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Non-Official Organisations, West Africa

Volume 441: debated on Wednesday 30 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps are taken to encourage and receive representations from non-official organisations in West Africa respecting economic and political matters and clearly to acquaint them with Government's short- and long-term policies; and if he is satisfied that everything possible is being done to convey to West Africans the immediate steps now being taken to implement these policies.

The steps taken to this end are, of course, many and various including the prior publication of legislation in the form of Bills for comment, the issue of statements of Government policy as Sessional Papers presented to Legislative Council, the appointment of representatives of non-official organisations to bodies such as local development councils, labour advisory committees and boards of education, the establishment of public relations organisations charged specifically with the task of interpreting Government policy to the public and the explanation of Government's intentions and actions by means of broadcasts, Press conferences and Press statements. I regard the existing arrangements for this purpose as generally satisfactory, but I am sure that the Colonial Governments are constantly on the watch to improve their machinery in this respect.

Is my right hon. Friend aware of any impediments which are put in the way of unofficial organisations approaching local Governments with a view to securing further information? Is the initiative taken by the Governments to reply to non-official organisations?

A great deal of initiative is shown by the information departments in the respective Colonial Governments. That information is available to representatives of non-official organisations, which are brought together in order that it may be passed to them.