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Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1949

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National Registration (Fingerprints)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware that British settlers in Kenya Colony are being compelled, when the National Registration Bill comes into force on 16th May, to submit to the taking of full fingerprints of both hands for identification purposes; and if he will take steps to see that this practice shall not be put into operation.

The Bill was passed by the Legislative Council in 1947 after full public discussion. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the measure commands wide support locally, and he sees no reason to intervene.

May I ask the hon. Gentleman why British subjects should be subjected to such degradation?

It is not degradation at all. The Committee, representing all races, recommended this in 1946.

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise the very great resentment against this infringement of civil liberties which is felt by the European population, and will he look into the matter again and do something about it?

No. The European population were represented on the Committee in 1946 which made this recommendation.

Crown Lands (Resettlement)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies where, in Kenya, the 384,000 acres of Crown Lands offered for alienation are situated; and whether he has approved the alienation in view of the urgent need for the resettlement of considerable numbers of the native African population.

My right hon. Friend would, I feel sure, approve the arrangements proposed by the Kenya Government to bring into more effective use this land which is in North Laikipia within the settled area and can only be economically used for large scale ranching.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this land has been chosen for climatic conditions, that settlers are waiting to go there to increase the food production, and will he do everything he can to facilitate its transfer as quickly as possible?

Before any more land is handed over for native cultivation, will the hon. Gentleman take care that supervision is retained in order to see that the natives do not erode the land as they are doing in their own settlements at the present time?

Labour Efficiency Survey

26 and 28.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what steps will be taken in East Africa to secure further improvement in facilities for primary and technical education, in the light of the Report of the Kenya and African Labour Efficiency Survey;

(2) whether he has considered the references in the Kenya and African Labour Efficiency Survey concerning grave discontent among African workers as a result of continued colour discrimination, grievances concerning alienation of land and lack of opportunities for advancement; and what steps it is proposed to take in these matters in the light of this survey.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action is proposed on the recommendations of the recent Survey of Labour Efficiency in Kenya that a more extended inquiry into the economic and social life of the African should be undertaken; what steps are being taken to provide a larger number of maternity and child welfare clinics in view of the conclusion that many Africans are suffering from malignant malnutrition developed in infancy; and whether the Kenya-Uganda railway administration is setting up an African Housing Advisory Committee as recommended in the Survey.

The Report is at present under consideration by the East African High Commission and the East African Governments, and my right hon. Friend is awaiting their observations on its recommendations. With regard to the first part of the Question by my hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Dumpleton), a more extended survey is not at present contemplated.

In view of the emphasis which has been placed on race discrimination, is the Minister aware that a large proportion of these charges of race discrimination arise from misapprehension on the part of the African community; that a large number of them are matters which could be avoided or properly discussed with the African community, and that some could be avoided by proper legislation? That being so, will he consider—arising from this Report—the advisability of setting up a joint Anglo-African Commission to inquire into the possibility of removing or modifying this race discrimination?

There is a good deal in what my hon. Friend says. I will put the suggestion to my right hon. Friend.

Newspaper (Ban)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the Governor of Kenya has banned the importation of the "Labour Monthly" newspaper; why this step was taken; and if he will take steps to rescind this order.

Yes, Sir. The importation of this newspaper was banned as a result of recent articles in it glorifying Communism, revolution and mutiny. My right hon. Friend sees no reason to intervene in the matter.

Is not the Minister aware that this paper, which has now been published for some 27 years, is in the Library of this House and is accessible to every intelligent Member who desires to read it? If that is the case, why should it not be equally accessible at least to white citizens in Kenya?

I have not heard of any demand by white citizens in Kenya for this paper, and the Government do not think that it is a good thing to put before any of the people in that country.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it would be a good thing if the Governor prohibited other subversive papers in Kenya for stirring up strife amongst a primitive and ignorant people?

Is not the Minister aware, as he should be, that this is one of the finest and best journals, that it is a highly valuable educational organ particularly in doing away with racial discrimination and racial superiority and, above all others, should be circulated in those areas? Will the Minister see that it is circulated?

Can the hon. Gentleman assure the House that this paper has not been guilty of publishing the Communist manifesto to celebrate its centenary?

Can my hon. Friend say whether the Governor concerned is the same one who recently said that he hoped soon to retire from work and take up farming?