Oral Answers to Questions — Colonies (Conscripted Labour).

– in the House of Commons on 1st July 1942.

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Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in what other colonial areas enforced labour is to be put into operation, and whether in Nigeria and East Africa or in any other colonial area where enforced labour is to operate, representative Native bodies will be consulted respecting effective safeguards and improved conditions?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

Apart from military conscription, so far as my Noble Friend is aware, the only territories in which approval has been given for labour to be conscripted for work essential to the defence of the territory, the efficient prosecution of the war, or the life of the community, are Kenya, Tanganyika Territory, Northern Rhodesia, Nigeria, Zanzibar and Malta. With regard to the second part of the Question, my Noble Friend is sure that the necessary steps will be taken by any Government concerned to ensure that the welfare of all conscripted labour is adequately safeguarded, and that any representations made on the subject by unofficial bodies or organisations representative of local labour will receive sympathetic consideration.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Has any consultation with representatives of natives or native organisations yet taken place; and does not the right hon. Gentleman think it highly desirable that that should have been done?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

As the hon. Member knows, this covers a fairly wide field, and I would like notice of specific cases, but in the case of Kenya Archdeacon Owen, who represents the natives, was one of the persons most consulted in drawing up all the necessary safeguards.

Photo of Mr Reginald Sorensen Mr Reginald Sorensen , Leyton West

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in this country workers who may be conscripted for industry and other purposes do not wish for an archdeacon or other ecclesiastic to represent them, but desire to have their own representative, and could not that also apply as far as possible to East and West Africa?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

As the hon. Member knows, at the present time the representative status of natives is direct or indirect according to the conditions in the various Colonies.