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Volume 524: debated on Wednesday 3 March 1954

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Mau Mau Activities


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many teams are now screening Kikuyu in Tanganyika; and to what extent the Tanganyika Government have taken over responsibility for screening operations and for detaining those found to be Mau Mau supporters.

There are no teams screening Kikuyu in Tanganyika at present. Full responsibility for such operations and for detaining Mau Mau supporters rests with the Tanganyika Government.

Does that mean that the danger of the penetration of Mau Mau into Tanganyika is either very slight or has disappeared?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent recent police operations in the Northern Province of Tanganyika have been successful in reducing the danger of Mau Mau activity in Tanganyika.

The recent police operations in the Northern Province have for the time being extinguished Mau Mau activities there. Small centres of potential Mau Mau infection in the Tanga Province are being broken up by the arrest of all suspects. Although there are a few Kikuyu in other parts of the Territory, no militant organisation is known to exist.

Constitution (Report) 23

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps have been taken to implement the sections of the Report of the Special Commission appointed to examine matters arising out of the Report of the Committee on constitutional development in Tanganyika concerned with franchise.

None, Sir. The Report was debated in the Tanganyika Legislative Council in October. All members were unanimous in the opinion that the country was not at present ready for the introduction of an electoral system and that progress should not be unduly hurried. As regards the latter part of the hon. Member's Question, the Local Government Ordinance adopted a great number of the recommendations in the Report for decentralising Government and authorised the making of (regulations for the institution of elections to local government bodies where this proves practicable.

Is the Minister aware that all sections of opinion, African, European and Asian, are in favour of ultimately having a common roll for elections? Would he consider either Tanga or Dar-es-Salaam as one constituency with which to begin the common roll system for elections?

The hon. Member will know that in the Mackenzie Report the Commissioner said that his proposals were tentative and that there was a lack of public appreciation of the problems. For that reason the Legislative Council decided to start with local elections, and that is why regulations for local elections have been framed.

Inter-Racial Whitley Council


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the success of the Inter-Racial Whitley Council in Kenya, what steps are being taken by the Government of Tanganyika to introduce an inter-racial Whitley Council on the staff side.

I am consulting the Governor and will circulate the information in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Labour Conditions


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied that there is an adequate system of labour inspection in Tanganyika; and how far the labour inspectors are able to investigate the payment of wages on farms.

Yes, Sir. The Tanganyika Labour Department has headquarters staff and a field inspectorate covering all the main areas of employment. Labour Officers and inspectors investigate labour conditions, including the payment of wages, on farms to ensure that the labour laws are observed.

Is the Minister aware that many of those farmers do not keep books and that there is considerable doubt whether in fact many of them are paying the wages to the workers?

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that we feel that he has deputised quite well for his right hon. Friend?

West Africa (Dry Dock Facilities)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Her Majesty's Government have yet decided to construct in any of the ports of British West Africa a dry or floating dock to take a ship of up to 10,000 tons displacement; and where the dock is to be.

Would my hon. and learned Friend bear in mind that the present floating dock at Lagos is both old and small, and will he consider consulting the four West African Governments with a view to its ultimate replacement?

Yes, but the Government are not aware of any demand from the shipping companies. If my hon. Friend knows of any, I know that my right hon. Friend will very much like to hear about it.

Jamaica (Tobacco Industry)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what information he has to account for the reduction in the employment of tobacco workers in Jamaica.

The reduction in employment in the Jamaican tobacco industry has been due to a reduction in the demand for Jamaican cigars, particularly in this country, with consequent restricted production.

Can my hon. and learned Friend say whether the reduction in the demand for Jamaican cigars is in any way due to imports of cigars from Cuba? Has he received any representations from Jamaica on that subject?

Yes, it is due to that partly, because there is a preference on the part of United Kingdom customers for Cuban cigars, and far more Cuban cigars are available. I should like to have notice of the second part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question.

Gold Coast (Co-Operative Marketing Association)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if, in view of the fact that the Co-operative Cocoa Marketing Association is a non-profit-making organisation composed entirely of producer members, he will reconsider the decision to refuse representation of the Association on the Gold Coast Cocoa Marketing Board on the ground that the society is a marketing and not a producers' organisation.

This is entirely a matter for the Gold Coast Government, which appoints the members of the Board. I am informed that the Co-operative Marketing Association is one of the Board's licensed buying agents and that it is not the policy of the Gold Coast Government for any licensed buying agent to be represented on the Board.

Does not the Minister appreciate that this is not a buying agent in the same sense as a profit-making organisation composed only of buyers, but is a producers' organisation. Would he make representations there to give some encouragement to this Association, which has done good work and can do still better work?

This is a licensed buying agent in the Gold Coast—there is no doubt about that. But I will certainly bring the point made by the hon. Gentleman to the attention of my right hon. Friend.

In view of the important part that is being played by cooperative organisations in the Gold Coast and elsewhere in Africa, will the hon. and learned Gentleman ask his right hon. Friend to discuss this matter with the Gold Coast Government, and also ask him to recognise and encourage these organisations in every way?

Has the hon. and learned Government seen the petition presented to the Governor-General, and is it being studied here in London?


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what extent it is intended that the Cocoa Purchasing Company Limited of the Gold Coast should fulfil marketing and credit functions now carried out by the Gold Coast Co-operative Marketing Association.

The Cocoa Purchasing Company is one of a number of buying agents licensed by the Cocoa Marketing Board. The Gold Coast Government consider that there is room both for this Company and for the Co-operative Marketing Association. There is no intention that the Company should exercise a monopoly.

The Minister will appreciate that the Company is usurping functions hitherto exercised by the Cooperative Association, so would he at least see that the same encouragement is given to the Co-operative Association as is given to the Cocoa Purchasing Company?

The provisional figures for the last crop show that 19·7 per cent. was handled by the Co-operative Marketing Association and 17·8 per cent, by the Cocoa Purchasing Company.

Sierra Leone (Scrap Iron Exports)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the reason for the refusal of an export licence to Messrs. A. A. Abokie and Company, who wished to export scrap iron from Sierra Leone.

Exports of scrap from Sierra Leone are strictly controlled because there have been serious outbreaks of theft of scrap lately in the territory and also to prevent scrap reaching undesirable destinations. Messrs. Abokie and Co. applied for a licence to export scrap to a number of alternative destinations including Soviet satellite countries.

Is the Minister aware that when Messrs. Abokie attempted to export scrap at the European price to Western Germany, the local agents of the British Iron and Steel Federation first tried to bully them into accepting a much lower price, and then boasted that they would prevent them getting an export licence? Is not this a scandalous way of exploiting Sierra Leone to get British scrap cheaper than the European price?

My right hon. Friend has no evidence of that, and in any event Her Majesty's Government obviously cannot be responsible for the actions of the agent of the iron and steel industry's purchasing arrangements.

In view of the facts set out in the letter which I have sent to his right hon. Friend, does not the hon. and learned Gentleman think that this agent is an undesirable person to have in Sierra Leone?