Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £307,637, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray this Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1923, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Department of His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, including a Grant-in-Aid and other Expenses connected with Oversea Settlement."—[NOTE: £367,000 has been voted on account.]
My right hon, Friend has asked me to introduce these Estimates and he will speak later. I understand that meets with the general convenience of the Committee. My right hon. Friend's Office and he himself has been charged by Parliament in the course of the last few months with a great and growing variety of responsibilities, and those responsibilities have not unnaturally claimed a great deal of Parliamentary time and attention. I think it will again be for the convenience of the Committee that I should confine what I have to say rather to what I may term the older Colonial Empire, with the administration of which this House is still charged, and leave such other matters as may arise to be dealt with later. Anyone who has glanced over the Estimates I formerly introduced will not fail to be struck with the very wide geographical range of administration which they cover. Yet it is true, as a distinguished Colonial servant said recently, that there has probably never been any Empire in the world's history that was so economical in its encroachments upon public cost or public time in proportion to its size.
I should like, at the outset of what I have to say, and, indeed, it is my duty to do it, to place on record how great, from the point of view from which I speak, is the debt of gratitude that has been owed by the Colonial Empire during the past 12 months to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. It is impossible to exaggerate the value of the self-sacrificing devotion that he has brought to yet another of his Imperial tours, and it is right that it should be here placed on record how this tour has again afforded another proof, if proof were required, of how strong is the bond of sentiment by which all these differing communities are bound together in common allegiance to the person of the Crown. His Royal Highness's return to these shores also afforded an arresting proof and demonstration of the misreading of human nature of which those are guilty who affect small regard for the functions and power of monarchy.
For the Colonies, not less than for ourselves, the last 12 months have been coloured by the hard pressure of severe economic stress. It has been a period in which the attempt to balance Budgets has taken precedence of all other things, and in which the necessity to balance Budgets has made it incumbent upon those responsible to postpone many schemes of improvement and finance for which had times been happier they would have provided. The difficulty of balancing Budgets is one with which we are not wholly unfamiliar in this House, but in countries that depend almost wholly, if not wholly, upon a single staple product, when that staple product has fallen into the universal slump the difficulty of balancing Budgets is far more severe than any we have here. This has been the case in almost every Colony in the last 12 months, notably in Malaya, where the conditions of the rubber industry on which these Colonies depend has been responsible for a period, which is not yet over, of extreme distress and difficulty. There is no part of the Empire for which this House should feel a warmer measure of sympathy in these circumstances than for Malaya. In the days of their prosperity they gave generously to the mother country. The days of adversity have fallen upon them with almost peculiar hardship. I wish I could say that I saw an issue out of their present difficulties, but I am afraid that that depends rather upon such lines of general world recovery as would again enable the world to buy what Malaya has to sell than upon any measures which it is within the power of the Government to suggest. Hon. Members may have noticed last week a report of a meeting at The Hague of the Dutch Rubber Growers Association, and that that meeting decided in favour of the principle of Government restriction of output. They will also be aware that this subject has been engaging the very careful and full attention of a Committee appointed by my right hon. Friend, which has issued a Report which was recently laid before Parliament. That report is a very instructive and very valuable document; but as all further progress in this matter depends upon contingent co-operation with the Netherlands authorities I am not in a position to say more at this moment. I only quote this illustration as an example of the financial difficulties that have come to every Colony.
In the West Indies they have suffered as a result of the collapse of the sugar industry. All the African Colonies, West and East, in similar conditions have been compelled to curtail their expenditure, to retrench their staff, imposing great hardships upon large numbers of European officers, and in many cases to impose further taxation in order to endeavour to equate their Budgets. It is right that we should recognise all these difficulties, but we should be less than right if we were to attempt to overshade the picture. In all the Colonies, and in the East and West African Colonies particularly, as the result of special efforts so to frame their Estimates, it has been possible either to balance the Budget or to meet such small deficits as remain out of surplus balances which have been accumulated in prosperous years by prudent finance in order to meet such a difficulty of lean years as we are now passing through. I have seen it stated that in the circumstances it would have been wise on the part of my right hon. Friend to suspend all extraordinary capital expenditure until times were better. I cannot take that view. It seems to me that in these matters, great as maybe the need for prudence, there is a point at which prudence becomes pusillanimity, and if that policy were urged to the extreme it would be likely to place us in a position where we should be unable to take advantage of trade revival when it does come, and thereby recoup ourselves for the present difficulty. If that were the policy, all capital expenditure being suspended, it is not unlikely that the very people who are now among the critics would be found foremost in complaining when the railway and harbour facilities on which they depend were not available for their convenience.
In order that the Committee may have these points of view in mind, I have had the curiosity to make a very simple arithmetical calculation as to the comparative value of human labour in transport and railway trucks. I do not give these figures by way of mathematical calculation, but by way of what the late Mr. Joseph Chamberlain called illustration of a general truth. I do not claim absolute mathematical accuracy for my figures, but I think they conceal a truth. An ordinary human being, I am advised, can carry on his head 60 lbs. over 10 miles in one day. A railway truck on a railway can carry 30,000 lbs.100 miles in one day. The sum is a very simple one for a mathematician to do. The resultant moral is sufficiently clear, that as you develop railway transport in countries where head transport is all you have got, you are making a very practical contribution towards developing the labour supply and rendering it available for further useful purposes. Therefore, while many works have had to be postponed, while the bulk of such little money as has been going has had to be devoted to essential works of maintenance, yet my right hon. Friend has thought it right, for the reasons which I have given, to sanction the commencement of certain additional public works, railways and harbours in Kenya, Nigeria, the Gold Coast and other places. The result of those works, when they are completed, will be to place these great producing countries in more direct and immediate relationship with the consuming markets on which they depend.
That that view was correct is not unsupported by the evidence of special events during the past year. Several Colonies and Protectorates have obtained in London, through the Crown Agents for the Colonies, loans for various public works up to a total of something like £23,000,000. In addition to these, the Government of British Guiana has also itself raised a loan of £1,000,000 fully subscribed. I think I am justified in directing the attention of the Committee to those figures, because they do show to my mind more forcibly than anything else can show what confidence, generally speaking, the investor has in the wisdom of Colonial administration, and, still more, they show the unshaken confidence that the investor has in the future of these great tropical portions of His Majesty's Empire. Though I should be the last to say that larger sums than those could not be usefully devoted to the same purposes, still I am prepared to agree that, in times like these, it is wise to limit your demands on the public to an amount that will not momentarily strain the resources of the Colonies. Before I leave that subject let me add, when we make calculations as to the pros and cons, the advantage and disadvantage to this country of these outlying parts of the Empire, do not let us forget that the great bulk, if not the whole, of that £23,000,000 has been spent on the manufacture of articles and goods in this country, which has immediately reflected itself in employment and wages for our working class.
Another line of criticism to which I would refer is that taxation in these African Colonies has been unduly burdensome and calculated to prejudice their recovery. With regard to their recovery, I do not wish—I should not be justified at this time in doing so—to speak dogmatically, but I am advised that it is safe to say that they have touched the bottom, and that in some cases there are already signs of some improvement. In spite of the export duty on cocoa, the Gold Coast cocoa trade is going most satisfactorily. In Nigeria, I am told that the general feeling is more buoyant, consequent upon the consumption of War stocks that have been accumulated during the War. While in East Africa it is, I suppose, yet true to say that there is no marked sign of a revival of the export trade, yet the prospects of such products as flax are improving, though as to most of the other products of East Africa the best one can say is that while yet there are no signs of decided improvement there is confidence that, as soon as there is any world recovery of trade, the produce of East Africa will soon show the result.
But I want to make a reference more particularly to the question of taxation. Taxation is universally recognised by human beings to be a hardship and a great evil, and in these days I think that the phenomenon of the popular Chancellor of the Exchequer has yet to be discovered, and it is very natural that heavy taxation, when there is no money to pay it, must meet with criticism. One criticism to which I will direct the attention of the Committee is not well founded, That is criticism to the effect that my right hon. Friend and those by whom he is advised are slow to welcome the expression of official opinion on these matters from those who are competent to express sound opinion. That is not true. As a great many hon. Members know, there is an old-standing arrangement by which anybody filling my position has the privilege of receiving, during the year, very strong representative deputations from the principal Chambers of Commerce concerned in the African trade, and I have been allowed to receive two, if not three, such deputations, and for my own part I should be only too happy to make any arrangements that? could in order to receive the representations which those gentlemen may wish to make, and to make the general discussion which follows from them more effective and valuable to both parties than it is to-day, but it is not reasonable to say that we are slow to welcome such expressions of opinion.
So much by way of general introduction to one or two more particular observations which I want to make about Nigeria. The Nigerian position is no doubt at the present time difficult. I hope that hon. Members will not lose sight of the principle cause of that difficulty. It is due principally to what I cannot but term a philanthropic effort under which we prohibited the importation of spirits into Nigeria, which affects the Nigerian Exchequer to the extent of £900,000. I am not going to inquire into how far that prohibition was, or is, or can be made thoroughly effective. I am only concerned with the financial result. The £900,000 clearly falls to be made good. A part has been made good by increased import duty as to which, with their present level ad valorem of 15 per cent., I cannot think that there is any solid ground for complaint. With regard to export duties, the Nigerian Government has recently suggested a reduction of something like from 50 to 75 per cent on hides and skins, and my right hon. Friend has approved that, and I hope I that that reduction will enable exporters to pay prices which will encourage the revival of the trade. There is one other subject, the preferential duty on palm kernels, which has a very respectable and long Parliamentary history.
It has a history both respectable and long, and as it has formed the subject of debate on more than one occasion here and in another place, it is probably so familiar as to save me the necessity of repeating it. It was imposed, as the Committee is aware, in very different circumstances from those which obtain now. It has produced extremely valuable results, both when it was imposed and since, but at the same time, it is true that the Colonies concerned have lost no opportunity of urging its reconsideration, and that on two principal grounds. The first was that it had ceased to be revenue producing, and it was also contended that inasmuch as it tended to restrict our markets for the native producer, it exercised a hampering influence upon the commercial recovery and development of the Colony. That formed the subject of investigation by a special Committee of inquiry into the West African trade, and from the West African point of view the Committee were unanimous in advising the abolition of this duty. Moreover, I think it fair to say that the experience of the last three or four years has shown that for a duty to be really affected two conditions are necessary. The first is that the country in which the duty is imposed should have a practical monopoly of the commodity on which the duty rests. At the present time, with a very substantial export trade from the French West African Colonies, and with exports from Liberia and the Belgian Congo in addition, our West African Colonies are a long way from enjoying that position of privilege and power. The second condition is that the article so taxed should be a non-substitutable requisite for manufacture, and this very important condition fails also, inasmuch as recent development has made possible and easy the substitution of copra for palm kernels.
There is a great deal more that might be said, but I have no hesitation in saying that the weight of argument from the point of view of the Colonies concerned at the present moment, bearing in mind the changed circumstances, is in favour of the abolition of the duty. There remains the question of the effect of abolition on new industries in this country, and the degree to which we might be held to be under obligations to the crushing interests in this country. On the first point, even if it were thought right for this country in its own interest to enforce on Crown Colonies an economic policy which was contrary to the interests of the Colonies, there is considerable difference of opinion in commercial circles among those best qualified to speak on the matter as to the necessity or even the wisdom of the retention of this duty. The representatives of some of the largest and most important businesses concerned already hold the view that the object with which the duty was imposed when it was recommended by the Committee, presided over by the right hon. Member for the Sparkbrook Division of Birmingham (Mr. Amery), who preceded me—the diverting of trade into our own countries rather than letting it all be taken by a foreign country—has been accomplished, and according to that view the margarine-making industry has now been firmly established in this country, and, whereas before the War, the free market for kernels was at Hamburg, and there was no free market at Liverpool, now the position is reversed as the result of this policy, and the port of Liverpool has now become the free market. That was what I had in mind when I said the duty had secured valuable results during the last few years.
I am left with the question as to the expenditure which the Government might be held to be under pledge to the crushing interests to maintain. The duty, as hon. Members are aware, has been a matter of considerable controversy, into which it is not necessary for me to enter, but the right hon. Gentleman asked me to meet the crushing interests in order to examine their view of the question. I did so, and after full examination of the. question with them the representatives of the crushers intimated their full willingness, as far as any obligation might have been held to lie on His Majesty's Government, to leave the hands of the Government entirely free. They said that if, on a full review of all the facts, bearing in mind the great altera- tcion of circumstances, the Government decided to revoke the duty, they would authorise me to tell the House of Commons that they agreed that that action had their full concurrence and assent. I think hon. Members will wish to record, with me, their sense of the public-spirited manner in which these gentleman have acted, an action by which they have placed the Colonies under a very considerable debt of gratitude, and in those circumstances, acting on the advice of those immediately affected, my right hon. Friend has decided to abolish the Duty forthwith.
May I carry the Committee for a moment across Africa to examine briefly the problems of Kenya? There has recently been appointed a strong unofficial committee to examine the problems of export and taxation, with a wide reference which will enable them, I think, to render material assistance to the Government in the task of retrenching expenditure and endeavouring to lay the burdens of taxation where they will least be felt. It has been said that in Kenya the native taxation presses on the native communities with undue weight, and that it is wholly disproportionate to the benefit that the natives receive from it. I have never yet met the man, native or non-native, who thinks that the benefits he receives from a tax are proportionate to the tax he pays. Most people think that they can do better with their money than any Chancellor of the Exchequer. Certainly I think that mere comparison of native taxation in 1914 and native taxation as it is to-day is rather misleading. Before the War native taxation was very low. Moreover, 25 per cent. of war-time increases have just been rescinded, and the Governor has just intimated his desire to make further reductions in certain districts—that is, since the recision of the 25 per cent.—and, of course, the native, as much as anyone else, is confronted with the hard economic fact of the decreased value of money, which means that money will not go so far. I cannot but think that, if experience in Uganda counts, it is possible to exaggerate the matter of taxation as a discouragement to native production. I suspect that far more discouraging than taxation is the slump in prices that they can get for the produce they grow. In Uganda, at the beginning of 1919, the native Poll Tax was increased, and at the same time an export tax was imposed on cotton, and, in addition to this increased taxation, the price of imported goods had greatly increased—three things operating at once. In spite of that, the figures for 1919–21 show an enormous increase in the native production of cotton, and after an anticipated reduction in 1922 figures, owing to the severe drought in 1921 and the heavy fall in the price of cotton in Liverpool, the Governor anticipates a heavy crop next year, and has proposed certain reductions in the taxation of the cotton industry, which, I hope, will assist development.
Reductions in the import duties. I would not speak positively about export. Undoubtedly, licences and certain charges are going to be reconsidered and somewhat reduced. Before I leave Kenya, I wish to speak from the point of view as to whether the native gets value for his money. I have been at some pains to speak of the development of native production. Obviously a precise report of the benefits he receives it is impossible to give, but since the War Kenya has been placed in a position of no little difficulty. It had no staple industry after the War, like the cotton of Uganda, to which the natives could turn. The best were flax and sisal. It was also a place on which a great many ex-service settlers were settled. It is to all those circumstances that must be attributed the fact that no greater progress has hitherto been made in exploring the possibilities of the native as a producer. Those circumstances have now changed, and my right hon. Friend is in communication with the Governor in order to explore more fully the possibilities of the development of the native production in Kenya. There is no need, as far as I can form an opinion, that that development need prejudice the necessary labour where it is required for European settlements. There is room for both. Each needs the other. The European will, I think, increasingly find it to his advantage to use his labour more economically than in the past, and the native will find it to his advantage to improve his methods of agriculture by the improvement of stock, the prevention of cattle disease, and so on, and the result of such native development must ulti- mately be to the advantage of the whole community, means being taken, too, to bring about a reduction of railway rates.
One cannot study these problems without being conscious of how much they react on one another. Native education, taxation, labour, the land policy, political and social development, are all very closely connected, either by cause or by result, with the decay of the old tribal authority, and the clash of old customs on new civilisation cause all thoughtful observers anxiety. These matters seem to me to call for most careful consideration in order to obtain the greatest possible measure of harmony. They are difficult enough, but in Kenya they are complicated by the problem of the presence of a large Indian community. There were very full discussions last year between the Colonial Office and the Governor of Kenya and the India Office. My right hon. Friend formulated proposals which, I am sorry to say, failed to get the consent of either party in Kenya. I have been engaged, at his request, on further discussions with my Noble Friend the representative of the India Office, and I am not at all unhopeful of the possibility of reaching agreement. The least I can say is that we have attained to the first condition towards a solution, i.e., a very clear appreciation of mutual difficulties.
The Committee will remember that previous discussion turned principally on three things—the question of the preservation of the Highlands, the question of segregation, and that of franchise. With regard to the Highlands, my right hon. Friend always is prepared to offer other lands for the exclusive use of the Indian community, but he still takes the view that with regard to the area of the Highlands his hands are tied by past history, and that to throw the Highlands open to universal colonisation would not be consistent with that understanding. With regard to segregation, it would seem quite possible without any action based on racial discrimination, to secure those general objects of public health and social convenience. The real difficulty, as we all know, deals with the matter of franchise. While it has not, indeed, as yet been possible to find agreement, I think there is little doubt that with the full assent of the white community in Kenya it would not be impossible for my right hon. Friend to-day to secure such representation for the Indians as will enable them actively and effectively to participate in the public affairs and government of the Colony. Meanwhile, there is an interim Measure, in addition to the offer of two additional Indian members on the Legislative Council, and my right hon. Friend has approved the addition of one Indian on the Executive Council. That is where the matter at the moment stands. These matters, grave, difficult and complex as they are, can and will only be settled by having regard to practical facts as they present themselves. When the facts are as stubborn as they are in Kenya, then, in the interests of that which we all seek—an amicable solution between Europeans and Asiatics and, as a third party, the natives, whose interests are sometimes in danger of being overlooked, I cannot but think that it would be an act of the greatest unwisdom on the part of my right hon. Friend at this juncture to endeavour to impose a solution that would be likely to lead to violent action and disturbance in any quarter. In such an unhappy event the prospects of success which to-day are not other than hopeful, would immediately, in my judgment, become both uncertain and remote.
I have one word before I leave that part of the world to say about Rhodesia. The question of the future of Southern Rhodesia, as hon. Members know, is necessarily in suspense, pending the intimation by General Smuts of the terms on which incorporation in the Union might be possible, and these, in turn, depend upon negotiations between General Smuts and the British South Africa Company. As soon as these terms are available, it is proposed to submit the two alternatives of responsible Government or incorporation in the Union to the Rhodesian people to select by way of the referendum.
To those who enjoy the franchise, black and white. As the Committee is aware, these matters involve very difficult legal questions, and, so far as the Imperial Government are concerned, I have only to add that on various occasions in the past assurances have been given to Parliament that His Majesty's Government would not com- mit themselves to any payment to the British South Africa Company in respect of the deficits incurred in the administration of Southern Rhodesia without the sanction of Parliament, and the draft Letters Patent are, in fact, drawn up on the basis that the company are entitled for the reimbursement of their administrative deficits only to the proceeds of the unalienated lands as and when they accrue. That is all I can usefully say about Rhodesia at this stage.
Before I conclude, I hope the Committee will allow me, and indeed they will expect me, to say a word or two about my visit to the West Indies. It was in the nature of an experiment in colonial administration, and it was an experiment for which Members of this House were very largely responsible, in that from them came the original suggestion on which my right hon. Friend ultimately saw fit to act. I wish I could convey to this Committee some impression of the warmth of feeling and hospitality of which my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) and myself, not as ourselves but as representatives of the Imperial Parliament, were the recipients. Indeed, although they differed in every other conceivable respect yet in this one respect there was no difference in any colony, namely, the warmth of feeling with which they welcomed the concern of Parliament which had led my right hon. Friend to send a mission to investigate their case and the evident anxiety which inspired each and all to testify to the value that they placed upon the Imperial connection, and for that, as the Committee will remember, there is some reason. I do not need to remind the Committee how closely these West Indian colonies have been associated with great events in Imperial history. If it be true that the low countries of Europe have? been for centuries the arena, in which the land struggles between the Great Powers have been fought out, it is no less true that for at least two centuries West Indian waters were the waters in which the maritime struggle for supremacy between the Sea Powers was being decided. The other day, I came across a rather interesting illustration of the importance which English public opinion attached to the West
Indies a century and a half ago. When this country was negotiating the terms preliminary to the Peace of Paris in 1761, there was a tremendous argument and keen political controversy as to whether we should retain Canada, that had been taken from the French, or the island of Guadeloupe. That controversy raged in and out of Parliament with extreme vigour and force. It had two great foundations. It had the Imperial foundation and it had the commercial foundation. In short, translated into modern language, it had all the force of the dual political interests that we might imagine now on the discussion of Canadian cattle and fabric gloves combined. Lord Chatham, when Mr. Pitt, speaking in the House of Commons in 1861, said this:
Some are for keeping Canada, some Guadeloupe; who will tell me which I shall be hanged for not keeping?
That servos to show that, even in those days, great and important statesmen had some regard to public opinion. It is not unnatural that with this history behind them the West Indies should turn back with pride, not unmingled with some regret, to the days of the past when they held such a distinguished place in British estimation. They were all the more ready to feel appreciation of the concern that had led to the dispatch of a Mission to investigate their case. On the report of those investigations I do not propose to say anything here beyond some general observations, because those interested can read the Report. A good deal of time and attention was taken up with a consideration of the difficult economic circumstances to which I have alluded, and I hope that the undertaking that I was authorised to give on behalf of the Government of the continuance of the existing proportion of preference for a period of 10 years will go some way to assist to restore confidence among those communities who have suffered so severely. Whether the Government now or at any future date may be disposed to go further in that matter is obviously a concern of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I was concerned to state the West Indian case as faithfully as I could to my right hon. Friend and to this House as it was stated to me, and that I have endeavoured to do.
There is one consideration which I think hon. Members would like to bear in mind. If it be important, as I am satisfied it is important, to maintain in these colonies as a condition of progress and stability a European element, the presence of that European element depends upon the prosperity of the sugar industry, and that is a consideration which should not be lost sight of. I also endeavoured to appraise the force of the movement for representative government as it exists in different islands and to discuss the conditions under which and the limits within which it is in my judgment light at the present day to meet the demand that has been made. I am quite satisfied that while you have, as you have there, the universal foundations of loyalty, confidence in British administration, and good will, that is the time to meet the demands to the utmost legitimate extent. I am extremely pleased that that course of action has been approved by my right hon. Friend It is possible that as time goes on wisdom may suggest and events may warrant further advances along these lines. That is for the future. For the present and for so long a future as I personally can foresee, I deem it is essential to maintain in some form or other the ultimate control that is exercised on behalf of Parliament by the Secretary of State for the Colonies over these growing and developing communities, and I have made suggestions how that security can be maintained in conformity with constitutional growth and evolution.
One word as to the bearing of all this upon a subject that has attracted attention in this House, namely, West Indian Political Federation. It is a very attractive proposition. There is no doubt about the advantages of it. The advantages are not to be measured by pounds, shillings, and pence. It will redound to the greater influence of the West Indies in Imperial Councils and affect for good the level of administration and conditions of service in almost every direction. As to that there is general concensus of opinion, but there is considerable danger in some quarters of ignoring what I may call the more real and active lions that lurk in the path. In this matter I believe it to be axiomatic that it is not wise to attempt to force a scheme on a reluctant community and still less in face of active opposition. I am at present driven to admit that public opinion in these Colonies is far too centrifugal to make West Indian Federation immediately practicable, and I am disposed to think, having given such thought and judgment to it. as I can, that the grant of representative institutions is likely to be the most effective instrument by way of education towards the broader policy, for this very simple reason. The real arguments for West Indian Federation are arguments principally known to Governments who realise how they are hampered and clogged and circumscribed by the narrow horizon of their operations. The ordinary man in the street, in fact, has no opportunity for having it driven home to him how many of these problems make towards solution if only you can increase the size of your political unit. It is for that reason that I regard the grant of some measure of representative institutions as the first step in education towards this larger policy.
One word, before I sit down, upon our only Colony on the Continent of South America—British Guiana. I think it is deserving of one word of special mention. In size it is equal to Great Britain, and there are great resources—timber, minerals, pastoral, agricultural and so on—at the present moment still waiting for wise exploitation. That task of development is no where likely to be more difficult than in British Guiana. No where in the world has nature been more ready or taken more whimsical delight to prove her wayward qualities. After providing material resources to attract capital, she has failed to give the country any human resources by which these material resources can be made effective. After having established a rich alluvial coast belt she has put it under the sea level, thereby causing a heavy toll of money and health from those who wish to cultivate it. After endowing the country with rich and magnificent and wide waterways, she has interrupted their progress at intervals by unmanageable rapids and difficult egress to the ocean. All these are very serious obstacles in the way of the development of British Guiana. The only way, in my judgment, by which you are going to get development in British Guiana is by making a frank appeal to private enterprise—which has turned more corners in the British Empire than any other method—to invite private enterprise to come and help us. I refer to that private enterprise which will realise the possibilities, take count of the opportunities, and be prepared to wait for its reward. Any such attempt that was substantially conceived and intelligently directed would be deserving of very generous treatment at the hands of the Government. I think that is all I have to say to the Committee beyond this final sentence:
No one can return from the discharge of a duty such as that entrusted to my hon. Friend and myself without feeling immensely the value of the establishment of the personal touch between the authorities at home and those outer communities with whose administration they are charged. I very much doubt whether in present circumstances you can establish that touch in any other way than by visit. I therefore would look eagerly to the Colonial Office, whoever may be there, and whatever may be the political complexion of any future House of Commons, to endeavour in this development to make a repetition of such visits an integral portion of Imperial policy. Their advantages are emphasised to my mind by the character of our society. I suppose it is true that history can show empires of which the inspiring motive was uniformity and who felt that a departure from uniformity was a source of weakness. Our ideal has never been uniformity. It has been constantly diversity. It has been our policy that we should be able to invite and obtain service from all the differing communities of the British Empire. For my own part I have no anxiety about the Imperial future of the Crown Colonies so long as we are successful in enlisting such service in our support and so long as success in doing so remains the touchstone of all our Imperial development.
The voyage of the Prince of Wales is not the only voyage on behalf of the Empire that we in this House have to congratulate ourselves upon. I am of opinion that the best stroke of work this House has done in recent times in connection with Colonial matters has been sending the Under-Secretary to the West Indies. I would suggest that he might complete that good work by taking the opportunity, this autumn, of visiting other parts of the Empire in order that thereby he might discover what is wanted, and bring back to this House that real appreciation of the difficulties with which the Colonial administration is faced.
There is no doubt whatever that this year has been the most difficult year in history for the Colonies. It has not only been a difficult period for the Colonial Office or the Colonial Office officials in their endeavour to balance budgets; it has been a very bad period for shareholders in Colonial companies. It has, however, been a worse period for the natives in those Colonies. We have to realise that the difficulties of the Colonial Office, officials are as nothing compared with the situation of all those semi-savage peoples who have suddenly discovered that they are merely cogs in a gigantic trading machine which has suddenly collapsed and left them, their raw materials, their produce, and their living on their hands stranded and useless. We have by constant years of growing civilisation acclimatised the people of Africa and the people of the West Indies to enjoy certain elements of civilisation. In a flash all these have gone! They are back where they were before the British settled there. It has been not only a dramatically sudden, but one of the most dramatically important transformations in the whole of foreign vision.
Let us first of all look at the West Indies. Here we have the admirable Report of the Under-Secretary. The hon. Gentleman in the West Indies had few of the difficulties that appear in Africa. There he was dealing very largely with constitutional questions. I would draw the attention of the House first and foremost to this admirable paragraph in the Report. Dealing with the question of communal representation in the West Indies, the Under-Secretary's Report says:
It, i.e., Communal representation, would accentuate and perpetuate the differences which in order to produce an homogeneous community it should be the object of statesmanship to remove. The East Indians are an important element in the community"—
He is speaking at the moment of Trinidad, I think—
It would be a great misfortune if they were encouraged to stand aside from the main current of political life instead of sharing in it and assisting to guide its course.
Winged words of wisdom from the Colonial Office! I regret the Colonial
Secretary has left the Chamber. I wish that these words, or this sentiment, could be translated to the Province of Kenya and that we might see there the same sense of appreciation of British constitutional history and less of the racial prejudice which at present mars the Colony. The same principle might be applied to another colony under the control of the Colonial Office—Ceylon. During this next year, if the hon. Gentleman would visit Ceylon, he might be led to appreciate the excellence of the British tradition, and the undesirable character of this communal representation. So far as that is concerned the Report is excellent. I only wish that in dealing with these constitutional questions, the hon. Gentleman had carried his new Liberalism a little further. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] Well, the new appreciation of the Liberal point of view, and the virtues of the English Constitution as opposed to other constitutions. But when we come to the vexed question of whether a Member of Parliament should or should not live in his own constituency we find the old Adam peeping out. There we find the landed aristocracy again plumping for that excellent solution which confines any constituency in its selection of a candidate to people who live in the constituency. The ancestors of the hon. Gentleman 300 years ago were preaching exactly that doctrine, and were generally declaiming against the carpet-bagger saying that the landed proprietor alone should be elected to represent the agricultural labourer. As a matter of fact the hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that the Members of Parliament who did the work of constitution-making in this country were not the landed gentry but the people who were sent as carpetbaggers, who sat for rotten boroughs. They stood up against Charles I, and changed the composition of the House of Commons. Why not attempt to follow British tradition even in Trinidad?
I know what it is. In the opinion of the landed classes you would probably get too many lawyers from Port of Spain, and Trinidad would be easily led by them. Although he may be a disagreeable person, if you get the lawyer into your representative body, I believe you are likely to get a much saner development of your Constitution or your colony. One other point in the constitutional question of the West Indies. I notice that the hon. Gentleman considers Dominica is suited for self-government, but that Antigua, Montserrat, and St;. Kitts are not. The reasons he gives are a perfect illustration of conservation. St. Kitts is opposed to the development of democracy. He points out that in St. Kitts there are big plantations, and that the population is either extremely rich or extremely poor. There are big plantations with labourers. The planters object. He allows Dominica to have representative Government because the property is not in the hands of a few but is divided up, and the country is one of small peasant proprietors. The hon. Gentleman refuses it to St. Kitts because it is a plantation colony. I would say that if you are going to allow democratic developments that they are more wanted where you have extremes of wealth and poverty than where you have the people more or less about equal. It seems to me, however, that the mission of the Colonial Office is not so much to protect vested interests and the big planters; the whole excuse for Colonial Office government in any of these Crown Colonies ought to be that the Colonial Office are controlling the situation in order to protect the helpers. The Colonial Office is not there in order to protect vested interests and to get cheap labour for employers.
May I say a word about Ceylon? I am afraid the Colonial Office has there an unfortunate situation, one which may turn out to be as bad as the situation in India. If they had only taken it in hand in time, they could have saved the whole position. Sir Greame Thomson is now at home. Let them consult him. I do not think there is any administrator more trusted by the people of Ceylon than Sir Greame Thomson, and now at the present time, when he is most needed, he is going to be taken from Ceylon and sent somewhere else. That is the lamentable way of doing things which inevitably leads to difficulties. The elected members of the Ceylon Council have refused to sit on the Reform Committee that the Governor has set up.
I received a telegram the day before yesterday which says that all the Cingalese elected members have refused to sit on this Council, and they have done so for reasons which appeal to every sensible man. A year and a half ago they were considering in Ceylon whether they would follow the example of India and non-co-operate with the British Government. They voted for non-co-operation, but rested on a promise from the Governor that if they would go on with the present Constitution for a year he would at the end of that time submit to the Colonial Office a revised scheme of reforms. That was a year and a half ago. Six months after the time when this revised Constitution ought to have been brought forward, nothing is yet done. The proposal is voted down in the Legislative Council by the use of an official majority, and naturally, these people who have worked with the Government amicably for the last year, and who really are the most loyal subjects of the British Crown, are exasperated by having this perpetual postponement of the revision of the Constitution which they have been promised.
I am sure the hon. and gallant Member does not wish to misrepresent the facts to the Committee. What has actually happened is that in the course of the last few weeks, the Legislative Council itself—the Elected Members—proposed a Committee to go into the whole question of the re-allocation of seats. That was not done by the Governor, but was carried by the Elected Members, without a Division—unanimously. Since then some of the Elected Members have withdrawn and have declined to sit on the Committee, but it is unreasonable to blame the Colonial Office.
The information I have is this. Sir James Peiris, the Member for Colombo, and a most moderate leader of the Nationalist party, has now refused to sit upon this Committee, and it seems plain that even the most moderate Cingalese element is definitely taking up a line of opposition to the Government. I hope the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary will consult Sir Graeme Thomson and, as soon as possible, go out there and try to put the matter right. We cannot afford to have Ceylon repeating the tale of India.
I pass to the Rhodesian question. This has been allowed by the Colonial Office to drift. There is no other way of looking at it. Two years ago the Cave Committee reported, after an examination of the whole case by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, that the British Government owed to the Chartered Company £4,000,000, or thereabouts, less the value of the land allotted to themselves or alienated by the company for other than cash. It is over two years ago since that judicial decision was made. After that, Lord Buxton's Committee reported that steps should be taken immediately to value the lands which had been allotted to themselves or alienated by the Chartered Company in order that we might discover exactly what was owed to the Chartered Company in respect of Southern Rhodesia. That was not only the report of the Buxton Committee, but the proposal of the Colonial Office at the time. Since then nothing whatever has been done to value those lands. For two years the question of our liability to the Chartered Company has been allowed to slump. Why? Because the Colonial Secretary has endeavoured to get the whole question of the composition to be paid to the Chartered Company, handed over to the South African Government to decide. He has urged Rhodesia to join in with South Africa, and ever since the Chartered Company and General Smuts have been bargaining together as to how much is to be paid the Chartered Company in return for the absorption by South Africa of Southern Rhodesia. In the first place, it is undesirable that a Colony like Rhodesia should be forced, for financial reasons, to go into the Union of South Africa. It would be far better if it became an independent Dominion. I understand the position is that as soon as General Smuts comes to terms with the company, as to compensation to be paid, which may have no relation to what the Privy Council determined they ought to get—as soon as these two parties come together, then the white population of Rhodesia is to be consulted by referendum.
The white population will be consulted as to whether they will go into the Union or set up as an independent Dominion, saddled with this debt to the Chartered Company, which may run into millions. Practically only the white population will be consulted. The hon. Gentleman seems to suggest that if the question is put to a vote in Rhodesia the blacks will be consulted.
Does the hon. Gentleman know there are probably not more than 50 black voters in the whole of Rhodesia. It is futile to talk about consultation with the blacks, when there are 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 of them and only about 50 have votes. The question will be put to the white inhabitants of Rhodesia, and I think it is unfair, even to the white inhabitants. It is certainly undesirable to give over a Colony, where there are so many natives, probably against the wish of those natives. There is probably not a native who would not sooner be under the direct rule of the Colonial Office than under the Union of South Africa. Is this to be done in order that terms may be struck with the Chartered Company? Why should not the problem be solved in the way decided on by the Law Courts? Why not follow the decisions of Lord Cave's Committee and Lord Buxton's Committee and find out what is owed. If, as is not improbable, we do not owe then! a penny.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] If you are going to take into account all the land which they alienated and allotted to themselves, not for cash, and estimate it at its present value, there will be precious little left out of £4,000,000. Not only will Southern Rhodesia be thrown away in order to solve this difficult problem of what we owe the Chartered Company, but Northern Rhodesia is going the same way—a country the size of France and Germany put together.
There the Chartered Company again claim the commercial ownership of the land. The Buxton Committee recommended that before any money was paid to the company in respect of their administration claims in Northern Rhodesia, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council should decide on the actual sum owed. Eighteen months ago the Colonial Office was proposing to prepare a case for the Crown, as against the Chartered Company, in order that a decision might be come to by law as to what we really owed the company in respect of Northern Rhodesia. Nothing has been done, and the whole question has been allowed to stand. Undoubtedly if this had gone to the Privy Council, the Chartered Company would have discovered that their claim in respect of Northern Rhodesia was far less than (hat in respect of Southern Rhodesia. There, too, if we take the value of the alienated land, it will probably be found that the debt is extremely small. We are now proposing to rush Northern Rhodesia as well as Southern Rhodesia into the Union. Northern Rhodesia with all its vast native interests, which lie practically untouched north of the Zambesi, is to be put under the administration of the Government of South Africa, which has not got the very best traditions in its dealings with native races. In the interests of those races, as well as of the British Empire, it would be infinitely better if we could proceed to let the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council decide what was owed in respect of Northern Rhodesia, then take that as a debt of that Crown Colony, unite Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and proceed to administer it as Nyasaland or Tanganyika is administered at the present time. That would be best in the interests of the native inhabitants. I think it would be best in the interests of the white inhabitants, and it certainly would be best as far as the commercial interests of the British Empire are concerned.
I now come to the question of the West Coast of Africa. In the days before the War I should have said that if one wanted to find a part of Africa which had benefited from contact with civilisation it was the West Coast. There, the natives managed to develop their own industries. There, they produced their own cocoa, palm kernels, cotton, and other things. There, one saw the natives doing their own work and not exploited by white planters or settlers. But even there, the blighting hand of this Government has effected a lamentable change. The change is not altogether due to the War, but very largely to the Government. I do not mean the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary. He has done his best to put things right, but he must be, in a sense, responsible for the wrongs which others have inflicted. Many grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the West Coast, and he cannot entirely dissociate himself from his predecessors. The West Coast provided the worst example of squandermania which was seen anywhere in the British Empire— not even excepting this country. During the War the trade of the West Coast boomed. The price of cocoa, kernels, hides and so forth went up. Everybody on that coast, the traders, the native growers, the shippers, all made fortunes, and as the revenue increased so, naturally, the salaries of the officials increased, and the size of the staffs increased. At the end of the War, or a year later, prices boomed even more than during the War. There never was such a year for the West Coast as 1919. Then, just as they had got up their expenditure to a very extravagant scale, along came disaster.
First, there was the collapse of the whole West Coast trade. When the slump came here in 1920 we knew something about it; when the slump came to West Africa there was not a child in the place who did not know all about it. It hit them far worse than it hit us. At the same time as this crash came we started a new policy, so far as keeping trade spirits out of the country was concerned. The two things together absolutely smashed the revenue of the West Coast Colonics. The spirit duties in Nigeria in the year 1913 were £l,138,000. In 1920, when the bar was put up, they fell to £232,000, a drop of almost £l,000,000 in a total revenue of about £4,000,000. On the Gold Coast the drop was from £503,000 to £141,000. We carried out loyally the decision of the Conference at St. Germaine in 1919. I think that decision was mistaken. It would have been far better to have prevented this disastrous step being taken. Our neighbours on the Ivory Coast and in the Cameroons have not carried out their bargain, and the result is we are getting trade spirits run into our Colonies from the frontiers, and we actually find natives leaving British Colonies in order to go to colonies which are not "dry," just as Americans go to Bermuda. After two years' experience of this, we might revert to something a little more sane both in morals and in polity.
What is really wanted is to discourage the drinking of every form of alcoholic liquor. We should not attempt to prevent the natives having anything to drink, while the white man alongside him is having everything he wants. What we should do is to try to put a flat duty— not an ad valorem duty—which would tend to reduce enormously the amount of trade gin imported from Hamburg, Rotterdam and elsewhere and which would induce the people gradually to take to drinking stuff a little less poisonous than the stuff which they get from this trade. I believe that would do something to restore the revenue. The hon. Gentleman tells us that there is nothing like expenditure on public works on the West Coast, that he thinks it is the best thing for the Gold Coast to build a harbour at Takoradi. £1,500,000 has to be spent there, and in Kenya, £1,000,000, at Kilindini, in addition to an enormous sum on new railways in Kenya. He says it is so much better for these Colonies that they should buy the goods here and proceed with these works. That is unsound economics, and that always annoys me particularly. You borrow money from the investor in this country in order to make railways in Kenya or on the West Coast, and then you come to the people of this country and say, "We have done the very best thing for you. We have started rolling mills making rails for Kenya," I reply that that money would have been invested in industry if it had not been invested in the Kenya loans. If it were not employed in making rails for railways in Kenya, it would have been employed otherwise, perhaps in making rails for railways in this country, or it would have been employed in industry somewhere. You cannot nowadays bury your talents and put £3,000,000 into the ground.
What we want is to have the money where it can be employed most usefully. Let us look at this harbour proposal. I believe that the Governor is going on with the harbour to please the Colonial Office, because they want to spend the money. I do not say that that is their considered view, but there is something of that in it. It is not right. The Port of Seccondee is quite capable, as it is, of dealing with all the produce that comes to that port. When we have spent £1,600,000 on building this port, it will be absolutely a white elephant unless two railways are made in order to feed the new port, and then the total expense involved will be something like £12,000,000, in a country which has a revenue of about £2,000,000 now. You are putting on this colony a debt for harbour and railways which will amount to £12,000,000. The traders tell me that they are able now to get all they want shipped at Seccondee and that they can by motors collect all the produce they want.
I do not want to interrupt. The whole reason for the new harbour is that at Seccondee it is not now possible to bring a ship alongside. Everything has to be taken out of the ship and put into lighters and carried from the lighters to the shore. It is no wonder there is very little trade, or that these primitive methods can deal with what trade there is. But when you look at the immense possibilities of the country and the enormous potential production of the country, it becomes evident that the time has arrived when the country should have a breathing space on these waters.
Why not ask the traders on the spot what they think about it? I have not been at Seccondee. I believe that at all the ports on the West Coast landing is done by lighters. I believe that Lagos is the same. If the traders thought that trade in any reasonable time would meet the charges for the interest on this loan, would they not be the first people to ask for it? It would be their trade that would increase. Who is going to pay the interest on this loan? At present you have enormous expenditure in these Colonies coupled with a falling revenue, which you are attempting to make good by putting on new and enormous taxes. The result is that the native is no longer able to purchase the goods he wants, and our exports have fallen off enormously. The Secretary for the Colonies says: "What a useful thing it would be to have a port on the Gold Coast." Only the other day there were condemned and destroyed 300 tons of hides at Kano, or somewhere in that district, on the ground that because of the cost of transport to the coast by the railway, due in turn to the high cost of building the railways, it would not pay to send them on. Trade is being killed. Three hundred tons of hides were destroyed the other day, but there will be thousands of tons of hides destroyed, and at the same time there is a duty of £1 a ton on all exported hides.
£11,000 a mile is a great deal on the West Coast. If the hon. Gentleman knew as much about the cost of other railways he would know that this Gold Coast railway was one of the most expensive. The railways in Nigeria cost under £6,000 a mile. You cannot develop these countries by killing the goose which lays the golden egg. That is what we have done by taxation of the native and taxation of exports and imports. We are driving the native back to where he was 50 years ago, before we went into the country. He now no longer needs gramophones, top hats and umbrellas. He cannot afford them and is losing his sense of using them. There is a lake in Uganda called Lake Chioga. All around there the natives produce cotton, and they make a great deal of money by it. When I was there the native chief, the principal producer, came down to the port on his motor-bicycle with a loin cloth on and nothing else, followed at suitable intervals by his six wives on push-bicycles clothed in "the altogether." Anybody who knows Africa knows the natives' passion for umbrellas, to prevent them from getting wet, though they have nothing to get wet except their skins.
What is actually happening in Kenya? In 1913, of unbleached cotton they imported 22½ million yards: in 1921 only 11¾ million yards. Imports of printed cotton good- fell from 2⅓ million yards in 1913 to 1 million yards in 1921; and imports of dyed goods fell from 3 million yards to ½million yards. That drop is. owing to the heavy taxation. The population of Kenya and Uganda combined is about 6,000,000. They imported½million blankets in 1913, but only 600,000 in 1921. That total is obviously not enough to keep 6,000,000 natives warm. Anyone who has lived in the Highlands, 8,000 feet up, knows that a native with one blanket is "starving" with cold. At the same time our makers of blankets in this country are out of work. All this is due to the taxation of the native, and more particularly in Kenya than on the West Coast. I will say this for the Colonial Office. The West Coast provides the model example, not only of our Colonies, but of all European colonies. We have there tried really to do our best for the native. But when you look at Kenya, you see a very different result. In Kenya there are other problems, the Indian problem as well as the labour problem.
It is necessary, first of all, to understand the way in which Kenya is administered. About three years ago, in order to meet the enormous increase in taxation due to the War, the Kenya Government put an Income Tax on all Europeans and Asiatics. It was only about 1s. in the pound. The settlers have consistently refused to pay a penny of it, so that the Income Tax has been in existence, but not in operation. The Colonial Office have acquiesced in the non-payment, although they knew quite well that the Europeans in that Colony paid practically no taxes at all, except the tax on imports, and that is very low. The poll tax of £l a year is the only direct tax paid by Europeans. The other day the Colonial Office sanctioned the abolition of Income Tax. Immediately the settlers and the Government out there met to decide what tax was to be substituted for the Income Tax in order to make good the balance between revenue and expenditure. They first of all raised the tax on rice, which article, of course, is not consumed very much by Europeans, but very largely by the Indians and the Arabs. The tax had already been raised from 10 to 15 per cent., and it was further raised to 25 per cent. The tax on pulse was raised from 15 to 30 per cent., and that on ghee, which is the ordinary Lea and Perrins sauce of every Indian meal, was raised from 30 to 90 per cent. They invented a tax of 50 per cent. on imported timber. [An HON. MEMBER: "How about whisky?"] They doubled the tax on whisky, so that now, if you go to the leading club in Nairobi, you have to pay as much for a bottle of whisky as you have to pay in this country. In the old days Nairobi Club was the cheapest place for whisky in the whole world, but now it has no longer got that proud pre-eminence. There, I admit, there was something for the whites to pay, but as a matter of fact everybody consumes whisky.
It is the timber duty to which I particularly want to call attention. A 50 per cent. tax on imported timber is the finest sort of protection you can imagine. Captain Grogan had a timber concession, and he kept it under circumstances which are well known to the Colonial Office, although he did not pay his rent, and he has got his timber concession still, and you put a 50 per cent. tax on in order to put £25,000 a year into the pocket of Captain Grogan. Every settler from this country going out to East Africa, every ex-service man who is trying to build up his home there, needs timber. The local timber is of very little value indeed, but he will have to have either the local timber or pay this enormous sum in addition to freight charges in order to get hard wood. That is one way of making East Africa pay. You put on a protective tariff which does not bring in much revenue, hut which enormously increases the burden upon everybody who lives in the country, a repetition, in fact, of the effort at Protection which has just ended to-day on the West Coast. I would like the Under-Secretary to tell the Committee when he replies whether it is proposed really to allow the abolition of the Income Tax to be substituted by an enormous increase in tax upon all the imported goods which Indians and natives use, and particularly by this enormous protective tariff on timber. I think that is the finest example of how Kenya is conducted at the present time. The people who control the government, the settlers in that country, administer the country in the interests of the settlers, and the interests of the natives and of the Indians are forgotten. It appears to me that the Government of Kenya is strangely independent of the Colonial Office itself. For instance, why have we never had the new native labour ordinance, promised to me in this House as long ago as March last? It was to be wired for. We were told that when it came it should immediately be communicated to us, but we have never had it, and the real reason is, I suppose, that the Kenya Government have never sent it. Where is it?
The hon. and gallant Member is not accurate in stating that he was assured that he could have it as soon as it reached this country. What I remember stating was that I should lay a copy as soon as it had been finally approved by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. We have had it for some time past, and as soon as it has been collated with Uganda, and the other places, it will be laid before the House. There is no mystery or injustice about it at all.
He went on:
I shall be happy to place a copy of the ordinance, as and when finally approved by the Secretary of State, in the Library of the House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th May, 1922; col. 256, Vol. 154.]
I am very glad, indeed, to hear that it has come, but I think we might have been told that it has arrived, seeing that we have asked for it about five times. I trust the revision by the Secretary of State is a thorough one, and that we may have that ordinance not only looked at, but made into something really in the interests of the natives. It was two years ago that we were promised this new ordinance—not last year, but the year before—and so far we have not had even the draft approved by the Secretary of State prior to being put into operation in East Africa.
Now I come to the Indian question. The Indian question in Kenya has been the battle ground between the Indian Office and the Colonial Office for the last three years. The India Office has in the past looked after, and I hope will still look after, the Indian case with great ability, and the Colonial Office has looked after the settler case with equal ability, and now we hear that the Noble Lord the Under-Secretary of State for India (Earl Winterton) and the hon. Gentleman the Under-Secretary for the Colonies meet nightly and are just discovering what a difficult subject it is, that they are making great progress, and that they have come to realise the enormous complexity of the subject. I do not mind telling them that the subject is really not at all complex. It all depends on what you want. If you want to preserve East Africa solely for the white race, if you want to turn East Africa into a second edition of the United States of America, then you have got to keep the Indian out altogether. But if, on the other hand, you want to see the European and the Indian cooperating together in making the country a commercial success, then you must adopt the policy of the Indian Government. The hon. Gentleman is quite right in saying that the questions of land in the Highlands or of segregation are of no real, vital importance. They are only matters of secondary importance. What is of vital importance is that there should be no communal representation in Kenya Colony. What is of importance is that the admirable doctrine, as outlined by the hon. Gentleman for the West Indies, should be tried also for Kenya. If we had one common voters' list upon which both European settlers and Indians appeared as voters, so that the English candidate or the Indian candidate had to ask voters of different colours to vote for him, which is what the Indians demand and the real matter on which they are determined, then all the other difficulties would solve themselves entirely. It is not a question even of the white vote; being out-voted. All they ask for is that one in 10 of the Indians in that Colony should have votes. Europeans, of course, men and women, have votes, but if you only put on one in 10 of the Indians you will at least give a substantial minority of Indians in each constituency, and their interests will be looked after. The Indians are quite right in seeing that this question is the one question on which they cannot give way, and any settlement which does not give-a common voters' list will be a failure. I do not suppose it would ever be accepted by the Indians at all, and it would certainly be a failure in the long run. You cannot develop any country if you are going perpetually to keep two different social castes, separate and apart, with no common interest except fighting each other and struggling to get rival representation in the Legislature of the country.
I think myself that that is the principal question, but quite recently the Colonial Secretary has brought up a fresh difficulty, has invented it for himself, and that is the proposal to increase the difficulty of Indian immigrants going into East Africa from India. The tariff used to be 25 rupees, I think. Any Indian who could produce 25 rupees was allowed to go and work in the country, but recently we were told they are going to raise that from 25 rupees to £50. If you insist on an Indian producing £50 before he can get into Kenya, you are preventing any fresh Indians going there at all. That may be right, or it may be wrong, from the point of view of Kenya Colony, but it is absolutely and diametrically opposed to the doctrine that the Conference of Premiers laid down that there should be no discrimination against Indians. I know the Colonial Office say that they do this as an example of no discrimination, but they must be perfectly well aware that when a European is asked to find £50 on entrance, "dummying" is the easiest thing in the world, and on no account whatever would any party in this country allow white emigrants to Kenya really to be prevented from going there because they were poor. It would not operate in the case of whites, but it will in the case of Indians, and, therefore, any restriction of that sort will be resented most bitterly, not only by the people of Kenya, but by the countless millions in India, who look at Kenya as an example of whether it is worth while remaining inside the British Empire.
You have got there the acid test of whether the British Empire is worth while, and it is not a question of the rights of Indians or of the rights of settlers, it is not a question of whether it is to be a white man's country or an Indian's country, but it is the test question for the whole of the Indo-British Empire. If you are going in that country, which is not a self-governing Crown Colony, through your own Colonial Office, directed by this House, to set up a colour bar between Indian and European, by that colour bar you will be judged by 315,000,000 of Indians. If you do right by that country, even sacrificing the prejudices of the handful of settlers there, then you will have a standing example of what we ought to stand for, of an Empire that is worth belonging to, and you will do more, even than by developing Home Rule in India, to re-establish that faith in English justice and in the really honest intentions of British statesmen.
I find myself in a difficult position in taking part in the Debate this afternoon. Having accompanied my hon. Friend the Under-Secre- tary of State for the Colonies to the West Indies, I naturally wish to say something about that. I also wish to say something about tropical Africa, and as I was also on the Political Staff in Palestine during the military occupation in 1918, I particularly want to say something about Palestine; and to bring those three subjects in one speech is not very easy as a matter of parliamentary form. Before I approach those subjects, I think I must say one or two words in reply to certain remarks which have fallen from the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). Take the question with which he dealt last, namely, the Indian question in Kenya Colony. Personally, I am very glad that the Indian immigrant fee has been raised, for this reason, that quite frankly I do not believe the economic conditions of Kenya Colony are such as would justify one more Indian or one more white man going to that country.
Personally, both in the interest of the difficult economic situation that now obtains in that country and of the ultimate object that I have in regard to Kenya Colony, namely, that it should be regarded primarily as an African country, that we should be there for the Africans just as we are in Nigeria, and that it should not become an Indian colony or a white English colony so much as remain a country primarily governed in the interest of its 3,000,000 native inhabitants, I should not be sorry to see restrictions of all kinds on non-African immigration into that Colony.
What is the situation in Kenya to-day? The situation that I see in Kenya to-day is this, that you are gradually getting a stereotyped system of society, consisting of white landlords and landowners occupying the higher posts of the country; you are getting a middle class of clerks, engine-drivers, guards, stationmasters, all Indians; and you are preventing the Africa native from rising from a proletariat position at all. That is the danger of the present condition of affairs in Kenya Colony, and I personally regret the history of that Colony and would like to have seen the development of Kenya and of East Africa proceeding on precisely the same lines as the development of the Gold Coast and Nigeria, and that we should not have gone in for this idea of bringing in from India for building railways and all the rest a considerable non-African element. I prefer the Nigerian system, and I do not like the results I see in Kenya.
I rather regret that this experiment was ever undertaken in Kenya, because it will be an economic failure. The white settlements are very nearly ruined now, and in five years' time they are likely to be absolutely ruined by this policy. The problem of getting good work out of the natives is such that, however much you develop your harbours and railways, I believe that Kenya Colony is economically doomed by its past history and by the way the development of that Colony is proceeding. I was very much amused by the Leader of the Labour party making the sweeping statement he did with regard to the evils of taxation. After all, when we read the Fabian Essays, and all the things the Labour party has done, their one theory seems to be that you should put taxes on and that they should be collected by the State, which can spend the money so much better than anyone else. You are taxing the producers in this country, and in Africa the natives, in order that an enlightened and benevolent State may redistribute that money in what they consider is a more enlightened way. We are gradually beginning to realise that that doctrine of Fabian Socialism did acquire a large place in the "Lloyd George Budget" of 1909. The world is realising now that Individualism is a great deal better than Socialism in that respect.
What do all our Crown Colonies want at the present moment? They want the same thing as we do. namely, a reduction of Government expenditure and a reduction of taxation. That applies to the West Indies, and the case is also overwhelming in West Africa. This House is, after all, trustee for the government of millions of people—in West Africa alone there are 21,000,000 people— governed in every case by councils, with an official majority under the direction of the Colonial Office, which is responsible to this House. This House is directly responsible for the Budgets of four West African Colonies, and, just as it is our duty to act as a House of Commons for the taxpayers of this country, similarly it is our duty to act in the same way on behalf of the taxpayers of those colonies. They have not got representative government of any kind. It is therefore the responsibility of this House to urge upon the Government the necessity of a Geddes Committee in Nigeria and the Gold Coast precisely as we had a Geddes Committee here.
I agree that it is in the interests of British trade as well as in the interests of the natives that such a reduction of taxation should take place. There can be no contradicting the fact that Nigeria today is over-taxed, that is to say, taxation has reached such a point—in that I include the amount of the rates charged on the Government railways—that production is being seriously damaged. I understand that both in Nigeria and the Gold Coast the Government regard the railways as revenue-producing concerns, and they have got their rates up to such an extent that the railways not only pay an ordinary return in the way of interest on capital, but are handing over to general revenue very large profits on the railways in aid of general revenue, and these profits are only obtained by keeping the rates up to an extravagantly high figure. I agree that the railways should be on a paying basis, but let the rates, as in every properly managed railway in the world, be such as will encourage trade. I have been told that there is a certain point on the Nigerian Railway beyond which it does not pay owing to the present high rates to send goods, and demands are. coming from traders and producers from the Gold Coast and Nigeria pressing for a reduction of the railway rates.
Everybody knows the way in which Nigeria has been pressing for some time for a reduction of these high railway charges. When you compare them with the rates on the Belgian Congo or the Belgian railways, you at once see the disadvantage at which the British producers are placed. I ask my hon. Friend to particularly examine this question of the high rates on the railways of the West Coast of Africa. I agree that it is necessary you should have a deep harbour, but I think, at the same time, you should have some regard to the financial conditions obtaining in these very depressed Colonies before you attempt to wring out of the producer and the trader such contributions as will enable you to pay capital expenditure out of revenue, because that is what is actually being done.
I believe the Government of the Gold Coast has stated that its policy is to make the railways pay so much in order that they may be able out of the surplus revenue to provide money for a further extension of the railways. I maintain that that is not sound economic policy when your industries are really being very badly hit by competition. If you have to undertake further capital expenditure it should be by means of a loan and not by heaping burdens upon your trade which you can ill-afford when faced with the serious competition of the French Colonies, where the cost of production and transport is much less than it is in our own Colonies. I am glad that the differential duties in West Africa have gone. I am quite sure that they were doing no good, and they were a very serious grievance. I believe that the mere fact that they have gone, apart from the direct economic results, will have a very reassuring effect upon the producers and traders on the West Coast of Africa.
I come to the question of Southern Rhodesia. I think the hon. and gallant Member has given a completely false impression in regard to the value of the land which has been disposed of in Southern Rhodesia. Competent Government actuaries have gone into the matter, and it is not likely to exceed £400,000. Under a legal decision some £4,000,000 have got to be paid to the Chartered Company, and it has to be paid some time in cash. If the hon. and gallant Member's remarks go out to Rhodesia the people there will be under an entirely false impression as to what responsible local government may mean. It may mean either that they saddle themselves at the very start with an enormous burden of debt to the Chartered Company, which will always. be a millstone round their necks—
Nobody is more anxious to have finality in this matter than the Chartered Company. Personally, I take the view very strongly that the right place for Southern Rhodesia is a province in the Union of South Africa, and I think that is the right solution. What we have to fear in East Africa is the ever-increasing pressure of taxation on the natives, and consequently a diminution of native production on the natives' own land, and therefore a diminution of the general production of the country is bound to take place if Rhodesia starts as a little dominion on its own. It would be saddled in the first place with this gigantic debt, and it would have to incur considerable expenditure to provide outlets and railways before it can be developed. Therefore I believe the future of Southern Rhodesia as a self-governing concern is a very gloomy picture, while its union with South Africa is very hopeful, and likely to make it a most prosperous province.
As for the West Indies, let the hon. and gallant Gentleman not imagine for a moment that the provision that candidates for the various legislatures under the proposed schemes of representative government should either own property or have some responsibility in their constituency will mean that no lawyers will get in, and that only landed gentry will be elected, because that is far from the case. After all, such a system has obtained in our existing legislative councils for a long time. Take Jamaica, for example. I do not know in this case how many of the legislators are lawyers, but I think a majority of them are, and although what is suggested does not keep the lawyers out, it does tend to preserve the local interest of the member who sits for a particular constituency. I think that is important, particularly in islands such as the West Indies. After all, what they need is what is certainly applicable to this country, with its hundreds of miles length and its vast areas. Take the islands to which you propose to apply this principle—Granada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Trinidad, islands which are particularly small. One could motor all round the three first in one afternoon. But I am quite sure of this, that unless you have some such provision as this you will not get the local feeling that exists, especially in these small areas, at all represented as it ought to be represented in the Legislative Council. In these small communities the great danger is of concentrating everything in the capital town. It is the greatest possible disadvantage to an island which has one capital town, and practically no other town, to have the whole of its public life concentrated in that town. It is most important to have people in the Legislative Council who are interested in the mountain districts or in distant parts away from the capital and who will bring their grievances properly before the Council. The danger in the West Indies to-day is this concentration of interests. Everything is done for the central town and very little for the outlying parishes. I am quite sure that this provision is a wise one, and, certainly in Jamaica, we have had no representation to the effect that that principle should be abolished. It works extremely well.
I am quite sure my hon. Friend who introduced this Vote did not in any way over-estimate the warmth of the welcome which we received as representatives of the Imperial Parliament. Everywhere we met this idea, that "England and the Colonial Office are still responsible for our government, and in their good wisdom they govern us through the official majority, but when we read the Debates in the Imperial Parliament, we hardly ever see the West Indies mentioned." That is undoubtedly the feeling to be found in the West Indies. They think that in the past they have been somewhat neglected by this House. I hope that can never be said again. I trust that this mission will be the forerunner of frequent missions of the kind, not always to the West Indies, but to the other Crown Colonies, to bring the Colonial Office and Members of this House into direct personal contact with the various political and economic problems of our Crown Colonies. It is an admirable practice, much cheaper, more effective and more popular in Crown Colonies than the sending out of Royal Commissions with all their elaborate paraphernalia for taking evidence and so on. That is not nearly as good as the sending out of an Under-Secretary or someone from the Department of the Colonial Office, with one or two, or even more, independent Members of the House of Commons, to bring to these Colonies the message that they are not forgotten and that their interests will be preserved and maintained in the Imperial Parliament. They are most anxious that there should be Members here conversant with Crown Colony problems who will speak both in the House and in the country when their interests are at stake.
I must say one word on the subject of West Indian federation. In this country and in this Parliament we have always regretted that the various West Indian Colonies are so different, and have not shown that homogeneity which really alone would enable them to play that part in the councils of the Empire which their importance and their numbers and their population entitle them to. The mere fact that 16 or 17 separate Legislatures exist is naturally a great disadvantage from the point of view of the Imperial Parliament, and anything that could make for cohesion and unity should be done in this House. The various Parliaments should be encouraged to co-operate and to work along similar lines. I personally believe that the moment for bringing that about is much nearer than my hon. Friend thinks. I believe that before long federation will grow in the West Indies. My hon. Friend has admirably sketched the first act. of development in his Report, namely, that some effort should be made to unify the medical service. I am sure that as long as every Colony is quite separate and has its own little Civil Service, with promotion out of that Civil Service practically out of the question, you will not set the same administrative advantages that you would get if you pooled the whole of their services.
While I am on that I would point out that there is no subject on which the West Indies want more help, more encouragement and more push than on the question of public health. There is a tremendous lot to be done in that regard. The mortality rates are very high. There are many tropical diseases prevailing to a very serious extent. Many of the doctors are grossly underpaid, and what is still more wanted is somebody or something which will give the necessary impetus to public opinion in these Colonies not to rely exclusively on the doctors but to do something themselves. I am quite sure that in a small community living on an island favoured very much by nature, but living a life only unto themselves, it is difficult to get the people to realise the urgent need for dealing with tropical diseases. They say, "Our forefathers got on very well without doing anything and we can get on on the old lines." The only chance of having something effective done is by getting it done co-operatively, by bringing all the Colonies together in public health work. There is nothing more important than public health and education. Both are vital matters, and I am quite sure that nothing effective can be done in regard to them unless there is some improvement in the economic position.
It would not be right to speak on this subject this afternoon without making it quite clear to the Committee that the West Indian people feel that this country has not done all it might do to help the British West Indies economically. They look at what America is doing for Cuba and Porto Rico. They see the energy and interest exercised by America in the development of those Colonies. They see the enormous preference which America gives to the products of those Colonies. They see the result. They see that the exports of Porto Rica have gone up not 100 per cent. or 200 per cent., but by 2,000 or 3,000 per cent. owing to the economic stimulus and encouragement which America has given to those places since she took them over. They say, if America can do this, why cannot Great Britain do it also? I am quite sure that the further development of the British Colonies in the West Indies is well worth the attention of this country. To-day there is an increasing volume of their trade, in spite of the preferential tariffs against them, going to the United States. See what America has done for their shipping. At Jamaica the whole of the shipping both to this country and all over the world is controlled by an American company which has placed a magnificent fleet at their disposal, and which has organised their trade, and especially the banana production. It has done wonders for the development of that trade.
But people in this country hear very little of West Indian trade. Walk along the Strand and other big commercial centres and one will see that every self-governing Dominion—the States of Australia and the constituent Provinces of Canada—have their commercial agents and their offices with a big display of their various products. But for the West Indies nothing of the kind exists, and after all the ordinary Londoner knows practically nothing of the possibilities of trade development there. I would like to see something like a West Indian Trade Commissioner and a West Indian Trade Office opened in one of our big public thoroughfares to bring home to the people of this country the vast possibilities still awaiting development in these islands and particularly in Trinidad, Jamaica and British Guiana. These three have still enormous potentialities. We see in Trinidad virgin forests which are every year being cut down and the land reclaimed and put under cocoa, sugar or fruit. There is still plenty of land thus to be dealt with. Again, British Guiana is still practically a virgin field. Five hundred square miles along the foreshore have been developed, but behind we have vast forests and behind them some uplands and open plains fit for cattle, and these lands have practically never been penetrated. There are no cattle, no money and practically no populations there. No doubt it runs down to the Equator line and can only be developed by coloured labour. The white man cannot do manual work in these lands of high rainfall and low altitude, but still there is the country that awaits development and can be developed.
When I was travelling back to this country from British Guiana and Trinidad an American on board the ship said to me, "You in England have too many colonies. You do not take the trouble to use them. Why not hand them over to someone who will develop them?" We do not want that sort of thing said against us. Where we have potential countries it is the duty of this country and of this Parliament to do everything in its power to stimulate and encourage the develop- ment of those vast tracts of the Empire. I have formed the opinion that, in spite of the present economic depression, with drastic oversight by the Colonial Office on the Government's expenditure in those colonies, the cerner will be turned. In a colony like Jamaica, where there is continual pressure upon the Government to spend more money on this and more money on that, it does require a man with a very big stick at the Colonial Office to prevent, I will not say, undesirable, but unnecessary expenditure in the financial circumstances of the world.
I have only one more word to say, and that is with regard to Palestine. The hon. Member for Twickenham is not, I think, here at the moment, but I understand that he is going to lead the attack, not only on the Rutenberg scheme, but on the British Mandate in Palestine and the Zionist movement generally. If I may be allowed to say so, I think it comes singularly ill from him. On 4th November, 1917, at the time of the Balfour declaration, which is the foundation of British policy in Palestine, the hon. Member for Twickenham wrote to the Zionist organisation, in response to a request for his views on the declaration, as follows:
I consider that one of the greatest outcomes of this terrible War will be the rescue of Palestine from Turkish misgovernment, and I will do all in my power to forward the views of the Zionists in order to enable the Jews once more to take possession of their own land.
The hon. Member had not heard of self-determination. He went even further than I, who have been a consistent supporter of the Zionist movement, have ever gone, in using the phrase, "Take possession of their own land." I do not know how his Arab friends would like that phrase. Personally, I hope that, when the Debate comes on, the Government will be in no way deterred by the criticism, either in this House or in another place, from carrying out what was not merely the pledge given by the Lord President of the Council—now the acting Foreign Secretary—in 1917, but was also an Allied pledge, given at the same time by the French Government, the Italian Government, and the Japanese Government, adhered to by the United States Government, reaffirmed only recently by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate of the United States, reaffirmed in the Peace Treaty, included in
the Draft Treaty of Sevres, decided at San Remo, and submitted in the Draft Mandate. I am certain that it would be absolutely dishonourable to this country to go back on the Balfour declaration. That declaration was made after long Cabinet discussion, and to go back upon it now, once it is made, would be, to my mind, an act of grave dishonour.
I rejoice in the further definition of British policy that has at last been given this week by the Colonial Office. I believe that that definition of policy, and the correspondence which has passed between the Zionist organisation and the Government, will be ample to ensure the rights—privileges, even—of the non-Jewish people in Palestine, and I am certain that they have absolutely nothing to fear from such a policy. Two sets of opinion have consistently opposed the policy of the Allied Governments in regard to Palestine. The first of them, which I found in Palestine, was, quite frankly, the opinion that is anxious to get Britain out of Palestine at all costs. There is a set of opinions which, as Mon-signor Barlassina said quite clearly, does not approve of a Protestant Power being mandatory in Palestine, and there is a considerable number of people who want France, or another Catholic Power, to be mandatory in Palestine. He occupies a great position there, and I regret the statements he made in Rome recently, which are absolutely untrue, about the administration of Palestine by Sir Herbert Samuel. I was glad to hear a confirmation of that from the Government Bench. With that school of thought, which is anxious to get Britain out of Palestine and substitute' some other Power, I can have nothing to do.
Then there is what I call quite frankly the anti-Semitic party, that is to say, those who are convinced that the Jews are at the bottom of all the trouble all over the world. Whether they are attacking an anti-Zionist like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge County (Mr. Montagu), or Zionists, or rich Jews, or poor Jews—it is the rich Jews who are all blood-suckers and the poor Jews all Bolshevists—they have that particular Hebrew mania, and they have fastened on Palestine with a. view to paying off these mediaeval scores. I have been in Palestine, and have seen the magnificent work the Jews have done already in that country. There has been no finer example of a religious ideal— because that was the foundation of it—encouraging town workers to go back on the land and build up, out of barren and uninviting territory, smiling fields and villages which are a credit to any agriculturists in the world. The Turkish Government—and a good many people, who would not be too sorry to see the Turkish Government back in Palestine, are rather of the same way of thinking—have thwarted that development. The Jew was not allowed to own land; he was treated as having no political rights; he was not allowed to hold any post in the Government; he was treated, that is to say, as an inferior.
The Balfour Declaration is to stop that, and to ensure that if the Jew, no matter from what country he comes, wants to go back and help to build up Palestine and make it once again a fruitful country, he shall not be debarred from doing so. All that the Balfour Declaration seeks is fair play for the Jewish colonists, and I hope the Government will stand to its pledge and see that the Jewish colonist gets fair play. In most countries in the past, and even in the present, the Jew has been singled out for religious persecution, and there are not wanting those in Palestine to-day who would like to renew that. I hope His Majesty's Government will set their faces against any religious persecution, particularly in Palestine. We want, to get away from racial animosities in that country. For hundreds of years the streets of Jerusalem have annually flowed with blood as a result of religious and racial animosity. I hope the British Government will see to it that that sort of thing is not allowed to happen. To my mind what is wanted first and foremost in Palestine is strong government—a Government that will not allow these animosities to break out, and will see that there is fair play between all sections of their community. Given that, I am confident that the Balfour Declaration will become an accomplished fact, that is to say, that the Jews who settle in Palestine, if they are allowed to live in peace and develop the land, will develop a truly national life and a national culture, based upon a revival of the Hebrew language and literature, which will be of enormous value to the world.
That is the side that appealed to me in Palestine. That is the aspect of Zionism which always appealed to me, and which, I believe, has always appealed to this country as a Bible-reading country. The connection between Great Britain and this movement is not a new one. It did not begin with the War; it goes right back to the time when the movement in its present form first started, and when Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, on being approached, espoused and supported it. It goes back even further than that. I am confident that the Arab has absolutely nothing to fear from it in Palestine, and that the Arab and Jew can and will get on well together. What is there against it? Certain excerpts are dragged up out of certain confidential letters written to King Hussein before King Hussein came into the War. If those are to be quoted as the reason why the Balfour Declaration should now be torn up, why is not the whole correspondence quoted, and why is it not made quite clear, as was made clear in the subsequent letters, that Palestine was excluded from the undertakings that were made to King Hussein? A further declaration that was made, at about the time of the Armistice, specifically mentioned Syria and Mesopotamia, and specifically did not mention Palestine. The campaign which has been engineered against the Balfour Declaration and against the policy of His Majesty's Government in Palestine, where it is not anti-Semitic, is anti-British. It is contrary to British interests. It is only likely to result in the replacement of Britain in Palestine by some other Power, and this country ought to pause before it allows such a policy to be effected by its own nationals.
Some of us who have listened to the most interesting speech of the Under-Secretary had a sense of pleasurable envy. I believe it is a fact that the hon. Gentleman has only been in office some 15 months, and yet he has had the opportunity of making a report which, I venture to think, will be a landmark in the history of at least one part of the British Empire. We know what the Durham Report did for Canada, and, although I am not venturing to compare the one with the other, it is certain that the problems through which Canada passed in reaching the stage which she has reached today have their parallel in some of the problems which now face the British West Indies. We have already seen one of the immediate effects of the report. I know from my own communications with the West Indies that already the visit of the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues, and the report that he has made, have created a far better understanding of British sympathy, and the human touch. They realise in the West Indies that there is no obstacle on the part of the Colonial Office or of this Parliament to their cautious advance towards representative government.
I want, if I may, to say a word or two upon the economic points of the report. Looking at those aspects of it, I think it is an enormous advantage that there should have risen up in recent times an economic association so close between Canada and the West Indies. It cannot fail to be of the greatest benefit to both. It is based on the principle of preference, and in that sense I personally cordially welcome the decision to which the Government has come, that some attempt should be made to create a greater stability for that principle of preference. I would ask hon. Gentlemen who do not agree with that view to reflect upon the point made by the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) as to the enormous advantage that the American colonies are deriving from the preferential arrangements made between them and the United States. It is impossible for anyone going to the West Indies to fail to appreciate how much they realise there the advantages that the preferential system of the United States is bringing to the American Colonies, and it is extraordinarily difficult for us to avoid the necessity of following that example. The hon. Gentleman deals in his Report with two or three specific economic points. He deals, for instance, with the question of cables. If the British West Indies are to be brought more thoroughly into accord with one another and more intimately associated with ourselves, it is really essential that the cable problem should be resolutely faced. The hon. Gentleman in his Report says he is firmly convinced of the necessity of carrying through the proposal for a direct cable from Bermuda to Barbados. I should be glad if he would tell us what progress, if any, has been made with that
part of his economic proposal. Another point he dwells upon is the question of wireless. The use of wireless in Colonies like the West Indies is incalculable as a feeder to the cables. In his Report the hon. Gentleman says:
For these reasons His Majesty's Government has expressed the opinion that wireless should not be developed in the West Indies except by ship and shore work and for the purpose of assisting trade during a breakdown of the cables.
That is not the view which some of the best authorities in the West Indies take. They believe that a great deal of advantage may come from a much fuller development of the wireless system in that part of the Empire. I asked the Postmaster-General today what progress is being made with the Empire wireless project of the British Post Office. He was unable to give me an answer because he said the whole question was now under review. I would ask the hon. Gentleman if he will bear in mind the possibility of bringing the British West Indies within that Empire wireless project. It seems to me that we are face to face with a growing and increasing problem in the attempt to establish far greater intimacy between the various parts of this scattered Empire, and one of the best means by which we can get the personal touch at work is through this wireless chain. We have made a hopeless bungle of the Empire wireless chain, largely because we did not consult those in the various Dominions who knew the problem. I hope the Bon. Gentleman, in pursuing that part of his proposal, will bear in mind the enormous use that wireless communication may be to the community of the British West Indies. I shall be glad also if he will tell us what is being done in the development of the steamship service between the Colonies and this country. His Report does not carry us very much further in that matter. I believe some developments have taken place since that Report was written, and if he were able to inform the Committee I should be glad. In the development of the British West Indies, as in the development of many of the minor possessions of the Crown, I think we must dwell far more upon the possibilities of the use of British credit. I know that important influences at the Treasury are said to be averse to other methods of economic unifying within the Empire, but I gather that in that matter of the cautious use of
British credit the Treasury are entirely sympathetic. The hon. Member who spoke last mentioned the Hinterland of British Guiana. The same argument is applicable to many other parts of the Empire which are under the immediate cognisance of the hon. Gentleman. I ask him, as representing that phase of British development, to see if he cannot take greater advantage of the present mood of the British Treasury to look with favour upon perfectly safe projects of development within those parts of the Empire where British credit may be used. There would be enormous advantage to the communities themselves, including the natives, and a great aid to the solution of the unemployment problem here. It would greatly stimulate our trade with. our Dominions, and tend to unify the Empire as a whole.
I rise to bring to the notice of my hon. Friend a matter which I think deserves his immediate and sympathetic attention. News has reached this country, on the authority of the Bishop of Northern Rhodesia, that the Chartered Company are contemplating the clearance of a large area of land inhabited by a tribe called Msoro. According to the Bishop, this tribe, numbering some 2,400 people, are being turned out of their hereditary lands in order to make room for three white men. The land they inhabit is very unhealthy and unsuitable for habitation by white people. I should like to read what the bishop writes in his annual report to the Universities Commission of Central Africa:
We learnt to our surprise and dismay that under a scheme that has been in the pigeon holes of the chartered company since 1914, the whole of the Msoro population is to be removed to make room for European settlers. I have entered a strong protest against this proposal, not so much on account of the Mission, as because there appears to be no other suitable land for the natives to occupy, and it seems, to say the least, a questionable proceeding to remove 2,500 natives from a district which is admirably fitted for their requirements to another, which is quite unfitted, in order that two or three Europeans may be settled on a spot which is admittedly unhealthy.
He goes on to say that this is only a fraction of the action that is contemplated and that he believes an operation is in contemplation affecting many thousands of men. I would ask my hon. Friend to put
a stop to this proceeding until some impartial inquiry can be conducted into the desirability or necessity of such a policy. I do not wish to frame my remarks in any hypercritical spirit. No one is more ready than myself to acknowledge the increased enlightenment of the Colonial Office. I say that perhaps because the Secretary of State is much more ready than his predecessor to give favourable ear to representations from myself and others. The Committee will recognise that the Colonial Office is being carried on in the truly British Imperial spirit of trusteeship on the part of the natives
I only rise to make what I hope is a useful and helpful suggestion, namely, that there should be constituted in every dependency a land authority to secure justice for the natives and to safeguard them in the occupancy of their land. I think this Msoro business strengthens my argument. What I think is vitally necessary, not only in Rhodesia, not only in West Africa, but also in East Africa, is some land authority to which the natives can look to secure them justice. After all, security of tenure is the very corner stone of the economic prosperity and the political contentment of our tropical and sub-tropical dependencies. It is the basis of the prosperity and contentment of West Africa, and the want of it is the cause of the discontent in East Africa. I have a profound contempt and scepticism for any attempt to tax the native into industrious habits, to make him work for the white man by inflicting differential duties upon him, and also filching away his land so as to force him to go out and work for the white settler. The only way in which we can secure the prosperity of East Africa is by following the principle of West Africa and giving the native sufficient land for his own subsistence, to give him security of tenure and educate him into the use of the land, and if the white settler wants an abundant supply of black labour to work his plantation the best way he can do it is to pay a good wage and to give proper working conditions. A very strong argument in favour of this land authority which I suggest is that it would identify the Government, in the minds of the natives, with justice and fair play. It would strengthen their confidence in the Government. Under present circumstances, when disputes arise as to the natives' right to labour, it is a private individual or an association of private individuals who take up their case, For instance, it was the Aborigines Protection Society who defended the cause of the natives of Southern Rhodesia. It is missionaries who have taken up the case of the natives in Africa when their rights are threatened. I cannot help feeling that it would be consistent with sound statesmanship to identify the Government, or anyhow, a body constituted by the Government, in the minds of the natives with justice, fair play and security of tenure for themselves. There is Such a land authority, I believe, in Natal, a native trust as it is called, with responsibility for the good government of the natives in 42 areas, comprising 2,000,000 acres of land. They are also charged with the duty of promoting the economic prosperity of the native. I believe this authority, or trust, has an admirable effect on the happiness and contentment of the natives in Natal. Another argument for the land authority would be that it is equally necessary in the sub-tropical areas—the colonisable areas. For instance, I believe none of the natives themselves have had their borders delimited. That is a thing which is urgently required in order that the natives may not have their reserves taken away from them improperly. The task of this authority should also be to secure that there should be ample subsistence in the land set apart for these tribes. If it is necessary to take land away from the natives, they should not be put off with narrow areas where they cannot get subsistence, but they should have allocated to them land of equal value. It would redound to the credit of the Government and the Colonial Office if such an authority were constituted. It would immensely increase the popularity and prestige of the British Empire and would tend to the political content of the people and to their economic progress.
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary upon the announcement he has made with regard to the differential duties. I was opposed to these duties from the first, and I am glad to be in at their death to-day. My hon. Friend said that they were a War measure. Here I differ from him, because, so far as my memory goes, these duties were not imposed as a War measure, but after the War was over. They were a piece of bastard Imperialism, compounded of national exclusiveness and commercial greed of the very worst kind, inspired by what Arthur Young called the "spirit of the counter." They were imposed ostensibly to free the market of the natives, but the real policy was to transfer trade from Germany to this country. It has been a hopeless failure, and in putting an end to these differential duties the Government has only succeeded in doing the right thing. If it is our desire to promote trade within the Empire, the only way in which it can be done is to cheapen transit port charges, to reduce taxation in the Colonies, and to reduce railway rates. At the present time they are much higher than the rates which obtain in the French Colonies and in the Belgian Colonies. If we are to promote the prosperity and welfare of the people and to bring trade to this country, we cannot do better there than practise what we are trying to practise at the present time in this country: economy, economy, economy!
Mr. GIDEON MURRAY:
I congratulate my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary upon the very lucid exposition he has given us of the affairs of the Empire in his opening speech. I was particularly pleased to learn that he had obtained such a grasp of the affairs of the Empire during the short time he has been at the Colonial Office, because I believe that at the present time it is particularly necessary that the Under-Secretary should have a very clear grasp and a very close association with all the affairs of the Empire, having regard to the large number of duties which the Colonial Secretary has to perform to-day. The Colonial Secretary is a very busy man. A great deal of his time is taken up in dealing with Irish affairs, and I am rather nervous that the effect: of that may be that the affairs of the Empire may not receive the amount of attention which they require, and may not be dealt with as expeditiously as they ought to be. I do hope that during the time the Colonial Secretary is engaged upon these other very important matters the Under-Secretary will be given by him a much wider latitude in dealing with major questions, so that quick and instant decisions may be given upon them.
The West Indian Report, which has been issued as a result of the visit which the Under-Secretary paid to the West Indian Colonies, is one of the most valuable Reports which has ever been issued in connection with the Crown Colonics. It is lucid and clear, and contains information of much importance in connection with the present conditions and requirements of the West Indies. One of its chief merits is that it is absolutely frank and candid in the way in which it deals with the various issues. It has burked no controversy. It has dealt with all the arguments. From that point of view it is most valuable. The hon. Gentleman is eminently one of those who thinks carefully and well upon what he is going to say, and when he has thought, he is not afraid to say it. That is a most valuable attribute in public life. I was particularly pleased to hear the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) dealing with the question of the West Indies, because his speech showed that he, too, has obtained a very complete grasp of the very difficult problems which are to be found there. I know that he has had a great deal to do with the drawing up of the Report, in company with my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary. It is of the utmost value, as he stated, that we should have Members of Parliament who have visited these Colonies, and who are able to speak at first hand of the problems with which they deal.
Probably the main object of the expedition of the Under-Secretary to the West Indies was the question of representative government. He has dealt with that subject in his Report in a most statesmanlike manner. He found there, as many of us anticipated he would, a moderate demand for representative government in certain Colonies, and he has met that demand in a moderate way, and in a way which, I believe, will meet with the absolute approval of the bulk of the people in the West Indies. With regard to the Leeward Islands, he has not found himself able to recommend that any present grant of representative government should be made, but I have no doubt that the Colonial Office will bear in mind the situation in those Colonies, and that when the demand has behind it the same backing as it has in the other colonies the Colonial Secretary will be able to meet their wishes. I was particu- larly glad to observe that in his recommendations the Under-Secretary has not brought in the diarchial system, of which we heard so much in connection with the Government of India Act. There was some talk before he left that that might be a solution of the question. I never believed that it would be a solution of the question, and I never believe that it will be. I do not believe that it is proving a success in India, and it would never prove a success in the West Indies. Although he has not argued the issue, in the Report, I may be permitted to say that I am very glad he has not proposed that that system should be introduced.
There is one point which I should like to emphasise, and that is the most excellent recommendation that where the unofficial representatives of a Colony are unanimously against any project or legislation, such project should be held up for the consideration of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. In the past it has been the practice of the Governor or Administrator to carry the legislation, or whatever it may be, by the official vote. When this proposal is put into force, as I hope it will be put into force, such projects, with certain reservations, will be held up. I believe that that will go a long way to mollify any feelings in the Colonies that the representatives of the people are going to be overriden by the Governor or by the Colonial Office. On page 28 of the Report, my hon. Friend makes reference to the scheme of federation which I had the privilege of promulgating when I was in the West Indies. His account of my scheme is not quite accurate. He says that I proposed the federation of certain Colonies, the Leeward and Windward Islands, Barbados, Trinidad, and British Guiana, under a single Governor. That was not my proposal. My proposal was that these Colonies should come for common affairs under a High Commissioner, to be situated in Trinidad or Barbados, but that for local affairs they should be administered purely locally, through their administrators and their local Executives and Legislative Councils.
The hon. Member for Stafford also referred to the Federation of the West Indies, and I quite agree with the general lines upon which he and the Under-Secretary pointed out that, un- united, and as single units, the West Indies could not hope to make any impression upon the Empire or upon the world. It is absolutely necessary, if they are to take their proper place in the Empire, or so far as commerce is concerned, for them to come together in regard to their common affairs to the greatest degree possible. That is why I welcome the proposal on page 32 of the Report for the association of Trinidad and the Windward Islands under a single Governor. My hon. Friend points out that the term of the Governor of the Windward Islands is coming to a close, and that an excellent opportunity will thus occur for carrying out that scheme. I hope it will not be lost sight of by the Colonial Office, and that the term of that Governor will not be extended, but that all steps will be taken with the cooperation of the colonies themselves— because he rightly points out that that is necessary, too—to put into effect this particular scheme which he recommends of having the colonies of Trinidad and the Windward Islands under a single Governor. In saying that I wish to make this reservation. The single Governor should not be concerned with the local affairs of these three smaller Governments. He should only be concerned with the common affairs, and the local administrators of the smaller islands should be permitted to communicate direct with the Colonial Office upon all their local affairs, communicating only through the Governor, presumably at Trinidad, on all matters of common interest.
I should have liked to see my hon. Friend extend his scheme to the Leeward Islands, but he has argued in his Report—I am not altogether certain that he has argued to his own satisfaction, because there are certain matters which, if I had time, I could show from another point of view—that at the present time the Leeward Islands should be maintained as a federation. The defederation of the Leeward Islands, in my opinion, is as important as the federation of any of the other islands. No doubt the federation of the Leeward Islands has been of advantage in certain respects to those islands. At the same time, to de-federate them and to bring them into the larger federation would be far more effective and give greater weight to them from every point of view than the smaller federation under which they exist to-day. I hope, if this scheme of linking up the Windward Islands and Trinidad proceeds, opportunity will be taken to defederate the Leeward Islands and to bring them under it as well, and thus to make a real lag step towards the federation of the West Indies, a federation of Trinidad, the Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands.
On the economic side the Report deals fully with the sugar industry in the West Indies. I do not propose to go at great length into this because the opportunity will occur upon the Report Stage of the Finance Bill, in which I am raising the whole question of sugar preference, but I wish to read a short extract from the Report which will show the Committee how important the sugar industry is to the West Indies, and how important it is from the point of view of this country:
The West Indian Colonies have been and still are suffering from acute economic depression in this industry. Strong representation with regard to its present state were made to us in practically every one of the Colonies visited, and I am satisfied that on the economic side there is no West Indian problem which more urgently demands the attention of His Majesty's Government.
Then my hon. Friend contributes some three or four closely printed pages to prove that initial statement, and he does so, in my opinion, and, I think, in the opinion of many others, with the most complete success. The hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore) went into this question a little more fully. Ho pointed out what America has done for her dependencies and colonies, and suggested that we should do the same for ours. Turning to the question of overseas telegraphic communication, reference has been made to wireless. I have some experience of that in the West Indies, for a year and a half during the War I was dependent for communication largely upon wireless. One of the greatest difficulties in the West Indies and many other tropical places in connection with wireless is what is called atmospherics. When atmospherics are bad in the hurricane season, or the cyclone season, wireless is interrupted altogether, and unless some scientific remedy is discovered to control these atmospherics you
cannot-depend upon a continuous uninterrupted wireless service. Therefore, it is necessary for continuous service to have submarine cables. I hope that my hon Friend will bear that in mind when considering the wireless side of the telegraphic system.
Turning to British Guiana: There we have a wonderful country, 90,000 square miles of practically undeveloped territory. There indeed is the place where India might very well send some of her surplus population. We have talked this afternoon about Kenya being utilised for that purpose. I entirely agree with the argument advanced against sending any more Indians into Kenya, which would only complicate the already numerous and difficult racial problems existing there. But British Guiana presents a different problem. There is a vast uninhabited territory. Anything which my hon. Friend can do to co-operate with the Indian Government in helping to colonise that territory with Indians will redound to the credit of the Colonial Office and be of a great value to the Colony. One note of warning. It is no good sending or inducing capital to go into British Guiana unless it is accompanied by labour. At present there are only 300,000 persons occupying a territory of 90,000 square miles. The amount of development which has taken place already absorbs practically the whole of the labour which is there. Therefore, when you develop that territory capital and labour have got to go alongside each other. One without the other is bound to fail. I conclude by once more congratulating my hon. Friend upon his report. I believe that it will become the textbook, the classic I might say, of the West Indies at the Colonial Office for a number of years to come, and if the various recommendations in it are carried out in the spirit in which evidently they have been made I am sure that they will be of the greatest value to the West Indies.
I wish to bring the House back for a few moments to a subject on which the Under-Secretary this afternoon seemed to me to be very unsatisfactory. He spoke about the Indian question in Kenya as if it were only a matter of representation. Apparently nothing has been done in the subject of restricting immigration. I think that that is a very serious admis- sion. At the present time I understand that Indians are actually getting preference for immigration over whites because they do not have to put down the same amount of money as the white immigrants have to produce. If this system of unrestricted Indian immigration goes on it must make a problem which is already troublesome, become quite intractable. I did not expect that any consideration as to his own race would weigh with the hon. and gallant Member or Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) but I should have expected that he would show more feeling for the interests of the blacks. He talked as if there were merely a settlers ease against Indian immigration, whereas really it is a far greater menace to the interests of the black population. The Indian claims, if granted, would mean their complete supremacy over all other races in East Africa.
As to equal representation the hon. Member for Newcastle - under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) said that for the moment they would only want one-tenth of the representation. How long would this last? When you had got equal representation, as you eventually would, on the Legislative Council under a common franchise, they would absolutely swamp the white population. There are already twice as many Indians as there are whites in East Africa, and if they are to have the right of unrestricted immigration that portion of East Africa must eventually become controlled completely by Indians. I do not think that there is any justice in giving equal representation in the way that the Indians claim. If you are to give it to anybody but the pioneer race of whites why not give equal representation to the blacks? If you are going to count heads they will of course swamp, a hundred times over, all the whites and browns together and if the white man is not to rule surely the black has an overwhelming claim. It is his own country. The Indians never came there as pioneers. They simply live there under the protection of the whites. Take the test of War service. The blacks sent 600,000 recruits to the British forces, of whom, I believe, 10 per cent. lost their lives. Apart from the Indians who were automatically absorbed in railways and other departments taken over I believe that only 376 joined the fighting forces. We all know the splendid record of Indian troops in other parts of the world, but that record has not been improved by the performance of these low class Indians in East Africa. Take their casualties. They had none killed, none died of wounds, and none were even wounded. The sole casualties were five men shot for treachery.
In view of the service which India rendered during the War to the cause of civilisation it is surprising that these African Indians should have done so badly, but the explanation is that you never had a good type of Indian coming to East Africa. They originated there as coolies working on the railways, and this Indian immigration which now takes place is of the same low class of Indian. It may be, as one gathers from the Under-Secretary this afternoon, that for the moment you can satisfy Indian claims while you keep Kenya as a Crown Colony, by some concession on the franchise, but if this immigration is allowed to go when the Crown Colony Government comes to an end, as some day probably it will, when representative institutions become a practical question in East Africa, you will create by bringing in a large Indian population a terrible complication for future solution. Apart from the political dangers of this Indian immigration, it is disastrous to the economic prospects of the blacks. The spheres of the white and black races in East Africa in government and in industry are complementary, and they are in no way competitive. On the other hand, the Indian competes with the black and keeps him out of that rather better form of employment to which the black might well look forward if the Indian were not there. The Indian, if he be not a coolie working on a railway, is generally employed as an artizan, clerk, or small trader, and there is no reason, with improving education, why the blacks should not fulfil these same functions. If the expanding needs of the Colony are to be served by Indians, it is merely to condemn the blacks to permanent subordination. East Africa needs capital for its development. The white settler, when he makes money there, leaves it there, whereas the Indian notoriously looks on East Africa merely as a place to live in for a few years. He remits his gains to India, and merely drains away wealth from the country.
Since I have travelled in those parts of Africa which are under British rule, I have been in another part of the Continent where there is undisturbed native control and no European interference whatever. I have seen slavery as an established institution recognised by law. I have been unpleasantly close to raids and battles which seemed to be an invariable comcomitant to native rule where there is no control from outside—wars which have become more cruel and deadly with the recent almost unrestricted importation of rifles. If one has any doubt as to the beneficence of British rule over the blacks, this contrast must remove it and it would be a great injustice to throw back British Colonies either on their own resources or subject them, as is proposed, apparently, by this policy of drift, to the rule of Indians, whose capacity for orderly self-government has so far not been tested, and who have neither experience nor apparent aptitude for ruling alien races. I was rather disappointed at the complacency with which the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies seemed to accept the policy of drift on this question of immigration, and the way in which he talked as though the whole matter could be settled by small concessions. I urge that effective measures should be taken while there is yet time to check Indian immigration, and before the political results of that policy become disastrous.
Mr. J. W. WILSON:
L feel that hon. Members will agree at any rate in congratulating my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary on the result of his first year of office and on the interesting and instructive Report which he has circulated. I should like to congratulate him and the House upon the announcement which he has made that he has been able to get the Government to announce the abolition of the preferential export tax on kernals. He is to be congratulated, certainly, in being able to drop a tax like that. Too often when anything of a preferential nature has been instituted, even for a special object, it has been found difficult for a Department or a Government to drop it. without compensation in some form or other. I think it is a matter of congratulation not only to himself but to those with whom he negotiated that they could see that it was not a tax which could be locked upon in any way as permanent. From a Colonial point of view and a native point of view, the tax has been opposed, as the Committee knows very well, for some time past. It leaves a great work ahead for the Colonial Office and the Under-Secretary, and it is to be hoped that he will, in dealing with these questions of the East and West Coast Colonies and native questions, exercise that wise spirit of statesmanship and of Empire which will be required to keep these races in a contented and progressive state. The returns of the Colonies, particularly on the West Coast, show that they have passed through a period of very increased production, greatly increased revenue during the War, and of course, enormously increased expenditure. Now they are faced, like other Colonies and other countries, with the burden of expenditure and maintenance left upon them and a falling revenue and source of taxation—particularly in the Colonies in which, under the direction of the Colonial Office, I am glad to see the productive trade in alcohol has been diminished from a taxation point of view, and the local Government has to fill the gap in some way.
So far they have filled it by increasing import duties, and they have instituted export duties. I hope that the Under-Secretary will be very watchful of the course of things under this system, because I fear that it will give rise to unrest and discontent. The list of taxation has been greatly increased. The native sees that and realises that it is part of the cost that he is paying for these things. It aggravates the situation. He feels that his exports are checked by taxation. That system is apt to become a very vicious one, particularly when these Colonies of ours are in competition with French and Belgian Colonies largely exporting the same products. If our overhead charges, as is alleged, are very much heavier than the overhead charges and administration costs, transport, and taxes of the French or Belgian Colonies it will undoubtedly handicap the trade and the production of the native races. Incidentally, if the Colonies do not export so much they will not buy so much of our manufactured goods from this country. It has been essentially, ever since the Colonics were started, a barter trade with this country. If this barter trade be not fostered and increased it runs the risk of being diverted. That would be disastrous, not only for the Colonies, but for our manufactured exports too. Although, as I read, the debt has been increased from £4,000,000 to £7,000,000, this meaning increased charges, there is every opportunity for a committee of inquiry which will strengthen the local Government. They have the administration and they have the payments too, and it stands to reason that they might not be so well able to judge of whether there is an economy or an extravagance in administration as if they were assisted by a committee. I put it to the Minister whether, if he cannot get an ad hoc committee, he would make more use of the advisory committee, which has not been called together for some time, I understand. The interest of the Colonies are so bound up from the trade and native races' points of view with the administration and the conduct of the Colonial Office, that I hope it will be a cause for that especial attention and wide sympathy which the right hon. Gentleman has shown in other matters, not only in these Colonies already, but in the wider world.
A great many hon. Members will agree with the right hon. Member for Stourbridge (Mr. J. W. Wilson) that something should be done to assist the local Governments to restore the economic prospects of the Crown Colonies. I would ask the Under-Secretary whether he appreciates the gratitude felt by a great many people interested in the Colonial Empire for the attitude which the Colonial Secretary and he have adopted in setting up at the Colonial Office an office for a trained financial expert, who gives assistance to all inquirers regarding particular Colonies. The work done by Sir James Stevenson is one that ought to be remembered, because this gentleman has given the time, and I know, on every occasion when he has given an interview to those who have been to see him, that his help and advice have not only been of great assistance to them, but invaluable to the Colonies themselves. I hope his work may be carried a little further forward by the adoption of the suggestion made by the right hon. Member for Stourbridge for the re-establishment of the Advisory Committee or the setting up of a committee in the City of London which will assist the Colonial Office. It does not follow that the Colonial Secretary or the Under-Secretary is necessarily aware of the movements of money in the City of London; neither are the Crown agents necessarily aware of those movements. We all know and quite recognise the reason. There is a regular ring of issuing houses, which undertake to issue loans for the Crown Colonies. That may be a good or a bad system, but, at any rate, it exists. Last year, in introducing these Estimates, the Colonial Secretary stated that he hoped during his time at the Colonial Office to be able to inaugurate a policy which would make the British people realise the enormous value which remained undeveloped in the Colonial Empire. Personally, I always regret to see British money going to the development of European countries, with their dangerous condition of credit, when all the time there are vast areas simply awaiting development if only the Government would afford the security to ensure that the people who are making these Colonies are not left in the lurch.
We have heard a good deal about Kenya to-day. I have been a member of a Committee which considered the whole position of Indians in Kenya Colony. I believe there is a good deal more agitation than truth in the demand of the Indians in Kenya for the form of government they have been given. I am convinced that our business in the House is to look after the British settlers, and to see that their interests are not damaged or allowed to suffer on account of any false agitation, which admittedly was engineered in India and not in Kenya Colony. Kenya Colony had none of this political ambition until certain well-known agitators arrived there from India. The British settler there can perfectly well make a living. Here I do not agree with the hon. Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore); I believe that Kenya has a very good future, and that the highlands there can support a large number of officers and men, and other settlers.
No. At the present moment the great difficulty with which they are contending is the lack of cheap transport. I was amazed to hear the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) criticise what he always wants us in this country to adopt, namely, the State management of railways. If the railways in the various Crown Colonies were removed from State control and put into the hands of people accustomed to the work; if you let private enterprise take, them over you would find there would be a great improvement in the cost of transportation there. The difficulty at the present time lies in the fact that Kenya has been given over to agitation. Security has gone for the moment, and people are not willing to invest more money in a country where they believe there is a chance of a very unsettled form of government. I believe the interests of the Indians in Kenya will be far better protected if we help to re-establish credit and, above all, see that British subjects who have settled there in good faith are given a fair chance of getting a return on the money they have expended.
It would be a disaster if the Debate on the Colonial Services for the year did not have some reference to the extremely interesting Report on the Colonial Medical Service, which has just been alluded to, and which is mentioned in the Under-Secretary's Report on the West Indies. I do not think that the public, nor even this House sufficiently realise the extraordinary economic value to be attached to this service. It is not (he ordinary medical and surgical attention which, individual and important as it is, is mainly humanitarian. It is the general health service, that improves health conditions, and therefore the economic efficiency of the whole community. I wish that the Under-Secretary, in his remarkable tour, had just taken a step on to British Honduras. If he had gone there, he would have found the result of the neglect of good advice given on this subject as long as 17 years ago. Seventeen years ago the late Sir Rubert Boyce visited British Honduras and reported on the extraordinarily insanitary conditions that existed there, on the prevalence of stegomyia mosquitoes and the imminent danger of yellow fever outbreaks. Nothing was done, and the usual proverbial policy of the Government, in regard to sanitary matters, of "wait and see" was continued. Only last year there was an outbreak of yellow fever, which was predicted 17 years before in the Report of Sir Rubert Boyce. No attention was paid by the Colonial Office or the locality, and that was the result. The same thing happens from time to time, and we are bound to call attention to it when it docs occur.
Last year the Colonial Office sent out—it is one of the excellent things they do now and then—an unofficial inspector, not having a staff of trained inspectors, as they should have, to Mauritius to report on the disgraceful conditions that exist there. The reports showed, after a six months' visit there—very full reports were published by the Mauritius Government—that the conditions were imminently dangerous to the public health, the drinking water above all. A big report has been prepared—I do not know if it has been presented—advocating the establishment of a proper water supply for Port Louis and the five towns. Meanwhile, however, such was the danger of these conditions, that the inspector suggested that some very moderate temporary works which would supply perfectly good drinking water in the meantime. The expense was limited to the small sum of about £1,500, and that would have done what was required. Nothing was done, as usual, and the policy of "wait and see," "wait until there is a considerable epidemic and much loss of life, "was adopted That epidemic took place. Fifty cases of typhoid fever occurred, which would have been prevented had that £1,500 been spent on purifying the Grand River water. That gives us a definite argument for asking for far greater attention in the future to this matter than in the past, even despite the hard times; because in these hard times surely one of the chief things we have to do is not only to diminish our expenditure on things that do not pay, but not to restrict unduly our expenditure on things that are going to bring us a return in the long run.
The Report of the Under-Secretary upon his visit to the West Indies gives a full idea of the necessity in this respect. The Report requires attention, as showing what needs to be done. Taking it generally, the Under-Secretary says that:
Thanks to strict quarantine regulations, yellow fever is now unknown…There remain, however, malaria, dysentery, ankylostomiasis or hookworm, yaws, typhoid, tuberculosis, and venereal diseases. The last-named are rife…A very considerable percentage of the population is
infected with hereditary or contracted syphilis, and very little headway has yet been made against the further spread of venereal diseases.
In order to show what has been done to try to combat these diseases, he reports upon the recent tour on behalf of the National Council for Combating Venereal Diseases, and hopes that it will have considerable results. I regret to see that in the Vote to-day the expenditure for that Council is dropped entirely. £1,500 was voted last year for it, but that has been entirely dropped out this year. I presume that that tour is part of the expenditure provided for last year. It is no use sending a lecturer out there and then taking no measures. You want to be constantly drumming these things in. You want to do that at home, and still more to do it with the population that has lived in this fatal tropical atmosphere of laissez faire, and that docs not understand what can be done to diminish these preventable diseases. You want constantly to be driving it home. I very much regret that such an excellent measure as the educational work of the National Council for Combating Venereal Diseases overseas should be diminished and cut out in this economic Budget.
There are other things that require to be done very largely for improving the health of the service. We regret, again and again, that we are not doing nearly as much as America is doing for her Colonies. We have often to rely on America for some of the best work that is done in our own Colonies. The hon. Member for Stafford pointed out how much better America develops intensively the Colonies over which she has control. In our own Colonies, in the course of this medical work, we are constantly coming across the magnificent work of the Rockefeller Foundation to which we owe so much. "In regard to specific tropical diseases, such as malaria and hookworm, the Rockefeller Foundation has done splendid work, and more especially in regard to hookworm." The Under-Secretary's Report is made to the Colonial Office, and thus expresses official recognition of our debt. Again, in British Honduras, who is it that reports in the "Lancet," of 17th June, but Dr. Noguchi, of the Rockefeller Foundation? The other day I visited the Welcome Medical Research Institute, and there met a student in tropical diseases undergoing instruction of a year's travel. He was a senior member of the Mauritius medical service, and he was sent by whom? By the Rockefeller Foundation.
One of the most important things is to get a service of sanitary inspectors. The Colonial Office has done a good deal in that way already. They have appointed and sent out fourteen sanitary inspectors to Kenya, which is an extremely good move: and they have sent sixteen to the West Coast. Who is to train them? On the one hand we have the Royal Sanitary Institute, which has done excellent colonial work for the last 25 years. On the other hand, we have the Rockefeller Foundation, again, coming forward and making this noble gift. I hope we shall sufficiently recognise the exceptionally generous and philanthropic contribution made by the Americans through the Rockefeller Foundation. Considering the extraordinary widespread and far-reaching value of their disinterested work in our Colonies, I hope that one day this House will see fit to pass a vote of thanks to them for their magnificent services in that direction. We have got a great deal of help and comfort from the Health and Medical Services in the West Indies from the Report of the Under-Secretary.
There are certain points which we feel, naturally enough, are still insufficient. For instance, the question of transport allowance has for a long time been absolutely ridiculous. There are one or two places where the transport allowance is sufficient. In Trinidad there is £150 transport (horse) allowance for a motor to replace the old horse carriage which could hardly be dignified by the name of a carriage, even if the animal in front could be dignified by the name of a horse. It is proposed to improve that. The proposals are to raise the transport allowance minimum to £60. But that is insufficient for a motor, and it is far too much for a horse carriage. There are certain proposals for the improvement of the condition of the service in the direction of unifying the services. That certainly must be treated, and, rightly, is being treated as a gradual measure. One thing here suggests itself to me in connection with the services in the Leeward and the Windward Islands. It has been proposed by the Under-Secretary, rightly, in our opinion, that there should be year by year transfers made as between the several colonies. More than that, I think it would be an invaluable thing, and the right thing, to do, that the young nun who first take up this service should go to the Leeward and the Windward Islands. If they were first sent to the more difficult positions, the islands would not suffer, for they would have that extra keenness which these fellows would give their service; and if they went on then, as a matter of course, they would go with greater prospects to the easier and better-paid posts in the other colonies.
On the whole, the British Medical Association, that has done much to focus and to represent medical opinion on these subjects for many years, are grateful to the Under-Secretary for this instalment of improvement which he has brought forth. But it is only an instalment. In 1920 we had a report from a Colonial Medical Service Departmental Committee. What has become of that report? We have never yet heard what action it was proposed by the Government to take. One or two little matters have been attended to, but the general statement has been left alone. We have not yet been given any idea as to what policy is to be adopted towards it. You cannot go on with this Colonial Medical Service as it is. It results in the minimum recruiting, and the recruit[...]ing affects the whole service, and other things in addition. The Report has been allowed very largely to lapse.
There are certain obvious proposals that I ventured to bring before the House last year, and I feel bound to insist upon them this year and every year till they are established. The first obvious proposal is that the Colonial Office requires an Adviser-General. It has been suggested that a Director-General should be appointed. The- report to which I referred asked for a Director-General, but the. official reply was: "You cannot have a Director-General unless he has power to direct, and these Medical Services belong to the Colonies and not to us, and it would not be possible to direct them from here. You have certain officers in authority for certain medical services, such as the West African and other medical services, but you cannot have a Director-General at present. But you do want an Adviser-General. You want some one man responsible for focussing the work and the training and for being a sort of father in God to the medical men when they come home from the Colonies, who can be seen by them at any time and be given necessary advice, and who, on the other hand, can be constantly looking into these problems and advising the Department of the Colonial Office. That is always done under properly-regulated authorities and services, which present more difficulty than these. What I suggest is done in the Army, the Navy and the India Office; indeed most of the ordinary departments of State have such a man. What the Advisory Committee suggests is already done for the West African Services, and that is a great advantage.
The second thing that can be suggested is a sort of first step towards the proposals of the Departmental Committee. The first step is to have one or two, perhaps three, of these highly-trained and highly-experienced wise travelling medical inspectors to go out to the Colonies and find out these things before these epidemics happen. Such a man went last year to Mauritius. Such a man went years ago to British Honduras. The same thing has been done time after time in several places. You want to single out a man at the Colonial Office who, having been out, will come back and be constantly advising in respect of these matters. At the same time, we have certain obvious monetary difficulties, difficulties which the Under-Secretary sees are almost always there, for the places are in a bad way financially, and cannot afford this, that and the other—cannot afford to pay their medical officers or their sanitary inspectors sufficient, and cannot afford to do the proper works of public health and to pay their ordinary contributions for health measures.
My theme definitely in this matter is clear. I say that the expenditure of money is an economic expenditure which reacts for the whole of the next generation. There is always a very good case to be made out for that expenditure on economic lines, and it can be shown that it will bring revenue from your industries over and over again. When America decides to take over a colony she sweeps it clean. You get her taking all these health measures as a matter of business. She does it entirely, and the result is that industry at once goes to the place, knowing it can go there safely. We want to have the same here. A good case can be made out for development beyond the mere expenditure on health and medical services. Nothing would be so remunerative in the long run as a very considerable money grant paid to the Colonial Office to be used in this kind of way for health and medical services, and in the direction of improving the health conditions of the colony.
I am afraid it is impossible to go on to deal, as one would wish if there were more time, with a subject which I raised last week in this House by way of question and answer, and which the Secretary for the Colonies said he would develop in the Debate this week. This relates to the murder of British officers in Kurdestan. Very little light has been thrown upon it and very little official pronouncement has been made. There have been four officers killed—the last two at Chem-Chemal on 18th June; another at Halabja on 1st June; and one at the beginning of this year. Two years ago South Kurdestan, despite the Arab rebellion, was perfectly quiet generally. What has happened? Not simply one tribe which has got free, but it is the general unrest in the country. Has that unrest been caused by Turkish machinations? If so, why were the Turkish machinations unsuccessful two years ago? I am afraid the unrest is due to two causes. On the one hand there is the Turkish invasion of ideas and disturbances in the North. On the other hand, I am afraid there is a tendency on the part of the Mesopotamia Government in the case of Kurdestan to govern it instead of leaving it to govern itself. This is a matter which must be gone into seriously, or you will be creating in Kurdestan another Ireland for Mesopotamia.
I want to draw attention to a paragraph on page 67 of this most valuable Report of the Under-Secretary. It says:
In Grenada it was quite clear that the teachers are dissatisfied with the present code.
I should say that the phrase "dissatisfied with the present code" is a very mild way of putting the matter. I have the code here, the 1917 edition, and I can recollect nothing comparable to it except what I read many years ago in one of
the Reports prepared for Mr. Forster in regard to education in some parts of England; this was about the years 1865–67. I am not surprised that the teachers feel as they do, or would do in any British Colony. The Report goes on:
Teachers are expected to act as school attendant officers and are liable to deductions from their salaries if they do not maintain a certain average attendance, no easy task in a rural community like Grenada.
Again, says the Report:
Further in Grenada, the old mid-Victorian system of payment by examination results still obtains, and teachers are liable to further deductions from salary unless their pupils obtain various percentages of marks in different subjects.
I have a vivid recollection of the evening that this House abolished payment by results in its schools. But the very worst stage of that system was in no way comparable to the Regulations which prevail in this little island at the present time. The teachers are required to accomplish an almost impossible task, and they are fined if they fail through no fault of their own. Their salaries, which were miserable, were increased some 20 per cent. That 20 per cent. has been removed, although the Civil Service is allowed to retain it. The result is that young aspirants for the teaching service in the island proceed some three or four years on their course of training and then branch off as rapidly as they can into other occupations, and there is no prospect of securing thoroughly sound and efficient teaching service in the island. The Report continues:
I recommend that the Governor be invited to review these and similar matters arising out of the code with the object of effecting gradual improvement in teachers now open to legitimate criticism.
All the correspondence which I have had during the last 12 months with the teachers' organisation in the island leads me to conclude that this paragraph I have quoted might have been written in much more severe terms. I am anxious to press upon the Colonial Office the desirability of continuing the good work which was commenced during the visit of the Under-Secretary and his colleagues. I know that they received deputations from the local teachers and that these teachers received a sympathetic hearing, which has been greatly appreciated. Letters which have come to hand since
give evidence of some real awakening of hope in the minds of those who have suffered very acutely in reductions which, I think, should not be longer tolerated. I gather from the chapter on Education in the Report, that of all the islands Granada is the worst off as regards educational conditions. It may be that the others are more industrial, and that it. is rural and agricultural, but nothing will justify the present unfortunate position. I think that possibly the reason for it. is to be found in the fact that some of the officials have not had a very high appreciation of what is possible in the realm of local education. I hope the Colonial Office will keep this in view. I had one other object in rising. I want the people who have suffered in this little island, to realise that although it is small the British House of Commons is wide enough in its sympathies to extend to them hope and encouragement and, I trust, also some assistance.
I hope my hon. Friend and those who preceded him will acquit me of discourtesy, if I do not attempt to enter fully, by way of reply, into the many points which have been raised. The time allotted to these matters is unfortunately short, and I had to make some demand on the patience of the Committee earlier. I do not wish to claim any more that in view of the fact that other matters remain to be dealt with. I only want to assure hon. Members who have drawn various subject matters to the attention of the Committee, that I have been here during the whole of the Debate; I have listened carefully to them, and they need not fear that the observations they have made will be lost sight of. I should like to add a personal word of thanks to hon. Members who have spoken from all parts of the House for the very kind references they have made to my West Indian Report—a Report, I should like to add, which would never have seen the light in a form which has won such approbation, had I not been able to count on the generous and wholehearted assistance of my hon. Friend the Member for Stafford (Mr. Ormsby-Gore).
I beg to move "That Item A [Salaries, Wages and Allowances] be reduced by £100, in respect of the salary of the Secretary of State."
This Motion for reduction is merely a formal one in order to bring about a Debate on another Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. I wish the Committee to regard the Motion for the reduction of the salary of the right hon. Gentleman as merely an equivalent to the Motion which reads as follows:
That, in the opinion of this House, the Mandate for Palestine, the acceptance of which must involve this country in financial and other responsibilities, should be submitted for the approval of Parliament; and further, that the contracts entered into by the High Commissioner for Palestine with Mr. Pinhas Rutenberg should at once be referred to a Select Committee for consideration and report.
These two points comprise the object of the Motion I am now moving for the reduction of this Vote. I can hardly conceive it possible, that in a democratic country such as this, ruled by a democratic Parliament, the Government should undertake the very grave responsibility of taking over the government and management of Palestine, or any other country, under a mandate which is in fact a title deed and a Constitution combined, originated and prepared by the League of Nations, without submitting that mandate to this House. This is the body which is popularly supposed to control the Government. It is the body which will find the money to pay the expenses of originating and controlling this Government in Palestine, whatever it may be. I should have thought that was common ground on all sides of the House. I cannot imagine that even my hon. and gallant Friend who leads the Labour party at the moment could vote against a proposal for putting the mandate for Palestine before this House, and letting the House decide whether they wanted it in its present form or desired amendments to it. That is the essence of the democratic principle, and I think hon. Members of the Labour party should vote for that proposal. In many things the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) and I are not so far apart as sometimes would seem. I certainly imagine we are together in a strong determination to insist upon the democratic control of this House over the Government of the day whatever it may be. I shall be very much surprised if my hon. and gallant Friend is prepared to give a blank cheque to any
Government to carry out any scheme or mandate they desire.
Before dealing with the question of these Rutenberg contracts, I must set out the Arab as against the Zionist contention. It is quite clear that we wanted the help of the Arabs during the War. A certain correspondence took place between the High Commissioner in Cairo, Sir Henry McMahon, and the Sherif of Mecca, King Hussein. I have that correspondence here—a translation of it. It is in very flowery language, and can be seen by any Member of the Committee, but it is quite clear from the very outset that, before accepting the suggestion of the High Commissioner, King Hussein said, "I want to know exactly what the territories are in which you are going to acknowledge the Arab rights." Sir Henry McMahon replied, "Do not let us deal with boundaries now; these territories are in the hands of the enemy. Let us drive the enemy out first; let us wait until we have conquered the enemy." "Not a bit," said King Hussein, who was a wise old king. "Let us first get these boundaries defined, and I will tell you what boundaries I want." In his correspondence he sets out these boundaries, and on 24th October, 1915, Sir Henry McMahon replied:
Subject to the above modifications. Great Britain is prepared to recognise and support the independence of the Arabs within the territories included in the limits and boundaries proposed by the Sherif of Mecca. When the situation admits. Great Britain will give to the Arab6 her advice. and will assist them to establish what may appear to be a most stable form of government in the various territories.
In August Sir Henry wrote to the Sherif:
We rejoice with your Highness that your people are of one opinion that Arab interests are English interests and English interests are Arab interests.
In consequence of that, which I suggest is a treaty made between the High Commissioner and King Hussein, the Arabs took action. That has been admitted at the Downing Street Conference at which King Feisal was present. The Prime Minister then said, in September, 1919:
The Arab forces have redeemed the pledges given to Great Britain and we should redeem our pledges.
The Colonial Secretary, in a Debate in this House on the 14th June last year, said that in order to gain the support of the Arabs against the Turks, we, in
common with our Allies, made another series of promises to the Arabs of the re-constitution of the Arab nation, and, as far as possible, the restoration of Arab influence and authority in the conquered provinces. He went on to speak in glowing terms of the way in which Lord Allenby, with the help of the Arabs, had hurled the Turks out of Palestine. There has been no suggestion that Palestine was not included in these territories, as it is believed by all the Arab people to be. It is true that in the last statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary there is a suggestion that it only included territories to the west of Damascus. That may be, but the territory now in question is not to the west of Damascus. It is clearly to the south of Damascus. [Laughter.] Well, I know something of the map. My Noble Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy) may know the country more intimately than I do, but I can only assure him that the whole of the Arab people clearly believe that Palestine is within the territories which were to be handed over to the Arab domination. That is clearly their contention. I submit that we have got to consider this correspondence, amounting to a treaty made between our representative and King Hussein in 1915—two years prior to the Balfour Declaration. The Balfour Declaration cuts across this treaty if it is interpreted in one way, but not if it is interpreted in another. The declaration was in favour of the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, and in favour of the use of our best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing would be done to interfere with the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. If the declaration only means that the Jews are to be at liberty to enter Palestine in consonance with the rights of the existing inhabitants, and to form a home for themselves there, to establish factories, develop agriculture, and so forth, then to that interpretation of the Balfour Declaration, I do not think the Arab nation would have any objection. I wish to call attention to another statement of Lord Allenby made after the Balfour Declaration. In November, 1918, the
whole of Palestine was placarded by Lord Allenby with Proclamations to the Arab people to this effect:
The war is to ensure the complete and final liberation of the people so long oppressed by the Turks and the establishment of a Government and administration deriving their authority from the initiative and free desire of the native population. They are far from wishing to impose any form of Government on the people against their will.
That is a declaration upon which the Arabs found their case, and upon which they ask Parliament to, at all vents, modify the action which the Zionist organisation has taken and the interpretation they have put on the Balfour Declaration. I must say something of the mode in which the declaration has been carried out in Palestine. If the declaration really means that the Jews may in consonance with the rights of the inhabitants go back to Palestine, no one has any objection. I have been accused in this House of being an anti-Semite All I can say is that some years ago I had a Jew as partner in my own firm, and we were the best of friends and worked together in amity. I have many friends amongst the members of that community, and I was really one of the early sympathisers with the Zionist movement. I wrote in 1917 to my constituency strongly supporting the views of the Zionists in getting the Jews back to Palestine, but I am bound to say that I was not then cognisant of the pledges which had been given to the Arabs, and I was taking what seemed to be the right interpretation of events then. But whatever my views were then or are now, I am bound by the declaration which His Majesty's Government made prior to the Balfour Declaration The real trouble is not the Balfour Declaration. The real trouble is the way in which the Zionists have been permitted by the Government, or with the connivance of the Government, practically to control the whole of the Government of Palestine. We here all know Sir Herbert Samuel. He was a much respected Member of this House. Before he was sent to Palestine he was a member of the Zionist organisation in this country. He was at the same time a member of their organisation and a Member of our Cabinet here. He was the go-between of the Zionists and the Cabinet—I do not say wrongly—and was able to press
Zionist views on the Cabinet. When he went out to Palestine he went out with the knowledge of all the people in Palestine that the Zionists claimed him as their representative. That is the real difficulty. It is not sufficient for an English Governor to be above suspicion, as Sir Herbert Samuel is, but it is necessary that the people of the country, 90 per cent. of whom are Arabs, should believe him to be above suspicion. What did Dr. Weizmann, the head of the Zionists, openly say last year with regard to Sir Herbert Samuel. He said:
I was mainly responsible for the appointment of Sir Herbert Samuel to Palestine…There is no one who had more to do with, or was more pleased at, the appointment of Sir Herbert Samuel than I.
Listen to this, and conceive its effects on the Arabs:
Sir Herbert Samuel is our friend and has worked loyally with us from the first moment. At our request, fortified by our moral support, he accepted the difficult position. We put him in that position. He is our Samuel; he is the production of our Jewry.
What can they think? They naturally say, "This High Commissioner may be an Englishman, but, in addition to being an Englishman, he is a Zionist, and he cannot be expected to hold the scales fairly between us and the Jewish population." In one of his earliest reports in August of last year, the interim report on Palestine, Sir Herbert Samuel referred not merely to the Jews in Palestine, but to the aspirations of the 14,000,000 Jews throughout the world. He said:
They have a right to be considered. They ask for the opportunity to establish a home in the land which was the political, and has always been the religious centre of their race. They ask that this home should possess national characteristics in language, in customs, in intellectual interests and in religious and political institutions.
Political institutions obviously mean political control. You cannot have political institutions without political control. I shall show that, with the assent of Sir Herbert Samuel, Zionist political control has been gradually created in the administration of Palestine. There is Dr. Weizmann's statement as to what the Zionists mean. It was telegraphed and published all over Palestine. He said:
I declare that in the Jewish national home the conditions would be such that we should be allowed to develop our institutions, our schools, and the Hebrew language,
that there should ultimately be such conditions that Palestine would be Jewish as America is American and England is English.
That is the view which the Zionists have. If you look at the proposals of the Zionists before the Versailles Conference in 1919 you will see that they used the expression that the Jewish national home is to lead up to a Jewish commonwealth in Palestine. That is far more than the meaning of the Balfour Declaration. The Arabs know these facts, and they can hardly be expected to sit still when they know that this great organisation is trying to organise Palestine as a Jewish commonwealth. Jewish newspapers from one end of the world to another quote the same thing day by day and week by week. Here is a quotation from the "Jewish Chronicle":
Only if there can be a fair prospect of the Jews being ultimately re-established in Palestine as a nation…
What about the Arabs? What are they to do? Would we like the Portuguese here as a nation without the people of this country being consulted? Surely there is such a thing as self-determination. Surely you must ask the inhabitants of the country to let the Jews in as friends and neighbours, but not to lead ultimately to the establishment of a Jewish nation ultimately forming a Jewish commonwealth. The quotation goes on:
then and then only can we enlist support for the enterprise.
So says the "Jewish Chronicle." In the White Paper published this week my right hon. Friend has given the go-by to the Zionist interpretation of the Balfour Declaration. The Zionists said even last month:
The Executive observe with satisfaction that the Government laid it down that the Jewish people should know that it is in Palestine as a right. The Executive further observes that His Majesty's Government also acknowledge as a corollary of the right that it is necessary that the Jews should be able to increase their numbers in Palestine by immigration.
The matter is serious already, but if the Zionists are able to import thousands and thousands until they get a majority over the Arabs, the Arabs are entitled, in the first place, to say, "We represent 90 per cent. of the population. We are entitled to self-determination and to decide what immigration laws are to be provided in our own country."
If what I call the sane view of Zionism prevails, I do not think there will be any great trouble from the Arab people. If you want only the sane view, the agricultural view, the commercial view, there is no need to turn Palestine into a Judaic country, with all stamps printed in Hebrew as well as in English, with signposts in Hebrew as well as in English, and with Zionists working in conjunction with and in connection with the Government as they are doing now. From the very moment our army went there the Zionist organisation followed them up, and from 1919 onwards the policy of the Government, at all events up to this moment, has been such as to show that the Zionist interpretation of the Balfour Declaration was the one followed by the Government. I wish to ask whether from 1919 onwards instructions were not sent out to Palestine that the policy of a national home for the Jews was to be considered in all applications for concessions? Complaints were made, even in 1919, that Englishmen could not get concessions, and that the Government's policy then was that the Zionist position was to be utilised as a means of blocking concessions to Englishmen or anyone else. The Government realised then—I want to know whether it is true—that they could not give any political preference to the Jews until they were economically and numerically much stronger than they are to-day, that the thing was to get them economically in Palestine first, and that then the non-Jewish inhabitants would be pleased to accept their money and contribution to the welfare of the country. The Government felt then that there would be a great number of concession hunters in Palestine, following upon the Armistice, and that the Zionist plan must be used to block them.
Even in those days I ask my right hon. Friend whether there was not in the mind of the Government that there would be a proposal by the Zionist organisation to form a public utility company under their control, in order to deal with the agricultural and commercial development of the country, and that no policy should be adopted or step taken, and that no concessions should be granted to any person, however reputable, whether British or foreign, until after the Mandate was granted. I say that behind the Mandate, in the mind of the
Government, was all that was implied in the National Home for the Jews, and that that was to be borne in mind by all our officials in Palestine in dealing with any concessions that were asked for by Englishmen or other persons. If I pause for a moment to look at the draft Mandate, I see that the Mandate itself foreshadows something in the nature of the Rutenberg scheme. The Mandate provides for the institution of a Jewish Agency, or Commission, which is to work in close touch with the Government of Palestine, and which is to have, I will not say an official, but a semi-official, position and to be the medium of communication between the Government and the Jews and to work with the Government for the development of the country. Article 11 of the Mandate says:
The Administration may arrange with the Jewish agency mentioned in Article 4 to construct or operate, upon fair and equitable terms, any public works, services, and utilities and to develop any of the natural resources of the country, in so far as these matters are not directly undertaken by the Administration
That, I suggest, is the genesis of the Rutenberg scheme, that the Administration may—and in an Act of Parliament "may" nearly always means"shall"—arrange with the Zionist organisation for a public utility company to be established in Palestine. I said just now that Palestine had been Zionised. I am not saying a word against the Government officials, but we have the High Commissioner himself, we have the High Commissioner's son, who is, I think, one of the Assistant Governors of Jerusalem, the Legal Secretary is a Zionist, the Director of Commerce and Industry is a Zionist, the Director of Central Stores is a Zionist, the Director of Labour is a Zionist, the Assistant Director of Public Security, the Assistant Director of Railways and Traffic Manager, the Assistant Director of Emigration at Jaffa, the Director of Emigration at Haifa, the District Engineer at Haifa, the District Engineer at Jaffa, the Director of Companies Registration, the Senior Quarantine Officer at Jaffa, the Assistant Public Custodian at Haifa, are all of them Jews and Zionists. I do not make the slightest charge against them, but when you have got a population, as you have in Palestine, very jealous and very much on edge, who are quite prepared to have
English officials, observing that the whole administration of the country is gradually being put into the hands of men whom, rightly or wrongly, they hold to have different views as to the development of Palestine, is it not natural that there should be unrest in the country and that they should feel that we have not perhaps played the game fairly by them?
I say that the Government policy was to block all applications for concessions or otherwise except from the Zionists. It has been stated in this House by my right hon. Friend that there were no other applications for concessions for big schemes, but that is not true, and I am quite sure he did not know of these facts. There were proposals sent to the Government for a concession for the development of the ports of Haifa and Jaffa, but the reply came that nothing could be done until peace had been signed. Peace has not yet been signed. There were very numerous requests from Australian officers, who had fought through the War and had helped to conquer Palestine, for grants of land, to take up irrigation and farming in Palestine. They went to the Administration, but they were all turned down, in consequence of that view which I have just put before the Committee as the policy of the Government, and they were told that nothing could be done pending the granting of the Mandate. There were numerous applications for banking facilities in Palestine, but only one was granted. I leave out the Bank of Egypt, which followed the Army into Palestine. Many other applications were made for banking facilities, but only one was granted, and that was to the Anglo-Palestine Bank, which is a Zionist organisation. I do not want to import prejudice, but this is a country which we conquered and which we are administering, and the only bank which we have allowed to be established there is one with the following list of directors:
Then I stand corrected. I thought there was only one, and my information was that there was only one English bank, which followed the Army into Palestine, and that this other, whose, directors I have read out, was the only one which had been allowed to be established. In 1920 the Deputy-Governor of Bethlehem put up a scheme by two very rich Christian Arabs, Messrs. Hanna Dabdoud and Handel, great South American merchants, for part of what Rutenberg has got, namely, a concession for electric lighting and power supply in Jerusalem and district, for the agricultural development of the Jordan Valley, and a motor transport service. These are Christian Arabs, and the Deputy-Governor stated to the Government that they were prepared to begin with half a million of money themselves and that they were able to control £2,000,000. That was put up by the Deputy-Governor, and the reply was received that no concessions could be given pending the granting of a mandate. There was another gentleman, who happens to have a business in Lancashire as well as in Palestine—Arif Beyel Namani. He promoted a syndicate and asked for a concession to clear certain swamps in Palestine, which would be a very great advantage to Palestine. This gentleman is now in England and prepared to confirm the fact, and they were told that no concession could be granted until the mandate was settled. That was in 1920. Even the Jaffa municipality itself asked for a concession for the use of the Auja river, which is part of the Rutenberg concession, for the electric lighting of their own town and district, and that was again turned down by the Government.
I can give an even clearer case of an Englishman, a Mr. Bicknall, a gentleman who was in the Government service here, and a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers. Just at the end of the war he put forward a scheme to the British Overseas Trade Department for the development of certain minerals and electric schemes in Palestine, and the Overseas Trade Department was so keenly in favour of this scheme that it promised to support it. He agreed to consult certain professors nominated by the Government, and Sir Arthur Colefax wrote, on the 15th October, 1918:
In the event of the report being, in my opinion, satisfactory, this Branch will support your application for a concession, ensuring to you and your nominees the sole right…
On the 30th October, 1918, however, the Foreign Office wrote:
Mr. Balfour understands that the position in regard to this matter has been explained to you verbally and that you are now aware of the fact that the Government have no power, under present circumstances, to grant commercial concessions in Palestine.
I think that is true, and it is true to-day just as much as it was then. In 1920, Mr. Bicknall made an application to the Foreign Office for a concession, and on the 4th May, 1920, he received a reply stating that, pending a settlement of the future status of that country at the conclusion of a Treaty of Peace with Turkey, no concessions could be made. After that, he went again to the Overseas Department, and he was told that all his papers had been sent out to Palestine. He then went to the Zionist organisation, and he was astonished to find that they knew all about the scheme and all about his plans, and he has had no reply at all from the Government of Palestine as to this scheme, part of which is now em-
bodied in the Rutenberg contract. I am asking that a Select Committee should be appointed to consider the Rutenberg contract, because witnesses could be called to show the attempts which have been made, both by Englishmen and Arabs, to promote schemes of development of various kinds, all of which were turned down because the Treaty of Peace had not been concluded.
I shall deal very lightly with the Rutenberg contract which was granted in 1921. I have had some experience of contracts in the City, but the Rutenberg contract contains the most astonishing concessions I have ever seen or read of in my life. This contract gives over the development of the whole country to Mr. Rutenberg. It gives him the Auja territory which Jaffa wanted, and the whole of the rest of Palestine, the whole of Transjordania. Mr. Rutenburg has two years in which to form a company and during that two years no other concession in Palestine can be granted at all. Consequently whether Mr. Rutenberg raises the money or not, Palestine, at any rate, is tied up for two years. If he gets £200,000 he can go forward. Concessions have been given him for the development of electrical power, to dam up the Jordan and divert the River Yarmuk, and generally to do whatever he thinks reasonable and right in connection with electrical and commercial development in Palestine, which depends entirely upon electrical and water development. The real scheme for Palestine should have been an agricultural scheme and not a commercial one. There was a very important scheme put before the Palestinian Government by two eminent English engineers for the development of a large agriculture scheme which would have irrigated 1,200,000 acres of Palestine land and which would have brought prosperity to the agricultural inhabitants. That is not the Rutenberg scheme. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is part of it."] I know that it provides to some extent for irrigation.
If my right hon. Friend knows the contours of Palestine, and I know I hat he does, he will agree with me that nothing like 1,200,000 acres of land could be dealt with under this contract. Another important point is that there is no provision whatever for any benefit for the manufacturers of Great Britain. There is no Clause providing that any orders should be placed in Great Britain at all. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why should there be?"] Why should there not be? At the present time we are doing everything we can for the trade of our country, and we are hampered by unemployment all through the manufacturing districts, and when I asked the Colonial Office whether there was any provision in the Rutenberg contract for machinery and so forth to be purchased in this country, I got a most indignant letter, indeed, to the effect that such a condition would be a flagrant violation of the mandatory principle. That does not say much at any rate for the principle.
We have spent millions of money in Palestine, and sacrificed thousands of English lives, and after all this no benefit is to come to England, and we are to go on spending our money keeping the British Army in Palestine, and if that is the mandatory system, so much the worse for it. I know this scheme is going to be forced through, but at this point I would like to quote another letter written by Mr. Tadros, who is a member of one of the leading Christian families in Palestine. He has an English wife, and his children were born in England. He received the written thanks of the Government for assistance given to the British Army in Palestine. He is a member of nearly all the commercial bodies in Palestine, and holds the highest position. He writes to me this week as follows:
When I returned from England last October I was called by Mr. Campbell, the acting Governor of Jaffa, and was threatened by him, as be threatened all the other notables and land owners where Rutenberg's works have to be erected in saying that if you do not agree to Rutenberg's scheme you will be acting contrary to the British Government's policy. The Government was determined to enforce it, and those who oppose it will be very sorry and will be liable to deportation.'
Mr. Tadros is prepared to come over here, and give that evidence before a Committee of this House. His position in Palestine cannot be gainsaid.
I asked my right hon. Friend's attention to this point. I told him I was about to make a serious charge, and here is the letter in which the writer pledges himself to repeat the charge to a Committee. It is my duty as a Member of the House of Commons when I am asked to put these things before the House, and a man offers to come and appear before a Select Committee, to tell the Government of that fact. The last point I want to raise is with regard to the Select Committee. I am not at all sure that the Rutenberg scheme is a good scheme. I think we ought to have more information from the Government in regard to it. I believe it has been submitted to certain Government experts. Were they sent out to investigate it? Have they seen the original scheme at the Colonial Office? It was published in pamphlet form in Palestine two years ago. It gave the whole of the ideas in regard to it. I asked the Colonial Office for it. They replied that they had had it, but had sent it back. I cannot get it. I do not think I am likely to be able to get it. But there is an English engineer who has just been out to Palestine, and I think the House will recognise that Sir Alexander Kennedy is one of the foremost electrical engineers of the day. He writes:
I bad an opportunity while there of reading the elaborate pamphlet which Mr. Rutenberg had issued on his wonderful scheme.
We have telegraphed to Palestine for it, but cannot get it. He goes on to say:
Apart from technical matters Mr. Rutenberg insisted that the scheme was to be one entirely for the benefit of and run by-Jews. The Jewish workmen should be-educated as to how to work, in order that they might do as much work for their wages as Arab workmen did, as otherwise the Arabs would have some share in the scheme which it was necessary to keep entirely in Jewish hands.
The most important part of Sir Alexander Kennedy's letter is this, and I think it is sufficient to justify the claim that the scheme should be referred to a Select Committee of Inquiry:
As to the technical part of the scheme. I can only say that the figures connected with electrical distribution on which the financial success is made to depend, are absolutely childish and could never have been put in honestly by anyone with any knowledge or experience.
Here is the opinion of a man who has been out to Palestine, who has read the pamphlet, and who has examined the
locus in quo and he authorises me to say that in his professional opinion the figures of the scheme are absolutely childish-There is the position. I do not wish to make any capital out of the character of Mr. Rutenberg, but I think quite seriously I am entitled to say this much, that Great Britain has no right to hand over such vast powers, and such vast possibilities of control over the whole development of Palestine to a man whose character is at least the subject matter of very grave suspicion. Certain statements have been made in the "Times" newspaper with regard to his actual connection with a very horrible murder, and they have not been contradicted. I say this much. There ought to be an inquiry into the antecedents of this gentleman who was admittedly a member of the Kerensky Government in Russia, and such an inquiry ought to have been made before the concession was granted. There has been no real opportunity for Englishmen or natives of Palestine to obtain concessions. I submit that this House is the only place to which the inhabitants of Palestine can appeal. We are the tribunal to which they can appeal. They say, "We have confidence in Great Britain. We are diametrically opposed to the Zionist domination of Palestine. We represent 90 per cent. of the people of Palestine. We do not want the country to be converted into a Zionist dominion, and its development to be handed over to Mr. Rutenberg who is to have a monopoly for the electrical and commercial development of Palestine. We ask that a Committee may be appointed to inquire into the whole matter." I now put this matter before this Committee, and I hope that the request may be granted.
I have listened with very great interest to the hon. Baronet's speech, and I wish to apologise to him now if any of my interruptions appeared to him discourteous. I wish to approach this question from a standpoint which is neither the standpoint of the Zionist nor the standpoint of the Arab. I think we have had too much of this agitation and counter-agitation. I wish, if I can, to put in proper perspective the question which is really before the Committee this evening. I should like to deal first with the position in which this Committee is placed in dealing with this question to-night. The Committee is placed in a very inconvenient and very difficult position. I am one of those who have always disliked the assumption by the Government of any direct responsibility for carrying on the Government of Palestine. I have always had grave misgivings as to certain provisions of the mandate, and indeed I have a Motion on the Paper proposing certain Amendments to it. I have never had the slightest doubt about this point, however, which is that, Great Britain having accepted certain responsibilities, and having as she will have in a short space of time accepted the responsibilitiy of working under a definite mandate, there is nothing for the House of Commons or for this country to do but to give its whole-hearted, undivided support to the British administration in Palestine.
I do not think anyone who has visited Palestine recently even for a few hours, which is all the time I had to spend there, could have done so without being impressed by this fact, that the bloodshed, disturbances, and vendettas between race and race flow from one thing, and one thing alone, and that is the feeling of uncertainty whether Great Britain will take the mandate, whether, after all, Great Britain may not be forced to refuse the mandate in a certain degree, or even to give it up altogether. There is a large party among the Arabs in Palestine who wish for that last thing, and they are in very close communication with others who also wish for that end. As I have indicated, we are not in Palestine, if I may so express it, with my approval. I wish we were not there, but we have undertaken responsibilities from which at this time we cannot possibly relieve ourselves; and I would ask the Committee to realise that they are not dealing in this Debate with Palestine alone. The repercussion of any appearance of cowardice or change, of policy on the part of His Majesty's Government in Palestine will be felt very far outside Palestine. It will be felt, among other places, in the Sudan, where the Arabs, who have been the most whole-hearted supporters of the British r)gime, are already beginning to wonder whether, after all, Great Britain means to stay anywhere. [Interruption.] The hon. Baronet to-night has done his best to give to all this Arab population the impression that, if the Arabs agitate enough, we shall clear out of Palestine.
I know that the hon. Baronet does not mean that, but that is the effect. He has talked about what His Majesty's Government has done, about certain things that Dr. Weizmann has said, and certain things that Sir Herbert Samuel has done. That will be the effect of what he has said to-night, and, if he will allow me to say so, of what he has said and the position he has occupied on former occasions in presiding at meetings of the Arab Delegation, and so on. The hon. Baronet brings forward publicly in this Committee the gravest accusations against a British Provincial Governor, on a letter, from however reputable a person it may be, without, I think, any previous consultation or communication with any Department of His Majesty's Government. A week or two ago I heard the hon. Baronet deliver a most serious and grave rebuke to the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) and the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Spoor), for speeches which they had made in India at the National Congress, and for letters which they had written—
I can only say that those utterances seemed to me very much less serious than what we have listened to to-night, and for this reason. Everything depends—the peace and the life of the population of Palestine—on certainty in British administration there, on the feeling that the British administration is supported from home, that it is no use going behind their backs, that it is no use bringing charges against them in Downing Street, in Whitehall, or at Westminster, for the British nation is behind its administrators in Jerusalem.
I was coming to that, but I do not think the hon. Baronet will succeed in impaling me on the horns of that dilemma. There came to this country almost a year ago an Arab delegation. They came, when they first arrived in this country, with a perfectly clear case. They were apprehensive of what the effect of the Zionist policy might be. They were justifiably apprehensive, for there was a great deal that needed clearing up. But, ever since they have been in this country, certain Englishmen—I am not speaking of the hon. Baronet—have inspired them with certain ideas that they never dreamt of before. They egged them on to a deliberate attack upon Sir Herbert Samuel, and the whole object of the Arab Declaration now, as appears from the White Paper which has just been issued, has become that of securing the dismissal of Sir Herbert Samuel. One has only to point to the very first letter, in which they say that when, as in the present case, the High Commissioner is a Zionist, and so on, an Arab population can have no confidence in him. It has been an attack upon Sir Herbert Samuel throughout.
Then look at the very poor way in which these Englishmen, who do not like the Zionist policy, have supplied this Arab Delegation with arguments. The hon. Baronet described the correspondence between Sir Henry MacMahon and the Sherif of Mecca. I am not going into that complicated question, but what Sir Henry MacMahon did was to exclude from the territory claimed by the Sherif the whole territory west, I think, of Hama, Horns, Damascus and Aleppo. It would, surely, not be a very great stretch of language if one were to include Land's End in a description of the country west of a line drawn through Newcastle, York and Doncaster, and that is about the size of the country in this case. Apart from the meaning of the words, there is no doubt in the minds of all who have had any connection with this question in the past that Sir Henry MacMahon's description was intended to exclude Syria and Palestine, and that a line of demarcation south of Damascus, Horns and Hama was not indicated because that line would naturally have been the Jordan. Sir Henry MacMahon, however, assumed, and it is true, that the line of the Jordan itself would not be a suitable boundary. I will, if I may, challenge the hon. Baronet to consult Sir Henry MacMahon himself—who is an entirely impartial person and certainly is not a Zionist—and put to him the question whether he did not intend that Palestine should be definitely excluded, and whether the Sherif of Mecca did not thereby clearly understand, until the other day, when it was put into his head to argue something different, that Palestine would be excluded. The English advisers of the Arab Delegation told them to quote, not in their first letter, but subsequently, Sir Henry MacMahon's letter. The Colonial Office return the obvious reply, and then the Arab Delegation go to their English advisers and ask, "Were these really the terms of Sir Henry MacMahon's letter?"—and the only thing their English advisers can do is to advise them to tie themselves up in this long rigmarole about the vilayet and the sanjak and the district, and try to make out somehow or other that there was an ambiguity in a phrase which is really perfectly clear.
All this agitation, which has a certain amount of support and which has been to a certain extent, if I may say so, patronised here, had a very laudable reason, I agree. It was quite arguable that the Zionist point of view had been put so often before this country that it was well that the Arab point of view should be put also. But this agitation has gone on growing, and its one object has been to overthrow the present personnel of the British administration in Palestine. The whole of this Rutenberg concession agitation is part of this game, and this Debate will be regarded in Palestine as part of this game—I do not use the word "game" in any derogatory sense—as part of this agitation. I ask the Committee, what are we to do in this situation? We are faced on the one hand by an agitation which is directed against British administration, against the only thing which stands between that country and universal bloodshed, and on the other hand we are faced with the mandate, which I consider unsatisfactory and which the Government will give us no time and no opportunity to discuss. We have asked for time to discuss the mandate. On that we could deal with the question of policy without impugning in any way the British administration. We could move our Amendments to that mandate. They could vote us down, I have no doubt, but we could do that without in any way weakening the hands of the British administration. But now on this Vote, when we have to deal with administration rather than politics, we are involved in this difficulty. The hon. Baronet says, does this mean that however unjust the British administration is we are not to interfere? Of course it does not, but everyone who has any knowledge of the present British administration knows that it is an administration which deserves support. The quotation of a few names or a few posts that happen to be held by Jews is not a serious criticism. While concession granting is a very risky business, is open to corruption and needs to be kept a most careful eye on, yet when you are dealing with British administration and a British Department—it is common knowledge that this concession was negotiated and granted by a British Department in Whitehall and not by the British administration—you must make out a prima facie case for enquiry. A prima facie case has not been made out.
There are two grounds on which the concession could be attacked. One is that it is an improper concession in itself, as being a monopoly. Of course, monopolies are always dangerous, but they are not always bad, and the hon. Baronet has himself brought the strongest argument in favour of a monopoly. He has pointed out, on the basis of Sir Alexander Kennedy's letter, that Mr. Rutenberg's figures are childish—not his technical figures for the production of electricity. Those have never been impugned. They have been reported on, as a matter of fact, by, amongst others, the engineer of the General Electric Company of America, and warmly supported. It is his figures for distribution and consumption that are wrong and undoubtedly he will not make a profit out of it, and consequently he is finding it very difficult to find the money. If a monopoly of this kind is to be a financial failure on that scale, is it likely that any smaller scheme, except the Jaffa scheme, which stands on a rather different basis, or a number of smaller schemes, for the production of electricity would be likely to be a financial success? Of course not. On the contrary, the whole argument against the concession hitherto has been that, in spite of being a monopoly, it is going to be such a financial failure that it should never have been granted. Therefore that falls to the ground. The other allegation is that, whether it is a proper concession or not, it was improper to grant it to Mr. Rutenberg, and that is the contention on which the whole of the hon. Baronet's case is really based.
I did not mean the personal character of Mr. Rutenberg. I mean as a Zionist, although I understand the Zionist organisation do not admit that he represents them in any way. But that is the real gravamen of the charge, that it was improper to grant it to Mr. Rutenberg. A prima facie case on that ground can only be made out if it can be shown that any competitive offer was submitted by any substantial firm. This thing has not been done in a corner. The Rutenberg concession has been a matter of common knowledge among all engineering firms for the last three years at least. I discussed it with the representative of one of the greatest British engineering firms in the East at least 15 months ago. Everyone knew it was coming along. It is true everyone also knew that no concession would be granted for the moment, but that did not prevent a number of engineering firms in all countries submitting outline schemes on other matters, such as the Haifa harbour project. No such outline scheme was ever submitted for the production of electric power. The whole of the rest of the hon. Baronet's case goes off into thin air unless he can show that there was any competitive offer outlined to the Government. A prima facie case has not been made out, and nothing but a strong prima facie case would justify us in the present instance in appointing a Select Committee. The whole administration of Palestine in the last two years has been made the playground of every gentleman who wanted to enquire into anything. We have had proposals for enquiries into emigration and enquiries into the disturbances, and now a Select Committee is to inquire into the grant of a concession. I quite agree that the last is more justifiable than any of the others, since concession granting needs very close attention. We have had these continued demands for some Committee to investi- gate the Palestine Government and to weaken its hands. We have known that kind of thing in the past, but I am glad to say it has not been the Tory party which has made such demands in the past. It has not been the Tory party which has always tried to dig up the roots of government to see how they were growing. Let us remember that Palestine is in its essence from this point of view a part of the British Empire, in the sense that we have the responsibilities which we have for a part of our Empire, and the British Empire can never continue so long as you weaken British administration by inquiring into it and investigating it at every possible moment. Everything at this moment depends on a strong Government in Palestine, and I will not, even in the case of a concession, do anything at this moment which might in any shape or degree weaken the hands of the administration.
The main thesis of the Noble Lord appears to be that, once we have accepted a mandate in Palestine, this House ought to give the strongest support to the British administration there. The Noble Lord appears to forget that one of the complaints made against the administration in Palestine is that it is not British administration we are advancing but Zionist administration. Further than that, if the British administration in Palestine deserves criticism, we in this House are bound to give it, and probably it will be useful for the British administration at home and in Palestine. My Noble Friend made a most astounding accusation against the hon. Baronet who opened the Debate. He appeared to suggest that the gist of my hon. Friend's speech was that if the Arabs only agitated enough, we would clear out Palestine or anywhere else. That is a most astounding accusation to make against my hon. Friend, and those who have acted with him in other matters in very recent times.
The effect which the speech produces. My Noble Friend will remember that my hon. Friend and those who have acted with him have made it their chief cause of complaint against this Government that they have encouraged men to agitate, in the belief that, by their agitation, nefarious and sinister as it may be, they will gain their object. My hon. Friend and those who act with him are the last persons in this House to encourage either the Arabs, the Irish, the Egyptians, the Indians, or anyone else, by nefarious agitations, to obtain objects which they have no business to obtain, and which this Government would never otherwise grant.
My intention is not to discuss the whole question of the mandate, with all its far-reaching implications, but to draw attention to some of the strange terms contained in the Rutenberg concession which have not hitherto received great public attention, but which appear to be of a most dangerous character. There are two concessions. The first is dated the 12th February of last year, and is more limited in scope than the second concession. The first was a grant by the High Commissioner to: Mr. Pinhas S. Rutenberg, described as a civil engineer of Jerusalem, of an extensive concession and monopoly for generating and supplying electrical energy throughout the area and jurisdiction of the Governor of Jaffa. The duration of that concession was 32 years, with power to the High Commissioner, at the end of that time, if the undertaking had not already been purchased by him, to extend the concession indefinitely. I do not draw attention to any other objectionable articles of that first concession, because all of them, and many a great deal worse, are embodied in almost identical language in the second, and more important, concession.
The second concession was dated 21st September last year, and was embodied in a contract between the Crown Agents, who acted on behalf of the High Commissioner, and Mr. Rutenberg, and it provides that if within two years a company is formed by Mr. Rutenberg, with a capital of £1,000,000, and paid-up capital of £200,000, the High Commissioner will grant this new company the concession which is scheduled to the agreement. The new company is to be formed and registered in Palestine, and not in England. May I point out how carefully a British or an English company has been prevented and excluded from getting the benefit of the concession? The company that is to get this great concession must fee formed and registered in Palestine. Why, I do not know. When we come to the terms of the concession, which are the schedule to the agreement, I confess that my simple mind is lost in amazement at the character of the terms. The concession is an exclusive monopoly or grant to this company of the right of generating and supplying electricity throughout the whole of Palestine not comprised in the first concession, throughout Trans-Jordania, and throughout all the territories under the jurisdiction of the High Commissioner. For that purpose, the High Commissioner takes upon himself to grant to this company the exclusive right to use the waters of the Jordan, and the tributaries of the Jordan, for generating electrical energy, to use Lake Tiberias for the storage of water for the purpose of generating this power, and, furthermore, to construct dams on the Jordan and on Lake Tiberias for water storage.
These are very large powers, and powers which in their comparatively short reign in Palestine the Jews, who invaded that country and treated the inhabitants in a somewhat abrupt manner, have obtained. The duration of the concession is 70 years, with a further power to the High Commissioner, at the end of the 70 years, if, in his absolute discretion he so thinks fit, to grant an indefinite further extension. I read the Clause with great care, to see whether there was any limit of 10, 20, 30, 70 or 100 years to which the High Commissioner might extend the concession. None. The power is vested in the High Commissioner, and heaven knows who he may be at that time. Even supposing the Colonial Secretary believed in some prophetic spirit in the great discretion that the High Commissioner may exercise 70 years hence, another Clause of the contract negatives to a large extent the possibility of that discretion being exercised, because by Clause 38 the High Commissioner is empowered to delegate to anyone he chooses any of his powers or discretions under the concession. The upshot is that when the end of the 70 years comes, the High Commissioner, whoever he is, or any nominee of his, whomsoever he chooses, however unworthy, however incompetent, will be at liberty to extend this concession for an indefinite period.
It may be that for the purpose of Rutenberg this concession is necessary, but I cannot conceive that for any ordinary person or ordinary concessionaire such an amazing power should be requisite. That is not all. To put this Palestine company into a perfectly impregnable position, the High Commissioner binds himself and all his successors to the end of the 70 years, or whatever time the concession may be extended, to expropriate for the benefit of this company any existing undertakings for the generation and supply of electricity in the whole of the area of Palestine. He goes further and binds himself, upon the bare request of the company, to expropriate any individual from his land, his buildings and his property, which are to be- handed over to the company, on compensation, I agree. But that is not the legislation to which we are accustomed in this country, that you should give the power to the concessionaire on the one hand, and an unknown person, who may be High Commissioner at some future date, to expropriate every individual from his land, buildings and property at their own sweet will. It is true that the High Commissioner is to do this only so far as is necessary for the company, but who is to be the judge? The concessionaire and the High Commissioner, whoever he may be.
Is that fair to the inhabitants of Palestine, or to the interests of the Arabs? If that is how you preserve the rights of the Arabs in your Mandate, it is a novel Mandate. It is unknown outside of Palestine. Further, the High Commissioner pledges himself, at the request of this company, to annul any valid pre-existing concessions that there may be, which might in any way interfere with the concession granted to this company. Is that the spirit of legislation which we ought to encourage? A man has a valid concession granted by some previous authority, I know not whether by the High Commissioner or otherwise. The High Commissioner comes along. The company says, "Turn out this person," and the High Commissioner binds himself to do it. I grant that there is compensation to be paid, but that is very often a poor satisfaction for being turned out of your legitimate right, and is certainly not a method of legislation which has ever found favour in this country.
Parliament is a very different thing from a concessionaire and a High Commissioner. Parliament has a right to turn private people out of their property for great public undertakings. But there are methods by which Parliament is controlled, and there is a system under which it acts.
We are told that the rates chargeable are limited to a certain amount. The man who says that probably did not read the next. Clause, which provides that, if the rates laid down in the concession are not enough to enable the company to set aside a sufficient sum for return of capital, for reserve fund and depreciation, and for a dividend of 8 per cent. free of all taxes—I wish we had it here—to be earned by this company, then the High Commissioner is at liberty, in his own discretion, to increase the charges to an amount which will enable the company to gain those advantages. Again, what a power to give the High Commissioner; And the High Commissioner may delegate those powers to some unknown and unknowable person. One other paragraph in the contract is very illuminating. The company are given relief from taxation which may be imposed in Palestine for reasons of this kind, that if they are not earning enough to put aside a sum for a return of capital, for reserve and for depreciation, and to pay their shareholders 6 per cent. dividend, free of tax again, then they are not to be subject to any taxation in Palestine. I think that many English companies would rejoice if they had that position. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will recommend that to the Chancellor of the Exchequer as a sop to those in this country who have been complaining of excessive taxation. In these conditions these people are to be exempt from taxation for 10 years.
The Germans apply their own methods and keep down taxation to avoid reparations. By what right does the High Commissioner seek to tie up the development of Palestine, to hamper the commercial supply of electricity and the development of water power for 70 years, and for an indefinite time, at his own discretion? The right hon. Gentleman told us, in answer to a question the other day in the House, that the High Commissioner could grant no concessions in Palestine without the approval of His Majesty's Government. That throws the matter further back. What right has His Majesty's Government to tie up the development of Palestine for 70 years or for an indefinite time longer? This is all the more remarkable because the Treaty of Sevres is not yet ratified. The mandate is not granted. We are there simply, I take it, as a conquering nation. It is the elements of jurisprudence that when one country is in possession of another country by the right of conquest, until some new government is established you can only act according to the previous laws of the country. You cannot introduce new laws into the country. Still less can you grant at the expense of the inhabitants of the country large concessions, binding the present and the future for some purpose of your own. Therefore, I should be glad to know how, before the mandate has been granted, His Majesty's Government or anyone else can empower the High Commissioner to grant these enormous powers, even if they were as desirable as they appear to me to be objectionable?
This concession assumes that the mandate is going to last 70 years, and that at the end of the 70 years there will be a High Commissioner in power in Palestine to extend the period of the concession. Are we really to assume that the mandate with all its enormous responsibilities is going to last for 70 years? Are we really to suppose—and I hope the Colonial Secretary will tell us—that there will be a High Commissioner in Palestine at the end of 70 years to exercise these discretions; and if not, if at the end of that time, or at the end of half of that time, there is no High Commissioner to carry out all these powers, who will do it? Will these obligations pass to a new Government in Palestine, which will supervene long before the lapse of your 70 years, and may be tied up by these obligations incautiously entered upon by the Government of the day? We might have a little illumination. May I ask another question? My Noble Friend who spoke just now said he would be glad to know what competition there was for this concession granted to Mr. Rutenburg and his company. Was there any question of tenders in this country, telling the great engineering firms that we were going to grant a 70 years' concession of all the water power, all the electric energy, and asking them to make a tender? If that was not done I should like to ask why not?
We are in Palestine as a conquering nation. Heaven knows, we spent enough blood and treasure in liberating the people of that country. Would it not be reasonable, would it not be fair to our own people, when we are granting this great concession, that we should at least say to British workmen and British manufacturers, "You shall have a chance in the development of this country?" It may be doing the right hon. Gentleman a wrong. He may have invited tenders, but if he has, I should like to know, and I should be still more glad to know if he has not. If he did invite tenders, were the British firms offers less advantageous Would it not be possible to get a tender from a British firm for a contract of this sort without imposing all these extraordinary, novel, and, I venture to think, exceedingly unjust terms? There again, perhaps, we will get information later on. I am told, and the Colonial Secretary will tell me if I am wrong, that contracts with a view to carrying out these concessions have been placed in Germany. Have any been placed in England for this gigantic electric power hydraulic system and all the rest of it? Has it been offered to British manufacturers? There is such a thing as misplaced sentimental philanthropy, and if it is the policy of the Government sedulously to avoid by the terms of this contract, and by the nature of the company you establish, any possibilities of any men or women in this country getting the slightest advantage out of the development of Palestine, all I can say is that it is very misplaced sentimentalism and a deplorably mistaken policy, and if that is not their policy, will they tell us whether the British manufacturers and workmen are going to get any chance in helping in the development of Palestine? I venture to think that in this contract you find throughout the taint and the trail of the Zionist organisation. and for that reason, as well as those advanced by my hon. Friend, I cordially support the demand for a Select Committee.
I should like to congratulate the hon. Baronet the Member for Twickenham and the hon. Baronet the Member for York (Sir J. Butcher) on the discovery they seem to have made recently that there is such a principle in the world as self-government. I believe that the fellahin of Egypt will hear with some interest that the hon. Members who belong to the Die-hard party have at least discovered that there is such a thing as self-government for someone. Incidentally, those Indians who were favoured with the opportunity of hearing the Indian Debate which took place in this House about a fortnight ago, will rejoice in the fact that in future they are to be helped in their agitation for the self-government of India with the estimable advocacy of the hon. and learned Member for York (Sir J. Butcher). The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Spoor) will, in future, be able to cite a speech of a similar character to his own, delivered by the hon. Baronet the Member for Twickenham, this evening, which could have no other intention at least, but to develop the case for self-government in other parts of the world. May I say that I observed with some interest that the hon. and learned Member for York was very alarmed that encouragement was going to be given by the Government to agitators in various parts of the world, and he was very much afraid that they might be led to believe that if they only agitated enough, and strongly and persistently enough, they might even achieve the purpose they had in view. If the hon. and learned Baronet will go into the Library he will find a book there by his colleague the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. R. McNeill) which summarises the history of the Ulster rebellion, and I think he will find-—
I was trying to rebut the remarks of the hon. and learned Baronet the Member for York. The Mover of this Resolution was very concerned with the effect of this concession upon the Arab mind, I think it is perfectly right that the House should inquire what is the possible effect of this kind of concession or departure in the matter of government upon both minds now existing in Palestine. May I trouble the Committee, therefore, by way of showing that the Arabs are not by any means taken unawares by this Mandate that is going to be given to us in Palestine, by quoting a statement made by
King Feisal, the son of King Hussein, on 1st March, 1919? It was published during the meeting of the Peace Conference in Paris. I quote the actual words:
Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation of the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best in so far as we are concerned to help them through. We will wish the Jews a hearty welcome home. With the chiefs of your movement, especially with Dr. Weismann, we have had and continue to have the closest relations. He has been a great helper of our cause and I hope the Arabs may soon be in a position to make the Jews some return for their kindness. We are working together for a reformed and revived Near East, and our two movements complement one another. The Jewish movement is national and not Imperialist; our movement is nationalist and not Imperialist. There is room in Syria for us both. Indeed. I think, that neither can be an actual success without the other.
I think the right hon. Baronet the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) will agree that he has shown rather excessive zeal in his advocacy of the Arab cause. Without disrespect to him, one can claim that the gentleman who was the author of that message represents perhaps more accurately the Arab mind than does the right hon. Gentleman himself. I have given the Arab mind concerning this matter. Let me give the other side, the view of the Zionists. The Congress of Zionists at Carlsbad has already been referred to this evening. I will quote a resolution which was arrived at by the Carlsbad Congress.:
The Congress declares"—
concerning certain deeds of violence—
that such deeds of violence can neither weaken the resolve of the Jewish people! for the erection of a Jewish national home, nor their determination to live with the Arab people on terms of unity and mutual respect and together with them to make a common home into a flourishing community, the up-building of which may assure to each of these peoples an undisturbed national development,
and so on.
It is fair to assume, from those quotations, that each of these two peoples, if left alone and allowed to remain in peace and amity together, with their own views and without any artificial stimulation of bias, or prejudice on either side, are determined to do all they can to live in peace, and to agree together. Therefore, I deplore very earnestly the type of speech we have heard from some hon. Members this evening. It can have no other end than this—I do not say that is its purpose, but that is its effect—of instilling a spirit of bitterness into these two peoples in this much distressed land. There is no point really in exaggerating the influx of Zionists into Palestine. I believe that the interim Report, issued by the High Commissioner of Palestine (Command Paper 1499) gave the following facts. In the senior service, there were only 50 Jew officials out of 360; in the junior service, there were only 566 Jews out of a total of 2,130. Of Christians, out of 2,130 officials, there were 1,043 a proportion of 49 per cent. I suggest, therefore, that such speeches are merely exaggerating unduly the alleged proportion of Jews to other nationalities in the service in Palestine.
I want to ask this question, and there is reasonable ground for doing so. What is the real basis of this opposition? Is it not the fact that there are certain big British firms behind this agitation in the British Press? Is it not true that a large number of British firms which are, shall I say, a little jealous, a little envious of the granting of this concession to certain Jewish people, are working up this agitation in the British Press? They are doing so because, as was quite plainly hinted in the "Times," not very long ago, certain of the materials are not being purchased in the English home market, but have actually been bought in Germany. I believe that was part of the indictment put forward here this evening. I would ask the hon. and learned Member for York if all his friends are so patriotic in these days that they buy all their goods in the English market? If I were in order, which I presume I should not be, I could adduce for the satisfaction of the hon. and learned Member ample proof that in my own part of the country, South Wales, men are now out of work because super-patriots in their own country—
I have made my point, Sir. That is the opposition, I think, on the economic and commercial side; but there is another opposition which is perfectly fair and to which we must have regard. It is the opposition from the standpoint of religious conviction and opinion. I believe that the Vatican, with regard to which organisation I desire to speak very respectfully, and I do not wish to use one unkind word whatever, watches with some misgiving the development of the Zionist influence in Palestine. There are others. The Arab delegation in this country recently was similarly concerned about the future of the Mohammedan persuasion in that country. It is fair to say that the Zionist organisation is well aware of the desirability of preserving for these people entire freedom of conscience, freedom to perform their religious devotions and exercises in their own way, and I have ample evidence that, if we tackle this problem carefully, all the rights of the various religions can be amply safe guarded.
With regard to the Rutenberg concession itself, I am bound to say that in some particulars I have a little misgiving. For instance, we who sit on these benches obviously must at all times look upon any concession of a monopoly with grave misgiving and certainly with considerable circumspection. I think a concession extending for 70 years is a concession for rather a long time. Moreover, the rate of interest is somewhat big. On the other hand, we must bear in mind, as things are now, Palestine is very much undeveloped; it is a very risky proceeding at the very beat. Because it is risky, and because we must necessarily wait for a considerable time to get any return at all, it is fair to assume that the ground for making the concession extend over such a long time, and for the rate of interest being so high, is much better than its opponents would have us believe. There are one or two things that need to be stated in connection with this concession. I have an extract from Ruten[...]erg's letter, sent to the Arab Delegation on the, 7th December, 1921. By way of a counter to the suggested allegation that there is going to be any attempt whatsoever to exclude other nationalities from participation in this, may I read the last four or five articles of this letter The third reads thus:
That Arab and Jewish customer should enjoy the same privileges,
That municipalities should be entitled to have their own systems, provided they
furnish funds for the current expenses of such installations.
The fifth article (and this is the most important) reads:
While the capital for the undertaking was being raised abroad, any"—
that word is important—
Palestinian should he free to buy shares without distinction of race or creed. That the board of directors should be elected by the shareholders, according to the amount of capital invested.
That Jewish and Arab labour, as well as Arab and Jewish engineers, should be employed on the same terms and treated alike, the only exception being capability, efficiency, and honesty.
That I think entirely disposes of the suggestion that there is; going to be any discrimination as between the Arab and Jew in this enterprise. There is one further point which we who belong to the Labour party must draw attention to. Obviously, a concession of this kind can only have any validity or value at all if it succeeds, and its success will ultimately depend upon its attracting a sufficiently large immigration into Palestine to make the thing-shall I say?—a feasible proposition commercially. If that immigration travels along anything like considerable lines it must of necessity be carefully organised. You cannot allow it to take place in a higgledy-piggledy kind of way. The Zionist people who will be chiefly interested in immigration, since they will be chiefly Jews, the Zionist people, should, I think, secure some sort of share in making the arrangements controlling this immigration. If, therefore, the representatives of our Government in Palestine on the one side and the Jewish agent referred to by the hon. Member on the other have both an interest in effecting this control they will, I think, be able to look after the interests of all the people concerned in this particular enterprise. For my part I should like especially if this Rutenberg Concession were prevented from becoming purely a private enterprise for profit. I should like to see the Government, when it comes to be ultimately approved, say that it should become something in the nature of a public utility society.
Among the advantages of this concession which I see are these: First there will be public works initiated as a result of it. These will give employment to the right kind of immigrants. It will be work for skilled people and also for unskilled. Consequently the Arabs, and especially the workmen, will be brought into direct contact with the productive standard of the Jewish workman. That is also, I think, of inestimable value. The last point I want to make is this. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] Well, I do not often speak and I might be allowed to make my points. Others have spoken nearly an hour, and I have only taken a quarter. There are one or two other considerations which seem to me to be worthy of note. Obviously this concession must be so governed as to make the security of Palestine safe beyond question, and in that particular I think it will be desirable to make an appeal to all in this controversy to cease circulating accusations and counter-accusations. After all, for good or for ill, there are going to be large numbers of Arabs in Palestine and also large numbers of Jews. If you stop immigration now there will be thousands of Jews there and also thousands of Arabs, and consequently you must do something to establish a modus vivendi between these two nationalities. We do not want to develop in Palestine another Ireland. We want as close a co-operation between these two people as possible. I can quite understand, too, the Colonial Secretary has sufficient in one Ireland to deal with, and I think it is desirable that we should safeguard ourselves in this direction.
We must, first, see to it that the official world of Palestine is recruited from amongst men who. will not have the outlook foreshadowed by the hon. and learned Member for York. People who go there to rule in our name ought not to go there feeling that they are going as conquerors. If they go there to rule in the name of the English people and to help to govern, it should be with the idea of going from government to self-government, and to co-operate with the people of that country. There should therefore be a complete absence of the spirit of militarism. That must be one of the first conditions of the arrangement. Secondly, there should be no unrestricted commercialism. Thirdly, we should demand that there shall be plain dealing as between our own Government and the people of Palestine. There is no doubt about it that our own Government—perhaps not the present, but other Governments-have, through their various promises of various kinds, led themselves into a difficulty diplomatically. They may have to retrace their steps slightly. They can only do that if they carry with them the hearty co-operation of the people. Lastly—and with this I close—I think that all of us who read the declaration of the Earl of Balfour during the War, whether they agreed with the War or not, must have felt a sort of satisfaction when they read that at last there was going to be an attempt to allow the Jewish people to return to what they call their national home. We may congratulate ourselves upon this, that at least one of the homes promised by the Government is likely to be established. I have never been able to appreciate the anti-Jewish sentiment which exists in the world, nor to sympathise with it. The Jewish race is entitled on many grounds to the sympathy of the people of this country. They are a people whose history has been among the most romantic of the histories in the world. They are a people who have made the greatest contribution to antiquity. They have made a great contribution—
I am much obliged to you, Sir Edwin. I never interrupt other speakers, and I do not see why I should be interrupted. I was about to say that the return of the Jewish people to Palestine—this is the pith of my argument—is well grounded in history and tradition. These people have looked forward to this return to their national home for generations, if not for centuries. Their prophets, their priests, their singers—all have taught them to believe that at some dim and distant day they would return to their ancestral home. On sentimental grounds, as well as on the grounds of good statesmanship, good policy and good politics, I entirely support the mandate in Palestine, and, incidentally, this Rutenberg concession.
This is a topic, in some of its aspects, which lends itself peculiarly well to criticism. When you have Jews, Russians, Bolshevism, Zionism, electrical monopoly, Government conces- sions, all presented at the same moment, it must be admitted all those ingredients are present out of which our most inexperienced scribe or cartoonist or our most recently budding statesman might make a very fine case, a case which at the first blush presents itself in such a way that I should have thought my hon. friend the Member for Twickenham (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks) after his long experience of the House of Commons, would rather have given a chance to one of his lieutenants instead of taking such a very easy victim for himself. However, I must say that the course of the Debate has not been characterised, and even the speech of my hon. Friend has not been marked unduly, by appeals to prejudice. There is a great deal of prejudice on this subject outside, but the Debate, on the whole, has been marked by an endeavour to arrive at true and just conclusions on this complicated and baffling and very extensive question.
Broadly speaking, there are two issues raised to-night, and it is very important to keep them distinct. The first is, Are we to keep our pledge to the Zionists made in 1917 to the effect that, His Majesty's Government would use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of a National Home for the Jewish people? Are we to keep that pledge or are we to abandon it? That is the first issue. The second issue is a separate one, and it is: Are the measures taken by the Colonial Office to fulfil that pledge, reasonable and proper measures? That is a different question, and I think the Committee is in a very different position with regard to each of those two issues. It is entirely at liberty to criticise the administration of the Colonial Office. If that administration has been wrongly conceived or ill-directed: if it is marked by improper incidents: if it is not, in fact, a reasonable and proper way of carrying out the policy of Great Britain, this is the time to expose it, this is the time to inflict Parliamentary censure upon the Minister and the Department responsible.
With regard to the larger issue of whether we should or should not. repudiate our promise to the Zionists. I venture to suggest the Committee has not the same freedom. No doubt individual Members who have always opposed the Zionist policy—if such there be-are perfectly consistent in opposing it now, but the House, as a whole, has definitely committed itself on more than one occasion to the general proposition that we should use our best endeavours to make good our pledges and facilitate the achievement of a National Home for the Jewish people in Palestine. There never has been any-serious challenge to that policy in Parliament. Pledges and promises were made during the War, and they were made, not only on the merits, though I think the merits are considerable. They were made because it was considered they would be of value to us in oar struggle to win the War. It was considered that the support which the Jews could give us all over the world, and particularly in the United States, and also in Russia, would be a definite palpable advantage. I was not responsible at that time for the giving of those pledges, nor for the conduct of the War of which they were, when given, an integral part. But like other Members I supported the policy of the War Cabinet. Like other Members, I accepted and was proud to accept a share in those great transactions, which left us with terrible losses, with formidable obligations, but nevertheless with unchallengable victory. We presented ourselves to our constituents on that basis, and on that basis we were returned. Then came, the peace negotiations. They were watched throughout with the utmost vigilance by Parliament. Parliament repeatedly and deliberately approved of the arrangements which were made, and included among those arrangements was the acceptance by Great Britain of mandatory responsibility for Palestine, and with that mandatory responsibility for Palestine there was also accepted responsibility for fulfilling the promises we had made to the Zionists.
The House again and again on most formal occasions has approved of the great series of negotiations in which these were included, and which is associated with the name of Versailles. There is no doubt whatever that the fulfilment of the Balfour Declaration was an integral part of the whole mandatory system, as inaugurated by agreement between the victorious Powers and by the Treaty of Versailles. These
are decisions in which I have taken only a very subordinate part, and which the House at every stage has approved. And speaking as Colonial Secretary, charged with the execution of a particular policy, a policy adopted and confirmed by this country before the whole world, I am bound by the pledges and promises which have been given in the name of Great Britain in the past, and by the decisions which Parliament has taken from time to time. I know it is dangerous to go back upon the declarations which people have made in the past—at any rate, to go back for a very long period. For about 15 years, I am quite prepared to stand scrutiny. Let us keep to the question. When the Zionist policy was announced by Lord Balfour, then Mr. Balfour, almost every public man in this country expressed his opinion upon it. I am going to read now, not the opinions of ministers of all denominations, not. the views of the most gifted writers of every school of thought. I am going to deal only with politicians. We are all politicians here. Lord Grey said:
I am entirely in sympathy with the declaration of Mr. Balfour.
Lord Crewe said:
I have long hoped that it would be possible to make such a declaration.
The Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin (Lord Robert Cecil) had a letter written—
Lord Robert Cecil wishes me to say that he was very glad to see Mr. Balfour's letter, and has naturally the fullest sympathy with the policy therein enunciated.
Speaking on behalf of the Labour party, the right hon. Member who then represented Barnard Castle (Mr. A. Henderson) strongly supported the policy, and the right hon. Member for Gorton (Mr. Hodge), then Minister of Pensions, said:
I fully sympathise with the view expressed in Mr. Balfour's letter. Further, may I express a hope that the end of the War may speedily see the realisation of the Zionists dream.
Lord Sydenham said—[HON. MEMBERS: "Who is he?"] He is one of the great controversialists in the Press and in another place, at the end of the passage. As to the fulfilment of the dreams of the Zionists, he said:
I earnestly hope that one result of the War will he to free Palestine from the withering blight of Turkish rule, and to render it available as the national home of the Jewish people, who can restore its ancient prosperity.
Another communication ran this way:
Captain Wedgwood Benn has returned to service at the Front."—
That Was what the hon. and gallant gentleman usually did during the War—
I am able to say, however, that he has always had the warmest sympathy with the Zionist movement, and welcomes cordially the declaration of the Government on the subject.
The hon. and learned Member for York (Sir J. Butcher), who has just addressed us in terms of such biting indignation, was almost lyrical on the subject. He said:
I trust the day is not far distant when the Jewish people may be free to return to the sacred birthplace of their race, and to establish in the ancient home of their fathers a great, free, industrial community where, safe from all external aggression, they may attain their ideals, and fulfil their destiny.
We had great support from those who are known as the "Die-hard" party. My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Lieut.-Colonel Croft) said:
I heartily welcome the idea of a Jewish community living under British protection in Palestine, and I feel sure that this will be a great triumph for civilisation.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ealing (Sir H. Nield) said:
The declaration in regard to the future of Palestine seems to me to mark a definite progress towards the realisation of the long dream of the Jewish race.
I could prolong these quotations almost indefinitely, but I do not wish to show any want of chivalry. I intend, however, to claim the same consideration on their part for those who have now to bear the burden of these enthusiasms. As far as I can make out, only one hon. Member has guarded himself with great care—the hon. and gallant Member for Bilston (Brigadier-General Hickman), who wrote:
I am sorry, but I know nothing of the subject, and ask you to excuse mo.
Another most formidable authority was lent to this list by the hon. Baronet the Member for Ayr Burghs (Sir G. Younger), who wrote:
Mr. Balfour's declaration on the subject of Palestine and the Jewish people has my entire sympathy.
So that was all right. Last, but not least, my hon. Friend who introduced
this subject, who felt a sort of prompting of weakness on this subject, and endeavoured a little to guard himself against any discovery of his previous declarations—my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford (Sir W. Joynson-Hicks).
No, Brentford then. He has changed his opinions with his constituency. He wrote:
I consider that one of the greatest outcomes of this terrible War will be the rescue of Palestine from Turkish mis-government, and I will do all in my power to forward the views of the Zionists, order to enable the Jews once more to take possession of their own land.
This goes far beyond the Jewish National Home; it is a commonwealth; it is almost a complete expropriation.
I am coming to that. There is an extraordinary similarity between the declaration of my hon. Friend in 1917 and the declaration of Lord Sydenham at that date. The terms are almost identical, but there are one or two variations, introduced by way of paraphrase. It is very remarkable. Two great minds have moved together. Together they made this immense promise to the Zionists, together they pledged their faith, together they revised their judgment, and together they have made themselves the leaders of the opposition to this Government carrying out their policy.
I could prolong this list. But I am content, unless the Committee wish for further evidence, to draw the moral at this stage, an d I say this: You have no right to say this kind of thing as individuals; you have no right to support public declarations made in the name of your country in the crisis and heat of the War, and then afterwards, when all is. cold and prosaic, to turn round and attack the Minister or the Department which is faithfully and laboriously endeavouring to translate these perfervid enthusiasms into the sober, concrete facts of day-to-day administration. I say, in all consistency and reasonable fair play, that does not justify the House of Commons at this stage in repudiating the general Zionist policy. That would not be in accordance with the way in which affairs of State are conducted by the Imperial Parliament or, at any rate, by the House of Commons. I appeal to the House of Commons not to alter its opinion on the general question, but to stand faithfully to the undertakings which have been given in the name of Britain, and interpret in an honourable and earnest way the promise that Britain will do her best to fulfil her undertakings to the Zionists.
I now come to the issue in regard to which the House is much freer, and it is the issue connected with the departmental administration which has taken place in pursuance of this policy. I approach the subject of the Rutenberg concession along the only path open to me, namely, that in the administration of that policy, the Colonial Office is to use its best endeavours to secure the establishment of the Jewish National Home. Let us sec whether these measures have been right or wrong, proper or improper. At the same time that this pledge was made to the Zionists, an equally important promise was made to the Arab inhabitants in Palestine—that their civil and religious rights would be effectively safeguarded, and that they should not be turned out to make room for new comers. If that pledge was to be acted upon, it was perfectly clear that the newcomers must bring their own means of livelihood, and that they, by their industry, by their brains, and by their money, must create new sources of wealth on which they could live without detriment to or subtraction from the well-being of the Arab population. It was inevitable that, by creating these new sources of wealth, and bringing this new money into the country, they would not only benefit themselves, but, benefit and enrich the entire country among all classes and races of its population.
What sources of new wealth were, opened? In the first place, there was a greatly extended and revived agriculture. As I explained to the House when I addressed hon. Members a year and a half ago, anyone who has visited Palestine recently must have seen how parts of the desert have been converted into gardens, and how material improvement has been effected in every respect by the Arab population dwelling around. On the sides of the hills there are enormous systems of terraces, and they are now the abode of an active cultivating popula- tion; whereas before, under centuries of Turkish and Arab rule, they had relapsed into-a wilderness. There is no doubt whatever that in that country there is room for still further energy and development if capital and other forces be allowed to play their part. There is no doubt that there is room for a far larger number of people, and this far larger number of people will be able to lead far more decent and prosperous lives.
Apart from this agricultural work—this reclamation work—there are services which science, assisted by outside capital, can render, and of all the enterprises of importance which would have the effect of greatly enriching the land none was greater than the scientific storage and regulation of the waters of the Jordan for the provision of cheap power and light needed for the industry of Palestine, as well as water for the irrigation of new lands now desolate. This would have been carrying out your policy, not only the policy of the Government, and it was the only means by which it could be done without injuring vitally the existence of the Arab inhabitants of the country. It would create a new world entirely, a new means of existence. And it was only by the irrigation which created and fertilised the land, and by electric power which would supply the means of employing the Arab population, that you could take, any steps towards the honest fulfilment of the pledges to which this country and this House, to an unparalleled extent of individual commitment, is irrevocably committed.
What better steps could we take, in order to fulfil our pledge to help them to establish their national home, without breaking our pledge to the Arabs that they would not be disturbed, than to interest Zionists in the creation of this new-Palestinian world which, without injustice to a single individual, without taking away one scrap of what was there before, would endow the whole country with the assurance of a greater prosperity and the means of a higher economic and social life? Was not this a good gift which the Zionists could bring with them, the consequences of which spreading as years went by in general easement and amelioration—was not this a good gift which would impress more than anything else on the Arab population that the Zionists were their friends and helpers, not their expellers and expropriators, and that the earth was a generous mother, that Palestine had before it a bright future, and that there was enough for all? Were, we wrong in carrying out the policy of the nation and of Parliament in fixing upon this development of the waterways and the water power of Palestine as the main and principal means by which we could fulfil our undertaking? I am told that the Arabs would have done it themselves. Who is going to believe that? Left to themselves, the Arabs of Palestine would not in a thousand years have taken effective steps towards the irrigation and electrification of Palestine. They would have been quite content to dwell—a handful of philosophic people—in the wasted sun-scorched plains, letting the waters of the, Jordan continue to flow unbridled and unharnessed into the Dead Sea.
I really must remind my hon. Friend that he wrote, in 1917:
I entirely agree in the declaration of sympathy made by Mr. Balfour on behalf of the Government to the Zionist Federation, and trust that the termination of the War may permit the realisation of the hope and intention which he expressed.
It is very easy for my hon. Friend to sit there "standing by every word," but he takes every conceivable point that occurs to him against the Government in their endeavour to carry out the Mandate and the imperative commands which he laid upon them. We really must know where we are. Who led us along this path, who impelled us along it? I remained quite silent. I am not in the "Black Book. "I accepted service on the lines laid down for me. Now, when I am endeavouring to carry it out, it is from this quarter that I am assailed.
Where there are tremendous public works awaiting construction, which will enormously enrich the countries concerned, and enable them to buy our manufactures much more largely, we always fall between two stools. We have not got the money ourselves. The Government will not advance the money. What would be said were I to ask for a loan of £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 for developing Palestine irrigation at this moment? It would be completely turned down. But we are so mortally afraid of any private person coming along, or of any concession being given, lest they may make, something out of it. In a great number—the great majority—of cases, valuable works are not undertaken, and many people who undertake public works on Government concessions lose their money, while, in the few cases in which they make a small profit, the Minister responsible is always abused as a pickpocket, who has given away valuable public concessions to private speculators. The result is that the development of your possessions is far below what it might be, and that you suffer in your employment continuously by the fact that these great estates are not brought up to a high level of economic development.
I come to the Rutenberg concession. [Interruption.] Had the hon. Member who interrupts been present during the previous part of the Debate, he would have known that the Debate has ranged over a very general field. This concession follows in every respect the regular lines of Colonial Office procedure. It has been framed in the Colonial Office in exactly the same manner and spirit as if it related to East Africa, Nigeria, Ceylon or any other of the Crown Colonies. It has been scrutinised and executed by the Agents. Technical matters were submitted to the examination of consulting engineers.
I hope the hon. Member will let me unfold my case in my own way. This concession provides for strict Government control of the prices to be charged to consumers for electricity. It provides for the severe limitation of profits. At the time the concession was made, 6 to 6½ per cent. could be received on the best gilt-edged securities in this country. The concession provides that after the company has earned 10 per cent., the profits are to be equally divided between them and the Palestinian Government, until 15 per cent. has been received, and after that the whole profit reverts to the Palestinian Government. The maximum profit available to the company for all their risk and effort is 12.½ per cent.—a profit which cannot possibly mature for six or seven years. If people stand out of their money for six or seven years, they require to have some interest. You will get nothing done unless you offer these concessions on terms which compete with the great money markets of the world. After 37 years, the Palestinian Government has the full right of re purchase on certain well-established lines, and this right recurs thereafter every 10 years.
Lastly, the whole of these matters were laid before Parliament and the public six months ago by the Colonial Office, and until the recent agitation in the Press, the propriety of the concession was not impugned by anyone. It has been stated to-night that "streams of applications" were coming in from Arabs and British. No stream of applications was coming in. At the time the Rutenberg concession was granted, no other application was before us.
I purposely refrained from intervening in the Debate solely because I myself and my firm had the very concessions affered twice. It was hawked all over London, and refused by house after house. I have the documents on my file. I would not give a bob for it now.
A British firm in Egypt applied for exclusive rights to provide electric power to Jerusalem in 1919, when rates were nearly double the rates which are to be charged in the Rutenberg concession, and two inhabitants of Bethlehem—one an Arab and one a non-Arab— asked if their names could be registered for future consideration of concessions for agricultural undertakings, telephones, electricity or tramways. They furnished no plans, no estimates, no scheme at all, but they indicated that if there were any concessions going, they would very much like to have them. At the same time, Mr. Rutenberg put in, in the utmost detail, and with considerable backing, his important scheme. The same answer was returned at that time-to all applications, because we thought we had not the power in the circumstances to grant concessions. It was not until July, 1921, that, seeing the long delay in getting any move on in this country, and the urgent need of making things self-supporting, I directed the High Commissioner to say that we would entertain applications for concessions in regard to certain public services. That declaration was publicly made by the High Commissioner. A considerable interval elapsed. No other application was received except the scheme of Mr. Rutenberg. What were the credentials of Mr. Rutenberg? He is a man of exceptional ability and personal force. He is a Zionist. His application was supported by the influence of Zionist organisations. He presented letters from Mr. Edmond Rothschild, the founder of the Zionist colonies, whose whole life has been spent in building up these wonderful colonies in Palestine. These letters offered to place at his disposal from £100,000 to £200,000, on absolutely non-commercial terms, for long periods, for the development of these irrigation and electrical schemes. He produced plans, diagrams, estimates—all worked out in the utmost detail. He asserted, and his assertion has been justified, that he had behind him all the principal Zionist societies in Europe and America, who would support his plans on a non-commercial basis.
As a matter of fact, this concession has fallen extremely flat outside the circles of the Zionist followers. Nearly all the money got up to the present time has come from associations of a Jewish character, which are almost, entirely on a non-profit-making basis. I have no doubt whatever—and, after all, do not let us be too ready to doubt people's ideals—that profit-making, in the ordinary sense, has played no part at all in the driving force on which we must rely to carry through this irrigation scheme in Palestine. I do not believe it has been so with Mr. Rutenberg, nor do I believe that this concession would secure the necessary funds were it not supported by sentimental and quasi - religious emotions.
I come to Mr. Rutenberg himself. He is a Jew. I cannot deny that. I do not see why that should be a cause of reproach, at any rate on the part of those who have hitherto supported the Zionist policy. It is hard enough, in all conscience, to make a New Zion, but if, over the portals of the new Jerusalem, you are going to inscribe the legend, "No Israelite need apply," then I hope the House will permit me to confine my attention exclusively to Irish matters.
It is said that Mr. Rutenberg is a Russian Bolshevist. The right hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London (Sir F. Banbury) spoke of "this Bolshevist." Nothing is more untrue. He is a Russian, but he is not a Bolshevist. He was turned out of Russia by the Bolshevists. Had he been a Bolshevist, and had come to ask for a concession from the Colonial Office, I should have told him to go to Genoa. He was one of those social revolutionaries who combated that tyranny of the then despotic Tsarist Government, and who, after the revolution, did their best to combat the still worse tyranny of the Bolshevist rulers who succeeded to the power of the Tsar. His attitude has been perfectly consistent. If I am told that he took part in the murder of Father Gapon, who was an agent provocateur, an agent for the Russian police to obtain the secrets of the revolutionaries with whom he was working—if I am told that he was a party to the murder of the priest Gapon, I also knew that he recommended Kerensky, when he was an official of his Government to hang Lenin and Trotsky, and it seems to me that he has been entirely consistent.
I would like to assure the Committee that I was not aware of this last fact when I assented to the granting of the concession, as otherwise the Committee might think that I was biassed. Mr. Rutenberg, after being driven out of Northern Russia, went to Odessa. There he was employed by the French during the time of their occupation, and rendered good service in securing the escape of large numbers of persons who were committed to the anti-Bolshevist cause. He was considered a remarkable man, and very good reports about him have been received. At the same time, I have no I doubt that his record is one which would not in every respect compare with that of those who have been fortunate enough to live their lives in this settled and ordered country.
I am bound to ask the Committee to take the vote which is about to be given as a vote of confidence, because we cannot carry out our pledges to the Zionists, with which the House is fully familiar, unless we are permitted to use Jews, and use Jews freely, within what limits are proper, to develop new sources of wealth in Palestine. I am bound also to ask the Committer to attach significance to this vote because of the adverse vote recorded in another place a few days ago. I think that it-was a very unfortunate vote. AB far as this House and the country are concerned, it does not make much difference. We all know that you can easily get 60 or 70 Members of that Chamber together. We all remember the vote given on the subject of Miss Violet Douglas-Pennant. This vote may have a serious result in Palestine. It might lead to violent disturbances, and though we consider ourselves properly equipped to deal with such disturbances, and have every intention of putting them down with a firm hand, a vote like this, unless dealt with by the House of Commons, might lead to distress and bloodshed. We are doing our best to carry out the pledges as entered into both to the Jews and the Arabs. We are doing our best to develop the resources of Palestine in order to recoup the expenditure made by this country. The year before last we were faced with a cost of £8,000,000: last year it cost £4,000,000: this year it was estimated at a cost of £2,000,000. I had long talks with Sir Herbert Samuel while he was over here. He promised me that next year it will not he more than £1,500,000, and the year after that only £1,000,000.
This is a great reduction in four years of administration—from £8,000,000 to £1,000,000. I say that Palestine is all the more important to us in view of what is happening, in view of the ever-growing significance to the British Empire of the Suez Canal; and I do not think £1,000,000 a year, even if further reductions cannot be obtained—and I do not admit that no further reductions can be obtained— would be too much for Great Britain to pay for the control and guardianship of this great historic land, and for keeping the word she has given before all the nations of the world.
|Division No. 204.]||AYES.||[10.59 p.m.|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Hall, Rr-Adml Sir W.(Liv'p'l, W. D'by)||Pain, Brig-Gen. Sir W. Hacket|
|Archer-Shee, Lieut.-Colonel Martin||Herbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)||Pennefather, De Fonblanque|
|Armstrong, Henry Bruce||Hotchkin, Captain Stafford Vere||Polson, Sir Thomas A.|
|Ashley, Colonel Wilfrid W.||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Reid. D. D.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Macnaghten, Sir Malcolm||Seddon, J. A.|
|Blair, Sir Reginald||McNeill, Ronald (Kent, Canterbury)||Sueter, Bear-Admiral Murray Fraser|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Major A.||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Wilson, Capt. A. S. (Holderness)|
|Curzon, Captain Viscount||Morrison, Hugh||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||Murray, Hon. Gideon (St. Rollox)||Yate, Colonel Sir Charles Edward|
|Erskine, James Malcolm Monteith||Nall, Major Joseph|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Nicholson, Brig.-Gen. J. (Westminster)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gretton, Colonel John||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Sir W. Joynson-Hicks and Sir J|
|Gwynne, Rupert S.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Butcher.|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis D.||Davidson, Major-General Sir J. H.||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry|
|Adamson, Rt. Hon. William||Davies, A (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||Harmsworth, C. B. (Bedford, Luton)|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Haslam, Lewis|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Davies, Evan (Ebbw Vale)||Hayday, Arthur|
|Ammon, Charles George||Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Henderson, Lt.-Col. V. L. (Tradeston)|
|Armitage, Robert||Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Hennessy, Major J. R. G.|
|Astbury, Lieut.-Com. Frederick W.||Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Hilder, Lieut.-Colonel Frank|
|Atkey, A. R.||Dawson, Sir Philip||Hills, Major John Waller|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Dockrell, Sir Maurice||Hinds, John|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Doyle, N. Grattan||Hirst, G. H.|
|Banton, George||Du Pre, Colonel William Baring||Hohler, Gerald Fitzro[...]|
|Barker, G. (Monmouth, Abertillery)||Edge, Captain Sir William||Holmes, J. Stanley|
|Barlow, Sir Montague||Ednam, Viscount||Hood, Sir Joseph|
|Barnes Rt. Hon. G. (Glas., Gorbals)||Edwards, C. (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Hope, J. D. (Berwick & Haddington)|
|Barnett, Major Richard W.||Edwards, Major J. (Aberavon)||Hopkins, John W. W.|
|Barnston, Major Harry||Edwards, Hugh (Glam., Neath)||Home, Sir R. S. (Glasgow, Hillhead)|
|Barrand, A. R.||Elveden, Viscount||Hou[...]ton, J. P.|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar (Banff)||Entwistle, Major C. F.||Hunter, General Sir A. (Lancaster)|
|Barton, Sir William (Oldham)||Evans, Ernest||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Beckett, Hon. Sir Gervase||Eyres-Monsell, Com. Bolton M.||Irving, Dan|
|Bell, Lieut.-Col. W. C. H. (Devizes)||Falcon, Captain Michael||Jackson, Lieut.-Colonel Hon. F. S.|
|Benn, Capt. Sir I. H., Bart.(Gr'nw'h)||Fell, Sir Arthur||Jephcott, A. R.|
|Benn, Captain Wedgwood (Leith)||Fildes, Henry||John, William (Rhondda, West)|
|Bennett, Sir Thomas Jewell||Finney, Samuel||Johnson, Sir Stanley|
|Birchall, J. Dearman||Fisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.||Jones, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)|
|Bird, Sir William B. M. (Chichester)||Flannery, Sir James Fortescu[...]||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Bowerman, Rt. Hon. Charles W.||Ford, Patrick Johnston||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)|
|Bowles, Colonel H. F.||Foreman, Sir Henry||Kellaway, Rt. Hon. Fredk. George|
|Bowyer, Captain G. W. E.||Forrest, Walter||Kelley, Major Fred (Rotherham)|
|Bramsdon, Sir Thomas||Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Kidd, James|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Frece, Sir Walter de||Kiley, James Daniel|
|Bridgeman, Rt. Hon. William Clive||Fremantle, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||King, Captain Henry Douglas|
|Broad, Thomas Tucker||Ganzoni, Sir John||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement|
|Bromfield, William||Gardiner, James||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdale)|
|Brown, James (Ayr and Bute)||George, Rt. Hon, David Lloyd||Lawson, John James|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)|
|Buckley. Lieut.-Colonel A.||Gilbert, James Daniel||Lloyd, George Butler|
|Burn, Col. C. R. (Devon, Torquay)||Gillis, William||Locker-Lampson, G. (Wood Green)|
|Cairns, John||Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel Sir John||Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'tingd'n)|
|Campion, Lieut.-Colonel W. R.||Glyn, Major Ralph||Lorden, John William|
|Cape, Thomas||Goff, Sir R. Park||Lort-Williams, J.|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||Graham, D. M. (Lanark, Hamilton)||Loseby, Captain C. E.|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Lunn, William|
|Carter, R. A. D. (Man., Withington)||Greene, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Hackn'y, N.)||Lyle-Samuel, Alexander|
|Casey, T. W.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Hamar||Mackinder, Sir H. J. (Camlachie)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Maclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Midlothian)|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Greig, Colonel Sir James William||McMicking, Major Gilbert|
|Chilcot, Lieut.-Com. Harry W.||Grenfell Edward Charles||Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Magnus, Sir Philip|
|Clough, Sir Robert||Grundy, T. W.||Malone, C. L. (Leyton, E.)|
|Cohen, Major J. Brunei||Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon Frederick E.||Malone, Major P. B. (Tottenham, S.)|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Guest, J. (York, W.R., Hemsworth)||Manville, Edward|
|Coote, Colin Reith (Isle of Ely)||Hacking, Captain Douglas H.||Mason, Robert|
|Cory, Sir C. J. (Cornwall, St. Ives)||Ha[...]lwood, Augustine||Matthews, David|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Hall, Lieut.-Col. Sir F. (Dulwich)||Middlebrook, Sir William|
|Cowan, D. M. (Scottish Universities)||Hall, F. (York, W. R., Normanton)||Mills, John Edmund|
|Dalziel, Sir D. (Lambeth, Brixton)||Halls, Walter||Mitchell, Sir William Lane|
|Davidson, J. C. C. (Hemel Hempstead)||Hamilton, Sir George C.||Molson, Major John Elsdale|
|Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred Moritz||Roberts, Samuel (Hereford, Hereford)||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Roberts, Sir S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Tillett, Benjamin|
|Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.||Robertson, John||Tryon, Major George Clement|
|Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Rodger, A. K.||Turton, Edmund Russborough|
|Murchison, C. K.||Rose, Frank H.||Vickers, Douglas|
|Murray, Rt. Hon. C. D. (Edinburgh)||Rothschild, Lionel de||Waddington, R.|
|Murray, Dr. D. (Inverness & Ross)||Royce, William Stapleton||Walsh, Stephen (Lancaster, Ince)|
|Murray, John (Leeds, West)||Rutherford, Colonel Sir J. (Darwen)||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor|
|Myers, Thomas||Rutherford, Sir W. W. (Edge Hill)||Ward, Col J. (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Naylor, Thomas Ellis||Samuel, A- M. (Surrey, Farnham)||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Neal, Arthur||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert Arthur||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter)||Sassoon, Sir Philip Albert Gustave D.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Nicholson, Reginald (Doncaster)||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Warner, Sir T. Courtenay T.|
|Norton-Griffiths, Lieut.-Col. Sir John||Scott, Sir Leslie (Liverp'l, Exchange)||Watts-Morgan, Lieut.-Col. D.|
|O'Grady, Captain James||Seager, Sir William||Wedgwood. Colonel Josiah C.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Seely, Major-General Rt. Hon. John||Weston, Colonel John Wakefield|
|Palmer, Brigadier-General G. L.||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)||Wheler, Col. Granville C. H.|
|Parker, James||Shaw, William T. (Forfar)||White, Charles F. (Derby, Western)|
|Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||White, Col. G D. (Southport)|
|Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry||Shortt, Hit. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Peel, Col. Hn. S. (Uxbridge, Mddx.)||Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, South)||Williams, C. [Tavistock)|
|Percy, Lord Eustace (Hastings)||Smith, sir Harold (Warrington)||Williams, Lt.-Col. Sir R. (Banbury)|
|Perkins, Walter Frank||Smith, Sir Malcolm (Orkney)||Wilson, James (Dudley)|
|Perring, William George||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Philipps, Gen. Sir I. (Southampton)||Spencer, George A.||Wilson, Lt-Col Sir M.(Bethnal Gn.)|
|Philipps, Sir Owen C. (Chester, City)||Stanley, Major Hon. G. (Preston)||Windsor, Viscount|
|Pinkham, Lieut.-Colonel Charles||Starkey, Captain John Ralph||Winterton, Earl|
|Pollock, Rt. Hon. Sir Ernest Murray||Steel, Major S. Strang||Wintringham, Margaret|
|Pownall, Lieut.-Colonel Assheton||Stephenson, Lieut.-Colonel H. K.||Wise, Frederick|
|Pratt, John William||Stevens, Marshall||Wood, Hon. Edward F. L. (Ripon)|
|Pretyman, Rt. Hon. Ernest G.||Strauss, Edward Anthony||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Sugden, W. H.||Wood, Major Sir S. Hill- (High Peak)|
|Randies, Sir John Scurrah||Sutherland. Sir William||Worsfold. T. Cato|
|Rankin, Captain James Stuart||Swan, J, E.||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Ratcliffe, Henry Butler||Sykes, Colonel Sir A. J. (Knutsford)||Young, Sir Frederick W. (Swindon)|
|Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel Dr. N.||Taylor, J.||Younger, Sir George|
|Remer, J. R.||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Rendall, Atheistan||Thomas, Sir Robert J. (Wrexham)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Richardson, Lt.-Col. Sir P. (Chertsey)||Thomson, F. C. (Aberdeen, South)||Colonel Leslie Wilson and Mr.|
|Richardson, R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Thomson, T. (Middlesbrough, West)||McCurdy.|
|Roberts, Frederick O. (W. Bromwich)||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|