Colonial Affairs.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 4th August 1942.

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Photo of Sir Patrick Hannon Sir Patrick Hannon , Birmingham Moseley

I would like to offer a few observations on the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Consett (Mr. D. Adams). In the interpretation throughout our Colonial Empire of the various Orders issued from the Colonial Office, our Governors abroad, those responsible for the administration of our Colonial Empire, have given an immediate and sympathetic response. Those of us who have been throughout the Colonial Empire—and it has been my good fortune to visit most parts of the Colonial Empire—think that many speeches made in this House have a disturbing influence on the administration. We ought to be extremely careful in these difficult and embarrassing times not to make speeches in this House which excite agitation in our Colonial Empire in relation to local administration. Take Sierra Leone, which was referred to by my hon. Friend. I was there at the beginning of 1939. There was considerable trouble with local labour. The Governor and those responsible for both branches of the Colonial administration—there are two parts of Sierra Leone: the Colony and the local administration at Freetown—were doing everything possible to meet, conciliate, and help the natives in the demands they made for better conditions. The Governor was doing everything possible to make things better and happier for the people, both in the Colony and in Freetown. Many speeches in this House have been responsible for trouble in the West Indies. How can you establish a minimum wage for Jamaica, where the conditions are so different from conditions in this country in regard to relations between the employers and the trade unions? I would ask my hon. Friend, knowing how anxious he is to see better conditions in the Colonial Empire, not to express opinions which may give rise to trouble in the Colonial Empire.