§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ 3.50 p.m.
§ The First Secretary of State (Mr. R. A. Butler)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
The House will be aware that the conference which was concluded last week at Victoria Falls, the report of which was issued yesterday as a White Paper, set in train the processes which will be necessary to secure the orderly and expeditious dissolution of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
The Federation was established under an Act of the British Parliament. It therefore rests with the British Parliament to make the necessary legal provision for its dissolution and for the arrangements under which that dissolution is affected. The general purpose of the Bill is to enable Her Majesty, by Order in Council, to make the necessary provisions for this purpose.
I am sure that we would all wish to recognise at the outset of the debate that the Federation, which was established ten years ago, had great ideals and achieved considerable results, particularly in the economic sphere. As I stated during the conference, Her Majesty's Government have made their own assessment of the political realities at the present time and these are that two territories, at any rate, are unwilling to go on as members of the Federation and that, therefore, it cannot continue.
The Bill is an instrument which we put forward for approval because we have no alternative. However, we must not treat the Bill or the White Paperas being purely destructive. The Bill envisages collaboration between the territories and we can and must turn our attention to the future and not only the past. The passing of the Bill into law will not, by itself, bring the Federation to an end. It is, as I said, an enabling Measure. It is drawn in broad terms and while it specifies certain fields in which provision will or may need to be made by Order in Council, it in no way prejudges what the nature of those provisions may be.
1428 These provisions will have to be worked out and a great deal of hard work will be necessary before they are concluded and put before the House. Their terms can be determined only when the arrangements to be made in connection with the dissolution of the Federation have been settled through the special inter-governmental machinery, which is referred to in the White Paper, established at the Victoria Falls conference.
The House will see that there is a close connection between the introduction of the Bill and the programme put in tram by the conference. It might be of assistance, therefore, if I said something about the work of the conference before I comment on the Clauses of the Bill. I think it justifiable to say that the conference was a success. I had hardly dared to hope that it would be possible to bring together these four delegations with sharply differing views. We managed to exist, or co-exist, peacefully under one roof for the time necessary to complete our labours. We proceeded in an atmosphere of amity and positive co-operation to reach agreed conclusions on all points in the space of four and a half days.
As it turned out, we indulged in some practical and, I think, modulated and reasonable talks against the background of the thunder of the Falls. Indeed, by the end of the conference one of the tourists assembled for the Rhodes and Founders Holiday in the hotel remarked to the manager,"It looks as if something is going on in this hotel and I am going to get in on it." This illustrates the interest of the inhabitants in our proceedings.
Major credit for the success of the conference must go to the Governments concerned. They showed the most co-operative spirit and I must mention them all. First, the generosity of the Federal Government, led by the Federal Prime Minister himself, to whom it is right to pay tribute for his statesmanlike co-operation in the affairs of the conference, a realisation which must, indeed, have been hard for him and his Ministers. Many people may wish to note the example that he has given. Next must be the constructive contribution of the Southern Rhodesia Prime Minister and Ministers; then the readiness of the Northern Rhodesia Ministers to accept the facts of the situation and adjust themselves to the timetable and machinery 1429 laid down by the conference. We also had the assistance of some observers from Nyasaland, who were very helpful.
Hon. Members will remember that doubt had persisted right up to within a week or two of the start of the conference as to whether it would be held at all. This was due, in part, to the fact that discussions on the independence of Southern Rhodesia had not been brought to a conclusion. In fact, this position has been left open following on the exchange of letters published in the White Paper of 18th June and from the point of view of Her Majesty's Government it is still one for further consideration.
The Southern Rhodesian Prime Minister showed a considerable sense of the importance of the occasion by deciding to attend the conference and by playing a very full part. The Federal Government accordingly—and they had made a very detailed preparation by way of memoranda for the conference—in the interests of an early dissolution, agreed to come at the same time. Thus, there was general agreement between us that arrangements should be made for the orderly and speedy transfer of Federal responsibilities to the territories.
The House should be aware that it was obvious long before we left England that all the difficult and complex problems this process would involve could not be settled by the conference itself and that one of the main tasks of the conference would be to set up special machinery to deal with these problems. We always envisaged, however, that there would be certain important matters upon which the post-conference machinery would need guidance from the conference. As hon. Members will have seen from the White Paper, this included such vital and difficult problems as those arising in connection with the Federal public service, the apportionment of Federal assets and liabilities, including the public debt, the transfer of money and taxation functions from the Federation to the territories, the question of citizenship and, a further example, the possibility of setting up a common Court of Appeal.
I will say something about each of these, beginning with the Federal public service. Hon. Members will, perhaps, agree that this is the main human problem posed by the dissolution of the Federation. I think that we shall be 1430 judged by how we solve it. There are no fewer than 35,000 Federal civil servants of a variety of race—African, Asian and European—and their future lies in our hands. There was general agreement at the conference that as many Federal officers as possible should be absorbed in the territorial public services and that the territories should make an early statement of the opportunities of employment and terms of service which they could offer to Federal officers.
One of our main difficulties concerned the question of the compulsory secondment of Federal officers to the territories for a period while their future and conditions were worked out.
We invited to Victoria Falls the representative of the Federal Public Service Association, and we actually started negotiations on the Federal Public Service before the conference was concluded. The Federal Government reserved their position about the question of compulsory secondment, and it remains to be seen whether any other system, not compulsory, can be worked out by the machinery we are setting up to see that the transfer of these officers from the Federation to the territories is done as smoothly as possible.
It was also decided that the post-conference machinery should work out comprehensive arrangements for Federal officers whose employment is brought to an end—and those are the people one has to consider most, because we hope that the majority will be taken on by the territories—and also for securing the obligations towards past and present Federal officers, which brings in the whole question of the pension funds, which have a life of about fifty or sixty years and have not been operating for very long. Those, therefore, are all matters of considerable complexity and importance which I hope we shall start working on immediately, as I shall describe in a moment. As I say, this is the big human problem which we must solve to the satisfaction both of the officers and ourselves.
I now come to the portion of the White Paper which is, perhaps, the most complex, and which I shall deal with very shortly—the Federal assets and liabilities, including public debt, dealt with in Chapter IV of the White Paper. Here, the Federal Government really had done 1431 their homework, and submitted a massive memorandum. It took the line that as the dissolution of the Federation was an exercise of Britain's sovereign power, Britain should, in the interests of the territories, and of the creditors, assume responsibility for the Federal Government's financial obligations, including the public debt. They went on to say that Britain should look to the territories for reimbursement on a scale related to the territories' assets and revenues.
We were somewhat relieved that both the Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia Governments were willing to take over their own fair share of Federal liabilities and public debt, but they reserved their position as to how this could be assessed until the post-conference machinery had reported. I said, as chairman, and leader of the British delegation, that although the acceptance of Federal liabilities would impose a burden on the territories, many valuable assets would also pass to the territories; that the right approach to the whole question was to start from the connection between assets and liabilities and, in that way, to work out what the territories could bear.
To put it in very simple English, that means that if a hospital is transferred, the liability goes with the hospital. Similarly, with roads or other assets that may be transferred there is to be a working out of the assets and liabilities and then an assessment of what the territory can bear as a result of this complicated mechanism. I therefore reserved the position of Her Majesty's Government by saying that when the time came the attitude of the British Government would have to be considered in the light of our general policies on overseas aid. That is summarised in the conclusion of Chapter IV of the White Paper.
The conference then agreed that the whole matter should be referred to a committee to be set up under the post-conference machinery. When I describe the terms of the Bill, I shall give a further indication of how we propose that that shall be done. I think that I can safely say, however, that, considering the short time, some progress was made on this important matter.
1432 Another important chapter in the White Paper refers to the transfer of money and taxation functions. While we were at the Falls we set up a subcommittee of the conference to report on this, and to take account of an extremely able report by the Finance Minister of Northern Rhodesia. The sub-committee reported, and the conference agreed, that the attention of the post-conference machinery should be directed to a scheme whereby the transfer of taxing powers to the territories should take place as early as possible, and it is set out in Scheme"B" on page 11 of the White Paper.
I will summarise it as follows. It is that, as subjects were taken back by the territories, the Federal Government would hand over, either in a lump sum or in monthly instalments, the money required to carry on the services at the level previously determined. Particular importance was attached to this by the territories, because they were particularly anxious to see the functions transferred from the Federation at the earliest date practicable, and had it not been for these provisions which we worked out during those few days it would not be possible to have both the money and the men necessary to run that function in the territories.
Therefore, this arrangement was, I think, a very satisfactory one, because it will enable transfers to take place without undue delay, and, therefore, meet the impatience on the part of the territories to achieve control of the functions that they think should rightly be transferred to them.
I think that it was, perhaps, satisfactory that we were able to make so much progress at the Falls on the question of the future of the defence forces, not only from the point of view of the importance of the defence forces but also in order to give satisfaction to those serving in the forces to know what their future was likely to be—because one has only to be in Central Africa to realise the intense anxiety of every one as to their own future and the future of their own country.
I therefore summoned a meeting of heads of delegations, outside the conference, aided by the Minister of Defence of the Federation, Sir Malcolm Barrow—to whose co-operation I should like to pay a tribute—and we reached 1433 an agreement which the conference endorsed. The conference agreed that when the Federal Government ceased to exercise responsibility for defence, the position in regard to the operation and control of forces should revert to that which obtained before 1953, although the Federal forces would have to be partitioned between the three territories.
It will initially simply be a question of transfer to two Commands—that is, to that of the Government of Southern Rhodesia and that of Her Majesty's Government in the Northern Territories. The reason for that is quite clear. At the present time there is a Protectorate status, and therefore the command reverts to Her Majesty's Government in the Northern Territories while that status lasts.
In most cases, units will passunder the control of either Southern Rhodesia or Britain according to their present dispositions, that is to say, according to where they are placed, and recruited, and so forth. There would be some agreed exceptions to this, which would be announced as soon as possible. Arrangements would also have to be worked out to permit members of the forces to declare in which territory they wished to serve in future. That was included by agreement of all Governments to give satisfaction and confidence to the members of the forces themselves.
The physical assets of the forces will, in general, remain with their present units, although the value of the assets will fall to be dealt with in the general agreement, to which I have earlier referred, for the apportionment of Federal assets and liabilities, including the public debt.
I think that this was a satisfactory arrangement. It means that those normally connected with Northern Rhodesia will go back to Northern Rhodesia; that the battalion recruited in Nyasaland will go back to Nyasaland, and that the other portion of the defence force and air force will accrue to Southern Rhodesia. It was agreed that we should not submit this matter to the post-conference machinery; that it was so important that future consultation should be between the Governments concerned. All this is referred to in the Bill, and I think that all this is apposite in dealing with the Bill.
1434 I will now give a short description of what we decided about citizenship, to which the inhabitants out there attach particular importance. It was agreed, again by a sub-committee working outside the conference, that when the Federation was dissolved, Federal citizens—who are, of course, British subjects—ought not to lose that status. A separate citizenship for each of the territories would eventually be created, and there should be agreement on a scheme under which a Federal citizen would, by law, become a citizen of the territory to which he belongs, subject to his being given an option, in suitable cases, to choose the territory whose citizenship he prefers.
This took us a certain way and further discussions will have to continue now about the establishment of the citizenship of each individual territory. Judging by my years of experience of this at the Home Office I think that it will take a little time to work out. As for the Federal Supreme Court, the judiciary, the conference noted that it will come to an end with the dissolution of the Federation and we agreed that the territorial Governments should themselves consider the question of a new Court of Appeal.
I repeat what I said earlier, that we could not expect on any of these difficult subjects to reach final conclusions in so short a time, but I feel quite convinced that the scope of the White Paper, which covers a great many subjects, and the conference discussions themselves will be of considerable value to those who will be responsible for carrying forward the work of the conference. Even on matters where only a partial understanding has so far been reached, the conference succeeded in focusing those issues of special complexity or difficulty to which the machinery will have to direct its attention.
I do not wish to detain the House by considering the machinery in detail. That is set out at the beginning of the White Paper. It is summarised by saying that there should be a joint committee with powers of general supervision and that that committee should have powers to set up inquiries and sub-committees on the public services, the assets and the liabilities and the debt, and that there should be a second sub-committee to deal with the vital question of future 1435 collaboration between the territories themselves.
As for the manning of these committees, I am in contact with the other Governments concerned, but I am glad to give the House the immediate information that there will be no delay in getting the work started. Sir George Curtis, who attended the conference and who has been chairman of the Nyasaland working Party, is now engaged in Salisbury in setting in motion the machinery agreed upon by the conference. I hope, in particular, that the special sub-committee on the public service will be starting work early next week. The United Kingdom representative will be travelling to Salisbury for this purpose on Monday.
I should like now to stress, as I warned the House, the constructive step taken by the conference in setting up the special committee referred to on page 5 of the White Paper to deal with what are known as links between the territories in the future. Hon. Members will see from Chapter V that I stressed to the conference in the following words:…that it was the United Kingdom's declared policy to seek to assist in the evolution of effective new forms of collaboration between the territories when the Federation came to an end, forms which would be acceptable to each of them and help to preserve and promote, in particular, the economic prosperity of all.I therefore feel special satisfaction that provision should have been madeby the conference to enable questions of inter-territorial co-operation to be further studied by representatives of the territorial Governments assisted by Federal officials under United Kingdom chairmanship.
In the conference, the Federal delegation agreed that future collaboration was a matter for the territorial Governments. It will be noted by hon. Members who have read the White Paper, and this is on page 10, that the Northern Rhodesian delegationaccepted in principle that there should be inter-territorial collaboration in regard to the railways, Kariba and Central African Airways, and recognised the possible need for interim joint arrangements in such matters as currency.The Southern Rhodesia delegation welcomed this, but expressed the hope that collaboration with the Northern Rhodesia Government might go beyond 1436 the subjects mentioned. Thus we have so far agreed in a short time that there is a lot of constructive work which I hope will be done in this field and a lot of initiative must be left both by the House and Her Majesty's Government to the two Governments getting together. I therefore welcomed the opportunity given by the conference for the two Government leaders to get together, as they did. That was one of the valuable features of the conference itself. To sum up the White Paper and the conference which leads to the dissolution of the Federation, I should like to make it quite clear to the House that the conference concerned itself not only with dissolution, but with constructive attitudes towards the future of the three territories involved.
I should like to turn for a few minutes only, as the Bill is somewhat detailed, to the detailed provisions of this Measure, as is suitable on Second Reading according to the classical form of a Second Reading speech. Perhaps I ought to say that I took the opportunity during my visit to discuss the provisions of the Bill with the Governments there. We had some detailed discussions about its provision.
I am grateful to the Governments for the helpful comments and assistance which they generously gave. While I cannot mention all the points, because some of them are highly legal, and there is no lack of legal ability in the Central African Federation at present, I think that we have succeeded in meeting most of the points put forward by the Governments concerned.
Clause 1(1) is a general provision enabling Her Majesty, by Order, to provide for the dissolution of the Federation and the distribution of Federal functions to the territories. It also enables the making of…such incidental, supplemental and consequential provisions as appear necessary or expedient for the purposes of the Order.In Clause 1(2) the meaning of the terms"incidental, supplemental and consequential" is illustrated. The subsection sets out a number of matters for which such provisions may be made and I should like to mention them in turn.
Clause 1(2,a) covers the making of provisions by Order in Council with regard to Federal assets and liabilities, including the public debt. I referred 1437 to that in my opening remarks about the White Paper. I need only stress here that a great deal of hard and complicated work will have to be done and the conference agreed that a special sub-committee would have to tackle this in the light of our discussions and make recommendations on how to deal with it.
To those who study the question in detail, I would say that the question of an apportionment commission for apportioning the debt has been left open for the post-conference machinery to recommend appropriate terms of reference if it considers that such a commission is required.
Clause 1(2,b) enables provision to be made as necessary for members of the public services of the Federation. I have fully described their needs in my opening remarks. I should only like to add that, as the Report of the conference makes clear, members of the Armed Forces and the judiciary as well as parliamentary officers, whose plight we heard about at the conference—for example, the officers of the Federal Assembly whom we have to consider because after 31st December their Assembly will come to an end—and employees of statutory bodies will be included in this consideration.
Clause 1(2,c) is self-explanatory. It deals with matters pending before the Federal courts and tribunals at the time of the dissolution. Clause 1(2,d) arises because until a Federal function has been transferred to a territorial Government that Government has no authority to legislate in that field. If no arrangements were made to deal with this situation a territorial Government could find itself responsible, for example, for health and prisons but lacking in legislation under which to operate those services.
That provision is, therefore, included in the Bill. Clause 1(2,d) enables provision to be made by Order in Council for the continuance, under certain circumstances, of Federal law, and the following words are included:subject…to the powers of the authority having power to legislate for the Territory after dissolution…".The territories attach importance to those words. In other words, it will be open 1438 to a territorial Government to pass their own legislation as soon as they wish, or are in a position to do so. Paragraph (d) also makes it possible for the Order to empower a territorial Government to modify or adapt Federal legislation for their own use following dissolution.
Paragraph (e) enables provision to be made for the modification or adaptation of any Act of Parliament or instrument having effect there under. To make quite clear the limited purpose of this provision, it is expressly provided thatthis section shall not authorise the amendment of the constitution of any of the Territories.This assurance was especially sought by the Government of Southern Rhodesia.
The House will observe that Clause 1(2) concludes, in lines 25 to 31 on page 2 of the Bill, with certain provisions concerned with institutions or bodies which may be constituted jointly for all or any two of the territories. This refers to what I have been speaking of—inter-governmental collaboration. This part of the Bill envisages a situation in which all or any two of the territories might agree to set up a joint body or institution to operate, for example, a particular common service on their behalf, it might be in the realm of power. It might be thought expedient that provision should be made by Order for the exercise by such a body or institution of those functions which the territory had agreed.
It is not possible, under these powers, to impose any body or institution upon the territorial Governments. Whether or not it were established would have to be a matter of agreement between them. Nor, if the territories decided that they wished to do so, would any steps be taken under an Order in Council unless the territories were agreed that this was what they wanted done. That is a useful provision, but it depends upon territorial agreement.
Clause 1(3) enables provision to be made for any matter covered by Clause 1(2) as from such time before the dissolution as may be specified in the Order. What this means is that we do not envisage waiting for the actual date of dissolution before any action is taken to return Federal functions to territorial responsibility. That is what I was saying earlier in my opening remarks.
1439 Indeed, the conference agreed that wherever it might be practicable arrangements could be made for the transfer of such services to the territories in advance of dissolution. As I said earlier, if that did happen satisfactory arrangements would have to be made in regard to both the money which is referred to in the White Paper under"Transfer of Money and Taxation Functions" and in regard to the men needed to man these services.
We now come to Clause 1(4), which enables provision to be made for a territory to withdraw from the Federation in advance of dissolution and for the powers which I have described relating to the dissolution of the Federation to be applied in that situation. The House will remember that Her Majesty's Government had accepted that, if a territory desired to withdraw from the Federation, it must be allowed to do so. Both Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland had expressed their desire to withdraw, and in the case of Nyasaland arrangements to this end were already well advanced when we met at Victoria Falls. However, the Nyasaland working party, under Sir George Curtis, which had been charged with the responsibility for working out these arrangements, was operating on the basis that Nyasaland was to be detached from a continuing Federation; so there was a slight change here because it had become clear that the Federation itself was to come to an end. Therefore, it was becoming increasingly unreal and difficult for the Nyasaland working party to continue its work on the original assumption.
In those circumstances, the conference agreed that I should seek the agreement of the Nyasaland Government to associate themselves with the general dissolution machinery which was to be established. I am glad to inform the House that the Nyasaland Government, given the target date of 31st December, 1963, for the dissolution of the Federation, have now agreed to co-operate in this machinery. This is, I think, very satisfactory, because it means that all the operation can now be handled in one piece without necessarily having recourse to the provisions of Clause 1(4), which I have been describing. This, I am sure, is the most orderly and expeditious way of proceeding 1440 and will be to the advantage of all three territories.
I now only have to refer to Clause 2(2), which will interest the House because it implies the control which the House will have. We have thought it right—and I am sure that the House will agree—that any Order in Council under this Measure, dealing as it will with matters of the highest importance, should be subject to affirmative Resolution. [HON. MEMBERS:"Hear, hear."] At the same time, as we are operating to a very close timetable I hope that the House will also agree that provision should be made for the work to be carried forward as necessary during the period of the Summer Recess, subject to the overriding authority of Parliament which is maintained in Clause 2(3).
That brings me to an end of the provisions of the Bill, and I have only a few words to say in summing up the position before I conclude. The House will perhaps feel that it is, on the whole—one should not exaggerate language—satisfactory that the dissolution of the Federation can be achieved by agreement. I hesitated some months ago to envisage the difficulties which would have arisen had we not been able to attempt this by agreement. As I have said, the achievements of the Federation are there for all to see, and I am sure that we should wish, before I conclude, again to pay tribute to those who made them possible.
Nevertheless, the political facts of Central Africa remain, and it would have been foolish, and it would be foolish now, to pretend that they can be ignored. During recent months they have presented Her Majesty's Government with a grave burden of responsibility and I welcome this opportunity of affirming that we have discharged this burden seriously and, I believe, in a straightforward way and in the best possible way open to us, whatever doubts may have been cast on our motives.
Now we must look to the future, for the ending of Federation marks only the end of a chapter in Central Africa, and if we work wisely together in the months ahead the rest of the story can be one of progress in things both material and spiritual. The resources of Central Africa, both human and physical, are very great. We must now 1441 seek to create the conditions in which their potential can be fully and freely realised.
We must, therefore, work to ensure that the three territories which have hitherto been joined together in the Federation are enabled successfully to pursue their separate progress while maintaining those links which are conducive to the continued material well-being of their peoples. Our aim must be to advance these territories on the road to full nationhood so that, in collaboration, they can enjoy their own individual existence as well as the economic advantages of Federation, but without the political frictions which it has recently brought in its train.
Of course, in striving for this we have to recognise—and this is the last warning I want to give the House—that there are still problems in the territorial sphere which have to be surmounted, and I did not want to conclude my speech without leaving this thought with the House. In Northern Rhodesia, there are stresses within the coalition of the two African parties, and there is mounting pressure for progress through a new self-governing constitution. I have assured the elected Ministers, whom I met on my last day at the Falls, that Her Majesty's Government wish that there shall be no unnecessary delay in proceeding to the next constitutional stage.
The Governor is immediately to meet the parties and the Opposition—because, in creating a new constitution, it is important, as I informed the Ministers, to bring in the Opposition—and he will present to me a report of what they say. Judging by this report, Her Majesty's Government will decide what is the best action to take regarding the future of these matters in Northern Rhodesia.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
Before my right hon. Friend leaves the subject of Northern Rhodesia, will he say something about Barotseland?
§ Mr. Butler
I can reply at once to my hon. Friend by saying that the Litunga of Barotseland is to arrive in London on Monday with his advisers to confer with me during next week. I would rather not expand upon this, although, if any hon. Members wish to 1442 make constructive suggestions before the talks next week, I shall be only too glad to hear what they have to say. I shall be spending the greater part of next week in the company of the Litunga and his advisers.
In Nyasaland, recent incidents, although the reports may have been somewhat exaggerated, have given rise to considerable anxiety. I can, however, assure the House—I have given Answers to Questions today which will be in the hands of hon. Members this afternoon—that law and order is being maintained there and that the Government of the territory and Her Majesty's Government are determined to see that it continues to be maintained.
Let us, then, look for peaceful progress in the territorial sphere. It will help to secure that if we now see to it that the dissolution of the Federation is carried through promptly, equitably and in an orderly manner and that it is succeeded by as close an association as possible between the territories. That, I know, is the wish of all the Governments. By fixing our target date, 31st December, we have set ourselves a very difficult task. I feel confident, however, that in this work we can count on the same spirit of practical working together which was so evident at the Victoria Falls conference. Given this, I am sure that, despite the many complex problems still to be resolved, we can and shall achieve our objectives in both the short and the long term.
The Bill provides the necessary legal framework for our labours in the coming months and, as such, I commend it to the House.
§ 4.33 p.m.
§ Mr. A. G. Bottomley (Middlesbrough, East)
My right hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West, (Mr. Strachey), who was to have led for us on this side of the House, cannot, unfortunately, be present. The other day, quite rightly, he congratulated the First Secretary on his timely success at the conference at Victoria Falls to consider the future of the Central African Federation. We can all agree this afternoon that the right hon. Gentleman has created the right spirit. Good will operated at the conference, and we can only hope that it will continue. But my right hon. Friend did say that the conference was the easier part 1443 of the problem. The more difficult part, the future of Southern Rhodesia, lies ahead.
We have no cause for jubilation today. The hope of the world lies in the unity of nations, and anything which brings about the fragmentation of territories is a retrograde step. But, if nations are to federate, they must do so willingly and in a spirit of co-operation. This might have been possible in the Federation if it had not been for the bungling of the Conservative Government. The First Secretary of State must accept his share of the responsibility for this. I was a member of the Labour Government which initiated the Federation in Central Africa. The Africans willingly attended the first conference, and preparations were made for further discussions.
§ Mr. Thorpe
Is it not within the right hon. Gentleman's recollection that there was no African present representing Southern Rhodesia at the Victoria Falls conference, and is it not within his recollection that the two right hon. Members who visited the three territories received overwhelming evidence of opposition on the part of the Africans at that time?
§ Mr. Bottomley
It may be that, at the beginning, there were some objections, but, after explanations—I repeat—those who were able willingly came to the conference. I shall have something to say about Southern Rhodesia. That is an unfortunate incident and, perhaps, we can deal with it in general debate, when we talk about the actions of the Southern Rhodesian Government not only then, but today. I repeat that they subsequently came to the conference willingly and took part. They were ready to come for further discussions. On the part of the Government of that day there was certainly no intention to push through federation without African co-operation.
There was then a change of Government here and, in 1951, the Conservative Government, in spite of the Africans not coming to the conference and not co-operating, pushed through legislation and brought about the Federation. In those 1444 circumstances, it was inevitable that we should have the situation which is presented to us today, with the Federation itself coming to an end.
Last December, Her Majesty's Government were forced to allow Nyasaland to secede from the Federation. Last March, when, as a concession to Northern Rhodesia, permission was given for any of the three territories of the original Federation to secede, the Federation virtually came to an end. Nyasaland had had the right to secede granted. There was an African majority in the Government of Northern Rhodesia who had no wish to continue to participate in the Federation. For his part, Mr. Winston Field preferred Southern Rhodesia to be free of any ties with the emerging African States. This left the Federal Prime Minister, Sir Roy Welensky, supported by a few back-bench Members of this House and some Members of the other place, to keep up the fight for the Federation.
I do not know whether we shall hear anything from hon. Members today about this. Possibly, Lord Poole has said"Keep quiet" in order to avoid further disarray in the Conservative Party. Anyhow, one can feel sympathy for Sir Roy Welensky. He had a right to be furious with right hon. Gentlemen opposite. To use his own words, he said that the British Government had ratted on him and that they had been guilty of an act of treachery.
The reason for his anger, he declared, was that he had been given by successive Secretaries of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies an assurance that the declaration made in the Report of the 1953 conference on the Federation that no change would be made in the division of power among the three territories for ten years except with the consent of all five parties would be upheld. All I can say is that Sir Roy had greater faith in the Tories than we have.
With Nyasaland already well on the way to independence as a result of the constitutional conference conferring internal self-government last November, and with the African Government of Northern Rhodesia determined to implement the breakaway from the Federation before the year was out, Southern Rhodesia's future had become the crucial 1445 problem arising out of the break-up of the Federation.
There are 220,000 Europeans in Southern Rhodesia, representing the largest white population in British Africa. Since 1923, this minority has ruled 3½ million Africans living in the territory. It was not until 1961 that even a very limited concession was made to the Africans, and this concession was bought very dearly. By agreeing to about 1 per cent. Of Africans being allowed to vote, the British Government lost all rights to intervene in Southern Rhodesian affairs on behalf of the Africans. The Africans, however, appealed to the United Nations and there was overwhelming support for African majority rule in Southern Rhodesia.
What did Her Majesty's Government do? They stood alone, supported only by South Africa. The Europeans in Southern Rhodesia have been trying desperately to retain their ascendancy. Since 1949, it has been impossible for any African opinion to find legitimate expression. Each African organisation has been completely put down. The African National Congress, the National Democratic Party and the Zimbabwe African People's Union all have been banned and their leaders imprisoned or restricted.
§ Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans)
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not wish to mislead the House. Surely he understands that the reason these parties have been banned is that they have deliberately overthrown the idea of fighting constitutionally and have indulged in violence and terrorism. Surely this is quite different from attempting to fight constitutionally, which was within their power if they had been prepared to do so.
§ Mr. Bottomley
They are deprived of such powers by the Constitution. They have no constitutional rights. In 1960, the Whitehead Government passed the Unlawful Organisations Act and the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act. This prevented any kind of organisation from expressing genuine African opinion. Then, when we had a change of Government and Mr. Field's Right-wing Rhodesian Front came to power in December, 1962, further repressive legislation was introduced. The death penalty 1446 was made mandatory for anyone convicted of arson or of throwing petrol bombs, and provision was made for heavy penalties for anyone organising any group with a view to overthrowing or attempting to overthrow the Government by unconstitutional means.
This legislation would apply to all Africans in exile, whatever expressions they might make about their own liberties and rights. The bitter irony is that the present Constitution prevents the African majority from expressing its demands by constitutional methods.
§ Mr. Bottomley
I said in the House on 24th April that the British Government must resist any demands to grant independence to Southern Rhodesia before constitutional changes are made which would enable all members of all races to be democratically elected in the Government of the territory. On 18th June, my right hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, West was told by the First Secretary that he would maintain his position on the broadening of the franchise in Southern Rhodesia. We still wish to be assured that there is no suggestion of granting independence to Southern Rhodesia until substantial progress is made towards meeting African aspirations.
§ Mr. Bottomley
I shall come to that. I will not in any way evade questions of that kind.
With regard to the independence of Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia's future, two main problems were discussed at informal conferences outside the official business of the conference at Victoria Falls. Agreement was reached on the future of Northern Rhodesia between the two African leaders, Mr. Kaunda and Mr. Nkumbula The First Secretary also agreed that there was a need for a new constitution—he mentioned this this afternoon—providing for internal self-government as soon as possible.
1447 I accept the assurance of the First Secretary that when he says"as soon as possible" he means it. I do not know whether it is possible for him to name a date by which it ought to be reached. I realise the difficulties to which the First Secretary referred. Indeed, there is a ministerial committee, made up of members of both the United National Independence Party and the African National Congress, which drafted a new constitution providing for an enlarged legislative assembly elected on the basis of universal franchise.
There are, however, two obstacles which have to be overcome. The first is that the heavy rains which occur between November and March will make it very difficult for electioneering. In spite of the demands of Mr. Kaunda's party, U.N.I.P., that there should be an election under the new constitution before October, I think that for these reasons it may be difficult to do that. It would also be very difficult to prepare for universal suffrage before that time.
The second obstacle is that if there were a general election it would probably reduce the already small representation of Mr. Nkumbula's party. In any case, this party is, to some extent, supported by votes from the U.F.P. Therefore, it is not too obvious that he wants elections at an early date. There is considerable hostility between the rank and file of the two parties which results in outbreaks of violence and disruption. The coalition of the two parties is precarious and further difficulties may cause it to break up. However, I join the First Secretary in the hope that Northern Rhodesia will overcome these initial difficulties and will settle down to face the real problems which will be her concern when independence has been fully achieved.
As the First Secretary said, as a result of the conference at Victoria Falls, two main committees have been appointed to carry out the task of dismantling the Federation: one for dissolving the Federation and the other for considering inter-territorial questions, particularly economic links. The committee for dissolving the Federation will work out the detailed arrangements for the reversion of federal powers to the three territories.
1448 The first stage in all this is the Bill before us. This gives powers to Her Majesty's Government to make provision for the dissolution of the Federation by Order in Council. In doing this, they have agreed that decisions must be reached on the apportionment and transfer of property, rights, liabilities, powers or duties of the Federation or the Government or Legislature of the Federation; the smooth transition of the public and other services of the Federation to ensure their successful working; on matters pending before the courts and tribunals of the Federation; and, finally, the modification or adaptation of the existing law in force in the territories of the Federation.
As the First Secretary said, this is an enabling Bill, and it is provided in Clause 2 that the Order shall be subject to affirmative Resolutions if made after 1st August, 1963, and to the possibility of annulment by either House retrospectively if made before 1st October, 1963. This will allow the arrangements to go ahead during the Summer Recess. Nevertheless, I think that it is, in principle, unsatisfactory that Parliament may be deprived of the chance to amend the terms of the Order before it is made. The Government had, of course, to encourage Mr. Winston Field to come to the conference and this caused some delay. But it should not pass unnoticed that the result is an inconvenience to Parliament and an undemocratic procedure. I am not suggesting that it is not in order to use an enabling Measure and an Order in Council. Nevertheless, I think that we should all agree that, whenever possible, legislation should be passed by an Act of Parliament and not by an Order.
It is unsatisfactory, in particular, that Parliament should allow delegated legislation, even if it is subject to the House's approval, to amend Acts of Parliament. This is done in Clause 1(2,e). The present circumstances make it reasonably safe to do so because what will be done will be by agreement with all the Governments concerned. But there are occasions when it can lead to abuse or to the passage of legislation on false assumptions.
For example, on the Second Reading of the Southern Rhodesia (Constitution) Bill, 1961, the hon. Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine), speaking for the 1449 Government, explained the Clause proposing the granting to Southern Rhodesia of power to make legislation having extra-territorial effect by instancing the anomaly that a Southern Rhodesian abroad could perjure himself in an affidavit for use in Southern Rhodesia and not be punished for it. That is in column 1049 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for 8th November, 1961.
The subsequent Order in Council based on the Act did not only correct this small anomaly but gave general power to make extra-territorial legislation. Consequently, there are features in the recent legislation of Southern Rhodesia which could not have been made but for this provision, and which are very unjust. For instance, people can be punished for statements made outside Southern Rhodesialikely to engender hostility between sections of the population".We on this side of the House will support the Bill. In doing so, we express the hope that the main committee composed of officials representing Her Majesty's Government, the Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia Governments, with the assistance of Federal officials, will be able to retain and strengthen the inter-territorial links. The retention of the economic links, and the development of common services can bring great benefits to all people in the territories.
The key to the success of this part of the agreement reached at Victoria Falls lies with Southern Rhodesia. I hope that it will be made clear that Mr. Winston Field's demand for independence at the same time that independence is granted to Northern Rhodesia cannot be met in present circumstances. This is the Labour Party point of view. If Her Majesty's Government are foolish enough to concede this, which, as I recognise, many hon. Members opposite would do and which was at the back of the mind of the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall), who interrupted me, it is clear that there will be no hope of Southern Rhodesia becoming an independent country of the Commonwealth, let alone the United Nations, and I think that this would be a bad thing.
Alternatively, the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia may say that when Northern Rhodesia gets independence he will carry on as at present with de facto 1450 independence, hoping that in time this will help him. We have to recognise that this will not solve anything, and I doubt whether the Southern Rhodesian Prime Minister would be able to get support for this policy in his own country.
A further possibility is that the Southern Rhodesian Government would declare themselves an independent country without seeking to join the Commonwealth or the United Nations. This would mean linking up with the Union of South Africa. This might, of course, be convenient to South Africa. South Africa has very large investments in Southern Rhodesia. It might also appeal to the South Africans to have their military frontier at the Zambesi.
I think that what we should be urging upon the Southern Rhodesians is that they must meet the legitimate demands of the Africans so that peaceful progress can be made towards racial equality and democratic government. A heavy responsibility rests upon Her Majesty's Government in terms of the future peace and security of the area and for the welfare not only of the Africans, but of those Europeans who have become Africanised. We can no longer legislate for Southern Rhodesia since the Tory Government renounced this power in the 1961 Constitution. They did this in exchange for quite inadequate safeguards for the Africans.
§ Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
Could the right hon. Gentleman answer the question put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall)? He objects to the present circumstances, but what are the conditions he would like to see in Southern Rhodesia to enable it to become independent?
§ Mr. Bottomley
If the right hon. Gentleman has not been following me. I cannot help that. I thought that I made our position on this side quite clear.
Let me say one thing further which I think the Government may have to consider and which the Opposition will certainly have to consider. That is that if the present Administration of Southern Rhodesia are not prepared in their own interests to advance at a rate which will give all sections of the community 1451 equality and a chance of practising democracy, we are left with one other weapon—we still have the power to suspend the Constitution and to withhold economic assistance.
I agree that neither of these alternatives can commend themselves to anyone who has the future progress and prosperity of the territory in mind. Nevertheless, we must be prepared to do everything possible to bring about a just and democratic society. If we do not do this, posterity will think very hard of us all. On our side, we fervently hope that the economic and social links will be forged and strengthened, so that all the communities can reach and enjoy a higher standard of living.
I repeat that this will be possible only if all the people in all the territories are given equal rights and responsibilities. The Africans are aware of the need for economic co-operation, and where they have a free choice they surge ahead. This is shown by the fact that while, today, the Central African Federation is breaking up, an East African Federation is being formed and will come into being this year.
Because Southern Rhodesia holds the key to the future of Central Africa, it will earnestly be hoped that she will follow a liberal policy. Most Europeans are, at heart, liberal-minded and it is only those who are puffed up by power or pursuing selfish interests who act otherwise. Unfortunately, these people are able to play upon the fears of others. They are helped in this by reports such as we have just heard from the First Secretary about the troubles in Nyasaland, where it is alleged that private police have beaten up Europeans. This is not in keeping with African tradition. Generally, they are gentle and peaceful folk.
I think that a parallel could be drawn between Africa and India. It was my privilege to be concerned with the transfer of power to India, and, in passing, I should like to pay tribute to the First Secretary for the liberal and progressive line he took at that time, in contrast with that taken by the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) and other members of the Tory Party. I believe that he still has that spirit in 1452 him, and that is why I am encouraged by what he did at the conference.
Frustration and delay have caused bitterness and hatred towards the British to build-up in this part of Africa as it did in India, but with Indian independence came a recognition by their leaders that European skill and knowledge were necessary for them to build up their country. Today, there are more Europeans in India than ever before, and a deep friendship between our peoples. The same understanding and appreciation of the part Europeans can play is possible in Central Africa if there is a will and desire for mutual respect and tolerance.
§ 4.59 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)
When we listened to the dispassionate speech of my right hon. Friend the First Secretary, none of us really could believe that what the surgeon was doing was murdering his own patient. When he talked about the end of a chapter, my first feeling this afternoon was that this is a tragedy. Very nearly ten years ago today, we started off this experiment in multiracial partnership with high hopes and, as the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) has said, all parties and all sides of the House of Commons believed in the federal solution that had been recommended at the Victoria Falls Conference. Now, we see the end of this federation and we are disillusioned.
What are the causes of this tragedy? In my view, the main cause is a failure of the party system in Parliament, here in London, to deal with a problem like that of an experiment in federation. It was a fact that although the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) said in the House of Commons that he believed in the principle of federation, he refused out of fear of his extreme Left-wing to allow his officers in the Federation to explain the advantages of federation. That was the initial great weakness in this federal experiment.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
Rather than reply to the right hon. Gentleman at this stage, I know that many hon. Members wish to speak and I shall do so later if I succeed in catching Mr. Speaker's eye.
§ Mr. Turton
I much prefer the right hon. Gentleman to make his observations afterwards. That is a quicker way of debating.
The Front Bench of the Labour Party believed in that principle, although its back benches did not. Afterwards, when the Labour Party got into Opposition, it can be seen from HANSARD that in debate after debate during the succeeding years it did all it could to wreck the plan of federation and to make it a party issue, trying to use it as a stick to defeat the Government. I believe that today, as the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East showed at times during his speech, the Labour Party is carrying on the same sort of attitude and some of the right hon. Member's remarks today, especially in regard to Southern Rhodesia, are likely to be construed as unhelpful for the future peace and collaboration of all these people of Africa.
I am not, however, acquitting my own party from blame. I believe that the speech made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in South Africa and the constitutional contortions of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster when Colonial Secretary wrecked the foundation on which federation was based.
Looking back over the last ten years, one sees clearly the failure of the Southern Rhodesian Government to elect any African Member of Parliament to the Southern Rhodesian Parliament before the last election, and even today there is no African town councillor in Southern Rhodesia. All these factors have helped to make the federal experiment a failure. Only three years ago, racial discrimination was being practised in hotels and cinemas. In this supertragedy, I believe that if the reforms introduced within the last years of Sir Edgar Whitehead's Government had been introduced five years earlier, the federal experiment would still have succeeded.
This is not, however, the time for recrimination and I want to leave the past and to concentrate on the future. If I am right, all of us, every one who sits in the House of Commons, of whatever party, must take some blame for the failure of this experiment, and we have to ensure that the 8½ million people, 1454 of all colours and races, in the three territories do not suffer too much from our failure. In other words, we must look after these people. In particular, we must look after the 35,000 public servants who have been operating what the British Parliament—and no other Parliament—told them to operate in the three territories. They have made a very good job of it.
During the nine years, the gross national product has gone up from £344 million to £538 million. The average African wage has risen by 70 per cent. during the period of federation. Nor should we forget Kariba; that expenditure of £78 million has nearly doubed the amount of electricity supply in those countries. Finally, do not let us in this House overlook the tremendous progress which has been made in the health and hospital work in the three territories. It is vital that this work should be maintained and that the standard of health should not deteriorate with the break-up of federation. I am particularly concerned that all the work which has been done on the prevention of malaria, tuberculosis and bilharzia is now in jeopardy as a result of the break-up.
How are we to look after the public servants of the Federation? What are their future? What security will these public servants have if they transfer? My right hon. Friend the First Secretary spoke about recent experiences or incidents in Nyasaland. When referring to this, the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East talked about the Nyasaland incidents against Europeans. That is not what worries me most. I am worried rather by the incidents against, not only Europeans, but against Asiansand Africans in Nyasaland.
§ Mr. Turton
That, of course, was against Asians, too.
Four months ago, I was in the Rhodesias. At that time the only African woman doctor at Lilongwe Hospital, Dr. Mungwina, a Nyasaland lady who is devoted to her country, had to be removed out of that country because the Nyasaland Government were making it impossible for her to continue. On 14th June, the provincial health inspector of Lilongwe Hospital was trying to protect 1455 his patients from hooligans who were uprooting traffic signs on the days when Dr. Banda was visiting the hospital, and he has had to be removed for safety outside Nyasaland. The last matron of Lilongwe Hospital was assaulted and had to be taken for safety out of the country. The present matron has been followed and intimidated.
Is it any wonder that the medical superintendent of the hospital now says that on the break-up of Federation he wishes to leave?
That is the problem which faces these federal public servants. In these circumstances, they must have the free right to choose whether to stay or to leave. That right was granted on the detachment of Nyasaland from the Federation. It is only right and fair that in the interests of these people, that right should be allowed as a first principle throughout the federal public service as a whole. This House would not be acting properly if we denied them that right.
Whether the public servants stay or leave, another matter to which this House owes a great obligation is their pension rights. My right hon. Friend the First Secretary said that we would be judged by how we dealt with the question of the public servants. He had chosen his words admirably. What worries me is that there is no Financial Resolution to the Bill. We in this Parliament are responsible for the break-up of the Federation and it would be right for us to provide the compensation for those federal public servants who are declared redundant or are unwilling to transfer. I believe that this Government and this country have a financial and moral obligation to do that. We have brought them into this dilemma. Therefore, we, the British taxpayers, should put our hands into our pockets to help them out of the dilemma.
There is another factor in this. Let us remember that when these three countries break up, whatever may be their future policies—I will say a word about that later—they are not going to have a great deal of resources. In fact the pension funds, which are mostly invested in Federal securities, will be at their lowest marketable value at the time of the break up of the Federation. 1456 Therefore, on this point I do beg the Government—I am not thinking only of the First Secretary but also of the Chancellor of the Exchequer—to approach this subject with very great generosity, because these men really deserve well of us.
Now let us look for a moment or two at the future of these two countries. They are, and always will be, interdependent. Every ton of copper exported from Northern Rhodesia, every ton of equipment going up to Northern Rhodesia, or nearly every ton of equipment, has to go by rail through Southern Rhodesia. The power to work the mines in Northern Rhodesia must come either from the coal of Wankie or the electricity of Kariba. Economically, these two countries are completely joined together. Equally, Nyasaland will never solve its population nor its employment problem unless it can find outlets for the employment of its labour in Northern and Southern Rhodesia. On the other hand, Southern Rhodesia will have far too small a market for its present manufacturing industry if it has to cut off its supplies of goods to Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
Therefore, whatever may be the difference in political outlook, whatever their jealousies, it is very important for the standard of living of these three countries that economically they should have common services and, I personally hope—though. I do not always like them—a common market. That is what we in this House must try to secure. Let us face the fact that if we do not get those links there will be a very great fall in the standard of living in all those three countries and a very large increase in the numbers in unemployment.
To my mind, this can only be a decision of the three territories themselves. This is where I am going to disagree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East. I believe that this is also a decision that they must take as independent nations and not when they are under some vestige of colonial control. I do not believe that any decision taken by any of these three countries on this question of collaboration will be lasting unless they are completely independent. If that is so, this is the real test of statesmanship. I believe we have 1457 got to resign our colonial responsibilities before we come to that stage.
I know that the Labour Party and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East—I am surprised because I thought he was a fairly forward-thinking right hon. Gentleman—want to put the clock back. He wants, if he can, to tie one of these countries back to the apron strings of the Colonial Office in Whitehall. I should have thought he would have got enough experience in political life to know—
§ Mr. Turton
I have not quite finished. I will give the right hon. Member an opportunity—to know that we realty cannot put the clock back. That is reactionary stuff.
He admitted, he said, that rightly or wrongly Parliament had taken away all but the very last vestige of our control over Southern Rhodesia. He is quite right. This has been very nearly the position since 1923. It is now the year of grace 1963, and we cannot go back to the erabefore 1923. That is why I gave him the opportunity to ask what changes he would want the Southern Rhodesian Government to make. Now, thanks a good deal to the boycott by the African Nationalists at the last election, this particular Government in Southern Rhodesia, which overturned the Government of Sir Edgar Whitehead, went into that election on a pledge that they would not alter the franchise. In my judgment, that Government are a Government who will honour their pledges. That is the problem I put to the right hon. Gentleman and that my hon. and gallant Friend put to him when he intervened. His answer was an evasion. In my view the answer was reactionary, and that is where I challenge the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Bottomley
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. I think the difference between us is this. Of course I want independence for Southern Rhodesia, but I want independence for all the people of Southern Rhodesia, not to hand power to a few vested interests.
§ Mr. Turton
That is the difficulty. The right hon. Gentleman wants to put the clock back. He has not got the answer. Is he really going to suggest that he will bring in a Bill to take Southern Rhodesia back to the time 1458 before the 1923 Constitution? [An HON. MEMBER:"We have it."] If we do not do that—and this is vitally important, in my view, and, as he knows, I have not agreed with every action taken by all the Southern Rhodesian Governments—we have not got power to intervene on such matters. This is, therefore, a responsibility of ours, in the interests of the 8½ million people of Central Africa, to try to encourage the Southern Rhodesians to go in the direction we want without breaking their pledges at the last election.
Let me say quite frankly to him that Ishould like to see more African members of Parliament in the Southern Rhodesian Parliament. I believe that that is a practicable step to take if it is approached in the right way. But let me warn him. If it is not, then these men in Southern Rhodesia, who are as anxious as he and I are for the well being of the people of all races and colour in Southern Rhodesia, will, I am afraid, be driven into hostility to this country and this Parliament. They believe, as I said at the beginning, that they have been let down by us. I believe that is why at this moment, although he and I and others, perhaps even on my own side, do not always seem in complete agreement, we have got to co-operate to try to help those 8½ million people to work out their salvation in Central Africa and to work out economic interdependence.
That is where I would leave it. I would say just one word as to the future. This country, as my right hon. Friend the First Secretary said, has immense possibilities, because of its natural resources and climate. I am quite certain that there is no part in Central Africa where we could get greater progress in education, in health, and in material prosperity.
What we have to warn the inhabitants about is the danger of building up their economy on the basis merely of industry. The future of Central Africa will depend on how far they can develop directly from their agricultural industry. I give an illustration. Northern Rhodesia has, unfortunately, only one major industry—copper. Only 43,000 Africans are employed in it. Yet the employed population of Northern Rhodesia is 260,000 and the total population 2,500,000.
1459 The way to develop Central Africa is, I am convinced, to start from agriculture, to process its products and to situate new factories in the agricultural areas. In this way, the people will develop a balanced economy. If that happens, and if those who control investment, not only in this country but in Europe generally, really will help the people of these territories, there will be tremendous possibilities should they then go in for some form of economic association in their independence.
In Southern Rhodesia, which is regarded as so backward, 95 per cent. of the Africans are today receiving primary education.
§ Mr. Turton
I think that the figure is about 9 per cent. in secondary education. I will let my hon. Friend know. In what other country in Africa can one find results such as that? I would be delighted if one could. One of the worries about higher education, however, is what we are to do in the Bill for the University College in Salisbury. That was a wonderful idea, but it is in grave peril and requires help from all of us.
I believe that we can get success out of failure if we can encourage toleration out there and, I would say to the right hon. Member for Middles rough, East, if we can practice toleration here in this Parliament. I have not congratulated my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State. That is not because I bear him any ill will for what he has done, but because I believe that he has only taken the first step. I believe that the steps to come will be more difficult than what he has achieved, but I grant him that his success at Victoria Falls was unexpected.
I assure him that all of us wish him well in these later steps because we believe that, out of the failure of multiracial partnership, there are high hopes for a new form of association in Central Africa that will be to the lasting advantage of all races and of all colours. But we will only get that if we in this House realise that we have to pay for our past mistakes and that we must carry out our duty quite uninfluenced by threats from extremists of any race or colour.
§ 5.24 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
I hesitate to add my congratulations to those showered upon the First Secretary of State, but I do want to pay him the compliment of having conducted these very difficult negotiations with very great skill. I was intrigued to read in a newspaper report that the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) had likened the procedure of choosing a leader of the Tory Party to that of choosing a tribal chief in Africa. If that be true, then the right hon. Gentleman will have a decided advantage over his rivals for that position, for he comes back to this House at a very crucial moment in his career and the history of his party with laurels from the funeral.
It was not my intention to devote myself to the past history of the Central African Federation, but in view of what the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said, I must say something in fairness to myself and my right hon. Friends. Many hon. Members were not here in 1950 and 1951 and, therefore, I wish to draw their attention to the record. I hope that I do not sound too personal, but I think that I am entitled to say this after what the right hon. Member said.
All that I have said and done, and the attitude I have taken on this matter from the beginning, are on the record. All is to be found in the columns of HANSARD. For my discussions, both in private and in public, I make one claim which, I believe, all the leaders in Central Africa, whether European or African, will bear out. It is that I never made a pledge in private which I repudiated in public. As the First Secretary will have found out, they do not say that about my successors in the post of Secretary of State for the Colonies.
But I say it now, and I would invite Sir Roy Welensky to confirm it. Sir Roy is by far the biggest man Central Africa has produced. He could have—I wish he had—given Central Africa the right leadership, but he missed it. Compared with him the rest of them are—well, I will not mention what I think. I will merely say that Sir Roy is the biggest man to come out of Central Africa.
Mr. Douglas Brown, of the Sunday Telegraph, who is no great friend of this side of the House, mentioned in an article 1461 recently from Salisbury that the white people and even the civil servants out there were nostalgically thinking of the days of my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) and myself because whatever we said we meant. I would never have referred to this, but the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton provoked me.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the fact that when we were considering this matter my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick, who was then Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, and I decided that we would not instruct the civil servants to explain the proposal for federation to the African people. We undertook to do that ourselves. That was not because of fear, although the right hon. Gentleman says that it was. Fear had nothing to do with it. It was a deliberate act of policy. I said as much then, and I say so now.
However, my successor instructed the civil servants to do this explaining, and from that moment the relationship between the civil servants and the African people deteriorated. Can anyone deny that? In other words, the civil servants became the vehicles of party propaganda, which was a very grave disservice to themselves and to the Federation. Even at that time they distorted the situation by quoting only a bit of a speech made in this House by Lord Attlee. That, too, was a grave disservice.
I join with the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton in saying to the Government that they must care for these civil servants but I hope that most of them at least will stay on in Central Africa. Their skill, knowledge and, in particular, their administrative energy will be very much required in future. I hope they will stay, but that is for them to decide. Many of these Federal civil servants—a large proportion—were compulsorily seconded with the approval of Her Majesty's Government. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman cannot get out of this. Many of them were compulsorily seconded from the territorial service to the Federal service, even if they did not want to go.
The Government must take responsibility for all civil servants, but they have a special responsibility for civil 1462 servants who, they agreed, should be compulsorily seconded to the Federal Civil Service, and which is now to be disbanded. For those reasons, I join the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton in saying to the Government and to the First Secretary that in this matter these men, who have done a very good job—although I protest that in Central Africa they were asked to do a job which was not theirs—should not only be treated by us in a fair and just manner but in a generous manner, because many of them are reaching an age when the beginning of a new career is very difficult indeed.
§ Mr. Turton
This is where, I think, the right hon. Gentleman and I disagree on this. The right hon. Gentleman said that I accused him of being frightened. What I said was that in deference to his Left Wing he did not allow Federal public servants to explain Federation. That is not party propaganda. When I went out to Central Africa I found amazing ignorance about Federation then, due to that policy of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I have no fear of the Left Wing. The right hon. Gentleman should hear me speak on occasion to my colleagues.
I wish to set out very briefly why I originally supported the concept and principle of Federation and why I am sorry that it was not possible to find an agreed basis for Federation in Central Africa. I also want to give the economic and political reasons because they are still important and relevant today and will be relevant at the end of the year when the Federation comes to an end. I want to make a comment or two on these matters.
We embarked upon this very great experiment, in what we called the British Empire, of guiding the peoples in British territories towards self-government and democratic independence. Indeed, we have gone a long way towards completing the job. Most of my life has been spent in a trade union and I have been concerned with the conditions and standards of people. I was disturbed and still am disturbed at the fact that whereas we could produce the framework of independence for these people we were not 1463 equally successful or objective in providing them with the economic foundations upon which democratic independence could have any meaning at all. We have brought the flags of independence, the framework of independence and constitutions for independence to millions of people, and yet they will go hungry for the rest of their lives.
When I went to Central Africa I found by accident of geology a rich oasis of wealth surrounded by a desert of poverty. In Central Africa, Rhodesia and in Katanga we find this rich mineral wealth and around it this poverty. The worst poverty of all is in Nyasaland, the loveliest of the territories, the most thickly populated and the most poverty-stricken.
What has been happening in Nyasaland? Thousands of people, indeed tens of thousands of them, were driven from home to seek work. Where did they go? They went to the Union of South Africa, leaving their families behind. We found a poverty-stricken, broken society, and anyone who has experience of that knows perfectly well that they face more than those in this country with similar experience of the breaking up of families. It has a terrible effect upon people. I was disturbed at this.
I ask myself, why has this rich Copper Belt not been developed? It is one of the richest in the whole world. When I was there I went down the pits. There were miners there from this country, from South Wales, Durham and Yorkshire. They went out there to work in those mines and risked a lot. I saw among them some of the worst cases of silicosis that I have ever seen. There is no difficulty in getting capital in the Copper Belt. I found a way in which these three territories could join together and in which the wealth thus derived would provide a basis on which a sound viable economy could be established and which would enable them to meet what President Truman described as the"revolution of rising expectations".
The Central African Council had been built up, which was destroyed very largely by the Rhodesian Government. I was anxious that there should be this co-operation between the territories in the terms that we use now, and which the right hon. Gentleman used a moment 1464 or two ago, in the terms of what might be called the Common Market. I was particularly anxious that this very great wealth should be used and that it should fructify.
There is an article in The Times today about Nyasaland. Its people will be independent in a few months' time. The Times article says—I accept its figures; it is somewhere near right—that at the present moment the income per head of the population in Nyasaland is £16 10s. per annum. There is a publication by the United Nations which gives the income per head of the population of every country, and the figure for Nyasaland is one of the lowest. For every £1 that they have we have £25.
I read in the Press this week that even in this transition period of six months before Nyasaland becomes independent it cannot balance its Budget, even at that Budget's very low rate. It has had to have a grant in aid of, I think, £2¼ million from Her Majesty's Government in order to balance its Budget for these six months. I saw this state of affairs when I was there and from the study that I made of the matter, and for all these reasons, I hoped that we should find a way of doing this by an agreed federation, but not, of course, by imposing it on them. From the beginning I made it perfectly clear that it should not be imposed upon them against their wishes.
I now turn to the political problems. It is implicit in the White Paper that very shortly Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland will achieve independence within the Commonwealth and will become members of the United Nations. I hope that we shall all recognise that, after they have become independent, they will still need help. They have a tremendous battle.
When I used to have the chance to talk to them I would say,"I join you in wanting to end colonialism, but I am equally concerned about what is to take its place, because it is possible to destroy colonialism and to put a worse tyranny in its place. I want you to get a democratic society, and if you are to have a democratic society the means must be made available to help you stand on your own feet and develop your resources in order that you can satisfy the desires of the ordinary 1465 people." I hope that when we agree to pass the Bill we shall not forget this fact, because implicit in agreeing to it is our agreement that Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland will become independent within the Commonwealth.
One of the political reasons why we considered political federation in Central Africa was a fear which we had, and which was shared by many of the European leaders in Central Africa, that unless Southern Rhodesia were pulled up, she might be sucked down into the Union of South Africa. I want hon. Members to listen to this. I had said this before in the House, but it was a long time ago and it may have been forgotten. I will say it again because it is still a problem. Do hon. Members realise what that would have meant? May I ask hon. Members whether they realise what it would mean if Southern Rhodesia were sucked into the Union and became a part of the Republic, as it is now called?
If hon. Members do not realise what that would mean, let them look at the map and understand that below the Limpopo there are three Protectorates for which we are responsible. Let us be mindful of the fact that if Southern Rhodesia went south it might be difficult for us to fulfil our pledges to the three Protectorates south of the Limpopo or to defend them, as we may still have to defend them. We therefore conceived political union as a method of pulling Southern Rhodesia up. As I said, there were fears that it might be sucked down.
There are two factors, in particular, about which we were concerned. I am not sure of the figures today, but I know what they were in 1950. The proportion of Afrikaaners in the white population was increasing. I do not know the present figures, but the First Secretary will have found out what they are. That is one factor. Let me mention another. Not only was the proportion of Afrikaaners in the white population increasing, but the Broederband was growing. Do hon. Members know what the Broederband is? It is the organisation in the Republic of South Africa which is the real centre of power in the Nationalist Party. I have been told that no Nationalist has ever reached the top in the Nationalist Party in the Republic without being a member of the Broederband.
1466 Branches were being established in Central Africa, and we therefore felt it desirable, if it could be agreed upon, to provide a political arrangement within which Southern Rhodesia would come up and not go down. I have said that because I think that it ought to be said and because—I do not know—it may still be a factor.
All this is history. The Federation is dead or dying; shortly, at any rate, it will be ended, and the two Northern Territories will soon obtain independence within the Commonwealth. What about Southern Rhodesia? May I say a few words about this? I had the privilege and opportunity the other day, with some of my colleagues on both sides of the House, of meeting some of the Members of Parliament from Southern Rhodesia, and what I say in the House now is what I said to them. I think, first of all—and I do not think that the First Secretary ought to delay too long in saying this, too—that we ought to say to them that there is no chance of their attaining their independence on the basis of their present constitution. In fairness to them this should be said.
They, of course, can say that this is a matter for them to decide, but I believe that they still want to stay inside the Commonwealth. All I would say is that it is unlikely that this Government, and certainly not its successor which will be in office very shortly, would agree to independence on the basis of their present constitution, because it would mean that other countries in the Commonwealth, including countries from Africa, would leave it. When the choice had to be made between South Africa and the rest of the African countries in the Commonwealth, it was the other countries which we chose and not South Africa; and it is the others which we should choose and not Southern Rhodesia.
But they want to stay inside the Commonwealth. I will not throw out suggestions about what the constitution ought to be. I will make only two or three very simple suggestions. First, I should like to see the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia emulate the example of their fellows in East Africa. Who would have thought ten years ago that independence would have come there in the manner in which we have seen it come? I pay my warmest tribute to the 1467 Europeans in Kenya who made it possible. I ask the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia to look at their example.
Secondly, I ask them to get round a table with the leaders of the African parties and not to be put off by the fact that there is trouble about the leadership. Every party has that. If I may say so without offence, hon. Members opposite have their share of this trouble.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I speak for myself and not from the Opposition Dispatch Box when I suggest that they should make a joint declaration that their intention is to work for full democratic independence within the Commonwealth. I suggest that they should sit down and agree a target date by which that should be achieved, and that in the meantime they should be building towards it. I make that suggestion and I leave it there—with the one further thought that, speaking from the Box, I made a similar suggestion in a debate which we had in the House on Cyprus. I said to the then Colonial Secretary and others,"Why not say to Cyprus that in four years' time you shall have what you want. In the meantime let us get together and work it out". I said that if we could reach agreement on that, the transitional period could be peaceful and to the advantage of all. My suggestion was not considered. Cyprus got what it wanted in less than my five years—but at what a price!
I put it now to our friends in Southern Rhodesia,"Recognise all this. Recognise the inevitable, even if you do not like it. If you want to stay in the Commonwealth, we want you to stay in it, too. But if you want to stay in the Commonwealth you can do so only on terms which the Commonwealth can accept. You know what they are. I hope that you will not wait for the inevitable. I hope that you yourselves will take the initiative now".
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ Mr. John Farr (Harborough)
I should like to take this opportunity of congratulating my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State on the expert way in 1468 which he handled the Central Africa Conference. It was a magnificent display of expertise on his part even to have got the members of the four Governments around the same table in the shadow of Dr. Livingstone's statue at Victoria Falls and to have held peaceful and constructive discussions with them.
Having dutifully tendered my congratulations to my right hon. Friend, I must confess that my congratulations are tempered with a feeling of sorrow that this great experiment in racial partnership, which was launched some ten years ago, a fine imaginative project, is being brought to an end if we give the Bill a Second Reading today. It nearly succeeded in its ten years. Indeed, there was every economic, geographic and natural reason why it should and could succeed, and in my view it failed simply because of man's inability to live at peace with his neighbour if his skin is a different colour from his own.
I was in the Federation in 1953 when it was launched. I was there shortly afterwards when Her Majesty the Queen Mother came to Bulawayo to open the Central African Exhibition, and I remember the dominant theme in this massive exhibiton. It was racial co-operation and racial partnership. In those early days of the Federation, in its boom time, there flourished a society known as the Capricorn Society which had the laudable object of encouraging, not only in the Federation but throughout the whole of Central and Eastern Africa, the theme of equal racial opportunity and racial partnership.
In those days, in 1953, 1954 and 1955, capital flowed into the Federation from all parts of the world. Skyscrapers went up almost overnight. Hotels and new blocks of flats were built rapidly. It was in those early days that the plans were first set afoot to launch the massive Kariba scheme, which is a wonderful example of inter-territorial co-operation, and new factory estates sprang up rapidly on the outskirts of the major cities, largely financed and developed by off-shoots of British manufacturing companies.
I think it is safe to say that in those days the whole world watched this experiment in racial partnership with interest. From over the border in the Union of South Africa as it then was 1469 they watched this experiment with a certain amount of scorn and prejudice. They believed that they had found the right answer. I believe that the Communist world watched this experiment in racial partnership with a certain amount of fear and trepidation in case it should succeed, and throughout the Continent of Africa and most of the rest of the world there was a feeling of interest, careful expectation and careful application to see whether the experiment would achieve fruition.
I think we have to recognise that this experiment in racial partnership in the Central African Federation has failed, but at least Her Majesty's Government tried, and I take this opportunity of paying every credit to the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) who, when we was Colonial Secretary in 1950, had the initiative to set up the Officials' Conference to work out a federal blueprint. Furthermore, I congratulate the Government for going ahead in 1953, and trying to make this racial partnership work.
The failure of the efforts of both parties to some extent in respect of the Federation may not be complete. It may be possible that in the months that lie ahead before next December and after my right hon. Friend may be able to salvage from the wreckage of the Federation at any rate some of the advantages which the territories enjoy at the moment through their association.
Through my letterbox today I received a copy of the Malaysia Bill. At a time when so many people throughout the world are laynig stress on the necessity not for independence but for inter-independence; at a time when I receive a Bill which calls for the association of a number of territories in South East Asia into a greater Malaysia Federation; and remembering that over the past months the Government have made the most stringent efforts to become a member of the closely knit European community, it seems a strange anomaly that we should be engaged today in dissolving a Federation of the Central African States.
One might perhaps be forgiven for thinking that there is more natural reason for these three territories in Central Africa, which are all part of the same land mass and geographically ad- 1470 join one another being associated than there is for us wanting to go into the Continent of Europe and join the Common Market countries in a close knit association when we have a belt of sea between us. There is no such natural barrier to a close association in the Federation of Central Africa and I urge my right hon. Friend to save what he can from the wreckage.
I welcome the announcement in the White Paper that Her Majesty's Government will assist in the evolvement of effective new forms of collaboration between the territories. The recent conference at Victoria Falls produced some hopeful auguries in this respect. For instance, it agreed that the citizens of the Federation should all continue for the time being to be British subjects. The Northern Rhodesian delegation suggested the continuance on a co-operative basis of Central African Airways. It also suggested that the railway network should continue to be operated on a joint basis, and that the Kariba Dam and the Zambesi project should be operated on a joint basis.
Other spheres in which co-operation might prove fruitful in the days and months that lie ahead are Customs and Excise, and Posts and Telegraphs. Looking ahead, one would think that in this young group of nations a great deal of research both agricultural and industrial will have to be carried out. Because of their uniform climatic and economic conditions, joint industrial and agricultural research projects might well provide opportunities for co-operation.
To my right hon. Friend I repeat my congratulations on the success that he has achieved, although I feel that this success is a hollow victory. The Federation has foundered on the rock of racial mistrust. Perhaps the concept of racial partnership as it was thought of in the old days of 1950 and 1955 was too bold and too premature. I submit that mankind will have to learn the lesson, whether it is in Little Rock, or Wankie, or even in London, that our task in the Federation is to retain what tenuous links we can to keep them together in the hope that these territories will individually learn that each is stronger in association than it is apart.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Creech Jones (Wakefield)
I wish that the First Secretary had made the latter part of his speech in 1953 and not 1963. It was as true then as it is today. In 1953 it was politically unwise to push on with federation in the adopted form. I have always felt that it was an unrealistic political policy—a political blunder—largely because it ignored all that had gone before. It ignored the views expressed by the Bledisloe Royal Commission, and by almost all the enlightened people who had visited Central Africa and had had consultations with the African groups all over those territories.
In 1949 I had the privilege of touring the territories, meeting groups of Africans and discussing with them the possibilities of federation. They were unanimous in their opposition. They understood the implications of federation. Some of the discussions I had with the Africans were more enlightened and better informed than those I had with some Europeans. Therefore, it could not be pleaded that at that time the Africans did not oppose the idea, or did not understand what was involved in the policy of federation.
I want to explain why I opposed that form of federation. I did not oppose the concept of association; I had been an ardent supporter of the Central Africa Council—a council which was slowly bringing the three territories together, planning common services and securing at least the acquiescence of the Africans in its policy. It was torpedoed by Southern Rhodesia, but I have always felt that for geographical, economic and political reasons there should be some association between the three territories—something to take the place of the Central Africa Council.
I opposed this form of federation because it seemed to me that it was not a coming together of the three territories on an equal basis. Its constitution suggested that the ascendancy of the Europeans would be established. Consequently, there was fear and apprehension among the Africans, since Southern Rhodesia was to be in a stronger position than any other territory, and Southern Rhodesia was practising a policy of segregation and discrimination. The Africans had strong objections to a con- 1472 stitution which entrenched the power of the white minority and made it difficult for that power to be taken from them.
The then current talk among the leaders in Southern Rhodesia was that perhaps in a hundred years' time the Africans might begin to be ready to play a part in the political life of the territory. There was a series of contemptible speeches by Lord Malvern and Sir Roy Welensky which merely inflamed the opposition of the Africans to this proposition. I felt that a constitution which was opposed by the majority of the inhabitants of the country could not be made to work. It was a constitution which was imposed on the territory.
For those reasons I felt that it was unrealistic to go ahead with federation in this way. In 1952 I wrote that this concept ought to be defeated, and that in its place there should be a free coming together of the territories. Indeed I had played some part, with Sir Philip Mitchell, in the creation of the East Africa High Commission. There we had brought the territories together on an equal basis. We had given equality of representation to the various races in East Africa.
It therefore seemed to me a reasonable thing to bring together the three Central African territories on the basis of equality, and to let them shape the kind of services and the ultimate constitution that they themselves would require, with the Africans playing a part. But in this business the Africans were scarcely consulted. Even at some of the conferences called at Victoria Falls the Africans, although the vast majority in the territory, were completely ignored. When the Europeans were reminded of that, they said,"With this federation, in time the Africans will get used to it and accept it." But it was obvious that the opposition among the Africans was strong and deep.
I do not wish to go over the history of the past 10 years, but we are here witnessing once again the triumph of African nationalism, and the defeat of British imperialism. I say,"British imperialism" because in 1953 the concept was to give Southern Rhodesia authority and power to dominate Central Africa—to give her additional population and additional resources, together 1473 with an additional area over which to preside. That scheme has been totally defeated, although the majority of the inhabitants had been expected to accept it, and the then Government of this country had thought it to be a wise policy of racial partnership.
It was nothing of the kind. There was no racial partnership in the working of this Federation. Looking back over the history of the past 10 years we see that safeguard after safeguard in respect of the Africans was pushed on one side and ignored. The safeguards that we thought had been put into the Constitution of the territory were not there. The African Affairs Board collapsed. We remember the gathering opposition of the Africans and the resistance shown to any political advance in the three territories by the British Government and the Governments on the spot.
That is the history. It may have been that certain economic advantages have flown. But I contend that many of them now conceded to the Federation were advantages which would have come in any case had the Central African Council been allowed to develop and to bring into being the common services and economic changes contemplated at that time. I concede that there have been gains from federation, but do not let us imagine that the economic growth of Central Africa is due almost entirely to the structure of the Federation.
I go so far as to say that but for the fact that there was a Copper Belt and that tremendous revenue was coming from copper and going into the coffers of the Federation, things in Central Africa would have been very different. I played some part with Sir Roy Welensky and Sir Gilbert Rennie in bringing the royalties of the Copper Belt into public ownership, and in a few years 100 per cent. of those royalties will be the property of the State. Even now a considerable revenue accrues to the State as a result of the action taken by Sir Roy Welensky, Sir Gilbert Rennie and myself. It was that revenue from the Copper Belt which prevented Nyasaland from going bankrupt and give her the heavy subsidies needed to man her administration. It also prevented some of the distress which might have overtaken Southern Rhodesia.
1474 I do not want to dwell too much on the past, but I wish to stress that today we are witnessing the inevitable and logical outcome of the policy of the past 10 years. I congratulate the First Secretary sincerely on the success of his negotiations. To have brought three or four Governments together and gained a measure of agreement among them regarding dissolution; to have got them thinking ahead in terms of collaboration—that is a great achievement and I pay my tribute to the First Secretary for having accomplished it.
As has been said, there are a number of very difficult problems ahead of us. It is all very well to get people talking, and they will have to talk, with regard to certain of the services. I agree with all that has been said about the public service and the need to safeguard it; the proper allocation of the forces and defence arrangements; the allocation of debts and the problems arising from taxation, British citizenship and so on. I hope that the discussions which are taking place to bring finality to the Federation by 31st December will be successful. If some of the discussions have to continue into the new year after federation, I hope that they will be crowned with success.
But again I must remind the First Secretary that when the Federation does dissolve we have a responsibility regarding the territories. We must never forget that federation diminished the position of the Northern territories as Protectorates—giving such wide powers to the Federation, affected the lives of Africans as well as Europeans by diminishing Protectorate status—we still have a responsibility to see that these territories emerge as free States with a constructive policy and able to build up a reasonable and proper standard. We must help them with technical aid and in every possible way.
Therefore, I rejoiced when I heard the First Secretary say that he is proposing that the future constitution of Northern Rhodesia should be discussed. It was an extraordinary thing that a Constitution such as was imposed on Northern Rhodesia was ever in the mind of any sane or rational individual. It was impossible to work such a Constitution. No one understood it, least of all any hon. Member of this House. It was just 1475 a mathematical jargon. That Constitution must go, and I am very pleased to learn that the First Secretary is now taking steps to that end.
I echo what has been said about Southern Rhodesia. Some attempt should be made to widen the franchise; to wipe out discrimination; to amend the present land law. It is a satisfying thing to find that the followers of Mr. Field, who were here recently on a Parliamentary delegation, showed a completely fresh attitude of mind towards African demands and the importance of wiping out a great deal of the discriminatory legislation which has marred the policy of Southern Rhodesia.
That policy has often been discussed in this House in connection with the Commonwealth Relations Office. We had certain reserve powers which it was alleged that our Government had never exercised since 1923. I well remember a conversation which I had with Lord Malvern with respect to those reserve powers. He said that it was not that these powers were ever used but that they had a negative value in so far as the legislation would have been different but for their existence. They acted as a restraining influence. We gave up those powers in 1960. But if Southern Rhodesia is not prepared to amend its Constitution and widen its franchise, there is always the other power possessed by this Government, the power to abrogate the Constitution of Southern Rhodesia. That would be a drastic step to take and I hope that it will never be called for. If Southern Rhodesia is to go forward to independence and full membership of the Commonwealth, it is vital that its Constitution should be amended in such a way that there is a much wider franchise for the Africans and that a great deal of the discriminatory legislation disappears.
I hope that Nyasaland will co-operate fully in the discussions started by the First Secretary. The hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) referred to the odd fact that federation in this instance had broken down, whereas in other parts of the world the idea of federation is gaining ground. It is true that federation in the West Indies broke down, but there it was the product of the West Indies. Having shaped it themselves, the people decided that they could not go 1476 on with it. It was not imposed on them by the British Government. When a Constitution was imposed on Central Africa it was found to break down because the vast majority of the people would not tolerate it.
I hope very sincerely that federation in East Africa, which is so much under discussion at present, will come into being, but that it will be based on the good will and authority of the vast majority of the people in each of the territories. Likewise, the new Federation being planned in Malaysia is the product of the people themselves and it has the endorsement and good will of all the people there through their legislative councils.
I hope, now that those who have supported federation find it impracticable in all the circumstances, that they will give the utmost support to Her Majesty's Government and the other Governments concerned in the efforts they are making to find something to put in its place. I sincerely hope that the present negotiations will succeed. I think that there is a degree of harmony and good will which a few months ago one could hardly expect. We are grateful to the First Secretary for the work he has put in in trying to make that situation possible and trying to make big, constructive plans for Central Africa in the days to come.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Lord Balniel (Hertford)
Whatever our various views may be about the need at the present time to dismantle the Federation, I think we all, on both sides of the House, share a certain sense of melancholy that this experiment, which has proceeded for 10 years and which certainly contained in itself the seeds of greatness, is now being brought to an end. But, however sad the occasion may be, it is in fact no more than the recognition of the facts of the situation in Central Africa today.
This Bill is no more than an enabling piece of machinery to bury what is already dead. The concept of the Federation depended for its life, its greatness, its spirit and its vitality on the concept of partnership, and that concept of partnership never took wing under the guidance of the Federal Government. Now it is reasonable to assume that as a result of the Victoria Falls Conference 1477 the dissolution of the Federation will proceed in a quiet and orderly manner and meet its end by 31st December this year. But when we turn to the task of the future, the constructive task of laying foundations for a new edifice to replace that which has crumbled and broken away, we shall be faced with a very worrying situation.
At the beginning of the Victoria Falls Conference I read a description by a journalist who was paraphrasing words by Dr. Johnson. He said:Even if the conferring is not well done, it is somewhat surprising that it is being done at all.When one remembers that only a few days ago the Southern Rhodesian Government were demanding a written guarantee from my right hon. Friend the First Secretary that they should get almost immediate independence as a price for their attendance at this Conference, one finds it an achievement of no small order that the Conference ever took place.
In the event, the conferring was well done. A great deal of credit must go to the chairman of the conference, the First Secretary, and also to Mr. Field, whose hands were tightly tied by the Rhodesian Front Party. I think also some credit must go to the manager of the Victoria Falls Hotel who insisted that the delegates should leave on 5th July in order that he could get on with making some money.
Unlike any other conference on Central Africa which I remember in recent years, this conference went exceedingly well—quite remarkably well. I hope I have not an unduly suspicious mind, but I wish to emphasise my hope that my right hon. Friend did not oil the wheels of this conference by giving any secret undertaking to the Prime Minister of the Southern Rhodesian Government promising them independence before the establishment in their country of majority rule. I think I am right in saying that my right hon. Friend had two meetings with Mr. Field to discuss questions of the future constitution of Southern Rhodesia.
This suspicion passed through my mind for no more than a second and I immediately suppress it, but I feel bound to tell my right hon. Friend that if he 1478 gave any indication of such a course of action—the possibility that independence before majority rule in Southern Rhodesia could be granted—I doubt whether any such undertaking could be honoured. I think it only right to tell my right hon. Friend that there would be many on these benches who, if such legislation were introduced, would fight it Clause by Clause through this House.
There are a great number of hon. Members on both sides of the House who find it quite unacceptable to give independence to a country which has a Parliament elected by 90,000 votes—a trivial percentage of the total population of the country and a percentage which is formed almost entirely by the white minority in that country. It is a travesty to describe the Parliament of Southern Rhodesia as anything more than a parody of democracy. It is no more than a façade, a game of make-believe democracy.
On its upper roll it has a voting qualification on the register of 90,000 persons forming almost the entirety of the European population. On its lower roll it has the possibility of registering something like 28,000 Africans, 1per cent. of the total African population of the country. Very naturally, in the last election the Africans refused to engage in this humiliating charade of an election. In fact, only 1,400 Africans out of a total population approaching 3 million took part in the election. Today we have in the Southern Rhodesian Parliament 15 African Members of Parliament who represent, on average, 90 votes each. That would hardly qualify for a parish council election in this country.
When we talk, as many hon. Members do, about the possibility of Southern Rhodesia obtaining independence without any change in her constitution, we should remember the words written by Lord Milner about this part of the world in 1899:The spectacle of thousands of British subjects kept permanently in the position of helots…does steadily undermine the influence and reputation of Great Britain and the respect for the British Government within the Queen's Dominions.Lord Milner was writing at that time about the British Outlanders who were deprived of political enfranchisement by the Boers, but the principle seems exactly 1479 the same. Whereas the deprivation of political enfranchisement of British subjects at that time led only a few months later to the Boer War, the deprivation of political enfranchisement of the overwhelming mass of the African population in Southern Rhodesia will soon conjure up very grave problems indeed for that country.
A great deal has been said in the House and in Southern Rhodesia about the possibility that if we dissolve the Federation and do not, concurrently with the granting of independence to Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, grant it to Southern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia would claim and take independence herself. It is said that we would have no power to prevent such an unconstitutional act from being performed. This is absolutely true. We have no military power which could stop Southern Rhodesia taking independence—but that is certainly no argument for conniving in that kind of conduct.
In all seriousness, having witnessed the way in which the Southern Rhodesian Government acted with caution and discretion at the Victoria Falls Conference, I do not believe that the Southern Rhodesian Government would take this action, because if it were to do so it would be embarking upon a course fraught with danger for itself. Lying in the very heart of Africa, Southern Rhodesia would cut herself off not only from the main stream of African development and from the African markets lying all around her to the North—but she would cut herself off from the Commonwealth and virtually the entire membership of the United Nations. If she took this action, Southern Rhodesia would be enlaagered and alone with South Africa and Mozambique and Angola.
Some of my hon. Friends who recognise the possibility of Southern Rhodesia seizing independence and those outside the House who advocate that she should take this step are no doubt very true and dear friends of Southern Rhodesia, but if their advice were taken they would be rendering a disastrous disservice to the people who live in that country, disastrous both in political and economic terms.
It would be disastrous in political terms because we know the views expressed at the Pan-African Conference at Addis 1480 Ababa. We know what would be the reaction of the newer Afro-Asian members of the Commonwealth. I think that I am right in saying that the older and once called"White Dominions" of the Commonwealth, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, have all warned Southern Rhodesia in private that they could not accept her as an independent member of the Commonwealth with her existing constitution. In a wider sphere, there is the probability not only that a Government in exile would be established on the borders of Southern Rhodesia but that that Government in exile and not the established Government of Southern Rhodesia would be recognised by the mass of the world.
In economic terms, the dangers of such a course of action are very grave. Even at the moment, Southern Rhodesia has seen a fall in her industrial investment from £14 million in 1960 to £6 million in 1961, and I understand that there was a comparable fall in 1962. She has seen this happen just at the time when there has been a great influx of capital from white business, not into Salisbury, but into Lusaka underneath an African Government. She needs the markets in Northern Rhodesia—for 30 per cent. of her total industrial production is sold in Northern Rhodesia. If she were to take this step—declaring herself independent of her own volition—she could not face the economic sanctions which would be imposed upon her by all the Pan-African territories lying north of the Zambesi, Northern Rhodesia in particular.
Her economy is weak. To pay even the interest on what is expected to be her share of the federal debt absorbs 15 per cent. of her total annual revenue. While in this country we take powers to dissolve the Federation and while we must recognise that we have not the military might which would stop Southern Rhodesia taking independence, were she so inclined, every argument of common sense indicates that she would be very unwise to embark on such a course.
As we dissolve the Federation, we should keep two main strands of thought in the foreground of our minds. First, we should welcome among Europeans and Africans the emotional and fervent desire for independence. This is healthy. But we should make it absolutely clear that the pre-condition for independence 1481 is the establishment of majority rule in Southern Rhodesia. This pre-condition has been accepted in every British possession since 1910. In 1910 we granted independence to South Africa with a white minority Government in office. It is not an example which has inspired much confidence. Her Majesty's Government should not be prepared to depart one iota from this pre-condition and in fairness to the Southern Rhodesians we should make this absolutely clear to them.
The second strand is that as we destroy the Federal authority over the three territories, we should try to replace it with a voluntary association among them. The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) indicated that he was optimistic that this voluntary association would be established. I believe that it will be a great deal harder to establish voluntary association between Southern Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia than many people imagine.
The reason for this is that the emotional detestation which has developed towards Federation is almost certain—wrongly in my opinion—to overflow on to whatever voluntary association or machinery is established between these territories. The reason for this is that African detestation of federation is not really based on the structure of federation itself but on the policies of federation. It was well put in the Monckton Report which said:Now, after seven years of Federation African distrust has reached an intensity impossible…to dispel without drastic and fundamental changes both in the structure of the association itself, and in the racial policies of Southern Rhodesia.We are now changing the structure of the Federation, indeed, we are destroying its structure, but I have not seen any indication of any change in the racial policies of Southern Rhodesia. Indeed, since those words were written the racial policies have hardened. The Land Apportionment Act, which was to be abandoned by Sir Edgar Whitehead, is to be retained.
Sir Roy Welensky declared at the Conference that federal civil servants must be treated as humans and not cattle. In passing may I say that I whole heartedly support my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) in his plea for generous treatment of federal civil servants? However, in 1482 the same week as Sir Roy was saying that at that conference there were two delegates from Northern Rhodesia who were refused admission to a hotel in Southern Rhodesia. Those are not pinpricks but are deadly personal insults to individuals. This retention of racial policies which are not acceptable in the modern world will make the establishment of voluntary association between North and South very difficult. It will be harder because inevitably, now that political nationalism has succeededin the Northern Territories, it is bound to be followed by economic nationalism, and the Northern Territories will look more readily to the north, to Tanganyika and Uganda and Kenya, for the establishment of economic links than they will look to the south.
Southern Rhodesia has some strong cards. Many of the services—the railway system, the Kariba Dam, coal and copper, and the flow of trade and labour across the boundaries—are inextricably interwoven. These cards will not alter the fact that she will not be able to obtain decent economic relationship with the north until such time as she is prepared to make a really fundamental change in her race policies and in the Constitution.
In discussing this Bill we are undertaking the melancholy task of burying a federation which was in its concept and in its outlook one of the most statesman-like and imaginative acts of policy which have been undertaken in Africa in the post-war era. Federation failed because it was based on noble ideals—noble ideals of the richer nations helping the poorer nations and the concept of partnership between black men and white men—noble ideals which never came to life during the past 10 years under the guidance of the Federal Government.
I know that it is very easy for us who do not live in those countries to criticise what goes on there. Heaven knows we have our own failures in policies for which we have been responsible in Africa. I certainly give all the praise that is due, without any reservation at all, to what has been achieved in the Federation, particularly in economic and material terms. Whilst it might be resented that we criticise from a distance, it would be inexcusable folly for Southern Rhodesia not at last after all these years 1483 to learn the lesson which now stares her in the face—that she must match her material achievements with a resurrection of the spirit of partnership which is now more necessary than ever before.
§ 6.42 p.m.
§ Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)
It gives me very great pleasure to follow the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel), who made an admirable speech. I am glad, in a sense, that such a speech has come from his side of the House, because perhaps it will persuade those in Southern Rhodesia who might otherwise be so misguided as to persist in their previous mistaken course more than a speech from this side. Therefore, the whole House should be grateful to the noble Lord, not only for the point of view he has expressed but also for the fact that he has expressed it with such clarity and eloquence. I have heard him speak on a number of occasions. I do not think I have ever heard him make a better speech.
The Chief Secretary is a man of many parts. He has recently been doubling the rôle of undertaker and family solicitor. He has brought the heirs round the coffin and they have agreed upon the order of the funeral service. That is set out for us in the White Paper. What we still do not know is what will happen when they come to the reading of the will. We shall not know that until the committees which are to be set up under the Agreement get together and put their proposals before the parties concerned. I will not go into all the legal niceties of this analogy. I think that it is a fair one.
I do not want to go too far into the past. I am glad that I have caught your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, because no one in the House was more persistent or energetic than I in opposing federation when it was before us 10 years ago. I have in my hand just one of the HANSARDS of that time—that for 4th May, 1953—recording the speeches of my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), one or two other Members who are present in the House today, and my own. All that has happened since 1953 has confirmed those of us who opposed the Federation on principle, the principle being that we were trying to join together three territories 1484 which are politically unequal. However attractive the prospects were from the economic point of view—I grant everything that my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly said on that score—we felt that it was clear and obvious at that time that such a federation could not be expected to succeed.
It is a melancholy fact that our fears were completely confirmed. They might not have been. It is just conceivable that we might have been mistaken in our assessment of the people concerned. It is conceivable that Sir Roy Welensky, for example, might have given a very different lead in the earlier years. It is conceivable that the move towards what is far from racial integration in Southern Rhodesia, but even the mitigation of discrimination, might have come many years before it did. All these things were at least conceivable, but they were not probable.
Those of uswho at that time studied the matter with the closest possible attention came to the conclusion that on the whole the scales were weighted so heavily against success that the Government at that time were taking a gamble which they were not justified in taking. The political situation has changed enormously within the last few years. It has changed especially rapidly since the emergence of other independent territories in Africa. There is no doubt that what has given the tremendous impetus to the African political movements in Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and also in Southern Rhodesia has been the fact that they have been able to look to other parts of the continent of Africa and say to themselves,"If our brothers in such and such territories can be independent, why not we?" There is no answer to that. If Tanganyika can be independent, why not Northern Rhodesia.
The Governments concerned, with the exception of Southern Rhodesia, have made an assessment of political realities as they are at present. We are therefore left with the moment of truth that political structure in any part of Africa from now onwards has to be based upon the rights of the majority. I was very glad indeed that the noble Lord made that so clear in his references to Southern Rhodesia. Of course it will be difficult for her. It will be intensely difficult for her to recognise this very difficult fact.
1485 It will be all the more difficult, because at one point Southern Rhodesia was riding so high on the crest of the federal wave. One of the results of Federation was to increase the attractions for investment of Salisbury and Bulawayo. There was a period—the climax of it was about 1957—of"never had it so good" which affected Southern Rhodesia and which brought in very considerable outside investment. There was a building boom. There was land speculation, and so on. It must be very bitter indeed for those who thought that they were riding on the crest of the wave to find that they are now in the trough.
But they must face realities and they must recognise, as the leader in the Guardian today makes clear, that—Once the principle either of apartheid, as in South Africa, or of paternalism, as in Southern Rhodesia, is abandoned there is no rest this side of universal suffrage.It must come sooner or later and it will have to be recognised and accepted. My hon. Friends and I have made it clear that until that road has been clearly charted in Southern Rhodesia there should be no question of complete independence.
Having said that, we are, nevertheless, clearly anxious about the future of the territories. There were good reasons for wishing that the three should co-operate because of the unequal distribution of wealth and natural resources in that part of the world. The territory which worries me perhaps more than any other is that of Nyasaland. I was there nearly 10 years ago and I wonder what fundamental changes have taken place in the intervening years. I appreciate that there have been some improvements—in the health service, education and so on—but I do not think that very much progress has been made in the territory's basic economy. They were always the weaker partner. Their political representation was minimal and the whole force of Federal finances was to bolster up Southern Rhodesia.
Very little has gone to Nyasaland, and that country is now starting on independence in the most unenviable situation of not being a viable State. If they look north, as they frequently have done, to Tanganyika, they must realise that Tanganyika herself is not equipped to do very much to help Nyasaland. One 1486 hopes that the resources of Northern Rhodesia may somehow be shared, but during federation that territory has felt bitterly that she was the milch cow of the Federation and that there was a limit to what she could be expected to do for her neighbours.
One fact of life Southern Rhodesia will have to face is that unless she can find a modus vivendi with Northern Rhodesia and unless the burden of the federal services can be shared equitably she will also be in a difficult position. I echo what the Guardian stated today in its leader about the desirability of Her Majesty's Government making such generous arrangements as can be made when the time comes for committees A and B to get to work, recognising that some at least of the public debt which will be a millstone around the necks of the territories was incurred because of the mistaken policy of the British Government.
We should without any recriminations, be as generous as we possibly can wherever we find it necessary to enable economic development to take place, social services to be fostered and institutions to be maintained which were started in the belief that the federal system would continue, but which may now find themselves seriously weakened owing to the break-up of the Federation.
I am thinking particularly of places like the University College at Salisbury. I very much regretted the decision of the Nyasaland Government to withdraw their support from even individual students at the University College. I appreciate their reasons for doing that but, on the other hand, it is a great pity that University College where serious efforts were being made to bring about racial integration within the Federation should be penalised for political reasons which were no fault of the authorities at the college.
Anyone who has any interest in academic life knows that the cost of establishing and sustaining three separate universities in the territories would be beyond their resource. It has been suggested that there should be a university at Lusaka, and I know that Dr. Banda would like to have one in Nyasaland—a laudable desire, but to have an establishment which could match the sort of university we have in mind seems to be 1487 at present beyond the bounds of possibility save on some academic federal basis. There are many other matters on which co-operation and the pooling of contributions is extremely desirable.
It is to be hoped that with the new political situation it may be possible for Committee B to have a successful outcome to its work. It has been said that Committee A is the bulldozer while Committee B is the cement mixer. I hope that the constructive work of Committee B will be really successful. Much depends on the attitude of the Southern Rhodesian negotiators and delegates. If they are prepared, in the political sphere, to be realistic and to accept the obvious future, it may be possible to obtain co-operation on many other things.
If, on the other hand, they fail to do this, one can look forward only with a certain apprehension to the fall of standards in many directions in Central Africa; health services, scientific research and so on—and I am anxious that there should be co-operation in these matters as well as in the more obvious physical elements such as power from Kariba, the railways and so on. I hope that there will be a general feeling of wishing to lose as little as possible of what may be salvaged and that there will be a general desire, in the interests of the standards of living of all the people of Central Africa, to contribute to what are considerable common services and enterprises.
It is extraordinary that at this time, when we are burying the Central African Federation, the East African Federation should be coming into being amid general good will. One can only hope that the disruptive elements in Southern Rhodesia will appreciate that their future will be far more secure and prosperous if they can accept the political facts of life.
The fear has been expressed that Southern Rhodesia might wish to go in with the Republic of South Africa. This fear was mentioned emphatically 10 years ago when we were discussing federation. I never believed it then and I do not believe it now. I cannot believe that Southern Rhodesia could be so misguided as to think that there would be any future happiness or prosperity in that conjunction. I do not 1488 think, therefore, that that is a factor to be seriously considered.
I can see that there might be considerable dangers for Southern Rhodesia and for the rest of Central Africa if the British Government do not pay more attention to the Protectorates and do something in that direction. I appreciate that it would be out of order for me to go into this aspect in detail, but let us not repeat some of the mistakes we have already made in some parts of Africa by continuing to treat the Protectorates in such a way that we will find, in possibly only a few years, that we are faced there with serious political crises without their being in an economically viable state to look after themselves. This is one of the serious problems in this part of Africa to which Her Majesty's Government seem to be giving far too little attention. However, I shall not pursue that now, because it would be out of order to do so on this Bill.
I am sorry that the Federation has failed, but, frankly, I never thought, in the circumstances in which it was initiated, that it had any possible chance of success. I can only hope that the political leaders in the Federation, including Dr. Banda, Kenneth Kaunda and the rest, will be great enough men not to allow their natural feeling of hostility or animosity towards Southern Rhodesia to destroy the possibility of keeping in being many establishments, institutions and projects which can be maintained only on a federal basis and which would take a very long time to rebuild if they were now allowed to be destroyed.
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans)
The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) expressed the hope that those on this side of the House who supported Sir Roy Welensky would not be silenced by Lord Poole into abstaining from speaking in the debate. I assure him that I shall not be silenced by Lord Poole, on this subject or on any other, for that matter, if I feel that I have something to say. The right hon. Gentleman also said that there was no cause for jubilation today. When he said it, I could not help feeling that, with certain honourable exceptions, a good deal has been done to damage the cause of the Federation by the party opposite.
1489 Like others, I congratulate my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State on having achieved what has so far been achieved at the Victoria Falls Conference. However, I feel that we should recognise fully and state here and now that a great deal has been achieved in the Federation. I am disappointed that many of those who have spoken in the debate have tended to brush this aside and speak only of the disadvantages and failures, without giving a really fair picture of what has been taking place. My noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) might well have given people the impression that Southern Rhodesia was a State in which all the people were badly oppressed. Anyone who goes out there knows perfectly well that this is not so. All over the country, the people are living a very happy and free life, and much advantage has accrued to them throughout the time during which they have been governed by Europeans in that territory.
It should be realised that the Federation has not died a natural death. It may have suffered from slowness in the way it set about achieving the objects put before it. It is easy now, jobbing backwards, to criticise those who might have gone faster. It is easier still to do this speaking here 6,000 miles away from the fears which people in countries of this kind have when they see chaos in other African countries which become independent. But great strides have been made. The Africans, who are still, as we are told, the vast majority and whose interests should be our main concern, are in danger of suffering if a proper handing-over does not take place.
I said that the Federation had not died a natural death. It has been brutally bludgeoned to death. There have been various strange allies in the murder. First, there are the extreme nationalists, the racialists, whose one object in Africa is to see black domination. There is then the Afro-Asian bloc in the United Nations and, indeed, in the British Commonwealth which seems determined to destroy any vestige of British influence in these territories. They are aided by other States which, for reasons of their own, want to see chaos in Africa and Britain's influence removed. Also, there are allies of this country who have anti-colonial prejudices and who speak with great 1490 ignorance of affairs in Africa but who yet aid and abet this brutal murder. Finally, as I said earlier, there are hon. Members opposite who have certainly not helped by their exaggerations about conditions in the territories.
Most of the time, I fear, it has appeared that the British Government have been standing by without the courage to intervene and try to help. There have even been moments when one felt that they were putting a toe out to trip up the victim in the path of the assailant with his raised weapon. I cannot understand how we in this Parliament could have accepted a situation in which the United Nations sends over a committee to discuss the affairs of Southern Rhodesia, a committee with representatives from countries such as Mali which has about 5 per cent. primary education compared with 95 per cent. in Southern Rhodesia, or Ethiopia where slavery still takes place. We allow these people to probe the affairs of Southern Rhodesia and, in so doing, all we seem to do is to say,"This is not really our responsibility. We cannot do anything about it. Southern Rhodesia has been independent since 1923. Therefore, by all means come and talk about it, but we cannot do anything".
Why let them come at all? Why not say to these people that the United Nations has no right to come and interfere in the internal domestic affairs of Southern Rhodesia, or of any other country? Of course, there are those who have tried to make out—I include the Front Bench opposite in this, though not today—that there was a danger to the peace of the world in Southern Rhodesia. This has never been true. I am sure that my right hon. Friend would tell the House that Southern Rhodesia today is a very peaceful country, far from being in the state suggested by members of the United Nations who have been anxious to interfere.
It is sad that my right hon. Friend should now be given the task of administering the coup de grâce, for that is what he is doing in introducing the Bill today. He has mentioned his concern about certain points, and I wish to mention mine about one or two aspects of the Bill. I am glad that there has been a good deal of discussion today about the civil servants. I am sure 1491 that there is no one in this country who has to pay the taxes that go towards the funds who would not gladly see the Government treat generously those civil servants who have lost their jobs. I was disturbed to learn—I suppose that it is somewhat ironic—that many of the civil servants who were seconded compulsorily to the federal service from the territories are now to be compulsorily seconded back, in some cases to Administrations in which they have little confidence. I hope that this will be borne in mind.
I hope that the Minister who is to reply will be able to say something about citizenship. In my view, there is good cause to suggest that citizens of the Federation should now have the opportunity to have duel citizenship, that is, citizenship of any one territory and British citizenship at the same time. There may come a time when these people will want to return to Britain, and I think that it would be most unfortunate if those who had gone out to give good service to the peoples in these territories found, on wanting to return to this country, that they were under the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, treated as people other than British subjects who had a right to return here quite regardless of that Act.
My noble Friend the Member for Hertford said that the Government must not give independence except to a majority Government in Southern Rhodesia. This seems to be a most strange argument when those who are demanding this outside are countries like Ghana, which really and truly cannot be regarded as a democracy by anyone in this Chamber. I am sure that the Africans in Southern Rhodesia today are a much freer and happier people than the Africans in Ghana, and I cannot understand the person who says that we cannot at this stage give full independence to Southern Rhodesia unless it has a majority Government. I hope that we shall not press them too far in demanding certain terms on which this shall be given. I feel that this is something which could well disappoint and embitter many people in this country.
I know that certain people today, including my noble Friend the Member for Hertford, have said that nothing but a majority Government in Southern 1492 Rhodesia is acceptable, but there are many relatives of Rhodesians in this country who know of the hard work put into building up that territory and who realise just how much it will depend in future on the remaining Europeans. If the Europeans are driven away by a further attempt to make them advance more quickly than they feel able to accept, I suggest that the very people on whom that territory depends will leave and that the Africans will be the people who will suffer.
The other point which worries me greatly is the question of Nyasaland and law and order. My right hon. Friend the First Secretary said this afternoon that law and order were being maintained in Nyasaland. This has been the Government's contention for the last two and a half years. During this time provincial commissioners, district commissioners, business men and tribal chiefs out there have constantly said that that was not so. I went out there for the first time in 1960. At that time Members on both sides of the House were disturbed when Chester Katsonga's house was burned down because he came to a reception for British Members of Parliament. We sent a telegram to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, as he now is, expressing our concern at the state of law and order in Nyasaland. We saw the Malawi Youth being trained and drilled very much like the Hitler Youth of pre-war days. We know the object of their training. We were disturbed on being told by the police that the Attorney-General did not give them sufficient power to enforce law and order. Those of us who complained about it when we returned to this country were told that this just was not true, that there was law and order and that everyone else out there was wrong.
I returned to Nyasaland last autumn. While I was there, I again found this great anxiety about the state of law and order in the territory. District commissioners, provincial commissioners and tribal chiefs were expressing the same anxiety. All the time their power is being gradually taken away by Dr. Banda. There was a general feeling that no real attempt was being made to prevent Dr. Banda and his Malawi Congress from becoming a dictatorship with control over everyone in the territory.
1493 When one discovered that the Attorney-General had issued instructions to the police that they were not to initiate proceedings against anyone for violence or incitement to violence without his personal permission, one began to believe that there was great danger there.
While I was waiting to catch my aircraft out of Blantyre, a British journalist came to see me. He had written an article which Dr. Banda did not like and, as a result of it, he was chased and beaten up. He managed to escape, but there followed in the Malawi News an editorial calling for justice to be done to this man, and it finished with these words:A wicked man like this must not be tolerated. We do not care who punishes him or how he is punished, but he must be punished.This young man, who had a wife and young child there, considered that this was a direct incitement to violence against his person and family. I believed that it was, too. He asked me to make representations to the Government on his behalf. He had gone to the police. In due course, when I reached Salisbury, I saw the British High Commissioner and told him, having written to him in advance, about this man's anxiety and asked that the Governor should have his attention drawn to this case. It seemed to me a blatant incitement to violence which, if allowed to go unchecked, would be a direct invitation to people to continue the reign of violence in that territory.
When I got back here, I wrote to the First Secretary about the matter and expressed my anxiety. I said that I had made direct official representations to the British High Commissioner on behalf of a British subject in that territory and asked him if he would look into the matter. Later I asked a Question in the House, but I still did not get a satisfactory answer. I was merely told that it seemed to the Attorney-General that there was no incitement to violence in the words of which I complained.
This sort of thing disturbs me greatly, and I am not the only one who is disturbed. We now learn that in recent weeks the Malawi police have been beating up Europeans and Asians. The latest thing, as appears from the newspapers today, is that Mr. Chipembere has made 1494 a threat to Europeans saying that if they do not behave themselves they will net just be deported—that would be the legal way—but that the Malawi Youth will get after them and will terrorise them out of the country. This is not a state of affairs which one can tolerate in a country at anytime. I am therefore amazed that my right hon. Friend should suggest today that law and order are being maintained in Nyasaland. Surely if independence is handed to a State in that sort of condition there is little hope of it being a peaceful transition to independence.
I warn my right hon. Friend that I have recently had telegrams from people in Blantyre. There is a grave fear that the regular official police will start fighting the Malawi Youth police. If that happens there will be the most terrible conflict. There is much more danger in Nyasaland than there is in Southern Rhodesia, and I beg my right hon. Friend to take seriously the warnings which have been coming out of Nyasaland. All the warnings from Member of Parliament after Member of Parliament and from every visitor who goes there and comes back here have been ignored and brushed aside. It is said,"This just is not so. What you have seen does not mean that there is no law and order. Do not believe what people have told you. They do not know; we do".
This is one of the great tragedies of Africa. There have been people in this country who thought that they knew better than the people on the spot. T cannot help feeling that there are still those in this Chamber who, with all the good intentions in the world, are saying things which will cause the same sort of damage simply because they are forming a judgment from this far distance and have ignored the warnings of those on the spot.
I have said enough, but—
§ Mr. Goodhew
The hon. Gentleman has not heard it all. He is lucky. Some other hon. Members have been here all the time. In spite of the hon. Gentleman, I will finish, unlike him, because sometimes he goes on rather longer if he feels that somebody is getting impatient.
1495 Every Member of the House will want a successful outcome of the arrangements that have so far been made. I hope that there will be universal support for the measures that are put into operation. When all is said and done, what matters to the people of these territories is that, when government is handed over, it should be handed over in such a condition that everything is operating smoothly and law and order, not chaos, prevail. With that in mind, I hope that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State will accept that I wish the Government well in this operation, although I am sad that we have been brought to this state where it is necessary.
§ 7.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Mason (Barnsley)
I should like to say at the outset to the hon. Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) that, in the main, I do not disagree with what he said. There were two particular points he mentioned with which I wholly agree. The first was regarding the type of Government now taking office in Southern Rhodesia, and the second was the point he made about the demands that they are making for independence at this moment.
I am sorry that there has been a reversal in Southern Rhodesia of the multi-racial trends that were taking place in government. Because that has happened, it has stiffened my attitude towards resisting their demands for independence at this time. There were parts of the speech of the hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) with which I agreed, particularly when he was talking about the disorders and disturbances in Nyasaland. I have been there. I have witnessed them, and, as he said, the First Secretary of State should be informed more fully by Members of this House who are receiving notes, telegrams and letters from the people in Nyasaland about these disturbances. I cannot agree with him on the point he made about the demands for Southern Rhodesia's independence. This is where we must take a different stand, although on matters of this kind we have in the main been together on previous occasions.
I do not greet this Bill and its eventual passage through the House with cheerfulness. Indeed, I greet it with some remorse and sorrow, because I am feeling 1496 for those many thousands of white people in the Rhodesias and Nyasaland, many of whom are of British stock, who in the past ten years have been genuinely and sincerely trying to build a multiracial federation in these three States. There are some hon. Members, particularly on this side of the House, who may say:"Well, there may have been a few of them, but the majority of them were not really interested in multi-racialism". My view after two visits throughout the whole of the three territories was that there was a very strong core of liberal-minded Europeans who particularly wanted this to succeed. It is with those people in mind that I speak today.
One must recognise the situation in which they find themselves, because throughout the past ten years and throughout this multi-racial experiment they have witnessed the growth, first, of apartheid just below their southern borders, the eventual exit of South Africa from the Commonwealth, civil war, disorders and bloodshed just over their northern frontiers. At the beginning of the experiment there were the Mau-Mau disorders on their eastern flanks and they saw the growth of black dictatorships in West Africa as well, all inside ten years, and at the same time as they were sincerely trying to develop these multi-racial trends in the heart of Africa.
Indeed, throughout all these ground swells of upset and disorder this white minority in central Africa was trying to plan the orderly, economic and political growth of these three States. I know that in retrospect it is easy to chastise these people because they themselves in multi-racialism could not keep up with the pace of Africanisation elsewhere. My hon. Friend the Member for Flint (Mr. White) mentioned that part of this was the cause, that a lot of the nations surrounding central Africa were themselves becoming Africanised and getting independence, and this was causing greater difficulties for the multi-racialists within the Federation.
My view is that they struggled hard but the pace of Africanisation was much too fast. But I still think that the Federation could have won had it not been for forces around them, forces outside their territories, visiting politicians who were not weighing their words carefully in the countries concerned, fanning 1497 the flames of Africanisation in those territories.
Her Majesty's Government must take a large share of the blame for this. But the Federal Prime Minister in the Federal Assembly quite openly accused Her Majesty's Government in a speech on 8th April when he said that this had been a story"of treachery and deceit". That there had been duplicity and double dealing in negotiations with British Ministers, and now with the secession of Nyasaland and the break-up of the Federation the Government had been guilty of a miserable and abject surrender.
It also means that in these operations the Government have shocked the white people out there. They had pleased the Africans and had given some credence to the slogan,"Violence pays". Dr. Banda, Mr. Joshua Nkomo and, in part, Mr. Kenneth Kaunda have all threatened in their various ways, and this is now partially their reward. The U.N.I.P. magazine always carries the slogan,"Violence pays; peace does not pay". This hastening end of the Federation experiment is part of their reward.
I wonder if hon. Members realise how damaging words can be to the African mass, whether in this House or in the countries concerned, to any large mass of semi-illiterate people no matter whether Africans or not. The winds of change have been sweeping through Africa, telling people to fight for the vote, and because of their semi-illiteracy and being unaccustomed to democratic terms they take it literally meaning that and take up their spears and pangas and decide that that is what they should do.
People should be very careful not to fan the flames of the ambitious and of the politicians who desire quickly to take office, especially when there is no economic stability in the countries concerned. It will be on our heads when independence is granted and if tyrannical rule follows because there is economic instability in the State stern authoritarian measures have to follow. I particularly have Nyasaland in mind.
The message of my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) was that we had never been able to give them economic stability before they politically emerged. This is one of the 1498 tragedies of most of the States within Africa. Ghana was an example. Although it was much richer than Nyasaland is, and probably much richer than Nyasaland ever will be, it has a black authoritarian rule. Political opposition has been wiped out. The freedom and liberty of the subject has been restricted, there is detention without charge and political prisoners are in jail. We do not have to talk about Greece or Spain which have suffered civil wars and send political prisoners to jail. This is a new emergent nation where democracy was built with a Parliament, Government and Opposition. It has all been rent asunder, however, and it is easy in small territories which are economically unstable for this to happen.
I should like for a moment to paint on a larger canvas. We are witnessing the Balkanisation of Central Africa. In due course the Pan-African movement—P.A.F.M.E.C.S.A.—may succeed in its long-term goal of Africanising Central Africa, possibly stretching down to the tip of the South. When these fall to their pressures Pan-Africanism will lose its unifying force and then they may revert to fighting each other economically. Therefore it is a shallow unity. Once this bond, this unity they have—Pan-Africanism, fighting the South and Central Africa—is broken there will be economic struggles for existence. Africa as a continent still has to go through this stage. Then, we shall see Russian, Chinese and American influences moving in and they may well determine the growth of these States, their economic strength and even their type of development. British influence is rapidly waning and in the future era we will have no bearing on the countries' developments.
The Central African Federation was proving to be economically an oasis in the central regions of Africa. That was until the Government's vacillations and hesitancy caused a setback in the investment of these territories. However, one cannot but recognise the many developments that have taken place in the past eight years, including communications, trunk roads, airways, Rhodesian railways, health services, education, a new university and the magnificent achievement of Kariba Dam power. Because of all these necessities for all the three territories concerned, I earnestly hope that 1499 the territorial collaboration of which the First Secretary spoke will be forthcoming.
There are, however, still a few imponderables in the situation. First, since the advent of the Nyasaland Messiah, Dr. Hastings Banda, there has been a series of unfortunate incidents in Nyasaland. They have shattered the faith of most white civil servants, teachers, doctors and nurses, who now doubt whether there is any future for them in what appears to be the development of tyrannical rule. Farmers and property owners also are worrying and considering making an exit from Nyasaland. They fear that no compensation will be forthcoming and they are caught in an invidious predicament.
In Northern Rhodesia, and rightly so, as the First Secretary said, there is an uneasy coalition between Kenneth Kaunda, of U.N.I.P., and Harry Nkumbula, of the African National Congress. The Progressive Party, as it is now called, is in opposition. At one time, there was a pact between the A.N.C. and the Progressive Party. Kaunda fears them. Indeed, he now wants to race to independence with a quickened constitution, a widening franchise and a quicker road to independence, because he fears that if there is a break with Harry Nkumbula, this will stop his advancement, because immediately African rule has gone and the African coalition has been broken, the Progressive Party with the A.N.C. will then take over the government of the country.
If that takes place, Kenneth Kaunda will suffer a severe setback. Existing jealousies could develop into enmity between these two African races which are in government in Northern Rhodesia. Racial strife could easily follow, and there have been instances of this between the two parties already.
Turning to Southern Rhodesia, there have been demands many times in this Houseduring this debate for a widening of the franchise, and I agree that this should be done. Let us, however, place on record, in fairness to Sir Edgar Whitehead when he was Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, exactly what he tried to do. In 1957, there the Electoral Amendment Act was passed and at that time there were a mere 1,000 Africans on the roll and eligible to vote in 1500 Southern Rhodesia elections. By July, 1959, the number was only 1,984. A survey was made to see how many qualified at that time and a conservative estimate was that there were 17,550. Only 12 per cent. had bothered to enrol. There was a lack of interest. On that occasion, there was no intimidation from Z.A.P.U.—the Zimbabwe African Party Union; it was not in existence. There was, however, no interest from the Africans to get on the roll.
By December, 1961, 50,000 were entitled to be on the roll, but only 5,500 had got on it. In January, 1962, Sir Edgar Whitehead, perturbed that the Africans were not taking an interest, launched a campaign to get all eligible Africans on the roll and at that time Z.A.P.U., being in existence, frustrated their efforts, intimidated their colleagues and stopped them from registering. At 15th September, 1962, 13,495 had registered but there were 159,000 who had entitlement to do so.
§ Mr. Berkeley
I wonder where the hon. Member gets the figure of 159,000 people being entitled to be on the register. My reason for asking is that when the registrations were so few, the head of the"Build the Nation" campaign in Southern Rhodesia made a statement saying that Sir Edgar Whitehead had grossly overestimated the number, which he himself put as between 38,000 and 30,000. What is the source of the hon. Member's 159,000 figure?
§ Mr. Mason
It comes from the estimates which have bean made by the Southern Rhodesia Government. The publicity officer, on behalf of that Government, had a letter in the Guardian on these lines only three months ago. I have to take that as being authentic This is their estimate of how many people are entitled to vote and how many registered.
There are reasons for that. First, there is a lack of interest among many Africans about becoming politically advanced and wanting to vote. Secondly, many of them have been subject to intimidation and will not get on the electoral roll. Thirdly, however, and not least of all, once they are registered and named, they come within a certain tax range and they do not want to be recognised and known. This is one of the 1501 reasons why a lot of Africans in Southern Rhodesia are not going on the register.
My view is that if all had registered and all had been encouraged to take a part, they would have been the major opposition party in the Southern Rhodesia Assembly and Joshua Nkomo, had he been a responsible and intelligent leader, might well have been leader of the opposition. In spite of all that, however, I still say that there is room for widening the franchise and for encouring the African to get on to the electoral list.
It is an absolute necessity for the Rhodesias at least to remain economically united, especially if they wish to attract investment and interest in their development from outside. Indeed, investors would certainly be more prepared to invest if the mono-economy of Northern Rhodesia is backed by the diversification of industry in Southern Rhodesia. I note with pleasure that the World Bank is offering assistance in the hope that a continuing bridge between the Rhodesias in railways, power, communications and airways is maintained.
I notice also that Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia are demanding separation of postal services and currency. This is the usual and immediate demand of any emergent black African leader when he gets independence. If these people can put their heads on the postage stamps and on the currency, it is the straightforward visible sign by which their people can see that independence has come; but it is the only thing that they can immediately do.
I have thought seriously about the solutions to this problem. One must recognise that Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia must be allowed to secede as quickly and as peacefully as possible. As the federal political over structure is gradually dismantled, however, I would hope to see emerging at the same time a Central African economic council, on which there should be representatives of the three territorial Governments and Her Majesty's Government. They would be responsible for controlling, developing, financing, and so on, the main economic links between the three territories, if possible including Nyasaland. I would also like to see parallel development of a defence board, which would have taken over the Federal Army, run by the three 1502 territorial governments and Her Majesty's Government as well.
After a while, during the transitional phase, if they had recognised the necessity for these economic links and how they were benefiting the three territories, even though the political umbrella had been brought down, and if they had seen that this economic strength was for the benefit of all, Her Majesty's Government might then have been able to withdraw gracefully and probably have granted independence to all three territories at the same time, because meanwhile Southern Rhodesia, with a widening franchise, could well be moving on to at least multiracial government.
I have studied the White Paper and there are two or three questions I must ask. Has any compromise been reached between Her Majesty's Government and Mr. Winston Field on Southern Rhodesian independence? Has he agreed in principle that Southern Rhodesia shall receive independence when the dissolution of the Federation is complete? What are the possibilities of widening the franchise in Southern Rhodesia? What of this compensation problem for the farmers and property owners in Nyasaland, who, by force of circumstances and because of independence, may have to leave?
I am perturbed about the future of the Federal civil servants, of which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) dealt in detail, but there is the prickly question of voluntary or compulsory secondment. My view is that it should be voluntary and that these people, if they wish to leave, should be able so to do, and there should be no compulsion to keep them in any of these three territories.
My final question is, what about the future grants to the Nyasaland economy? The Government here have granted roughly £2¼ million for six months. Can the right hon. Gentleman give us some indication of what, if any, further thoughts there are on this matter? Is it the intention to subsidise the Nyasaland economy to the tune of roughly £5 million a year?
Finally, in turning over this page in the history of this region, one cannot but recall that only seventy years ago the first pioneer column moved up from the south, braving many unknown hazards, 1503 and disease, and gradually opened up the central and most inaccessible part of the continent. Slave trading was rife, but the efforts of pioneers and missionaries abolished it. The warlike Matabeles had the Mashonas living a life of fear and subjection, but again, after much strife, the rivalry of these tribes was laid to rest. Many diseases have been controlled, some of them have been conquered. Now this part of Central Africa is one of the most wonderful and beautiful parts of the continent, as it has become from Rhodes, Livingstone, Jamieson, the gallant Major Wilson, up to the recent rulers, Sir Edgar Whitehead and Sir Roy Welensky. To all who wished this multi-racial experiment success, this is a sad day. Let us hope that the emergent African leaders will on reflection recognise what in total has been sacrificed for political expediency.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
This seems to be a day for exchanging compliments across the Floorof the House, a somewhat unusual exercise, but in rising to repeat these tributes I must say that in listening to the remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), and of other hon. Gentlemen who have spoken, I found myself at no stage in any disagreement at all. I think that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Barnsley painted a very fair picture not only of what we should like to happen in Africa but also of what is in fact happening in Africa and of what we fear may happen. He touched on problems which are surely worrying us all, in countries which won their liberty quite recently on the basis of democracy—on the basis of one man, one vote, and on the rights of man.
Yet today, as we well know—and it is an uncomfortable thought to have in mind—things happen which it seems to me must cause some of us to hide our heads in shame. There is hardly a single country left in Africa among the 20 or 30 which have got their freedom since the last war which any longer has in being the principle of democracy for which they fought to get their freedom. There is hardly a country left in Africa which has had a second election, as opposed to the first one. When someone recently said that in Africa there is one man, one vote, one election he was not very far 1504 from the truth so far as the great majority of those countries are concerned.
Only the other day, in a country which recently got its independence, and for which, perhaps, some of the highest hopes were held out, a case was reported which, if it had happened under British administration, would, I am absolutely confident, have brought down any Government of this country, no matter from which side of the House it was composed. Very recently there were some Asians convicted of fraudulent practices, and they were sentenced by a compulsory penal code, which allows no discretion on the part of the judge, to two years' imprisonment, to be flogged at the beginning of the sentence and to be flogged again at the end of it. I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to imagine what would have happened in this House if in a British colonial territory that had happened, and yet there is not a whisper in this House when this happens, because now that is an African country with an African Government in charge. It was reported, too, that when one of the Asians was too weak, after receiving eight strokes of his flogging, to bear any more, they put off the others for another two or three months till he got a little bit better, and then he had to serve another year and nine months and have the flogging at the end of it.
This is what happens under the flag of the principle of one man, one vote, and the end of imperialism, and when one reflects on things like that it makes me feel bitterly ashamed about the tributes we pay to the glories of democracy in many of the emergent nations, when we see that that is in fact what is happening.
Now let me turn to another facet and a quite different one. I am sorry that the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) has left the Chamber, because one remark which she made I hop will be dealt with by my right hon. Friend in winding up the debate, and that was over the question of the future of the multi-racial university in Salisbury. This is one of the greatest accomplishments of the Federation, and all of us who have been to see it I am sure will agree that if that were to come to an end one of the brightest possible sparks of achievement, not in multi-racialism but in non-racialism, 1505 which is the approach we want, would disappear. Therefore I hope that, whatever else may or may not be salvaged from the Federation, something will be done to ensure that that university continues as it is under whatever system of Government comes in any of the three countries. I hope that it will be noted by the Government that the pleas have come from both sides of the House, from hon. Members with widely differing political views.
When I rose to speak tonight, had it not been that I was impelled by the speech of the hon. Member for Barnsley to go a little further, I was intending to direct my remarks to only one or two limited subjects, and in particular the future of Northern Rhodesia, which I think must be in the minds of us all, although it has hardly been touched on yet in the debate.
I suppose I must first of all declare an interest, although it is not strictly a financial one but purely a hobby, in that I have been asked by A.N.C. to help them as one of the constitutional advisers on a voluntary basis. When I say on a voluntary basis I say that not to emphasise my probity but to convince my listeners that in what I am going to say I am putting forward no more than what I am convinced would be best in the interests of that country.
One of the tragedies of Africa is that time after time we have failed to realise that the sense of nationalism in the dependent territories is strong, not so much in relation to the entirety of a territory but, in a more limited sense, to the extent that when it is no longer necessary to get rid of the white man, the Europeans, the natural tensions and strains within the society itself will start to show themselves. We have seen this happen time after time, for instance, in Uganda and Kenya, and we shall make a great mistake if for one minute we suppose that we shall not see it again in Northern Rhodesia. Sometimes when one pays visits to these territories, as opposed to living in them as I have done, one tends to forget that the people one meets in the central towns and at the airports are not the people living in the country whose passions are tribal. If one leaves Lusaka and meets an African he does not say,"I am proud of being a Northern Rhodesian." He will say that he is proud of his tribe to which he 1506 belongs and where his natural loyalties are, as they were before the appearance of the British 60 or 70 years ago, and immediately British rule is terminated he will revert, as surely as anything can be, to the natural loyalties in him. There is nothing wrong or improper in that.
We hold in this country the strange fallacy that, whereas Europeans may widely differ and not want to join together, it is all right because they have white faces, but that if people have black faces they must belong to the same country. However many times we are proved wrong, we always begin on the same process again. I fear that, unless we are very careful, we are about to begin the same process in Northern Rhodesia.
One example I have produced before in this House is the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which held together very much longer than the 60 or 70 years of Imperialist rule in Central, Eastern and other parts of Africa. Yet I would remind hon. Members that the moment that Austrian rule was removed the Empire split into its constituent parts as though its unity had never existed. Yet we imagine that in Africa quite a different process will take place.
The fact is that however much we may regret the"Balkanisation" of Africa, its people will revert to their natural loyalties as soon as the artificial loyalties and unities created through accidental divisions of countries by Imperialism are removed. If we forget that fact, we do so at our peril.
In Kenya, we have seen that the best way to get over this difficulty—it has been done in Uganda and Nigeria also—is to accept the reality of the situation and bring into being federal or quasi-federal or regional government. If we try to hold people together too tightly, they will break up into narrower loyalties in the end and the obvious way to avoid such a break up is to provide for their natural loyalties to have sufficient scope for expression within a wider unity.
I therefore earnestly plead that, when it comes to the discussion of a constitution for Northern Rhodesia, my right hon. Friend will not be blinded by our usual attachments to one man, one vote—I am not talking of the white man here but purely in African terms—on the 1507 Westminster type of Government, but will follow the example of the only other countries in Africa which have managed to preserve unity with democracy.
It is obvious, in looking at a map of Africa, why those countries which have preserved unity and democracy have managed to achieve it. It cannot be coincidence. It is the fact that they have quasi-federal Governments, a system which allows people in different parts of the country to retain their natural loyalties. The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse), who often disagrees with me, will, I am sure, agree with me when I say that we must not think that we can impose a future and create countries out of what are historical accidents.
I leave this matter there, because there will be many more occasions in future to discuss it. But I repeat my plea to my right hon. Friend that he should accept the realities of the situation today, which is that the feud between A.N.C. and U.N.I.P. is the same manifestation of tribal loyalties reasserting themselves that we have seen everywhere else in Africa, and which we shall continue to see for some time to come. We shall neglect that lesson at our peril. It will get worse with the removal of European dominance in that country.
For the last few moments, I will revert to the future of Southern Rhodesia. I agree with those who say that for Southern Rhodesia to get her independence at this moment with its present Constitution is unpractical. But while accepting that it is not up to us, if we want success, to dictate exactly what terms there must be in order for Southern Rhodesia to get independence, we ought to learn a lesson from the last time we lectured Southern Rhodesia too much. It had the effect that I and some of my hon. Friends feared—the creation of a more extreme Government there than before.
If we start lecturing them too hard, we may again find precisely the same reaction. Our Southern Rhodesian kith and kin are not so very different from us, and we certainly do not like being lectured about what political regime we should have in this country. I agree with those who have said that with the present Constitution, no Government 1508 here could grant independence. But it is not up to us to lay down the law as to precisely what it should do for that independence to be accomplished. Otherwise we may well attain the opposite of what we want.
I feel that I must raise a certain matter tonight. Many of us have received notes from the Ghanaian High Commission. I suppose that any one of us in this House is perfectly liable to correction from any source about any political view we hold. But I must put on record my repugnance at receiving a lesson in the art of democracy from Ghana at the present time. In future I hope that Ghana's officials responsible for sending out this sort of stuff remember the old adage about the pot calling the kettle black. This is such a situation that perhaps one ought to think of a new stronger proverb in the same sense, but let us leave the matter there.
My noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel) referred to"make-believe" democracy in Northern Rhodesia and I will not comment on his remarks, except that that term is certainly applicable to Ghana, which has been issuing these notes during the last 24 hours.
Everyone who has spoken has congratulated my right hon. Friend on what he has been doing. I join them in doing so. I do so with melancholy, although not forthe reasons which others have put forward. To me, it seemed that, almost alone in Africa where white racialism—which I hate—is rampant in the south and black racialism is rampant in the north and elsewhere, many dedicated men and women in Central Africa were trying to make a success of a non-racial approach. It is because that has failed, and that we are back to the division of black and white which exists everywhere else in Africa, that I regret the passing of federation, an experiment which, if it could have succeeded, would have produced a truly civilised society.
§ The Second Clerk Assistant at the Table informed the House of the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker from the remainder of this day's Sitting.
§ Whereupon Sir WILLIAM ANSTRUTHER-GRAY, THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS, took the Chair as DEPUTY-SPEAKER, pursuant to the Standing Order.1509
§ 7.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
We have listened with interest to the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. F. M. Bennett). It seems to me that his clear argument about the futility of arranging shot-gun political marriages is, when taken to its logical conclusion, the justification for dismemberment of the Federation. With that I agree.
I hope that the House will forgive a little levity, but I thought it rather foolhardy of the hon. Member to refer to a case which he was sure would have brought down any Government in this country, whatever its complexion. The precedents of recent years show that that was a rather foolhardy statement. But I take the point.
The First Secretary of State is faced with an enormously complicated task which he is tackling with considerable skill. I congratulate him, as have hon. Members on both sides, on the progress he has made to date. One must be very careful, in congratulating him, in no way to add to his embarrassments, but I think, without indulging in unduly flamboyant language, that he is the best First Secretary of State we have. His power to bring together dissident groups in discussion may bode well for the future of his own party.
It has been suggested that this is a melancholy occasion. Some of us who have taken part in many of these debates on the Federation and who have had the privilege to go out there have at least experienced tonight an element of realism which has been lacking in the past. I have always taken the view that the Federation was an organisation which was doomed to failure from the moment it was founded. Not only was it then apparent to many of us, but it was subsequently confirmed by the Monckton Report in which it was said that the hatred which the Northern Territories felt for the Federation"was widespread, pathological and sincere".
I do not want to go too much into history, but it is necessary to get the record right not only for the Government's part but for the Labour Government's part. I was opposing the idea of Federation and the steps then being taken to implement it when there was a Labour Government. This was something which 1510 I put to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley). The evidence of African opposition to federation was overwhelming when the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) and the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) went out to the Federation in August and September, 1961.
In Nyasaland, the right hon. Member for Llanelly was told on 1st September by the African Protectorate Council, which was an advisory body, that it was wholeheartedly opposed to federation. Initially, it refused to send any delegates to the Victoria Falls conference and only relunctantly agreed at the very last moment to send three.
On 28th August, at Lilongwe, the Nyasaland African Congress expressed its opposition and complete refusal to go to Victoria Falls. The same opposition was found in Northern Rhodesia from the Chiefs of the Eastern Provinces on 3rd September at Fort Jameson; the Northern Rhodesian Trade Union Congress in its memorandum; the 150 chiefs on 18th August, from Mashonaland, and the African Rhodesia National Congress from Southern Rhodesia.
It is true to say that before that conference met those responsible for the affairs of this country had received overwhelming evidence of African opposition. It was against that background that the Victoria Falls Conference took place, with no African Representative from Southern Rhodesia, the Southern Rhodesian Government assuring, and evidently persuading, the two right hon. Gentlemen that African interests would be adequately catered for by the presence of the European representative. The communiqué of 21st September made no reference at any time to African consent being a condition precedent to federation. Quite the reverse, the London Conference was arranged to take place in the following spring, 1952, but there was a change of Government and the Conservative Government took over. It is therefore true to say that while the Conservative Government pulled the trigger, it was the Labour Government who loaded the gun, and it is only right to get that on the record.
At last, and at the eleventh hour, the Government have faced reality. I whole heartedly agree with every word of the 1511 speech of the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel). It was a speech which was courageous, logical, fair-minded and deeply principled. If that had been the official attitude of the Conservative Party 10 years ago, we might have a very different situation in Central Africa today.
The Government are now facing realities. I suppose that in two or three years we shall be discussing the dissolution of the South Arabian Federation, which is also being forced upon its inhabitants against their will, and, as has happened with Central Africa, those of us who have criticised this Federation of Southern Arabia will be shouted down as we were shouted down about the Central African Federation.
§ Mr. Thorpe
The hon. Member asks me about Malaysia. I would have thought that the difference and the moral of the Malaysian Conference was that it was with the support of the people of the area who sent to London widely representative Governments. There is the difference.
There is nothing so surprising about agreement having been reached at Victoria Falls for the dissolution of the Federation. Perhaps it is surprising that there were no walk-outs. Certain broad principles have been agreed upon in connection with the dissolution of the Federation and certain working committees are getting down to the job of carving up the Federation. Let us realise that this is only the very beginning and that the reasons why Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia are in favour of dissolving the Federation are totally different.
The Northern Rhodesians are in favour of it because they fear white domination if they continue in the Federation and they believe that their own course of constitutional development will be retarded. Southern Rhodesia, conversely, believes that two black African Governments on its northern borders with African majorities will accelerate the pace of African advancement in Southern Rhodesia. Therefore, much as I pay tribute to the right hon. Gentleman, he has handed over the problems and not the solutions. I do not believe that we can test how the dissolution has proceeded 1512 until we have seen the work of the committees, and that will take many months.
The question I should like to ask is how the Bill will affect the Africans in Southern Rhodesia. The right hon. Gentleman succeeded in separating the question of dissolution from that of Southern Rhodesia's independence. Perhaps this was tactically necessary in order to get a full turn out at the conference table. While it is superficially true that that these two matters are divisible, the dissolution of the Federation will have a profound effect on the Africans in Southern Rhodesia.
The first thing I want to ask the First Secretary about is the army. There was a very full report in The Times of 3rd July indicating how the forces of the Federation were to be divided among the three territories. Not surprisingly, Southern Rhodesia is to get the lion's share. Page 12 of the White Paper, paragraph 43, says that the position of Southern Rhodesia is a reversion to the pre-1953 position, in that Southern Rhodesia will be responsible for her own forces. Does that mean that these forces come under the governor, or under the Queen, or do they come under the Southern Rhodesian Government? Are they totally independent of this country? In short, what will be our relationship with the forces of Southern Rhodesia?
Presumably, there will be over-flying rights for which we shall ask for flying troops to the Protectorates, if necessary, and there will probably be training schemes, but what is to be the size of this army? How is it to be controlled and what will be its relationship with this country? Are we to take it that so long as Great Britain remains responsible for the foreign policy of Southern Rhodesia, that army may be used only internally, by which I mean within the borders of Southern Rhodesia and nowhere else? That is of great importance.
Secondly, what discussions were there at the Victoria Falls Conference about Rhodesia's independence? The right hon. Gentleman may say that there was none and I hope that that is the answer which he is able to give. It is extraordinary and a cause for much pleasure that Mr. Field should suddenly have done this intellectual somersault. At one moment he said that independence for Southern 1513 Rhodesia was a condition precedent to his attending the conference, and a few weeks later, I think with statesmanship, he decided that he could attend the talks without a commitment on either side. Do we take it that there were no discussions between the right hon. Gentleman and the Southern Rhodesian Government?
With regard to the common services mentioned in paragraph 36, I wholeheartedly support what was said by the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones). I would have thought that the East Africa High Commission was one of the great successes which he can personally claim to have played his part in setting up, and I very much hope that, in addition, apart from railways, Kariba, and Central African Airways, we shall see other common services created with a commission comparable to the East Africa High Commission.
Where I think the Government are being a little mean is in their reference in Chapter 4 on page 9 to the criteria which they will adopt for the purpose of giving aid to the three territories. The White Paper says:The question whether the United Kingdom Government could and should help would have to be considered in the light of their general policies en overseas aid towards countries which showed need for assistance in the development of their economies.In all fairness, I do not think that the economic position of these territories is comparable. Weare not talking about a situation which is comparable to the general level of investment in Trinidad or Jamaica, Ghana or Nigeria, under the new Commonwealth Development Scheme. I must ask right hon. and hon. Members on the Front Bench of the Labour Party, who are having a private conversation, to be a little quieter. We are talking about an area which has taken on greater financial commitments than it would have done were it not for the policy of this House, and I therefore think that to assess the level of aid which we shall give to former members of the Federation on the basis of how much we give for development in other developing countries of the Commonwealth is a wholly false analogy and certainly bodes ill for the future prospects of that area.
I also suggest that when the question of a new supreme court is raised, some 1514 regard should be given to the idea of strengthening the appeals system to the Privy Council. I always remember the late Lord Simon advocating that the Privy Council should, in effect, become the Supreme Court of Appeal for the Commonwealth, and that it should go on circuit. How some of their lordships would stand the test I do not know, but perhaps the age of appointment would get lower and lower, as is becoming customary in politics, although I speak subject to subsequent events. At least one-third of the Privy Council should be made up of nationals of the country in which the appeal was being heard and there may be something in examining this idea when one is considering the final court of appeal for these territories.
I also ask what approaches have been made to the World Bank? There was some suggestion, I think in The Times, that the World Bank might be prepared to help in underwriting part of the federal debt and various other commitments into which the Federation had entered. There seems to be valuable scope for co-operation here.
I shall not go into the question of independence for Southern Rhodesia, because I agree with every word spoken by the noble Lord the Member for Hertford. There can quite clearly be no case whatsoever for granting independence to Southern Rhodesia unless and until she has a more democratic constitution. There can be no question of that at all. If Southern Rhodesia chooses to go it alone, she has the power to do so, but she must realise that the consequence of that will probably be a flight from the £. It will certainly reduce the foreign investment flowing into that country. It will produce uncertainty, and it will lead to the expulsion of Southern Rhodesia from the Commonwealth. That is the price which she would have to pay for organising a Boston Tea Party.
I think we must realise that the way in which we dissolve this Federation, the manner in which we realise our responsibility to the two Protectorates, and our responsibility for the African majority in Southern Rhodesia, will be judged by the whole of Africa. This and our attitude to South Africa and the Protectorates will be the test case of Britain's good intentions and will really determine how the 1515 nations not only of Africa but of Asia and, indeed, the old members of the Commonwealth view Britain for the next five, 10 and 15 years.
We must hold to the principle that the territories must reach the stage of self-government based on universal adult suffrage, and then, and only then, can there be any question of them being granted independence. I am delighted that this Government have at last realised that they forced the political federation which was doomed to failure. I only wish that they had realised it before, but I hope that this will at least ensure that they do not try to do the same thing again.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Humphry Berkeley (Lancaster)
I do not think that anyone is exactly in a mood for rejoicing this evening, but I should like to offer my congratulations to the First Secretary in his absence for what I believe has been a remarkable personal triumph. We are all familiar with his agility of mind, and I think we all recognise that he has considerable negotiating skill. It seems tome that in his conduct of the Victoria Falls conference he has shown a much rarer quality, that of high statesmanship, and I believe that this is a quality which admirably equips him to fill at some time in the future a still higher post than he does at the moment. I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General will be kind enough to convey this genial message to my right hon. Friend.
A variety of reasons have been put forward for the collapse of the Central African Federation, some of which I agree with and some of which I do not. I do not think that we ought to indulge in an orgy of recrimination about what has proved to be a tragic failure, but I think that it is perhaps worth while reflecting on two or three of the considerations which may have led to the breakdown of this Federation, if only to endeavour to learn some of these lessons for future action elsewhere.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) attributed the collapse of the Federation primarily to two reasons. One was the failure of the party system in this country. I find that a curious reason, and 1516 I do not believe that it has very much to do with it. The second, which seemed to have nothing to do with it, was the Prime Minister's"wind of change" speech in South Africa in January, 1960. I first went to Salisbury in 1958 and it was perfectly clear to me, at any rate by May, 1959, particularly after the emergency in Nyasaland, that the Federation was doomed, and what we have really been witnessing in the last four years have been the prolonged and rather disagreeable death throes.
The hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) produced what was in some respects an even more curious reason, namely, that the number of visits made to the Federation by United Kingdom Members of Parliament in some way made the morale of the people of the Federation collapse. I do not believe that to have any truth in it at all. The basic reason why the Federation failed is that never at any stage from its inception did it attract any significant African support. It is as simple as that. When Sir Roy Welensky, Sir Edgar Whitehead, or other prominent politicians of the United Federal Party—as it was then called—talked about a multi-racial partnership, no doubt they did so with the best intentions in the world, but at no stage did any member of that party, either in the territorial Government or the Federal Government, make a serious attempt to put into practice the policy of partnership to which it was in theory committed. To me this is the basic reason for the failure, and it is something that we ought to recognise.
The achievement of the First Secretary, limited though it is, is two-fold. He has, to our pleasure, achieved the prospect of an orderly dissolution of the Federation. At one time it looked as though this would not be possible, and that we might find ourselves engaged in acrimonious arguments which got us nowhere. His skill in this respect has been considerable. Secondly, he managed to achieve not only the attendance of the Southern Rhodesian Government at the Conference but their agreement to the conclusions of the Conference without, so far as we can see, making any commitment whatsoever to Mr. Winston Field in terms of promising the granting of the principle of independence.
1517 I want to say something about Southern Rhodesia, because what happens there over the next few months will have a crucial impact upon the Commonwealth, the future association of the three territories, and public opinion and morale here. Let us take the latter consideration first I do not believe that the British public would be prepared to stomach our handing over independence unconditionally, for the first time since 1910, to a minority in Southern Rhodesia which is out-numbered by sixteen to one. This is my view, and we shall have to see whether it is correct, but I believe that the precedent would be far from being a happy one.
§ Mr. Berkeley
I thought that Whips were not allowed to speak.
Secondly—and this is perhaps of more importance—is the impact which this would have upon the Commonwealth and the other territories. One fact that we must recognise about the Commonwealth—because it is a fact of life—is that there is no difference in attitude between the white Dominions and the Afro-Asian Commonwealth countries On this matter. I was in New York last October, and I spoke to various Commonwealth representatives at the United Nations, including representatives from the white Dominions. It was quite apparent to me then that the white Dominions were finding it increasingly embarrassing and mortifying to have to defend the Southern Rhodesian position at the United Nations. Whether we like it or not, the plain fact is that if we were to make Southern Rhodesia independent on the basis of her present Constitution she would not get the nominating vote of a single Commonwealth country for her admittance to full membership of the Commonwealth. If we are to study the situation realistically we must disabuse our minds of the fact that there is some great division between the old and the new Commonwealth on this issue. There is no division of any kind. If we were to agree to Southern Rhodesian independence on the present basis we would find ourselves in total isolation.
I now come to the more immediate question—and, for these territories, in some ways the most important question 1518 —of what prospect there is of an economic association between the three territories so long as a Government of the present type exists in Southern Rhodesia. What I am desperately anxious that we in this country should not do now, having gone to great pains, trouble and anguish to dismantle the Federation—of which so many of us had considerable hopes in the early days—is try to rebuild a common services organisation which would have as little chance of success as the political federation had ten years ago.
One has, I think, to accept as being the case that it is extremely difficult for territories pursuing totally different forms of government to engage in any kind of co-operation with each other of a closely intimate kind. Why, for example, is Spain not acceptable as a member of N.A.T.O.? Nobody suggests that we have a political federation with Spain. It is thought, however, that the form of government in Spain is so different from those in other countries of Western Europe that co-operation on the basis of a military alliance would be exceptionally difficult. Why, for example, are not Spain and Portugal thought suitable to be members of the Common Market? Again I think because there is such a wide disparity between the types of government which they follow and the type of Western European democracy which we see in the Common Market countries. Even allowing for France, I think that there is a basic view that the differences are too great for genuine and real co-operation to work.
If this is so in Western Europe, with its great experience, how much more is it likely to be so in an area in Central Africa where we now have two countries with black African majorities—both of whom, fairly shortly, will apply the principle of one man—one vote—and Southern Rhodesia which, unless a dramatic change of heart takes place, is and looks like remaining the heart of white supremacy. Unless there are considerable and substantial changes in the Southern Rhodesia political outlook and constitution, I do not believe that economic co-operation of the intimate kind about which we are talking is likely to be feasible. I am very keen to see that in the economic sphere we do not start making the same mistakes which we made ten years ago in the political sphere.
1519 For all these reasons, and especially the economic reasons; because I believe that the granting of independence to Southern Rhodesia would bust up the Commonwealth; because I do not believe, on careful analysis, that people would be prepared to concede a repetition of the South African situation, I consider it of vital importance that we should make attempts to broaden and liberalise the present Southern Rhodesian Constitution.
What are the obstacles in the way of our so doing? First of all, there is the obstacle referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton. Mr. Winston Field, apparently, gave a pledge at the last election that he would not seek to alter the constitution of Southern Rhodesia within the lifetime of the present Parliament.
§ Mr. Berkeley
I said"Constitution" to be accurate. I not only read Mr. Winston Field's statement but I talked to him afterwards about his statement and what he said was the Constitution. Because I hoped to be called during this debate I did not bother to interrupt my right hon. Friend to correct him on that point.
Plainly if we are to make an alteration in the constitution from dependence to independence, no more radical or fundamental change can be conceived of. There are two possibilities. Either we assist Mr. Winston Field to keep his pledge, in which case independence is quite out of the question, or we interpret his pledge, as perhaps it should be interpreted, that there was no intention to change the existing franchise within the existing constitutional arrangements of internal self-government with external dependence on the United Kingdom.
I think we can quite clearly say to him that if he wishes to have a fundamental constitutional change bringing about full independence, then the pledge he gave is no longer applicable. I do not think we would be involving ourselves in tremendous difficulties, nor would he, because quite clearly what his electorate was thinking about at that time was the existing constitutional arrangements in which Southern Rhodesia not only was a self-governing Colony, but also a part of the Federation which has since disappeared.
1520 I should like to make quite clear that I endorse very nearly all that was said by my noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel). I do not believe it is the intention of our Government to give independence to Southern Rhodesia under the existing constitution, but, should they decide to do so, I should feel obliged to vote against such a measure at every stage where it was possible to do so. I do not think that in Southern Rhodesia with all the special circumstances involved it is necessarily possible to achieve a constitution of one man, one vote very quickly, because in Southern Rhodesia we have a complete break-down of relationships between the races.
That was very apparent to me when I was there a few months ago. The change in twelve months I found really alarming and depressing. Both races in Southern Rhodesia at present are haunted by fear. The Europeans are haunted by the fear that they will be overwhelmed by black African nationalism overnight, swamped by one man, one vote; and the Africans are equally haunted by the fear that under this constitution, which they regard as being rigged, they are never going to acquire political power. That is what the whole thing is about.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton talked about Sir Edgar Whitehead's enlightened measures in removing racial discrimination. I accept that he moved with some courage, but it always seemed to me that what he was doing was irrelevant. What really matters is power. If one acquires power, discrimination goes anyway. To imagine that by passing legislation to allow Africans to go into multi-racial hotels that will satisfy their political aspirations, misses the whole point of what the ferment in Africa is about.
What we must try to do in Southern Rhodesia now is to get the races together again. We have to see that the African nationalists in Southern Rhodesia have a sufficient belief that the constitution will not be rigged to persuade them to contest the elections. We have to try to see that in a period of four or five years in Southern Rhodesia we can move rapidly from parity to majority rule, and to do so by stages in which co-operation between the races becomes a necessity, not a luxury.
1521 I therefore think there rests now on my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State possibly the most difficult task which he has ever had to undertake. It is a task in which all his qualities of skill, integrity and leadership will be required. When he talked to us about Northern Rhodesia he said he felt that if the constitution there was to be altered—and he agreed it would have to be—the Opposition must be brought in. I hope he will remember that in Southern Rhodesia there is a sizeable Opposition, which is not represented in Parliament at all. It is quite essential that the African nationalists should be brought into any discussions involving a future constitution in Southern Rhodesia.
The last time that we debated this subject my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) told us that unless we granted Southern Rhodesia independence on her own terms she would take it, and he said that as though this were the biggest tragedy which could occur in Central Africa. I do not believe that Southern Rhodesia is in a position to take it. I believe that we have far greater strength in our hands than either some of the Southern Rhodesians or many of my hon. Friends realise. But if independence is to come on the present constitution, I would rather that it were taken through an act of defiance and revolution on the part of the Southern Rhodesian Government than through the passage through this Parliament of a dishonourable and disgraceful Act. We should, therefore, at least be clear what our feelings are on that score, for this will perhaps serve to clear our minds about the future.
I am not without hope that much can be achieved. We rely very greatly on my right hon. Friend the First Secretary, and, now that he has come back to the Chamber, I should like to repeat my comment that he has achieved a great personal triumph. He has pulled something off which few of us thought he would be able to do, and we hope that it will give him the inspiration to complete the task in the full knowledge that in so doing he will have the good wishes and support of the majority of Members of this House.
§ 8.37 p.m.
§ Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)
This has been an unusual debate, with a number of compliments flying around the Chamber, and I should like to add to them by saying that the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) deserves to be congratulated not only on the wisdom of his speech but on being in advance of his party on this question over many years.
The Conservative Party has learned a great deal, and I and all my hon. Friends are grateful for this, because it now seems possible that we shall be able to extricate ourselves and to extricate Rhodesia and Nyasaland from a most dangerous position without civil strife, which seemed all too likely a few years ago, when the Conservative Party and the Ministers who are now doing their best to dissolve the Federation were forth right in their determination to impose it against the majority of the population and at all costs. I am grateful to them for learning, but it is just as well to remember the terrible mistakes which they have made.
Although I add to the congratulations which the First Secretary has received for his success at Victoria Falls—this was a diplomatic success and he deserves to be congratulated—I am sorry that he made such a pedantic and uninspired speech this afternoon in introducing the debate. It would have been, I think, more appropriate to have had a little more philosophy from him, a little deeper understanding of the problems involved and perhaps some remorse for the mistakes of the Conservative Party over the last 10 years. We had not a word of apology for 10 years of false promises made by the Conservatives, and I think that there are probably many who would agree with Sir Roy Welensky that the Conservative Party have been guilty of treachery.
The Tory Government's actions over the years have amounted to criminal negligence, because they have given promises to tens of thousands of people who have left these shores to settle in Rhodesia, who have in fact torn up their roots here and settled in Rhodesia. They gave promises to these people that they would live in a Federation which would be virtually under white control. Now 1523 those people see that this prospect is being removed and that they are likely within a few years, even if they live in Southern Rhodesia, to have to live under a black majority, which they did not expect when they moved with their families a few years ago.
Something must be done for these people. I do not agree with the First Secretary of State that the human tragedy in all this can be confined to the Federal Civil Service. The human tragedy involves thousands of people of British stock in Southern Rhodesia who have travelled out to Rhodesia in the last 10 years assuming that the Federation was to continue. Something must be done for them because many of them are living in a condition which cannot last. Many of them are artisans who have a privileged income 10 times what their counterparts who happen to have black skins now receive. As political advances come, so these black Rhodesians will demand the same opportunities for work as their white Rhodesian counterparts, with the result that many of the jobs—bricklayers, train drivers, and so on—which so many of the white emigrants have today will no longer carry the sort of income that they now carry. Something must be done for these tens of thousands of people who have gone out under a false prospectus. I hope that we can look during the debate at some ways of helping these people.
The hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Farr) was one of those who spoke of the great successes of federation in the last 10 years. He referred to the building of skyscrapers and hotels. The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) spoke of Kariba. What is not generally understood is that most of these developments were solely for the benefit of white-controlled industries, white populations, and white artisans or professional men. The benefits of many of these investments were only marginal to the mass of the African population.
I have been in these skyscrapers in Salisbury, as no doubt the hon. Member for Harborough has, and found that the lifts are reserved for white men only. I have been in the hotels. All of them but one when I was there were reserved for white men.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
True, there is an attempt to open the doors, but it has come far too late and hypocritically. According to the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel), two of the representatives attending the Victoria Falls Conference from Northern Rhodesia were refused admission to hotels.
I do not believe that all the window-dressing in the past few years has in any way disguised the basic fact that the economic structure of the Federation largely benefits the white minority in the population. This fact is brought out only too clearly in the Report of the Monckton Commission, which gives chapter and verse for the division of the national income of all these territories, particularly Southern Rhodesia, in the interests of the white minority.
It is no earthly use saying to the Northern Rhodesian or the Nyasaland or the Southern Rhodesian Africans,"Do not worry about political advance. Concern yourself with economic progress", when they see that without political advance they cannot demand the opportunity of participating in the economic wealth that they have created.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
It is only a marginal improvement. The European has become progressively richer while most of the Africans, even in Southern Rhodesia, have got relatively worse off. For instance, the Kariba Dam produced electricity, but it was for European homes and European-owned factories. The African homes did not receive this electricity, certainly not in the early stages. It must be remembered that even in the Northern Rhodesian mines most of the wealth went to American or United Kingdom investors, while the total wages of the African miners were less—about a half, I believe—of the total of the wages being received by European miners, although the African miners exceed the European ones fourfold.
1525 It is no good talking to Africans about the need for economic progress if they are denied the opportunity of political advance and if they can see visible effects of discrimination all around them. It has been only too clear, certainly in Southern Rhodesia, that this discrimination has existed. I have in mind, for instance, the Land Apportionment Act under which more than half of the land area, an area larger than England and Wales combined, has been allocated to the European population of 200,000 or so; the population of one town in England.
I am glad that the Federation is being wound up, because I consider that it has been an imposition on the majority of the population of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. It has held back beneficial economic progress in many spheres, particularly agricultural development in Southern Rhodesia for the African population, and also in Northern Rhodesia, where large areas of the country have been neglected because too great a part of the proceeds from copper has gone to bolster up the federal economy rather than being used for developments there—for example, the Kafue Flats development which should have been started many years ago.
I am also glad that it is being wound up for a personal reason. In 1959 I had the experience of being prohibited from the territory when I had the temerity to say, during some discussions and speeches in Salisbury and Bulawayo, that the African people had the right, along with Europeans, to share in the running of their own country. I appealed to them then and I appeal to them now to remember that whatever happens as one gets to political advancement they must learn to live with the Europeans. They should not regard the Europeans as enemies but should co-operate with them.
On the occasion when I spoke in Salisbury I well remember the favourable response to my words that there was from the crowd. I have no doubt that the majority of Africans in Southern Rhodesia—as in Kenya and Ghana—want to have friendly relations with the white people in their territories. They want to use the whites' talents and skills to the full; but on the basis of human dignity and equality and not on the basis of the white man trying to domin- 1526 ate them with political power which they enjoy through fraudulent constitutions.
I am pleased to think that I shall now have an opportunity of returning soon to Zimbabwe, which is what Rhodesia will come to be called and which, incidentally, happens to be of my own name.
It has been regrettable that the Welensky administration particularly, although it realised for many years that the Federation would undoubtedly come to an end, has done its best to delay the acceptance of this fact. If, years ago, when these facts were becoming only too clear even for them—say, five or even four years ago—they had grasped the nettle of bringing the Federation to an end as a white-dominated Federation, there would have been an opportunity to produce changes in the Southern Rhodesian Constitution which might, perhaps, have enabled the federation between the three territories to have continued.
I believe that, even now, if the Southern Rhodesian Constitution could be changed within the next few months, if it could be made clear that the African population would have an opportunity of participating in the democratic administration of their own country, there would be a possibility of continuing the economic links which so many speakers opposite have described as important; but they cannot be continued if the Southern Rhodesian Government continues to be white-controlled. It is, therefore, in the interests of the white population as well as of the African population in Southern Rhodesia that there should be fairly speedy changes in the constitutional structure of that territory. As the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) said, the situation is entirely different from that which the European electorate were dealing in the last Southern Rhodesian elections. The context has changed. The Federation is being brought to an end. Now that they realise that they can continue in economic association with the Northern Territories only by having fundamental changes in their Constitution, there is, I believe, a possibility open to them if it can be grasped.
I suggest that we take the representations which have been made to us by Ghana more seriously than they appear 1527 to be taken by the two hon. Members opposite who have referred to them. I hope that the Attorney-General will give us an indication of the reply which the Government have given to Ghana's representations. I believe that the Ghanaians are right on this point. It would be absolutely fatal for us to transfer to Southern Rhodesia powers which she is now, in the context of 1963, not entitled to have.
I was particularly disturbed to hear the First Secretary talk about the splitting up of the federal forces. If the forces are split up in the way he suggested, that is, according to their dispositions today, most of the Army and almost all the Air Force will go to Southern Rhodesia. This would be very unfortunate. I believe that it would be better for Her Majesty's Government to remain responsible for the federal defence forces. Even now, even during the federal period, they have an overriding authority and those forces could not be used in the Northern Territories without the say-so of Her Majesty's Government here, and, even as regards Southern Rhodesia, if we had decided to suspend the constitution, the forces there would have had to accept our direction. It would be a retrograde step for most of these forces to be transferred to Southern Rhodesia and on this particular point I believe that Ghana is absolutely right.
In the Note sent to the British Government on 4th July, Ghana said that there was a moral responsibility placed upon us to see that no transfer of responsibility took place until suitable safeguards were assured. The Note refers to the unanimous resolutions of the Addis Ababa conference which, I remind the First Secretary, represented not the extremist countries but all of them, Nigeria as well as Ghana, Tanganyika as well as Uganda. All of them were there and all subscribed to the resolutions.
§ Mr. Stonehouse
I do not accept that at all. The last election held in Ghana was supervised by civil servants from this country and produced a greater vote, 1528 as a proportion of those voting, for Dr. Nkrumah than the Conservative Party has to justify its position of power in Britain. Anyway, we are not concerned with that argument. We are concerned with what all the African countries said at the Addis Ababa conference. Whether the hon. Member for Harborough likes it or not, we cannot disregard the opinions of all these countries. They represent quite a lot. We cannot disregard the United Nations which, in resolution after resolution, has called upon Britain to take steps to introduce democratic self-rule in Southern Rhodesia. The resolution of 28th June, 1962, deplored the"denial of political rights" and liberties to the vast majority of people in Southern Rhodesia. That of 12th October, 1962, calledupon the Government of the United Kingdom to take steps to see that there was an immediate lifting of the ban on the Zimbabwe African People's Unionand called uponHer Majesty's Government to inform the General Assembly of its implementation of the resolution which the United Nations had passed.The resolution of 31st October, 1962, notedwith deep regret that the administering Power"—that is, the United Kingdom—has not taken steps to carry out the requestof the United Nations on past occasions and went on to call forThe immediate extension to the whole population, without discrimination, of the full and unconditional exercise of their basic political rights, in particular the right to vote, and the establishment of equality among all inhabitants of the Territory.The hon. Member for Harborough and the Conservative Party cannot disregard what was said at the Addis Ababa Conference, nor what the United Nations has proclaimed in resolution after resolution. They should take this into account with regard to Southern Rhodesia and not only not take steps to transfer greater responsibility to Southern Rhodesia—certainly they should not transfer independence to it—but should take positive steps to persuade Southern Rhodesia to change its Constitution and move towards a more democratic one.
I hope that this can be done by agreement, but if the Government of Southern Rhodesia proves to be obstructive then 1529 I believe that the First Secretary can make a number of proposals to them. He could, perhaps, propose that the Commonwealth sets up a Council of State, made up of two of the older white dominions, India, and two of the newly emergent African States, which would assist in the calling of a constitutional conference representing all of the political groups in Southern Rhodesia and help to administer the territory and maintain law and order during the transitional period and assist in bringing in an agreed constitution which would prevent break down in law and order in the territory and prevent violence.
There is hanging over us today the threat that, because of the intransigence of a few white political leaders out of touch with the main stream of opinions in these territories, there will be civil war in this territory and an Algerian-type war between black and white. There is this danger and we should not disregard it. If it came about, it could mean the introduction of arms from independent States which are only too anxious to give all the assistance they can. Mr. Ben Bella of Algeria has already promised 100,000 volunteers to fight in South Africa. I do not know how he can guarantee that number of volunteers, but it is undoubtedly the case that Algeria would want to provide aid. If there were the danger of civil strife, volunteers from other States would be prepared to come in. But it could go further. Even Communist China could become involved in the dispute.
We should take steps to persuade Southern Rhodesia to change its Constitution. If it did this and allowed a move towards majority rule, which would eventually of course become universal suffrage, there is the chance that the economic ties between Southern Rhodesia and the Northern Territories can be retained, and there could be a great advance eventually towards a wider federation between Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika in East Africa and Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia as well. I look forward to the day when all these territories are linked together in a population of 30 to 35 million which would command tremendous resources and be able to do very much more for the welfare of the inhabitants than any of the States on its own.
1530 I do not want to delay the House except to make one point about the situation in Nyasaland. Hon. Members have referred to the breakdown of law and order in that territory. I believe that there has been exaggeration about this. The hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew), in particular, should realise that if a territory is harassed and controlled by an alien white population in Southern Rhodesia—and that was how they regarded it—and if this territory is denied the constitutional opportunity of expressing what is undoubtedly the mass feeling of the population—this was confirmed by the Devlin Committee's Report—and this goes on for many years, there is bound to be a build-up of feeling and tension even against the white man himself. There is bound to be, to put it bluntly, a little bit of blowing off steam during this period. I do not think that it will last. I think that once Nyasaland reaches a state of complete independence, or self-determination within a wider Federation, this period of tension between the communities will go.
I am authorised by my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) to read a telegram he has just received from a leading member of the Asian Committee, A Sattar Sacranie:On behalf of entire Asian population of Nyasaland I strongly protest against allegations' that law and order broken down in Nyasaland. These allegations are totally untrue. Repeat untrue. Regard allegations as attempt to present distorted picture of conditions to prejudice granting of early independence. We strongly protest against interference of Roy Welensky in our affairs.That is something from the Asian community which it has been stated in some cases has been under attack itself.
I believe that we have reached the end of a very unhappy era, ten years of mistakes, ten years of actions by the Conservative Party, which have had the effect of building up tensions between the communities of Rhodesia and Nyasaland rather than adding to the possibilities of true partnership between them. Now we have on the basis of universal adult suffrage and the equality and dignity of all men whatever the colour of their skin, the opportunity of moving towards better relations between communities, and I hope all in Rhodesia and Nyasaland will now grasp that opportunity.
§ 9.4 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) would probably be surprised if I say that I entirely support the fears that he mentioned in the penultimate part of his speech. I, too, fear that the breaking up of this racial experiment in Central Africa will spread racial division not only throughout that continent, but through other continents, too. The hon. Member suggested that China might lead the coloured races against the whites, and I feel that that is possible. It is the biggest nightmare that the world faces. The policy advocated by the hon. Member for Wednesbury, however, would make that nightmare more likely than ever. If he expects the Europeans in Southern Africa to submit to one man one vote, leading to immediate African rule, when we have the example of what is happening in other African States, he must be living in cloud-cuckoo land.
I have only a few minutes at my disposal and I cannot, therefore, follow the various suggestions of the hon. Member. I join, however, with the many hon. Members, on both sides, who have congratulated my right hon. Friend the First Secretary. I believe that he had a nasty inheritance when he took over as First Secretary and Minister for Central African Affairs. My fear was that a vacuum would be created in Central Africa owing to one or other of the participants refusing to attend the Conference and that other outside Powers might take advantage of the vacuum, as happened in the Congo. My right hon. Friend's power of negotiation has brought the parties together in a conference which, as a conference, has been a success.
I am glad also that the House has dealt with the problem rather in terms of a Dunkirk and certainly not as an Alamein. It is a sad time and what my right hon. Friend has done has not been to snatch victory from defeat, but, at least, he has prevented defeat, in the same way as Dunkirk was no defeat for British arms. We all owe my right hon. Friend a great debt for having done that.
I should have liked to refer to future problems in Central Africa, but these have already been adequately covered by hon. Members on both sides. They 1532 include the problems of the Federal Civil Service and the federal debt. Let us not forget that the British taxpayer will probably shoulder quite a large part of the federal debt, as he will have to pay great sums for Nyasaland, in spite of the fact that we were told that this was not likely. That is fairly certain to happen and I believe that the sum required for Nyasaland will be considerably more than we have been led to expect.
I agree that we must do everything we can to maintain economic links between the three territories. One of the best hopes for the future is the continued development of the University of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, or whatever it is to be called in the future, at Salisbury. This is vital for a reasonable understanding between the races. I hope that we do not see Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia building up their own complete universities. I know that they are doing so already, but they will, I hope, recognise that these territorial universities should offer certain degrees preliminary to students attending the central university for higher-level degrees.
The nub of this debate has been the future of Southern Rhodesia. What we want to know are the terms on which Southern Rhodesia will get its independence. One great advantage from this debate is that the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) made clear—if I am wrong, I hope he will correct me—that the terms on which the Southern Rhodesia Government would receive independence from the Opposition would be one man, one vote immediately, or something very close to that, and that if these terms were not given, as this House of Commons has no power to intervene in the internal affairs of Southern Rhodesia, the Labour Party would use the one remaining power of suspending the Constitution. That message has, I am sure, gone out to Southern Rhodesia and I hope that it will be fully understood. Unfortunately, it seems that a number of hon. Members on this side of the House support that view. I do not believe it to be the view of the vast majority of Conservatives, either in this House or in the country. I do not believe that Southern Rhodesia should get her independence with the 1533 same Constitution as she enjoys today. I believe that Sir Edgar Whitehead was going in the right direction. The Land Apportionment Act should go not immediately but over a series of years. This division between races must be got rid of. Racial discrimination must be outlawed.
There could be modification of the franchise to allow for a greater number of African seats on the upper roll so as to overcome the problem which is known as the blocking third; in other words, there must be voting by two-thirds of the assembly to change the Assembly's composition. Obviously, the Africans fear that they cannot counter this unless they have a strength of one-third plus one member in the House.
It would be a good example of democracy and a good apprenticeship in the use of the vote to extend the lower roll as widely as possible. These things could, and should, be done. I wonder whether they have been put in this way to Southern Rhodesia, and if so, what reply has been received. I believe that most people in this country think that the Southern Rhodesians should accept such terms, either now, or, perhaps, in order that they may fulfil the election pledges, immediately after independence. If that were to happen then I believe that there would be overwhelming support on this side of the House and in the country for immediate independence for Southern Rhodesia.
Let me come for a moment to what is the choice facing Southern Rhodesia. One side of the story has already been made clear in the excellently delivered speech of my noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel), but it is only one side, and I think that the House has to consider the other side, too. The Southern Rhodesians may say to themselves that democracy according to Western practice is one man one vote, but is there any country in Africa which practises that democracy? They may ask themselves what has happened in other African countries, for instance Ghana, or the Congo—or even, perhaps, Tanganyika which is still very newly independent, and for which we had high hopes. They may say to themselves,"What about the United Nations?" The majority who in the United Nations now control the political life of the United 1534 Nations are basically the Afro-Asian States, and they are the smaller States, and they decide the policy because they are the majority, and the older, bigger States—if hon. Members like, the white States—have to pay for the implementation of that policy.
How long is that going on for? The Southern Rhodesians may ask that and they may ask themselves what happened in Europe in the 'thirties when there were Members of this House and people in this country who did not want to challenge Hitler because they thought that he would go the way they hoped, and there was the policy called"appeasement", but Hitler became a menace and a dictator, and then the people of this country and others banded together to fight him. The Southern Rhodesians may say,"What about Pan-African pressures?" and draw a parallel. I come to where the hon. Member for Wednesbury left off, and I would say that there is a danger, about which the Southern Rhodesians may ask themselves, of the world being divided along racial lines. That is a terrible thought. One hopes that it is not going to happen, and one prays God that it does not happen, but if it does then the survival of the white men in Southern Africa is vital to the white race.
Is 75 per cent. of the free world's gold supply to be given into Pan-African hands? I wonder whether the hon. Member for Wednesbury, or indeed, the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) who spoke for the Liberal Party would face up to that. What do they think would be the future of the western world under the pressure of the Pan-Africans, if they were given into on all these matters, no matter how friendly they may appear to be now?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Surely the hon. Member will agree that the white man's position in Nairobi is more secure now under Jomo Kenyatta than it was in the Mau Mau years, and more secure in Tanganyika now than it would have been if we had not allowed that country political advance? Therefore, I would say that the white man will be more secure in Africa when there is political advance.
§ Mr. Wall
History will prove whether the hon. Gentleman is right or not. I do not think that there are many white 1535 people in Nairobi or Kenya who will agree with him. I hope he is right, but I fear that history will prove him wrong.
I would say that now the Conservative Party is facing two fundamentals. The first is the question of the independence of Southern Rhodesia on terms which guarantee the advancement of the Africans to have their full share in the Government of that country in due course but leave control in white hands. Secondly, the party will be facing another crisis when deciding whether the Government should veto or not the expulsion of South Africa from the United Nations which would enevitably be followed by economic sanctions against the South African Government.
I turn in the last few minutes to Northern Rhodesia to raise an important matter which has not been raised hitherto except in an interjection by me earlier on. I ask my right hon. Friend very carefully to consider the problem of Barotseland. There may be a feeling that the present system under the Litunga is archaic, but if it was felt that it must be changed, and the Litunga was given, say, two years to make changes, I could understand it. That has not been done. I have not time to quote some of the speeches made by the Resident Commissioner on this subject, but only last year pressure was brought to bear on the Litunga and his Council to participate in the Northern Rhodesian general election. Against his judgment he was persuaded to do so, with the inevitable result that the party with an organisation and money won and Barotseland was represented by members of U.N.I.P. in the Northern Rhodesia Legislature.
Now I understand that there is pressure on the Litunga to have elections this month for the Barotse National Council at the same time as he is supposed to be coming here to discuss the future of his country with Her Majesty's Government. I hope that we shall play fair. It may well be that the system of administration of Barotseland cannot continue as it is today, but I hope that we will play fair with the Litunga and give him perhaps a better deal than we were able to give the Indian Princes. He deserves it. He is paying for having too much faith in Queen Victoria and in his belief that her spirit still exists over here.
1536 I want to say something about Nyasaland. There have been various reports referred to. Today there is a report that Mr. Nash has been attacked personally in a speech by a leading member of the Malawi Party. I hope that my right hon. Friend will look at that. Mr. Nash is the leader of the European Residents' Association. He is doing his job of representing their views. It would be appalling if he had to suffer because he was doing a job he was elected to do. I hope that my right hon. Friend will make it his personal business to see that Mr. Nash receives protection, if this should be necessary.
We all want to keep these three territories together as far as is possible. I hope that we shall be able to do so. But I doubt it. I fear that this Bill may lead to a division of race along the Zambesi. If that is so it presents a terrible threat to the whole world, and not only to Central Africa. It may perhaps be traced to our lack of courage in supporting the Federation and our failure to see that this multi-racial experiment was carried through to success.
§ 9.17 p.m.
§ Mr. G. M. Thomson (Dundee, East)
The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) said that history would show whether he or my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) was right about the long-term future of Kenya. Certainly, it would be dangerous to be dogmatic about what the future holds for Kenya or, indeed, any part of Africa. I say now only that history has tonight shown to the hon. Member, who takes such an interest in these matters, that he and many of his hon. Friends were tremendously wrong when, 10 years ago, they insisted on pushing through federation and imposing it on the people of Central Africa.
There have been many disagreements during this extremely good debate. As is characteristic of such debates, those disagreements have not always run along conventional party lines. On one thing, however, there has been unanimity—on warm congratulations to the right hon. Gentleman the First Secretary of State for his success at the Victoria Falls Conference, which is recorded in the White Paper and the Bill, and which, of course, we accept.
1537 The right hon. Gentleman did remarkably—indeed, miraculously—well to bring together these very disputatious parties and get them to agree to this document. I hope that he will understand that I am not detracting from his diplomatic skill in this matter when I say that it is important to remember exactly what the nature of his success has been and what the limits of it are.
The right hon. Member's favourite word since he took over Central African affairs has been the word"constructive". It is a very good word, although I think that he has overworked it a little. He is inclined, when he does not wish to go into details of any particular idea he has in mind, simply to say that he is in favour of a constructive solution. But what he has secured agreement on in this case—and it is a very considerable achievement to get this far—is not something constructive. He has got agreement on the destruction of the Federation.
I thought that the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) was very much to the point when he remarked that the First Secretary's speech characteristically would never have given the idea that what he was engaged in doing was strangling the Government's own child. What the First Secretary achieved at Victoria Falls last week was that instead of an unseemly squabble by the relatives over the corpse and perhaps an actual attempt to tear it limb from limb, there should be an orderly and civilised burial ceremony. Some of the speeches which we have heard today have been particularly gloomy graveside orations. I understand from his hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley), the beginning of whose speech the right hon. Gentleman unfortunately missed, that by his performance the First Secretary has greatly improved his chances of becoming the next Leader of the Conservative Party. It is perhaps rather lugubrious luck that his principal triumph should be as a superbly skilful funeral undertaker. I can only say that perhaps this is an extremely good qualification for one about to lead the Conservative Party into election defeat.
There is a heartbreaking contrast between the dismal dissolution of the Central African Federation upon which we are engaged tonight and the hopeful 1538 announcement of the creation of the great new Federation of Tanganyika, Uganda and Kenya in East Africa. During the debate there have been the usual critical comments from hon. Members opposite alleging that the Labour Party changed its mind about Central African Federation in the 1951–53 period after it left office. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) has made clear—and he had the support of an independent witness, the Liberal Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe)—we did not change our minds.
§ Mr. Thorpe
I concede that the hon. Member is independent, but the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M.Thomson) could not have been a witness when I was making my speech. I drew totally different conclusions.
§ Mr. Thomson
The hon. Member is being a little ungracious towards me. I was about to come to a point with which I thought he would agree, but he provokes me to say that I was somewhat astonished when he said that the Liberals were always 100 per cent. and at all times against the idea of federation, because one of my hon. Friends who was unable to make his speech has drawn my attention to the fact that the then Leader of the Liberal Party, the late Clem Davies, in one of our debates for the proposal for Federation, in March, 1952, supported it wholeheartedly and wished it every possible success.
We in the Labour Party have always believed in economic benefits to be obtained from federation in Central Africa or the West Indies or East Africa or other parts of the world so long as—and this was the condition which we always laid down—the Federation was able to gain the consent of those for whom it was proposed. This was why we explored the Federation originally, and we were right to do so. It was because it was clear beyond doubt by 1953 that that consent was not to be forthcoming that we opposed it.
If only our advice had been taken in 1953—to be patient and to go ahead in Central Africa, to try to get better racial policies and to win consent for these forms of association—today we might easily have been engaged in building up, certainly over a large part of Central 1539 Africa, the same kind of hopeful federation which we hope to see in the East African territories.
There cannot have been many cases in the House of Commons when over a whole decade the Government have so consistently had to concede that the Opposition were right. Step by step, particularly over recent years, the Government have been compelled by events to do what the Opposition have urged them to do sometimes weeks and sometimes months and sometimes years before.
Since 1959, when we converted the Prime Minister and the present Government to the Opposition's policy of accepting winds of change in Africa, the real difference between the Government and the Opposition on these matters has been somewhat unusual. It was described with accuracy and authority the other day by the High Commissioner for the territories, Sir Albert Robinson, in what I gather was his farewell speech in this country. He said:The Socialists publicly and openly stated this to be their policy"—that is disengagement from the Federation—while the Conservative leadership never admitted their purpose particularly in so far as the multi-racial areas of Africa were concerned…The Conservative technique was to give private and informal undertakings while taking actions and decisions entirely contrary to these undertakings.It seems an odd reflection on Tory morality that Mr. Profumo's lies to the House of Commons about his mistress should have outraged Conservatives to the point of demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister, whereas the Government's own lies to Sir Roy Welensky about high State policy in Africa should have outraged only such rare individuals as the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) and some of his hon. Friends.
I want to turn from the dismal and really rather messy past to the future. We are glad to see that the First Secretary has begun to clean up this situation with his customary skill, and occasionally with his customary grin towards the Opposition about the earlier errors of his colleagues. Everyone will wish him well in his efforts to bring about a smooth dissolution and to replace the federal 1540 structure by other constructive forms of co-operation.
Nobody, least of all the right hon. Gentleman, will underestimate the difficulties of his task. He made it plain to the House earlier today that there was a lot of hard negotiating and hard bargaining ahead. It might have been easier if he had been able to accept the suggestions which I gather from the White Paper were made by the Northern Rhodesian delegation about the appointment of a Commission to take over from the Federal Government and conduct the winding up. This method was used last year with the West Indies Federation and it worked very well. I wonder whether we might be told why the same methods could not be applied in Central Africa.
About the arrangements themselves, we on this side of the House would certainly want to underline the importance of what has been said by a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House about looking after the interests of federal civil servants. Over the West Indies dissolution the Government had some experience of the misunderstandings that can be caused by lack of adequate consultation with public servants at the earliest stages. I remember raising this matter many times on the Floor of the House last year, and I hope that the Government will avoid that happening this time.
The First Secretary said that there are 35,000 Federal public servants. They include doctors, engineers and teachers whose administrative and other skills are vitally necessary to the three territories, particularly now that they have to pursue separate courses. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly made clear, numbers of them were originally compulsorily seconded from the territorial service to the federal service and we therefore have a moral obligation to them. They committed their careers more than most Central Africans to the assurances rashly given by the Tory Ministers of 1953, which have inevitably been broken by Tory Ministers of 1963. Whoever is to blame for this ill-fated and ill-conceived experiment in federation, it is not these public servants. Everything should be done, both in their interests and in the interests of the territories, to preserve their good will and confidence.
1541 I do not altogether like the arrangements which the right hon. Gentleman described for the disposal of the federal forces. I am thinking particularly of the fact that the federal air force, which I always understood was considered part of the general strategic Commonwealth defence for the region, is to go over to Southern Rhodesia. The hon. Member for Devon, North raised pertinent questions about this matter. Since Southern Rhodesia is properly concerned about her share of the burden of federal liabilities, I suggest that it would be worth while for Britain to consider offering to take over the considerable expense of the federal air force as part of our own strategic reserve.
Perhaps the same argument might apply to some of the other categories of the defence forces. I do not know enough about the details to argue the matter, but it is in the economic interests of all three territories to have as few arms as possible, and it is certainly in the political interests of everyone, both inside and outside the territories—in view of the racial and other tensions in the area—that there should be as few arms as possible in the hands of these territories as a result of the dissolution of the Federation.
Many hon. Members have advocated arrangements for common services to replace the Federation in as many fields as possible. Mention has been made of currency, Kariba and communications. We were particularly glad to see that the right hon. Gentleman had been able to obtain the co-operation of the World Bank in tackling these problems. I echo the words of a number of hon. Members who have expresesd the hope that out of the wreckage we shall be able to salvage the university, because if the countries of Africa need one thing more than anything else it is educational equipment.
The hon. Member for Lancaster was quite right to utter a cautionary word, and to say that we should not plunge into schemes of economic co-operation only to see them meet the same sort of disaster that the scheme for political federation has met. There are some real difficulties. I suspect that the right hon. Gentleman is going to find that just as agreement on the economic benefits of federation required a great deal of prior 1542 political consent, equally, in order to get real co-operation about common services, we shall have to get the political consent of the parties concerned.
Northern Rhodesia's co-operation will largely depend upon the assurance of a fairly speedy constitutional advance. Hon. Members on this side were glad to hear from the right hon. Gentleman that already the Governor has opened talks with the political parties in Northern Rhodesia. The attitude of both Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to economic co-operation will undoubtedly depend upon what improvements can be obtained in the political rights of the Africans in Southern Rhodesia, about which I shall say a few words in a moment.
First, I want to refer to Nyasaland, because many hon. Members on both sides of the House have expressed anxiety about what is happening there. The House will have been relieved by what the First Secretary reported from the Governor about the general state of law and order. What he said when he came back from Victoria Falls was confirmed by an interesting letter in The Times today from Mrs. Margaret Ruxton, a well known and well respected member of the European community in Blantyre. Any acts of intimidation that have occurred in Nyasaland are to be deplored, but what is important is to find out how representative they are. I can only say that when I was there a year ago what struck me was the tremendously good relations that existed between African politicians and officials and the members of the European and Asian communities.
It is true that there are African extremists in Nyasaland, as there are white extremists. I also found some times an attitude of personal intolerance that was repugnant to me, but the general atmosphere was a good one, especially in view of the fairly recent past in Nyasaland, with the complete breakdown of communication between the Communities which resulted in the sending of the Devlin Commission. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) is right in saying that it is a sympathetic and imaginative approach to the whole history and background of these difficulties that is likely to produce the result that most hon. Members seek.
1543 Inevitably, many speeches from both sides have been about Southern Rhodesia. The First Secretary deserves particular credit for having been able to separate the dissolution of the Federation from the question of independence for Southern Rhodesia—if, in fact, he did succeed in separating them, because we were puzzled and disturbed by the questions asked by his noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel), who made a notable speech. The hon. Member said that he suspected—he put it no higher than that—that in some of the meetings with Mr. Field at Victoria Falls secret pledges may have been given. Well, if the hon. Member opposite feels suspicious, he will understand that we feel even more deeply disturbed. Because we recollect the sad story of the earlier secret pledges given to the original negotiators of the Federation scheme. It would be immensely helpful to the House, and clear the air elsewhere, if when winding up the debate the Attorney-General would give specific assurances that no secret or private undertakings of any sort entered into this matter.
Our view on this side of the attitude of the Government to the question of Southern Rhodesia's demands for independence is simple. It is that there should be no independence without self-determination for the people of Southern Rhodesia. I use the term"self-determination" rather than"democracy" advisedly, because I think it is the proper and more accurate description of what is an essential condition. The forms of democracy in the newer African countries inevitably differ greatly from our Westminster kind of democracy though they do not differ so greatly from the kind of régime that existed under the colonial system or under a white minority rule.
§ Mr. Thomson
This is the final point to which I wish to apply myself as frankly and, I hope, as fairly as I can.
I think that the essential condition which I would lay down in Southern 1544 Rhodesia for independence would be that before any granting of independence it should, in fact, have a Government enjoying the representative consent of the majority of the population. I think that more important than"one man, one vote" by itself. I understand the difficulties of the First Secretary about this. Mr. Stanley Baldwin once gave a description of the prerogative of a harlot as power without responsibility. Over Southern Rhodesia it sometimes seems to me that the First Secretary is in exactly the opposite position as Miss Christine Keeler in that he enjoys a great deal of responsibility and almost no power. But with this Bill I hope the right hon. Gentleman understands that his power in Southern Rhodesia is, in fact, increasing, because just as Southern Rhodesia enjoyed the greatest share of economic benefits under Federation so it bears the heaviest part of the economic burden of the dissolution and the decline of confidence that has preceded it.
When this is discussed in the White Paper the point of view of the Government is put in a number of bland words which looks as if they might have been written by the right hon. Gentleman himself. It says:The question whether the United Kingdom Government could and should help would have to be considered in the light of their general policies on overseas aid towards countries which showed need for assistance in the development of their economies.I believe that we ought to try to give that help to Southern Rhodesia provided that those who rule Southern Rhodesia at the moment are ready to help themselves and to put their Constitution on a more democratic basis. It would surely put the present Government in an even more preposterous position at the United Nations than they are in at the moment if they were to have to tell the Assembly that they claimed no power over Southern Rhodesia's racial policies but that they did accept responsibility for her economic policy.
In many ways I think that Southern Rhodesia is perhaps the final—it is certainly the most difficult—task of colonial statesmanship for this country. That task is to persuade the European minority in Southern Rhodesia that its own interests as well as those of the rest of the world will best be served by conceding democratic institutions. As was said by the 1545 hon. Member for Hertford in an extremely powerful and persuasive speech, there are immensely strong and common sense reasons for Southern Rhodesians, looking at their own conditions through their own eyes, to argue that they should not go it alone and engage in unilateral acts of independence. In all parts of the House we all hope that whatever else divides us the possibilities of peaceful political progress in Southern Rhodesia are not yet exhausted. Certainly we hope with all our hearts that the Southern Rhodesians may yet be persuaded to accept the help of this country in walking the way—and it is the only way—of peaceful democratic advance to independence.
§ Mr. Thorpe
May I assume that it would be the wish of the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) not to quote anything out of context which would make a travesty of the facts? Since he referred to it, I shall quote what the late Mr. Clement Davies said on 4th March, 1952. After saying:I hope the conference will be a success"—that was referring to the London Conference—he went on to say:I implore the Government and the Opposition—in fact all of us—not to take any step against the wishes of the Africans themselves and force upon them something which they think is politically or socially wrong or which they do not desire."—[Official Report, 4th March, 1952; Vol. 497, c. 250–1.]It might be thought from what the hon. Member said that during the course of that debate the late Mr. Clement Davies was in favour of federation being imposed.
§ Mr. Thomson
I do not wish to stand between the Attorney-General and the House, but I do not wish to withdraw what I said. I did not put the words of the late Mr. Clement Davies in the way the hon. Member for Devon, North has suggested. All that the late Mr. Clement Davies said was exactly what the Labour Party was saying at the same time, and on that I rest.
§ 9.43 p.m.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir John Hobson)
I should like to begin by dealing with the debate today rather than debates of yesteryear.
This has been an extremely weighty and impressive debate, conducted at a high level of eloquence and principle, 1546 and it is a privilege to wind up a debate of this nature. As the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) said, divisions between hon. Members who have spoken have not always been on party lines. In the course of the debate, we had the advantage of hearing speeches from two former Secretaries of State who have held responsibilities in these matters, and they themselves lent additional power to our discussions.
I think I ought to mention that we are engaged upon the Second Reading of a Bill. I do not think the Bill has been much discussed during the whole course of the day. I had hoped that I might be able to assist the House on some of the intricacies of a rather complicated piece of draftsmanship, but it does not appear that much of what has been said in the course of the debate has much relevance to the Bill to which we are considering whether we should give a Second Reading. I shall endeavour as best I may to deal with some of the numerous other interesting points which have been raised.
The hon. Member for Dundee, East tried to make it appear as though all we were engaged upon at the moment was a burial service, but, of course, that is very far indeed from the truth. Life in Central Africa has still to go on, and will go on. It has been with an eye on the future and an eye to the problems of how to pass from the position of a federation through the transition to a new constitution and build up that new constitution that my right hon. Friend the First Secretary has been principally concerned. While it is true that a great part of the problem is the destruction of the Federation, there is equally—and much more importantly—the other side of the medal; what shall be done for the immediate and the more remote future.
There is one matter I should like to raise before I come to those problems. I last spoke on this topic in the debate we had on 28th February, and I regret to have to tell the House that on that occasion I made two misstatements of fact. Neither was material to the argument I was then addressing to the House, but they were misstatements and it is right that I should correct the record. The first was in describing a view 1547 expressed by a Southern Rhodesian delegate to the 1952 Conference. I wrongly attributed it to the Government of Southern Rhodesia instead of to one of the Southern Rhodesiandelegates. The other was that I said that between January 1953 and December 1962 not a word was heard in public or private about the existence of the pledges. The fact is that there had been a reference to them in June 1962. As I have said, neither slip was material to the argument which I was then advancing. They have, in fact, been publicly corrected in the Press since, but I gave the Minister of Law of the Federation, who drew my attention to them, an undertaking that I would at the first opportunity correct them, and I am glad to do so on this occasion.
I welcome, speaking generally on this debate, the position taken by my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) in his thoughtful speech and the plea which he made for toleration amongst all the people who are facing the immediate problems of the future of Central Africa and the need for all, both those in this House and those who bear responsibility in each of the territories of Central Africa, to promote feelings of partnership and of toleration by all parties. I was glad indeed that the hon. Member for Dundee, East echoed that note in his conclusion.
I ought to mention what the Bill does not deal with, because this is important. It does not deal in any shape or form with any question of Southern Rhodesian independence. It does not deal in any way with the convention which the United Kingdom Parliament has always observed since the middle of the 19th century, namely, that we do not legislate for self-governing Colonies without their consent. The application of this convention to any particular Colony has always depended upon the stage of development of self-government which that Colony has reached. But it has been clearly recognised that the convention applies to Southern Rhodesia, both in June 1961, in the White Paper then issued, and in the recent correspondence between my right hon. Friend the First Secretary and the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia.
1548 This, of course, is not a matter with which the Bill attempts to deal in any way. It may be that it will be relevant for discussion at another time, but certainly it is not relevant for discussion on the Bill. Nor does the Bill deal with any Amendments of the constitutions of any of the territories. Clause 1(2,e) of the Bill expressly excepts territorial constitutions from the provisions of the Order in Council which may be made. Most of the constitutions are instruments made under Acts of Parliament, and there would probably be no power in any event under the Bill, in our view, to amend these constitutions because, except in so far as minor adjustments of the wording would be necessary as consequential on the end of Federation, there would be no power to make an Order in Council affecting these constitutions under the Bill. But it was thought necessary that this matter should be clarified in the course of the Bill, and that is why Clause 1(2,e) deals with this problem.
This is not an attempt to avoid the problems which have been discussed so much, because I want to deal with them, but I thought it necessary first to disentangle the purposes of the Bill from the problem. I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) was right when he said that the question of the independence of Southern Rhodesia had been the nub of the debate today, and, indeed, it was quite plainly the problem which was particularly affecting the minds of most speakers who took part in the debate. May I try to clarify the position, therefore, in this way? It appears first of all from the letters which were exchanged between my right hon. Friend and the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia. On 2nd May my right hon. Friend the First Secretary wrote that, despite the convention to which I have referred.the Government of the United Kingdom will want to discuss with yourself"—that is the Southern Rhodesian Government—whether and in what respect the powers of amendment of the Southern Rhodesian constitution by the Southern Rhodesian legislature should be exercised.Perhaps I may remind the House that in the last letter that passed from my right hon. Friend on 14th June, 1963, there was this passage:You will remember that when we met in London we discussed possible amendments 1549 which might be made by your Government to the Southern Rhodesian Constitution which would result in broadening the basis of representation in the Legislature and would take effect as soon as practicable. We also discussed the future development of policy on non-discrimination. So far as we are concerned, these matters remain for further discussion.That is still the position and there is no change from it as at today.
The hon. Member for Dundee, East and other hon. Members asked whether any secret pledges or undertakings were given to the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia during the course of the meetings at Victoria Falls. I am authorised by my right hon. Friend the First Secretary of State to say that no such secret pledges or undertakings were given and that the conversations which took place were simply an examination of the problem, without any undertakings or pledges being given by him.
Several hon. Members raised the question of constitutional advance in Northern Rhodesia. I am informed that the Governor of Northern Rhodesia is at present engaged in talks with the two parties and with the Opposition and he will let my right hon. Friend know what the reaction from the two parties and the Opposition is to the proposals which are under discussion for changes in the Constitution. No decision can be taken as to how we should proceed or what should be done next until that report has been received from the Governor of Northern Rhodesia.
My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice raised the question of Barotseland. All I can tell him about that is that the Litunga will be seeing my right hon. Friend next week to discuss the problems of Barotseland. It is not correct to say that the elections will take place while the Litunga is away. They are timed for a period after he will have returned to his territory.
Another topic which has engaged the attention of many speakers, including the hon. Member for Dundee, East, is the question of the public service and the future of those who are in it. The White Paper shows, and I assure the House, that the Government realise the very great importance of this problem. There are three principal points to be dealt with. First, there is the need to absorb as many as possible of those who are at 1550 present engaged in the service. Secondly, there is need for fair terminal arrangements to be made for those who cannot be absorbed or who leave the service. Thirdly, there is the need to secure the discharge of the obligation to both past civil servants and those who may go out in the future in respect of their pensions. I obviously cannot enlarge at this stage on how this will be done, because this is one of the problems which are for discussion and settlement in the meetings which are to take place in the future.
§ Mr. Turton
I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will remember the fourth point, which was the most important, namely, whether there is to be compulsory transfer.
§ The Attorney-General
I have not overlooked that. It is dealt with in the White Paper upon the basis that the Federation has reserved its position and this is one of the points that must be settled and is an important point for future discussion. As an earnest of the Government's appreciation of the importance of this topic, it is the very first subject which they will tackle and, as my right hon. Friend told the House, a start is being made immediately this next week with the discussion of this in Central Africa itself.
A great many other points have been raised, but I have time to refer to only one or two more. The hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) asked about grants to Nyasaland in the future. All I can say on this aspect is that they will be considered sympathetically. No decision has been taken on them as to the extent or nature of the commitment by this country.
The hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) mentioned the World Bank. The World Bank, we are glad to say, approached Her Majesty's Government and offered to co-operate and to give any help it could in economic developments in the future of the territories. I am sure that all hon. Members will wish to join with the Government in welcoming this generous offer of assistance and co-operation made on behalf of the World Bank which we naturally have accepted.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton asked why there was no Financial Resolution to deal with 1551 the pensions and liability for pensions. As the House will see from the White Paper, this matter arises among the debts and liabilities and must be dealt with as such and as part of that problem. In our view, if it is dealt with as my right hon. Friend has said—as part of our general policies of aid to these Commonwealth countries—there will be no need for legislation to be brought before the House and it can be dealt with under the existing powers.
No one can rejoice—if they do, then only a few—at the dissolution of a marriage, a partnership or an association of nations or people which set out with high hopes and which has foundered. I agree entirely with the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) that the fragmentation we have seen in this case, and in respect of the West Indies, is contrary to the movement of history at this time. In general, peoples and nations are drawing closer together and are co-operating more. With the facilities we have for inter-communication and travel it is natural that they should do so.
In this respect, it is sad that the attempt to draw these peoples together has, at any rate temporarily, failed. However, we must recognise the wishes of the peoples of these territories and that one cannot force them to live in a union which they regard as detestable. That is why the Government have come to this conclusion and why these steps are being taken.
1552 I wish to add my small tribute to the remarkable achievement of my right hon. Friend the First Secretary for what he has done and the triumph that it was for him to have brought these people together at the Victoria Falls Conference—not only brought them together but to have concluded, in the space of four and a half days, the orderly programme for the transfer of power. I particularly welcome the fact that this arrangement is to include at the same time Nyasaland. Instead of having Nyasaland seceding separately, and then dissolution, it will greatly ease the whole problem if all three territories can leave the Federation under similar arrangements at the same time. I also add my tribute to all the other persons of responsibility who took part in the conference at Victoria Falls and to their statesmanship. I am sure that in passing the Bill we will give them the means to help them to solve the future problems of the area.
§ Mr. Goodhew
Would my right hon. and learned Friend give an undertaking to look carefully at the question of law and order in Nyasaland?
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Peel.]
§ Committee Tomorrow.