I beg to move, in page 8, line 9, to leave out paragraph (b).
The Committee should examine the effect of the several special responsibilities which the Clause contains. We are dealing with the Federal Executive in these Clauses, and we find that executive power is limited and modified by special responsibilities on specific matters. We have heard a great deal during the debate in Committee about the list of subjects to which the Instrument of Accession do or do not apply, and there are a large number of special subjects for legislation by the Federal Government. We find many references to finance and that so far as federal finance is concerned the final authority rests not with the Federal Executive, not with the Federal Legislature but with the Governor-General in his own person. We find in Sub-section (2) that:
If and in so far as any special responsibility of the Governor-General is involved, he shall, in the exercise of his functions, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken.
In this very important matter of the safeguarding of the financial stability and credit of the Federal Government, the Governor-General is the supreme authority. It is very difficulty to say how far the Federal Government has any real power if the Governor-General has the right to withdraw from their control a matter of such great importance as the protection of the financial credit of the Government. We have heard a great deal about responsibility at the Centre. We claim that responsibility should be placed at the centre of the Federal Government. The Federal Government consists of the Princes, the Rulers of Indian States, and representatives of provincial bodies.
I heard the quotation from the "Morning Post," which has occupied the time of the Committee, but I did not carefully follow the position attributed to the Princes on this point. It is certain, however, that the Princes have made special objections to paragraphs (a) and (g) of this Clause. It is difficult to understand how the Princes, having raised those particular points, could have omitted to object to paragraph (b), be cause without responsibility and authority in matters of finance there is no self-government in the real sense. There is no power. Power resides in the control of finance in India as in this country. The executive body of the Government in this country has authority because it controls public finance. Without that control it would have no authority; all the authority would rest with the Crown, and this House of Commons and Parliament would have no power.
We find that the Federal Government in India is to be denied the authority which gives real power to this House of Commons and to representative assemblies in all parts of the world. I am not able to follow all the details of the finance involved in the Bill, but I have read Clause 134 and the following Clauses, laying down the machinery for the regulation of federal revenues, the collection of federal revenues and for exercising control over federal expenditure, but I do not know exactly the conditions under which the Governor-General is to exercise his special responsibility. I have read his speeches, I have heard the speeches of the Secretary of State and I have read the Bill, and so far as I know we have not been offered any direct guidance on that point. We do not know when it is that the Governor-General will exercise special responsibility and take over the safeguarding, by special action of his own, of the financial stability and credit of the Federal Government. There is no indication in any way that this is a temporary safeguard. There is no indication anywhere in the Bill so far as I can see that this final authority is to be vested in the Federal Government. If there is no intention at any point in the development of India's march towards Dominion status and no provision in the Bill for the vesting in them of control over finance, then it is not rue to say that this Bill does confer Dominion status upon India. We shall be able to do justice to the Amendment when the Secretary of State has replied on one or two of these points. We are anxious that he should make perfectly clear to the Committee at this stage the circumstances under which the Governor-General is expected to assume this special responsibility in regard to safeguarding the finances and credit of the Federal Government.
It is easy to put questions of this kind in the form of a dilemma. Either there is responsibility or there is not. If the Governor-General intervenes, it means that the Minister does not have responsibility. If, on the other hand, the Governor-General does not intervene, then it means that there is no financial safeguard. I have never admitted that kind of dilemma. I believe that it is perfectly possible for the Finance Minister of the Federation to be responsible and at the same time for the Governor-General to have the power of intervention in certain circumstances. I feel, further, that in actual practice, assuming that there is going to be commonsense on both sides—I still go on assuming that position—this kind of difficulty is not going to arise, or if it is going to arise it will arise very seldom. In 99 cases out of 100 there will be no difference of opinion between the Federal Minister and the Governor-General.
I cannot understand how, short of Bedlam, an Indian Finance Minister would wish to do anything to shake the credit of India. If that would be the attitude of the Federal Minister, surely then there would be no need for the Governor-General's intervention for the protection of the credit of India. I cannot better describe the position than by reminding the Committee of the paragraph in the report of the Joint Select Committee on the subject. If hon. Members will look at paragraph 170—I do not need to read it at length—they will see set out very carefully and effectively the position as we envisage it, namely that we do not assume this gulf between the two sections of the Government. We do not think it is likely to arise. If, however, it does arise the Joint Select Committee very definitely take the view, and I agree strongly with them, that in the interests of India—I emphasise the interests of India—it is necessary that the Governor-General should have the right of intervention.
I believe that one of the greatest benefits that the British Raj has conferred upon India has been Indian credit, namely, the fact that India has been able to borrow money at incredibly low rates of interest compared with other countries in a similar economic position. That is to a great extent due to the caution with which Indian finance has been admin istered, and the fact that the City here, from which India draws its loans, has always had full confidence in India's financial stability. No greater calamity could happen to India than anything which would shake Indian credit and make it impossible in the future for India to meet the various maturities of its loans or to have to meet them at exorbitant rates of interest. Further than that, looking to the future I am convinced that one of the greatest problems for India is to provide itself with capital for economic development. There is an almost boundless field, looking to the future, for economic development in the Indian continent. The cardinal factor in dealing with that need is the need of sound credit and cheap money, and I am sure that in the interests of am not saying anything of our own interests; I am not emphasising our own interests in the matter of loans, or in the matter of expenditure or the money for salaries or pensions—I am arguing the question on the interests alone of India—and in the interests of India it is absolutely necessary to have this special responsibility and to make it quite clear that there is no risk in the future of irresponsible or unwise action being taken that will endanger India's credit or the stability of Indian finance.
I am very glad that the Secretary of State proposes to resist the Amendment. I could not help feeling as I listened to the speech of the hon. Member who moved the Amendment that he was not giving sufficient weight to our responsibilities in this House with regard to this matter. We are proposing to hand over to our fellow subjects in India a larger share of the government of that country than they have had before. In doing that we cannot divest ourselves of our own responsibility for our past actions. We have in the past raised large loans on the credit of the Government of India. Those loans have been treated as trustee stock. They are largely held to-day by trustees. Many of our fellow countrymen have been employed as servants of the Crown in India, and it has been part of the terms of their employment that they would in due course enjoy certain pensions. I maintain that a very clear obligation rests upon this House and that we should take every step within our power to see that the interests of those holders of Indian stocks and of those people who are enjoying pensions are effectively safeguarded.
I am sorry that I included pensions, which are not covered by the Clause. I will confine myself to the case of the Indian stocks. It seems to me that we- have a very clear obligation to see that the claims of the holders of those stocks are met, and that the finances of India are so conducted that funds are available to meet them. As to the purely Indian aspect, the Secretary of State has already pointed out how vital, in the interests of India herself, it is that her credit should be maintained at the high standard at which it has been maintained in the past. That, I suggest to the Mover of the Amendment, is the answer to his question. The hon. Member expressed surprise that the Princes do not object to this Clause. I suggest that the reason is that they appreciate its value to India. On all these grounds I think that the Amendment would be most ill-advised.
There is a sense in which I think we can cordially agree with some part of the speech of the Secretary of State. Obviously we would all agree that it is necessary to safeguard the credit of India. That is an elementary proposition. But the proposition which is raised by our Amendment is as to whether the Governor-General should be the person who should have some special responsibility in regard to that matter. Of course, all through our discussions last week there has run, and probably in future there will run, the constant line of demarcation between right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite and ourselves. We naturally have a different philosophy, if I may call it that, from that of the Government. It was quite clearly brought out by the hon. Member who has just spoken. He spoke of the people of -position who have invested in trustee securities, and so on. I am not at all anxious that they should suffer financially by this change—far from it. Our primary concern in this business, on this side of the Committee, is as to how far we can transfer to the Indian people responsibility for their own concern. That is our approach. Therefore, in approaching the problem we put the Indian position first and our position second. That is not to deny the importance of the proposition which the last speaker has put before the House. The question is, is it a wise proposition that the Governor-General should have this special responsibility?
I have repeatedly said in these discussions that I am exceedingly anxious that the Governor-General should be, so to speak, above the battle in India in future, that he should not be drawn into these controversies that are apt to be so violent and so bitter at times. From that point of view I am anxious to keep the Governor-General outside the ambit of these discussions to the utmost extent. Let us take the other side of the proposition. Suppose that we do leave the Governor-General out of the picture and do not give him these special responsibilities, can we then feel assured that the Indian people, if they were exercising full and complete control in this matter, could be relied upon to do their job efficiently without discredit to the credit of India? Really, what evidence is there in support of the suggestion that the Indian people are less gifted in the matter of financial ability than the people of England? All my study leads me to the conclusion, I say quite frankly, that the Indian people, those who engage in this kind of operation, show just as much capacity and just as much dexterity as the most dexterous people in this country. Is it supposed that the Indian people in control of India will be less concerned with the credit of India than has been the case in the past? Does anyone suggest that people suddenly in possession of self-governmental powers will act in such a foolish way as to prejudice the credit of their own country? Does anyone suppose that? Obviously their elementary duty would be so to discharge their task as to raise the credit of that country to the highest possible extent in the world.
Let me return to the first proposition. What exactly does special responsibility for the financial stability of India involve? I do not want to cover ground which has been covered before, but we must recall what has been said in our discussions. There is a very high proportion of expenditure in India now upon one subject, namely, defence. A new Indian government, either at the centre or in the Provinces, must necessarily want to give proof to its people that self-government means something of real value to the general mass of the people. Unless the future government can prove that self-government in India means the raising of the standard of happiness and contentment of the great mass of the people, to that degree it will fail to convince the Indian people of the efficacy of self-government. It may desire to spend more money on social services. Is that an occasion for the Governor-General to come in? Is that what is meant and implied? Is that what is meant by this paragraph? We ought to know.
It is a vital thing to a country of this sort, where the social problems are so present and insistent, that the government should be free, within the bounds of reason of course, to embark on social reforms without the danger of the Governor-General stepping in and saying, "No, you must not spend more rupees on that than you spend now, because if you do you will thereby prejudice the financial stability of your country. I must intervene and stop it." That is what we fear. This exceptional power of the Governor-General may, when there is a Governor-General who is particularly timorous, be used in the direction of keeping down every element that moves in the direction of advance in the matter of social reform. So we take our stand on two grounds: first on the ground of our philosophy, the right of the Indian people to determine as fully as they can the measure of their own self-government; and, secondly, having granted that principle, to give them as complete responsibility as possible to determine for themselves the rate of progress which shall be registered in the realm of social reform.
I have been roused by some of the remarks of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones). I can only say, incidentally and in passing, how glad we are to know of the hon. Member's new-found care for the stability of the credit of India. We sincerely hope that in the months and years to come the value of good credit, which hon. Members opposite recognise so freely with regard to India, will become part not only of their principles but of their actions in this country also. I have perfectly valid reasons for saying that. The hon. Member for Caerphilly shakes his head, but he knows that as well as I do. Let me come to the concluding part of his speech. He asks, are we going, by maintaining this paragraph in the Bill, to prejudice the power of an Indian ministry to deal with the social needs of the people of India? Taking the whole question in a broad view, I would say that what we are safeguarding are the social needs of the people of India, because if the hon. Member considers the matter he will see how much the satisfaction of those social needs rests upon the credit of the country being first class. Hon. members should also remember that India cannot provide for them fully from her own resources, probably for years to come. She must always be a borrower in foreign markets.
I am thinking, as the hon. Member thinks, of the interests of the Indians themselves. India is bound to be a borrower in foreign markets for further railway development, for reservoirs and waterworks, and if she is to have housing and building schemes. For all those purposes good credit and cheap credit is essential. In a country like India, which is poor, unwise action may very quickly mean that her credit would be damaged from the point of view of lenders outside, and once that damage is inflicted years would be required to repair it. Think of a difference of two points of credit. It might almost double the cost of houses, or of the water supply or of the railways. From all these points of view I am sure the hon. Member will see that the need to safeguard India's credit is vital.
That was the hon. Member's other point, and I am going to deal with it. No one wishes, least of all myself, to say that there is any lack of individual ability in India. There is not. But it is true that at the outset there must be a lack of collective experience, and everyone in this Committee knows perfectly well how much we in this country in all parties owe to the collective experience that we have gained. Therefore, I support the inclusion of this paragraph, not because I would decry for a moment the power of intellect of any Indian, but just because my philosophy is different from that of hon. Members opposite. Their philosophy is static; my philosophy with regard to this matter is one of development. There ought to be safeguards at this stage of Indian development. They may not be needed later on, but in the early stages mistakes are easy, and the subject of finance is a peculiarly difficult one in which mistakes are most easily made. Mistakes are so easy with different schemes. There are so many of them, some of them good in themselves, some of them most attractive, and we all know the tendency there is to try to take them in hand if possible. For these reasons I say, from the point of view of the Indians themselves and from a quite justifiable philosophy, that to safeguard India in this matter during the years to come is highly necessary and desirable.
This Clause means that Indian ministers must be governed by orthodox views on finance. It means that they may not adopt a policy which is objectionable to the banks, to the Reserve Bank of India or to the Bank of England. But it is the policy of the banks which is being questioned nowadays in all quarters. We do not agree that financial dictation by the Bank of England has been so wise for many years past. Most of the mistakes made in the realm of finance have been made owing to the policy adopted by the Bank of England, by Mr. Montagu Norman, and, through him, by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Much worse, Sir Dennis, But suppose a finance minister in India wanted to adopt a different method of currency and to go in for inflation, what would the Governor-General do? The Governor-General of India, who would not be a financial expert himself, would only intervene because the Reserve Bank of India would say, "We do not agree with this; it is all wrong, and it will lead to disaster." So it really means—and I am sorry to bring in King Charles' head again—that Mr. Montagu Norman, besides being virtually King of England, will be virtually Emperor of India. The orthodox policy, which has led to disaster in this country, and not wholly in this country, but in other parts of the world, ought not to continue in India.
I agree with the last speaker that it is desirable to prevent any fear that the finances of India are controlled in the interests of this country. It is undesirable to let it be supposed that their tariff policy is controlled in the interests of the British people. But the Viceroy has a financial adviser of his own, and it is to be assumed that the advice given to him by his financial adviser will be definitely in the interest of India, and not in pursuit of any financial policy suitable primarily to this country. The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) suggested that by passing this Clause we should be making some reflection on the financial competence of leading men in India. I would hesitate very much to make any such reflection, because there is no question that India has produced financiers of very great ability. Indeed, some of them have shown greater prescience than some of our own in the last 15 years. But that is not the point. There is no reflection, it seems to me, in this Clause, because I think the hon. Member must have forgotten that only a few months ago we were discussing a situation in which a British Dominion was on the verge of default, not because it lacked among its own people men of financial ability—they were there—but because the political machine had got out of hand and because policies were pursued under political pressure which were obviously not wise from a financial point of view. In any inexperienced political system that is likely to happen, and this, so far from being a reflection on the people of India, seems to me to be a very wise precaution to prevent anything happening in India such as happened in Newfoundland. It is very desirable that the Viceroy, advised by his financial adviser, should be able to intervene at an earlier stage than the Secretary of State was able to intervene in the case of Newfoundland. Therefore, I shall most certainly oppose the Amendment.
I have been ruminating about the financial policy that has been followed by this country in the last 10 years and about its effect upon the colonial world. One would have gathered from the last speech and from the speeches of my right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) and the Secretary of State for India that our financial policy had been so inspired, that the interests of the Colonial world for the last 50 or 100 years had been so wisely controlled by us, that its interests were best served by putting its financial policy under our control. What actually is the position? The position is that the Colonial world is practically ruined by the financial policy of this country, that only recently we compelled the Australians to accept a much lower standard of life in the interest of British bondholders, and that salaries were reduced universally—
The hon. Member will please obey my Ruling. I rule definitely that, although he may refer to a case as an example, he must not here discuss in detail this question of Australia.
My position is that in financial matters in many of the Dominions and Crown Colonies the City of London has had predominant control, and the hon. Member knows very well that one of the charges brought against Wall Street and against Threadneedle Street is that they have pumped money into the Dominions and the Crown Colonies unnecessarily, that they have used their financial influence to place loans where loans were not justified.
The SECRETARY of STATE for DOMINION AFFAIRS (Mr. J. H. Thomas):
The hon. Member has made too important a statement to let it go by. Surely he must know, first, that, so far as the finance of any Dominion is concerned, the Dominion is absolutely responsible for it, and, secondly, that there is not a Dominion in the British Commonwealth which would not pay tribute to London for the facilities given to it. Incidentally, because of the facilities given, conversions have taken place that have relieved the Dominions of 22,700,000. I only intervene because my hon. Friend may be quoted in Australia, and it would not do to let misstatements pass.
That intervention of the right hon. Gentleman has added nothing to the information of the Committee and is entirely irrelevant. Everybody knows that the formal government of a Dominion is in the hands of the Dominion itself, but everybody knows that the reality of financial government is in the hands of financial interests, and the right hon. Gentleman has spent practically the whole of his lifetime until the present time in pointing it out. The proposition advanced here is that the credit of the new borrowing countries is safer in the hands of Great Britain than it is in the hands of those countries themselves. What is the present spectacle? World investment has practically broken down as a consequence of our control of it, as a consequence of the fact that the finances of the Colonial world have been dominated by the Western world and that the Colonial world has been impoverished by the financial policy of the Western world. The new nations are practically unable to borrow money in any quantity at the present time, and if they were able to borrow it, if they were credit-worthy, our export trade would mount enormously. That is the position, and it is known to everybody, yet we have this Pecksniffian attitude that we have such geniuses in finance, that we have managed our financial relations with the new nations so competently, that India would suffer grievous disaster if she were allowed to manage her own financial affairs.
The proposition contained in the Bill is that Indian finance should be governed in the interests of the Indian moneylender. This Bill does not, as a matter of fact, hand over the Government of India to what are euphemistically called the irresponsible masses of India. The Bill only enfranchises the property owners of India, who are very much concerned about Indian credit and are vitally involved in the development of their own commercial concerns. Is it conceivable that those people would carry out a financial policy which would jeopardise their own properties and their own undertakings? It is fantastic. If you were handing over India to the Indian working classes, you would expect them to be slightly irresponsible about the propertied classes, but we are enfranchising only the property owners of India, and I imagined that that would be a sufficient guarantee. But no, the real conflict is between the property owners of India and the property owners of Great Britain, and you want that safeguard in the Bill in order to safeguard the property owners of Great Britain against the rivalry of the property owners of India, so that if any controversy arises in the future, the Viceroy can intervene on behalf of the property owners of this country.
I submit to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India that in his discussion of dyarchy he really did not do justice to the facts. As I understand it, the Governor-General's veto may be exercised on every budget as it comes before the Indian Assembly. The Governor-General's safeguarding powers would be put forward every time. There will be pressure on many of the Indian legislatures to undertake expenditure in respect of social services, but they will have a splendid alibi. Whenever discussion takes place, what will they be able to say? "We cannot do this, because of the veto of the Governor-General." He has a veto on defence, so that he insists on a certain sum of money being always available in the budget. Under his obligation and responsibility to see to the defence of India, half the Indian budget goes there, and the rest, or a large part of it, is already preempted. If they propose to expend any additional money in order to improve the social services of the country, the Viceroy steps in, and if the Viceroy does not step in, he will not be doing his duty of safeguarding the credit of India. If the Viceroy does step in, then the British raj is again responsible for bad government in India.
That will be the contention, and, in order that the Governor-General's veto may be exercised, clever Indian politicians, anxious to make these safeguarding powers the football of Indian controversy, will put before the Governor-General proposals that he may have to veto; and that situation is going to occur year after year. I agree that this difficulty is implicit in dyarchy, but it is even more implicit and acrimonious in financial dyarchy, because this issue will be raised every year on the Indian Budget. I submit that it would be a legitimate prophecy to make that dyarchy in financial matters is going to be the most acrimonious element in Indian politics, because it involves just those questions which Indians are anxious to push forward for the improvement of their own people. In the interests of the reputation of Great Britain and of the British raj in India it would be far better to hand over the whole financial responsibility for the management of their affairs to the Indian people, and wipe our hands of any responsibility for it in the future.
Duchess of ATHOLL:
I think it is desirable very briefly to remind the Committee, while we are discussing these matters, that there are some special reasons for these words being in the Bill. I heartily endorse what my right hon. Friend the Member for Tamworth (Sir A. Steel-Maitland) and others have said as to the ability of many Indians, but we have to remember that India is a land where extreme opinions get much' more chance than they do in this country,' that it is a land of excitable tempera ments and a good deal of ignorance, and that as a result of Congress activities for nearly four years past the Congress party have been committed to a policy of repudiation of the Indian public debt in whole or in part. It was on account of that policy that representatives of civil servants expressed grave fears to the Joint Select Committee, on the first day on which they gave evidence, as to whether their pensions would be safe. Since then the Congress party, which had been standing out of the Assembly for some years, again put forward representatives, who repeated this policy of repudiation of public debt in whole or in part. We know to-day that Congress is the strongest party in the Indian Assembly, and therefore this question is one which we have to keep very much in mind when we are considering the question of India's credit and financial stability. A policy of further depreciation of the rupee has been much talked of among Indian politicians. Depreciation to 1s. 4d., and, I am told, even sometimes to 1s. or 9d., has been talked of. That again, if carried through, would very seriously affect the retiring incomes or pensions of men who have given their lives, and very often their health, to service in India; and it would also affect the pensions that they may leave to their dependants.
I feel also that the words in the Bill are very necessary from the point of view of Indian interests, because India is a poor country. It has very few people whose incomes are at such a level that they have to pay Income Tax; the great mass of the taxation is on commodities. Men who have been living in close touch with the peasants have said to me quite recently that they simply do not know how the people live and manage to pay the taxes that are exacted from them. Therefore, economical administration of India's finance is tremendously important in the interests of her people. Nevertheless, we have evidence of considerably increased expenditure since 1921. We have the evidence of the Simon Commission as to the greatly increased expenditure on education, with very little improvement in literacy. We have evidence of a 20 per cent. rise in expenditure both in the Provinces and at the centre, exclusive of the Army, since 1921. Therefore it seems to me that nothing is more necessary in the interests of the welfare of the masses than that there should be a guiding hand at the top. That the Governor-General, with the assistance of a Financial Adviser, should be able to safeguard the financial credit and stability of India, seems to me to be essential both for the welfare of the Indian people and for those who have to live on pensions charged on Indian revenue.
The Noble Lady has one Measure for this country and another Measure for India. She talked about the rupee, but she must have been well aware that there has been a big controversy, not by any means confined to India, as to the fixing of the value of the rupee. Many people think that a very grave error was made in that regard, but, after all, we made a similar error on the question of the Gold Standard, and why the Noble Lady should think that India would make a greater mistake than that which has already been made in this country I do not know. With regard to repudiation, the Indians, as the Noble Lady has said, are very clever—clever enough to imitate our Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, instead of repaying debt, make a token payment—
That is a matter of contract, and again I would point out to the Noble Lady that the Government which she supports broke contracts made with all kinds of people—Civil servants, workers and others. There again she has one measure for this country and another measure for India. The Noble Lady talks about the deplorable poverty of the Indians, but we have had examples of deplorable poverty in this country, in South Wales and elsewhere. I think the Noble Lady's argument is one that she had better apply to this country first of all. If she says that India is incapable of mangaging her affairs, then a fortiori this country is. Finally, the Noble Lady is quite wrong in her suggestion that there is going to be extravagant expenditure on education and so forth under this Measure, because, as she knows, education and social services are provincial matters—
Duchess of ATHOLL:
I never said that they were central; I merely pointed out that there are indications that expenditure, both central and provincial, has been rising in India, and that it is in the interest of the poor peasantry that administration at the centre should be as economical as possible.
Duchess of ATHOLL:
I did not mention any items, because I did not wish to trespass on the time of the Committee. I merely stated the fact that there has been a rise of about 20 per cent. in expenditure, both central and provincial, excluding the Army, since 1921. I pointed out that that is the trend of Indian finance, which I think we must watch very carefully in the interests of the people. I am well aware of the poverty that exists in this country; nobody could ignore it; but it must be borne in mind that in India there is no Poor Law, no unemployment insurance, and no health insurance—none of the safeguards that we have in this country.
I would point out to the Noble Lady that the biggest item of central expenditure is the Army, and I am afraid that it is likely to go up. No doubt the Noble Lady has in mind the fact that this year there is going to be an increase of £10,000,000 in the expenditure in this country on the Army, Navy and Air Force, and, if she wants to go on precedents in this country, that is where a heavy deficit is likely to be seen.
Up to the present I have taken no part in the discussions on this Bill, and I may say in passing that that has been because I believe that the Bill will never operate in any way. No person in India seems to desire it. But as regards this proposal of the Opposition I think the position is perfectly clear. To-day the Noble Lady has voiced the policy of the die-hards in connection with India; on this occasion she is supporting the Government and the Bill, and resisting the Amendment of the Opposition. I agree entirely with the view of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. A. Bevan), that the desire is simply to safeguard the finances in the interests of the bond-holding section, as against the use of money in connection with social reforms, education and so forth in India. One must agree, in spite of the assurances given by the Secretary of State for the Dominions, that, if examples are to be cited from the past, the concern has always been for the bondholders rather than for the interests of the common people. The general complaint in connection with the finances of Newfoundland was that interest and bonds had not been met, and that was the reason for the action taken in suppressing democratic Government in Newfoundland.
I only want to point out that, in connection with the safeguarding of the finances of Queensland at that time, the Government of this country demanded that legislation which had been enacted in that country should be put aside, or the money would not be found by the bond-holding section in this country with which to carry on the ordinary life of Queensland; and we saw Mr. Theodore coming to this country cap in hand and threatening to go to America to raise money because social legislation would not be permitted by the dominating governing influence of the ruling class in this country.
One point that comes out here is that the Bill narrows down the power to a small section of the propertied class. It is to that small section that power in India is being limited, but you are not prepared to entrust them with the handling of finance, because they might handle it to the detriment of the bondholders and in the interests of the peasants and workers of India. The Noble Lady says that there is a tremendous amount of ignorance in India; I would extend that statement and say that there is a tremendous amount of ignorance in every country throughout the world. But because men have not learned how to read and write, it does not necessarily follow that they are in a state of ignorance. The person who observes the natural things that happen in life may be more intelligent than one who has been to a university. I am not aghast at the idea that we have in India millions of people seeking to be entrusted with the financial dealings of their own country.
I say frankly that this Clause in the Bill will give power to the Governor-General to operate in every direction where it might be determined in that country to overstep a given line in financial dealings which would eliminate a certain amount of poverty that is in that country. The Governor-General would have power to say that shall not take place, because it would strike at the financial stability of this country. He would have a main eye on the guaranteeing of interest on bonds and, because of the fact that the finances of that country would not permit of the complete paying
of the interest to the bondholders, social legislation has got to be suppressed in the interest of the people in this country who at a great distance are dominating and controlling that unhappy country. Therefore, I am prepared to believe that the ruling class of this country, which can put in commissioners in one area to prevent the working-class from getting its standard of life, will operate in the same way in India and prevent the natural development that ought to take place in a civilised community such as India. I am under no delusions. I have no great interest in the Measure at all, because I hope that by the time it passes there will have developed in India a revolutionary movement which will refuse to operate it and will seize India for the Indian people.
|Division No. 76.]||AYES.||[5.32 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Edmondson, Major Sir James|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Albery, Irving James||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Sir J.A.(Birm., W)||Elliston, Captain George Sampson|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring)||Elmley, Viscount|
|Assheton, Ralph||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leotric||Emrys-Evans, P. V.|
|Baillie, Sir Adrian W. M.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blk'pool)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Clarke, Frank||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)|
|Ballour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Clarry, Reginald George||Everard, W. Lindsay|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M||Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst|
|Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar||Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Conant, R. J. E.||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)|
|Beauchamp, Sir Brogravo Campbell||Cook, Thomas A.||Fox, Sir Gilford|
|Beit, Sir Alfred L.||Cooke, Douglas||Fremantle, Sir Francis|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Cooper, A. Duff||Fuller, Captain A. G.|
|Bernays, Robert||Copeland, Ida||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace|
|Blindell, James||CourtauId, Major John Sewetl||Ganzonl, Sir John|
|Bossom, A. C.||Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Gibson, Charles Granville|
|Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Cranborne, Viscount||Gillett, Sir George Masterman|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Boyce, H. Leslie||Crooke, J. Smedley||Gluckstein, Louis Hallo|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Galnsb'ro)||Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Cross, R. H.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Curry, A. C.||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Dalkeith, Earl of||Graves, Marjorie|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd., Hexham)||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.J|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Davison, Sir William Henry||Grigg, Sir Edward|
|Brown. Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Dawson, Sir Philip||Grimston, R. V.|
|Buchan, John||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Guy, J. C. Morrison|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Denvilie, Alfred||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.|
|Bullock, Captain Malcolm||Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Dickie, John p.||Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)|
|Burton, Colonel Henry Walter||Donner, P. W.||Hammersley, Samuel S.|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Doran, Edward||Hanbury, Cecil|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Drewe, Cedric||Harris, Sir Percy|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Hartington, Marquess of|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Duggan, Hubert John||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)|
|Carver, Major William H,||Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Dunglass, Lord||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Eden, Rt. Hon, Anthony||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmst'd)||Milne, Charles||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Holdsworth, Herbert||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Hore-Bellsha, Leslie||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Hornby, Frank||Morrison, William Shepherd||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Horne, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert S.||Moss, Captain H. J.||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Horsbrugh, Florence||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Smith, Bracewell (Dulwich)|
|Hurst, Sir Gerald B.||Munro, Patrick||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine.C.)|
|Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Smithers, Sir Waldron|
|Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth. C.)||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Peterst'ld)||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Janner, Barnett||Nunn, William||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Soper, Richard|
|Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Ormiston, Thomas||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Ker, J. Campbell||Orr Ewing, I. L.||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose)||Patrick, Colin M.||Spens, William Patrick|
|Kerr, Hamilton W.||Peake, Osbert||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Pearson, William G.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Kirkpatrick, William M.||Percy, Lord Eustace||Stevenson, James|
|Knox, Sir Alfred||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Stones, James|
|Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Storey, Samuel|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Petherick. M.||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Law, Sir Alfred||Peto. Geoffrey K. (W'verh'pt'n.Bilston)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton|
|Leckie, J. A.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Lees-Jones, John||Potter, John||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Levy, Thomas||Pybus, Sir John||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Lewis, Oswald||Radford, E. A,||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Llewellin, Major John J.||Ramsbotham, Herwald||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Lloyd, Geoffrey||Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Tree, Ronald|
|Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Rathbone, Eleanor||Tryon, Rt. Hon. Georqe Clement|
|Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Rawson, Sir Cooper||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Ray, Sir William||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partlck)||Reid, David D. (County Down)||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Held, James S. C. (Stirling)||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Reiner, John R.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Richards, George William||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|McKie, John Hamilton||Ropner, Colonel L.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Watt, Major George Steven H.|
|McLean, Major Sir Alan||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Wayland. Sir William A.|
|McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Rothschild, James A. de||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Macpherson, Rt. Hon. Sir Ian||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Macquisten, Frederick Alexander||Runclman, Rt. Hon. Walter||White, Henry Graham|
|Magnay, Thomas||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Maitland, Adam||Russell, R. J. (Eddlsbury)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Salt, Edward W.||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Marsden, Commander Arthur||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Meller, Sir Richard James||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mills, Major J. D, (New Forest)||Savery, Samuel Servington||Sir Frederick Thomson and Sir|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Mainwaring, William Henry|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Maxton, James.|
|Banfield, John William||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Milner, Major James|
|Batey, Joseph||Hall. George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Jenkins, Sir William||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Jones. Morgan (Caerphilly)||Thorne, William James|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Kirkwood, David||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cove, William G.||Lawson, John James||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Leonard, William||Williams, Thomas (York. Don Valley)|
|Daggar, George||Lunn, William||Wilmot, John|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)|
|Edwards, Charles||McEntee, Valentine L.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||McGovern, John||Mr. Groves and Mr. Paling.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)|
That will leave to the Governor-General the safeguarding of the interests of minorities. Those are the words of the original Act of 1919. They have been altered in this Bill by the insertion of the word "legitimate." I do not know why the Government have put it in, but it seems to me, not speaking as a lawyer, that it is limitation. It means that it is not the duty of the Governor to look after the interests of minorities but only to look after their legal interests—interests which they have secured to them by law. The real difficulty is that in the Indian States there are no rights secured by law. In British India there is no discrimination against minorities. Before the law and before the police every man is equal; therefore the word "legitimate" does not matter so much. But it matters enormously in the case of the Indian States. There was a minority of Mohammedan Moplahs in the South of India who rose in rebellion. In every native State there are other minorities. We have had a very strong example lately of the Moslem minority in Cashmere which rose against oppression and had to be put down. These minorities have at present no legal rights. The inhabitants of the native States not being British Indians, have such rights as are allowed to them by the ruler. Their legal status and their legal rights, and therefore their legitimate interests must suffer if the Governor-General does not include the protection of minorities in those States as one of his special functions. The insertion of this word in the first place, therefore, is to eliminate the possible protection of the minorities in the Indian States from the purview of the Government so that a Prince will be able to say if any protest is made against his action that "these are not legal rights and legitimate interests, and therefore you have no right to interfere in the way I manage my own people."
May I ask for your Ruling, Sir Dennis. I apologise for interrupting the right hon. and gallant Member, but he is travelling, I suggest, a good deal wider than this rather fine point of the adjective "legitimate." Would it not be convenient to take a more general discussion and bring in these other matters at the same time as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman is already dealing inferentially with one or two of them?
That is my idea. The whole of that line in the Clause can be discussed now, and the question which I should actually put to the Committee would be that the word "legitimate" should stand part, and then, if it be desired, the right hon. and gallant Gentleman or others concerned with him can move the insertion of the words "racial, religious and political" and take a decision on the question in the Committee without further discussion.
The Amendments are directly contradictory. The first one endeavours to widen the scope of the special responsibility of the Governor-General, and the other is an endeavour to restrict the special responsibility of the Governor-General, and, therefore, they are not complementary but directly contradictory.
They are quite different points, but I think that my hon. Friend is wrong in saying that the second Amendment is restrictive. The second Amendment extends the "minorities" by including the racial religious and political minorities. The word "minorities" is defined later in the Bill. There is no question of economic minorities.
I was explaining that I want to confine myself solely at the moment to the word "legitimate," and that the insertion of this word seems to prevent the Governor-General from interfering in the case of minorities in the native States and that those minorities in the native States have created a considerable amount of trouble, and have aroused a considerable amount of sympathy in this House and in India in times past. It is certainly desirable that they should not be ruled out of the purview of the Governor-General, and that he should be able to protect these minorities even though the Princes might not wish that protection should be given. Before I depart from that subject, I feel that we are arguing here almost in the face of a, blank wall. Really, we ought to be arguing with Sir Akbar Hydari and Sir Ramaswami Aiyar. The House is apparently impotent unless they agree. It must have been at the instance of the Princes that that word has been inserted, and I think that while we may call ourselves a sovereign House and consider ourselves to be the arbiter of this Indian Bill, the discussion we have had in recent days about the powers of the Princes in this Bill makes it almost impossible that the Secretary of State should accept the Amendment.
The point of view I consider infinitely more serious is that this word "legitimate" may have been put in in order to sanction the form of treatment of minorities which would certainly be against their interest. We heard at Question time the other day from the Secretary of State for the Colonies of a certain law in Zanzibar, differentiating between Indians and other people in that Protectorate. It was justified, because there had been similar legislation passed in the Punjab whereby differentiation was made between Hindus and Mohammedans in the Punjab land ordinances. We are under this Bill setting up a new province of Sind. In that Province the Hindus will be in a very small minority. It will be almost inevitable that the land legislation which is now in force in the Punjab should be tried in Sind. Is the Governor-General to be in a position to stop that legislation or not? Is he to be in a position to protect the interests of the minorities by saying that such legislation must not be allowed, or is he by the insertion of the word "legitimate" to be ruled out from protecting British subjects against a form of discrimination which is utterly unknown elsewhere in the British Empire? The legislation quite simply is to prevent Hindus having the right to buy agricultural land whether it is in certain areas or wherever it is. Where that action is in force the Hindus may not buy land and may not foreclose on it and may not lend on a mortgage. The only purchasers are the Mohammedan landlords who can buy up the land very cheaply from the unfortunate ryots.
The Punjab land legislation has had a profound effect upon Hindu opinion all over India. It is the one piece of iniquitous legislation which they always bring up before you as an example of British injustice. Are we going to allow similar legislation elsewhere against Hindu or Moslem discriminating between the two religions and saying that either may not buy land? Are we going to allow that to injure the interests of minorities without allowing this House or the Governor-General to have any voice in the matter whatsoever? It all comes back to the communal issue which I will not go into now. The Hindus have no votes for the Mohammedans masters in Sind, and consequently no control over them. They are a minority without power and without votes. The only hope is that you will allow the omission of the word "legitimate," so that the Governor-General will still possess power to protect them from an iniquitous law in the sense that it is not equal between the two races. That one hope will be taken away from them if you change the wording of the original 1919 Act and substitute the new wording of this Act whereby the only interests which the Governor-General may protect are those interests which are established by law, and which are not interfered with by law.
The other point with which I will deal only very shortly is the question of the character and description of the minorities. What are the minorities? Later on you will see that they include certainly religious and communal minorities but not political minorities. Anyone who has realised the sort of constitution, the aggregation of property which is being set up as the great governing class of India under this Bill must realise that the people who will suffer will not be even the religious or the racial minorities, but above all the political minorities, the Communists and the Socialists. Some hon. Members know more or less what is going on in Japan at the present time and of the hopeless position of anyone accused of advanced doctrines there. You are establishing in India a Government quite as reactionary, and this House is deprived of any voice or say in the way in which they may treat their political minorities. If they are going to have Communists all over India having their heads chopped off for the mere crime of being Communists, and, if they are going to set up in India a similar system of government which is so firmly established in Germany and in Japan, then I say that it is our duty as Englishmen, to protect the rights of all and to see that the political minority are saved from oppression, intolerance, and brutal legislation; it is our duty to see that the British Governor-General and the British Parliament still have the power to stop it. Therefore, I beg of the Committee to consider carefully before they reject either of these Amendments, the confining of protection to those who have legal rights and the exclusion from minorities of that noisy and somewhat turbulent element, to see that those people are not handed over bound hand and foot, and that we lose all chance of speaking a word in favour of justice.
I will deal with the right hon. Gentleman's points in order and will begin with the Amendment to leave out the word "legitimate." I think he is attaching too much importance to this adjective. It does not in any way bring in the question of the Indian States. It will make no difference as far as the Indian States are concerned whether the word "legitimate" is in the Bill or whether it is not.
It is put in for the same reason that the word "interests" is put in, to provide the security intended—at all our discussions in Committee with Indians there was never disagreement there—to make it clear that they should be reasonable interests. There is no question of having the restrictive almost pedantic meaning suggested by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that it would mean only legal rights.
I do not really think that there would be any difference. I am not splitting hairs. There is no sub stantial difference. "Legitimate" is the word which has been used in all these discussions, and it would only create anxiety in the minds of minorities as much as in the minds of other people if we change the word now. There is no part of the Bill in which there are so many touchy issues as there are in this part, and I am quite sure that it is unnecessary to make the change.
Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the possibility of changing this word on report provided I can get the views of the Hindu Mahasabah on the matter, or provided he can get their views on the particular word?
I could not undertake to do that. Obviously, one would have to consult all these people, and, as far as I can remember, there has never been any question in our discussions about the word. It is true that some sections of the Indian people wished to carry it further, but we always resisted it, the Indian delegates, including the delegates of the Hindus and the representatives of the other communities, who were on the Committee, as well. The word has emerged from the earlier discussions, and I am quite sure that we should gain nothing in substance by making a change now.
Is it not the case that in our discussions the word "legitimate" was used in its general sense, not in the sense used by the right hon. and gallant Member; that is to say, it refers to general interests, not merely to legal interests?
The word is used to mean general interests in the sense explained by the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) and the Committee will remember that we deal with this question with great precision in the Instrument of Instructions. We explain how the Governor-General and Governors are to interpret these provisions in the Bill. If the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will look at Section 11 he will find that the Governor-General and Governors are definitely given the instruction not to put a kind of legalistic interpretation upon them, but to treat them in a broad and reasonable manner. That is the governing factor in the matter.
I come to the wider question raised by the right hon. and gallant Member: his proposal to extend the protection of minorities to political minorities. I feel sure that the more hon. Members think about this proposition the more impossible they will find it to be in practice. Obviously, it would strike at the root of representative government both in the Centre and in the Provinces if the Governor-General and the Governors were expected to intervene and set aside the decision of a majority on one day and put in its place a decision of the minority. Further, it would put the Governor-General in an almost impossible position. What is the minority to-day may be the majority to-morrow. The Governor-General would thus be in this position. In the first place, it would be impossible to carry it out, and, if he could carry it out, it would strike at the root of representative institutions in the Centre and in the Provinces, and would do the very thing we wish to avoid—namely, encourage irresponsibility in the Federal Legislature and in the Federal Executive. In this case, when dealing with minorities, we mean, first of all, the six minorities which have always been regarded as minorities in the phraseology we use, and, in the second place, we mean the backward races and backward communities, which for one reason or another cannot pull their weight under representative institutions. Those are the minorities we have in mind. We deal with them in the general phrase that the Governor-General must have latitude in his interpretation of his responsibilities, but we explain the way in which he is to exercise his responsibilities in the Instrument of Instructions, where we follow exactly the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee as set out in paragraph 79. Let me remind the Committee of the effective words in that paragraph:
Nor do we think that any good purpose would be served by attempting to give a legal definition of 'minorities,' the only effect of which would be to limit the protection which the Governor's special responsibility is intended to afford. No doubt it will be the five or six well recognised and more important minorities in whose interests the Governor's powers will usually be invoked; but there are certainly other well-defined sections of the population who may from time to time require protection, and we can see no justification for
defining the expression for the purpose of excluding them. We need hardly say that we have not in mind a minority in the political or parliamentary sense, and 110 reasonable person would, we think, ever so construe the word. Nevertheless to prevent misunderstanding, we recommend that the Instrument of Instructions should make this plain, and further that this special responsibility is not intended to enable the Governor to stand in the way of social or economic reform merely because it is resisted by a group of persons who might claim to be regarded as a minority.
Those reasons seem to be conclusive for keeping the definition as it is in the Bill and for not extending it on the lines suggested by the right hon. and gallant Member. It would undermine the whole structure of responsibility in the government and impose an impossible task on the Governor-General.
I have heard the explanation of the Secretary of State with regard to the word "legitimate," but there is one minority, perhaps the greatest of all minorities in India, who will be gravely affected if the word is allowed to remain in the Bill. I am speaking now of the untouchables or the scheduled castes. They are one of the religious minorities. They are regarded by every caste and religious class as entirely illegitimate, and I want to know exactly what their position will be in the States and in the Provinces. They are regarded by caste Hindus as being nothing, or less than nothing. In the Southern part of India they are not allowed to walk on the roads in which a Hindu lives. They are not allowed to draw water from the same well. Their children are not allowed to go to the same school. They must keep off the road if a caste Hindu comes along. They are, in fact and actually, considered by the Brahmins as less than nothing, and because of that I want the word to be deleted from the Clause. Indeed, in some parts of India, in the South-West in particular, it is not considered a crime for a Brahmin to kill an untouchable in some particular castes. If the word "legitimate" is allowed to remain in the Bill— those who rule will undoubtedly be Brahmins where you have a Hindu state—this so-called minority, which numbers between 50,000,000 and 60,000,000 people is not likely to get any consideration whatever.
If the word "legitimate" is left in I cannot see how the Governor-General is going to interfere, and, in my view, before long the untouchables or the scheduled castes will revert to the position in which they were before the British came to India. Since the arrival of the British in India the untouchables have had recourse to fair play from the British and to courts of law, prior to that they had no hopes either in life or in after life. With the Brahmins as the ruling caste they will of necessity revert to the state they were in before the British came to India. I believe that the Sudra, the only "once born," will be kept in subjection and the Governor-General will not have any right to interfere on their behalf. Even the Sudras, who represent three-quarters of the whole of the castes of India, are not considered to be anything. The higher castes, the ruling castes, must be the Brahmins, the ksyatrya, and the Vaishya, and the lower castes, probably representing 75 per cent. of the population, possibly 750,000,000 of people, will be without any rights if they depend on the word "legitimate." I cannot see how the Governor-General is going to interfere on their behalf. Their legitimate interests will not be looked after when they are ruled by Brahmins. I hope on behalf of the great majority of the scheduled castes, the untouchables, that the word will be deleted.
I cannot agree with the hon. and gallant Member for North Islington (Colonel Goodman) that the depressed classes have had the protection or the attention which they ought to have received from the British Government during the last 150 years. The very fact that all the disabilities of which we have heard exist to-day as they existed 150 years ago is sufficient proof of that fact.
I meant to suggest that while, 150 years ago, there were perhaps 100,000 of these people who were absolutely submerged, to-day, under British rule, at any rate a, few millions of them are able to earn their own livings and some occupy high places in the country. The British have certainly not cured the condition of the whole 100,000, but they have done a lot of good, and my argument is that the good which they have done may be lost in this way, and these classes may be put back to where they were formerly.
I do not desire to enter into a detailed discussion of the question, but I think the hon. and gallant Gentleman is wrong in his arithmetic. I certainly cannot agree with his general proposition. The representative of the scheduled classes, Dr. Ambedkar told me that, in spite of the fact that he was a graduate of a university in this country, of a university in the United States and of a university in Germany, in spite of the fact that he was a barrister-at-law with very high legal qualifications, he was not permitted to plead inside certain courts in India. He had to stand outside the court and plead through a window to the judges who were seated inside. That and other disabilities which have been mentioned, continue to exist to-day as they existed 150 years ago. But I do not wish to be drawn away from the principal point which I am anxious to make. I agree that the word "legitimate" ought to be left out of the Clause and, as the Solicitor-.General is in his place, I hope that we shall have from him a legal definition of this word. I always thought that the word "legitimate" meant sanctioned or authorised by law, but according to the definition given by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for State it is to be taken as meaning "proper." I think we ought to have an authoritative statement from the Solicitor-General on the definition of the word.
We on this side desire to see a good deal more protection given to the minorities than the purely legal protection to which they are entitled by law. We submit that they are entitled to protection in a great many other respects. Who is going to say whether it is the legitimate interests of a minority which are being attacked in a paticular case? [HON. MEMBERS: "The Governor-General."] Then, are those interests to be purely legal interests or are they to include other interests? My own view and I think my party's view is that all interests of minorities as defined in the Instruments of Instruction, should be subject to the protection of the Governor-General. The second Amendment which stands on the Paper in the name of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) is, in substance, the same as one to which my name is appended except that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has included the word "political." I think the object of those Amendments, at least the object which I have in mind, is largely met by paragraph 11, page 4, of the Instruments of Instruction, but I wish to ask the Secretary of State some questions on that point. It will be seen that here again the word "legitimate" appears. In our view it is a restrictive word and, subject to any advice which the Solicitor-General may give to us concerning it, I submit that it ought not to appear in this Clause.
I understood that the object of the Government and of the Joint Select Committee was to obtain protection for members of the community who, through lack of educational or material advantages, could not put their own case before those in authority. That description clearly applies to the depressed classes or as they are now described the scheduled classes. They have no representatives at all on the Council of State under the Government plan. They have only 19 representatives in the Assembly. Therefore I take it that they would without question come within the definition in the Instruments of Instruction. I am perfectly content that all those classes who cannot otherwise represent their views or have them represented, should be able to rely in the last resort on the Governor-General, but I wish to know whether this definition would also extend to the landlords, the taluqdars, who might have taxation placed upon them. Would they be regarded as proper subjects for the invocation of the Governor-General's powers. The Committee will remember that they have ample representation—as indeed have all the other classes possessing property and wealth—in the various legislatures. If I were satisfied that this protection was designed for those who have not the means of protecting themselves I, personally, should not be inclined to press the Amendment to a Division. On the other hand, if it is designed to give additional protection to those who are already amply protected and who are well represented in the various legislatures, then, very different considerations would apply.
There is another question which is of a rather legal character and with which, again, the Solicitor-General might assist us. If we limit tile power of interference to racial or religious matters, would not that according to what is known as the ejusdem generis rule, limit the power of the Governor-General very considerably? Would it not be better to leave the matter wide open rather than restrict his powers in that way? I shall be guided in that matter by the Solicitor-General, but on the general question put forward by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme I feel, and I think hon. Members on these benches would agree, that the Clause would be better without this word "legitimate."
We are dealing here with a very weighty and special responsibility of the Governor-General. Sub-section (2) of the Clause provides that the Governor-General shall in the exercise of his powers "use his individual judgment," and according to the definition given to us by the Solicitor-General last week, exercising his individual judgment means that before he comes to a, decision he must consult his Indian advisers. The word "legitimate" may very easily cause difficulty to the Governor-General in such discussions. The discussion which we have just heard shows how the word may give rise to difficulties. The Secretary of State has drawn attention to paragraph 79 of the report of the Joint Select Committee. In that paragraph the phrase "legitimate interests" is described as a reasonable and suitable formula. It is also stated that the joint memorandum of the British India delegation wished to have the phrase strictly defined, but the Committee, wisely I think, refused to define it strictly because, as it stood, it allowed the question to be dealt with in the widest sense. In these Amendments it is desired to carry on that process and to allow the Governor-General to deal with this most important subject of the interests of minorities in the widest possible sense.
I think my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) was well advised to raise this question. I am bound to say that when I read the Clause it did not occur to me that there was all this significance to be attached to the word "legitimate." Obviously, and on the face of it, we would not expect the Viceroy to protect the illegitimate interests of minorities, but after the explanation of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, it is clear that a definite and important significance is attached to the introduction of this word "legitimate." In the ordinary course, this sentence would have read simply "safeguarding the interests, etc." One would have thought that the Viceroy, on whom we are showering all these various functions, to whom we are entrusting this immense process of discrimination in all these matters and the power of deciding when to intervene and when not to intervene, on whom we are imposing these many extraordinarily subtle and complex tasks—one would have thought that this high functionary, this gifted being, would be able to distinguish between interests which were legitimate and those which were not legitimate, without the necessity of stating it, in the terms of the Statute.
It seems to me that we are here in the presence of some understanding which has been reached with certain classes in India—and for what? My hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Islington (Colonel Goodman) raised the question of the untouchables. What does the Secretary of State regard as the legitimate interests of the untouchables? We know what their interests in the ordinary sense are. Their chief interest is to be treated as human beings. But what are their legitimate interests? How much are their interests narrowed down by this word "legitimate"? I should have thought, now that British protection was going to be withdrawn from the minorities, in the first instance, that the Government would have been most anxious to confer upon the Viceroy the widest and most unfettered discretion in dealing with the minorities and giving them protection.
We have not heard from the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General anything upon the legal aspect of this question but obviously, if ever such matters could be brought to examination in a court, the court would put a construction upon these words. I know that the acts of the Viceroy are not subject to examination by a court, but in so far as these words can be construed by a court, it is perfectly clear that a very definite construction will be put upon the word "legitimate." I say that this word has been put in to safeguard and to shelter abuses and oppressions which have lasted so long and are so deeply rooted and so widely spread that it is not found convenient to attack them. I should have thought that the Government, in making this charter for India, would have considered it worth while to write boldly and simply that the Viceroy was to be responsible for protecting the interests of minorities. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State has, for purposes which have certainly not been made clear to this Committee, introduced this limiting word, and I trust that we shall hear from someone on the Front Bench a fuller explanation. We have been told to look into the Instruments of Instructions. It may be legitimate—I beg the Committee's pardon, I should say reasonable—to go to the Instruments of Instructions for guidance upon the point, but why is it necessary to write this word "legitimate" upon the face of the statute I cannot understand it. There is evidently something obscure behind it and, in my view, the Government ought to offer the Committee a further explanation.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) is always anxious to find some dark conspiracy in a word. I am as responsible for this word as the Secretary of State and I venture to assure him that I have been neither bribed nor corrupted, nor have I been retained by any interest to protect abuses which it is not convenient to remove.
I do not know what other implication is to be gathered from my right hon. Friend's remarks. The remarks to which I wish to reply are those of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for North Islington (Colonel Goodman). It is to be remembered that this Clause is the instruction which this. House and Parliament are giving to the Governor-General. It lays certain re sponsibilities upon him which will be explained by His Majesty in the Instruments of Instruction. How can we lay on the Governor-General the responsibility of protecting the interests of minorities in words which would imply that it is his responsibility, imposed on him by Parliament, to protect all the interests of every minority? That would be clearly impossible. We want to tell him to protect those interests which he considers to be the important, equitable legitimate and reasonable interests.
I think that in the original Act it was a provision interpretable by the courts, if I remember aright. What must the Governor-General do in dealing with the depressed classes? Clearly the depressed classes as a minority have grievances of the most terrible kind; they have interests of the most important kind. Take, for instance, the Temple Entry Bill. That was a Bill introduced in the Central Legislature for compelling the higher caste communities to admit the scheduled castes to the temples. Was that a legitimate interest of the depressed classes. It was certainly strongly urged. Are you going to leave the Governor-General no discretion as to whether it is wise or desirable to legalise the rights of the depressed classes in such a way as to affect the conduct of Hindu public worship? That is the sort of question which the Governor-General has to decide in considering the word "legitimate." I have some acquaintance with the English language, and it never occurred to me that "legitimate" was not, on the whole, the most appropriate word that could be used for describing a distinction of that kind. When my hon. and gallant Friend and my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Mr. A. Somerville) says "A Brahmin minister, because of these words, will be able to prevent the Governor-General from protecting the depressed classes," it is clear, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping has pointed out, that no Brahmin minister or anybody in India will have the interpretation of these words. They are words to be interpreted by the Governor-General in his own discretion and by the Secretary of State as being responsible to this House, and by nobody else at all. The idea that the Governor-General will be hampered in discussions with his Ministers because this word is in the Bill is unreasonable—as unreasonable as it would be to argue, as I should never do, that the Governor-General would be hindered in discussing the Temple Entry Bill with the depressed classes if he were not backed up by some word like "legitimate." It is absurd to suppose that the sort of person whom His Majesty's Government will appoint as Governor-General will be unable to answer any unreasonable interpretation which may be placed upon this word by Indian ministers. That is the reason, I apprehend, for this word. It is simple and straightforward, and I am certain that, whatever word the linguistic purists may urge as an alternative to "legitimate," you must have some such word in if you are to give the Governor-General solemn instructions from Parliament as to his general line of conduct.
The Noble Lord is a typical Brahmin, while I am a mere Sudra, only once born, and I trust I shall never be born again. The real point at issue in this Amendment is not what the Governor-General may or may not do, but what this House may or may not do. In this case we reserve to the Governor-General the right to protect minorities, but we reserve to ourselves the right to ask questions about the treatment of minorities.
May I ask the Secretary of State two definite questions? Is it a legitimate interest of the outcasts that they should be allowed to be converted to Christianity? Would a law which prevented a Sudra from being converted to Christianity, or which made it punishable to be converted to Christianity, passed, it may be, in an Indian Province or an Indian State, be a legitimate interest in which the Governor-General and this House could interest itself and protect the minority? The second question is whether it is a legitimate interest of the Hindu in Sind to be allowed to buy land as freely as any other inhabitant of that Province These are the sort of cases that may crop up in which there would be some doubt as to what was the interpretation of the words "legitimate interests." If a law is passed, it seems to me it ceases to be a legitimate interest of the minority to resent the passage of that law and to say that in spite of it they ought to be treated like human beings. In the same way, if a law is passed in Sind similar to the Punjab legislation, depriving the Hindu of the rights he has enjoyed for generations to cultivate and buy land, does it cease to be his legitimate interest and does the Governor thereby cease to be able to interfere to stop such legislation?
I can assure the right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) that the word "legitimate" makes no difference at all. The Solicitor-General confirms me in the view that it has none of the legalistic meaning that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman thinks. The two questions which he put to me would be decided independently of the question whether there were legitimate interests or whether there was not. They would be taken on their merits, and the fact that "legitimate" is in the Bill would make no difference.
If that be the case, if the word "legitimate" is not needed, why is it in the Bill? The right hon. Gentleman has stultified his other speech as far as I can understand and contradicted himself. Having consulted his legal advisers, he now says there is no virtue in the word. I never thought there was. It is one of those expressions which, apparently, have a soothing effect on certain people, but does not alter the
character and meaning of the statute at all. Why do you want to put it in? The Bill is surely long enough without seeking to find excuses for interpolating super-flous adjectives. There is no point in it at all. The right hon. Gentleman ought to accept the Amendment if it makes no difference and if he wishes to give some guidance to the Governor-General to say that, in protecting interests, it does not mean that he is to make himself the champion solely of those interests without regard to any other considerations. I hesitate to make any suggestion of a drafting character lest my right hon. Friend should retort on me with pontifical severity, but I would ask him, if this Amendment makes no difference, to accept it and leave out the word "legitimate."
My right hon. Friend does not mean to be so, but he is really an unfair controversialist. I was attempting to answer the two questions put to me by the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood). I was not dealing with the more general point at all, which I thought had been conclusively answered by my Noble Friend the Member for Hastings (Lord E. Percy), as to whether "legitimate" is a good word to put in. I was dealing specifically with the two questions of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman. I have nothing to add to what my Noble Friend said. I think, on the whole, it is much beter to keep this word in.
|Division No. 77.]||AYES.||6.45 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Assheton, Ralph||Beit, Sir Alfred L.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley|
|Albery, Irving James||Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd)||Baldwin-Webb, Colonel J.||Bernays, Robert|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Blindell, James|
|Amery, Ht. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Boulton, W. W.|
|Apsley, Lord||Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Bower, Commander Robert Tatton|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Ramsbotham, Herwald|
|Braithwaite. J. G. (Hillsborough)||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Brats, Captain Sir William||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Ray, Sir William|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham-|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'l'd, Hexham)||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Richards, George William|
|Burnett, John George||Holdsworth, Herbert||Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Hornby, Frank||Robinson. John Roland|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Horsbrugh, Florence||Ropner, Colonel L.|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Rothschild, James A. de|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romford)||Runciman, Rt. Hon. Walter|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C-)||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Janner, Barnett||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Chamberlain.Rt.Hon.SirJ.A.(Birm., W)||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Salt, Edward W.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)|
|Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring)||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)||Lambert, Rt. Hon. George||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).|
|Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric||Law, Sir Alfred||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Clarke, Frank||Leckie, J, A.||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Lees-Jones, John||Selley, Harry R.|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Lewis, Oswald||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Conant. R. J. E.||Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Llewellin, Major John J.||Skelton, Archibald Noel|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Loder, Captain J. de Vere||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dlne.C.)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Loftus, Pierce C.||Smithers, Sir Waldron|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Cross, R. H.||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)|
|Crossley, A. C.||MacAndrew, Lt.-Col. C. G. (Partick)||Soper, Richard|
|Curry. A, C.||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||McCorquodale, M. S.||Spears, Brigadier-General Edward L.|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Spender-Clay, Rt. Hon. Herbert H.|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Spens, William Patrick|
|Denville, Alfred||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Oliver (W'morland)|
|Despencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||McKie, John Hamilton||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Dickie, John P.||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Stevenson, James|
|Doran, Edward||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Stones, James|
|Drewe, Cedric||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)||Strickland, Captain W. F.|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Macmillan, Maurice Harold||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Magnay, Thomas||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Dunglass, Lord||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Summersby, Charles H.|
|Eden, Rt. Hon, Anthony||Manningham-Butler, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Edmondson, Major Sir James||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Derby)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||Martin, Thomas B.||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Elmley, Viscount||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Meller, Sir Richard James||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Train, John|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Milne, Charles||Tree, Ronald|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.|
|Fox, Sir Gifford||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||Morrison, William Shephard||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Moss, Captain H. J.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Munro, Patrick||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|George. Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Gibson, Charles Granville||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.||White, Henry Graham|
|Glyn, Major Sir Ralph G. C.||Orr Ewing, I. L.||Williams, Charles (Devon. Torquay)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Palmer, Francis Noel||Williams. Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Patrick, Colin M.||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Grigg, Sir Edward||Peake, Osbert||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Grimston, K. V.||Pearson, William G.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Guest, Capt. Rt. Hon. F. E.||Penny, Sir George||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Percy, Lord Eustace||Wood, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Kingsley|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Perkins, Walter R. D.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Petherick, M.||Young. Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Hamilton, Sir R.W.(Orkney & Z'tl'nd)||Peto. Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)||Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Hammersley, Samuel S.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Potter, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Harris, Sir Percy||Pybus, Sir John||Major George Davies and Dr. Morris-Jones.|
|Harvey, Major Sir Samuel (Totnes)||Radford, E. A.|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Milner, Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Banfield, John William||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Bracken, Brendan||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W.Riding)||Remer, John R.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Buchanan, George||Hartington, Marquess of||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cape, Thomas||Jenkins, Sir William||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.(P'dd'gt'n.S.)|
|Cleary, J. J.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Kirkwood, David||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Knox, Sir Alfred||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Josiah|
|Daggar, George||Logan, David Gilbert||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Lunn, William||West, F. R.|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||McEntee, Valentine L,||Williams. Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Dixey, Arthur C. N.||McGovern, John||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Donner, P. W.||Macqulsten, Frederick Alexander|
|Edwards. Charles||Maitland, Adam||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Maxton, James||Mr. Paling and Mr. Groves.|
I hope the Committee will agree unanimously with this Amendment, It is really a drafting Amendment, but it is meant to safeguard a very important point. The members of the Services were doubtful whether the wording of the Bill covered the rights not only of members of the Services before the operation of the Federation measure but whether it also covered the rights of retired members of the Services and the dependants of past and present members. It was always intended that the provisions should cover past and present members of the Services and their dependants. The case that particularly caused anxiety in the minds of some members of the Services was that of pensioners. They were afraid that under the original draft it might appear that the Governor-General was not entitled to insist upon adequate sums being provided, not only for the Services, but also for the pensions of the- dependants of the various officials. The object of this Amendment is to make quite clear what has always been in the minds of the Joint Select Committee and the Government, that the safeguard is intended to cover the rights of all those persons whom I have just mentioned. Lastly, let me emphasise the point, and I do so with the purpose of reassuring the Services, that the responsibility for seeing that the money is provided for these various Service claims will be upon Parliament and the Secretary of State. The responsibility will be upon our shoulders to see that the Governor-General provides a sufficiency of funds from Indian revenues. I say that with emphasis for the purpose of removing suspicions which have been, quite unnecessarily, raised in the minds of many persons.
I do not rise to oppose this Amendment, but I should like to ask whether we can be assured that nothing in it implies the creation of any new interest at all, that there is nothing except what is now understood to be the rights of civil servants in the Indian Service—that no new vested interest is created.
The paragraph will read as follows:
The securing to, and to the dependants of, persons who are or have been members of the public services of any rights provided for them by or under this Act.
May I suggest that it would be much easier to put the word "members" back again, making it read:
securing to members and to the dependants of persons who are or have been.
If the word "members" is repeated it is easier and better drafting.
Duchess of ATHOLL:
As my name is down to a similar Amendment, which I think is better worded than the Amendment of the Secretary of State, I should like to say that we welcome very much the fact that the Secretary of State has now made the position quite clear. It was not clear to a number of people that persons who had ceased to be members of the public service and the dependants of those persons were included in the original wording, and I am very glad that that has now been put beyond the possibility of doubt; but, as regards what my right hon. Friend said about the Governor-General having the power to see that, funds were made available for this purpose, may I remind the Committee that the Governor-General will not be collecting the revenues. He will have no control over the collecting of revenues, and it is quite possible that there may be conditions which may make the collection of revenue very much less efficient than it is at present.
Duchess of ATHOLL:
I only wish to ask the Committee not to take it for granted that it is perfectly easy for the Governor-General to assure that the funds are there for the purposes mentioned here, because he does not control the collection of revenue and, therefore, it is quite possible that the revenue may not be forthcoming when it is needed.
I beg to move, in page 8, line 22, after "Kingdom," to insert "British Empire."
My reason for moving this Amendment is that the Sub-section which gives the Governor-General power to deal as he thinks fit with any action which may penalise or discriminate against imports from the United Kingdom or from Burma does not appear to give him power to deal with any such action which may be imposed against Colonial or British Dominion imports. That seems rather a serious point, as public opinion to-day is so strongly in favour of inter-Empire trade. Should such action be taken against imports from any of our great Dominions, Australia, New Zealand or Canada, or any of our Crown Colonies, it would arouse a prejudice, and in view of the fact that at the Ottawa Conference India was represented, I think that any impediment or any prejudice which was aroused would be very much against the interests of the British Empire.
This Amendment is one that, on the face of it, would naturally appeal to most of us in this House, but there is a back history to this question which, I think, will put a somewhat different complexion on it. Feeling in India in the past has been very strong indeed against discrimination exercised in various parts of the Empire against Indians, whether in the stopping of emigration or the exercise of citizen rights or even, as in South Africa, in the limitation of trading rights. There has been continual difficulty as between the Dominions and the British Government by the appeal on behalf of the Indians to exercise a modifying influence and to endeavour in some way or other to modify Dominion policy. It was not until the Imperial Conference of 1921, that, with the full agreement of Indian representatives as well as of the Dominions, the matter was left on the footing that these were essentially questions to be dealt with directly between India and the Dominions. Ever since then the mutual Indian and Dominion relations have been greatly improved.
The fact that India has the right to retaliate against discrimination of Indian goods and Indian subjects has improved and not deteriorated those relations, and has diminished a certain inferiority complex; it has worked on the whole in the right direction. I believe that would apply equally here. For us in this House who are, after all, not directly concerned with defending Dominion interests to do so would, I think, possibly create prejudice in India, and would not help the improvement of economic relations. Ever since the Ottawa Conference, economic relations between India and the Dominions have been on a very good basis, and there is every prospect of those relations increasing. I think the same also applies to the relations between India and the Colonies. I would suggest that whatever may be the theoretical appeal of my hon. Friend's Amendment, in practice the interests of Empire trade will be better guarded by not endeavouring to include a provision which has a particular historical origin arising from the intimate economic and general partnership between this country and India, and a particular justification in the case of Burma where the Governor will exercise a particular discretion vis-a-vis Burmese discrimination. In these circumstances, I think it is possibly wiser not to press the Amendment.
I do ask the Committee seriously to consider this Amendment, because if anything could convince me of its necessity the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who has just preceded me would do so. I never thought to hear from him in this House that the trade of the Empire was not our primary concern in this House. I never thought to hear from him the suggestion that the rights of the Dominions should not he safeguarded as jealously as the rights of this country—the right to trade with an Empire which, after all, they did assist to build up. It may be tactless to remind the Government that the British Empire exists; in fact, we have frequently felt that it is so, but I never expected this heresy from the right hon. Gentleman. If it is necessary to safeguard United Kingdom trade against discrimination, is it not just as necessary to safeguard Canadian or Australian trade? We are looking for considerable reciprocal benefit from these Dominions in future, if ever we adopt an Imperial policy, and if we look for these benefits we must give them something in return, some protection. It is true, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, that there have been cases at issue between India and the Dominions, but they have not been cases of trade, but mainly of emigration and of the rights of Indians in various Dominions.
Australia frequently prohibits the admission to her territory of Asiatic races for reasons which seem good to the Australian Government of whatever political colour, it may be Socialist or United Australia. South Africa has its own problems with the admission of Asiatic population, but are we to allow this new Indian federal government to make these matters, which stand on a plane entirely of their own, the basis of a trade war by their own discrimination? It seems that if there is to be any safeguard at all it must be a reserved province of the Governor-General. We all know that in any assembly of Asiatics tempers are apt to run high, and very frequently they give vent to opinions in which they do not really very much believe. We have been assured on several occasions recently by the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State that such responsible people as the Indian Princes do not really mean what they say and, if so, how much more will this elected Federal Assembly be tempted into action which they may subsequently regret? If we are to have safeguards of any kind whatever, this is one of the most reasonable which can be inserted in the Bill, and there is no argument for refusing it if we believe that there is such a thing as the British Empire. If we believe that Imperial interests should be considered and treated by what is still the Imperial Parliament and not the local governing body for the British Isles, we must insert this provision.
I wish to ask the Secretary of State whether the Dominions have been consulted in this matter, and whether any of the High Commissioners in London representing the Dominions have been approached and asked what their point of view is in this regard. I was shocked to hear the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery). He said that we were not concerned to defend the interests of the Dominions in this House. That was not the point of view held by the Dominions during the Great War, and it is not, I hope, the point of view that will ever be taken by the Imperial Parliament if any of the Dominions in the British Empire happen to be directly involved with a foreign Power. I should like to know if the Secretary of State would be good enough to answer whether the Dominions have been consulted or not, and what will be their point of view if they are left in the lurch as is now proposed. I submit that to leave them entirely to look after themselves is contrary to the spirit of our Imperial policy.
Hon. Members must not assume that those who support the Bill are less Imperialist in their sentiments. I rather demur at the kind of insinuations that have been made as to our not being interested in the Empire. Let us get rid of prejudice of that kind. Let us approach the question on its merits. The position is that British trade with India is so extensive, and has existed for so many generations and has conferred so many benefits on India, that it has undoubtedly claimed special treatment. The basis of our proposal is this long partnership between British and Indian trade. That is the justification for the special safeguards that we propose for British trade, namely, no discrimination and reciprocity of treatment. The justification for this provision is this partnership between Great Britain and India, the immense extent of British trade with India and the interests that have grown up as a result of them.
No such state of affairs exists in other parts of the Empire. The Dominions on the whole have not very much trade with India. It is not a trade which, by any stretch of the imagination, could be compared either in extent or in character with British trade. I suggest to the Committee that on that account the justification for the special treatment of British trade does not apply to Empire trade generally. Secondly, I suggest that it would be a mistaken policy for us to undertake this obligation. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery) has just reminded the Committee, the chapter on Indian relations with other parts of the Empire has a long history. As Secretary of State for India I have very strong views as to the justice of certain Indian claims which have not always been accepted in every part of the Empire. I am not going to be drawn into the merits of those controversies, but some of us have entered into those controversies in the past, and justice has by no means been on one side. I say, in view of that history, that it is much wiser to let the future Government of India negotiate their own treaties with other Dominions.
My right hon. Friend will see at once that the question does not end with tariff restrictions. It would mean, if we deprived India of the power of negotiation in dealing with other parts of the Empire, that India would be without any lever in dealing with questions such as that of immigration.
I could not say offhand whether that has been used, but it would be unfair upon India to debar her for all time from using an instrument of that kind. The effect of debarring India from using it would be to arouse very bitter controversy, to create a lot of trouble in India and incidentally to weaken the case for special treatment for British trade and, further, to do what I should have thought every member of the Committee wished to avoid, namely, to draw us into controversies between India and other parts of the Empire. My very strong advice, therefore, to the Committee is not to accept this Amendment, but to leave India free to carry on its own negotiations.
Duchess of ATHOLL:
May I ask—without going into the merits of the question—whether it is not a fact that at present under the Fiscal Autonomy Convention the Secretary of State has power to veto a tariff that would bring India into conflict with other parts of the Empire or would cut across the general line of Empire policy? Does, therefore, the omission of any reference to the Empire in this Clause not mean that we are renouncing a power which we at present possess, and which has come to have some definite meaning since the Empire at Ottawa adopted a general policy of Imperial preference?
I am sure that many Members of the Committee must be disappointed at the reply which we have had from the Secretary of State for India. We do not yet know whether the Secretary of State has consulted the Dominions or not on this matter. Beyond that is the further point that we have been told that this special matter of giving rights to British trade is included because that trade has existed, and been very large, over a very great period of years. I can understand that argument, but is there any reason to suppose that Empire trade with India might not become very much greater in future? Not only that, but Empire trade with India is very much greater than appears on the surface. We have had an intense immigration in recent years into Africa, and the Indians there send their money back into India year by year. If that is not a form of trade, I do not know what it is. We are definitely dealing with a discrimination of Burmese goods or British goods, yet not touching Empire goods. The fact lies before us that we have this power in regard to the defence of British interests, but we have no power in regard to the Empire. It might very well be, in future, that in the early days of their enthusiasm Indian politicians might set up heavy discriminatory trade against the Empire, at a time when many of us believe that the future of this country and of India lies in the economic unity of the Empire. What is the use of talking confidently about the need for the closer relations between Great Britain and the Empire and not taking the one simple and easy step to snake sure that in the future India, the Empire and Great Britain shall have the same privileges in matters of this sort? I very much hope that my hon. Friend will not withdraw his Amendment, but will go into the Lobby in support of it.
Surely the speech of the Secretary of State is at once revealing and disquieting. It was quite clear why the words "United Kingdom," are to be retained and the words "British Empire" are not included. It is because the Secretary of State desires to give to the new Indian Assembly the power of striking at Canada and Australia through the medium of trade, if they are not satisfied with the treatment of Indians who have emigrated to those Dominions. The Secretary of State seemed even to relish the prospect that in the near future India would have an opportunity of dealing with those delinquent Dominions. That is a serious thing, and it is an extremely dangerous thing that that should be said. This is, in fact, a Bill to give to the Indians the power, among other things, of imposing discriminative and penal trade restrictions against Canada, South Africa and Australia. It is hardly possible to have anything more uncomfortable than that. I agree with my hon. Friend who asked whether the high commissioners have been consulted in this matter. The Secretary of State did not answer that question.
There is a certain weight in the argument that negotiations, commercial treaties and so forth should be conducted between the Government of India and the individual Dominions; also the question of immigration and so forth can be a matter of discussion and of reciprocity to some extent between them, and the Government in many matters are well advised to stand out, but here you have an Empire Government placing a new power in the hands of a new assembly, a power which they have not exercised up to the present, and that power is capable of being used—as it is intended to be used—to enable each of those Dominions to be proceeded against by India. What will happen when this process begins, and when the new Indian Assembly, if it ever comes into being under this Bill, starts out to punish South Africa for their treatment of Indians in Natal? I imagine that South Africa will feel that we have brought this new evil upon them, and that they will be very much inclined to find fault with the Imperial Government, and possibly will themselves retaliate against our trade.
I feel that this Amendment is very well based. I am astounded at the naked candour with which the Secretary of State for India has practically avowed, not merely with sombre acquiescence but with an actual appetite, that the new Indian Government can make use of the new powers to spread ill-feeling and trade restrictions throughout the British Empire.
I would quite agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) if there were reciprocity with the Dominions, but the point he overlooks is that we here have the power to impose certain liabilities upon India and have not the same power to prevent the Dominions from imposing discriminatory or penal legislation against India. We are no longer a mother hen which can control all her chickens. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to see how India would be affected if this Amendment were accepted. India would be prevented from penal or discriminatory legislation against Dominion trade. To some extent India has had this power and has never exercised it, but that we should put it in here so that she never could exercise it would mean that we should still allow the Dominions to discriminate against Indian trade in any way they liked, and not give India any power to retaliate.
If it is the case that India, in fact, has this power under the Fiscal Autonomy Convention, are there not other powers of control reserved to the Viceroy under the Fiscal Autonomy Convention?
My point is a very short and simple one. If you say that India is to have no power to retaliate against the Dominions, you are not acting in line with modern Imperial theory. We leave the self-governing parts of the Empire to settle these matters between themselves, and it would be a step backwards if we were to attempt to settle such a matter for one particular part of the Empire. It would be denying to India any chance of reaching dominion status. I cannot conceive dominion status without giving the opportunity, the power to retaliate against another part of the Empire if need be. By the Amendment we should be putting India into a special category and not giving her the power which is essential for her to have if she is to occupy that position in the Empire which I hope she will occupy. Moreover, it would be putting a burden upon India which no other part of the Empire has ever had to bear.
We object to the Amendment. When the Indian delegates were present they laid great emphasis upon this point, and when they left this country they left behind them a memorandum which was very important, which was signed by men of different creeds and men of different outlook in Indian affairs. In that document they laid the utmost emphasis on freedom in regard to this matter. I regard any further restriction as being a serious invasion of their rights. Whatever their attitude may be towards the Bill, as it stands at present, if this Amendment were carried it would very largely jeopardise the possibility of the Bill being worked. On what ground can we deny to India what is given to the other parts of the Dominions?
That has been explained on the ground that there has been a very long commercial partnership between India and ourselves, and the philosophy behind the Bill is that we seek to maintain the legitimate interests that have been established. The argument for the Bill is that during 150 years certain interests have been established, and those interests are not to be put in jeopardy as a result of the Bill. The Amendment seeks to put upon India a liability that rests upon none other of His Majesty's Dominions. To that extent it is untenable and would be repudiated. Let me put this question to those who are supporting the Amendment. Suppose an injustice were done to India by another Dominion and India were never able to invoke this fiscal defence. Why should we deny that right to India? A certain incident arose in the British Empire not long ago when difficulty arose between Ireland and ourselves, and it was thought in this House, and the view was supported by the right hon. Gentleman opposite and his friends that Ireland was doing an unjust thing to this country. At that time as between two different parts of the British Dominions fiscal discrimination was resorted to by this House. That was done in the British Commonwealth of nations, and it was looked upon as being a perfectly legitimate course. What answer can we give to India if we deny to her fiscally the right which only a short time ago this House, by a large majority, thought it fit to exercise?
That was the explanation given, and probably it was the right explanation. Let us assume that circumstances like those might arise between India and another part of the British Dominions in years to come. If similar sets of circumstances arose, why should we deny to India the freedom that we want to be able to exercise ourselves? Surely, there is no one in this House who would consent to depriving this House of its power to impose a discriminatory tax if a wrong course were taken by any one of the Dominions. If we hold on to that power, why do we seek to deny it to India and why should the time of the House be occupied in debating Amendments which are intended to limit the self-government which some of us think is limited enough already?
The argument has been devoted to the question of the Dominions. There is some substance in the argument against the Amendment when we are dealing with the Dominions, but it is of no substance when we consider the Crown Colonies. The Crown Colonies to-day are a larger market for British goods than India is, and the continued existence of the Crown Colonies is in some respects more important to us than the continued existence of India. I can well see that for the purpose of injuring British trade a conceivably hostile ministry at Delhi—we are only contemplating the case of the possible hostility that might arise—could use their power against us not by attacking us directly but by attacking us through one or more of the Crown Colonies. Therefore, I think there is a case to be met. The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) says that India ought to have this power of discrimination. When he says "India," what does he mean? Does he mean the transferred government or the reserved government Does he think that India ought to have the right to discriminate against France?
I look upon the limitation of external powers as being a temporary matter. I look forward to the day when under Dominion status India will have not only the power of defence but also control of all her own external affairs.
The hon. Member has voted in support of the principle that external powers shall be a reserved service. Therefore, he has already voted that India shall not have the power to discriminate against France. Yet he wants India to have the power to discriminate against Canada.
Do I understand that the hon. Member's interpretation of the Bill is that the Governor-General would not assent to discrimination against France if circumstances arose that made that proposal necessary in the interests of India? Is that his contention?
It is not a question of the Governor-General assenting. External affairs are not matters on which he has to receive advice from his Ministers. It is no good saying what we have done under the old system of government. We are dealing with present policy. We are considering the conditions in this Bill. The difficulty in regard to the Dominions has been explained, and I believe there is some substance against the Amendment in that respect, but there is no substance in the argument when you come to the Crown Colonies, because they are not free agents, and I do not see in what way the Secretary of State for the Colonies could protect them. We have to do something to protect the Crown Colonies. My view is that the Amendment as it stands is not entirely satisfactory, because it may be necessary to have discrimination against another part of the Empire; but I think it is necessary to have a new paragraph dealing entirely with the situation of the Dominions, and possibly another one dealing with the Crown Colonies, because the circumstances are not the same as in the case of the United Kingdom. In any event it is absolutely deplorable that it should be said that India should be free to do things against Empire countries which they are prohibited from doing against foreign countries.
The argument in favour of the Amendment has shifted from the Dominions to the Crown Colonies. So far as the Dominions are concerned, they certainly have shown themselves quite able in the past to protect themselves against India, and I doubt whether they would wish in any way to be taken under our wing in relation to the Indian Empire. So far as the Crown Colonies are concerned, I would say to the hon. Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) that if I as Governor of Kenya had been asked whether I wished this Amendment to be included in the Bill or not, I should have said "No." The African Colonies are constantly afraid of the argument that because we have a special position in India we are therefore to do something or other in Africa which on the merits in Africa we would much rather not do. I am afraid that the argument might be extended and that it might be said to the African Colonies: "We have secured for you a special position and special rights in India. We are defending you in the Indian Constitution which we have passed, and on that account we ask you to adopt certain policies or pass certain measures which On the merits in Africa your governments might not desire." It is far better in these matters to leave the different parts of the Empire to deal with each other on the merits of each case and not to complicate the thing by the kind of general protection which has been argued for by many of my hon. Friends in this Debate. I can only say seeing that the special position of the Crown Colonies has been raised, that from my experience of them I would much rather they were not protected in any way under this Clause.
One must listen to the hon. Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg) on the question of the Colonies with the greatest respect, but I was very much surprised to hear him use the argument which he did. The point raised by the hon. Member for Croydon, South, is of the greatest importance. Under the provisions of the Bill the Secretary of State for the Colonies loses the right to interfere in any question of tariffs or trade regulations as between the Colonies and India. Take the case of Tanganyika. Tanganyika does a large trade with India, especially in cotton, and there are difficulties between them in regard to immigration. Are we to rest content with a position where we allow India to make her own arrangements and bring pressure to bear on Tanganyika in the matter of migration and trade, while the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Government are to have no say whatever in the matter? It seems to me an impossible position.
Yes, but to all intents and purposes it is part of the British Empire and ought always to remain so. The Bill provides against discrimination against the United Kingdom. To all intents and purposes the Crown Colonies are part of the United Kingdom. Therefore, if we provide this safeguard against discrimination against the United Kingdom the same arguments should apply in providing safeguards against discrimination against Colonial trade.
I think the Secretary of State ought to give more consideration to the suggestion of my hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams). The Government should reconsider the Clause. There are several ways of losing an Empire and the Secretary of State is choosing a particularly bad way. Just imagine if this Government at any time were to launch out upon some great scheme of Empire development. We were told by the Secretary of State for the Dominions, and then by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, that the whole future of British trade depends upon the development of the Empire. This House has no control over the Dominions, but it has active control over the Crown Colonies. Sup pose, for the sake of argument, that we prepare some very broad scheme to increase trade between the various Crown Colonies and Great Britain, and suppose that the Indians cared to wreck that trade by imposing penal tariffs on the Colonies with which we were anxious to form trade associations. It is a very important matter.
The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot) says that you cannot bind India, and the late Secretary of State for the Colonies says that you cannot bind the Indians. But you have bound the Crown Colonies to this Island, and they have to accept any trade policy that you impose upon them. Why, when you have these people bound, should you allow them to be the target of Indian politicians? There is a great Imperial issue at stake and the House should very carefully consider it. I am not going to touch upon some of the remarks made by the right hon. and gallant Member for Ripon (Major Hills) who talked about the modern Imperial spirit. I do not quite know what it is. But I will tell the Committee how it will be interpreted in the Dominions and Colonies. First of all the Dominions may say, "You are not a very great country, seeing what very great selfishness you have shown in this matter." That is the first danger—that you are going to have a lot of criticism in the Dominions about this unilateral arrangement with India. But the Crown Colonies are very important indeed. Many of us believe that those centred around Malaya contain one of the greatest markets in the world. You tell the Malayans, "We force you to follow a certain line of trade, but we will not protect you against the discriminating politicians in India."
The hon. Member with his encylopaedic knowledge forgets one thing. Canada is not bound by anything that we do in this House in relation to trade, but the Crown Colonies are. I know that the hon. Member is a little Englander and that he does not care about these matters, which mean nothing to him. He is anxious to break up the British Empire. But if he is so keen about the rights of various parts of the Empire let me put to him this point. He is much more a representative of the Crown Colonies in this House than he can ever be of India. We are responsible for the Crown Colonies in this House and we can impose upon them any trade measures that we like. They to a certain extent might be the victims. We are anxious to stand up for these Crown Colonies, which may be very seriously prejudiced if the Indian politician is allowed to attack them and they are to act, in a sense, as the whipping boy of the Indian politician. hope that the Secretary of State is at least going to answer the question about the Crown Colonies. He ought to consult with his colleague the Secretary of State for the Colonies, because there are very great issues at stake in the matter. When one considers that this is a Government which boasts of its anxiety to develop and build up the Empire, it seems rather absurd at this stage that they should treat the Crown Colonies in such an unfair way. They are not prepared to give the Crown Colonies any rights in India. This is the glorious Imperialism of the Secretary of State for India and of the late Secretary of State for the Colonies. I am sure that many people will greatly regret that the right hon. Member for Sparkbrook (Mr. Amery), who has constituted himself the special caretaker of the Dominions and Colonies, should, because of his desire to support this Measure, prejudice the interests of the Crown Colonies and treat the Dominions in a way that they will not thank him for in the future.
Those who are supporting the amendment of the Bill have reason to complain of the way in which they are treated by the Government, for any Amendment, whether it is simple or not, is resisted in the same way. It must be the Bill, the whole Bill and nothing but the Bill. From this discussion a very important point has emerged with regard to the Crown Colonies not receiving adequate protection. It certainly seems to any reasonable man that if the trade of Great Britain is not to be discriminated against we should certainly take precautions that trade with the Crown Colonies is in the same position. The Secretary of State said that there was a long history of trade between India and Great Britain, and the same thing did not apply to the Crown Colonies. But this is a new constitution, not dealing with the past but dealing with the future. It is true that it is founded on the past, but that is the only reason for it. It is dealing with the future, and we all hope that the bonds which unite the Empire will become Closer and closer in future. Surely it is desirable that the Governor-General should have these powers to prevent penal treatment and discrimination with regard to the Empire countries and most certainly with regard to the Crown Colonies.
I rise simply to deal with one or two questions that I did not refer to in my speech. Of course, I have been in full consultation both with the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Secretary of State for the Dominions on this matter. These proposals have been published for many months. Indeed they were in the original White Paper. We have received no kind of protest from any of the Dominions. Some hon. Members seem to assume that the Crown Colonies will be at the mercy of an unscrupulous
Indian Government. As a matter of fact, looking at the fiscal relations between India and the Crown Colonies, it seems to me that the Crown Colonies will have most of the cards in their hands. The markets in Africa are markets of immense value, and I should have thought that in any negotiations the Crown Colonies, so far from being at the mercy of India, would have the best instruments for negotiation in their own hands.
As for the general question of the Crown Colonies, no better answer can be given than that of the hon. Member for Altrincham (Sir E. Grigg). No one is better qualified to speak on the subject than he, particularly because of the fact that he was Governor of a Colony where in the past there have been a good many points of dispute with India. That being so, I hope that the Committee will defeat the Amendment and will adopt the wise course of leaving the Indian Government to deal in these matters with the Dominion and Colonial Governments.
|Division No. 78.]||AYES.||[7.55 p.m.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Dawson, Sir Philip||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Apsley, Lord||Donner, P. W.||Ray, Sir William|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Reid. David D. (County Down)|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Remer, John R.|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Blaker, Sir Reginald||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Sir Archibald||Hartington, Marquess of||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Bracken, Brendan||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Knox, Sir Alfred||Thorp, Linton Theodore|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Levy, Thomas||Todd, Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Burnett, John George||Macqulsten, Frederick Alexander||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Carver, Major William H.||Maitland, Adam||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer||Marsden, Commander Arthur||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Nunn, William||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||Perkins, Walter R. D||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. D. Somerville and Mr. Raikes.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. Christopher||Bernays, Robert||Butt, Sir Alfred|
|Albery, Irving James||Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Cadogan, Hon. Edward|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Blindell, James||Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)|
|Allen. William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Boulton, W. W.||Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Bower, Commander Robert Tatton||Cape, Thomas|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Caporn, Arthur Cecil|
|Assheton, Ralph||Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Cautley, Sir Henry S.|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Brass, Captain Sir William||Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Cayzer, Maj, Sir H. R.(Prtsmth., S.)|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Chamberlain, Rt.Hn.Sir J.A.(Birm., W.)|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N. (Edgbaston)|
|Batey, Joseph||Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-ie-Spring)|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Burghley, Lord||Chapman, Sir Samuel (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric|
|Bennett, Capt. Sir Ernest Nathaniel||Butler, Richard Austen||Clarke, Frank|
|Clarry, Reginald George||Holdsworth, Hesrbert||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Cleary, J. J.||Hornby, Frank||Potter, John|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D.||Horsbrugh, Florence||Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Pownall, Sir Assheton|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Pybus, Sir John|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer||Radford, E. A.|
|Comant, R. J. E.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)||Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)|
|Cook, Thomas A.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.||Ramsden, Sir Eugene|
|Cooke, Douglas||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)||Rankin, Robert|
|Cooper, A. Duff||James, Wing.-Com. A. W. H.||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Copeland, Ida||Jenkins, Sir William||Rickards, George William|
|Cove, William G.||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)||Roberts. Aled (Wrexham)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)||Rosbotham, Sir Thomas|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||Rose Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)|
|Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward|
|Cross, R. H.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)|
|Crossley, A. C.||Kerr, Hamilton W.||Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)|
|Daggar, George||Kirkpatrick, William M.||Russell, Hamer Field (Shef'ld, B'tside)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kirkwood, David||Russell, R. J. (Eddisbury)|
|Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton||Rutherford, John (Edmonton)|
|Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Leckie, J. A.||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)|
|Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Leighton, Major B. E. P.||Salmon, Sir Isidore|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Leonard, William||Salt, Edward W.|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||Lewis, Oswald||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwen)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.|
|Danville, Alfred||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-||Savery, Samuel Servington|
|Duspencer-Robertson, Major J. A. F.||Llewellin, Major John J.||Selley, Harry R.|
|Dickie, John P.||Loftus, Pierce C.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark. Bothwell)|
|Drewe, Cedric||Logan, David Gilbert||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)|
|Duckworth, George A. V.||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander||Shute, Colonel Sir John|
|Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin|
|Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)||Mabane, William||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.|
|Dunglass, Lord||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-ln-F.)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||McCorquodale, M. S.||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)|
|Edwards, Charles||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine.C.)|
|Elliston, Captain George Sampson||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Emrys-Evans, P. V.||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)||Smithers, Sir Waldron|
|Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||McEntee, Valentine L.||Somervell, Sir Donald|
|Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.||Soper, Richard|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||McKie, John Hamilton||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.|
|Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||Maclay, Hon. Joseph Paton||Spene, William Patrick|
|Fox, Sir Gilford||McLean, Major Sir Alan||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)|
|Fremantle, Sir Francis||Maclean, Neil (Glasgow, Govan)||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Fuller, Captain A. G.||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradesten)||Stevenson, James|
|Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Magnay, Thomas||Stones, James|
|Ganzonl, Sir John||Mander, Geoffrey le M.||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.||Strickland. Captain W. F.|
|George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke)||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.||Stuart, Hon. J. (Moray and Nairn)|
|George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea)||Martin, Thomas B.||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-|
|Gibson, Charles Granville||Maxton, James||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Gillett, Sir George Masterman||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Glossop, C. W. H.||Meller, Sir Richard James||Tata, Mavis Constance|
|Gluckstein, Louis Halle||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||Milne, Charles||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Milner, Major James||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W.Riding)||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres||Train, John|
|Grigg, Sir Edward||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Grimston, R. V.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Groves, Thomas E.||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)||Wallace, Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Gunston, Captain D. W.||Morrison, William Shaphard||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Guy, J. C. Morrison||Moss, Captain H. J.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Munro, Patrick||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Ztl'nd)||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid||Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah|
|Hammersley, Samuel S.||Orr Ewing, I. L.||White, Henry Graham|
|Hanbury, Cecil||Paling, Wilfred||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Harris, Sir Percy||Palmer, Francis Noel||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Parkinson, John Allen||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Patrick, Colin M.||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Cuthbert M.||Peake, Osbert||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'oaks)|
|Hollgers, Captain F. F. A.||Pearson, William G.|
|Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Percy, Lord Eustace||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Peters, Dr. Sidney John||Sir George Penny and Sir Walter|
|Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Petherick, M.||Womersley.|
|Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilston)|
I beg to move, in page 8, line 24, at the end, to insert:
unless such action is proposed as a protection against the subjection of goods of
Indian origin to discriminatory or penal treatment.
As was seen in the discussion on the last Amendment, this paragraph (f) is a very important one, and I should say that,
notwithstanding the fact that there is no Amendment for its deletion, those of us on this side do not like the paragraph at all. It gives into the hands of the Governor-General very important powers in dealing with trade. It gives him the right to prevent any
action which would subject goods of United Kingdom or Burmese origin imported into India to discriminatory or penal treatment.
As the paragraph reads, it is very one-sided. It gives to the Governor-General a, very important power, and the purpose of the Amendment is to limit that power in the, event of any discriminatory power being used against Indian goods imported into this country or into Burma. We have had some discussion concerning the import of Indian steel into this country. I can quite understand that, if there was a very large increase of that import, there would be a cry from those who have always advocated the protection of the steel industry that they should have a tariff against Indian steel. Under the paragraph as it stands, if a contingency such as that should arise, it would still give the Governor-General power to restrict any action which might be taken by the Indian Legislature against any action which might be taken in this country in that way, and we say that in those circumstances the paragraph is one-sided.
No one desires anything like a trade war between this country and India, but at the same time it must be remembered that these important powers are given to the Governor-General, taking out of the hands of the Indians themselves the right to deal with this matter. It was very interesting to listen to the discussion on the last Amendment, when hon. Members wanted the Governor-General to have this power as far as the Dominions were concerned, but there was no suggestion that the Indians should have the right to use the same power against any of the Dominions which discriminated against Indian goods. That is where we stand, and we think the Amendment should be passed. It is really reciprocal. What is good enough for us ought really to be good enough for the Indians, and that is all that the Amendment asks.
It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I state at once our point of view on the Amend ment. I quite see the reasons which prompted the hon. Member for Aberdare (Mr. G. Hall) to move it, but we feel that in its present form it is not satisfactory. We think it is not satisfactory to put in the Statute, in this place, such a declaration that it is possible to imagine a contingency in which this country would adopt some discriminatory action against Indian goods. We do not like to contemplate the possibility of discriminating against Indian goods, and I fear that it might be possible to deduce from the Amendment that it is quite possible to imagine such a contingency in the future, which we do not care to contemplate. It is very important in these matters of trade, which depend so much on good will between the two countries, that no discussion here should encourage the idea that we in this country intend to take the opportunity in future to discriminate against Indian goods, and I should like to be emphatic about that at the outset.
I think the hon. Member would really find that his views were better met if he relied on the Instrument of Instructions rather than upon the insertion of an Amendment of this sort in the body of the Bill. The Committee will remember that this question and this particular special responsibility were carefully considered by the Joint Select Committee, which, in paragraph 345 of its Report, recommended that particular description should be given in the Instrument of Instructions as to the manner in which affairs were to be conducted under the provisions of this special responsibility. I should like to read the last paragraph of paragraph XIV of the draft Instrument of Instructions, which states:
At the same time in interpreting the special responsibility to which this paagraph relates Our Governor-General shall bear always in mind the partnership between India and the United Kingdom within Our Empire which has so long subsisted and the mutual obligations which arise therefrom.
We should much prefer that hon. Members opposite should not press the Amendment, and in return I should be ready to give an undertaking to consider the terms of the draft Instrument, and if hon. Members do not feel that those particular words or the whole paragraph which must be read in connection with them bring out sufficiently what we have in mind, that we should, when we come to consider the Instrument itself, be
certain that this point of view is fully preserved. I hope, in view of that statement, that hon. Members opposite will not press the Amendment, however important they may consider it to be.
This Clause, as the Committee will realise, is one of very great importance, and I only wish it were possible to discuss it at such length as really to go into the whole merits of the case, but I think everyone will realise that it is a Clause which, in a normal Bill, a great Bill such as the Home Rule Bill that we knew, would very likely have had two or three days' discussion, as it involves such very great issues. There are only two points, in order to save time, that I wish particularly to refer to, and the first is with regard to paragraph (c) in the special responsibilities, referring once more to this question of "the legitimate interests of minorities." I frankly confess that, like many other Members of the Committee, I was not satisfied with the statement of the Secretary of State with regard to the word "legitimate," and I want to ask the Under-Secretary of State or the Attorney-General how far this word is meant to go. The Committee is aware that there is a very real dread among Anglo-Indians in India that they may be gradually eliminated from all those posts to which they are best suited and in which they are most efficient. I refer particularly to railways, posts and telegraphs, and I want to know whether the Governor-General in this case of paragraph (c) is only going to intervene if there is some spectacular, wholesale dismissal of this articular minority from their posts and duties, or whether in fact he will be able to insist, unless there is very grave reason to the contrary, that the proportion of AngloIndians employed shall continue as in the past. I shall be very glad to hear that the same proportion will be maintained.
Another minority who come under this Sub-section are the Indian Christians, numbering 6,000,000 inhabitants of India. There has already been a foretaste of discriminatory action in the State of Travancore. I only give that as a brief instance of what might conceivably happen to Christians in British India. There are more Christians in Travancore than in any other part of India. They were there before the Moslems came, and they claim to have been there even before the Hindu religion became an organised force. In Travancore to-day the Christians find themselves under definite disabilities with regard to their churches, with regard to their cemeteries, with regard to the freedom of the Press, and also with regard to the number of representatives allowed to them in the local Government. There are in Travancore 16 lakhs of Christians and 13½ lakhs of high-caste Hindus; and yet in the Upper House the proportion of Christians is only seven to 24, and in the Lower House only two out of 17; while the total number of Christians employed in the Government service is only 4,000, as against 18,700 high-caste Hindus. I only give these figures as an illustration of how discrimination against Christians might be found in other parts of India as well. May we be quite certain that, under the Governor-General's responsibility, the safeguarding of legitimate interests will really mean that he will be able to intervene should discriminatory action of any description take place on a larger scale, depriving Christians of their legitimate rights as citizens of the province or under the Federal Government?
The other point to which I desire to refer, and which is much more important to the people of this country, is with regard to paragraph (f), which deals with discrimination or penal treatment in trade, on which we have just heard a word from the front Opposition bench. The hon. Gentleman, in moving his Amendment, said that what he wanted was reciprocal treatment. I wish he had meant what he said, and was really prepared to see to it that there should be a reciprocal basis. I want to ask the Under-Secretary whether this responsibility of the Governor-General includes power to prevent any attempt to harass traders in selling what they desire to sell to willing buyers, such as occurred under the boycott. On the occasion of the famous boycott we found, although it is hard to believe it, that a picket—a single individual—was allowed to squat down outside each shop where British textiles were sold, and no effort whatever was made to prevent that disgraceful interference with the liberties of the subject. May we be assured that under this responsibility the Governor-General will prevent any similar denial of freedom to traders in selling what they desire, and to private citizens in purchasing what they need?
I regret the whole tone of the responsibility, and for that reason I shall vote against the Clause, because really the responsibility is purely negative; it amounts only to the prevention of measures for penalising British goods. Many of us protest very strongly against this miserable policy, which is so foreign to the whole tradition of British Imperial rule in the past. After all, we are writing to-night on a clean slate, and there is nothing, if we have the will to do it, provided that it be just and fair, which we are not at liberty to do in this Measure. Why is it not the declared function of the Governor-General to do everything in his power to promote the spirit of partnership which is spoken of again and again in the White Paper, in the Report of the Joint Select Committee, and in the Instrument of Instruction? Why is it that the note struck between the two countries is not that of the spirit of partnership between the two countries in promoting inter-Imperial trade between Great Britain and India on a reciprocal basis? Surely, if we wish to interpret that ideal of partnership which is laid down as the basic principle of the White Paper, it is not a question of India and Great Britain discriminating against each other; we should be considering how we can discriminate in each other's favour for the benefit of the whole Indian people and for the benefit also of the people of this country, who in days gone by carried on, to their mutual advantage, such a colossal trade.
The Clause speaks, as we heard on a previous Amendment, of the responsibility of the Governor-General in preventing discrimination against the goods of Great Britain or of Burma, and I wish once more to protest that this Bill is so out of keeping with the whole spirit which we thought emanated from Ottawa. Surely, if it was thought desirable to lay down certain terms with regard to British trade, we ought to try to bring the whole Empire in. If we cannot bring in the whole of the Dominions, surely we ought to use all our power and influence to bring the Crown Colonies of the Empire into the scheme, so that we may have the greatest possible amount of mutual trade and prevention of discriminatory action against trade in any part of the Empire where we have any control. Under the so-called fiscal convention, the Secretary of State had power to intervene, but, as far as we in the House of Commons know, he very rarely did intervene. I am not speaking only of the present Secretary of State, but of recent holders of that office. Even since I have been in the House, before the War, I can remember, 25 years ago, the whole of the ranks of the extreme defenders of Liberalism, and also, I think I am right in saying, such members of the Labour party as were then in the House, standing up and insisting that there should be no high tariff measures in India as against Lancashire, not with any apology, but because it was believed that that was our right—a right which I hope to prove in a moment.
The Secretary of State did not intervene even last week, or when the last Indian Budget was being prepared, and in that Budget, while we have been told to rely upon good will we find that the duties on Lancashire textiles still remain at 25 per cent. Thus we start this new story in India with what appears to be a stabilised penal duty—for so it is regarded by Lancashire—against all these goods, and especially those which are peculiar to Lancashire. I want to point out, however, especially to hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway, that it is quite conceivable that Indian fiscal measures mightbe directed against, say, a whole range of high-class textiles, and in reality that might fall almost entirely upon Lancashire, because, as hon. Members know, it is the competition of the cheaper Japanese goods that we have to face particularly in that quarter. Surely now is the opportunity, while we are discussing this Bill—which in many respects, I am afraid, will have to be reconsidered, and possibly recommitted—to ask His Majesty's Government to consider once more the whole question of British trade interests. It is our one opportunity, when we may start this great new chain between India and ourselves as commercial friends with the nearest possible approach to a common arrangement. The two or three gentlemen who are left in the Liberal party have gone out to sustain their strength. Even their permanent semi-centurion is not here to take part in the Debate. They have been deliberately declaring that it was desirable, when the Bill was produced, that it should be on the basis of mutual free trade, or as near as you can possibly get to that, always allowing each country to impose revenue duties. Where are those sincere champions of that doctrine now? They used to put up a tremendous fight. I used to think their insistence on the Excise duty equalling the Customs duty was almost unjust, but it has all gone by now. Here we are deliberately agreeing to the idea that the best we must do is not to take steps if there are penal duties against us.
This responsibility as stated in the Clause is a surrender of Britain's indisputable right to trade on favourable terms in a great market which she has created and developed and protected and which she still intends to defend, possibly for many years to come. As one who has taken for many years a very great interest in the question of Lancashire trade, if I read these fateful words correctly, applying to them such knowledge as I possess with regard to the true attitude of Lancashire's trade rivals in India, I can only say that to my mind they are the death rattle of Lancashire's trade in India. Think what it means. We are abandoning for all time the right established for more than a century to sell our goods in this territory which is under our flag on terms which we should naturally expect, and we are relying on that good will which the overwhelming majority of the Legislative Assembly only last month registered against in a strong form of repudiation, that good will which the Indian Budget just published has announced with shattering effect is not so present in the breast of India to-day that they are going to reduce their duties from the very high level of 25 per cent., though it was generally believed in Lancashire that there was every hope under the agreement that they would be reduced to 20 per cent. Under this paragraph we go crawling like whipped dogs to the Governor-General and we whine and say, "Please do not let India discriminate against British goods. Do not let them treat us worse than they do foreign countries." It seems to me that this is a betrayal of all that we stand for and all that we have ever done for British trade. As one who went into political life purely and simply because I believed that Mr. Joseph Chamberlain's ideal of promoting the whole strength and unity of the Empire on a reciprocal basis was something worth giving one's life to, and realised that many other men were moved similarly, I cannot understand the spirit which to-day says that Britain has no right to demand reciprocal free trade measures in India.
I have some legitimate reason for talking about British rights. Have we not given India credit cheaper than that which any country in the world possesses except ourselves, and has not that been a great Imperial gift to the whole construction of the civilisation of India, that vast country whose great seaboard has been saved from aggression by the might of the British Navy, whose frontiers have been defended on many occasions by British arms under British leaders, a country from which famine and disease, with their toll of scores of millions of lives, have been purged by British genius and British engineering; and now we are to go cringing and begging that Britain's traders should not all be kicked out of India, because that is exactly what the new spirit embodied in this Clause amounts to. This paragraph (f) announces a new epoch. It is a retreat -from Imperial trade. It is the first time that we have ever really consented to march away from our great destiny, which means so much to the common interests of this country and of India.
I know that the Secretary of State is not alone responsible for this policy. I know that he was assisted on the Select Committee by a majority which included elder statesmen who were too old to take any part in the War in 1914 and who now, 21 years afterwards, are still young enough to sign their signatures to a report which, in my opinion, if this Treaty is carried out, means practically the decimation of Lancashire's trade in the days to come. I beg the Committee to think not once or twice but many times before consenting to the spirit that is embodied in this Clause. I know we may have one or two opportunities, but not many, later on of raising the whole question. When we see the devastating effects on Lancashire since we first allowed ourselves to slip away from the idea of the mutual promotion of trade, since we allowed this great and increasing wall of tariffs to be raised since Mr. Edwin Montagu's time against Lancashire goods, when we see the savage attack upon our markets by the very efficient competition of Japan, if the best that we can ask for any country in the British Empire when we have the chance of starting afresh is that we shall not be penalised, and if we are going to forsake the idea that the subjects of His Majesty of whatever colour and race will go forward on a reciprocal basis, do not let us mock ourselves further by talking of this Assembly as the Imperial Parliament.
We are all trying to work to a time-table, and I shall be as brief as possible. I hope, when the time comes when we have to examine the measure of time consumed by various sections of the House, we on this side will be exonerated from any blame for consuming an undue share of the Committee's time. It is necessary to make that point, because we are now only at Clause 12, and I believe, according to the time-table, we should be somewhere around Clause 40. On behalf of myself and my friends we repudiate altogether any responsibility for the very exaggerated amount of time devoted to these early Clauses. I do not say they are unimportant—they are very important—but we really must try to keep a little closer to the arrangement.
I am prepared to allow the mathematicians to work out the problem themselves, and I shall be satisfied with the result that they evolve. I want to say a few words on the question that the Clause stand part. My hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. D. Grenfell), in moving the first Amendment in our name to-day, recalled to the Committee that there are some eight points with which this Clause deals. Those are points reserved as special responsibilities for the Governor-General in future. If we put them together they cover an extraordinarily wide field of administration and of legislation. There is very little left outside the confines of these eight points if you put them together. There is "peace or tranquility" which is a pretty wide term to begin with, and then there is the question of "financial stability" which also touches administration at all sorts of points. Who can precisely define what is connoted by the phrase "interests of minorities"? There again you may be touching at innumerable points in your administration and in your legislation. Then there are the interests of the "members of the public services." They touch at various points, and so I could go through the whole list.
Our first objection therefore is that we consider that these eight points disclose far too great a lack of trust and of faith in the good sense of the future legislators in the Indian central parliament. If we are going to give some measure of self-government to these people, it can only be successful in the long run if we start them off in the belief that we think they are capable of exercising the functions which would devolve upon them. But all the time throughout this Bill we find it is a question of giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Look at the phrase "in his discretion" which appears over and over again, and which appears here, not in that particular form, perhaps, but in a collateral form, namely, "to exercise his individual judgment," which practically means the same thing. A friend of mine counted the phrase "in his discretion" for me as a matter of interest, and I believe that the phrase appears in the Bill over 200 times. This shows how we hedge round the freedom of the Indian people in the exercise of these new responsibilities. May I put another side to this problem which perhaps has not been put before. Hon. Gentlemen who have made some study of Indian political history in recent years, and indeed not in recent years only but in more remote years, will know that from time to time difficult and perplexing religious problems have come up through the medium of political legislation. For instance, take the question of
child marriage. There is a perplexing problem, and that and other similar problems have had their root, as it were, in religious conceptions which give rise to very violent animosities from time to time. What is our history with regard to legislation that touches upon those problems? Broadly, it is that we have, generally speaking, avoided touching them lest by touching them we may give rise to these communal differences and disagreements. Let me take paragraph (c) of the Clause:
the safeguarding of the legitimate interests of minorities.
Suppose a Bill dealing with child marriage were proposed by the Government of the day in the Central Parliament, it would be easy for the minority violently opposed to such legislation to create such a row about it as to make it inevitable for the Governor-General to say, "I cannot allow this Bill to go on, because, if I do, the peace and tranquillity of India will equally be upset." My point is that by drafting somewhat loosely these eight items in this way we are putting the Governor-General in a position of transcendent difficulty. I have said repeatedly in this House—and I repeat it again, and hope that hon. Members will forgive me for so doing—that my conception of the Governor-General in India in future is not a conception of a person who will be perpetually poking his nose into those local concerns. I want him to be there as the representative of His Majesty the King and nothing more. I do not want him to be constantly putting his finger into this and that pie and interfering here and there, and thereby bringing upon himself criticism that ought properly to be reserved to the administration itself. If he is going to butt in—I cannot use a better expression than that—to prevent this legislation or that because he apprehends some danger to the peace or tranquillity of India, or to minority interests, or because he sees some financial interests are going to be prejudiced thereby—if he is going to have that special responsibility thrust upon him, he will be brought inevitably right into the centre of the arena of public controversy. It is the greatest injustice you can do to the Governor-General or to the Governor, who, after all, are there to represent His Majesty the King, to bring them in to the centre of
their own controversies, peculiar as they are in character.
Therefore, my hon. Friends and I take a very strong objection to the wide way in which this Clause has been drafted. It places upon the Governor-General the duty of interfering on innumerable occasions, and it will be easy for designing people—and I am sure that no one will controvert this—who want to prevent certain legislation from being carried through the Central Legislature to manufacture the occasion that will make it impossible for the Governor to withhold his interference. Once you do that the other side will say, "There is the Governor-General butting in again to protect people's interest other than ours." That is the gravest possible injustice to the office of the Governor-General, distinguished as it must be in the new circumstances in India.
We have indicated also our view concerning the question of reciprocal trade. Let me repeat once more that we do not believe that you can safeguard Lancashire's interests by any artificial method such as hon. Members below the Gangway and on the opposite side of the House sometimes suggest. The only way of safeguarding the trading interests of Lancashire with India and of India with Lancashire is along the path of good will and understanding. There is no other way. If you give the Governor-General the right to interfere when he presumes that the Indian Legislature is doing something which is inimical to the interests of Lancashire, then we say, and we are entitled to say it on grounds of logic, that the Indians also ought to be able to look to the Governor-General to protect the interests of India in the event of their being prejudiced by any action taken by this country. The Under-Secretary asked us to believe that it is impossible to contemplate that this country would designedly seek to carry through this House legislation which would discriminate against India. I accept that statement; but he is not equally ready to assume that India will not discriminate against England. Those Indians who were members of the Joint Select Committee invited us to believe that it was never their intention to use any power they may possess of discriminating against Lancashire—
The statement they made to us was that it was not their desire when they had been granted self-government to discriminate against Lancashire. I accept their statement. But if you assume, as you do in this Clause, that India may use the power to discriminate against Britain and give the Governor-General the right to intervene, then I say that India has an equal right to expect you to give to the Governor-General the power to intervene in the contrary case, whenever it may be presumed that this country may discriminate against Indian goods. It should be applied both ways fairly. We have stated our view over and over again that in our judgment you destroy very largely the moral value of this gesture you are making to the Indian people through this legislation by hedging round the powers of self-government which are granted to the Indian people. If you give self-government give it frankly. If you do not want to give self-government do not call it self-government, but say that it is more in the nature of limited self-government. You cannot call it self-government as long as it is possible for the Governor-General, in a thousand and one ways, to interfere with the full expression of the Indian people.
The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) objects to the Clause on the ground that it erects the Governor-General into the position of a permanent dictator, with the most unlimited powers, to use the hon. Member's alliterative phrase, to be perpetually poking his nose into every form and activity of the future Indian Government. Our objection to the Clause is exactly the opposite. We think that the Clause is as hollow a sham as are any other safeguards contained in the Bill. We think that all these special responsibilities of the Governor-General in fact mean nothing at all. He is entitled to use his individual judgment to interfere on a certain number of occasions, to safeguard the rights of minorities, in connection with any trade discrimination, and to preserve peace and tranquillity, but he has no means of knowing when and how he can interfere. He is deprived of any form of advice other than that of the Government with whose activities he is supposed to interfere, and it is hardly likely that he is going to receive advice from ministers who have so misconducted the affairs of the State that he has had to step in at once. One cannot imagine any ministerial body acting in so self-sacrificing a way.
Indeed, the Governor-General will be left high and dry with no means of knowing when peace and tranquillity are in danger until the whole of India is blazing with revolution. Probably the first intimation he will have of the outbreak of disorder is when hand grenades are thrown through the windows of the viceregal lodge. The first intimation of trade discrimination will be after the discrimination has taken place. Under the Clause he has no power of anticipation. To be perfectly logical, if India is fitted for self-government these powers are unnecessary. If they are fitted only for limited self-government they are fit for complete self-government. In any case it is going to fail whatever you may do, and you may just as well try the experiment out properly and let it fail properly. Those who hold that some form of control is necessary are surely logical in insisting that the control shall be effective. Unless the Clause is amended so as to ensure that the Governor-General shall have more chance than his own powers of imagination give to find out if there is anything wrong, or we can get some promise of a subsequent amendment, there is no other course left to us but to oppose it. Surely it is possible that the relations between the Federal Assembly and the Governor-General may be as confidential as the relations between the Chamber of Princes and the Secretary of State. It may be that the Governor-General will be just as ignorant of the proceedings in the Federal Assembly as the Secretary of State appears to be of the proceedings of such an assembly as took place recently.
May I ask the hon. Member if he realises that the meeting of the Chambers to which he refers was confidential. That is if he is referring to the recent meeting in India.
When this question was raised in the House I can remember the Secretary of State saying extremely acidly that my right hon. Friend had sources of information to which he himself had not access, which must have meant not that the proceedings were confidential but that he did not know. We must in fairness to the Secretary of State assume that sometimes he says what he means and that the sentences he uses in the House are to be construed as they are read in the English language. He definitely told us that he had not access to the same sources of information. It may be that the Governor-General, possibly not so great a man as the Secretary of State, may be equally deprived of access to the necessary sources of information. Indeed, it is more than probable that he will be, especially when we consider the enormous field he has to cover. In the field of trade discrimination alone there may be multitudinous instances in which trouble will arise between the Indian Federal Assembly and the Government of this country.
Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite succeeded in extracting from the Under-Secretary a promise that a, particular Amendment which they had in view on the question of discrimination on our side against Indian trade would be dealt with, not by the simple process of accepting the Amendment, but by monkeying about with the Instruments of Instruction afterwards. I would remind hon. and right hon. Gentlemen that they are on a path of some danger in accepting that policy. We are enthroning in India a permanent government. It is not a question of our having any further control over their social legislation. We are abandoning that for good and all with the exception of these extremely vague powers which are being given to the Governor-General. That permanent government is not the enlightened democratic government which hon. Members opposite would like to see. It is, in fact, an oligarchy, a plutocracy of the most extreme kind, and more than likely it is going to be very neglectful of the conditions of the industrial workers in India.
If that be so, and if the process of industrialisation spreads in India—which is surely going to be the case—we may find ourselves faced with the necessity for special duties against goods produced by coolie labour. It may well be that duties will have to be imposed on Indian goods coming into this country which are not imposed on goods coming from other Dominions, not because it is a question of discrimination but simply because we cannot expose our people to open com petition with labour which is working under social conditions humanly impossible in this country. The moment we start imposing such duties, trouble is bound to arise with this new Indian Federal Assembly, and the whole thing will be thrown back at once on the Governor-General who has no real powers to deal with the matter. On paper he has most arbitrary power but in practice almost none. When it comes to safeguarding the rights of minorities the Governor-General has no power whatever. The minorities have no power of making representation to him, except by public petition which would, presumably, have to go through his ministers, and hon. Members who know the habits of Asiatic ministers know well enough, that no inconvenient petition would ever get to the Governor-General through them.
Then, as I have said there is the question of peace and tranquillity. Under previous British Governments we succeeded in maintaining peace and tranquillity because there was a centralised authority which had control of all the forces necessary to maintain peace. We are to have no such centralised authority when the worst happens under this Clause. The Governor-General is deprived of all means of maintaining peace and tranquillity other than the army which is the last instrument that ought ever to be used for the enforcement of peace. Armies are not meant for quelling civil disturbance but for the protection of nations against outside enemies, and throughout our Imperial history we have always endeavoured to use our army for that purpose. Under the Bill, all means of preserving internal order other than the army are removed from the Governor-General and put under the control, actually, of the Provincial Assemblies. They are not even under the Governors.
When it comes to the pinch, when law and order have to be enforced with what is the Governor-General to do it? With his own office staff? With the Criminal Investigation Department? He will be deprived of the use of police, railways, posts and telegraphs and all other aids to the maintenance of law and order. Yet we say to him that he is responsible in the long run for the preservation of peace and tranquillity. It is a contradiction in terms. Surely we cannot entrust the head of the State—and that is what the Governor-General will be—with these responsibilities and, at the same time, deprive him of the means of fulfilling them. It is for these reasons that I feel that the Clause as it stands must be unacceptable to the Committee. It lays down powers but gives no means of enforcing them. It omits any question of an advisory council to assist the Governor-General as to when he is to exercise his powers. In fact it is a muddle from the first word to the last and the sooner we dispose of it the better. It is true that if this Clause were removed it would probably wreck the Bill, but as this is a bad Bill I do not think the Committee ought to be deterred by that consideration.
I note that among the special responsibilities of the Governor-General is "the protection of the rights of any Indian State." By "Indian State" you mean "Indian Prince." It is a special responsibility of the Governor-General to protect the rights of the Indian Princes, although the Indian Princes themselves form part of the alternative responsible body. But, among all the special responsibilities of the Governor-General, there is no responsibility for the protection of the inhabitants of the Indian States against their Princes. Yet the alternative protection, is protection of a body over which these Indian Princes themselves will dominate.
I am not sure why my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle - under - Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) assumes that the words of paragraph (g) which include in the special responsibilities of the Governor-General "the protection of the rights of any Indian State" necessarily exclude the rights of the subjects of the State. The subjects are surely part of the State, and I, at any rate, wish to assume, in what I am about to say, that the words do bear that interpretation. It is I think unfortunate that although we have been for hours and weeks discussing this Bill and although we shall be spending the greater part of our time up to Whitsuntide in considering it in every kind of relation as it affects the Princes and as it affects the people of British India, there is hardly a single
Clause in it, except this one, which enables us to consider how the Bill and the arrangements of which it forms part will affect the welfare of the people of the Indian States. The obligation of this country towards the Indian States has always been mainly an obligation to protect the Princes but that has carried with it, as Lord Minto pointed out
a certain degree of responsibility for the general soundness of their administration.
Lord Minto also said:
It naturally followed that the Imperial Government would not consent to incur the reproach of being the indirect instrument of misrule.
We ought to ask ourselves: How is that responsibility of ours affected by the Bill and especially by this Clause? In what sense will the Governor-General interpret his responsibility, and how will he be able to exercise it? The Under-Secretary a few days ago tried to reassure my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme, when he raised the question of how the Bill affected the subjects of the States, by telling us that it made no difference at all. I suggest, however, that it does affect that question. It affects it to some extent directly and formally but to a much greater extent indirectly and actually. Take first the direct effects. The Under-Secretary I think will admit that Sir Kailas Haksar generally admitted to be one of the ablest men in the service of the States, is a pretty good authority on how this Bill will affect the interests of those whom he serves. In an article in the "Twentieth Century" Sir Kailas Haksar investigates the whole question of the effects of the Bill upon the States and what he says reads very curiously after what has happened during the last few days. After enumerating several other ways in which the Bill improves the position of the States, he says:
It seems an implicit irony of the situation that certain provisions of the Joint Parliamentary Committee's report which have been most strongly attacked by British Indian politicians … actually provide more effective safeguards of the rights and interests of the States than any provision for the specific incorporation of which in the coming Act their imaginative caution or intuitive prudence had led them to ask.
He goes on to say:
One of the statutory responsibilities of the Governor-General himself will be the
'protection of rights of any Indian State' "—
the very paragraph that we are discussing—
The force of the word any ' is apt to be overlooked … Its implication seems to be that any State may satisfy the Viceroy that its rights are in danger of being adversely affected, and he would have to extend to it the necessary protection … It will, therefore, depend upon the States what measure of protection they can extract out of the proposed constitution … There is here alone a safeguard more extensive than anything implied in the special declaration of the Chamber of Princes or in the 'essential or important conditions 'formulated by them to be satisfied by the constitution.
Then we see that this very distinguished exponent of the views of the Princes himself admits that their position is strengthened under this Bill, and especially under paragraph (g) of this Clause. In the same article he gives a rather illuminating instance of the way in which the position of the Princes will be strengthened. He says:
At present the States are helpless against the inroads of mischievous persons in British India. Under the reform scheme it would be possible for the States to strengthen their position considerably in the matter of inter-provincial migration.
In other words the Bill will make it even easier than at present to prevent the healthy wind of publicity blowing upon the States and prevent the people of the States forming contaminating contacts with progressive forces of British India. I think that that shows that in the eyes of Sir Kailas Haksar this Bill does make a difference in the relations between the States and the Governor-General and a difference to the advantage of the Princes. I pass to the indirect and real, as opposed to the legal and formal, effects of the Bill upon the position of the Princes which are, I think, much more serious. I want to ask how this particular function of the Governor-General is going to be affected in the interpretation that the Governor-General would have to put upon it by that remarkable statement which the Secretary of State made last Tuesday, when he told us that one of the things about which the Princes were dissatisfied was that there was no mention of their treaties and sanads in the Bill, and that though they were not in the Bill it was intended to reaffirm them in the most formal and solemn manner.
I know that I must not discuss the treaties and sanads at length because they are outside the Bill, but it is surely relevant to what we are discussing to ask how they affect the situation, if they do change it, because clearly the treaties and sanads are part of the rights of the States which the Governor-General is to be entrusted with the duty of enforcing. I sometimes wonder whether Members of the Committee realise quite to what the treaties and sanads pledge us. I am not going to enlarge on that, but in a sentence may I remind the Committee that one of the things incorporated in the treaties and sanads is the paramount power and duty of protecting the Princes from their rebellious subjects, even if rebellion is caused by misgovernment or by desire for another form of Government, subject to certain conditions, such as that after very flagrant and gross misgovernment or bitter discontent the Princes will be asked to take such steps as will allay that discontent before the paramount power introduces armed force into the country to suppress the rebellion. I think that that fact makes it a very serious thing that we should be reaffirming these treaties. It may be said that it makes no difference because among honourable people treaties are always inviolate, but, as a matter of historic fact, is it true that treaties last for ever and are eternally binding? It is one thing to let these treaties, many of them made over a century ago, go on indeterminately until there is some strong reason for putting an end to them. It is quite another—
There is a new situation now. We are making a bargain with the Princes, and the reaffirming of the treaties is part of the bargain. I will not enlarge on that, but it is clear that when you make a bargain there are two sides to it. Hitherto the Princes have leant on us, and in future we are going to lean on the Princes. The Princes themselves have shown the importance they attach to getting the treaties and sanads reaffirmed. Suppose the Governor-General tries to exercise the particular responsibilities which we are laying upon him of protecting the interests of any State, and suppose he does it in the sense, not of protecting the Princes, but of protecting the peoples of the States against oppression by the Princes. At every turn this bargain will be thrown in 'our faces—
I am trying to keep strictly within order. The point I am making is that by this Clause and paragraph (g) in it, we are making it one of the special responsibilities of the Governor-General to protect the interests and the rights of the Indian States. The point in my argument is that it will be difficult for the Governor-General to exercise that responsibility when it is a question of protecting, not the Princes against their people, but the people against the Princes.
The Governor-General has a duty to protect the rights of the States. Is it not the case that and of the rights of the States which the Governor-General in his capacity as Viceroy has been bound to protect is the right of the Princes to be protected against the rebellion of their subjects, and does not that carry with it a counter right of the subjects to be protected against oppression by the Princes?
Miss RATH BONE:
I will say no more about that, and pass to another point. I suggest that the whole working of this Sub-section will be affected indirectly by the necessity that the Governor-General will be under of conciliating Princes. If hon. Members ask themselves why it is that the whole Bill, not merely the federal part, but the provincial part, is to depend upon the Princes coming in—
I find it very difficult to conceive of the States as States if I am not allowed to mention either the Princes of the States or the subjects of the States. What is a State?
Is it not true that this Sub-section deals only with the relations of the States with other units in the Federation, and it is that which the Governor-General has to protect and that alone?
Yes, one Clause, and I am dealing with one Sub-section of one Clause, and with the words of that Sub-section as they are written in the Bill, and not with the gloss which the Noble Lord wants to put upon them. The Sub-section says that part of the duties of the Governor-General is to protect the rights of any Indian States; it does not say merely in the relations of a State to other federal units, but the rights of any Indian States. I do not want to detain the Committee, and I do not want to override your Ruling, Sir Dennis, and so I say no more than this. I would beg you to extend a little latitude in this matter. I am not going to try to override your Ruling, but do remember this—throughout all these Debates we are dealing with the men and women of British India and with the Princes of the Indian States and there are people in the Indian States besides the Princes—
I am sorry, I did not mean to do that, and I will say no more. I have felt a great responsibility in this matter, because this is one of the few parts of the Bill where it did seem possible to raise a matter which lies very heavily on my conscience and which should lie heavily on the consciences of every man and woman in this House, because we must consider what we do as it affects human beings, men and women, and not merely as it affects thrones and princes.
The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft), in discussing the future trade relations of India and Great Britain, stressed the spirit of partnership. I would like to say, in passing, that Lancashire has given a magnificent example of good will. Thanks to the efforts of the Lancashire Indian Cotton Committee, Lancashire has more than doubled its purchases of Indian cotton in the last year. The hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Wise) stressed what he regarded as the inadequacy of the Governor-General's powers to prevent commercial discrimination, and I would like, in one or two minutes, quite fairly to examine those powers. Let us imagine the Constitution in being, and the Governor-General with his three advisers delegated to their separate subjects. Let us imagine some obvious case of discrimination to arise, and some hostile Hindu Minister coming to the Governor-General and saying, "Your Excellency, unless you reduce the Army Budget by so many crores, my party will unfortunately be compelled to pass 100 per cent. duties against Lancashire cotton goods." According to the hon. Member for Smethwick, the Governor-General would have no warning of such a move, but Subsection (4) of Clause 17 lays upon both the Minister and the appropriate secretary the duty of warning the Governor-General of such a possibility. Therefore, he would have had previous warning, and what my hon. Friend pictured in his interesting speech would not occur.
A case of obvious discrimination inspired by political motives therefore comes under this Clause, paragraph (f) "dealing with the prevention of action." Likewise, paragraph 345 of the Report of the Joint Select Committee lays down the principle that the Governor-General would have power to act where discrimination was threatened in fact if not in form. If, for instance, 60 per cent. of certain commodities imported by India came from this country and the remaining 40 per cent. from other countries, a crushing duty against that commodity would obviously affect this country in fact if not in form.
Therefore, What field lies open to any hostile Indian Minister to discriminate against Lancashire's goods? We know that the majority of the federal revenues are derived from import duties, but in the Federal Assembly about 80 per cent., I believe, of the subjects under discussion will be under the purview of the Governor-General and, therefore, nonvotable. The Assembly will merely have power to discuss the remaining 20 per cent. of the subjects. Therefore, the only opportunity a hostile Assembly would have of pressing for these increased duties on Lancashire goods would merely be the excuse of increased Army expenditure. It is for these reasons that I think the Governor-General does, in fact, possess powers of considerable importance, which are designed to meet any eventualities which might from time to time arise.
I think it is not unreasonable that I should try to answer some of the points raised in the course of this interesting Debate on a very important Clause in this Bill, and I think it would be not unreasonable if, in view of the necessity to progress, we attempted to come to a decision, without, of course,
wishing to check anybody who is vitally interested in the Clause from expressing an opinion. The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) raised a question in connection with the special responsibility for minorities. He raised the point in connection with the Anglo-Indians, and asked whether there was any provision for securing that the posts which Anglo-Indians have held in the Services would be secured to them in future by the power which is vested in the Governor-General in his special responsibility for minorities. I think this point is actually met in paragraph XI of the Instruments of Instructions, which instructs the Governor-General to interpret his special responsibility as requiring him to secure:
a due proportion of appointments in Our Services to the several communities, and he shall be guided in this regard by the accepted policy prevailing before the issue of these Our Instructions.
That means that the Governor-General will be instructed to keep as part of the system of appointments in the services in India the arrangements in force before the operation of the Act, and I may remind the Committee that the Government of India has already issued a scheme under which a definite proportion of these appointments in the services are reserved for this particular community. The hon. and gallant Member raised also several points which we had discussed and which my right hon. Friend had answered in previous consideration of the Clause, and I think the best course for the Committee to take in attempting to understand the special responsibilities would be to read the paragraph previous to the one I have just read, which attempts to define what we mean by the special responsibilities.
The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) described the need for special responsibilities as implying a great lack of trust on our part in Indian statesmen. We have always maintained that this scheme is one which will be a partnership between our two countries, and this scheme of special responsibilities has been understood from the very start in our discussions with representatives of Indian opinion over these several years, and I think the spirit in which these special responsibilities will be worked is as fully understood by Indian statesmen as it is in reality by the hon. Gentleman himself, and as it certainly is by the Government. The hon. Gentleman was frightened lest the Governor-General in intervening in this sphere should tend to block social reform. The Government have repeatedly stated that one of our main objectives in this Bill is to give an opportunity for Indians themselves to tackle some of those abuses which, there is no doubt, are in existence in India at the present time, and which are engrained in the life of India and in the social and religious customs of India. I cannot, therefore, believe that it would be in the interests of the Governor-General or of this country that he should deliberately block social reform. The hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Wise), whose speech I think was answered so excellently by the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. Hamilton Kerr), raised several important points. I think his most searching point of attack was that the Governor-General would be deprived of advice and have no power of anticipation, and that he would live in ignorance, and therefore all his powers would be of no avail. This point was successfully answered by the hon. Member for Oldham in saying that under Sub-section (4) of Clause 17 full information would, in fact, be available to the Governor-General.
The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth raised the question of whether boycotting would be able to be checked under the provisions of this Bill. I think probably that this question falls more under special responsibility (e) than under special responsibility (f). In fact, it really falls to be considered more in detail under Part V, Chapter 3, of this Bill; but I will say in general terms at this stage, without wishing to anticipate the discussion on that particular chapter, that if intimidation and economic boycotting involve discrimination, as they would, the words of the Amendment which the hon. Gentleman wished to move would be unnecessary. I am sure that this very important point will be considered when we come to that chapter. It is our belief that rather than attempt to achieve this end by coercion, we should attempt to do so by the spirit of good will. I think it would be suitable if I said that in the latest trade figures it may be noticed that the policy of good will has had a very considerable success. It may be noted that the imports from the United Kingdom into India were higher last year than in any year since 1930 when they reached the figure of 74 crores of rupees. Although I realise the very great importance of the cotton trade, which is so well represented by so many right hon. and hon. Gentlemen in this House, we must take into consideration the general importance of Indian trade. The hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth referred to myself and my friends on this side of the House as whipped dogs.
I am sure that the Committee will bear me out when I say that I never implied that to the hon. Gentleman. I said that we have got to go to the Governor-General as whipped dogs to ask that we are not kicked out of India.
Whether that is so or not, I feel proud that the hon. and gallant Gentleman should have added to the description "ignoble pygmies," that of "whipped dogs." I am sure that all the members of the Joint Select Committee, including one friend of the hon. Gentleman himself, who comes from Lancashire, who agreed to the special responsibility being inserted in the Bill—I hope that he will not refer to his friends in such opprobrious terms—realise that this safeguard is inserted because we have the interest of Lancashire at heart. The right hon. and gallant Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Colonel Wedgwood) and the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) raised the questions which will arise out of special responsibility (g), the protection of the rights of any Indian State. I think probably, the Committee appreciated the intense feeling of the hon. Lady with regard to the possibilities of social reform in the Indian States, but that subject does not arise on this Clause. The question here is the operation of the special responsibility of the Governor-General in the ministerial field. In any case in which ministerial action would be likely to infringe or jeopardise the right of an Indian State the Governor-General would have the right to intervene. The affairs of Indian States come, of course, under the question of paramountcy, which would be outside the consideration of the Committee at the present time, and any other social question in which the hon. Lady was rightly interested would depend on the accession of a State in regard to any particular item in the federal or the concurrent list.
Do I understand then that it would not be in the power of a State or of a Prince to apply to the Governor-General for help in repressing rebellious subjects?
Not under this Clause and under sub-head (g) of the Clause, which deals solely with the case where some ministerial action would affect the right of an Indian State and the Governor-General would consider it necessary to invoke one of his special responsibilities and intervene. It would be possible under paramountcy to intervene in the affairs of an Indian State, but it would not be in order on this Clause to discuss that. In conclusion the hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Wise) used a phrase that this Clause was muddled from the first word to the last. Without wishing in any way to criticise the speech of the hon. Member for Smethwick, I think what he said would apply to the words which he addressed to the Committee rather than to the Clause which we are considering. The hon. Member was fully answered, but when he debated the questions of peace and tranquillity and said that the Governor-General would have no opportunity of controlling the various other pieces of machinery necessary to ensure peace, he forgot, in his enthusiasm, paragraph (h), which deals with
the securing that the due discharge of his functions with respect to matters with respect to which he is by or under this Act required to act in his discretion, or to exercise his individual judgment, is not prejudiced or impeded by any course of action taken with respect to any other matter.
That gives him an opportunity to intervene in cases where his special responsibility for peace and tranquillity may be threatened. After this explanation I hope that it may be possible for the Committee to come to a decision on this important Clause.
The Under-Secretary has just said that the scheme before us represents a partnership and the provisions in this Clause some of the conditions of that partnership. May I ask him whether he regards it as a full and permanent partnership, or does he agree with the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Isaac Foot), who looks upon safeguards as temporary?
I think, as a Lancashire Member, who has consistently supported the Government on this Bill, that the Clause which we are now considering is probably about the most important in the whole Bill. It is beyond question that in this House and in Lancashire there is great dissatisfaction that greater provision has not been made to safeguard the interests of British trade and of Lancashire's trade in particular, and I think I am right in saying that in the whole Bill the only mention of trade is in the particular duty which is charged upon the Governor-General in this Clause, in the following words:
The prevention of action which would subject goods of United Kingdom or Burmese origin imported into India to discriminatory or penal treatment.
I apologise to the Committee for prolonging the discussion, but I have sat throughout the Debate and I certainly cannot give a silent vote on the Clause. The first question which I have to ask myself as a representative of the people of Lancashire is, have our Government power to insert additional safeguards for British trade? I believe that is a fundamental point, and one in regard to which I gather my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bournemouth (Sir H. Croft) and I take different views. For the last 13 years our trading relations with India have been bounded and regulated by the Fiscal Autonomy Convention which was recommended by a joint select committee in 1919—another joint select committee, and the predecessor of the last one—and they recommended definitely the fiscal convention which de facto, as the lawyers say, conferred fiscal autonomy upon India.
Whether those gentlemen were right and were wise and statesmanlike in the recommendation they then made is not for me to say, but they were men of great eminence, seven of them being Members of this House and seven Members of another place. They unanimously recommended a fiscal autonomy convention. One thing is certain however, and that is the trail of ruin and misery that the Convention has left in Lancashire. Reference has been made to the necessity for good will between Lancashire and India as being more sure and certain for the preservation of trade than any provision that could be inserted in an Act of Parliament. Reference was made by the hon. and gallant Member for Bournemouth to the fact that Lancashire in particular had lost a tremendous amount of trade which she used to enjoy in India. Whereas Lancashire's exports of cotton piece goods to India in terms of sterling were, for the four years ended in March, 1914, £32,000,000 per annum, for the year ending 31st March, 1934, the figure was only just over £6,000,000. As far as yardage is concerned, the figure of 2,600,000,000 yards of cotton goods was the average delivered during the same four-year period, whereas for the year ended 31st March, 1934, the figure was only 426,000,000 yards.
Lancashire is already gravely dissatisfied with the position, but we have to be realists, and in my humble way I shall endeavour to be a realist. I ask myself whether the Government have power to do anything more in this Bill for the trade of Lancashire. I am afraid that under the terms of the Fiscal Autonomy Convention the Government have not the power. [Interruption.] I am putting my view. If it is not possible for the Government to do more in the way of limiting what tariffs the Indian Government may put on British goods, we are back in the position of to-day. I ask myself whether this country, and my county, will be worse off under the Government of India Bill than under the Fiscal Convention, and I have come to the conclusion that, although I would like to see additional safeguards if they were possible, this country's trade with India, and the trade of Lancashire, are likely to be better and on a surer and safer foundation under the terms of the Bill than under the terms of the Fiscal Convention.
With great respect, I am endeavouring to the best of my ability to show why I feel myself justified, as a Member for Lancashire, in voting in favour of a Clause which has caused great dissatisfaction in that
county. We have been told to rely on good will, but so far as Lancashire is concerned she might well use words similar to those of Rudyard Kipling:
If sacrifice be the price of Indian good
Lord God we have paid in full.
We see the empty mills of Lancashire and the empty warehouses in Manchester. In my own division I know managers, warehousemen and clerks who used to occupy sound positions in the trade with India, but who are now thrown out of employment. They get no benefit from insurance schemes, and there is no doubt about their distress. So far as the future of our trade is concerned—I will cut this as short as possible for the sake of other Members of the Committee—there are sound reasons outside that of good will why we can look forward to better trade between our country and India in the future. During the Debates on this Bill I have never heard the fact referred to that the balance of trade between Britain and India has entirely altered during recent years. There was a time when India was far and away Britain's best customer, but that day has gone. Taking the year before the War and ended March, 1914, we sent £78,000,000 worth of goods to India and only bought £38,000,000 from India. That was a tremendous balance in our favour. The figures now are practically balanced at £35,000,000 each way. Great Britain. and particularly the Empire, are far and away India's biggest and best customers. We have something there which is more tangible than the mere question of good will. If our representatives in their dealings with a self-governing India, when this Bill has been passed, sufficiently emphasise to the representatives of the Indian Government the balance of trade, the way it has changed from a preponderating one in favour of this country to one which is self-balancing, and point out that we are continuing to buy from India as much as we bought 20 years ago, when India was buying more than twice as much from us as she is doing to-day, we shall have a solid argument which will go far to influence the Federal Government to see that Great Britain has a better share of India's trade than she enjoys at the present time.
I will not keep the Committee very long. The last thing I want to do is to give offence, but we Lancashire Members have a duty to those we represent, and I would rather discharge that duty and offend everyone here, if necessary, than feel that I had failed in my duty to the people of Lancashire. When two Lancashire Members rise to support the policy of the Government on this question, I think it is high time that one Lancashire Member spoke what I believe firmly to be the mind of the county on what the Government are doing. I listened with interest and sympathy to the observations of the hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Morgan Jones) on the question of good will. T agreed with those observations. I listened with interest and sympathy to the observations of the hon. Member for Oldham (Mr. H. Kerr), and I listened with sympathy also and great interest, because his division adjoins my own, to the hon. Member for Rusholme (Mr. Radford), on good will. The commentary on that good will is our declining trade with India from £36,000,000 to £6,000,000 in cotton goods. That is the reward of our good will. It is an earnest of the good faith we may expect in the future, and some of us are not prepared by mere phrases to harmonise our conscience to what we believe is going to mean the disappearance of that remaining £6,000,000 of our cotton trade.
I agree that good will is the keynote of this question, but under this Clause the contention of some of us and the contention of the majority of the people of Lancashire, who have learned by bitter experience from the mistakes of politicians is this, that good will will not have a chance under this Clause. We believe that the people of India have plenty of good will, but we do not believe that the Indian politicians have good will. We believe that it is the politicians who are going to wag the tail of the dog. That is what will invalidate the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Rusholme in regard to the balance of trade. If the Indian politicians could act far the whole of India, which is impossible, a bargain might be struck, but where you are dealing with embittered politicians, who will sacrifice their own countrymen rather than do any good to Lancashire trade, the vague and ambiguous safeguards in this Clause are quite insufficient.
The Under-Secretary was good enough to say that the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Wise) was muddled. I have always found that when you cannot answer your opponent, the next best thing is to abuse him. I would not say that the speech of the Under-Secretary was muddled, but I think it was charmingly ambiguous. He availed himself of Parliamentary skill and evaded in an admirable way the salient points that some of us have been trying to raise. He said that the appropriate time to discuss this question would be on some other Clause, but when we come to that Clause I suppose we shall be told that we have missed our opportunity. It is a delicate game of shuttlecock, by which the Government are always able to postpone or to advance the time when they are going to give an answer. I should like to put one simple proposition. No boycott in India would succeed so far as the good will of the people of India is concerned. The boycott succeeded because until Lord Willingdon was sent out intimidation was allowed. One of the proofs of that statement is the fact that there were innumerable lawsuits shortly after the boycott, in which complaints were made that Indian goods had been passed off as Lancashire goods.
If the people of India had wanted to buy those Indian goods instead of the boycott of Lancashire goods, it would not have been necessary to pass off those Indian goods as the very goods that were supposed to be unwanted by the people of India. It was only when the ordinance prevented intimidation that the boycott lapsed. That is the exact opposite to what is commonly put forward by the advocates of the Government. The boycott did not collapse because of renewed good will on the part of the Indian politicians. It collapsed for the very good reason that we allowed good will to have free play, and for once in a way we told the Indian politicians where they had gone off the line. If we had not done that the boycott would have been going on to-day. That is why some of us are very anxious that this Clause should not be left in its present vague state.
We have heard much about the instrument of instruction. No words could be designed more to confuse language. It is extraordinarily obvious that in practice it would be almost impossible to know when to exercise the discretion. We have penal treatment going on to-day, and every one in Lancashire knows it. The 25 per cent. tariff is not, bringing revenue to India, but it is depriving the vast mass of the Indian people of goods that they want. If you dare not stop that penal discrimination now, how will you dare to do it when this misguided Measure is on the Statute Book? One hon. Member has said that if you could govern the world by phrases, the right hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Churchill) might be dictator. If we could govern the world by phrases this Bill would work, but not otherwise. If the Government are anxious to protect Lancashire, if they are anxious to secure our right to safeguards, why should they not put the thing clearly in the Bill so that we should not have to ferret it out. Why should they not say in unambiguous language what we regard as a cardinal point, namely, that discrimination against British industry, whatever be the intention of those who discriminate against British as well as Indian goods, whether it be by boycott or legislation, is not to be allowed, and that measures will be taken to stop it? Why not put that in plain English so that in the future no doubt can arise as to what are our intentions?
It is impossible to see how the Governor-General can act, looking at this Clause. If we do not know that, are the people who are going to be called upon to act in great difficulties in the future likely to know? Certainly not. I believe that this desertion is not for the benefit of India. If it were for that, I would sacrifice Lancashire tomorrow, because Lancashire has no right to have prosperity at the expense of India. If I thought that this thing we are doing was for the good of India, if I thought that what we were offering in status, dignity or freedom was for the real good of India, I should be the last person to support the line that we are taking on these benches. But I say that we are forging a weapon which has been used brutally and which will be used brutally to torture the people of Lancashire at the expense of the people of India. That is what the Government are doing.
We who represent Lancashire would indeed be failing in our duty if in the strongest possible terms we did not condemn what is being done. I know that we are only a handful in this House. I know that the Government can call their legions to vote US down. The only thing they Are anxious to do, apparently, is to vote us down as quickly as possible. But one thing they cannot do. Lancashire will never forget and never forgive what the Government are doing. Never forget that the majorities here may one day melt away like smoke. I hope they will not do so. Never forget that a Government backed by a large majority And able to impose its will in face of reasonable criticism will one day possibly have to pay the price. I am not in the least
anxious that it should, because I might be part of that price. At any rate, I should have the satisfaction of knowing that while I was here I had done my duty. Without saying any more I have stated the argument why we in Lancashire are strongly opposed to this Clause. It is not a question of our selfish trade interests. We are opposed to it because we believe that our opposition is based upon a desire for the common good of India and of Great Britain alike, and if I have in any way elucidated that point I make no apology to the Committee for having occupied a certain amount of its time.
|Division No. 79.]||AYES.||[9.57 p.m.|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Croom-Johnson, R. P.||Hunter-Weston, Lt.-Gen. Sir Aylmer|
|Albery, Irving James||Cross, R. H.||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Crossley, A. C.||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Jackson, J. C. (Heywood & Radcliffe)|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Leopold C. M. S.||Davidson. Rt. Hon. J. C. C.||James, Wing-Com. A. W. H.|
|Apsley, Lord||Davies, Edward C. (Montgomery)||Johnston, J. W. (Clackmannan)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil)||Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)|
|Assheton, Ralph||Denman, Hon. R. P.||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Ballile, Sir Adrian W. M.||Denville, Alfred||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Dickie, John P.||Kirkpatrick, William M.|
|Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet)||Duckworth, George A. V.||Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Dugdale, Captain Thomas Lionel||Leckie, J. A.|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Dunglass, Lord||Leighton, Major B. E. P.|
|Belt, Sir Alfred L.||Eden, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Lewis, Oswald|
|Benn, Sir Arthur Shirley||Edmondson, Major Sir James||Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock)|
|Bernays, Robert||Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter||Lister, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip Cunliffe-|
|Boulton, W. W.||Ellis, Sir R. Geoffrey||Llewellin, Major John J.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Emrys-Evane, P. V.||Lockwood, John C. (Hackney, C.)|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Entwistle, Cyril Fullard||Loftus, Pierce C.|
|Brass, Captain Sir William||Evans, Capt. Arthur (Cardiff, S.)||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Briscoe, Capt. Richard George||Evans, David Owen (Cardigan)||Lumley, Captain Lawrence R.|
|Brocklebank, C. E. R.||Flelden, Edward Brocklehurst||Mabane, William|
|Brown, Col. D. C. (N'th'I'd., Hexham)||Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin)||MacAndrew, Lieut.-Col. C. G.(Partick)|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Fremantle, Sir Francis||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Buchan, John||Ganzonl, Sir John||McCorquodale, M. S.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Gillett, Sir George Masterman||MacDonald, Malcolm (Bassetlaw)|
|Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Macdonald, Capt. P. D. (I. of W.)|
|Butler, Richard Austen||Glossop, C. W. H.||McEwen, Captain J. H. F.|
|Butt, Sir Alfred||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||McLean, Major Sir Alan|
|Campbell, Vice-Admiral G. (Burnley)||Graves, Marjorie||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Magnay, Thomas|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Cassels, James Dale||Grimston, R. V.||Mandar, Geoffrey le M.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M.|
|Cayzer, Maj. Sir H. R. (Prtsmth., S.)||Guy, J. C. Morrison||Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R.|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H.||Martin, Thomas B.|
|Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham)||Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford)||Mason, Col. Glyn K. (Croydon, N.)|
|Chamberlain.Rt.Hon.Sir J. A.(Birm.W)||Hamilton, Sir R. W.(Orkney & Zetl'nd)||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. N.(Edgbaston)||Hanbury, Cecil||Mills, Major J. D. (New Forest)|
|Chapman, Col.R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Haslam, Henry (Horncastle)||Milne, Charles|
|Cochrane, Commander Hon, A. D.||Haslam, Sir John (Bolton)||Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale|
|Collins, Rt. Hon. Sir Godfrey||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Monsell, Rt. Hon. Sir B. Eyres|
|Colman, N. C. D.||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford)||Morris, John Patrick (Salford, N.)|
|Colville, Lieut.-Colonel J,||Herbert, Major J. A. (Monmouth)||Morris-Jones, Dr. J. H. (Denbigh)|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller||Morrison, William Shepherd|
|Cook, Thomas A,||Hoare, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir S. J. G.||Muirhead, Lieut.-Colonel A. J.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Holdsworth, Herbert||Munro, Patrick|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Hornby. Frank||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Copeland, Ida||Horsbrugh, Florence||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Crooke, J. Smedley||Hume, Sir George Hopwood||Normand, Rt. Hon. Wilfrid|
|Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro)||Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries)||Orr Ewing, I. L.|
|Palmer, Francis Noel||Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)||Tate, Mavis Constance|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Salmon, Sir Isldore||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Peake, Osbert||Salt, Edward W.||Thompson, Sir Luke|
|Pearson, William G.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. Sir H. (Darwin)||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Penny, Sir George||Samuel, M. R. A. (W'ds'wth, Putney).||Tree, Ronald|
|Percy, Lord Eustace||Sassoon, Rt. Hon. Sir Philip A. G. D.||Tryon, Rt. Hon. George Clement|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Savery, Samuel Servington||Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L|
|Potter, John||Selley, Harry R.||Turton, Robert Hugh|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Pownall, Sir Assheton||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Wallace. Sir John (Dunfermline)|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Shute, Colonel Sir John||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Pybus, Sir John||Simmonds, Oliver Edwin||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Radford, E. A.||Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western files)||Smith, Sir J. Walker- (Barrow-ln-F.)||Wardlaw-Milne, Sir John S.|
|Ramsbotham, Herwald||Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Ramsden, Sir Eugene||Smith, Sir Robert (Ab'd'n & K'dine.C.)||Watt, Major George Steven H.|
|Rankin. Robert||Smithers, Sir Waldron||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)||Somervell, Sir Donald||White, Henry Graham|
|Held, James S. C. (Stirling)||Somerville, D. G. (Willesden, East)||Whyte, Jardine Bell|
|Rickards, George William||Soper, Richard||Willi, Wilfrid D.|
|Roberts, Aled (Wrexham)||Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.||Wilson, Clyde T. (West Toxteth)|
|Ropner, Colonel L.||Spens, William Patrick||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Rosbotham, Sir Thomas||Stanley, Rt. Hon. Lord (Fylde)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Steel-Maitland. Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Womersley, Sir Walter|
|Rothschild, James A. de||Stevenson, James||Worthington, Dr. John V.|
|Ruggles-Brise, Colonel Sir Edward||Stones, James||Young, Rt. Hon.Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Stourton, Hon. John J.|
|Russell, Alexander West (Tynemouth)||Strickland, Captain W. F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Sir Frederick Thomson and Mr. Blindell.|
|Russell, R. J. (Eddlsbury)||Sueter, Rear-Admiral Sir Murray F.|
|Rutherford, John (Edmonton)||Sutcliffe, Harold|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Maxton, James|
|Atholl, Duchess of||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blk'pool)||Milner, Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Everard, W- Lindsay||Nann, William|
|Bailey, Eric Alfred George||Fleming, Edward Lascelles||Oman, Sir Charles William C.|
|Banfield, John William||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Parkinson, John Allen|
|Batey, Joseph||Gardner, Benjamin Walter||Raikes, Henry V. A. M.|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Rawson, Sir Cooper|
|Brown, C. W. E. (Notts., Mansfield)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Ray, Sir William|
|Burnett, John George||Griffiths, George A. (Yorks, W. Riding)||Reid, David D. (County Down)|
|Cape, Thomas||Gritten, W. G. Howard||Remer, John R.|
|Carver, Major William H.||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvll)||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart|
|Cleary, J. J.||Jenkins, Sir William||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Smith, Tom (Normanton)|
|Cocks. Frederick Seymour||Keyes, Admiral Sir Roger||Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)|
|Courtauld, Major John Sewell||Kirkwood, David||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt n, S.)|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Knox, Sir Alfred||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps. Sir Stafford||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Todd. Lt.-Col. A. J. K. (B'wick-on-T.)|
|Critchley, Brig.-General A. C.||Leonard, William||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Croft, Brigadier-General Sir H.||Logan. David Gilbert||Wayland, Sir William A.|
|Daggar, George||Lunn, William||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)|
|Davies, Stephen Owen||McEntee, Valentine L.||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Davison, Sir William Henry||McGovern, John||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Dawson, Sir Philip||Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)||Wise, Alfred R.|
|Donner, P. W.||Macqulsten, Frederick Alexander|
|Edwards, Charles||Mainwaring, William Henry||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Mr. Paling and Mr. Groves.|