I am perturbed about the future of the Federal civil servants, of which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) dealt in detail, but there is the prickly question of voluntary or compulsory secondment. My view is that it should be voluntary and that these people, if they wish to leave, should be able so to do, and there should be no compulsion to keep them in any of these three territories.
My final question is, what about the future grants to the Nyasaland economy? The Government here have granted roughly £2¼ million for six months. Can the right hon. Gentleman give us some indication of what, if any, further thoughts there are on this matter? Is it the intention to subsidise the Nyasaland economy to the tune of roughly £5 million a year?
Finally, in turning over this page in the history of this region, one cannot but recall that only seventy years ago the first pioneer column moved up from the south, braving many unknown hazards, and disease, and gradually opened up the central and most inaccessible part of the continent. Slave trading was rife, but the efforts of pioneers and missionaries abolished it. The warlike Matabeles had the Mashonas living a life of fear and subjection, but again, after much strife, the rivalry of these tribes was laid to rest. Many diseases have been controlled, some of them have been conquered. Now this part of Central Africa is one of the most wonderful and beautiful parts of the continent, as it has become from Rhodes, Livingstone, Jamieson, the gallant Major Wilson, up to the recent rulers, Sir Edgar Whitehead and Sir Roy Welensky. To all who wished this multi-racial experiment success, this is a sad day. Let us hope that the emergent African leaders will on reflection recognise what in total has been sacrificed for political expediency.
- 7.42 p.m.
Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay) This seems to be a day for exchanging compliments across the Floorof the House, a somewhat unusual exercise, but in rising to repeat these tributes I must say that in listening to the remarks of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason), and of other hon. Gentlemen who have spoken, I found myself at no stage in any disagreement at all. I think that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Barnsley painted a very fair picture not only of what we should like to happen in Africa but also of what is in fact happening in Africa and of what we fear may happen. He touched on problems which are surely worrying us all, in countries which won their liberty quite recently on the basis of democracy—on the basis of one man, one vote, and on the rights of man.
Yet today, as we well know—and it is an uncomfortable thought to have in mind—things happen which it seems to me must cause some of us to hide our heads in shame. There is hardly a single country left in Africa among the 20 or 30 which have got their freedom since the last war which any longer has in being the principle of democracy for which they fought to get their freedom. There is hardly a country left in Africa which has had a second election, as opposed to the first one. When someone recently said that in Africa there is one man, one vote, one election he was not very far from the truth so far as the great majority of those countries are concerned.
Only the other day, in a country which recently got its independence, and for which, perhaps, some of the highest hopes were held out, a case was reported which, if it had happened under British administration, would, I am absolutely confident, have brought down any Government of this country, no matter from which side of the House it was composed. Very recently there were some Asians convicted of fraudulent practices, and they were sentenced by a compulsory penal code, which allows no discretion on the part of the judge, to two years' imprisonment, to be flogged at the beginning of the sentence and to be flogged again at the end of it. I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to imagine what would have happened in this House if in a British colonial territory that had happened, and yet there is not a whisper in this House when this happens, because now that is an African country with an African Government in charge. It was reported, too, that when one of the Asians was too weak, after receiving eight strokes of his flogging, to bear any more, they put off the others for another two or three months till he got a little bit better, and then he had to serve another year and nine months and have the flogging at the end of it.