Oral Answers to Questions — Colonial Administration.

– in the House of Commons on 27th January 1942.

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Photo of Sir Henry Morris-Jones Sir Henry Morris-Jones , Denbigh

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies what change there has been in recent years in the relationship between our governors and officials in our Colonies and the Home Department; to what extent it has resulted in depriving such colonial servants of the power of adaptability, resource and initiative; and what instructions are now given to our colonial officers on endangered territory?

Photo of Mr George Hall Mr George Hall , Merthyr Tydfil Aberdare

It is difficult to generalise in a matter of this kind. The trend in recent years is for the Secretary of State to formulate broad lines of policy in close consultation with Colonial Governors, and to provide them with all possible assistance and guidance, but to leave the local application of policy to the Colonial Governments. So far from the qualities referred to in the second part of the Question being impaired, there is every opportunity for their exercise. Of course, war imports new conditions, and it is necessary for instructions to be issued to Colonial Governments, as to other authorities, on many matters formerly left to their discretion which have now become of military or other war-time importance. As regards the third part of the Question, it would clearly not be in the public interest to publish details of the directions given to officials in territories likely to be the subject of military operations.