§ LORD LAMINGTON asked for information as to the recent changes made in the 205 administration of Aden, and moved for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, with reference to the first Motion that stands in my name on the Order Paper I would briefly refer to what has been the administration of Aden. Before the War the Government of Bombay, acting under the Government of India, had to do entirely with the administration. In I929 an Act was passed to regularise a decision that had been adopted by the Cabinet here in 1926 and the purport of that Act of 1929 was to give the Colonial Office political responsibility for Aden, the Air Ministry the military control, and the Government of India the civil administration. In August of last year The Times newspaper had a statement to the effect that owing to financial stringency the Government of Bombay had nothing more to do with the administration of Aden except in regard to supplying the personnel of the administration. On April 4 of this year a further statement appeared in The Times quoting an extract from the Government of India Gazette in which it was stated that for the future Colonel Reilly, who had been Resident at Aden, would act as High Commissioner, and that all duties formerly vested in the Government of Bombay would be taken over by him excepting the judicial system, which would be still under the High Court of Bombay.
§ I wish only to ask the noble Lord who is going to reply as to what is the exact position at present in regard to the administration of Aden. Does the Bombay Government still supply the personnel of the subordinate posts, and is the Government of Bombay entirely cut off from routine official communication with Aden? The object of my Motion is to elicit exactly what is the form of administration working now at Aden.
§ Loan STRATHCONA AND MOUNT ROYAL
My Lords, His Majesty's Government is grateful to the noble Lord for giving it this opportunity of explaining the one change that has occurred in the administration of Aden. The noble Lord was correct when he outlined the system under which the administration has been run up till a short time ago. A new decision was taken in 1927 and if I may briefly restate it this was the effect of it: First of all, at Aden the Settlement itself—that is the Settlement 206 of about 75 square miles, town harbour and immediate neighbourhood—was to remain part of British India administered as part of the Bombay Presidency. Political and military control was to be primarily in the hands of the Colonial Office and defence organisation was to be in the hands of the Air Ministry. The Resident and Commander-in-Chief was to be the head of the Administration, being the servant of His Majesty's Government in London in respect of political and military matters. In respect of the civil administration of the Settlement he was to continue to be the servant of the Government of India and the Government of Bombay. In regard to expenditure the present position is that the Home Government bears the whole military and political cost, except for a contribution from Indian revenues amounting to £150,000 or one-third of the total, whichever be the less. The cost of the civil administration remains a charge on Indian revenues subject to a contribution of £8,000 from Imperial revenues towards the police force.
With that brief sketch of the Aden administration I can now deal with the one modification which has taken place. This modification is confined exclusively to the civil side of the administration—that is, to the arrangements for running the town and Settlement, the few square miles of Arabia which are British India and which has nothing to do with the political or military control of Aden or the control of foreign relations. Difficulties have arisen over the administration. The Settlement is an expensive place to run and the importance of its geographical situation makes it essential to keep up a high standard. Civil expenditure has been divided in the usual Indian manner between "Central" and "Provincial," but the division, though workable in an ordinary Indian district, has involved considerable inconvenience in the case of Aden.
The administration of the police, for instance, is properly a Provincial charge, but owing to the peculiar situation of Aden it has assumed a wider importance and it has been necessary in the past for the Resident to obtain the approval on occasions of three different bodies—the Government of Bombay, the Government 207 of India and the Colonial Office—before necessary expenditure could be incurred. The Secretary of State therefore agreed, on grounds purely of administrative and financial convenience and on the advice of the two Indian Governments concerned, to the elimination of the Government of Bombay from the picture. This step was taken in the best interests of Aden and of Bombay itself for, while it cannot but be painful to sever an administrative link which has held for nearly a century, the commercial and other ties between Bombay and Aden will continue unimpaired, while on the other hand a perpetuation of the old administrative system would certainly have meant financial loss to the Presidency, since the Central Government could not have continued indefinitely the disbursement of Central moneys on Provincial subjects.
The noble Lord referred to the notice which recently appeared in the Gazette with reference to Aden, and without quoting the whole of that Proclamation I can inform the House that the effect of that Proclamation is to constitute Aden, by notification, a Chief Commissionership, like Delhi, in India, under the direct control of the Government of India. That is the whole effect and the sole effect of the notice in the Gazette. It will be observed that no change whatever is involved in the relations between India or Aden and Whitehall, nor in the inclusion of Aden on the political map as part of British India. What has been effected is the simplification of the Indian machine, which would make it more efficient and less liable to difficulties caused by the various Government Departments having to be consulted, and as a Chief Commissionership Aden will enjoy the status of a minor Local Government. There will be no change in the judicial system, under which the High Court of Bombay will still exercise its functions, but some of the powers hitherto vested in the Government of Bombay are vested in the Chief Commissioner, and others are retained by the Government of India. I think that deals with all the points raised by the noble Lord on this Question, and I want to emphasise once again that the change, small though it is, is merely one of administrative and financial convenience, and has been taken by the Secretary of State on the advice of the Indian Governments concerned.
§ LORD LAMINGTON
I thank the noble Lord very much for his very explicit and complete statement. Am I to understand that all the minor administrative posts will still be filled by the Bombay Government?
§ LORD STRATHCONA AND MOUNT ROYAL
I am not quite certain on that point, but I will let the noble Lord know in due course.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.