House of Assembly: Vol106 - THURSDAY 2 FEBRUARY 1961
Mr. SPEAKER took the Chair at 2.20 p.m.
Mr. SPEAKER announced that the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders had appointed the following members to serve on the Select Committees mentioned, viz.:
- (1) Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa (Repeal of Laws) (Private) Bill: Mr. J. J. Fouché, Dr. W. L. D. M. Venter, Messrs. H. H. Smit, de Kock and H. G. Swart, Mr. Fouché to be Chairman; and
- (2) University of the Orange Free State (Private) Act Amendment (Private) Bill: Dr. J. H. Steyn, Messrs. Mostert, J. A. van der Merwe, Moore and Dr. Steenkamp, Dr. Steyn to be Chairman.
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for second reading,—Constitution Bill, to be resumed.
[Debate on motion by the Prime Minister, upon which amendments had been moved by Sir de Villiers Graaff, by Dr. Steytler and by Mr. Bloomberg, adjourned on 1 February, resumed.]
Mr. Speaker, when the debate was adjourned last night I was dealing with the allegation that my leader had accepted the referendum as a mandate for passing the Bill in its present form, and I denied it. I repeat that statement and challenge any member on the Government side to quote the occasion or the time when my leader accepted the referendum as a mandate. On the contrary, I agree with the hon. the Minister of Finance, who stated that the referendum was only a test of public opinion and that the real issue would be decided in this House on its merits. I agreed with the Minister of Finance that the majority was not big enough to maintain a republic. Therefore it is within our rights in this House to deal with this matter and try to bring about the improvements which my leader suggested in his amendment. It is not the prerogative of the Government only to claim a mandate. We have not surrendered the mandate given to us. If others wish to do so they may do so. But I think it raises an interesting point. What is the Progressive Party going to do with the funds they collected to reject this republic, now that they have accepted the republic? I think they should make an announcement that they will return these funds to the people they collected the money from.
What are you going to do with your funds?
Sir, we spent our funds fighting the referendum, not as they did. We spent them fighting against the republic; we did not sit on them. Sir, I said last night that there was a fundamental difference between compliance with laws and support for laws, and that we recognized and that we complied with the laws of the land whether we liked them or not. The choice before this Government is whether they obtained from the people of South Africa who are opposed to a republic mere compliance or whether they tried to take the people with them, and we offered to the Government the open door by which they could get the people to come along with them. The choice still rests with them. The Government still has the chance to win the acceptance of a republic even if not the full support, of those who opposed it; to win acceptance by proving their sincerity and faith in the new Constitution and in the new unity which they maintain they wish to create. If they reject our appeal then it will only show that statesmanship has failed them; it will show that their sincerity is not equal to the test of incorporating into this Constitution which is before us those fundamental rights and liberties which we asked of them in order that we may at least go along with them in the hope of creating a Constitution acceptable to the broad mass of the people. We do not want smarmy platitudes from them; we want an acceptance in fact and in deed of this principle of a free country and a free people and the expression of that acceptance through the incorporation into the Constitution of certain guarantees.
In the few minutes left to me, I want to take that further, to deal with the situation which has arisen through the Government’s refusal to negotiate with those who differ from them. Sir, 775,000 people, 48 per cent of the White electorate, do not want this republic. They did not want it on 5 October, and they still do not want it. People do not change their minds between 5 October and 22 January. The people who said “no” still say “no”. In my province 135,000 people, over 75 per cent of the electorate in that province, said “no”. They do not want a republic, and they did not want a republic on 5 October, and yet the Government is not prepared to negotiate with that 48 per cent of the electorate. It is not prepared to consider their wishes nor their earnest desire to find a formula upon which we can reach agreement in this matter. The Government appears determined to subjugate that minority of half the White electorate and over half of the White people of South Africa to its will. That is the road they have chosen, and I want to say clearly and without equivocation or ifs and buts, that I believe, and the United Party believes, that the destiny of every one of us in this country lies in the Union of South Africa—the destiny of every man and woman, the destiny of every province, including Natal. It was clearly said by my chairman, the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell), that the destiny of Natal lies with the Union of South Africa. We all accept that and, if that is so, we ask the Government to accept that the destiny of every person lies in the Union of South Africa; it does not lie at the wish and the whim of any political party. We all seek in this country a constitution under which we can live in peace and harmony, a constitution which will give to everyone in this country confidence and faith that there is a peaceful, a free and a harmonious future for them. That is what we are trying to do with this Bill. We are trying to improve it so that those who to-day are unhappy and bitterly and implacably opposed to any form of republic, will be prepared to see in this measure some hope of co-operation and coexistence in a free and peaceful manner. The Government, Sir, has severed the links of the provinces with the Union of South Africa. It is they who have decided to cut those links, and we offer them now the tattered ends in the hope that we may re-weave them into a real national unity in a state in which there is a place for everyone and not only for Nationalists. That is the issue. Is this Constitution to offer to the people of South Africa only a home for Nationalists, or is it to offer a home for all South Africans? If the Government is determined to ignore the wishes of half the electorate, if the Government is determined to force this law upon them, then it must be clearly warned that we will continue our fight to improve it. We will continue our fight by constitutional means to bring about these entrenchments, these guarantees, for which we are asking in this debate. We will go on with that fight until we make the laws of this Parliament—the laws of the Parliament of South Africa—under which we can live in harmony, and if this Government will not make those laws in a form which is acceptable to the peoples, then it is our task and our duty to the people to go on with the fight until we can bring about those changes and those improvements. It is in that spirit that we approach this measure, a spirit which seeks to provide in this measure the cement which will bind our people together in true unity—not the lip-service unity which was repudiated by the hon. member for North-West Rand (Mr. J. C. B. Schoeman) last night when he took his mind back to the open graves of the Anglo-Boer War. That is not the unity we are seeking nor the smarmy platitudes to which I referred, the lip-service to unity. We will introduce into our legislation those things which can guarantee the real cement that will bind our people together.
May I ask the hon. member whether they have now decided to live permanently under this republic?
I made it quite clear in my speech and I repeat that we accept the law; we abide by laws. What I am pleading for now is that this law should be such that we may go beyond mere legal compliance with a law which is forced upon us and get a law that we can agree with, if not wholeheartedly then at least to the extent that we can go along. It is surprising, Sir, that that hon. member should ask that question, because I have here the words of the hon. member for Vereeniging (Mr. B. Coetzee) when he said, not long ago—
Then he referred to the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence), and he denied categorically that he was in favour of a republic—
And now, Sir, is he going to live under this republic? Is he going to accept this law which is against his basic principles, which is in conflict with his sincere belief of what is good for this country? Sir, the day will come sooner than hon. members opposite realize when we will make laws under which we can live, and it will come soon, because people will realize the difference between the mirage of this republic which is being held before them and the reality of the problems which remain unsolved. This republic will not solve one of the problems facing this country, and when the people see disappearing before their eyes the mirage of the Utopia, a land with no problems, and find that it was only a mirage and that the reality is greater and even more urgent problems, then they will turn back to this side of the House for real South African leadership, leadership which only we can provide in a spirit of true South Africanism, and when that day comes we, on this side, will guarantee to all the peoples of this country the opportunity to live in peace and in harmony. We will give to this country the guidance of ordered advance, the progress, the security to which the people of this country are entitled and which this Government refuses to give to us. I support the amendment which my leader has moved.
Before calling upon the next member to address the House, I should like to point out that the debate on the motion for the second reading of a Bill is governed by the principle of relevancy and must therefore strictly relate to the Bill under consideration.
In view of the importance of this measure, I have allowed hon. members a great deal of latitude and they have traversed a very wide field during the debate. After the resumption of business at 8 p.m. this evening, however, I propose to confine further discussion strictly to matters relating to the Bill and I shall not allow repetition of arguments which have already been used.
Although I have deemed it necessary to give hon. members advance notice of my intention, I do so in the knowledge that I shall receive their willing assistance and co-operation.
The hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw) has referred to the funds of his party and those with which the Progressive Party, according to him, absconded. Well, I can only say how unpleasant it is when brothers quarrel amongst each other.
They are your allies now.
The hon. member will forgive me if I do not deal with him at length, but he issued a challenge over the floor of the House and asked whether we could prove that the Leader of the Opposition ever said that he would abide by the result of the referendum.
As a mandate for this legislation.
Yes, as a mandate for this legislation. In other words, if we win we will continue with the republic.
Well then I do not know what the position is. In any case I just want to tell the hon. member that the Deputy Minister of the Interior in March, 1960, when the Referendum Bill was being introduced, said the following—and I take it that the Leader of the Opposition was present or that some of his lieutenants were present, who could have corrected the hon. the Deputy Minister if he was wrong—
And what of it?
I do not think that the leader of a large party can make such a statement and then thereafter say: But I never subjected myself to the result; I never said that it would be a mandate to the Government to establish a republic.
Without the broad will of the people.
No, I think I will leave this. I am just reading the statement made by the hon. member on that point. I think that no reasonable person can interpret it in any other way than that the Leader of the Opposition was intimating that he would accept the mandate.
Read the rest of the statement.
The hon. member may read it at his leisure.
Mr. Speaker, I rise to direct attention right in the beginning to what the Leader of the Opposition said here on Monday in regard to the provisions of Clause 107 of the Bill, viz. that the administration of justice in the republic will be under the control of the Minister of Justice. Let me say immediately to the hon. member that this provision as it stands here is almost word for word what is provided in Section 139 of the South Africa Act. It was taken over practically just like that, but I also want to add to that immediately that there is no ulterior motive underlying the manner in which Clause 107 has been worded.
Then put it clearly to the people, so that we can know what you mean.
If it should be found by the Select Committee that the intention we have, viz. that the administration of justice should not be subject to the executive power, cannot be implemented as the clause is drafted now, then I hope the Select Committee will assist us in inserting our intention in Clause 107. I must point out that this provision is almost literally the same as that contained in Section 139, except that the powers which vested in the Attorneys-General of the colonies at the time when the Union was established are not expressly transferred to the Minister because it had already been done. The functions of the Minister of Justice were determined both in terms of the South Africa Act and as set out by express provisions in particular Acts, such as, e.g., the Magistrates’ Courts Act of 1944, the Supreme Court Act of 1959, and also the Criminal Procedure Act of 1955. Mr. Speaker, of course a distinction has to be drawn between the administrative and the legal aspects of the administration of justice. Of course courts have to be instituted, both higher and lower courts; judicial officials have to be appointed, staff has to be appointed, and accommodation and other facilities have to be provided so that the law courts can do their work properly. From time to time the need also arises to amend the existing arrangements in order to fit in with changed circumstances. The General Law Amendment Act has, e.g., also been amended from time to time. All these things I have mentioned must be left to ministerial arrangements. The function of the court is to apply the law, and not to legislate. The function of the court is not to determine what the law should be, but to interpret and apply the law as it stands. It is the function of the legislature to make laws and for that purpose there is a Minister of Justice who, where necessary, can submit improvements or adaptations of the existing law to the legislators, for them to decide. The reference to the Supreme Court in this Bill as drafted here is purely indicative. All the provisions in this regard are already contained in the Supreme Court Act of 1959. The original section was inserted in the South Africa Act because at that time no portfolio was as yet in existence and there was therefore no Minister to whom the administration of justice could be entrusted. To round off the matter properly it has now been inserted by us in the draft constitution but, as I have said, if the wording leaves any doubt as to our real intention we hope that the Select Committee will devote attention to it.
Mr. Speaker, after having listened to the speeches of the monarchists opposite ever since Monday, one could hardly realize that South Africa is now busy writing a great piece of history and that the caravan should therefore move on. The anti-republican front about which we heard so much during the referendum campaign has collapsed. The confusion of tongues heard in the Biblical tower of Babel must have been, in my opinion, child’s play in comparison with the contradictory statements we heard from the members of the Opposition in this debate about the republic. In this front there are now at least three sections—the United Party the Natal Stand and the Progressive Party—and one is not quite sure whether there are even more minor splinter groups. I say there is confusion of tongues. On Tuesday the Leader of the Progressive Party announced that the anti-republican agreement with the United Party in Natal had come to an end, and then the leader of the United Party in Natal, the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) expressed his surprise and stated that he knew nothing about that agreement having been broken. He said: “It was a surprise to me”, and the hon. member for South Coast had hardly said: “We have now got political unity in Natal such as we have not enjoyed for the past 25 years”, when the hon. member for Queenstown (Dr. Steytler) burst that soap-bubble and said that that agreement had come to an end and that the party truce in Natal was a thing of the past. Confusion! The hon. Leader of the Opposition announced in the Press that the republic would not be dissolved by his side of the House. The spirit of the speech of the Natal leader of the United Party was just the opposite. When he sat down we were all under the impression that a man had now spoken here who would take action against the establishment of the republic. Last night the Star said that the hon. member for South Coast had spoken nonsense, but the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn) said at a meeting the previous evening: “Thank God for a Douglas Mitchell.” Not only are contradictory statements made by hon. members inter se, but even individuals express conflicting views. The hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) wants a National Convention. What for? I inferred that he wanted this National Convention to evolve methods by which we could get this republic, but whilst making that announcement he told us here in connection with the establishment of the republic: “It will contribute nothing towards racial unity in South Africa.” This is now the man who suggests that we should have a National Convention, and at the same time he tells us: I do not believe that this National Convention which I ask you to convene will be able to bring about a republic in which racial peace can be achieved. Then, what on earth does he want a National Convention for?
You must not misquote me.
I am quoting from the Cape Times, and if the hon. member did not say it the Cape Times is doing him an injustice. According to this morning’s Cape Times the hon. member said: “It will contribute nothing towards racial unity in South Africa.”
I was referring to this Bill.
Yes, this Bill. Then I want to put this question to the hon. member: Must the Bill he wants to draft, after referring the matter to a National Convention, also be a Bill which establishes a republic?
Very well, then we have made progress. Then I just want to ask him the following question, which he need not answer: In spite of his words last night, does he believe that a Bill drafted in that way and establishing a republic will then bring about racial unity in South Africa?
Very well, then I am glad I put these questions; we have now made progress.
Mr. Speaker, I said that there is great history in the making at present, in spite of what the monarchists opposite have said. Very soon, when this Bill is passed, the dream for the future of past generations and the dream of the great historical figures of South Africa will be fulfilled. In spite of the difficult times that lie behind us, in spite of the years of bitter strife in the past, after half a century of political struggle on the path towards becoming a nation, where no mercy was asked for or given and deep wounds were inevitably inflicted by the one section on the other, we now find ourselves in this House on the last lap of the uphill road towards the republic. The speeches made by the hon. the Prime Minister and my hon. colleagues on this side of the House, as well as by other hon. members on this side pleaded for national unity, made a deep impression, not only on the mind of every nationalist, but also possibly on every non-nationalist, both in this House and outside, and it seemed to me that we had reached the climax, the culmination, in the clarion call which we had heard throughout the years from the great historical figures who were directly and indirectly concerned with the argument as to whether or not one day we would become a republic. Amongst the pleas made in those days for a republic there were the significant words of General Hertzog himself, who said—
Then there are also the significant words of General Smuts himself. Some hon. members here have said that General Smuts himself said on one occasion that the day would arrive when South Africa would become a republic, perhaps in the distant future, as we thought, but then he made a speech in Cape Town about national unity on the occasion when the flag was hoisted in Cape Town, and just to indicate the idea for the future which he perhaps had in mind. I want to quote just a few sentences. He said—
That was said by General Smuts probably in a moment of vision and in the belief that South Africa would some day become a republic and that this would bring about national unity. But there are the even more significant words of his chief lieutenant, the late Mr. J. H. Hofmeyr, who wrote an article at the time in the “Union Review” which became famous, and from which I want to quote just a few sentences. He said—
Then there are the memorable words of Adv. Strijdom in his far-seeing statement made in 1958 about the bonds of unity which would bind together the people of South Africa in a republic. He said—
That is what the late Adv. Strijdom said. Then, to quote the last of this long list of great historical figures which I want to mention, there are the memorable words of Dr. D. F. Malan uttered about 20 years ago, words which fell like hammer-blows on the anvil of our becoming a republic in South Africa, words which were as significant then as they still are now. He said—
These are far-seeing and memorable words which I have quoted here to-day from the speeches of great historical figures. They paved the way for what we are doing here to-day. Our present leaders were at pains to make a success of the referendum, but the great figures of the past paved the way. In so doing they made this great victory at the referendum, so as to have a unifying factor for the first time for the whole of South Africa, viz. our own Head of State, our own President instead of a monarch, a State President who as the Head of the State will stand above and outside of politics, a President who will be a figure, a magnet unifying the nation, a President who will live and move about amongst the people, one who can see and hear and understand the people, the father of the people whom they can honour and love and one who throughout his term of office will be a watchman on the walls of true national unity and who will elevate our nation above the ordinary political differences (which must of necessity be there) and make it a nation which passionately loves its father-land.
Mr. Speaker, in view of the high office which the President of State in South Africa will hold in our national life, the question arose in my mind whether the official oath contained in Section 11, which is so correct legally, should not be given a little more solemnity and warmth in keeping with that great occasion.
May I put a question to the hon. the Minister? He has now come back again to the provisions of the Bill. In regard to the provisions of Clause 139, the hon. the Minister gave certain assurances …
No, pardon me, but the hon. member now wants to revert to an argument I used already right in the beginning. I am now dealing with something quite different. I therefore do not think it is fair to put that question now. He can do so later. I am now dealing with a matter which I regard as being of great importance. I consider that the official oath of the President throughout could perhaps be changed somewhat. There are republics where the oath of the president can hardly be excelled in beauty and simplicity. Out of a whole number of them I want to mention only one, that of a country like Finland. Although the official oath there is very short, I find it very striking in its beauty. That oath reads as follows—
There are also other striking examples. Apart from the presidential oath there is still the preamble to the Bill before us. Now, with all praise to the law advisers for what they have done in regard to the framing of the preamble, I want to tell them that it appears to me that this preamble is not the national testament for all time which one would have liked the preamble to be. Ireland’s preamble to their republican constitution, to mention only one, is amongst those which one may call touching. It reads as follows—
Then there is Dr. D. F. Malan’s famous Act No. 9 of 1925 which introduced the name of the Almighty in the Union Constitution, seeing that it had been omitted by the National Convention in 1910. I would like to read that preamble, which is very touching, and pose the question whether perhaps that portion of the preamble which deals with the Almighty and respect for the Almighty could perhaps be amended to some extent in view of its historical character. Perhaps Dr. Malan’s preamble can be inserted in that part of our preamble. It reads as follows—
It appears to me that it would not be a bad thing if the Select Committee devoted attention to this historical preamble.
There is one other matter I want to mention in connection with the preamble, with your leave, viz. that it strikes me that after these characteristic speeches we have had since Monday one can say that practically not a single speech was made in which the desire to have national unity was not emphasized, particularly by this side, and I ask myself whether something cannot be mentioned in the preamble to the Bill also in regard to the desire to have national unity. There are many examples of it, but I just want to mention a few. There is the preamble to the constitution of Columbia—
The preamble to the constitution of the Argentine contains these words—
The preamble to Switzerland’s constitution reads—
On the broad basis of the will of the people.
Perhaps we can consider making room for this in the preamble also.
In concluding my remarks, I am glad to see that the hon. member for Green Point (Maj. van der Byl) is here. One cannot help but gain the impression that in the past few days attempts have been made to fight a delaying action. The hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) yesterday very pertinently came along with what I regard as delaying tactics. The United Party first said that we should hold a referendum. We did so. They lost. Now they talk about a national convention. I am not so sure what this national convention should investigate, but the hon. member for Constantia has now given me an indication as to what is envisaged in that suggestion. He said that a republic should be bom out of the Convention. What republic it should be other than the one described in this Bill I do not know. I repeat that I could not help but gain the impression that they are using delaying tactics. If they lose in a National Convention, I predict that the hon. member will again come with another delaying action. I take it that the hon. member for Constantia spoke with the approval of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, because they worked right through the night a little while ago to evolve something which could distract attention from the speech of the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell). Then they came along with this suggestion of a National Convention. But the suggestion of the hon. member for Green Point was quite a subtle delaying action. He tells us: “The republic can wait; there is no urgency …. As soon as South Africa becomes a republic it will lose its membership of the Commonwealth and we have to apply for re-admission.” He says our membership will first cease and then we again have to apply for re-admission. You will forgive me, Sir, but I have a suspicion that he had in mind what Mr. Macmillan had said, viz. that there is usually unanimity at the Conference of Prime Ministers, and that if we remain a member it will be difficult to find unanimity to expel us, but when once we are out it will be impossible for South Africa to get unanimous consent to our re-admission. With apologies to the hon. member, I cannot help but think that he was fighting a very subtle delaying action here by telling us: First wait until the Act has been passed, because (so he believes) when we become a republic our membership will automatically lapse, and then we will have difficulty in again obtaining the unanimous vote in favour of our re-admission. I am just mentioning the course adopted by the hon. member. But the worst of it is that he wants us in South Africa to adopt a course which was not followed in regard to any other Commonwealth country which wanted to become a republic. There are five or six of them. Every one of them adopted the same course, but we in South Africa must now, according to him, adopt a different course. They could apply to remain a member before becoming a republic. According to him, we must first wait until we are a republic and then apply for re-admission.
I never said that.
But here I have the Cape Times of 31 January, and according to the report the hon. member said—
Order! The hon. the Minister should rather quote from Hansard.
Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the hon. member’s speech here.
I want to direct the hon. the Minister’s attention to Rule 61. Hon. members may quote from Hansard, but not from newspapers.
I beg your pardon, Sir, but the hon. member misled me by denying that he had said it.
You have been in this House for 30 years already.
What is the point? I am not reading wrong notes. I am just pointing out that incidents took place here of which we have to take cognizance. I just used the first report I could lay hands on after having listened here to what the hon. member had said. All the member countries which hitherto have applied, have applied before becoming republics, and they obtained consent to remain within the Commonwealth after becoming republics. Now an exception has to be made in the case of South Africa. When in April 1949 India applied to remain a member of the Commonwealth as a republic, there was no mention of there being a break in their membership or of re-admission. Permission was given for it to remain a member as a republic, although at that time they were not yet a republic, and that was described in London by the Press as “a progressive step”. It was welcomed. The Johannesburg Star’s main headline on 28 April 1949 was: “Indian Republic. Retention in Commonwealth hailed in Britain.” “Retention.” India did not apply when it was already a republic. It still had to become a republic, but its “retention” was accepted. In this regard the Manchester Guardian said the following—
When in February 1955 Pakistan came along with its request to remain inside the Commonwealth as a republic, there was also no mention of a break in membership or of re-admission on the day when it became a republic. A statement issued by the Prime Ministers’ Conference in regard to Pakistan’s application read as follows—
They say “is about to adopt …”. We are now busy doing it. Then it continues—
Can it be stated more clearly, if language has any meaning, that one can apply before the time?
Ceylon applied four years before the time.
Yes, I just want to refer to Ceylon. Towards the middle of 1956, when it was on the point of becoming a republic, there was also no idea in the minds of the Prime Ministers at the Conference of any break in the membership. No, the Prime Ministers’ Conference communiqué which expressed its agreement in connection with Ceylon also contains the words “continuing its membership” and “remaining in the Commonwealth”.
Note the date. [Time limit.]
I should like to open my remarks by congratulating the hon. the Minister of Justice on his remarkable achievement, because he has certainly succeeded, as nobody else in this House has succeeded, in thoroughly muddling the House on the issues he has been dealing with. I hope the hon. Minister will excuse me if I do not follow on the line he has been taking, because I want to deal with other matters which I believe are of even greater importance in this debate to-day.
The first thing I want to refer to is the misunderstanding which apparently persists in certain quarters about the attitude of this party over the referendum. We in this party recognize that to-day sovereignty in South Africa is vested exclusively in the hands of the European people, or virtually so vested: I must mention the nominal representation of the Coloured people. To all intents and purposes it is the White man in South Africa who wields political power. Therefore, whether you recognize that representation as being entirely unfair and unjust to the other races or not, one has to recognize that the proceedings of this House are constitutional, unless of course they are upset by a court of law, and that any Act passed by this House is also legal and is the law of the land. Therefore this Referendum Act, whatever we might have thought of the provisions of that Bill that came before us, whether we liked them or not, became the law of the land and the proceedings under the referendum were as a famous Natal journal once rescribed them “legal, strictly legal”.
We made our position quite clear in regard to the Referendum Bill. We thought that it was immoral to exclude a body of registered voters like the Coloured people. We said we believed that the representation in that referendum would be inadequate as it excluded three-quarters of the population of South Africa and for that reason we condemned the provisions of the Bill. But having condemned them, we as Members of Parliament, as instruments of the Legislature of South Africa, took part in the referendum. If we did not agree with it, then it was our business to say so and to keep out, but we did participate in it and all political parties that did participate in it must surely be bound to accept the fact that that referendum would either give or refuse a mandate. Therefore whatever one thinks of the majority that was produced, we believe that that majority must be recognized as a mandate, even although we as a party would not have accepted it as a sufficient mandate to proceed with legislation of this sort. Therefore, because we believe that the exclusion of the Coloureds was unwarranted and that the representation was inadequate and because of other circumstances surrounding our political position in the world to-day, we believe that we are entitled to say that to proceed with this legislation is unwise, and we will oppose it at every step.
I want to return to the referendum particularly as it affected the province of Natal. The vote in Natal was a remarkable event. Something like 80 per cent of the electors who cast their vote in Natal voted against the introduction of the republic, and they did so principally because the province of Natal consists mainly of English-speaking people who are predominantly anti-republic; the province is monarchist in outlook and there is a strong sentimental attachment for the Royal family, for the Queen of South Africa. But that is not the only reason why the people of Natal cast this decisive vote in the referendum. They were equally aware of the fact that by voting for the republic, they were voting for a retention of the present Government; a Verwoerdian dictatorship; a Broederbond dictatorship, call it what you like. They were well aware of the record of this Government, and no man has the right to cherish any illusions in face of the record of this Government since their coming into power in 1948. They realized, in Natal, that a mandate for a republic would simply lead to an entrenchment of a Nationalist Afrikaner republic in which every racial group in South Africa would come under the domination of the Nationalist Party, and that it would lead to a perpetuation of a régime which has caused unspeakable humiliation and repression of all other racial groups in this country. We are also aware of the fact that if this Government is to be confirmed in power in a republic, there will be an atmosphere in which the traditional freedom of spirit which has always characterized the English political outlook and institutions could no longer exist. We are aware that there would be an atmosphere which, for 12 years past and which still to-day is pervaded by an underlying anti-British sentiment. We are further aware that in the course of the last 12 years this Nationalist Government has, step by step, followed the inevitable path towards authoritarianism. And we have the lessons of history in Europe fresh in our minds. Most of us who have played some small part in those happenings, or have studied the history of Europe must surely be aware that a continuation on that path—a path from which dictators never seem able to turn back—ultimately result not only in further repressions, further restrictions of liberty, further miseries, but also, ultimately, disaster to the country and for the people who have led it down that path.
These dangers are there for all to see, and the warnings of these further developments are present for everybody to contemplate. We have coming before us the Bill to control education, which will provide for the indoctrination of our children. We have the Bill to provide for the all-embracing, pre-printing censorship of virtually every type of printing or expression of public opinion. We have the warning of the coming of enforced conformity. Consequently the people of Natal who, after all, are the inheritors, more than any other province, of the British liberal tradition which, I believe, is the greatest contribution that Great Britain has made to this country and to the world in general in the last 200 years, are fully aware of this. The anti-republican majority in Natal was, I believe, a mandate to the men in public life in Natal. That decisive vote which was virtually 80 per cent against a republic, imposed upon them an obligation to make use of that vote to approach the Government to endeavour to secure terms which would be acceptable to the people of Natal. And it was well known that the opposition of Natal to going into a republic is an opposition which has been expressed for very many years. We know how, at the 1909 referendum in Natal, the great majority of the people—some 70 per cent of those who cast a vote—voted in favour of coming into the Union. We have always held, in Natal, that regardless of the legal niceties on the subject, we have a strong moral claim not to be dragooned into a republic without a clear expression of our willingness to do so However, I am not going to pursue that line, because we know that in questions of morality we in Natal and the hon. members on the Government benches cherish values which are poles apart. Nevertheless, the leaders of public opinion in Natal, with due regard to the interests, not only of their own province, but also the people of South Africa, refused to take the easy, the negative view. There was, indeed, a spontaneous political co-operation between all parties. That must be recognized and tribute should be paid to all those members of other political parties who took part in the discussions which enabled us to present a solid united front to the hon. the Prime Minister.
The political parties in Natal, unimpressed by the promise of the Act of Union as the basis of a republic, did not regard that as any solatium for our injured feelings in the matter. We were not in any way misled by this promise, because what does it amount to? It amounts to an attempt to convey to the people of Natal an impression that in this Constitutional Act which we are discussing to-day, the only radical change that will take place will be the substitution of the presidency for the monarchy. But that is not the case. After all what is lacking in this Bill is the spirit that made Union possible. It was a spirit of mutual trust, of confidence, of mutual understanding; a spirit of give and take. And that spirit is conspicuous by its absence to-day. In other words, the Act of Union is being used as the basis for this Act. It is the. dead corpse of Union that we are dealing with and not the live body. We are not only dealing with the dead corpse, but we are dealing with it with all the disfigurements and the dismemberments of 12 years on a dissecting table, and we are still dealing with it with all its inherent weaknesses and defects with which it was born.
Moreover, Mr. Speaker, we were not beguiled by any idea that by basing this Constitution on the Act of Union we would be securing any permanence for the institutions, or for the relics of the institutions which we still cherish. What we all realize to-day is that because this Act is the Act of a single political party it can never have any permanence. In other words, Mr. Speaker, what we are discussing to-day will be a transient, ephemeral thing. It will be as easy to amend it or to replace it with another Act as it is to do the same with the Stock Theft Act or any other ordinary Act which passes through this hon. House. And so, Sir, we had no illusions. That was not a bait that attracted us.
Natal’s reaction was, therefore, a spontaneous one. We put forward a plea to the hon. the Prime Minister, a plea which was virtually a request for an extension of provincial rights; a plea for the entrenchment of certain rights and privileges under which we believe that life in the republic could be tolerable to the people of Natal. This resolution must be seen in its true light, the resolution which was presented by the Provincial Council of Natal to the Prime Minister. It was no act of defiance. It was no threat of secession. It was no refusal to co-operate. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, it was not even a selfish act as some have endeavoured to portray it. On the contrary, Natal did not ask for anything which it would not, equally willingly, concede to other provinces.
What I would like to make quite clear is this: It was an offer of co-operation. This was an offer of co-operation to a predominantly Afrikaner Government by a predominantly English-speaking province. And implicit is the terms of that resolution which was sponsored by the leaders of every political party in Natal, was an offer of the terms under which every Natalian could be expected to come into the new republic and be considered as a true republican on an equal footing with everybody else with the same rights and privileges, entrenched, which the party on the Government side of the House have been fighting for for the Afrikaner for the last 50 years. When that resolution was put forward this Government had two alternatives. They could either dig their heels in and preserve a narrow, exclusive intolerant, Nationalist Afrikaner Government, dominating all other groups, with three-quarters of the population of this country remaining outside the inner circle, either coldly indifferent at best, or, at worst, actively hostile and possibly even dedicated to its destruction. Or the Government had another alternative. That was to take the hand of friendship that was offered by Natal; to make the concessions for which they themselves have so long fought, to other racial groups. Thereby they would ensure that from the day the republic started, and for all time, this republic would go forward into the future knowing that it was enshrined in the hearts of a United people of South Africa.
That was the offer by Natal. It was an offer to come in on equal terms with anybody else, to regard themselves as true, equal, contributing South Africans making their contribution to the permanence and stability of the South African republic. And apart from that, what an opportunity it gave the hon. the Prime Minister. Has any statesman in the history of this country ever been given such an opportunity on a platter as was given to the hon. the Prime Minister? Yet it was turned down out of hand. It was turned down regardless of the facts of history, regardless of the future. Mr. Speaker there must be a very heavy obligation on the shoulders of the Prime Minister of this country, and on every member of the Cabinet for the folly of that action.
It may be argued that the resolution which was submitted through the Natal Provincial Council was, in fact, only asking for a continuance of White baasskap in Natal. It was a narrow resolution. But it was arrived at after lengthy discussions, after give and take between the various parties. It represented the most that could be expected to be put through a United Party dominated Provincial Council. I must pay that tribute. But it is equally obvious that had the Progressive Party penned that document it would have been a very different document. We would not simply have asked for an extension of provincial rights, we would have asked for a federal form of government, which is a very different thing. We would have asked for a government which would have preserved the ideals, the traditions, the language rights, the way of life and all the historical characteristics of every province. We would not have asked for certain privileges for the English-speaking people only, we would have asked for the entrenchment of a Bill of Rights for all people in South Africa. We would have gone further. We would have asked for the abolition of discrimination on the basis of colour. We would have mentioned the iniquities of the Pass Laws, of the Group Areas Act, of job reservation. But when one goes into a fight—and we were fighting for the liberty and the future of this country—when one goes into a fight and one has only one weapon and that happens to be a .303 rifle, one does not try to put 25-pounder ammunition in the breech.
Believing that only under such a constitution as we have envisaged could we secure peace and harmony in this land, and only if such a constitution could be accepted by a National Convention—and here I mean a National Convention not simply of White people as has been suggested in other quarters, but of all the races in South Africa—we believe we have mapped out a plan which could achieve harmony and a restoration not only of confidence in this country internally, but the restoration of the high standing and repute of our country overseas.
I now want to come to the remarks of the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell), and particularly those made in the closing minutes of his speech with regard to Natal. The first statement he made was that he spoke for Natal. I query his right to speak for Natal. I certainly do not arrogate to myself that right. It remains to be seen in the course of time whether he was entitled to make that claim. He then went on to suggest that the statement he made was made in the name of all the political parties of Natal, and he suggested that there was still a political truce. Now it is important, Mr. Speaker, that we should get the record perfectly straight, and I therefore want to give the House this information. It is clear that right from the word go, immediately after the referendum, there was a political truce. It was a political truce between the three leading parties designed to exploit to the maximum the decisive vote of the referendum, in order to endeavour to secure acceptable terms for Natal and an acceptable future for this country. It was an agreement to stay our political party lines untiti that weapon had been exploited to the full. It was an agreement to retain a political truce as long as there was an agreed pattern or plan of action for Natal.
Did that truce apply to the other provinces?
No. I am speaking of Natal.
Thank you. I am seeking information.
When the Prime Minister's reply was received on 13 December, a meeting was held and the parties concerned made a joint statement. Thereafter the future of this political co-operation was debated. In the absence of any clear-cut plan on the part of the other two parties, the Progressive Party made it quite clear that they could not hold themselves bound to refrain from political speeches of a party political nature, particularly in view of the necessity for putting over the decisions of the recently held Progressive Party Congress which had been reached on that very important document in South Africa’s history, the Molteno Commission Report.
May I ask the hon. member a question?
I am sorry, I do not have sufficient time. May I also say that I believe at all times it has been visualized that in the light of any fresh developments, an attempt would be made to secure further continued political co-operation. Now even if it is assumed that there was a continuation of the political truce, it is surely disingenuous for the hon. member for South Coast to make that statement that he made in this debate and to suggest that he made it on behalf of the other political parties. Because never, in the course of this political co-operation has any leader of any political party been empowered to make ex-party statements which bound other parties, without consulting them. It was perfectly easy for the hon. member, had he so wished, to consult at least the Progressive Party, or even the Federal Party by telephone. We were here and we were accessible. But those remarks were never referred to us, we never agreed to them and we utterly repudiate them as being grossly irresponsible.
Mr. Speaker, one is constrained to ask the question, just what does that statement of the hon. member for South Coast signify? Indeed, does it mean anything at all? Is it just a lot of wind and fury signifying nothing? Is it a lot of “hiss and wind”? What is it? I want to say this, that we have had other statements made by the hon. member for South Coast in the past. We have had his statement at the time of the Stander case, that Mr. Stander would be appointed over our dead bodies. We remember, also, the utterly contemptible and despicable manoeuvre which followed, in which the United Party abandoned the thing like a hot potato, handed it to the Administrator, but only after receiving assurances that the executive would be reappointed once the matter had blown over. We recollect that when the emergency occurred, in place of defending the basic principles of democracy in this House, the hon. member for South Coast indulged in a fit of tantrums and all he could say was “Go and be damned”. And now we have this series of provocative and inflammatory invitations leading up to the campaign in the referendum—“Will you march again with me?” And we remember the humiliation of his return from Johannesburg when, instead of finding himself the great leader of Natal he felt he was strongly impersonating a wheel-barrow.
Now, Mr. Speaker, we want to know—and I think the whole country is entitled to know— whether this statement has the full backing of the United Party. We want to know whether this defiance has the backing of the United Party. What is the United Party policy in this matter? We get so many statements of policy that it is very difficult to know which is the late sporting final. Let me say this: We in the Progressive Party regard that as a wholly irresponsible and inflammatory statement. In the first place, I am not going to try and interpret what the hon. member meant by his statement. I very much doubt whether he knows himself. But the effect on certain people in Natal will be undoubted. And there is no doubt at all that a great many people will read into its terms, particularly with reference to “making our own laws” and “seizing an opportunity when it comes along” as expressions of acceptance of the policy of secession. How any man can make such a statement in this House, knowing that he personally has for years opposed the idea of secession, that he has castigated men of the calibre of Senator Heaton Nicholls, of General Selby, of Col. Martin for saying precisely the same things, I just do not know. I do not know how any man can issue a statement as he did, which any reasonable man must realize can be construed as suggesting secession. I do not know how that man can claim to be the leader of Natal. In to-day’s Natal Mercury it is emphatically stated in the leading article that people in Natal believe that Natal is thoroughly integrated into the Union and that secession is no longer an issue.
That is exactly what he said.
In that case he should be very much more careful not to make statements which can obviously be misrepresented and misinterpreted. Is that the action of a responsible senior statesman, to make ambiguous statements of this nature? And, if that is so, why is it that this has not been even more openly repudiated than it was by the hon. the Leader of the United Party in the Burger yesterday?
There is another paragraph of the statement by the hon. gentleman which, I believe, indicates that the hon. member, at least, if not his party, has abandoned all faith in constitutional methods. If that is the case, we would like to know what steps he is going to take. What precisely is he going to do when we are turned into a republic? Will he continue to keep his seat in this House? Will the members of the United Party keep their seats? [Interjections.]
Yes, and see who speaks for Natal.
The hon. member said he would have no further part in the Constitution. Just what does that mean? I think we are entitled to know. I think it is remarkable that a leading statesman in a party like that, a person who claims to be an official spokesman of the party should preach this lack of faith in constitutional method. Let me ask the hon. member whether he would take the oath to the republic as provided for in Clause 54 of this Bill. Can he justify the taking of that oath in the light of the statement he made in his speech? For the information of hon. members I will read Clause 54—
Every Senator and every member of the House of Assembly shall, before taking his seat, make and subscribe before the State President, or some person authorized by him, an oath or affirmation in the following form:
Let us have absolute clarity, Mr. Speaker; will the hon. member for South Coast take that oath or make that affirmation? And will other members of the United Party in the Province of Natal do the same?
Let me now say this. We live in great times. The Progressive Party has been in existence for 14 months. We have been preaching the doctrine of the removal of colour discrimination; the doctrine of the recognition of the dignity and the citizenship of every man in South Africa, regardless of the colour of his skin. Based on that we have put forward a programme for constitutional reform which will provide all races with the safeguards they require, to enable them to work in peace and harmony. Since that time we have seen, throughout the country, from men of standing all over the country; leaders of commerce, of industry, of mining, of finance; leading citizens in innumerable roles throughout the country; leaders of agriculture, the Institutes of Race Relations, trade unions, the Press, writers of pamphlets, authors, Churches, the Nationalist Party in the Western Province, and even some faint misdirected stirrings on the part of the United Party—from all of these people we have seen the stirrings of conscience.
Mr. Speaker, let us not underestimate these things. We are witnessing the stirrings of the national conscience in South Africa, and we would be failing in our duty to South Africa, we would be showing a mistrust in our fellow-South Africans if, at this stage, when there is this ferment in the minds of men, we were to throw in the sponge and say: “We abandon all hope of achieving our ends by constitutional measures.” My message to the United Party, to the hon. member for South Coast and to English-speaking people all over South Africa is to trust your fellow-citizens; trust the Afrikaners, trust the Africans, trust the Indians—trust the lot. And on that basis, and on the basis so clearly set out in our agreement we can put forward a policy that will set this country on the right track for all times.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) not only took part in the debate against the republican constitution but also in the referendum campaign. I do not want to add much with regard to his irresponsible statements, but surely the implication is perfectly clear in the amendment moved by the United Party in this House that they refuse to approve of this Bill unless they have a guarantee that the republic will remain within the Commonwealth. In other words, the implication in their amendment is that they will accept a republic provided it is within the Commonwealth. I cannot see how the hon. member for South Coast can vote for that amendment because by implication it says that if the republic is within the Commonwealth, if that guarantee is given, they approve of it; on the other hand he stated in advance that he refused to accept it “in any shape or form”. He also used strong language against it in this House, but here he is being asked to vote for the United Party’s amendment and for the principle that they accept the republic provided we remain within the Commonwealth.
The hon. member for Berea (Mr. Butcher) tried to make out a good case to expose the irresponsible statements made by the hon. member for South Coast, but in his own speech he made certain statements, statements which were also made by their party during the referendum campaign, which are not much less irresponsible than those emanating from the official Opposition. He says that the voters of Natal refused to vote for a republic because they were not prepared to vote for a Verwoerd dictatorship republic, because they refused to vote for a Broederbond republic, because they refused to put in power an Afrikaner régime which oppresses the English-speaking people, or for a republic which will suppress freedom of speech or a republic which is going to strengthen anti-British sentiment in South Africa. Let me put this question to the hon. member: What is there in this constitution which indicates that the republic is going to be a Verwoerd dictatorship republic? What is there in this constitution that shows that the republic is going to be a Broederbond republic? What is there in the constitution that shows that the Afrikaner who now rules is going to strengthen his Government? What is there to indicate that freedom of speech is going to be suppressed or that our relations with Britain are going to deteriorate as a result of this constitution? Those statements were made, however, and they influence the voters, and they are no less irresponsible than the action of the irresponsible member for South Coast.
But the same arguments have been advanced by members on that side of the House. The hon. member for Wynberg (Mr. Russell) also referred to the Broederbond republic. He still has to speak and perhaps he can use that opportunity to tell us what there is in this constitution that makes it a Broederbond republic or a Verwoerd republic, as he said. This is what the hon. member said when he returned from the Transvaal—
The hon. member, therefore, admits there are war veterans (oudstryders) who are confirmed republicans but who did not vote for the republic because they believed it was going to be a Broederbond republic and were afraid of a Verwoerd republic. Let him prove it. The hon. member has the opportunity to do so. Then they say that 48 per cent of the public supports them. Sir, that 48 per cent consisted of the confirmed oudstryders to whom the hon. member for Wynberg referred, people who believed in a republic but who were afraid of a Verwoerd republic. Amongst that 48 per cent there were people who had been misled by this sort of statement. I say there is nothing in this constitution before us which justifies that statement in any way.
We are now told that we are violating the basis of unification and that a new National Convention should be convened. But before the referendum was held, the Prime Minister announced that there would be no other amendments to the Constitution except the consequential amendments which are necessary to substitute the President for the Governor-General, and he has kept his word. Now we are being asked to insert other guarantees; a new Convention is to be convened and we are being asked to insert provisions against racial discrimination and against apartheid and against job reservation, etc. But those things which the hon. member for Berea asked us to incorporate in the Constitution are all things which have been settled in this House over the past 12 years. All those propositions have been rejected convincingly, not only by this House, but by the electorate at all elections since 1948. The hon. member now asks that those things that were rejected should be incorporated here and then, according to him, there will be unity. I cannot understand how the hon. member can seriously advance such arguments and ask that these things should be incorporated in the Constitution.
The hon. member and his party have stated through their Leader that they accept the republic, but that they are carrying on their fight for the principles to which they referred. The hon. member for Maitland (Dr. de Beer) went over to Britain, on behalf of his party, in order to go and help, as he put it, to make propaganda for South Africa to be allowed to remain a member of the Commonwealth. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition went over first. Naturally both parties had to do this to ensure that one party would not steal a march on the other. The hon. member said he was going to help us so that South Africa could continue to remain a member of the Commonwealth. But I notice that when he returned he explained what results he had achieved, and he was very pleased with the results. I see there is a report from London of the speeches made by him. He went over to London to plead for South Africa’s continued membership, and according to the Argus of 27 October the hon. member for Maitland said this—
In other words, he did not go and plead for South Africa there but for us to be allowed to remain in the Commonwealth in order to strengthen his own party’s position, because he is afraid that if we are refused membership his party will fare very badly. But he went on to say—
He tries to influence other people to retain South Africa in the Commonwealth but he says that this is going to strengthen the National Party and the National Party should not be given that opportunity. But he goes on to say this—
He says that his purpose in going to Britain is to keep us in the Commonwealth, but he says that if we are refused membership the National Party Government will not do for the Bantu even the little bit that is being done for them to-day, once we are outside of the Commonwealth. We know that while the hon. member was still a member of the United Party, they gave publicity in Pretoria to the statements made by the hon member for Pretoria (East) that too much was being done for the Bantu and that that was used as propaganda against this Government. We on this side can say this, that what we are doing for the non-Whites is not being done as a result of pressure from Commonwealth countries, but because we regard it as our duty and feel that it is in the interests of South Africa. What the hon. member said here was an absolute untruth. He went abroad and pretended that he was championing South Africa’s cause— and then he did it in this way. I say that it would have been better if he had not gone abroad because he was not serving South Africa there, but his own party’s interests.
The hon. the Leader of the Opposition also went to London to go and help, but we know that when the two of them arrived in London, Lord Home had already made that speech in Washington before the Press Club, in which he stated that we should do our best to keep South Africa within the Commonwealth, and at that time he was Minister of Foreign Affairs. The issue had already been decided by that time. But that is not all. We also know that before they arrived in London, the Prime Minister of Malaya was there, Prince Rahman, and after he had visited Mr. Macmillan, the following report appeared in the Press—
We do not agree with his “re-admission” approach; we think it is wrong but even at that time he stated that he would not oppose it—
Therefore when those hon. members arrived there the issue had practically been decided already, and the attitude was already being adopted in various magazines that we should not be refused continued membership.
The hon. the Leader of the Opposition has introduced an amendment here in which he asks for certain provisions to be inserted in this Constitution, but he himself frightened the electorate by saying: “Do not vote for the republic until you see what is in the Constitution.” He said that if they voted for a republic they must know that they were voting for a republic which would be outside of the Commonwealth. After the referendum had been won he said again: “The United Party will pay particular attention to the undertaking that the only significant changes will be the substitution of the President for the Governor-General, that equal language rights will be maintained, that the republic will be based on the present Constitution as embodied in the South Africa Act.” He said this on 10 October, just after the announcement of the result. They would see to it that the Constitution made provision for those things only. Sir, this Constitution makes provision for no more than that and nevertheless they oppose this Bill. One really does not know what to expect from them. But throughout the referendum campaign the hon. the Leader of the Opposition stated that South Africa could be deprived of her membership if only one member voted against it. Other leaders also said that South Africa would be blackballed This was also said by the hon. member for Wynberg as well as the hon. member for Green Point. There is not one of them who did not say that one vote against South Africa could keep us outside the Commonwealth. But what is their authority for it? There sits the hon. member for Wynberg. What is his authority for saying that one vote can blackball us?
It is easy to reply to that if you will only sit down.
There is not one of them who can tell us what their authority is for it. It is perfectly clear that even at that stage there was an authority available for them. As far back as 4 July Mr. Alport, the British Minister of Commonwealth Relations, had explained what the position was. He said this, according to Hansard of 4 July when he was asked whether there had to be a majority or what would happen if there was one vote against South Africa. It was during the debate on the recent Prime Ministers’ Conference, and on that occasion he said this—
It is not a question of South Africa’s being expelled on the decision of one country. That is the attitude that was adopted even at that time.
May I ask what was meant by the rule of unanimity in the decisions taken by the Conference?
There is such an arrangement; there is a convention that there must be unanimity in that regard, but I shall quote to the hon. member when that rule applies. I quote from Halsbury’s “Laws of England” with regard to membership of the Commonwealth. There he deals with this “principle of unanimity”, and he says this—
[Interjection.] South Africa’s position is not the same as Japan’s would be if she wished to join the Commonwealth. We are a member. India was a member and remained a member. If the rule of unanimity is to apply, it means that all members would have to vote in favour of the termination of South Africa’s membership, and not vice versa. But here we have the reply of Mr. Alport on 4 July, months before the referendum, and when the hon. the Leader of the Opposition spoke at Potgietersrust and stated that this rule applied, he was referring to this debate. When he said that there must be unanimity and that one vote could keep us out of the Commonwealth, he said this—
He says that the unanimity rule applies. Here I have a report of the debate to which he referred and in this debate Mr. Alport said that it was not unanimity that counted, but the “collective view”. He was asked what the position would be if there was a difference of opinion, and Mr. Alport said this—
Here the proposition is laid down that it is the “collective view” that counts; it is not one country’s refusal. This is the debate to which the Leader of the Opposition was referring and in spite of the fact that it is stated here that it is the collective view that counts he proclaimed throughout South Africa that one vote could keep us out of the Commonwealth.
Then we find this interesting position. This statement was made as far back as 4 July. The referendum came and went and when it was over a leading article appeared in the Cape Times of 10 October in which it was stated that decisions at Commonwealth conferences were taken collectively, that the objection of the minority remains valid but that the minority submitted to the decisions of the majority. After the referendum they referred to Mr. Alport’s speech on 4 July, but before the referendum they relied upon something which Mr. Alport had never said. They relied throughout on this statement that one vote could keep us out of the Commonwealth, but when they lost the referendum, even the Cape Times admitted that the majority decision prevailed, that one vote could not keep us out. That is the sort of propaganda that we had to face during the referendum campaign. I say that many more people would have voted for the republic if they had not been told that one vote could keep South Africa out. When they rely on 48 per cent of the votes therefore, it includes republicans who wish to remain within the Commonwealth, but it was suggested to them that one vote could keep us out and consequently they were afraid to vote for a republic.
But another argument that was used and that created the wrong impression and that gave them a certain number of votes, is that South Africa would be refused continued membership, not by virtue of the fact that we become a republic, but because Commonwealth countries do not like our colour policy. The attitude has always been adopted at Commonwealth conferences that they are not going to interfere in the domestic affairs of member countries. That is why the following statement was issued when this conference began, at the end of the first day’s sitting—
And the conference then decided—
But here it was reaffirmed. Their official standpoint is that domestic affairs are not discussed there, and we can well understand why that is their attitude. We know that Mr. Diefenbaker strongly expressed himself against South Africa’s colour policy. It is true unfortunately that South Africa’s membership has become a political football between his Conservative Party and the C.C.F. and the Liberal Party, which was anxious to see that South Africa was refused continued membership. Mr. Diefenbaker expressed his views with regard to South Africa’s policy, but he also made this further statement on 16 May when there was a debate after the conference. He said this in the Canadian Parliament—
There he makes the same statement that our Prime Minister made. If they interfere with our domestic affairs it will lead to disintegration of the Commonwealth. But Mr. Diefenbaker goes further. He says that after his return from the latest conference he is even more strongly convinced of it. He says—
He goes on to say that if that were to happen they would also discuss the domestic affairs of his country “including the question of migration”. That affects him, because Canada’s official policy with regard to immigration is this—
If her immigration policy, the internal policy of Canada, is to be discussed, the West Indies is going to be dissatisfied because West Indians have not got the same freedom of entry into Canada as into Britain. But they also have other problems. They also have a minority group, the French, who want their language to be recognized as a second language not only in Quebec but also in the rest of Canada. But that does not affect South Africa; it is their domestic policy. It is for that reason that in the same debate from which I have quoted, Mr. Alport again associated himself on behalf of the British Government with Mr. Diefenbaker’s attitude and stated—
It will be seen therefore that Britain also adopts the attitude that there must be no interference with the domestic affairs of Commonwealth countries. Australia too adopted the same attitude. The hon. the Minister of Justice has referred to the speech which Mr. Menzies made before the Cambridge students when he attended the conference. I do not want to repeat this but in the Australian Parliament, according to Hansard of 31 March, there was also a debate on the Prime Ministers’ Conference and the Sharpeville incidents, and on that occasion Mr. Menzies said—
He then went on to say that there were also charges against Australia to the effect that they were not treating the aborigines well, in the territory of New Guinea as well, but that he would object very strongly if any Commonwealth country were to express an opinion with regard to the treatment of the aborigines. He said this—
It will be seen therefore that this same strong attitude is adopted by everybody, because if that were not the position, what would happen to the Commonwealth? What about Ghana? There is no Press freedom there. There are certain Commonwealth countries which are not satisfied with that situation. There are some Opposition members there who have been in gaol for a few years and this does not meet with the approval of all member-countries. Legislation is being introduced in Ceylon now to form the Associated Press and the Ceylon Times into a corporation and to control news, and that is something which will not meet with the approval of Commonwealth members. Pakistan is not a democracy as we know it. Before long Ghana will be in the camp of the communists, a situation with which other countries will not be satisfied, but is that any reason for taking steps against them? The principle has been stated perfectly clearly. The principle is one of no intervention. When members of the Opposition tried to create the impression during the referendum campaign that the Commonwealth would refuse us membership because of our colour policy, I feel that they misrepresented the true character of the Commonwealth to the public. They created a picture that was not correct. The Prime Minister stated that we would remain a member of the Commonwealth as long as the Commonwealth retained its present character. It is the declared desire of the Prime Minister to obtain continued membership for us, not for ulterior motives such as those which prompted the hon. member for Maitland to go to England but because he feels that South Africa can make a positive contribution. That is why he is going; once this Bill has been passed he is going to London to complete the work that has been started and of which the referendum was one step and this Bill another, and he is going with the full support of this side of the House.
Mr. Speaker, three members have spoken since last a member of my party spoke—the hon. the Minister of Justice, the hon. member for Bellville (Mr. Haak) and the hon. member for Durban (Berea) (Mr. Butcher). I would like to ask the hon. member for Bellville, if he is so absolutely certain that our continued membership of the Commonwealth is completely safe, why we had the impassioned appeal from the Minister of Finance in which we were asked to assist the Prime Minister with his batting on a sticky wicket? He also quoted extracts from many speeches of Commonwealth statesmen else where and he mentioned Mr. Alport. I was in London and in the House of Commons when this debate on the Prime Ministers Conference took place. The words used by Mr. Alport are indelibly imprinted in my mind— one word in particular—and give me tremendous cause for concern about the possibility of our not being accepted as a member of the Commonwealth. A Labour member asked Mr. Alport whether his attention had been drawn to a statement by our Prime Minister to the effect that it would be an easy matter to retain our membership of the Commonwealth and Mr. Alport’s reply, of which I have a copy, was that it would be a tragedy if that thought were deemed to be correct. I have very great fear indeed that we will not be accepted into the Commonwealth. I have that fear because our Commonwealth membership means so much to us and I hope to be allowed to deal with that at greater length later in my speech.
I would now like to turn to the member for Durban (Berea). I wonder whether he remembers the words of Tennyson, “His honour rooted in dishonour stood”. I have no doubt that Natal in due course will reply to him in regard to the dastardly attack he made on his previous leader. I am sure Natal will be able to look after that matter. In regard to him and the rest of their party and their attack upon us, may I say that I and my party are far more concerned with the future and the safety of the White man and that correct policies should be adopted to this end, than we are concerned with the miasmatic thoughts that come from that side of the House.
Now I come to the third member who spoke since the last member of our party spoke, namely the Minister of Justice. I must congratulate him on the complete change of face in regard to his protestations about unity and Commonwealth membership. There is no doubt about it that he has done more as an individual to estrange the English-speaking people in this country than the rest of his party put together, so I must be forgiven if I apply the word “sanctimonious” to the whole address of the Minister of Justice. Now, Sir, I want to come to this question of a republic. The main thing, of course, is whether we will be inside or outside of the Commonwealth. I personally am concerned that we will not be accepted. Many of my colleagues say I am wrong; I hope I am.
No doubt you are right.
I hope not, but I think the hon. member does. My main worry is that I am not convinced of the sincerity of this Government in stating that it desires to stay in the Commonwealth. I believe that at the first available opportunity this country will be told that it cannot relax its granite wall attitude and that no self-respecting country can put up with the insults which are hurled at it inside the Commonwealth. The Government says under its present tactics that Britain and the other members of the Commonwealth all desire that we should remain a member, irrespective of whether we remain a monarchy or become a republic. I am not as confident as they are, but I hope I am wrong. I recently returned from Europe and I would not like any remarks of mine to be construed as meaning that I thought that the British people were against us in South Africa and against our being in the Commonwealth. I travelled from one end of the land to the other; I had discussions with young and old, influential and non-influential. I kept my own counsel, difficult as it was, when certain actions of my Government were brought out and I found nothing but a tremendous amount of goodwill towards my country, but complete detestation for the policies of our present Government, policies which I must admit are sometimes misunderstood. Some people to whom I was talking in the Midlands made one remark that has rather stuck in my mind; they said: “That is a rum way to treat those black fellows of yours.” But I must say that in my travels I could find no desire that we should give the vote to everybody in our country. They understand our problems to a large extent. There is no doubt that the intelligent people understand our problems, and most of them are intelligent, but one and all seem to be of the opinion, as I am, that the vicious policies of this Government cannot continue and will solve nothing. Sir, I cannot help thinking that the Nationalists’ attitude has changed since last year when the Prime Minister told us so arrogantly about the coming referendum and the republic. On that occasion he told us that we need not worry about the Commonwealth; that he would decide in due course whether we would be in or out of it. It is a bit hard to reconcile the whole attitude of that side with the present whining and squealing that we must not do anything to queer the possibility of our remaining in the Commonwealth. Do hon. members on that side think that we want South Africa to be kicked out of the Commonwealth when we know what it is going to mean to this country in every line, from the economic and from the defence point of view? I hope that the words I use here will bring some of these points to the notice of hon. members on that side. Mr. Speaker, I do not want to expand on imperial preferences; that has been done already and this is not the right time.
On a point of order is it parliamentary language to describe the speeches of hon. members on this side of the House as “whining and squealing”, and if it is parliamentary language, would we be in order to say that members over there are whining and squealing”?
The hon. member may proceed.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker; I just wanted to know what we were entitled to say.
After that further squeal, may I point out that the goods sold under imperial preferences total roughly £60,000,000 and that the value of these preferences in money is probably about £5,000,000. Exports to the value of £60,000,000 are quite valuable to us, and I know that the present Government’s policy is to say “why worry, if we lose the preferences? If Britain won’t buy our goods we will find other markets”.
Stop your whining.
One Minister went so far as to say during the referendum campaign that if imperial preferences went we would not sell our gold to the United Kingdom. I suppose we will sell it to Russia. The whole position is that there is no danger that the United Kingdom will refuse to buy our goods.
What are you squealing about then?
Order! The hon. member knows the rules of the House.
Our market in Britain is secure notwithstanding the residents in our land who do so much “tjanking”. Mr. Speaker, if the price is right all markets can be retained, but the preferences are tied up with legal implications and pressures from other members of the Commonwealth, and their loss might make it very difficult for us to dispose of our goods. Normally one does not deliberately sell at a loss. We are continually told about Government efforts to find new markets and we are also told that they are being successful. I want to give some figures to prove how successful they are. I took the trouble to take out the figures in respect of four countries which are all important customers of ours both ways, buying and selling—Germany, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom. I took out the export and import figures from 1953 to 1958 inclusive, and the net effect is this: From Germany we imported £20,000,000 in 1953 and in 1958 we imported £58,000,000. I am leaving out the odd figures. In 1953 we exported to Germany £19,000,000 and in 1958 we only exported goods to the value of £13,000,000. The imports from Japan in 1953 amounted to £10,000,000 and £14,000,000 in 1958. In 1953 we exported to Japan goods to the value of £5,000,000 and in 1958 goods to the value of just under £5,000,000. Our exports to America went up from £18,000,000 in 1953 to £25,000,000 in 1958 and our purchases from America rose from £73,000,000 to £97,000,000. Our imports from the United Kingdom in 1953 were £140,000,000 and in 1958 £187,000,000. Our exports to the United Kingdom over that period rose from £77,000,000 to £106,000,000. From those figures it is clear that imports from Germany went up by £38,000,000, from Japan by £3,000,000, from the U.S.A. by £23,000,000 over that period. Our exports to Germany during that period dropped by £5,000,000; to Japan by £25,000, and to the United States increased by £6,000,000, so that over six years, with all our battling with permits and trying to establish new industries, our exports to these three countries were increased by less than £1,000,000, while our purchases from them increased by no less than £65,000,000. I give these figures to illustrate how difficult it is to build up markets to-day. In addition to those difficulties we have the boycotts. You would have seen in the Press this morning that in 21 countries our exports have been reduced. Admittedly our total exports over the last year have increased by a considerable amount but we have not yet felt the effect on our Rhodesian business. I went into the most recent figures for 1959 and 1960 but I shall not weary the House with them except to say that the pattern remains the same.
England boycotts us and no other countries.
Never. The English people will never boycott us. It is a question of our losing preferences. Sir, these figures are very illuminating. Our exports to Britain from January to August 1960 went up by £6,285,000 while our imports went up by £4,231,000. I think it is extremely irresponsible for anybody to trifle with the economic possibilities which a republic may bring. I do not want to dwell on the colossal increase in imports from Germany. We all have our own ideas as to why that is done, but it is a pity that they hate the English-speaking people in the way they do. The Prime Minister realizes the gravity of the position. He has appointed three missions. Well, good luck to him, but I quote these figures to show what a gigantic job they have, and here we come along and take a chance on the greatest market that we have.
I would like to take this matter a little further. As you know, Sir, there is the Common Market in Europe and there is the Outer Seven. While I was there Mr. Macmillan went to see Mr. Adenauer, and their discussion was in connection with the Seven joining the Common Market. Britain refused to join the Common Market because of her loyalty to the Commonwealth. That is why she is not a member and I am perfectly sure that eventually the Outer Seven will join the Europpean Common Market and that the interest of the Commonwealth will be protected by Britain. But if we are outside the Commonwealth I think we will be in a very parlous position. Never has there been a case that reminds one more of the old saying about throwing away the substance for the shadow. I have shown, Sir, to the satisfaction of all people who can understand English in words of more than one syllable, that if we do lose our Commonwealth preferences through being kicked out or leaving of our own accord, we are going to be in serious trouble. I would like to point too in connection with all those threats that were made during the referendum campaign—I suppose they were motivated by party political considerations—that if we lose imperial preferences, it will not be because Britain wants us to lose them. We will only lose them if legally they have to go. All the threats that we have heard that if we lose the preferences we will not buy British goods will not get us anywhere.
Finally I would just like to make this particular point in regard to imperial preferences and the British market. There is no question at all of our goods ever being prohibited from entering into markets except in the Black states, I assume, but we still have to compete, and that is the difficulty.
I would like to say a few words now on the question of Defence. I do not want to dwell on what my Leader said about the dangers that might arise if South West Africa is removed from our mandate and we run the risk of African Nationalism jumping right on to our borders, but I would like to suggest to the Minister of Defence, who maintained that we would not be expendable because of our great strategic importance in the world, that it is quite possible that when the people who consider such matters arrive here, if they ever arrive, the value of troops coming from 200,000,000 to the north of us might outweigh the value that we get from 3,000,000 Whites in this country, however martial our race is, especially if we have to stay a nation in arms for our own internal protection. I do not want to dwell on the South West Africa matter. I think the Government has enough trouble on its hands as it is in that regard, and I do not want to dwell on what might be the effect of the new Bantustans either, but I would like to ask the Prime Minister whether he thinks that when these new Bantustan states are brought into being and are independent, they, unlike the hostile northern states, will be friendly. I have grave doubts. Sir, I would like to point out in answer to the arguments of the Minister of Defence that if certain circumstances arose which he was obviously visualizing at that moment, the United Kingdom has the right under the Simonstown Agreement to use Simonstown as a base in the event of a war in which South Africa is neutral. That leads me to ask the Minister of Defence this: Is the Government considering staying neutral in any East-West struggle, if it is not granted readmission to the Commonwealth? In other words, are they going to tell Britain, “Look, if war breaks out between East and West, we are not going to give you our ports while the war is on”? That is what it sounds like to me. Sir, we still have many friends in the world, but they have been sorely tried by the actions of this Government, and if we become a republic outside the Commonwealth I fear that we will then be alone and completely friendless. At the present time, as the Minister of Defence pointed out, we hide behind the protection of the British Navy, or should I say, as far as the other side of the House is concerned, that they skulk behind the protection of the British Navy? I assure them that it will be a sorry day for us if and when that protection is taken away.
Mr. Speaker, I think I have made out an unassailable case against the republic. I do not expect the other side to agree with me, but I still think I have made out an unassailable case against South Africa becoming a republic. It is very difficult to understand why this issue should be thrown before us at this stage when we as White people in this country should be working together to solve the problems which beset us, unless of course, the reason is, as has been suggested so often, that this Nationalist Government realizes that its policies are destined to bring ruination to the White man and have tossed this bone into the arena to draw the people’s attention away from the real problems of the country. The Prime Minister says that come what may he is holding course. I would like to state my view which I think is the view of most members on this side of the House, and that is that it is all very well for a man of granite with a servile crew behind him to keep the ship pointed at the reef until it crashes, but I believe it is our duty, if we honestly believe that the path upon which the country is going, can lead to nothing but destruction, to find another course, and that is what we have been trying to do for many years and will, I hope, one day succeed in doing.
Mr. Speaker, I am going to say a few words about the sentimental and emotional side for the benefit of my friends under the gallery who no doubt will express their views in their normal manner. I suggest that I and the English have just as much right to sentiment and emotion as the Nationalists in this country. Next year my children will be able to trace their ancestry in this country back a 100 years. I never thought that I would have to come into a House like this to stress a point like that, but that is the position. Before Union and all our lives we have struggled to be friends. We followed Botha, we followed Smuts and then we followed Hertzog and now we are following Graaff. We have followed Afrikaners all the time …
That is the trouble.
… in the hope that over the years friendship would come. You may point a finger at us and say: “You say that you left it to Afrikaners to lead you and you spent all your time making money, without really giving consideration to the true problems of the country.” You may be right, but I do not think it is an entirely fair accusation. We thought and we still think and we hope that the time will come when with our leaders we will build “een land, een volk met twee tale”. But I can never under present conditions believe that under our present Government that goal for White people and the non-White people in this country will ever be reached. We have arrived at the stage, it appears to me, where Union has failed. It is now almost a question of Dutch and English, as we used to call ourselves. I say—and I hope the other side will do me the honour of believing that I am sincere in what I say—that since 1948 no effort has been spared to show me and my people who is the boss. No effort has been spared to uproot everything which commemorates our ancestors. Now we are having mealy-mouthed appeals for co-operation. I have great difficulty in following them. I need only refer to the speech of the hon. member for North-East Rand (Brig. Bronkhorst) last session when he explained to us in detail what had happened to the English-speaking men in the U.D.F. I say from my own knowledge that it happened in many other Departments too. I know that in one Department where the dove of peace has been thrown in there has been a complete change in the esprit de corps and the spirit. Sir, they tell us that our English language is safe in their hands. It is safe in my hands. I know all about bilingualism in the Civil Service, and I know that it means speaking Afrikaans only and with all the protestations that have been made over the last ten years and that are being made now that remains the position and I fear it is going to remain the position. More and more Departments are writing more and more of their correspondence in Afrikaans and less and less in English. I believe that it is the intention—it may come about slowly—that eventually, as was stated in the previous constitution, Afrikaans will be established as the only official language. That does not mean that you take away the English language; you cannot do so, but you can see that all the official correspondence is in Afrikaans, and then you are a long way along the road already. Then we will be told to take it or lump it.
You are lying.
The hon. member must withdraw that.
The Prime Minister claims great credit for that side of the House for getting us one flag and one anthem. I know and all hon. members here know that in the Transvaal there is already a movement afoot to remove the Union Jack, the last vestige of the work that the English people have done in South Africa. There is already a movement afoot to remove it and I know that what I am saying is correct. The Prime Minister also said that he gave us one anthem. I am terribly sorry to say it but in some parts of this country, to my deep sorrow, people are now regarding this anthem as a song of triumph belonging to the Nationalist Party. The Prime Minister cannot claim that these two items are bringing the people together. We are asked to co-operate in all directions. We are asked to co-operate in what? I say we are asked to co-operate in the oppression of the English, the suppression of the Blacks and the maintenance of South Africa’s position as the “muishond” of the Western world. Sir, the Prime Minister is gambling that the outside world will never use force on us, economically or otherwise. If his gamble comes off we will all be sitting pretty, holding the country down with force. If it does not come off, we will not be sitting so pretty, and we must therefore find another road. The present Government must go and I hope it will go quickly. Sir, on Gen. Smuts’s 80th birthday he was speaking outside the Johannesburg City Hall to an enormous crowd. I had the privilege of being on the platform with him and he said this: “You know, I have had a wonderful life, but I have had lots of troubles. I seemed to spend most of my life trying to save the Dutch from the English and the English from the Dutch.” I thought until the last couple of days that it was time that somebody arose to look after the English-speaking people as Gen. Smuts used to do, but on deeper consideration I think it is time somebody arose to save the Afrikaner Nationalist. He is completely isolated to-day. He has estranged all his fellow-countrymen. It will take many years of effort, effort of which I do not believe they are capable, effort which I do not believe they have any intention of producing, to remove the feelings that have arisen between us. My Leader has asked for this matter to be dealt with in a different manner in terms of his amendment, and I myself agree with that entirely.
If there is one virtue which the hon. member who has just sat down can claim, I think it is the ability to voice the same bitterness as that voiced by the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell), but he does it in a mild manner, as though he himself does not believe what he is saying. The kind of speech we have just had, Sir, reveals the kind of attitude which stands in the way of what we should like to attain by becoming a republic, namely unity. When you consider the speeches which that hon. member made recently, Sir, you will find that he has always agreed with the ideas which the hon. member for South Coast expressed here last Tuesday, and that is why we should like to hear from him to-day what his attitude really is. Because when he addressed the Sons of England in Johannesburg on 3 March 1959 he said the following, according to the Cape Times—
Mr. Ross said English-speaking South Africans could go into open rebellion against the Government. This would probably be the end of Western civilization in South Africa. They could also accept the position with a shrug of the shoulders. Another idea would be to start a campaign of non-co-operation.
That, I think Mr. Speaker, sums up precisely what is at the back of the mind of that hon. member. On the same occasion he said the following, according to the Cape Argus—
I hope the hon. member was referring to his political body; I trust he will be consistent, and that after the establishment of the republic, he will kill himself politically by withdrawing from politics altogether.
Mr. Speaker, it would certainly be wrong to think that the legislation which is before us at the moment and which deals with the establishment of a republic in South Africa, is not of great importance to the Afrikaans-speaking section of the population. It means the attainment of an ideal which they have cherished through many generations. I want to say at the same time, however, that when we look ahead, this is a great opportunity for all South Africans, irrespective of the language which they speak, to attain a higher ideal than a mere republic in South Africa, namely to attain unity. It is an equally golden opportunity for leadership in South Africa, particularly for leadership on the part of the English-speaking section. From the republican end there has been sound leadership in these circumstances. I am referring to the spirit in which the referendum was held and conducted by this side of the House. In spite of inflammatory speeches by the hon. member who has just sat down, and by the hon. member for South Coast, a good spirit prevailed. I am not saying that the Afrikaans-speaking people are angels, and that is why I want to express my appreciation to the republicans, particularly the Afrikaans-speak-section, for the control they exercised during the referendum campaign. I also want to refer to the spirit in which this side of the House has been conducting the present debate so far, a spirit of willingness to co-operate, a spirit of willingness to meet the other section halfway, a spirit of partnership to build the new state, a spirit of friendship, they have given right leadership, leadership which can succeed in reconciling the divergent opinions among Afrikaans-speaking people as far as the form of the republic is concerned, something which may require them to sacrifice some of the ideals which are holy to them. They were prepared to sacrifice that for the sake of a higher ideal, that of unity. That is why I say that the disappointment in South Africa will be all the greater among the Afrikaans-speaking section if the attitude taken by some hon. members on that side of the House, were also taken by the people outside. To my sorrow I have to admit to-day that two things have become very clear to me in the course of this debate. It is this, that it has become apparent from this debate that the political leadership given by the Opposition (I hesitate to say by the English-speaking section in South Africa) they do not appreciate the depth of the Afrikaner’s sentiment in regard to a republic, in spite of the fact that there are Afrikaans-speaking members in their own ranks, in spite of the fact that an hon. member, like the hon. member for Germiston (District) (Prof. Fourie), who until recently was a member of the United Party, impressed upon them the depth of that feeling, as he did again last week in this House; in spite of the fact that even the Leader of the Progressive Party (Dr. Steytler), who is an Afrikaner, also told hon. members opposite how deep that feeling was. But it seems to me that they do not want to understand it. Secondly it appears to me that they are unable to realize how genuine the feeling of good will is on the part of the Afrikaners as far as the future is concerned, and how sincere they are in their desire to co-operate on a new basis. Thirdly it appears to me that they are unable to realize that even among those people who voted against a republic, people who supported them, there is a large section which is prepared to accept the inevitable and to co-operate. That is why I say that the position which awaits us is a challenge to leadership, especially leadership on the part of the English-speaking section. It is a challenge to them to do what leaders on this side of the House have done on occasions, namely to court disfavour, to become unpopular amongst certain sections of their own people, in order to help to build the future of their country. It is a great pity that a leader, such as the hon. member for South Coast, cannot see further into the future and that he prefers to succumb to the temptation to be popular amongst the extremists in his own province. I am also of opinion that the leadership which we have in the Opposition does not fully appreciate South Africa’s position in relation to the Commonwealth, a relationship which has often been referred to in connection with this matter. It seems to me that they have never yet considered this question seriously. That is why they are to-day still trying to ward off the inevitable advent of the republic and they are doing so by trying to find excuses for the defeat which they suffered, in the first place. We have been told here that there was a great amount of irregularity. Well, Sir, I never like to see a bad loser, whether it be on the sportsfield or on the political field. I say that because the rank and file of the supporters of that side of the House accept the result of the referendum, a result which was against them, but it would appear that because of the spirit of resistance which has been engendered by the leaders of the Opposition, they have not as yet fully realized the position in which they are. Surely it is possible to play the game according to the rules on the political field as well, and not to squeal when you have lost. They are trying to ward off the inevitable advent of the republic by trying to instill fear in the minds of the people as to what a republic will mean. They encourage this fear by raising the question of membership of the Commonwealth. It is a pity that hon. members do not realize that by doing that they do not lessen in the least the desire to have unity in South Africa. As far as membership of the Commonwealth is concerned, I should like to say that they are playing with fire by continually coupling that to the republic. They are continually trying to represent the Commonwealth, in their own minds and in the minds of the people of South Africa, as being a kind of super state, they are trying to represent it as something on a higher plain than the form of government we want to have. By doing that they are endangering the good will which the Afrikaners have established through wise leadership, as far as membership of the Commonwealth is concerned. They are bringing the Afrikaners who because of their leadership have worked for the retention of South Africa within the Commonwealth, to come under the impression that the Commonwealth has now become what the Crown was formerly. If that were to happen it would indeed be an evil day for us, because then they would have made the Commonwealth, not what we should like it to be, but another dividing factor in our national life. I want to plead, therefore, that whatever we say we should regard the Commonwealth and membership of the Commonwealth in the right perspective, And when we have a serious debate on this question we must please not, by intimidation, go so far as to make the people believe that the Commonwealth is of greater importance than our own form of government.
During the referendum campaign the people were led to believe by the leaders opposite that we were actually courting expulsion from the Commonwealth by establishing a republic, and the Leader of the Opposition said that if South Africa wanted to become a republic and applied for readmission to the Commonwealth (which is a wrong conception of the position), Ghana and Malaya would oppose it, and South Africa would be out of the Commonwealth. The irony of the situation is this Sir, that we, who are being accused of wanting to throw the Commonwealth overboard (which is not true) attach greater importance to the Commonwealth and have greater faith in the Commonwealth as an institution, than the hon. the Leader of the Opposition and his followers. We have always said that we have faith in the senior members of the Commonwealth, that they possessed the persuasive powers to make the junior members, like Ghana and Malaya, understand that the domestic policy of a member-state should not be the yardstick to be used when application is made for admission or continued membership, but that the Commonwealth is a free association of equal nations. That is the irony of the situation. We are convinced that Mr. Macmillan and Mr. Diefenbaker and others give the lead in the Commonwealth, whereas our friends opposite carried their propaganda campaign so far that it practically amounted to a slap in the face for Mr. Macmillan and Mr. Diefenbaker, because they led people to believe that Dr. Nkrumah of Ghana and Abdoel Rahman of Malaya had the real power to determine who should be admitted to the Commonwealth and who not. If that were the true position within the Commonwealth, and South Africa in the course of following its constitutional road of development, had to leave it as a result of the important position of Malaya and Ghana (two junior members of the Commonwealth), what does South Africa want in such a Commonwealth? That is the question which I ask every right thinking South African. We have greater faith, however, in the senior members of the Commonwealth than the official Opposition. That is why I think that in the near future the hon. Leader of the Opposition will have to apologize to the senior members of the Commonwealth for his lack of faith in them to give the lead within the Commonwealth.
They try to frighten the public as far as the so-called Imperial preferences are concerned. Although the hon. member for Green Point is not a fruit farmer, he felt very sorry for himself the day before yesterday because the fruit farmers will supposedly no longer be able to export their fruit. I do not think it is necessary for me to reply to that in detail, but I just want to ask hon. members to think about these matters. They must please remember that Imperial preferences are not comprehensive preferences within the Commonwealth. Membership of the Commonwealth does not entitle every member to trade at reduced tariffs with every other member. Those countries who officially boycott South Africa are incidentally also members of the Commonwealth. Great Britain is the country with which we trade most, and I will be pleased if hon. members who talk so glibly about this matter, were to discover as the brother of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition did, that as far as our trade with Great Britain is concerned it rests on a specific trade agreement, and that if for one or other reason, through our leaving the Commonwealth or anything else, Britain were to cancel that agreement, it would hit her harder than it would hit South Africa. Great Britain does not do us a favour when she buys our fruit. It is a trade which flows in two directions. As far as motor-cars are concerned, South Africa buys more motor-cars from Britain than from any other country. We read in the newspapers that the British motor trade has had such a set-back that some of the employees have been placed on half-time or even dismissed, and if Britain were to lose her export trade of motor-cars to South Africa it would mean a terrific setback to the British motor export industry. Let me quote what a leading British economic journal says on this subject. The Economist of 15 October writes as follows—
It is high time that our hon. friends who spread panic during the referendum campaign, develop greater faith in the ability of their own country and cease spreading panic as far as the Commonwealth is concerned. They even sowed panic in connection with our military relationship with the Commonwealth. I hesitate to say this to the House but at a meeting during the referendum campaign an official organizer of the United Party, someone who is employed on a full-time basis by them here in the Peninsula, asked me the following question—
Can you believe it, Sir! In their anxiety to sow panic, official organizers of the United Party went so far as to allege that Britain would shoot her own flesh and blood in this country, that she would bomb her own investments in our mines and industries, merely because South Africa was quite fortuitously a republic! That is why I say it is quite clear to me that in intimidating the people in an attempt to ward off the republic, they have made it impossible for their supporters to consider this matter properly and they themselves have not done so.
We are dealing here with legislation to establish a republic in South Africa, not in order to satisfy the sentiment of the Afrikaner, but in the first place to obtain unity. That unity did not come about under a monarchy in South Africa over a period of 50 years. Let us see, Sir, why unity was a failure under the monarchical system of Government. The reply, of course, is that a monarchical institution is very successful in a country with a homogeneous population, where everyone speaks the same language and has the same tradition, and where the monarch, the king, has grown with the nation throughout the centuries. That person holds his or her position by virtue of inheritance over many generations and because he or she stems from that nation and has always lived in its midst. But it is different in the case of a nation whose composition is heterogenous, where everyone does not speak the same language and where the people are of different descent. You cannot take a monarch from outside and place him in their midst and hope he will bring about unity or be a success, because he cannot satisfy the various sections and factions, for the simple reason that he does not stem from them. So, while I accept that monarchy is a success in the case of a homogeneous nation, the past 50 years have proved that in the case of South Africa it cannot be a success. In the second place, the monarchy has failed in South Africa because no matter what you and I do about it, Sir, in South Africa the Crown, the Empire, will always be associated with the conqueror, the destroyer of republican freedom in South Africa. And I do not say that with any feeling of bitterness. After all, I am a son of this part of the country which has never been a republic, I have never lived under a republic, but the fact remains that in South Africa the Crown will always be associated with the old Empire which conquered the republics in South Africa. Often, therefore, when people show love for the symbols of the Crown or display them, South Africa is cruelly reminded of a piece of her history which she would rather forget. Speaking as one who belongs to the younger generation of Afrikaners, I want to say that that history is something of the past as far as I am concerned. I want to face the future together with my young English-speaking fellow-Afrikaners and I want to assist in building a happy future, a future which we can face together; but you must not begrudge me that because of my sentiments as far as this matter is concerned, but for the sake of removing a dividing factor, an association which will always remind us of having been vanquished. We should abolish that system. In the third place the monarchical system of government has failed to bring about unity because it could never satisfy the divergent sentiments of the various sections of the nation. Furthermore it has failed to bring about unity because it has had the effect of sowing mutual distrust amongst the Afrikaans-speaking and English-speaking sections. When the English-speaking people show their love for the symbols of the Crown or exhibit them, which is their traditional way of life, we Afrikaans-speaking people are inclined to view them with suspicion and to ask: Are they not simply again trying to influence us and to force the power of the Crown down our throats? And while the monarchy exists they for their part are suspicious of us, because they know the Afrikaners are in the majority, and they know that the background of the Afrikaners is republican and they know that that desire will never die. Now they are told, however, that the Afrikaners want a republic in order to oppress the English-speaking section, and because of that they are suspicious of us, but their suspicions are unfounded. In the fifth place we failed to achieve unity under the monarchical form of government, because our constitutional position under the monarchy was never fully understood. In this connection I think of what the Britisher in Britain, particularly the Britisher belonging to the Labour Party, thinks of South Africa’s position. To judge from what their leaders says, Sir, you cannot help but conclude that they regard South Africa as a colonial territory and because of that they think they are entitled to poke their noses into our affairs morning, noon and night. Hence the sharp and venemous criticism from that quarter. Then there is also a misconception of our constitutional position within our own country. Every step we have taken in South Africa in the past along the road of constitutional development, has been opposed by the present Opposition and their predecessors and a certain spirit has developed amongst many people; they think that although there is a Government in South Africa, there is a higher authority, the Crown, which is more important. As the hon. member for Smithfield (Mr. J. J. Fouché, Jnr.), pointed out a few days ago, even amongst the non-Whites we find a misconception of our constitutional position. And I am afraid that all that constitutes a stumbling block in the road to complete nationhood. What I am going to say now, I would very much have liked to say as an English-speaking person, but I am not one, and I trust my English-speaking friends will not hold it against me. The hon. member who spoke before me also referred to it, and it is this that in the past most of the people who have given the lead on the other side of the House, have been Afrikaans-speaking. I do not hold that against them, but I attribute that and what flows from it, to the constitutional set-up which we have had thus far, namely the monarchy. The misconception about our constitutional position causes many of our citizens to think that even if we have an Afrikaans Government, or even if they themselves govern, there is something higher, the Crown across the sea, and while that is there, they are safe and need not worry about the fact that they are not taking part in the government of the country.
I maintain that because of that complex we have the position that our English-speaking fellow-citizens are not as active in the political field as they should be. They have concentrated more and more on the economic field and have tried to promote their own prosperity and have left politics to the Afrikaner —gifted Afrikaners. The fact remains that they have not played a leading role and that they have left a great deal to the Afrikaners. That also applies in other spheres, such as the sphere of organization for example. Who, for instance are the people who conduct their propaganda campaigns and who are at the head of the organizing machinery of the party opposite? Afrikaans-speaking people. We also find that in other spheres of life. The position has become so critical in the educational field that in many cases Afrikaans-speaking teachers have to teach the English language to English-speaking children. The same is happening in the ecclesiastical field. In other words, our English-speaking fellow-citizens have shown little inclination to play a role in the political field and to move in the more idealistic circles. It is a pity because we miss them, we miss English-speaking leadership in this House to-day. I think that much of the discord which exists to-day between the two language groups could have been removed had it been possible for English-speaking South Africans to express their opinions through English-speaking leaders. I want to go further and say that it is largely due to the misconception of our constitutional position, that the English-language Press has played the harmful role which it has played and is still playing as far as co-operation is concerned. I do not want to enlarge on that to-day. We all know what role the English-language Press plays in many cases. There are instances where an Afrikaner Government does something in South Africa which is not approved of by the English-language Press and then they cannot find words sufficiently strong to express their disapproval, whereas if the British Government does something worse in Cyprus or in Kenya, they applaud it. Mr. Speaker, anything symbolic is so much stronger than reality. For example, when you open the Cape Times, you come face to face with the official coat of arms on the front page and on the page containing the leading article, not the coat of arms of south Africa, but that of Great Britain. That, Mr. Speaker, is symbolic to me of the important role which a large section of the English-language Press plays in South Africa and in a time of crisis it is only natural that they choose not the side of South Africa, but the side of Britain. We do not want enmity between ourselves and Great Britain, we desire a friendship, but as long as this state of affairs exists and as long as the Press plays that role, they will stand in the way of friendly relationship between South Africa and Britain, especially between the Afrikaners and English-speaking people in this country and the people of Great Britain.
I have said that the present situation and the future which we are facing will bring about a crisis in the English-speaking section as far as leadership is concerned. There is a spirit amongst the English-sneaking section in South Africa which is different from that which the hon. member for Natal (South Coast) tried to make us believe. When we discussed the Referendum Bill last year I referred to what the newspapers in Natal had written about the spirit amongst the English-speaking youth in Natal, namely that they were moving closer to the Afrikaans-speaking youth in South Africa. In view of this new set-up following upon the referendum, I want to quote what an English-speaking journalist from Durban wrote recently in regard to the spirit which is prevailing in Natal now that the referendum is over. He says this—
That is what the hon. member for South Coast is doing, making a gesture. This journalist goes on and refers to certain small sections—I believe they are not really United Party supporters—like those of Mr. Donald Shave and Mr. Brian Sharpe. He says this about them—
Then he goes on and says that there is a defect which has to be remedied—
Who wrote that?
I will tell the hon. member if he will only be patient—
This was written by Mr. Ivor Benson of Durban. I want to say that we need not believe everything that is written here, but as Opposition newspapers indicated earlier on, it is clear that everyone who voted against the republic during the referendum, does not adopt the same attitude as the hon. member for South Coast. That is why I say this side of the House has used this opportunity to co-operate with our English-speaking fellow citizens as far as possible. But this is a greater opportunity, however, for English-speaking South Africans to bring their true leaders to the fore, to give their younger generation an opportunity to find direction, direction which they need so badly and which will give them an opportunity to direct their patriotism in the right channels. That is a challenge. It demands a willingness, as I said earlier, and as previous speakers on this side have said, to make sacrifices and even to suffer disfavour on occasions. But it is a challenge which, if accepted, can contribute towards making South Africa a great country.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Stellenbosch (Mr. H. H. Smit) who has just sat down has not contributed anything fresh to this debate and I shall therefore not attempt to reply to him. I wish to refer, at the outset, to certain aspects of this Bill that need to be stressed before the second reading is agreed to.
Sir, I regard this Bill as one of the greatest calamities of our time. I am opposed to a republic in any shape or form, whether inside or outside the Commonwealth, and on behalf of the constituents whom I represent, and many thousands of other people who think as I do, I wish to say that we stand by the old traditions, we stand by the old flag under which we were born and we stand by our oath of allegiance to our Sovereign Lady, Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors according to law. I adhere to the views that were expressed by the late General Smuts in his re-statement of United Party policy, before his death. The late General Smuts said this—
I adhere to that guidance given to us by General Smuts in 1949.
Sir, I do not know how the new members of the Nationalist Party to-day sitting on the Nationalist benches could square it with their conscience to take the solemn affirmation of fealty to the Queen when Parliament opened on 29 January; or how the Prime Minister or his Ministers could stand by and see it done with full knowledge that it was, in fact, a hollow expression of loyalty. Not one of them, from the Prime Minister downwards, would hold the positions they hold to-day if Great Britain had not stood by us in the troubled years through which we have passed. We stand to-day amidst the wreck of all the institutions we have loved. The disappearance of our Queen from the Constitution will, no doubt, satisfy the emotional desires of the Nationalists, but for the majority of the people of South Africa it means that a great and illustrious era in our history has passed away. It brings with it a sense of poignancy that cannot be effaced. I say that this Bill sets a barrier between the Government and ourselves that none of the smooth promises made by the Prime Minister and his Ministers can ever remove. It is a Bill that will rend, not merely the substantial section of the people who voted against the referendum, but the vast majority of the people of South Africa.
The hon. the Prime Minister claims that the narrow majority of the European electorate at the referendum gives him a mandate of the people of South Africa to proceed with his republic. This matter has been referred to by other speakers, but I want to say that that majority does not represent the broad will of the people as visualized by the predecessors of the Prime Minister. It was a fictitious majority obtained by political shifts that have besmirched the name of South Africa; by excluding the Coloured voters from the Common Roll and by including a lot of immature youths who are not capable of forming their own judgment in a matter of such importance.
Order, order! The hon. member may not reflect on legislation passed by this hon. House.
Very well, Sir, I withdraw that. At best it means that the future of 14,000,000 people was decided by 850,000 voters who supported the Nationalist Party; people who are incapable of defending us against either internal or external aggression.
This republic will be dominated by a Government that has tainted all our laws with intolerant dogmatism, a Government that represents the ideals of the Nationalist Party without any regard to the feelings of the rest of the population. Neither the referendum nor this Bill will achieve anything except to weaken our links with Great Britain and our relationship with the rest of the world. We will be faced with the same intractable physical and social problems, the same racial difficulties and the same perils that have beset the Union as before. All the vexations that make for our internal instability and our external unpopularity will remain.
Apart from the question of the removal of the monarchy, there are two other issues of fundamental importance that have been ignored in this Bill. In a Constitution such as this there should be a provision against the arrest, except in time of war, of any citizen of whatever race, unless some lawful cause is expressed. And he should not be imprisoned without a trial. That should be the Charter of every self-respecting man or woman.
I wish the hon. the Minister of Justice would listen to what I am saying. The arrest and imprisonment of many innocent persons during the past 12 months, for long periods without being brought before the courts for a fair trial, was a blot upon the Government’s administration of justice that should not be tolerated any longer. I am afraid it is useless talking to the hon. the Minister of Justice although I am dealing with matters affecting his administration.
Under Section 27 of the Criminal Code a person so arrested is required to be brought before a judicial officer as soon as possible upon a specific charge. He may not be detained for more than 48 hours without a warrant for his detention. But this principle has been ignored by the Government, and I submit that a suitable safeguard in our Constitution should be inserted in Chapter 8 of this Bill.
My next point, Sir, is this: This Bill contains not one single concession to the non-Europeans, who are still to be denied the rights of full citizenship. We have been told that this Constitution is to be democratic. To the 10,000,000 Bantu of our 14,000,000 people, this so-called democratic system is nothing short of a dictatorship. Their last remaining independent representation in Parliament has been abolished, and this Bill provides no machinery whatsoever under which they can express their grievances with the protection of parliamentary privilege. The statements recently made by the Prime Minister have dispelled any confused illusions that we may have had that, as a result of the referendum, the Government would relax its harsh racial policy. The Bantu people will, in fact, under this republic, continue to be subject to extreme discriminatory laws without effective recourse to the Courts, and their freedom of movement, of property and of employment will still continue to be at the mercy of officials and stooges of the Government in power. I wonder how long this farce is going to be allowed to continue; this farce of denying to the non-Europeans their fundamental rights as citizens, and preventing them from expressing their views on matters affecting their future destiny? It is a policy that has already led us into the international wilderness, and if continued it will ultimately lead to the downfall of White South Africa.
The assurance by the Government that this republic will bring about greater unity between the two White sections of our people and that it will be possible to approach our colour problems in a more objective way, is one of the fallacies we constantly hear from the Government benches. In existing circumstances it is a phantasy that will never be realized. Unity is not a thing that can be forced on any country, it must come from within. It is a process that is achieved only by tolerance and common sense, and it can grow best within the great parliamentary democracy that has hitherto been our proud heritage within the unequalled bounds of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Above all it will depend upon the good faith and sense of justice, and the sincerity of purpose of the Government in office, and not upon the good faith of the government that we have in power at the present time—a government that has violated human rights ever since it came into office, and upon whose honesty of purpose we can place no reliance whatsoever.
Sir, Clause 115 that is designed to protect our language rights is not worth the paper it is written on. The Government knows quite well that no such entrenchment can bind a future Parliament, any more than the entrenchment of the Native franchise under the Representation of Natives Act of 1936 was binding upon this Government. And it will take a great deal more than this entrenchments to convince us that the Government is capable of putting national interests and not the interests of the Nationalist Party first.
Another matter to which I wish to refer— and this has already been referred to by other speakers—is the incorporation of the Protectorates of Bechuanaland and Swaziland and the Crown Colony of Basutoland. With the creation of this republic all hope of incorporating these Territories within the Union under this Government is gone for ever, and with it the Nationalist idea of establishing Bantustans based upon them. I had a great deal to do with the negotiations for the transfer of these Protectorates to the Union during General Hertzog’s régime, but let me say this, that in the eyes of the Protectorate Natives the Crown is the symbol of security and their one hope of freedom and a greater say in their own affairs. With South West Africa in the balance, what will this little, circumscribed republic of ours signify in the world? Absolutely nothing.
This Bill is the end of the glorious vision of a country built up by General Botha and General Smuts within the folds of the British Commonwealth of Nations under the Queen. It was great and respected by all the nations of the world. Mr. Speaker, I for one will not be guilty of selling the birthright of our children for Dr. Verwoerd’s mess of pottage, and for the last time, in the name of those I represent, in the name of all the things we have loved, I solemnly protest against the dismemberment of our beloved country.
Mr. Speaker, we know the hon. member who has just sat down as the boycotter of everything which is no longer associated with the Queen, and you will pardon me if I boycott him now and do not even refer to him. The only inference that one can draw from the whole of their debate, particularly from the speeches of the United Party Opposition, is that the Opposition hitherto to the acceptance of the principle of this Bill is not genuine, and where it has not been insincere it has been totally irresponsible. I do not propose to go into everything, but I would like to refer to a few of the statements.
The hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw) to-day challenged us to prove to him that his Leader has ever accepted the referendum result as a mandate. I do not propose to produce that evidence for him, but I would like to tell him something else about which I would like to ask him a question. There was a report in the Cape Times of 2 February 1960, in which the following passage appeared—
It then went on to quote what had been said by Mr. Marais Steyn, the hon. member for Yeoville—
Then it went on to say—
The hon. member for Yeoville said that the policy of their party in regard to the referendum—and from that I must infer also their policy in regard to acceptance of the outcome of the referendum—was the same as that of Dr. Malan and Advocate Strydom, and the same as that provided for in the constitution of the National Party. We have had quoted to us here what Dr. Malan personally interpreted as the requisite majority for a republic. He said any majority, no matter how small. Now let me ask the hon. member for Durban (Point) this: If that is the statement which the hon. member for Yeoville made on 2 February, was there ever any repudiation of the hon. member for Yeoville by the Leader of the Opposition? If not, then one can imagine how many supporters of the United Party must have gained the impression from this report that the United Party would accept the result of the referendum in the same way as the National Party.
Reply to my challenge.
I think it is the hon. member who owes a reply. I have said that thus far the Opposition has been rather insincere and irresponsible. I want to deal now with the question of membership of the Commonwealth. We have repeatedly endeavoured to separate this issue from the question of the republic in order to keep the issue a clear-cut one. But throughout the referendum campaign there were, as we had here again, deliberate attempts to confuse the establishment of a republic with the Commonwealth question. So far as our approach is concerned, there are two aspects. The hon. the Prime Minister has made it very clear that this is a concession on the part of the Afrikaners, namely, this acceptance of membership of the Commonwealth. But it is not a concession that was made simply for the sake of making a concession. It is a concession in the best interests of South Africa, because we believe that by making this concession we shall obtain greater national unity, and we want greater national unity in the interests of South Africa. I am very glad that the hon. member for Parktown (Mr. Cope) related the history of the discussion between him and the late Dr. Otto du Plessis, which confirms that the Afrikaners accept Commonwealth membership as a concession in the interests of South Africa.
But, Mr. Speaker, I have said that this is not a concession to the English-speaking section just for the sake of making a concession. There is a principle involved in this concession —and we have frequently said this, namely, that continued membership of the Commonwealth will depend on South Africa’s interests. It has been stated very clearly that at this stage we consider it to be in the interests of South Africa, because of the resultant national unity we can bring about, to retain our membership of the Commonwealth. But our standpoint on this matter is now being used by the United Party to suggest that as soon as it suits us we will leave the Commonwealth. This is being done in order to sow suspicion among the English-speaking people against the Government and the National Party. Let me tell you that we have a very clear yardstick by which to determine our continued membership of the Commonwealth. The party on the other side has never told us what their yardstick will be in deciding whether we must remain a member. This attitude that we adopt, that we will remain a member as long as that is in the interests of South Africa, is a standpoint which derives directly from our acceptance of the principle of “South Africa first”. Those who also profess the principle of “South Africa first” must also take their stand. And is it asking too much that they should also declare publicly: “We accept membership of the Commonwealth for the good of South Africa because we also put South Africa first? They do not want to declare that publicly although I am convinced that some of the considerations which motivate them in wishing to remain in the Commonwealth derive from the same source as ours. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition was in Britain recently and here I have a report from the Transvaler of 17 November, as to what he said over the British television. Here are the reasons he gave: He says South Africa is too small to be isolated. He spoke of the tremendous advantages which South Africa derives from Commonwealth membership. Surely those two considerations, namely, that South Africa is too small and that we gain great advantages from the Commonwealth, clearly mean one thing only, and that is that at the present time it is in the interests of South Africa to be a member of the Commonwealth. He says that South Africa is too small to be isolated. He says it is to the advantage of South Africa to be a member of the Commonwealth because we derive great advantages from it. The whole thing can be summed up in one sentence therefore: As things stand at the moment, it is to the advantage of South Africa to remain a member of the Commonwealth. If the hon. the Leader of the Opposition adopts that attitude, and if he had adopted it at the referendum, he would have created an additional basis for trust between the English-and Afrikaans-speaking sections, and in doing so he would really have promoted national unity. Let me just say that in saying that South Africa’s interests will determine whether we stay in the Commonwealth, we do not say, as the hon. the Leader of the Opposition did, that South Africa is too small and too poor. That is what it amounts to; he represents South Africa as being in need of help and wanting to stay in the Commonwealth for that reason. That we do not do.
Mr. Speaker, there is another aspect of our membership of the Commonwealth with which I would like to deal. Although the Opposition is not motivated by any principle in wanting to remain a member, they have made great play of the possibility that we may well be kicked out, that we may not be able to retain our membership. It is said that there is a possibility that South Africa will lose her membership if she becomes a republic, that it is particularly dangerous at this time from the point of view of continued membership to establish a republic, and that for that reason the hon. the Prime Minister must give a guarantee now, before the principle of this Bill is accepted, that we will remain in the Commonwealth.
Our membership is not in jeopardy because we desire to become a republic, or because we desire to change our form of government, but because of the attempts of others to change the conventions of the Commonwealth and to end our membership because of our changed form of government. After all. it is a convention of the Commonwealth that all members have the right to change their form of government, and it is precisely on those grounds that South Africa has the right to change her form of government and still to claim continued membership. The same thing happened when Ghana and India became republics. It is clear that there are two factors which govern our continued membership. Firstly there is this Commonwealth convention as it has developed and there is this attempt, in spite of this convention, to terminate our membership as a sort of a punitive measure, but the Opposition refuses to approach it in that light. It is clear from the nature of the Commonwealth’s whole evolution that it has developed in such a way that former colonies have been permitted to develop politically to independence without having had to leave the Commonwealth. That is the basis upon which the Commonwealth exists. This development from monarchies to republics is a movement which fits into that evolution, and it is this development that has brought the Commonwealth to its present position. Let us assume that Commonwealth membership means that member countries have a real discretion in granting or withholding approval of membership on the basis of a change in the form of government, particularly a change which results in greater independence, then surely the Commonwealth becomes nothing but a colonial authority which determines the political development of member countries, and then independence assumes a totally different meaning. If continued membership were refused because of the continuation of an internal policy, then we would be in the same position as the Federation is in relation to Britain. We would then be back in a colonial era but only in a new context.
This plea by the United Party concerning our relations with the Commonwealth is only a convenient excuse to delay the establishment of the republic. It is only an excuse offered by the Opposition, in its own interests, to perpetuate the breach between the English-and Afrikaans-speaking sections. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition last year, when the hon. the Prime Minister asked him whether he was in favour of a republic within the Commonwealth, explicitly said “no”. That is the essence of the opposition by the United Party, that although we want to remain within the Commonwealth, they refuse to accept this mandate given by the people to the Government, because they do not want a republic under any circumstances. And now the old excuse that we always get from them is dug up again, that this is not the right time to become a republic, the same excuse that they also had when we introduced decimalization recently. I believe that if there ever was a time when it was necessary for South Africa to become a republic in order to bring the two sections of the population together, that time is now. We must realize that the attack which is being made upon South Africa by the Afro-Asian bloc and the communist world is directed against our nationhood. That attack is being made upon our nationhood because if they can destroy our nationhood they will also destroy us as individuals. If ever there was a time for us to employ every means at our disposal to strengthen our nationhood that time is now. I would just like to refer to what the hon. member for South Coast said last year when he dealt in a speech which he made in Cape Town with the speech made by Mr. Macmillan. He said—
He realized that last year, and one simply cannot understand how he can adopt the attitude which he is adopting now. The very first time he had to face the test he failed. He has failed now that South Africa’s Commonwealth membership is threatened.
No, I think that this is the best time to bring about a republic, particularly in the light of developments in Africa, where the demand is being made that the White communities must go back to Europe and leave Africa to the Black man. And this demand is complied with everywhere. Viewed in that light the establishment of a republic at this time acquires a meaning which raises it far above a political step. It acquires a symbolic significance because this White nation now says “We accept the challenge of Africa: we are prepared to sever every constitutional link with Europe at this very time when the demand is being made that we should return to Europe”. In doing so I think we are driving home something which is of great significance in the light of the flood of criticism against South Africa. The hon. member for Kempton Park said the other day that we must show the world that we are not prepared to submit to the demands which are being made upon us. I believe that the establishment of a republic is the best answer to bring it home to the world that we are not going to yield. I believe that this step is one which affords the best proof to the world that we as Whites are here to stay, to stay as a nation in faith and dedication.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member who has just sat down will forgive me if I do not follow the line he has taken. All members of this House were impressed with the statement which you read out prior to calling upon the hon. the Prime Minister to introduce this Bill. You indicated, Sir, that the legislation now before the House was perhaps the most important piece of legislation that this Parliament has ever dealt with. I agree with that statement, except that I think that it should rank pari passu in importance with the Act of Union which was also discussed in this House. I would like, observing your ruling, to confine myself to the question of the Coloured people.
I am deeply distressed that hon. members who spoke on that side of the House so carefully refrained from dealing with the question of the Coloured people. I have come to the conclusion that is a subject which they are afraid to tackle, but I am not afraid to speak; for the people I have the honour to represent in this House. I want to put before the Government the case for the Coloured people and I want to say what a tragic day this is for the Coloureds, because this legislation excludes them from full citizenship. This Bill may be regarded as the Magna Charta of the Afrikaner nation, and I believe it is the culmination of a long and bitter fight for the ideal they have in their hearts. As a true South African I want to say that I do not in any way attack or even criticize the fight they had for this ideal, but unfortunately they have made it a lone fight. They refused to take with them the other people who make up the South African nation. I now speak particularly of the Coloureds. The Minister of Education threw out a challenge to this side of the House and quoted from Sir Walter Scott, the quotation being: “Breathes there a man with a soul so dead who never to himself hath said, This is my own native land.” I am sorry the Minister is not here, because I want to tell him that the Coloured man says this: Here breathes a man with a soul, a South African soul, who says: “This is my own native land he has the right to say that, yet he is denied the right of citizenship. The hon. member for Peninsula (Mr. Bloomberg) pointed out quite correctly that the Coloured man has no other country. This is his own native land and by what right, I ask, do the White people of South Africa divide the South African nation into different categories by reason of the colour of people’s skins? What right have we to say that because you have a Coloured skin you are a second-class citizen? Where in any law does it say that you can divide citizenship into first-class and second-class citizenship? I repeat that whilst this is a great beginning for the Afrikaner, it is a tragic beginning to the future life and the rights of the Coloured man. The Prime Minister, in his great desire to preserve White civilization, does not realize that by the attitude he has adopted, by excluding the Coloured people in this Bill of Rights, he will in fact destroy White civilization. The very thing which he wants to preserve and protect will be destroyed because of his obstinate refusal to admit the political rights of the rest of the citizens of this country. What does the Prime Minister mean by White civilization? In the minds of many South Africans the Nationalist concept of White civilization is the narrow concept of White domination, but that is not what White civilization means. White civilization is something much more important and far wider, and it does not belong to the White man only. It belongs to all people; if White civilization is going to be used and regarded in this narrow concept of the Nationalists, it will rot within their hands and be destroyed. I make an appeal to the hon. the Prime Minister: Take with you, in your desire to build up a great South Africa, the people who belong to this country, the Coloureds, and you will take with you loyal people who have stood by you in all your tribulations. Because the Coloured people are a loyal people. They showed their loyalty in the Great Trek. The hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) referred to the part played by the English-speaking people, who fought together with the Voortrekkers. Nobody has referred to the part played by the Coloureds in the Great Trek, and to the fact that many of them died in the fight for this great South Africa. I would like to ask the hon. the Minister of Defence what does he expect these Coloured people to do in time of war or of internal strife. Does he expect them to fight for a republic in regard to which they have no say and no political rights?
I expect them to do their duty towards their country.
Then why do you not do your duty towards them, as a political party, by including in this Magna Charta their political rights? Why do you exclude them? How can you expect a loyal group of 1,500,000 people to fight and die for their country, for the Republic of South Africa, when you say to them: You shall have no political say in the Republic?
What are you doing here then?
[Interjections.] I would like to tell the people who talk so glibly of Israel who produced the greatest Man who ever walked on this earth, a Man whom they pray to. I asked the Minister of Defence, as a fair man: Do you expect the Coloured man to fight and die for the republic while you refuse as a party to entrench their political rights in this new Constitution?
But you are here to represent them.
There is not the slightest doubt that as a long-term policy the Coloured man was removed from the Common Roll because the Nationalists feared that when this referendum, which they have had in mind for many years, were to take place and the Coloureds could vote, the Coloureds would defeat them, and so they removed them from the Common Roll and achieved their object; and having gained their object through the referendum and the republic, will hon. members not now do the honourable thing and put them back on the Common Roll? They removed them by means of the Senate Act which the Minister of the Interior admitted was a vicious Act, passed for a special purpose, and being now on the point of achieving their republic, is it not the duty of the Government to say: We will restore to the Common Roll the Coloureds because we do not fear the many more? Why do not the Cape Members of Parliament, who are still imbued with that old liberal spirit, say: We have been unfair to the Coloured man, but we need not fear him any longer, and we will again restore him to the Common Roll? The loyalty of the Coloured man to South Africa is well known, and I charge the Government with exploiting the loyalty of the Coloured man. The Minister of Defence is exploiting their loyalty because he told me that he expected them to do their duty, but he deprives them of their rights. The Coloured people want to remain in the Commonwealth. They will not do anything to prejudice the chances of South Africa remaining in the Commonwealth, and I hope that when the Prime Minister is batting for South Africa it will not be a rainy day. From the Coloured man’s point of view, I hope it will be a batsman’s wicket, to enable South Africa to remain within the Commonwealth, because the Coloureds want to remain within the Commonwealth. Unfortunately we have seen that since 1948 the Coloured man in respect of his rights has been brought down the rungs of the ladder All his previous rights in many spheres have been denied him. When will this Government realize that it is absolutely necessary for the future of South Africa and for the preservation of White civilization, and for the unity which is so much desired by the Prime Minister, to have the Coloured man with us as our ally? I repeat that you will never have political peace in this country until you give back to the Coloured man those political rights which you took away. You will never have national unity until you give back his political rights to the Coloured. You will never have peace and unity until you remedy that and make them first-class citizens of the country again. I ask the Prime Minister by what right can we deny first-class citizenship to the Coloureds? I have deliberately not referred to the Bantu. I do not know sufficient about them, or their aspirations, to deal with them, but as a member of this House, representing Coloured people, I would like to deal only with the Coloureds. But I have no doubt that other hon. members will deal with that aspect. There is no moral or legal case against the Coloureds except the laws which have been passed by the Nationalist Party.
Only a section of the Coloured people had the vote, not all of them.
Not only would it have been the honourable thing to do to re-introduce in this Bill the rights, however limited they were, that existed under the Act of Union, but I believe it would be the honourable thing to do to extend the Coloured franchise to the other provinces also.
Dealing with the question of the convention, I have not gone into that too deeply, but I do believe that it would be true to say to the Government supporters that the whole question of the Coloured people and their political future should be reconsidered in the light of events. You cannot expect to have them as loyal people in South Africa if you do not give them rights. One Coloured man said to me: We have asked and pleaded; please do not treat us like outcasts, but give back the rights you have taken away. Another man said: We are tired of asking and begging; the time will come when we will demand our rights. God help South Africa when the Coloured man will demand that, because economically he can ruin us. It is to be said to the everlasting praise of the Coloured people that up to this stage he has refused to cripple us economically, but I warn the Government that it is playing with fire. I am not an agitator. I am not stirring up the Coloureds, but believe me, I am getting good information which I know to be correct. The Coloureds will not forever be silent, knowing that they are entitled to their rights, and the day will come when they will demand their rights. I repeat that, whilst the Cape members will appreciate immediately what I am saying, the members from the other provinces, not knowing the Coloured man, and looking upon him like a Native, will say: It does not matter, we will just shoot them as we did at Sharpeville. But that will not help. On this great occasion, when we are dealing with a measure which will probably forever settle the constitutional position in this country, we are making a vital mistake by denying rights to the very people whom we want with us.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
Mr. Speaker, before I proceed, may I say that I misunderstood the interjections about Israel from the hon. member for Rustenburg (Mr. Bootha) and I beg to apologize to him, because my answer was not the right one and I trust he will accept my apology.
Before business was suspended, I dealt with the political rights of the Coloured people. I would like to ask the hon. the Prime Minister that even if, in his opinion, there is a case for keeping the Coloured people out of this Parliament, what case can there possibly be for keeping them out of the Provincial Council of the Cape? For many years, Sir, the Coloured people were entitled to be elected to the Cape Provincial Council and to serve their people. In many years only a few of them were actually sent to the Provincial Council.
Order! That is not under discussion at the moment.
Mr. Speaker, the point I want to make is that there should be entrenched in this constitution …
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill now.
Sir, I would like your guidance. I am trying to impress upon the hon. the Prime Minister that it is essential for future harmony and peace in South Africa, for peace amongst all the people …
Order! The hon. member will have another opportunity to raise that. He must come back to the Bill.
I am the first victim of your new ruling …
Order! That is not in the Bill either!
Mr. Speaker, did the hon. the Prime Minister say that the republic will be a democratic republic? I want to ask him whether it is democratic to exclude from the proposed republic, to exclude from this constitution, the rights of the Coloured people?
Order! The hon. member must obey my ruling. He must come back to the Bill.
With respect, Sir, Clause 70 deals with Provincial Councils and the qualifications for membership. May I draw your attention to that, Sir? Clause 70 reads—
And then on page 32 it says—
The point I want to make is that the Coloured people should also have the right to vote under this Act and for that reason they should be able to become members of the Provincial Council.
Order! The hon. member has dealt with that point previously.
With respect, Sir, I have never mentioned the Provincial Council before.
Yes, but the hon. member is now raising the question of the franchise of the Coloured people.
I am afraid then, Sir, having regard to your ruling that I will have to conclude by once more stressing the fact that the attitude of the Government in failing to restore to the Coloured people the right which they had under the Act of Union, upon which this Bill is based, is a denial of the rights of Union citizens. I would like to tell the hon. the Prime Minister that while the Coloured people will accept gratefully any material benefits which they do receive, you cannot exclude them politically, and you cannot humiliate them politically …
Order! The hon. member must now come back to the provisions of the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, we now know the day and we now know the hour. Despite all the fulminations of the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell), and despite the delaying tactics of the Opposition, a republic will be proclaimed in South Africa on 31 May 1961. Clause 3 (1) reads as follows—
Mr. Speaker, “republic”: The golden word, the most beautiful word in our political vocabulary! A word which arouses mixed feelings in our hearts; a word which symbolizes all our love and our sorrow, all our sufferings, struggles and triumphs. It is the symbol of our national freedom; the symbol of our lost freedom, but also the symbol of our freedom regained, of our resurrection; the symbol of our greatest national ideal. Mr. Speaker, this Bill, this constitution will give us a republic, the republic which will satisfy the Afrikaners’ most cherished and most deeply rooted sentiment. I do not want to go into that aspect any further. I do not want to enlarge on this matter as such, but I want to say something about the accusations which have been made by our opponents, by people who are always trying to belittle the Afrikaner people by claiming that they allow themselves to be led by their sentiments alone and by then representing sentiment as though it was something of the devil.
Order! That argument has already been used.
The argument in connection with this matter which, in my opinion, has not yet been used in this House is that sentiment is not something of the devil. The psychologist says that sentiment is the strongest driving force in the life of an individual and a people; that sentiment is a complex of emotions which have developed around a certain object. Thus, Mr. Speaker, love for what is one's own, for one’s family, is a sentiment. Love of one's language is a sentiment; love of one’s past is a sentiment: love of one's fatherland (or patriotism) is a sentiment; love of one’s nation (or nationalism) is a sentiment—sentiment is the most powerful driving force in the life of a nation. And in the same way we acknowledge frankly and honestly that the republic represents a sentiment, but we say that the monarchy is also a matter of sentiment. The difference is this: While our republican sentiment is a natural indigenous sentiment, the monarchy is one which has been forced upon us from outside by violence.
In the second place I want to make this submission: The republic will give shape to the Afrikaners’ historic way of thinking. Wherever this new nation, the Afrikaner people, have established a state, the form of government which they have adopted has been that of a republic. I do not want to expand on that matter, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member for Randfontein (Dr. Mulder) has already referred to it; I just want to refer in passing to the republics of Swellendam and Graaff-Reinet, the republic of Natalia, the republic of the Orange Free State and the South African Republic—the Transvaal republic. I say that the republic will give shape to the Afrikaners’ historic way of thinking.
I now come to another submission in connection with the constitution of the republic and what it will give us. The republic also represents the fulfilment, the consummation and the completion of South Africa’s constitutional development.
I have already said that.
Although the Afrikaner republics were destroyed by armed force, the ideal of a republic has never died in the heart of the Afrikaner.
Order! That has already been said.
Mr. Speaker, but I do not think that this point has been made before, namely that those who are opposing the establishment of a republic in South Africa are opposing a step which is essential to complete an historical process of evolution; they are opposing the irresistible forces which our history has generated. They have been fighting a lost cause from the very beginning and everyone who understands the message of history knows that that is so.
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Very well, Mr. Speaker, I come back to Clause 3 (1). This clause wants to give South Africa a republic. I just want to say that once this is done, once this House accepts the republic, it will represent the settlement of a debt of honour to our ancestors. Mr. Speaker, our forefathers paid a terrible price to retain their republics, but nevertheless they lost those republics. We, their descendants, if we wish to honour their memory, will respect their life’s ideal; the ideal for which they sacrificed everything. We shall not rest until the republic is restored in South Africa.
Mr. Speaker, I once again return to Clause 3 (1). It gives us a new Constitution. I just want to say this—and this has already been emphasized in this House—that a republic will bring about national unity in South Africa.
Order! It is not necessary to repeat that.
But I want to refer to the way in which that national unity will come, as I see it, and as I view the position. I do not want to enlarge on the other points which have been discussed such as the unifying and binding force of the President; nor do I want to take any further the arguments relating to the monarchy and the dual loyalty which it has created in South Africa and which will now disappear in the republic—but another point which I want to discuss is this.
My heart bleeds for you.
Mr. Speaker, the republic which is to be established in South Africa under this Constitution will breathe the spirit of South Africa; this spirit of South Africa first; South Africa alone; South Africa our one and only fatherland. And just as this spirit has transformed us, who were first Dutchmen and Germans and Frenchmen in South Africa into sons and daughters of South Africa, so will this republic also transform our English-speaking fellow countrymen in South Africa into sons and daughters of South Africa.
I want to conclude by saying that when that day comes, when the republic is proclaimed in South Africa, all the forces which are forming our history will come into play here in South Africa—all the dynamics of history will be set in motion. On 31 May 1961, we shall think back to another 31 May: 31 May of 1902, and then we shall remember that the Afrikaner has arisen out of his humiliation, we shall remember that we have paid our debt of honour to our forefathers …
Is that a spirit of unity?
We shall remember, Mr. Speaker, that we have been given back everything we have lost and more, that in the place of the two Afrikaner republics which we lost, we have been given one great South African republic which will be a republic for the Afrikaans-speaking people as well as the English-speaking people.
I want to stress the importance of this debate, Sir, particularly the earlier important ruling which you gave right at the outset and the number of speeches which we have had from the front benches of the Government Party.
We are dealing with a piece of legislation which is not ordinary legislation. It is something fundamental to South Africa, to the people of this country, to this Parliament. We are amending an Act which was agreed and subscribed to by the representatives of the people of South Africa some 50 years ago.
Mr. Speaker, this Bill before us to-night seeks to do two things. Two major and separate things are being placed before the House on this occasion. The first one is to change the South Africa Act to incorporate a republican system of government in the place of the monarchial system of government which we have enjoyed up to this stage. Secondly, Mr. Speaker, we are also being asked to consider either amendments or confirmation of the basic laws of South Africa—“die Grondwet”—these laws within whose framework there can be oppositions, within which there can be governments, within which there can be changes, within which our nation can develop and within which our other laws can be made. These laws create the fundamental framework within which these very necessary things take place.
When we consider this piece of legislation in the light of the two major issues, we should realize it as a very special piece of legislation. Now, Sir, I want to deal with the first aspect of the Bill, the question of changing South Africa’s form of government from the monarchial to the republican form of government. I think it is quite evident from the outbursts which we have had in this House, from the reaction of people outside this House, that a change from the monarchial to the republican form of government is an issue which is charged with emotion. So, Mr. Speaker, when the Government takes this step in this highly emotional field it behoves the Government to see that the time and the circumstances and the manner in which this step is taken, are right and fitting.
Secondly, this change from the Crown to the President is fundamental to this Parliament because we are changing the character and composition of Parliament itself. We are changing the Third House of the Parliament of the Union. But not only that, Sir, we are changing the head of our State. Whether it be a nominal head, whether it be a constitutional monarch, the Crown, the monarch, is to-day in South Africa the visible instrument through which we, the people of South Africa, are all united in a common allegiance to the South African state. Mr. Speaker, the oath of affirmation which is taken by members in this House, the oath of affirmation which is taken by members of provincial councils and Ministers of the Crown is evidence of this. So when we change the head of the State, we change the instrument through which South Africans are joined in common allegiance.
Order! I do not wish to interrupt the hon. member but if he had been in this House during the whole of the discussions, he would have known that all those points had already been mentioned.
I am hoping to put a new aspect. Sir. I submit that we are meeting here to-day not merely as an ordinary Parliament but as a substitute for a national convention. We are dealing here with a substitute for a national convention and under the circumstances, Mr. Speaker, while you are quite correct to interpret the Rules of the House strictly, where there are members who have a special point to put, I hope a tolerant attitude will be taken towards them.
I say, Sir, one has to ask oneself that while the Government believes that it is the crowning of the ideal of the Afrikaans section of the people of South Africa to establish a republic here, to change over from a monarch to a president, whether in fact one would like to see a republic.
Order! Those issues have all been raised. The hon member must come back to the provisions of the Bill. I allowed hon. members a great deal of latitude for three and a half days but I am not prepared to do so any longer.
Mr. Speaker, if I am not allowed to raise the question of national unity for fear of raising arguments which have been used before, I will leave this particular point. I however want to issue this one word of warning to the Government. If they really want this republic of theirs to be a republic to which all the people of South Africa can pay willing allegiance, they should see that it is not brought about in a sectional spirit and that the creation of this republic is not associated with only one section of the community but with all sections of the community.
As a result of your ruling, Mr. Speaker, I feel that I should leave the question of national unity and deal with the other important aspect which is contained in this piece of legislation. This aspect is not the question of crowns or presidents or monarchies or republics, but the question of the basic set of laws, by which we are going to be governed in South Africa, this set of laws which deals with the executive, with the legislature, with the judiciary and provincial councils. I want to deal with those laws and see whether we should not consider many more amendments to the South Africa Act than the few amendments which are contained in this Bill before us. If a Constitution is to be an enduring piece of legislation, if any entrenchments contained in this Constitution are to have any value, then I want to remind the House of the words of the hon. the Minister of Lands. He said that entrenchments meant nothing unless they were subscribed to by the people of the country; that the Constitution means nothing unless it flows from the will of the people of the country. I think it is necessary to see whether these basic laws which we are considering to-day comply with certain criteria which alone can produce the stability of the State and the happiness of the people.
First of all, Mr. Speaker, I think these basic laws to which both Opposition and Government should subscribe should rest on widespread support—not the support which flows from merely endorsing suggestions put forward by the Government, but the kind of support which flows from participation of all people in the creation of the laws. Very often one finds laws which are just, which are fair and reasonable, but because certain sections of the community had no part in the making of those laws, inevitably these people look upon these laws as having been forced upon them. So, Mr. Speaker, it is important that our Constitution should be based on general acceptance and reflect the wishes of the people. Then too, any Constitution whether it is our Constitution or that of any other country should reflect the character of the nation, its ideals and its ambitions. It should reflect its unity but it should also reflect its diversity.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, any Constitution, any set of basic laws, must provide the kind of framework within which political development can take place, within which there can be governments and oppositions, within which there can be differences of opinion but to which all people of South Africa must subscribe. So, Mr. Speaker, this framework within which South Africa must develop in the future must be sufficiently rigid on the one hand to defend itself against manipulation and abuse—to defend the institutions which it creates and to defend the individuals who live under the constitution against the abuse of power by political parties or dominant groups. While it must be sufficiently rigid on the one hand to give these protections to all South Africans, it must on the other hand be sufficiently flexible to take into account the changing needs of our evolving society.
I would like to analyse and discuss briefly the existing South African Constitution, the existing South Africa Act which we are now called upon to amend, and to test it against these three criteria; widespread support, reflection of the character of the South African nation and the type of framework which can withstand the pressures of time. Mr. Speaker, the original South Africa Act which we are called upon to amend here to-day, was based on widespread support. It had the support of all colonial parliaments at the time of Union. It had the support of a National Convention in which all the registered voters throughout South Africa were represented. In the old Cape Colony of those days all Africans, all Coloureds and all Indians had full political rights on the basis of a Common Roll and on the basis of a qualified franchise. For the sake of the hon. member for Rosettenville (Dr. Fisher) who appears to be ignorant of this fact I want to tell him that in the Cape Province in 1909 all Indians, Coloureds and Africans had equal political rights with the White people on the basis of a qualified franchise and that they could take part in the government of their country directly by becoming members of the Legislature of the old Cape Colony. Mr. Speaker, when the delegates went from the old Cape Parliament to the National Convention, they did not represent one section of the community only. I agree that they went with White skins but they also represented the non-White electorate.
Order! The hon. member must come to the point.
Mr. Speaker, I am trying to deal with the three criteria mentioned earlier in order to judge whether the present South African Constitution should be changed or not. I do not want to deal with the issue of the presidency or the monarchy because according to your ruling that has been dealt with at considerable length.
I do not think anyone in this House will suggest that the South Africa Act was a perfect piece of legislation, but that Act has withstood the test of time and the strains of national development over 50 years. It did so because it was conceived in a spirit of trust of goodwill and confidence. I had occasion the other day to read in the library the speeches which were made in the old Cape Parliament in the years 1908 and 1909.
Order! I hope the hon. member is not going to read them.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I would like your ruling on this point. We are here to-night sitting as a National Convention. We are sitting here tonight, Sir, in order to discuss the new Constitution. I hope you are going to allow hon. members on this side to discuss to the fullest extent and to their fullest ability, all the aspects of the future Constitution of this country.
The hon. member for Pinelands (Mr. Eglin) may proceed.
I am trying to make an objective appraisal of the South African Constitution and the way it evolved over the past 50 years. I do not want to labour the point, but I think it is generally accepted that the old South African Constitution rested on the will of the people and was conceived in a spirit of trust.
Mr. Speaker, the second criterion against which we should test it is whether the South Africa Act truly reflected the character of the South African people. I think that while it was a bold attempt at that stage to try to reflect the character of the people, it failed in many ways. It failed to reflect the tremendous diversity of the South African people, the strong feelings of difference which were held in various parts of the country. It certainly ignored the multi-racial character of the South African people, even as it existed way back in those years. And so, Sir, one of the weaknesses of the South Africa Act as we have it to-day, and as the Prime Minister wants it projected into the future, is that it does not reflect either the tremendous diversity of opinion in South Africa nor does it reflect the multi-racial character of the South African people. Finally, I said that I believed that any sound constitution should give a firm framework within which there could be political development. It should be sufficiently rigid to defend itself against onslaughts, yet sufficiently flexible to take into account the needs of an evolving society. Mr. Speaker, the wise old men of a bygone era placed a lot of trust in the people of South Africa. They did away with a number of legal entrenchments, because of the spirit of trust which prevailed. I think that at that time they had every right to expect trust to be the keynote of the South African society. Nevertheless I think, Mr. Speaker, that the lessons during the last 12 years have shown us that in the absence of a rigid Constitution, in the absence of some special protection, no one South African at this stage can stand up against the domination by the party which at any particular time commands a majority in Parliament. So one finds that during the past 12 years, the majority group in Parliament has used its undoubted political power in this House to deny to other groups certain rights and certain liberties …
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
Sir, dealing with the South Africa Act as it exists, I am pointing out that while it provided a framework of sorts, the framework which the founders of the South African nation evolved was not adequate to protect Parliament, to protect the courts, to protect the individual or to protect the minority groups against the domination of majority group in Parliament. So having learned the lessons of the past we have to examine the old South Africa Act and see whether we should project it into the future. I want to take the Bill which is before us now and come back to the case which was put by the hon. member for Queenstown (Dr. Steytler) as to why we should go further in amending the South Africa Act than is contemplated by the Prime Minister. I think that if this Bill, which is going to form the rigid framework of our political development for the next few generations at least, is to gain widespread support, there should be greater evidence on the part of the Government to respect the opinions and the views of minority groups in South Africa. Sir, we need something more than lip-service to national unity to persuade the people that at long last the present Government really desires national unity. Mr. Speaker, may I as a young member of this House just mention one small point to the hon. the Prime Minister? The hon. the Prime Minister made a most eloquent plea for national unity when introducing this Bill. But unfortunately everything what the Prime Minister said, every appeal for national unity that he made when introducing this Bill was negatived by what he said a week before. On that occasion he said to the hon. the Leader of the Opposition: “You underestimate the political unity of the Afrikaner people; you underestimate the political unity as personified in the Nationalist Party”. Mr. Speaker, as long as you have people who talk about national unity but think in terms of political unity, just so long you will not get a broad basis of acceptance for any constitution. That is why I want to support the plea that has been made in this debate by the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) for the broadening of the basis by discussion and consultation before we reach final agreement with regard to this basic constitution for South Africa. Mention has been made of a national convention. I want to say that members in this corner of the House are delighted to see that the idea of a national convention is gaining ground amongst the members of this House. We believe, as had been made clear by the hon. member for Queenstown two days after the referendum, that there should be a national convention where these issues could be thrashed out.
Order! I appeal to the hon. member to abide by my ruling and to come back to the Bill. Otherwise I shall have to ask him to resume his seat.
Sir, the importance of this Bill, I submit, is not just its wording, but the manner in which it is to be dealt with by this House. I understand that the hon. the Prime Minister has intimated to the House that this Bill will be referred to a Select Committee. I want to suggest to the Prime Minister that he does not refer it to a Select Committee but to a national convention. I suggest that he should accept the suggestion put forward by the hon. member for Constantia, and by my Leader some months ago, that such a national convention should be called, representative of all the qualified people in South Africa. You cannot have a national convention in a multiracial country which is uni-racial in its composition.
Secondly, I want to ask whether this Bill truly reflects the character of the South African people. Mr. Speaker, how can we who live in a country in which there are 12,000,000 non-Whites, and 3,000,000 people who are White accept as the constitution of our country a document which makes no provision for the participation in the Government of this country of people who do not have White skins? No, Mr. Speaker, surely this legislation does not reflect the character of the South African nation as it exists to-day, and just as the failure of the original South Africa Act to reflect the character of the South African nation, has been the cause of its undoing over the years, so I am afraid that if we pass the Bill as it has been put before us, without recognizing the multi-racial character of the people of South Africa, this is going to be one of the weaknesses which will eventually lead to the undoing of our constitution.
But, finally, I want to deal with what I think is the third and most important aspect in regard to this matter, and that is whether this Bill does provide a framework within which development can take place in a multi-racial country. Now other than the language entrenchment, which the hon. member for Potchefstroom (Dr. J. H. Steyn) said meant nothing in law, because indeed it was a symbolic entrenchment—and I accept that the language entrenchment is a symbolic entrenchment, although I believe it is entrenched in the hearts of South Africans whether they are English-or Afrikaans-speaking—there are no entrenchments left. I believe that we need something more than this. The first thing that we should try to incorporate in this constitution is the entrenchments of the constitution itself. This would ensure that this constitution, once it has been accepted by the people of South Africa would be put beyond party political manipulation and that the people of South Africa could feel secure within that constitution, in the knowledge that the constitution agreed upon was something that could not be altered by a chance parliamentary majority. So my first plea is that this Bill should be amended in such a way that it will place the constitution above party political manipulation. Secondly, in supporting not only the amendment moved by the hon. member for Queenstown, but in asking the hon. the Prime Minister to give a broader basis for the acceptance of this Bill, I would ask him to reconsider his attitude towards incorporating in our constitution something which would tell individuals that their basic rights, their basic freedoms were inalienable and did not depend upon the whim of a Prime Minister, did not depend upon the colour of the man who happens to be in office at any time.
Now it has been said that Bills of Rights are not effective. I think there are few people, other than those who want to play party politics, who will turn up their noses to Bills of Rights. There are very few countries in the world who do not have rigid entrenchments protecting the rights …
Order! The hon. member must come back to the Bill.
On a point of order, a Bill of Rights is mentioned in the amendment of the Leader of the Progressive Party, and I suggest, Mr. Speaker, that you should allow it to be discussed.
That matter has been dealt with over and over again.
No, Sir, the hon. member is only the third speaker in this corner of the House …
Order! The hon. member must respect my ruling.
Sir, I want to comply with your ruling and I realize how difficult your task must be at this stage, may I submit, however that at this stage I only desire to advance arguments as to why in my opinion a Bill of Rights is effective and why it has been effective in other countries. One of our sister dominions, Canada, after one hundred years of existence has only last year decided to adopt a Bill of Rights. Mr. Speaker, there is no feeling in Canada that individuals will be deprived of their rights, but the people there have realized that fundamental rights should not be dependent on the whim of a majority in Parliament. So it is that the Canadian people desired to give greater security particularly to minority groups. They have adopted a Bill of Rights to ensure that these rights belong to individuals and are not favours handed out by the government of the day.
Finally, let us think of the rights of groups who seek freedom from domination by others. We will all concede that in a multi-racial country this is an extremely difficult thing to do. The present Government is seeking to do this by promising to the African people some development in certain parts of the country. Mr. Speaker, what wishful thinking it is to believe that you can offer four-fifths of the people of South Africa 13 per cent of the land and something less than 20 per cent of the national wealth of the country …
I must again ask the hon. member to come back to the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I am dealing with the amendment moved by the hon. Leader of my Party with regard to adequate safeguards.
The hon. member is covering too wide a field.
I shall conclude this point of adequate safeguards by saying that it has been the experience throughout the world, where you have multi-racial communities, that it is necessary to create some special protective machinery to protect the rights and liberties of minority groups.
Finally, I want to deal with the question of decentralization of legislative and executive powers. Surely is would be a much happier South Africa if this were brought about, if Natal for instance could regulate the many things which are dear to the heart …
Sir, that forms part of the amendment moved by the hon. member for Queenstown, paragraph (4) which reads—
May I say. and I think hon. members on the other side will agree, that at the time of Union it was envisaged that we should have a compromise between a unitary and a federal system of government. Our present constitution contains certain elements of the unitary system and certain elements of the federal system. But because these rights of provinces were not entrenched, because it was merely a delegation of authority and not a rigid protection of that authority, over the years the Central Government has gradually encroached on the field of provincial government. So it is useless to talk about giving provinces greater power unless we can protect those powers and entrench them, and people who talk in terms of giving provinces greater autonomy or greater authority, must of necessity also accept the idea of a rigid constitution, of an entrenched law. Unless the rights of provinces are entrenched (as they were not at the time of Union), the rights of the provinces will always be subject to raiding and encroachment by the Central Government.
We realize that the hon. the Prime Minister is going to proceed with this Bill. We realize that, quite apart from the issue of a republic or a monarchy, this Bill has certain other important features. Mr. Speaker, we would hope that when this Bill is read a third time, not only the White people, not only the English-speaking people, or the Afrikaans-speaking people, but the Coloureds and Indians and Africans in South Africa would say: “We respect this law because it is a just law; we are prepared to give allegiance to this new republic, because it is a republic in which we are given security, in which we are given a place in the sun.” I don’t want to be a prophet of doom, but unless this Bill is amended in such a way as to give to individuals, to provinces and to minority groups, not only rights but protection of those rights, I am afraid there will be very few South Africans amongst our 15,000,000 citizens who will say: “I respect this legislation, I look up to my constitution to protect me and I am proud to be a South African under it.”
After listening to the hon. member and to the arguments that hon. members opposite have advanced during the last four days, there is only one submission we can make, namely that if we remain a monarchy, then, according to hon. members, we shall not require any entrenchments; then we shall not be under any obligation to the Commonwealth and even the Progressive Party will be satisfied. The whole argument which hon. members have adduced hitherto, amounts to this: If we remain a monarchy, everyone will be satisfied. I am afraid that the Opposition do not understand in the least that it will be impossible for any monarch to comply with such impossible requirements. What hon. members do not understand is that this measure is one which the people want and that basically their arguments represent a motion of no-confidence in the will of the people.
As regards the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition in general, I can only submit one argument. They demand of us the unequivocal assurance that we shall remain in the Commonwealth. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition grants us less freedom than the Commonwealth itself grants us. The Commonwealth is a free association of nations, there is no compulsory membership or the retention of membership, but the hon. the Leader of the Opposition demands that We should give an assurance that we shall remain a member of the Commonwealth for all time to come. I think that this is a conclusive reply to that argument of the hon. member. It grants us less freedom than the Commonwealth itself grants us.
One of the main speeches which has come from the Opposition benches has undoubtedly been the speech of the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) partly supported by the hon. member for Pinelands (Mr. Eglin). He has advocated a National Convention and this he has done for two reasons. In the first place, so runs the argument, it will make a greater contribution to national unity, and in the second place it will give the Prime Minister the opportunity to approach other Commonwealth countries and to obtain their support in order to ensure our membership.
Order! I hope the hon. member will not enlarge unduly on that point. It has already been made repeatedly.
No, Mr. Speaker, I just want to point out the important aspect that the proposal which has flowed from the amendment moved by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, namely that a National Convention should be convened, is not a practical one. In the first place we have a constitution. It is not as though we do not have a constitution. In the second place it was precisely the intention in introducing this measure that the change-over should take place with as little disruption as possible. As a matter of fact it has always been the United Party’s standpoint that our old Constitution should be maintained. What additional provisions could a National Convention insert which would make a new constitution more acceptable than the one we now propose? And I want to point out further that national unity will not be born of a National Convention, but of the product of a National Convention, and we already have that product. We have had our constitution since Union, and on it our nation has already been built.
Order! I think the hon. member is now covering too wide a field.
Mr. Speaker, as regards the second reason mentioned by the hon. member for Constantia, namely that the Prime Minister should be given time to recruit support amongst the members of the Commonwealth, this is such an important matter that I shall come back to it later. But in my opinion the hon. member for Constantia has made a very important point. To prove that the United Party has no conception whatsoever of the radical change which this Constitution is bringing about, I want to refer to the allegation that this republic can very easily be changed into a dictatorship. This as a matter of fact is a general argument which the United Party propagated throughout the length and breadth of the country during the referendum campaign. The hon. member says that when there is a strong leader, and he undoubtedly had our present position in mind, with an allegedly subservient party, a dictatorship can easily be established. He then compared us with other states like Ghana, Egypt and so on. As far as this last argument is concerned, I can only say that these other states are in no way comparable with our country because we are heart and soul a democratic country. But as regards his first reason, namely that if we have a strong leader it can easily happen that a dictatorship will be born out of this republic, I want to point out that in this Constitution the hon. the Prime Minister envisages exactly the opposite. Allow me to explain. Our system of government is based on the democratic system of Britain and to have that fully developed system, there must be a dualism. This is a theme which is discussed in detail in that well conceived book of Adv. Coetzee. I do not intend taking this argument too far, but I do want to point out how dualism must be an essential characteristic of such a system of government: On the one hand a head of government, and on the other hand a fully recognized head of state. There is no better work on British constitutional history and development than that of Sir Ernest Barker, namely “Essays on Government”, the second edition of which appeared in 1956. Have we hitherto had this fully autonomous state with a head of government and a fully recognized head of state? I am afraid that we have not had it at all. The post of the Governor-General (I am not referring to His Excellency as a person) has gradually lost status and prestige since 1930. During the régime of the late General Smuts, there were long periods when the Chief Justice acted as Governor-General. To tell the truth, we have managed without a Governor-General for quite a few years all in all, and we found the position that during this period General Smuts in actual fact fulfilled the role of both head of state and head of government.
Order! The hon. member is now going very far. He must confine himself to the Bill.
I want to point out that the Constitution we are now discussing cannot make possible the establishment of a dictatorship, as hon. members opposite allege. As I have said, during this period the prestige and the status of this post have gradually declined. Sir Ernest Barker says of this position: “It is tempting but it is dangerous.” A dictatorship can be born out of the position we have to-day. This is exactly what the hon. the Prime Minister wishes to change. He does not just want to give South Africa a republic, but he is laying the foundation for a fully autonomous state founded on a sound democratic basis. And then he is the person who is being accused of being a dictator! By this Constitution which is now before the House he is eliminating all possibility of a dictatorship. Allow me to prove it. In the first place this measure now before the House provides that the President will not be appointed as in the past by the Cabinet, in other words, by the Prime Minister. And if the Prime Minister had had dictatorial tendencies, he would have entrenched that position. But on the contrary, the President is to be elected by the representatives of the people. And in addition that essential dualism of a head of government on the one hand and a fully recognized head of state on the other is being restored, a position about which Sir Ernest Barker, after discussing the position of the head of government in England, had the following important comments to make—
What does the hon. the Prime Minister envisage as regards the new head of state, the President? Last year in that important speech which he made on 20 January in this House, he made it quite clear—
He is raising the status of the post of President and at the same time the President will also be the symbol of our national unity. In other words, by taking this step the dualism which is essential to the system of government which we have inherited from Britain, is being restored. By so doing our country will become a fully autonomous state and this excludes any possibility of a dictatorship developing, which the Opposition are so eager to imply. By this Constitution South Africa is therefore not only being given a republic, but at the same time it is also being given those characteristics which will make her a fully autonomous state, with a fully recognized head of state. This the Opposition have never been able to grasp. On the contrary we have seen the petty colonial mentality which the Opposition have always revealed through this lack of understanding of the fact that we are striving to be a fully autonomous state.
To return to the amendment of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition, I should very much like to explain one point, and it is this: What was the attitude of this House towards the important development which took place in 1949 when India applied to become a republic within the Commonwealth? What was the attitude of this House? To the best of my knowledge this matter was discussed on three occasions by the person who was the most closely concerned with it, namely, the late Dr. Malan. The first occasion on which he discussed this matter was, I think, during the discussion of his Vote in 1950 (Hansard Col. 4149) when he used these noteworthy words—
He went on (in Col. 4154)—
The remarkable point to which I want to refer is that Dr. Malan made this statement in the presence of the Opposition and not one Opposition member cast doubt on his explanation or that interpretation of the position. But it was not questioned in the Senate either. Dr. Malan’s policy motion was discussed in that House during 1950 (Hansard, Col. 1677). On that occasion he more or less repeated what he had said in the House of Assembly—
In the Other Place not one single member of the Opposition objected to this interpretation either. But that is not all. A very important debate was held in this House during 1953. Hon. members will remember that in 1953 we had an election. At the beginning of that year the Leader of the Opposition moved a motion of no-confidence. After the election, he said that he did not intend again moving a motion of no-confidence, but he was going to submit a matter which he thought was of great common importance, namely, a motion dealing with Commonwealth relationships. He moved a motion in the House which was very similar to that which is under discussion to-day. He also asked that we should give the assurance that we would always remain a member of the Commonwealth. In reply to that motion Dr. Malan stated most clearly (Hansard, Vol. 82, Col. 52)—
After discussing the case of India, he said—
And now we have the important point. He moved an amendment to this motion and the final paragraph of the amendment read as follows—
I emphasize “withdrawal”—
A division followed, and this House and this Government adopted the official standpoint that even if we become a republic, we could nevertheless retain our membership of the Commonwealth. Members such as the hon. members for Constantia, Green Point, Salt River and South Peninsula took part in that debate, and not one word of objection was raised to that interpretation. They accepted it without challenge as being the standpoint of the House. But, Mr. Speaker, when this matter became one of actual importance, they changed their attitude; they forgot what the attitude of this Parliament was. Not one of them mentioned a word about it during the referendum campaign. Not one of them had a word to say about it. On the contrary the then hon. the Prime Minister received nothing but thanks and compliments for his clear exposition of this matter.
Now, the next important aspect which flows from this matter is that this development which took place in 1949 and the amendment which was accepted in this House had the result that our Pary’s constitution was changed. The old 1942 constitution laid down that we wanted a republic separate from the British Crown. But in 1956 this amendment which I have mentioned was embodied in our party constitution and our constitution now states that the party regards the proclamation of a republic and withdrawal from the Commonwealth as two separate questions.
Yes, but that is not relevant to this debate.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I return to the point I wanted to make, namely that hon. members opposite must have known full well what in fact the standpoint of this House was, and that they never fulfilled their obligation to explain that attitude clearly during the referendum campaign. This brings me to the next point and I come back to the motion of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. Before discussing it, there is just this one aspect to which I want to refer. After the Prime Ministers’ conference of last year, the following was stated—
I have indicated what interpretation this House has adopted and what standpoint it has adopted. The word “consent” in that statement does not accord with the standpoint adopted by this House. Mr. Speaker, nor does it accord with what happened in the case of India, Ceylon and Pakistan. In the case of Ceylon they stated—
Those were the words which were used in the case of India. In the case of Pakistan exactly the same thing was said—
The same applied in the case of Ceylon— “would continue its membership, remaining a full member”. It causes me concern to see that the members of the Commonwealth are discriminating in this case and that we are being told that we must first ask for consent. There may be reasons for that. But, Mr. Speaker, I am mentioning it because once I have spoken, any Opposition member could easily rise and say: Yes, but why have you forgotten to quote it? Apart from that, certain statements have since been made which make it quite clear that this consent will in fact be given. But the point at issue is that we are not so much concerned about what is said in this statement which was issued after the Prime Ministers’ conference, but what I do want to submit to the House is the standpoint which South Africa and which this Parliament have adopted, and that is a standpoint which we wish to uphold.
I now come to another aspect. When I listened to the arguments used by the Leader of the Opposition, I formed a very strong impression—and, Mr. Speaker, I hope that you will allow me to discuss this—that they have forgotten this one basic factor, namely that we are not only a member of the Commonwealth, but we are a foundation member. As a matter of fact, during the period of the First World War when circumstances caused the possibility of closer links between the Dominions to be raised, there was a suggestion that a federal council would be created.
The hon. member is now wandering very far from the Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I shall leave it at that, but I just want to raise this one aspect in this regard, namely that the idea of establishing a Commonwealth had its birth in the minds of Gen. Smuts and Mr. Borden of Canada. But I now come to the point. Unfortunately you will not allow me to discuss the role which South Africa has played in the formative history of the Commonwealth. But here is the important aspect: We are not only a member of the Commonwealth, but we are a founder member. We have developed together with the Commonwealth. We have overcome the difficulties which have faced the Commonwealth. We have built it up to what it is to-day.
Order! I have already asked the hon. member several times to come back to the Bill and he is not doing so.
Mr. Speaker, if you will only allow me to say this …
Order! I allow the hon. member latitude and then he goes too far.
With respect, Mr. Speaker, I am discussing the amendment moved by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition.
Order! Yes, but the hon. member is wandering too far from the amendment.
I am pointing out that we are now fighting for the retention of our membership of the Commonwealth and notwithstanding the motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition we give the assurance that we shall remain a member of the Commonwealth. I want to point out that we are not only fighting for the retention of our membership, but we are in reality fighting for the maintenance of the Commonwealth. This is a challenge which we can issue with pride to the other members of the Commonwealth.
Order But that is quite a different subject which is not relevant to this Bill.
Mr. Speaker, I am trying to reply to the amendment moved by the hon. member. I do not want to argue with the Chair and I shall abide by your ruling. But allow me to say this. The Commonwealth is based on certain statutory principles. In the first place there are the principles embodied in the Statute of Westminster, namely that every member of the Commonwealth is a sovereign independent state. In the second place they are all equal in status.
Yes, but that has already been stated repeatedly in this House.
I want to show that if South Africa is not allowed to retain her membership, despite our attitude on that particular point, it will not only mean that we shall have lost our membership, but it will in essence mean that the Commonwealth will be destroyed because what happens to South Africa to-day, can happen to-morrow to other members of the Commonwealth. However, I do not want to develop this theme any further because you, Mr. Speaker, will not allow me to do so. I want to say that the Leader of the Opposition and the United Party have no right to accuse us of only trying to bluff the public by merely remaining temporarily in the Commonwealth. They have forgotten our historic role and we shall continue to play an important role in the Commonwealth in future. But we are not fighting here merely for the retention of our membership. We are also fighting for the retention of the Commonwealth because we know what an important factor it is in the Western world.
I want to conclude with this remark. Seeing that the hon. the Prime Minister is now going to London, and will not only be faced with a hard struggle at the conference table—particularly because of hon. members opposite by their failure to interpret the standpoint of this House are making things difficult for him and seeing that we know he will attract to himself all the animosity which South Africa is experiencing at the moment because it is easier to attack a person than a policy, I want to tell him this: He is going with the full support and the full confidence of every true South African because every true South African is a republican. Everyone wishes him success in his difficult task, knowing that these matters are in capable hands. I want to conclude with this thought. Seeing that the non-White states are attracting such tremendous attention in the Commonwealth countries, I want to express the hope that the spirit to which Mr. Nehru gave expression when he welcomed the Prime Minister of Australia in New Delhi on 27 December 1950, will once again prevail. On that occasion he said—
Order! That is not relevant and the hon. member must come back to the Bill.
It is one of the basic principles on which the Commonwealth is based.
Order! The hon. member must listen when I call him to order.
Yes, Mr. Speaker. And for that reason, as far as the motion of the hon. the Leader of the Opposition is concerned, we can give him the assurance that we shall remain a member of the Commonwealth in that spirit and we shall continue to play our part as we have done in the past.
Mr. Speaker, I think that all of us in this House, and particularly hon. members on this side, are thankful to hear from the hon. member for Mayfair (Dr. Luttig) that our membership of the Commonwealth, which is in doubt as a result of the introduction of this Bill, is a matter of principle to him and probably to many of our hon. friends opposite, a matter of tradition and of a part of our own history, something which we ourselves have helped to create, and that the hon. member and many others, when this Bill has been adopted, will work for us to remain in the Commonwealth as a republic because it will be in South Africa’s interests to do so, and not, as the hon. the Prime Minister has indicated, as a sacrifice on his part to the sentiments of the other section. I think that for hon. members opposite to put that standpoint very clearly represents progress. But I do not want to follow the hon. member for Mayfair. I should like to examine briefly certain outstanding characteristics of the debate hitherto.
I think that the main issue which has arisen from this debate is the question of whether or not we are justified in regarding the result of the referendum as a mandate for the Government. You will agree with me, Mr. Speaker, that there is considerable uncertainty as to the attitude of the various groups in this House towards this question.
Will you now give us certainty?
I shall try. I want to say at once that when the hon. the Prime Minister and members opposite say that they regard the result of the referendum as a mandate, we appreciate their standpoint. We do not agree with it, but we appreciate it and we understand it. Their standpoint has always been that only the White voters would have the right to give that mandate. We may say this is wrong, but they have been consistent and we give them credit for that. But what astounds us is the attitude of our friends of the Progressive Party, that they too now say that the result of the referendum gives the Government a mandate to establish a republic. Because, Mr. Speaker, surely it will still be fresh in your memory and in the memories of all of us that when the Referendum Bill was before this House, the Progressive Party criticized it as being immoral and unjustified.
You said so as well.
Yes, we said so as well, because the non-Whites were being excluded from any share in the referendum. But our friends of the Progressive Party are now accepting the result of something which they maintained originally was unjustifiable and immoral. They accept it as a mandate from the people. I do not want to claim to be as great an authority on questions of morality as my friends in that corner, but the little I do know about morality has taught me that if something is immoral and unjust in its origins, then the results which flow from that immorality and injustice must also be immoral and unjust. I am completely astounded by their attitude. Do all the magnificent speeches which members of the Progressive Party made last year on the Referendum Bill now mean nothing? Did they mean nothing when they made them?
It looks as though you are terribly afraid of Green Point.
The hon. the Minister must not drag in side issues. I hope that for once in his life he too will try to join me in thinking about matters of principle. [Interjections.]
Our friends of the Progressive Party must now decide whether they regard it as a principle that the non-Whites should have a say in decisions on the more important political questions in South Africa and whether it is right that they are being excluded. If they say that it is right that they are excluded then they are also correct in accepting the mandate. But if they regard it as a principle that it is wrong, immoral and unjust to exclude them, then they are also being immoral and unjust in saying that they accept the referendum result as a mandate from the people.
I now want to say what the United Party’s standpoint is regarding the question of the referendum as a mandate. Seeing that we moved an amendment in the House last year to the effect that the Coloured voters should participate in the referendum and we proposed that the Natives should be consulted on this issue, although they did not have the franchise, we cannot be expected to regard the result of the referendum as a mandate for the Government to go ahead with the republic. We do not have the moral acrobatic abilities of the Progressive Party to enable us to say that we accept the result of the referendum as a mandate. We say that the referendum is not representative of the opinion of the population groups which will have to live under a future republic, and for that reason we therefore remain consistent and we say that we do not accept the referendum result as a mandate.
Who are the people?
I am referring to all the population groups, and I must say that this is a strange question for a member of the Progressive Party to ask.
May I ask the hon. member a question? If that is his premise why then did they participate in the referendum?
Because we did our best to draw up a just set of rules for the referendum. But as a minority group in this House we did not have the strength to convince the Government that they should accept a just set of rules. Even though the rules were unfair, we were not prepared to give the Government carte blanche. I am glad the hon. member has asked this question because I want to come back to it. What is the responsibility of Members of Parliament towards the voters whom they have encouraged and called upon to vote and who have voted in the minority? I am very grateful to the hon. member for mentioning this matter. We cannot accept the referendum as a mandate. What is the function of the Opposition?
That is what we want to know.
What is the function of an Opposition when the people have voted and are practically equally divided on an issue? Must we then accept that Parliament which must take the final decision on this matter, this matter on which the people have voted, must not take any note of the standpoint of the 48 per cent of the people who differed from the majority? Does it mean that in the future, if we are to accept the standpoint of the Progressive Party and of some hon. members opposite, that after every election at which a certain issue has been submitted to the people and one particular side has won, the losing side must then accept that the matter has been finally settled and that they do not have the right to discuss it any further? Where would the Nationalist Party have been if they had accepted that attitude? What will become of the Progressive Party if they adopt that attitude?
May I ask you a question?
Yes, just as soon as I have finished this point. But, Mr. Speaker, I think you will agree with me that this is not a public meeting and that there should be some limitation on questions. But what would become of the Progressive Party if that were the position? If there is one party which fate has destined to lose elections, it is that party.
Order! That is not relevant to this Bill.
I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker. What has been the duty of the Opposition in this debate and what is still its duty? To submit to Parliament and through Parliament to the people once again the standpoint of the 48 per cent of the voters of South Africa who on 5 October voted against a republic at the referendum. Their standpoint is that they do not want a republic because they believe honestly and sincerely that it is not in the interests of their father-land. That is what they sincerely believe.
If Parliament now decides that the republic is to be established, will the hon. member accept the republic or will he refuse to live permanently under the republic?
That is a very reasonable question. I am going to reply to it, but that follows on my next point and my hon. friend must just be a little patient. I think that the two of us have known one another long enough to know that we have never been disposed to evade a difficult question. Mr. Speaker, 750,000 South African voters, in the light of their sincere convictions and encouraged to do so by the parties on this side of the House, voted against a republic, and they did not immediately change their attitude and beliefs when they lost by a majority of 75,000. History may still prove their standpoint to have been the correct one. Must the United Party Opposition now be muzzled? Must the standpoint of these people now be forgotten? Must the Government on whom rests the responsibility for taking this matter further, if they wish to do so, now accept that all opposition to a republic has come to an end, that they have a united people behind them? Mr. Speaker, I say that an Opposition which creates that impression is not worthy of the name of an Opposition. It is being untrue to the voters whom it called upon to vote “No”. Mr. Speaker, the United Party has many faults—nearly as many as the Nationalist Party—but one fault of which no one can accuse it is that it is untrue to the public who are loyal to it and the principles for which it stands.
I now come to another aspect of this matter. I want to testify to-night how thankful I personally am that there is a man in this House like the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) who has spoken as he has done. It does not matter whether all of us in this House agree with his attitude, but I think that, we should all be thankful that in the parliamentary life of the Union there are still people who are so unafraid, who are so honest in stating their attitude when they feel strongly about a matter, an attitude which their emotions have led them to adopt. [Interjections.]
Sannie get your gun.
If I had played the role towards my voters that the hon. member has towards the voters of Salt River … [Interjections.] The standpoint which the hon. member for South Coast has submitted is the standpoint of hundreds of thousands of voters in South Africa.
Is it your standpoint and the standpoint of your party?
My party’s standpoint is that the Union is an inviolable unit, that the fate of each of the four provinces and of South West Africa is inextricably bound up with that of the Union of South Africa and that we cannot leave one another in the lurch. No matter how deep our differences may be, the ties which bind us are stronger than our differences. I am thankful to see that the hon. member for South Coast made that very clear in his speech.
Yes, and I think it is unreasonable of many hon. members in this House to forget that important point which the hon. member for South Coast made when he said that even if he were able to sign an act of secession whereby Natal would secede from the Union, he would not do so. That is forgotten. I agree entirely with the hon. member for South Coast that we on this side of the House retain the right to oppose the Government. If the Government cannot be generous in victory, at any rate the United Party is determined in its temporary defeat. We shall continue to oppose them until the day comes that we can enact laws for South Africa which will give genuine expression to the desire of the people of South Africa to live as a united nation, with mutual guarantees for the security of the traditions and rights of the population groups and of South Africa. In that regard I also agree with the hon. member for South Coast.
My hon. friend has asked me what our attitude will be if Parliament passes this legislation and we become a republic.
There you do not agree with the hon. member for South Coast.
No, wait a moment. Let the hon. the Minister give me a chance. I just want to remind him that I have not made one interjection during this whole debate. Mr. Speaker, you cannot expect and no one who knows anything of the human heart and mind can expect it—it seems to me that the Nationalist Party lacks a knowledge of psychology, no matter what degrees certain persons may hold—we cannot expect people who testify from deep conviction, from sentiment, and what is more, people who stand on their principles on their interpretation of what are the interests of South Africa to become enthusiastic republicans the moment this legislation is adopted.
But who says so?
No, Mr. Speaker, but that is what hon. members opposite expect of many of us. But no one can expect us immediately to emerge as enthusiastic republicans. No one can expect it. Now hon. members opposite also agree with the hon. member for South Coast. As I have said, it cannot be expected; it would be unnatural. It is impossible but we cannot deny that although in our opinion the referendum does not give the Government a mandate, the Government has the constitutional power to force a republic on South Africa; the Government has the power to pass the legislation needed to turn South Africa into a republic. We do not accept it, but as law-abiding citizens we submit ourselves to it—to the laws of Parliament and not to the decision of the referendum which was immoral and unjust in its scope.
The hon. member may not reflect on an Act passed by this House.
I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, and I apologize. I meant that that was the criticism the Opposition expressed before the legislation was adopted. At that time we regarded it as such.
May I ask the hon. member a question?
No, I think I have already been fair to the hon. member. As I have said, it cannot be expected of us and, Mr. Speaker, it can be expected of us still less because the hon. the Prime Minister in the hour of his victory—the hour of his victory—a dubious victory but a victory nevertheless—was offered the opportunity to show by his actions that he really wished to make the republic which he sought at the referendum, a national republic in the true sense of the word. He was offered that opportunity but he rejected it with contempt. We did not expect—it would have been unnatural of us to have done so—that he would accept immediately all the proposals made by the minorities in two provincial councils and the majority in a third provincial council, but we had the right to expect that those proposals could form a basis for discussion, a basis for negotiation, and that the hon. the Prime Minister would give some indication that he was prepared to discuss these matters with those powerful minorities who cannot be ignored in a country which genuinely respects the principles of democracy. We waited for a sign from the Prime Minister so that we could negotiate to see whether a measure of agreement could be achieved. The Opposition offered the hon. the Prime Minister this opportunity and that is my answer to the hon. member for Mayfair (Dr. Luttig). He has criticized us because according to him we are apparently saying that we shall require guarantees under the republic which were not required under a monarchy.
I do not think that is our attitude. The attitude of all the Opposition parties is that in a nation’s history opportunities to make a fresh start present themselves. The decision of the Government to turn South Africa into a republic offers an historic opportunity to make a fresh start which may never present itself again for South Africa.
Why do you not help in that?
The members of the Opposition wanted to confer and did start to confer with the Prime Minister in an attempt to help establish the republic if it had to come, the Republic of South Africa—of the whole of South Africa, but our attempt was rejected and scorned by the Prime Minister before we could actually have discussions.
And what now of the future? The Government has the power to turn South Africa into a republic. It will—as my hon. leader said immediately after the result of the referendum was announced—of necessity, from the very nature of the history of South Africa which we cannot deny—be a sectional republic. It will be a republic of the Nationalist Party, as being portion of the Afrikaner nation. We cannot deny that; it is an historical fact and it is no use despising or condemning each other because of it; we must simply accept it as a fact. That is so. This republic, from the very nature of its establishment, as the result of the history behind it, will be a sectional republic. Will it ever be anything else? Will it be a matter which will have to be perpetuated in our history; will it be a bone of contention to bedevil our political thinking and our political differences in this country?
That depends on you!
No, my hon. friend is wrong. The initiative in this matter did not rest with us, nor does it rest with us to-day, but in so far as it was within our power we tried to take the initiative. The onus is squarely on the shoulders of the Government and particularly on those of the hon. the Prime Minister. I want to say this: Many of the opponents of the republic feel emotional about it, and that is only human, just as my forefathers also felt when the Treaty of Vereeniging was signed. We must understand and realize that.
Members on this side of the House will always be loyal to South Africa. As far as loyalty to South Africa is concerned, no one can doubt hon. members on this side of the House. But as far as loyalty to the republic as a symbol of the State of South Africa is concerned, the onus is on the Government, on the hon. the Prime Minister. All I want to ask the Prime Minister—and I am not doing so in a critical spirit at the moment because the matter is too serious—is that he should try and that the Government should try to realize the expectations which they aroused amongst the people by their republican propaganda during the referendum campaign. The expectations which they have aroused amongst the people of South Africa have been threefold: In the first place, that we would remain within the Commonwealth, or as I prefer to call it, the Commonwealth of Nations. The Government are now asking us to adopt legislation which is in conflict with most of the precedents in the history of the Commonwealth, namely before we know whether we are going to remain a member of the Commonwealth. This is a simple fact.
That is not true.
That is how we honestly view this procedure. I am quite prepared to argue with the hon. the Minister over an interpretation of the precedents and if I am proved wrong I shall be the first to admit it. From my knowledge of her history, India first obtained authority by way of a resolution of her Parliament saying that she would like to become a republic, just as this Government obtained a decision at the referendum. She then went and obtained permission to remain within the Commonwealth and she did so under very much more difficult circumstances than ours and only then did the Indians establish a republic. Ceylon decided to become a republic three or four years ago but has not yet become one. I may be wrong and we should like to know what the hon. the Prime Minister’s standpoint is.
But this is one of the expectations which, as I have said, have been aroused amongst the people and we expect the hon. the Prime Minister to ensure that South Africa will remain within the Commonwealth, not as a concession to the sentiments of other groups but in the real interests of all the population groups of South Africa, of hon. members opposite, of hon. members on this side and of all the voters. The alternative for South Africa will be complete isolation and solitude.
The second expectation which has been aroused is that if a republic is established, the policies of the political parties would be moderated. Mr. Speaker, as yet, since 5 October, we have had very little indication of moderation in the policy of the hon. the Prime Minister. In the hearing of myself and the hon. the Minister of Transport the hon. the Prime Minister has said in this House that once the republic is established the Nationalist Party can even disappear as far as he is concerned! Do hon. members still remember that? The whole impression was created that the intransigence and the harshness of the political divisions in South Africa would be moderated if a republic is established. I do not see any signs of that as yet.
But we have a moderate policy.
The third expectation which has been aroused—and I do not want to say very much about this aspect because it has already been discussed fully; I just want to mention it—is that of national unity.
Allow me just to say this: If these three expectations which have been created are realized and if the Government assists in taking the necessary initiative, then it may come to pass and it should come to pass that the opponents of the republican concept can be reconciled to the idea of a republic for South Africa, not on the basis of surrender, as my hon. friends of the Progressive Party are doing, but because they see that these expectations are being realized. This is the standpoint of the United Party; this is the standpoint of my hon. friend for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell). But until these expectations are realized, the United Party retains the right to strive for constitutional changes and improvements in order, for the sake of the people of South Africa, to make realities of the expectations which the Nationalist Party has aroused.
Mr. Speaker, it is clear that this fight is not aimed so much against the National Party or against the republic, but against the Progressive Party with a view of the by-election at Sea Point. That was the trend of the entire speech of the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn). He could just as well have made that speech at Sea Point to-night.
One of the most interesting things which the hon. member said here to-night, was that he did not accept the result of the referendum. That was very clear from his entire speech and it is not necessary for me to quote him. And in saying that he associates himself with the hon. member for South Coast who does not accept it either, but as far as that is concerned he and the hon. member for South Coast differ from the hon. the Leader of the Opposition because the hon. Leader of the Opposition, like the Progressive Party, accepts the result of the referendum.
The hon. member for Yeoville told the hon. member for Sea Point that he was a brave and bold man. I do not think he is bold, neither do I think he is brave; I think he is reckless and irresponsible. He went further and said that we should not expect those people who voted against the Republic suddenly to become enthusiastic about it. But we never asked that, Mr. Speaker. What we asked members of the Opposition and other members opposite was to help to get those people who were against the republic to accept it in a good spirit. I now want to ask the hon. member for Yeoville that where he says that he is not accepting the mandate, whether after the republic is established on 31 May and we meet here again, he will take the oath of allegiance to the republic or not? Will he get up here and stand before the Chair and take the oath of allegiance to the republic? Or is he not going to do so? I also want to know what the hon. member for South Coast is going to do? Is he going to take it? And what about the hon. member for East London (City)? What is he going to do? During the referendum campaign he said that it would be better to be dead than to live under a National Party Republic. What are these three gentlemen going to do? Are they going to take the oath of allegiance or are they not?
Did you take the oath of allegiance to the monarchy?
No, I did not but I subscribed to the affirmation. Are those hon. members going to subscribe to the affirmation?
Why did you not take the oath?
The reason why I did not do so was because I am a member of a republican party which openly stated throughout the country that we were not satisfied with a monarchial system of government but that we wanted a republic. That is the reason why we did not take the oath, but subscribed to the affirmation. Let hon. members subscribe to the affirmation. Does that mean that they do not accept the republic and that they will set it aside at some time or other?
Did the affirmation which you made have no meaning then?
Throughout we and our leaders—no matter who he was—stated in this House as well as outside that we did not accept the monarchial system of government but that we wanted a republic here in South Africa. We stated that unequivocally and clearly to everyone. Seeing that we were so honest and that we told everybody that we did not want a monarchy, but that we wanted a republic, we now ask members opposite whether or not they too are prepared to say that they accept the republic or whether they want to revert to the monarchy. It is a very simple question, Mr. Speaker—very simple. I want to ask the hon. member for Transkeian Territories (Mr. Hughes) whether he is prepared to get up here this evening—I am prepared to sit down —and to tell this House that he is going to start an agitation or that he is going to try to persuade his Party to revert to a monarchy after the republic has been established. I am sure the hon. member will still take part in this debate. I hope he will take part in it and that he will give us a reply on this point, namely whether they have already decided or whether they will decide at the next Congress at Bloemfontein, to revert to the monarchy. The trouble, of course, is that the hon. member for South Coast is not here this evening to give a lead.
Order! That has nothing to do with the Bill!
Like other members, the hon. member for Yeoville came here and asked why we did not obtain permission first of all? Why did we not first ask for permission and then proceeded to the Commonwealth Conference? That was what he asked and in that connection he referred to the case of India. This case of India is interesting. Here I have the “Constitutional History of India”, written by an Indian, Sri Ram Shorma. He writes—
In other words, that was a year before the Commonwealth Conference which was to take place the following year—
That was in 1948. He says further—
True, it was after that but let us analyse this. Four years before 1949 the Constituent Assembly of India was already drafting the constitution and then the draft was submitted to the President in 1948.
That was the second step and at the same time it was—
In India they had gone as far as that before they went to the Commonwealth Conference in 1949.
Did they introduce a Bill?
How do you know how far we are going? We are going to pass this Bill. Will that not strengthen the Prime Minister’s hand when he goes to the conference? Will it not strengthen his hand in London if he says to the Prime Ministers’ Conference, firstly, that he had obtained a majority in favour of the republic, and secondly that the House of Assembly had passed a resolution and had accepted the Bill in principle? It will not have been, as hon. members opposite are inclined to say, the wish of a dictatorial party, but the wish of the majority of the people and in accordance with a resolution passed by the House of Assembly. Will that not strengthen his hand? The position is simply this, Mr. Speaker, hon. members do not want us to be allowed to remain within the Commonwealth. That is the whole trouble. I shall still prove that hon. members opposite are not satisfied with the Commonwealth as presently constituted but that they want to revert to the former position where there were no republics within the Commonwealth.
There is one point I want to take further. The hon. member for Mayfair said something in that regard which I want to take further. They go so far as to say that the methods of application should be entrenched constitution, but in the case of Ceylon and India there were two methods. India said “We desire to continue to be a member of the Commonwealth”. But what did Ceylon say in 1956? Unlike India, Ceylon simply said “It is our intention to continue to be a member”. There is a big difference between those two methods. The one said “I desire to remain a member” and the other one said “it is my intention”. “You can accept it if you wish,” she said, “but it is my intention to remain a member of the Commonwealth.” The wording in that case is much stronger than in the case of India.
What do you say?
Mr. Speaker, objection is taken to the statement from this side of the House that we will remain in the Commonwealth if it is in the interests of South Africa. They laughed and asked what sort of morality that was. I said earlier on that I wanted to prove certain things and I now want to do so. It is in connection with the words “in the interests of South Africa”. They do not like that. They say we should remain in the Commonwealth whether or not it is in the interests of South Africa. It makes no difference to them. What struck me was what Adv. Strauss, a former leader of the Opposition, said in this House on 17 July.
Order! I think the hon. member is going too far now.
Mr. Speaker, I am dealing with the first point in the amendment of the Opposition in connection with the Commonwealth. They said that we did not want to remain within the Commonwealth and that we would withdraw at some time or other; we, on the other hand, said that we would be guided by what was in the interests of South Africa. Adv. Strauss said—
They kicked him out on account of that!
I now want to ask hon. members opposite whether they no longer stand by that declaration of policy by a former leader of the Opposition? Does the hon. member for Yeoville no longer stand by that declaration which was made seven years ago by the then Leader of the Opposition? And the hon. member for Constantia (Mr. Waterson) does he stand by it? What is the position as far as those members are concerned because they were all present in this House when that declaration of policy was made. I said that hon. members opposite did not like the Commonwealth as present constituted. They want to return to the previous position and they are not sincere with the amendment which they have moved here, and I will tell you why, Sir. India became a republic in 1949. A statement was issued in connection with the position of India and Gen. Smuts also made a statement in that connection. In his speech the hon. Leader of the Opposition talked about a “close connection” and about an “inner circle” and the hon. member for Springs (Mr. Tucker) did so as well, didn’t he?
I was talking about the countries that remained members on their former basis—foundation members, the original members. You can use the words “inner circle” if you wish.
In April 1949—two days after the Prime Ministers’ Conference had issued their communiqué—Gen. Smuts made the following statement—
And how right he was!
I hope you will remember these exclamations by hon. members opposite, Sir. I am coming to that. General Smuts said further, according to this report—
He says further that Indian’s request to remain a member as a republic should either be rejected or be treated as an exceptional case. What was his attitude, in other words? His words implied that India should not have become a republic, or if she had, they should have said that it was only in her case that permission was being granted and that it would not be granted in any other case. He said further that there were two types of membership—two circles. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition said it and so did the hon. member for Springs. It was, he said—
The establishment of a republic in India, therefore, was a “leap in the dark”—
But he goes further and criticizes the Prime Ministers’ Conference and in my opinion it does not seem that he had great confidence in it because he said that a Commonwealth Conference which consisted of the people of whom it did consist, could not decide on the future of the Commonwealth.
I say that the Opposition is still of the same opinion as General Smuts was, namely they are not satisfied with the development which has taken place within the Commonwealth. Neither do they wish to have republics within the Commonwealth.
What about the interjection “How right he was”?
I am coming to that— I have more time on Monday. Hon. members now talk about two circles and the impression they want to create is that those members who are republics, are inferior to those who are not republics. That is the whole idea of hon. members opposite, namely that the inner circle, as they call it, consists of foundation members, whereas the outer circle consists of the republics. The dominions constitute the inner circle and the republics the outer circle.
Is it not true that the circle which you call the inner circle consists of White countries while the outer circle represents the Black countries?
That is an interesting question, Mr. Speaker. The inner circle now consists of the White races and the outer circle of the non-White races! That is indeed job reservation! Hon. members around me even go further and say that is apartheid within the Commonwealth, not only apartheid in the Commonwealth but apartheid in the Commonwealth conference.
At 10.25 p.m. the business under consideration was interrupted by Mr. Speaker in accordance with Standing Order No. 26 (1), and the debate was adjourned until 3 February.
The House adjourned at