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Parliamentary Delegation Report (Appendix)

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 28 July 1954

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48.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to what organisations he has supplied copies, for the information of their members, of the unpublished appendix to the recent Report by the Parliamentary Delegation to Kenya.

Copies have been sent to a number of organisations and societies whose names I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT. They have also been placed in many libraries where they are available to responsible persons on application.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the political parties, and it is not the Labour Party, is widely distributing this document among its members? Is he also aware that the "Voice of Kenya" is supplying it to any person who applies for it, and that this document, which is supposed to be kept in our Library, is being widely distributed?

—been sent to a number of societies, and we believe that it should be given maximum publicity consistent with public decency and so on.

On a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the Government. Where are the Government? There are only two Whips and a junior Minister on the Government Front Bench. Surely the Government should be here?

I want to ask your guidance, Mr. Speaker, on this matter. A Parliamentary Delegation went to Kenya and presented a Report to this House. It had an appendix which is a private document and is restricted to the Library of this House. I have evidence that the Colonial Office sent this document to certain political parties for the information of their members and it is being widely distributed. I would ask for your ruling as to whether a document of this private character should be used in that way.

Further to that point of order. Is the House not aware that that particular document is not a secret document but was, in fact, produced by the information office of the Kenya Government and was distributed long before it was included in the proposed appendix to the Report?

May I ask the Minister whether this is not a breach of the undertaking given to the House? When the Parliamentary Delegation was compiling its Report it included this appendix as part of the Report. We were then informed by the Secretary of State that the Government had decided, for reasons which I can understand, that this part of the Report should not be published but that a copy should be available in the Library. Are we to understand now that, without any notification or without consulting anyone, that decision has been changed and copies have been given to certain individuals and private organisations? Is not that a breach of the undertaking given to the House?

I do not think any undertaking was given to the House at all. The Secretary of State merely announced that he did not propose to publish this document as part of the White Paper, and the reason for that was that the White Paper was available for purchase at railway stations and other places where young people of all sexes could have seen it and it was thought undesirable that they should read some of those facts.

But perfectly correctly, in the interests of prosecuting the campaign against Mau Mau, it was decided to send a number of copies of the document to such bodies as the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, the Labour Party, the Liberal Party, the Trades Union Congress, the Conservative Commonwealth Council, the Royal Empire Society and others. I understand that it has been supplied as well to a number of Members of Parliament who asked for a personal copy. That is perfectly consistent with everything that has been said.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, when those copies were supplied to these organisations, it was intimated to them that it was the view of the Government after due consideration that it should not be published, and has the Minister secured an undertaking from these organisations that they would not publish it?

It was not the decision of the Government that it should not be published. It was their decision that it should not fall into improper hands or be delivered to undesirable quarters. We were concerned solely with the interests of the young people.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one copy of this document was sent to the Labour Party and has been placed in the Library of Transport House? In the case of other political parties, the document has been sent for the information of their members, and is being distributed by those parties to their members.

Is the Minister aware that the details contained in that report were actually included in an article written by Sir Philip Mitchell and published in the "Manchester Guardian" about eight weeks ago.

Is not the explanation of the apparent discrimination clearly that there are no young people in the Conservative Party and, therefore, it would not fall into wrong hands or the hands of juveniles if circulated by that party to their members.

The following are the organisations:

To the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for its branches overseas, the Conservative Commonwealth Council, the Labour Party, the Liberal Party. Trades Union Congress, Royal Empire Society, Royal African Society, the Imperial Institute, International African Institute, Royal Anthropological Institute, Fabian Society, Over-Seas League, African Bureau, Church Missionary Society, International Missionary Council, Conference of Missionary Societies of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Universities Mission to Central Africa. In addition, I have arranged for libraries in this country to receive copies which will be available to responsible persons on application.