Colonial Affairs.

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

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

Yes, I was not responsible for that, but when it was reviewed the shipping situation had become a limiting factor.

I move from the raising, whether by conscription or by voluntary recruitment, of military Forces to the question raised by my hon. Friend and others of conscription, or forced labour, or whatever one might call it, for production services. He was good enough to say that we had a very long Debate on this, with which he was reasonably satisfied, and I will not go into the details any further. On the Kenya question he was good enough to say that the arrangements we had made there assuming this was to be done at all, were reasonably satisfactory. I can tell the House that every point that was brought to my notice in that Debate has been taken further, and we have arranged that the schoolboys of 16 will not be called up in the way that he feared. We have reduced the penalties from £5 to £2, and we have provided a considerable additional inspectorate. A central wages board has also laid down general scales of rations and meals and fixed minimum wages for the compulsory labour. In Tanganyika there has been compulsory labour, but on a very limited scale, only for a short-term emergency for planting of crops, and that is all. In Northern Rhodesia the whole thing amounted to less than 700 men, and now it is a small voluntarily recruited force to do general work for the Government, such as road making, and so on.