Orders of the Day — African Territories

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st July 1957.

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Photo of Mr John Stonehouse Mr John Stonehouse , Wednesbury 12:00 am, 31st July 1957

Hon. Members on all sides recognise that we have got ourselves into a terrible mess in Cyprus. We are at last, I hope, beginning to extricate ourselves from it. Do not let us make the same mistake in Kenya. We want to go into this question very thoroughly and consult indigenous populations before we rush into the establishment of this base.

Certainly, there are very strong military arguments against its establishment. It has been suggested that a naval base should be established at Mombasa but, as some well-known naval experts have already pointed out, it would be very dangerous to establish a naval base at that port. There are strong arguments against the establishment of this base, and I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will at least give an undertaking that his right hon. Friend will ensure that the African representatives in Kenya are consulted.

Before I leave Kenya, I want to refer to the problem of economic development there. We have not yet had—although we have had several debates on colonial affairs and one on the Dow Report—any proper statement from the Colonial Secretary on the Government's policy in regard to Kenya's economic development. What, for instance, do the Government intend to do about the White Highlands? I am glad that the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is here, because some time ago he said in public that he believed that the sanctity of the White Highlands—I do not know that I quote his exact words but this was his meaning—must go——