place, with no African Representative from Southern Rhodesia, the Southern Rhodesian Government assuring, and evidently persuading, the two right hon. Gentlemen that African interests would be adequately catered for by the presence of the European representative. The communiqué of 21st September made no reference at any time to African consent being a condition precedent to federation. Quite the reverse, the London Conference was arranged to take place in the following spring, 1952, but there was a change of Government and the Conservative Government took over. It is therefore true to say that while the Conservative Government pulled the trigger, it was the Labour Government who loaded the gun, and it is only right to get that on the record.
At last, and at the eleventh hour, the Government have faced reality. I whole heartedly agree with every word of the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel). It was a speech which was courageous, logical, fair-minded and deeply principled. If that had been the official attitude of the Conservative Party 10 years ago, we might have a very different situation in Central Africa today.
The Government are now facing realities. I suppose that in two or three years we shall be discussing the dissolution of the South Arabian Federation, which is also being forced upon its inhabitants against their will, and, as has happened with Central Africa, those of us who have criticised this Federation of Southern Arabia will be shouted down as we were shouted down about the Central African Federation.
Mr. Bence What about Malaysia?
Mr. Thorpe The hon. Member asks me about Malaysia. I would have thought that the difference and the moral of the Malaysian Conference was that it was with the support of the people of the area who sent to London widely representative Governments. There is the difference.
There is nothing so surprising about agreement having been reached at Victoria Falls for the dissolution of the Federation. Perhaps it is surprising that there were no walk-outs. Certain broad principles have been agreed upon in connection with the dissolution of the Federation and certain working committees are getting down to the job of carving up the Federation. Let us realise that this is only the very beginning and that the reasons why Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia are in favour of dissolving the Federation are totally different.
The Northern Rhodesians are in favour of it because they fear white domination if they continue in the Federation and they believe that their own course of constitutional development will be retarded. Southern Rhodesia, conversely, believes that two black African Governments on its northern borders with African majorities will accelerate the pace of African advancement in Southern Rhodesia. Therefore, much as I pay tribute to the right hon. Gentleman, he has handed over the problems and not the solutions. I do not believe that we can test how the dissolution has proceeded until we have seen the work of the committees, and that will take many months.
The question I should like to ask is how the Bill will affect the Africans in Southern Rhodesia. The right hon. Gentleman succeeded in separating the question of dissolution from that of Southern Rhodesia's independence. Perhaps this was tactically necessary in order to get a full turn out at the conference table. While it is superficially true that that these two matters are divisible, the dissolution of the Federation will have a profound effect on the Africans in Southern Rhodesia.
The first thing I want to ask the First Secretary about is the army. There was a very full report in The Times of 3rd July indicating how the forces of the Federation were to be divided among the three territories. Not surprisingly, Southern Rhodesia is to get the lion's share. Page 12 of the White Paper, paragraph 43, says that the position of Southern Rhodesia is a reversion to the pre-1953 position, in that Southern Rhodesia will be responsible for her own forces. Does that mean that these forces come under the governor, or under the Queen, or do they come under the Southern Rhodesian Government? Are they totally independent of this country? In short, what will be our relationship with the forces of Southern Rhodesia?