Governor (Consultation)

Oral Answers to Questions — Leeward Islands – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th February 1949.

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Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Stafford 12:00 am, 9th February 1949

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies on what date the Governor of the Leeward Islands was recalled by him to London; and why.

Photo of Mr Frederic Harris Mr Frederic Harris , Croydon North

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any statement to make on the recall of the Governor of the Leeward Islands.

Photo of Mr Quintin Hogg Mr Quintin Hogg , Oxford

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies for what reason it has been found necessary to recall the Governor of the Leeward Islands.

Mr. Creech Jones:

I asked the Governor on 17th January to come to London for consultation on some of the problems of the Leeward Islands.

Photo of Major Guy Lloyd Major Guy Lloyd , Renfrewshire Eastern

In those circumstances, could we have a complete report of the speech of the Governor which has been referred to, and to which apparently some exception has been taken, placed in the Library of the House of Commons?

Mr. Creech Jones:

I have not myself referred to the speech of Lord Baldwin, and it has no relevance to the Question on the Paper.

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Bristol West

Is it not unusual to recall a Governor for consultation when he has only been in his territory for a few months, unless for some very urgent reason? Secondly, may I ask whether, in view of the necessary urgency of the consultation which the right hon. Gentleman desired, the method of travel selected by the Governor has not been rather dilatory?

Mr. Creech Jones:

I appreciate the second supplementary question, but I understand that, on account of his health, it was impossible for Lord Baldwin to travel to this country by air and he took the most expeditous way available to him. In regard to the right hon. Gentleman's first supplementary question, during the last eight or nine months a number of important matters have emerged in respect of the administration of the Leewards and these problems cannot very well be discussed by correspondence, by despatch. They can only be properly discussed personally with the Governor.

Photo of Mr Cecil Poole Mr Cecil Poole , Lichfield

Could not the urgent reason be the complete failure of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley), when he was Colonial Secretary, to do anything at all for the Leeward Islands?

Vice-Admiral Taylor:

Would the Minister say whether the Governor was recalled because he was quite unable adequately to digest the enormous number of circulars sent to him?

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Could not my right hon. Friend put a stop to the various rumours and speculations by simply giving an assurance that the Governor will be returning to the Leeward Islands to his post after the consultation?

Mr. Creech Jones:

I have, through the Colonial Office, issued a statement as to the reason for Lord Baldwin coming to this country. I have made it perfectly clear that there are a number of administrative problems which must be discussed with him, and there the matter must rest.

Photo of Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan Colonel Sir Alan Gomme-Duncan , Perth

May I ask if there is any chance of any of us being present at this first interview?

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Will my right hon. Friend answer my question? Can he give that assurance?

Photo of Mr Jack Lawson Mr Jack Lawson , Chester-le-Street

Is my right hon. Friend aware that his attempts to get this matter put right through his Department are not receiving anything like the same notice in the Press as the rumours against the Governor?

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Can my right hon. Friend give the assurance that I asked for, that Lord Baldwin will be returning, as Governor, to the Leeward Islands?

Mr. Creech Jones:

I can only answer my hon. Friend by saying that it is normal in the administration of the Territories for the Governors to come to this country and discuss their problems with the Secretary of State. I am not at this stage going to pre-judge the future in this case, nor would I do so in the case of any other Governor who was invited to give information in regard to his administration.

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Bristol West

Is not it a fact that in the normal case of a Governor coming back for consultation the right hon. Gentleman would have no difficulty at all in giving a definite answer to the question whether he is going back or not? Does not the inability of the right hon. Gentleman to answer that question show that in fact there is something more in this than the normal recall for consultation?

Hon. Members:

Answer.

Mr. Creech Jones:

If the House wants an answer: when problems are raised or emerge in regard to the administration of any territory, either they have to be settled by correspondence or by personal interview. In regard to the problems which I wish to discuss with Lord Baldwin, I am not in a position to form any judgment whatever until I have had these discussions, and accordingly, whatever these discussions may lead to I am completely unable at his stage to make any statement.

Photo of Hon. Oliver Stanley Hon. Oliver Stanley , Bristol West

Are we to understand that the question of Lord Baldwin's return to the Territory depends on the result of the consultation he is to have with the right hon. Gentleman?

Mr. Creech Jones:

As the right hon. Gentleman will know, in any group of discussions with the Colonial Secretary one can never foresee the outcome of those discussions until the whole problem in regard to the Territory concerned has been considered, and I am not, at this stage, going to state what will be the outcome of these discussions.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

Can my right hon. Friend say whether, when a Governor comes home for consultation in the normal course, he goes back again, and whether his recall is normal in both those respects?

Hon. Members:

Answer.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Stafford

Will my right hon. Friend say something in order to kill the rumours which are circulating; is he not aware of the rumour which has been circulated that Lord Baldwin is being recalled in order to be sacked as a result of the representations of the sugar barons?

Mr. Creech Jones:

All I can say is that that is absolutely untrue. There have been no representations to me by the planters for the recall of Lord Baldwin, nor have I taken umbrage at the speech which has been reproduced in a number of newspapers which it is alleged is the cause of my summoning Lord Baldwin to London.