§ 2.36 p.m.
§ LORD HASTINGS rose to draw attention to the Report of the Kenya Constitutional Conference (Cmnd. 960); to consider its implications for the future; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, in drawing attention to the Report of the Kenya Constitutional Conference, and in considering its implications for our future Colonial and, indeed, Commonwealth policy in Africa as a whole, I want to put it on record at the outset of my speech, in view of certain criticisms that have been levelled about the dilatoriness, and even the negligence, of Parliament, that this Motion of mine was handed in on the second Sitting Day after the publication of the Report, and that Her Majesty's Government have gone out of their way to make a day available for the holding of this debate. Wednesday is the normal debating day for private Motions, and all the Wednesdays were booked for two months ahead. Therefore I think I should be expressing the feeling of all your Lordships when I say that we are most grateful to the authorities who arrange these matters for setting aside a Monday especially in order that we can discuss this most important matter.306
§ My Lords, this Report represents the first major achievement in the realm of Colonial policy of a new Government; of a new Colonial Secretary, and of a new Governor in Kenya; and, in the meanwhile, the right honourable gentleman the Prime Minister has made a personal survey of the African scene on the spot, culminating in a major policy statement in his famous speech at Cape Town. For these reasons, and because this matter has not been debated in the House of Commons, I think it is most appropriate that your Lordships should discuss this question both in its narrower and in its wider aspects to-day, and to debate it with that calm restraint and objective approach, not to mention expert knowledge, for which your Lordships' House is so justly renowned.
§ First of all, I should like to turn to paragraph 18 of the Report, in which the views of the various groups are given. There it will be seen that three of the four delegations to the Conference were in broad agreement that these proposals should form the basis of the next Constitution on the road towards responsible Government, and that they would make this Constitution work. Those three groups were, of course, the Africans, the Asians and the Mixed Group—the New Kenya Group of Mr. Michael Blundell, representing Europeans, Asians and Africans. The United Party Group—the purely European Party—led by Group Captain Briggs, objected to the whole matter and thought that the proposals were a disaster. Therefore I think we must ask ourselves, in the first place, whether the Colonial Secretary was right to overrule those objections.
§ It has been said that there should have been an election in Kenya before the holding of this Conference in order that the Europeans attending should have been more representative. I do not know what would have happened, of course, if an election had been held, but let us suppose that it had, and that, as a result, the United Party had formed, with the African Elected Members, the second most important group at the Conference, and that the New Kenya Group had been in a very small minority. What, then, would have been the result? I think we must see that it is quite certain that there would have been no agreement at this Conference, and that the Colonial Secre- 307 tary would have found himself in the unenviable position of having to impose a Constitution on Kenya. My Lords, two Constitutions have already been imposed on Kenya, in 1954 and 1958, and I think that if there had been a third the chances of a grave security risk arising would have been very serious indeed. Therefore, I hold that any Colonial Secretary of this country had no option but to bring about and to accede to the agreement of three of the four Parties taking part in the Conference.
§ I do not mean that the objections which have been made by the United Party should be ignored, or that the fears lying behind those objections should not be allayed, or that we should do nothing about it—and I will return to that matter later on in my speech. But I think we have to realise that the United Party represents at most 1 per cent. of the total population of Kenya, which is the European population, and that, however important economically that 1 per cent. is—and, of course, it is vitally important to the future of Kenya—nevertheless, in the purely political context in 1960, and in view of what is going on all over Africa to-day, it is quite inconceivable that 1 per cent. of the population can predominate and continue to predominate in the political sphere or impede the political advance of the other 99 per cent. I pause for a moment to say that if any European in Kenya who chances to read these words should imagine that they are the ignorant vapourings of an effete English politician (and I realise that language used in those parts is sometimes stronger than that) then he will be utterly wrong. I speak as a hard-headed Rhodesian farmer with his feet firmly on the ground; a Rhodesian farmer of practical experience and intimate knowledge of the daily lives of European farmers throughout East and Central Africa, and of the difficulties they have to meet every day and will have to meet in the future.
§ I turn now to paragraph 15, which deals with the mechanics of the Constitution. We see that there is an advance to be made from a position of approximate parity to a position where the Africans will have in the Legislative Council a very substantial majority over all other races. At the moment there are 14 elected Europeans, 14 Africans and 8 Asians and Arabs combined. The 308 figures in the future will be 10 Europeans and 10 Asians and Arabs combined, bringing them to exactly equal figures, which I think is justified and about which I have heard no criticism. There will, therefore, remain, in a total of 53 elected seats, 33 open seats, which in the circumstances of the wide franchise will inevitably be all African seats. I should just mention that there are going to be primary elections to choose the candidates for the European and Asian representatives; and as I have not the time to go into every detail I hope that the noble Earl who is to follow me will explain how they will work, and perhaps with special reference to the system which was put into force so successfully and with such happy results in Tanganyika.
§ I would also ask him to explain (quite frankly in order to save myself the trouble and your Lordships the time) how the cross-benchers will be elected (the 12 that there are to be in the new Constitution, as in the old) by the Legislative Council itself and not by direct vote: 4 Africans, 4 Europeans, 3 Asians and an Arab. I hope the noble Earl will explain how it is that the majority Party will not be in a position to control entirely the elections of those cross-benchers, but that the proportion may be, say, 3 majority Party to 1 of the minority Parties, or even in some cases 2 from each side.
§ But, returning to the main Legislative Council, with 33 Africans, we cannot be certain that they will all be of the same Party. There are many manœuvrings going on this very day in Kenya, and we do not know whether there will be more than one African Party. It is conceivable that there might be, and that there will be a Coalition Government comprised of Africans, Europeans and Asians. On the other hand, I dare say it is likely that there will be a majority of one African Party which will claim at least 27 of the 33 seats. That would give them an overall majority of one in the Legislative Council.
§ But when we come to the Executive Council, we find that there will be 4 Africans, presumably from the majority Party, 3 Europeans and 1 Asian, with the balance being held by the Governor and 4 Official Members. If we examine this Constitution carefully, I think we shall see that it cannot work without the full 309 co-operation of all races; and that is undoubtedly its purpose. If anybody should think that the Africans, by virtue of the majority in the Legislative Council, can hamstring the Government, I would point to the powers of the Governor which still remain: he can, in fact, nominate any number of members that he wishes to the Legislative Council in order that he can carry on his Government in the way that he wishes. But I very much hope that the people of Kenya will realise, and I hope that all speakers to-day and Her Majesty's Government in particular will emphasise, that the onus of responsibility is fairly and squarely upon the shoulders of the people of Kenya: that they are being given, as I think, a splendid opportunity to show that they can co-operate in the government of their country.
§ This applies most especially to the Africans, and I am sure all your Lordships are delighted to see to-day's news: that three Ministers of the Africans are to take part in a caretaker Government pending the bringing into force of this Constitution. I hope that, as a result, we shall not hear any more about some of these foolish and disturbing incidents that occurred here in London at the beginning of the Conference and since the African delegation returned. I daresay that other noble Lords will have something to say about these matters, and I hope that the two noble Lords who have so kindly come especially from Kenya to take part in this debate will tell us of the impact of some of these incidents not only upon the Europeans but perhaps also upon the Africans who sided with us and fought against the Mau Mau. I will say nothing more about that.
§ But we must face up to the possibility—not only the Government; I would ask the Opposition side also to face it—that that co-operation which we seek now may not be forthcoming. There are criticisms in Kenya that at the first signs of real pressure coming from African extremists the Government of this country will give way; and if that were to happen any possibility of partnership in Kenya would be at an end. It is difficult for the Government to force cooperation upon people who are not willing to co-operate, but I trust that the Government—and I hope the Opposition will back them up in this respect—will make it clear that we could not possibly 310 acquiesce in the granting of self-government, let alone independence, on any other basis than that of co-operation and mutual confidence between all the races; and that if that co-operation is not forthcoming the inevitable result, whether we wish it or not, will be delay in the advance of Kenya towards responsible government.
§ I come now briefly to the question of the franchise. It is probably the most controversial part of these proposals. As I know that other noble Lords wish to say a good deal about it, I will not spend long upon that aspect, although it is the one with which I myself agree least. I would ask the noble Earl why it has been considered necessary to increase the franchise at this moment to such an extent. I understand that there are 126,500 Africans on the electoral roll, and that their numbers could be three times that if they had registered. Therefore, with a potential electoral roll of 500,000, is it really necessary to increase that at the present stage to equal the franchise for the proposed new Constitution of Tanganyika?
§ Tanganyika is to get responsible government at the end of this year, and that franchise is going to be operated in Tanganyika after two years of fruitful co-operation. Kenya has not an equal record in that respect. In fact, it seems that the franchise in Kenya is slightly wider, in that anybody over 40 is to have a vote (which is not the case in Tanganyika) and that anybody reading or writing his own language may have the vote, whereas in the Tanganyika Constitution it is confined to English or Swahili. I hope the noble Earl who follows me will comment on those aspects.
§ I think the real reason for the extension of this franchise is to be found in paragraph 13 of the Report we are studying, where the Colonial Secretary has said that he was sure that a decisive move should now be made towards universal adult suffrage. I couple with that his remark in paragraph 11 above, where he says that Her Majesty's Government's aim was, among other things, first, to build a nation based on Parliamentary institutions on the Westminster model.
§ I have pointed out on a previous occasion that universal adult suffrage has not guaranteed Parliamentary democracy 311 for individual liberty in Germany or Russia, nor has it prevented military dictatorships in a number of countries over the world. Coming to countries which have been under British administration, and which are now either outside or within the Commonwealth, to name five, Burma, Pakistan, Ceylon, Sudan and Ghana, in only one of those countries, namely, Ceylon, does Parliamentary democracy in the Westminster pattern survive, and there it is, as we know, in a precarious position. In the other four it has been abolished. Therefore I am driven to the conclusion that the universal adult suffrage and parliamentary democracy in the Westminster style are, in Africa to-day, and in a large part of Asia, incompatible. I have also quoted Sir John Moffat, who is well known to your Lordships by name, who said that universal adult suffrage, if imposed in Central Africa to-day, would mean the immediate death of democracy.
§ Therefore, I should like to see Her Majesty's Government not tying their hands to the extent they have, and to have a much more flexible approach and a more flexible attitude to these matters in the future. After all, universal adult suffrage and parliamentary democracy in the Western style are not, I submit, principles at all. I do not accept them as such. I think they are means to an end—means to achieve our real main principles which, as your Lordships may remember when I had the honour to move the humble Address at the beginning of this Parliament, I suggested were maintenance of law and order and the preservation of individual liberty under the common law.
§ I think there are methods of attaining those two principles other than by the universal adult suffrage and Westminster parliamentary democracy. Indeed, we see that in Pakistan now they are instituting a form of basic democracy based on fully elected village councils, and then the councillors will form electoral colleges. I do not know if there are provincial or district councils; but eventually one reaches the top of the pyramid with the indirect election of the President. But it does seem that that democratic system is perfectly capable of guaranteeing individual liberty. I do not know if anyone thinks General Ayub Khan a dictator. I think he has turned 312 his back upon dictatorship quite remarkably.
§ If we turn to Ghana, we find that they are suggesting a new Constitution there. There will be direct election to Parliament on the basis of one man one vote. But if we examine their Constitution, or proposed Constitution, we see in fact that Parliament is likely to be in a purely advisory capacity to the one man who will combine the offices of President, Prime Minister, Party leader and Commander-in-Chief. But, at the same time, it is quite possible that it may be called a democratic system. It is quite possible that liberty may be preserved if that one man is a good man. Therefore, I merely say that we should search for ways and means of bringing about our two main principles, and I hope that that will be borne in mind by the Corn-mission which I believe is to go to Uganda to examine the form of government for the future of that country.
§ I would say in this respect that I think it is quite possible that the most suitable place for the enactment or the operation of parliamentary democracy in the Westminster style is where there happens to be a Federation. I am hopeful of the future of Nigeria. There are many checks and balances between the Territories themselves and between the Territories and the Federal Government. It may well be that our system can be expected to operate on the African or Asian scene where there is a Federation. I think it should work out in Nigeria and it is doing so in Malaya. That may be a salutary thought for those who tend to favour the break-up of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.
§ Apart from Constitution making or breaking, I believe there are some practical matters that we can attend to in order to assist the achievement of our principles of law and order and individual liberty. First of all, where it lies in our power I think we can abolish the colour bar, and where it does not lie in our power we can bring strong persuasion to bear. That would relieve the psychological tensions which at the moment make it so difficult to attain our first principle, which is the maintenance of law and order.
§ Secondly, I think we can examine and re-examine the state of the law throughout Africa. I am glad to see that the noble and learned Lord, Lord 313 Denning, is to take part later in this debate, for in January he presided over a Conference to examine this very question about the consolidation of English, Roman-Dutch and Islamic law. I hope he will be able to give us some encouragement and guidance as to how the law may contribute to the preservation of individual liberty on the African scene, as distinct from Bills of Rights and constitutional laws, which we all know can in fact be broken. I look forward to what he has to say in that respect.
§ The third thing I wish to refer to is the Oversea Civil Service. Just before the independence of Ghana, in a White Paper of 1956, a reorganisation was carried out by which a Special List was created, but I think we rather missed the boat in Ghana. I think Ghana missed the boat too. But when it came to the independence of Nigeria, a Special List B was created in order to give greater encouragement for Europeans to stay on and assist those territories. I hope we may hear today that that Special List B is to be put into force immediately in the case of Tanganyika. There has been a conference this very month on assisting the localisation of the Civil Service and the Africanisation of them. That is an admirable thing, and I look forward to the noble Earl telling us something about that, with a few facts and figures as to how quickly that process may reasonably go ahead. I am sure that this is where the Prime Minister's remarks on "merit alone" should be taken most seriously, because you can always apply precise terms of merit to the Civil Service. I suppose the most optimistic of us would agree that even in a highly civilised country applying precise terms of merit to politicians is a very difficult thing. In the case of the Civil Service it can and should be done.
§ Africanisation for its own sake cannot be in the long-term interest of those countries. That is recognised in some quarters now by African leaders. I believe there is definitely a career lying ahead for the young men of our own Overseas Service, some of them not even in the Service yet, to go out and take their place in the Commonwealth. But I would say that this Special List B and its arrangements really are for the benefit of existing officers among the more senior ranks. What about the future? These young men must have an incentive, and I hope 314 that perhaps the noble Earl, the Leader of the House, when he speaks can say something on the subject. I believe there should be immediate reorganisation and combination of the Commonwealth and Colonial Services, and in the future it may shock people in exclusive quarters to think that one day it might even come to an amalgamation with the Foreign Service at well. But if we are going to get these young men doing their jobs in Africa it is essential for the future of what will be Commonwealth countries that we make some move now.
§ That brings me to my last subject. I believe all these matters, these practical matters, that I have been instancing can do a very great deal both to obtain law and order and preserve individual liberty. They are matters pre-eminently suitable, I suggest, for discussion at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, not only in May but in the future. Far better to sort these affairs out in a friendly and co-operative and helpful spirit rather than wash our dirty linen in public at the United Nations. That does not only apply to South Africa at this particularly tragic moment but to other Commonwealth countries, and there are going to be other cases in the future. I hope that a precedent may be set at this Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference and general agreement reached by the Prime Ministers that they may and will help each other with their problems of this practical nature.
The question of individual liberty brings me right back to the safeguards it is suggested should be put into this Constitution for Kenya. There will be a Bill of Rights; this time the Colonial Secretary has had to act on his own because he did not get agreement from the Delegations. I am all for a Bill of Rights, especially one on the lines of the Nigerian Constitution which goes into very great detail. But there is just one point to which I would draw your Lordships' attention. At the top of page 10 of the White Paper reference is made to the all-important question of the expropriation of property, which shall not be done except for purposes to the benefit of the country, and then in brackets in line 4 it says:
(due regard being paid to human needs and individual hardship, confidence and stability, and advantage to the country's economy)".
Those words are very well intentioned, but I can see how easily "human needs and individual hardship" might be confused with political expediency and how those who want land which is already well farmed by somebody else might be given it. I hope very much that the language will be in much more precise terms than that, and these actual words may in fact be expunged from the Bill of Rights.
§ Far more than any Bill of Rights, we are concerned with action that the Government may take now, because the only real safeguard for the future is mutual confidence between all the races and their willing and complete co-operation. This problem of the White Highlands must be sorted out before Kenya ever gets to self-government, let alone independence. I suggest that there are certain things Her Majesty's Government can do. We in Parliament, by and large, are very ill-informed about the White Highlands. I am myself. I should like to know a great deal more. I hope very much that all the available information that there is in various reports in the Colonial Office, and in the Sessional Paper which was produced as probably the last act of Lord Howick of Glendale before he resigned as Governor, dealing with land tenure in the White Highlands in particular, will be put into one single White Paper, so that we in Parliament can judge what to do about it.
§ I should like to know the extent of the White Highlands, the size of holdings in categories, how much land is developed and how much undeveloped, what the treaties are with which tribes and how much is Kikuyu land. We hear from the African delegates that there is a dispute and that that is why they will not be a party to a Bill of Rights in regard to expropriation of property. Let us have this dispute out in the open and negotiate on this little corner, perhaps, which is Kikuyu land, long before we get to self-government, and so clear this matter up. There are other schemes that the Kenya Farmers' Union is putting forward now for a land resettlement fund. What I ask the Government to do—and I hope I shall obtain overwhelming support, not only on these Benches but opposite—is to take some definite action so as to put this matter right, and put it right now, 316 immediately and without delay, so that the people in Kenya should not be thinking in terms of compensation and leaving the country but in terms of staying where they are for the good of their country and on the grounds of human rights. It would be absolutely inconceivable that these people should be allowed to be expropriated or sent out of Kenya and therefore I ask for some action, perhaps along the lines I have suggested, but action and not merely words. I beg to move for Papers.
§ 3.7 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COLONIAL AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF PERTH)
My Lords, when I first knew of Lord Hastings' Motion on our policy in Kenya and its wider implications I felt that it was both welcome and opportune. Now that I have heard his speech, which was thoughtful, penetrating and constructive, and in some degree commendatory of Her Majesty's Government, I am the more glad. It has been the wish of the Opposition that I should follow the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, immediately, and I am happy to do this. But, of course, it does entail one disadvantage—namely, that I shall not be able to deal with many of the points of detail which are likely to be raised by others of your Lordships in relation to the White Paper. So, with your Lordships' permission, I will also, not wind up but try to deal with those points very shortly at the end of the debate. In my speech I shall endeavour to cover essentially the matters dealing with Kenya and the White Paper, and it will, of course, be for my noble Leader to touch on the wider implications of our policy.
The Constitutional Conference as reported in the White Paper is in no way a new policy. It is no way a "sell-out" of white settlers to the Africans, but rather is it a consistent and ordered, and I hope deeply important, step forward in Kenya's destiny, in which all the races of Kenya—African, Asian, European and Arab—must play their part together and in harmony. This is our aim; this is our determination. It is uniquely difficult, the working of one race and another together, but it is also an exciting and an immensely worth-while future and task. But let us recognise that the final outcome depends on the people of Kenya and on the people of Kenya alone. We can help set the pattern; we can lay down 317 the rules. But theirs is the game and theirs its carrying out.
Those of the New Kenya group have made a good start in this matter, with their multi-racial approach to Kenya's problems. I saw them at work at Lancaster House. I saw the stresses and strains to which they were subject. It would be invidious for me to pick out one or other of them for praise, but they set an example which slowly spread all through the Conference. Suspicions gave place to trust, and I believe that a spirit that will be Kenya was born at the Conference. It is a tender thing, which was subjected to the pressures and fears which one might have expected on the return of the delegates to Kenya; but it bas persisted, and we have now had its latest and exceedingly encouraging manifestation, that the African Constituency Elected Members have agreed that some of their number should join the interim Caretaker Government before the new Constitution comes into being, and that they will all support them. I can scarcely overstress the importance of this happening, which is courageous and very welcome.
I have said that the Lancaster House Conference was no "sell-out." It will be remembered that before the Constitutional Conference we had a debate on a Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, in this House, and I recalled then that Her Majesty's Government's policy towards Kenya was as had been stated by the former Secretary of State, Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd in April, 1959. In summary, he said that our policy was to guide Kenya forward to responsible self-Government, but that before its attainment four main conditions must be satisfied: first, that power should be exercised by the people through representative Parliamentary institutions which they would not abuse; second, that there should be general acceptance in the territory that every race and community has its pant to play in the public and economic life of Kenya; third, that an improving standard of living can reasonably be expected and the confidence of investors retained; and fourth, that a competent and experienced Civil Service composed of local people should be created.
To complete the picture of our policy before the Lancaster House Conference, I would also refer to a despatch sent by 318 Mr. Lennox-Boyd in November, 1958, which outlined the main foundations on which the so-called present Lennox-Boyd Constitution rests. These foundations are again four in number. They are: the maintenance of multi-racial Government; a final increase in communal representation; a start on non-communal representation; and the setting up of an institution to prevent unfair legislative discrimination against any community. As your Lordships will know, that was done by the setting up of the Council of State which, of course, still remains.
How do the conclusions of the Constitutional Conference offend or differ from the foregoing conditions and foundations? They do not. The only change—if it be a change—is that the aim of self-government is now as defined in the words of the Secretary of State's opening statement at Lancaster House. He said—and I quote:independence—I hope within the Commonwealth—is the ultimate objective.Surely it is time that this clarification was made so that all the peoples of Kenya might face up to the ultimate responsibilities that are theirs. The foundations remain unaltered for one and all to see, but it may be useful for me to go into a little more detail about the various conditions. The first condition was that power should rest with Parliamentary institutions. At the heart of this lies ministerial responsibility through Parliament to the people. One can argue (the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, it seemed to me, was thinking a little in this light) that it is right or wrong in these growing countries, which are inexperienced in our ways, to follow this pattern; and it is almost certainly the case that in many of the African territories we shall see variations developing—this is my point—on a pattern which we have all deliberately chosen, knowing that it is at this time also the indicated wish of those Africans who are taking a leading part in politics.
The Conference, in its constitutional proposals for the new Legislature and for the Executive, has followed the Parliamentary pattern established as we know it, and it has faithfully observed the second condition— 319That every race and community has its part to play and that this be generally accepted.Lord Hastings has pointed out that, although they had some reservations on details, all the groups, save the United Party, accepted the proposals, and therefore met the conditions; and they agreed—this is the important thing—that they would work them. For the first time all the African leaders were prepared to enter the Government under this new Constitution and to assume ministerial responsibility along with the Europeans, the Asians and the Arabs. The question that remained was: what about the interim period? What about the Caretaker Government? Would they join this? If they did, then the omens of a future successful working together, the spirit of true partnership seen at Lancaster House, would be very good. We all know the splendid answer—namely, that there are to be three African Constituency Elected Members as Ministers in the Caretaker Government and an Assistant Minister, as well as the present Minister of Housing, Mr. Amalemba, who has carried his office so well.
If I may digress for a moment, nothing was more striking to me at Lancaster House than how gradually the groups started working together. At the outset they were very suspicious of each other: there was a tendency for them to keep to themselves, to have nothing to do with other groups, and certainly to avoid any serious discussion with them. It is a sad fact that these barriers of race and Party were commonplace in Kenya. Never in Nairobi, I believe, did the groups really get together and hammer things out in frank and friendly discussion. Yet as the Conference proceeded, in the relative peace of London, we saw just this happening. Groups began to form contacts and to discuss matters of increasing importance, until even those who, if I may say it, were most opposed to each other were prepared to discuss and explain their position, and found that perhaps the others were not too bad after all. Then a curious thing developed. All the races—your Lordships will remember that this Conference went on for a long time, for five or six weeks—wanted to get back to their homes. They were all homesick, and they found they were happy to be with others who they knew were Kenyan. I 320 believe that this breakdown of barriers is in many ways, the most important achievement of the Lancaster House Conference; and, as I have shown, it has persisted, in that the Africans have agreed now to work together not only in the future but also in this Caretaker Government.
However, when the African leaders returned home, they were attacked for what they failed to bring back by some of their followers, who demanded much that had not yet been won. I say deliberately "not yet won", because this question of time—how long will the new Constitution last?—has been the subject of a good deal of debate. Indeed, it arose in a matter of question and answer between the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and myself some little time ago. There has been criticism of the expressed intention of some of the African delegates on their return to go on pressing for further constitutional advances, despite the agreement at Lancaster House. We have to recognise that the Lancaster House decisions do fall very short of many of their demands and aspirations. We cannot expect them to remain silent, although we can expect that they will accept, as they have accepted, the next stage of the Constitution. Indeed, they have not only accepted it but agreed to help to work it successfully. But I reaffirm what I said to your Lordships on March 8: that Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to consider the destruction of a building which we have so laboriously planned the moment it is erected. There must be a genuine attempt to make the Lancaster House Constitution work before there is any question of its further alteration.
Before I come to the third condition about an improving standard of living and confidence of the investor, all of which for Kenya is epitomised in the words "land" and "safeguards", I want to turn for a moment, to a matter which recently has certainly been causing concern; that is, the increase in lawlessness and the form the activities of some of the ex-detainees are taking. If these disturbing factors continue to grow and threaten security, the Governor will have no hesitation in taking sharp and speedy action, by using such powers as are strictly required, to restore normal respect for law and order. It is good that African politicians have joined in condemning 321 signs of violence, and I know that one and all of your Lordships will support my having said that if violence does show it will be firmly and swiftly dealt with.
This is a moment when I might deal with one or two specific points raised by the noble Viscount, Lord Hastings, in relation to the White Paper. He asked if I would explain how the primaries are going to work to ensure that the various communal candidates who are chosen are truly representative of their communities. I am afraid that I do not know the exact details of how this is going to work out. There is to be a Working Party set up specifically to this end; but the purpose of the primaries will be to eliminate candidates who do not carry the support of an effective and genuine section of their own communities, and to ensure that only those who have met that test—if I may put it in that way—will survive for the full elections.
Again, the noble Lord asked why we lowered the qualifications of the franchise, making them almost exactly comparable with those of Tanganyika. Those things must be in some degree a matter of judgment. It will be remembered that the Africans had the cry, "One man, one vote." We did not think that that was a good cry at the present time. Our reason for that belief was that we did not think there is a sufficient awareness of the implications of what the vote means, and so forth. At the same time, we felt that there was a sufficient advance in education in Kenya, and in the understanding of these things, to allow us to take a step forward; and, clearly, if that was so decided the easy and natural thing to do was to follow broadly the same pattern as had been set for Tanganyika. As to what the figures will mean in the way of new voters, it is difficult to guess. Whereas the number who could have registered under the present arrangements was about 500,000, in fact about 120,000 registered. I suppose that the potential voters will now be increased to somewhere between 1 million and 1½ million, with perhaps a corresponding increase in the number registering.
The other question asked by the noble Lord was: Is it right that those whom he called the "cross-benchers"—those who are to be national members—that is, 322 four Africans, four Europeans, three Asians and one Arab—are to be, as it were, voted in by the Party with the largest number in the rest of the House. The answer is as shown in the White Paper—that there is to be proportional representation with what is called a "single, non-transferable vote". I am not sure that I fully understand how it works, but I can assure your Lordships that the outcome should be just what the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, said, namely, in the case of the Africans or Europeans, at least one member in each case will be chosen on this basis from the non-majority Party. I hope it is sufficient if I give your Lordships that assurance only, without trying to go into the details of what is an extremely complicated subject.
Coming back to the various conditions for self-government which have been laid down before, your Lordships will remember that the fourth was an efficient, locally-recruited Civil Service. I do not think I need go into great detail on this. That was one thing which was enthusiastically accepted by one and all at the Conference. How to achieve that, and to foster it, is something that the Government of Kenya and we here have been working at constantly and studying over the last years. As the noble Lord said, we have only recently had, at the Colonial Office in London, an inter-Territorial Conference at which representatives of all the African territories were present, including the three Regions and the Federal Government of Nigeria. I believe that what was worked out at that Conference was most satisfactory. Certainly the purpose behind it all was to ensure that the existing Oversea Service people stay in the country while the new recruits are coming up from Kenya itself—and from the other African territories. Whether one should have a scheme similar to this Special List "B" scheme mentioned for Nigeria is a difficult question, because in fact one finds that these things have to be tailor-made to suit each country. But I would assure your Lordships that we are extremely anxious to do all we can to ensure that Overseas people should remain in the country where they are serving.
May I now turn to the question of safeguards? There were discussions, inside and outside the Conference in which full aggreement was not reached, 323 and so it was for my right honourable friend the Secretary of State to say what Her Majesty's Government proposed to do. Included in the Constitution will be provisions to safeguard fundamental human rights, and to this end use will be made, as models, of the papers which were submitted to the Conference. One of these contained the provisions of the Nigeria Constitution; the other was a paper prepared by an eminent American lawyer, Dr. Thurgood Marshall, who was adviser to the African delegation. I should like to take this opportunity, on behalf of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State and myself, to pay tribute to the work of Dr. Thurgood Marshall at the Conference. It was always constructive and exceedingly helpful.
As well as the safeguards for such things as personal liberty, freedom of conscience and religious belief or (and I think this is very important) prohibition of discrimination—those things which are generally covered by the words "human rights"—there will be special provision for protection of property: there shall be no expropriation, save for purposes to the benefit of the country, and then full and fair compensation will be paid; and if that compensation does not seem adequate it can be tested in the courts. We have been told that this is not enough, and that those who wish to leave the country now should be enabled so to do, as Her Majesty's Government have broken faith and changed their policies. I have tried to show that in fact there has been no change of policy. We have been told that a compensation fund should be set up for the purpose by Her Majesty's Government. While it is true that there has been no breaking of faith, we recognise that many of the settlers, who have done great things for Kenya, and without whom it would be a poor and backward country, are fearful to-day. This fear is a terrible thing—white fear of black or black fear of white—and it is something that one has to recognise. It is something that is very real, and although in the case of Kenya I trust it is temporary, we are anxious to do all we can reasonably and properly to allay this fear.
Therefore we come to this question of land, which is the vital issue for Kenya. 324 There could be no greater disaster than if the white settlers at this moment—or at any moment, for that matter—left Kenya. Her progress would suffer; there would be a set-back in her economic wealth the degree of which is hard to imagine. There could be no question of early development; no question of new schools; in fact, many schools would have to shut; road development could not go on. All the sort of things one wants to import from overseas for capital development would have to stop, because it is the Kenya farmer, who is by and large the European farmer, who has made the development of Kenya possible. It has been said, "Oh well, that is not too difficult because they have the land, the best land." They have only one-fifth of the agricultural land of the country and yet they produce four-fifths of the exports. And as to its being the best land, that is just not true. What is true is that this good land is good land now because of the work they have put into it and the money they have spent on its development. I am sure that in time this realisation of the value of the European farmer will be held not only by everyone in this House and by the Kenya Government, but will surely spread to all those exercising responsibility for that country, and they will do, as we aim to do, all they can to help the Kenya farmer and to ensure that he remains.
I had thought of touching on the past history of Kenya land, but there are many speakers to-day to come. The noble Lord, Lord Hastings, has made an interesting suggestion about a White Paper. I do not know whether or not that is possible, but I will certainly look into it. What I would say at this moment is this. As a result of the setting up of the East African Royal Commission, which sat from 1953 to 1955, there has been a major change in policy along the lines they recommended. From a policy which is based on defined and reserved areas of land for the different races and different tribes, a change was made to a policy based on the best use of land. To some extent it ran counter to past declarations about reservation of the White Highlands. And the same was true of some of the African areas. But the changed criterion, the "best use of the land," must in the long run be the only right criterion on which to work.
325 Since that time there has been land consolidation, changes in land tenure, some new laws affecting African lands and, finally, in October, 1959, detailed proposals were put before the Legislative Council in Kenya covering all land. Those are now to be discussed, and we hope that legislation will result. They give effect to this major change of policy which I have mentioned and, naturally enough, because there is a change, they have been the subject of considerable misgivings. In a sense it is a pity that we have this change in land policy, which is so close to the heart of every one of the citizens of Kenya, and the changes in the constitutional progress coming at the same time. It causes apprehension, but that is the accident of timing, and I am sure that in practice one could not wait and not go ahead on both these things. But because we recognise the vital importance of land, we and the Kenya Government felt it right to touch on this matter in the Lancaster House Conference. As your Lordships will see, it has been mentioned in the White Paper. Specifically there is outlined a scheme to enable more to be done towards the development of land, including approved resettlement schemes with special reference to helping forward African farmers. To this end Her Majesty's Government have undertaken to underwrite aid up to £5 million of loans for re-lending for land development.
The first step in securing this money is, of course, detailed plans, which will be worked out after a review by the Kenya Government. I am glad to say that I have already had talks with the Kenya Ministers who are chiefly concerned, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Finance, and things are going fast in the working out of the detailed plans. Furthermore, we have also told the World Bank about our ideas, and, my Lords, I am hopeful that plans can be worked out on a sufficiently sound basis to enable an approach to be made to them and to other institutions, as mentioned in the White Paper. This putting of £5 million into the land market, some of which must clearly be used to buy suitable land from willing sellers, will have the incidental effect of stabilising the price of land. Although this is a commercial scheme, and not a scheme to compensate farmers, none the less, as I said, if there is a potential buyer of 326 some millions of pounds' worth of land it must help to steady land values; and in particular I hope it will be of value to the small farmer who may have staked everything in his small farm because it is that type of farm which I believe will be particularly suitable for resettlement.
I cannot at this stage elaborate further on all our plans for the land, but I would make this one last point. If we are successful in them, if the overseas financial investor has a stake in Kenya's land, and if ever in the future there was any temptation for somebody to take it over arbitrarily, those who had that thought in mind would have new cause to hesitate, for it would mean jeopardising the flow of any foreign capital into the country; and that, of course, is so essential for its development.
My Lords, I recognise that in this debate and outside the House, particularly in Kenya, there has been considerable anxiety and apprehension about the consequences of the Lancaster House Conference. I have done my best to put the decisions into a proper perspective and to answer the worries of those with a stake in Kenya, who have every right to expect an answer. Nevertheless, having done this I would say that it is right frankly to recognise the new Constitution for what it is: an important step forward and a challenge to all races. It must be made to work, because, as I have said, we have no intention of putting it up to have it immediately destroyed; and those who think this will happen have got to think again. For the critics and faint hearts I have this to say. There are risks involved, but have you honestly faced the much greater risks of the alternative to an agreed and widely accepted Constitution? Do you really want to continue the uncertainty of the last few years? Can Kenya afford the increase in racial feeling, the exasperation caused by a damming up of African political energies while neighbouring countries all round move ahead, the risk of violence and the undermining of lawful authority which would have resulted from a failure at Lancaster House?
That is certainly not to say that Her Majesty's Government are afraid to stand firm and resist political pressure, from whatever source, when they believe that pressure ill-judged and unwise, and they retain to-day, and will retain in the future, 327 full powers to this end. But I believe that it is only when there is substantial acceptance and recognition of Government as their Government by all the communities in Kenya, African, European, Asian, and Arab, that we have a chance to liberate the constructive forces of co-operation and harness them to the building of a new Kenya. This, my Lords, is what now lies ahead.
§ 3.41 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
My Lords, I was very grateful to the Leader of the House for arranging that the noble Earl who has just spoken should follow the mover of the Motion, and I am sure all Members of the House will agree that it would be appropriate for the noble Earl to pick up at the end the points and the questions that require answer. It was important, in view of the terms of the Motion and its possible effect upon general African questions, that we should have early in the debate the view of the representative of the Colonial Office, and I am therefore grateful for the arrangement which has been made.
We are, of course, meeting on a day of very considerable significance and importance in the history of that great continent, Africa. I listened—I do not know whether your Lordships did—to the one o'clock B.B.C. news broadcast to-day, and I heard that in South Africa to-day tens and tens of thousands of Africans are remaining away from work, silent in their homes, as an expression of their sorrow for the very tragic events which have recently occurred in the Southern part of this great continent. We all, I think, recognise, in entering this debate about the future of this very large and very important Central Eastern section of Africa which is Kenya, that we must consider the general situation of political development in Africa to-day. It is perfectly true to say of Africa to-day what the great South African, General Smuts, said about the world at large some twenty years ago in the course of the war; that is thatThe whole world is on the march".There is not the slightest doubt that African feeling in general to-day reveals that the African peoples as a whole are on the march and that Africa as a whole is changing.
328 It is well for us to remind ourselves that this year, following up the independence already granted to Ghana, Nigeria, the Belgian Congo, and most of French Africa are becoming fully independent; that Somaliland, Uganda, Tanganyika and Sierra Leone are moving fast in the same direction; and by the end of the year little will remain of European rule other than in Algeria (which is in a dreadful state at the moment) Portuguese Africa, South Africa, and that part in which we in this country are all so much interested and about which there is still a large Question mark, Central Africa.
May I say that, keeping all these things in mind, I appreciated very highly indeed the tone and the substance of the speech of the noble Lord who moved this Motion and who said that he did not speak as this, that or the other type of person on this matter, but spoke as an experienced Rhodesian farmer. With regard to the question mark that remains about this other part of Africa, while I am surveying the situation in Africa as a whole may I say that if the general approach from the Rhodesias and Nyasaland could be on the lines and in the tone and with the temperament of the speech of the noble Lord this afternoon, then it would seem to me that there would be some hope for a much more favourable settlement than seemed to us to be likely on the occasion of our last main debate on Central Africa.
It can be seen, therefore, that, although the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, feels that if I say this it decreases his confidence in our welcome of this White Paper about the findings of the London Conference on Kenya in Command Paper 960, we do welcome it in the words of the noble Earl who has just spoken by saying that it is without any doubt at all a step forward. I should have thought that every section of opinion in your Lordships' House would agree with the general aim and object appearing from the language which was used by the noble Earl—that is to say, that the Government are putting forward in these proposals something which is to be a step towards self-government—within the Commonwealth, we hope, but nevertheless still self-government—and independence on that basis. We are entirely 329 at one with Her Majesty's Government in that objective.
A good deal, of course, depends upon the pace of progress, and I am perfectly in agreement with both the mover of the Motion and the noble Earl when they say that that will depend very largely upon the attitude of the people in Kenya. There is here set out something of very great importance to which all. Parties and all views will have to pay a great deal of attention. I still feel that, however much certain happenings in Kenya after the London Conference have disturbed public opinion here and there, the indications which have come to us yesterday on the radio and this morning in the London Times of a decision of the African Constituency Members to take part in the proposed Parliamentary Constitution outlined in this White Paper by way of joining the caretaker Government which is to come in, are a matter of very great hope for the future, and I welcome this very much indeed.
Coming now to consider some of the main points which have been dealt with this afternoon, I should like to stick to one or two of the points in the White Paper which have been touched upon. I am certainly no expert on Constitutions, and the noble Earl will forgive me when I say that I do not propose at this stage of the debate to pass any detailed criticism, constructive or otherwise, upon any line of the proposals in the Constitution. It seems to me in general that if the different Parties in Kenya can be brought to co-operate in adopting them and in improving them as they go on, then there is perhaps great hope that there will be a successful outcome; although, bearing in mind what I have said about the general conditions throughout Africa to-day, and what are bound to be the objectives of the African peoples throughout the continent in the next few years, I think we ought to make up our minds to it that complete independence, either within or outside the Commonwealth, cannot be delayed for many years if we are going to promote peace and security for the members of any races who are resident and indigenous in Kenya. I therefore hope that, whatever happens, we shall do our best in this country to act and administer in regard to education and land settlement with that in mind.
330 I welcome very much the statement made by the noble Earl towards the end of his speech to-day with regard to the schemes which are mentioned rather briefly in the White Paper, but which seem to me to be possible of very great development indeed, including as they do within their scope great opportunities for the development of Africans as farmers themselves. May I just interpolate, speaking from my memory of the White Paper, that I welcome very much what was said in the second statement, I think it was, of the Secretary of State to the Conference, when he said that, as a result of his visit to Kenya, he was not only interested in every form of agriculture that he saw but that he appreciated the extent to which Kenya African farmers were already contributing to the state of agricultural development in that country; and these schemes which have been mentioned and expanded this afternoon by the noble Earl will, I think, go a long way to help in that direction.
A very thorny question was raised by the noble Lord towards the end of his speech (which seemed to go along in melodious cadences all the way through, and with which I found myself wholly in agreement) when he came to what I may describe as the White Highlands. I suppose it is perfectly true to say that to those of us who have followed the Press reports and studied the White Paper the whole question of land in Kenya came nearest to breaking point, perhaps, in the London Conference. It is unfortunate that the United Party are still not in agreement with the White Paper, but it is of great encouragement to find that all the other Parties have agreed to the extent that they have with what is in the White Paper.
I support in general the request of the noble Lord that a White Paper be prepared so that Parliament may be brought right up to date with the information available as to each of the points he mentioned, and which I shall take another look at when I come to read his speech. But we had considered this matter, and thought it might be worthwhile to put on record what we think has proved to be the position in the White Highlands; and if your Lordships will bear with me, I should like to use my notes and say what the history is. As we have gathered from the records, it is as follows. The 331 White Highlands have been reserved for Europeans since the passing of the Crown Lands Ordinance of 1902, and a subsequent Order in Council under Section 36 of the same Ordinance forbade the employment of non-European farm managers. In August, 1958, the position in the White Highlands was that there were 3,500 European land holdings averaging 2,100 acres each. The total available land in the Highlands was 8½ million acres, of which something over one million acres remain unallocated. That is a very large proportion, although, of course, it is a considerable piece of land.
The land already alienated to Europeans included, of course, considerable areas of grazing and some uncuirtivable land or land occupied by buildings. But, as the 1954 agricultural census showed, it also included about one million acres of undeveloped or under-developed land. The European holdings in 1958 included 500 farms of between 2,000 and 5,000 acres, and 267 of over 5,000 acres. By contrast, in the African lands in neighbouring Kiambe District, after the land consolidation programme there, the largest African holding was 273 acres, and the smallest one-hundredth of an acre, whilst many former African tenants had been deprived of a livelihood on the land by the consolidation programme and were flooding into Nairobi in search of casual work.
In October, 1959, the Kenya Government published its proposals for a new land policy in the White Highlands, and these were referred to by the noble Earl this afternoon. These conceded the right of other races to hold land in this hitherto segregated area, but made no suggestions as to how Africans were to find the financial resources to buy their way in, nor to reverse the previous policy of active assistance to European immigration. Moreover, the machinery by which non-Europeans are to obtain leases under the new arrangements is extremely cumbersome and expensive, and involves appearance before European district and regional land boards, with final appeal to the Governor through a multiracial Central Board. At the same time, arrangements are inserted in the proposals for Europeans to convert their holdings, at present held under long lease, usually 999 years, to freehold. No 332 action is to be taken on these proposals for some months to come, and they have merely been published at this stage to allow the maximum of public discussion. I hope I am taking the noble Earl with me in this part of what I am saying. This Sessional Paper of the Kenya Government has still to be debated by the Kenya Legislative Council.
Now what ought our attitude on this matter to be? What I suspect—and I hope my suspicions are not correct—is that there is a tendency to try to get a long time spent upon arguing, and hammering out details about the White Highlands before any real attempt is made for progress in these constitutional advances. I think that in regard to African native opinion that would be fatal. It is not that I want there to be any delay in getting as much agreement as possible on the White Highlands and on the general question of land settlement: I want it to be as early as possible. There is no question as to that.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Viscount? I hope he did not think I suggested that definite action should be taken and completed before the present proposed Constitution had been put into force. I said it should be completed before self-government was obtained.
§ VISCOUNT ALEXANDER OF HILLSBOROUGH
I noted that carefully. On the other hand, I should not want the Government to make a statement in which they said there would be no self-government until each and every question about the White Highlands was settled, because I think that would have a serious reaction upon African opinion. As the noble Lord has so rightly said, the responses at the moment from most of the Parties in Kenya have been so good with regard to proposals in this White Paper that I want to try to see that the Government are able to avoid having to take any action which would tend to set back that feeling. For surely, all we want there is peace with freedom: a freedom which is not just an opportunity for human abuse of human rights, but a freedom which will be impregnated with what our Christian missionaries, for getting on for a century, have been seeking to instil into the minds and hearts of Africans.
333 With regard to these White Highlands, and other questions of the ownership of land which might be the subject of expropriation, I cannot see that it is possible to go further than the Secretary of State went in his statement in the White Paper; that is, that there should be no expropriation unless there is proper compensation, and that the issue of this must ultimately, in the event of severe dispute, be settled by the courts. I think that the Government have gone as far as they ought to go in this matter. If one dare say, from an Opposition position like this, a word of advice to the Kenya Africans, I should feel inclined to suggest to them that they would do well for Kenya if they would agree that this should be the basic principle in the question of readustment or resettlement: that there should be compensation, and that all questions of dispute should be decided in the courts.
That brings me to say something in general about what our advice might be to our friends the Africans in Kenya. The new State of Kenya will be tremendously strengthened if African rule, now in sight in the promises made in this White Paper—that is to say, African rule by a majority of African votes in a Parliament—in those conditions, in a multi-racial State, can attract a high proportion of the Europeans and Asians to remain in the country and make their skilled contribution. Sixty thousand Europeans and 150,000 Asians cannot—and I do not suppose that they expect to—any longer control the destiny of 6 million Africans. But they can still make an important contribution to Kenya in medicine, education, agriculture, business, commerce and in the Civil Service. I fastened on to the words used by the noble Earl in quoting Mr. Lennox-Boyd: that a Civil Service should be built up as soon as possible composed of local people. The Africans would do well, I think, to remember that in building up such a Civil Service the white population over there, and any who will be future residents of Kenya, can make a vast contribution in experience and skill. I hope they will bear that fact in mind.
It may be that African political leaders are frightened of their rivals gaining an advantage by criticising them for their slow progress. This, I think, is at the moment the danger of all new 334 nationalist policies. But I think it is worth saying by any of us to the Africans, and as publicly as possible, that their democracy and their independence are now certain: that time is on their side, and that they will do well to moderate their pace, in order to bring as many Europeans and Asians as possible with them and to give themselves time to gain practical experience in government. But the Europeans and Asians should be urged to recognise the realities of Kenya and Africa and establish the friendly, progressive, constructive relations with the Africans which can help to build a healthy and happy new Kenya State.
I have only one other thing to say this afternoon, in regard to what the noble Earl said about safeguards in general and about security, and especially security in periods of outbreaks of violence. It is quite certain that events in different parts of the Commonwealth and in other parts of the world in the last 40 years have demonstrated to anybody who thinks about it that the progressive, peaceful development that all people of true vision would desire is never helped by sporadic outbursts of brutal violence: it is fundamental that law and order should be maintained. I took down the words used by the noble Earl when he said that security will be maintained, and that if violence does break out it will be swiftly and firmly dealt with. I think that, in principle, that is right; but the manner in which it is done is a totally different thing.
We have had to complain from time to time about incidents in cases of particular acts of violence, and so on. We do not want the kind of action, which would perhaps be construed by many of us as having been at least a little unworthy, that was taken in Nyasaland, where the maintenance of law and order seemed to secure the death of a pretty large number of Africans, with many others wounded the number of which we have never yet been able to fully assess, yet only one or two European casualties. A good deal depends on the extent to which the Government are able to obtain and rely upon a well-trained police force. Whilst I certainly support in general the statement made by the noble Earl about the necessity of maintaining law and order, I hope that, 335 if it should be necessary to take this firm and swift action, the methods used in obtaining the correct result will be carefully studied from the humane point of view.
I should like to say this—and I have said it before: in my view, the present Secretary of State for the Colonies has made a greater contribution in this particular approach to the Kenya new Constitution than any which has been made in the life of the Conservative Government since 1951. I am not going to comment on personalities, but I am quite sure that Mr. Macleod has made a good start in this matter. We may not agree with every single part of the kind of approach he has made, and we may offer suggestions from time to time. But if, through the efforts which he has made, co-operation can be obtained from all the races in Kenya to making this plan work, then I believe that this particular action of the Government will result in a great, a good and an abundant harvest.
§ 4.11 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I welcome the initiative of the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, in putting down this Motion for discussion to-day. I feel that it would have been wrong if neither House of Parliament at this time had discussed a matter of such importance as the one we are to-day considering. I would also compliment him, if I may, on the reasonable approach that he made to the subject, on the wide outlook he has given to it, and also on the first-class delivery which I am sure was a pleasure to us all. I also welcome the White Paper, and I personally have very few criticisms of it indeed. There are one or two comments which I should like to make, and afterwards I should like to say one or two words upon the wider effects that the Paper is likely to have. I welcome the fact that the noble Earl, Lord Home, is to speak in this debate to-day, because, of course, one cannot isolate one part of Africa from other parts—indeed, one part of Africa from the world at large.
One question the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, raised was that which has often been discussed in your Lordships' House—namely, whether we should give or introduce to territories which are emerging to self-government the sort of 336 constitutional arrangements and Parliamentary democracy that we enjoy in this country. That question has often been raised here, but has never been settled to the satisfaction of all. I think the noble Earl, Lord Perth, was quite right when, in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, he said in effect: How could we do any other? This is what we feel to be the best system. How can we advise other countries which are emerging to have some sort of second or third best? If you are not going to have what we consider, rightly or wrongly, to be the best system, what system do you suggest that they should have?" As the noble Earl said: "So far as I am aware, no country has wanted any other system but ours." Therefore, it is not a practical suggestion that we should evolve some second-class Parliamentary democracy for export only. We all know that Parliamentary democracy is a difficult system to work, but that does not mean that it should not be the one which we should advocate.
In a way, the main point of the White Paper deals with the question of land. Always, in any community, land is a ticklish subject, and particularly so in Africa. The noble Earl, Lord Perth, was right when he said that the overriding principle is that the best use should be made of the land. In my view, that is definitely the overriding principle, and one of which we should never lose sight. The land in Kenya is not, on the whole, good land, and by some extraordinary act of Providence the great rivers, such as they are in Kenya, do not go through the best land. It may be that in time someone will evolve—I confess that I am not technically equipped to do so—some method, by irrigation, of taking the waters of some Kenya rivers to the better lands, instead of allowing them to go hundreds of miles through lands which are at best described as marginal and, if one were realistic, would not even be put so high as that.
All the speakers to-day have raised the question of the white settlers, and this matter has, of course, been one of the great problems of Kenya. In my mind, we have definitely a moral obligation to these people in the White Highlands. For many years they were induced to settle in the White Highlands. Kenya would never have been born as a State, because there would have been no railway—or 337 at least it would not have been a practical proposition—if they had not gone out there. The country would not have achieved the standard of living it has. So one cannot just brush them aside and say that these people have served their day and generation; thank them very much; shake them by the hand, and that is all there is about it.
I feel that the Government's plan—although it is not worked out in any detail in the White Paper, and certainly has not been worked out in greater detail today by the noble Earl, Lord Perth—has the germ of the right idea: the idea that there should be this Land Development Board in Kenya; that the Board's function shall be to develop the land in the best interests of the community; that it should buy up land from those who want to leave Kenya, and, in the interests of all races including, of course, of Africans, that it shall resettle people on farms which the owners want to vacate. I think that is the right way of doing it. I do not believe that it would be in accordance with British honour to allow the white settlers simply to be at the mercy of the future, without regard to the contribution they have made to Kenya.
Secondly, we must also remember that without them, as the noble Earl, Lord Perth, has said, Kenya is going to be in a very parlous condition indeed for some years to come. We do not want them to go, and I am perfectly certain that African leaders do not want them to go. Those to whom I have spoken—and I raised this point with them; I pointed out the importance of the white settlers—have said, "We realise that only too well, and so long as the White Highlands are not regarded as exclusive to Europeans, then we do not want the good white farmers in the White Highlands to go." I am perfectly certain that that will be the view of the leaders of African opinion in Kenya. They know only too well what the situation would be if the Europeans did go.
As to the land development scheme, of course the £5 million will not be nearly enough. I saw a Report in the Daily Telegraph last week that the Chief Secretary and the Minister of Agriculture, Colonel McKenzie, are going to Washington very shortly to discuss the whole question with the International 338 Bank. They are thinking in terms of £12½ million rising to £30 million loan, the Government putting up £5 million, and the balance, presumably, being put up by the International Bank. I should have thought that £l2½ million rising to £30 million was the right sort of figure. If the International Bank is not prepared to finance this scheme in the way suggested, then I think the Government will have to look to it again to see whether they cannot do something rather better than £5 million.
I should like to say a word about education, which is not touched upon a great deal in the White Paper, though it is one of the most important subjects in Kenya to-day. There is no university in East Africa. There is Makerere in Uganda; there is a technical college in Kenya, and it is the Government's proposal that there should be an East African University in the near future. I am quite sure that all your Lordships would agree that this subject is a vital one, and that we should push on with this as hard as we can. What is needed is not only university training, but also technical training, more technical schools, and more training by industry of apprentices and skilled workmen. The technical colleges must work in association with industry in East Africa to train apprentices and skilled workmen.
I am very glad that the African Ministers have agreed to join in the provisional Government, the Caretaker government, as it is called. One can see their difficulty, of course. There is always a difficulty when you are a nationalist leader, on going into a sort of provisional or interim Government and having, to some extent, responsibility for actions of which you may not wholly approve. But it is absolutely essential that they do so. This happened everywhere else so far as I am aware, certainly in Burma, Ceylon, Malaya, Nigeria, Ghana, to mention a few. It is right, and I am quite sure that the Africans who come in as Ministers will benefit very much from the experience they gain. We all know that Government and ministerial rank is not always easy to operate; all of us who have been Ministers in any shape or form, senior or junior, know that there is a good deal to be learned.
No one has said anything so far in this debate about Asians. I feel that we 339 should say a word about them. They have in the past performed, and they are at present performing, very useful tasks in East Africa in general. They are the middle man, the entrepreneur, the business man. Without them, commerce would never have flourished, and probably would hardly have existed. There are not many people who would be prepared to hump a pack round the bush in Africa, to establish little shops in African villages and that sort of thing. They have done a splendid job. The Africans think that they have sometimes been paid rather too well. But they have done a splendid job in their time. They are a very pliable people, and I am quite certain that they have a good future in Kenya and East Africa generally, provided that they get fair play now. I must say that in one instance that has come to my notice in Tanganyika I do not think the present Tanganyikan Government has treated the Asians nearly as well as they should have done. I hope that will not be the case in Kenya.
Economic development is essential for two purposes: first of all, because it is necessary, in order to improve the standard of living, to have secondary industries in Kenya; and secondly, because it is necessary to make use of the surplus labour that comes in from the reserves and tends to concentrate in Nairobi. I have seen this before, on one or two occasions when I have been in Nairobi. I have been told that when large numbers congregate in Nairobi without work and, of course, leaderless, they are sometimes felt to be a danger. I feel that we ought, as a matter of priority and urgency to establish road works, public utilities and various kinds of secondary industries in Nairobi and other centres in Kenya. There is, I think, a danger—I hope not great—if som.2thing is not done on those lines, of evolving a sort of mob in Nairobi which might be dangerous. We have seen in the Middle East, in Iraq and other places, how these de-tribalised unemployed people can congregate and be dangerous in this way.
I would say one word about justice. Nothing has been said about it. Both the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, and the noble Earl the Minister of State have talked about human rights. Human rights are not much good if they are merely in a document. They are useful in a docu- 340 ment for people to see what they are, but human rights and individual rights do suppose a court to enforce them—I believe that the noble and learned Viscount on the Woolsack would agree with that. There must be some method of enforcement, some tribunal to which a man who believes his rights are infringed can go and seek redress. It may be that the Kenya court will need help in this way, will need backing.
I am a great believer, and always have been, in the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. It is a remarkable body which has the quintessence, as it were, of judicial wisdom. The only difficulty about the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is, of course, that it is not very easy for people who live overseas—as do all, or most, who go to it—to get at it. I would ask the members of the Judicial Committee to look at this problem very seriously with regard to one or two of these places like Kenya and make a realistic inquiry as to whether it is not possible for them to pay an occasional visit to the territory. It may mean that they will have to have one or two younger members, and I think that they ought to have some Colonial members, added. But I do feel that, perhaps in two or three years time, when Kenya will be beginning to feel its feet, when self-government is getting near, we should seriously consider whether the Judicial Committee should not hold some of its sittings in Kenya. I believe that it would be a great reinforcement to the local court there.
My Lords, I have said all I want to say to-day on the particular question of Kenya. But I should like for a moment to look at the wider picture. These happenings, of course, are having tremendous effects elsewhere. The Prime Minister recently talked of "a wind of change blowing through Africa." I think that since he made that statement it is not a wind, but a hurricane of change that is blowing from all parts. We can see the difference in one Continent where, in point of time, by air, one spot is not far from another—the difference between the developments in Kenya and Tanganyika and in the Union of South Africa. We are all, I am sure, deeply distressed at the recent tragic happenings in the Cape and in the Transvaal. These happenings 341 have had an effect which it is too early yet adequately to assess. As the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, said, there is another stage today when many hundreds of thousands of Africans are staying in their own houses and not going out, which is, I suppose, a kind of general strike. It is very difficult for us here, I think, to reconcile the two: what we have heard from the noble Earl to-day and the sort of thing that is happening down in South Africa; and it must be very difficult for those who are on the spot. In between the two comes this area for which Parliament is still responsible, to some extent, at least, the Central African Federation. The hurricane is blowing from two directions, but in entirely different ways so far as they are concerned.
I think the effect of the various happenings, the constitutional arrangements in the Belgian Congo, the White Paper in Kenya and the forthcoming elections and new Constitution in Tanganyika, is playing a very great part in the thinking of the Europeans, the white people in Southern Rhodesia. My information (perhaps the noble Earl, Lord Home, will correct me if I am wrong) is that it is no longer the white people in Southern Rhodesia who are pressing for federation, as we were led to believe a year ago or six months ago; a lot of them are now thinking of Southern Rhodesia getting out of the Federation and having some sort of link with the Union. If that is true—if my information is correct; and I have it from a good source—of course that will involve an entirely new approach so far as the Federation is concerned. I just mention these facts because I think we have to realise, as I am sure we all do, that happenings of the kind that we are now seeing in one part of Africa have an immediate effect and impact on other parts.
My Lords, with those words, which I hope your Lordships will realise are not critical of the White Paper—they are comments, rather than criticisms—I trust that the people of Kenya will be able to work their way through the interim Constitution into the new Constitution which they have been promised, and that they, the multi-racial community of Kenya, will have an extremely happy future working together in partnership. 342 There is just one point of advice that I should like to give the Government. There is some danger that they may be under great pressure, in Africa and in this country, to delay the proposals they are making, to change them, to set them aside. I hope that they will stand firm and will do right by the people of Kenya, of all races.
§ 4.32 p.m.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, in this debate I find enormous encouragement which we may well set against the distress which we feel about South Africa, for in fact the continent is one, and the problem is the same in every part of the continent. To be able to listen to a debate such as this, full of agreement, help and constructive suggestions, really brings great heart to many of us. If I venture to speak, it is to say something not on any of the details of the Kenya Conference, but something which will be in full sympathy with all that has been spoken already, but which, I think, helps to make clear one or two things about the Church and the situation which are liable to be confused. I feel constrained in conscience and in duty to say them.
The whole Christian Church is deeply involved in the struggle between light and darkness, life and death, now being fought out in every part of Africa. The Church has to take note of the political events and implications of this struggle, and from time to time churchmen feel bound in conscience to make comments upon them. But the Church's concern is never so much with the political manifestations of the conflict as with the faiths, the loyalties and the motives of all those who are concerned in the conflict. The Church is concerned not so much to judge, certainly not to adopt political attitudes of its own; but judgment is necessary; and for two reasons the Church in its widest sense and in its true character is very well equipped to judge rightly and righteously in the course of this struggle. The first reason is that it should have no thought for itself at all and be completely disinterested, with only one desire, to promote reconciliation in every just and righteous way between the differing or the warring parties, between the legal, the lawful and the lawless loyalties of the people—and everybody shares in all 343 three of those categories to some extent; between all the possessive and acquisitive passions which belong to all men. In everything the churches are themselves friends of, and sharers with, all the conflicting parties, and therefore sensitive immensely to the good and the evil in them all.
The churches in this country think about Kenya and Africa with British minds: they have no other minds to think with. But their first essential duty is to think, and pray with and for, the churches in Africa, and not least—this is often forgotten—with the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa who are brethren in the Christian fellowship, as they think with their African or European or Asian minds. And since the Church is neighbour to everybody, the churches here and in Africa will at the same time be trying also to think and feel with and for those of all races and all creeds in Africa. All this I wanted to say, since it is not always recognised, even by churchmen, and yet it is an essential part of the Christian faith, and the churches are an essential part of the political scene. All in Africa or here at home should judge themselves and each other and the Church by no other standard than that which I have tried to indicate.
So I come back to the Kenya Conference. I had two opportunities of meeting the members of the Kenya Conference at receptions. On the first occasion two Asian members separately, neither of them Christian, begged me to pray for them and for the other members of the Conference. I was glad to assure them that many Christians had for long been doing just that. The second occasion was when many of the members of the Conference came, by my invitation, to a reception at Lambeth Palace; and their message was sent to me from one of them—whether African or Asian, I do not know—asking me that before they dispersed I should say a prayer with them all. It was not a European who asked that, which had perhaps some queer significance. I invited them to come to my chapel and there, in the stalls filled by figures kneeling side by side, Hindu, Moslem, Christian, all the races and all the creeds of Kenya, haltingly I tried, on the spur of the 344 moment, to say to God what they in their own hearts wanted me to say to God.
It was against that background that I read the Report of the Kenya Conference, and I hope that it may be read against that background by everybody. I found the Report very good and a good earnest for advances into the future. I make no judgment on the details; I have listened to some of them to-day with great interest. I heard, with wholehearted approval, Lord Hastings refer to the White Highlands and ask for a White Paper, not merely because none of us has the information assembled, but lest we all think that it is a dark thing to be talked about in secret. Let us get it, like everything else, out into an open statement where we can discuss it in friendship.
Although I do not want to press this, I was also interested in the various references made to the Parliamentary structure and to the principle of "one man, one vote". I do not want to suggest that any of us in this country can go back on that principle. I merely want to say in passing that it is not a principle; it is merely a most imperfect expedient which, on the whole, we find works well in this country. But I think it is most dangerous to leave it to be thought that it is a principle of universal application. But what I found in the Report was the creation of a broad realm of trust and trustful co-operation; and that was more than three-quarters of the battle and far more than most people ever expected. It was quite obvious that the right honourable gentleman, the Colonial Secretary, had played an indispensable part in drawing together the members of the Conference; but credit is due no less to the members, European, African and Asian, who allowed themselves to lay aside their own Party objectives and to be drawn together into those conclusions.
I have seen it said that the Colonial Secretary imposed the conclusions on the members of the Conference. I do not believe, and none of your Lordships believes, that that is true. Indeed, it is evidently untrue; and if anybody imposed conclusions on them it was the Holy Spirit and nobody else. Some have told us that the Report is already left behind and out of date and therefore no longer serviceable. I do not believe that either—unless foolish men conspire 345 to make it come true so that it is out of date.
In this African struggle of light against darkness, life against death, the duty throughout the Continent, from one end of Africa to the other, is to create realms of trust and reconciliation. In this struggle, my Lords, we are all accusers of other people, and we are all ourselves under accusation. I often hear people claim that their creed is the Sermon on the Mount; and people who do that rarely realise how difficult is the Sermon on the Mount. For instance:Before making your offer to God, first be reconciled to your brother and then come and make your offering, your gift to God. Make friends quickly with your accuser, while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you to the judge and the judge to the police and you are put in prison. Truly I say unto you: you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.What a word at this moment to South Africa!—Africans, Afrikaaners, British and Indians too—all in prison, put there by themselves, chained to each other indissolubly. They cannot get rid of each other, and the last dreadful penny will be paid unless the races can release themselves from their bondage of mutual fears and prides. And nothing can do that but humility, generosity and trust on the part of everybody, the Christian leading the way.
In Kenya and throughout the rest of Africa the controversy is the same—this enchainment of us to one another, African, European and Asian; and we stand bound together before the court of history and of God, though, thank God!, we are not yet in prison and there is time to avoid ever getting there. I am perfectly sure that all men of goodwill here, as this debate has shown, or in Kenya, welcome the outcome of this Conference; and Churchmen thank God for it as a work of co-operative humility, generosity and trust, achieved by the spiritual toil and travail of those who took part—yet hardly had it ended when the Devil started off on his favourite game of confounding the Tongues.
Is it not true that in Kenya, as in Central Africa too—and as in South Africa—great damage is daily being done by the unforeseeing, the impetuous, the impatient, the obstinate and sometimes the offensive words and acts of both Africans and Europeans? It is to them that vie must address our pleas and 346 our prayers as well as all our arguments. They are mostly sincere in their conviction. They are either afraid, as we are all liable to be, or aggressive, as we all are liable to be. They are all wanting a security place and power, which can never be guaranteed in any country by any promise, by any Constitution, by any force of law, or, in the end, by any physical force at all. Must we not implore all these, our brethren of all races who are short of wisdom, that if they can do nothing else at least they should say nothing harmful in this matter? There is nothing to choose between African and European. It was Europeans at Nairobi who hailed the right honourable gentleman, the Colonial Secretary, with abuse. It was Africans at Lusaka who mobbed him with cries of "Freedom now!", and both of them equally were doing damage to Africa or running into dangers which none of them can foresee.
May I therefore say, in agreement with the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and the noble Viscount. Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, that the maintenance of lawful authority always has its essential place but it is compromised by the excesses of fear or of moral indignation or political action from its supporters or from rebels against it. And if those excesses are the chief dangers at this time, will not African leaders who care for Kenya, every one of them, persuade their people to be content with one long step at a time?—for it is a long and a good step that has been taken. Will they not persuade them to consolidate the ground now, since it is common ground, at least without being over-anxious, as perhaps the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, was at times, about to-morrow?
And on the other side, since every European is a leader and since at this stage all the social and financial advantages of race and power are with them, must not every European, without being over-anxious for to-morrow either, accept the result of this Conference as a great advance in trust and co-operation and do everything in his power to promote and forward it and make it secure? Must it not ideed be in the interest of all of us to forward that reconciliation and mutual trust without which Africa is doomed? And may I dare say that one of the grandest encouragements I have felt this afternoon is the visible 347 sight of Her Majesty's Government, the Opposition, and all Parties, at one in the main outlines and in almost all the details of that which is put before your Lordships? if that could apply to the whole discussion in every part of Africa it would be a great service to the cause of Africa and to ourselves.
§ 4.50 p.m.
My Lords, this is the first time I have had the privilege of addressing your Lordships' House, and I crave the indulgence and consideration which your Lordships are always willing to accede on these occasions. First, may I say how extremely grateful I am, and how extremely grateful I am sure the European farmers in Kenya will be, for the remarks made by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, when he referred to the skill and ingenuity of the white farmers in Kenya, and also for those made by the noble Lord opposite, Lord Ogmore, when he referred to the moral obligation which he considered Her Majesty's Government had towards those people. Remarks such as those, made with the authority of your Lordships' House and widely reported, will, I consider, do a great deal to help to restore that essential confidence which is required to-day.
At the risk of wearying your Lordships for one minute I should like to refer again to the fact that Kenya is entirely dependent on its agricultural production. It has a few limited secondary industries, but alas! they are very small; and though we all hope they will build up, they will certainly take some time to do so. Therefore for many years to come we shall be reliant on agriculture alone. Another factor which I think the noble Earl. Lord Perth, brought out was that the bulk of the agricultural production at the moment comes from European sources. African agriculture is making its contribution towards that production, however. We always hope that African production will be increased and will go ahead; and I can assure your Lordships that everything the Europeans can do to assist to that end they will do. I am afraid, however, that it is going to be some years to come before that African agriculture can make the contribution it should. Unfortunately, as your Lordships are well aware, agriculture production is a slow thing.
348 With that background in mind, I should like to turn to the effects which the Lancaster House Conference and the publication of the subsequent White Paper have had on European farming in Kenya. Here may I say that I am expressing not only what I myself consider, but also what I feel and know to be the feeling of the great majority of those who farm in Kenya. I am sorry to have to say that there is a feeling of great anxiety, and a great lack of confidence has been engendered by these proposals. The effect of that has been unfortunate. Development, obviously, has been halted, and people, not knowing quite what is going to happen next, are rather revising their plans as to the future. There is a lack of confidence in the future, which is unfortunate for it means that the wheels of the agricultural progress, the agricultural economy on which Kenya depends, are slowing down, with probably disastrous results.
In the serene atmosphere of your Lordships' House it may well seem that such pessimism is unfounded. But I would ask your Lordships for a moment to place yourselves in the position of some small European farmer who has sunk everything into a tiny holding in Africa and who feels very worried by the present progress in events which are very difficult for him to understand. It is not because he has any or animosity, but because he is frightened. It is not because the basic pattern of his life is being changed, but because his asset, the thing on which he and his family and his children depend, is going to suffer. Therefore, I think the sooner confidence is restored to these people the better for everybody. Remarks such as those made by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and the noble Lord opposite, Lord Ogmore, during the course of this debate will help tremendously; but I do not consider that words are perhaps quite enough.
I am delighted to hear that there is some plan for African resettlement, the details of which are now being considered and which are to go forward. But I would urge your Lordships to try to see that these things are done as speedily as possible. If the pump is not primed, if the wheels are not set going again in Kenya, something very unpleasant may occur which will hold up and completely impede the passage of independence. 349 Moreover, of course, anxiety is a bad thing from a political point of view. It causes things to be said which are better left unsaid, and it impairs the clear judgment which it is essential that everybody should have at a time like this.
This plan for African resettlement, in my estimation, must first be the direct responsibility of Her Majesty's Government. They have set Kenya on the road towards independence and, in my opinion perfectly rightly, have said that it is their responsibility to see this thing through. For this reason I feel that perhaps it is a pity the sum of £5 million was ever mentioned. I think it is far too small a sum, though I should hesitate before putting a specific figure before your Lordships for your consideration. Suffice it to say that what is wanted now is to make it quite clear that this plan is going to operate: that the British Government are going to stand behind it and will put up the necessary finance to do so over a period of years. It is true, and it is equally essential, that international finance must play its part in the matter, and I am sure that can be arranged. But the initial responsibility, as I say, devolves, in my view, upon the originators of the scheme.
I have only one further point that I should like to make, and that is on the question of safeguards. Whatever may be said, however carefully these safeguards may be written into any future Constitution of Kenya, in my opinion they may well, when final independence is granted, not provide the safeguards they are supposed to be. Therefore I would respectfully suggest to your Lordships that the pace towards independence, which we all recognise must come, must be so adjusted that it does not go too fast, and so that, before that day comes, all the communities have a reasonable opportunity of settling down together. I do not mean that there should be any unreasonable delay, but I must warn your Lordships that if, by any chance, that pace towards independence were accelerated too far, a situation might well be created which would have most unfortunate repercussions on the African population. I thank your Lordships for your indulgence.
§ 4.58 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, it is the proud boast, I think, of us in your Lordships' House that whatever subject may be raised, however esoteric that subject may be, we can always find noble Lords in the House who can speak with the authority of personal experience. That boast, I think, will certainly be justified to-day, for there are on the list of speakers, apart from others who have past experience of Africa, two noble Lords who have made their homes in Kenya and who have come here from there specially to take part in this debate and give us the latest news. In particular, if I may say so, the noble Lord, Lord Delamere, to whom we have just listened with such pleasure and whom it is my agreeable duty to congratulate on a first-rate maiden speech, bears a name which stands very high in the history of Kenya. His father helped perhaps more than anyone else, to transform the Kenya Highlands from a wild and partially uninhabited waste into the richest and most fruitful part of the Colony. The noble Lord to whom we have just listened has followed his father's example and has made his home in Kenya. He knows the Colony as in the nature of things most of us could not possibly know it, and we are, I feel, particularly fortunate to have him with us at this crucial moment in its history. He has spoken with knowledge, with moderation, and with good sense, and I am sure we shall all not only wish to congratulate him but to bear very much in mind what he has said in the remarkable contribution that he has made to our discussions.
This Motion, which has been tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, though it is most immediately concerned with the Report of the Conference, on the constitutional future of Kenya, is, as we all know, so framed as to make it possible for the debate to range wider and cover both the present general position in Central Africa and the likely trends of our policy in that part of the world in the immediate future. And this, I am sure, is right; for, after all, the results of the Kenya Conference, important though they undoubtedly are, and maybe crucial for areas wider than Kenya itself, represent only one stage in the relationship between this country and the African continent. It cannot be 351 divorced from the past or the future. I make, therefore, no apology if in my approach to the results of this Con-conference I discuss those results in the broad setting of the policy of this country to Central Africa since we first undertook our responsibilities there three-quarters of a century ago.
And that leads me to ask this very simple question: Why did we first go to Central Africa in the latter half of the last century? What was the motive that inspired us? Nowadays it seems to be widely assumed that it was a mere vulgar greed for gain, a lust for filthy lucre, that spurred us on. But that was not the view that was taken at the time. It was not the business-men, hoping merely for vast profits, or the imperialistically-minded politicians, who in the latter half of the nineteenth century urged Britain to extend her territories into the hinterland of Central Africa. Indeed, according to that excellent source, the Encyclopœdia Britannica, in the year 1865 a representative Committee of the House of Commons went so far as to pass unanimously a Resolution in relation to Africa to the effect thatall further extension of territory or assumption of government or new Treaty, offering any protection to native tribes, will be inexpedient.It was not the politicians, it was the idealists and the missionaries—and I would remind the most reverend Primate, the churchmen—just those people who today are urging us with equal fervour to clear out. It was they who urged on successive Governments that Britain should go into Central Africa because they thought there was a job to be done there which only we could do.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Marquess merely to question the words to clear out"? The last thing in the world I want us to do is to clear out. As has been said several times, I hope the Kenya settlers will stay there. They have indispensable work to do.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I do not care who it was, I am merely saying it was they who urged Britain to go in. David Livingstone, who was one of the first and greatest of these missionaries, was certainly not a materialist. He came from a family so lofty-minded that at first his father would not hear of his becoming a doctor for fear that he was adopting a profession in the hope of personal gain. Why, then, did David Livingstone press for the British to go into Central Africa? It was because—and here I quote one of his most recent biographers—He was imbued with an ideal which was bound up with a Christian mission to convert the heathen of Central Africa and liberate them from slavery. He considered that this could best be achieved by the British nation. His goal was the settlement in Africa of English colonists, who he believed were the most trustworthy of all peoples to bring peace and happiness to the unfortunate population.That, my Lords, was Livingstone's ideal; it was for that ideal that he and his followers lived and died. They found a Continent which was the habitat of innumerable savage tribes at constant war with each other, a country racked with disease and in places depopulated by the slave trade, a hideous trade in which the tribes themselves took an active part. He believed that British rule could abolish those evils. And so, my Lords, broadly speaking, by good administration, sometimes backed by force, it has.
Under our rule the areas of Central Africa for which we have been responsible have improved out of all knowledge. Those great evils which so appalled Livingstone have largely disappeared. To-day there is no slave trade; to-day there is infinitely less disease; the countries are more prosperous; the peoples are happier and healthier and more secure than ever they were before. But this is due—and I think this must be emphasised—not to any fundamental change in the nature of the indigenous Africans. It has been achieved only because we have been there. To take two very simple examples. If there is a system of justice in our territory, in the way that we understand justice, it is because we have administered it. If there are hospitals and clinics for Africans it is because we have built them.
353 I do not for one moment say that the African will not learn all these things which we are able to teach him if we give him time. I do not say—and indeed I expect the noble Lord, Lord Delamere, would contradict me if I said it—that there are not quite a number of Africans who have already learnt these things. But would any of your Lordships who really know Africa put his hand on his heart and say that the African peoples of Central Africa as a whole are to-day ready, or nearly ready, to do without the control which we at present exert? And yet it appears that in Kenya, at any rate, they are going in no long time to have to do without us. That, I should have thought, would be the inevitable conclusion of anyone who read the Report of the Conference. That, it seems, is the policy to which the Government are committed. That is the clear meaning of the statement of the Secretary of State to which Lord Hastings has already referred:the time has come for a more decisive move towards universal adult suffrage and Parliamentary institutions on the Westminster model".Even if Mr. Mboya and his friends intend to keep, in the spirit as in the letter, the agreement to which they have put their names (and Mr. Mboya has made it pretty clear that he does not intend to do that) the Government, if they stand by their present policy, have clearly only a short time in mind before the achievement by Kenya of complete independence. I must say that that alarms me and, I believe, an increasingly large proportion of the British people.
About the ultimate goal which we seek to reach, I do not suppose there is any difference between any of us in any part of this House. It is our object to train the Africans up to govern their country in a civilised manner. That, as we all know, has been for many years the main goal of British Colonial policy, and nobody wants to go back on it. But there still remains the vital question of pace. If it is not considered frivolous in this discussion to use such an analogy, a man might want to drive a car to Brighton. That might be his goal; but if he insisted on going sixty miles on hour the whole time, he would probably never get there at all. It is the same with constitutional evolution. Too great speed can utterly defeat the object one has in view: and that is the anxiety 354 which I think many of us have about the Macleod proposals.
My Lords, I do not want to retraverse the ground which has already been so well covered by the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, and others, but I cannot help feeling that this whole scheme, as set out in the White Paper, requires a good deal more definition before Parliament ought to be asked to approve it. Take the franchise itself. We are told in paragraph 15 of the White Paper that everyone over forty is to have the vote. But how are we to know who is forty and who is not? Have dependable records been kept of all African births during the last forty years? Then those who hold certain posts are to have the franchise. I am going to say nothing about that. It may be quite all right: it depends largely on what the posts are, and we have not been told this. But take the alternative qualification, that a man must be able to read and write his own language. What language have the Government in mind? For I understand that there is more than one in the Kenya Colony. I was told this afternoon that there are ten. And what is the standard of literacy which is to be required of a man, and who is to pass the candidate? We are told none of these things in the White Paper. Coming, finally, to the last qualification, a man is to have the vote if he earns £75 a year, and no other qualification will then be required. But, my Lords, is it wise always to give the vote to a man, even a man who cannot read or write, because he earns £75 a year?
Believe me, my Lords, these are not, I can assure you, merely captious questions. I ask them now, first, because I imagine this may be the only opportunity. When the amendments to the Kenya Constitution outlined in the White Paper are introduced, I imagine that it will be done by Order in Council, which may conceivably be debated but which, as we all know, cannot be amended. If, therefore, we have any criticisms or suggestions to make, before it is too late, we must, I suggest, make them to-day. Moreover, my questions, I submit, are all relevant to the vital problem of ensuring that those who get the vote are properly equipped to think for themselves—and that, after all, is the most essential prerequisite of all for free 355 democracy; for unless voters are able to think for themselves, whatever colour they may be, they are liable to become the puppets of demagogues. Now presumably Her Majesty's Government know the answers to all these questions, otherwise they would not have passed the Macleod Constitution. But I hope very much that the noble Earl, Lord Perth, will further enlighten your Lordships and the country on them at the end of the debate, for it is on us ultimately that responsibility will rest. If these qualifications are spurious—and, frankly, I believe that, whatever the intention of the Government, some of them are—they might very well be worse than no qualifications at all.
I fully understand that I may be told that these things are not really so important as I think; and it may be pointed out that there are ample safeguards in the proposals of the White Paper. I may be told, for instance, that even in this new Constitution, with its wider franchise, there will be an Executive which, for the time being at any rate, will be independent of the majority of the Legislature, and that this Executive will always be in a position, should that be necessary, to prevent anything very extreme from passing into law. I may be reminded, too—the noble Earl, Lord Perth, spoke of them this afternoon—of the other safeguards in the Macleod proposals: the provision, to be written into the Constitution, safeguarding fundamental human rights—whatever, my Lords, they may be—and the other provision protecting the rights of property. All these safeguards, I entirely agree, will be valid so long as the Governor and his Executive are in a position to control the situation.
But what happens, my Lords, when we hand over control, and Kenya gets independence—that independence which Mr. Mboya has said he is confidently expecting in less than five years? What happens then? Is there anything at that point to prevent an African majority in the Legislature, elected on this very wide franchise, under the impulsion of a Government led by, say, Mr. Mboya, or even Mr. Kenyatta, from sweeping away all those safeguards, or at any rate so far as they apply to minorities, at one stroke of the pen?
356 Many of the electors will not even be able to read for themselves the arguments for or against any course of action on which the new Government may decide. They will have to be told by word of mouth: and who is going to tell them—Mr. Kenyatta, Mr. Mboya, or some other extreme leader? Mr. Mboya, at any rate, has already made it clear that it is his aim (I have quoted this in the House before) to "make the white man scram out of Africa".
The noble Earl, Lord Perth, said that the success or failure of this experiment is a matter ultimately for the people of Kenya (I do not think I am misquoting him) as if they were a single, homogeneous community. But at present, unhappily, they are not a single, homogeneous community: they are a loosely-knit amalgam of different races and different tribes. What sort of justice are the minorities—the loyal Africans, the Europeans or the Asians, on whom the prosperity of the country is mainly due—likely to get from the type of leader it seems probable they will get in an independent Kenya in its present stage of development? To build on something so wide of reality, my Lords, is surely not the way to give confidence to these minorities, or to get the kind of civilised, balanced democracy that I understand the Government want, and which, indeed, all of us in all parts of the House want to see.
If the Government are afraid—and I should not blame them for this—and feel that the average African in Kenya to-day, whatever his other merits—and he has other great merits—is not yet fit for the unrestricted control of his country through a system of parliamentary democracy, surely it would have been a far better way (and here I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hastings) to start the next stage of the country's constitutional development with a more restricted electorate of educated and responsible people, to whatever race they might belong, and then gradually broaden it as it appears that they become more and more qualified to exercise the franchise. That is what we did in our own country in building our own democracy. And, my Lords, the British people when we started were a good deal more advanced in civilisation than the African was when we came to Kenya only 80 years ago.
357 My Lords, in what I have said up to now I have been concerned with the danger in dealing with primitive races, and, especially where there are minorities, of trying to go too fast in constitutional reform. But I believe there are even wider dangers facing Africa at the present time. The point I thought was well made in a letter which I received a week or two ago from a man of long experience of Africa. He pointed out that if the European Colonial Powers were to throw in their hand in Africa now, as already seems to be happening in the Belgian Congo and as may well happen in our own territories, whatever our intentions, if we continue our present policy at the present rate—were that to happen, he said, the result would be not only unhappy for the peoples themselves who live there, Europeans and Africans alike, but might well lead to a weakening of the whole political structure of Central Africa as it exists to-day.
For, as my correspondent pointed out, the present boundaries of the African States—Kenya, Tanganyika, Uganda, Congo and so on—are not immutable or eternal; they are not even as well established as most of the frontiers in Europe. They are, in many cases, purely artificial lines, drawn almost in the lifetime of many of us, and often without real geographical or ethnological significance, just to settle the differences between great Powers at the time of their entry into Africa in the latter part of the last century. In particular, they often have no relation to the tribal spheres of influence that preceded them and which in many cases sprawl right across them. Indeed, he said that they have been principally maintained up to now in their present form by good administration and the occasional use of force by the European Governments responsible. But if prematurely—and I emphasise the word "prematurely"—that ad ministration were to be transferred to Africans, who have not the same experience, and the forces which up to now have buttressed it were withdrawn, the tribal rivalries and jealousies might well revive, and with them just those tribal conflicts which only the presence of Europeans has prevented. There could, indeed, well be general decay of law and order everywhere.
That is what my correspondent said, and I believe it is no mere figment of my 358 own or his morbid imagination. One can see it already beginning. In the Congo there have already been clashes between rival tribes which have led, by all accounts, to considerable loss of life. And even in Kenya there have been reports in recent weeks not only of the increasing lawlessness and intimidation but of the waking up of old rivalries between the Masai and the Kikuyu; and I have heard accounts from other sources of growing alarm among the smaller tribes as to the future which is likely to lie before them when the protection of the British Crown has been withdrawn.
I do not say that the urbanised Africans—the Kenyattas and the Mboyas—will not succeed in establishing their rule. With the aid of the Constitution we are setting up, they very likely may. But it will not be by the normal operation of democracy on the Westminster model and universal adult suffrage of which the Colonial Secretary talks so cheerfully. It will be, I believe, by much harsher and possibly more terrible methods. Can we wonder, in such circumstances, that both loyal Africans and the European community who have been encouraged by British Governments to go to Kenya, who have made their homes there and who have borne unflinchingly the terrors of Mau Mau—can we wonder, my Lords, that they feel anxious about the future and that some, at any rate, feel betrayed? The noble Earl, Lord Perth, may regard them as "fainthearted"; but he will forgive me for saying that they have to live there, and he does not.
I fully recognise, of course, that within the last few days the Governor of Kenya, Sir Patrick Renison, in more than one speech has given a more encouraging account of the position and of the prospects in the Colony. Sir Patrick is a man of high reputation; he is also a man on the spot, and we must, of course, pay the fullest attention to what he says. His View, as I understand it, is that the African Elected Members would like to co-operate with us, but they are afraid to say so. And the latest news that the African Elected Members have decided to accept portfolios in the present Government certainly tends, to support his view. I think that that is excellent news, which we must all welcome, because practical experience is good for everybody. But they seem in accepting 359 office, according to an account I read, to have made it clear that they regard even the Macleod Constitution, which is not yet in being, as a mere temporary and evanescent phase pending the achievement of independence.
In these circumstances, I feel that it is essential that the Government should make their position absolutely clear. The noble Earl, Lord Perth, said to-day (I am quoting him only from memory, because I could not take down the words exactly, and I hope I do not misrepresent him) that there must be a genuine attempt to make the Lancaster House Constitution work before any advance is made. That, too, is a welcome statement, so far as it goes, and I am sure that we are all grateful to the noble Earl for making it. But, personally, if it does not seem fatuous, I should like the Government to go yet a little further so as Ito avoid all misunderstanding. I should like them as soon and as emphatically as possible—if I may quote words that I thought very sensible in the leading article in the Daily Telegraph on March 17—tostate categorically that the Macleod Constitution represents an advance which there is no intention of accelerating until experience of African co-operation over a considerable period of time makes this justifiable in practice as well as in theory.I hope it may be possible for the noble Earl the Leader of the House to make such a statement clearly and unequivocally to-day.
And now, my Lords, I come to the last word I want to say to your Lordships this afternoon—and I must apologise for keeping you so long. It is this. The Prime Minister was reported as saying in a speech a few days ago—and I quote his words:Overseas, I feel our authority and influence have never been so great.That is a proud claim, and it is a bold claim when one thinks of all the great periods in our long history. I hope he is right; but sometimes I wonder whether that statement would stand the test of objective examination. I know that the time in which we live is sometimes described as a second Elizabethan age. That is a pleasant idea, my Lords, and one to warm the cockles of one's heart. But is it really true? The first Elizabethan Age was one of expansion, of seeking new worlds to conquer; and ours is becoming, 360 I am sadly afraid, more and more an age of retreat. Indeed, I sometimes feel that in many ways it is more like the later years of the Roman Empire. Then, as now, at the centre the people had never had it so good; there was never such luxury, such a time of general enjoyment by all. But out on the fringes of the Empire, gradually but relentlessly, the Roman world was shrinking. The outer bastions were being driven in.
There is another unhappy similarity between ourselves and the Romans of those far-off days. Nearly 100 years ago an acute student of colonial history and colonial rule, J. R. Godley, wrote to Mr. Gladstone with reference to the gradual decay of the Roman Empire. This is what he said:When the Roman Eagles retreated across the Danube, it was not the loss of Dacia but the satisfaction of the Roman people at the loss that was the omen of the Empire's fall.I commend those words to your Lordships to-day. It is not so very unlike the attitude of many people in this country at the present time. In the case of Rome, we all know what happened. First, the outworks were driven in, and the threat became more direct; and, finally, as we all know. Rome itself fell and the Dark Ages began. Do not, my Lords, let that happen to us. We are at present in the throes of a cold war. Do not let us rashly abandon the outworks until we know that we are handing them over into safe and dependable hands.
§ 5.32 p.m.
§ LORD DENNING
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Delamere, in his moving speech, referred to the anxiety of the settlers and their lack of confidence. The noble Marquess has feared the decay of law and order in the future. Perhaps I may then say a few words—it is my only qualification—on the future of law and order in Africa, because it was my privilege early this year to preside over a Conference on the future of law in Africa. The Conference was attended by representatives of many great territories. Kenya was represented by its Chief Justice and its Solicitor General; Sudan by its Chief Justice, and Judges and Law Officers of every race, creed and colour. As a result of that Conference, I think we can have confidence in the maintenance of law and order.
361 True it is that, as the Secretary of State recognises in his White Paper, there must be a written Constitution, and in that written Constitution there must be judicial protection for human rights, for rights of property and for freedom under the law. It is recommended that they should be taken from the Nigerian Constitution, which has just been written and which records that property shall not be taken except for public purposes, and then only on adequate compensation; that no man is to be imprisoned except by due sentence of a court of law; that there shall be freedom of speech and all the other human rights. These are good words to write into a Constitution. But they are not sufficient by themselves. Constitutions are made by politicians and statesmen, but they have to be interpreted and applied by judges and lawyers. They assume a foundation of a firm body of law.
At the Conference I have mentioned we sought to see whether there was this firm body of law in a country where at the moment we find a jig-saw of English law in part, Indian law in part, Islamic law and customary law—many pieces of a jig-saw all to be fitted together. What about the most important, perhaps, to law and order, the criminal law, much of it unwritten and imperfectly administered? We agreed that the criminal law should be written and not unwritten, and should be uniformly applied to people of every race, creed or colour. That is the basis upon which Constitutions must be built. That applies also to land tenure and to the question of rights to land. In some parts of Africa, if you buy a piece of land it is said that you buy a lawsuit. Again, the Conference recommended that in due course there should be a system of registration of title. After all, unless you know what your land is and your title to it, where can you get your compensation? With personal law, the marriages and births, I am certain that that must be according to the accustomed law. But fin due course there ought to be something of a register of births, deaths and marriages, of which in many places there is none. You need just that substratum of law on which to build your Constitutions, but perhaps most important of all is the quality of the personnel, the judges and the lawyers.
362 That was the point upon which the Conference concentrated. It may surprise your Lordships to know what the position is in East Africa at the moment. There, the judges and the practitioners, the lawyers, are all European or Asian, because they have to obtain their qualifications to practise either by coming to this country or by going to India and Pakistan. The result is that in East Africa at the moment nearly every practitioner is either European or Asian; there are hardly any Africans in the legal profession, or just a mere handful. There is no law school and no system of legal education in East Africa. Where are you to find the judges and lawyers for the country in the future?
Going North to the Sudan, the Chief Justice told us how in what was formerly the Gordon College, now the University of Khartoum, they have a law school. Law teachers come out from England, and teachers of Islamic law train their own legal practitioners. They may not have a Parliamentary democracy, as the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, indicated, but they have the rule of law, with judges and practitioners applying and maintaining law and order. In West Africa, Nigeria and Ghana have African practitioners. Up to now they have had to come to England or to these islands to get their qualifications, because they cannot be qualified there. But they have come. They practise and apply law in Africa, and their judges judge the law and apply law and order. They keep to the Common Law tradition as well as our own judges. What about the law schools there? Ghana has just started, or is about to start, one. Nigeria recently set up a committee which recommended as soon as may be the establishment of a law school in the University of Ibadan, and a law school at Lagos, moving forward with legal education in West Africa. In East Africa there is a pressing need for a system of legal education for the Africans who are coming on to take the posts in the law there.
It is that need that this Conference should stress. It is said that other education, general education, must have priority. But for the maintenance of law and order, if you are to have judges who are independent and impartial, who are ready to administer the law without fear or favour, you cannot do better than 363 —and indeed you must—train them in the right tradition. And how better than by setting up, as soon as may be, in this country or, better still, in East Africa, law schools to train the Africans for the posts there. If there is one legacy which this country can be proud of giving to the world it is its system of law and order, the traditions of judges of independence and impartiality. How proud I was in India to see how the judges and lawyers there carry on these great traditions! Surely, if we handle the matter aright it can be done equally in Africa. If we so act, build on this Constitution, build up a proper system of law, we shall have done a great deal to hand on our heritage to this emergent country.
§ 5.42 p.m.
My Lords, I rose only to say a word about the work of reconciliation in Kenya, but I am moved by the noble Marquess's speech to express my thanks that the Conservative faith should have been expressed so brilliantly. That and the Eden memoirs give us the "True Blue" faith which I am sure many in this country would like to hear when we have to face day by day the pink zone. His Roman history is much better than mine, I am sure. But sixty years ago I was in South Africa, and I have watched the story of South Africa, and I cannot see in what he said anything that resembles the facts. He spoke as if David Livingstone had led the Jameson Raid. That is not so. Since our wars with the Boers we have been engaged in a process of penetration by force in order to have economic exploitation of the country. That, broadly speaking, is true. It is this very fact which is the root cause of many of our difficulties in Kenya to-day.
The difficulties, as I see them, are these. We were pushing north: Rhodesia came and then Mr. Cecil Rhodes spoke about "the Cape to Cairo, the Limpopo to the Nile"; and it is because the settlers in Kenya have been so slow in abandoning that idea and have opposed democratic development for the Africans of their own country that we have many of our present difficulties. I suppose that nowadays people in Kenya would deny that they stand for a White Dominion, but I could quote freely from speeches made ten years ago when the determination was to embark from Rhodesia through 364 Kenya to Egypt. The whole thing has been a failure from start to finish.
With regard to the Kenya question itself, what are you going to do? I have been surprised, listening to this very interesting debate to-day, that no one has referred to the actual condition of the people in Kenya. In fact no one seems to have appreciated the disastrous state in which large tracts of Africa are at the moment. The people of Kenya have just come through the experience of the Mau Mau and the most severe form of repression—I do not say it was not necessary—that you can imagine: people locked up with trial or without trial; and one of the great problems of Kenya in the future will be how you are going to reconcile African with African. There are now a number of people, hundreds of people, who have been liberated who previously were thought to be a public danger. They come out and we have on the one side those who would call themselves Nationalists and on the other those who would call themselves the Loyalists, and if we are to have a State which will work constitutionally we must somehow get a harmony among the African people, who are the majority inhabitants of the State.
This can be done only through the agency of the African leaders themselves. We cannot do it. "Tremble" is a strong word, but I was shocked when the noble Earl spoke about the intention to reimpose swift restrictions if there was any trouble. That looked as if people were itching to get back again to an Emergency. Is it supposed you could reimpose a state of emergency on Kenya and go forward with her political advance? It would be quite impossible. Their mind is filled with the horror of the Mau Mau period, and the Government—whatever the Government—is faced with a number of residuary problems from those times. We had a discussion about the Hola Camp incident. What does the Government intend to do about the 1,000 or more people who have been charged and imprisoned, and who declare their innocence and are treated with increasing severity until they admit their guilt, which they will not do. What are you going to do with those people? I do not know. It is a very difficult problem. I am perfectly certain you can do nothing without the co-operation of the Africans.
365 That is why I say that the task of reconciliation, which would be the first task of the re-modelled Government, requires that the Africans should be proud of their State and should know that it is going to be an independent State, predominantly, of course, an independent State of Africans, as it will be in fact. I do not know how that is to be done, but there has to be a lot of going backwards. I speak with memories of the same case in Africa when we fought the Boers, and the same in Ireland when we fought the Irish. In the end we had to come to take the leaders of the rebellion into our confidence and ask for their co-operation to pacify the country. When the Irish Free State was established (it did not settle the problem) it was the agency of the leaders of the Irish Free State—not the Irish Republic—that we had to invoke in order to attempt a settlement with the Irish Republican Army. That is exactly what will be needed in Kenya. You will need men whom the ordinary African admires and looks to as a leader to assist you. All the White Papers will be useless without that.
That leads me to the final, and I am sure the most unpalatable, suggestion I have to make. They are just reforming the Kenya National Union; it was banned and now, as the emergency is lifted, it is being re-formed. The leader, the, president of the Kenya National Union, was Jomo Kenyatta, and I have not the least doubt that we shall ourselves see Kenyatta brought into these consultations in order to pacify the country. I remember quite well that in the Boer War we could not say things bad enough about General Smuts and General Botha, and I have seen them both drive through Trafalgar Square to tumultuous cheers. It was exactly the same with the Irish. "We were told, We will not shake hands with murder", and in two or three years every Under-Secretary was busy getting cramp, shaking hands with the murderers with whom he had to deal in order to pacify the country. The same thing will have to be done in Kenya. I put this forward modestly—I am not a person of importance, but one who has seen these things happen in the past—and I recommend it as a practical suggestion to the Government in their future policy.
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I hope that the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, will forgive me if I do not follow him up the most attractive avenues of disputation which he has opened; but in the few moments during which I shall detain your Lordships I should like to stand back a little from the White Paper and to have a look at what I believe to be the really crucial question to which we have to find an answer, not only in Kenya but in other parts of Africa where our writ still runs. That question is not whether Kenya should have independence or selfgovernment—that has been settled. The question which is exercising my mind, and from the course of the debate it is evident that it is exercising, too, the minds of your Lordships, is this: how in a multi-racial society which is also a politically immature society, can we give self-government without at the same time handing over the minority to the unrestricted tyranny of the majority? I believe that that really is the nub of our problem. I think that is what is worrying us about Kenya and, from a rather different angle, I think it worries us in Central Africa, too.
I do not believe that the Kenya Conference has given us the answer. I accept everything the noble Earl, Lord Perth, said about the Conference: that there has been a degree of co-operation hitherto unheard of in the politics of Kenya; that the spirit of Kenya was born at Lancaster House. I accept that; it is a most gratifying thing. But still I do not believe that the Conference has given us the answer. This problem of the position of minorities in parliamentary government is one that is common to parliamentary government wherever it exists. In this country we have solved it through our Parliamentary institutions, and because we have solved it here, I think we are too ready to believe that we can solve it in the same way elsewhere. That is a pretty big assumption, and I believe that it is, in fact, an untenable assumption.
The plain fact is that you cannot create parliamentary government; it is something that grows out of centuries of experience. The noble Lord, Lord Hastings, told us of the many recent instances in which the export of parliamentary institutions had failed. I think 367 it failed for this reason; that you cannot export parliamentary institutions, which are the fruit of centuries of experience, except to those who in some measure share that experience. That is not only true of Ghana, and of other countries in Africa, but it is true pretty well the whole world over. A country really cannot get the advantage of the forms of parliamentary government if it has not this experience of which those forms are only the expression. I think that we here are accustomed too readily to assume that parliamentary government is a kind of fool-proof mechanism, completely automatic, with built-in stabilisers which guarantee freedom with order. But it is not so. Parliament works here because we are willing to make it work, and because there is a vast fund of political experience in the British people. Without that willingness and without that experience, I believe that it would have broken down long ago even here.
There is a distinction between the theory and the practice of Parliament. The theory of Parliament is that the Queen in Parliament is Sovereign; that Parliament is omnipotent. It has been said that there is nothing Parliament cannot do, except turn a man into a woman—and even that qualification, if one is to judge from the papers, is now open to some doubt. Yet still the theory is that Parliament is omnipotent. But that has not been the practice, because in this country there are, outside Parliament altogether, all kinds of checks and balances which can be called in to curb and control a parliamentary majority.
Let us for a moment look at the contemporary scene. Her Majesty's Government have now in another place a majority of, I think, 102—at any rate, it is a perfectly adequate majority to allow the Government to do anything in the world they want to do. So far as the parliamentary majority is concerned, the present Government can, for example, denationalise the coal industry. But in fact it could not denationalise the coal industry—not because of any lack of a majority in Parliament, but because there are things outside Parliament, like a free Press, an instructed public opinion, a long experience not only of trade unionism, but for centuries before that of social and political organization 368 in all its forms. That kind of thing which exists in this country does now, and I think must always, restrain a majority from tyrannising a minority. But these checks and balances simply do not exist in Africa, and if we impose upon the African people a parliamentary system when they do not have any external checks and balances to control the majority in that Parliament, I believe that we are handing Kenya over, not to democracy but to a dictatorship and tyranny.
The noble Lord, Lord Hastings, asked, what are we trying to do in Kenya? In spite of the declaration of the Colonial Secretary in the White Paper, we are not really trying to impose a Parliament on the Westminster model as an end in itself. It is only, as the noble Lord said, a means to an end. The end we are trying to achieve is to give Kenya self-government with order and with freedom. We in this country have had a vast political experience, and I think we can fairly say that in the past we have shown a high degree of political inventiveness. But I cannot help feeling that that inventiveness has left us now. Can we really think of no political expedient more likely to succeed and less certainly foredoomed to failure than to impose our own parliamentary institutions upon a society which is unfitted to receive them?
The noble Lord, Lord Hastings, referred to what is happening in Pakistan, and to the new Constitution which General Ayub Kahn is developing there. It seems to me that we ought to shed our blinkers and look at that kind of experiment to see whether we may not find in it a more hopeful solution than in Parliamentary Government on the Westminster model. We might consider, too, the Constitution of the United States. There is there a separation of powers between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. One could say that it was a parliamentary system, but it differs from our parliamentary system in as much as the checks and balances which under our system are external to Parliament are, in the United States, built into the constitutional machine itself. I am not suggesting that we should apply the Constitution of the United States like a poultice to Kenya. Obviously, there are weaknesses in 369 the Constitution of the United States. Obviously, it has not solved, in particular, the problem of a permanent minority. We can hardly say that it has yet solved it in the Southern States. If, however, we substituted for the Supreme Court of the United States the Privy Council here, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore suggested earlier, we might get some form of political organisation which would give freedom to the majority but would not allow the majority to tyrannise the minorities.
There is a more fanciful analogy which occurred to me. We have in our Government to-day a powerful Minister known as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. His main task, I understand, is to organise Government propaganda. There was, however, a time when the duties of the Chancellor of the Duchy were more germane to his office; and the Duchy of Lancaster was at one time an enclave in the realm of England which, to some extent, was subject to its own laws yet still within the overriding authority of the King of the realm. I wonder whether it is entirely inconceivable that some solution of that kind, some kind of county palatinate, might not be made for the Kenya Highlands.
I dare say that none of these suggestions is practical, but I seriously believe that we should be looking at this constitutional problem with a more open mind. I am not suggesting that we should abandon the goal of independence and self-government. We should look to see whether there is not some other road that might take us more safely to the goal. I sincerely believe that if we do not find another road, some alternative to a Parliament on the Westminster model, we shall, with the best and highest intentions, plunge Kenya into dictatorship and tyranny and betray the responsibility which we still have to all the peoples of Kenya—African, European and Asian alike.
§ 6.4 p.m.
THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS (THE EARL OF HOME)
My Lords, this House has not forgotten the speech which was made by my noble friend Lord Hastings when he moved the humble Address in reply to the gracious Speech from the Throne at the opening 370 of this Session. Again, we have been rewarded to-day by a speech of outstanding quality, both in its substance and in the manner in which he made it. As 1960 will be a momentous year in the Continent of Africa, we shall often look to him to give us his expert knowledge in the months to come. Again, your Lordships were privileged to-day to hear a maiden speech from the noble Lord, Lord Delamere. His is the authentic voice of the Kenya farmer, and he comes, as your Lordships know, of a family who have done a great deal for that country. He loves the soil of Kenya and he loves the people—and that includes the African people, too.
It was salutary that he came here today to remind us that the problem in East and Central Africa is not the same as the problem was in Asia where we gave independence to Commonwealth countries, nor even the same as the problem in West Africa, because he told your Lordships—and your Lordships listened to this with sympathy and with a realisation of what many people in Africa feel may lie in front of them—that while there may be compensation for one's business if one is a tenant, there is really no compensation for the loss of one's home. He said that my noble friend Lord Perth had already given some comfort and reassurance. If, in the speech which I am now making, I am able to add to that reassurance in any way, I hope that although, as I understand, the noble Lord, Lord Delamere, had sought leave of absence from this House, he will consider that his journey has been worth while. We were delighted to excuse him for ending that leave of absence and we hope he will not feel it necessary to seek leave of absence again, because we should like to hear him very often in our House.
My noble friend Lord Hastings deliberately and properly widened the terms of his Motion so that he and the House could range beyond the immediate and particular problem of the Constitutional Conference on Kenya. He widened it so that your Lordships might include the implications of the political advance of Africans in countries where there are mixed communities of Europeans, Asians and Arabs and where those peoples all look upon their particular country as their own home.
371 That widening of the Motion was, in my view, very wise, because I hope that in the whole series of debates which we have had in recent months on the problems of East and Central Africa, and because of recent events in the North and the South of the African Continent, it has been proved to the people that the problem that we have to solve in East and Central Africa is a problem peculiar to that part of Africa and that one cannot generalise about the whole of the continent. In Central and East Africa, where all the races claim to live as of right, the problem is different in kind.
The goal at which we must aim—and this has been accepted by every speaker in this debate—must be multi-racial. There is no other solution. Any other solution would mean anarchy or, in the words of the most reverend Primate, doom. Therefore, as the precedent to self-government in these territories, there must be various stages on the road, each of which is multi-racial in character and the essence of which is that the rights of minorities and individuals shall be secured. I believe that there is an increased understanding of the essential difficulty of this problem in this country to-day, more understanding than there was even a few months ago, because the problem is how to reconcile and bring together the Europeans who have had generations of experience in government and in politics and Africans who have started on this long road only a few generations ago at most. A vivid illustration of the penalty for failure to find a multi-racial solution can be found in the civil war in Algeria, at one end of the Continent, and in apartheid and civil strife in South Africa, at the other. We must succeed, and Parliament in this country must play the leading part in finding a multi-racial solution, not only in Kenya but in the other dependent territories for which we are responsible in East and Central Africa.
I claim your assent, my Lords, to two propositions. The first is this. From the first moment when, in our African Colonies, we established representative political institutions and admitted Africans to the franchise, the ultimate pattern of self-governing territories within the Commonwealth was sure. Our reasons were both Christian and honourable, because we knew that the dignity of man is incomplete if he has no 372 prospect of political influence in the society in which he lives. If the African is clamouring for freedom to-day, it is because we ourselves have sown the seed and, by our action, we have long ago admitted that, at some point of time, the majority in any given country, whatever the colour of their skin, would assume political power. In Africa, although we could not—and I say to my noble friend, Lord Salisbury, that I still cannot—foresee the time when there will be a transfer of power, nevertheless, we are prepared for the goal when Africans, if they are in the majority, will also form the Governments of their countries.
But there is another proposition which is equally valid. The noble Marquess made a most timely speech and gave us a very necessary reminder of the motives of British political power and British colonialism. This proposition, which is equally valid with the first, I believe, is that self-government means responsible government in which the individual recognises his duty to the whole of society and to his neighbour, and the majority accept the obligation to rule with tolerance and justice. Therefore, before British protection or British control of a country is withdrawn, it is our aim—I do not know that we have always achieved it, but nevertheless it is our aim—to achieve a situation in which that country can guarantee justice within and conduct itself according to the rules of the good neighbour without, in international relations.
My Lords, if we are to succeed in building mixed and responsible communities in Africa, then extreme racialism, whether it be the extreme racialism of the South or the extreme racialism of some Africans in the North, must be rejected. We rightly react against apartheid because, in our view, that implies, if not in theory certainly in practice, the domination of one race by another. But that racialism which claims Africa for the Africans can equally imply an attempt to dominate. My noble friend Lord Delamere expressed his concern that we were prepared to see, or might be prepared to see, one race dominate another, and his particular concern, of course, is that Africans, through their numbers and before they have learned the responsibilities of government, should not be able to dominate Europeans in Kenya.
373 I should like to add to the words which came from my noble friend Lord Perth something which was said by the Prime Minister in a speech the other day. Recognising the part which Europeans have played in Africa, he said:They have led the economic progress and been the pioneers. The Africans owe everything to them. While therefore it is right and proper that Africans should share more and more in the life of different territories, yet nothing must be done to destroy the security and rights of Europeans. The picture that we have of a multi-racial society is not to transfer domination from one race to another but to develop on fair terms a sense of true partnership.My Lords, how does one outlaw extremism, whether it be the extremism of the European in the South or that of the African Congress in the North—by decree, by law? Surely the best way is to enlist the moderate, sensible, constructive Africans and Europeans who both recognise that each in Africa is indispensable to the successful and prosperous future of the other.
If, therefore, it is true that we accept, first, the principle of self-government where there are African majorities, and secondly, that the process of the transfer of power must be an orderly process, then the problem, I suggest, falls into two parts: the pace of political advance, which the noble Marquess raised in the House this afternoon and about which I shall say more, and, since human beings are not perfect, the safeguards for individual and minority rights on which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, had some words of wisdom to say to us earlier.
The pace and the timing of advance is a matter of judgment, but in any scheme of advance there must be certain ingredients which are of the very fabric of the scheme. There must be a qualitative franchise. There must be, as my noble friend Lord Hastings pointed out and insisted several times in his speech, time to train administrators so that there will be a Civil Service which brings continuity and integrity to the country's affairs. There must be elected institutions which preserve a fair representation for minorities, and there must be machinery for the purpose of seeing that legislation is not discriminatory. To-day, such legislation is needed to protect the African. In the future, 374 When the African assumes majority rule, those safeguards will be necessary to protect the European, the Asian and the Arab.
Any plan of advance—I think that this has been reflected in the House today—must necessarily arouse emotions and must necessarily be debated against the background of two fears which are present in Africa to-day. The first is the fear of the African that he will artificially be held back, socially and politically, even though he feels that he is qualified by merit to exercise political influence. Secondly, there is the fear of the European that he will suffer injustice and a decline in his standards of living and civilisation because the African, through lack of training, does not yet understand the full range of responsibilities which go with democracy.
It is, I think, impossible to generalise. The future of each territory and, therefore, each plan must stand on its own merits in relation to the circumstances of the particular country. But I believe it is worth while for your Lordships to ask yourselves this question: how do we most surely reach the goal of racial harmony and social justice? Is it by restricting political advance to the narrowest limit which education and property allow, or is it, for the sake of the political education and political responsibility which it will bring, better to take a calculated risk and to provide a comparatively wide but qualified franchise and bring elected Africans into government wherever it is possible to do that on merit, relying during the years of education and experiment on the official majority or the Governor's powers, or both, so that political progress may be orderly and just?
My noble friend Lord Salisbury asked whether I could say a little more about timing and I will do so in a moment, but I would call attention to the Report of the Kenya Constitutional Conference, on page 5 of which it is stated that my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary, speaking of the pace of advance, used these words:Our task is … to see at what pace Kenya can assume greater responsibility for the conduct of her own affairs … As we plan this stage and all future stages of Kenya's constitutional evolution"—375 the pace will depend on how far there is co-operation between the races and how far the next stage of evolution can be seen to succeed. And so it is that in this Kenya Plan my right honourable friend has chosen that path. It is a calculated risk, but the Africans who are known as the constitutionally-elected Members are now going to take part in a caretaker Government. They have agreed to work the new Constitution. It is true that co-operation over the years remains to be proved, but if that co-operation is proved it will be a great gain; and if not, then, as my noble friend has said, advance will be delayed.
The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and one or two noble Lords have voiced apprehensions, and they are natural when we are moving into the unknown. There were two criticisms which perhaps I might put, not unfairly, in this way. The first was that Her Majesty's Government are moving too fast. What is the right pace? Is it the pace of the Union of South Africa, of the Belgian Congo, or Algeria? Not in this House—because here we are careful with our language—but elsewhere, there has been talk of the betrayal of Europeans in Kenya and other parts of Africa. It would be quite possible to betray Europeans by going too fast and equally possible to betray Europeans by going too slow; and I believe that nothing could be worse than a kind of Maginot Line complex, where we put up a façade for a year or two which is then shattered and there is a ruin. So again, as to timing, my answer (though it cannot be firm, because none of us can foresee the future, even in Kenya), would be, I think, that we must judge it, in each case, in relation to the circumstances of each country; and in each country those circumstances are different. But what we aim to achieve, at each stage, is co-operation between races in the practical politics of their own country.
The second criticism is that the African to-day is totally unfitted to work democracy; and lessons have been drawn from Asia and Africa. It is true that in certain countries where the full paraphernalia of the Westminster model of democracy has been given that has now been changed for another system. It has been changed for what is called, in Pakistan, Basic Democracy, and in 376 Ghana a Constitution which is something not very far removed from the present Constitution of France. I do not know whether it is possible to say that those Constitutions are not democratic. It will very largely depend on how they are worked; and, at any rate, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning, has said, in no country yet, either in Ghana or Pakistan, has the fabric of the law and the independence of the country been infringed, and on that they can build. I am inclined to agree with my noble friend Lord Coleraine and to some extent with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, that a very careful study must be given to the actual form of government which emerges and which will fit the circumstances of the African.
The most reverend Primate described the universal franchise—"One man, one vote"—as a useful piece of machinery not involving a principle. I agree with him. It is true that "One man, one vote" is at present the slogan of the Africans, but slogans do not always last. If I am not being tactless, I should say that "Nationalisation" has been the slogan of the Labour Party for many years, and now they are left with Clause 4 and even with a gloss on Clause 4; and I am by no means sure that after the Africans in government have had experience they will not themselves decide that a qualified franchise is preferable to the universal franchise or "One man, one vote". At any rate, if the African to-day is not ready for a full share in government, nevertheless he is ready for some share, and that is what is being given in the Kenya White Paper and was agreed at the Kenya Conference.
Finally, my noble friend Lord Salisbury, I thought, ended up his speech in a rather pessimistic mood. He compared the present Elizabethan Age with the old Elizabethan Age, which he said was, by comparison, one of expansion and glory. I believe it is very difficult to compare the two Elizabethan Ages. During the first was the first occasion on which we exported the principles of living in which we believed, so that the seed could be sown overseas and could blossom there in new ground. To-day, in this Elizabethan Age, we have reached a time at home when we have, if not perfected, at least reached a very high degree of political understanding; and we have 377 created what is known as a British brand of democracy. We believe that the law, the justice and the tolerance which are essential parts of our British democracy are something which should underpin society far beyond the shores of our own country.
Here at home we have built a nation which, on these matters, is largely of one mind; and when we export this type of democracy to our Colonies and our great Commonwealth countries we are glad to see it blossom and mature and lend strength, as we believe, to the whole of the civilisation outside. And just as we have given something to Australia, New Zealand and Canada, so we believe we have given something to the Asians; and I am sure that the noble Marquess would not wish the Africans to be deprived of the advantages which we believe derive from this form of democracy and this philosophy of living.
Then, again, there is education, with all the technical knowledge that we have been able to send abroad, particularly in the use of energy, which has revolutionised our standard of living, and, if wisely used, can bring health and wealth and opportunity to millions in Asia and Africa whose lot would otherwise have been one of poverty and of distress. I have always thought that the comparison which the noble Marquess drew with the decline of the Roman Empire is superficial. He talked about abandoning the outposts of our Empire. My Lords, that is not our purpose; we want to hold those outposts—not by force but by the compelling example of our ideas, our ideals—and we want them with us to stand up in the world for the principles and conduct which we believe are the absolute essence of democracy and the free life.
I do not believe we can be accused of being in decline or of lacking in imagination because we have converted an Empire into a Commonwealth, a thing which the Romans, I would remind the noble Marquess, were never able to do. So I hope your Lordships will agree that in this Kenya programme arising out of this Conference we have not been reckless; we have shown a degree of trust and confidence which is reasonable and which, we hope, will foster a sense of responsibility; and that from these beginnings in Kenya, and following the line which we believe to be right, confidence 378 and responsibility in these countries of Africa will grow hand in hand.
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH
My Lords, when my noble friend and, I might say, bucolic colleague in Kenya, Lord Delamere, rose to speak I felt extremely glad that the "winds of change" had kept the name of Delamere in Kenya and also in your Lordships' House. He has, indeed, taken out of my mouth many things that I would wish to say, but as he has said them better I shall hope to shorten the debate thereby. I am also very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, for having introduced this debate. It was very necessary, I think, especially to those who live in Kenya and who are full of doubts about the future, and it has also given me the chance to speak in two Legislative Assemblies within 64 hours. To-day I am speaking partly, but without any particular brief, as a member of the New Kenya Group in Kenya, but I am speaking probably even more as a farmer and businessman, especially about the economic side of the changes that have come about.
I think that politically our task is to understand the desire for advance and, as has been said quite frequently in this House, not to sit on safety valves. At the same time, I think it is also equally necessary to distinguish between orderly advance and indecent scuttle. It is a dividing line not held in your Lordships' House as being difficult to understand, but by the British public here it is very indistinguishable. It is also even more indistinguishable with our great Ally the United States of America. I accept, as the noble Earl, Lord Home, has said, that we may have to go possibly at a pace faster than the absolute wisdom of the situation would demand. We have to do that. Therefore, I accept the fact that in the not far distant future we shall need to have a Government in Kenya in which the last word will be from the indigenous African. At the same time I am certain that it is the task (and I have been encouraged during this debate by various Government spokesmen) of Her Majesty's Government to see that when that last word is given it will be one at least of reason and also, we hope, of wisdom.
379 My Lords, I think it is necessary to do a short analysis, dangerous as such a generalisation may be, of the African mind. The African shows two very distinct sides of himself. One we can recognise and sympathise with and understand—namely, the desire for education and knowledge; the desire, as an African, to be treated as he should be, as a friend and fellow man regardless of his skin. But there is another side which is sometimes overlooked, a side deep in his heart which has for millennia inherently rejected civilisation. I do not think it was any accident that 65 years ago inland in Africa the draft animal, the plough or the wheel was unknown. Contact, certainly for three or four millennia before that, from the the North and East had given him that knowledge; but perhaps with wisdom—who knows?—these benefits were complications in his simple and precarious tribal life. Thus, there is a reaction, now that organic tribal life has been so much destroyed, for the African in his not ignoble tribal life was part of an organism, which was the tribe, rather than an individual and a personality. But one has seen as a result of that breakdown a partial reversion, very often based on twisted and tortuous Old Testament teaching, into secret and dangerous societies. In the twelve years I have been in Kenya I have known at least four, and that includes Mau Mau. That means that the individual is often perplexed.
I say that in our planning for the future political life of Kenya or East Africa it is necessary to take in this second side to the African's nature. It is, in fact, the European's duty in Kenya to act as a catalyst for the skills and the new advances which have become very much more apparent in the last few years than ever before. Also we have to remember what the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said: that the tribal life, which is still strong, may indeed be a great danger in the future chaos that can arise unless the European in this case acts not as a catalyst but as cement between the various tribes, often, in Kenya, who are as different in their characteristics as the Swedes are from the Sicilians. We have another duty, and although this has already been stressed, I feel that as I have come from Kenya, I ought to say it again. We have old friends and people 380 with whom we made solemn treaties, such as the Sultan of Zanzibar, and the Masai people. We have many African friends who have shown incredible bravery and loyalty in the Mau Mau rebellion. There is no praise too high for the nobility of spirit which some of them have shown.
I turn to more recent politics. The New Kenya Group is a group of people of all races who have been trying to build a society in which we can work for the whole country and forget the colour of each other's faces. The noble Earl, Lord Home—though he did not mention the New Kenya Group—said that this policy of moderation is one which alone will make (I think I am right in saying this) the country work. I have only one rider to add to that. The people of other races who joined the New Kenya Group in the beginning were subjected to very great and serious intimidation. They had shown great courage, and we cannot have a policy of moderation unless intimidation can be controlled. There, too, we have a duty, as has been said, to the people, of whatever race, who have made their homes in Kenya. We have a duty, equally, to see that a country of whose achievements I personally am very proud does not recede in those achievements when self-government comes. I say that because one of the things I think we should be most proud of is the almost incredible advance which many African tribes have made in their agriculture through the work both of devoted officials and, very often, by the example and help of "un-officials"—those who are not officials.
That brings me, my Lords, to the economy of Kenya and, indeed, of East Africa as a whole. It is fashionable, especially for ambitious politicians, to say that political stability must precede economic security. I need hardly say in your Lordships' House that political advance can succeed only with economic stability; and without a prosperous middle class, which we are just in the process of establishing—and just in the earliest process of establishing in Kenya—we cannot have an advance on democratic lines which would not mean either chaos or dictatorship. The Lancaster House Conference, whatever its virtues, has left many untied ends which have made for great uncertainty
381 Here I feel a real sympathy with the African Elected Members. The "winds of change" have blown some of them into ministerial office; they have to face responsibility to a people many of whom, among the rag-tag and bobtail of the times, believed that Uhurn treatment meant no more taxes, no more police, and land just as you want it. Therefore, they are subject to tremendous pressures from their own people and from much greater extremists in the political field. Nearly all the African Elected Members realise that agriculture is the greatest source of Kenya's wealth and that the European is needed to keep it so. Like my noble friend Lord Delamere, I intend to stay in Kenya and do everything I can to help the change and to continue to earn my living there; and that is equally the view of a very large number, perhaps the great majority, of Kenya settlers. There are, however, obstacles to a sound economy. There are, first, the present uncertainties, leading to a lack of reinvestment or ploughing back of Kenya profits into Kenya. And there is a halt, owing to uncertainty, very largely gathered from the newspapers, of investments from overseas.
Finally—and this is, I think, the most important of all—there is the growing and sinister shadow of unemployment, which was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, earlier to-day. If we do not dispel uncertainty and encourage overseas capital and take immediate steps to deal with unemployment, the future is very black. There will be a few Europeans who will not face the changes and who will leave. My own belief is that, however much we may regret their departure as friends, that need cost us no dismay, because we need friendship and understanding with other races more than anything else.
I personally welcome the ending of land barriers. I am prepared, as I have said, as soon as those barriers are ended in Kenya to take a young African from a neighbouring tribe into partnership with me on a part of my land. But, whatever settlement is made, we must be quite certain that African settlement on underdeveloped land in the White Highlands is made for the best land use. Political decisions on economic issues will be disastrous.
We need very well and carefully thought out resettlement schemes, prob- 382 ably much more carefuly thought out than there has been time to think them out to-day. They are necessary in due course, just as much in underdeveloped tribal areas and undeveloped areas outside European and tribal land. But the greatest need now, I think, when land consolidation has grown so miraculously and successfully, is for funds for African farmers to put their own farms, now consolidated, to intensive use. It is very doubtful, except in a few undeveloped European farms, that settlement of Africans there could make the slightest difference to the unemployment issue; in fact, I believe that it will be the other way round. But the intensification of African farming—even growing 2 acres of tea on 10 acres, which is quite possible in many areas—would mean two or three more people at work on that particular area.
It may come as something of a shock to your Lordships to find that unemployment exists and is growing in alarming proportions in East Africa, and especially in Kenya. It is due, first of all, to health services and increasing expectancy of life. It is clue to a birth rate that grows as polygamy decreases. It is immediately due to the fact that 80,000 detainees, or thereabouts, have been rehabilitated and released. All this amounts to the fact that the present rate of economic expansion, let alone a halt in economic expansion, cannot absorb the growing population. While we have large bodies of people roaming about the towns and looking for work in the country, they are the fuse of the political explosion, and a great deal of agitation that takes place to-day is due to them.
I realise very well that Great Britain has many colonial commitments and cannot be expected to treat Kenya as the only pebble on the beach, but I do submit that Kenya is the key to East Africa. Her fate can affect the Rhodesias as well. She is also one of the last vital and viable strategic strongholds on the Indian Ocean. Make no mistake, my Lords, if we cannot, through British example and direct help, give economic stability to Kenya, the Communist cartel will, and all Africa, economically and politically, will be lost thereby. I also submit that if Great Britain cannot give all the assistance necessary she must encourage Europe and America to invest as well.
383 I am sometimes frightened by the latter-day attitude towards investment taken by the City of London. "Safety first!"—and I say this in all humility—seems too often to replace a policy of carefully calculated risk. Think of the danger to the merchantmen in the eighteenth century and at the turn of the eighteenth century when our commercial empire was being built up. The risks now are infinitely smaller. We must somehow break the vicious circle of investment waiting while political uncertainty continues. "Good money after bad" is an old tag, but good money after doubtful politics can often save a situation. A political takeover will be peaceful and orderly only in stable conditions. I am certain that those with courage to make big investments in Kenya, on a Kenya-Tanganyika basis, will to-day reap a reward far richer than they would by waiting for political stability which, if by a miracle it arrived, would find everybody wanting to jump on to the band waggon.
That is not sentiment from my affection for Kenya. I say it advisedly. Considering the growth of Kenya's national income, not only, in the main, from farming and plantation crops, but also from a very considerable industrial expansion in the last ten years, I think I am right in saying that the national income has trebled itself. There is a market of over 20 million people waiting in East Africa. Their productivity and standard of living are steadily rising. Once they were based, on the export side, mainly on non-African products, such as sisal and coffee; but some of the African lands in the reserves are the richest in the world and now they are beginning to be used as they should be. With our administration and the settler's help a very large part of the African population are begin-nine to emerge from subsistence farming and are growing crops of high-export value—coffee, cotton, pyrethrum and so forth. The increasing wealth they will bring in will mean that the Africans will be good customers abroad as well as in Kenya, just as Tanganyika's diamonds and Uganda's cotton and electricity are creating demands for higher trade.
To give one practical and personal example, I am closely connected with a building society in Kenya which started 384 six years ago with something like £250,000 capital. To-day, with the savings in Kenya, which include quite a large proportion by Africans, the assets of that Society are well over £6 million. I am also connected, in an even smaller way, with selling books in Kenya. We took the risk in Uganda this year, with the boycott in full blast, when life generally was very unpleasant, of buying a bookshop in Kampala. In ten months we have pretty well doubled the turnover of the previous year. That shows that there is opportunity there for those who are willing to take it. I make this plea because it is vital that something should be done to increase the economy of Kenya to the rate at which it can absorb its population.
I submit that the revolving Settlement Fund, as my noble friend has said, is the first need. This will start confidence. I submit that our local resources must be augmented at the same time in order to start wealth-producing Government investment (because at present the budget is very tight in Kenya), on roads, on tourism, on starting new forest planting and on other things such as fire-prevention, methods of preservation and increasing water resources—all wealth-producing things which will produce enduring employment and, by so doing, breed new employment. I submit again that this might well be supplemented by world services for development. After all, the U.S.A., to take one example, bears no small responsibility for the political pace at which we have gone: I think it is only fair that she should bear the burden of some of its results.
Finally, if the great finance houses of England can be encouraged to invest it will, by example, bring in hard-headed investors from Europe as well. I suggest that the Government might well guarantee a proportion of the capital invested by European finance houses in countries such as Kenya. After all, we have the precedent of the export credit scheme in days gone by, and that was not for guaranteeing to our friends but mostly to the doubtful countries. In East Africa we have people for whom we bear, as I have said, great responsibility, and this method of finance would start the flow going. I am not thinking of this sort of help for Kenya alone but for East Africa as a unit. We have our political jealousies and differences between these 385 States, but, if we are not in the same boat, at least we are in the same convoy economically. There are many opportunities, which I will not at this time enumerate to your Lordships, especially in communications between the countries and the Rhodesias.
I have come to love the country of my adoption, and I am deeply absorbed in the welfare of all its people. I am deeply pleased, too, that underneath the scum of political ferment, there is beginning to be a real friendship and understanding among the people who form what I can describe only as our Joseph's coat of many races and many tribes. This is too great a start to abandon, and too necessary as a solution, because we are a microcosm of all the world's problems and we must try to achieve that solution in full. No one knows better than I how difficult the times may be in the next few years. We shall need, apart from the business measures and political measures, most abundantly the grace of God; and here the heart of the Commonwealth we shall need to show that we have not shuffled off responsibility like an old snake skin; that we have the guts to govern with firmness and understanding, and with imagination and loyalty to our friends.
§ 6.59 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, in rising to make a brief contribution to this debate I should like, before passing on to give a few impressions of the wisdom of trying to apply the Westminster model to African territories, to say one or two things about the way in which the White Paper fills me with something less than enthusiasm. I assume that your Lordships probably, like me, have been struck by the almost studied ambiguity' of phrase at certain important points in this Paper. I am well aware, of course, that absolute precision at all points was not, in the circumstances, possible; but surely, when one is stating fundamental principles upon which the whole acceptability of the detailed proposals must rest, it is vital that there should be a clear relationship between the constitutional proposals and the principles which they purport to represent. Otherwise, my Lords, there is left a feeling almost of insincerity. One cannot afford, I suggest, to be vague or verbose in statements upon which men's lives, liberty and livelihood are going to 386 depend. The Conference did not have a very good start; and, as I view it, it finished with not too much goodwill and not too much good faith—which was illustrated by certain of the very imprudent public comments which were made by African leaders in various places almost immediately after the end of the Conference.
Looking at the White Paper, after a preliminary sketch of the Constitution and the personnel grouping of the Conference, we read:… all those who have made their homes in Kenya are entitled to make a full contribution to the work of governing their country".In fact, of course, the proposals in paragraph 15 of the Report will, as I see it, leave Europeans and Asians as impotent minorities with no likelihood of obtaining any portfolio as a Minister. All power will be vested in Africans inexperienced in administration and chosen by an electorate which is almost entirely ignorant of the principles and practice of democracy.
Looking at paragraph 11 of the Report, we here have what, with due respect, I would call a number of high-sounding generalities about the right of each community to remain in Kenya and play a part in public life; about the spirit of mutual tolerance; and about all the other things—which, incidentally, are markedly absent. The paragraph concludes with the remark,… for a time the interests of minorities might have to be secured through constitutional safeguards".My Lords, surely we have learnt in recent times that, when a country is independent, no safeguards written into the Constitution are likely to last any longer than the dominant power in the land wishes them to last. The African members, led by Messrs. Ngala, Mboya and Dr. Kiano, do not want, and do not admit that they need, any probationary experience. It is useless, to my mind, to inscribe these notices about giving them probationary experience, because they quite definitely think that they do not need it: and it is only after protracted bargaining that the three Ministers have now accepted seats in the Government—and I am very glad to see that they have had the wisdom to do so.
One point which also struck me when reading paragraph 13 with paragraph 15 387 of the White Paper was that the position of minority communities on the common roll is to be safeguarded by the reservation of twenty seats; and for these there are to be communal primary elections, of which something has been said this afternoon. The White Paper says that… in order to ensure that the candidates elected command the effective and genuine support within their own community",these primary elections will be held. Then, I gather, they will be elected by the common roll community, including Africans; and it seems to me that, with the African predominance in those communities, no European (or Asian, for that matter) would have any chance of being elected unless he was persona grata with the African community. They would have the power of selecting the European who pleased them, which seems to me a weakness and a thoroughly undemocratic position.
Then, coming to the safeguards, paragraph 20, all that is written there about the judicial protection of human rights, the legally enforceable protection of the fundamental rights of the individual against the State, the independence of the Judiciary, the protection of property rights, and so on, only make valid sense, as I see it, if you can assume goodwill and good faith and a genuine belief in such principles, not only by the leaders but as engrained in the traditions and history and way of life of the bulk of the population. Those conditions, my Lords, are not present; and if the levers of power are placed in the hands of irresponsible and inexperienced leaders, whose influence is largely based on exploitation of the emotions of a primitive electorate, the result, as I see it, must be a steady return to those conditions of chaos from which European enterprise and administrative experience rescued the country in the last sixty years. It is, I suggest, not only urgent to do justice to Africans, but also to convince Europeans that they, also, are going to get fair play. There is no need for me to go into the question of the White Highlands, because it has already been dealt with this afternoon, but it seems regrettable that Mr. Mboya and others have expressly excluded them, as they stand at present, from the protection of rights, because they say those rights are and always have been in dispute.
388 The White Paper, towards its close, in paragraphs 21 and 22, urges the need for a steady increase in the number of local people, especially Africans, in the Civil Service. That, of course, is a vital necessity, in that without a competent Civil Service of integrity and ability no Government, wherever it may be, can function properly. But you cannot recruit and train a Civil Service with a wave of the hand: nor can you create the morale and traditional loyalty needed in less than a period of many years. And judging by the utterances of African leaders, I cannot believe that members of the Colonial Service would wish to accept a position in which they will be expendable in many ways, and with no guarantee, when independence comes, of fair treatment endorsed by Her Majesty's Government. May I ask, with every respect, what sane civil servant would stay to work under the presidency of Jomo Kenyatta, which we are told would occur if independence came? This is a man who has inspired horror and disgust, and certainly would not inspire respect.
My Lords, one final word on the White Paper. Paragraph 24, on page 12, refers to the Coastal Strip, and to… Her Majesty's Government's intention to continue for the present to discharge as hitherto its responsibilities in this matter under the existing agreement with the Sultan of Zanzibar".This cautious statement gives rise naturally to grave apprehension when we compare what Mr. Mboya and his fellow leaders said in public. They said:The Coastal Strip held on lease from the Sultan of Zanzibar is part of Kenya. We intend within the shortest possible time to make sure that this Treaty between the Sultan and the British Government is abrogated.In other words, Mr. Mboya who, in his own grandiloquent phrase, demands to be given at an early date the title deeds to his own homeland, proposes to tear up the title deeds of the Arabs of the Coastal Strip, whose ancestors have been there since before the days of Christ. That is bound to inspire apprehension of the way in which power will be used when it falls into those hands.
The question of representation, too, I suggest ought not to be forgotten. When African leaders say that they represent their people, 6 million Africans, it is, I suggest, manifestly not 389 true, because with present tribal loyalties—and the tribal loyalties and divisions are still strong in Kenya—it would be hard for any leader to say in that sweeping way that he represented that number of men not of his own tribe.
Much has been said, and, I suggest, too little is done, in this White Paper about safeguards for the European community whose home is in Kenya. But, apart from them, is the Secretary of State proposing to do nothing to save the loyal Kikuyu from the wrath to come, after he has installed in the seats of power the men who hold Jomo Kenyatta as their Messiah and already nominate him as the first President of an independent Kenya? Let us not forget that Mau Mau was more of a civil war than a rebellion or a war against Europeans, and that outside of the Kikuyu the Meru and Embu tribes have no support at all from the rest of Kenya.
I should like to say a final word about that, in view of what was said by, among others, the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate. One has it now on good authority that the "cult of Kenyatta" is being sedulously encouraged and is again very much alive, and intimidation is growing in all ranks of society, not excluding members of the Legislative Council. The African loyalist now, I hear from several sources, is being reduced to the position of a pariah in his own community. Medals, loyalist badges and other insignia denoting past allegiance to the Crown are too dangerous to be worn. In the face of these facts, it is to me a little difficult to hail the White Paper as a triumph for moderation.
But judgment of the proposed new Constitution obviously must rest upon whether there is faith in the intentions of the African Elected Members, and time only now will show that. It seems to me that they have talked perhaps rather loosely and too freely about their intentions, and it may be that the responsibility of accepting office now will induce a wiser frame of mind. When noble Lords opposite say the time must come when we shake hands with Kenyatta., and they compare him with various leaders in the past in other countries, are they not being a little unreas- 390 onable in that comparison? It is only a few days ago that there was the seventh anniversary of the Lari massacre in Kenya, where 150 men, women and children were massacred in cold blood by the followers of this leader who it is suggested should now be taken back into the fold. I personally am unable to sympathise with any such future.
I would ask noble Lords to consider whether advance along the lines of this White Paper is likely to produce the tolerance needed to make the Westminster model of Western democracy a workable proposition in Kenya. I do not think so. Universal suffrage and all the institutional paraphernalia of Western democracy will not work in the plural societies of Africa unless the fundamental ideas and mental attitudes, the principles and tolerances which have inspired their use with us, are widely held by the people concerned. As I see it, the Westminster model of Parliamentary democracy is not suitable for export to most of these societies of Africa. Recent examples have shown that the recipients will rapidly adapt it to their own nature and beliefs, and that the result will hear little or no resemlance to democracy as we define it.
I read recently in an East African paper an article in which this point is examined, and the conclusion of that article is one with which I agree. To suppose that you can at will accelerate the speed of democratic practices in a country where there are communities at stages of evolution separated by a thousand years, religions and ethics which, at their lower levels at least, possess no common ground, and peoples as widely different ethnically as Europeans, Arabs, Sikhs, Gujeratis, Hamites, Nilotics and Bantu—to suppose this is to live in a world of fantasy. As the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said this afternoon, many of these countries are just inventions of our own or other colonial Powers, lines drawn on a map often through the middle of tribal areas. It is asking rather a lot in so short a time to ask an accidental agglomeration of tribes like that to become a nation and to work a democracy as complex as our model. The result, I suggest, is likely to be one more despotic Government in Africa.
391 The author of the article to which I am referring asked the question:What kind of development is likely to secure 'good government' in our sense for Kenya?And the answer to that is that it cannot yet be an African-dominated Government. For there is no sign yet that those Africans who might have the mental equipment necessary for the responsibility of government subscribe to the public philosophy which would impel them to govern with a sense of responsibility for all races, tribes and communities, not only for their own. Moreover, even a group of adequately endowed men at the top cannot give one democracy. The whole nation has to be permeated from top to bottom with certain beliefs and principles which are familiar to us and, incidentally, took us 700 years of natural, unforced growth. Democracy, if it means anything at all, must represent the unfettered will of a whole people, and not the whim or the enlightened philosophy of a handful of men at the top.
There is another quotation I should like to make. Mr. Mboya told us that what he stood for and what he wanted at an early date was "undiluted democracy" in Kenya; and that spells African dictatorship. There are, in my view, only two choices. One is to retain control indefinitely and accelerate education in its widest sense, especially at the lower levels of local government and co-operative groups of social, trading and administrative nature, until the principles of democracy have become endemic. The other is just to drop the burden—the tired Titan unequal to the legacy of his race. I suggest that the time has come to look destiny in the face, as the noble Marquess suggested to us this afternoon. Let us be honest in our decision, and do not let us blame the faceless miracle of mass ignorance known as world opinion. Let us face the situation from our own point of view, and from our own knowledge and experience.
I have taken up overmuch of your Lordships' time, but the subject is one of such immense importance that it is difficult to compress one's thoughts within the brief span of a speech in your Lordships' House. I should like to conclude, if I may, with one quotation from the postscript to Lord Radcliffe's book containing 392 his Reith Memorial Lectures on "The Problem of Power". It runs like this:It would be a fatal thing for the future of England if we were in course of time to lose our character, which we have prized too little, and to preserve our institutions, which we greatly over praise… I do indeed doubt whether the English, who so deeply misunderstand their own point, have not proved but poor guides to those many other countries now burning with political self-consciousness, with whom they have been associated over the last expansive century, and upon whom they have so honestly tried to confer some of the benefits which they conceive themselves to possess. Constitutional forms and legal systems are very well in their way, but they are the costumes for the men who wear them. Their sober shapes can be seen performing the strangest antics, unless the people inside them have a real grasp of the civil ideas which they are designed to express. And those ideas are conceived in terms of human character and human purpose and they have no significance without them.Those are words on the Westminster model from an authority such as Lord Radcliffe. Speaking myself as an administrator, and one who has had some experience of trying to work these things in African and other conditions, I realise how fantastic in some ways it is, when one is trying to plan in a country something which one knows is at that stage quite unsuitable for the climatic conditions.
I know that Kenya problems must be dealt with in the context of trends throughout the whole Continent of Africa, where, incidentally, there are upwards of 50 artificially erected states and islands. It is a staggering problem if you reflect on it. We are not dealing with nations who grew naturally. We are dealing largely with nations who are our own artificial production, and regard must be had, we are told from many sources—and we have been told recently, in very convincing words, by Mr. Antony Head in another place—to the allure and threat of Communism. But I do not believe, as the American Government seems at times to think, that Communism will be defeated by giving to self-appointed African leaders all they ask, or that extended monetary support will produce models of democracy and apostles of freedom. It does not work that way. So much attention is being paid to the political and economic aspects of government, that the vital importance of a sound administration and 393 a reliable Civil Service is apt to be overlooked. But I suggest to your Lordships that that is just as important as economics and politics. Apart from the overwhelmingly important problem of human relationships, Africa is full of problems, natural and imported, which range from erosion, poor soil, lack of water, the tsetse fly, malaria, and the whole list of diseases which afflict man and beast, on to world Communism, world Socialism, Egypt, Pan-Africanism, the Afro-Asian Movement and the Africa Committee.
I believe, and to that extent agree with Mr. Macleod, that you cannot solve the problem of a Continent with a blueprint. In each section, and almost in every one of the present territorial divisions, wisdom would call for very different pace and pattern of political development. I venture to think that both the pace and the pattern indicated in this White Paper are wrong in present Kenya condition, without any reflections, may I add, as to what may be right or wrong in other circumstances elsewhere in Africa. In any case, the White Paper represents the next step. It has been said in classic literature that even the gods cannot recall their gifts, and I would ask Her Majesty's Government never to forget that. So I conclude with a hope that Her Majesty's Government will see to it that many of the high-sounding pronouncements of principle, and so forth, contained in this White Paper, are given effect, without which those protestations have very little value.
§ 7.28 p.m.
My Lords, those of your Lordships who are accustomed to sustaining an African debate during the dinner hour usually receive the same fare—the oil of optimism from me, and the vinegar of pessimism from the noble Lord who has just spoken. He has once again stimulated us with some vinegar and I shall proceed. I hope, to sooth you with some oil, the oil of optimism.
I should like to congratulate Her Majesty's Government most sincerely on the Report of the Kenya Conference. The Constitution which has emerged from it seems to me to be the most hopeful Constitution that has yet been proposed for Kenya. I sincerely hope (and I say this in no personal sense) that it 394 will not be known as the Macleod Constitution, but that it will be known generally as the 1960 Constitution. And that, I believe, would be the wish of the Secretary of State himself. For who can know better than he that this Constitution has not been imposed on Kenya? It has been worked out by a Conference of Kenyans over which he presided. It is not the slab of imposition; it is the fruit of agreement, and it is for that reason that I take a hopeful view of it. To me it would seem that the terrible problems which have faced Kenya during the last decade have received the careful thought and concern of men of good will of all the races living there, with the result that I believe the future of Kenya to be brighter than that of some other African countries usually regarded as happier.
Here I should like to pay a tribute to the adaptability shown by the settlers of Kenya. If anybody had told me when I was visiting Kenya twelve years ago that within a few years there would be African Ministers in the Government of Kenya, with the tacit consent of a majority of the white settlers, I should have found it difficult to believe. If anyone had told me that that would happen in spite of the settlers and others, all the inhabitants of the country, having to suffer an ordeal so terrible as that of Mau Mau, I should have found it impossible to believe. This achievement, the achievement of agreement by three out of four Parties from Kenya on a Constitution for the immediate future, is an achievement that reflects the greatest credit upon all the parties concerned. And among them I think we should pay tribute to the African delegates. It is not only white men who have had to show restraint. The same quality has been required, and I suggest has been shown, by African delegates at the recent Conference. This "wind of change" is something that had been noticed by them long before it has been noticed here. They have for a great many years been thinking that the speed of their political advancement was much, much too slow.
They have repeatedly been told that they must not think about countries in other parts of Africa which have been granted independence because the local conditions make the situation in Kenya entirely different. But is that so? It would seem to me that the wind of 395 change should always be followed by the word which I think followed it in the famous speech, the word "throughout"—the wind that is blowing throughout Africa. And it is no longer any good for people whose minds are still soaked in the outlook of the nineteenth century to say to the people of Kenya, of Southern Rhodesia, of Nyasaland, of Algeria, "Yes, of course the time will come when you shall decide for yourselves what form of government you will have, but we cannot have speed in a cool climate." Which are the parts of Africa that have had swift constitutional advance? They are the parts not where agitators are hot but where the climate is hot, and we who have educated Africans all over the Continent in precisely the same way, fostering in them the same aspirations, teaching them the same beliefs about human dignity, about democracy, about patriotism, have to recognise that our pupils learn these lessons whether the climate is hot or whether the climate is cool.
It is a most extraordinary thing that anybody should have written to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, suggesting that political advance in Kenya is likely to lead to the decay of law and order. Which are the parts of the Continent where law and order has already decayed? We have criticisms of Ghana. Even I have criticisms of Ghana. We are not wholly happy about the future of Nigeria. Even the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, would admit to anxieties about Nigeria.
I am delighted to find that the vinegar is being affected by the oil. I have some anxieties about Nigeria. It is a very large country, and to get the kind of unity that a nation requires in a very large country with provinces of different traditions and types is difficult. Whilst I believe that the Nigerians will succeed in their great project, one cannot help—at least I cannot help—having some anxieties for Nigeria. But though I have criticisms of Ghana 396 and have anxieties about Nigeria, those are only speculations about the future. Where is it that we have been dismayed by finding law and order already broken down? In Ghana? No. In Nigeria? No. In Tanganyika? No. Although Tanganyika is so close to Kenya and its climate not wholly dissimilar, there has been no decay there. The countries where there has been decay in law and order are those where the majority of the people have been doubtful as to whether they were to have the opportunity of governing themselves.
In thinking of the type of Government that they are to have it is useless for us to spend much time on planning particular Constitutions, for—here I am in entire agreement with my noble friend Lord Milverton—it has been proved time and again that constitutional safeguards are of no certain value once a country has achieved its independence. There is only one safeguard, and that is the safeguard of good will. I suggest that this is the age of internationalism—the age in which people know what is going on in other countries. People are affected by what is going on in other countries, and if the world is to have any happy future, people have to learn to live together and to co-operate. We know that it is easy to say words of that kind and most difficult to carry them out in practice. It is for that reason—and especially for that reason—that I have the respect for the Kenya settlers which I have already voiced. They have shown, as have the Africans and the Asians, sufficient good will to agree on a Constitution for Kenya. They have done so under the chairmanship of the Secretary of State. The Government are to be congratulated and Kenya is to be congratulated.
§ 7.42 p.m.
My Lords, your Lordships will be delighted to hear that I do not intend to make my speech. I have, however, a couple of small points which I think have not been made, one of which at any rate I should press upon Her Majesty's Government. The first was raised originally by the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, and subsequently by several noble Lords; it concerned the applicability of the Westminster model to various communities with entirely different backgrounds. To this I would 397 say only one thing—namely, that we have taught these communities, where they live within the Commonwealth, to believe that the supreme and perfect specimen of democratic institution is our institution here in Westminster, and however wise we may be, that is the institution on which they wish to model their own, and they will not be satisfied—indeed they will be suspicious that they are being cheated—if we give them anything else. Therefore we have, I submit, to give them the Westminster model. We have also, I think, and for the same reasons, but not only for the same reasons, to give them universal suffrage. I was a little dismayed by the most reverend Primate. It seemed to me that it was an odd sentiment to hear from the Archbishop that universal suffrage was not a principle but merely an expedient. To me it seemed the other way—an expression of the principle of human equity which I believe the Church upholds.
The point I really wish to make and which has not been made is in relation to the elections which will be held under this Constitution. We are given to understand that the elections cannot be held before March of next year, and probably not until June, one of the difficulties being, I understand, that no register has been made in Kenya since 1948. But this is a long time and, it seems to me, a most dangerous time. Obviously, there is a state of considerable tension in Kenya at the present time. I am sorry that the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, is no longer here, as I should have liked to ask him whether he would not agree that all those who have taken part in this Conference in London will be under considerable and varied pressures when they get back to Kenya—not only the Africans but also the Europeans, and probably the Asians: those who agreed to this Constitution.
To my mind, their agreement is the strikingly important thing which has come out of the Conference, because without this agreement the Constitution could not have been introduced without being imposed, and an imposed Constitution is already at a great disadvantage. But I am convinced that all those leaders of their communities will be "shot at" by the extremists on either side, and I believe it is desirable that the time between now and the next elections 398 should be the shortest possible. After all, in Tanganyika a new Constitution was decided on in December last, and they are to have their elections in September next. I cannot help wondering whether this could not be expedited in Kenya. For this reason I find myself in disagreement with the noble Lord, Lord Hastings—and indeed with every other speaker—in the matter of the franchise, because so far from wishing to narrow the franchise it seems to me that from the point of view of making the register it would be much easier if in fact universal suffrage was introduced. Frankly, where you have reserved seats I cannot see why you are so ready to have any limitation of the franchise at all.
In passing, may I ask—perhaps the noble Earl can tell me—what is the reason (because I cannot find it in the White Paper, and it does not at any rate spring to my own mind) for the National Members? I have nothing particularly against them, but equally I have nothing in their favour that I can think of. Are they just a hangover from the previous Constitution, in which there were what I think were called the Specially Elected Members?
All the speeches in support of this Constitution have stressed the need for co-operation. Kenya is the scene of possibly the most difficult problem in Africa, that of a multi-racial community. This can be a source of appalling trouble. Many troubles have already arisen from this source. It can also be a source of strength. It can be a source from which all the many races can draw inspiration. By their inter-relationship and their contacts they can bring forth something new, something fresh, something good. I hope that the necessary co-operation will be forthcoming, that this transitional period will be got through safely, that the Constitution will work successfully and that independence will be attained very quickly.
§ 7.48 p.m.
§ LORD WRENBURY
My Lords, my reason for speaking in this debate is simply that I have a great many Kenya friends, and I have a suspicion that possibly their point of view, certainly in our national Press and in discussions that one hears in general, is not always put, although I think that it has been put in 399 this House to-day. I have tried to imagine myself as one of the white settlers here to-day, and I felt, certainly when the noble Marquess was speaking and also when the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, was speaking, that they would have heaved a sigh of relief and said, "Thank goodness, there are at least two people who really understand our point of view!" Conversely, I think that of a number of other speakers they would have said, "My goodness, I wish I could get them on to my farm! I should like to see that noble Lord checking, or trying to get the milk record checked, with African labour, or running the farm. Yet he apparently feels that a Constitution on the Westminster model is still workable."
As your Lordships will observe, I am speaking from the Cross-Benches. I am not reactionary, nor do I believe that the white settlers are reactionary in their standpoint; but I think that they are much more concerned with the practical working out of this new Constitution, and that it is not very helpful to them to use phrases such as those which have been used—saying that the future of Kenya is in the hands of the people of Kenya, that we must have mutual confidence and that everybody must play their part in unity. Nobody would deny that that is perfectly true and that we must try to do these things. But we must give them a Constitution which has some hope of carrying out those things, and I feel that in the present proposals we are possibly moving too fast.
I want to draw a distinction between the white settler, the farmer who owns acres of land in Kenya, and the European who is out there on a Government contract, as an administrator; because it has been said that these proposals have the tacit consent of Europeans there. While I accept that the farmers are people who would do all they possibly could to make the proposals work, I am not sure whether, in terms of mere numbers, we are not getting their point of view diluted by those who are out there for commercial reasons and administering in the field.
The other point I would make is that I hope Her Majesty's Government are, so to speak, in touch with farmers in Kenya, for this reason. When I first went out there I was told that in the 400 early days, before district officers and district commissioners were so busy, it used to be a common thing for them to drop in for breakfast or lunch and to swap gossip with the farmers. I was further told that it was one of the pities of modern Kenya that there was no time to do that now, with the result that the link-up between the administration and the settler was now very much less than it used to be. I was in Kenya before, during and after Mau Mau, and certainly during my time it was disturbing to hear the acid comments of Kenya farmers on how very ill-informed the Administration were. The farmers claimed, rightly or wrongly, to have told the Government, in perfectly plain terms, that Mau Mau was on its way and to have been disbelieved. Some of the most successful operations against Mau Mau were conducted by the Kenya settlers themselves because they were competent to speak the language and knew the land.
I am most anxious that we should be sympathetic to the point of view of the Kenya settler, because, unless I got a very unrepresentative cross section of opinion, I believe a great many of them feel that the only thing that is keeping them there is the fact that they cannot sell their farms except at a cut-rate price; and unless more confidence can be engendered there will be disastrous results for the Colony. Mr. Peter Marrian is reported in The Times to have said that 80 per cent. of the country's exports are from agriculture and 94 per cent. of those are European—although presumably that percentage will go down as African production gets up.
What impressed me, however, was that certainly when I went out in 1952 settlers were saying that they regarded their children as Kenyans and intended, if possible, to try to avoid sending them back to this country for education. Certainly, in short, they were talking about being Kenyans. But the last time I was out there, after Mau Mau, their attitude was entirely different, and I am afraid it can be summed up only in the words: "Anybody who can get out would be well advised to do so."
I believe there are various elements which could give confidence to the people who are out there now. First, there is the importance of sympathy and 401 showing that one understands their point of view and the difficulties they are having to put up with. Secondly, I think it is absolutely essential to make clear that tub-thumping is not going to weigh in any way with Her Majesty's Government. Just because Mr. Tom Mboya and other people go back and give the impression that the recent Conference is likely to lead to a purely temporary Constitution, Her Majesty's Government should come out strongly against that and make clear that the Constituticn is something which will last for some time.
In my rôle as a pseudo-Kenya settler, listening from the sidelines and deciding the future of my hypothetical farm, I should not have been altogether satisfied, or prepared to make many future plans, on the assurance given to us by the noble Earl, Lord Home. I believe one ought, perhaps, to look at this almost on the lines on which the Chancery Court act when they are deciding about a variation of a settlement. We must have the rights of all parties before us, minorities as well as those with the principal interests; and the decision should be firmly and fairly decided without any pressure from outside, either by people or by any feeling that the tide cannot be held back and that therefore we had better bow to the inevitable because it is coming sooner or later. I believe that that is a terribly dangerous point of view.
Another thing which, I believe, would give confidence to Kenya farmers is some definite lead or assurance about Jomo Kenyatta. I see that a delegation went to see the Governor on March 23, suggesting that Kenyatta should be released. In spite of what was said by the noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, I can see absolutely no justification for that. The noble Viscount's argument appeared to be based on the fact that because, in the past, murderers had been shaken by the hand, we should take that as a precedent. I have never understood why German generals who were responsible for most ghastly atrocities in the last war should be going round Germany to-day, and much the same argument applies to Kenyatta. I cannot see why expedience should overrule justice.
Another point which is certainly worrying many of my correspondents in 402 Africa now is what kind of protection is being given to loyal Africans—quite apart from Europeans. That point, I think, was mentioned certainly by the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, and it is something that they mind about very much. Quite honestly, Mau Mau would never have been rooted out without them. The only way you could tell the difference between a Mau Mau chap and an ordinary loyal Kikuyu was by the loyal Africans telling you who the Mau Mau were, so at least a deep debt of gratitude is due to these people and we must see that they are properly protected. Clearly, they are not in a position to pull out of Africa, whatever the Europeans' position is, and we must see that they are not taken racing down the hill to destruction without some proper safeguards being given to them.
I feel that in regard to the new Constitution some explanation should be given of why it is coming so fast. I dare say it is perfectly obvious, but I see that the present Constitution was promulgated on April 3, 1958; and on April 22, 1959, the present Conference was called to consider the next stage. Perhaps there were reasons for that, but it suggests to me, and I am sure it suggests to Tom Mboya, that the present stage is not going to last very much longer than that. I agree that the right criterion is to see how things go, but at the same time if one is in the position of somebody thinking of investing funds in Kenya or of somebody with funds invested in Kenya wondering whether it is worth while to keep them there, it is not much comfort to find that the present state of things, which is definable, is going to be superseded in eighteen months' time by something about which you know nothing at all except that it will be a "further stage on the road of progress", and that therefore there will be loss of control by the responsible members of the community.
A further point is the need to avoid an ignorant electorate. There has been a great deal said about the Westminster pattern this afternoon. I am afraid that I am one of those who feel that the Westminster pattern is not suitable in all its aspects for exporting to Kenya. I do not think that one should be intimidated by the challenge of the Governor, Sir Patrick Renison, that nobody has been able to think of anything better, 403 and that therefore this is the best thing in the circumstances.
I should like to tell your Lordships a story I have heard from a Kenya correspondent who says that an African recently called at a house in Nairobi and, when asked what he wanted, said he would pay "twenty-five shillings to have first choice of your house". What had happened was that an African gentleman had said, "Well, of course, Uhuru is due to be declared at any time now, and all these houses will be vacant, and I will sell them to you for twenty-five shillings at the auction. I am also told that all the cars in the shop windows in Nairobi will be sold at auction for about ten or twenty shillings." It is, as one would say in the law, a case of res ipsa loquitur. I would say that if one has people of that sort of mentality one wants to be careful whether they are capable of reading their own language. I do not know, but they might be excluded in any case. However, I feel that one wants a Constitution which will ensure that people who can be taken advantage of in that way are not taken advantage of by political leaders.
I do not want what I have been saying to be taken as an unmitigated criticism of the Report. I have concentrated on the passages which can perhaps most easily be criticised, because so much has been said in its favour. Quite clearly, the question of safeguards and what is said about them will be very welcome to all the Kenya farmers, as also will be what is said about financial aid—because I take it that that financial aid will be available to both white and black according to their proper needs. Perhaps most of all I welcome the proposal for localisation of the Civil Service. On the question of suffrage I should like to say how very much I agree with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, because I do not believe that Africans have birth certificates. Certainly when I tried to get a licence for my driver out there it was impossible because he did not know how old he was. Therefore, on the face of it, to say that all people over forty are to have the vote would appear to be, from a practical point of view, very difficult.
I should also like to know whether they are supposed to be able to read Swahili or Kikuyu or Masai, or what 404 ever their tribal language is, because I can see that to be any use as an elector a man must be able to read a national newspaper. I do not believe the national newspapers are going to be printed in Kikuyu or Masai or Kamba. I should suppose they will be printed in Swahili, and that that is, or should be, the operative language. I also feel that £75 as the income qualification is remarkably low, because even when I was out there a year or two ago the minimum wage in Mombasa was something like 95s. a month, which was not far short of £60 a year. So that £75 is going to let in Most of the people who are in good domestic service jobs, regardless of education.
I must admit that I think making Constitutions is rather like making a suit of clothes. One can say without hesitation, "This is a jolly good suit of clothes," or "jolly good Constitution." But the one remaining factor is: does it fit the person it is meant for? With the best will in the world I cannot see that the suggested Constitution is going to be right for the people it is meant for, even with maximum good will on the part of all parties concerned. I should have preferred to see the seats on the community basis kept as they were under the Lennox-Boyd Constitution and the common roll seats on a more exclusive franchise on this basis; that for the common roll vote qualification would be according to the amount of tax paid rather than the amount of income earned. It seems to me that the contribution made to the country's economy is important; that the educational standard should be much as it was before, or perhaps even a higher one; and that the third qualification should be headmen and other local leaders, or distinguished Government servants who render public service in that way.
On that basis, some people would have two votes, but the people voting on the community basis—those of the lower franchise—would be voting for their own countrymen. So, whether they knew anything about politics or not, they would say, "Mboya is the sort of chap I like", and they would vote for him, regardless of what the issues were; whereas the more intelligent people, who would be voting on a common roll basis as well as on a community basis, and therefore wielding 405 more power, would have the necessary knowledge to guide them in the right choice. At any rate, that system would have the germs of change in it, in that Africans would strive to better themselves, educationally and otherwise, in order to qualify for the second vote. Then, as they did so, so the number of African seats in the Legislative Council would increase, and the thing would be self-generic instead of being that frightful jump which has caused so much concern to people now.
My Lords, I am sorry to have taken so much time. Everything I have said has been said with considerable humility, because there are so many experts here that I almost did not say anything at all. Nevertheless, I felt that it was important to say something on behalf of the settlers; and I should like to end by quoting from a letter written by a very great friend of mine, who lives out there and has brought up a family out there, and who is one of the Kenya settlers of whom Britain can be very proud. She feels that the thing has got too much for her. This is what she says:I am selling cows as quickly as I can. I want to have as little on the farm as possible. I always hoped to die leaving my farm a worthwhile one for my family or Africans, but the future looks too grim for words. In ten years it will be chaos, with no Christian standards, governed by a people with a background of witchcraft and Mau Mau oaths. It is very hard lines on the Christian native and the loyalists, who now go in fear of their lives. I only hope some firebrand will not stir up the Masai, the Samburker, the Coast people, and a few other tribes up north, who have no love for Kikuyus and have no intention of being governed by them. They were proud of being under the English Queen, poor things! What has happened to England's standards?The only point I want to emphasise there is that the writer of that letter is not thinking of the Europeans only but of the Africans as well; and I think the letter speaks for itself.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, if he will allow me to say so, I think the most illuminating part of the noble Lord's speech was the anecdote about the African and the house, because it showed that there are confidence men in all races, and perhaps the Africans are not so different from us after all. I should like to take up only one or two points, because so much has been said this 406 afternoon. On the question of leaders, I think the noble Lord, Lord Wrenbury, must have misunderstood my noble friend Lord Stansgate about Kenyatta. I understood Lord Stansgate to say that we would have to negotiate in the end with Kenyatta because he is one of the leaders of the Kikuyu people, and as such he would be the person with whom we would have to negotiate.
I think we underestimate the intelligence of the Africans. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said that unless voters can think for themselves they become a prey to demagogues. Of course, what is a demagogue and what is a leader rather depends on which side you are on and which side he is on; but I think, with great humility (because I am no anthropologist, and I have no African experience, but I have heard this from those who are expert), that the African is by no means unable to think for himself. He may not have been able to read; he may not have invented the wheel, and all the rest that we hear about; but most African races, before we came and upset it all, had a tribal organisation that had a good many elements of what we call democracy in it, and which required a pretty high standard of judgment, intelligence and independence from the individual tribesman, the individual person. Lord Salisbury appeared to think that, because Africans lived in mud huts and had none of the skills that we have acquired, they were therefore unfit to have the vote—and that, I thought, was the strain that ran through a good many of the speeches this afternoon.
One other point that I should like to take up is from the speech by the noble Lord, Lord Hastings. Early on he said that there are two essentials that we must keep before us in bringing the African peoples forward on the road to self-government. He said that the first was law and order, and the second was the liberty of the individual. Surely there is a third, is there not? If we think the individual needs his liberty, if we value the individual, surely he must have the right to determine his own future. He must have a say in his own Government; and that is what it is all about. I was surprised that the noble Lord left out what is at least of equal importance, I think, with the two principles that he mentioned.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, may I just intervene for a moment to say that my worry is that the man in the street (to put it like that) will get the sort of Government which will suppress his liberty, and that is what we have to avoid.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
He has to get the Government first, and that is where we say he is not a full individual. Frankly, from this side of the House I think I can say that we do not regard the road to self-government as complete unless there is "one man, one vote". That may be a slogan, but it is a very simple and elementary truth, following on from our belief in the fact that the individual is the important thing.
May I end with a warning and a hope? Several noble Lords talked about acceleration, and hoped the Government would not accelerate the process. My Lords, it is not a question of using the accelerator but of using the brake—of how hard you put the brake on—because the desire for self-government and political advance is there. We implanted it and we encouraged it, and we have committed ourselves to the ultimate goal of self-government for all our dependent territories. But if we try to keep the brake on too hard, we have warnings before us in other parts of Africa where there are plural societies. I was not sure whether the noble Earl, Lord Home, was saying that East and Central Africa were unique in being plural societies. Surely the big fact to keep before our eyes is that Algeria and the Union of South Africa are plural societies, and it is just because they have mismanaged their affairs that we see what could happen if the brake were kept on too hard.
Finally, I would say that there are grounds for hope, not the least of which was the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth. The noble Earl belongs to a political group which I understand is gaining strength and is committed to a policy of racial tolerance and good will. I believe that that is where there is plenty of ground for hope, and Her Majesty's Government are well justified in pursuing the results of the Conference. We hope that many people who have interests, land and so on in Kenya will not sell out, but will agree to carry on whatever the colour of the skins of the Ministers in power, because, as the noble Lord, 408 Lord Hemingford, said, what is required is that there should be good will between the races. That applies also to the officials in the administration and, as they are now called, the expatriate officials serving in Kenya. We hope that they will go on and give the new Government the benefit of their experience. With those signs of good will I think there is every hope, and we support the right honourable gentleman the Colonial Secretary in his efforts.
§ 8.22 p.m.
§ LORD TWEEDSMUIR
My Lords, we are all grateful to my noble friend Lord Hastings for instituting this debate. It has been one that I think none of us will forget for a long time. I am sure that one of the things we shall remember is the extraordinary unanimity that has been shown, on both sides of the House, on all major points. It struck me as being a very thoughtful House, still waters proverbially running deep. We were fortunate to hear the remarkable maiden speech of the noble Lord, Lord Delamere, and to have also back with us from Kenya the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth. Anybody who heard their speeches, and anybody who reads them to-morrow, should, I think, feel that the bogy is laid for ever of the hysterical, greedy, grasping, myopic Kenya settler. The views that they put forward are, I understand, the views held by the great majority of those who farm with them in Kenya.
I think that in this House, so far as the Europeans, Asians and Africans go, we can see all sides of the question, and we can see, and sympathise with, their difficulties. Tributes have been paid to the Europeans in Kenya. Indeed, they built up the country for the good of all and to the detriment of none. They have prospered since the war and they are now caught up in this crisis of confidence and a political issue. When I first went to Kenya 26 years ago there was no political crisis at all, but there was an economic crisis of the first order: sisal sold at £11 a ton, coffee at £25 a ton, and it was difficult to make a living. They have seen every kind of storm, economic, political and otherwise, and they have gone on doggedly doing their job, building up that country; and, as the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said, we have a moral obligation to them which I think 409 no one on either side of the House has denied.
It is quite plain that the majority of the Kenya settlers accept the idea that the Africans must have a larger and larger share in the government of the country and the only thing they feel is what we all feel—that is, that as they get a larger share so must they show a commensurate responsibility and restraint in the use of it. The African political Parties in that country have grown up in just the same way as new political Parties in all new countries in the Commonwealth. You start off not with a leader and a Party; you start off, in fact, with what are leaders and followers. You have it all to yourself because no one wants to listen to moderation and the agitation leader has the hustings at his entire command. So long as you are talking, and so long as you do not accept office, you have power without any responsibility of any kind. In Africa, also, there is something that does not exist in quite the same way as in most other countries—the extraordinary feeling of haste. The Africans grow older much more quickly than we do, and somehow it seems a faster race with time. Five years hence seems a long way off to an African, and ten years almost unthinkable.
I must say that my heart was lightened enormously this morning when I read in the newspapers that three Africans had decided to take the responsibility of Government portfolios: in other words, to come out from the privileged position of irresponsibility to the highly shot-at positions of members of a Government. I give them the highest marks. I also give the highest marks to Mr. Abalemba, who has had a lonely, isolated period as the only African Minister for some time past, a post he has discharged with the greatest skill and one in which he has incurred a great deal of criticism.
In this crisis of confidence, which we hope we are going to see ameliorated, it is always worth remembering that when politics and economics ever clash politics always wins. With new Parties coming to power, and with new leaders, you will have a lot of fiery talk and refusal to compromise. You get that in any country. But it matters almost more in Africa, because the flashpoint of Africa 410 is very low and it does not require a large spark to set off a very large blaze.
Kenya is immensely important economically to the whole of that part of the world. Mombasa is not merely a port of Kenya, but is the port of Uganda; and it is also the port for certain parts of Northern Tanganyika. Nairobi is the undisputed commercial capital of the British East African territories. We are seeing now an unwillingness for capital to go in there, and capital they must have. Capital to my mind—though we were chided by my noble friend Lord Portsmouth with being a little timid in the City of London about capital—runs rather like a river: it will run in the channels which are prepared for it and in which it can maintain its momentum. In a place like Kenya, having poured in there in the past, it can pour out again and dry up completely. One thing it cannot do is to go to any country where it is unlikely to receive a just treatment. Like water, it cannot flow uphill. The onus is on all the races to show that they can work together so that Kenya is a creditworthy country. On that a great deal depends.
A lot has been said about the "wind of change", and the word "nationalism" has been used a great deal. In many ways the trouble in Kenya is that it is not nationalism. Nationalism is really possible only in countries of homogeneous peoples. Nationalism is possible only when you have a feeling of nationality. That is something which Europeans in Kenya have. To have a feeling of nationality about Britain is natural for them. It is a difficult thing for the African, who is much more often apt to think of his race or his tribe. I have always imagined that Dr. Nkrumah changed the name of the Gold Coast to Ghana, because the Gold Coast was an entity which could not be easily grasped, and "Ghana" had some heredity in their history and was a name which they could grasp. Whatever happens, government must go on, and government will go on within the framework of the Civil Service, whose task it is to keep the wheels turning. We pay them an unstinted tribute. They are a curious British mixture of idealism and common sense. We cannot Africanise them overnight. We have been trying for a long time to get the 411 first ones in, and we have them in, but it depends on education. After all, those of us in this House who went to preparatory school, public school and a university, took thirteen years getting educated. Education is rather a slow process. By all means let us hasten it, if we can, by speeding up educational facilities.
Last of all, of the "Westminster model". I cordially agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, said about everybody wanting a Westminster because they regard it as the finest model of government. I did not agree with the rest of what he said. Shorn of all its trappings, what does this "Westminster" democracy mean? Surely it means government by respect for the other man's point of view; the acceptance of compromise as part of politics. Have we not on all sides of this House accepted compromises? Ten years ago this present day's debate would have seemed unlikely, and twenty years ago unthinkable. Last of all it is the acceptance, in principle, of the Government alternating from one set of hands to another.
At Lancaster House it has been claimed that a new feeling of Kenya nationality was born. The further step taken by those three Africans mentioned in this morning's newspapers I believe was a far-reaching one. I believe, as the most reverend Primate believes, that there is hope and real hope in Kenya. It can never be a melting pot. It must always exist by the recognition of, and respect for, the differences of others. If those races can work together—and they did against Mau Mau, which was a unifying force and not a disruptive one—then, indeed, there is tremendous hope, so long as both sides see the need for the acceptance of compromise—and there is every sign of it. But let us not take our next step until we are quite sure that we are treading on ground that we know is firm; and that is common ground.
§ 8.33 p.m.
§ EARL ATTLEE
My Lords, at this late hour I shall not detain your Lordships long. We have had an interesting debate and a number of very good speeches, not least that of the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, who has just 412 sat down. It seems to me that there has been fairly broad agreement in the House with the exception, perhaps, of the noble Marquess who, I think, gave every argument against political reform which has been used since 1832. I do not think you can do that to-day. It has been said that a wind is blowing. I think the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, was quite right in saying that it is wrong to describe it as nationalism. I should term it Africanism. Just as you have the same breeze blowing right across Asia, so there is the consciousness of the African's need for a place in the sun.
I speak with no authority whatever on the African problem. I have been only a little way into Africa, but I think there are some things one can learn from the history of our build-up of the Commonwealth. The first is this. You will always find that a people wanting reform want it to go quicker than it can. That is one of the difficulties with an interim Constitution. The tendency is for them always to think of the next Constitution, and not to try to work the one they have. I saw that quite a lot in India. I think it is of importance that when this Constitution comes in they should have some successes—that is to say, that constitutional change wants to be backed up with a big economic drive. Sometimes we make a mistake by retaining in our own hands the unpleasant side of government and giving all the pleasant sides to the others. I think that makes only for irresponsibility.
I agree with what has been said about the courage of those members who have taken office. There is a tendency for everybody else to say, "We would have done much better than you. You have gone back on us." They need to be backed up, and they need to be able to do things. I am glad to see the financial proposals in this White Paper, because they have got to be given their chance. I am not much surprised by the argument for the restriction of franchise. I have never found that the possession of a certain amount of money necessarily made for an equal proportion of political sense—quite often the other way. Nor do I believe that because a person cannot read the Daily Mail he is politically unintelligent. After all, we have enfranchised many people who could not read and write but who speak a great 413 deal of common sense. Take the example of India. That was a big leap in the dark. We franchised an enormous, illiterate population. But it worked. They had an election. The important thing is that it gives those people the chance at some time or other of being able to use that vote. Exclude people from the vote, even though they cannot all use the vote very wisely, and it is unconstitutional action. After all, a great many people do not use the vote very wisely in this country.
The suggestion is that you cannot learn by talking, but you can learn only by reading. There is a great deal more sense spoken in the workshop or the "pub" than you get from a great many newspapers. If they have this vote, then they may talk about it; and if they have not, they will not talk about it, and perhaps they will not think about it. This is a tremendous step for a multi-racial community. It is an experiment fraught with tremendous importance, not only for Africa, but for the whole of the Commonwealth. There is a chance here of setting a great example to be followed. I am bound to say that the work of this Conference was remarkable and that all three Parties and the Secretary of State deserve our thanks for what they have done. I think it will have an enormous effect throughout Africa and thoughout the British Commonwealth.
I should like to congratulate the Secretary of State on the way in which he brought about that Conference. We should be wise to contempate an extension of the franchise, and we must be prepared for this Constitution not to last for ever. It is an interim Constitution. If we can get our African friends to work it, that is of major importance. So often constitutional advances of this kind are used merely to obstruct Government in order to get a further advance. Our African friends will realise that they are inexperienced, and that they will get an invaluable experience from working this Constitution, even if it does not go the whole way. It does give an example to all communities to work together.
Finally, one word on safeguards. I do not believe safeguards in Constitutions are much use. I entirely agree with, I think it was, the noble Lord, Lord Hemingford, who said that what is 414 needed is goodwill. If you put in safeguards, you generally tend to get an attack on them by other people; if you rely on goodwill you may do a great deal. I always greatly admired the traders and interested people in India who said, when the time, came, "We will ask for nothing; we will rely on goodwill". They have been abundantly justified. I think it may be the same in Kenya.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
My Lords, as all the previous speakers have said, we are indeed in debt to the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, for bringing this Motion before us to-day. Having just heard the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, speak, I am also greatly indebted for his wise words based on great experience, and I know that for my part I will bear them all in mind when we consider what we may do in the future.
The Constitution that has been laid out in this White Paper was not, as various noble Lords have said, an imposed one; rather was it one which represented perhaps the highest common denominator of agreement, and as such we know that the Africans, the Arabs, the Asians and the Europeans, are all going to try to make it work. I am very glad about the almost universal approval that has been expressed in this House to-day. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, raised the question of timing. I think his warning and his doubts about timing are very valuable. We must think about these things. We must not just plunge ahead, and I, for one, will be sure to see that these warnings are borne in mind. I would point this out to him, however: that this new Constitution is but one step forward, as appears in the White Paper. We say:This stage and all future stages of Kenya's constitutional evolution.That shows what is in our mind; this is one stage and there will be future stages.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I do not want to interrupt the noble Earl. What I think worried me and others was that though he says there is a general measure of agreement on this document, there does not seem to have been agreement about the length of the stages. I think Her Majesty's Government generally want to give these new 415 proposals a fair trial and not go further ahead unless they prove a success, but that did not seem to be the view of the African Elected Members. Therefore I was very glad to get the assurances which the noble Earl gave this afternoon. I only wish they were slightly more specific. But as far as they go I think they improve the position.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
I think the important thing is that at this moment the African Constituency Elected Members have actually translated their words into action during the interim stage, which they recognise as an interim stage before the next Constitution comes into force.
May I take up one or two questions raised on the White Paper? The noble Marquess asked about franchise qualifications. Seventy-five pounds—well, that is not a bad qualification to have. It is about the qualification of a taxpayer, and generally I think it is an accepted thing that taxpayers should have a say in the running of things. Again, the question was raised about the ability to read and write in their own language. What language? The language of the tribe. It was proved in the last elections that very often the local voter would need to read appeals or other writing in his own language, and it is a usual and proper thing as a qualification.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
I should think almost certainly the provincial administration. It is the sort of thing they have had to do before. Then the question arises about over forty years of age. It is quite true that there may not be records that go back forty years in every case, but we have the census of 1948 to help us. I think the noble Marquess knows and your Lordships know that the elders are people of special importance and have a special reputation, and it is valuable to get their advice and their vote on political matters. It may be that somebody may be 38 or 37, but I think we must accept that generally they are over 40 years of age.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
I am sorry, but there you are. Then we come to the question of office holders. The office holders will be the same kind as those in Tanganyika.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
I have not got the full list before me. I should be glad to send it to the noble Marquess. The point is that these office holders are thinking people, and that is the thought we have in trying to arrive at the qualifications for the franchise. The noble Lord, Lord Faringdon, asked why there are National Members. That is part of an undertaking that we gave that we would have these people for a period of time, and we are obviously not going to break that undertaking. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, in what I am afraid I found a very carping speech about the White Paper, which necessarily cannot dot all the i's and cross all the t's, asked what was the good of a Legislature with only 20 seats for the Europeans and Asians and other races out of 53; they would not have a chance in the things to come; they would not have a voice. It seems to me that he entirely forgot the fact that there is to be an Executive; in that Executive there are to be four official Ministers and eight unofficial, of whom four are to be African, three European and one Asian. So there is every reason to expect that the Europeans and Asians and unofficials will have a real voice in the running of the country. So much for the detailed questions that were raised on the White Paper as such.
The next thing to turn to is the issue of land. This is one of the three really important things that have been discussed in this debate. We heard the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, talk to us about land, with his experience of Kenya, and he made a particular point about unemployment and the need to try to help to get things right again. Of course, as is to be seen in the White Paper, we have, apart from anything else, agreed to contribute a regular sum by taking over the cost of the forces; this will release about £1 million a year for the people of Kenya to use for whatever purpose they may choose.
Then the mention of land gave us the chance to hear from the noble Lord, 417 Lord Delamere. To me his was one of the most encouraging speeches; for example, when he said it was his determination—which was also echoed by the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth—that the whites, the European farmers, were going to help the Africans. We heard Lord Portsmouth say how he was waiting until the law allowed him to have an African as tenant to help him develop his land; and I know that is in the mind of the noble Lord, Lord Delamere, and many others of the European farmers. That is the sort of spirit that we want to see.
What was most clear, and the thing that is really worrying about land, is the fear of the farmers—their lack of confidence. The noble Lord, Lord Wrenbury, stressed that. I would only say that we have tried—I and my noble Leader—to do what we can to reassure the farmers and the Europeans in Kenya that their fears are groundless. Just to illustrate how groundless these fears are I would say this. I have heard on many sides that there was great apprehension in Kenya because, when the Prime Minister was making a speech the other day in which he told of his African visit and the various countries that he had been to, he was talking about the Federation and he gave assurances that those of the Federation would not be let down or deserted. This was a perfectly normal thing, and one would have thought no more of it. But the cry went out in Kenya, "Oh, we were not mentioned; therefore we are going to be deserted." I can only assure your Lordships that the Prime Minister, when he was talking of the Federation, did so because that was one of the countries he visited; but he had equally in mind—and I give full assurance on this—that people in any other of the African territories in which Europeans live, including Kenya, were of course included in the words of assurance that he gave.
Apart from reassurances in words, what is even more important is reassurances in a practical scheme. That, of course, is what we are working on. I was glad to have Lord Ogmore's support in saying that he thought we were working on the right lines. I would say this, first of all, on this scheme: that it is not only for the Africans; it is to be for all the races, and is based, of course, on the best use 418 of the land. I agree entirely on the urgency of this scheme, but we cannot get it going until the new laws about land tenure have been passed in Kenya; and even then it will take time. These things must take time to get them right. It is much better to take a little longer and to get them right than to have the thing in a mess. It is most complicated, but I can assure your Lordships that I am doing all I can to get things moving. It is absolutely clear that we have to get it launched well before the elections.
Then we come to the question of safeguards. As so many noble Lords have said, written safeguards have value only if those who come after are prepared to accept the written word. All the same, I think we must not depreciate or despise them too much. They have a real value—the value of judicial enforcement, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Denning pointed out—as a Bill of Rights; and if they are in a Constitution then it is that much more difficult to ignore them or, as it were, to take them out. Of course they depend on their acceptance by those who are in power. But there is a good start, as so many noble Lords have said—namely, that the African Constituency Elected Members have not been intimidated but have had the courage to come in now, in this difficult period before the new Constitution comes into force. As the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, said, we owe a great debt of gratitude to them.
Mention of intimidation recalls the great stress that has already been laid to-day on the need to prevent victimisation of the Kikuyu loyalists and to protect them from vengeance by Mau Mau sympathisers. I entirely accept that we have an obligation in this matter, and I am sure that no one in your Lordships' House would wish it otherwise. If we do not afford them protection and support, then the machinery of government, for which we so much rely on the African loyalists, would break down, and respect and trust for our authority would disappear. Having said this, I must make it plain that our aim must not be to perpetuate past feuds. It is too much to expect that the past can or should be entirely forgotten, but with the ending of the emergency regulations our aim has been to close the unhappy chapter of the past 419 seven years. None the less, we must, and will, be on our guard against the resurgence of Mau Mau. The noble Viscount, Lord Stansgate, said that he felt that we should think of Kenyatta as a political leader who ultimately is to be brought into the discussions.
That is not what I said. What I said was that, speaking from my own experience, I hazarded a guess that he would be brought in.
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
I am indeed glad to have the difference—it is a most important difference. If I may say so with respect to the experience of the' noble Viscount, he should not draw a parallel, because Kenyatta is no ordinary nationalist leader. He is not just somebody who has gone beyond the bounds of the law in advocating some extremely nationalistic policies. He is a man who was convicted in the courts, having his conviction confirmed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, of managing Mau Mau—in other words, a man who organised a violent, primitive and brutal movement which caused untold suffering to his own people. I think I need say no more on this particular point.
Law and order must and will be maintained; and it is a comfort, but no surprise, to me to think that the most reverend Primate and all noble Lords confirm that they are behind us in doing this. Constitutional progress in stages which in its turn means responsibility, land development and safeguards, whether written or, perhaps even more important, unwritten, are the three hopes of Kenya's future. All the races must together form Kenya. That is a desperately difficult thing. If it succeeds—and I hope and pray that it will—it will be one of the greatest of human triumphs, and its effects will surely spread far and wide all over Africa.
§ 8.58 p.m.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, I know that we are all most grateful to the noble Earl, Lord Perth, for speaking a second time to-day; for picking up those many points which have been made during the course of the debate, and answering them in detail, and especially 420 for the reassurances which he has given in his last speech, which I am sure the people of Kenya have been waiting to hear. It only remains for me to thank all noble Lords who have contributed to this debate, which I feel sure I am right in saying has been one of the most interesting that we have had in your Lordships' House for a very long time. I am sure, too, that I am right in saying that the tenor of all the speeches was extremely high.
I would thank all noble Lords, but I think I should mention only two names, those of the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, and of the noble Lord, Lord Delamere, and say how sincerely grateful we are to them for coming here from Kenya; that we really mean it; that their speeches contributed a great deal to our debate, and that we hope that what they have heard here will have made them feel that their journey was worth while. My Lords, I thank everybody again and beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.