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, SouthEast—I noted his words—argued that the Federal Government wanted to force the issue. He said that they had seized upon these disturbances as an excuse and wanted to force the issue before 1960. All the evidence points in the reverse direction. The extremist leaders in Nyasaland were seeking to force the issue to make talks now or in 1960 an impossibility.
Before I heard my right hon. Friend's speech I was filled with a number of doubts and misgivings. It is a good thing that a debate of this kind is taking place, because it has enabled my right hon. Friend to sweep away rumour and innuendo and to state the facts of the situation. His speech convinced me, as I am sure it convinced every reasonable Member in the House, that the action taken by the Governor of Nyasaland in declaring an emergency was correct.
There are two questions that we have to decide. The first is: did the extent of the disorders which were taking place in the Northern Province and elsewhere in Nyasaland justify the extreme step of declaring an emergency? The second is: was the build-up of threats, of intimidation—and, to use my right hon. Friend's words, of actual plans for widespread murder—such as to make an out break of violence inevitable? If the answer in either case is. "Yes", then the step taken by the Governor was justified. But it seems from what my right hon. Friend has said that the answer is, "Yes" in both cases.
I have here a copy of East Africa and Rhodesia, dated 26th February. It gives a factual account of disturbances which have been taking place in Nyasaland. This was before the declaration of the emergency. It refers to an African mob smashing communications at Fort Hill and to four Europeans in Fort Hill, three men and a woman, housebound and surrounded by 250 demonstrating Africans, who had to be rescued by the police. It refers to the wife of the local representative of the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association who had been injured earlier and who had to be flown to Lusaka. It also refers to three other Europeans who were removed by road. 305 It refers to riots at Karonga. It refers to the seizure of the airfield at Fort Hill. The newspaper says that similar disturbances broke out elsewhere.
This was on Friday, 20th February, only two or three days before the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) made his remarks to African audiences in Southern Rhodesia telling people to stand up for their rights—no violence, but to stand up for their rights. I would emphasise that several days before the hon. Member for Wednesbury was addressing large numbers of Africans elsewhere in the Federation violent disturbances were already taking place. The paper says:On the Sunday a police vehicle was stoned at Ndirande, where a crowd of 700 Africans gathered outside a hall in which there was a meeting of provincial representatives of the Nyasaland African Congress. Mr. H. B. Chipembere is said to have told the meeting—the speeches were relayed by loudspeakers to the crowd—that Africans would fight on, despite the shootings at Karonga. Every European was now an enemy of every Nyasaland African.Without commenting on that, which is the sole evidence that I have or that any hon. Member has, that seems to add up to a serious situation.
§ Mr. Callaghan
On Thursday, 26th February, following that, the spokesman of the Nyasaland Government said that there was no question of any need of a state of emergency in Nyasaland. That was after all that had taken place.
§ Mr. Braine
The hon. Member is quoting, as he quoted before, the report in The Times, in which the Governor said that it was not necessary to have a state of emergency to deal with dissidents. I am not talking about dissidents. I am talking about actual outbreaks of violence. I am talking about a situation of violence in which the lives and persons of various people were at stake.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Part of my case is that the Government of Nyasaland had said on more than one occasion that there was no need for a state of emergency. One of the occasions on which they said that was Thursday, 26th February. This is a different matter from the one we have been discussing today, as to what the Governor said yesterday afternoon. My point is that right the way through this series of incidents, which have been 306 fairly serious, the Government have said, "We can handle the situation. We do not need a state of emergency to deal with it".
§ Mr. Braine
The hon. Member can put his interpretation on what he aliens the Governor has said from time to time. I am not commenting on that, because I do not know what the Governor has said, apart from what I have seen in The Times. However, I would remind the hon. Gentleman that the late Sir Stafford Cripps said nine times that the £ would not be devalued before it was devalued. It may well be that one of the worst things that any Governor can do is to talk about taking emergency powers before the situation has built up to the point where it is clearly desirable that he should do so and be in a position to enforce those powers and to ensure the safety of all concerned. I believe that that is what really happened.
The hon. Gentleman and the hon. Lady have objected to the removal of Dr. Banda from the territory to Southern Rhodesia. I can understand something of the argument advanced by the hon. Lady and I should like my hon. Friend to confirm whether I am right in saying that if Dr. Banda had to be taken into custody—I am not saying whether the step was justified or not—there was not a prison in the territory which could hold him and that, in fact, demonstrators had already attacked one prison and had released a number of prisoners confined therein.
§ Mr. Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)
If there was not a prison in Nyasaland which could hold Dr. Banda, does it not suggest that there is a very large majority of Africans in Nyasaland who support his cause?
§ Mr. Braine
Not at all. A few hundred determined Malayan Communists kept their country in a state of terror for a number of years, pinning down vast numbers of troops. Cyprus is another example. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Hon. Members opposite should not cheer too loudly and too soon. The encouragement which is sometimes given, no doubt for the noblest motives, to lawlessness and murder costs our country dear.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
I doubt whether the hon. Member really meant to say what he did, which occasioned ironic cheers. He said that Cyprus was another example. He has perhaps forgotten what it was of which he was citing Cyprus as an example. He said a small minority of people could produce a situation even though the great majority were loyal supporters of the administration. Is he really saying that Cyprus was an example of that?
§ Mr. Braine
I defy the hon. Member to say that it is not. In a situation over a number of years in which any man who does not agree with the terrorists is rewarded by being shot in the back of the neck, there is no means of ascertaining exactly what the majority of the people feel. The hon. Gentleman is advancing a very stupid argument.
Here was a situation where a relatively small number of people were known to be planning—we have the word of my right hon. Friend for this—a campaign of intimidation and murder, where, in fact, disturbances had broken out, where people felt insecure, and the Governor, on his own initiative, asked for troops.
My memory goes back to what happened when the party opposite comprised the Government of this country, in 1948. A state of emergency was proclaimed in part of Malaya—I think I am right in saying about July of that year. In the period May to June scores of Chinese, Malays and Britons were murdered. Might not this have been saved if the introduction of the state of emergency had not been delayed?
I do not believe that here, thousands of miles away from the scene, we have the right to throw stones at the man who has the responsibility for maintaining order, or to say that this is the wrong time to take this step. I believe that we should send out a message of support for and confidence in this dedicated colonial servant who is facing what Sir Hugh Foot faced in Cyprus and Sir Edward Gent faced in the Federation of Malaya, a situation of the utmost peril.
A great deal of play was made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East about the Governor's statement as reported in The Times. What the Governor did say was that a state of emergency was not needed in Nyasaland 308 to act against dissidents. I believe that that was probably at that time a correct and proper thing to say. When the state of emergency was declared the Governor knew that he was in a position to declare it.
In short, we are concerned with the lives of people, not merely Europeans. We are concerned in this case with Africans, some of them leaders and moderates. The Governor has said that the vast majority of the chiefs are loyally supporting the Administration in this present emergency.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
Would my hon. Friend care to recall that the last time there were riots in Nyasaland, back in 1953–54, it was precisely the loyal Africans who were co-operating with the Government who were placed in danger, who were threatened and beaten up. That was the last time when there was trouble. It exactly supports what my hon. Friend has said.
§ Mr. Braine
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend.
I do not wish to detain the House longer, because a number of other hon. Members may wish to speak, but it seems to me that what is important is that when the Administration on the spot are faced with a serious, threatening situation, in which law and order is breaking down fast, they have a duty to introduce emergency powers as quickly as possible. I do not despair that in the long run we shall find a way through in Central Africa, but we shall not do so if right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are to seize every opportunity to make the task of those who have the responsibility more difficult. It is for that reason that I support the action which has been taken, and endorse the speech which my right hon. Friend has made.
§ 8.24 p.m.
§ Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
I should like to take up the last point of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine), when he criticised those who make the task of those on the spot more difficult. The whole point of this debate upon the emergency in Nyasaland is that we are criticising the Government and the Colonial Secretary precisely for creating a situation in which a state of emergency now or in the very near future would have become inevitable.
309 I would make this further point about what the hon. Gentleman said. He was arguing that the troubles in Nyasaland are not the responsibility of most of the Nyasaland people, but are the responsibility of a small minority of terrorists, and that the majority of the moderate Africans, as he called them, are afraid for their lives. I ask the Government this question: if this is so, why have they not long since given this great majority of moderate Africans the opportunity of taking control of their own affairs and of the extremists by giving them the opportunity of achieving, adequate representation on their national authority and in the Federation? That is one of the reasons why we are again criticising the Government on this occasion.
I want to remind the Secretary of State that one of the reasons why we are so concerned in this House about this situation, as I hope he will bear in mind, and right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, too, throughout the debate, is that this is not just another Cuba or another Indonesia, with a civil war going on, or disturbances between peoples for whom we have no responsibility in particular, or in whom we have no special interest. These are territories where there are large numbers of people who are of our own blood and sometimes of our own families.
There are groups of white people and people of other communities throughout the vast continent of Africa and millions of African people as well for whom we have a special responsibility and who look to us for protection, and if any right hon. or hon. Gentleman opposite suggests that we on this side are not concerned with the fate of the white population over there I would say, to correct him, that I for one have relatives in Nyasaland at present and that I am very concerned about them and that I am concerned, also, for the other white settlers and white workers in Nyasaland and throughout Africa.
It is for that reason that the party on this side of the House and, indeed, many responsible journalists all over the world for months have been warning that precisely this kind of treatment of African peoples would lead to a holocaust in the whole of Africa. It had already begun in Algeria and was boiling up in other parts of Africa, and could quite easily 310 lead to a situation in which the lives of white people would not be worth a snap of the fingers. It is, therefore, vitally important that we should be extremely careful about the way in which we handle such a situation, which is primarily the responsibility of this Government. It is a responsibility which they have dismally failed to carry out.
The Colonial Secretary showed the weakness of his case tonight when he finished up on that dramatic note about the alleged betrayal by the party on this side of the House to carry out the pledge given in 1951 by Mr. Attlee that we would try to make federation work once it came into operation. He recalled that it was when the Labour Party formed the Government that the idea of federation first arose.
Let me correct the right hon. Gentleman's history. Let me remind him, for the record, that what he described as having happened was not, in fact, quite what happened. What happened, as many hon. Members will remember—I am speaking only from memory and I am open to correction by the Minister if I am wrong—was that the first conversations were opened in Central Africa by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones), when he was the Colonial Secretary, to discuss constitutional improvements in those territories.
Federation was not the issue at that time and it was when his successor took office that the question of federation came up. A White Paper was produced, and there was a draft scheme, and my right hon. Friend went to Central Africa to discuss this scheme with the Africans and with the white population as a proposition for consideration, and we supported, in principle, the idea of federating those territories for their mutual benefit. So far, the right hon. Gentleman was correct, but we made this very important stipulation, that there was no intention of forcing federation upon the African populations and that in so far as federation became accepted it would be accepted with their agreement and would be adjusted in its constitutional provisions to meet African wishes.
The House will remember that after these meetings in Africa there were doubts and suspicions, particularly among the people of Nyasaland, because they 311 were specially afraid of coming under the domination of Salisbury and becoming another South Africa. My right hon. Friend then suggested that they should go back and discuss with their people the draft scheme for federation. He promised them that there would be a further conference in London within six months when they could come back, having consulted their people, to discuss the issue again to see whether they were more in a mood to accept the general idea and from there to proceed to discuss the details of the scheme.
That was the position when the Labour Government were in office. A General Election intervened, and the Conservative Party came to power. What happened? A conference was not called six months later, in London, to discuss the idea of federation, or to consult African wishes about federation. A conference of representatives from these territories was called for the purpose of completing the scheme of federation and putting it into operation.
It was for that reason that the Africans refused to send their representatives, or, if they did send them, they were sent merely as observers. The situation which arose after the General Election of 1951 was entirely different from that which was visualised when the federation idea was first mooted by the Labour Government. Mr. Attlee, as Leader of the Opposition, then said that if federation came into operation we should have no alternative but to try to make it work.
What we had in mind, however, was a scheme of federation on the basis of the White Paper, which would make adequate provision for safeguarding African interests through the African Affairs Board. What happened? The Under-Secretary of State and his colleagues know very well what happened to the promises which were given to the Africans about the authority of the African Affairs Board and about how the powers and authority of that Board have been completely vitiated since.
That was a further stage towards the disillusionment of the African. Partnership was the inspiring idea behind federation, but ten years have rolled by since it was first mooted. Where is its expression in the present Constitution, or in the statements or acts of Sir Roy Welensky and his colleagues during the operation 312 of federation? No attempt has been made to put partnership into operation. We know that the one preoccupation, particularly of the Africans in Nyasaland, who are a very special case, and of the Africans in Northern Rhodesia, too, is that they feared—although they did not know it for a fact until a day ago—that one of the things that would happen through the federal scheme, which has been imposed upon them against their will and without full consultation with them or giving them adequate representation, would be the end of the protection of Her Majesty's Government. The history of the African Affairs Board was one of the evidences which they had in mind.
I am sure that many hundreds of thousands of Africans in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia who know anything about federation did not realise that that protection had gone already. They have always believed that somewhere in the ultimate they would be afforded some protection from Her Majesty's Government and from Her Majesty the Queen. That has been the inspiration of the people in Nyasaland. My hon. Friend the Membor for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) referred to this as a nationalist movement. I question whether that is a correct description of the present position in Nyasaland. It is not yet specifically a nationalist movement. It is rather a movement of loyal colonial peoples against absorption by an authority which will take them outside the protection of the Colonial Office.
We know the threats which Sir Roy Welensky and his friends have made from time to time about their intention to defy the Colonial Office and to get complete control of the African in Central Africa. It is that fear which has now been dramatically confirmed by the gesture made by the Minister this afternoon, when he supported the action of the Federal Government in Central Africa in expelling a Member of this House who had gone there to make inquiries into the situation. That was the dramatic turning point, when it was demonstrated to the whole world that the protection of Her Majesty's Government for protected British persons in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia had already come to an end. Not only are we not prepared to give any protection to our African subject, but we are not even prepared to 313 protect Members of Parliament, to whom they look for protection under what they understood was still the constitutional position.
Therefore, my own immediate reaction, when I heard about what had happened to my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) and noted the Minister's attitude in supportng the action taken by the Federal authority in Central Africa, was to say to many of my hon. Friends in the Lobby, "This is the one thing which will guarantee that within hours real trouble will begin in Nyasaland and Central Africa. This will be the starting point." That is precisely what has happened. It is since that event that Africans have really begun to get excited. In a matter of a few hours these demonstrations have taken place, the shootings have begun and Africans are dropping in the streets. Under the emergency regulations, deaths have already occurred.
I have reminded the Secretary of State of what the Labour Party's attitude has been to federation from the beginning. It is no good his trying to suggest that the present situation was created because, ten years ago, the Labour Party suggested to the African people that it might be worth their while to consider federation. The whole record of the Labour Party since the war has been one of assisting colonial peoples to build up towards independence, right through from India, Burma, Ceylon, Western Africa and Tanganyika and the rest.
Everyone knows the story, but it is rather sobering to recall that not so many years ago, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) was attacking the Labour Government of those days for giving liberation to India, he was taking precisely the same line as his successors took in Suez, as they took in Cyprus, and as they are now taking in Central Africa, when he advocated that Britain should remain in India at all costs. What those costs would have been we can well imagine. Yet now we find our present Prime Minister, on his recent visit to India, making public statements in which he and his Government were taking credit for having led India to self-government. That is the contrast between the two parties.
§ Sir Peter Macdonald (Isle of Wight)
The hon. Member forgets that the India 314 Constitution was based on the Report of a Royal Commission which sat for several months before India obtained her freedom and that on that Commission all parties were represented, including the Conservative Party.
§ Mr. Hynd
I am well aware of that, but I was referring to what the hon. Member's own Leader of the Opposition of those days said at the time in the House when we implemented the independence of India and gave her freedom. If the hon. Member is not aware of that, it is time that he was. I recommend him to read the debates and compare what was said then with the boasts of the present Prime Minister about his Government giving India her freedom.
The Government must learn at long last the lesson that only by a policy of assisting these people—whom we can no longer keep in thraldom as we have been able to do for centuries—in their aspirations towards independence and helping them towards effective self-government, and maybe accepting delays in achieving practical steps towards progress which might be achieved in a few months, but which, by compromise and discussion, might take a few years, can we achieve the position in Africa which we have achieved in India.
If we do not take that course and we proceed with the terrible, fixed idea which was represented in Suez and in the Cyprus policy and now is being expressed in Central Africa, nothing will more easily and more fatally guarantee that explosion in the whole of Africa which all enlightened opinion throughout the world fears and has been fearing for a long time and which could bring about the most serious thing that can happen in this world apart from a clash of the great Powers armed with hydrogen bombs. Should this occur as a result of this mistaken and criminal policy on the part of Her Majesty's Government, it will not be right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House who will have to accept responsibility for the fate of the unfortunate white people who will be left to face the resultant situation in Africa.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ Sir Archer Baldwin (Leominster)
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine), I feel a great deal of sorrow that a debate of this kind 315 should ever have taken place in this House. During the time I have been here it has always been my hope that colonial affairs would be dealt with on a bipartisan policy. Let us quarrel as much as we like about our domestic policies, but what we are having at the moment, a kind of war between two political parties over colonial affairs is really tragic.
§ Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)
May I ask the hon. Gentleman one question? Would he tell the House what is the difference, in his view, between a bipartisan policy and a thorough-going Tory policy?
§ Sir A. Baldwin
I should have thought myself that a bipartisan policy was a policy agreed by the two political parties, OT indeed all three parties, and it is a matter of great regret to me that that is not so. I think it is also a matter of great regret in the territories affected.
In a small way, I feel a certain amount of liability for the Central African Federation, because I had the privilege of being one of the four hon. Members of this House who went out before the Federation was brought about. We agreed that federation was advisable, and we signed an agreed report. Among the members of that delegation were the hon. Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Coldrick), and, ironically enough, Mr. Stanley Evans, who was then the hon. Member for Wednesbury, who has been a great loss to this House—a loss which I regret as much as any which has taken place—because of his rugged commonsense. The other members of the party were my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary and myself.
We travelled throughout the three territories of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and we had between forty and fifty meetings with all bodies of opinion in those territories, both white and coloured, and we made a pretty good survey. It was after that survey and the discussions which we had after our meetings that we decided that it was advisable to make a recommendation that federation should be brought about.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said that the inhabitants of Nyasaland had always been peace-loving and had got on well together. That was the impression of the delegation when we went to Nyasaland, which was the last of the territories 316 that we visited. We had not had a disagreeable meeting in any of the other territories, and when we got to Nyasaland our impression was that the co-operation and good feeling between the European and the native were really first-class.
All that was shattered at the last meeting that was held. A meeting was arranged by the Provincial Commissioner at Blantyre, when we were supposed to meet local Africans. When we got to the meeting, the Provincial Commissioner said that he regretted that he felt compelled to allow members of the African Congress to come to that meeting. He said, "If I do not agree that they shall be there, there will be trouble." These members of the African Congress were not natives of Nyasaland. They had come over the border from Northern Rhodesia entirely to carry on the mischief which they have multiplied since then. When we had that meeting, we knew that the Provincial Commissioner was right in letting these people come to the meeting and take charge of it, because we saw on the green outside a body of natives who had been brought there in order to create trouble if the Congress leaders had not been permitted to come into the meeting.
The meeting was dominated entirely by those Congress leaders, and the local people had little to say. That has been going on ever since, and if the Nyasaland natives had been left alone and brought on quietly, as we had been bringing them on, there would be no trouble there today. The trouble is entirely due to rabble rousers, and I am glad that the Governor, supported by my right hon. Friend, has taken immediate steps to stop, if possible, any more bloodshed. [An HON. MEMBER: "Started, not stopped."] There has been more bloodshed and there have been more people killed in Nyasaland in the last ten days than were killed in Southern Rhodesia in fifteen years. It is not sufficiently realised that in the fifteen years when Southern Rhodesia had near-Dominion status not one trouble was ever brought to the home Government to settle.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
May I ask a question for information? If twenty-two people have, as I believe, been killed by the security forces today, how many have been killed by the African Congress?
§ Sir A. Baldwin
May I say that the security forces have killed only one or two of the natives whereas—
§ Mr. Grimond
The hon. Gentleman said that more people had been killed in Nyasaland in the last ten days than were killed in Southern Rhodesia in fifteen years. Can he say how many have been killed by the African Congress?
§ Sir A. Baldwin
I do not know. I know that they are partly responsible and that other people are partly responsible, includine some of the Opposition who are stirring up trouble in those territories.
§ Sir A. Baldwin
I do not propose to give way again. What I have said is correct, that there was no trouble in Southern Rhodesia during the whole of the time of Sir Godfrey Huggins and Sir Roy Welensky. I am sorry to see the vendetta against Sir Roy Welensky, who has clone so much for Southern Rhodesia, which has been carried on in the debate tonight. At least three hon. Gentlemen who have spoken have attacked him. I can understand the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East doing so, because he and Sir Roy Welensky crossed swords two or three years ago, and the hon. Gentleman takes every opportunity of attacking him in this House when he gets the chance.
It has been said that Sir Roy Welensky was responsible for the troops going into Nyasaland. The fact is that the Governor of Nyasaland, seeing that bloodshed was coming, requested that troops should be sent to Nyasaland to prevent bloodshed, and Sir Roy sent the First Battalion of the King's African Rifles on 20th February. The King's African Rifles, who are there now helping to keep peace, are in the main African natives, including many African warrant officers, and they are helping, as far as possible, to keep down attempts at bloodshed.
Therefore, I do not want it said that Sir Roy Welensky wants to dominate Nyasaland. He has not the slightest desire to do so. Why should he? Nyasaland is a liability to the Federation—[An HON. MEMBER: "Why not let it go then?"] If it were not for the wealth and good will of the Northern Rhodesia 318 Territories, the standard of living of the Nyasalanders would be very much lower. That should be remembered because, despite all the criticisms of Southern Rhodesia, one has to admit that the standard of living of the African there is a great deal ahead of that in any of the other Territories in the Federation. I hope that the irresponsible statements made against Sir Roy Welensky will cease, because they will do a great deal of harm. I am sure that when the history of this period is written, it will give little kudos to the Opposition for their attitude.
Hon. Members opposite seem to suggest that my hon. Friends and the Colonial Office want to keep the black man where he has been for the last 2,000 years. The record of what the European has done in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland disproves that. The Europeans have brought the Africans along tremendously, are doing so, and will continue to do so. The agitation from Dr. Banda and his colleagues is an attempt to scotch any social or constitutional advance for Nyasaland in the near future. Those men do not want a fresh constitution for Nyasaland unless it is their constitution and unless they are the leaders. They are rabble rousers. They want the British to go out of that territory, but not because of any feeling of sympathy for the African. They are using the African as a tool and are rabble rousing to magnify the troubles.
I hope that we shall support the Governments of these three Territories and that we shall take firm steps to prevent further nonsense from the African Congress, which is a small body of Africans with one object, leadership of its poorer brethren. There is no anxiety to improve the welfare of the people. They believe that because Ghana has its own leader, they should he in a similar position.
I hope that we will look after the African native and see that he has fair play. If we take a firm line, there are plenty of Africans who will come into the open who are at present intimidated. Only a few days ago there was an attack in Nyasaland when 1,000 Africans threatened the life of a chief. That is the sort of thing that is going on. We shall get the Africans with us much more if we stop intimidation and if the Government here and the Government of the 319 Rhodesias take firm steps to see that those people who want trouble are sent away from the territory.
§ 8.53 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I find it very strange that the hon. Member for Leominster (Sir A. Baldwin) should feel that this is not a subject which the House of Commons should debate. It now seems that emergency laws of one sort and another are in force throughout Central Africa and Kenya, and yet, apparently, this is a matter about which Parliament should not feel deeply. [An HON. MEMBER: "He did not say that."] At any rate, he said that there should be a bipartisan policy. The fact is that there is not a bipartisan policy, and no amount of wishful thinking—
§ Mr. Patrick Maitland (Lanark)
Surely the point made by my hon. Friend so eloquently—[An HON. MEMBER: "He can speak for himself."]—he is a little deaf and he does not hear these remarks—was that a rather tawdry, sordid, partisan quarrel about a man being deported was unworthy of the House of Commons.
§ Mr. Grimond
It is exactly that conception from which we should get away. It is an exceedingly serious issue and not a tawdry, partisan quarrel.
It astonishes me that hon. Members opposite have learned nothing from the Suez affair. We are to go through the whole process again. Again and again we have had examples of what happens when we continue on this course. Tonight we have heard the argument which we always hear—that this is a matter of a small disaffected minority, that the majority are unswervingly loyal to the Government, that it is a question of intimidation.
I am afraid that that argument has been heard in every similar situation since history began. We now know that the British can no longer bat on this wicket. We are not capable of holding down vast areas of Africa by force. The staggering thing is that throughout vast areas of Africa today the ordinary process of law has had to be abrogated and emergency regulations introduced so that men like Clutton-Brock can be sent to prison without charge and without trial—and it cannot be said that be is a dangerous agitator, 320 a disloyal and treasonable man out to make trouble. One cannot say that and hope to be believed.
I am bound to say that I did not find it so when the Colonial Secretary said that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) had run out of argument. I thought that his argument was as clear as daylight. It is simply this: are we going on to another Cyprus situation? Are we going in for repression and eventually having to give way to force what we refuse to reason? That is the only argument.
I accept that this is an exceptionally difficult situation, and notoriously so when we have an area in which there are not only native Africans but settlers. Nyasaland up to now has had an extraordinarily calm history, has been pro-British and came under us of its own will. We do not want to give the impression that we are going to hand it over to the settlers who, for better or worse, the Nyasalanders distrust.
I hope the Under-Secretary of State will tell us what is the exact situation. It was alleged by the hon. Member for Leominster that there had been a large number of deaths in Nyasaland—that 20 people had been killed. For the purposes of the record, I would say that so far as I know twenty people were killed today by security forces. Those are the only people so far killed in this territory in the last few days. There may have been all sorts of other troubles; I do not know.
Let us get this matter in proportion. As I understand it, we are taking these measures because it is feared that the whole territory will blow up as a result of some conspiracy. We are apparently not allowed to be told what is the evidence of this conspiracy, but it is sufficiently drastic to make the Colonial Secretary feel that the Governor must take the most damaging steps. Whether we believe in federation or not, the steps taken today will make it almost impossible to proceed with federation.
I hope that we shall be told more about this conspiracy. It is extremely serious that a conspiracy of this type should be discovered at this time. It cannot be said that it has grown up for no reason at all because of one or two disaffected agitators. I understand that the Colonial Secretary reaffirmed definitely the undertakings given. As I understand it, that 321 means that Nyasaland will not be forced into a closer federation with Southern Rhodesia against its will; that in fact it means that the British Government will remain responsible for the welfare of the people of Nyasaland.
I think we are inclined to forget in recent years that the first responsibility of a colonial Power is towards its dependent people, and that is not a responsibility which this House should simply wave aside. I agree that the settlers there may have done all they can to improve the standard of life and education of the Africans. I agree that the Africans will not be able to improve their standard of living very greatly unless the settlers help them. All this is true. We know that what matters is the status that people feel, that whether we are treated as human beings or not is all that ultimately matters to all of us, not only to Africans, and that no amount of patriarchy will ever work.
I suggest to the Under-Secretary of State that he should make it absolutely definite once again that we are not going to throw over our responsibility. I feel that one of our great faults in colonial affairs in general is the feeling of indefiniteness and uncertainty about the future that exists and that the strongest power or the strongest will is going to win. I am one of those who believes that ultimately power has to be given to the Africans. We hope that the white settlers will help to form a multi-racial society, but the ultimate power must rest with the Africans in Nyasaland. No doubt it must come gradually, but during the interim period the Government must govern, and they will succeed in governing only if they make it absolutely clear what the end is. The only possible end for a democratic people in the Western world is government by the people for their own ends.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Sir Peter Macdonald (Isle of Wight)
This is a very sad occasion for me. It is over thirty years since, as a young Member of this House, I first visited Central Africa. I remember that when I returned I had a definite idea of what should be the future of Central Africa. I felt that it should be a federation of both the Rhodesias and Nyasaland. Several hon. Members and I—including 322 one or two Members of the Liberal Party, which meant something m those days—pressed our views upon the Government of the day. We did not get federation, but we got a Royal Commission, under Lord Bledisloe. That Commission advised against federation at that time, but the reasons upon which I then based my memorandum to the Colonial Office still exist.
The two Rhodesias and Nyasaland involved an administrative responsibility far in excess of what their finances could bear. They were all poor territories. They had great potentialities, but, certainly in the case of Nyasaland, no minerals. At that time there were about 2 million natives and less than 1,000 Europeans there. A few Scots settlers were growing tobacco and cotton, and the rest were civil servants.
It was obvious at that time, and I believe that it is still true, that Nyasaland could not live on its own resources. I believe that that is the view of the leaders in Southern and Northern Rhodesias, and of most people who know the territory. Nyasaland has not been brought into the Federation because it will be an asset. It has a valuable labour force, but that labour force will go to the Rhodesias in any case, because it has nowhere else to go. One sees the Nyasa boy in every household in Africa, and in the mines and other workplaces. Anybody who knows him will agree that he is a very nice African. Everybody likes him. He is a very good citizen if he is brought up in the right way.
Today hon. Members opposite disclaim any responsibility for federation, but a Federation Bill was passed in this House. At that time the Opposition leaders expressed the hope that it would work, but in the last year or so the present Members of the Opposition who are supposed to be responsible for colonial affairs have done nothing but try to disrupt the Federation—and no one more than the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). He has done more damage to our relations with the Central African Government than any man I have known since I became a Member. I have never seen such a sense of irresponsibility as has been demonstrated by him, not only today but ever since he has been a Member of the Opposition front bench representing Socialist colonial policy. It 323 is the most disastrous thing that has ever happened to the Labour Party.
Everybody says that the Governor of Nyasaland was opposed to force being used, but he has now been obliged to take measures to maintain law and order in his territory. If he did not do that, what would he be there for? We have Governors in these Territories to maintain law and order. Why are there disorder and riots today? It is a long story, which goes back for a long time. I have known these territories for thirty years, and I was over there last year.
In Southern Rhodesia is the finest type of British settler that any country has ever had. Some of them have been there for generations and intend to make their homes there. Their children have been brought up there. They have always been on the friendliest and best terms possible with the African people. [An HON. MEMBER: "As servants."] It is utter nonsense to talk about servants. Go into the industries in Salisbury or in any other part of Southern or Northern Rhodesia and find equal service being given. The labour force is composed of Europeans—the technical people are mostly Europeans because they are qualified—and the best housed and best fed Africans anywhere in Africa. Everything possible is provided for them in the way of educational facilities, hospitals and schools. I have not seen any sign of discontent among them. It is all nonsense to say that these people are discontented. The same applies to Northern Rhodesia, as far as I could see. I have been seeing it for more than thirty years. I was in Nyasaland quite recently.
Why has the emergency occurred? It is because of Dr. Banda, [Laughter.] Yes. Until recently, he has not lived in Nyasaland for more than thirty years, but he carried on his nefarious work from London, from which propaganda was going out all the time. I do not know who was providing it, but in Nyasaland it was causing disturbance, created by people brought in from other territories. That is the situation today, and it is very serious indeed.
Nobody in the House can be pleased at what we see happening today in Central Africa. It casts no reflection on the present Government. The blame can- 324 not be put upon them. They have done their utmost to bring about a happier, more peaceful and more prosperous relationship between the various communities in those territories. I beg hon. Gentlemen on the opposite side of the House to realise what they are doing to their own people who are in these territories by stirring up strife—because that is what hon. Gentlemen are doing—and ill-feeling between the Europeans and the native Africans. I deplore it more than anything else I have seen in this House. One day it will react on the heads of the very people who are bringing it about.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)
The greatest case for having this debate is to expose for all to read the views of hon. Gentlemen such as the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Sir P. Macdonald). We have listened today to pure fairy tales from the distant past, which bear no relationship to the world in which we live.
We have heard of happy natives working for their masters and only stirred up by agitators from outside. The debate s to be wound up tonight by a rabid British nationalist who himself has been in favour of taking all kinds of wild action on the part of British people against others, so we may get a more sympathetic British viewpoint on nationalism than we have had from some Government supporters.
The whole debate has had a little bit of dust upon it. Dust has gathered on the words as they dropped from the Colonial Secretary. Those who heard about the rumours of immediate massacres being prepared can only have remembered what was said about Dr. Jagan, in British Guinea, where we were told that there were "exceptional purchases of petrol" with a view to burning Georgetown. When we asked how they knew, the Government could not tell us. Then Dr. Jagan turned up in the end as the Chief Minister.
We cannot get rid of the Dr. Jagans, Archbishop Makarioses and Dr. Bandas, because they represent the people of their own countries and the aspirations of their own people.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said, we are discussing not just the immediate situation in Nyasaland and the anxiety of 325 people in Nyasaland for a greater share of responsibility in their own affairs, but, first, the future of federation, and, secondly, the whole future of white settlement in Africa.
I shall take the question of federation first, because there is no doubt that Sir Roy Welensky is anxious about the development of affairs in the Federation. He knows much better than hon. Members opposite that these stirrings of African political movements in the Federation are backed by the people of the Federation. If it were really true that Dr. Hastings Banda was the only cause of trouble in Nyasaland it would not be necessary to deport him. It is necessary just because he represents his own people.
This is the first interest of Sir Roy Welensky. The second is the justified fear, from his point of view, that a Labour Government elected here would stand up for the British-protected Africans in Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia. Therefore, it is in the interests of Sir Roy Welensky that there should be a situation in Nyasaland with troops being called in and emergency regulations to cover the whole Northern Territory.
That is the situation we face. But much more important than the situation in Central Africa which we are discussing tonight is the whole future of white settlers in Africa. So long as there were not white commercial interests to hold them back, we have not been worried, even hon. Members opposite have not been worried, about Africans coming to political freedom. In Ghana and Nigeria, all that could have been said about primitive Africans in the backwoods, but it was not used as a reason for delaying political advance. What we are discussing today is the future of the white settler in Africa. That is the hard core of the problem in Africa and the beginning of a great crisis in the second half of the twentieth century.
One way to survive was adopted by the nationalists in the Union. It was the policy of apartheid. It was given its opportunity by this House in 1909 when this House did for the South African settlers exactly what Welensky would like us to do to the Central African settlers in 1960. We have seen apartheid and 326 what it means. Under independent settler control the fate of the African has become worse and not better.
I am told by hon. Members opposite that the African must expect first to see his living standards raised before he can be accepted as a civilised person. I ask hon. Members to look at South Africa, where the standard of living is higher than in Central Africa, and to see that when African living standards are raised the fear of their political action by the settlers is so much greater. That is why even the limited franchise given to them in the Union was withdrawn.
The sooner they begin to develop in a highly industrialised society, to develop trade unions and the skills to which my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) referred, the sooner they become a menace to the white settler minority. It is an absolute travesty of the truth to say that all they want is educated Africans. That is what the ignorant minority of settlers fear; because, without education, Africans can be regarded, as the hon. Member for Leominster suggested, as natives going peacefully about their business not troubled by political ideas from outside.
We were told in 1953 and 1954 that in Central Africa there would be a new look. There was to be the policy of partnership. When Lord Attlee, speaking for the Labour Party, at the end of those debates said that he wished the Federation success, he meant that he wished the ideas of partnership, which we understood were enshrined in that Constitution, success. What we have seen since has been that inevitably, because there is no escape from it, the Central African Federation has been moving towards the same policy of apartheid. The reason for that is that there is a basic dilemma facing the white settlers in Central Africa. They will not state the ultimate object. They cannot say, Welensky cannot say, nor can any other leader of the Europeans in Central Africa say, what the long-term future of the Federation will be.
§ Sir P. Macdonald
If the hon. Member had read or listened to Sir Roy Welensky's speeches over the years, he would know what he has in his mind as regards the future of Central Africa. All the time he has said that what they want is partnership in Central Africa with the Africans.
§ Mr. Benn
The hon. Gentleman is quite right that, when Sir Roy Welensky is over here, he makes those sort of speeches. When he is back in Central Africa—[Interruption.] I am very much obliged to the hon. Gentleman, because he has absolutely pointed the dilemma. Because of the Constitution of Central Africa, Sir Roy Welensky is responsible to a primarily European electorate. It is impossible for him to concede what is bound to come in the end, which is that the majority in Central Africa will govern.
This is the basic dilemma of the settlers in Central Africa. My hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stone-house) was the occasion for pinpointing it. We do not know the text of his speech. What we do know is that the Declaration of Human Rights would be a subversive document in the Central African Federation. So would be the Sermon on the Mount and quite a lot of other things as well. Therefore, it is the dilemma of the settlers in Central Africa that concerns us today. This is a very serious problem just because of the fact that, in the ultimate analysis, there is a conflict of interests between the white settlers and the Africans, unless it can be resolved by peaceful means. We have the hideous parallel of the Algerian war, which is a much closer parallel to this situation than the parallels given of Ghana, Cyprus or Malta.
What we are discussing today is not whether the Africans ultimately enter into their inheritance in Central Africa. That is decided by history. What we are discussing is how they will enter into their inheritance in Central Africa; whether it is to be by peaceful means, conceded by Parliament and by the settlers, or whether it is ultimately to be the way of violence.
Violence takes place if there is no peaceful alternative. The history of Parliament, this very institution in which we sit and work today, is the history of a revolutionary instrument that lay to the hands of the people of Britain and saved them from the necessity, except on occasions, of resorting to force. Is a developing African community in Central Africa to be denied the same instruments of peaceful progress that lay to the hands of the British people? Even when we in Britain were poor, ignorant, illiterate backwoodsmen and natives, we still had 328 this instrument. We used it. That is why when we go to the House of Lords on the opening of Parliament we see an essentially feudal assembly on the surface but underneath the sinewy strength and popular support of the modern democratic state.
This is the only way to solve the problem in Africa. We cannot be impartial in this House on African freedom, because if we do not give freedom to Africa our denial of freedom in Africa will ultimately enslave us and kill the freedom that we enjoy in this country. The events of 13th May in France last year showed that, far from Algeria being controlled by France, France was controlled by Algeria. If we go on in the future trying to pursue a policy of repression in Central Africa we shall ourselves fall victims to the methods that we ourselves use.
Like many of the younger Members of the House I look forward to the end of this century, not just as a period for our children and grandchildren to enjoy, but as a period of my own working life, and I deeply resent the fact that the name of Britain should be associated, because of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. and hon. Friends, with repression, force and violence—all over the world. [Interruption.] When I read the announcement that we are to spend another £1½ million on propaganda to convince the uncommitted areas of the world that we stand for freedom, I thought of a much cheaper way of convincing them. If we do stand for freedom, let us reverse our policy on this and similar issues.
The Opposition tonight, not for the first time, are speaking with the true voice of Britain—[Interruption.] If there is to be friendship between the British peoples—
§ Mr. Antony Head (Carshalton)
When the hon. Gentleman said that he was speaking with the true voice of Britain, I merely ask him whether he, having said what he did about my right hon. Friend, would give Nyasaland independence right away?
§ Mr. Benn
The right hon. Member for Carshalton (Mr. Head) has not thought Nyasaland important enough to attend the debate upon it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] He is also, of course, the author of one of the greatest acts of violence we have known in recent years. 329 He also ignores the tact that the plea of the people of Nyasaland, which we support tonight, is that Nyasaland should remain a British Colony.
§ Mr. Benn
The answer is that Dr. Hastings Banda and his colleagues asked, first, that Nyasaland should remain a British Colony, and secondly, that the people there should decide their own affairs. We support that view. But I shall come to the right hon. Gentleman, because he typifies everything about which I wish to speak tonight. If there is to be friendship between Britain and the Arab countries and the uncommitted countries of the world and in the Commonwealth and in Africa, it will be because we spoke up on Suez—[Interruption.]—and also because tonight my right hon. and hon. Friends have spoken up for the cause of freedom in Africa.
§ 9.23 p.m.
§ Mr. John Arbuthnot (Dover)
I have, perhaps, been the most recent visitor from this House to Nyasaland. I do not for a moment want to suggest that because I spent what was merely a few days there I begin to know the depth of the problems that exist in that territory, but I am absolutely convinced that the fundamental interest of the people of Nyasaland, whatever may be their colour or their political thoughts, is that peace should be preserved, and that they should be left to get on with the job of bringing up their families, and generally improving their standard of living.
I am also convinced that the ordinary people of Nyasaland will be grateful to my right hon. Friend and to the Government for their determination that peace shall be preserved, and shall not be allowed to be disturbed by rabble rousers, whether they are rabble rousers out there or whether they are in this House.
My hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Sir A. Baldwin) regretted deeply that this debate should be taking place at all. He was attacked by the Leader of the Liberal Party for saying that, but I am quite sure that my hon. Friend was right in his regret. Many of the things which have been said in the heat of the 330 moment during this debate, when they are sent abroad—since they are inflammatory "snippets" they will certainly be sent abroad—will do immense damage to the real interests of the people of Nyasaland and the people of Africa as a whole.
I join with my hon. Friends who have regretted that this debate is taking place. I am sure that, whatever our political views may be, all of us in the House, on whichever side we may sit, have one fundamental interest at heart. We all want to see Africa steadily developing and taking her place, or her series of places, in the great nations of the world, improving her standard of life and playing a full part in the community of nations. I am sure that the kind of debate we have had this evening cannot contribute to the aim which we all fundamentally wish to see achieved.
The hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) said that the issue was not whether Africans should gain power in Africa, but how Africans should gain power in Africa. That will have been agreed on all sides of the House, but I feel that, if we start making attacks upon Sir Roy Welensky or anybody else, we shall not really help the attainment of power by Africans in Africa, which we all want to see. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about Dr. Banda?"] I would say the same for Dr. Banda. I hope that hon. Members opposite will bear in mind that the sentiments which have been expressed concerning Dr. Banda have been much more restrained than the words which have been directed at Sir Roy Welensky.
I am sure that I speak for hon. Members on all sides of the House when I say that we want to see a partnership in which we all assist all sections of the community in Africa and in Nyasaland, as a part of Africa, to play their part in improving their standard of life and advancing towards full democracy.
§ 9.28 p.m.
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Rochester and Chatham)
The Secretary of State did his high office a disservice when, instead of defending the policy he is pursuing, he spent most of his time today trying to accuse the Opposition of being irresponsible. When I have finished, I think that hon. Members will understand that, if there is any irresponsibility at all, it rests with the Government.
331 The Secretary of State referred to the fact that the Opposition gave some support to African Federation. Let us examine this and see exactly what happened. Mr. Attlee, as he then was, said, in 1953:I should like the Secretary of State"—who was then Mr. Lyttelton—to give credit to those on this side who believe that this is a dangerous experiment and who, in particular, believe that this experiment … needs to be approached with greater caution".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th May, 1953; Vol. 515, c. 419.]The Secretary of State himself said something similar when he was questioned in Northern Rhodesia, on 21st January, 1957, when Mr. Chileshe said that there was fear that political pressure might be brought to bear on the Colonial Office and Her Majesty's Government to give up the power as a protective power. The Secretary of State said that would not happen. He went on:What I have been saying and what I feel is this, that I am anxious that the loyalties that centre on me now should be transferred to the Federal Government. I want to see that loyalty built up so that people can look with equal confidence to Salisbury as they now look to me as Secretary of State.The Secretary of State continued:I made it absolutely clear here, in Nyasaland and in Salisbury, that until that happens there is no question of severance of the bonds that bind us together or the protectorate status of this Territory. I think I have made the position absolutely clear on innumerable occasions.Is the Secretary of State following that line now? I suggest that he is not. He is letting down the powers which he has a duty to protect.
The Secretary of State said on another occasion that it was our endeavour to help Nyasaland towards a constitution and that the people in that territory would have free access to the constitution that would be made as a result of the 1960 conference and that there would be an opportunity for them to be fully and well represented. Does the Secretary of State think that at present there is that kind of representation? Is it that in talking to Dr. Banda the Governor was not able to give conditions that enabled him to go to his people and say, "Yes, this is something that we can present as a fair representation for us to go to the 1960 constitutional conference"?
332 The Secretary of State ought to tell us what has been happening as the result of that meeting. He has not done so. Perhaps the Under-Secretary of State will be able to tell us something about it. I wonder whether the Secretary of State, or the Under-Secretary, can tell us whether we still stand firmly behind the Constitution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which says that Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland should continue under the special protection of Her Majesty with separate Governments for so long as their respective peoples so desire. It is obvious by their action in the last day or two that the peoples do not desire it.
§ Mr. Bottomley
The Africans obviously feel let down. They have no alternative but to demonstrate. This demonstration has taken place. I would make a plea to them, as I am sure all hon. Members would do. We hope that in their demonstration they will show no violence. We hope they will demonstrate peacefully. This they have been doing. We have it on the authority of the Governor that there is no fear or alarm, that there would be no outbreaks of violence. What has changed the Governor's mind? Let me give some quotations.
On 23rd February, 1959, the Governor, speaking at Zomba, said:The situation has been well contained.On 26th February a Government spokesman said:There is no question of a state of emergency.That is within the last few days. Why is there now a state of emergency? There is a state of emergency because, as my hon. Friend has said, pressure has been put upon the Secretary of State and the Governor of Nyasaland by the Federation Prime Minister to do precisely this. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is untrue."] Let the Secretary of State say that it is untrue. He has not said that yet. It is not untrue. I repeat that there has been pressure. Perhaps the Under-Secretary will give us evidence that there has not been pressure, not merely say that there has not been pressure but give evidence that that is so.
333 Is it not a fact that the Premier of Southern Rhodesia himself said that before Christmas they were preparing for this state of emergency? If he said that, then was it not obvious that if there was to be a state of emergency in Southern Rhodesia it would inevitably spread, as a result of the direction of the Federal Government, to the wider areas? So we have a state of emergency today in Nyasaland stemming directly from the action of the Premier of Southern Rhodesia, and this pressure has been on constantly.
I read in a newspaper the other day that the emergency is alarming. Territorials are being called up. Who knows? Unless something is done immediately the situation may get out of hand. If this is so, I think the Secretary of State has a responsibility, before British Armed Forces from this country, including National Service men, are sent in support, to see that this House should be consulted at least, that it should be told about it.
There was a debate towards the end of last year when we had the opportunity of seeing the Prime Minister of the Federation, Sir Roy Welensky, in the Gallery in this Chamber. I remember asking him, "How is it possible for you to make speeches which are so irresponsible, far more irresponsible than anything which has been said by Africans who have been locked up for daring freely to express their thoughts?"
Sir Roy, during the election last year, said:I am going to stop the large element who look over the shoulders of the Federal Government for support from some Members of the House of Commons.The Members of the House of Commons are the ones who want fairness and who are doing their best to build up British standards. The Secretary of State will, I think, agree with me that what we want to do is to build up these standards, standards of democracy.
Does anybody on the benches opposite really suggest that it was democracy when the Secretary of State said, earlier, that the present Constitution will remain in force until 1960? Under this, six elected European representatives there are representing fewer than 20,000 non-Africans, and there are five nominated Africans 334 representing a population of 2¼ million Africans. Is this the basis upon which Nyasaland is to be represented at the constitutional conference? I put it to hon. Gentlemen opposite, if they were asked to accept such conditions as the basis of democratic representation and for expressing their views at a conference, would they accept them? Of course they would not. Neither will the Africans, and we have to face this.
Last night there was a television broadcast in Moscow by our Prime Minister. I am sure that we would all agree with these words used there by the right hon. Gentleman:What used to be called the British Empire is now the Commonwealth. This is a free association of 600 million people of every race and creed which stretches right round the world. This is not a military alliance. It has no written rules of membership. It is an association of people who found that they shared the same ideas about the organisation of human affairs. This Commonwealth association is still growing in numbers. Since the war five nations have joined it, and we expect that others will follow. We do not seek to impose our system on anyone.It is because we have followed that standard that Ghana, Nigeria and other countries have joined this community of nations. If we pursue the policy we are pursuing in Nyasaland we may lose even the support of those countries. We therefore ought to give real consideration to those words used in another land and give them our fullest support. It is because we think that the Government are not doing this, and that they are following a policy leading to nothing other than these disasters, that we shall ask the House to vote against the Government. It is our earnest desire that there shall be peace in Africa. It is our earnest desire that we should not develop in the world a conflict between black and white.
I have just returned from Ghana. I remember that in 1948 there were difficulties in that country and some men had to be detained. But the then Labour Government were wise enough to say, "If we are to settle this, we must examine it on the spot." A Commission went out, the Watson Commission. There is no doubt that as a result of that action Mr. Nkrumah, who was then detained and is today the Prime Minister, is pro-British. I suggest that a similar procedure should be tried again. I put it to the Colonial 335 Secretary that it might even be possible for a Parliamentary delegation to go out at once to Nyasaland. If the right hon. Gentleman accepts that suggestion, he should make clear that whoever went would not be treated as prohibited immigrants.
As I have said, we shall vote against the Government tonight because this is the same Government which has continually followed a policy which led to the Suez incident; that has caused great troubles in Kenya, in Cyprus, in Malta—[HON. MEMBERS: "0h."]—and now in Nyasaland. It is one emergency after another. The speeches which we have heard from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have told the same story over and over again.
When I was in Ghana last week I said that we of the working classes in this country—[HON. MEMBERS: "Working classes."]—we of the working classes had the same experience as the Africans. We had to fight for our freedom. We had to fight for the right of association. From the freedom of association stem the other freedoms—freedom of speech, freedom of the Press, and I say—
§ Mr. Bottomley
I say to the Government that if they continue to follow the policy pursued so far they will give greater strength to the totalitarian forces of the world and destroy democracy—
§ Sir H. Mackeson
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the right hon. Gentleman to describe himself as a member of the working classes? He is a Member of Parliament, representing a Kent constituency.
§ 9.43 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Julian Amery)
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. 336 Callaghan) moved the Adjournment of the House earlier today to discuss the declaration of a state of emergency in Nyasaland. Most of the speeches which have been made by hon. Members on the back benches opposite have been on the wider theme of the rights and wrongs of the policy of Central African Federation. The last speech which we heard from the right hon. Member for Rochester and Chatham (Mr. Bottomley) seemed to be on an even wider theme as well. During the few minutes that remain to me I will try to direct my remarks to the definite matter of urgent public importance which is the subject of our debate.
As I understand, four main charges have been made by the party opposite against the Government. We have been told that the major cause of the present crisis was the delay over constitutional discussions. We have been told that there was no real ground for declaring a state of emergency. We have been told that it was wrong to introduce Central African Federation forces into Nyasaland. We have been told that what has happened in Nyasaland has been the result of a conspiracy, or a machination, on the part of the Central African Federation Government. I want to try to deal with those four points.
First, I want to deal with the constitutional issue. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen who believe that this crisis has been caused in any way by any dilatoriness or delay over constitutional discussions are completely wrong. The truth is—and the reports leave very little doubt about it—that Dr. Banda did not mean to reach agreement on the constitutional issue at this time. He was determined to set very high terms and, when these were refused, to lead a campaign of speeches and then of disturbances with the deliberate purpose of courting arrest.
There is no question of delay here. There was no chance, as it is now clear, of reaching agreement on the constitutional issue. We hoped until the very last minute that it would be possible to reach agreement on that basis. That is why the Minister of State was to go out. The truth is that Dr. Banda did not want it.
There was a still more sinister feature which the House must have in mind. Not only were the African Congress and its 337 leaders aiming at a policy of disturbance and civil disobedience after the failure of constitutional talks which they anticipated, but there was the conspiracy of murder. [An HON. MEMBER: "We have heard this before."] An hon. Member says that we have heard this before. The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) said that "this brings up echoes of past speeches." The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) said that "we have had this all before, and are we to have another Cyprus?". We have had it all before. Remember Mau Mau. I remember Lord Chandos standing at this box and explaining to the House exactly what was the Mau Mau conspiracy. Hon. Members on both sides had a great deal of difficulty in believing that these things could be. We have heard it before not very far away from Nyasaland—in Kenya.
Let hon. Members with any illusions on these matters have clearly in their minds that if we had not taken appropriate action at the right moment there might well have been a massacre of Africans, Asians and Europeans on a Kenyan scale. The Government have to take responsibility in these matters and to give the House the assurance of the knowledge which they have.
Words have an extraordinary impact on all of us, particularly on an Assembly like ours. The moment the word "emergency" was pronounced some very strange misconceptions flew through the minds of right hon. and hon. Members.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East in opening the debate, said that since the emergency was proclaimed there have been deaths, use of tear gas and attacks on prisons. There were deaths on 20th, 22nd and 26th February resulting from the disturbances. Tear gas was used on 22nd and 24th. There were attacks on prisons on 19th and 20th. These things have been happening for some time.
I think that I made two statements to the House on the subject. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was here and will remember them. This is not a new development. It is not since an emergency was proclaimed that there has been death, use of tear gas and attacks on prisons. These things were happening some time before.
338 The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland said that he understood that no one had been killed until today.
§ Mr. Amery
He said that he understood that this was not so. Far be it from me to criticise the hon. Gentleman, but I would have thought that before presuming to intervene in an important matter of this kind he would have briefed himself a little.
The hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) told us that all this had been sparked off by the incidents surrounding the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse). They have been happening since 19th February.
§ Mr. Amery
Believe me, it was on this scale. Indeed, some of the worst troubles were on the 24th and the 26th. [An HON. MEMBER: "How many?"] On the 26th, the Northern Province of Nyasaland was isolated. The airfield was no longer under our control. Rioters had put rocks and tree trunks over it. Our convoys could not get through to it.
§ Mr. Grimond
How many people have been killed by the African Congress? That was the question I asked.
§ Mr. Amery
That is not the question that the hon. Member asked. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] It is hard to tell, in riots, how people are killed. [HON MEMBERS: "Oh."] There have been deaths. [Interruption.] The hon. Member seems to take pleasure in this matter and to find humour in it. There is not very much humour in it.
§ Mr. Callaghan
In his statement last Friday morning, the hon. Gentleman said:There were also disturbances at Lilongwe in which tear gas had to be used to disperse a serious riot. The King's African Rifles were compelled to fire four rounds, as a result of which two persons were killed and one 339 wounded."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th February, 1959; Vol. 600, c. 1459.]What has that to do with supporting his case that the Congress has been killing people?
§ Mr. Amery
The hon. Member misrepresents me—[HON.MEMBERS: "Oh."]—in his usual way. I have never said that the Congress killed people. I said there were riots which led to people being killed.
This has not happened only today. It has been happening for ten days. It is complete nonsense to believe that it is incidents of today or of yesterday, since the incident with the hon. Member for Wednesbury took place, that have sparked off the emergency. The situation has been building up over the last ten days and it is a situation which at any stage in the last week would amply have justified the declaration of an emergency. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why did not the Governor declare one?"] The Governor had an extremely heavy responsibility, which the House should have in mind and which my right hon. Friend explained earlier.
The settler community and part of the Asian community are scattered throughout Nyasaland. The moderate African leaders are not always easy to protect from the point of view of the houses where they live. If a state of emergency had been declared before there had been sufficient forces in the country, there might well have been the bloodbath which we feared. The Governor therefore delayed in the proclamation of the emergency and I am sure that the House will agree that he was right. The situation which existed, however, the disturbances both in the Northern Province, the Central Province and in the Southern Province, would abundantly have justified the imposition of an emergency before.
§ Mr. Amery
No, I cannot.
I have heard the accusation that it was unwise to bring Central African Federation troops into Nyasaland. The House will realise that the Army of the Central African Federation is all Federal troops, so that to introduce extra troops meant 340 introducing Federal troops. There were not enough troops in Nyasaland to contain the situation. Therefore, new troops had to be brought in. It is true that territorial police were also brought in from Southern and from Northern Rhodesia. This was because, in an emergency of this kind, the essential thing is to have enough forces. That is the important element.
Now we have been told that all that has happened in Nyasaland is the result of some kind of conspiracy on the part of the Central African Federation. The hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) said that it was all to Sir Roy Welensky's interest to bring troops into Nyasaland. The charge has been bandied about by many right hon. and hon. Members. I fail to see a single shred of evidence to substantiate it. It was the Governor of Nyasaland who asked for the troops to come into Nyasaland. He asked for troops and for police. It was at his request that both Northern Rhodesian police and Southern Rhodesian police and Federal troops and Tanganyika police came to assist in the situation.
We received unstinted help from the Federation, from Tanganyika and the two territories in the Federation, but it is a travesty to say that they were in any sense creating an emergency or urging the Governor of Nyasaland into the emergency. No doubt there might have been elements of public opinion in Southern Rhodesia who asked, "Why is there not an emergency?" But they were in ignorance of the very serious problem confronting the Governor while he gathered the necessary forces to make it possible to bring the situation under control.
There has been the closest consultation throughout between the Governor of Nyasaland, the other Governors, and the Federal authority. There has been consultation, as I told the House on 20th February, with the Colonial Office, too. [HON. MEMBERS: "The Colonial Office?"] Of course, the Governor has kept us extremely closely informed of what has been happening. It would be a complete travesty to suggest that there has been pressure from Salisbury. It is from Nyasaland that requests have gone for troops to deal with the situation which the Governor was in the best position to diagnose, and I think that the 341 whole House will agree that he diagnosed correctly. There was no pressure on us from Salisbury.
§ Mr. Amery
The hon. Member says, "Oh, really". Earlier, he said that he would attempt to restrain the passion which he felt. It is always fairly easy to restrain fictitious emotion.
The attitude of the party opposite, both last week in the short exchanges we had over Nyasaland in connection with the incident concerning the hon. Member for Wednesbury, and in the debate tonight, shows that it has only one aim in view, and that is to wreck the Central African Federation. If it does that it will be
§ doing a great disservice to Britain, to the Commonwealth and, above all, to the Africans in Central Africa.
§ We are satisfield that a solution can be found to the problem of Nyasaland—[HON. MEMBERS: "Suez."]—not only through an emergency. This is simply one stage in the process. There will be, in due course, constitutional talks. Through those constitutional talks the problems will be overcome and Nyasaland will find its future within the framework of Central African Federation.
§ Question put, That this House do now adjourn:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 201, Noes 259.345
|Division No. 53.]||AYES||[9.58 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Foot, D. M.||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Marquand, Rt. Hon, H. A.|
|Albu, A. H.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mason, Roy|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||George, Lady Megan Lloyd(Car'then)||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Gibson, C. W.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Messer, Sir F.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Greenwood, Anthony||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Baird, J.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Monslow, W.|
|Balfour, A.||Grey, C. F.||Moody, A. S.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lowls'm, S.)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S. E.)||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Moss, R.|
|Benson, Sir George||Grimond, J.||Moyle, A.|
|Beswick, Frank||Hale, Leslie||Mulley, F. W.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Coins Valley)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hamilton, W. W.||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hannan, W.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)|
|Boardman, H.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||O'Brien, Sir Thomas|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Hastings, S.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hayman, F. H.||Oram, A. E.|
|Bowden, H. w. (Leicester, S. W.)||Healey, Denis||Oswald, T.|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Owen, W. J.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Herblson, Miss M.||Padley, W. E.|
|Boyd, T. C.||Holman, P.||Paget, R. T.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Holt, A. F.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Houghton, Douglas||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Parker, J.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hoy, J. H.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pentland, N.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hunter, A. E.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Champion, A. J.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Rankin, John|
|Cliffe, Michael||Janner, B.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Coldrick, W.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Reeves, J.|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Reid, William|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jeger, Mrs.Lena (Holbn & St.Pncs, S.)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Cronin, J. D.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Kenyon, C.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Deer, G.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Ross, William|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||King, Dr. H. M.||Royle, C.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Diamond, John||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lindgren, G. S.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||MacColl, J. E.||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||McLeavy, Frank||Snow, J. W.|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Fitch, A. E. (Wigan)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Sparks, J, A.|
|Spriggs, Leslie||Tomney, F.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Steele, T.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Willey, Frederick|
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Usborne, H. C.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Viant, S. P.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)||Warbey, W. N.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Weltzman, D.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Swingler, S. T.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Woof, R. E.|
|Sylvester, G. O.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wheeldon, W. E.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Taylor, John (West Lothian)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Thornton, E.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Pearson.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Kershaw, J. A.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Elliott, R. W. (Ne'castle upon Tyne, N.)||Kimball, M.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Errington, Sir Eric||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Erroll, F. J.||Leavey, J. A.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Leburn, W. G.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Fell, A.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Ashton, H.||Finlay, Graeme||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Fisher, Nigel||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)|
|Balniel, Lord||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Linstead, Sir H. N.|
|Barber, Anthony||Fort, R.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Batsford, Brian||Freeth, Denzil||Longden, Gilbert|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Gammans, Lady||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lucas. P. B. (Brentford & Chlswick)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Gibson-Watt, D.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Godber, J. B.||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Goodhart, Philip||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Gough, C. F. H.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Gower, H. R.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Graham, Sir Fergus||Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (woodslde)||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Body, R. F.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maddan, Martin|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Gurden, Harold||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Bralne, B. R.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Bralthwalte, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Marshall, Douglas|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Mathew, R.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Mawby, R. L.|
|Bryan, P.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hay, John||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Campbell, Sir David||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hill, Rt, Hon. Charles (Luton)||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Neave, Airey|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Cole, Norman||Hope, Lord John||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Hornby, R. P.||Noble, Michael (Argyll)|
|Cooke, Robert||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Corfield, F. V.||Howard, John (Test)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Page, R. G.|
|Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Partridge, E.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Peel, W. J.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark(E'b'gh, W.)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Pott, H. P.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Iremonger, T. L.||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Irvine, Bryan Godman (Rye)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Profumo, J. D.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Joseph, Sir Keith||Redmayne, M.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Kaberry, D.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Duncan, Sir James||Keegan, D.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Storey, S.||Wakefield, Sir wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Studholme, Sir Henry||Wall, Patrick|
|Russell, R. S.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Sharples, R. C.||Temple, John M.||Webster, David|
|Shepherd, William||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Spearman, Sir Alexander||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Speir, R. M.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Woollam, John Victor|
|Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)||Vane, W. M. P.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Stevens, Geoffrey||Vickers, Miss Joan||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, w.)||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.||Mr. Heath and Mr. Legb.|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|