§ Sir E. Graham-Little
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that during the new governor's tour of Northern Sarawak several native chiefs who approached him were told that the 296W question of cession was no longer to be discussed and were given no opportunity to express their views on this subject; and if he will give an assurance that, in the course of the tour, the natives are being encouraged to express their views freely so that there will be the fullest information regarding the attitude and the views of the indigenous communities in all parts of the country.
Mr. Creech Jones
I have not had a report from the Governor, and cannot endorse the hon. Member's statement, but, before he started on his tour, he received from me a message for publication in Sarawak, in the course of which I said that so far, as His Majesty's Government is concerned, the cession of Sarawak to His Majesty is no longer a matter for discussion or negotiation. In that message I went on to point out that the final decision in this matter was taken in a proper legal and constitutional manner by the Sarawak State Councils last May, and that an order of His Majesty in Council thereafter gave final effect to that decision as from 1st July, 1946. I have no doubt that the Governor made use of this message in the course of his tour. I would like to remind the hon. Member that before the issue of cession was put to the Councils, two Members of this House had toured the country and had reported that in their view there was sufficient acquiescent or favourable opinion for the question of cession to be put to the Councils. Before so reporting they gave all possible opportunities for the inhabitants to express views to them.