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Clause 4—(Property Vested In, And Grants To Tanganyika Agricultural Corporation, And Loans Under Colonial Development And Welfare Act, 1959)

Volume 648: debated on Friday 10 November 1961

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Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

11.7 a.m.

When we have considered other Measures of this kind affecting other countries we have been concerned about the position of colonial development welfare funds as well as of the Colonial Development Corporation in territories like Tanganyika after they attain independence. I have no intention of reiterating what we have said from this side of the Committee, that it is a short-sighted policy to cut off help from these sources. That remains our view. It is a matter to which the Government should give consideration.

As we have understood it, the policy of Her Majesty's Government has been that where the Colonial Development Corporation has established undertakings in a territory when it was dependent and it thereafter becomes independent, the Corporation is entitled to continue to provide capital and resources for such an undertaking if it was established before the day of independence, but is not entitled to establish new undertakings after independence. I should like to know whether in Tanganyika, where the Colonial Development Corporation already has established undertakings, it will, as in the other countries which we have considered before, be entitled to continue to sustain them.

My second point concerns subsection (3) of the Clause and the position of the East African High Commission. I am glad that this has been sustained. I gathered from what the Minister said the other day that it is proposed to establish a new kind of body, perhaps under a new name. The other two territories—Kenya and Uganda—associated with Tanganyika in the High Commission are not yet independent, but are on the way towards independence. Until such time as all three countries become independent, and whilst, in the interim, the East African High Commission is maintained under its present or some other name, will colonial development and welfare grants be made to it?

I do not know whether the Under-Secretary can tell us at this stage what will be the position of the High Commission, under its present or some other name, when the other two countries become independent. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Creech Jones) said the other day, we are greatly encouraged to know that there is a considerable movement and desire inside these three countries when they have attained independence to work together.

All of us who are familiar with these countries know that having built at least a kind of foundation upon co-operative undertakings—the railways, airways, postal services and the rest—it would be desirable for them to continue to work together. Many people are of the view that the ultimate solution for all these great multi-racial communities of East and Central Africa may well lie in larger federation. In these days when everybody is talking about integration, economic integration and common markets and all the rest, I think that we should do everything we possibly can to encourage our friends in Africa to think, too, of large-scale economic integration whenever it is possible.

I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will feel disposed to say some more about this Clause and the questions I have asked, first, about C.D.W. and also the East African High Commission, or whatever its name may be in the future when the three territories become independent.

If I may briefly reply to the right hon. Gentleman, I would say that one of the main points of this Clause is to see that the unexpired portion of the grants which were made available by us in the past to the Tanganyika Agricultural Corporation will continue.

The second point which the right hon. Gentleman raised was the vexed question of C.D.C. activities after independence. This is a very wide issue, but in this instance it is of interest to note—although it is not, of course, in the Bill—that about £750,000 will be allowed for new development which the C.D.C. is looking at in Tanganyika. So, although I cannot meet the right hon. Gentleman's point in principle, I can, in this instance, meet it in practice, and I think that perhaps he will be happy, because this is a rather exceptional arrangement.

The next point that the right hon. Gentleman raised was the question of subsection (3). He interpreted that perfectly correctly, that is to say, it is to cover the period during which Tanganyika is independent but the other territories are not independent. This is an ingenious provision of what will be called shortly the East African Common Services Organisation, enabling the organisation to raise money. This new association will come into force, I hope, almost immediately after the independance of Tanganyika with the signature of the agreement by the three Governments concerned.

What will happen beyond that point it is, of course, difficult to say. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman that we have great hope that the East African territories will come together in some form of federation, but as we have said again and again, this must come from the people themselves. I do not like counting federations before they are hatched. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will agree with that, but, as he says, this new organisation will make a good railway along which this great idea can run.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules agreed to.

Bill reported, without Amendment.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

11.14 a.m.

I do not think that we ought to let the Third Reading of the Bill go without reiterating what we said before. That is that we should send the Government and people of Tanganyika our very good wishes from the whole House. We shall be rejoicing with them in December when they gain independence.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will convey to the Secretary of State that all of us hope that Her Majesty's Government will think again about the plea that we have made to the Secretary of State to grant additional aid to Tanganyika to help her overcome the difficulties caused by the famine. I would say, for, I think, the whole House, that we should not stand on protocol, but make a real gesture to Tanganyika. I am sure that it is the unanimous wish of the whole House today that we send our good wishes to the people of Tanganyika and that we should do so in a tangible way.

11.15 a.m.

I will certainly report to my right hon. Friend what the right hon. Gentleman has said. I, too, would like to join with him and the whole House in sending out our good wishes to Tanganyika and our congratulations to all those concerned, perhaps especially our congratulations to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House. This is a great day and we look forward eagerly to 9th December, 1961.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.