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Indians, South Africa (Status)

Volume 388: debated on Thursday 22 April 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for India whether he has any statement to make on the estimated effect on Indian emigration of the legislation recently passed by the Union of South Africa affecting the status of Indians in that Dominion?

As Indians are still members of the British Empire, and as the Minister has just finished paying a magnificent tribute to their fighting qualities and devotion to the Empire, is it his intention to make any representations to the South African Government regarding the depreciation of the status of Indians in South Africa?

Does the Minister realise what this involves to Indians in South Africa? Will he not take some steps to put the matter right?

Would the Minister be interested to know that I have received in the last few minutes a cable from West Africa, from the President of the Natal Indian Association, protesting against this and calling attention to the bravery of their men in Africa? Is not this a very curious requital for that bravery?

The matter is one which has been dealt with by the Government of the Union of South Africa.

Surely my right hon. Friend is aware that representations have constantly been made in the past, both by the Government of India and, I think, His Majesty's Government, when the Union of South Africa have taken action which, in the opinion of the Government of India, was derogatory and inimical to Indian interests?

This has been represented by the Government of India and discussed between the Government of India and the Union of South Africa.

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.