asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, during the consideration of the Chartered Company's claim to the commercial ownership of the lands of Northern Rhodesia before Earl Buxton's Committee, the representatives of this company strongly urged that they should be allowed to come to some arrangement with the Colonial Office instead of the question being submitted to a legal decision by the Privy Council; whether Earl Buxton's Committee reached the unanimous conclusion that a private arrangement would be unsatisfactory, and that any solution reached must be in a legal form which would not be open to challenge by any of the parties affected in Northern Rhodesia; and whether the Secretary of State is prepared to renew the promise of his predecessor to accept the findings of Earl Buxton's Committee and refer the case to the Privy Council?
asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that nearly two years have elapsed since the Secretary of State appointed a Committee under Earl Buxton to consider the land question of Northern Rhodesia, and that this Committee reported that the only satisfactory method of dealing with the land titles of Northern Rhodesia would be to obtain a legal decision which would not be open to challenge, and recommended that the whole matter should be referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; whether he will take into consideration the great inconvenience caused by these delays; and if he will take action which will secure the early submission of a reference to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council1?
As regards the first two parts of the question of the hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood), the position is explained in paragraphs 8–14 of the Second Report of Lord Buxton's Committee (Cmd. 1471). As regards the third part, the Secretary of State has not yet had time fully to examine the issues involved, and I am, therefore, not in a position to make any statement at present.