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Land Settlement

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 11 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent the pronouncement made by him at Salisbury, Rhodesia, on the need for controlling white settlement in Northern Rhodesia involves any modification of the policy on this matter announced by Mr. R. A. Hudson, Secretary of Native Affairs in Northern Rhodesia, to the African Representative Council last August.

I stated in my remarks to journalists at Salisbury the policy as stated by Mr. Hudson. There has been no modification or suggestion of change. As I made clear in a number of speeches during my tour no change in existing land policy or settlement is or has been foreshadowed as it affects either Europeans or Africans.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that while there may be something to be said for maintaining the present policy and perhaps something to be said for changing it, it is most unfortunate that he used phraseology which gave a wide impression that a change was intended when, in point of fact, no change was intended?

I am afraid I did nothing of the sort. I made it perfectly clear that there was an enormous opportunity, both industrially and agriculturally, for European enterprise in Northern Rhodesia, but I added the proviso that Northern Rhodesia was a Protectorate, and, consequently, because of the land laws of Northern Rhodesia, there were limitations in regard to European settlement.

Is my right hon. Friend in a position to give a categorical assurance to the House that there will be no modification of British policy in this area in respect of this or any other matter without consultation with the representatives of the native population concerned?

Yes, the representatives of the Africans serve on the Legislative Council and any change would have to go through that Council.