§ 5.55 p.m.
§ The MARQUESS OF SALISBURY rose to call attention to the present state of Kenya; and to move for Papers. The noble Marquess said: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name. In doing so I make no complaint, of course, about the time that has been taken by the previous debate. Obviously, it raised very important principles on both sides. But I would suggest, if I might, with all deference to the Leader of the House, that it would have been better if the Government had given a day for a debate on so urgent a matter as Kenya, when it could come as first Order. I had asked, when I put down this Motion, for as good a time as I could get, and I was offered only the second Order on a Monday. In Kenya, itself, as I am sure many noble Lords know, great importance is attached to this debate, and I suggest that it really is hardly decent that it should be started at such a late hour as this, in a House that is already tired. If I have not opposed it, it is only because I thought it would cause greater disappointment if it did not come on to-day.
§ Now I would turn to the Motion itself. I have drafted it, as your Lordships know, in the broadest terms. I did that quite deliberately, so as to allow noble Lords to go as fully as they wished into all and every aspect of the situation that faces that unhappy country. This, of course, includes the latest development of all, the replacement of Sir Patrick Renison by Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, of which we have had no full explanation yet and which is likely, I should have thought, for the time being at any rate, to increase the already great uncertainties of the situation. Although I have had, and I have no doubt other noble Lords have had too, from Kenya itself, very varying opinions about the position, and no 65 doubt we shall have more of them this evening, and though the last thing I want to do is to paint too black a picture of the situation there, yet I feel it has all the aspects of a country where, if things are not handled right, there is, economically, at any rate, a very real danger that it will bleed to death, for the European and to some extent the Asiatic population are, I understand, beginning to lose heart, and they have been the life blood of Kenya during the last half-century. I think it will be sufficient for me to give two figures to show that that, if anything, is an understatement of what the Europeans have achieved.
§ It is, I believe, on record that in 1898—that is, five years after I was born—the exports from the old port of Mombasa were 11 tons of ivory and 10 tons of hides. In the year 1960, so I am told, the exports of farm produce alone through the port of Mombasa amounted to over £25 million, of which £20 million came from the European farms. Indeed, I feel we are all under a tremendous obligation to the white settlers, to the ex-Service men and others, who were encouraged and even begged by successive British Governments to go to Kenya, and who have invested not only their money but their lives. That, of course, is particularly the case as regards the ex-Service men who went out under the Government scheme after the last great War. For as your Lordships know, as a condition for their admission to the Government scheme they were required to get rid of all their assets in other parts of the world. If, therefore, things go wrong in Kenya, they will be utterly ruined, because of the condition which a British Government made.
§ What is true of the ex-Service men of whom I have just spoken is, in effect, I think, true also of other white settlers. All of them were encouraged to go to Kenya and all, as in the White Highlands Ordinance, were given every reason to suppose that they would have security of tenure there. Until recently, mainly as a result of their effort, the country was prospering, and was likely to prosper more and more as increasing areas of the country were opened up and more and more of the profits of the European farmers were ploughed back into the soil of Kenya, where they had made 66 what they believed to be their permanent homes.
§ That, my Lords, was the situation until a few years ago. And what is the position in the country now? As I already said earlier, the European population, who have been the backbone of Kenya's prosperity, are rapidly losing heart and hope. They know they are likely to be handed over in one, two or three years at most, perhaps, to the tender mercies of men who are still only one generation removed from a savage state; men without any inherited understanding of the hard facts of economics, and without any of our traditions of tolerance; men still primitive, and many of them only avid for political power. They know, these settlers, to what excesses the primitive African can be only too easily excited. They know what has happened in the Congo; they know what happened in Kenya itself to some of the Europeans and even more of the loyal Kikuyus during the Mau-Mau rebellion. They are told by one African leader that the British troops (which are, after all, their main if not their only protection) will not be permitted to stay after independence. They are told by another African leader that they will not be allowed to keep their allegiance to the Queen or their British nationality after independence.
§ On the other side, the British Government seem to remain resolutely silent as to the future of their fellow countrymen and loyal Africans who are facing so dark and dangerous a future. It is true that the Government have pledged themselves to buy one million acres in the White Highlands for African settlement, and it was probably a very wise thing for them to have done that. But that scheme, quite frankly, was devised more for the benefit of the African than for the European, and only a limited proportion of the mixed farmers of Kenya will benefit from it, for many of them do not live in the area which is the subject of the million-acre plan and so, as they see it, they may well be left to stew in their own juice. Moreover, even of those who will benefit under the scheme there are many who have, so I understand, grave doubts as to whether the plan will ever be fully implemented if independence comes before it is completed.67
§ In these circumstances, as they sit brooding in small remote farms, with possibly a wife and family of small children dependent on them, is it surprising that they feel, many of them, at any rate, much though they love Kenya, that there is no longer any future for them there or for those to come after them, and that they had better move while they can, whatever the cost, and start a new life elsewhere, where prospects are more hopeful? They are more encouraged to do this, my Lords, since they see other elements in the European community, who have played an essential part in making civilised life possible for them, moving out too. Doctors, schoolmasters, even civil servants (from accounts that have reached me) are beginning already to leave, and will do so far more as soon as the stage of internal self-government is reached; and with their departure the whole fabric of European society will be in imminent danger of disintegration.
§ But, of course, the most important and the most worrying of all for the future of the country will be the departure of the farmers themselves, on whom the prosperity and indeed the viability of Kenya mainly depend. Of these, from what I hear, out of 3,600 registered mixed farmers over 500 have already gone—and that very likely is only a beginning. A very few, according to what I hear, have simply abandoned their farms, but they are very few; others are selling them for what they will fetch—and that is often very little; and, of the remainder—perhaps the most serious portent of all—nearly all have ceased to plough back money into their farms. On the contrary, many are beginning to mine them, to take what they can out of them, hoping to save something from what they believe to be the wreck of their fortunes.
§ This widespread deterioration in the farming position and loss of confidence in the future is beginning to lead to another evil result. There is already a very large amount of unemployment among agricultural labourers. According to my information, 8,000 Kikuyu families are likely to be unemployed in the very near future, and this may well increase (according to the same information) to 30,000 families next year; and 68 your Lordships will not need me to tell you the dangers that might arise from large numbers of idle, hungry Africans roaming the countryside.
§ That, my Lords, is the bleak situation that, from the information I have, is facing Kenya to-day, and what I want to know, like a great many other people, is what the Government propose to do about it. It seems to me that they have, broadly speaking, only two courses before them, things having reached the present pass. They could, of course, decide just to "let things rip" and abandon the Europeans and loyal Africans to their fate if things go wrong. That would be one alternative, though a very shaming one. Alternatively, as we must all hope, they could still try, even at this late hour, to do what is possible to re-create the confidence that has been so severely damaged. It is, I say quite frankly, a main purpose of my Motion this afternoon to try to find out on which of these two policies the Government have decided.
§ They cannot just let things drift. If they have already written Kenya off as a "dead loss", if it is indeed their policy for Africa as a whole to get rid of our responsibilities there as soon as we decently can—if that was the meaning of the "wind of change" speech, then it is clearly better that we should know it as soon as possible, though the outlook for loyal Africans in particular, abandoned by those they have been brought up to trust, would not be one which one would like to think of. But if, as I hope, that is not their decision, if it is still their intention when independence comes to the country not to abandon all our friends there, black and white, but to do what they can to ensure that a transition takes place which is peaceful and evolutionary—if that is their policy, then I submit, my Lords, that it is essential that they should take such steps as they can here and now to restore confidence before it is too late.
§ There are things, I believe, which could still be done which would help. First, I suggest that it should be made clear now that independence will not be granted and British troops will not leave the country until there is good reason to suppose that we are handing over the maintenance of law and order to responsible hands. A firm statement of that kind by itself would, I believe, 69 do an immense amount to restore confidence, both in the loyal Africans and in the Europeans. It is the more important that this should be done, for my information is that the police, who are now largely Africanised and who are an extremely fine body of men, are unlikely to stay on under their new masters. The danger of serious disorders, therefore, if troops are withdrawn prematurely, will be very great.
§ Then, my Lords, there is the question of nationality which, as I think we all know, is greatly perturbing the European population of Kenya. The African political leaders never weary of saying that when independence comes it will be necessary for all white Kenyans of British birth to repudiate their British nationality and, with it, their allegiance to the Crown and accept Kenyan nationality alone. This idea is indignantly rejected by a large proportion of the white population. Bitter opponents though they are of recent policies of the Home Government, and raw though they know the deal is they feel they have had they still retain a passionate loyalty to the Crown and would rather suffer than give it up. Moreover, by surrendering British nationality they would surrender, too, all claims to the protection of the British Crown.
§ We must all sympathise with these feelings as loyal subjects of the Crown ourselves. And is it really necessary that they should? There are in the world to-day many examples of dual nationality. Why is it not possible that that solution should be applied here? I know what we shall be told: the African leaders would not agree to it. Must we always give way to pressure of that kind? Whatever may be decided about the granting of independence—and even if it is made a condition by the new Kenyan Government that take office after independence that all residents of Kenya henceforth should have Kenyan nationality—could we not make it clear that we in this country shall continue to regard all those of British birth, who so wish it, as retaining in addition British nationality—and by this I mean United Kingdom nationality with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto? That would surely do much to steady the position and is surely not too much for our 70 fellow countrymen to ask of us, who are asking so much of them. Only, my Lords, to have full effect, the statement should be made now so that both White Kenyans and African leaders shall know where they stand.
§ And now I should like to say a word about what has come to be known as the "compassionate cases". These are cases where, for special reasons, it seems desirable that certain white residents of Kenya should be bought out and enabled to leave the country at the earliest possible moment. Some of these have been put in the list for security reasons; some because they may live in particularly dangerous areas and, owing to their past records, may be special targets for attack; or they may be people who, owing to age or infirmity, are unable to defend themselves from attack in the event of serious lawlessness. There is another category—old, poor people, whose livelihoods, owing to recent developments, are coming to an end; frail, old ladies with small shops in Nairobi or elsewhere which, owing to the changed circumstances of to-day, have ceased to provide them with even a modest living; and other people of that kind. It is essential that something should be done for these special cases as soon as possible.
§ I believe the Government of Kenya have compiled a list of cases which would have high priority. One list deals with rural areas and the other, about the same size, with urban areas. But I understand that out of upwards of 500 high priority cases on these two lists the British Treasury has up to now provided sufficient money to deal with only 63. The rest have had to be left to face the perils of the future. I should be glad to know whether the noble Marquess is sympathetic on this subject, and would let us know the present position regarding these compassionate cases; and I hope that we may have the assurance this afternoon that all those on these first urgent lists are already being dealt with.
§ And now, my Lords, to the most urgent aspect of all if confidence is to be restored. Have the Government given any more thought to the broad land position which, it is generally agreed, is the key to Kenya's problems? There seems to be a serious delay over 71 implementation of even the limited plans which the Government have already announced. Why, for instance, has no appointment yet been made to the chairmanship of the Central Land Board? It is now eight months since it was announced that the Board was to be set up, and we were given to understand that this was a matter of first urgency on which much of the Government's policy depended. Yet eight months have now passed and still appointment has been made.
§ I fully recognise that there may be many reasons for this delay. I know how difficult it is to find exactly the right man for a job of this importance, but it would be better to have a man who is not quite the best than no man at all. The delay in appointing a chairman is beginning to raise doubts whether the Government ever regarded the policy really seriously; especially because I believe that the scheme is at present having to be administered by a Minister who is a member of the K.A.N.U. party and (whatever other qualifications he has) cannot be regarded as ideal for the job. I hope, therefore, that the Government will be able to announce to-day the name of the chairman of this Board, or, at any rate, that there will be no further delay in filling that most important post.
§ And now, lastly, I come to the main land problem. Have the Government any new thoughts on this? I warned them when I last spoke on Kenya in your Lordships' House that if they pressed the white people of Kenya too hard they would take the only remedy open to them and walk out. Subsequent events have not falsified that prediction. The million-acre plan, though it sounds so large, would by itself only touch the fringe of the problem. For one thing, it affects only those farmers living in the area selected for the scheme. Something more must surely be attempted. Here I should like to put forward a proposal which, I assure noble Lords, I offer in no captious spirit. On the contrary, I offer it as a constructive proposition, one which would, I believe, if adopted, go some way towards easing the unhappy situation in which so many Kenyan farmers find themselves to-day.
§ I should say that my proposal is primarily concerned with the 3 million acres of former White Highlands which 72 have been developed as mixed farms, and of which one million acres are, in any case, to be purchased over the next five years for African occupants. As I said earlier, the last thing I want to do is to criticise the million-acre scheme. There are, of course, sound reasons why the million acres designed for African settlement should be purchased in consolidated blocks of land adjacent to the existing African tribal land units. Although no direct measures are to be taken to compel European landowners within these blocks to sell their farms, the exigencies of the situation will, I expect, almost inevitably force most of them to do so.
§ But there will be some among them who will not want to leave Kenya, even though they are forced out of their present homes and farms. It would clearly be of great advantage to the country if the skill and knowledge of these farmers could be retained. I understand that there are among them a number of farmers of proved ability, who would be prepared, so I am assured, given reasonable inducement, to bulk up some of the smaller farms into large company holdings, which would employ a limited number of Europeans on expatriate terms—which would mean, of course, that they would not be obliged to give up their British nationality—and which would employ, too, a large number of Africans, not only on normal farm work but also, when suitable qualified men could be found, in managerial posts and on their boards of directors.
§ The proposal, which, I say frankly, is not my own but which has been put to me, is that a substantial capital fund should be set up from which suitable people of any race would be able to obtain loans on easy terms to acquire land and establish such farming companies. Bearing in mind the present political climate in Kenya and the possibility that a future African Government might well impose exchange control, one must recognise that it is improbable that capital to the amount required would be forthcoming from ordinary commercial sources, or indeed at rates that would be sufficiently attractive in current circumstances. It would therefore, I say frankly, be incumbent on Her Majesty's Government to provide the necessary capital.
§ Experience shows that large companies of this character do not appear to attract 73 the same enmity among nationalist Africans as properties owned privately by individual Europeans, and I suggest that a fund of this nature, for which the land itself could be security, could be an enduring Investment for good in the long-term prosperity of Kenya, as well as a means of restoring a measure of confidence in the immediate future. Such is my proposition, which, as I say, I put forward with a very real desire to help, and I would most earnestly corn-mend it to the serious consideration of Her Majesty's Government as a means of continuing our assistance to Kenya beyond the date of independence.
I read the other day a remark made by a candidate at one of the recent by-elections, in reply to a questioner at a public meeting who was worried by the pace at which the colonial empire was being liquidated. This is what the candidate said:
If you had your way, the British Empire would remain a glorified slum for you to exploit".
Like many other noble Lords, I have fought contested elections myself, and I know that it would be wrong to blame people too much for what they said in such circumstances as that, but I could not help reading those words with a sense of painful shock. Is that really to be our epitaph, after the noble work done by British men and women in Kenya and other Colonies over the last half century? Is it to go down in history that, in our view, all that they have created and are still trying to create, in conditions cruel enough to break the stoutest heart, is "a colonial slum"? Do we in any part of this House really think that? If not—and I hope that that is not the view of any of us here—it is surely our duty to see that, so far as lies in our power, not only those of British origin but also those multifarious peoples who have been our care for so long, do not suffer by our departure. It is in that spirit that I venture to raise these matters with the Government, and with all of your Lordships, to-day. The peoples of Africa, white and black—countless thousands of them—have put their trust in us in the past. It is for us to see now that we do not let them down. I beg to move for Papers.
§ 6.26 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, there are at least two points which the noble 74 Marquess and I have in common. First, I share his disappointment that this debate has taken place so late in the evening, when many noble Lords who might otherwise have been here are unable to be in the House. I hope that it is no indication of the degree of importance that the Government places on this subject that this has so happened. The second point on which I am in complete agreement with the noble Marquess is in his depressed view about the future of Kenya. That certainly is something on which we cannot look with equanimity or with confidence. Though I hope that some of the gloomier prognostications which we have heard, not so much from the noble Marquess as from others, will not be fulfilled.
However, I would say to him that one of the most important contributions that we in this country can make is to do everything in our power to ensure that there is the fullest possible co-operation and confidence between the white people and the coloured people in Kenya. For that reason I do not share certain remarks that he made in the earlier part of his speech, about the primitive Africans and their inability to take responsibility, and the dire results that would follow if they gained power or were given power too soon. There is no point in going through past history. Some years ago, the decision was taken—rightly taken, we believe, though possibly after too much delay—to give independence to Kenya; and what is more, independence under a more or less democratically elected African Government. Our position must now be to see what Her Majesty's Government can do to ensure the success of that decision.
There are two things, above all, that we must do. As the noble Marquess has said, we must build up the productivity of the country. The noble Marquess rightly laid stress on agriculture, but we should not succeed in our object if we confined ourselves to agriculture. Kenya must also be industrialised. It cannot prosper as a purely agricultural country. There must be employment for people in the towns, otherwise they will form nothing but an urban proletariat, the natural prey to agitators and people whose interest it is to raise trouble. There must also be a modern and mechanised agriculture. Kenya must come to that, as every other country 75 must come to it. But let us not forget that, though we should give primary attention to agriculture, there is also the important question of industrialisation. The second thing we must try to do is to break down not only the mistrust that so many Kenyan Africans feel against Europeans, but also the mistrust which exists among Africans themselves, between one tribe and another. We are now seeing more and more clearly that the gravest danger to stability in Kenya is likely to lie in tribal conflict and rivalry, in tribal mistrust rather than in mistrust of Europeans.
What can we do to increase the economic standing of the country? The noble Marquess has mentioned capital Without capital it is impossible for any progress to be made. Although I would not go the whole way with the noble Marquess in his suggestion of a Land Bank, I think that any form of agricultural mortgage corporation which is prepared, if possible on an international basis, to advance money on the security of the land itself is something which we should pursue with great energy; and not only in Kenya but also in all other countries where we have any control or influence. That is essential if we are to have any economic advance in those countries.
Secondly, we must make sure that there is the fullest possible co-operation between all people of all skills, whether it is managerial skill, craftsman's skill, the skill of the herdsman, of the tractor driver, the company director or whoever it may be. In other words, there must be full co-operation between the black and the white population. As I said earlier, anything that is said which is going to increase the strain between those people can be only to the detriment of the future of Kenya. Anything that can be done to remove mistrust will be to the advantage of Kenya.
Thirdly, I believe that we should press on, in so far as we can, with encouragement—and we can do no more than encourage—towards the formation of an East African Federation. That was the hope, and is still the hope, of many of us. The common services are still in existence and are still being administered. But we must remember that the time is rapidly departing when 76 the formation of a Federation is going to be easy. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will become. Uganda already has independence, as has Tanganyika. If, within the same few months, Kenya also had had her independence, it would have been far easier to achieve this Federation. But if Kenyan independence is delayed for another six months or longer, and the other two countries have by then found their feet, and have got into their general way of administering their new countries, the attractions to them of coming in with new Kenya will obviously be that much diminished.
Fourthly, on the general economic side there is this overriding question of confidence. Until confidence is restored to that unhappy country there will be no fresh capital coming in, and there will be a constant drain upon such existing capital as is there which can be taken out. I shall return to that matter at a later stage.
Coming to the question of this tribal mistrust, is there anything we in this country can do to overcome something which has been in existence for generations and for centuries? I believe that the economic and political side of this are closely tied up together. An economically prosperous and modern Kenya would in itself largely destroy tribal mistrust. The creation of an industrialised country in which men from different areas, different tribal districts, mix together and work together, in Nairobi, and in other towns, where factories are situated, getting to know each other in a new environment, will in itself break down the tribal mistrust.
There must also, of course, be a strong Central African Government. The longer we delay in achieving that, the harder the task is going to be there also. I would suggest that one minor thing which can be done to increase the feeling of nationality, rather than of belonging to a tribe, is in the provision, particularly for the town dwellers in Kenya, of old-age pensions, even of a very small kind. Because the great thing there, as I understand it—and it is natural—is that people who leave their tribes and go to the towns always look forward to having a small plot of land in their tribal area to which they can return. That is the link which holds them with their tribe, even though they have spent many years away from 77 it. If security is given to them so that they may know that, when old age overtakes them, they will no longer be destitute and have to return to their tribes; no longer need they hold on to that connection of that piece of land, then again we shall have done a great deal to weaken the ties of the tribe. One thing we do not want to do is to create a loosening of tribal discipline, without creating in its place an increase of inter-tribal trust. Although we cannot put back the tribal discipline, although we cannot remove the troubles which have arisen from detribalisation, we can at least try to see that some of the benefits of breaking away from the tribe begin to make themselves felt.
As I understand it, it was to solve many of these problems that in February of this year the Lancaster House Conference was originally convened. That Conference achieved a certain amount of success: there was a fair measure of agreement as to the future among all the parties who came along. But the essential follow-up of that Conference was that the atmosphere created there, the decisions taken and the agreements reached, should be speedily brought to fruition, and that there should be no undue delays. We are now seeing what is happening as a result of the failure rapidly to implement those decisions. Already, as the noble Marquess has reminded us, there is this steady decline in confidence, a steady reduction in investment, and a withdrawal of people and of funds. I must say, in passing, that I think some of the figures given with regard to the farmers who have left Kenya may have been somewhat exaggerated. But the problem is still there, and undoubtedly they are not fully putting their backs into complete and full production as they would were the future settled for them.
I should also like at this point to agree with the noble Marquess in his plea for the ex-Servicemen, particularly, and for the other white settlers who went out there at different times, not simply in order to do a good job and make a good living for themselves—naturally, that is fair enough—but also because they thought they were doing a worthwhile job. They had confidence in the Government and in the future. I think they now have a justifiable cause for complaint against the people who, in their opinion, have let them down. I 78 think it would be very unwise if full compensation were offered to those people at the present time. I should be unhappy if they left Kenya. I hope that they will be able to continue to live there and go on adding their ability, skill and knowledge to the country and to the welfare of the country. I believe that, for most of them, once these difficult times are over that will be possible. But we cannot shut our eyes to the uncertainty they are feeling.
I would once more urge upon the Government—and I think this is the second time I have done so—that some provision should be made for these people if they wish to come back. Personally, I should like to see that they were not given anything like full market value for their land if they left it to-day, but that they should be given a guarantee that, if ever they were either evicted from it by the new Kenya Government or if, at the end of seven or eight years, they felt that life was too insupportable for them, they would then receive something close to its full market value. But I believe that at the present time, if they do not wish to take the risk, they should get only a lower figure. In other words, there would not be an incentive to leave immediately, to cut adrift from it all, and set up somewhere else. There would be a real incentive to stay and some feeling of security, that, if things went badly, they would not find themselves out of a home, out of all their life savings and all the work they had put into it.
I was saying earlier that the decisions of the Lancaster House Conference were in themselves good, and that the essence of them was that they should be carried out rapidly. That is where the main indictment of the present Government, and of the present Department responsible, really must lie. What in fact happened? Various Commissions were to be set up, as your Lordships know. There was a Commission for the Northern frontier, a Commission for the electoral boundaries, and one or two other Commissions as well. The actual document agreeing to that was signed on April 6 of this year. Yet it was not until August of this year that the Electoral Boundary Commissioners went out: a delay of April, May, June and July; a delay of four months to set up a relatively small Commission. It 79 was not until October this year that the Commission for the Northern Frontier went out, a delay of over six months for what, in fact, was the key Commission because until they have reported no other Commissions are able to finish their work.
Again, as the noble Marquess so rightly said, a chairman of the Land Settlement Board has still not been appointed. Do not let us forget that land in so many countries, of which Kenya is one, is of equal importance as banks and money are to us. It is the symbol and the actual fact of wealth, and if we are so slow and so idle in appointing the man to deal with this overriding problem, surely that cannot fail to have an extremely bad effect upon all the people living in Kenya, not only the politicians but the actual men and women themselves who look to the land, who want to know what is going on, what is going to happen to the land, every bit as much as a stockbroker looks to the Stock Exchange and his stocks and shares to see what is going to happen to his own well being.
Then, on top of all this delay and dilatoriness, which can do nothing but increase the lack of confidence, increase the election strife and tribal strife and a feeling of insecurity throughout the whole colony, we have this extraordinary business of the change of Governor. I do not know either the outgoing Governor or the incoming Governor and have no idea whether the change is for the better or for the worse; but, surely, if it is a change for the better we are justified in saying, "Why was the change not made earlier?" and, if it is for the worse, "Why was it made at all?" It cannot be, as the Colonial Secretary has said, that conditions have changed, that the Governor's job is now no longer an administrative job but a political job.
Surely, governing one of our great colonies at any time is far more than an administrative job. Surely it must always be something close to a political job. And at this particular period in the evolution of Kenya, when we have constitutional conference, the Lancaster House Conferences and the rest, which have been going on, when we have dealings with politicians, who are Africans from different tribes, men of high intelligence, of high political ability, 80 considerable experience, surely for the last five years at least it has been essential that our Governor there should be a man of very considerable political ability himself. To say now that the time has just come, at Christmas, 1962, when we should have somebody who is skilled in political matters whereas before it was adequate to have somebody who was a good administrator, cannot pull the wool over any of our eyes at all.
I hope we shall be told frankly by the noble Marquess what it is that the Government now hope to achieve by this change of Governor; whether it is in fact a change of policy and, if so, how the policy has been changed; and whether as a result of this we can look forward to any speeding up of the general process and a cutting out of the delays which so far have caused so much trouble in Kenya itself. It would be bad enough if these delays—which, in my view, are responsible for very much of the trouble that we are now having, and will be responsible for the future trouble which so many people expect—were in fact confined solely to one area of Africa. But I think it is the experience of all of us who take an interest in these matters that, throughout the whole purview of the former Colonial Office, if not the Commonwealth Relations Office, there is what I described not so very long ago as a general dilatoriness; an attitude that these things might just as well wait, that there is no urgency. Whether it is in British Guiana—which we discussed a short while ago—whether is in the appointment, of which I have personal experience, of an administrator of a small island, whether it is in these much larger matters, the delays go on unnecessarily with no benefit to anybody but with considerable harm to a great many people.
Your Lordships may have read in the newspapers to-day of the Rural District Council of Aldridge, in Staffordshire, which was so incensed with the delays of the Ministry of Transport in putting up a halt sign at one of its crossroads that it put one up itself. It is bad enough when the Ministry of Transport hold things up, but at least rural district councillors are able to go and do something about it. But here we are not dealing with a particular road junction, we are not dealing with a rural district council; we are dealing with the lives 81 and well being of millions of people, we are dealing with the eventual strength of the whole British Commonwealth, and we are dealing with the good name and good reputation of this country. We are even, I believe, dealing with the peace of the whole world, because what happens in Africa—Central Africa, East Africa and West Africa—cannot fail to have a very marked effect indeed on the development of the whole world in years to come; and that is where we cannot afford to have the slowness and the delays which we have been experiencing in these past months.
Last week I attended a lecture by a man well experienced in the African scene, Sir Jock Campbell, and he used a phrase there which made a great impression on me. He said:In our dealings with Africa we should be guided not by pride and prejudice but by sense and sensibility.I think all noble Lords will agree with that. But we must, as well as sense and sensibility, have a sense of urgency in what is happening; we must not jog along comfortably saying that time is on our side, that it does not matter if we keep them waiting another six months or another six years, that they have waited long enough already and it will have no effect. African history and world history will not wait upon the speed of the horse and buggy, and until we can convince the Colonial Office and the Minister responsible that we have moved out of the eighteenth century and the nineteenth century and that we are now in the twentieth century where every week, every day and sometimes every hour counts, until we can get them to appoint the chairmen of these Boards and members of these Commissions, with a real understanding of the price that has to be paid for delays, the future of the whole of Africa, let alone Kenya, is a very bleak one indeed.
§ 6.49 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, for giving us the opportunity of discussing this highly important subject this evening, and I would join with him and the noble Lord, Lord Walston, in regretting that this debate should come on at what is for this House rather a late hour and among a rather thin congregation. I feel that the noble Marquess made a rather gloomy speech and I was rather 82 surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Walston, in this respect seemed to confirm what he said. I feel that they were both far too gloomy, because, although there are great difficulties in Kenya, and there is no doubt about that, as there are bound to be in a multi-racial society with the particular problems of Kenya, yet I do not myself feel anything but optimism for the future. I paid another visit to both Uganda and Kenya a few months ago, and I was very much struck in both countries by the great advance that was apparent compared to my last previous visit. The noble Marquess implied that the British Government were letting things drift, but that is not my impression. I feel that, so far as Kenya is concerned, they have done a very great deal in the last few years to support the economy and to maintain the credit of the country in the outside world. In fact I personally do not know of any other colonial territory, past or present, where so much energy and so much money have been poured in by Her Majesty's Government, and by various agencies of the Government, as in Kenya.
The noble Marquess suggested that we should offer people there dual nationality. I cannot believe for one moment that that would be acceptable to the people with whom we have to deal, those who will form the future Government of Kenya, when the time comes for independence. Dual nationality has never been acceptable in any other territory. It was always fiercely resisted when it was proposed. What will happen no doubt, is that people there, whatever their race, will have an opportunity of choosing what nationality they will take in future. That is the freedom of choice which has always been present, so far as I am aware, in every territory which has become independent. But that is a very different thing from saying there can be two types of citizenship at one and the same time; and I cannot believe that this is at all possible
. The noble Lord, Lord Walston, raised the question of the change of Governor. No doubt the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, when he replies will deal with this question. I can only say that I have had the privilege of knowing both of them quite well, Mr. MacDonald better than Sir Patrick Renison. I have 83 the highest admiration for both of them. I had the opportunity of staying with Mr. MacDonald years ago, both in Singapore and Penang; he is a man of great ability and great charm and abounding energy, and I think the finest host I have stayed with in my life. I believe he will play a great part in the future of Kenya. I agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Walston, when he said administrative tasks would be very important in the future as well as political tasks. But I feel in many of these countries there is a time when what you need is a Governor with a great deal of political experience rather than administrative experience. Although both are needed, the balance shifts on to the political side at a certain stage. That has not always been accepted by the British Government, but that is so and I feel they have decided very rightly in this case that the balance is now shifting over. I should like to wish Mr. MacDonald every possible success, and also from these Benches to thank Sir Patrick Renison for his devoted services to Kenya.
The political situation is not as bleak by any means as the noble Marquess indicated. There is virtually a coalition between KANU and KADU, the two main Parties, and, whatever they say about each other in public, in private they seem to get along quite well, and they are learning the job as Ministers very fast. As to the political future, of course anybody can make their own forecast, but I should say that there will almost certainly be a coalition between KANU and KADU with possibly the right wing of KANU going into opposition, perhaps under the leadership of Mr. Odinga. That is only a forecast, and it may be wrong.
There is one question which I think is bound to come up there as everywhere else, and that is the problem with the Opposition. When we train countries for independence we think of training Governments, and as most of the people who do the training are civil servants it is only natural they should do so. But it is much more difficult, of course, to form an Opposition than a Government. The duties and responsibilities of a Government are clear; they are not always easy to carry out but they are clear. The duties and responsibilities of an Opposition are by no means clear. When con- 84 structive criticism becomes blatant obstruction is very often a matter upon which there is a good deal of divergence of view between Government and Opposition. Perhaps it is the same in this country, but it certainly is so in newly independent countries. We need only look at the Commonwealth to find that they have had these difficulties in very many countries—in Nigeria and in Ghana; even in Uganda, which became independent only on October 9, already the Prime Minister, in view of certain activities on behalf of the main opposition Party, the Democratic Party, has had to warn them that unless they mend their ways the Government may be forced to declare the Democratic Party unlawful and suppress it. It takes time to work out an effective rÔle with regard to the Opposition, and it is one matter to which I feel we have never in this country, particularly in Parliament, given enough attention.
The noble Lord, Lord Walston, mentioned the East African Common Services Organisation, and I was personally very gratified to learn from the noble Duke, the Duke of Devonshire, last Tuesday, when I raised this matter in your Lordships' House on the Second Reading of the Tanganyika Bill, that the Government are fully aware of the desirability of sustaining the organisation and of leaving the door wide open far it to develop into an East African Federation if the territories of East Africa so desire it when Kenya becomes independent.
As to the economic future, unemployment is growing to some extent, largely because of the decline in the number of European farms and of the recession in building. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, largely dealt with the position of the Europeans and asked about the farms and the lands of the Europeans which are not to be taken over under the million acres scheme. I am quite sure that, so far as many of the European farmers are concerned, the good farmers will be welcomed in the new Kenya: I do not mean necessarily those who are ranching vast areas, but the good farmers who are farming mixed farms and can be regarded as in some ways a pattern in that type of agriculture. They will be needed, moreover, for some years to come in order to sustain 85 the economy and to produce the exports which Kenya needs to balance its budget.
So, too, in my view, business will expand in Kenya rapidly. It is a fact well known to all of us that after most of the territories which were originally dependent territories of the British Crown became independent, so far from the European population declining it increased by leaps and bounds. In India and Ceylon it increased three times; in Nigeria it increased largely, and I am quite sure it will in Kenya. They are rather different types of people. You no longer have administrators and farmers, and so on. They are employees of firms, European and American and others, who go there to help in expanding the economy of the country, and they are welcomed. Very often they are put under contract by the newly independent country. So do not for one moment let us think that the European has no future in Kenya. In a rather different sense he has a very fine future in Kenya if he will fit into the pattern that will be set in that country. But, by and large, the future in Kenya must lie with the African farmers and African administration in commerce and industry. There is considerable need to ensure agricultural discipline, to ensure adequate areas of crops of good quality, to ensure soil conservation and to ensure irrigation. In this field agricultural co-operatives can play a considerable part.
As to expansion of African agriculture, this has, of course, been mentioned by the noble Marquess—he touched on it, but not at any length. The Land Development and Settlement Board deals with the basic development of African agriculture. There are two schemes. Both are being met from the purchase of European farms. The first is for the purchase of one million acres, with money to be provided by the British Government, for high density settlement of about 60,000 smallholders—that is, 60,000 families on one million acres. The second scheme is for the purchase of 180,000 acres to settle 7,800 families in low density schemes. These are, as it were, the bigger farmers. One might say that the smallholders are equivalent to tenant farmers in this country. The purpose of the latter scheme is to use high potential land for the larger African farmers so as to provide increased productivity, and for this 86 project land will be purchased with funds from the British Government, and the development of these farms will be met by loans from outside Kenya.
No one, surely, can deny that this is a bold and imaginative project. If one looks for just a moment at what it means in actual work to be done, one can see the scope of the thing. It means the provision on a vast scale of water supplies, fencing, farm building, purchase of stock, planting of cash crops, loans to smallholders and also marketing and advice to them. It will have economic, political, social and educational results of the greatest magnitude. How can one say, in face of that, that the British Government are not doing anything? I never thought, as I must admit, that I should find myself defending the British Government. But one must be fair, and when they are putting in hand schemes of this kind it is hardly fair to say that they are doing nothing at all.
Then the other type of development is the Special Crop Development Authority. This was brought in to assist the development of cash crops by African smallholders, mainly in relation to tea. It aims at developing over 9,000 acres of African tea and providing the factories to process it. Although small in comparison with the other, this is a pretty big scheme anywhere else than in Kenya. Nine thousand acres of tea with the necessary factories is no small proposition. As your Lordships know, in the barometer of the rise in the standard of living three tests or important signs are tea, sugar and soap. Kenya produces the first and the third. Tea is a particularly good crop for Kenya, because, unlike coffee, it can be grown in only certain areas, and they are comparatively few; and the tea producing countries, particularly India, are consuming more and more tea as their standard of living rises. So it is a first-class crop for Kenya, and I am glad to see that Kenya tea is booming—or "boiling" would perhaps be a better word to use. This, again, is an imaginative project, and a field staff and administrative staff are recruiting, and the project is in operation.
Finally, we must not forget that existing African farming must also be carefully safeguarded and improved. I have been dealing up to now with land bought from European farmers. This is new African land. But there are 700,000 families 87 settled in the reserves on existing African land, and when we have regard to the new land so far as Africans are concerned we must not forget the existing African land, where no fewer than 700,000 families are living. They need all the support we can give them.
So far as the expansion of commerce and industry is concerned, there is already a great deal of it. From the speeches that have gone before mine this evening, it would almost appear as if Kenya and, I suppose, Uganda are still back in the Stone Age, for we heard so much about tribal customs and tribal this and tribal that; but in fact there are a great number of industries in both Uganda and Kenya. I have visited them and have seen them, and I have heard what people have to say about the skill of the African worker in industry. A great deal is being done, and I believe that, through various means, including development corporations such as the Uganda Development Corporation and the East African Development Corporation in Kenya and many others with which we are associated, we can help them a great deal. They do a power of good, in my opinion, and they do something to overcome the difficulty which the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, mentioned, namely, that there is no one man, as it were, who can be regarded as an expatriate, and running whatever it may be—a scheme of some sort. These are development corporations which are largely owned by the people of the country, either through the Government, the local government, or even the individual shareholders. I think I would agree that this is the sort of way in which there should be development in these countries. I would commend to your Lordships the idea of these development corporations.
My Lords, that is all I have to say this evening. I am quite sure that this will be a useful debate. I should like to say of our debates in your Lordships' House—I have taken part in them for many years on Commonwealth subjects—that, as we know to our cost, they get little attention in the Press or on television and radio in this country. One surprising thing about the Common Market controversy, to my mind, is how many devoted supporters of the Commonwealth seem now to come forward. 88 We had not realised that they were there in the past. They have never appeared in any of our debates in the past. They never gave us any space in the Press or on television or on the radio in the past. It seems to me extraordinary that there should be this tremendous interest at this stage in the Commonwealth when, as we who have taken part, year in, year out, in debates on the Commonwealth all know, the Benches have always been singularly empty, and there were just a faithful few of us who dealt with these matters.
But, however that may be, as your Lordships who are interested in this subject know, these debates, especially those in this House, make a great deal of impact overseas, and they are widely recorded overseas in Commonwealth papers and journals. Therefore, for that reason if for none other, I feel that the noble Marquess has rendered a service this evening. As I said before, and I repeat, I have every confidence in the future of Kenya, and from these Benches I should like to say that we will give Kenya all the support we can, and we hope, as indeed we are sure will be the case, that in all parts of the House noble Lords will do the same.
§ 7.9 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, like the other two noble Lords who have spoken, I am deeply grateful to the noble Marquess for having put down this Motion. He spoke in moving terms of the European settler community, which many of us know so well. It was brought home vividly to me recently in one of the last numbers of the Kenya Weekly News, where there was an advertisement announcing that a representative of Christie's was paying his second visit to Kenya, offering to buy china, silver and pictures. That gives some idea of what is happening.
We last discussed the affairs of Kenya over six months ago, and on that occasion we were debating the Report of the Kenya Constitutional Conference which, lengthy and complicated as it was, in fact provided little more than a skeleton of the new Constitution under which Kenya was to go forward to independence. The nature of the flesh with which it was to be clothed was dependent on a whole series of processes—the Constitutional talks between the 89 Party political leaders in Kenya and the Governor; the Reports of no fewer than five Commissions; and then, as a vital adjunct, the establishment of a Central Land Board and the appointment of a chairman, at least ad interim.
Some progress was made at the beginning of July when the present Chancellor of the Exchequer announced certain proposals on constitutional issues, on the land problem and on the Civil Service. But, quite frankly, since then we have been told remarkably little about what is going on. We understand that within the Council of Ministers, the leaders of the two Parties have been collaborating reasonably well, however much they may go out and abuse one another over the weekends. Perhaps this also applies to the Constitutional talks. But the fact remains that it was only ten days ago that the Kenya Government announced that the first part of the draft Constitution—dealing only with the sections not covered by the activities of the Commissions—would be ready early this month. We are only too well aware of the complexities, but it is very difficult, I think, to understand the reason for these great delays, and I hope my noble friend who is to reply will be able to enlighten us.
We should like to know what has been going on in some of these various Commissions. There has been some reference to the work of the Commission to investigate the Northern Frontier District, but we know little or nothing of the others. Then why has there been such an unprecedented delay in the appointment of a chairman for the Central Land Board?—which certainly has given the impression in certain quarters in Kenya, as the noble Lord opposite said, that we are not very interested in this project. I quite understand the difficulty of finding someone of the right stature and qualifications for a job which I understand may last as long as five years; but surely, with the resettlement of Africans on part of the land of the former European mixed farmers as one of the key issues, it was vital to find somebody as soon as possible.
The view has been expressed in certain circles, both African and European, that these delays have been 90 deliberately contrived by the Colonial Office to postpone the holding of elections. My Lords, I certainly do not believe that to be the case. I cannot see that it would profit anyone. When one has regard to the fact that the vital need is to re-establish confidence in Kenya among Africans, Asians, European residents and overseas investors, it would seem to be self-evident that the sooner all these issues can be cleared up, the better for all concerned.
There has been some speculation in the Press, both in Kenya and in this country, as to whether divergencies of opinion on the question of the date for the holding of elections was partly responsible for the decision to remove the Governor, Sir Patrick Renison, and for his substitution by Mr. Malcolm MacDonald. It has in fact been suggested that Sir Patrick had been insistent on the danger of prolonged delay in holding the elections. The Colonial Secretary has publicly denied that there have been any differences on matters of policy between himself and the Governor, and, of course, I accept this. But it does not reconcile me to this decision to change horses in midstream at the most crucial moment in the history of Kenya. That is not in any way to disparage Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, for whose qualities and achievements I have nothing but admiration.
But let us face the facts. The negotiations for a self-governing Constitution for Kenya and its practical application are the most difficult that have faced us in any of our colonial territories; at the same time the situation there is far more explosive and the dangers mare far-reaching. Since his selection for this appointment (by, I believe, my noble friend Lord Boyd of Merton not long before the first Lancaster House Conference), Sir Patrick has discharged a difficult, and what must at times have been a most uncongenial task with remarkable success. He has gained the confidence of the African politicians. He is familiar with the intricacies of these long-drawn-out negotiations and the many complex factors involved in the interplay of tribal emotions and the clash of personalities. Above all, he is an administrator. And whatever the final form of Kenya's Constitution, one I thing is certain. There must be a 91 sound and strong administration over the period between the entry into force of a self-governing Constitution and final independence. As The Times said in its editorial on November 19, to suggest that a political job is now beginning is patent nonsense.
We are bound to ask ourselves, my Lords, what are the reasons for this change. Is it just to "let things rip," as my noble friend suggested might be one alternative policy, but which he discarded? What then is the reason? Is it perhaps that Mr. MacDonald who has some experience of federal constitutions is being brought in to ensure a smooth working of the Regional Governments, or, perhaps even more, in due course to preside over the welding of the three independent East African territories into a Federation? This would perhaps be an imaginative proposition, but it has its dangers in the short term.
It leads me to this point. One thing that is absolutely vital now is that there should be no tampering with the regional arrangements and other safeguards laid down in the Conference Report last May. I would ask my noble friend for a categorical assurance that in fact there will be no whittling down of these safeguards, if there is to be, as we all hope and as Mr. Maudling pledged, in opening the Conference, there would be, a peaceful transition to independence; and that the pledges to the African, European and other minorities will be fulfilled.
In this connection I have two points I should like to put to my noble friend. In the first place, I would say that it seems to me there is the utmost urgency in settling the boundaries of the regions so that regional elections may be held as early as possible. The Upper House is to be elected by the regions, and whether such election is to be direct or indirect it seems essential that the regions should be in being and functioning before the national elections are held. After all, regional assemblies are an innovation for Kenya, and if the system is to work well and if it is to endure, it is necessary that they should be well established before the time Britain comes to withdraw. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it would seem that the date for eventual inde- 92 pendence must depend very largely on the way in which the regional assemblies are fulfilling their functions.
The second question I should like to put to my noble friend is one which he undertook to consider in our last debate. I hope he will be able to give me an answer to-day. Will the official Constitution provide that a specified number of ministers, as in this country, should be selected from the Upper House? Further, if, as I greatly hope is to be the case, non-voting members are to be included in the Upper House to represent minority interests, will they be eligible for appointment as Ministers? Can he tell us anything about this?
My Lords, however this may be, I should like to take this opportunity of endorsing the recommendation of the European Convention of Associations in Kenya that Europeans, and indeed also Asians, should register as voters for national, regional and local elections. Up to the present I understand that only a handful of them have done so, and it would be in my view quite disastrous if the European community were at this stage, so to speak, to withdraw and divorce themselves entirely from politics in Kenya.
My Lords, I have laid emphasis on the need for avoiding further delays. Whatever we may think of the programmes and policies of KANU and KADU, the present uncertainty is leading to rifts and dissensions which are continually exacerbating the situation. Basically, of course, the question is whether men of moderate outlook, anxious to preserve the unity and prosperity of Kenya, are to prevail over the hard core of irreconcilables who take their money and their orders from Moscow—what I thought the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, rather euphemistically described as the "Right wing" of KANU. Until the constitutional plans are concluded and elections are held, the moderate men are bound to go on competing with their more extreme opponents in language and in action. We have just got to face that fact. Then, when you add to this the present lack of confidence and economic uncertainty, with the attendant unemployment and the encouragement to violence, there is a real risk of chaos even before we get to the point of elections.
93 My Lords, before I come to my final point, which deals with the question of land settlement, I should like to ask my noble friend one question about the future of the British troops in Kenya. He replied to a similar question I put to him on May 15, when he said that Her Majesty's Government fully recognised and accepted their responsibility for maintaining law and order in Kenya before independence, and that they would keep the necessary troops there for that purpose. I was rather disturbed to see an item in the Sunday Times on November 25, to the effect that the General Officer Commanding East Africa had stated that the British Army would not leave Kenya until next November, and that the period of his command had been extended. I hope that I may have an assurance that this was merely a matter of inaccurate reporting. I cannot imagine anything more calculated to give rise to a Congo situation, than the withdrawal of British troops before independence. Indeed, as my noble friend knows, I most strongly hope that in the event it will be possible to make some agreement with an independent Kenya for the continued presence of British troops, or at least for a carefully phased withdrawal until such time as strong and balanced Kenyan national forces can be built up, capable of defending the frontiers of Kenya against all intruders.
My Lords, I will turn for a moment to the question of land settlement. I listened with great interest to my noble friend's proposal and I have one or two comments to make on somewhat similar lines. I think that we all welcome Mr. Maudling's plan for the purchase, with British Government financial assistance, of a million acres of European land for resettlement by Africans over the next five years. The details of this scheme, now announced and put into practice, have definitely cleared the air both for those who are to be bought out and those who, in certain areas such as Nakuru and Kitale, have now more or less been told that their land will not be touched by Government schemes for five years. I understand—and my noble friend Lord Portsmouth will correct me if I am wrong—that in the Kitale/Endebess area 80 per cent. of the farmers now intend to remain. On balance, those who are selling are getting higher prices for their farms, and some 94 of those who were previously sitting on the fence are now deciding to throw in their lot with those who are staying. I think that these are all encouraging signs.
Furthermore, as I had hoped, many of the European farmers who have been bought out are staying on in their existing houses and becoming efficient settlement officers. It seems quite probable that, given stable conditions in the country, after the two-year engagement by the Government which these officers have taken, they may be asked by the new African settlers to remain on in their employment. I think that this again is a good sign. I am told that the co-operation and the enthusiasm of these settlement officers, and of the new African settlers themselves, have to be seen to be believed. I am told that they are working as if they have a mission in life, and they are getting great satisfaction from what is virtually an agrarian revolution which they say reminds them of the old pioneer days, except that nowadays they indent for a tractor instead of for an ox-wagon. I am also told that few of the European farmers who have been bought out are grumbling at the prices they are receiving for their land, though they are complaining about the amount they are getting for their houses and for their equipment.
The Kenya National Farmers' Union have just held their annual conference in Nairobi. There was widespread but, I think, not ill-natured criticism of the million-acre scheme. There were criticisms on some technical matters, on questions of valuation and timing; but the strongest complaint throughout that conference was directed against Britain for tardiness in providing funds for the Land Bank. My Lords, I have had a letter to-day from one of the leading officials of the Kenya National Farmers' Union in regard to the Land Bank. The Land Bank is Government-financed, and it provides loans against the security of their farms to farmers who, of course, in the past have been mainly Europeans. But my correspondent is most insistent that this question of the Land Bank is one of extreme urgency because it deals with two particular categories.
First, it is important to the European farmer who has been bought out in one 95 area, but who wishes to stay in the country and buy another farm in another area which a second farmer is prepared to sell because he himself wishes to leave the country. I understand that there are many such farmers. They are finding it difficult, even after the purchase of their farms, to find the cash to buy other farms at short notice at the moment it is required. For them the provision of additional finance by the Land Bank is extremely necessary. Then there is a second category, which I think your Lordships will agree are equally important, and these are the very considerable numbers of African farmers—not merely the yeoman farmers who are going to settle under the wider scheme, but African farmers who wish to go into non-purchase areas: men of repute, with a certain amount of finance behind them, and a good knowledge of agriculture, who for lack of finance are not able to buy their farms in these non-purchase areas. To enable these people to finance themselves additional money is required for the Land Bank. The present figure of £50,000 a month, I am told, is definitely not enough, and at least £1 million a year will be required during the whole period of the five-year plan for resettlement. I have been asked—and I wish to do so to-night—to impress upon your Lordships and the Government the urgency of providing the necessary finance for the Land Bank.
My Lords, there is one further ground for apprehension which residents of Kenya, farmers of Kenya are feeling; and that is this. The present scheme, the million-acre scheme, due to operate for five years, has been proposed by Her Majesty's Government and will be financed largely by them. As it is for five years, it is clearly intended to overlap into the period of independence, and those affected by this scheme are naturally anxious for a guarantee that its provisions shall not be liable to any alteration after Kenya becomes independent. I realise the difficulty of writing any such guarantee into the new Constitution, but I hope that some formal agreement on the subject will be executed before the date of independence.
My Lords, this brings me back to the essential feature of the Kenya scene to-day; that is, the continued and crucial 96 need for the re-establishment of confidence among all sections of the community. That, I suggest, is the task to which Her Majesty's Government, the Government of Kenya and the leaders of the African Parties should all address themselves now. Without confidence, however skilfully drawn this Constitution may be, there may be no possibility of establishing a united and independent Kenya. Quite apart from the inter-tribal fears to which my noble friend referred, the whole economy of Kenya may founder unless faith in the future is re-established. I believe that, in spite of the recriminations and the rifts among African political leaders, in spite of the activities of the Kenya Land Freedom Army, and in spite of the uncertainties caused by the present delays, there has been in recent months some slight improvement in confidence in Kenya.
But, my Lords, the hard reality must be faced. In spite of what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said, Kenya is a poor country, ill-provided with natural resources. There is no prime mover; no oil, except perhaps now in the disputed Northern Frontier Province; no coal; electricity is far from cheap; there are no minerals, except soda ash, for export; there are none of the essential requirements of heavy industry; and, though secondary industries are developing, Kenya remains an essentially agricultural country. Its economic growth and all hopes of raising the standard of living must depend on a greater output of saleable agricultural produce, larger volumes of products and the finding of new markets to take them.
It is now more clear than ever it was that if, for any reason, confidence were to recede again, and if (let us face it frankly) the European farmers, small farmers, as well as plantation farmers, were to leave en masse, there would be a wholesale collapse of the Kenya economy and, what is more, a catastrophic fall in the present very low standards of living. This has been recognised by the Kenya Government, by the Minister of Finance, Mr. Gichuru, in his Economic Survey for 1962, and I have no doubt that other Kenyan African leaders recognise it as well; but, unfortunately, they are not prepared to 97 say these things in public. Wirth the political manœuvring and personal rivalries, this was to be expected, but I think that we should all urge responsible African leaders to face up to these facts now, before it is too late, and to consider not just their personal or party interests but those of the millions of African's whose whole existence is dependent upon a healthy economy, and, what is more, the vital contribution towards it which European farmers still have to make, now and in the future.
§ 7.33 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, I, too, am grateful to the noble Marquess for this opportunity. When I learnt that he had information from Kenya which disturbed him, I felt at a loss to compete with him, because I have no information service at all. I was there many years ago and I revisited it last year; so I got the telephone directory for Kenya and addressed a letter to 50 selected persons and institutions, some of which I knew, many of which I did not. This is the letter that I wrote—an airmail letter:Some time before Christmas we are to have another debate on Kenya in the House of Lords. lf, in your opinion, there is anything of importance, satisfactory or otherwise, which should be brought out on that occasion I shall be most grateful to hear from you before the debate takes place.I then returned to my farming and expected to hear very little more except from a few old friends, hut, unhappily, they have all written, and I shall have to make an attempt to select what they say. I do not know whether it is quite in order that I should voice in this House the opinions of Africans, Indians, Somalis, Jews and others in their own words, but I start off, and no doubt I shall be stopped if I go too far.
I should like to say that one of my letters, and one only, entirely confirms the bitterness and the hatred of the Government. When I say "the" Government, I have the impression that it would be the same of any Government; and I am reminded of the fact that in 1923 my cousin, a Brigadier-General of the Indian Army, was Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Rebel Army, whose motto was "for King and Kenya", who were in opposition to Mr. Lloyd George's Government and whose hostility exceeded anything that I have experienced lately. 98 The difference is that then the settlers were politically supreme: to-day they are politically extinct. I should like to say that I myself discount this bitterness on the ground that, while there are causes for bitterness, there are dispositions of mind which lend themselves to becoming embittered. There are some people who take things too hardly, and there is always that class of person in Kenya.
To continue with the better side of things in Kenya, I wrote to an old settler, a rancher who lives on a farming ranch of 50,000 acres, and all he has to say is:There is not at the present time any subject to criticise. I think the Government are doing all they can in preparation for a well-conducted handover when independence is obtained.Having mentioned bitterness as an extreme on one side, I am mentioning this extreme on the other. Things are not quite so rosy. I wrote to another rancher of 50,000 acres. He is a remarkable man about whom everybody speaks in Kenya. He has put in 67 miles of water pipeline and 10 water boreholes, 9 of which failed; and 16 dams and pumping stations, all of which worked until they were swept away by the floods last winter. Then he restored them. On an acreage where there was nothing for most of the year because there was no water, he holds a beast to 10 acres—that is, 5,000 beasts; and by crossing with Red Polls and the Boran humped cattle he raises the value of the beasts he takes to market to £35 each as compared with the African £10. He is a stayer. He is very deaf and does not mix with people very much. He says:I keep busy here with my farming…350 Africans plus two Europeans, including myself. This is 50 more employees than before the Macleod Constitution. The 50 are all Turkana stock guards; Meru, as you know, being no good at that work. Stock thieving is a very serious menace these days, and like everything else the only satisfactory method is to do the guarding yourselfHe spends between £1,000 and £2,000 on guarding his stock. He employs the Turkana to guard his stock against robbers from the Samburu.
He is an exponent of the high wages doctrine, like the Americans. He does not go for minimum wages. His older and better employees are earning between £15 and £25 a month, plus food and housing. I believe that compares with an average in Southern Rhodesia, following a recent 99 rise, of £7 a month. Then, backing his confidence, he is building on the coast with his carpenter and mason, who find it difficult to get work, a big game fishing installation, hoping to put big game fishing on the map for tourism in that country. He says:The registration of the population for voters' rolls in the coming election is just nearing completion. I doubt if 2 per cent. know what they are doing ".I wrote also to a young man whose mother has returned and is over here. He is an assistant rancher, and his mother says,Nothing will induce Guy to leave his beloved Kenya".He is a man whose father was killed by a Masai Spearman at a baraza near Narok in 1946, culling a heifer which the Masai did not wish to part with. He has only one anxiety and I am sure he will be delighted to hear what everybody has said here to-day: where can he get the £3,000 which he customarily borrows to carry his steers. If he cannot renew it, he is finished.
I turn now from ranching to education. I appear to have addressed somebody who is a civil servant. I thought I knew him as somebody quite different. However, he writes from a European school of high standard:Our integration has gone extremely smoothly and we have a few fine African boys; but they have got to pay our fees and we should like there to be more money available to heap those who cannot pay them. Then we could be more truly selective of those boys who deserved to come here. We have proved that integration is possible and some of us are beginning to realise that it can be an advantage to the school, if properly controlled by the school authority.He foresees Africa going through a period of selective education because it is impossible to educate everybody at once; his fear is having a quota imposed on him which would level down. That is his anxiety but, generally speaking, one wonders why this integration idea did not occur to somebody before.
Here is a good letter. It says:My dear Anthony: Thank you for your letter. We have made tremendous progress and will have over 80 African officers in Kenya alone by early summer 1963. These are broadly speaking ex-effendis or Monstrained. There are of course so many things that can happen here and one cannot be overoptimistic but I really do feel the K.A.R. may 100 be the sheet anchor for Kenya as the Indian Army was for India and Pakistan. We are detribalised compared with the Kenya Police but not completely so.That letter is from the brigadier commanding the 70th Brigade of the K.A.R. He probably should not have written to me, but I am a friend of his. They are enthusiastic for the Africanisation of the King's African Rifles. They have the advantage that a number of the Africans have experience up to 20 years, many of them with active service, who have had a mess of their own and who are either being given a course locally or sent to Mons. I should like to mention one thing about their tribe. So far as I could ascertain last November, 30 per cent. Wakamba are recruited into the K.A.R., but when it comes to the selection of officers the proportion is well over 80 per cent. Therefore you have a corps of officers who are predominantly Wakamba. You have this tribe, a rather unsettled tribe, with only one political leader of note, Mr. Paul Negei, who has recently had what I hope is a temporary dispute with the rest of KANU. It would be deplorable if there were a kind of schism between the ballot box which is the Kikuyu and the Luo, and the military, which is the Wakamba.
I must introduce something which is not in a letter: because I spent so much time with the man he may have wondered why I wrote asking for more information. This is my only contact with the trade unions of Kenya. I went to the secretary of the dock workers' union at Mombasa. He is a man called Dennis Akumu, a Luo, the same tribe as Mr. Mboya. His tribe, large Africans from the lakes, are not always popular with other Africans who sometimes find them bullies. But Mr. Akumu had to have the support of some others besides the Luos in order to win his election. He was elected and he regarded this as a feather in his cap. He also assured me that, with much unemployment, his task was difficult, but he took pride in having had no strike during the five years he was in office. His superior, the deputy port superintendent, Mr. Williams, assured me that he was an excellent man. He was a negotiator. Half of his wage contracts were negotiated—that is, they were above the legal minimum; and of course the minimum is too low. Mr. Akumu takes the minimum wage figure, buys what he 101 can get with it, puts his purchases on the conference table and says "Gentlemen, which of you can live on that?" Then there is an enormous laugh, down to the epiglottis—I mention the laugh because it is important. If you have ever dealt with Communists they do not laugh, and if these smiling Africans are not supported, if employment is not improved, they will be replaced by gloomy Communists.
I have a note of criticism from the editor of the East African Standard on the settlement scheme, but I will skip it and take on the next item. A great proportion of the answers to my letters had a common factor. Here is a letter from a lady, a cousin of mine who is getting old, a pioneer of the country, who was formerly chairman of the Countrywomen of the World and held other important posts in the world of women. She writes:I personally feel that this pre-election time, with its fever of propaganda and hate between the parties, should be cut short at all costs. We can't know where we are, nor where we are going till after the election.She has a stake in the country—property, children and grandchildren. I wrote to a friend called Patel—there are 500 Patels in the telephone book; I know only one. He says:I would very much wish that the next elections are held as soon as possible so that the new Government has more time to settle down before Kenya becomes self-governing. I personally feel that after the next elections, we shall have to establish firmly the machinery of the Regional Governments and their relations to the various local bodies and the Central Government. This would need a great deal of time. The longer this period, the better it would be, and so it may be good for all concerned to speed up the present elections.Speeding up the elections is the constant theme of everybody, of all races. It is difficult to understand how, after 70 centuries of sloth. Africa has woken up, so that every day counts. Here is another letter from a friend I have known for a long time. He is a coffee man and his children have been educated out there. He writes:There is very little than one can say at this stage except that the longer internal self-government is delayed the longer will it take for our economy to recover.The President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce writes:Kenya, as your Lordship knows, is set on the road to Uhuru (Independence). In my 102 view, delay is caused in finalising the interim constitution. The Boundaries Commission, which was entrusted the work to finish regional boundaries, has finished work and a report is expected. In the meantime, pressure is applied by the political parties in Kenya for an early general election. As a result electioneering has started in Kenya. As your Lordship knows, hectic electioneering raises tempers and causes loss of confidence in Kenya. Prolonged electioneering is bound to damage economy in Kenya which is on a low ebb. Kenya is a bankrupt state. This is admitted and publicly announced by Kenya Ministers.Mr. Shukla signs himself "President of the Indian Chamber of Commerce."
Here is one from a European who now writes a very good and clear letter. He is an old Etonian and a big man in a groceries business. He signs himself as, "Government Whip, KANU Parliamentary Group." He writes:At the present time there are complaints that Kenya's Independence is being unduly delayed by the British Government but I do not think there is much ground for this suspicion. We are now waiting for the reports on the Northern Province Commission and the Constituency and Regional Boundaries Commission, and the Fiscal and Economy Commission. Then we have to await the completion of the Draft Constitution and thereafter around towards the end of February we hope to be in a position to announce Nomination Day for our General Elections and Polling Day three weeks later. If this timetable is adhered to, the new Government will take over in April, and I should say we should get our independence the year after that.Then he goes on to say, as all of them say:We need a tremendous amount of financial assistance from overseas".The next letter is from Mr. Joseph Shikuku, the Secretary Gentral of KADU—that is, Ngala's Regional Party—like all the others he writes extremely courteously:I must thank you for your letter and apologise for delay …With regards to anything of importance which should be brought out during the debate on Kenya in the House of Lords … I wish to inform you that we have many other things which we would like to have raised in the House of Lords, but the most pressing of all is the question of General Elections which we strongly feel … should be held earliest March and latest April, 1963.In view of the foregoing I shall be most grateful if you could raise the above matter in the House of Lords, for we understand that the British Govermnent is of the opinion that the General Elections should be held either in May or June next year, which is unacceptable to us.103 I think that where we have these passions being raised, a whole month makes a great difference. Then there is a letter from KANU, signed by Mr. Tom Mboya:Dear Sir,I acknowledge with thanks your letter … and especially thank you for the interest you have shown in our affairs. The enclosed copy of a Press statement that I issued yesterday constitutes a subject of interest at the moment in our country. The main question is that we had a constitutional conference in March-April this year in London. Since then there have been some four Commissions appointed, but unfortunately most of these were appointed very late. We understand that these Commissions may be reporting back during next month. The problem that we now face is that the whole country is very unsettled due to the people's anxiety to have the general elections as soon as possible. … Whatever you can do at your end to have the British Government speed up these elections will be very useful to us.If in the meantime you should desire any further information"—and so on.
The statement to the Press is presumably available. It is rather long. It contains obviously a suspicion that the British Government may be going to delay the elections for some reasons of their own, perhaps connected with the affairs of Sir Roy Welensky, or for some other reason. Anyway, it seems to me that they think that delay is going to be imposed upon them—or, at any rate, that there will be an absence of any haste. From all that one reads in these letters that I have received, and their urgency with regard to the elections, it is not difficult to appreciate the state of passionate anxiety which afflicts these people at the present time. Then I have a letter from the director of an air service. He writes:I cannot think of anything of vital importance that I think should be brought out … except that it appears more and more essential for the country, which is obviously going to be given independence sooner or later, to get it as soon as possible, and hammer out the many problems thereafter.This letter, my Lords, is from a young man, married and with children, the founder of a charter air service.
There are some severe criticisms that the policy of compensating farmers and civil servants is having the effect of scuttling the ship for those who intend to stay. I have a letter here from a man who was, in his own words: 104educated in England; served for six years with the British army … discharged with the rank of Major—a very undistinguished war record.He goes on:On leaving the Army I went into business with my family, who at that time owned the Norfolk Hotel, Nairobi. We acquired the New Stanley Hotel in 1948 and have spent £1 million in developing this hotel in the last twelve years.I am Chairman of this Company and I am also a Director of our Estates Company, which has 50,000 acres of ranching land and approximately 7,000 head of cattle. These ranches were derelict until I took over at the end of the War.I am also Chairman of an Insurance Company; a Director of a large Touring Company, and Chairman of the firm of Ker and Downey Safaris Ltd., the largest big game safari operators in East Africa. In addition, I am Chairman of the Kenya European Hospital Association.What has this man to say? He hopes that the assurances which Government after Government gave to the settlers of Kenya apply not only to farmers but to the whole economic set-up which has developed as a result of this settlement which they encouraged. He talks about the majority of civil servants being "adequately secured," and of farmers being paid compensation, and goes on:I know a European clerk without qualifications who was born and educated in this country and who has had approximately twenty-two years' Government service. This individual has contributed absolutely nothing to the development or welfare of this country in his twenty-two years of service. He leaves Government at the end of this year with a pension of £900 per annum, plus a golden handshake of approximately £14,000. No wonder many of these people are hastily leaving the country.His whole theme, as that of many others—editors, journalists and businessmen—is the need to reinforce the economy for those who stay. "Do not scuttle the ship by, as it were, bribing people to come out"—although that is not the expression used. I have chosen this man as a representative, because he is in rather a special category. I wrote and asked him about it. He provides an example of some of the things which have hurt different races. He said, in another letter:I wish to confirm that I am a Jew and that until this year I have been debarred from three of the major Clubs in Nairobi.He then says that recently people have invited him to join but he finds it difficult and so far has refused. He says:It is all a matter of pride and it is not easy to forget their attitude in the past. At 105 one time I was an extremely keen cricketer and although serving on the Executive of the Kenya Kongonis Association (which is equal to the M.C.C. at home) I was not welcome in the Club, which was the Headquarters of the Association.My Lords, I mention this man because he is a wealthy man and does not suffer materially from what people do to him. But what about similar prejudices against others? If he feels it, surely Africans feel it too. That is one of the troubles. I asked him if, in the hotels he administered, he was scrupulous about avoiding any colour bar. He got an African to write a reference,Dear Jack,Reference your letter … I am myself in correspondence with the Earl of Lytton and can confirm to him that in fact no colour bar to-day exists in the Block Hotels in Kenya. …Yours sincerely,Tom.—that is, Tom Mboya.
The resettlement scheme is criticised by a number of people. I would say that there are anxieties rather than genuine criticisms. When you are putting smallholders into larger units, what are you doing about it? Are you breaking up the farms? Do you make them all viable farms? If you put a large number of small people into a large existing farm, how do you arrange the fences? What about crossing each other's land to the water supply? Who keeps the bull? What is the breeding policy? How can you have a breeding policy, with penny packets of cattle like that? What is the relationship with the seed merchants and fertiliser people? How do you get the product graded and put on transport and marketed? There are hundreds of similar problems.
The Chairman of the Kenya Co-operative Creameries sent me a telegram when he was in London, confirming that there are anxieties about these things. Others go much further and say that they are really doubtful about the speed at which efficient resettlement can be achieved. Of course, we want to go as quickly as possible, but I feel it is not a matter to be conducted at speed, and that agricultural resettlement will not, nor does it ever, provide a solution for industrial unemployment. That has to be cured by restoration of industrial confidence.
106 I have one further thing to which I should like to refer, and that is the frontier. I have referred to it before, and I have brought this book, not to read from, but to attract your Lordships' attention and to make a comment on it. It is the Atlas of Kenya. Like most other things that come out of Africa, it is a little mad but very beautiful. It is wonderfully got up; the maps are splendid. They have a map of every province and an index of provinces, but there is no provincial map for the Northern Province. As Negley Farson said:Half of Kenya is unknown to the other half.This is the half which is not even on a provincial map. It is more than a half. Because the Press accompanied the Commission which went round the Northern Frontier District to ascertain the wishes of the people regarding secession to Somalia or remaining with Kenya, the impression has got around (it has been published, and nobody has questioned it) that a considerable majority are in favour of secession. I ask whether the Government are able to say that their purpose in holding this Commission and finding out the views of the people was to apply to that area the principle of self determination. If not, it seems to me nonsense, and I wonder whether the Government can say straight away that in the best possible way—which means probably an adjustment of the existing boundaries—they are intending to apply the principle of self-determination to the N.F.D. portion of the Northern Frontier.
I feel they will have a number of difficulties. Mr. Mboya and Mr. Ngala are reported in the Press—and I have it in a letter from a journalist friend of mine—saying that they would go to war to recover that territory if it was handed to the Somalis. It is also alleged, and reported widely in the Press, that the Emperor of Ethiopia is against it. For reasons which I hinted at in my last speech in the debate on Kenya, there is a possible further obstacle in that a year ago Mr. Kenyatta, on his visit to the Emperor, received a cheque for £7,000 for flood relief for Kenya, which was in a sense a little odd, because the head of a State usually communicates 107 to the representative of another State or to the other head. It was not Sir Patrick Renison but Mr. Kenyatta who received this, unless the Press have reported it quite wrongly. It is most probable that the Emperor (whose diplomatic astuteness is well known; he has been able to add Eritrea to his Empire with the connivance of the United Nations) would not have omitted to reassure Mr. Kenyatta that he would ratify the provisional boundary between Kenya and Ethiopia. For a good many generations that boundary has been provisional—perhaps it has always been provisional. At any rate, it does not seem to be ratified. However, Mr. Kenyatta on his recent visit to the Somali capital was in an embarrassing position and refused when he was asked to agree to the self-determination of the area. That, I think, is going to be another difficulty.
A journalist friend, a man of great experience, wrote:I have to thank you for your letter of November 5. There is only one matter of which I would like to speak and that concerns the secession of the N.F.P."—N.F.P. is the old expression—to Somali. I believe you favour this. Our problem is this. The Shell-B.P. people have spent some £8 million in the area prospecting for oil. At the moment all their calculations have brought them, in an ever-diminishing circle, to a point 20 miles north-east of Galole, to a place called Walu, which is 10 miles east of the Tana river and in the N.F.P. and just a mile or so outside the coastal district.He has measured the point, and it is equidistant from Mombasa and from Kismayu, the Somali port. He says there will be extreme bitterness if that oil is not available for Kenya's refinery at Mombasa, at least in part. At the moment the shaft is 8,000 feet down and has another 4,000 to 6,000 feet to go. Neither of these countries has prime movers. Here is the well of contention; but, of course, it may only be soda water. That is all I have to say.
§ 8.6 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, at this late hour I propose to reduce the few remarks which I want to make to as small a compass as possible. We have had a long debate and we have listened, if I may so describe it, to the statesmanlike speech of the noble Marquess opening the debate, an idealist speech from the 108 noble Lord, Lord Walston, an optimist's speech from the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, and a discursive speech from the noble Earl who has just sat down.
The problem of Kenya's progress towards independence has been repeatedly discussed in this House over the last three years, but grows no simpler with the passage of time. I am assuming, of course, and hoping, that the British Government will at least stand steadfast in a refusal to make a final reckless surrender of its control to certain chaos, which was one of the alternatives mentioned earlier in the debate. It is true that the somewhat devious path of its policy over these three years has given some encouragement to those who take a pessimistic view. Two or three years ago, for instance, Mr. Macleod, with a masterly grasp of the obvious, said that you cannot solve the problems of a Continent with a blue-print. True enough. But when he also talked of a Kenya where all can play their part, he was surely busy building a castle in the air for which the precariously unstable residents, the European farmers of Kenya, are now paying the rent.
This is not the occasion to deal with any "might have beens", or to try to assess the malign effects of weak and hesitant policy or misjudgment. A study of the papers and debates in Parliament during the past three years ends in the conviction, which has been stated many times this afternoon, that in a solution of Kenyan land problems lies the only hope of stable government and the relief of the social tension. Your Lordships have heard speeches this evening from various angles. I am endeavouring to look briefly at Kenya from the angle of the despised administrator. Owing to the loss of confidence internally and externally the economy of Kenya is declining rapidly, with the consequent dangerous growth of unemployment. In general, the European community has a feeling, rightly or wrongly, of being abandoned and betrayed. African leadership is weakened by personal jealousies and feuds, tribal mistrust and hostility is growing and interracial feeling is exacerbated by reckless public mis-statements and accusations.
In the interests of public order and for the relief of the economy it is no doubt desirable to hold elections as soon 109 as possible, but some delay seems inevitable pending completion of reports of the five Commissions now studying the background for the new Constitution. After all, the seven-and-a-half weeks, I believe it was, at Lancaster House earlier on ended in a nebulous agreement, at the end of which the Secretary of State said:We have certainly not solved the problems of Kenya. We must not exaggerate what we have achieved; we must not minimise the difficulties and dangers ahead. Fears and suspicion still exist and must be exorcised. The economy of Kenya is in a very serious position.That was said by the Secretary of State. It is not what I have said, and the comment I would make on it is, "Precisely".
This agreement was just a framework which had to be filled in on all important points by co-operative efforts, and, judging by past experience and present indications, such genuine co-operation will be difficult to obtain. The Kenya record, after all, in relation to Lancaster House is, I think one can truthfully say, one of broken undertakings, agreements broken almost before the ink was dry on the signatures. The simple position has not varied. Even this agreement, nebulous and obscure as it was, could have had satisfactory results if only bona fides and goodwill were present, but in the absence of these qualities the outlook is indeed ominous. Safeguards written into a Constitution do not deter an African Government bent on dictatorship. The Conference so recently concluded was handicapped from the very start by the fact that totally different systems of government were wanted by KANU and KADU, who were filled with mistrust of each other. In the end the framework Constitution which was agreed to foreshadowed a federal system and a strong Upper House. It also envisaged a land purchasing and resettlement authority, which, incidentally, will require many millions of pounds of British support. There is also a Bill of Rights with an appeal to the Privy Council.
Meanwhile, a Coalition Government has taken over responsibilities and wants to work out an agreement on the way to fill in the gaps in the Constitution, which are far more than details since some of the most important questions have been left in the air. Among them are problems—many of them have been mentioned to-day—of finance, security and citizenship, the coastal strip, the 110 degree of autonomy of regions under the electoral system, the position of the Civil Service, not only the expatriates but especially the locally-recruited men, and the Somali question in the Northern Provinces. Very much depends on this vexed land question and the restoration of European confidence so that Europeans' essential help may be retained in order to avert otherwise certain ruin. In sober fact, something like five years is required before complete independence is granted, otherwise there is bound to be perilous disillusion, perhaps civil war and chaos.
Are the leading African politicians capable of putting the welfare of Kenya first, above all their personal wrangling? Unless an affirmative answer can be given, Kenya may, and almost certainly will, slide back to the conditions from which she has emerged over the last 60 years. Security, a sound economy, education, agriculture, a decent standard of living, will all vanish. The weeks' dreary argument at Lancaster House, the final framework agreement and the subsequent repudiation by leading signatories of much of its obvious meaning, underlines not only their irresponsibility but their inability to understand the two-Party system or to free themselves of the authoritarian background which conditions their outlook on political power. It would be unreasonable as well as unfair to under-estimate the appalling economic difficulties which now face any Government in Kenya in addition to the tribal or racial difficulties which may at any time burst into open flame. One can only hope that the responsibility which now faces them and the clear prospect of chaos will at least induce sobriety in the African leaders of all Parties.
In conclusion, may I emphasise the very urgent need—as has been urged by so many speakers this afternoon—for the appointment of a chairman of the Central Land Board, a chairman whose independence and experience, ability and standing, will command confidence both in Kenya and abroad and who will be able to take the scheme and all its problems out of the political arena; and also the need for the implementation of the settlement schemes; for guarantees of the personal safety and liberty of European farmers and their families; and, finally, the important question of citizenship—that the ability, for those electing 111 to remain in Kenya, to choose dual citizenship should be insisted on and enshrined in legislation as a right.
I have deliberately refrained from going into any details of the large financial support already given and promised to the Kenya Government in addition to the undertaking to provide £15 million for land purchase and the African settlement scheme. They have been dealt with by other speakers and many details of what this country has done for Kenya were given by the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, in our debate on July 17 this year. I would end by noting once more that the Constitution to be decided on for Kenya may well indicate a democratic institution, but, in fact, it may not endure for long. The greatest enemy of democracy is surely an ignorant electorate. After all, democracy is a set of values, and institutions are merely a way of safeguarding them. If the values are not there underneath, the institution is a mere facade with no permanence whatever. And, my Lords, to absorb esurient politician's, living on slogans as the currency to purchase power, with all the tribal stresses of superstition and hostility, time is required, and in Africa to-day time is being denied. If the basic traditions of an embryo nation are undemocratic, how can you expect a sudden devotion to democratic forms from people struggling to be a nation at the behest of ambitious politicians? Without the basic patriotism that distinguishes a potential nation from a group of warring tribes it is impossible to expect any success in such an experiment.
The picture I have painted is a somewhat gloomy one, but I look at it in a practical way as an administrator should and must look at it, and it does not help at all if you happen to be an administrator to have beautiful dreams and idealistic thoughts about what ought to happen. You are dealing with human possibilities on the spot. As I have said, my outlook is rather gloomy, but I do not think the future is irreparable, and I sincerely hope that the British Government will pay that great concentrated attention to what is happening in Kenya which is the only hope that they may be able to save it yet.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF PORTSMOUTH
My Lords, as the one permanent resident, 112 a farmer and businessman, who comes from Kenya and who is in this House at the moment, I should very much like to thank the noble Marquess who initiated this debate for having done so and for the extraordinary interest which we in Kenya will get from having known how people are thinking in your Lordships' House; because it does matter a great deal to people on the farms to feel that somebody in this country is thinking of their problems.
After listening to my noble friend Lord Milverton I was reminded that in this country, and indeed in a great many countries of the Western world, it is our habit, or the habit of a good many of us, to go and confess on Sunday what miserable sinners we are, and perhaps rather fewer of us continue in the week days to prove that we are such. On the other hand, the position is reversed in Kenya. The politicians spend the whole of the week-end, especially Sunday, on proving they are miserable sinners in public. When it comes to the weekdays they are much more hopeful people, and they do get to work and get together; their tribal differences are often sunk, their suspicions are welded in common action which very rarely gets into the Press and very rarely gets to the public, because moderate men working together very often do not like it to be known how well they are doing. For that reason I am something of an optimist and much nearer to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, in this debate than to the pessimists, and I have from time to time quietly amassed information on what good things go on.
If your Lordships will bear with me a few minutes, I should like to say something of these points. In about three days time I shall be asked, and I hope I shall be able, to bring two little Kikuyu children aged about fourteen to hear a debate in your Lordships' House. They are foundlings who were literally living in conditions of starvation, robbing and thieving as they could to get a living. They have been rescued and taken into a home of bright, intelligent children and they are coming over here to appeal for other foundlings to be helped. But it is not the appeal that we are going to be asked to do that matters, to my mind, but a campaign initiated in Kenya, where £5,000 was subscribed by schoolchildren of all sorts, of all races, to help the other 113 youth. That is the sort of hopefulness Which, to my mind, is looming large.
Last August there was a convention which was called "The Kenya We Want", One hundred and twenty Africans of all types, public servants, politicians, businessmen, educators and so forth got together for five days. Some of the meetings were held in public and some were working parties in private. I myself was not there at the time, but was assured by the organiser that in the whole of that five days not one word of Party politics was mentioned. The whole business of that Convention was, by mutual consent, trying to lay the foundations of a better Kenya and a more economically sound one. There are standing committees being set up which will push that work forward, and that again gives me a great deal of hope.
I would say one word about this vexed question of unemployment. For some five years now in the Kenya Legislative Council, and I think once in this House, I have said that the writing on the wall of unemployment was there, and we should have taken steps to deal with it then. We have not taken steps until far too late. I would say it is not, in my view, land settlement on a small scale that is going to have any effect on unemployment. It is not going to have much effect even where there are yeoman farmer schemes, but they are capable of making some contribution. What is going to help unemployment is to get a land bank to lend to the developing African farmers, not on new schemes but on developing their own farms—which sometimes badly need it, and farmers are capable of doing it.
Development within African land units is far more important where you are dealing with unemployment agriculturally than are land settlement schemes, however necessary land settlement schemes may be to ease tension politically. Unless we can find ways and means (I am not going into schemes which I could put forward to your Lordships' House) of lessening unemployment, by industrialisation, tourism, irrigation schemes, I am quite certain that the real danger in Kenya is not so much the politician, be he from the North of the Channel or be he the politician on the Equator. Unemployment is the key to 114 our dangers to-day. I think it is fair to say that it would be better to make a really all-out effort for constructive, businesslike schemes to be put forward to ease that situation than to have a new emergency on our hands; because we shall have to face one or the other unless we really make some imaginative effort to deal with this problem.
I am standing here as a Kenyan farmer and also a Kenyan stayer. I quite realise that though I have been talking optimistically there are dangers and difficulties ahead. But where are there not in the world to-day? Two Kenya farmers who felt there were dangers and difficulties went to Sardinia to look for a new home and were murdered by bandits. I remember seeing the first "buzz bomb" of the war go over my bead in the country and it landed on a pub in Abbotts Ann where it killed three people, refugees from the bombs. You cannot escape your mark; you have to face it. I am staying because, first, I have worked there for fifteen years, years of great happiness and great, hard work. I am staying because I love the country. I am staying because I think it is absolutely necessary, just for common reasons of bread and butter, that I make a "go" of it. I will be quite frank about that. But I am staying also because there is a challenge there that is really worth meeting, because I have great confidence that there are many more good men than bad men in Kenya, and that with help and friendship they will prevail. I am staying, finally, because of the challenge which I think is worth while.
I think the noble Marquess who initiated this debate said something of the enormous speed with which in the last fifty years we have raised the country. We have also compressed fifty generations into fifty years, and to my mind one of the best tasks you can do is to help in every small way you can to bring that great safari of 1,000 years of mind and skill and customs into something that can work to-day.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I shall be brief. The noble Marquess has given us an opportunity, for which we are all grateful, to review the situation in Kenya, taking into account the important developments since our last debate in May. My only regret, 115 which I share with him, is that owing to the timing of the debate it has come on so late in the evening that a large number of noble Lords have missed the opportunity of hearing a whole series of remarkably well-informed and interesting speeches, including the fascinating epistolical marathon of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, which, like the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, brought most welcome voices from Kenya into our debate.
The first development to which I should like to refer has already been referred to by other speakers—it is the appointment of a new Governor, Mr. Malcolm Macdonald. May I say, in passing, that I know personally both Mr. Macdonald and the present Governor, Sir Patrick Renison, and I have the highest regard for both of them? The Secretary of State for the Commonwealth evidently considers that a political Governor is better qualified than a career man to handle the final stage in Kenya's constitutional growth. He has denied reports of differences of opinion about policy between himself and Sir Patrick Renison, and, of course, like the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, I accept the statement of the Secretary of State. I also agree that a man with a political background is sometimes better at dealing with political personalities and problems than a man whose background is mainly administrative.
But if, as the Government have said, this is the case in Kenya, why was Mr. Macdonald not appointed earlier? As my noble friend Lord Walston pointed out, if not much earlier, why not in April, a crucial moment to take over after the Constitutional Conference and the setting up of the Kanu-Kado Coalition? If this appointment had been made earlier this year, as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton said, this swapping of horses in mid-stream could have been avoided. Valuable time has been lost in this way in getting what we all hope is the right man into the saddle; and, of course, the timetable to independence is one of the key factors in a smooth transition. However, I am glad to see that Mr. Macdonald's appointment has been well received by all the communities in Kenya, and I know that, irrespective of Party, we wish him the 116 utmost success in his extremely difficult task. Sir Patrick Renison, whom I well remember as a most brilliant and successful administrator in the West Indies, has also served Kenya well and his successor will greatly benefit by his experience.
I want to refer now only to some of the most general matters in relation to Kenya. What has struck me most about this debate (and I have listened carefully to all the speeches) as compared with our earlier debates on Kenya, has been the remarkable degree of harmony between the speakers, from the noble Marquess to the last speaker to whom we have listened. I think that, with the single dissentient voice of the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, it can be said that all the speakers were in general agreement with Government policy. Perhaps I am unintentionally exaggerating (I do not wish to do so) the degree of agreement shown by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, but I think he would at least agree that he showed a greater degree of agreement than in his last speech on this subject in your Lordships' House. But it is most important that there should be Parliamentary support for British policy in Kenya, because that is one of the factors that will establish confidence in that country.
I am sure that it is a disservice to Kenya to exaggerate the dangers inherent in the future. The Minister of Defence has said that he has the security situation well in hand at (the moment and that he has no fears for (the immediate future. I think we have no reason to doubt his judgment. Fear is the very worst enemy of economic recovery and political stability, and (the country needs People of all races with sober confidence in its future—people, if I may say so, like the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, who has already said that he is a stayer and whom we well know as one of those who have never doubted the future of the country. At the same time, it would be folly to underestimate the enormous economic difficulties, present and future. Unemployment (is increasing; the flight of capital continues; skilled professional men are leaving (the country, and will continue to leave until after independence.
I have already said that I believe that confidence in the future of the country 117 is absolutely essential, and I think that the two main requirements for confidence are these: first of all, political stability, which depends on the continuance of the present slightly uneasy Coalition until the Election; secondly, financial solvency, which depends on the willingness of Her Majesty's Government to go on footing the bill for at least a minimum standard of administrative efficiency, and for the foundations of a healthy economic development. I know that the Government are spending a great deal of money. I think it is well worth putting it into the Kenya economy. The only alternative would be bankruptcy. I think again that on that matter I agree with the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury.
I had intended to say something about land settlement, but I shall not do so because it is a much less controversial subject than I thought it might be. I think we are all in agreement that this one-million acre scheme is a fine and imaginative scheme, and we hope that it will be successful. The important thing is that there are many British farmers, like the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, who want to stay on. They realise that their farms are the backbone of the country and of the economy, and that their example of racial partnership and trust is exactly what the country needs at the present time. These British farmers have faced risks in the past and they are prepared to face them again in the future. They are patriots in the best sense of the word.
The most disturbing thing about the advance that is taking place towards self-government is its slow pace. This has been referred to by several speakers, including the noble Lord, Lord Walston. The Government are not keeping up with the timetable they had set themselves. May I remind the noble Marquess opposite of what he himself said in our last debate? The noble Marquess said that he hoped the Constitution would be completed by the end of the year, and that it would be followed by elections and internal self-government. I believe that only about one-third of the Constitution has been completed at the present time. The noble Marquess confirms that I am correct in this supposition. If that is the case, it is obviously out of the question for the whole Constitution to be 118 ready by the end of this month; that is to say, by the end of the year. For example, the Fiscal Commission (I think they are the only Commission that have not been referred to this evening) have not yet reported. And on their report, of course, will depend the division of financial powers between the regional authorities and the centre.
This matter of delay is one upon which a great deal of emphasis has been placed, from both sides of the House, by the noble Lords, Lord Colyton and Lord Walston. I certainly hope that it is a matter which the Government will take very much to heart. There should have been a greater sense of urgency in dealing with these Commissions, and I think that it is immensely important that the African leaders should be absolutely satisfied that the Government are not using administrative difficulties, or any other difficulties, such as those referred to by the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, to delay self-government and ultimate independence. I, for my part, am sure that the delay that has occurred in completing the administrative preliminaries has not been deliberate, and I hope that a wrong interpretation will not be put on it in Africa. But I think the Government are certainly to blame for not insisting on a greater measure of speed, and I hope they will put this right and that the new Governor will be of great assistance to them in doing so. I am quite certain that any unnecessary delay in the future is bound to stoke up racial hostility and to increase the danger of a political breakdown. I hope that the Government can say that elections will be held not later than the spring. That is what both the Parties in Kenya want, and I think that it will be very dangerous if there is any delay in holding the elections.
My Lords, the only way, I am sure, to remove the uncertainty that paralyses economic development in Kenya, and encourages the disastrous rivalry between the tribes, is for the Government to move forward with the least possible delay to the next stage—the stage of fresh elections and internal self-government for Kenya. I hope that the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, will be able to satisfy us that that is the Government's intention, and that they will be able to proceed more swiftly than they have done in recent months.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COLONIAL AFFAIRS (THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE)
My Lords, like the noble Marquess when moving this Motion, I, too, regret that it was found necessary for this debate to be held at this late hour. None the less, I feel it my duty to reply at full length to all the points that have been raised—to reply to all the points to which I am able to reply, for, even though it may involve your Lordships in remaining here until a later hour than perhaps you would wish, I am sure that at the same time you would not wish the people of Kenya to feel that a Minister of the Crown did not consider their affairs as being of the greatest importance.
My Lords, on many occasions recently I have been distressed to hear in conversations which I have had with people from Kenya that they had the impression that Her Majesty's Government, and the Colonial Office in particular, paid insufficient attention to their affairs and cared too little about Kenya. I suppose that that sort of criticism is a classical criticism which one might get from any part of the British Commonwealth, from any Colony of the United Kingdom. But I want to say here and now that this criticism is utterly unjustified. Hours of time, hours of work are devoted exclusively to the problems of Kenya. Never is a request for an interview refused, they are always welcomed, and our officials in the Colonial Office are encouraged as much as possible to visit Kenya so that they themselves may get some personal knowledge—although obviously they cannot acquire great knowledge in a short time—of the country. I hope that the people of Kenya, both black and white, will realise how deeply Her Majesty's Government are concerned with the future happiness of that country and the solution of the many difficult problems that still remain to be solved.
Many noble Lords in the course of this debate have referred to the Lancaster House Conference and the decisions at that Conference, decisions which, as the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, and others have said, were only as to the framework of the Constitution. So a lot has had to be done. Again and again the question of delay has been raised in this debate by noble Lords in all parts of the House.
120 I want to make it absolutely clear that it is my right honourable friend's determination that there should be no avoidable delay in working out, to their fruition, the important decisions that were taken at Lancaster House last spring. But I am sure that all noble Lords familiar with the problems realise the difficulties that there are, and there certainly is not, as the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said, any deliberate delay on the part of Her Majesty's Government. I was glad that the noble Earl said this, because I am able to assure your Lordships that, of course, there is no deliberate delay.
In fact it is true to say, despite my hopes expressed in the debate we had in this House on May 15, that we have so far achieved only about one-third of the Constitution of Kenya. But let me also tell your Lordships that the complexity of the Kenya Constitution is such, as I am quite certain all noble Lords who are familiar with this problem are well aware, that the one-third which we have so far achieved is about equivalent in volume and length to the total length of a normal colonial Constitution.
In order to accelerate as much as possible the completion of the Constitution, my right honourable friend has arranged for sections of it to be sent out for detailed consideration by Kenya Ministers at regular intervals. Obviously, there are drawbacks to what we are doing, but we hope that this may accelerate the process. Clearly, these drafts will have to undergo revision in the light of the comments made on them by the Kenya Ministers; but none the less my right honourable friend feels this perhaps may be a helpful way to accelerate the process of finalising the Constitution.
My Lords, there are, of course, many policy decisions still to be reached by the Government of Kenya, and it is no use our saying otherwise. This is the plain fact: there are still many policy decisions which have to be reached. But I am quite certain—and this is something which I particularly wish to address to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton—that all concerned are as determined and as anxious as he is to see that there is no departure whatsoever from the spirit of the Lancaster House agreements, so that in the Kenya of the future all the tribes and all the communities will feel that 121 the system of Government is one that will provide justice and security for all. I particularly wanted to give this assurance to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton.
My Lords, reference has been made to the Commissions, and I should like, for the record and for the information of those of your Lordships who are stayers, like the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, who is still there, to tell you exactly what the position is regarding these Commissions. The facts are as follows. Five Commissions have been assembled and sent to Kenya since the end of the Lancaster House Conference last April. One of them, the Economy Commission, although of great importance, has in fact very little bearing on the constitutional arrangements, but the other four Commissions have a very important bearing on these matters. These Commissions are: the Commission to determine the boundaries of the new Regions, the Commission to determine the constituencies for the elections to the Lower House, the Commission to work out the financial relationships between the Centre and the Regions and, lastly, the Commission to report on the state of public opinion within the six districts comprising the Northern Frontier District concerning the future of that area, to which the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, referred. Let me tell your Lordships that arrangements for the assembling of these Commissions were, in fact, put in hand immediately after the Conference.
In the case of the Fiscal Commission, to which the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, referred, the Chairman had, in fact, been provisionally earmarked before the Conference ended, because it was quite clear that, whatever happened, a financial Commission of some sort or another would be necessary. In the case of all these Commissions, as your Lordships will appreciate, it was necessary to find men of distinction and with the requisite experience whose work would command confidence from all concerned. In the case of the Northern Frontier District Commission we felt it was desirable to find people from outside the United Kingdom in case it might be thought that, in reporting on the state of opinion in that area, they might in some way be influenced by British Government policy. Your Lordships I think must be well aware that to obtain the ser- 122 vices of men of this sort for Commissions of this kind is extremely difficult. Men have to disrupt their way of life and take on these arduous tasks, and it is not easy to get men of the right calibre to perform these tasks.
As I think the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said, the Regional Boundaries Commission clearly is the key to much of the other work that has to be done in connection with the Constitution. Until the Regional boundaries are settled, it is obviously not possible for the Fiscal Commission to work out with any accuracy how the financing of the Regions should be organised, and, for that matter, the Lower House constituencies cannot be completely determined until the Regional boundaries are known. It therefore would have been a logical thing to suspend any action on the Lower House Constituencies Commission and on the Fiscal Commission until the Regional Boundaries Commission had completed its task, but to save time we did not do this. Both the Lower House Constituency Commission and the Fiscal Commission went out in the summer, in order that they should at least complete the major part of their task while the Regional boundaries were being worked out.
Your Lordships may inquire, as you have, why the key Commission, the Regional Boundaries Commission, did not begin its work in Kenya until August. I have already given part of the reason: the difficulty of getting the right men for the job. But now there is a further reason. The Commission could not begin until its terms of reference were finally settled, and these were not settled by the Kenya Council of Ministers until mid-June.
Within a few days, we were in a position to discuss these recommendations with a person who seemed very likely to be able to take on the Chairmanship. But we could not do this until mid-June when the terms of reference were put forward and agreed. By July 6 we were able to announce the name of the Chairman and the date, which was early August, by which time we hoped, although we still had to be sure that the other members could fall in with this programme, that the Commission would start work. The Commission was completed, and administrative 123 arrangements settled, during July and the Commission began work in Kenya, as your Lordships know, on August 9.
The Regional Boundaries Commission could not visit the Northern Frontier District before the Northern Frontier District Commission had visited the area. We were advised that there would be a serious security risk if this happened. This involved a pause in the work of the Regional Boundaries Commission, and I understand from the Chairman, Sir Stafford Foster Sutton, that this may have delayed completion of his report by two or three weeks.
The present position on the five Commissions is as follows, and I should like your Lordships to pay particular attention to this, because perhaps there has been some doubt as to what has been going on. There has been no opportunity to tell your Lordships since last May, and so I welcome this opportunity provided by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. The Economy Commission has nearly completed its report which should be available to the Kenya Government very soon, indeed. The Regional Boundaries Commission submitted its report to my right honourable friend on November 23 and copies were sent at once to the Governor for consideration by the Kenya Council of Ministers. The Report which contains a number of bulky appendices will be published later this month. The Fiscal Commission has completed its preliminary examination, but, for the reasons I have already explained, it will have to visit Kenya again later this month to complete its work in the light of the decisions of the Regional Boundaries Commission. The same applies to the Commission dealing with the Delimitation of the Lower House Constituencies, which, in fact, returned to Kenya this week-end. The Northern Frontier District Commission have completed their work and are now preparing their report which will be available later this month.
My Lords, that is the factual account of the position of the Commissions. I do not think, on careful analysis, that, really, there are grounds for grave criticism.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I do not want to criticise. I just wanted to ask the noble Marquess whether I am 124 right in assuming that all these Reports will be published. I think that is important. He said that two of them will be published, but will the Reports of all the Commissions be published when they are ready?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I should be grateful for notice of that question. Without discussing it with my right honourable friend, I should prefer not to give an answer off the cuff.
Naturally, many of your Lordships have referred to the change in the Governorship, and I, for one, was glad—and I am sure that this was felt in all quarters of the House—that there were generous and well-deserved tributes to Sir Patrick Renison. Sir Patrick Renison has, of course, carried this great burden at a particularly difficult time in the history of Kenya. Naturally, my Lords, it is disappointing for him that he is not to have the opportunity of seeing the job through to the end.
One thing I want to make absolutely clear. I think that in fact my right honourable friend has done so, but in case there is still any sort of doubt in anybody's mind I want to repeat that there was no difference of opinion between my right honourable friend and Sir Patrick Renison about the pace at which things needed to go. Both were agreed that there should be no avoidable delay in the progress towards constitutional development. That I wish your Lordships to pay particular heed to. During the recent discussions with the Governor (I did not attend all, as I had to leave for Malaya) my right honourable friend and Sir Patrick Renison very carefully reviewed the work so far completed and the programme for the next few months; and they were both united in a desire to ensure good progress on the work still to be done.
I should like to add my personal tribute to the work of Sir Patrick Renison. I should also like to add my own good wishes to Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, who is to take on this extremely difficult and important task. I believe, my Lords, that it is generally accepted that Mr. MacDonald has the essential qualities needed to help him in the task ahead of him, and I believe that one of the most essential of these qualities is patience. I do not mean by that, of course, that we 125 expect Mr. MacDonald to slow down the tempo of things. This is not the case: nor is that the reason why Mr. MacDonald has been appointed.
But, at the same time, clearly, if we are to progress towards a happy and orderly Kenya, there must be patience, there must be understanding, there must be the courageous forbearance that I thought we all detected in the remarks of the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth. After all, my Lords, there are others who have experience, but perhaps he has more personal experience of Kenya than any other Member of your Lordships' House, at least more than any other Member here to-day. The noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, was optimistic; he was courageous; he was prepared to believe the best of the Africans, to believe that they have in fact got the qualities which are necessary to bring their country, and the country to which so many British people have given so much of their lives, into a happy independence.
I do not subscribe to the gloom that has been expresed in some of the speeches of noble Lords in this House, and I was surprised to hear those same noble Lords say how important in their view was the establishment of confidence. The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said, and in my opinion rightly said, that if you are going to establish confidence (perhaps I am somewhat paraphrasing what he said) you have also to have some confidence; and I think that the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, and, if I may be allowed to say so, the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, by giving us such a balanced and interesting variety of views out of Kenya have all done a great service to Kenya this afternoon. My Lords, do not let us approach the future with too gloomy and too anxious an attitude of mind: let us give credit where credit is due.
Many of your Lordships, quite properly, have spoken at some length about the Land Settlement Scheme, and I was gratified to hear the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, express satisfaction at the encouraging results which have already been achieved. Of course, we realise that the expanded scheme, the million-acre scheme, is really what we must now be getting on with. Now all this 126 is being very carefully studied and very carefully looked at. It is complex and it is expensive, but I hope that before long I shall be able to report favourably to your Lordships about the outcome of this.
I was also interested to hear the observations by, I think it was, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, when he referred to the land bank. Certainly the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, referred to it; and indeed that is something which I can assure your Lordships Her Majesty's Government are carefully considering. I was also particularly interested to hear the suggestion of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, about the smaller holdings. He, if I may say so without impertinence, has seemed to me all along to have been approaching the whole problem of Kenya in a constructive way. I have been privileged to have private conversations with him in the office, and I have seen all along that, like all of us, what he wishes is for a happy solution. I know that he does not entirely agree with all that we are doing, but I do know that he realises that we are in fact trying to do something which is very difficult, and that we are trying to do it in the way which we think to be best. I can assure the noble Marquess that I think his proposal (which he says is not really his own proposal) for the "bulking up" of smaller holdings (as I think he called it) into large farming companies is something which should be considered. I can assure the noble Marquess that this will be considered, and I should very much like to have an opportunity of discussing this matter further with the noble Marquess.
My Lords, on this Land Settlement Scheme, as I have said, there is still work to be done. I think that what the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, said about it is true. I believe that the unemployment problem is not going to be solved through the Land Settlement Scheme alone, although there perhaps may be ways in which the scheme may alleviate the unemployment problem.
I should like to refer to this sad question of the compassionate cases. The position is this: there are, of course, a number of European farmers who, through age or infirmity, are no longer able to contribute to the economy of 127 the country, and who also might constitute a security risk by reason of their inability, suppose things went wrong, to protect themselves; and also because of the remoteness of their farms. Earlier this year, as the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, knows, we agreed to provide funds to the Kenya Government to buy up 63 of such farms. These were the 63 cases considered to be of the highest priority on the basis that the farms bought up should be used for settlement purposes.
It has now been suggested that, in fact, there are probably something nearer 200 than 63 such cases. I discussed this personally with Sir Patrick Renison when he was here, and I have also been in correspondence with him since he returned to Kenya. He is looking carefully into the whole of this question so that we can see what can be done about this problem. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, not only referred to what he described as the rural cases; he referred also to urban cases. Such cases as these we are also looking into. I cannot at this juncture give your Lordships any assurances, but I can say this: we are aware of this problem and are trying to find its exact extent. My Lords, it is not the nature of the British people to let British people down.
I think it would perhaps be only right to allude briefly to the security situation. Over the greater part of the country the situation is good, but we know that there are trouble spots in the Rift Valley and the Nyanza Province, and the main threat seems to come from the Kenya Land Freedom Army. But the Kenya Government has taken vigorous action against it, and a substantial number of cases have been brought to court and weapons recovered. The organisation still represents a threat, but we are satisfied that the Government has adequate forces and powers to deal with it. What is particularly encouraging is that the activities of this organisation have been roundly condemned by all responsible political leaders in Kenya. Of course, there are other matters that bear on the security situation—feelings between tribes and, above all, as the noble Earl said, unemployment. But the general 128 picture is that the Kenya Government as a whole are supporting the drive to stamp out subversion wherever and in whatever form it may arise, and they are determined to do what they can to remove misunderstanding about the new Constitution which also, of course, tends to give rise to trouble.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, before the noble Marquess passes from the security situation, could he give us a rough idea of the number of men in the Land Freedom Army—whether large or small in number?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I can give exact figures of arrests that have been made. There were 736 persons convicted in magistrates' courts this year—quite a substantial figure.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, is it not a fact that, as the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, indicated, the people in the Land Freedom Army are largely unemployed—quite a different situation from that previously when there was trouble in Kenya, when most of the people in revolt were from the Reserves?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
I think the noble Lord is perfectly right, and clearly this question of unemployment is vital. Here I am wholeheartedly with the noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth. Unemployment breeds security trouble. I hope it will not be thought, because I said that the general security position was good, that there was any complacency on the part of the Government or that we have forgotten old lessons. Of course we must not forget the past, but I think we may be encouraged by the fact that all the political leaders have condemned the activities of the Kenya Land Freedom Army and subversion in any form. That is something very encouraging for us. I have had put in the Library of your Lordships' House a statement issued by the Council of Ministers in October this year which I think may be of interest to your Lordships. It is a very clear statement on the question of subversion and the whole security situation. I hope your Lordships will read it with interest. The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, referred to the question of British troops in Kenya. There was, as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, reminded us, an announcement of the extension of General Goodwin's 129 appointment, and some of the Press reports appeared to imply there was an exact connection between the relinquishment by the present Commander of his Command next November and the date when the British troops would be withdrawn from Kenya. The fact is that there is no connection whatsoever. The question of the future of our troops in Kenya, what should happen after independence and the sort of arrangements in the field of defence which we might enter into with the independent Kenya Government are, as I said in May, matters which can be discussed only with the Government which will take Kenya into independence. I think the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, did not expect me to be able to give entire satisfaction on that point.
The question of nationality and citizenship was raised by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. He suggests that there might be dual nationality. This question was also raised by other noble Lords, including the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, but I must make it perfectly clear that in the Constitution now being drafted we are not concerned with citizenship. The Kenya Independent Constitution will have to contain provisions for Kenya citizenship, and these provisions will be negotiated at the Conference about the arrangements for independence. I would only say that we surely understand the feelings of those of British birth or British origin now in Kenya. We know their views and of course we will bear them in mind. This is not the time to discuss usefully this problem.
The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, in addition to his fascinating list of correspondence, specifically referred to the Northern Frontier District. I am afraid all I can tell the noble Earl at this juncture is that, as he already knows, the Commission was set up and it is in fact now writing its Report. Obviously, I cannot prejudge or anticipate anything in that Report, and though the noble Earl himself may have considerable knowledge on the subject, I cannot add to it.
I think this debate, if I may be allowed to say so, has been a useful one. I am grateful to the noble Marquess for having put down this Motion. I hope that I 130 have been able to convince the House that real progress has been made. It is true that the degree of progress to which I had looked forward in May has not been achieved. That I will not deny. But real progress has been made; and with calm, with common sense and with confidence, this progress will, I am certain, continue.
I should like to repeat that Her Majesty's Government regard the basic principles which were worked out at the Lancaster House Conference as being of fundamental importance to the future stability and happiness of the country. We are with all speed implementing the Lancaster House decisions, so that there shall be no delay in holding elections and in the enactment of the new Constitution. We fully realise that there are many problems still to be solved, and we are deeply conscious of Kenya's serious financial and economic problems and her people's anxiety about the future. We do not underestimate the tensions between the tribes. But we are determined to overcome all these problems. We are facing them realistically and we are doing what we think is right in the interests of all the communities of Kenya.
§ 9.22 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, this is a genuinely late hour, so I propose to say only a very few words in withdrawing my Motion. First of all, if I may, I should like to thank most warmly all those noble Lords in all parts of the House who have taken part in the debate. I feel sure that they feel, as I do, that it has been worth while. The noble Earl, Lord Portsmouth, who made, I thought, such an outstanding and stimulating contribution to our discussion, said, if I understood him aright, that he thought our discussion this evening would have proved worth while because, apart from everything else, it had let the people of Kenya themselves know that we here in England really care about what happens to them. I certainly—and I am sure all other noble Lords who are here—feel exactly the same. I was particularly glad, if I may say so, that the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, in his reply, said that the Government oared, too. I think it is very important that we should all say that and say it as often as possible.
131 The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said he thought that the debate had shown a general approval of Government policy. I thought that that was going a little too far. Indeed, I am afraid that I continue to believe that the Government, by their past policies, have been largely responsible for the situation that has arisen. But I agree that there was agreement on one thing this afternoon, and a very important thing—that was, the need to restore confidence. That, of course, is not a matter for Her Majesty's Government alone; It is also a matter for the African leaders and everybody else concerned. But I think that there was a feeling this evening that if confidence could be restored, the situation in Kenya might yet be saved; and that, I think, is the most Important thing of all.
The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said that it would probably need a good deal of money, and, of course, that is certainly correct; and I hope that the Government (in his words) will continue to foot the 132 bill, so as to make this admirable result possible. That, too, is probably the best way to help to cope with the problem of unemployment. The more you can get land schemes going, the more Africans presumably will be employed upon them, and that is a thing that we must all bear in mind. In conclusion, I would only thank the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, for the very full reply he has given. I am quite sure that sometimes, at the end of a long debate, a Minister thinks that what the House really wants is to get through the Government's reply as soon as possible. That certainly was not the case to-day. The noble Marquess realised that and we are all extremely grateful to him. There is no more for me to do but to withdraw my Motion for Papers.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.
§ House adjourned at twenty-five minutes past nine o'clock.