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Ministerial Talks

Volume 640: debated on Thursday 11 May 1961

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29.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will state the subjects he discussed, and the results achieved, at his recent conversations with the present Ministers of the Kenya Government.

31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the outcome of his recent discussions with representatives of the new Government of Kenya.

The talks were concerned almost entirely with problems of finance and commerce. At the conclusion, we issued an agreed communiqué which I am circulating in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Is not it a fact that Her Majesty's Government have made a substantial grant to give the new Kenya Government a fair start on its new régime?

With respect, I should not like to put the matter quite in that way. We met a delegation of Ministers of all races who had a number of projects which they wanted to start in Kenya. We discussed the whole of the future development of Kenya. Regarding Kenya's next financial year, we are now to contribute from this country£14½million, plus an amount which cannot be revealed but which has been described as substantial toward Kenya's current figure and forthcoming Budget.

While not wishing to take sides between the different political parties in Kenya, would not my right hon. Friend agree that the constructive and courageous attitude of the new Ministers has resulted in a constitutional advance and that we ought to be as generous as possible to them—I recognise we have given them a lot—to ensure that there is a stable Government under the new constitution?

With similar considerations in mind and apart from the money mentioned in the communiqué, I agree that if Ministers wish to do so, later in the year I would hold further discussions.

Can the Secretary of State tell the House why he cannot state the amount of money given towards current expenditure?

Yes, because the budget speech in Kenya has not yet been made and I cannot announce it in advance.

If it is a fact that Her Majesty's Government have granted amenities to the new Kenya Government with a view to helping them on their way, does the Minister realise that that will be welcomed on this side of the House?

Following is the communiqué:

In the course of the discussions the delegation affirmed their determination to proceed with measures designed to effect an early improvement in the country's economy. They pointed out that to this end certain projects for which plans had not previously been made, must be put in hand forthwith.
Her Majesty's Government informed the delegation of their keen appreciation of the Kenya Government's intentions in the economic field, and, as a result of detailed discussion with the delegation, agreed to proved further assistance both for development and to support the budget. As recently announced in Parliament the amount of aid to Kenya already provided in United Kingdom Votes for the current United Kingdom financial year is£7½million. In addition to this it is contemplated that an Exchequer loan of£1 million will be provided for the Kenya land settlement schemes. It was also contemplated that an Exchequer loan of£3 million would be made available provided the need for this could be established.
During the discussions, the delegation satisfied Her Majesty's Government as to the need for this loan. Her Maesty's Government have also agreed to provide a further£3 million, half of which will be grant and half loan. This means that the total assistance to be made available by Her Majesty's Government for the Kenya financial year 1961–62 will be£14½million with, in addition, and subject to the approval of Parliament, further substantial help towards recurrent expenditure which will be announced when the Kenya Government present their forthcoming budget.
This increased level of assistance will now make it possible to start at once on further agricultural, educational and works projects which in the view of the Kenya Government need to be tackled immediately.
Finally, Her Majesty's Government agree that further talks should be held before the end of the next financial year with a view to considering Kenya's needs for development in 1962–63, and subsequently. The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Iain Macleod) has also undertaken to review the situation in respect of the financial year 1961–62 if this should prove to be necessary.