principle of one man—one vote—and Southern Rhodesia which, unless a dramatic change of heart takes place, is and looks like remaining the heart of white supremacy. Unless there are considerable and substantial changes in the Southern Rhodesia political outlook and constitution, I do not believe that economic co-operation of the intimate kind about which we are talking is likely to be feasible. I am very keen to see that in the economic sphere we do not start making the same mistakes which we made ten years ago in the political sphere.
For all these reasons, and especially the economic reasons; because I believe that the granting of independence to Southern Rhodesia would bust up the Commonwealth; because I do not believe, on careful analysis, that people would be prepared to concede a repetition of the South African situation, I consider it of vital importance that we should make attempts to broaden and liberalise the present Southern Rhodesian Constitution.
What are the obstacles in the way of our so doing? First of all, there is the obstacle referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton. Mr. Winston Field, apparently, gave a pledge at the last election that he would not seek to alter the constitution of Southern Rhodesia within the lifetime of the present Parliament.
Mr. Turton Franchise.
Mr. Berkeley I said "Constitution" to be accurate. I not only read Mr. Winston Field's statement but I talked to him afterwards about his statement and what he said was the Constitution. Because I hoped to be called during this debate I did not bother to interrupt my right hon. Friend to correct him on that point.
Plainly if we are to make an alteration in the constitution from dependence to independence, no more radical or fundamental change can be conceived of. There are two possibilities. Either we assist Mr. Winston Field to keep his pledge, in which case independence is quite out of the question, or we interpret his pledge, as perhaps it should be interpreted, that there was no intention to change the existing franchise within the existing constitutional arrangements of internal self-government with external dependence on the United Kingdom.
I think we can quite clearly say to him that if he wishes to have a fundamental constitutional change bringing about full independence, then the pledge he gave is no longer applicable. I do not think we would be involving ourselves in tremendous difficulties, nor would he, because quite clearly what his electorate was thinking about at that time was the existing constitutional arrangements in which Southern Rhodesia not only was a self-governing Colony, but also a part of the Federation which has since disappeared.
I should like to make quite clear that I endorse very nearly all that was said by my noble Friend the Member for Hertford (Lord Balniel). I do not believe it is the intention of our Government to give independence to Southern Rhodesia under the existing constitution, but, should they decide to do so, I should feel obliged to vote against such a measure at every stage where it was possible to do so. I do not think that in Southern Rhodesia with all the special circumstances involved it is necessarily possible to achieve a constitution of one man, one vote very quickly, because in Southern Rhodesia we have a complete break-down of relationships between the races.
That was very apparent to me when I was there a few months ago. The change in twelve months I found really alarming and depressing. Both races in Southern Rhodesia at present are haunted by fear. The Europeans are haunted by the fear that they will be overwhelmed by black African nationalism overnight, swamped by one man, one vote; and the Africans are equally haunted by the fear that under this constitution, which they regard as being rigged, they are never going to acquire political power. That is what the whole thing is about.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton talked about Sir Edgar Whitehead's enlightened measures in removing racial discrimination. I accept that he moved with some courage, but it always seemed to me that what he was doing was irrelevant. What really matters is power. If one acquires power, discrimination goes anyway. To imagine that by passing legislation to allow Africans to go into multi-racial hotels that will satisfy their political aspirations,