himself put as between 38,000 and 30,000. What is the source of the hon. Member's 159,000 figure?
Mr. Mason It comes from the estimates which have bean made by the Southern Rhodesia Government. The publicity officer, on behalf of that Government, had a letter in the Guardian on these lines only three months ago. I have to take that as being authentic This is their estimate of how many people are entitled to vote and how many registered.
There are reasons for that. First, there is a lack of interest among many Africans about becoming politically advanced and wanting to vote. Secondly, many of them have been subject to intimidation and will not get on the electoral roll. Thirdly, however, and not least of all, once they are registered and named, they come within a certain tax range and they do not want to be recognised and known. This is one of the reasons why a lot of Africans in Southern Rhodesia are not going on the register.
My view is that if all had registered and all had been encouraged to take a part, they would have been the major opposition party in the Southern Rhodesia Assembly and Joshua Nkomo, had he been a responsible and intelligent leader, might well have been leader of the opposition. In spite of all that, however, I still say that there is room for widening the franchise and for encouring the African to get on to the electoral list.
It is an absolute necessity for the Rhodesias at least to remain economically united, especially if they wish to attract investment and interest in their development from outside. Indeed, investors would certainly be more prepared to invest if the mono-economy of Northern Rhodesia is backed by the diversification of industry in Southern Rhodesia. I note with pleasure that the World Bank is offering assistance in the hope that a continuing bridge between the Rhodesias in railways, power, communications and airways is maintained.
I notice also that Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia are demanding separation of postal services and currency. This is the usual and immediate demand of any emergent black African leader when he gets independence. If these people can put their heads on the postage stamps and on the currency, it is the straightforward visible sign by which their people can see that independence has come; but it is the only thing that they can immediately do.
I have thought seriously about the solutions to this problem. One must recognise that Nyasaland and Northern Rhodesia must be allowed to secede as quickly and as peacefully as possible. As the federal political over structure is gradually dismantled, however, I would hope to see emerging at the same time a Central African economic council, on which there should be representatives of the three territorial Governments and Her Majesty's Government. They would be responsible for controlling, developing, financing, and so on, the main economic links between the three territories, if possible including Nyasaland. I would also like to see parallel development of a defence board, which would have taken over the Federal Army, run by the three territorial governments and Her Majesty's Government as well.
After a while, during the transitional phase, if they had recognised the necessity for these economic links and how they were benefiting the three territories, even though the political umbrella had been brought down, and if they had seen that this economic strength was for the benefit of all, Her Majesty's Government might then have been able to withdraw gracefully and probably have granted independence to all three territories at the same time, because meanwhile Southern Rhodesia, with a widening franchise, could well be moving on to at least multiracial government.
I have studied the White Paper and there are two or three questions I must ask. Has any compromise been reached between Her Majesty's Government and Mr. Winston Field on Southern Rhodesian independence? Has he agreed in principle that Southern Rhodesia shall receive independence when the dissolution of the Federation is complete? What are the possibilities of widening the franchise in Southern Rhodesia? What of this compensation problem for the farmers and property owners in Nyasaland, who, by force of circumstances and because of independence, may have to leave?