§ 2.54 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON rose to call attention to the Report of the Kenya Constitutional Conference, 1962 (Cmnd. 1700) and to the Report of the Kenya Coastal Strip Conference, 1962 (Cmnd. 1701); and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, on rising to call attention to the Reports of the Kenya Constitutional Conference and the Kenya Coastal Strip Conference, I must first express my gratitude to Her Majesty's Government for making available from Government time a day for a debate on this important topic. I had hoped at first that it might be possible for the debate to be held (before we rose for the Easter Recess, but perhaps it is just as well that this could not be arranged, because the five weeks which have elapsed since the termination of the main Conference have enabled us to see its results in better perspective and to judge more accurately how it is likely to work out in practice.
§ My second duty must be to offer to my right honourable friend the Colonial Secretary my congratulations on having achieved agreement, both on the terms of the framework of a new Constitution and on the establishment of a coalition Government between the two main African Parties to work out the details, of course in consultation with Her Majesty's Government.531
§ Having regard to the vast gulf which separated KADU and KANU at the beginning of the Conference and, indeed, during most of the seven weeks of its labours, the extent to which agreement has now been reached is little short of miraculous. It says much for the patience of my right honourable friend and for my noble friend Lord Perth in their conduct of the negotiations, and for the ingenuity of the officials of the Colonial Office, that these results were achieved. It also reflects credit on the good sense and willingness to compromise on the part of the African Party leaders and their European associates. It is in the hands of these leaders that will mainly lie the task of carrying out the agreements, and of proving their successes or otherwise. Finally, my Lords, I believe we should express our gratitude to the members of the Kenya Coalition Party, whose moderate and helpful interventions, often behind the scenes, undoubtedly contributed to the successful outcome.
§ Having said this, I must make it clear that we should be under absolutely no illusions as to the difficulties which lie ahead. The hardest part is still to come and, as I shall seek to demonstrate, the omens at present are far from favourable. In fact, the dangers which confront Kenya and its inhabitants of all races, whether in the political, economic or the social fields, are greater than those facing any of the other emergent British colonial territories, past or present, and I do not exclude British Guiana. It is the duty of all parties concerned, and not least the British Parliament and people, to do their utmost to find solutions for the many intractable problems.
§ My Lords, it is no time for platitudes or wishful thinking, and I propose to examine the agreement and its consequences for the people of Kenya from the purely realistic and practical point of view. This does not mean in any sense a negative approach, but it does mean that all the difficulties which lie ahead must be brought out into the open and thoroughly considered, without heat or rancour, with a view to finding practical solutions. Nor is it any time for sentimentality—although, Heaven knows!, especially for those of us who know and love Kenya, there is plenty to 532 be sentimental about. When all is said and done, it was the much-maligned British settlers who, under the devoted administration of British colonial servants, and with the help and labour of the African inhabitants, in the short space of sixty years transformed Kenya from a backward, poor and pest-stricken territory into what was one of the most advanced and civilised countries of East and Central Africa.
§ These settlers are the people who now, in many cases through fear and insecurity, are being forced to leave their homes in hundreds if not yet in thousands, and to abandon all they or their forebears have built up. Anyone who since the war has followed with sympathy the fate of exiles and displaced persons in Europe or elsewhere must be fully aware of the tragedy and the despair which this involves. In my view, we owe the settlers not only a debt of gratitude but an obligation to ensure that, so far as is humanly possible, they shall not suffer disproportionately from events over which they have no control.
§ I do not propose to rake over the embers of the past. Historians will no doubt argue for years about the merits or the failings of the first Lancaster House Conference of March, 1960, which we debated in your Lordships' House, on the Motion of my noble friend Lord Hastings, just over two years ago. We all hold our own views, and some of us hold them strongly. I do not propose to go over this ground again, but I would note this. In spite of the statement in that debate two years ago by my noble friend the present Foreign Secretary, that the goal at which we aim must be multi-racial, it is certain that the true multi-racial concept was in fact killed by the decisions of the first Lancaster House Conference. From that date, unless a really long period of transition—say, eight to twelve years—had been permitted, it was clear that Kenya was bound to become a purely African State.
§ That is the position to-day, whether we like it or not, and it is of course this fact which has led to the wholesale collapse of the morale and confidence among the European community and among the Asians—settlers, businessmen and civil servants. The extent to which this morale and confidence can be reestablished 533 depends on the terms of the agreement which we are considering today, its interpretation, and, above all, its implementation by the African leaders. I was glad to read an article by Mr. Tom Mboya in the Kenya Weekly News for last week, May 11, appealing, albeit in somewhat scathing terms, to the European community to remain and to show their faith in Kenya. It has always been my devout hope that many of them, a large proportion of them, would do so. But I agree with him that the matter of confidence between the Africans and the Europeans must be a two-way traffic.
§ Nevertheless, at this stage it is clearly up to the African leaders, by their words and by their deeds, to set the course. Some of the more extreme leaders of KANU may consider the Europeans expendable; but the economy which the Europeans have created is not expendable, and the sooner this is publicly recognised in Kenya, the better. I would say only one word of comfort to my European friends in Kenya at this stage. When the white inhabitants of some of the West Indian territories some ten years ago found themselves faced with the prospect of the same loss of all political power, many of them experienced the same feelings of fear and foreboding. In practice, they have been able to retain not only political and economic security, but a certain useful, and by no means negligible, influence in public affairs.
§ Before addressing myself to the details of the present Agreement, on some of the points of which I wish to seek elucidation from my noble friend the Minister of State, I should like your Lordships to consider the crucial, underlying political issue of this Conference. It is, of course, that of a regional or federal system versus a centralised unitary system, on which KANU and KADU stood apparently hopelessly divided. The demand of the minor tribes for a regional form of government is based on fear—fear of the political domination of a majority group, and, of course, above all, fear of domination by the Kikuyus, with their greater numbers and skill, and alas!, in the case of many of their leaders, their sinister record in the Mau Mau rebellion.
§ This fear, which is perfectly understandable, is something which, until 534 comparatively recently, does not seem to have been appreciated in Whitehall, perhaps because it was not until the date of independence grew nearer that it was expressed vocally by the members of the minor tribes themselves, but it was something which was well-known and often commented upon in Kenya itself for months, and, indeed, for many years. To my own knowledge, tribal hostility and fears were certainly regarded by many Europeans, civil servants as well as experienced settlers, as the greatest of all the dangers facing Kenya, at least eighteen months ago. It was this fear of majority domination and ultimately Kikuyu dictatorship which inspired the stubborn insistence of KADU before and during the Conference on a regional system. The principle of regionalism has now been enshrined in the new Constitution, albeit in a modified form, and I congratulate Her Majesty's Government on having accepted this fact fairly and squarely. It is no exaggeration to say that on the extent to which it is effectively carried out, in the spirit as well as in the letter, will depend the question of peace within the borders of Kenya.
§ The safeguards which have been embodied in the new Constitution, and which follow in the main the line of thinking of the KADU leaders, consist of a new Bill of Rights, containing certain additional safeguards for the European settlers; the establishment of an Upper House elected on a regional basis, and with a requirement of a 90 per cent. majority for constitutional amendments affecting the entrenched rights of individuals of the regional and tribal authorities; six regional assemblies with administrative and lawmaking powers over a wide range of subjects, including land transactions, education, and the day-to-day preservation of law and order, and finally, with assured provision to the regions of adequate sources of revenue.
§ I should like to congratulate the drafters of Annex B of the White Paper (Cmnd. 1700) on the ingenious system devised for the division of powers and interlocking arrangements between the Police Service Commission, the Inspector-General of Police, the Regional Commissioners of Police, and the Regional authorities. All these safeguards, my Lords, cover the essential requirements 535 of the minor tribes in respect to local self-government while maintaining Kenya as a political and economic unit, which I think we are all agreed it necessary for its future development or progress. But all will turn on the way in which the terms of the agreement, which is admittedly only a framework, are worked out in detail and then carried out in practice. On this everything depends, including the solution of the problems of the Coastal Strip, which form the subject of a separate Conference, the Northern Frontier District, and the special treaty relations with the Masai. These issues have, as it were, been pushed under the carpet, pending the working out of full details of the Constitution, as well as such vital issues as the question of citizenship and the franchise for local government elections, which could make a nonsense of the proposed Second Chamber. My Lords, reading through the documents I can think of at least twenty other important points which still have to be agreed between the parties concerned.
§ To turn now, for a moment, to the organisation of the Central Government, under paragraph 19 of Appendix II of the White Paper this is to be entrusted with responsibility for a large number of activities, including external affairs, defence, international trade and major economic developments. I should like to ask my noble friend at what stage responsibility for foreign affairs and events are to be entrusted to the Central Government. Surely this must be delayed until after full independence, as opposed to full internal self-Government. Moreover, it would appear that, so long as Her Majesty's Government retain responsibilities of any kind in Kenya it is essential that the declaration of a state of emergency by the Central Government, which is provided for in paragraph 20 of the same Appendix, should require the approval of the Governor, and not just endorsement by a majority of the two Houses. In short, my Lords, without wishing to be unduly critical, I feel that in the drafting of this particular part of the Constitution there appears to be a certain confusion between powers and functions which would be enjoyed by an internally self-governing territory and those Which would belong to a fully independent country. This will require 536 elucidation, and I should like to ask my noble friend at what stage, and bow, this is to be done.
§ The draft Constitution, moreover, does not indicate whether Ministers can be chosen from both Chambers. Should not the final Constitution provide that a specified number of Ministers, as in this country, should be selected from the Upper House? Then again I note that consideration is to be given to the inclusion in the Upper House of non-voting members representing special interests. This, I take it, is intended to cover Europeans, Asians and Arabs. Could my noble friend say whether it is intended that any such special members of the Upper House would be eligible for appointment as Ministers? European and Asian members of KADU and KANU have already shown that they can contribute greatly to the work of Government, and I personally should welcome any arrangements which would make it possible for them to be included in future Cabinets. Apart from this, and the safeguards in the Bill of Rights, there appear to be no special provisions for the future of non-African minorities.
§ It may be that in the present political climate of Kenya this is unavoidable, but to make them would not constitute in any sense a necessarily derogatory precedent. Let us remember, for example, that under the long-standing Constitution of New Zealand there is provision for the election of four Maoris in the House of Representatives. Is it really too much to ask that even in an independent Kenya there should be some representation of the non-Asian minorities in the Lower House?
§ The draft Constitution also provides for the establishment of a number of commissions of investigation—no fewer than six, if my mathematics are correct, including the Commission to study the problem of the Northern Frontier District.
§ LORD COLYTON
Thank you: five. Can my noble friend say how soon they are to be established and how soon they are expected to report? All these things are certain to take considerable time, but I feel bound to point out that until 537 these and many other issues are resolved, the uncertainty which is bedevilling the whole political and economic life of Kenya will remain.
What, for example, is to be the future of the British Forces in Kenya after independence? I have absolutely no hesitation in saying that it is vital that British troops should remain in Kenya for at least five years, preferably more. This is not merely to maintain confidence among the European community, although their continued presence, or the presence of some of them, is agreed by everyone to be essential to the future of the economic life of the country. It is also not in any sense to preserve a British base, to be used in the cold war or for any other such purpose. It is simply that the local Kenya forces by themselves are not at present capable of preserving the frontiers of Kenya from external incursions, notably from Somalia and Ethiopia. Moreover, until the new regional Constitution can be proved to be workable, we must frankly admit that, with the tribal fears and hostilities a Congo situation in Kenya remains a possibility. It is tragic, but it is true.
The fears of the smaller tribes and the present underlying hostility are such that in certain circumstances civil war could break out. The danger is far greater there than it is in any other territory, on account of the diversity not merely of tribes but of races—Bantu, Nilotic, Hamitic and Nilo-Hamitic—all living side by side. Surely it is only common sense that any decision on a final date for self-government, and in due course full independence, should be coupled with an agreement for the continued presence of British troops, on the lines of the agreement made with the Government of Malaya when that country attained its independence a few years ago.
There remain a number of other vitally urgent problems to be solved. The first of them is to make the coalition Government work. At the moment, in spite of the more reassuring report which appeared in The Times this morning, all my information—and it comes from African as well as European sources in Kenya—is that the coalition Government is not functioning as a coalition at all. The Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, who are supposed to 538 be working together during the week, go out over the week-ends and abuse one another with unfailing regularity. Different interpretations are being placed on the results of the Conference agreement and some KANU leaders have gone so far as to say that no regional assemblies were agreed upon in London, or that regionalism is dead. It is not surprising that all attempts to bring about a Party truce have failed. The fact is that the eyes of all politicians in Kenya are firmly fixed on the coming elections.
I do not want to appear over-pessimistic, but I do not think that we can exclude the possibility of the complete breakdown of government by coalition during the next few months. In that unfortunate event, the only course, in my view, would be for the Governor to rule directly by decree, with a small number of nominated advisers. This would allow the two Parties to get on with their preparations for the election, on a date to be fixed, say at the end of the year.
As can be imagined, all this is having a disastrous effect on Kenya's parlous economy. Two years of severe drought and the worst floods in the history of the Colony, coupled with the prevailing political uncertainties, have seriously damaged the agricultural industry. The departure of many European small mixed farmers is leading to increasing unemployment of Africans, who are now drifting into the towns. Irresponsibility of certain trade union leaders, particularly while Mr. Mboya was away, and the black-listing of European employers and Africans against the day of independence are taking their toll in industry, and this again brings increasing unemployment. The Christian Churches of Kenya recently estimated that one out of three African workers is at present unemployed.
The Asian workers, particularly in Nairobi, are in even more acute distress. No less than 60 per cent. of those engaged in the building trade are at present out of work. Investment is at a standstill. Crime, on the other hand, is increasing both in town and in country. The Civil Service, expatriate and locally recruited, are uncertain as to their future and more and more expatriates are preparing to leave. Until this trend can 539 be reversed, it seems to me to be quite illusory to hope for the successful launching and operation of the new Constitution. The African politicians have their responsibility in this matter, but so do Her Majesty's Government. This is what makes it so essential that the two Commissions which the Colonial Secretary has promised to appoint, to examine public expenditure and to develop new sources of revenue, should set about their work urgently.
Another way in which Her Majesty's Government could help would be by embarking on a bold phased purchase of land from the mixed farmers in the European Highlands for transfer to African ownership under a wide extension of the settlement schemes. Here I would commend to your Lordships, and to Her Majesty's Government, the Memorandum on the Kenya Land Problem presented to the Colonial Secretary by the Kenya Coalition Parliamentary Delegation to the Lancaster House Conference on behalf of the European community. By a bold gesture in providing the finance for the transfer of a large portion of the existing European mixed farms into African hands, Her Majesty's Government would accomplish two things. First, they would ensure the friendship of an independent Kenya for a long period, since much of the tension on the political front would immediately be eased. Secondly, such an act would almost most certainly result in a great soothing of emotions on this burning issue of land, with the result, I would hope, that a large number of the existing European farmers, who wish to remain in the country and are prepared to accept the new conditions, could remain. Certainly their continued presence would greatly support the economy of the country and help in maintaining its standard of living in the future. Furthermore, they would help to provide personnel for European supervision and the Agricultural Advisory Services, which are essential if production from the new African farms is not to fall lamentably below that existing to-day under European ownership.
Your Lordships may think that I have painted an over-gloomy picture of the present situation in Kenya. I can assure you that that is not the case. If the Report which we are discussing this 540 afternoon is to be effectively and peacefully carried into force, urgent action is required in many fields. The African politicians must be brought to a sense of reality and of understanding of their responsibilities; and, if necessary, self-government, and therefore independence, must be delayed until they do so. When we were debating the Report of the first Lancaster House Conference two years ago, my noble friend Lord Perth enumerated four conditions laid down earlier by my noble friend Lord Boyd of Merton which must be attained before, as he said, we could guide Kenya to self-government. They were as follows. First, power should be exercised by the people through representative Parliamentary institutions which they should not abuse. That condition, we hope, will be fulfilled under the the present Report. Secondly, there there should be general acceptance in the territory that every race and community has its part to play in the public and economic life of Kenya. Thirdly, we should be reasonably able to expect an improving standard of living and the retention of the confidence of investors. Fourthly, a competent and experienced Civil Service composed of local people should be created.
My Lords, can we honestly put our hands on our hearts and say that these last three conditions cited by my noble friend Lord Perth two years ago have been fulfilled? I, for my part, certainly could not do so. Perhaps to-day, in the present political climate of Africa, and in the light of world opinion, we have to accept a second best. But let us at least, through our influence in this House, do our utmost to ensure that our efforts in Kenya, where for over sixty years so much has been achieved by successive British Governments and by British men and women, should not now be allowed to end in tragedy and disaster—tragedy and disaster, above all, for the 7 million Africans for whose fate we have made ourselves responsible.
May I conclude with a quotation from the Nobel Prize-winner, ex-chief Luthuli, in a recent number of the South African magazine Drum? He wrote:To me the expression 'Africa for the Africans' is valid in a non-racial democracy only if it covers all regardless of colour or race who qualify as citizens of some country in Africa.
§ 3.23 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, as this is the first opportunity I have had, may I congratulate the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, on his appointment, and wish him well in his new post? I hope he will enjoy it as much as I did—I cannot say more. I remember that soon after my appointment to this post I had to make a speech on Palestine in your Lordships' House, and I knew as little about it, apart from my official brief, as the noble Marquess probably knows about Kenya. So I can offer him my sympathy as well as my good wishes.
I was listening with the utmost care to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, expecting to find a great deal with which I should disagree, because I do not by any means always agree with the noble Lord opposite; but on this occasion I find it very hard indeed to disagree with him. In fact, I imagine that what he said about Kenya would be acceptable to the great majority of noble Lords on both sides of this House. However, I found one point I should like to mention with which I do not altogether agree. I think the noble Lord suggested that it was essential that British troops should remain in Kenya, presumably stationed at MacKinnon Road, for at least five years after independence, to maintain law and order.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
And to protect the frontiers of the country. I am grateful to the noble Lord for adding that. However desirable that may be on security grounds, I think there is another consideration which has to be borne in mind, and that is the consideration of what is politically practicable. The noble Lord will remember that in every other country in British Africa that has become independent, not only have British bases had to be discontinued but we have not even succeeded in maintaining the right to use: local bases. We had rights in Nigeria, and we had to give them up. I am quite sure that the noble Lord would not wish a condition of this kind to be made the condition of independence if it was likely to provoke a head-on collision between us and the political leaders in Kenya. Throughout his speech I think that was the only 542 major point with which I disagreed. I should like to thank the noble Lord for enlightening the House and helping us all with his very valuable judgment on the political issues in Kenya.
The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, among other things, congratulated the Government and the officials at the Colonial Office on the success of the Lancaster House Conference, so he leaves me nothing to say in that respect, although I agree with him that both the Secretary of State and the Colonial Office officials did an extremely good job. I should like to offer my warmest congratulations—and I am merely emphasising what the noble Lord said—to the two main political Parties in Kenya, KANU and KADU, on the outcome of the Conference. In particular, I think they deserve great credit for the two outstanding achievements: the agreement to form a Coalition Government and the acceptance of the broad outline of a new Constitution. As we all know from experience of this country, an agreement between opposing Parties is always difficult. But it is never more difficult than when personal and ideological differences are as substantial as they are between the Party leaders in Kenya. It is, therefore, a great tribute to their statesmanship that they have been able to sink their personal differences, and compromise on their political aims, in order to give Kenya the strong and stable government needed to lead the country to independence. The Conference went on a very long time, and many of us were afraid that it would break down. If only the Parties in Kenya can show as much patience and patriotism in office as they showed in the negotiations at Lancaster House, the political future of Kenya is bright.
I should like to make only one comment on the new Constitution. It seems to me—and I think this was also the verdict of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton—extraordinarily well suited to the special circumstances of Kenya. I am sure that it is wise, for instance, in the home country of three races and many different tribes to include in the Constitution a Bill of Rights, enforceable by the courts, with an ultimate appeal to the Privy Council. There is a similar Declaration of Rights in the Constitutions of Nigeria and Uganda, 543 and its importance as a means of giving minorities the sense of security they need can hardly be overestimated.
I am no less glad to see the unusual provision that any proposed change in the Constitution affecting guaranteed individual or tribal rights would require a 90 per cent. majority in the Upper House. The usual requirement, of course, for the alteration of even an entrenched provision of a Constitution is a two-thirds majority. But knowing, as I do from my own experience in Africa, the inclination of majority Parties in a Government of a new country to alter a Constitution after a country has become independent, largely because the Constitution was worked out under colonial rule, I am delighted that Kenya has thought fit to entrench so deeply the vital elements in its new Constitution. For this purpose, as the guardian of the Constitution, an Upper House representing the distriots, and therefore the regions into which Kenya will be divided, is clearly necessary.
It may be said by other critics (although the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, did not say it) that most countries of the size and population of Kenya have a unicameral Legislature and that two Chambers in a small country is expensive and wasteful of political talent. But, after all, in a federation it is normal practice that one Chamber represents the Federal Union while the other represents the people on a majority basis; and Kenya, though it will not be a federation, will, at any rate, be a semi-federal or quasi-federal, in the sense that the regions will be very much more than local authorities. In this way the Constitution will preserve the delicate balance between types of races, which if it is disturbed, would mean, with the end of British authority, the beginning of civil strife.
My Lords, I would repeat, therefore, that I believe that this new Constitution gives the greatest possible hope for the political future of Kenya. The responsibility for working it lies, of course, fairly and squarely with the political leaders, and they by their actions, can make or mar its effectiveness. But their very genuine desire to make it work—and I think that this is 544 something rather striking, in view of the enormous urgency for national independence in the minds of all Africans—can be measured by their willingness to settle the burning question of independence after they have achieved internal self-government under the new Constitution, and knowing well that the preliminaries would take a longish time.
Provided that there is the same reasonableness on both sides, and that her Majesty's Government do not delay the date of independence beyond the time required for the necessary constitutional processes to elapse, there seems no reason why independence should not be reached as smoothly in Kenya as it was in Tanganyika or West Africa. I know that there are people in Kenya and West Africa who hope that independence may be deferred for five years or more. I trust that Her Majesty's Government will not pay heed to this kind of advice and that there will be the normal transition from internal self-government to complete self-rule. I am sure that any undue procrastination would be fatal to a smooth handover.
There is one point to which the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, did not refer, but which I should like to mention in connection with the Constitutional Agreement. I do not think we can help feeling some anxiety about the future of the Northern Frontier District. There has been agreement about the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry to find out about the wishes of the Somalis who inhabit this area; and of course, no one would want to prejudge its conclusions. Nevertheless, I very much hope that the political leaders in Kenya will keep an open mind about the future of this area until the Commission has reported. If the Commission takes the view, as a result of its study on the spot, that these people do wish to join their brothers in Somalia, it might well be the case that to let them go would be better than to have to deal with a violent uprising. But if there is a secession of territory—one hopes that it may not be necessary, but it is impossible to tell—it should take place before British authority has passed into African hands. I think that would be better for everyone concerned.
Another question mark—one to which the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, did refer 545 —is the future of the Coastal Strip. It seems to me that the position of the Sultan of Zanzibar is very similar to that of the Princes in the States of British India just before India became independent. It is clear now, as it was then, that British protection cannot continue after independence. It is, I think, very satisfactory to see in the Agreement that the Sultan is willing to come to reasonable terms with the National Government in Kenya. If the Kenya Government offers genuine safeguards for the rights of the inhabitants of the Coastal Strip, then I do not see any reason—and it is apparent that the Sultan will not insist in all circumstances on the narrow legal rights of sovereignty—why it should not continue to be administered as part of Kenya.
My Lords, I think the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, was entirely right in his emphasis, at the moment at any rate, that it is the economic situation in Kenya which is uppermost in all our minds and is causing the greatest anxiety. It is reported in the Press that there are already a quarter-of-a-million or more people unemployed, most of them with no means of support other than their relations and neighbours. Destitution is already resulting in an epidemic of theft and crimes of violence. Unless the economic life of the country-can be kept going, there is a real risk that independence will bring economic collapse and widespread violence. The Government have appointed two Commissions of Inquiry to examine these problems, and of course we all hope that their recommendations will be of real value in finding a solution. But the essential facts of the economic situation, the causes of the run-down of the country' is economy, are already generally known to everyone; to the public and Members of Parliament and the political Parties in Kenya. It is surely for Her Majesty's Government here and the people of Kenya, to face these facts now and not to allow the situation to drift on and get worse. They must decide now what should be done, before things reach a point where economic collapse is inevitable. It requires, I am certain, a joint effort between Her Majesty's Government here and those concerned in Kenya to stop the economic decline that has already set in.
546 There are, I believe, only two ways in which the economic health of the country can be restored. The first is for the Europeans in Kenya to realise that their own economic salvation and that of their fellow Kenyans depends on their land, their skill and their capital. If most of the European farmers and professional men were to leave the country then ruin would be inevitable. It cannot, of course, be an easy decision for them to stay, especially when the future is so uncertain, particularly, for men with families and with prospects elsewhere; and I am sure that we shall all sympathise with them in having to make this extraordinarily hard decision.
The other essential step towards economic recovery is for Her Majesty's Government to say that they will contribute funds that may be required to keep the country solvent. The Government should recognise that they are faced by a financial emergency in Kenya on a scale that has never been met before when a Colony has been on the threshold of independence. Exceptional circumstances require exceptional measures. I am not suggesting for a moment that the Government should underwrite the expenditure of the Government of Kenya, or that compensation should be offered to all farmers in Kenya, or others with capital investments, who may wish to leave the country. But I am suggesting that the Government should prime the pump of agriculture and industry by loans—for example, for land settlement. I thought that what the noble Lord. Lord Colyton said on that subject, on land settlement for Africans and for other economically desirable provisions, was particularly useful. I also believe that a stage would be reached when it would be found that the only way in which the Kenya Government would be able to meet its commitments after independence would be for the United Kingdom to contribute directly to its recurrent expenditure. This has never been done before by this country, but the French Government contribute to the budgets of several former French territories in Africa, and in the special circumstances of Kenya I think that there is every reason why we should study that and regard it as an imaginative way of dealing with the situation there.
547 I hope, too, that we shall give more than the usual 50 per cent. towards compensation of British civil servants who may wish to retire after Kenya has been granted independence. There are undoubtedly a very large number of both administrators and technicians who will wish to leave. I was in Uganda myself in January of this year and was really staggered by the number who were going to leave when Uganda becomes independent in October. And, of course, the situation is even more insecure from the point of view of the civil servants in Kenya than for those in Uganda. I do not take the gloomy view which some people take, that Kenya is heading for disaster, but I am sure the situation there is an immediate challenge both to the Government here and to the people of Kenya, and the future of the country will be decided by what they choose to do now. The choice is in their bands. I am certain that if the Government have sufficient imagination and sufficient financial generosity, and if Kenyans of all races put their country first and are prepared to take calculated risks, its future is just as bright as that of the other young nations in Africa.
§ 3.44 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, first of all I should like to thank the noble Earl who has just sat down for his kind welcome to me. I would also thank both noble Lords who have spoken, Lord Colyton and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, for the praise that they were generous enough to give, and so rightly, to my right honourable friend, and to my noble friend Lord Perth, for the work Which they did in bringing the Lancaster House Conference to such a successful conclusion. Both the noble Lords who have spoken before me have made constructive and helpful speeches. I know full well that when the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, decided to put down this Motion it was his purpose that he should be helpful and that we should all benefit from the collective wisdom of your Lordships' House.
If both of the speeches of the noble Lords who have preceded me revealed a certain undertone of concern, it seems to me that this is only natural and only right, in view of the vitally important 548 and acutely critical stage of its history into which Kenya is now moving. Wherever we sit in this House, we are, I am sure, all equally concerned to ensure that every effort possible is made to bring about the independence of Kenya in circumstances and in the manner most likely to sustain the freedom and prosperity of all its peoples.
The Kenya Conference took place, as your Lordships will remember, in February and ran on into April. It was attended by all the 65 elected members of the Kenya Legislature, and it will certainly not have escaped your Lordships' notice that this Conference took up a substantial amount of time and that, even when it was concluded after seven and a half weeks, it had by no means completed the task of considering the form of the next Constitution of Kenya. The complexity of the problems which face Kenya are indeed formidable, and but for the determination—and this the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, referred to—of the delegates to grapple with these problems and to try to reach agreement about them, the very considerable progress achieved—and it was achieved—at the conference could not possibly have been realised. I, for one, was particularly glad to note that the noble Lords both recognised the importance of the great contribution that was made in this Conference by the Chairman himself.
At the outset of my remarks I should like just to remind your Lordships of the words used by my right honourable friend when he opened the Conference. He said this:For our part, as Her Majesty's Government, we recognise our own great responsibility to all Kenyans. This responsibility cannot be discharged unless we can be sure that when the time of independence comes we shall be handing over authority in Kenya to a stable régime, free from oppression and from violence and free from racial discrimination. This is our aim. this is our responsibility, and we will do all in our power to discharge it.Those words define the rôle which Her Majesty's Government must play in Kenya and they set out our view of our responsibilities, and I believe it is also implicit in those words that those responsibilities cannot be discharged without the active co-operation of all Kenyans of all races and in particular of those who lead them. We cannot discharge 549 our responsibilities unless the Kenyan leaders are prepared to discharge theirs.
I believe that this was recognised when the political leaders agreed at the end of the Conference to form a coalition Government in order to increase national confidence and unity and to continue good government. I believe that they recognised by this statesmanlike act—for indeed that is what it was—that this was the best way to settle in discussion with Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom the important undecided details of the Constitution based on the framework which was agreed. One of the first essentials now, it seems to me, is that however difficult the problems with which they may be confronted, the leaders of all the political Parties—and particularly the African leaders, since they represent the majority of the people—should not during this difficult period of discussion and preparation lose sight of the common objective or cease to work in the spirit with which they entered the coalition Government.
Although the strongly partisan speeches to which the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, has referred, which have been made by politicians immediately after their return from the Conference may have appeared out of tune with the spirit shown at Lancaster House, I do not think we should take this too tragically. Even we noble Lords may at times allow ourselves outside your Lordships' House political postures less dispassionate and objective than those which so distinguish our deliberations within this Chamber. I think your Lordships will be interested to hear that the Acting Governor of Kenya, Mr. Griffiths-Jones, who is at present presiding over the constitutional discussions of the Council of Ministers, has reported that there are satisfactory indications of a corporate spirit among its members, cutting across Party divisions.
Before I comment on some of the problems of the Kenya Constitution, there is a second point that I want to emphasise and get straight, as it is so liable, I think, to misinterpretation. The political problem that faces Kenya is not the problem of the domination of the African population by a small minority of Europeans or Asians. The 550 members of these two communities do not seek to exercise political power out of proportion to their numbers. They do, however, seek naturally—and in my opinion, rightly—to continue to be able to play their part in the destinies of the country, particularly in agriculture, commerce and industry, where they have made such a great contribution. Apart from any other considerations, the logic of arithmetic is such that the Africans will play the predominant part in ruling the Kenya of the future. This was the approach of the members of the European and Asian communities who attended the Conference; and, no matter which of the political Parties they supported, they did their utmost to help to produce an agreed settlement in the interests of the country as a whole. As in the case of their brother African Kenyans, it is essential that they also should continue in the same spirit.
One of the major problems of the situation, it seems to me, is in the numerous tribes which compose the African peoples of Kenya. They differ in their languages, customs and way of life to an astonishing degree. During the recent history of Kenya these differences have to some extent been masked by the effects of British rule, which, although it has indeed been a unifying factor, has not succeeded in welding the people together as one nation. This diversity had its effect both on the constitutional proposals which were put before the Conference and on those which emerged from it. In the Conference great stress was laid upon two other problems, both of prime importance to the future of Kenya.
The first is the economic and financial problem, to which both noble Lords have referred. The deficit in the Kenya recurrent budget in their current financial year is estimated to be about £2 ¾ million and the prospect is that on the basis of present revenue and the present pattern of expenditure the deficit will steadily increase in the next two years, even without taking account of the extra burdens that come with independence. This has already meant that the British Government have had to supplement the funds available to Kenya for recurrent expenditure, and in the current Kenya financial year we are making available in various ways over £7½ million in grants towards such 551 expenditure. Kenya also needs very substantial assistance from outside towards development expenditure, and the British Government are supplying a very large proportion of the finance required for the current development plan for the three years July 1, 1960 to June 30, 1963. This provides for a net expenditure of £26½ million. Even so, there is still a sizeable gap in the finance needed to complete the programme in 1962–63.
As noble Lords will know, the economy of Kenya is particularly vulnerable because of the great significance to it of relatively small sections of the community. Kenya's economy is based on agriculture, but of the gross revenue from cash crops and livestock in 1960, some 80 per cent. originated on non-African farms. Next in importance to the economy, is the wealth generated in the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa. Here again African participation in the commercial activities of these cities is still very small. In fact, the 67,000 Europeans, out of a total population of some 6½ million, probably contribute about half the Government's total revenues and a further 25 per cent. is probably attributable to the 170,000 Asians.
The viability of Kenya's economy therefore must depend very largely upon the restoration of confidence among those sections of the community which make a major contribution to the economy, and among outside investors. I believe that the return of this confidence can be brought about by the new Government, and they will be judged by how they tackle their tasks in practice. Her Majesty's Government considered that the economic and financial position of Kenya was such that steps must be taken immediately, and it was for this reason that they decided, as is stated in the Report, that two Commissions should be appointed. The first should examine the whole issue of public expenditure with terms of reference which would particularly require them to consider public service establishments. The second should examine new possible sources of revenue and also advise on how revenue should be assigned to the regions to be set up under the new Constitution. As your Lordships will 552 remember, the Conference welcomed these proposals. Arrangements are being made for the appointment of these two Commissions to carry out their work over the coming months.
I should like to remind your Lordships in this context that, at our request, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed to send a general survey mission to Kenya at the end of last year to examine the economy of the territory and to report. This report when completed should prove of great assistance in the future economic and financial planning of the Government of Kenya. I should tell your Lordships that there have already been valuable preliminary exchanges with this mission.
The second major Kenyan problem is unquestionably the matter of land and property, and this is closely linked with the economic problem and the restoration of confidence. I should like to deal first with the land now in European occupation, described as the "Scheduled Areas". The loss of confidence which developed among the settlers during the past two years has caused them drastically to reduce their capital expenditure and no longer to think of their holdings as long-term investments. This policy of "wait and see" has naturally had repercussions on all branches of the national economy. In addition, capital has been transferred out of the country and this in turn has helped to discourage new investment from overseas. For the farmer and other property owners this has created a situation in which they cannot readily realise their assets. Of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, have said, it has also, alas! produced a good deal of unemployment.
At the same time there is strong pressure on the part of the Africans for more land. The land settlement schemes will not only ease this pressure but also go some way towards restoring the market in land. As the House knows, these schemes involve the purchase of about 350,000 acres in the scheduled areas and the settlement of nearly 20,000 African families over a period of two to three years, at a cost of about £13¼ million. The capital for these schemes is being provided by the International Bank, the 553 Colonial Development Corporation and Her Majesty's Government, and the share of Her Majesty's Government is £7½ million. It is possible that West Germany may also participate. These schemes are now, after a slow start, making headway and the most recent report is that about 180,000 acres have been bought or approved to be bought at a cost of about £1 million.
There are also proposals, to which the noble Lord, Lord Colyton referred, for much larger land resettlement schemes and these have been suggested both by the Association of European Agricultural Settlement Board farmers and by the Kenya Coalition. The proposals by the former would entail winding up the original European settlement schemes and providing for African resettlement at an estimated cost of £5 million to £6 million. The proposals submitted by the latter would provide for the settlement of about 2 million acres of land at an estimated cost of between £30 million and £40 million. I am not yet in a position to say anything further to-day about these proposals
Mention has been made—not in this debate, but in previous debates—of the position of certain European farms whose owners are, through age or infirmity, no longer able to contribute effectively to the economy of Kenya, and those farms are in areas where they cannot immediately be fitted into the existing land settlement sohemes. Attention has also been drawn to the position of farms established in the Kipkarren and Kaimosi areas, which I understand were leased from the Nandi tribe. In all these cases there seem to be grounds for special consideration. The Kenya Government have in mind both these categories of farms and have submitted proposals which we are considering.
The principal difficulties over African land ownership are, first, the need for more land, second, by what authority will the land in the Scheduled Areas be apportioned, and third, whether there will be a diminution of tribal authority in land transactions. I will refer to the measures designed to deal with these difficulties a little later.
I should now like to comment on certain aspects of the constitutional proposals. I understand that at the outset 554 of the Conference the African political parties, the Kenya African Democratic Union and the Kenya African National Union, were guided very largely in their constitutional proposals by certain fears—fears to which various speakers have referred in this House to-day—although the fears of each were in fact different. The KADU were afraid that there would be domination and oppression by a strong central Government. Accordingly, they proposed that regional Governments should be set up, and that many of the functions of the central Government should be exercised by the regions. The KANU feared that if the central Government had insufficient powers at its disposal, it would be unable to govern effectively, or to shape effective policies.
The constitutional framework which was agreed by almost all the delegates present at the Conference was evolved in such a way as to limit to the minimum the dangers envisaged by both the African political Parties. I think that I am right in remembering what the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said—that this Constitution, in his opinion, provided the best possible hope for the political future of Kenya.
The proposals which have been agreed provide for the establishment of Regional Assemblies with administrative functions and with power to legislate. In particular, the functions of these Regional Assemblies include education up to intermediate level—that is to say, pupils up to the age of 13 or 14—local government and public health. They will also have day-today responsibility for law and order, and there will be regional police contingents commanded by regional commissioners responsible in the first instance to the regional authorities, but with recourse in exceptional circumstances to the Inspector General. In addition, the Regional Assemblies will have the exclusive responsibility to pass legislation relating to the control of land transactions outside the Scheduled Areas. I feel that this framework has gone a long way to reassure the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, that every effort has been made to see that the regional requirements of this country are being taken care of, so far as is humanly possible within the framework of the Constitution.
555 There will be a central Government responsible to the central Parliament. Its responsibilities will be over a very wide range of activities, such as external affairs, defence, international trade, major economic development, and so on. It will also have responsibility for the Armed Forces and the ultimate sanction of law and order, but, as I have already said, the day-to-day responsibility for law and order within each region will rest with the Regional Assembly.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, could the noble Marquess answer the question on that subject that was addressed to him by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
Yes. The noble Lord asked me in whom these functions would be vested after independence. Is that correct?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
These, of course, until independence are finally the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government.
A new feature of the central Parliament is that it will consist of two Chambers, the Lower House elected by universal adult suffrage based on single member constituencies, the Upper House consisting of one member from each of the existing districts (that is to say, some 35 members) and possibly of non-voting members representing special interests.
In regard to the question Lord Colyton put to me as to whether it would be possible for Ministers to be drawn from each of these Houses, the answer that I must give him is that this question has not yet been decided, but I think the suggestion was that the representatives of special interests should in fact be non-voting members, so there is perhaps a difficulty there. But certainly this is something which can be considered. So far as I know, the question of having Ministers from each of these Houses has not been decided. The Upper House, as has been said, will have special powers in respect of the amendment of the Constitution, and my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor in winding up will allude particularly to that.
556 Of course, two vital features of the Constitution are the agreement on the entrenchment in the Constitution of a Bill of Rights guaranteeing the proper protection of the rights of individuals, and the agreement to establish an impartial independent Judiciary. The guarantees in the Bill of Rights include—and this is very important, I think—the rights of property owners, whether Africans holding land on individual or communal tenure, European or Asian proprietors or farmers or outside investors. The new Bill of Rights will continue to guarantee that property cannot be compulsorily acquired by the State except for public purposes such as road building, schools, hospitals, et cetera, which will all be specified, and except upon the payment of full compensation. It will be possible to go to the courts, both on the question of the justification for compulsory acquisition and on the amount of compensation to be paid, and there will be a right of ultimate appeal in these matters to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, may I ask the noble Marquess whether this means that the transformation of freeholds into leaseholds by law, as has recently been done by the Government of Tanganyika, could not be carried out in Kenya?
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, what I was referring to was the compulsory acquisition of land. I think that the noble Lord is posing me a pretty tricky question of law. I should like notice to answer that question, but it may well be that the noble and learned Viscount will find it quite easy to answer at the end of this debate.
The provisions of the Bill of Rights mean that the rights of owners and occupiers of land will be guaranteed in the Constitution. In addition to the Bill of Rights, there will be other provisions of the Constitution specifically relating to agricultural land. Her Majesty's Government were guided in their approach to this question by two considerations. First, that it should be specifically written into the new Constitution that the control of transactions in agricultural land outside the Scheduled Areas should be vested in the appropriate tribal authorities. And, 557 second, that land settlement schemes within the Scheduled Areas at present farmed by Europeans should be the responsibility of a Central Land Board. The regions will be represented on the Board, and the Board will consult the region concerned about the tribal composition of any settlers whom it was proposed to settle in their area. The Board will take proper account of the interests of the regions but, subject to this, the resettlement of Africans on farms in the Scheduled Areas would be its sole responsibility.
The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, referred to the possibility of British troops remaining in Kenya after independence and the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, said that he hoped that this would not be a condition of independence. Let me say at once that Her Majesty's Government fully recognise and accept their responsibility for maintaining law and order in Kenya before independence. We shall keep the necessary British troops there for this purpose. But the question of what should happen after independence, and the sort of arrangements in the field of defence into which we might enter with an independent Kenya Government, are matters which, I am sure the noble Lord will agree, it would be fruitless for us to discuss now.
There was a question on the position of the Masai. The delegation which came to London represented that their ownership of the former Masai lands in the Rift Valley should be recognised, and that they should have first claim on them in any resettlement scheme. They also wished to enjoy security of tenure in their present Reserve. They based these claims on the 1904 and 1911 Agreements with the British Government. I must emphasise that the British Government stand by these Agreements, of course, but we cannot accept the claims in respect of lands which the Masai vacated under the Agreements. We unreservedly accept the obligation to secure that the Masai continue to enjoy the same rights in their 'present Reserve as they now enjoy under the Agreements, and we intend to entrench these rights in the Constitution.
So far as the Northern Frontier District is concerned, I was very interested to hear what the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, 558 said on this point, that he thought if there were a question of secession it should take place before rather than after independence. All I can say on this is that claims to be permitted to secede to the Somali Republic were considered and they were strongly pressed, as the noble Earl knows, at the Lancaster House Conference. My right honourable friend felt that public opinion in the area should first be consulted and, as noble Lords know, a Commission is being appointed for this purpose.
As for the Coastal Strip, I think your Lordships will be familiar with the position there and the special relationship that we have had since 1895 with the Ruler, the Sultan of Zanzibar. It is made clear in the Report that the final decisions on the status of this Strip and other matters related thereto will have to wait upon the working out in detail of Kenya's new Constitution. Until the Kenya Constitution has been worked out in detail we must hold our hands on this question. But we will provide adequate safeguards for the people in the Strip and we recognise, of course, that some change in the Agreement must be made before Kenya enters into full internal self-government. I should like to make it plain that we have no intention of allowing the 1895 Agreement relating to the Coastal Strip to hold up Kenya's advance to internal self-government. But at the same time we would not be party to any action which might be prejudicial to the interests of the people in the Strip.
Finally, there is the question of how all the remaining work on the new Constitution is to be tackled, and how long it will take. My Lords, this is primarily the task of the new Kenya Government. Noble Lords will appreciate that, following on the Lancaster House Conference, it was necessary for a close evaluation of the implications of the basic agreed framework to be made by the various Ministries concerned in Kenya. This evaluation and study has been in train since Ministers returned to Kenya and progress is being made. It has also been agreed that representatives of the Kenya Coalition, and of the inhabitants of the Coastal Strip, should be associated with the discussions of the Constitution in the Council of Ministers. I think the noble Lord was anxious about that. The Secretary of State is sending his own 559 personal representative, Mr. Steel, and he is leaving for Kenya on Thursday.
It is our hope that agreement will be reached in Nairobi, in consultation with Her Majesty's Government, about the very important undecided details of the Constitution by the end of July. It is extremely difficult to say exactly how long afterwards the Constitution work will be completed. But the Secretary of State has said that, if agreement can be reached by the end of July on all outstanding matters, he will make every endeavour to ensure that the necessary Constitutional drafting is completed by the end of this year. Once this is done, an election will follow and the new Constitution providing for internal self-Government will be brought into operation.
As your Lordships have no doubt observed from a study of the Reports and my observations on them, an immense amount of work has still to be done and many important issues are not yet decided. But substantial progress has been made. It now remains to be seen whether the Coalition Government in Nairobi is able to maintain this progress. None of us underestimates the difficulties, but we will do all we can, in co-operation with the Coalition Government in Nairobi, to overcome them.
My Lords, I have never been among those who decry the British imperial achievement. Within the ranks of our imperial and colonial administration and of our pioneers in distant lands overseas have been many of Britain's finest sons and daughters. It is not arrogant to be proud of their achievements: it is not vain-glorious to respect their worth. Kenya has in full measure benefited from the courage, the energy and the resource of such men and women as these. Kenya has still so much to gain from their continued participation in the development of its future national life. Of course it is natural for the Africans to be eager to run the country from which they spring, and of course it is natural for the settlers who have done so much towards the creation of the nationhood of Kenya to be concerned for its continued orderly progress and for their own place in a country which is also their home. My Lords, the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government 560 is to all Kenyans, and it is our determined will to do everything in our power, in co-operation with the new Kenya Government, to ensure that the rights of all Kenyans are upheld so that together they may go forward in confidence and mutual respect to fashion a united, prosperous and independent nation.
§ LORD KILLEARN
My Lords, before the noble Marquess sits down—I apologise for having arrived a little late—there is one point I should like to check that I heard correctly. It was that troops will not necessarily be kept on after independence. Did I gather correctly what the noble Marquess said?
§ 4.23 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, it is some time since a Lytton addressed your Lordships' House, and this is a maiden speech, for which I ask your customary tolerance, not only because it is a conventional duty for me to do so but because I think I shall have need of your tolerance before I have finished. It is 40 years since I went out to serve in Kenya, where, for a time, speaking nothing but Swahili, and being a hundred-mile walk from my nearest white neighbours, I administered territories of the Northern Frontier. I have never exercised comparable responsibilities since.
Last autumn I went back to Kenya for a visit, and on to Tanganyika to stay with the Governor just before independence, and I discovered a new word that is being whispered (and shouted, sometimes) everywhere: the word "Uhuru". In my days, it was not known. Although I am fluent in Swahili, I have never used it, although it is being used to-day everywhere by the whites, the Arabs, the Africans—in fact, everybody. It means "freedom": freedom from us. It is a different thing in mind from partnership or multiracialism. It is genuinely "Africa for the Africans". It has something of the quality of the word [...] in Greek sentiment. In Dares-Salaam, just before independence, even the doves were said to be saying "Uhuru"; and if you give "Uhuru" two 561 syllables and utter it with a dovelike intonation, rather swiftly, it sounds very like the sound of a dove.
On the occasion of the Tanganyikan independence celebrations a remark was made, if I have read the reports correctly, which struck me very much, It was made by Cardinal Rugambaras, the first Bantu cardinal, a negro and a man of great distinction. On the celebration occasion, on the day of uhuru in Dares-Salaam, he said, "Britain to-day can be as proud as a father at his daughter's wedding". That is a sentiment which appeals to me very greatly. I am a supporter of uhuru, though sometimes with a qualification as to what it may exactly mean. But in Kenya the difficulties are greater; and in my short speech I hope to cover as little as possible of the ground that others have done to-day so much more ably.
There are two or three immediate impressions which have not, perhaps, been dwelt upon. One is that Mau-Mau has produced a schism in the soul of all the Africans: not between the Kikuyu and others alone, but even in the soul of the Kikuyu themselves. It is a movement in some sense comparable to that of the Mad Mullah in Somaliland, and to that of the Mahdi in the Sudan. It has produced a division of loyalties which has crippled for the time being the Kikuyu soul—and that is a thing not spoken about, but which will take a long time to recover. It is unfortunate that it should have happened in the most numerous and advanced tribe in the Colony.
Then, there is this question of land hunger, upon which I want to make one short comment. In this sense I speak as an economist, though I appreciate the value of land distribution in a political sense, but I cannot believe that it will contribute much in the economic sense. It is not usual for Africans to produce more than Europeans do. In fact, the reverse is the case. And one of the great problems is to cure the inveterate habits of African bad husbandry which you still see everywhere you go in spite of notable advances.
A further point which struck me was that 40 years ago I could have recommended non-commissioned officers of the K.A.R., in which I served, for training for commissions. Last November I sat 562 down at the third K.A.R. annual dinner. There was not a single African officer in our company; and there is not a single African cadet at Sandhurst. There was in my district in those days, 40 years ago, at least one Turkana chief whom, had I been asked to do so, I could have recommended to take my place and become a District Commissioner. Last autumn there was no African District Commissioner in Kenya. I know there are crash programmes which have been approved, but crash programmes are no substitute for steady planning and education. I have not heard anything said in your Lordships' House which reflects on the progress, the substance and the validity of Africanisation in all departments, yet surely it is on that that the Constitution must rest. It cannot work in a vacuum. For that reason, I sympathise with those who have fears about the possibility of what I might call a gadarene gallop. I do not think it need necessarily come, but there is a terrifying lack of foundation beneath the relatively educated and sophisticated African politicians. What is there below? Perhaps some noble Lord will at some time tell us.
I do want very much to turn to the frontier, and to run the risk of being told that I am talking about something which is sub judice. I know the frontier, and I question whether the brief that has been given to those who are going out is adequate. The frontier is a district of immense size as well as a line of frontier. It covers 125,000 square miles, which is 25 per cent. larger than the whole of the rest of Kenya. It is twice the size of England. It is very low and hot. In my district, in the cooler part, at the hot hours of the day the temperature was 94 degrees. In the hotter part it was 108 degrees: that is in the shade, but in some places there was sufficient shade only for my thermometer. In the tent it was over 120 degrees. It is an area of pastoral tribes. I am talking about an area called the Northern Province, not merely the N.F.D. It is not even consistently managed. In part of it are the Samburu, whom I had the privilege to rule at one time. They are administered by the Provincial Commissioner of the Rift Valley province. I think they are the robbers of the settlers, and it is more convenient to have them that way. The Turkana and the Samburu 563 are Nilo-Hamitics. Then one goes Eastward and finds the N.F.D., which is only part of this Northern Province.
I want verbally to run round this Province on the boundary line. This huge area is totally different in ways of life and economy, with only two persons to the square mile. How can you have child welfare and all the other things you talk of in that sort of country? Running round the frontier from Juba-land, which we gave to the Italians as baksheesh after the First World War, is a land of Somalis, a 400-mile frontier between the Somalis of the N.F.D. and the Somalis of Jubaland, who are now part of the Somali Republic. Along the roof of Kenya is 500 miles of ill-defined frontier—lines on maps principally—with the Empire of Ethiopa, which cuts through the unhappy Boran, from whom the settlers in Kenya have derived such benefit. All the beef industry of Kenya is based on the Boran cattle, which are crossed with pedigree bulls from Europe. That mixture has produced a beast which can be sold for £36, instead of £10, the price of the African beast. That is part of the measure of the improvements due to the use of Boran cattle.
To run further round the frontier, on the top there is a piece, less than 200 miles, of frontier with the Sudan. Then you come down the escarpment of Karamoja, against Uganda. This vast frontier is occupied by people very difference from the Bantu of the Highlands. Within that large area there is a division of cultures which I suggest to your Lordships must be recognised. It is the high-water mark of Hamitic invasions from across the Red Sea, which started some 70 centuries ago and which has reached its high-water mark in parts of the N.F.D. in Kenya. The Somalis are one group; the Galla, of whom the Boran are part, are another. They are a different people of European structure and, although coloured, different from the people of Africa who are Negro. It is the dividing line between Hamitic non-Negro types from Asia, Asia Minor, or Europe, and the Negro of Africa. Wherever they have been through the course of history, they have provided an aristocracy amongst those where they dwelt.
564 Before any of them are placed under a Bantu administration—I repeat, before any of them are so placed—careful consideration should be given as to what is best for them. They have their ideas about uhuru, and if the Kenya Bantu politicians are in favour of uhuru for themselves they should be sympathetic in not refusing the Somalis and Galla. Indeed, the Somalis extend over a dry and arid country as beneficial occupiers. I say they are beneficial occupiers because they have one of the most unique animals in the world. The Somali camel is a beast which, when the grass is green, as it is only occasionally, will go entirely without water for two to three months, and its herdsman, the man who goes with it and accompanies it, goes entirely without food. This partnership is one of the unique reasons why the Somalis have maintained themselves in one of the most arid parts of the world, which is eight times the size of this country.
Latterly they have suffered a partitioning, which started when a Liberal Prime Minister, with British troops and the Royal Navy, occupied Egypt exactly eighty years ago this year.
As successors in Egypt, we occupied part of the Somalis' land; that is as heirs and trustees of the Sultan of Turkey. We encouraged our Italian friends to occupy other parts. We obtained Kenya in a "horse trading" deal with the Germans in exchange for Heligoland. Boundaries were drawn on maps without their having been seen, and the most serious of all these things was that the Ethiopians, freed from the pressure of Islam which had pressed upon them for six centuries, did what so many people do when the threat of slavery is removed from them: they enslaved their neighbours and became four times the size they were before. The Emperor Menelek, a powerful unifier, invaded portions of territory which Ethiopia had never before occupied in its history.
The Kafta Kingdom, which resisted nobly, was overrun, and two-thirds of the population slaughtered. Some of the remainder were taken into slavery, and the rest were made serfs. Our friends the Boran were overrun. As Sir Arnold Hodson said in his book, they were shot down like rabbits in 1899. The 565 whole of the Ethiopian Empire has been created since Gladstone sent British troops into Egypt. Freed from pressure, the Abyssinians have enslaved their neighbours, and I am bound to say that my information leads me to suppose that the régime, at any rate amongst the Boran, but I believe elsewhere, is unenlightened, backward and oppressive. I wish that we, whose blood has been spent in recovering this Empire—not Ethiopia, but the Empire—could make representations to the Emperor regarding the Somalis, who have their right to uhuru.
Our Somalis are of the same stock as those of the Ogaden in Ethiopia. They are both Darod and it is unavoidable that at some time or another they will press strongly for freedom. This is surely the moment to make representations to the Emperor that the Somalis may be together. They have, at any rate, been in their country a long time. How long is difficult to say, but at least 800 years in the British part, at least 400 years in Ogaden, 100 years on the Juba, which is already part of their independent territory, and only 50 years in Kenya. They have come down and moved the people who were there before; that is, the Galla including the Boran.
The difficulties are very great. On our side we have perhaps 30,000 and on the other side there are anything from a half to one million. They may not say one word against the Emperor. They cannot publish a paper of their own. They may not be educated in their own language. These people are brethren; some of those on their side are Moslems; the rest are pagans, pagans of a very unusual and admirable type. They are monotheists. They are moral in many respects which show us the way. They have a pax Borana within which people are never killed. I would suggest that none of this Northern area, peopled by tribes of Hamitic stock, should be handed over to a Bantu administration. No Bantu politician knows this area. Mr. Ngala, according to the Provincial Commissioner, whom I recently visited in Isiolo, is the only prominent Bantu politician ever to have been to the N.F.D., and he went there by air when the floods were on and could not reach anybody, and nobody could reach him. I am taking this opportunity of saying something which 566 nobody else has said. If it is premature, in view of the people who have been going out there, may it be brought to their notice. I ask your Lordships' forgiveness if I have said more than I should do on this matter.
§ 4.42 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, before I come to the main subject of the debate, I should like, if I may, to congratulate most warmly the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, on the maiden speech which he has just delivered. I am sure that we all listened to it with deep interest, for he speaks with long personal experience of the country to which his remarks were devoted, and especially to that part of Kenya which is occupied by the Somali, of whom, I am afraid, we normally hear much less than we do of the Kikuyu and other more southern tribes. The noble Earl comes from a family with a long record of service to our country, both in the political and in the imperial fields. He has clearly given much thought to the subject on which he has spoken, and given, I am quite certain, great food for thought to us all. I can assure him that we have greatly welcomed his intervention in this debate, and we all look forward to hearing him again.
I should like also, if I may, to say a word of congratulation to the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, on his first speech as representative of the Colonial Office. He showed, I thought, that he had already gained a knowledge of the complex problems with which Kenya is faced, and he seemed ready to face hard facts—and that is a very valuable quality in the Colonial Office. I am quite certain—and now I come to the question of Kenya—that we ought to be very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, for tabling his Motion on this subject at the present juncture, for though, of course, we have devoted our attention again and again in recent months and years to the problems of that unhappy country, there has been, as has already been said this afternoon, one development of very real importance since we last discussed them. There has been the Conference at Lancaster House in the early part of this year and the Report of that Conference, which is now in our hands.
What does that Report show? It shows, at any rate, that the Government, 567 if I may say so, at last have begun to recognise the desperate nature of the situation with which the country is faced. The new Colonial Secretary certainly does. He does not mince his words about the situation with which he finds himself confronted. As far back as November 29 of last year he said, quite bleakly and unequivocally, in words which were quoted in the introduction to the Report of the Lancaster House Conference:The great danger I see is fear; fear of discrimination, fear of intimidation, fear of exploitation. I have seen enough to be convinced that there is truth underlying those fears.He recognises, too, the urgent need to dispel those fears if disaster, for black and white alike, is to be avoided.
Confidence must be created: that is the primary need. That is very evident from the words in paragraph 12 of the Report which have already been quoted by the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne. That, in Mr. Maudling's own words, is the responsibility which lies upon the Government. He clearly does his best to face up to it. We must all, as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said, admire the pertinacity with which he has pursued his aim. Again and again the Conference appeared to be drifting on to the rocks, and again and again, by adroit seamanship, he managed to keep it afloat. And finally he did achieve agreement—at any rate, an agreement in principle. For that initial success, he certainly deserves all our congratulations.
The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, has already dealt fully with the Lancaster House Conference proposals, and I hope most sincerely that Her Majesty's Government will take his wise words to heart. I do not want to retraverse the same ground over again, and I would say only this. As I understand it, the new Constitution is specifically designed to remove the fears of the other communities, black and white, of being exposed to the tyranny of the Kikuyu, and so make possible the revival of that confidence without which the country, as we can all now clearly see, is doomed to disaster. And the method by which Mr. Maudling seeks to achieve his aim is by a wide application of the federal principle.
568 There is indeed to be, if I understand it aright, what the Conference calls "strong and effective central Government" to deal with such matters as can only be dealt with centrally—external affairs, defence, international trade and so on—and it is to be a central, bicameral system. But also, in the more domestic spheres, there will be themaximum possible decentralisation of the powers of Government".For this purpose, the six Regional Assemblies will be established. And in the sphere of land policy, which is so vital for the European population, and therefore, if I may say so, for the prosperity of the country as a whole, in the Scheduled Areas, where the main African resettlement is to take place, there is to be an independent Land Board which is to concern itself with the gradual purchase of European-owned land for African resettlement. I think I have understood the Report correctly. That, too, if the Board is presided over by an independent Chairman, and if it works as intended, appears to be a sensible proposal, probably as sensible a proposal as can be devised at the present juncture to deal with the special conditions in Kenya.
But, of course, these proposals, which I have sketched in so very briefly and inadequately, are inevitably only a skeleton, and they can be given flesh and blood and made to live only by the people of Kenya itself. As we all know, the leaders of the two main African Parties, KADU and KANU, have now gone gack to Kenya to try to mould in detail, and in a form acceptable to them both, this Constitution, with a view to working out these details and bringing it into force. Of course, if they can succeed in that task, no doubt a far more favourable climate will be created than has been envisaged for a long time, and we might be able to look forward to the future with, at any rate, a modicum of confidence.
The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, who, if I may say so, in colonial affairs, at any rate, seems to be the modern disciple of the great Dr. Pangloss, seemed to think that, as a result of what had already happened at Lancaster House, all the troubles of the country were practically over. But at present, as I am sure the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, will agree, there is still no 569 certainty that the two Parties will be able to work together; and on that, of course, the whole success of the Lancaster House proposals depends. The leaders of African Parties, judging by recent experience, always seem to have an ineradicable habit of saying one thing in London and something very different when they return to their own countries. This makes it extremely difficult to come to any form of agreement with them; and the leaders, especially of KANU, on this occasion, appear to be no exception to that rule.
Some of them, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, has told your Lordships this afternoon, since their return to their country have been saying things which are hardly in strict accordance with the spirit of the agreement to which they had just assented at Lancaster House. In those circumstances, the confidence of the European population, on whom, after all, the economic viability of the country entirely depends, is not unnaturally far from being restored, and from all that I can see the exodus of white farmers and others is not only continuing but, if anything, increasing. It appears, therefore, that the Government will have to do something more if the situation is not to get completely out of control.
The first thing I suggest, with all diffidence, is this. It should be made clear to the African political leaders, and to the European population and everyone else, that there will be no General Election in Kenya until the details of a new Constitution have been agreed—and not only that, but have actually been put into operation with the support of both Parties. I am not quite clear, from what the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, said, whether that is what Her Majesty's Government have in mind; whether he meant that it should just be agreed, or whether he meant that it should be put into operation before there is an Election. That it should be put into operation before a General Election is, I believe, of the first importance, for if a General Election took place before that, according, at any rate, to the information that I have had, and if KANU won a victory, as is very probable, the other tribes might very likely refuse to accept the position, and then there would be an acute and immediate 570 danger of an inter-tribal civil war in which the minority communities, including the Europeans, would be ground betwen the upper and the nether millstones.
The second thing I suggest which it would be wise for the Government to do, whatever may be the details of their plans for African resettlement, would be to make clear to the white farmers that if, as a result of circumstances for which they were not responsible, but which arise entirely from the policy of Her Majesty's Government, they are driven to leave Kenya, where they had hoped to make their homes, they will be assured that funds will be made available for them to enable them, their wives and families, to start life elsewhere. That, surely, is plain justice. I understand, indeed, that under the Government scheme, after the last world war, to set up an Agricultural Settlement Board for ex-Servicemen, it was made a precondition of being accepted under the Scheme that all the assets of applicants in this country must be declared, converted into cash and transferred to Kenya.
I have here a letter which was written to one applicant, and I should like to quote a few words from it. This is from the authorities:I acknowledge receipt of your letters of the 15th February and the 8th March, the contents of which are accepted as adequate proof of your declared capital. The Board will of course expect you to have all your financial resources available in cash for your use in Kenya before you take up a farm under their Schemes, and I should therefore be glad if you would inform me of the arrangements you are making to dispose of your property in Wales".The applicants, in fact, were forced, in order to get the advantages of that scheme, to put all their eggs in the Kenyan basket. If, therefore, these people are now utterly ruined, it will be as a direct result of a condition which the Government themselves imposed. That, to my mind, would be a shocking thing.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I am coming to that. Her Majesty's Government in London could not possibly unload responsibility for such an event on the Kenya Government, for 571 the booklet which the Kenya Government published at the time stated categorically:It must be remembered that Kenya is a Crown Colony and cannot proceed without the consent of the Colonial Office.My Lords, I would ask the Government to give special attention to the position of these men, whose indignation and sense of injustice is very great, and also, I think, extremely natural. These ex-Servicemen have perhaps a more direct claim on the Government even than the other farmers in Kenya. But all these farmers, morally, are in the same position. Up to now, I am afraid, there has been a tendency for the Government to try to force these people to stay in Kenya by making it clear that they could expect no help if they left. But that policy—and we had better face it—has dismally failed. It has only created bitterness and desperation, and it has not stopped the exodus. Her Majesty's Government will certainly not encourage farmers now to take any further risks unless they are given some assurance that they will be looked after if things go wrong and will not merely be discarded as expendable.
The third thing I believe it is essential that the Government should do is to make a firm declaration that though their policy is one of further constitutional advance at the earliest possible moment it is for the African leaders themselves to create the conditions which make that advance possible. That, of course, has already been said, in effect, by the Secretary of State, in paragraph 12 of the Report of the Conference which the noble Marquess has already quoted. But I believe that it is important that it should be reaffirmed at the present time.
Last—and I say this in spite of certain remarks which have already been made by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel —I suggest that Her Majesty's Government should make it clear that British troops will not be withdrawn until that point has been reached. Nothing would do more to restore confidence, both among the Europeans and among the loyal Africans, and nothing would do more to restore our prestige in the eyes of all Africans, than such an announcement. For there is no doubt, from all I 572 have heard from people who know Africa much better than I do, that the signal lack of sympathy which has been shown in recent years by Her Majesty's Government to the European community in Kenya has been generally regarded by the African population there not as evidence of a progressive outlook, as was no doubt intended, but only as a gesture of utter defeatism and weakness.
This, my Lords, brings me to the last point on which I wish to speak to-day. It relates to the Coastal Strip, to which the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Colyton directly refers. This strip, which includes the Port of Mombasa, has, as your Lordships know, never been an integral part of Kenya. It forms part, as has already been said by the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, of the territory of the Sultan of Zanzibar, but has been administered by Kenya ever since 1895, as the result of an agreement reached between Her Majesty's Government and the then Sultan of Zanzibar in that year. And the question clearly arises, what happens to it when Kenya gets her independence?
I gather from the Report of the Kenya Coastal Strip Conference, which sat at the same time as the Kenya Conference, that no decision has yet been reached on this matter. But all the indications are that it is the policy of Her Majesty's Government that the Strip should be finally incorporated in Kenya. I take it that the Government will quote, in support of that view, the Report of a very renowned and respected civil servant, Sir James Robertson, who was asked to report on the future of the Strip and whose Report was issued in December of last year. But, my Lords, I should like to draw the attention of the House to certain very significant facts connected with that Report. It is, of course, a production of the highest distinction, as one might expect, coming from the source it does, but it is extremely limited in scope and, in particular, entirely omits the one aspect which one would have thought must dominate all others in consideration of this particular problem—the strategic aspect. There is nothing said about that at all. With regard to that most important side of the question nothing is said. Indeed, a cynic might almost draw the conclusion that Her Majesty's 573 Government, having already made up their mind and wanting only the advice that the Coastal Belt should be given up, and knowing, too, that to bring in strategic considerations might produce very different advice, had taken considerable trouble to ensure that all strategic considerations were completely ruled out.
In case this is thought to be merely a jaundiced view of my own, I should like to quote to your Lordships some words from the Report itself. In paragraph 49 Sir James uses these words:A change in administering the Coastal Strip would not necessarily affect the 1895 Agreement. It would be possible for the British Government to continue its protection over the Coastal Strip after Kenya Colony proper becomes self-governing and, later, independent. … As I understand it, however, the view of the British Government is that, while they would favour a solution which is in the best interests of all the people of Kenya Colony, they have not previously thought of retaining any residual responsibilities for the Coastal Strip after Kenya becomes independent. I assume therefore that they would be willing to continue to exercise protection over the Coastal Strip only with the wishes of the bulk of the inhabitants of the Kenya Colony and Protectorate and that"—I would ask noble Lords particularly to note these last words—the strategic implications of the Port of Mombasa do not weigh with them in the matter".I do not know how your Lordships interpret the passage I have just read, but to me it is almost as if the writer were saying, as clearly as he thought could be justified: "I was tipped the wink before I started that I was not expected to concern myself with strategic aspects, however important those might be, otherwise I might have come to very different conclusions." That, of course, might well be an erroneous impression on his part of what Her Majesty's Government had in mind; but, if so, in a matter of this importance one would have expected the Colonial Secretary to have told Sir James so at once, so that he could take the wider strategic aspects into account. But the Colonial Secretary does not appear to (have done so. We may therefore, I think, clearly take it that the assumption in paragraph 49 is correct.
And yet, my Lords, the Mombasa Strip, or a portion of it, including the Port of Mombasa, ought surely not lightly to be given up. It might well occupy a position of crucial importance 574 for ourselves, and indeed for the whole Western World, in the event of another world war—a position almost as important, I think, as that of Singapore. During the last war the strategic value of being able to supply our forces in the Middle East and further East, not only by sea around the Cape but by air across Africa, was amply demonstrated. But what is the position now, in 1962? I suppose that we might still hope for facilities from the Union of South Africa and Portugal, though we seem to slap them both in the face whenever we get a chance. I do not know whether we should have any assistance from Ghana—the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, might be able to tell us that better than I can. We should certainly not have the assistance of Tanganyika; for even Mr. Nyerere, who is more near to being a friend of ours than many other African leaders, has already said that while he was still in power he would not have a British base on Tanganyikan territory. And the same is true of Kenya, where Mr. Tom Mboya has already made a similar declaration.
The Central African Federation, one may be certain, will always be prepared to do what it can under its present management, but would anyone be certain of the position in that area if federation came to an end and Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia came under Dr. Banda and Mr. Kaunda with full independence? And if federation went wrong, and if Portugal would not play—and I really should not blame her—we should not have a square yard for a Western base between the Union and Aden except the Mombasa Belt. Is that not something the Government ought to take into account? Can anyone possibly assess the importance of the Mombasa Belt without taking that into account? Yet it was apparently excluded from Sir James Robertson's terms of reference. That surely is a very queer thing. Is it too much to hope that this House, which has such a wide and ripe experience, will press the Government to take these wider aspects into account before coming to a final decision?
Those, my Lords, are some of the reflections that occurred to me in reading the two Reports, from the Kenya Conference and the Kenya Coastal Strip Conference which have just ended. I commend them, with all deference, to 575 your Lordships. The question of the Coastal Strip in particular, I believe, is of quite special moment, for it seems to me of very great importance, both from the local point of view and from that of the whole Western World, that we should continue to have some foothold in that part of Africa. The Robertson Report, in the passage which I quoted earlier, spoke of Her Majesty's Government'sbeing willing to continue to exercise protection over the Coastal Strip only with the wishes of the bulk of the inhabitants of Kenya Colony and Protectorate.My Lords, it will not be the bulk of the inhabitants of Kenya Colony and the Protectorate who decide this. They will not be consulted at all. It will be Mr. Kenyatta and Mr. Mboya, and men of that kind. Do we really wish to leave a decision of this importance to the Western World to them?
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ LORD TWINING
My Lords, may I add my congratulations to the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, on his maiden speech? I am sure it was a great pleasure to your Lordships to hear a maiden speech on Kenya from someone who has had practical experience there. Perhaps I should declare an interest before I speak about Kenya, for I own ten acres and ten sheep. The ten acres are in a residential area, and as the rôle of the sheep is that of a mowing machine I cannot be described as a farmer, about whom I propose to make some remarks later on.
I am sure that there are many of your Lordships who are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, for providing this timely opportunity to discuss the affairs of Kenya. I, too, should like to pay my tribute to the patience and statesmanship of the Colonial Secretary, in the manner in which he handled the recent constitutional conference and the measure of agreement achieved. I am afraid that in a debate like this it is inevitable that one should cover ground which has already been dealt with by previous speakers. But I will try and do so with a difference of emphasis and a difference of point of view.
It now remains to be seen in Kenya whether the African political leaders will 576 work for the final result in the interests of Kenya. Since their return from London their public attitude has not been too encouraging, and there have been signs of quarrelling and disagreement. There are some, indeed, who consider the Government to be a coalition only in name. There is, however, time yet for them to work together, though perhaps it is too much to expect that political leaders with such widely differing outlooks can be expected to work harmoniously together in the period before a general election which will decide where the power will lie in the pattern of Kenya's future. Unfortunately, some of the leaders have already given publicly their interpretations of the agreement they have signed, in very different terms from our understanding of it.
The affairs of Kenya attract greater interest in this country than do those of most African countries. Perhaps it is because there is a seemingly inexhaustable supply of uncles and aunts, cousins and in-laws related to the British people who have made their homes there and they are well briefed about the situation. It is, I think, now generally accepted that the grant of independence to Kenya is inevitable and cannot be long delayed. In fact, the sooner a decision can be taken the better, for delay will not help: it will lead to continuing uncertainty which can only mean greater instability resulting in a worsening of the situation. But there are still many apparently intractable problems to be solved.
Since the last elections were held in Kenya two matters of far-reaching importance have emerged. First, there was the release from detention of Jomo Kenyatta and his claim to be the national leader. Secondly, there is the KADU policy of regionalisation. It seems to be widely taken for granted that Kenyatta is the undisputed leader of the future and that he will be swept into power by an overwhelming majority of the electorate. This view is naturally not shared by KADU or, for that matter, by many observers who are not merely wishful thinkers but have a close knowledge of the situation. In its simplest terms the situation is that the Kikuyu, who are the most numerous tribe in Kenya, supported by several other tribes with whom they have 577 affinities, have it as their aim and ambition to dominate the country. On the other hand, the minority tribes who support KADU will never accept Kikuyu domination.
The Kikuyu have many admirable qualities; they are intelligent, hardworking and possessed of a strong political sense, but they are greatly feared; and it is this fear which makes the minority groups so firm in their determination to accept only a Constitution which will give them adequate safeguards. The menace of the so-called Land Freedom Army and the indiscipline of the KANU Youth Movement gives substance to these fears. It is true that Kenyatta and other KANU leaders have exhorted and even ordered their followers not to engage in lawless activities; but the response has not been very promising and a real danger to security undoubtedly exists, and it seems that the steps which are being taken to combat it may be insufficient. So long as fear overshadows the situation the chances of a peaceful solution are dim, and it is the African leaders alone who can dispel this fear. They know that the great majority of Africans want a peaceful and stable existence, and they should take even stronger steps to curb the activities of the extreme minority groups who lust for power and whose methods are intimidation and violence.
The framework of the proposed Constitution is, in my opinion, a good one and should be workable. Apart from safeguards of a Bill of Rights, a bicameral system, Regional Assemblies and the setting up of a Central Land Board, agreement has been reached on the need for an independent Judiciary; and perhaps most important of all is the entrenched provision for the ultimate right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in specified cases, including interpretation of the Constitution and the enforcement of the Bill of Rights. There still remains a great deal to be done to settle the details, and it is to be hoped that the leaders will settle down and that the experience they are getting from ministerial responsibility will assist them before long to approach these matters with more moderation and statesmanship.
One of the features of the recent political scene in Kenya has been the 578 demands from certain particular areas for autonomy, coupled with threats of secession. I do not wish to say anything about the problem of the Northern Frontier District, which has been very adequately dealt with by the noble Earl, Lord Lytton; nor do I wish to deal with the Coastal Strip; but I should like to deal briefly with the question of the Masai Agreements. Under these Agreements, made in 1904 and 1911, the Masai evacuated land they claimed as theirs situated in the Rift Valley so that it could be thrown open to European settlement, and an area of land in the southern part of Kenya was reserved for the exclusive use of the Masai. Here we have clear evidence, if any is needed, of the encouragement given by Government to European settlement as a matter of policy. At that time no one ever dreamt that the day might come when the Europeans would have to go and their land becomes available for redistribution.
The Masai base their case on the fact that they gave up this land for the European farmers and that they never agreed to its being given at any time to anyone else. They claim that it is not available for redistribution, especially to their traditional enemies, without their consent. The attitude of Her Majesty's Government is that it does not admit any claims in respect of the land the Masai vacated, and that the Masai Reserve is adequately protected by entrenched provisions in the Constitution. Perhaps from a strictly legal point of view there may be something in this attitude. But the Masai do not look at these matters as we do. At the time the Agreements were made they were unsophisticated and they took our word at its face value that they were vacating land for European fanning and for no other purpose.
I have had some experience in dealings with the Masai and I have always found that they live up to their reputation of being an honourable people. Their word is their bond and they may always be relied on to honour their bond. Unless they can be convinced that at the time the Agreements were signed it was made quite clear to them that the British Government had been given the right to dispose of the land in the Rift Valley as they thought 579 fit, they will not be satisfied. They will consider that we are being dishonourable, and we shall be leaving a position which could easily develop into a major cause of future trouble. Surely, my Lords, it is incumbent on Her Majesty's Government to negotiate a new agreement between the Masai and the other political leaders in Kenya.
At the end of the Conference the Colonial Secretary very properly drew attention to the seriousness of the economic and financial situation in Kenya at the present time. Kenya is, and is always likely to be, dependent economically on her agricultural and pastoral industries. No great mineral wealth has been found. It is true that she receives considerable income for rendering services to neighbouring territories, especially through the railway and the Port of Mombasa, and from the fact that Nairobi is the commercial and financial centre of East Africa. Futhermore, the quite extensive light secondary industries which have been developed in recent years are dependent on the whole East African market. There is also the tourist industry, which can bring a rich reward but is dependent on stable conditions.
But agriculture remains the dominant economic feature, and 75 per cent. of the saleable agricultural produce, with an annual value of £38 million, is in European hands. Of the total of 7.1 million acres of agricultural land in the Scheduled Areas, 5.6 million acres are plantations or ranches, and it is unlikely that for some time to come Africans will have the resources or the technical knowledge to take them over. These enterprises provide the main export wealth of the country.
There remain 2.1 million acres on which mixed farming is undertaken. Recently an eminent European economist who has studied conditions in Kenya expressed the view that the product of the mixed farms, amounting in value to £15 million per year, was largely consumed locally at protected prices, and that this provided an artificial factor in the economy of the country. This may be strictly true, but this policy has been built into the economic life of Kenya and plays an important part. The mixed farms employ 580 175,000 Africans and make a substantial contribution to the gross national product. Moreover, if they went out of production, supplies would have to be imported from overseas, which would make serious inroads into the limited amount of foreign exchange available. The future use of this land is therefore a matter of great importance.
Some of the European mixed farmers have already left. A great many more would leave if they could, though a minority wish to remain. It is now generally recognised that most of this land must be given over to African farming, but this must be done in an orderly way and with adequate financial support, if reasonable standards of cultivation are to be maintained, though some agricultural risks must be accepted. Two schemes, for which £14 million has been made available, are already operating. One for smallholders is proving practicable, but the larger one for yeoman farmers, requiring holdings of from ten to fifteen acres, is running into difficulties, largely owing to the scarcity of Africans willing to take up units of this size. A number of other schemes have also been drawn up by various European interests in Kenya, some of which have perhaps given too great an emphasis to the need to compensate European farmers.
The most promising is a well-thought-out scheme submitted to the Colonial Secretary by the Kenya Coalition Parliamentary Group in association with the Kenya National Farmers' Union, of which the noble Lord, Lord Delamere, is Chairman, and by the Chairman of the Convention of District Associations of Kenya. I most strongly commend this scheme to your Lordships, because I believe that it provides the right answer and I hope that, perhaps with some necessary variations in detail, it will be accepted by Her Majesty's Government. In outline, this scheme proposes the purchase of 50 per cent. of the mixed farming areas over a period of three years, representing approximately one million acres, at an estimated cost of £15 per acre disregarding the value of loose assets, the disposal of which would be the responsibility of individual owners.
In addition, the scheme visualises sufficient money being available to deal with the remainder of the mixed farming 581 land should this be necessary after the initial three-year period. In the first three-year phase, 100,000 African families, representing a total of half a million people, could be settled, and in the second three years the settlement of up to another 100,000 African families could be attained. This would give substantial relief to unemployment, which is one of the most pressing economic and social problems of Kenya to-day. It should ensure the maintenance of the production of economic wealth and incidentally provide fair compensation to European farmers, to whom many people, myself included, feel that Her Majesty's Government owe at least a moral obligation.
To carry out this scheme Her Majesty's Government would need to find £5 million per annum for six years—a total of £30 million, part of which would have to be a grant and the remainder would be a loan. This may seem to be a large sum of money, but it is really cheap at the price. No one can imagine that the Kenya revolution can be achieved cheaply, and for this expenditure Her Majesty's Government would be giving Kenya a chance to enter upon her new state of independence with a reasonable possibility of economic viability and the solution of one of her most difficult social problems. It also seems to provide the surest and most practical safeguard against a complete breakdown of law and order which would certainly cost a great deal more to be put right. The administration of this scheme would, of course, require most careful consideration. All I need say now is that there should be the maximum of African participation in any body that was set up to operate the scheme, and that in its presentation there should be no room for any suggestion that it was colonialism under a different guise.
My Lords, the position in Kenya is deteriorating so rapidly that I hope Her Majesty's Government will not delay in accepting something in the nature of what I have outlined, and will come to a decision with the greatest sense of urgency. A right decision now on these lines, and put across in an imaginative way, could do more to restore confidence and stability in Kenya than anything else.
582 There remain two further matters on which I should like to make some brief comments. The first is the problem posed by the rundown of the Civil Service. Africanisation is an accepted policy and in certain departments is being pursued remarkably quickly. But owing to the uncertainties of the future and the generous terms of compensation offered, the loss, both actual and prospective, of qualified officers from the technical departments is a matter which must cause grave concern. There are not sufficient Africans with qualifications available to fill more than a few posts. I am particularly concerned about the future of the medical service. I am chairman of the African Board of an organisation called the African Medical and Research Foundation. This organisation is undertaking, at the request of the Tanganyika Government, a survey of the medical requirements of that country during the next few years, with particular reference to the training and recruitment of the staff required. The Medical Department of Kenya has asked us to undertake a similar survey of that country, which I hope we shall be able to do.
A major part of the problem is how to replace the well-qualified and experienced expatriate medical staff. It seems that it will be difficult to replace them from this country, and at the present and foreseeable rate of output it will be many years before a sufficient number of African doctors will have been trained to meet the needs. Other African territories that have gained independence and are faced with similar problems are scouring the world for doctors, who are offered contract terms. While some very good men are being recruited in this way, there are serious disabilities. The standards of qualification vary in different countries, while only short-term contracts are offered and there are, of course, language difficulties. To build up a first-class medical service such as has existed in Kenya in recent years takes time, and unless there is some degree of permanence, or at least continuity, it is impossible to maintain the esprit de corps which is essential if there is to be a closely knit department maintaining high standards.
I believe that the answer lies in the establishment of international technical services, organised and administered by the appropriate United Nations agencies. 583 In the case of medical staff this would be the World Health Organisation. Such an arrangement would ensure that men with comparable and satisfactory qualifications were employed, and doctors could be seconded to the newly dependent countries requiring them. Any difference between the local scales of emoluments and the international scales, which no doubt it would be necessary to offer, would have to be met from the technical aid which is being given by a number of countries including the United Kingdom. If something of this sort is not done, and done quickly, there will be a rapid decline of both the scope and quality of technical services, especially medical services, and Kenya and other African countries will lapse into the state they were in 60 years ago, with appalling results to the health and wellbeing of the people. I should very much like to see Her Majesty's Government take the initiative in this matter. I have dealt particularly with medical staff, but the same principle applies to other technical services.
Finally, my Lords, there is the question of the relationship between Kenya and her neighbours. The proposal for an East African Federation has a good deal of backing in Kenya and Tanganyika, and though in Uganda there have always been reservations about any close association, if not a definite dislike of the idea, I believe that responsible people in that country consider—reluctantly, perhaps—that it is at least desirable, if not ultimately inevitable. But the emotional appeal of nationalism causes a rather parochial attitude towards federation. Sovereignty is a state that is very highly prized. Great value is attached to the outward and visible signs such as the national flag, a national anthem, and so on, and particular importance is attached to the gaining of a vote in the United Nations General Assembly.
Despite the great advantages which federation would bring, it is doubtful whether the political leaders would be prepared to give up this vote. The longer the question of federation is delayed the more difficult it will be to achieve. Perhaps some form of confederation which would reduce the loss of national sovereignty to a minimum would 584 meet the case. In any event it is much to be hoped that arrangements can be made to retain the existing common services in the efficient organisation that administers them. Let me end, my Lords, by saying that all who know and love Kenya are anxious to make some contribution, however small, to the solution of its problems.
§ LORD AMWELL
My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, may I ask him whether he 'will kindly tell me why he refers to local consumption and production as "artificial"?
§ LORD TWINING
My Lords, I did not describe it as artificial; I was quoting an eminent European economist who said it was artificial.
§ 5.33 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, may I at the outset add my congratulations to the noble Earl, Lord Lytton? It was a great pleasure, as other noble Lords have said, to hear the views of one who has such great personal experience and such understanding of the problems, and of some of the particular difficulties of an area, the extent of which I think is all too often forgotten when we are talking about Kenya itself and its problems. I would also add my congratulations to those of others to the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne. I must confess that when I heard that the noble Earl, Lord Perth, was renouncing, or giving up, his office I was unhappy for many reasons; but we have been shown to-day that there was no reason at all for that unhappiness.
My Lords, I had originally intended to confine my remarks this afternoon to one subject, the agrarian problems facing Kenya. For that reason, I confined my study of the White Paper to the sections dealing with that matter. But in the course of the debate mention has been made of the Bill of Rights. Therefore, for the first time (and I confess this with shame, because I should have read it before) I spent a little while looking through the proposals of the Committee dealing with the Bill of 585 Rights. I was (particularly interested to read, in paragraph (g) (ii), these words:The Committee consider that the Kenya Bill of Rights should expressly prohibit discrimination by private persons in such matters as access to places of entertainment …That is a matter which not only is to be written into a. Constitution, but, if it is to mean anything at all, must be the subject of legislation. There is no point in just uttering a pious platitude in a Constitution and having no laws with which to back up What that Constitution stands for.
While, had I read that paragraph yesterday morning, I should have been extremely happy to see it, I must confess that I now have grave doubts. Because your Lordships will remember that in our interesting debate yesterday afternoon the noble and learned Viscount made many interesting and undoubtedly deeply thought out comments on this subject. I hope that he will allow me to quote one or two of them. I am sorry I was not able to tell him in advance of this, but, as I have explained, it is only during the course of this debate that this matter has come into my mind.
There was one particular point your Lordships may remember, where the noble and learned Viscount dealt particularly with the legal difficulties of defining "race". He said [col. 515]:… I must draw attention to the difficulties of this subject, of the lack of precision in the meaning of the word 'race' …He went on to expound the reasons why that should be. At a later stage, in regard to the problem of discrimination between private individuals, the noble and learned Viscount stated (col. 521):Legislation could not, in itself, prevent discrimination on the part of individuals in their private dealings with coloured people …I hope, my Lords, that when the noble Viscount comes to reply to-day he will make it quite clear to us whether or not I have misunderstood some of his words; whether (which I must say I doubt), in his opinion, the jurists and legal luminaries of Kenya have greater skill than those in this country in developing a law which it is impossible for us to develop over here; or whether there is some other explanation.
586 I am sorry that I should be speaking to-day after the noble Lord, Lord Twining, and I am also sorry he is no longer in his place, because I wanted to ask him about his feelings on this matter. For his own views, as your Lordships will remember from yesterday, were strong. Speaking with the full experience of somebody who has held high office in the Colonies, he said (col. 500):In several colonies in which I have held responsible positions I have been under pressure to introduce legislation to ban the colour bar. But I have always resisted these pressures because I was convinced that it was the wrong way to go about things. … To deal with the colour bar by law may or may not prove effective, but it is likely to lead to resentment rather than fostering mutual understanding and good will.Well, my Lords, I hope that it will not be thought, either in this country or elsewhere, that we are opposed to a colour bar or legislation against discri-mitnaition where the discrimination is against coloured people in England, but that we support it in a country predominantly black, where the discrimination is more likely to be against those of our own colour.
Let me now turn from that problem to the one which I think the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, rightly described as the burning problem of land. Agriculture in Kenya is far and away the largest industry, the largest employer of labour, and the largest source of total wealth. It affects the lives of practically everybody in that country. Therefore it is understandable that any proposals which deal with the ownership of land and its cultivation should have very far-reaching effects. Basically, I think it is right to say that in Kenya to-day land ownership is still on a tribal basis, and in terms of modern agriculture and modern economic needs the tribal system of land ownership is fundamentally unsuitable. But, my Lords, if we look at our own country we realise that it has taken us something like 1,000 years to emerge from the tribal system to the system which we have to-day.
Before the time of the Norman Conquest our land ownership was based on tribal ownership. Our system of cultivation was based on the same aspect of tribe and community, very much as it is even to-day in many parts of Kenya. We went through an evolution, with the feudal system superimposed upon our 587 tribal system, then following upon that the inclosures—the beginnings of private ownership as we know it, and the development of the landlord/tenant system, with its very great importance from the point of view of food production, as well as from the point of view of social evolution. Let me remind your Lordships that one of the main raisons d'être of the landlord/tenant system was that the landlord provided the capital and, to a certain extent, a higher knowledge of agriculture; while the tenant actually did the work and carried out the cultivation. It is surely expecting too much to-day to try to move the East African system from the basically tribal system to that of our own times in this country, where the change has taken us 1,000 years; and to do all that in a matter of ten or twenty years. I do not think that that is the intention of the Government, but when we are discussing the very great change of this sort that we are asking—indeed, which has to be insisted upon—we must realise how long it has taken us to achieve that and must not be impatient in trying to carry it out.
Closely allied with this question is the problem of what used to be called the White Highlands. I think it is only fair to state once more what has already been stated many times: that the White Highlands are not in origin an area of rich fertile land which has been wrested from the native inhabitants of Kenya by the conquerors, but rather land which was not used by the people who were there when we arrived. The land was entirely out of cultivation when our people took over, and it was made a form of enclave, not to prevent the Kenyans from coming in but, primarily, in order to preserve the tribes of Kenya from further encroachment by the Europeans. Although that is well known to your Lordships, I think that many people who talk about the White Highlands do not realise their origins. It is only because the European farmers have developed those areas so successfully that they have now become the object of envy of many of the African tribes themselves.
Many noble Lords, in the course of this discussion this afternoon, have talked about the plight of the European 588 settlers, and I personally have very great sympathy with many of the people who have gone out there and who have given their lives. They have made a very good life for themselves, but they have made their homes in those areas and they now see their futures—possibly they are first or second generation—threatened. I think it would be very unfortunate for that country if all those people of European descent, or of European birth, gave up their agricultural activities in Kenya and came back to this country. On the other hand, I believe that in many instances it would be running away from the responsibilities of Government in this country if we paid no heed whatsoever to their plight to-day.
All I suggest in this matter is that if the Government, as I hope they will, do see fit to pay some form of compensation to those people who have fears of their future, it will be not on a diminishing scale but rather on a rising scale. In other words, they should be encouraged to stay there if they possibly can rather than find themselves in the position—as in the case cited by the noble Lord, Lord Twining, of the medical officers or the specialist officers—where the compensation offered is so high that they cannot afford to refuse it. We do not wish the English, the Europeans, in Kenya to say: "I should really like to stay here, but the terms that the Government offer me are so good that I cannot afford to say, 'No'." I would rather see a situation in which such compensation as was offered to-day was a small portion, increasing after five years, if they felt that they must leave, to a higher level, and to a still higher level after seven or eight years, in the hope that they will, as I am sure they wish to do, make a "go" of it, or try to make a "go" of it, and eventually find—as we hope will be the case—that conditions are not so bad as they fear.
To turn back to the problem of what to do with the actual land in Kenya, whether it is in white ownership, and whether is is uncultivated, we have heard from the noble Marquess the plans for resettlement, and we have heard the valuable suggestion put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Twining. All their suggestions, I believe, are important and should be considered very seriously. But, my 589 Lords, in all this, there is no getting away from two facts. Anything approaching a land reform (and, in fact, it is a land reform that is being contemplated) is bound to have a depressing effect upon production. Any interference with existing methods of cultivation, even though eventually it will lead perhaps to higher production, will for the first few years result in uncertainty, in unwillingness to invest capital, and in a general feeling that progress is perhaps not worth while. Apart from the actual disruption of ownership, any change in methods of cultivation can result only in a lowering of production for the next few years. That is something which must be faced and must be realised.
The second point is that, whatever steps are taken in setting up a new system of land ownership, a new system of land occupancy, they must be—so far as one can plan ahead in perpetuity—of a kind that will lead to a form of land ownership which we believe to be best and the people of Kenya believe to be best, for their country. There is no reason to think that what has succeeded well in Europe at our stage of evolution will automatically succeed well in Kenya at their stage of evolution, with the very different circumstances that exist in that country. I myself am far from convinced that the landlord-tenant system is the right sort of thing to see in modern conditions in Kenya; indeed, I do not think that that has been suggested, though it could, so far as I read it, be one of the natural outcomes of the present system.
Similarly, I do not believe that a system based on yeoman farming, or peasant farming, is necessarily the best. Because, after all, a yeoman farmer—and I believe the definition in the present system is a farmer of fifteen or twenty acres—is a very small unit indeed. I know that it is a large unit by comparison with the present Kenya farm units, other than those of the White Highlands. But if we look ahead to the next twenty or thirty years we want to see in Kenya a far more highly mechanised, highly capitalised, agriculture; and that does demand larger areas and bigger scope for the modern type of labour-saving machinery. So, my Lords, if we are going to base our methods of land reform on the fact that we consider a holding of fifteen or twenty acres to be 590 the largest that could reasonably be expected, I believe that we are planning not only for future trouble but for an inability to raise the standard of living, and the standard of production, as fast as could be achieved.
There is one great asset in Kenya in tackling this question, and that is the asset of considerable tribal strength. There is a tradition of community operations in one form or another, and I cannot help feeling that not only should we give much greater thought to the desirability of having the tribal authorities dispose of this land through a form of land board (which I understand is the proposal at the present time) but that far greater encouragement should be given to the tribal authorities to create some form of co-operation among the actual cultivators of the land.
I know that, once one talks of a "cooperative" farm or a "collective" farm, they are emotive words, words which bring up visions of Communism coming in by the back door. But there is no such thing as a true collective farm in any of those parts of Eastern or Central Europe which are under Russian domination. There, it is simply the use of a word; and do not let us be frightened away from a good concept and a good word merely because it has been misused by others. We should try to achieve in Kenya something on the lines of, shall I say, to use a safer phrase, the Welsh Land Settlement Schemes, by means of which one could get farmers to occupy land not only in perpetuity but which they could consider their own; giving them the ability to pass it on to their heirs and descendants so long as it is to be cultivated by them and lived on by them, but starting it off from the beginning in the form of a co-operative, so that the technical "know-how", the fertilisers when they come to be used, and the pesticides when they come into use, can be bought and applied cooperatively. The machinery, as it is slowly developed, can also be used on a cooperative basis, and the selling of the products can be treated in the same way.
That, I believe, my Lords, is going to produce a far brighter outlook for the future of Kenya than if we concentrate on the creation of the small peasant or yeoman farmer type of unit, which, in 591 the modern world, will never be large enough to be a really viable unit of production and which, as time goes on, can, in my view, lead only to a situation in which those who are less efficient will be squeezed out and those who are more efficient will acquire somewhat more land—though never, probably, because of shortage of capital, enough to make a really big and worthwhile unit.
§ LORD WALSTON
Denmark has a very highly developed system of cooperation. There is a good deal of sharing of machinery; there is a good deal of sharing of technical "know-how"; and there is sharing in the field of artificial insemination. Although the conditions of the Danish fanners and those of the Kikuyu tribesmen are very different, there is, I think, a great deal of valuable experience to be gained from there.
§ LORD AMWELL
My point is that the experience of the Scandinavian countries and of the Lowlands is that mass farming is bad farming, and that, in the long run, the moderate farm is much more efficient.
§ LORD WALSTON
The moderate farm, I agree, in those circumstances, is more efficient in the long run, provided that it is backed up by co-operation: co-operative buying, co-operative selling and so on. I would not lay down any form of blueprint, and say that the ideal size must be 500 acres or 5,000 acres, or whatever it may be. All I am asking Her Majesty's Government to consider here is 'that the accent should be, not on creating small, individual units, but rather that they should aim at a wider, co-operative use of land and of the facilities which go with it.
My Lords, a thing which impressed me and pleased me greatly in what the noble Marquess said in his speech was that funds for this land resettlement would come in part from Her Majesty's Government (and I hope that they will give with rather greater generosity than he foreshadowed) and in part from the World Bank. Whether they come from West Germany or not is another matter.
§ LORD WALSTON
And the C.D.C. also. But the World Bank, in particular, is, to me, a very valuable organ in any form to build up these areas. I am delighted to see that, in this case, it has been brought in, and I hope that it will be brought in to a very much greater extent. I hope that its resources will be made available to a large extent through the central Government of Kenya, whatever form it may take, but that they will then be devolved into the more tribal organisations, making use, as I said earlier, of the original tribal nexus which exists there already. In that way, it will still be a tribe, a State or a local authority which owns the land, and which will play the part originally played in this country by the landlord—that of providing capital for the land. And, as I have indicated, the capital should come, in the first instance, from our Government, from the World Bank or from the C.D.C., or from all of them. In that way they will be providing the permanent equipment, and also, through a form of land bank, will be making it available solely to the original cultivator—the peasant, the yeoman, call him what you will—but with sufficient strings attached to ensure that he will be part of a general, tribal, co-operative effort.
My Lords, I believe that if something on these lines is carried through in Kenya the great and difficult task of achieving land reform will be done with the minimum of dislocation to the actual production of the wealth of the country, and that it will also lay the foundations for an industry which, as the years go on, will not be hamstrung by its own internal structure but will be enabled to develop, making full use of modern techniques and modern science, thus not only enabling them to produce more food and more wealth for the country but also enabling those who are doing this job to live at an ever higher standard of living.
§ 5.57 p.m.
§ LORD MCCORQUODALE OF NEWTON
My Lords, as the time is getting on and as a great deal of ground has already been covered, I will endeavour to detain your Lordships for only a reasonably short space of time. The noble Lord who has just sat down will not mind if I do not go into a re-hash of yesterday's debate such as he wished 593 to start at the beginning of his remarks. Everybody knows of the person who visits an overseas territory for a few weeks and comes back and considers himself an expert on it, and I rise with much diffidence to advance just a few remarks, because I am in that position
I have just come back from a few weeks' visit to Kenya, and, declaring our interest, I would say that my wife has a farm in the Ol'Kalau area, underneath the Aberdare Mountains—and what a beautiful area that is! I can put it no higher, perhaps, in saying that it reminded me very much of the Highlands of Scotland. I had the opportunity' during those weeks, to meet quite a number of farmers in the White Highlands, and I should like to make one or two remarks on the position of the country as they and I see it, especially from the economic point of view. I do not presume to be in any way an authority on Kenya or its affairs or its politics, but I have endeavoured to study the economic condition of the country, and the more one studies it the more one realises how grave it is. It is on these economic problems that I should like to say a few words, and I am very glad that during the debate to-day much time has been taken up with these economic problems.
The Secretary of State, quoted on page 7 of the White Paper, talks of the problems that have to be solvedif Kenya's economy, already sadly strained by natural disasters and flagging confidence, is not to be irreparably damaged".And I believe that "irreparably damaged" are the operative words in what the Secretary of State said. Kenya has the most excellent Press, both daily and weekly, but from what I was able to read out there in their Press, and also in the British Press at home, it did not appear that during the Conference the economic problems came to the fore in the way in which one would have wished. I am very glad, therefore, that in this debate to-day the noble Marquess, Lord Landsdowne, and others, have addressed themselves to this problem. For I believe that to ignore economic reality is to court disaster; that the economic welfare of any country is of primary and fundamental importance to its existence, let alone to its prosperity; 594 and that no measure of brilliant politics will overcome harsh economic facts.
What is the position of Kenya? She is a poor country, and that has to be realised, and realised all the time. She has no oil, no coal, no mineral wealth except a little soda ash. She has no great rivers, no water power, and is a country of great distances where transport costs are very high. She actually has, I understand, to purchase the great bulk of her electric power from the Owen Falls hydro-electric station in Uganda, and Uganda is now shortly to get its independence, and no one knows exactly what will happen there. Kenya's only real wealth, as I think has been said before, lies in the exploitation of her agriculture. Her industrial establishments are small, and designed only to serve the needs of herself and neighbouring territories. Her economy is dependent, and must for very many years depend, on the right use of the soil; and in this respect I would agree with many of the remarks made by the noble Lord who has just sat down.
Her exports are all from the soil. Coffee and tea are the largest, followed by sisal, pyrethrum and meat products. But all these have to compete in the markets of the world, and it is only by their superlative quality that they manage to find markets at all. Then, with such products as coffee, there is much over-production in the world. Farming in Kenya is a hazardous, skilled and a very difficult occupation. We have all read of the troubles of last year—floods, drought, insect infestation, the army worm rampant. The Africans, as we know, lost hundreds of thousands of cattle during the difficulties of last year. As we have been told to-day, 80 to 90 per cent. of products available for town consumption or for export are produced under European supervision and by the European farmers.
The balance of trade position has not been mentioned to-day, I think, but it is one which should be kept before us and is very serious. Exports from Kenya in 1961, I understand, were about £35 million, while the imports were no less than £88 million, a very serious gap. If we compare that to the Rhodesian Federation, the result is very striking. Exports from the Rhodesian Federation and Nyasaland were £214 million last year. 595 Imports were something like £154 million, with a surplus of £60 to £70 million, while Kenya has this drastic deficit. In Kenya over the last year or two there has been a most catastrophic fall in the capital values of local industries and shares on the local stock exchange, to such an extent that to-day one can purchase shares in first-class companies with a present yield of more than 25 to 30 per cent. on their money. As a consequence, there has been a complete cessation in the last two years of private investment and development, with a consequent severe increase in unemployment, causing the Africans very much distress. We see a general withdrawal of money from Kenya over the last few years into countries where risk of loss appears less. I am informed, for example, that of 36 firms of architects in Nairobi four years ago, fourteen are closed and four more are closing; and at least 200 building contractors over the last five years have closed down or gone out of business. Such is the position two short years after the previous Lancaster House Conference.
My Lords, I am endeavouring to show that the whole economic life of the country depends on agriculture on a massive and modern scale. The African at the present time tends to farm exclusively on a subsistence basis for himself and his family, and much attention over many years will be needed before we can bring him up to anywhere near European standards. In the meantime, the towns and the export trade depend upon the European farmer almost entirely, and if he is eliminated it is difficult to see other than starvation for the African and a complete and permanent loss of exports. The country would then have to depend entirely on charity for its existence.
We are now witnessing on a massive scale the start of the exodus of the white farmer from Kenya. I must report that in all the conversations which I had during the last three weeks or so I found that the talk of nearly everybody was of emigration. There would appear to be at present a total lack of confidence in the future of the country and of their own individual position when Africans take over the control of the country, and a complete lack of confidence in a possible future in the country for their children. These seem to be the main 596 reasons for which people wish to go. And, of course, there is always in the background the present fear of tribal bloodshed. They are also witnessing at the moment a severe rundown of life in Tanganyika since independence. Tanganyika is on their borders and it is a very sad story which I will not go into at the moment. Is it any wonder that so many wish to get away before disaster overtakes them? They hear the KANU speeches, and what else can they expect? The Kenya Trade and Supplies Return emphasises this position. In 1957 twice as many Europeans came to live permanently in Kenya as left. In 1961 twice as many left as came in.
Confidence has indeed disappeared in large measure, and what can we do to restore it? I believe that the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, will do much to help restore some faith in the future of the country; but more has yet to be done. I am convinced that the great majority of white farmers, and especially the British farmers, do not wish to leave. Apart from financial loss, they love their country, which they have developed from bush and jungle and with which they have done a wonderful job, as has been said by many speakers. If they could have some knowledge that, if the worst came to the worst and they were forced to abandon the country, some financial recompense on which they could implicitly count would be provided, then it might well be that many would wish to hang on as long as possible in the hope that common sense will eventually return to the country.
I believe Her Majesty's Government have a big load of responsibility in this matter. It is they who, I fear, have allowed this loss of confidence to grow, and in many cases, I am sorry to say, have allowed loss of confidence to grow also in the good faith of this country. We must do everything we can to try to restore that confidence. I believe that if Her Majesty's Government would give a pledge forthwith to the farmers and the settlers that arrangements of a financial nature would immediately be made, as Lord Salisbury suggested, so that, in the event of their having to withdraw, appropriate compensation for their losses would be guaranteed to them, then it is quite possible that some measure of confidence in their future might be 597 restored, and many of them would stay on as long as is possible. It is the complete lack of any such confidence at present which is so desperate for them.
It is no use, my Lords—it is worse than useless—for anyone to take the view that things are not really too bad in the country, and that when the froth and steam of Uhuru has blown away, independence is secured and African rule accepted, things will right themselves. The economic facts show that this simply is not true. Moreover, Britain has, as I think all your Lordships admit, a moral obligation to these white settlers whom she actively encouraged, especially after the two world wars, to go to Kenya and develop the hitherto quite deserted bush lands in the White Highlands and make their homes there. Surely that was a noble objective.
This guarantee of ultimate financial recompense and compensation in the event of necessary withdrawal would, of course, cost money. If the worst occurred, a cost of at least between £30 million and £40 million is indicated; but if some confidence were restored and the fort held for a while, think what gain would ensue! For we may be certain that if nothing is done and the White farmers go, economic catastrophe will follow and a great deal more money than £30 millions will be needed to stave off starvation.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I think that the noble Lord's figures are far off the mark. The cost would be between £130 million and £140 million.
§ LORD MCCORQUODALE OF NEWTON
My Lords, I stand correoted. In spite of what the noble Marquess says, I would say this in all earnestness to Her Majesty's Government and to noble Lords in all quarters of the House. It is just possible that history may repeat itself, as it has on so many other occasions, in this problem in Kenya: and if we accept our moral obligations to these farmers and fulfil them, we may find not only that we shall be doing our duty but 598 also that real and lasting economic benefits will follow. In this case, at any rate, I am quite sure that we must act quickly if we are to restore confidence, or else it will be too late. And I would say to the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne, that £130 million would not then restore the country to prosperity.
§ 6.13 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, the debate this afternoon was marked chiefly by the most impressive maiden speech of the noble Earl, Lord Lytton. He spoke to us with first-hand experience of parts of Kenya forty years ago. He also dropped a remark which I think sheds a light on much else that has happened since then. He said that forty years ago he had Africans under his command or in his district whom he then would have recommended for commissions, and when he went back last year there were still no Africans commissioned in the forces and still no African District Commissioners. That is an illuminating commentary on some of the less successful aspects of our Colonial administration. For all those years we neglected the potential manpower. We did not start in time training Africans for their inevitable future, which was to govern themselves, command their own forces and conduct their own affairs. In those days we still had a paternal outlook: the African was only a child, with the mentality of a child, and therefore we kept him in the position of a child.
The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who struck such a depressing note in examining the present and future of Kenya, seemed aggrieved that there was a sense of bitterness and grievance among Africans. I think that in this little incident referred to by the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, he has his answer. We have had conflicting views about the future. The noble Lord, Lord McCorquodale of Newton, joined the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, in taking the more gloomy view. He said that he heard of no hope and no confidence anywhere among the European farmers, and other noble Lords said that thousands were leaving. There had been a tremendous exodus from the country. It would be interesting to know what the figures really are. Nobody mentioned the net outflow of migrants. But, whatever it is, it is easy to understand that 599 there is some fear of the future in the minds of those who have made their homes and lives in Kenya.
§ LORD MCCORQUODALE OF NEWTON
My Lords, I have the figures of the permanent emigration and immigration in 1961, including not only farmers but people from the town as well: 3,200 went in and 6,025 left.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, the net outflow was approximately 3,000, including, as the noble Lord said, people engaged in all kinds of business and not only farmers. Clearly the restoration of confidence is a matter which can be achieved partly by the African politicians who are coming to power and partly by Her Majesty's Government here. I think that the suggestion of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, that the Government should offer generous compensation, straight away opens considerable dangers. That would do nothing to restore confidence. It would merely remove the flood-gates to the movement away from Kenya. The fear of the future would have nothing to check it. I thought that my noble friend Lord Walston had an admirable solution: that compensation might be on a time scale, offering inducement to people to stay. I think that a scheme of that sort is well worthy of the Government's consideration.
African politicians certainly have it in their hands to allay the fears of farmers and residents in Kenya, making allowance for the natural vagaries of politicians. The noble Marquess talked as if African politicians were the only politicians who said one thing in one place and another thing in a different place on a different occasion. That is the popular idea of all politicians and we have certainly noticed it in some politicians in other parts of the world. I do not think that Africans are unique in this little failing, or vocational fault, if you like to call it that. The speeches of Africans and their political acts since the Conference are not by any means all on the debit side or on the side tending to increase the fears of the white settlers. There was the truce on April 18, and there is the co-operation in the Ministries between the two major Parties of the Coalition and integration in each Ministry, I believe on the lines 600 of those practised during the war in the Service headquarters.
Both the major Parties accept the need for a certain degree of regional autonomy; and as to outside influences, some say that KANU has unduly close connections with the Communist world and that they receive gifts. On the other hand, the other wing of KANU receives advice and money from Western sources, from America and the I.C.F.T.U. So there is nothing in that. Indeed, it seems to me that the actions of the leaders of the main Parties offer considerable hope that the tribal differences and the tribal fears will not break out into violence. The noble Marquess was very alarmed lest the success by KANU at elections would induce the other tribes to combine into open civil war. I think he actually said that. I should doubt very much if the Government think that matters will get as bad as that. Surely, a safeguard against that happening would be for the elections to take place while we are still in control, and before the final independence.
There is a last thing I want to say, also, I am afraid, referring to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and his preoccupation with defence, and the dangers of control of the Coastal Strip and the Port of Mombasa passing out of British hands. He complained that the strategic aspect of the problem was hardly mentioned by Sir James Robertson in the Report. I would submit that that is a view of defence which is quite out of date. In the first place, we have seen again and again that a military base overseas is of no value—indeed, it is a liability—if the population on which it depends for its supplies, its labour, and political control is hostile. Moreover, as one area of the world after another which was formerly painted red on the map has passed, by voluntary action on the part of this country, to the native inhabitants, fewer of our former bases with which the world was dotted are available to us. I remember the maps of our childhood, which had coaling stations and naval bases all over the globe. Those, surely, are no longer necessary. In fact, the deliberate policy of the Defence White Paper was to reduce the number of overseas commitments and little pockets of troops located here, there, and everywhere, and to rely on mobility and central reserves.
601 Therefore, the fact that we may not be able to count on the use of Mombasa for the Fleet in a conventional war in the Indian Ocean does not seem to me to be a very important matter, seen in perspective. Moreover, I would point out, when defence is talked about, that nuclear weapons are included in our defence potential. When it is a matter of nuclear bombardment, the use of Mombasa to our forces is absolutely minimal. Like my noble friend Lord Listowel, and, indeed, like the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, who opened this debate, I think we can look to the future with considerable optimism and wish all concerned every success.
§ 6.27 p.m.
§ THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH AND QUEENSBERRY
My Lords, I should like briefly to repeat the deep concern about the situation and prospects in Kenya which is felt by so many who have been among Africans and Europeans. The sort of agreement at the London Conference among the different African political Parties to carry on the government of Kenya meanwhile and to give further consideration to the unsettled problems was accepted with relief at the end of a Conference when no agreement seemed possible. It is only right that we should all assist in any helpful way the co-operation of peoples of many different races and colours to solve those problems for the benefit of Kenya.
It is also prudent to take note of what is happening in Kenya, and how the recent statements by Africans there compare with those made earlier in London this year. This is not encouraging. Nor is the political campaigning now going on between KANU and KADU, and the efforts of KANU to put themselves in a position to destroy KADU, and the endeavours by KADU to build up surer foundations for the future of Kenya. There seems to be very little which we here individually can do about it or usefully say, but I feel that people in this country should realise that the outlook in Kenya is very precarious indeed. While in London many of the principal KANU leaders gave tremendous assurances in their speeches, and also in private conversations, as to their future attitude towards Europeans, advocating friendship, equality, and conciliation between nations and colours, and stated 602 that they would repeat the same assurances when addressing Africans in Kenya. This was all very helpful, and if they are able in Kenya, with goodwill and moral courage, to speak in the same way, the political change-over will cause less anxiety, and there will be good reason for much greater confidence. But already what they are saying is different, and it is so much different that, unlike the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, I feel that it gives cause for uneasiness.
In the introduction to the White Paper on the Kenya Conference the Secretary of State expressed most admirably and clearly the needs, the opportunities and the dangers, including those from intimidation and violence, and also the contribution which was needed from all the people of Kenya. He also spoke, of course, about the Constitution itself, and what he said was so absolutely correct that I hope that the Government will be able to stick to it. I wish in all these matters it could be shown and proved to our own people in Kenya that we are prepared to help them in their time of crisis and danger and that we are not letting them down either politically or financially; and I felt that the prospects held out by the noble Marquess, the Minister of State, in his excellent speech gave some encouragement.
Kenya, as was stated just now, is a very poor country and public services can be paid for almost only from the income of European farmers and businessmen. And although Africans complain that progress for their benefit, such as the provision of schools and teachers, has not been more rapid, what is in fact really remarkable is the steady improvement in education and the tremendous improvement in the health of Africans which are due to British settlers and administration. I feel that too little and too seldom are the tributes which have been paid to the relatively small number of white people who have done so much to improve the lives and prospects of Africans in Kenya; and I was glad to hear the tribute paid to-day by the noble Marquess, Lord Lansdowne.
Before to-day the financial side and outlook seemed to have figured too little in all the important discussions, and yet the future progress of Kenya must depend upon a more satisfactory economy. While the the members of KADU have probably shown a more cautious and 603 realistic approach, and envisaged a long uphill task, it is more difficult to find among KANU leaders an interest in the acute financial problem of how to secure the necessary investment capital and revenue to meet expenditure. If they would put less emphasis on the early acquisition of power and give a much greater sense of security they would do a tremendous amount to check the very serious fall in values and restore confidence and financial stability, and I hope we can look to them to do so. Having many times been among Africans in a dozen countries of Africa, I have witnessed the brighter side, the happiness, gratefulness and friendliness of so many African families due to the benefits brought to them by British settlers; but I cannot help sharing the anxiety of the increasing dangers, both to black and to white, from persons not best suited or trained for government and administration; and I urge our Parliament in this country not to discontinue too rapidly their helpful trusteeship.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (VIS-COUNT KILMUIR)
My Lords, as your Lordships will expect, my first pleasant duty is to re-echo the compliments that have been paid to the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, on his admirable maiden speech. I do not think anyone in the House will soon forget either his descriptions, especially of the Northern Frontier Province, or his account of the history and the experiences which he has felt so deeply; and, as Speaker of your Lordships' House, I do invite him to come again soon and let us hear more of his wisdom and eloquence. This debate has been concerned with the future of a territory about which many people in this country feel very deeply indeed. Therefore, we are indebted also to my noble friend Lord Colyton for giving us the chance of considering it. As my noble friend Lord Twining said, many people in this country and many noble Lords who have spoken to-day have close personal connections with those who have played their part in building the modern Kenya, and I suppose practically all of us who are here to-day have visited it more than once.
It has been apparent from the speeches which have been made this 604 afternoon that, in the eyes of practically everyone, Kenya is a country whose potentialities, if all goes well, are still enormous, but if events should take a wrong turning the possibilities of dangers and difficulties are equally great. I should like to emphasise yet again that Her Majesty's Government are fully aware of the heavy responsibilities which they bear for the future of Kenya, and I assure both my noble friends, Lord McCorquodale of Newton and the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry that we intend to discharge these responsibilities. But I believe that a close study of the two Reports which have been the immediate occasion of to-day's debate will provide ample evidence of the approach which we make to these responsibilities; and I should like, in winding up this debate, to deal particularly with the significance of certain aspects of the constitutional arrangements described in the Report of the Kenya constitutional Conference.
My Lords, I hope that I shall not be complacent; it is the last thing in the world that I desire to be. I hope I shall not ignore problems or difficulties, because I have now studied them for years. But I think it is important that we should try to concentrate our words and our thoughts on those things which may contribute to the restoration of confidence, which practically every speaker has said is important. And I ask your Lordships, first of all, because we have discussed it at considerable length, just for a moment to consider the Conference and to see how that contributed to the restoration of confidence. Your Lordships know from a study of the Report that what is described there as the framework of the Kenya Constitution received the agreement of almost all the delegates from Kenya who attended the Conference.
The importance of that is made clear by the fact that it was emphasised by my noble friend Lord Colyton when he opened this debate; and also by my noble friend the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry when he closed it, preparatory to my making the winding-up speech. Also those delegates comprised all the elected members of the Legislative Council, the members who were elected under the Constitution drawn up after the Lancaster House Conference just over two years ago.
605 Those who signed the Report included the leaders of all the main political Parties in Kenya. I am sure that those who followed closely the reports of the proceedings of the Conference will agree that there were times when it appeared almost impossible for agreement to be reached, and I believe, further, that the fact that agreement was eventually reached is evidence of the determination of Her Majesty's Government to ensure that Kenya progresses towards a stable independence in accordance with constitutional arrangements which have the support of the majority of the inhabitants.
Much has been said of the particular problems that face Kenya, and it is because of these problems, as my noble friend Lord Colyton said, that the constitutional arrangements have to be worked out with particular care and in great detail. As noble Lords know, and have said, it was not possible during the Conference to complete consideration of all the detailed work that will be necessary before the draft of the new Constitution can be completed. Nor should we underestimate the magnitude of the task that faces the Coalition Government in Nairobi who now have to work out these details, in consultation with Her Majesty's Government.
I want to deal with only one or two points. My noble friend Lord Colyton referred to, without quoting, an article in to-day's Times. He said that it showed signs of improvement, and I should like to refer to only two aspects of that very shortly. The first is that the correspondent says:It seems unlikely that such a campaign"—that is, the week-end speeches to which reference was made—… can be maintained on its present vituperative level for nearly a whole year, which is the time that will probably have elapsed between the Lancaster House Conference and the general election, on the assumption that the election will be held early in the new year. Already the claims and counter-claims about what was agreed in London are beginning to sound a little wearied—uttered as a matter of form.The second point, which I think is more important, is this:More significantly, something quite different is going on within the Council of Ministers from the erratic electioneering which is all that the public sees whenever the party leaders appear on the platform. Ministers 606 from each of the two main parties have told your Correspondent very simply that the public rivalries in the business of Government".I think that both those points are important; and, after all, for once one is up to date, for they are taken from today's copy of The Times.
My noble friend Lord Salisbury asked me about the date of the Election. The intention is that the new Constitution should first be finally agreed and then drafted. Meanwhile, constituency and regional boundaries must be delimited. When the Constitution has been drafted the intention is to hold a General Election for the Upper House, the Lower House and the Regions, and then, as soon as the results are known, to bring the whole of the new internal self-government Constitution into operation. So I think that I really do meet the noble Marquess's point: that the Constitution will be completed, and flesh put on the bones (to use Lord Colyton's phrase) before the Election takes place.
I should just like to say one word on the interesting speeches that have been made from varied points of view about the Mombasa Strip and its strategic effect. I do not intend to argue that point at the end of this debate, but I assure all noble Lords who have mentioned it that what they have said, from all points of view, will be thoroughly considered by my colleagues the Colonial Secretary and the Minister of Defence, as well as by myself.
I should like now to deal for a moment with the significance of some of the features of the new Constitution on which agreement has already been reached. I agree with my noble friend that much remains to be done, but I would ask your Lordships to consider how important are the points on which agreement has already been reached. In the very first paragraph of the section headed "Framework of the Kenya Constitution" the signatories described their objective in the following words:Our objective is a united Kenya nation, capable of social and economic progress in the modern world, and a Kenya in which men and women have confidence in the sanctity of individual rights and liberties and in the proper safeguarding of the interests of minorities.That statement of objective illustrates very vividly the fact, which has already been referred to in this debate (and I 607 think is in all your Lordships minds), that Kenya is not yet a homogeneous nation. There are immigrant races. But we must remember—I think all noble Lords would agree with me in putting it this way—that there is as much difference between some of the African races themselves as between different races in Europe, in any one of the six meanings of that word (I say to the noble Lord, Lord Walston) that we care to use. It is because there is that enormous difference that discussion during the Conference was particularly concerned with the constitutional arrangements by which real and effective safeguards could be provided, both for the first and the second of the things I have mentioned, the rights and liberties of individuals and the interests of minorities.
There are other aspects of the Constitution which bear on this. I was very glad that my noble friend Lord Twining, with his great experience, mentioned one which I think, naturally, is the very keystone of the Constitution; and that is that there should be an impartial and independent Judiciary, with provision in the Constitution to ensure the appointment of impartial judges and for their security of tenure once appointed. The details are to be worked out, but the principle has been established and agreed. This means that one of the measures necessary to ensure not only the sanctity of the rule of law but also that the Constitution itself cannot be overthrown, nor amended save by due process of law, has been established.
I also think—I put this to my noble friend Lord Twining—that that aspect is most important from the standpoint of external investments: that people simply will not invest in a country unless they think that it has an independent Judiciary and a system of justice under which their claims will be properly adjudged. It was also agreed that in specified classes of cases, including interpretation of the Constitution and enforcement of the Bill of Rights, there should be a provision entrenched in the Constitution for an ultimate right of appeal to the Judicial Committtee of the Privy Council. I am sure that we all recognise the importance and significance of this provision, not least myself as President of the Judicial Committee.
608 I share with the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, a view of the importance of i the Bill of Rights which I have already referred to in passing, and about which I now wish to say a few words. Your Lordships will see that the Conference agreed that the Constitution should include a Bill of Rights to guarantee the proper protection of individuals. Indeed, as a result of the Conference at Lancaster House two years ago there is already a Bill of Rights in the existing Kenya Constitution. But it was felt by the Conference that the precise nature of the provisions to be included in such a Bill in the next Constitution required further consideration.
Accordingly, the Conference appointed a Committee to undertake the detailed work involved, and the Report of the Committee which was endorsed by the Conference forms Annex A of the Report. Your Lordships will see that they take the Uganda Bill of Rights as their working paper, the most up-to-date, with particular relevance in at least African territory. They examined it in detail and agreed on certain modifications which they considered necessary in the circumstances of Kenya. Thus, the new Constitution for Kenya will contain a Bill of Rights on the Uganda model, but modified in accordance with the agreed recommendations of the Conference. Somebody raised a doubt as to whether it applied to all citizens, of whatever colour. Of course it does. It will be enforceable in the courts, and there will be an ultimate right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council when an individual considers that his fundamental rights have been infringed. Further, it will not be possible to amend the Bill of Rights except by a special procedure to which I shall refer in some detail later.
Your Lordships will see that it covers the protection of the night to life and personal liberty, protection from inhuman treatment, slavery and forced labour, and protection of freedom of conscience. It will also guarantee freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, including the right to form trade unions, freedom of movement and protection from discrimination. I think that Lord Walston will realise that neither of us would be very popular if we read a page of yesterday's encounter which I enjoyed so much; but if he will 609 look at column 521 of the OFFICIAL REPORT he will find that I did except from my criticisms those declarations about human rights that were in basic constitutional documents. I only want to toll him that I mentioned the point. As he is not as old a politician as myself, but is a person who has had plenty of political experience, I am sure that when he is going to make speeches on both Monday and Tuesday he will look at how Tuesday's speech is going before he deals with Monday's. The Bill also guarantees speedy trial. I think everyone will agree that it is of great importance that the protection of these personal rights of individuals and minorities should be enshrined in the Constitution, enforceable in the courts and protected by the existence of an independent and impartial Judiciary.
I come now to the protection of property. I see that my noble friend Lord Boothby has come into the House. May I give your Lordships just one moment of respite from this matter, even if I tend to levity? At one time Lord Boothby and I were both members of the Council of Europe. I was then dealing with, and producing to the Assembly of the Council, a code of human rights which now is the European Convention of Human Rights. A debate was going on, and a most charming and beautiful French lady was translating into English the speech of a Frenchman on the point that I am just coming to, the right in property. Unfortunately, she got slightly mixed and there rang from the interpreter's box the words:It is the right of propriety that really matters. On propriety the whole future of Europe depends.Then, realising that she had not got the proper translation, she said, "Oh, you take the mike! ", and passed it to some body else. I do not know whether my noble friend remembers that; it is clearly in my mind. With that, I am afraid, light-hearted introduction——
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, having known my noble friend for 44 years now, I of course know that he has fallen for that for the whole of those 44 years.
610 The new Bill of Rights, like the existing Bill, will also include provisions protecting the individual against the deprivation of his property. I wish to dwell on this provision for just a moment, not because I regard this right as necessarily of greater importance than the others to which I have referred, but because this is a matter which has exercised many people during the last two years and to which, therefore, particular attention has been paid.
Your Lordships will recollect that on December 20, 1960, my noble friend Lord Perth, then Minister of State for Colonial Affairs, made a statement in this House about the security of land titles in Kenya. My right honourable friend the then Secretary of State for the Colonies made a similar statement in another place. In that statement my noble friend Lord Perth said OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 227, col. 862]:Her Majesty's Government have now completed their examination of methods of ensuring this security"—that is, security of title to land—both up to and after independence. Detailed provisions designed for the protection of all rights, including rights in property, have now been included in the new Constitution. The results of this study will also be taken into account in any further discussions on further constitutional advance, since the continued protection of fundamental rights, including rights in property, will inevitably be an essential part of those discussions.In commenting on this statement, the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, rightly drew attention to the importance of ensuring that the guarantee of property rights which such a provision would cover could not easily be altered after independence. The agreement which has now been reached regarding the provision to be made for the protection of property rights amply fulfils the undertakings which were given by my noble friend Lord Perth, and elsewhere in the Constitution account has been taken of the point made by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel. I should like to come to that later.
The effect of the provision to be included in the new Kenya Bill of Rights is, first of all, that no person living in Kenya may have his property compulsorily acquired by the State except for certain limited purposes to be specified in the Bill of Rights. The sort of purposes which are in mind are those which 611 must arise in any modern State—namely, acquisition for the building of roads or schools or hospitals, or for some other public purpose. Usually in these Bills of Rights what is allowed to be acquired is the interest in, or rights over, property of any description.
My noble friend Lord Colyton asked, on a specific point, whether it would cover the acquisition of freehold in order to deal with them as leasehold for a certain purpose. I think it would depend on what is a "public purpose", in the ultimate context, when the Bill of Rights is given its final form. As he will know, that point has been considered by everyone, including myself, almost ad nauseam; what are the purposes for which we will allow the Constitution to broach it, and how it is to be defined. We all agree that modern States must have the rights for the purposes I have mentioned—roads, schools, hospitals, universities, nuclear power stations, technical colleges. Everyone agrees with that to-day. It is a question I think of drafting. It might be that you wish your development to be leasehold for a public purpose, with which we should all agree, whatever our politics. But I should like to have a look at this point and, if I can see any other point of enlightenment, I will write to my noble friend.
In the event of compulsory acquisition (and this is an important point; even a dozen years ago I doubt whether everyone would have accepted this, but it certainly took us much longer to get it made law in this country) the person whose property is thus acquired will be guaranteed a right of access to the Supreme Court of Kenya, either directly or on appeal, and a right of appeal from that court to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; first, for the determination of the legality of the acquisition of the property; secondly, for the determination of the amount of any compensation to which he is entitled; and, thirdly, to obtain the prompt payment of any such sum as compensation. These are very clear and fair provisions.
My Lords, there is also this fact—and I think this should interest my noble friend Lord McCorquodale of Newton, to whose speech I listened very carefully. The Constitution will further guarantee 612 that a person who is entitled to compensation will be allowed, subject to reasonable conditions, to transfer the whole of it outside Kenya if he wishes to do so. So, I think your Lordships must have a feeling of confidence that we are approaching the very difficult problem between the State and the individual on a basis of fairness. I want to stress the protection which this provision gives to all those who hold property in Kenya. I think that this has been agreed: it should go far to reassure those who felt anxiety about this, and I think it will encourage those who, because of uncertainty, have hesitated to invest.
Now I come to the point raised by the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, which I said was very important: that none of the safeguards which I have described would be of value if the provisions containing them could be easily amended. I am glad to say that the Conference paid particular attention to this problem, and it was eventually agreed that under the Constitution the Legislature would consist of two Chambers—at present, of course, the Legislature consists of one. The Lower House would be elected by universal adult suffrage, and on that basis the Prime Minister of Kenya, when the Constitution comes into effect, will normally be the person commanding a majority in this House.
I cannot say any more than my noble friend Lord Lansdowne in regard to the point about having some Ministers in the equivalent of a House of Lords, but there will be an Upper House to which members will be elected by a different system. The constituencies for elections to the Upper House will be the existing administrative districts in Kenya. Thai", I think, is very important, because it is moving in the direction of the Federal Constitutions. This Upper House will consist of a rather smaller number of members, and, as my noble friend said, it is agreed that consideration should be given to the inclusion of non-voting members representing special interests. The franchise for elections to the Upper House has yet to be determined in detail, as has the question of whether members should be elected directly or indirectly.
I want to point out—I think this again is important—that although these questions affecting membership have yet to be worked out, agreement has been 613 reached on the functions of the Upper House. Of course, to some extent these functions will be comparable with those which we ourselves exercise here; but, in addition, the Upper House in Kenya will have special powers in respect of Bills to amend the Constitution. It has been agreed that any change in the Constitution will require a majority of 75 per cent. of each House, and that in regard to particular changes which affect the entrenched rights of individuals—that is to say the provision of the Bill of Rights, or the rights of the regions or the tribal authorities or the districts—the majority in the Upper House will have to be 90 per cent. When your Lordships take into account the different basis of the Upper House, and the fact that any change affecting entrenched rights will need a 90 per cent. majority, I think you will agree that that is a very substantial guarantee that the rights conferred on individuals and on minorities by the Constitution cannot lightly be changed.
How often, my Lords, when discussing constitutional questions, have we said, "That is all right in the ordinary way, but, when you move into the sphere of national emergency, are these guarantees going to be any good?" I am sure that everyone who has ever considered a constitutional point has said something like that. It is clear that during a national emergency Governments have to take powers to take action which would otherwise be forbidden or restricted by special provisions of the Constitution such as the Bill of Rights. Experience elsewhere has shown that this power may be abused, and should therefore not be too easily available.
This aspect was considered by the Conference, and it was agreed that the declaration of a state of emergency by the Central Government would require endorsement within a specified period by a majority of each House; and, furthermore, that this majority should be substantially more than 50 per cent. The exact figure remains to be determined. An emergency so proclaimed could last only for a limited period, and its prolongation would reed the approval of a similar majority. So the Conference actually looked at the question of getting round human rights protection by declaring a state of emergency, by making that extremely difficult. I think that that, again, is reassuring.
614 We have had some discussion as to the powers and position of the Executive, and I have tried to show how account has been taken of the anxieties which have been expressed about the rights of individuals and of minorities in Kenya. That has involved placing certain restrictions on the power of the Executive. In the modern world it is not an easy matter to impose such restrictions and yet, at the same time, to leave the Executive with the powers which it must have if it is to govern effectively and to take speedy action when speedy action is necessary. I believe that those who have drawn the framework of this Constitution have struck the balance fairly right, and I was glad to think—if I understood him correctly—that my noble friend Lord Salisbury also agreed that the balance on that point was fairly right.
One or two of your Lordships asked about the background to government: that is, the change in the Civil Service. I think it was the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, and earlier the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, who mentioned this point. I will not go into vast details, but let me give your Lordships just a bird's eye view. On July 1, 1960, there were 637 Africans in grades higher than the clerical scales. By April 1, 1962—that is, 21 months later—the number had reached 1,243; it had nearly doubled itself. I put the point quite clearly that there are some 10,000 persons in the Kenya Civil Service in grades higher than the clerical scales. By the end of July, 1962, the number of African district officers will rise to approximately 100. The total number of African administrative officers of all grades will then be more than 200. Four African district commissioners are in full charge of districts, and further appointments will be made following the completion of training in July this year; and by January, 1963, at least 12 district commissioner posts will be held by Africans. Senior departmental posts are being filled progressively by Africans, and there is extensive training activity for senior posts throughout specialised departments. My Lords, I have no detailed knowledge about the medical service but I am sure, if my noble friend Lord Twining is going to look into it, it is in very good hands.
615 I want to say only very little more, but I wish to make this clear: that the new Constitution, whose framework is set out in the Report of the Conference, is intended to be the Constitution which Kenya will have when it attains independence. Certain aspects of it, however—for example, the machinery for amendment of the Constitution and the machinery for proclaiming emergencies so as to be able to override certain provisions of the Constitution—will not be required until independence. My noble friend will appreciate that, because up till then we are dealing with our own set-up. Nevertheless, it was made clear at this Conference, as it was at the Conference held at Lancaster House two years ago, that independence is the ultimate objective for Kenya, and it is the intention that the Constitution which will be brought into operation—that is to say, the Constitution covering the period of internal self-government—will give effect to the agreed "framework" so far as possible. It will thus foreshadow as closely as may be the Constitution with which Kenya embarks on independence.
My Lords, the needs and problems of an independent Kenya were constantly in the minds of those who attended the Conference. Nevertheless, I think we should all agree that, if independence is the ultimate objective, the immediate objective must be that agreement should be reached between the political leaders in Kenya on the details of the Constitution that have yet to be resolved. I believe that if we were to offer those leaders advice from this House this afternoon it would be that they should concentrate their energies on the immediate objectives as they were stated in the framework of the Constitution, and I make no apology for quoting them again:To increase national confidence and unity. To continue good government in these crucial times.To settle in discussion with Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom the details of the Constitution based on this agreed framework.I do not believe that in stressing the importance of achieving these objectives we are detracting in any way from the importance of the ultimate objective; quite the contrary. I believe that the 616 more successful the leaders of Kenya are in achieving the immediate objectives the more readily will it be possible for the ultimate objectives to be achieved also.
My Lords, I am well aware that I have not covered all the points. I have not dealt with the land position, on which a number of different proposals have been put forward. I cannot go through them all; nor at the end of the day could I say more than my noble friend Lord Lansdowne on that point. I want to detain your Lordships for only two minutes, to state my faith in this matter. I have always thought that there were four requirements necessary for the establishment of an independent country by ourselves. The first is economic viability; the second, a working system of Parliamentary democracy, whether it be the Westminster model or not; the third, an independent Judiciary and a sound system for the administration of justice; and the fourth, that quality which is very hard to name but is so easy to see—stability, the protection of minorities, and all that that connotes.
My Lords, I want to tell all my old friends who have spoken that I have tried very hard not to be complacent. I feel anything but self-satisfied, but I think that we are recording in this debate a great step forward, and a hope for achieving these results. We can but hope. But we can also take this comfort; that probably the greatest result of all our efforts of empire over 1,000 years consists in the creation of new nations—something that no empire in the past has ever succeeded in doing. Of course we shall have difficulties; of course we shall have trouble—constitutional, economic, human. But, my Lords, in that great faith that we in the British Commonwealth have produced the greatest nation-making machinery of all time, I hope we shall not falter.
§ 7.20 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, my first duty must be to thank those of your Lordships who have taken part in this debate. I think it has been a useful debate. I should like particularly to thank and to congratulate my noble friend Lord Lytton—not quite a constituent, but a strong supporter in the old days up on Exmoor. I should also 617 like to apologise for being very remiss in not having congratulated my noble friend Lord Lansdowne on his new position, particularly as I held that same post myself, following the noble Earl, Lord Listowel. I do so all the more because I should like to thank him for his very helpful speech this afternoon.
Many noble Lords have spoken with a great knowledge of Kenya and, I think, with great feelings on the subject—perhaps none more so than my noble friend who sits on the Woolsack, to whom we are most grateful for his painstaking and detailed discussion on and examination of the Bill of Rights and the Parliamentary situation. I believe that the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, referred to my optimism. If that was the case, I fear he must have rather misunderstood some of the things I said. In fact, I apologised at the end of my speech for being perhaps over-pessimistic. It has been a sombre debate, although silver linings have been indicated from time to time, notably, I think, and in the most hopeful terms by my noble friend on the Woolsack. But it has certainly underlined the urgency of action on the political side, on the economic side, in matters of health and in matters of security; and, finally, I think it has underlined our anxiety about our own British people out there who have been there five, sometimes six, generations. I believe that the Africans, who are so tribal-minded, sometimes find it a little difficult when they feel that we are in any way even appearing to throw our own people overboard. I am sure that that is the feeling of the African who looks at these things.
618 Therefore, I hope that the Minister of State—and I urge this on my noble friend—will consider again what can be done, either in the form of representation for the minority interests in the Lower House or, at any rate, for some form of non-voting or even voting representation in the Upper House, with the right of selection to be Minister if a man happens to be the right sort of person for that work. People are apt to forget that the Asians in Kenya alone are double the number of the whole Masai tribe, about whom we spend so many hours of anxious thought; and even the Europeans are, I believe, only 10 per cent. fewer in number than the Masai—and these figures are also comparable with some of the figures for the tribes up in the Northern Frontier Province. So if we can, on good terms, get some form of representation for our own people in the Lower House, if not in the Upper House, do let us do so. Having said that, my Lords, I repeat that I think this debate has been valuable, not only to Her Majesty's Government but also, perhaps, to some of the African Party leaders, and, I hope, to our own people in Kenya. I beg leave to withdraw my Motion.
§ Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.