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Colonial Empire

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 18 April 1951

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Local Forces


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will ask colonial governments which have not local military forces adequate for the prevention of serious local disorder where police forces are not sufficient for the purpose, to recruit, organise and equip such forces locally, thus reducing the demands on British Forces.

Most colonial governments have either police forces or military forces, or both, considered adequate to prevent serious local disorder; and the scale of local military forces existing in the Colonies is based on that factor. Where deficiencies are known to exist, His Majesty's Government are considering, in consultation with the colonial governments concerned, what means should best be adopted to repair them.

In view of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, will he assure the House that the Government are busily examining the question of Grenada where there was a recent rebellion which troops of this kind might well have prevented?

In connection with the safety of other West Indian Colonies, will the question of the reformation of the West Indian Regiment be seriously considered?

Development Corporation


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the resignations that are about to take place from the Board of the Colonial Development Corporation.

My right hon. Friend has no information about any such impending resignations from the Board, nor, I have ascertained, has the chairman.

Will the Minister be mindful of these denials when the resignations take place?

I shall be interested to know that the party opposite happened to have information which was denied not only to His Majesty's Government but to the chairman of the Corporation.

Does it not seem rather serious that this information has come to some private Member and not to the Minister? Will he not make investigations?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the report of the Colonial Development Corporation will be available.

I am unable to give a definite date, but my right hon. Friend hopes that the publication of the report will take place very shortly.

When the report is published, will the right hon. Gentleman consult with the Leader of the House to ensure that full facilities are given to debate it?

What date does this report bring us up to? Will it be to the end of the year?

Racial Discrimination


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what Colonies have legislation or regulations making unlawful any discrimination of colour, race or creed in respect of accommodation, entertainment, refreshment or employment; and in which colonial areas such discrimination operates.

No territory, so far as I am aware, has general legislation of the kind described. There are some examples of legislation against particular discriminatory practices. As regards the second part of the Question, I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) on 14th February.

Is the Minister aware that there are some colonial areas where race and colour discrimination are being practised at present? In the circumstances does he not think it rather advisable that legislation should be introduced, where possible, in those areas to meet that situation?

I think it is advisable that we should consider whether legislation should or should not be introduced, but in any case before considering these questions we think it better to await the Survey of Racial Discrimination now being made. In the meantime those who feel, as I think most hon. Members do, that racial discrimination is repugnant in every country should express their feelings by refraining from entering any public places where it is practised.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the strong feeling that exists in Northern Rhodesia that certain hon. Members on the opposite side of the House showed racial discrimination against Europeans in Northern Rhodesia?

Will the Minister of State and the Colonial Service generally, be warned by the aphorism of a famous Socialist, Mr. Sidney Webb, about the inevitability of gradualness?

Do I understand from my right hon. Friend that he thinks it advisable that legislation of this character should be introduced? Is so, would he consider the possibility of recommending legislation for Northern Rhodesia, where, according to the noble Lord the Member for Horsham (Earl Winterton), white settlers are badly treated?

I think it would be better to await the Survey of Racial Discrimination, which I hope will be published within a reasonable time.

Has the right hon. Gentleman had time to read the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Sorensen), in which he does not prescribe any protection against racial discrimination in employment in this country?

As the question has been put to me in a rather peculiar manner, I would point out that the hon. Member is not the only person who has time to read Bills. I have, in fact, read that Bill.

Information Services


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the continual misunderstandings which arise in the United Nations about the responsibilities and policies of the main colonial Powers, he will consider the desirability of seeking the collaboration of France, Holland. Belgium and Portugal in developing a more adequate information and propaganda service in that connection.

I share my hon. Friend's view that information on these subjects should be as widespread as possible, but it is, I think, for each country with colonial responsibilities to interpret and to judge what it can do in this direction.