will probably be a flight from the £. It will certainly reduce the foreign investment flowing into that country. It will produce uncertainty, and it will lead to the expulsion of Southern Rhodesia from the Commonwealth. That is the price which she would have to pay for organising a Boston Tea Party.
I think we must realise that the way in which we dissolve this Federation, the manner in which we realise our responsibility to the two Protectorates, and our responsibility for the African majority in Southern Rhodesia, will be judged by the whole of Africa. This and our attitude to South Africa and the Protectorates will be the test case of Britain's good intentions and will really determine how the nations not only of Africa but of Asia and, indeed, the old members of the Commonwealth view Britain for the next five, 10 and 15 years.
We must hold to the principle that the territories must reach the stage of self-government based on universal adult suffrage, and then, and only then, can there be any question of them being granted independence. I am delighted that this Government have at last realised that they forced the political federation which was doomed to failure. I only wish that they had realised it before, but I hope that this will at least ensure that they do not try to do the same thing again.
- 8.15 p.m.
Mr. Humphry Berkeley (Lancaster) I do not think that anyone is exactly in a mood for rejoicing this evening, but I should like to offer my congratulations to the First Secretary in his absence for what I believe has been a remarkable personal triumph. We are all familiar with his agility of mind, and I think we all recognise that he has considerable negotiating skill. It seems tome that in his conduct of the Victoria Falls conference he has shown a much rarer quality, that of high statesmanship, and I believe that this is a quality which admirably equips him to fill at some time in the future a still higher post than he does at the moment. I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General will be kind enough to convey this genial message to my right hon. Friend.
A variety of reasons have been put forward for the collapse of the Central African Federation, some of which I agree with and some of which I do not. I do not think that we ought to indulge in an orgy of recrimination about what has proved to be a tragic failure, but I think that it is perhaps worth while reflecting on two or three of the considerations which may have led to the breakdown of this Federation, if only to endeavour to learn some of these lessons for future action elsewhere.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) attributed the collapse of the Federation primarily to two reasons. One was the failure of the party system in this country. I find that a curious reason, and I do not believe that it has very much to do with it. The second, which seemed to have nothing to do with it, was the Prime Minister's"wind of change" speech in South Africa in January, 1960. I first went to Salisbury in 1958 and it was perfectly clear to me, at any rate by May, 1959, particularly after the emergency in Nyasaland, that the Federation was doomed, and what we have really been witnessing in the last four years have been the prolonged and rather disagreeable death throes.
The hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) produced what was in some respects an even more curious reason, namely, that the number of visits made to the Federation by United Kingdom Members of Parliament in some way made the morale of the people of the Federation collapse. I do not believe that to have any truth in it at all. The basic reason why the Federation failed is that never at any stage from its inception did it attract any significant African support. It is as simple as that. When Sir Roy Welensky, Sir Edgar Whitehead, or other prominent politicians of the United Federal Party—as it was then called—talked about a multi-racial partnership, no doubt they did so with the best intentions in the world, but at no stage did any member of that party, either in the territorial Government or the Federal Government, make a serious attempt to put into practice the policy of partnership to which it was in theory committed. To me this is the basic reason for the failure, and it is something that we ought to recognise.
The achievement of the First Secretary, limited though it is, is two-fold. He has, to our pleasure, achieved the prospect