Basutoland (Suppressed Organisation).

Oral Answers to Questions — Petrol Rationing. – in the House of Commons on 17th March 1942.

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Mr. David Adams:

asked the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs why the Lekhotla la Bafo, the national organisation of the people of Basutoland, has been suppressed by an order of the Resident Commissioner, dated 3rd January, and three of its leading members, including Mr. Josiel Lafela, well-known historian of the Basutoland people, have been interned at Mapoteng?

Photo of Mr Paul Emrys-Evans Mr Paul Emrys-Evans , Derbyshire Southern

The organisation was suppressed, and the three leaders were interned, under the Basutoland Defence Regulations, with the approval of the High Commissioner. The reason was the subversive character of statements, calculated to interfere with the recruitment of natives for military service, which had been made at meetings of the Association. It is not correct to describe the Association as a representative one. In fact, the native authorities in Basutoland have in the past suggested that legal proceedings should be taken against it.

Mr. Adams:

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Secretary for Native Affairs in the Union of South Africa has expressed his personal opinion that natives and non-Europeans ought to be armed, and that that alone is the offence which this organisation has committed; and is he aware that the local Press are pressing the same point of view?

Photo of Mr Paul Emrys-Evans Mr Paul Emrys-Evans , Derbyshire Southern

I was not aware of the statement referred to.

Photo of Mr John McGovern Mr John McGovern , Glasgow Shettleston

Is not this the policy that led to the great disaster of Singapore and Malaya? Will the Government consider an approach to the natives in the Colonial Empire and extend that freedom to them that they are promising to others?