Commission of Inquiry (Report)

Oral Answers to Questions — Nyasaland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1959.

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Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough 12:00 am, 23rd July 1959

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the findings of the Devlin Commission on the disturbances in Nyasaland.

Photo of Mr Roland Robinson Mr Roland Robinson , Blackpool South

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when it is expected to publish the Devlin Report on Nyasaland.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

The Report, together with a Despatch from the Governor, is being published this afternoon, and will be available in the Vote Office at 6 p.m. I would prefer to defer my comments until hon. Members have had an opportunity of reading both documents.

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough

In view of the fact that these two Reports are to be published this afternoon and that the right hon. Gentleman declined to make any statement to the House itself before these Reports come out, would the right hon. Gentleman agree to say in this case whether the Devlin Commission has endorsed his charge of massacre and murder against Dr. Banda and his close associates, and, if it has not done so, will he again consider his position as Secretary of State for the Colonies?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

I would advise the hon. Member to read both documents. One will take him about half an hour and the other one will take him between four and five hours. He will be better able to question me on both after he has read each of them.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

In view of the fact that the Colonial Secretary has had the Hola Camp Report since 1st July and the Devlin Commission's Report only a few days, is he publishing both of them together on the principle of trying to get all the bad news together in one day?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

Certainly not. As the hon. Gentleman ought to know, as I have already told him, if he had been listening, the Hola Report will be published along with three Despatches which passed between the Governor of Kenya and myself. These despatches naturally take some time to work out and exchange. They cover very important matters, and it is pure coincidence that these Reports are ready together. I was very anxious to fulfil my responsibilities to the House that both would be published before the House rose.