House of Assembly: Vol107 - THURSDAY 23 MARCH 1961
- (1) That, notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 41, Government business shall have precedence on Friday, 24 March, after Notices of Questions have been disposed of, up to and until Five minutes to Four o’clock p.m.; and
- (2) that, notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 103 (2), the sitting from Eight o’clock p.m. until Twenty-five minutes past Ten o’clock p.m. on Thursday, 23 March, and the sitting until Five minutes to Four o’clock p.m. on Friday, 24 March, shall be deemed to be equivalent to one day for the purposes of this Standing Order.
I second. Agreed to.
Mr. Speaker, hon. members will undoubtedly realize that it will take an appreciable time for me to deal with this matter, although it would perhaps be more convenient to me, but afford less satisfaction, if I were to give a brief résumé. However, I just want to intimate that I do not intend replying to the debate, so that the rest of the time will be available to hon. members, and it will also be possible for them to discuss the matter further in the Budget debate. I hope during the Budget debate to reply to any arguments which require a reply.
Then, before I proceed, I just want to say that I have a certain amount of difficulty in knowing just what to say to-day in view of the fact that the Prime Ministers’ Conference is supposed to be secret. I particularly say “ is supposed to be secret ”, because every day, and this has happened for years, the London Times publishes a reasonably complete résumé the next morning of what happened the previous day at this secret meeting, despite the objections raised to it almost every day at that meeting, and also because many other members, inter alia in this case, in order to attack South Africa, are themselves referring to what happened there. I do not know how I, in stating South Africa’s position, can entirely avoid also referring to what happened at those meetings. Therefore I shall not attempt to do so, but I shall try to refer to what happened as discreetly as possible.
But before doing so it is perhaps as well for me to state in a few words what my view was of the Commonwealth until recently, and what I thought it was still like. This is a standpoint which I stated also at the Prime Ministers’ Conference, namely, that it is a community of independent nations and, as it was described, nations “ which are in no way subordinate to each other”, a community of nations which meets (without any rules or principles being laid down) freely to discuss matters which appear to be of common interest, and then to adopt a standpoint as a group in respect of everything on which they can agree. In other words, it was intended to be a body totally different from UN where people come together in order to voice the most divergent opinions about everything. I thought that here we had a body which, from the very nature of its history and its traditions, did not look for points of difference, but for points of agreement. That is also the reason why in the past we never objected when other states, even those which boycotted us or strenuously opposed us outside, wanted to become a member or wanted to continue to be a member. Here I mention the cases of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Ghana and Nigeria. We always immediately supported their membership, realizing the danger if they should want to make the Commonwealth a battlefield, but accepting that they were mature enough or were deeply enough under the influence of the United Kingdom to act in terms of what had always been the practice when this group was smaller and more intimate. Therefore in the first place we accepted that the Commonwealth, notwithstanding the change in its constitution, retained the character of a family of nations which in spite of differences sought common ground and jointly tried to solve common problems.
There was a second point we assumed, namely that it was a multi-racial association, in the sense that its members were both White and non-White and came from Asia and Africa as well as from Europe, and that one had to assume that the various nations and the various races would be on an equal footing there as nations and that one had to negotiate with them, whether they were big or small, Black or White, as equals, as one must always do on the world platform. Therefore we accepted the multi-racialism of the Commonwealth as amounting to equality between the various nations. But at the same time we also assumed that the old principle remained valid, that these nations would not interfere in each other’s domestic affairs. If we in our own minds objected to a dictatorship in Ghana, we nevertheless did not have the right or any intention to raise this matter at a Commonwealth conference. Similarly, if there were objections to the nature of our attempts to seek a solution for our colour problem (whether by one party or another), no other country should interfere. That is how we accepted the Commonwealth and that is bow its character was maintained until the recent conference. But when we arrived in London we had to discover, and Britain also had to discover, that the Commonwealth had undergone a change of character during the ten months which had elapsed since the last Prime Ministers’ Conference. I say the United Kingdom discovered that, because this was admitted in the recent debate in the House of Commons where it was clearly stated, as I will prove in a moment, that here we now had something different. And this difference was strikingly illustrated by the fact that just recently the term “ family of nations ” fell into disuse and there was increased reference to “ the club ”. It was no longer the old blood ties which bound most of the populations, with the possible exception of the French in Canada and the Afrikaners in South Africa, and India which was also an old member. For the rest, it was an association of nations through blood ties as well as through historical bonds. Now, however, it has become simply a congregation of nations which have only one bond, the historical bond, with the United Kingdom which previously ruled them all. Gradually, as they attained freedom, the United Kingdom tried to retain these bonds with them and to retain her influence over them for the sake of what is undoubtedly a good object, particularly the struggle against Communism. We are therefore dealing—and this is basic to my whole trend of thought this afternoon—with a complete change which has come about in the Commonwealth recently, a change away from what has always been accepted by everybody as a body to which they would like to belong, partly because of the family idea. The Commonwealth has changed into something very similar to UN on a small scale.
The second general point I would like to deal with before proceeding further is the question which was raised just recently and used to discredit me; Was there a promise or an undertaking or an understanding that the referendum in regard to the republic was concerned only with a republic inside the Commonwealth, and was the mandate therefore obtained from the people under false pretences, or does that mandate no longer exist? Some hon. members of the Opposition said that I was deceiving them. I would like to prove that this is not so, and I want to do so by referring to various statements which were published previously. In the first place, I want to quote from the debate held on 30 January this year, in other words, after the referendum, when I dealt with similar reproaches in this House. I want to quote from Hansard what I said on 30 January 1961 (Col. 331)—
It could not be stated more clearly. But thereafter I stated it again, when evidently some doubt was expressed, and I did it as follows on 9 February 1961 (Hansard, Col. 1039)— that was also this year, before my departure, and again in reply to the allegation that I was not sincere—
Now I would like to quote from the Cape Times of 10 February, in other words, what the Cape Times wrote with reference to this speech of mine. It said this—
Now it may be said that all this was said or written after 5 October. Therefore I would like to refer to what happened before 5 October. At the Bloemfontein Union Congress of the Nationalist Party a resolution was adopted. The last portion of it, which is relevant to this matter, reads as follows—
On 3 August 1960, a statement was also handed to the Press which said precisely the same thing. Certain hon. members have referred to the fact that the resolution of the congress contained the words “if it should be refused”, and they say in this case there was no refusal but that we ourselves withdrew. From the context of what I still have to say, I think it will be seen that there were sound reasons for withdrawing our application, and that if we had not adopted that course, refusal would still have followed. Therefore to overemphasize the word “ refusal ” in this connection really constitutes no argument except a technical one. But apart from that it is important to note that on one occasion after the other I made it clear that it was not only refusal which could cause us to leave the Commonwealth but that, as I put it in the debate here in Parliament, under certain circumstances we would have to use our own discretion. For example, at the same Bloemfontein Conference I said the following in the speech which I made on that occasions#x2014;
I did not only say it on that occasion, but on every possible occasion. At the first meeting to which I referred to this matter, viz. at Groblersdal on 2 July 1960, I argued as follows when I referred to the statement made by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition that Ghana might be able to stop us—
I did not say “refuse”, but “allow to leave ”—
That was on 2 July 1960, long before the referendum of 5 October. I also have before me the speech I made over the radio on 3 October 1960, two days before the referendum, in which I said—
I have here the speech I made in Port Elizabeth, the one I made at Lichtenburg, and the one I made in Cape Town. I can read extracts from every one of them to prove that apart from their refusal I also mentioned the possibility of action being taken by us ourselves, but I do not want to weary hon. members by doing so. I think that I have now proved fully that I told the people of South Africa unequivocally—before 5 October 1960—that we could remain a member of the Commonwealth only under certain circumstances and that our withdrawal was also a possibility. I shall now proceed to prove that unfortunately the circumstances were such that we could not remain a member.
Another allegation was made to which the one quotation I read has really given the reply already, viz. that I went there with the secret intention of taking South Africa out of the Commonwealth, and even that I was dishonest and a traitor to South Africa in doing so.
What I have already mentioned in regard to my objects, as well as the explanation I am now going to give as to what I tried to do, will negative that allegation. In fact, the first reply already flows from a further question which has been asked just recently, namely, why I permitted the domestic affair of the racial policy of South Africa to be discussed. It was said that if only I had not allowed that to be done, we would still have been in the Commonwealth. May I inform hon. members that there were two reasons in particular which, amongst others, persuaded me to allow a discussion of our colour policy, the first being the discussions which I had had in advance with the leaders of Great Britain herself. It is common knowledge that strenuous efforts were made by the Prime Minister of Britain and the Minister of Commonwealth Relations to have discussions with the various member countries to bring home to them the basic idea that the Commonwealth should remain intact for the sake of points of agreement and in spite of the points of difference. I was then informed that if I adopted the attitude, which we had adopted in the past, that South Africa’s affairs may not be discussed, even if that was the correct constitutional position, or if I concede no more than we had conceded last year, that is to say, that the policy of South Africa may be discussed in private conversations and in private groups, I would probably spoil the atmosphere to such an extent that the prospects of success would immediately disappear. An appeal was therefore made to me not to press this demand on this occasion. I then said: “ Very well, if it is necessary to create the right atmosphere for South Africa’s admission to the Commonwealth, I shall accept your advice and allow this policy to be discussed, but I want to say perfectly clearly that I regard it as wrong, and that I also regard it as a dangerous precedent.” I went on to say: “ I must say that, although I am giving my consent now, which is the only way in which such a discussion can take place, it must not be regarded as a precedent that I shall give permission in the future, and that I am also of the opinion that such a discussion ought not to take place in the case of other countries’ affairs.” In the circumstances, therefore, so as to help to create a favourable atmosphere, I gave that permission.
But there was a second reason, and this is a purely logical reason. If, when South Africa’s application for membership came before the Conference, there were people present who, on the grounds of our colour policy, either objected to our membership of (and this would be more reasonable) had certain doubts which they were anxious to have removed by hearing our side of the case, I did not see how I could say that they should not be allowed to advance their reasons for their attitude. In other words, I felt that in these circumstances it was only reasonable and desirable, even unavoidable, that permission should be given to discuss South Africa’s colour policy on this occasion. Both in view of the request of those who had taken the lead in their attempt to keep South Africa within the Commonwealth and because of the reasonableness of such a request, I therefore felt obliged to give this permission. I am convinced that if we had refused permission, it would have led to much more unpleasant discussion and insistence, and the result would have been no different. Then I would have been reproached here to-day for the very opposite reason, namely, for my refusal to make just the “ small concession ” of permitting a discussion.
That was the first serious concession that I made therefore in an attempt to keep us within the Commonwealth, in accordance with my promise to do everything possible to ensure our continued membership.
I may say here in parenthesis that the question of a republic or a monarchy was never discussed or regarded as being of any importance. All that happened was that everybody said that it had nothing to do with this matter, that we were perfectly free to change our form of government, and that that was not the basis of any of the arguments. That has also been stated in his latest speech by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. It is true that the establishment of a republic could be used as an excuse for this discussion, and it is true that the argument was advanced by our opponents in South Africa that if only we had not come forward with the proposal to establish a republic, the question of our colour policy would not have come under discussion. In that regard I want to give two replies. The one is that the abandonment of our republican policy on this ground would have meant that membership of the Commonwealth would have placed such limitations upon South Africa that she would not even have been able to make up her own mind or to act in regard to a matter which is obviously her own affair. That very curtailment of our power to act in accordance with our own wishes would then have been a good reason basically to leave the Commonwealth without further ado, because it would have restricted the sovereign freedom of the nation and the State. Secondly, I am perfectly convinced that the absence of this constitutional issue would not have helped at all, because, in the course of these discussions, it emerged perfectly clearly that the Afro-Asian members, with one single exception, intended to try to force us at every opportunity, indeed, at the first opportunity, to abandon our colour policy. Failing that, they would have come along with a proposal that we should be expelled, and this matter would then still have come under discussion. I am not so sure that it would not have come under discussion on this occasion. I think it would have been discussed. In other words, I have no doubt in my own mind that, although the establishment of a republic was used as a convenient excuse for dealing with this matter, the policy of separate development would have been dealt with and would have led, sooner or later, to the same result—rather sooner than later, and probably now!
We must be under no illusions. This whole dispute concerned the colour policy. The outcome, too, is based entirely on differences with regard to the question of colour policy. Moreover, in the final analysis it is based not only on our party’s attitude, although inevitably Government policy became the bone of contention, because we happen to be in power. In essence the reason for the clash was the unequivocal demand that the White man must not be allowed to protect himself anywhere in Africa or in the world by putting up barriers. That was regarded as being in conflict with complete equality. I admit that initially the critics would have been satisfied with “ small concessions”. In that regard I shall have a few more words to say. However, one must look beyond the immediate shadow at the substance behind it, and the substance, the reality, was unambiguously that the White man must no longer be allowed to protect himself by erecting barriers, either here in South Africa or anywhere else in the world. There must be complete equality everywhere; full and equal political rights must be given everywhere. I know that the Tunku stated recently that he had no objection to the White Australia policy; in other words, to the erection of such barriers. I know that, but that is what is being said to-day. Like Mr. Menzies, I, too, fear that the self-protection of the White man in other countries will give rise to future attacks. I am as strongly convinced of that as he is.
I put forward the proposition that it was not our aim, just as little as it is the aim of the other side, to make one group of the population subordinate eventually to the other. I pointed out that we all sought, along different roads, to bring about non-subordination eventually. I tried to prove, in terms of our Bantu policy as well as our Coloured policy, that in every way we were seeking some means whereby co-existence would become possible. I said, just as I stated in my South Africa Club speech, that when a particular group, perhaps a smaller group, had acquired something for itself, it was entitled to its continued existence, without its being watered down in any way. Sometimes it can only retain its possessions and its independence, just as a small nation can only retain it next to a great nation, by a separate existence, with political independence and with its own geographic boundaries. That is why we must retain our borders, not only materially in terms of geography, but spiritually and physically as well. That is why I said that we were not fighting for anybody’s permanent subordination. It is true that there is a transition period during which there are certain forms of separation and even certain forms of discrimination against the Black man within the White area and against the White man within the Black area. But these are transition periods. One also finds discrimination, however, in India and in Canada and in practically every country of the world where there are Black people and White people—or different kinds of non-Whites—although, perhaps, in different ways. I pleaded that we should accept in principle therefore that everybody was in favour of ultimate free co-existence and that every one of us was striving towards this end in our own way, and that that should not be used as an argument to push us out of the Commonwealth. But even this clear statement and this revelation that the policy of apartheid was not aimed at subordination but at co-existence, at good neighbourliness, made no impression. I regarded this as proof of what they contemplated. What they sought was not equality through co-existence and non-subordination in countries like South Africa, but the domination of superior numbers in the name of full equality and, therefore, eventual victory over the Whites by forcing out or swallowing up the Whites. It was there that we had to draw the line.
I said a few moments ago that they did not ask for all of this at once; that they did not ask at this stage for this complete surrender but that to begin with they asked for small concessions. They said that all we had to do was to make small concessions and then we could find a bridge. I know that this has also been said now in the British Parliament by the Prime Minister of Britain, and I shall refer to it again in a moment. It was perfectly clear to me, however, that those small concessions were to be made not only to overcome an immediate problem, namely to keep us within the Commonwealth, but also with an ultimate object. It was to be the beginning of undermining our policy and therefore the thin end of the wedge to create the prospect of full equality in the sense which I have just mentioned.
While on the subject of small concessions, I want to refer to an argument which has been used here in connection with something that we were allegedly not prepared to do and which would not have entailed an abandonment of the principle of apartheid. It was stated that we had even refused to receive diplomatic missions from the non-White states. We were told: “ There is no apartheid principle involved here; if you accept, as you do, the right of existence of separate nations and that they are equal and members of one Commonwealth, then there is an obligation upon you to have diplomatic relations with them. Why is South Africa not prepared to receive diplomatic missions from those states?” In the first place I want to have it perfectly clearly on record that this argument was not advanced at the Conference as is often alleged. It was mentioned just in passing by various members. A specific question was put to me about it, however, by Mr. Menzies to which I gave a specific reply, which I shall read out—
He has stated in public that he asked this question, so I do not regard it as a violation of secrecy to say here that he asked this question, and I am entitled therefore to say in public what my reply to that question was. It need not be a secret. My reply is recorded as follows—
In other words, it is not correct to say that I adopted an implacable attitude and was simply not prepared to think in these terms. I also want to add in the clearest terms that if the Commonwealth were to make itself an instrument to force member states to do this, that or the other thing, it would be acting wrongly. All of us have always admitted in the past that the Commonwealth has no right to intervene in the affairs of member countries. Diplomatic representation is a matter which concerns exclusively the states concerned and it is not something that the Commonwealth can force upon us, and indeed this issue was not raised specifically at the Conference itself. It was raised more specifically outside the Conference in as much as Mr. Menzies as well as Mr. Sandys discussed this matter with me outside the Conference. At those discussions outside the Conference I tried to explain to them in greater detail the difficulty of considering such representation at this stage in view of our circumstances. I pointed out that in the first place we should first make a little more progress with our policy of apartheid so that people here can see for themselves that there has been so much development in this direction that no confusion will arise, because of the reception of such missions, with regard to the relations here between ourselves and our non-White leaders and population groups. As their territories also become independent (“onafhank-like selfstandige”) areas and the Bantu accept the idea that they must exercise their rights in those areas so that relationships will be in conformity with what is taking place in the international sphere, so the whole position will become easier. The appointment of Commissioners-General who are practically ambassadors to our Native areas is already a sign that this is our goal. I went on to say that we must also bear in mind that at the moment the transition has not yet reached an advanced stage and that this might easily give rise to incidents and that such incidents may cause greater friction rather than maintain harmonious relations at a distance. I said that it was impossible at the moment to think of having perhaps five or ten or 15 missions, each consisting of ten or 15 non-Whites, all established in Pretoria. They would come from various countries of Africa —not only Commonwealth countries—because if some countries claim this right, others will also claim it. It goes without saying that our position would then become a difficult one, but I went on to say that that was not the crux of the matter. The crux of the matter is this: In the first place we have the representatives of certain non-European countries here, or we are getting such representatives (Egypt and Japan). Secondly, India had representation here and India is a member of the Commonwealth but she withdrew her representation! She must not come and complain now therefore that she cannot have embassies here. She had them and it is her own fault that they are not here to-day and not ours. Thirdly, it is not a principle of Commonwealth membership that there must be an exchange of representatives. The example of New Zealand and South Africa proves that. We have friendly relations but there is no exchange of representatives because it is not a matter of great importance to either country. Representation is not claimed therefore. Fourthly, and this is important, diplomatic missions are always based on existing friendships. There is no exchange of representatives between hostile countries. I pointed out how Ghana was behaving towards us; inter alia, how she refuses to allow our citizens to land there unless they do something which is in conflict with their duty as citizens of South Africa. I pointed out how we were co-operating with the rest of Africa in the C.C.T.A. and F.A.M.A. and on every existing body, but that they were nevertheless taking action against us. In a recent case, in connection with a health conference in Accra. South Africa was not even able to attend the Congress because of the arrangements made by Ghana. In other words, there is every willingness on our part to help; there is every willingness on our part to go there, and we have given a friendly reception to countries’ representatives who have come here. The hostility is all on their side, and what right have they or others speaking on their behalf to command an exchange of diplomatic missions? And above all, what right have they to demand the right to have a diplomatic mission in Pretoria when they have said previously, as some of them have done, that they are going to incite the Bantu of South Africa against the present Government? Must we allow a diplomatic mission to come here and to subject ourselves to all the iniquities that took place when we had the Consulate-General of the Soviet Union here, with the result that we had to send those representatives out of the country? Does anyone think that such a thing promotes peace, or does it in fact lead to discord? I pointed out therefore that the basis of an exchange of diplomatic missions must be harmonious relations. I argued that they must put their house in order and see to it that there was goodwill and a changed attitude towards us. Then we can start thinking about ways and means of making our peoples accustomed to this change, for example by first appointing a travelling ambassador who would visit the various countries in Africa. These various countries could then arrange similar visits to this country. If we find that that works well, then we and the countries concerned can discuss the possibility of diplomatic missions. That would be something for the future. This reasonable approach to the situation is now being represented in South Africa as a blunt refusal!
That brings me to the discussion on policy and membership. There was, in the first place, the concession which I then proceeded to make. I have already referred to the first one, namely to allow a discussion on our racial policy. The arrangement with the Chairman, however, was that the way in which South Africa’s case would probably be discussed would be for the constitutional issue to be discussed on the Monday as a technical matter and then disposed of. On the Tuesday, then, Africa was to be discussed and, as part of this discussion on Africa, South Africa was also to be dealt with. In other words, we were to discuss not only South Africa’s affairs, but also those of Ghana and Nigeria and the Congo and other countries. The discussion on South Africa was to form part of the review of the African situation. That made my first concession all the more reasonable.
When we started on Monday, however, it was clear that the other countries wanted to link up the question of policy with the constitutional issue and to discuss it immediately. So as not to spoil the prospects of harmonious relations, I then made this further concession and permitted this discussion. That was my second concession therefore, namely to agree to the discussion on the lines on which the Chairman wished to arrange it. He arranged it in this way only when he saw what the circumstances were and he then said, “ Very well, then, we will discuss the two subjects together ”. That was not in accordance with what had been arranged; it was not what I had expected; it was not what I considered to be right. Nevertheless I agreed to it and I accept the responsibility for it. It was a concession that I made in order to avoid hitches over what would have been described as a technical objection and as an unreasonable attitude leading to a split. Thereafter the debate took place. I do not want to say much about this debate. I just want to point out that I myself did not initiate this debate in any contentious spirit. This is what I said—
That is in line with the customary request, as it was made on former occasions. I strictly adhered to the formalities of the matter. Thereafter the discussion took place. The United Kingdom supported the request. Various others began to discuss it. Although the atmosphere was very calm—nobody spoke excitedly, nor have I any grievance against the atmosphere at the discussion—the fact remains that then already some inimical statements were made such as that there could be no effective co-operation with countries which did not accept a multi-racial community with equal rights; that a Commonwealth country could not accept the principle of no discrimination on grounds of race and act otherwise in practice; that the standpoint adopted by South Africa was abhorrent to the particular nation represented by the speaker concerned; that South Africa’s continued presence would perhaps be regarded as lending support to, or at least as agreeing with, South Africa’s racial policy and that this would be harmful to the Commonwealth, and even that it would assist communist propaganda. Furthermore, it was alleged that South Africa was too hasty in applying and that it should really have done so after the republic was established. Others again said: “ No, you are quite wrong. What South Africa is doing now is in line with the practice of the other countries which became republics.” Some Prime Ministers said that there might be international repercussions if the Commonwealth allowed South Africa to remain a member without any qualifications as to what its racial policy ought to be. There were some who said that the Commonwealth should adopt the policy of absolute racial equality, otherwise the value of the association would disappear. It was also alleged that if the South African Government really wanted to retain this link with the other members of the Commonwealth, it should demonstrate it by accepting the policies the other Commonwealth countries believed in and shared. It was also said that South Africa, in contrast with other countries, had done nothing to assist other Commonwealth countries. (I later proved the contrary.) It was alleged, e.g., that South Africa did not give technical assistance and that it evidently wanted to remain in the Commonwealth merely for its own «elfish reasons, and that other countries derived no benefit from it! (That of course is not true and that reply was given later.) In any case, all kinds of arguments of this type were advanced during the first day’s debate. One country even adopted the attitude, right in the beginning, that the ability of the Commonwealth to continue to exist depended on its becoming a multi-racial association actually in each country, and that it would just be pure expedience to accept a country which believed in apartheid. It was further stated that if it is said that the expulsion of South Africa would break up the Commonwealth, the fact that South Africa retained its membership would also break up the Commonwealth, and that therefore eventually the attitude should be adopted that South Africa should be kept out of the Commonwealth unless it undertook then and there to change its policy. The attitude was also adopted that South Africa’s racial policy was not really her domestic affair, but that South Africa should accept that this matter would continually be discussed unless she changed her policy.
This is how the discussion went on, until everybody had had their say. Then I replied, I am not going to deal with my reply at length, except to say that I stated South Africa’s position as clearly as I could and as sympathetically as possible. Hon. members know what my standpoint is. I stated my standpoint with the greatest courtesy, as everybody admitted. But it was quite clear that neither my statement of my conception of the function and nature of the Commonwealth, as I have put it here also, nor my explanation of how much more we do for our Bantu than any of those countries do for their underprivileged people, nor the proof I gave of what was not being done in those countries, made any impression. I emphasized the fact that within ten years we will stamp out illiteracy on the part of our Bantu, but that India will not do so within 50 years. I challenged the latter, in vain, to prove that it could do so. Despite all the further facts I gave about everything we do here as regards health, education, etc., and also what we do particularly in regard to allowing all our population groups to develop politically towards independence, all of this was simply brushed aside, and without taking it into consideration they just repeated: But you ought to evolve a policy of complete equality, even if in the beginning you only start in a small way, but it should hold out the hope of eventual absolute equality. I could only infer, because the demand for concessions was only in the political sphere, that we were being told by implication: Just make small concessions now and then we will swallow your membership for the nonce, but we shall continue to exert pressure on South Africa until eventually one man has one vote in South Africa, even though that should mean Black domination.
That is how the debate continued all day, and then we adjourned. The discussions were continued on Tuesday. Tuesday was the day on which the decisions were to be taken, both sides having stated their case. A proposal was then submitted to us, which was divided into two parts. The first part dealt with the constitutional question, which led to the conclusion that there was nothing to prohibit South Africa technically from remaining a member; and the second part stated that the criticism of those who rejected South Africa’s policy still had some connection, and that one could not really divorce the decision as to South Africa’s membership from the condemnation of its policy. In the draft proposal nothing final was said about the essential point as to whether South Africa could remain a member or not. I objected to this draft because in my opinion it had two great defects. The one was the lack of any clear statement in regard to South Africa’s continued membership, and the second was because it gave a résumé of the arguments advanced against our policy, couched in such terms that it acquired the character of laying down the rules and principles of the Commonwealth. I stated very explicitly that it would mean that, if it were to be accepted in this form, no country could honourably remain a member unless it subjected itself to those principles. It would mean that South Africa would have to change its policy, and that we would not be prepared to do so. Then the discussions continued.
Then there was a second draft proposal. This draft stated two matters clearly. The one was that it stated the content of the attack in nicer words, and also in such a way as not to look like a formulation of principles but only like a summing up of the opinion of those who were against us. From this it was clear that only their opinions would be stated, and not new principles for the Commonwealth. Secondly, the draft clearly stated that South Africa would remain a member as the result of the constitutional argument that there were no obstacles in its way. That would, in other words, have given those who were opposed to our racial policy the opportunity to tell the world that they had taken up a clear stand-point gainst South Africa’s racial policy; but it would definitely have had the effect of saying that in spite of the differences of opinion South Africa would remain a member of the Commonwealth for the sake of the common interests which exist. That was then discussed. Later on I said that I had no basic objection to it except that it seemed unfair that whilst the two sides of the case had been stated at the meeting, only one side of the case would be stated in the communiqué. It was then suggested that I could also give a brief résumé, in my own words, of our side of the case for incorporation in this second draft proposal. I accepted that suggestion. We then adjourned for a while, during which period I and my delegation briefly put our standpoint into writing, and then we brought back the amended proposal as the one which we were prepared to accept. But on our return we discovered that this specific proposal, which we were asked to accept as the basis for certain additions, was suddenly no longer acceptable and was simply being swept aside! I presume that happened as the result of discussions held during the interval, although I knew nothing about it.
They immediately reverted to the first draft which, as I have said, was unacceptable to me in its original form because it had those two defects I have mentioned. During the course of the discussions which then ensued it was, however, stated clearly that it was not intended that the second portion should constitute a formulation of principles, but that it was merely intended as a statement (and in fact a stronger statement than in the second draft), in their own words, of the objections of those who were opposed to us. I was then asked whether I would not be prepared to accept this draft, although I had already rejected it— because in my opinion it had a different character—and to say how I would like to have it worded in order to make it acceptable to me. I then asked very distinctly, firstly, whether it meant that I could insert in my own words the standpoint which I had already stated during the argumental stage, but so as to fit in with this draft, because it would have to cover other points than those contained in the second draft. That was answered affirmatively. Secondly, I asked whether the necessary amendments could be made to make it clear that the first part of it dealing with policy only represented the standpoints of the other Prime Ministers but did not lay down new principles for the Commonwealth, and that was also answered affirmatively. The result was that by the end of that day I agreed to do what I had not wanted to do at first, viz. to accept that draft also as a possible method of arriving at a conciliation between the conflicting opinions as to our continued membership. Late that evening I still had to make a speech at a dinner, but during the night my delegation and I got together and drafted the amendments and submitted them when we met on the Wednesday morning. I showed the Chairman of the Conference the draft in advance. He recommended certain changes, which I accepted, and in the afternoon he submitted the result. When he submitted it he stated that he believed that a solution had now been reached, because I had agreed to work on a basis which had evidently been acceptable to the other members the previous afternoon, but in regard to which they had agreed that certain amendments should be made. When we had reached that stage, suddenly direct objections to our membership, which perhaps should have been raised earlier, were voiced. Then demands were made that there should be an addition which would make it clear that it was impossible—the word used was “ incompatible”—for a country to remain a member of the Commonwealth without it being stated as a demand that every member country should build a structure which would create a society in which equal opportunities in all spheres would be given to everybody, irrespective of race, colour or creed. In addition to that, Nigeria stated—and I would not have mentioned this if Nigeria’s representative had not since then stated this publicly—that if that proposition were accepted he would in the circumstances have to consider whether Nigeria should remain a member of the Commonwealth if South Africa nevertheless remained a member. Then the representatives of various Afro-Asian countries said, and it was said sharply—calmly still, but with asperity; the emotion became apparent, and that is why I called it vindictive in the statement I made later—that the question should now finally be decided whether it was compatible (and the word “ compatible ” was used again) with the spirit of the Commonwealth that South Africa should officially remain a member. It was further stated on behalf of India that it must be made clear that India would at the first opportunity—Nehru also stated that publicly since then and therefore I can mention that country—raise the question as to whether South Africa’s membership could continue whilst its racial policy remained unchanged. He also said that he regarded South Africa’s policy as “ inconsistent ” with the basic principles of the Commonwealth—in spite of the fact that everybody up to that stage had spoken as if they admitted that there were no written basic principles. He wanted this now to be incorporated in the communiqué.
At that stage I warned them that if there was any talk of reserving rights, as Ghana has since openly stated she was going to do in respect of her membership, I must also reserve certain rights. I would have to reserve the right to attack Ghana if she did not practise democracy which I in turn regard as one of the basic principles of the Commonwealth, if there are in fact basic principles. But I also added, “ What useful purpose is served by our attacking one another in this way or by reproaching one another?” Have I not constantly advocated that we should stop looking for points of difference? That was why I said, “ Let us forget these points of difference and look for points of agreement.”
In these circumstances Mr. Macmillan as Chairman felt eventually that he should again adjourn the meeting in order to gauge the feeling which was now perfectly evident. What he had thought would be the solution was now apparently rejected by most of the Afro-Asian countries as well as by Mr. Diefenbaker. I mention his name only because he himself has since stated publicly what his attitude towards South Africa’s application was and that principles must be laid down for the Commonwealth, in spite of the attitude adopted earlier. I then learned from the Chairman that the feelings were apparently irreconcilable. To sum it up, as I did the other day, we were faced with three facts. In the first place the members concerned wanted to reserve the right to themselves to regard South Africa’s colour policy not as a domestic affair only but as one which they could raise and discuss at any time. Secondly, they predicted and threatened that they would come forward with a motion asking for South Africa’s expulsion, whether at a subsequent meeting or earlier or even now. Thirdly, they reserve the right, if in these circumstances South Africa remained a member, to withdraw from the Commonwealth themselves. It was perfectly clear to me that we had arrived at the critical moment where it was necessary for me to take my stand, a stand which at the same time would also be in the interests of the United Kingdom and our other friends in the Commonwealth.
I had the choice at that moment between four alternatives. The first was to concede that the Government of South Africa would start making certain policy changes as the result of intervention in her affairs, although I believed that in due course this would wipe out the White man in South Africa, even though the concessions were described as minor concessions.
The second alternative was to concede that such demands and principles should be embodied in a written resolution in the communiqué, but without any intention on our part to change our policy and in that way ensuring our continued membership, in the knowledge that South Africa would then remain a member under a cloud; in the knowledge that everyone outside would say that South Africa was remaining a member in a dishonest way; in the knowledge that her domestic affairs would continually be discussed without her being able to prevent it; in the knowledge that the threat of a motion of expulsion would remain and continually hang over her head, and knowing full well that certain other countries might then perhaps withdraw, with the result that although South Africa would then be a member, she would remain a member with the continual reproach, from Britain as well, that it was her fault that the others had left. We would then have remained a member in the knowledge that in agreeing to such a resolution we had sacrificed our honour and that no friendship could be built up with anybody on that basis.
The third alternative was to sit back and to let the Conference vote, or to quarrel about the unanimity rule, and then to refuse or not to refuse our application for membership, just as they pleased, and to do nothing at all ourselves. I would then have placed Britain and our other friends in the critical position of having to choose, whatever the consequences might be to them. I would have had to sit back and let them carry on in the knowledge that whatever choice they made, there would be all the ingredients of a clash against, and rancour in the minds of, those who were rejected, whoever they might have been, and of reproaches against those who remained, whoever they might have been. In other words, the distintegration of the Commonwealth, about which there is doubt at the moment— some people think it will gradually disintegrate and there are others who do not think so— would then have been a certainty. The ill-feeling on the part of those who remained or those who were pushed out, would then have remained without any hope of reconciliation.
The fourth alternative was to withdraw our application. Firstly, it would have this advantage that we would retain South Africa’s chance to continue in her own way to strive for the preservation of the White man on a basis of co-existence with the non-White. (In this connection let me say to my hon. friends on the other side that on this occasion we were under fire because we happen to be the governing party but with their policy, which is also a policy of discrimination in the eyes of the world, they would have found themselves inevitably in the same difficulty, if not now then a little later, unless they were dishonest or unless they accepted the policy of the absolute surrender of the White man.) The second advantage of withdrawal would be that our friends in the Commonwealth, particularly the United Kingdom, would be saved the embarrassment of having to choose. By not forcing the issue we would be able to remain friends (which is already proving to be the case). The third advantage would be that we would remain a member of the Commonwealth until 31 May, which would at least give us these few months to make our friendship arrangements and to pass certain legislation, as the British Parliament now proposes to do. This would not have been possible if there had been a sudden severance of connections as the result of a refusal of membership or rather as the result of a resolution expelling us. Another advantage of withdrawing our application would be that it would give me the opportunity of fulfilling all obligations of courtesy to the Queen. But I do not want to pursue that subject because custom demands that the Kingship should not be dragged into this matter. Fifthly, it would enable the United Kingdom, in her own way, to try to keep the rest of the Commonwealth together without our membership proving an embarrassment to her, and at the same time she could, bilaterally, retain her bonds of friendship and trade with us. In other words, this would ensure the minimum loss.
I chose No. 4 because I had no other choice.
The following is the statement which I made on giving notice of the withdrawal of the application—
My request was made in the expectation that it would be willingly granted without reservations, as was done also by South Africa in the previous cases of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Ghana and Nigeria, in spite of our great differences with them which we were prepared to subordinate to co-operation in matters of common concern. Furthermore, we were influenced by what we considered to be the genuineness of the sentiment expressed at last year’s Conference of Prime Ministers, namely, that South Africa was welcome as a member of the Commonwealth, when her racial policies were the same and equally well known.
It is with great regret that I am obliged to take this step of withdrawing my request, and I wish to assure the friendly disposed Prime Ministers that South Africa’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth on 31 May will be deeply and sincerely regretted, not only by the Government, but also by the people of South Africa, and we hope and shall endeavour to co-operate in all possible ways with all those members of the Commonwealth who are willing to retain their former good relations with us. I am sure that the great majority of the people of my country will, in the circumstances, appreciate that no other course was open to us. National pride and self-respect are the attributes of any sovereign independent state.
I must admit that I was amazed at and shocked by the spirit of hostility, and at the last meeting even the vindictiveness, shown towards South Africa in the discussions, in spite of the lengths to which we were prepared to go in the various draft communiqués suggested. It is clear that, in the view of the majority of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, after the lead given by a group of Afro-Asian nations, South Africa will no longer be welcome in the Commonwealth after 31 May, when she becomes a republic. The character of the Commonwealth has apparently changed completely during the last year.
The opposition to South Africa’s continued membership of the Commonwealth is based on alleged discrimination against and oppression of the non-White peoples of South Africa. I do not intend now repeating my strong denial of those allegations. I do, however, wish to state that it is ironical that those allegations have come from Prime Ministers in whose countries oppression and discrimination are openly practised, and where the basic principles of democratic government are flouted. In this connection I refer particularly to Ghana, India, Malaya and Ceylon, although certain other Commonwealth countries are also not free from such practices which are sanctioned by legal enactments. In other cases, while not expressly permitted by law, little or no attempt is made to discontinue such practices.
In conclusion, I wish to state that the proceedings at to-day’s meeting which have obliged me to take this regrettable step, in my opinion, mark the beginning of the disintegration of the Commonwealth. This free association of states cannot hope to survive if, instead of devoting itself to cooperation in matters of common concern, Commonwealth Prime Ministers are going to continue the practice of interfering in each other’s domestic affairs, and if their meetings are to be made the occasions for attacking their fellow members. The practices which have led to the present unsatisfactory conditions prevailing in the United Nations will, I venture to predict, lead to the eventual disintegration of the Commonwealth, which all would regret.
Mr. Speaker, the rest you know. The communiqué which was then issued just stated the fact, and I do not think it is necessary for me to quote that. Then followed my discussions with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and those of Mr. Louw and myself with other members of the British Government. This demonstrated the desire on both sides very clearly to retain friendship and work out the necessary agreements and to give clear and direct assurances that trade agreements would continue undisturbed.
This brings me to the statement made by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the House of Commons on 22 March, of which I have a full copy through the courtesy of the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom. I wish to say very little about this, but it must be quite clear to everyone that Mr. Macmillan tried his best to convince the Afro-Asian nations and Canada to accept the amended draft communiqué which he and I had agreed might be a solution. I think it is equally clear that he did not succeed. He did try to deal with this as purely a constitutional matter. He did feel that, in view of the strong feelings expressed on the racial policies pursued by the Government of South Africa, the discussion could not be narrowed to the constitutional point. I gave him all co-operation in allowing this discussion, and he acknowledges that in his speech. He said—
It was impossible to overlook the racial issue, he said further on: “ In fact, as the House knows, it became the dominant issue and the purely constitutional point was overshadowed.” It is also true that Mr. Macmillan takes up the standpoint that he does not believe that the Commonwealth will in future turn itself into a body which will pass judgment on the internal affairs of member countries. He says—
I am glad that he has this confidence. I do not wish to incite the other members of the Commonwealth to discuss domestic matters in future. I cannot, however, see how this “holier-than-thou” attitude of some of the members at the present Conference can be maintained if, in future, they are prepared to accept oppression by other countries of racial groups within their countries, on which much information was given me by representatives from those countries, requesting me to attack Malaya and Ceylon and India, for the oppression they were suffering. I cannot see how the “ holier-than-thou ” attitude towards South Africa can be maintained by the other members unless they do interfere. I also do not see how it can suddenly be said that the only principle of importance to the Commonwealth is multi-racialism, but that democracy counts for nothing. If this must, however, become the next important principle by which members test and attack one another, then the military dictatorship in Pakistan must come under fire—however much I personally admire President Ayub Khan, and however wise an attitude he took up. How can Commonwealth members avoid looking at the situation in his country from the purely theoretical standpoint of the non-understanding person outside as they did with us? How on earth can they particularly avoid looking at the position in Ghana, with the leader of the Opposition in Holland and others in prison? Will his dictatorship be permitted in an avowed democratic Commonwealth? The enormity of the situation which has developed in the Commonwealth does not become decreased if, in future, no further interference in domestic affairs takes place, but it becomes increased. Then it will be quite clear that principles do not count, but that certain nations were gunning for South Africa and South Africa alone, and that older members were powerless.
The Prime Minister of Great Britain always treated me throughout with the utmost courtesy, and I wish to pay tribute to him for the way in which he conducted his chairmanship….
I have no grudge or grievance against him. He did take up a clear standpoint against our policy. I do not object to that. It is his right to say (as he did again in his own Parliament) that he believes that the policy of separate development is wrong. He put it in very strong words. He referred to his speech in Cape Town, where he said he tried to put courteously what he thought was the British point of view. We all know what the reaction was amongst the White people of Africa to that speech. We all know that it was felt that Britain was leaving its own people in the lurch in various portions of Africa. He stands by that standpoint. I cannot blame him; it is his. He said this, however, too, and to that I must react—
It can be seen from this precisely what concession would have meant, namely, not small concessions as something final, but to provide “ grounds for hope ”, in other words, to provide grounds for further future pressure if that hope was not fulfilled. He wanted to overcome immediate difficulties, by concessions—in other words, that we could remain in by making these concessions—but they would have looked upon them only as “ possibilities for the future ” and the pressure would be turned on continuously. How could we remain on such terms?
It is quite clear that he sees our standpoint as a dogma. I do not see the policy of separate development as a dogma. I cannot see that the preservation of the White man in his own country is something which you may stigmatize as a dogma. There may be various people who think there are other ways of saving the White man while I can see only this way.
The point of view we support differs fundamentally from the one he believes in. I ask hon. members of this House, as well as all those interested outside, to understand that since the Prime Minister of Britain can and does utter his criticism of the South African Government’s policy, I may do the same with regard to his, especially where it affects us. I look upon his policy with regard to Africa as being wrong.
When we look at Kenya and see what is happening to the White man there, we see that his original policy of only making a small concession to the Black inhabitants, giving a junior partnership, just did not work out. I see as a result of his policy the White man disappearing from Kenya in the course of time, or being totally submerged. Starting with the idea of a junior partnership, that country has already reached the stage of Black domination soon. And that is the path which will follow elsewhere when similar conditions exist. I fear for the position in the Central African Federation as long as this theory of the British Government remains the policy for that country. I have never said anything like this before because I do not believe that the leader of one country should criticize the policy of another country, but I must on this occasion, owing to the liberty he took, contrast very clearly and distinctly my belief that the policy or the dogma that Britain is following in Africa does not do justice to the White man, and ultimately will not be best for the Black man either.
I do not attack Britain’s policy with regard to countries like Nigeria and Ghana, which are undoubtedly wholly Black man’s countries, and should have become free. I wish to do the same for the Native areas of my own country as it becomes possible. I believe in the co-existence of people as separate entities, but not in the intermixture of nations. This so-called multi-racial or non-racial policy is not one which provides justice for all races. It leads to Black domination where it is applied, where there are several population groups and only numbers are made to count. If we in South Africa wish to preserve ourselves, which is a right we have, then this policy which Britain is applying in those other countries, would be fatal.
But let me also say this. I criticize also the British policy with regard to the Protectorates, and I have never done that before. In view of the fact that our policy is being discussed in the British Parliament, I think I may just say these few words. I believe that the Protectorates are the Black man’s country, and that they should develop as such. If they were under our protection that would be the direction in which we would guide their development as we are leading the development of our Black areas, whereas in the case of Britain’s policy there is an attempt to make them multi-racial countries. In Basutoland the 2,000 White traders who are being treated as second-class citizens because they cannot get ownership of land in future, may have some sort of vote, but I say that they should have no vote there. It should be wholly a Black man’s country, and if it were under our protection then those White people would get their vote in the adjacent White constituencies in White South Africa. In other words, there is a clear difference of outlook with regard to multi-racialism or, as it is sometimes called, non-racial government, as a solution for problems in various countries. I do not think it is anything of the sort, although we both seek fair treatment for all, the one in a mixed community and the other in separate ones.
There is for us in the future apparently only the following commonsense attitude to take. We must agree to differ in our outlook on racial policy, but there is no reason whatever why in everything else we should not cooperate to the utmost extent. There should and can be, and I believe there will be, real friendship between South Africa and the United Kingdom and other members of the Commonwealth, particularly the older members. We shall even continue our attempts to develop good relations with the other newer non-White nations no matter what has happened now. I believe there will be the best co-operation at least between us and the United Kingdom in regard to trade and everything that appertains to trade relations. These assurances have in fact again been given by both Mr. Macmillan and Mr. Sandys in the House of Commons during the discussions just held, and despite critical attitudes in other matters. About that there need be no doubt. As far as other matters are concerned, we are accepting the suggestion in the House of Commons that legislation should be introduced whereby arrangements will be made to retain the present relationship while our experts on both sides investigate these matters in order to see how re-arrangements can best be made. A particularly difficult matter will be that of citizenship and in that connection both countries will have to go into the matter most clearly. The question of trade and preferential trade agreements need however not be affected by this temporary arrangement. They can and should continue to exist and I would like to quote Mr. Macmillan’s words in this connection, when he said—
This is as we have always contended.
At the end of his speech Mr. Macmillan used a phrase, as reported in the newspapers, which struck me as very wrong. He said that somebody wrote that the flag of South Africa must now be flown at half-mast. “ So be it.” It seems to me that in saying that he made a mistake. This is not the case. To us it would have been a day of mourning indeed if we had had to submit to our own destruction, if we had committed race suicide by giving way on a matter of policy and principle, if we had had to subordinate ourselves and our future to the wishes and the desires of an Afro-Asian group within the Commonwealth which, as far as this matter is concerned, the United Kingdom could no longer control. Now our flag flies proud and free at the mast head, and under it there will be justice for all—not only for those in whom the Afro-Asian nations who dominated those discussions were interested. They cared little for the rights of the White man in Africa or of the world, notwithstanding the fact that it is the White man to whom all the progress must be ascribed of which people all over the world at present boast and in which all participate. White and non-White, and from which the freedom of all of them has sprung.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to close with an appeal and I make this appeal to the English-speaking people in South Africa in the first place, to our non-Whites secondly and to my Afrikaans friends in the third place. My appeal to the English-speaking people of South Africa is this: We have to go into the future together. We can do so in full friendship although we can still have our differences on various matters of policy, and perhaps particularly colour policy. On that we cannot apparently agree. But the situation which has been created …
Who created it?
… the new situation which has now been created is not necessarily to the detriment of South Africa. On the contrary it might be, and I believe it will be, better for all concerned. The one reason is that now for once and for all an end has come to the background of our fight of the past in regard to English-Afrikaans relations.
Now there is a chance of standing together in one free country and co-operating on a basis which is the basis that the English-speaking people desire above all, namely great friendship with Great Britain. I appeal to the English-speaking people of South Africa not to allow themselves to be hurt—although I realize their sadness very clearly—not to allow themselves to be hurt too much by the fact that what is only after all a framework for friendly relations has fallen away, a framework which is not even in fact the one to which their sentiment was attached, namely the old family of nations. That framework has fallen away. What is of greater importance is the friendship itself with Great Britain and growing together as one nation here, closing our ranks as White people who will have to defend their future together. This should be easy, particularly where it can be done within the newer forms of close bonds of friendship which are already developing. This feeling that the friendship between our two countries must strengthen, I may say, has already obtained much support overseas. I would not like to mention any names, but this desire has been expressed by people with the greatest names in the country with which my English-speaking friends have their connections. It should give joy to those English-speaking persons who still feel that connection strongly. I do appeal therefore for friendship between Afrikaans- and English-speaking South Africans.
*I appeal to the non-Whites of South Africa, to every group of them, not to believe that South Africa and its Government do not want to be the protector of their rights. In fact it is the fundamental policy of this Government and of the voters of South Africa that each of them should have the right to govern their own area or racial group when they have developed to that stage, and it is desired that this development should eventually be complete for each of them. It is our object to have coexistence, and not domination. I appeal to them, seeing that they have no other guide to self-government and no other protector, to stop looking to foreign powers. Let them cooperate with us who, together with them, want to strive to give them their own independent existence.
I appeal to my Afrikaner friends in South Africa to get away from the conflicts of the past, the struggle against Britain, the struggle which we perhaps still have to-day between the Afrikaner and the Englishman, as he is called. The time for that is past now. Here we now stand as an independent country, not bound to Britain in any way expect by the bonds of friendship which we ourselves forge, bonds which we ourselves create. That is the only reason why I, as Prime Minister, can speak to-day in a way that General Botha and General Smuts and General Hertzog and Dr. Malan and Mr. Strijdom could not speak, namely, to make an appeal for friendship between these two nations, because no longer can there be any suspicion as there necessarily had to be in their time. At that time the fear necessarily existed that closer bonds could result in the destruction of the ideals of the Afrikaner nation, such as to have an independent republic. That is no longer the case. Now the position can only be that one nation seeks the friendship of and gives friendship to another nation. Now both nations in all the negotiations and agreements can also keep in mind their own self-interest, materially and culturally, as is the case when agreements are made with other nations. Therefore I appeal to the Afrikaner nation to consign these conflicts of the past to history. Let us go forward together and forge bonds of friendship and trade between our independent state, our republic of South Africa, and the other state, the United Kingdom, the country of origin of many people in this country. We need each other if the White man is to have a future in South Africa.
Mr. Speaker, this is not the first statement which the hon. the Prime Minister has made in connection with this subject. When one examines the various statements he has made, the broadcasting addresses which he has given and the speech which he has made to-day, then I think there are three facts which emerge. The first is that the hon. the Prime Minister’s mission overseas was a failure—it was a miserable failure which brought great comfort apparently to the communist countries of the world and a good deal of dismay to those who favoured the Western Group. It may also prove to have been a failure to a certain extent in so far as the Commonwealth itself is concerned, because a precedent has been created, the future compass of which no one can foretell at this stage. The second fact which I think emerges is that all this could have been avoided had the hon. the Prime Minister and hon. members opposite not taken it upon themselves to gamble recklessly with South Africa’s Commonwealth membership. I think the third thing that emerges is that there are going to be repercussions; that a situation has been created which is going to call for the greatest statesmanship from all groups in South Africa if we are not to suffer severe harm as a result. In that regard there has been mention of the national pride, the national self-respect, of the South African people. I want to say that the national pride, the national honour and self-respect of South Africa is something which is very precious indeed to this side of the House. It is something for which we have demonstrated that we have a regard, a very special regard, both in peace and in war, and in good times and in bad. It will be part of my purpose to-day to ask this House and the country why it is that South Africa’s honour, South Africa’s pride, has been assailed on so many sides throughout the world, but it will also be my effort to offer help in any attempts that may be made to save what can be saved in the situation which has now been created, and to do our best to see the honour of South Africa restored. I think the people of this country know that they have always been able to rely on this side of the House in good times and in bad. We have stood by South Africa and we intend to stand by South Africa again, but too often we have been called upon to pull chestnuts out of the fire when difficult situations have been caused as a result of the policies of others in South Africa; and while we make that offer and make it unequivocally, I think it is right that on this occasion the blame should be squarely placed where it belongs so that the public will know what the position is. I do not believe they do know at the moment exactly what the position is and I believe they do not know because in connection with this matter, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which has a long and proud record of unprejudiced broadcast, seems to have departed from that rule and has become nothing more than a propaganda machine of a type that you would only expect to find in an authoritarian state.
A supplement to the Transvaler.
It is scandalous.
It has represented the hon. the Prime Minister as winning every round until he threw in the towel. Twice it said we were in the Commonwealth when apparently we were out. The selection of news has been most extraordinary for an organization which claims to be non-partisan and for putting over news in an unprejudiced manner. The second thing that has led to that is the extraordinary situation we have seen develop where when it seemed certain that South Africa would be within the Commonwealth, steps were taken to give the hon. the Prime Minister a hero’s welcome home—and I believe he would have earned it—but when it turned out that we were out of the Commonwealth he got a hero’s welcome all the same. What was it those people wanted? Did they want to be in or out of the Commonwealth? I think one wants to know. I think it is an extraordinary situation.
Honour and self-respect.
What do you know about that?
There, Sir, is the Minister who got up at the D. F. Malan Airport and said that the Prime Minister had failed but that it was not his fault. There is a third reason, Sir, and that is the tactics that have been adopted by members on that side of the House in attributing all the difficulties they have had to the Afro-Asian bloc and playing down very much the difficulties they seem to have had with the second most powerful nation in the Commonwealth to-day, namely Canada. I wonder, Sir, whether that is a friendship which we can afford to spurn? I wonder whether the fact that Canada was not with us is not something to which public attention should be drawn very forcibly? Sir, the cruel fact is that we have suffered one of the biggest diplomatic defeats in our history— and we have had a number of diplomatic defeats under this Government. Let us look at the history of this matter. Hon. members will recall that when this matter was first raised the Prime Minister and hon. members opposite made it clear that in so far as they were concerned, they could give us no assurance whether we would be in or out of the Commonwealth if we became a republic. It was a matter which they would consider in the future and which they would decide with the criterion being the best interests of South Africa. After mature consideration, after the Prime Ministers’ Conference which was attended last year by the Minister of External Affairs, after full knowledge of what had happened there, we had a statement from members on that side of the House that it was in the best interests of South Africa to remain within the Commonwealth and they stated that to be their desire in the interests of South Africa. I believe that that was what they wanted the public to believe. The hon. the Prime Minister attended a conference which has had startlingly different results, and I think what we should ask ourselves is what was the hon. gentleman’s mandate when he went overseas. He has read to us this afternoon certain excerpts of what he said at the beginning of this year. Sir, they are of no importance; what is of importance is what he said before 5 October last year, and what is of importance is the impression which hon. members opposite tried to create in the minds of the people of South Africa last year when they were trying to get them to vote for a republic. Every single one of them was trying to create the impression that it was a foregone conclusion that South Africa would be in the Commonwealth. Sir, I do not think I put it unfairly when I say that the mandate of the hon. the Prime Minister was to stay in the Commonwealth if not kicked out or if it was not made impossible for him. I do not think he will feel that I am doing him an injustice if I put it that way.
If it did not place us in a humiliating position.
Already we have an amendment from the hon. gentleman who is responsible for the South African Broadcasting Corporation, and who, I thought, might observe a little humility on an occasion of this kind. Sir, apparently at that conference the Prime Minister found it difficult to separate the question of South Africa’s membership from the so-called international implications of our internal policies. With his consent those policies were discussed. I do not propose to pass judgment on the wisdom or otherwise of the granting of that consent, but I think it is quite clear that without his consent they could not have been discussed. Once they were discussed the hon. the Prime Minister was in this position that it became incumbent upon him to gain support for his policies to justify his policy in the international forum, in the world, which I suppose it could be expected would be the most friendly disposed towards the Union of South Africa, a forum in which, because of long association, our difficulties were perhaps best understood. What happened, Sir? The hon. gentleman failed to obtain any support at all for those policies, and those policies were criticized and condemned by every single country that was a member of that conference, including Great Britain, including Australia, including New Zealand, whom we regard still as being particularly closely associated with us. Mr. Menzies himself said—
Sir, what is more tragic is that after this explanation of his policy it would seem from his own words that the majority of the members of the Commonwealth wanted the Prime Minister out. He failed to gain support for that policy as I fear he will fail to gain support for it in any international forum in the world at the present time, because, Sir, it is not a defensible policy and it never will be a defensible policy as it is being carried out by the hon. the Prime Minister.
Mr. Speaker, what was his position then? He says he had four alternatives. May I take the hon. gentleman back to the discussions we had last year? I expressed the view that the unanimity rule would apply to South Africa’s re-admission to the Commonwealth and that one vote against would put us out. The hon. the Prime Minister took up the attitude that my approach was wrong and that this was not a case of re-admission, it was a case of continuance of membership and that he could not be expelled otherwise than by a unanimous vote expelling him. That is the view that was put across very strongly by the hon. the Minister of Finance.
What a failure!
This is what the hon. the Prime Minister said at Ladysmith on 19 September 1960—-
Sir, either I was right or he was right. He has not told us to-day. If I was right then he was taking a most reckless gamble with South Africa’s membership, a gamble so reckless that he does not deserve to hold the position which he does at the present time. If he was right then it required a unanimous vote to put him out and it would seem that he concedes that that was the position, because he said his third alternative was to sit tight and let the members argue and possibly argue about the unanimity rule. If he was right, Sir, they could not expel him. All he had to do was sit still. At least one member of the Commonwealth had already said they did not want South Africa out. Mr. Menzies had said so; Great Britain had said so. Presumably New Zealand would have supported him and then there was his own vote. Why did he not sit tight? His mandate was to stay in the Commonwealth if he possibly could unless it was made absolutely impossible for him. He was maligned, he was criticized by members, although I must say Mr. Diefenbaker considers that the criticism was fair. Mr. Menzies thinks it was a frank exchange of views. Both make the statement that there was calm throughout and that there was no use of excessive language. But, Sir, it is nothing to have to sit still and suffer indignities for one’s country. Many of us have been slanged for South Africa; many of us have been shot at and shelled and bombed for the honour of South Africa. All the hon. gentleman was asked to do was to sit still and then he could not be put out of the Commonwealth and South Africa would still have been a member at the present time. Sir, there are suggestions that what he did was done in the interests of Great Britain, that because of what he did he has probably saved what is left of the Commonwealth for Great Britain and the other founder members because, he says, he has saved them from having to choose between voting for South Africa and voting for certain of the other members’ views. Sir, has he saved them from that? What are the future implications of our withdrawal from the Commonwealth? If we are to have friends anywhere then they are to be with those former members of the Commonwealth, and are they not going to be in just as awkward a position with the other members of the Commonwealth if they continue to be friendly towards South Africa, to share her privileges and preferences which they only give to other members of the Commonwealth? Is he not embarrassing them just as much as if he had stayed there and fought it out? Perhaps we might have seen a different kind of Commonwealth emerge as a result of that. The hon. the Prime Minister says that he believes that what has happened has in it the seeds of the disintegration of the Commonwealth. Mr. Menzies is very worried indeed: others expressed differing views. But if that was the Prime Minister’s view, surely it was his duty to remain; surely it was his duty to try to see that something emerged which was a different kind of Commonwealth from what he fears it may develop into, because those who did not agree might then have got out. That is why I say the hon. the Prime Minister had a mandate; he has not carried out that mandate in my opinion. He has broken faith with the overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa whom he well knows wanted South Africa to remain a member of the Commonwealth. Now, Sir, the hon. the Prime Minister failed at that conference for a number of reasons. It has been suggested that if we made the smallest concession, the very smallest concession, there might have been a different atmosphere. The hon. gentleman has been at pains to explain to us that the tiniest concession would set us on the road which would lead to the undoing of the White man in South Africa. Sir, if he believes in separate development of European and non-European and he believes that ultimately they will be separated, then surely any concession he makes is merely temporary while the process of separation is taking place. He can’t have it both ways, Mr. Speaker. Either he believes in separation or he does not believe in separation. Let me take it a step further. Mr. Macmillan in his speech refers, in the copy issued by the High Commissioner, to former great leaders in South Africa, like Smuts and Botha, and he says there was discrimination in those days, but those men saw a vision and they were working in that direction. Was their vision, Sir, the complete destruction of the White man in South Africa? We go further. There are suggestions that the big point at issue was the question of diplomatic representation or an exchange of representatives between the Commonwealth countries. Now, Mr. Speaker, that is a matter on which I always understood the hon. gentlemen opposite and their Government were prepared to make concessions; they were prepared to move in that direction. It seems extraordinary that this should have been one of the issues which caused the breakdown of this conference which was of such vital importance to South Africa.
My hon. friend says it was not. I want to read to him what Mr. Sandys said last night—
Mr. Sandys says more about that, and he is not the only person who talks about it. Mr. Menzies talks about it. Here is what Mr. Menzies said in a Press interview, the text of which comes to me through the courtesy of the Australian High Commissioner’s Office—
Mr. Macmillan himself said something about it. Now is it possible that this whole conference should have been allowed to fail and that South Africa’s desire to remain a member should have been frustrated because there was unwillingness to assist in this regard? Here is the statement from Mr. Macmillan—
The hon. the Prime Minister has said that the basis of diplomatic relations is friendship. Is there no non-European country in the world with whom we are friendly?
If that is so, then why not diplomatic relations? You see, Mr. Speaker, we are in that unsatisfactory position that certain members at that Prime Ministers’ Conference obviously attached far more importance to this matter than the hon. the Prime Minister himself, and it is quite clear that in that respect they were probably expressing the sense of the feeling of many others, which was apparently not communicated to the hon. the Prime Minister. It seems to me a tragedy that when such a small matter might have led to South Africa’s continued membership, as a result of what might have been a misunderstanding we should be situated in the position we are in to-day.
Sir, the hon. the Prime Minister failed for other reasons there too. He failed because there were ghosts at that conference as well as the members, and the ghosts were the ghosts of legislation like the Church Clause, the Separate Representation of Voters Act, the Group Areas Act, the High Court of Parliament, the Natives Refusal of Interdicts Act, and a variety of other legislation which spoke there more loudly and perhaps more cogently than the hon. the Prime Minister himself could speak in respect of the position in South Africa. The pages of Hansard to-day are studded with warnings that by persevering with these unnecessary and arbitrary measures for the sake of barren ideology, South Africa was losing her friends in the civilized world. There was a testimony against South Africa which could be brought in evidence wherever civilized men met, and it was a testimony which the hon. the Prime Minister could not negative at the Prime Ministers’ Conference. It seems to me, Sir, that it was only when he came face to face with that reality that he threw his mandate overboard, that he threw up the sponge, that he forgot what the mandate was from the people of South Africa and he decided to withdraw South Africa’s membership. It is a tragedy for South Africa. It may also prove to be a tragedy for the Commonwealth. I know that is the Prime Minister’s own belief. The tragedy is, as far as South Africa is concerned, that all this could have been avoided if the hon. the Prime Minister had been prepared to take the warnings that he received from this side of the House last year when he came forward with his plans for the referendum and throughout the referendum campaign. We warned the hon. gentleman opposite of the dangers involved, but, Sir, our friends on that side of the House seem to be divided into two groups. The first group are those who are really very happy that we are out of the Commonwealth. They never wanted to be in. They are the people who regarded it as a concession to the English-speaking people of South Africa to agree that South Africa should remain in the Commonwealth if it once became a republic. They are some of those who could not suppress their jubilation in the lobbies when they heard South Africa was out. They were some of those who did the cheering at the airports when they welcomed the Prime Minister back after South Africa was out. Then there was another group, those who were anxious to remain in the Commonwealth and believed that Commonwealth membership was a foregone conclusion, something which would follow automatically and conventionally upon application. Some were even prepared to bet on it, Mr. Speaker.
I want to say in fairness to the hon. the Prime Minister that it is perfectly true that he warned that he was asking for a mandate. His mandate was a republic within the Commonwealth. But he made it clear that if he could not achieve that, then he was going to regard a vote in his favour as a mandate for a republic outside of the Commonwealth. But at the same time, Sir, he and every member of his party went out of their way to persuade the public that they had nothing to fear, and there is not the slightest doubt that a very large number of those who voted for the republic, voted under the impression that that republic was virtually certain to be within the Commonwealth.
Let me just refresh the memories of hon. members opposite. Here is a reply given by the hon. the Minister of Finance on behalf of the Prime Minister to a question in the House last year, on 18 May. The Minister of Finance made a statement on behalf of the Prime Minister in respect of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in London last year, and he said inter alia—
Fortunately I was in the House at the time, and I asked the hon. the Minister a question. I said—
The reply was—
That was the foundation laid for the campaign that took place. We heard from the hon. the Prime Minister in Johannesburg—
At Lichtenburg, from the Prime Minister—
The Minister of Finance—
The hon. the Minister of Defence at Silver-ton—
The hon. the Deputy Minister of Education, Arts and Science—
The Minister of Lands—
The Deputy Minister of the Interior—
That is how the public were misled and hoodwinked in that referendum campaign. What the hon. the Prime Minister scoffed at came to pass, what he called United Party scaremongering became a reality. The hon. the Prime Minister has found that one of the prices of his republic is to be South Africa’s membership of the Commonwealth. Now, Sir, he is trying to soften the blow by speaking of bilateral trade agreements with Great Britain and other Commonwealth countries. I have no doubt he will be assisted most enthusiastically by those members of his own party who secretly hoped that Commonwealth membership would be refused because it would break the last ties with Great Britain. They too will be able to speak with the Prime Minister about “ die verkryging van volkome vryheid sonder dat ’n skoot afgeskiet is”.
Now the hon. the Prime Minister is turning round and is saying to South Africa that he must be supported for withdrawing, his action must be understood because he has no other choice. Mr. Speaker, why was he there in that position? Because he would not listen. It is because of his intransigence that we landed in that position. He is like a bad general who has been outmanoeuvred, surrounded by the enemy, who finds himself in an impossible position and says: You understand I had to surrender. But why was he there?
Because he is the Prime Minister. [Laughter.]
Mr. Speaker, it was because of his intransigence and lack of foresight of the hon. gentleman opposite and his supporters, despite the warnings they received, that they landed in a position from which they could not extricate themselves. They have placed themselves in a position which they could no longer control. Sir, I do not believe that it would be done by anybody so recklessly who really has the welfare of his country at heart if he could have foreseen the result of his actions. The hon. the Prime Minister sent this letter to every voter in the referendum—
No mention anywhere in that letter of going out of the Commonwealth. It was because of that that we on this side of the House suggested that this matter should be again tested by a referendum. The hon. the Prime Minister not unnaturally refused that request, because he is determined to go ahead regardless of the cost. I want to say this, that when the future cost of South Africa’s Commonwealth membership is counted, when it is brought home to the people, as it surely will be, then it must be remembered that it is this hon. Prime Minister who is responsible for what has happened. It is still free for him to-day to postpone the proclamation of a republic until such time as there has been an opportunity for further thought, further examination of the situation, and perhaps a reconsideration of their decision by other members of the Commonwealth, and I wonder whether the Prime Minister will show the statesmanship to take that course.
I do not want to stress any further the warnings given by this side of the House. I sincerely believe that the impossible position in which the hon. the Prime Minister found himself could have been avoided had he taken the advice of this side of the House. But I have to say something else, Mr. Speaker: I believe it could have been avoided had he been prepared last year to give heed to the warnings and suggestions of people on his own side of the House, of people outside supporters of his party, of people with great influence in South Africa who begged him to modify his policy in certain respects. They were supported in their requests by intellectuals in our universities, by students at our training colleges, by the most important newspaper that supports the Nationalist Party at the present time. I know the hon. gentleman has told us that the Prime Ministers at the Conference would have been satisfied with little concessions. But he sees in little concessions the beginning of one man one vote. In that, I think he is attributing to the Conference his interpretation of the ultimate result that he believes little concessions may lead to. Mr. Speaker, he had requests last year from the hon. the Minister of Lands, he had suggestions made to him by the Minister of Bantu Administration and Development, subsequently withdrawn, but taken up by the biggest and most powerful newspaper which supports the Nationalist Party. What would his position have been to-day, Sir, if he had been able to say to the Conference that he was taking steps to see that the Cape Coloured people were represented by their own people in this House? What would his position be to-day if he could have said with the Minister of Lands that the old history book of South Africa was closed at Sharpeville, and that a new one had opened? What would have been his position if he would have listened to the suggestion from his own newspapers and his own people? What happened? All we got was the granite stubbornness of the hon. the Prime Minister, and the result was that he was placed in the position of trying to justify policies at that Conference which he had been unable to justify to many of the members of his own party and many of the people who support him outside this House.
What are we to do in the present situation? What are we to do now about the future of South Africa? I think the first thing is that we must evaluate the position. Secondly, we must decide what it is we want to achieve as a people. Thirdly, we must decide what we can do about achieving it, about reaching the ends we hold in view for ourselves.
If you look at the present position, there is not the slightest doubt that the termination of Commonwealth membership can have serious repercussions for the South African republic about to be established. Firstly, there will be repercussions upon the relations between the two major European groups, because the first concession which hon. members opposite said they were giving to the English-speaking group was membership of the Commonwealth as a republic. Now, to put it mildly, they find themselves in a position that it is impossible to carry out that undertaking, and that republic as a result is going to be more sectional even than we feared it might be. The second point is that there are going to be repercussions on the relations with other existing members of the Commonwealth. The hon. the Prime Minister suggests that we should draw closer to our existing friends, that we should draw closer particularly to the United Kingdom, to Australia and to New Zealand. Well, Sir, there are indeed signs that we may be able to save a great deal in this situation. But it is equally clear that we cannot save everything and I feel satisfied that there is no member on that side of the House who can put his hand on his heart and get up and declare this afternoon that South Africa’s position has improved because we are out of the Commonwealth. What was said last night in the House of Commons? The British Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan, and Mr. Duncan Sandys both spoke and they agreed with suggestions made during the debate that Commonwealth membership was something very special and that it could not be cheapened by making its benefits fully available to non-members of the Commonwealth. That is so important that I want to read that excerpt from Mr. Sandys’s speech. He said this—
Then the question of nationality cropped up and it was suggested that we should be treated in the same way as Ireland, but it was made perfectly clear at once that we could not get that treatment. Then came the question of defence. What is the situation there? The two governments have made it clear that existing agreements remain. What are they? An exchange of letters in 1955. We have already resiled from an undertaking to provide an armoured division in the Middle East. There is the Simonstown Agreement. Mr. Sandys makes it perfectly clear that the British Government is not going to make any future commitments without having the closest examination of the arrangements between the two countries. But, Sir, it is on the diplomatic front where we will probably find the greatest changes. We are going to find ourselves more isolated in a hostile world, and it is in the sphere of that psychological shield which membership of the Commonwealth gave us that we may first begin to feel the draught, so to speak, of isolation from the Commonwealth.
What is the position now in respect of South West Africa? We were hardly out of the Commonwealth when by resolution at the United Nations Organization, at the Trusteeship Committee, by 74 votes to nil a resolution was passed of an unfortunate kind for South Africa. But that is not all that has happened. [Interjections.] My hon. friend should not be in a hurry, let him wait a minute. He knows very well what the dangers of trusteeship are. He knows that by this very act of trying to attain so-called independence he may see Black nationalism leap-frog over Angola and land up in South West Africa. He knows that there is a resolution passed asking for an inspection committee whether South Africa wants it or not. When we were a member of the Commonwealth …
What has that got to do with the Commonwealth?
Mr. Speaker, when I hear a question like that from an hon. Minister in this Cabinet I realize with what abysmal ignorance one has to wrestle when you try to explain the effects of the loss of Commonwealth membership to hon. members on that side of the House. I am going to take this matter further now. In the past we always had the feeling that if this matter got to the Security Council and there was difficulty, there was a possibility of Great Britain exercising her veto because we were a member of the Commonwealth. Does the hon. gentleman think that is going to happen now? [Interjections.]
What is the position in respect of our relations with the rest of Africa? Even somebody like Field-Marshal Lord Harding made it clear that we could only play a leading part in the defence of Africa as a member of the Commonwealth. We were able, as a member of the Commonwealth, in informal circumstances and in the most friendly forum in the world, to meet the leaders of the emergent African States. Will you tell me, Mr. Speaker, in what circumstances we are going to meet them to-day? Mr. Menzies himself says that it is a tragedy that these informal discussions will never take place again.
The hon. the Prime Minister has told us that the economic consequences for South Africa will be extremely small. He has told us that bilateral agreements will continue to be maintained. But he knows as well as I do that what has happened is going to be a shock; that it is going to be a shock to capital; that it is going to be a shock in respect of confidence in South Africa; that it is going to be a shock in respect of immigrants coming to South Africa. And what about the non-contractual preferences? What about the non-contractual preferences which we enjoyed as a member of the Commonwealth? What is going to happen to our Commonwealth sugar quota under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement? And are we sure that even if these contractual preferences are renewed, or do not lapse immediately, that we will retain them in the event of other governments coming into power in Great Britain? Here is an excerpt from a speech made only last night by Mr. Dugdale, a former Secretary for Colonial Affairs. It says—
That was an opposition member.
He was a member of the former Labour Government. And what I have asked is what the position will be if there is a change in government. Does the hon. gentleman think that the Conservative Party will remain in power for ever?
Mr. Speaker, in other words, what we are doing is that we are entering a period of uncertainty in South Africa: We are entering a period of growing isolation; we are entering a period of growing difficulties as a result of what has happened in London and the Prime Minister’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth. [Interjections.] Mr. Speaker, you know it is very interesting to hear these interjections. We listened to the Prime Minister in complete silence on this side of the House but the moment I make remarks about which hon. gentlemen feel hurt, we get squeal after squeal coming from them in the most shocking manner.
Order, order! Hon. members must give the hon. the Leader of the Opposition an opportunity to make his speech. [Interjections.] Order, order! The hon. the Minister must not make interjections.
He has no respect for the Chair.
What is it we hope we shall be able to achieve in South Africa? I think the first thing that we want to achieve in South Africa is satisfactory race relations between all our people. Secondly, we want to be recognized as a member of the Western community of nations playing our part in the battle against Communism. I think, thirdly, we realize that our acceptance as a worthy member of the Western community of nations depends upon us finding a satisfactory solution to the non-European problem in South Africa. But I know that hon. members on both sides of the House will want to know what our future relations should be with the Commonwealth. I want to make it clear that we on this side of the House—as I know is the position with many hon. members opposite— feel that we should like to do what we can to have our Commonwealth membership restored. We will work in that direction. We have noticed that the door is open as far as Great Britain is concerned, and I believe that there are other countries of the Commonwealth that feel the same. And while we shall direct our energies to that end, we realize also that we must be realistic, and that it is possible that our return may be barred because of the unanimity rule and because of one or other nation refusing to have us re-admitted unless thee is one man one vote, or some equally unacceptable proposal as far as South Africa is concerned. I believe that that will probably not happen. And I believe that when I say we shall move in the direction of the restoration of Commonwealth membership, we are moving in the direction of an ideal which is achieve-able without in any way endangering the traditional way of life in South Africa.
Members of the Commonwealth have already made it clear that they do not expect certain of the conditions which the hon. the Prime Minister would lead us to suppose are the ultimate results of the small concessions of which he talks. But we must take stock of ourselves. We must not be guilty of intransigence; we must not be guilty of obstinacy. I think the time has come when we must consider what we can do to bring about those achievements for the future of South Africa.
I believe that the first thing that we must do is to have a proper regard in our national life for the dignity of each individual as an individual. I believe, secondly, that we have to face the consequences of accepting the Cape Coloured communities as part of the Western group. To me that means that job reservation should not be applied to them. It means that the Cape Coloured people should have the right to sit in this House if elected, and it means that they should be restored to the common roll. It means, in respect of the Asiatic community, of whom the hon. the Prime Minister said in London in his address to the South Africa Club, that he, too, wished to protect—it means that in their respect the Group Areas Act must not be applied in such a way that it deprives them of their traditional means of livelihood. It means that there must be fairness to them, that it must be recognized that they are a permanent part of the population. It must be accepted that repatriation is dead And it must be accepted that the position has now arisen when negotiations must be entered into as to their future status in the political life of South Africa.
I get frightened, Mr. Speaker, when I hear people say that we dare not modify our policies or our attitudes in any way because, if we do, the suggestion is that we shall be submitting to foreign dictation. Surely we are capable of better judgments than we have given in regard to many of these matters at the present time? I stand second to no one in brooking no interference with the internal affairs of South Africa. That very question was put to me, not in this debate, but when I appeared on television in Great Britain. I was asked what my attitude was, whether I was prepared to see South Africa accepted subject to certain conditions being imposed. And I replied then, as I reply now, that I would regard that as an invasion of our internal sovereignty, and I would not support it—which is exactly what the Prime Minister did not do. If he had taken my view he could have sat there and we could still have been in the Commonwealth, without any conditions imposed upon him at all. But, oh no! They could not take it, so they ran away, and now they are trying to find excuses. There is nothing weak about modifying policies and realizing that you may be wrong. But it is weak to be stubborn when it is in the interests of your country to make concessions. And I fear that that is the weakness which we are seeing on the other side of this House at the present time.
I believe that in our race relations we have been deliberately stopping our ears to the whisperings of our conscience and the changes which are necessary for a successful application even of the policy of the hon. the Prime Minister in South Africa. What has happened? For years we have had talk of this policy of separate development. What has been done in the seven years since the Tomlinson Commisison Report? They recommend the spending of a minimum of £104,000,000 in the first ten years for the development of the reserves. How much has been spent in the first seven years? Approximately £6,000,000! Is it any wonder that the hon. gentleman is unable to justify his position overseas? Native representatives have been removed from this House, Mr. Speaker. What political rights have the Natives to-day in the reserves? Not to mention the Natives permanently settled in our urban areas. I have said time and again that you cannot govern people without consulting with them. You must allow them to feel that they are participating in the business of government. But I have said, also, that I believe that White leadership will have to be retained for the foreseeable future in the interests of both sections of the population. I believe that we have to make a difference between the Native who has become de-tribalized and is permanently outside the reserves, and that you can adopt other systems and other forms of representation for the Natives in the predominantly Black areas in the reserves. But it is time that a start was made. It is time a start was made with the development of the reserves. It is time a start was made with the use of White skill, White capital and White initiative, to develop’ the reserves.
The hon. the Prime Minister knows that one of his own newspapers is pleading for that. One of his own members in the Other Place is pleading for it. But the hon. the Prime Minister is not prepared to budge an inch. And it is because of that that we are having such difficulty in international affairs at the present time.
Now, Sir, I believe that the moment I make proposals of that kind I will immediately be asked what is the ultimate vision for South Africa; where will that lead. And I believe that, if it is properly applied, it will lead to a racial federation to which the accidents of history will allow us to give a geographical content. I see a Central Government in the future that has, perhaps, conceded certain rights to certain of these predominantly Black areas, to give them a large measure of self-government. But I see a federation in which the various groups of the population are able to live together in harmony and to work for the future of South Africa, and to show that it is possible for people of different races to live together in peace and happiness within the structure of one state. But what do we require to achieve those things? First of all it is perfectly clear that there must be a great measure of co-operation between the two big European sections of the population. But at the present time it is not possible to get that co-operation because of the granite-like attitude of the hon. the Prime Minister. I believe the time has come, as a result of what has happened in Great Britain, as a result of the difficulties with which we are faced to-day, to appeal over the head of the hon. the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to the more reasonable and sensible supporters of that party to try and come together and find a common policy for the development of the Union of South Africa.
Sir, we can no longer afford the luxury of obstinacy, of stubbornness, of refusal to give an inch just because you are wedded to a type of ideology. And I believe that if there is any good to come out of this business, that good may be that we see a new future in South Africa, we see the dawning of a new vision for South Africa in which, I am afraid, the hon. the Prime Minister will play no part.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition has forgotten that only last October the electors of South Africa, with a substantial majority, agreed to South Africa becoming a republic. I suggest, after listening to the speech that he made to-day that he is sorely misjudging the feelings of a very considerable part of the English-speaking people in South Africa. During the time that the hon. the Prime Minister and I were overseas, even after the decision was taken to withdraw our application to retain membership of the Commonwealth, the Prime Minister received numbers of telegrams and letters from English-speaking citizens in South Africa, and he has received even more since his return. I repeat, the hon. the Leader of the Opposition is completely misjudging the feelings of the English-speaking people of this country.
The hon. the Leader of the Opposition says that all the trouble could have been avoided if the hon. the Prime Minister had not gambled on this question of a republic. Does the Leader of the Opposition really believe that if we had not withdrawn our application, that at this conference, or at some future conference, the Afro-Asian Group, which is now in control of the Commonwealth, would have left South Africa in peace? It is clear from certain information which I shall give later on, that they certainly would not have left us in peace, neither at this conference nor at any future conferences.
Do you think they will now?
It appears clear from the statement made by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition to-day that he is quite prepared to remain in the Commonwealth at the price of full political equality for every non-White in the country.
That is untrue.
That is the logical consequence of what he said here to-day. He is prepared to pay that price. Now he denies it.
He never said that.
He said that if his party were to come into power, they would return to the Commonwealth. And if he were then asked to pay that price what would he do? Would he stay in or would he go out?
I told you what I would do. You did not listen.
I listened very carefully and I took notes of what the hon. member said. He is prepared to pay the price of Commonwealth membership by agreeing to full racial equality, which is what they demand. [Interjections.]
Mr. Speaker, with great respect is the hon. the Minister allowed to misquote what I say and not accept my explanation of what I said?
Mr. Speaker, I was present at the discussions. The hon. member was not there.
I am talking about what I said in my speech.
I do not care. The logical consequence of the hon. member’s statement here to-day is that we should have remained in the Commonwealth at any price.
Did you not hear me say that I would not pay that price?
And the price which was demanded, again and again, was full political equality for every non-European in the country. The hon. member cannot have it both ways.
I do not think you were listening, Eric.
What is happening to-day is that the hon. member is, as usual, making political capital out of this very serious and this very important matter. He says he lays great value on Commonwealth membership. So do we. If the summary reports of the conference discussions could be published as a White Paper, then the world would know how far the hon. the Prime Minister was prepared to go in order to retain our Commonwealth membership.
The hon. the Leader of the Opposition says that he places great value on Commonwealth membership. Which Commonwealth? The Commonwealth as it was in days gone by, or the Commonwealth as it is to-day constituted? And I say with emphasis that after the discussions that took place, and the statements that were made in London, if this is to be the Commonwealth of the future then South Africa is much better out of it.
We have had the old story about isolation, if South Africa is not a member of the Commonwealth. Is Ireland isolated to-day? She became a republic outside of the Commonwealth. Indeed, I suggest that the relations between Ireland and Great Britain to-day are better than they ever were before. Why should we be isolated? He mentioned the matter of trade. I had discussions with Mr. Mauding, the President of the Board of Trade, the Minister of Commerce, and he was quite clear on this. He said that there was no reason whatsoever why the preferences should not be retained, since they are embodied in a bilateral agreement. The hon. member forgets that Britain has a very large export trade to South Africa. Last year our exports to Britain were about £106,000,000. Those are the British figures. Their exports to South Africa were in the neighbourhood of £188,000,000. Does the hon. member imagine for one moment that Great Britain is going to take the risk of losing that huge export trade to South Africa just because she does not like our colour policy?
The hon. member has referred to our position at United Nations. He said that now that we are out of the Commonwealth, South Africa will no longer be able to rely upon British or Commonwealth support. We never have had Commonwealth support. Britain supported us until a year or two ago and now she is no longer supporting us. She has given notice that on the South West Africa issue she can no longer support us. That was before the republican referendum. We have not been able to rely upon Britain’s support at United Nations. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition referred to the matter of diplomatic relations. That matter was never discussed at the conference. It was mentioned only in passing. Mr. Menzies and others may have mentioned it in their speeches, and in Press interviews in London, but it was never discussed at the conference. It was not a deciding factor. There was only one matter that was discussed. Our opponents wanted full political equality and nothing less.
The hon. member has to-day, as he did after the withdrawal of the Prime Minister’s request was announced, made great play of this question of a mandate. He did not go as far today as he did when he issued his statement. One would have thought that after the statement by Mr. Menzies which he has before him, and after the editorial which appeared in the Rand Daily Mail a few days ago, he would have been careful about repeating the charge that the Prime Minister had deceived the country. In his statement he spoke about the Prime Minister misleading the electors at the referendum. He said that the Prime Minister had not kept his promise to keep South Africa in the Commonwealth, that the people were grievously misled. I wonder if the hon. member realizes that in making those statements, which he repeated to-day although not so strongly, he was seriously impugning the honour of the hon. the Prime Minister. He suggested deceit and dishonesty. And having set that pattern it was duly followed by other members of his party, and also in certain sections of the Press. Mr. Speaker, in making the suggestion that the hon. the Prime Minister went to London, as it were, with his tongue in his cheek, with no real intention of keeping South Africa in the Commonwealth, the hon. Leader of the Opposition made a statement which was not true, and which he should have known was not true.
When did I make that statement?
I noted the hon. member’s own words. He said the Prime Minister had misled the electors at the referendum, that he had not kept his promise to keep South Africa in the Commonwealth; that the people had been grievously misled.
Of course he misled them into believing that the Commonwealth membership was purely automatic.
I have looked at the South African newspapers since my return. It was clear from the reports sent from London that the Prime Minister was putting up a stiff fight at this conference, not in support of his colour policy, but to keep South Africa in the Commonwealth. In spite of that knowledge, the hon. member made these very serious charges. And having set the pattern, several of his political lieutenants and also certain newspapers, then accused the Prime Minister of having played a double game; that he had gone to the conference with his tongue in his cheek and with the intention of breaking the Commonwealth. This type of accusation; the impugning of the honour of the hon. the Prime Minister is beneath contempt. Those are the sort of tactics we get from the gutter-type columnists ot certain Sunday papers on the Rand, but which one would not expect from a responsible Leader of the Opposition or from other leaders on the other side. The hon. Leader of the Opposition is responsible for the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) who is one of his front benchers. He is one of his chief lieutenants. I want to ask the hon. the Leader of the Opposition whether he approves of statements such as the following which were made at Camps Bay by the hon. member for South Coast at the beginning of this week? I will quote from his speech—
He spoke of “ Dr. Verwoerd’s moral cowardice ”. He said “ It is the greatest betrayal we have had since Union ”. And then he said “ Dr. Verwoerd is entitled to his 30 pieces of silver ”.
Mr. Speaker, I ask the hon. the Leader of the Opposition: Does he approve of statements of that kind? Has he spoken to his lieutenant? When I read that speech of the hon. member for South Coast, the thought that occurred to me was that it was time that he went to see a psychiatrist.
I believe that large sections of the community are disgusted with the pettiness shown by the Leader of the Opposition and his irresponsibility, not only in this matter but in other matters since he has become a Leader of the party. The Rand Daily Mail is a paper which is no friend of the Government, which is severely critical of the Prime Minister, even in connection with the Commonwealth Conference. On last Tuesday, the 21st, the Rand Daily Mail wrote—
This is a very serious admonition given by a leading United Party newspaper to the Leader of the Opposition.
The hon. member quoted from a statement made by Mr. Menzies. I have here a copy of the same statement, issued by the High Commissioner for Australia. In view of the charges which the Leader of the Opposition has made and which his lieutenant from Natal (South Coast) has made, that the Prime Minister is guilty of betrayal, why did he not read the first part of Mr. Menzies’ statement? Mr. Menzies was not only a senior member of the Conference but a highly respected one. In regard to the suggestion that the Prime Minister had not done his best to keep South Africa in the Commonwealth, this is what Mr. Menzies stated last Saturday—
That is perfectly true. We also thought so. May I mention that the Prime Minister had already drafted his speech to be delivered at the South Africa Club. The speech was on the assumption that we would remain a member of the Commonwealth, but on the last day he had to tear up that speech and rewrite it. In fact, he arrived at the dinner late because the last few pages were still being typed. This proves the sincerity of the Prime Minister and shows the falsity of these allegations now being made against him. Mr. Menzies continued—-
But the hon. member says that all the Prime Minister had to do was to sit still! Mr. Mr. Menzies’ statement continues—
There were more than half—
Sir, this is the reply to the allegations made against the hon. the Prime Minister by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell).
Before dealing with the discussions at the Conference, I want to refer briefly to two arguments with which the Prime Minister has already dealt, namely that he had stated before the referendum that if membership of the Commonwealth were not retained, the republic would nevertheless be established. Now the Opposition comes with the hair-splitting argument that this referred to the possibility that South Africa might be refused continued membership and not its voluntary withdrawal. The hon. member himself in his speech said that if he were Prime Minister he would stay in the Commonwealth unless it was made impossible for him to do so. But that is exactly what happened in this case. Evidently the hon. member does not attach much value to national honour and self-respect. Sir, we do. In announcing our withdrawal, the Prime Minister said that self-respect and national honour were the attributes of any independent sovereign state. I am certain that every right-minded South African would have thought less of the Prime Minister if he had accepted humiliating conditions for remaining in the Commonwealth, and the conditions would have been humiliating. But for the Leader of the Opposition national pride has no meaning.
May I ask a question?
No, I have not the time. [Laughter.] The Leader of the Opposition and some of the newspapers supporting him, and also the hon. member for Yeoville (Mr. S. J. M. Steyn), said that the Prime Minister himself initiated the discussion of South Africa’s domestic policy, and that he is therefore to blame for what happened. The Prime Minister dealt with that allegation to-day. That allegation was taken from a statement made by Mr. Diefenbaker, and I say with a full sense of responsibility that if Mr. Diefenbaker was correctly reported he made a statement which was not true, and in view of the fact he was present at the discussions and that he had the records of the Conference at his disposal, he should have known that that statement was not true. Sir, I have looked through the records of the Conference. What happened was that the Prime Minister did no more than to ask for permission to remain a member of the Commonwealth—not for permission for re-admission, as the hon. member said, but to retain membership—and he then referred to what had happened in the cases of Pakistan, India, Ceylon and Ghana, when admission was automatically granted. Having made that request, the Prime Minister said no more. He made his request and left it at that. In view of the disclosures by certain Prime Ministers of what happened, I think I am also entitled to refer to what happened, particularly as these accusations are being made against the Prime Minister. I think it is necessary in the interests of truth.
After the Prime Minister had made his simple request to retain Commonwealth membership, the Chairman, Mr. Macmillan, reviewed the past procedure. He referred to the permission granted to India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Ghana to remain members, and then he went on to say that on each of those occasions the matter of giving consent had been treated almost as a formality. That is exactly what we have always said, but it was denied by the Leader of the Opposition. Then Mr. Macmillan proceeded to say that if South Africa’s continued membership were treated purely as a constitutional question, it should not present any difficulty as the precedents were quite clear—in other words, automatic permission. But—and this is the point—he continued to say that in the case of South Africa there were certain other aspects, viz. the widespread anxiety about the Union’s racial policy. Sir, this is the reply to Mr. Diefenbaker’s statement, if he was correctly reported, that it was the Prime Minister of South Africa who first raised the question of South Africa’s racial policy. Mr. Macmillan then proceeded to say that the other Prime Ministers would welcome an opportunity to discuss the matter and that Dr. Verwoerd had agreed that it could be done on this occasion. Sir, that aspect of the matter had been very fully discussed between the Prime Minister and myself and the Secretary for External Affairs the previous night, and we had agreed that if the other Prime Ministers wished to state their views on the merits of South Africa’s application to remain a member, it would be only fair to allow them to do so, and I do not think any reasonable man can quarrel with that. But now the Leader of the Opposition turns against the Prime Minister and says he was the man who agreed to South African affairs being discussed. It was also discussed between the Prime Minister and Mr. Macmillan. When I had the honour to represent the Prime Minister at the Commonwealth Conference last year and when I objected to South Africa’s internal affairs being discussed there, there were people here who criticized me for my obstinacy. It was Mr. Macmillan who first said there were other aspects of our application, namely the widespread feeling about our racial policy. After that they all started attacking South Africa, India, Pakistan, Ghana, Malaya, New Zealand, Ceylon and Nigeria. Believe it or not, in spite of the fact of his saying that it was our Prime Minister who raised the matter of our racial policy, Mr. Diefenbaker also raised it. This condemnation of South Africa’s policy took up the whole morning’s session, and in the afternoon our Prime Minister gave a full, reasoned statement of our policy. He refrained, commendably so, and with great restraint, from commenting on any of the criticism and the attacks that had been made on South Africa in the morning. I know that the sober and restrained manner in which our Prime Minister dealt with the matter, was appreciated by most of the other Prime Ministers, including those who are opposed to South Africa.
I come back to this allegation that the Prime Minister misled the country and went to the Conference, as one of the members opposite said, with the intention of taking South Africa out of the Commonwealth. I wish it were possible for the recorded summary of the discussions to be published as a White Paper. Then people in this country and the world would know not only what the attitude was which was adopted by our Prime Minister, but also the vindictive attitude adopted by our opponents. It would expose the falsity of these charges. It would show that the Prime Minister went out of his way, as Mr. Menzies says, to meet the views of our opponents in order to secure agreement, which would mean the retention of our membership of the Commonwealth. He learnt over backwards to meet them. Short of sacrificing principles and of bowing to the demand that South Africa should give up its policy, he did everything in his power to satisfy the Afro-Asian bloc which dominated the Conference. In order to satisfy them, the Prime Minister agreed to have included in the communiqué their strong criticism and attacks on South Africa, provided that the Union’s position would also be stated. A draft communiqué on these lines was later submitted by Mr. Macmillan and our Prime Minister, I must admit with considerable misgiving, decided to accept the compromise in order to keep South Africa in the Commonwealth. The Prime Minister and I together with Mr. Jooste and the High Commissioner were up until 2.30 a.m. trying to frame a communiqué in such a way that we could satisfy our critics and at the same time not sacrifice principles.
The following day, Wednesday, 15 March, the amended draft was submitted to the Conference, not by our Prime Minister, but by the Chairman, Mr. Macmillan. We were certain, as Mr. Menzies said in his statement, that the problem was now settled. But the draft did not suit the book of the more militant section of the Afro-Asian group. They wanted a condemnation of South Africa’s policy and would be satisfied with nothing less, and they then proceeded to attack South Africa. In view of the allegations against our Prime Minister, the statements in the Press and also made to-day by the Leader of the Opposition, I will refer to some of those attacks, but without mentioning the names of the parties concerned.
One of the Prime Ministers asked that the Prime Ministers should decide that a country could not remain a member of the Commonwealth without accepting the principle laid down by other Prime Ministers, namely full political equality irrespective of race, colour or creed. He said the South African Government refused to modify its policy and therefore his country would have to consider whether it could remain a member of the Commonwealth—a threat. The Prime Minister has referred to what Mr. Nehru said, so I can also mention his name. He said that South Africa’s policy constituted an insult to many peoples and races of the world, and that if our racial policy remained unchanged he would at the earliest opportunity raise the question of our continued membership—in other words, the expulsion of South Africa. One of the other Prime Ministers who has already made a statement since his return, is Dr. Nkrumah, and I can therefore say what he said, because it is substantially the same as what he said in the Conference. He said that Ghana reserved the right to raise formally at a later stage—next year, or next month, or within the next few days—the question of our expulsion from the Commonwealth. Otherwise Ghana would have to consider leaving the Commonwealth. Another Prime Minister said that the Prime Ministers had the right to raise the question of the expulsion of South Africa at any time in future and now the Leader of the Opposition expects our Prime Minister, in the face of those threats of expulsion, to humiliate himself and also South Africa. Mr. Diefenbaker, who has since made a statement in Canada, brought matters to a head by asking that the communiqué should contain a paragraph condemning South Africa’s racial policy. At that stage our Prime Minister for the first time in all the Conference proceedings interrupted, and said he was not prepared to agree.
Mr. Speaker, it is unnecessary to go into further details. The Prime Minister has dealt with the matter, but I would say that it was abundantly clear that the large majority of the Conference were determined that South Africa should renounce its policies, if it wished to retain its membership. The Leader of the Opposition to-day played with the question as to whether the unanimity rule prevailed or not. That is neither here nor there, because apart from anything else, to me national honour and prestige demand that you do not remain in a club in which you are not welcome. It was clear that those people would be satisfied with nothing less than full political equality. That would satisfy the hon. member for Salt River (Mr. Lawrence), because that is the policy of his party, but will it satisfy the Leader of the Opposition, who in this matter is sitting on two stools? On the one hand he wants us to concede these demands and on the other hand he does not wish to have full political equality. He cannot have it both ways. He admitted that if he had been there he would have had to choose. Sir, there was only one course to follow, and that is the one followed by our Prime Minister, if we were to maintain South Africa’s honour and self-respect. We could not remain in an organization in which we were not welcome and in which that very morning we had been threatened with expulsion now, or at any time in the future, and with the further threat that this issue would be raised in the future. We were not prepared to pay that price for the retention of membership, viz. the subordination of the White man’s interests in South Africa to the Black man.
What of the future? One thing is perfectly clear. I have attended four of these conferences since 1948, and compared with the one in 1948, there is no question but that the character of the Commonwealth has undergone a radical change. The Afro-Asian states command a clear majority and more are to follow. Next year there will be Sierra Leone, Gambia and possibly Tanganyika and Kenya. The Afro-Asians will dominate future Commonwealth conferences and they will not hesitate, as Mr. Menzies foresaw, to interfere later also in the affairs of Australia and New Zealand. Sir Roy Welensky, when it was known that we had withdrawn our application summed up the position tersely in these four words: “ The witch-hunt is now on.” He will be the next one to be attacked.
May I suggest to the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) that he should read the sensible recent leading article in the East London Despatch, which also deals with the great change that has taken place in the Commonwealth, and makes it quite clear that they also would not expect South Africa to remain a member of such a changed Commonwealth.
Before our departure from London, the Prime Minister had discussions with Mr. Macmillan and I had discussions with the Secretary of State for Commerce and Industries, and both the Prime Minister and I were assured by these and by other Ministers of the desire to maintain friendly relations with South Africa and to co-operate with us in matters of common concern. On his part, the Prime Minister gave a similar assurance to these Ministers. The Prime Minister felt that such co-operation would be more hearty because it would now be on sounder lines. On Thursday evening the Prime Minister addressed a gathering of about 460 people at the South African Club, of whom about 90 per cent are Britishers, people with business interests in South Africa. Not only was he applauded during his speech, but when he sat down there was prolonged applause because of the attitude he had adopted. He also addressed a group of members of the House of Commons and of the House of Lords. He was well received with hearty applause. Our position was understood. It is better understood by many people in England than by the Leader of the Opposition and certain sections of his Press and his followers. But I must confess to a measure of disappointment at the tone in some respects of Mr. Macmillan’s statement last night … [Time limit.]
I do not wish to follow the hon. the Minister of External Affairs in all the arguments he used. I want to react only to one argument he used, in respect of the national honour of South Africa. I want to tell him that I do not think there is a South African who is not jealous of the national honour and pride of South Africa. But we here do not believe that we must run the risk of national suicide in order to maintain that national honour. South Africa’s expulsion from the Commonwealth, it is clear to us, was the natural result of 12 years of Nationalist rule. What happened in London has to be viewed against the background of what has happened in South Africa since 1948. For 12 years we have had a baasskap régime and the most blatant exploitation of colour prejudice that this country has ever seen. For 12 years we have had the total denial of the most elementary rights to the mass of our citizens. We have experienced 12 years of destruction of the rights of the non-Whites, rights which they have enjoyed for over a hundred years. For 12 years we have followed policies in this country that run counter to the trends in the entire civilized world. In the world at large one subject race after the other obtained its freedom, and the cry of self-determination and its realization became the inexorable trend of history. But whilst this was happening in the world we, alone in South Africa, believe that race discrimination can still function as the basis of policy. In fact, it has been accepted by members of the Nationalist Party as a new ideology. We alone believe that we can maintain democratic government and we alone maintain that we can continue to subscribe to the tenets of Western civilization and also to maintain the goodwill of our own people and that of the world on a basis of race discrimination. This is the background against which we have to view the happenings in London last week, when other Commonwealth nations took advantage of the opportunity to pronounce judgment against South Africa. Whether this constitutes an interference in our domestic affairs or not is a matter of opinion. The fact is that we are unwelcome with our present policy of baasskap, for that is what it is, no matter whether we choose to call it separate development, good neighbourliness or territorial separation. Nobody can think that our loss of membership is exclusively the result of our becoming a republic. True, the procedural opportunity was created for action to be taken against us, but it is equally true to say that sooner or later, republic or no republic, the civilized world would have pronounced judgment against us. Sooner or later, the South African nation would have had to make a choice between racial discrimination and Commonwealth membership, between racial discrimination and the respect of the civilized world. Whatever the merits or the demerits of the Prime Minister’s conduct at the conference, the policy in which he believes and the policy of his Government, foredoomed his mission to failure. He was called upon in London to defend the indefensible, to justify the unjustifiable. This warning was sounded by us over and over again during the referendum campaign. We clearly stated that before embarking on this fundamental change we should put our house in order. The majority of the electorate and very many voters who would otherwise have voted against the republic were persuaded to accept the promises of the Nationalist speakers that no harm would be done to South Africa, that South Africa would retain her membership. We stated quite clearly that the Prime Minister and his Government were gambling with the future of South Africa, and yet again the assurances of the Government spokesmen persuaded the electorate not to heed our warning. We maintain that the Government spokesmen had no right to give those assurances. The Prime Minister now tries to minimize the extent and the effects of our loss. He himself admitted, though albeit belatedly, that it is in South Africa’s interests to remain in the Commonwealth. If the Prime Minister was sincere then, immediately before the referendum and before his departure to London, when he said this, how does he reconcile those views with his present view that our exclusion from the Commonwealth is a triumph, that our independence, our freedom has now been attained through a miracle; that South Africa has achieved the ideal of a free republic? According to the hon. the Prime Minister, South Africa has now achieved freedom, and may I once again use the words of my colleague when he spoke yesterday: “ Freedom from what and freedom for what? Freedom from bonds of friendship and freedom to face alone the mounting hostility of a world opposed to us?” Sir, the loss of Commonwealth membership is more than the hurt done to the sentiments of the English-speaking South Africans; it is also the harm done to the South African nation as a whole; it is the harm done to us materially; it is the harm done to us in the international field where the link that we as a small nation had with the Western world has been severed. The Prime Minister may in some mysterious way feel that he is more free now to pursue his inflexible policy, the inflexible policy of apartheid. Let it be clear now to everybody in South Africa that for him to do this, further inroads will have to be made into the liberties of the individual. Further insults will have to be endured by everybody in South Africa and by this nation in respect of the outside world. The hon. the Prime Minister asks for unity. He invites the White section of this community to stand together. For what purpose? His appeal to us is to unite in order to maintain domination. Let the South African nation be warned that no more dangerous attitude than that can be adopted. Unavoidably the impression must be gained by the non-Whites in South Africa and by the civilized world that we as a nation do not want to defend civilization as such, that we are called together to make the last sacrifice to retain the right to dominate other people. Let the nation be warned that should this be the purpose of unity, the sacrifices that we as a nation have been called upon to make in respect of the happenings at Sharpeville, Langa, Cato Manor and Paarl last year, and the sacrifices that we are called upon to make now with the loss of our membership, will not be the last. On this basis I have no doubt that in the end the White man in South Africa will be called upon to make the supreme sacrifice of suicide of the White man. Sir, I invite the electorate to look to the future. What must we do to regain what we have lost? What must we do in order to survive? We know now what we should have done and what we have not done in the past. This is the time to look to ourselves. This is the time to subject ourselves to an agonizing reappraisal. We know now that we cannot profess to be adherents to the principles of Western civilization and yet deny these very principles to two-thirds of our community. We know now that we cannot reinstate ourselves in the eyes of the Western world by denying basic rights to everybody whose colour is different from our own. We know now that we cannot win back our way to the Commonwealth of Nations as long as we practice race discrimination. In this regard it would be less than fair on my part to accuse only the supporters of racial discrimination belonging to the Nationalist Party. No, Sir, this is the time when the entire nation should have a look at itself. Let us reappraise our attitude; let us put right what we did wrong in the past; let us do the things that we ought to have done. I do not ask the nation to do this because I want to submit to outside dictates; I ask the nation to do this because I think it is only right, when we find ourselves completely out of step with the entire world, that we should ask ourselves whether we may not be wrong and the outside world right. Had I been satisfied that the policies that we have been practising in this country for the last 50 years and particularly the last 12 years were right, I would not have made this appeal to the people to change, but I am convinced that they are not right. I am not suggesting that all of us here do not stand for Western values. I am not saying that only people who think the way I do stand for Western world values, but it is beyond my comprehension how my friends believing in racial discrimination, can claim to subscribe to the same principles as the Western world does. Sir, total apartheid we understand. We understand what the Dutch Reformed Churches meant when during 1950 they said at their conference that apartheid was justifiable provided it was total. But I submit that that was never a serious policy of the Nationalist Party. No serious attempt has ever been made by the Government to implement total apartheid. We have often said that the concept of total apartheid is not immoral, but we know and the Government knows that it can never be put into practice in South Africa. It is not only we who say so, but our friends throughout the entire world. We have heard the name mentioned of the Prime Minister of Australia as one of the few friends we have left. He has warned the South African nation. He has said that he does not want to interfere in our affairs, but he cannot see how the policy pursued now by the Government, the policy of apartheid can ever provide a solution to our problems. He predicted that on that basis the end result must be bloody devastation. Those are the reasons, Sir, why we ask the South African nation to stand still and think; those are the reasons why we have criticized the Government throughout the years; those are the reasons why we have a duty not only to ourselves but to the entire country, to change our policy.
And to the Whites.
Both the Leader of the Progressive Party and the Leader of the United Party are completely ad idem about one thing. They say, as the Leader of the Progressive Party said, “ We are unwelcome in the Commonwealth because of our racial policy ”. In other words, they say that we are unwelcome in the Commonwealth because our colour policy is wrong. But it is perfectly clear to me now that our colour policy must be framed in such a way, not that it enables us to remain in the Commonwealth, but so that it enables the White man to remain in South Africa. The reason why the world is against the National Party’s colour policy is because we are to-day reaping the fruits of the suspicion sown by the Opposition in past years against the traditional colour policy of the Afrikaner. I can quite understand that the Prime Minister was not ashamed to discuss our colour policy at the Commonwealth Conference. It is not a policy about which we need be ashamed. The traditional colour policy of the Afrikaner is in my opinion permeated with Christian justice. Our policy is not one of oppression, as it has been represented all these years by the Opposition, the liberalists and the communists. Our colour policy visualizes social and national justice for all sections in South Africa, White or non-White, and I say that the world is up in arms to-day against this policy and that the Afro-Asian group in the Commonwealth has attacked us because we have had an Opposition in this country which throughout the years has always misrepresented this traditional colour policy of the Afrikaner. Mr. Speaker, the Afrikaner would not follow a colour policy which is in conflict with his Christian conscience. He would naturally follow a policy which takes into account social and national justice for all sections. But take the party on the other side; what are their tactics? They always suppress the ultimate consequences of their policy. They refuse to answer the question as to where South Africa is heading under their integration policy. They do not want to tell the public of South Africa honestly what South Africa’s position would be under their policy in the economic, political, social and cultural spheres. They can come along with all the slogans they like; they can come along with the slogan of White leadership with justice, but those sophistries cannot conceal the ultimate consequence which flows from their policy, because once you embark on the integration road, even if it is by way of gradual concessions, which are made step by step, even if it only means one non-White here in this House, as the hon. member for Houghton said yesterday, even if it is a sort of partnership, I say that eventually, on this integration road, there must inevitably be greater equality, assimilation and finally a multi-racial Parliament, which would lead not only to a Black Government but to the supremacy of the Black man in South Africa, which would mean the destruction of the identity of the White race in our fatherland. I say that in taking this step, which resolves one of our difficulties, which gives us the right constitutional basis for White unity, we had hoped that the time had come when we would get White unity; that all the different sections would carry out the traditional colour policy of the Afrikaner. We would then have had further common ground, and although we would then be outside the Commonwealth, we would have a common policy which would keep the White man within South Africa. Mr. Speaker, after the objective and convincing exposition by the hon. the Prime Minister as to what took place at the Conference, we expected a different attitude. In this hour, this almost God-given moment to obtain national unity, we expected the Opposition to adopt a different attitude. After all, there are no deep-rooted racial differences between us; we belong to the same race; we were all in favour of becoming a free independent nation, of obtaining the right constitutional basis, a constitutional basis with its foundations in South Africa. To a certain extent they accepted this, but now that we come forward with a colour policy which offers the only solution for this vexatious colour problem, we find that they oppose it. This traditional policy which has its roots here in South Africa is being opposed tooth and nail by them. That is why I say that it is almost a tragedy that at this moment, great statesmanship is not being revealed. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition talked about a statesmanlike attitude. Sir, that was purely lip service. His speech was an outstanding example of lack of statesmanship. He had the opportunity to-day, together with us, to strengthen national unity so that we could face the future together to solve this vexatious and intricate colour problem in such a way that we could retain national unity, so that we could strengthen our bonds with Britain and at the same time ensure the survival of the Christian White race here at the southern tip of Africa.
Mr. Speaker, I merely rise to withdraw the motion because that is the only way in which it becomes possible for hon. members to carry on with this discussion in the Budget debate.
Business suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 8.5 p.m.
First Order read: Adjourned debate on motion for House to go into Committee of Supply and into Committee of Ways and Means (on taxation proposals) to be resumed.
[Debate on motion by the Minister of Finance, upon which amendments had been moved by Mr. Waterson and by Mr. Williams, adjourned on 22 March, resumed.]
When this debate was interrupted last night I was trying to make the point that the dramatic happenings of last week when the foundations were laid for the exclusion of the future republic of South Africa from the Commonwealth, have made rather different impressions on members on the opposite side on the one hand and on the other hand on the financial Press and the statesmen of Western Europe, and also thereby on the investors in Western Europe. Mr. Speaker, if we are to believe hon. members on the other side this rather sad event has laid the foundation as far as South Africa is concerned for an economic resurgence, an economic leap forward, but according to the financial papers that I have quoted, it is quite clear that as far as the West is concerned, and particularly the investors in the West, they regard this act as but a further step in South Africa’s tragic march towards disaster, as Mr. Menzies has put and as the Financial Times has put. In the debate of the House of Commons last night, Mr. Sandys, Minister of Commonwealth Relations, put it this way that what we are trying to do in this country is to reverse history. Now no investor likes to invest in a country that is trying to reverse history. The point I was making, therefore, and which the hon. the Minister of Finance said he could not follow, was that as a result of this Act of South Africa’s exclusion from the Commonwealth, the confidence of the investors which I admit has already been shaken by the Government’s policies in the past 13 years, has had a further shock. Mr. Speaker, if any objective evidence of that is required, all we have to do is to have a look at what South African stock is quoted at to-day in London. We find that 3£ per cent South African Government stock, maturing 1965-7, now stands at 74i points, which means that the yield on that stock to-day is £8 15s. per £100; that is to say 8i per cent is the yield on that stock today. If we take compared with that Australian stock of similar maturity, such as 3 per cent stock maturing in 1965-7, we find that that yields the English investor to-day £5 18s. or 5.9 per cent, compared with 8.75 per cent in the case of South African stock. And if we take New Zealand Government stock with a slightly longer maturity, 1966-8, the yield is £6 1s. 1d. That differential between 8¾ per cent and 6 per cent is really the measure of to what extent the English investor discounts the risk inherent in this Government’s policies. Because no person can really imagine, forgetting about political risks, that South Africa has not got a far better economic future than either of those two countries that I cited. From the purely economic point of view, from the point of view of future economic development, South Africa is much more attractive. So that is the penalty that South Africans are already paying for the policy we have been following during the last 13 years, which have culminated in this event last week when we were virtually expelled from the Commonwealth. If any further evidence is required of what this will mean to South Africa, I believe that for many years if we are to develop rapidly, we still have to depend on foreign capital—if we are to develop its full human and its full material resources, and this act has further endangered the coming forward of that capital from overseas. Let an economic English paper speak in this respect. I am quoting from the Economist of 18 March published two days after 15 March. This is what the Economist says in regard to the raising of capital on the London Market is concerned—
That is one of the direct consequences of these policies which have led to the exclusion of South Africa. The hon. the Minister of Finance in a remark suggested that our policies are no different from what they were before we were excluded. Except of course that the act of exclusion dramatized our policies which are, to use the words of an English Cabinet Minister in the House of Commons yesterday, abhorrent to the whole civilized world. It is that very act of expulsion and the fact that we are now going to be more isolated than ever before that shakes people’s confidence in the future of this country and that makes friends of South Africa, like Mr. Menzies say that we are on the road to disaster, and that makes conservative financial papers like the Financial Times say that we are on the road to disaster. These Government policies have already led to a capital outflow, as the Minister himself showed in his Budget, over the last two years of the order of R240,000,000. I think it is rather ironical that in this year of this capital outflow we have switched over to the Rand system, because it magnifies the outflow of our capital. If it is expressed in pounds it does not sound so bad. It is this capital outflow of the past two years, and the likelihood that this will continue, that has really put the Minister of Finance in an impossible position. The present Budget should from a technical point of view be quite a simple matter. The hon. the Prime Minister himself stated on 14 November that what this country required was stimulation of consumption and stimulation of investment. He admitted himself in his statement on 14 November that investment was lagging and that there was a considerable over-capacity in industry because of lack of consumptive power. So obviously, the two things that the hon. the Minister of Finance should have done, would have been to inject fairly large doses, to use his own terminology, to stimulate consumption in the first place, and in the second place to stimulate investment. Of course there is no point in stimulating investment if you have not got consumption first. The hon. the Minister was in a wonderful technical position to do that. His last Budget showed a surplus on current account of R75,000,000. So he had considerable scope to stimulate both consumption and investment, if it was not for the fact that he was in balance of payment difficulties. Why was he in balance of payment difficulties? Because of the fantastic outflow of capital in the last two years. I can only call it “fantastic” and that fantastic outflow of capital was entirely due to political reasons due to the policies followed in this country, and not to economic reasons. It is this outflow of capital that bound the hands of the Minister of Finance. Although he saw what was wrong with our economy, he could not prescribe the right remedy because of his precarious balance of payments position and because he knew that the outflow of capital was not likely to stop. Because had he been assured that the capital outflow is going to stop in the next year, he could have submitted a far more constructive Budget than he did. And now with this act of expulsion, I am afraid his worst fears will materialize, because inherent in this Budget is the fear of the Minister of Finance that this outflow of capital is going to continue. Had he not had that fear in his mind, he should have had a far more expansionary Budget, he should have introduced a Budget to stimulate much more …
Like for instance?
I am coming to that point now. In the first place the hon. the Prime Minister in his statement on 14 November admitted that there was under-consumption in this country, and that there was considerable over-capacity in industry. Now what is the Minister doing to stimulate consumption in this Budget? On the one hand he gives pension allowances amounting to R2.3 million to the poor people, which is a stimulatory factor, but that R2.3 million must be seen against the national income of nearly R4,000,000,000. Mr. Speaker, is that really a serious attempt at stimulating consumption? And then the hon. the Minister of Finance also gave tax concessions amounting to R4.8 million. Now the hon. the Minister of Finance himself said that one had to be careful that this extra consumption which he is pumping into the economy would not go to purchase imported products. But what does he do in this respect? He does not pump this extra R4.8 million into the hands of poor people. He pumps it very largely into the hands of income-tax payers in the very high bracket. From the figures quoted by the hon. member for Constantia, it is quite clear that the only people who will benefit from this are the fairly wealthy people. If you take a married couple with two children, the bulk of this concession will only go to people with incomes of more than R3,000. I see the hon. the Minister smiles. He apparently does not believe me. I would like to quote from the Financial Mail of 17 March where the paper remarks—
Which is perfectly correct, because he gives it to the higher income groups. So from the point of view of stimulating consumption the hon. the Minister did virtually nothing. In any case, if you don’t stimulate consumption there is not very much point in stimulating investment. What is the point of trying to get people to invest more in industries in this country if there is already over-capacity, in the words of the Prime Minister? At any rate, the hon. the Minister also tries to give a very minute dose to stimulate investment. What does he do? He increases investment allowances from 15 to 20 per cent, but then correspondingly he cuts down appreciation allowances. The net advantage of that to industry is very small. The initial allowances, the investment allowances come down correspondingly. So the two virtually cancel each other out. Then the hon. the Minister also gives considerably increased investment allowances to industries in border areas. The hon. the Minister knows as well as I do that the scope of border industry development for the next couple of years is very limited. So in both cases the hon. the Minister has really failed to prescribe the remedies which he himself diagnosed were needed for the illness of South Africa: Under-consumption and under-investment, for the simple reason that his balance of payments position is so precarious that he could not give the relief that he should have given. I go so far as to say that if we had a normal inflow of capital into this country, the Minister could have gone so far as to give R100,000,000 in concessions to consumption and to investment in this country. [Time limit.]
Before I reply to the hon. member for Jeppes (Dr. Cronje) I should like to say something arising from the debate this afternoon. I must say that I am deeply hurt because of the tragedy that has hit South Africa, not only because we will be out of the Commonwealth, but because South Africa is saddled with an Opposition such as this. I think South Africa expected to be able to say to-day that we stood united in this hour of distress. I think everybody who is sincere about South Africa will realize that we are living in times of emergency.
Whose fault is it?
No purpose is served by arguing about whose fault it is. To accuse each other in this way continually gets us nowhere; it does not take South Africa further along the road. Let us stop asking continually whose fault it is, because if it is the fault of anybody, then that side of the House is more to blame than anybody else, because the attitude of that side has always been that if they cannot get into power in South Africa on the strength of the votes written within South Africa, they have to get into power with assistance from outside, or even with the assistance of the Black man. I am sure South Africa did not expect the Opposition to say to-day that we were right as far as our colour policy was concerned. We do not expect that. Neither does South Africa expect them to say that they no longer differ from us. Nor does South Africa expect them not to say that they warned us in the past that in their opinion our policy was wrong. But what South Africa expected to-day was that they would at least have proved to be better South Africans than Mr. Bob Menzies was a good Commonwealth man. South Africa expected that the Leader of the Opposition would have got up here to-day and said in the first place that no matter how wrong this Government was with its internal policy, it was the privilege and the duty of the Opposition to say to the world outside: “ Keep your dirty paws off ”.
Secondly South Africa expected the Opposition to say to-day: Even if we think the Government is wrong, we have to pay tribute to the Prime Minister for the manner in which he has acquitted himself of his task in London. But what did we get?
Very wise words.
We heard from the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) that the Prime Minister could lay claim to the 30 silver pieces of a Judas. We were told that he acted dishonourable overseas. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition expressed himself as follows in the presumptuous statement which he made last week—
I too say “hear, hear”, because we all expected that. Nobody did not expect it. We expected them to act reasonably at the Commonwealth Conference, but they did not act reasonably in London, and that was why things went wrong. We were also told by the Leader of the Opposition that “ the people were grievously misled ”. That was the type of utterance that we had to listen to, namely, that the Prime Minister had misled the nation. He has not misled the nation. Had you followed the trend of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon, Sir, you would have realized that his whole approach was that the statement made by the hon. the Prime Minister as to what had happened overseas was untrue because there was not a word of criticism about the behaviour of a Diefenbaker, for example, who, according to newspaper reports was accused by Mr. Menzies in these words “ Oh Diefenbaker, you are a pillar of religious rectitude”. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition did not utter a single word of disapproval in respect of Nkrumah or the other states who had attacked South Africa. Nor did he utter a single word of disapproval in respect of the distorted and false reports overseas. On the contrary the Leader of the Opposition argued as though the statement made by the Prime Minister as to what had happened was untrue. Because if that was not his approach he should have been offended and hurt, as any true Afrikaner would have been, at the way South Africa had been treated. Let us emphasize what was also emphasized by Mr. Menzies: It was not the Government of South Africa who stood in the dock over there, but South Africa; not the National Party, but South Africa. I am not saying this by way of reproach or in order to hurt, but because I am deeply disappointed. Because in the life of every nation occasions arise for its leaders to be really big and I believe to-day is such an occasion. This is an opportunity which we should grasp to show a united front to the world. I want to point out that the White section of the population of South Africa, the nation as distinct from the leaders opposite, are prepared to show that united front. I want to mention a few things which indicate that that is so. We have the great enthusiasm with which the Prime Minister was welcomed back from Europe. Surely that is a sign that the South African nation longs for solidarity. We have the ear-splitting ovations in every cinema in our country when he appears in newsreels about the Prime Ministers’ Conference. And not least of all in Durban, not least of all in Johannesburg and not least of all here in Cape Town, as was seen last night in the Colosseum where he was given a big ovation. Does that not indicate that the people of South Africa expect and long for solidarity in this hour of distress, as I regard it?
The road of failure.
We are not all the type of defeatist that that hon. member is. I live at Sea Point and I come into contact with members of English-speaking people and Jews who have told me personally that they heartily approved of what the Prime Minister did and last, but not least, we have Mr. Gandar who wrote the following in the Rand Daily Mail— I want to read the Afrikaans translation of a few of the things which he wrote—
If that is what the editor of the Rand Daily Mail writes, I think we can take it that the Leader of the Opposition can no longer claim that he is speaking on behalf of the English-speaking people in South Africa. What does the Daily Dispatch of East London write, that city which is represented in this House by a member who refused to attend the opening of Parliament because “ God Save the Queen ” was not played. What does the Daily Dispatch write?—
The hon. member for Durban (Point) (Mr. Raw) must listen to this; let him open those big ears of his …
Order! The hon. member must not be so personal.
With this evidence before us, the drum that has been beaten here this afternoon sounds very much like the drum of party political vote catchers. I say the time has arrived for the Opposition to cease trying to get into power with the assistance of outside help. They should look to the people of South Africa, because what is the crux of this whole matter? The crux of the whole matter is that it is a struggle between the big powers in the world, between the East and the West. And let me say at once that in this struggle they are not so much concerned about the vote of the Black man in Africa. That is merely part of the game. Must we as Whites allow ourselves to go under in this big match that is being played because we do not wish to take part in it? They should get to the root of this matter. Do hon. members opposite really believe that the vote of the Bantu in this country is the only point at issue? It goes much further than that. Why do we want a republic otherwise? We want a republic because we want to sound a harmonious note that will echo in Africa and the rest of the world to the effect that the White people in Africa have a place of their own and that that place is in the republic of South Africa. And here I want to pay tribute to the hon. the Prime Minister for what he has done in that respect.
Now I come to the hon. member for Jeppes. He mentioned three points in his speech to which I should like to reply. In the first place he contended that because we would be outside the Commonwealth we would be severing the “ unofficial ties of the private sector ” of South Africa’s economy. It is clear from this argument of the hon. member’s that he has abandoned the argument that the fact that we will be outside the Commonwealth will be detrimental to our official ties. The convincing arguments advanced by this side of the House have obviously made him change his mind. He now maintains that there are certain “ unofficial ties ” that will be severed. But is the argument of the hon. member for Jeppes sound? Great Britain, just like all the other friendly Commonwealth countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, is like South Africa dependent on their private sector for the greater portion of their trade. The Government does not play a big role in the commercial world. It is in order to regulate and promote trade that the bilateral trade agreements with the Commonwealth countries are being continued. If his argument applies to the private individual, the businessman, then I still have to learn that mere prejudice against clients affects competition in trade.
The second argument he used was that because of “ the viciousness of the Government’s colour policy ” which was “ so abhorrent to all countries …” we would lose our trade not only with Commonwealth countries but with other countries as well. As far as Commonwealth countries are concerned, the actions of Mr. Diefenbaker at the recent Commonwealth Conference have certainly shown us that our colour policy is abhorrent to him but in spite of that the first thing he said when he stepped ashore at Canada was that Canada wished to retain and continue her trade relations with South Africa. As far as the non-White Commonwealth countries are concerned, only about1 per cent of our export trade is conducted with them and they did not make any impression on us last year with their deliberate boycott, a boycott which was approved of by their respective governments. As far as the non-Common-wealth countries are concerned, especially West Germany, Italy and France, I wish to repeat what I said during the Railway debate, namely, that they regard South Africa as a country where Britain enjoys preference, and if that preference were to decline they expect to do more trade with us. There is a report in the Burger of to-day which reads as follows—
There is a further report in the Burger—
The report goes on—
I want to read a third and final report in this connection—
This report then deals with two important trade missions, namely the one from Italy and the other from Japan. This report goes on to say—
Mr. Speaker, I think that is sufficient proof that the argument of the hon. member for Jeppes that our Coloured policy is supposed to be so abhorrent to the other countries of the world who are outside the Commonwealth that they do not wish to do any business with us, is completely unfounded.
Then I come to the third point mentioned by the hon. member for Jeppes. He said that the body economic of South Africa stood on one White leg and one Black leg, and that it was the policy of the Government to amputate the Black leg. It is, of course, the height of stupidity, to try to maintain that, it merely shows that the hon. member hasn’t the vaguest idea of what the policy of separate development means. It is accepted by everyone that the economy, not only of South Africa, but even of the world, is an entity and knows no national boundaries, because trade takes place across all borders. That is why in no country can its economy be regarded as being a watertight compartment. The trade between various countries, or even portions of the same country, develops faster and becomes more intensified than in the case of others, and in that case their economic relationship is closer and firmer. In other words, the economy is a dynamic entity and not a static entity, as the hon. member for Jeppes tried to make us believe. Because the Bantu are to receive political economic and other rights in the Bantu areas, the hon. member alleges that the Bantu will be placed in an economic water-tight compartment in their own areas and that therefore every Bantu area will become a separate watertight economic entity. That argument is ridiculous, it is foolish and coming as it does from a person who calls himself an economist, you can only conclude that he did not say that through ignorance but that he said that deliberately for political reasons.
I come to another point made by the hon. member. He said that capital was fast leaving the country and that no money was being invested in South Africa. The hon. member for Kensington (Mr. Moore) said the same thing in respect of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and that the Exchange had had a set-back. He referred to the role which the gold mines played in the economy of our country. Before I sit down, Sir, I want to say a few words about the South African Stock Exchange. It often happens in this House that the fluctuations on the Stock Exchange are regarded as the barometer of the South African economy. I want to say that that is the most unreliable and deceptive barometer that I know of, because the Stock Exchange does not reflect South Africa’s economy, but it is the marionette of the mine owners on the Rand. I want to prove this statement.
It is a well-known fact that the entire gold-mining industry and even some of our industries are in the hands of big individual mining companies. As far as the gold-mining industry and the diamond-mining industry are concerned, everybody knows that they are in the hands of some four big companies—the so-called holding companies—companies which control the shares as well as the actual gold and diamond mines in our country. If they think that a certain share has to depreciate an unnecessary large number of those shares are sold. If the price of a certain share has to rise the mining houses buy those shares at inflated prices. In other words the Stock Exchange gets manipulated according to the whims of the holding companies who are hand in glove with the stockbrokers. I want to read a statement made by someone who is very closely connected with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange—
The result of this is that there has been a big drop in the price of gold shares. Let me quote the indices in respect of shares. If we take it as 100 in 1948, then the index in the case of the U.S.A. was 652 in 1960; in West Germany it was 900 against 100 in 1948; in France it was 700; 325 against 100 in 1948 in the United Kingdom, and the Union of South Africa?— 59.4 against 100 in 1948. We have the richest gold mines in the world. Our mines yield very high profits and here we have an index figure which is much lower than it was in 1948. To me that proves only one thing, namely that the Stock Exchange is manipulated. Such manipulation can quite easily be effected to-day by those people who support the United Party in order to try to force our hand in the difficult times that lie ahead. I want to warn against that with all the emphasis and force at my command.
Mr. Speaker, I do not want to talk about the Commonwealth issue. In my opinion the matter in so far as it concerns our withdrawal has been finally dealt with; that we all unanimously subscribe to it and support the statement and the explanation of the hon. the Prime Minister and that we, reacting to the request of the hon. the Prime Minister, must now make a joint effort to build that new platform from which we are to enter into this new deal. I am prepared to do it but the readiness must also come from the other side, it must also be shown by word and deed.
But, Mr. Speaker, in this debate about the Commonwealth and our actions and in the amendment moved by the Progressive Party to the motion of the hon. the Minister of Finance, there are certain demands which will be put to the Government. That is that certain concessions should be made in respect of certain demands and rights of the Black man in South Africa. That was clear at the Commonwealth conference and it emerges clearly from the amendment of the Progressive Party. For the sake of historical correctness I wish to state here to-night that I cannot find any basis and any reason and any historical facts upon which the United Party or the Progressive Party can base their demands that the White man in his own country must give certain rights to the Bantu.
When the White man settled in the Cape the vanguard of the Bantu was approximately where the present Pondoland is to-day. Everything in between was no-man’s land. Before 1708—60 years after White settlement—there was not a single Bantu south of the Great Kei River. These are historical facts. After 1708, as a result of internal division and internal tribal wars, the Bantu crossed the Great Kei and moved to the Fish River which later became the eastern boundary of the Cape Colony. In 1770 the Whites reached the southern bank of the Fish River and in 1775 the Fish River was declared the eastern boundary of the Cape Colony. Thereafter followed a century in which nine different wars and clashes between the Whites and the Blacks took place. In all those wars the Bantu were pushed back into their own areas by the Whites. All those clashes, spread over a period of 100 years, never showed any sign of aggression on the part of the Whites towards the Bantu. Not an inch of land was taken from the Bantu.
How did they acquire the territory?
The White man did not commit aggression, in spite of the fact that the White man was the victor in all these wars over 100 years. Only during the nineteenth century was the area between the Fish River and the Great Kei River incorporated with the Cape Colony. But in spite of that incorporation the Whites gave the Bantu residential rights in that area. It is noteworthy and unparalleled that the Whites took hardly any land from the Bantu in all those wars. Compare that with what happened in Australia; compare it with what happened in America or Canada. The Whites emerged with honour from those clashes between the Whites and the Blacks in South Africa.
What is the point?
Order! The hon. member must not continually make interjections.
Mr. Speaker, throughout the centuries the Whites respected the Bantus’ boundaries and their areas. The White man continued to steer away from the Bantu areas. He settled himself in the no-man’s land, where no one lived and to which no one had any historical claim. That was where the Whites settled. The Voortrekkers did not, for instance, trek to Natal through the Ciskei and the Transkei. They took the long road through the Free State and over the Drakensberg to Natal, through acknowledgment and respect for the borders of the Black man’s territory. The territory which the Voortrekkers traversed in the Free State did not belong to anyone. When the Voortrekkers arrived in Natal they got rights to lands through a proper and legal Dingaan-Retief treaty. This principle of respect for Bantu territory was an inherent principle of the Whites, even to this day. Mr. Speaker, I want to quote another example to prove this principle of recognition of the Bantu areas by the Whites. In 1839 the Voortrekkers decided amongst themselves that they would not live closer than five hours on horseback from Thaba ’Nchu where the Barolongs were settled. I can find no proof, and we cannot quote any to show that there has ever in the past been larger tribal lands for the Bantu than that which they have to-day. On the contrary, the Whites made additions to the existing old Bantu homelands. The Whites never encroached on Bantu territory for their own gain. The Whites entered Bantu territory mainly for the purpose of Christianization. The Bantu encroached on the Whites’ lands for his own benefit. He came in search of work, he came to seek bread, he came to look for protection. He came to the White areas to save himself from destruction through tribal fights and for his own protection against a tyrant. Now I ask: On what grounds do the Progressive Party claim that the White man must in his territory give political rights to the Bantu? On what grounds do the United Party claim that the White man must open his White Parliament so that the Black man can come in?
May I put a question?
No, sit down. I will not reply. Mr. Speaker, I ask on what grounds the United Party is demanding qualified land ownership for the Bantu in the White area? On what grounds are they demanding qualified franchise rights for the Bantu inside the White man’s political constellation? I can find no moral justification for it. There is no historical basis for it. The White man, on the contrary, has given the Bantu what the Bantu has never been able to give to the White man— and that is his livelihood.
Are we going to give it back to them?
Order! I want to ask the hon. member for Point (Mr. Raw) not to make interjections. He must not ignore the Chair.
No, Mr. Speaker, I want to put a question but the hon. member does not want to answer it.
If the hon. member wants to put a question then he must get up and do so if the speaker is prepared to reply to this question.
Mr. Speaker, may I then put a question? reply. I say that I can find no historical or moral grounds why the White man must open his doors to the Bantu. The White man has made available to the Bantu the fruits of his experience and knowledge—obtained in a hard way, just like any other country had to acquire it. He did not seek out the Bantu. The Bantu came to his territory in search of it. The White man gave it to him. The White man gave him health, education, housing and the rehabilitation of his ruined, robbed and plundered areas. The Bantu did not come to the White area in search of the franchise. He came in search of a livelihood. He came to offer his labour, however unproductive it may be. He did not claim the franchise as a reward. He fled from his own tribe. We know that the Bantu is not an organizer, he is not an agriculturist, neither is he a lover of the soil. The territories which were given to them for the first time through Act No. 17 of 1913 were devastated and in the meantime had degenerated so much that to-day we have to invest millions to bring it anywhere near productivity. I say it is the White man who is keeping the Bantu alive and who is facilitating his phenomenal growth in population. What would the Bantu areas have been like to-day without the experience and knowledge of the White man, without the stabilizing influence of the White man? The Bantu system did not permit of any private land ownership. Now the hon. members opposite demand that we as Whites must give the Bantu something in our White territory which they have never had in their own areas. They did not impose any limitation on livestock. They allowed their lands to be over-grazed and trampled out. With our experience and knowledge we are busy doing for the Bantu what no other country in Africa has done in its territory, and what the Bantu cannot do for himself. We have changed the Bantu warriors and soldiers into an army of productive labourers—the women did the farming and not the male Bantu. The Bantu were an army of soldiers who were continually out plundering on raids. Now hon. members opposite demand from the Whites that they should give up what constitutes their livelihood. They demand from us what Africa has been warning us for the past few years not to do, because if we do it then it will be Ichabod for us. The White man has done much for the Bantu and the Bantu is far more indebted to the White man than the White man is to the Bantu. The Whites have sole rights to their land because of the historical background and they can defend it as they like and can grant what rights they like. That is their historical right. Their conscience is clear. They have all the moral grounds for the basic principles of their policy. The White areas are unfertile. They have not got much water. They cannot give away another inch of land. They must feed millions of mouths in future. They supply the intensified demand for food in the years that lie ahead. Hon. members opposite want us to bring instability to the existing stability through bringing into our political structure those factors which will make an unstable mess of the whole of Africa. We cannot give away an inch of land. We need every drop cf water. But, Mr. Speaker, every inch of land and every drop of water must be utilized with the highest technical knowledge and experience to provide food for the millions to come. Therefore I cannot see any justification for the standpoint of the hon. members opposite in respect of any demands they make on behalf of the Bantu. There are no historical grounds for it. If all the Bantu cannot find land within their own areas then it is their own affair. If the Protectorates, which is Bantu territory and which ought to be given back to us in terms of the British South Africa Act, are regarded as being part of the greater South Africa and they are taken together with the existing Bantu areas then the Bantu have 45 per cent of the total area of the Union, and in that 45 per cent is the most fertile soil in South Africa. I say that if there is a complaint that there is not sufficient land for all the Bantu in the existing and reserved Bantu areas then they are in no different position from millions of Whites in the world. Why then demand something for the Bantu which you cannot give to the Whites? I say that we want to give to the Bantu what he can absorb, and not what was given elsewhere in Africa. We can give it to the Bantu. We are the sleeping giant. We are in the position to do it. There is not a country in Africa that has developed a traffic system such as ours. There is not a country in Africa that develops the power being developed in South Africa. There is not a country in Africa that has the natural resources that we have—not in the Southern Hemisphere. We possess the energy; our policy is right; we can defend it. It is justified historically and morally. But eliminate the White man as the stabilizing factor in South Africa, bring in the unstable elements—and that is what Africa has taught us—and then all the advantages we possess will be lost. It will paralyse our vitality, our policy of peaceful coexistence, of separate development—this we can implement with the resources we have. I am awaiting a reply from the Progressive Party and from the United Party as to the grounds on which they demand from the Whites in the White areas that they should give to the Bantu certain rights which those parties want to give to the Bantu. At the Commonwealth Conference it was demanded of us that we should follow their recipe. The United Party demands that we should follow their recipe and the Progressive Party demands from the White man …
May I put a question?
No, my time has expired. The Progressive Party demands from the White man that he should discard his own historical position and his own development and that he should give the Bantu something to which they have no claim. We will never agree to it.
The expulsion of South Africa from the Commonwealth is indicative of the complete isolation in which she finds herself. Isolation brought about by the racial policies of this Government over the last 13 years. If we were under any illusion about our popularity in the world to-day, that has been finally dispelled. However, I wish to-night to deal with another matter.
A very large sum of money indeed is allocated to the Defence Department under the Budget under discussion. This has probably become necessary as the result of the changed military situation in Africa, in South Africa and in the whole world. And it is necessary to examine this situation in greater detail. The hon. the Minister of Defence has, on a previous occasion, stressed the strategic importance of South Africa, and he has also stressed that the primary role of our Defence Force is internal security. With that view no one can find any fault at all, because it is of the utmost importance that internal security should be maintained in times of peace as well as in war. Obviously no military operations of any consequence could be maintained for any length of time if the internal security of the country is threatened. But the hon. the Minister has not yet indicated if South Africa is able to or intends to do more than just that, should war come to Africa or to the world.
It is well known that until recently South Africa had accepted a certain role and certain obligations in co-operation with the Western Powers in case of war between East and West. Certain equipment was purchased; our Defence Force was organized and trained to meet that obligation and to fulfil that role. Liaison talks were held and missions were established, and our training was designed to qualify our forces for that specific task.
It would appear that the potential threat of that time has, to a large extent, diminished, and that the strategic plans which were prepared to meet that threat have been drooped, or changed to such an extent that the Union is not to play the part that was allotted to her. Hence the sale of some of the equipment.
The world military situation has changed radically during the last five to ten years. Should a hot war break out between the great powers, that war may be fought with nuclear weapons and guided missiles carrying nuclear war-heads. But I will deal with that later.
Whilst the world situation and global strategy has changed completely, the face of Africa has also undergone changes which are of the utmost importance to South Africa in her conception of defending her own territory. Only a short while ago practically all the states in Africa were governed and controlled by colonial powers who were on good and friendly terms with South Africa, and our country was not exposed to any threat whatsoever from any state on the continent. But we are faced with a totally different situation to-day. A large number of African states have gained their independence and some of the friendly colonial powers have gone. These new states are now ruled by Black or Yellow nationalists who are, one and all, critical of South Africa. In our immediate northern territories at present still under Portuguese rule, and on very good terms with South Africa, we hear ominous rumblings of dissatisfaction among the Natives. Our Rhodesian neighbours are waging a desperate struggle to maintain the status quo in their territory.
All these changes in the control of these new African states, the creation of new military forces and alliances, are matters that must be considered by the Government in shaping their defence policy. No longer can we look to the colonial powers to control these states; no longer can we ignore the military might which can and may be brought against South Africa. It is the opinion of many that these newly independent states have not yet advanced far enough and are militarily immature to present a serious threat to the Union. That may be perfectly true as far as it goes, but it must be remembered that the communists bolster up their puppet governments with lavish economic and military aid without any strings, except that the application of their aid is strictly supervised by communist missions and experts who can play a decisive part should such a state embark on military operations. This very complicated and disturbing state of affairs in Africa will of course be enormously more dangerous to South Africa should the strife-torn Congo fall within the sphere of communist influence. The threat to South Africa will then be as great as that menacing India at present. This territory can provide the communists with bases from which to launch paratroops and airborne forces to follow up and exploit opportunities created by other forms of aggression and attack. It is hoped that the Government has made an appreciation of this new situation, an appreciation based on reliable intelligence regarding the intentions and military potentials of the various states and combinations of states in Africa.
This brings me to our immediate northern neighbours, Angola, Mozambique and the Rhodesian Federation, with their small White communities. It is, however, of vital importance to South Africa that law and order should prevail in these territories and that they should remain in the hands of Governments friendly to South Africa. The attitude the Government is going to adopt with regard to these territories is the matter of policy and one which should be settled now, if it is not already settled.
In this connection I wish to draw the attention of the House to a statement made by the hon. the Minister of External Affairs on 24 February to the effect that the Union and her northern neighbours, Rhodesia, Angola and Mozambique, should stand together. What does this mean in military language? What will the response by the Union Government be, which by the way will be looked upon as the big brother, in case of an appeal for military assistance to preserve law and order by those governments, or to repel attacks on those territories? I think the country is entitled to know what the Government has in mind when it talks of “standing together”. Is the Government doing anything to implement this suggestion? If the Government is serious, no time should be wasted in putting the idea of standing together into practice.
The changed situation on the African Continent needs special study, and it is hoped that the Minister of Defence has available a planning staff consisting of his most able and experienced officers who can devote the necessary time to studying the situation and planning accordingly.
Surely you know that we have such a planning staff.
I say it is hoped. As the situation is changing rapidly and continually, it is necessary that the planning staff should be studying this problem continuously and have at its disposal detailed intelligence which is accurate and up to date.
Why do you not rather table your speech?
It must, however, be clearly understood that it is up to the Government to lay down the policy. This is not a matter for the general staff. The policy of the general staff is to implement the policy of the Government. Can the Government assure the country that it has the necessary intelligence? Have we our own sources of information, or are we dependent on other powers. The planning staff will of course formulate the plans on the available manpower, weapons and equipment, and it will advise what form the training of the armed forces is to take. Is the Minister satisfied that the weapons, vehicles, aircraft and ships available are in fact adequate and suitable for the Army, the Air Force and the Navy if they are called upon to perform these tasks? Is the Minister satisfied that the form of training given to the armed forces does in fact equip them for the task which may lay ahead? Are the numerically weak Whites on whom would fall the conduct of the war strong enough to carry the load?
What does the hon. member mean by that?
Do not ask him that. It is not in his notes.
Has the Government realized the implications of all these things? Are they strong enough to carry the load? Does the Government realize the implications of the fact that the majority of the Bantu and Asiatics and a large proportion of the Coloureds in this country might not only be unsympathetic but hostile to the cause for which we are fighting?
We now come to the rôle which South Africa should adopt should a hot war break out. It must be appreciated that if the East obtains control of the southern tip of Africa, (the rest of the continent with all its resources of manpower and material would be theirs, and they would be able to drive a wedge between the Eastern and the Western groups of the anti-communist powers. In this war also we must remember that it may be fought with the latest weapons designed by science, by nuclear weapons delivered by inter-continental aircraft and ballistic missiles and missiles fired from submarines. We may also have to contend with medium-range missiles launched from territories in Africa or from the Antarctic, or from both. What can South Africa do to defend itself against this form of attack? Let it be stated here and now that against the missiles there is as yet no defence. It must also be appreciated that any target in a known position can be completely destroyed by these weapons. It would appear *that the only defence practical against this form of attack is retaliation against the launching bases of these weapons. To defend ourselves against inter-continental aircraft, an elaborate, early-warning radar system, backed by the latest fighter aircraft, will be required. On account of the vast area to be covered and the cost involved it is not possible for South Africa to take the necessary steps to implement an efficient defence system against this form of attack. Defence against intercontinental aircraft and missiles is a problem studied in great detail by the great powers. It is a highly complicated problem involving the best scientific brains and equipment and costing globular sums of money. It is obvious that it is not practicable for the Union to take a major part in these activities. But in view of the fantastic destruction of the nuclear weapons and the real fear of retaliation, it is just possible that these scientific weapons will not be used in the next war. In that case the war will be fought with conventional weapons, vastly improved compared with the weapons used in the Second World War.
What is the rôle which South Africa is to play in the next war? It is quite evident that this rôle must be decided upon by the great powers in consultation with the Union Government. Definite tasks must be allotted by them and accepted by the Union Government, and these tasks must run in conjunction with the primary task, which is internal security. One wonders whether South Africa should not take the initiative and arrange an alliance or treaty with the Western Powers defining our obligations and determining what assistance we are to receive in case of war. Is it not perhaps the time now that the Union should seek an alliance with the principal states of Africa? Neither South Africa nor any of the African states is strong enough to go it alone. Should not South Africa take the lead in the formation of a Southern Africa Treaty Organization?
I have tried to picture the general military situation confronting the Government. I have asked certain specific questions to which an answer should be given. I hope that the Minister will be able to reply to these questions and reassure the public that the defence problems of South Africa are intelligently appreciated, and that the armed forces are well able to ensure the safety of the state under the new conditions. I realize only too well that it may not be in the public interest for the Minister to give answers to all these questions, but the Government must have an answer to every one of these questions. The answer must furthermore be made known to the chiefs of the armed forces to enable them to plan accordingly. The Government must provide the General Staff with a clear-cut and detailed policy. This information is absolutely necessary to enable them to prepare in advance.
Should an upheaval occur in Africa, we cannot afford to put the wrong plan into operation. We have not the resources in manpower, equipment and material to start afresh should our major plans go wrong. We will not again have a breathing-space between the outbreak of war and the time when we will be fully committed. I think it is fair to assume that we will be fully committed from the beginning, and it is therefore imperative that the minimum amount of time should be spent in mobilizing and committing our armed forces to action. Clear and detailed plans should be in existence for the eventualities which may arise, plans which could be put into operation with the minimum of delay.
Who are you quoting now?
Mr. Speaker, what I have said so far was the situation before we got the news that after 31 May we will no longer belong to the Commonwealth. The facts I have mentioned will not change as the result of us leaving the Commonwealth, but the morale of our critics and potential enemies has received a considerable boost. The problems facing South Africa have increased enormously and they have made the international situation more insecure and perhaps even more dangerous.
Since the end of the Second World War, South Africa has, except for our undertaking in Korea, not felt the cold winds of war generated in various spots all over the world. I have mentioned the quiet security that we have enjoyed at the southern end of Africa. From external sources we were not threatened either, thanks mainly to the protection afforded us as a member of the Commonwealth, What will the position be under our new status? Can we with any degree of confidence expect any assistance from any of the members of the Commonwealth, our erstwhile friends, in case of a threat from within or from outside Africa? Are we sure that there is no threat from any of our former Commonwealth friends when we no longer belong to that association? For many years now India and Pakistan have been, rightly or wrongly, very critical of many of our actions. I am sure that our mutual membership of the Commonwealth has constrained these countries from taking more drastic action against us than hitherto. What guarantee have we that the same restraint will apply when we are a republic outside the Commonwealth.
I may mention here that India and Pakistan have a combined population of 500,000,000, that they have efficient and powerful navies and air forces and considerable resources of manpower. It is true that these countries are menaced by communist Russia and China, but we can be sure that neither Russia nor China will do anything to prevent them from settling with South Africa.
Another important factor is that Madagascar, at present governed by a new and inexperienced government, could very easily be taken over by a potential enemy and used as a springboard or base from which to attack South Africa. It can be further expected that, flushed by their great success in achieving the exclusion of South Africa from the Commonwealth, certain powers will intensify their efforts and agitation to place South West Africa under international trusteeship, and it is not impossible that they may achieve their objective. Should they succeed, the Union will lose control over South West. Our friendly northern neighbours may be leapfrogged and unfriendly military powers may have military forces stationed on our very borders. Surely this is a very serious matter affecting the very existence of South Africa. Can the Government assure the country that we are or will be prepared to meet the threats created under the new international set-up, In view of the serious problems facing South Africa it may even be necessary to increase the number of trainees and the period of compulsory training for the A.C.F. The Permanent Force may have to be greatly increased. In view of the highly technical nature of the modern equipment used, it may be necessary to increase the training of the citizen forces.
It is perhaps too early to expect the Government to have appreciated the new problem. I have, however, tried to draw the attention of the House to these very urgent possibilities and I hope that immediate action will be taken to face the realities of the new situation.
I cannot congratulate the hon. member who has just sat down on his speech. He got up here and concertedly said that it was probably too early for this Government to appreciate the new problems which have arisen. I can, of course, understand the hon. member with his big brain appreciating them, but naturally the Government is incapable of doing so. The hon. member did everything in his power to create fear in the mind of the public. He referred to certain things in general, but he did not offer a solution in respect of one of them. I want to ask him this: Does he regard it as his duty towards the country to create fear in the mind of the public when dangers probably await us in the future; to put up skittles and to knock them down himself? Surely he as a professional soldier, if he has any sense of responsibility, ought to know what should be done in the circumstances. What did he suggest should be done to meet the dangers that are besetting this country? Nothing. He wants the Minister to lay his entire policy bare to the public and the world outside. The Minister must tell the world in what state of preparedness we are so that our enemies may know exactly what we are capable of doing. [Interjections.] Keep quiet. It is as much as I can bear to see your face.
Order! The hon. member for Point (Mr. Raw) is again interjecting. He has forgotten the warning I gave him a minute ago.
I repeat that he expects the Government to reveal everything and to tell us whether it is in a state of preparedness as far as nuclear weapons and guided missiles are concerned and whether it has radar installations. The hon. member was present at a demonstration last Friday and if he can appreciate anything he ought to get up here this evening and congratulate the Government on the demonstration which he attended last Friday and which showed him what we were capable of doing. [Interjections.] The Government has repeatedly said that our first duty was to ensure internal security. The Government is satisfied that with the funds at its disposal to-day it is able to do so, and furthermore the Government showed us last year what it could do in a time of emergency and what did hon. members opposite do? Did they tell the Government that they were pleased to see what the Government could do? No, they attacked the Government for showing that it was prepared to take active steps in the event of internal disturbances. The Government stated repeatedly that its first duty in so far as defence was concerned, was to ensure internal security and it was said that we had no other obligation. Since 1948 the Government has stated repeatedly that if trouble should arise between the East and the West we would side with the West but what does the hon. member say to-night. He assured India and Pakistan that if they should perhaps have designs on South Africa and contemplated attacking us, Russia would not intervene and prevent them from conquering us. Where will you find anybody who shows greater disloyalty towards his own country than that hon. member for saying such a thing in public? I am not surprised that he does not know himself what he said, because he did not make a speech; he stood there and read out his speech. I think he imagined himself back in the Forces and that he was lecturing a number of recruits, because his speech was nothing more than a lecture. [Interjections.] For the rest he spoke about the training which our young men received. I simply cannot understand how a former soldier, knowing what the policy of the Government is to-day in connection with the training of our men and knowing that that training is much more effective than it used to be and that the training period has been extended, and that we are doing everything possible with the manpower at our disposal to train as many young men as possible…. [Interjections.] Had we been a big country with a big population and with unlimited funds available for defence, then we could have expanded but there were three hon. members opposite who referred this afternoon to the speeches that were made on this side when it was stated that the Government had felt called upon to devote exceptionally large sums of money on defence. Why does the Government do that? Does it do so merely to let the supplies lie there? Do hon. members expect that? If they expect that, then I am not surprised at the hon. member for putting the questions which he has put to the Government. How can you expect any Government in the world to put its cards on the table and to tell the world what it is capable of doing? At the present moment we have more battleships at our disposal than ever before. We have modern aircraft and our men get trained on the most modern aircraft. However, the Opposition does not regard it as their duty to suggest where, in their opinion, improvements can be effected. No, they are like children playing hiding-go-seek. They are all hiding. The Minister has repeatedly said that with the means at our disposal the country is prepared and I say that too and so does the General Staff. The planning committee also says that, but the hon. member does not even know that there is a planning committee.
But the hon. member did not say thank you.
He knows absolutely nothing about it, and now he asks the Minister whether there is a planning committee. The Minister announced two years ago that there was such a committee to control all branches of defence. He suggested nothing new. If we were attacked by any chance, I trust hon. members opposite will not do what they did this afternoon. The Prime Minister made an appeal to the Opposition this afternoon and said that we should all stand together and what was their reaction? Did any one of them get up and say that they were prepared to stand with us in future? On the contrary, they did nothing else than to make South Africa look ridiculous in the eyes of the world. We had it this afternoon when a responsible member used the most abusive and scandalous language towards the Prime Minister, language which no Western nation has used against him. But in this country the Opposition regard it as their duty to try to humiliate the hon. the Prime Minister as much as possible. [Interjections.] All they talk about is war. I want to repeat that I am not discussing the defence policy of the Government at the moment and nobody can justifiably expect the Government to reveal that policy to the world outside. The assurance has, however, been given but it is no use giving assurances, because hon. members either do not want to understand it or they do not want to accept it when they are told that the country is prepared for any internal difficulty that may arise. That is our first duty and our young men are trained for that purpose. We have a Defence Act which also meets with the approval of that side of the House. What more do they want? Why do they not make suggestions? They simply cannot do so. I do not think it is necessary for me to reply any further to what that hon. member opposite said about defence matters. I do not think the hon. the Minister will even consider it necessary to reply to him. The hon. member did not make one single accusation; he did not make a single suggestion; he spoke vaguely and then resumed his seat. His speech was a good lecture to a couple of raw recruits.
To-day is a historical day for South Africa in that South Africa’s Prime Minister has to-day for the umpteenth time extended his hand of friendship and his hand of co-operation. But at the same time South Africa has found that it did not have an Opposition which was capable of rising to those heights. South Africa has found that it had an Opposition which relied only on petty and inadequate information. In the first place I wish to reply to a question put by the hon. the Leader of the Opposition. The hon. the Leader of the Opposition said that in view of the fact that we were outside the Commonwealth to-day, England would no longer veto any hostile motions which might be introduced at UNO against South Africa. Does he not know that in the past most of the hostile motions that were introduced against South Africa in regard to her racial problems and in regard to South West were introduced by Commonwealth countries such as India, Ghana, Ceylon and Malaya. And where was England’s veto on those occasions? If she did not do so when we were a member of the Commonwealth, how can the hon. member argue that because we have withdrawn from the Commonwealth, England will not exercise her veto in future? The hon. the Leader of the Opposition asked this question: Why did South Africa find herself in the dock? He immediately added that the hon. the Prime Minister had recklessly gambled with South Africa’s future. I am pleased that the Leader of the Opposition is in the House at the moment because I wish to summarize the reasons why South Africa finds herself in the dock. I want to say in unequivocal terms that I lay that charge at the door of the United Party. I lay the charge at the door of the United Party because of their speeches, their propaganda and the inaccurate manner in which they have represented the facts over a period of 12 years. I do not even mention the Progressive Party. They are merely carrying out the policy which they originally formulated together. Neither is it necessary for me even to mention the Press, because the Press is simply the mirror in which the people of this country see reflected what the United Party is trying to do by means of their speeches. The United Party and this Press have conditioned world opinion so that it will charge South Africa. For years they have been conditioning world opinion to lay a charge against South Africa by presenting inaccurate facts to the world. Why did they do that, Mr. Speaker? Purely for the sake of exploiting the position politically and in order to get the world outside to help them to return to power and to overthrow this Government. I accuse them of that and I shall prove my charge. That party was prepared to undermine South Africa’s position and to put her in the wrong light because they thought that that would return them to power; they did not care what happened to South Africa. Before I prove this I want to deal for a moment with something which the hon. the Prime Minister has said. He said clearly that this new situation was providing us with the opportunity of taking stock of the position. It was providing us with an opportunity of pegging new beacons for South Africa; not only the Afrikaansspeaking section but the English-speaking section, White and non-White, should peg beacons for South Africa in relation to the Western civilization, the Western way of life which we were following in this country. It may be a blessing, Mr. Speaker, that we have this opportunity to-day of looking for those beacons which have caused a division between the English and Afrikaans-speaking sections, so that we can destroy them and peg new beacons—that former division which the Press had used in order to sow discord between the two sections. The Press used Britain, Her Majesty and the monarchy as the dividing factor and it is just as well that we find new beacons that will unite us into one country, the only home of the Afrikaans-speaking section, the only home of the English-speaking section here and the only home of the non-Whites who will not get any assistance from India or Ceylon or Ghana, people who have to find a common basis here in South Africa. Why do I say this? I say this because the United Party gives direction to the liberal tendency which we see in the world to-day. I want to put it the way Curie, a former reporter of the Star has put it. He has written a book in which he deals with the composition of the nations of the world and the position over the whole world as far as that is concerned. He comes to the following conclusion in the last chapter—
That is the confession of faith of the Progressive Party, that is the confession of faith of that party which ignores and condemns separate development, parallel development and separation. That is their confession of faith; that is the road along which the world is travelling to-day. And that is why they say that if that is the road along which the world is travelling to-day, why should they object to it? Those hon. members want us to succumb and to travel quickly along that road, while the United Party says South Africa should not travel so quickly along that road of Curie, the reporter of the Star. It is because that is the tendency which is evident throughout the world to-day, that South Africa is the only unfortunate country who stands accused of refusing to accept this confession of faith. I want this House to summarize the position and to regard it in the right perspective. Let us see what criticism the world has to offer; they have lost all conception of the Western idea of administration of justice; the fact that different races were created has lost its meaning to them. The United Party has daily, throughout the years, encouraged world opinion to the detriment of South Africa, to the detriment of the White man. During the past 12 years the United Party has cast a doubt throughout the world on the integrity of our principles and has misrepresented them to the world. They have jettisoned the responsibility of guardianship and said: “No, we must influence the world in order to ruin that party, even if it means the ruination of South Africa, as long as we can return to power.” And to-day South Africa is picking those fruits. She is picking those fruits in the Commonwealth and at UNO. In order to prove this statement of mine I want to tell you, Sir, what is happening. In July 1960 Natives were shot at Bulawayo as a result of riots. When this matter was raised at UNO they unanimously passed an official resolution that that matter could not be discussed because it was the domestic affair of another country. But when Natives are shot here at Sharpeville and at Langa it is used against South Africa, then it is not the domestic affair of South Africa, then it gets discussed at UNO. What is the difference whether Natives are shot at Sharpeville and Langa or at Bulawayo?
Let us go further, Mr. Speaker. Take the murders which have been committed in the Congo. Do they discuss those at UNO every day? Does the Press of the United Party make front page news of that? But when shooting takes place at Sharpeville the most ghastly photographs appear on the front pages of the Press which support that party. During the past week White people were murdered at Angola, and Angola is not very far from us, Sir. Those murderous raids stretched over a distance of 300 miles. Did that make front page news? No, there was a short report in the Cape Times and the Argus. After all it was White people that had been shot, why should we be concerned about that, but when two Natives get shot at Langa the entire front page of the United Party Press is devoted to it and South Africa is put in the wrong.
Mr. Speaker, I say the world has lost its sense of values. I say that the party opposite is responsible for the fact that South Africa is in the dock; they are responsible for the fact that the footlights are continuously focused on South Africa. On 7 May 1960 the Leader of the United Party addressed their Congress and he said this—
He went on to say—
When we are accused at UNO of governing by decree, that we are governing by emergency regulations, where do they get that idea from? They get it from the United Party Press, Mr. Speaker. They get it from the lips of Sir de Villiers Graaff and the United Party.
I want to give you another example Sir. I want to tell you what the hon. member for Simonstown (Mr. Gay) said. Unfortunately he is not here this evening. He addressed a meeting in 1956 and he said this—
That hon. member told the world that this Government’s policy would lead to bloodshed. That is why members of the Commonwealth are able to get up and say that the policy of this Government will lead to bloodshed; where do they get that idea from? They get it from a member of the United Party, Sir.
I want to give another example. On 4 August the following headline appeared in the Star—
The Star told the world outside that this Native had been a slave in South Africa for ten years. I want to know from any member of the United Party whether one of them got up in this House and said that we did not practise slavery in South Africa. And then they want to know where the charge against South Africa comes from. They are responsible for this despicable sabotage which is being committed against South Africa. We see a reflection in the world outside of the thoughts of hon. members opposite. It is the type of speech which we get from the hon. member for South Coast (Mr. Mitchell) and the hon. member for East London (City) (Dr. D. L. Smit) that influences world opinion against us. Listen to what the hon. member for South Coast said. I am reading from a report which appeared in the Cape Times of 22 March—
This Government is being represented as an Adolf Hitler Government. Western democracy abhors Adolf Hitler and the policy which he followed, but that does not deter hon. members of the Opposition from comparing this Government with an Adolf Hitler Government. And then those hon. members want to know why South Africa finds herself in the dock. South Africa stands in the dock because the speeches made by that Party and the way in which they misrepresent facts influence the thoughts of those liberals; they are responsible for the nauseating psychosis which has appeared in the Western world. [Interjections.] I can go on giving examples the whole evening, Sir, but unfortunately my time has expired. Before I sit down, however, I should like to say this: Last year we imported goods to the value of R374,000,000 from Britain whereas they purchased goods from us to the value of only R220,000,000. Of that R374,000,000 R200,000,000 was in respect of motor cars and machinery for which they could get no other market in the world.
I want to give a final example. A year ago Britain purchased wool from South Africa to the value of R60,000,000 and we imported only one-tenth of that in the form of woven fabrics for which we paid R40,000,000. The wool clip which Britain purchases from South Africa provides the British weaver and the British industrialist with an income of R340,000,000 per annum. Do hon. members opposite think that those people will sacrifice that and simply give it away holus bolus? Time does not permit my giving further examples, but I think I have made it clear that that party is the party at whose door the charge should be laid that they have conditioned world opinion against South Africa with the result that South Africa is in the dock.
Sir, you will forgive me if Ï do not react to the violent speech of the hon. member for Wakkerstroom (Mr. Martins) who has just sat down. I have heard that speech before at Volksrust and Piet Retief …
And then you ran away.
… but there is one thing that I would never have believed and that is that I would hear a speech of that nature in the House of Assembly of the Union of South Africa. I think it is an insult to the intelligence of members of this House. That type of speech is really an archaic speech. That was the type of speech that was heard at Nuremberg during the years 1935 to 1945. That type of speech is completely void of any reality; it is void of any perception of fact. The charge which the hon. member tried to make against members on this side of the House was that we were responsible, and solely responsible, for the level at which our name stands in the world outside. Sir, that too is an insult to the intelligence of members of this House. The world does not condemn South Africa on account of what is said or what appears in the Press, but it condemns us on facts.
But you distorted things.
Order! The hon. member must withdraw that.
I withdraw that, Sir.
Mr. Speaker, I admire the member’s grace but he is about as graceful now as he ever will be …
Order! The hon. member must not become personal.
I was admiring his grace, Sir! For 13 years, we as an Opposition have been loyal to South Africa; for 13 years the actions of the hon. member who has just sat down and the actions of his Government have been noted not only by our enemies in the world outside, not only by the Eastern countries and the communists, but by our friends. And for 13 long years there have been tears of genuine regret because of those actions. Now those tears have turned into an attitude of hopelessness and of desperation in regard to this South African nation. It is no use always to attempt to plead that everything is somebody else’s fault, that it is because what people say that you are misjudged. It is no use always blaming the Press and the Opposition. In the last resort, Sir, you are judged by your own actions. That is what is happening to-day in this world. It is a terrible thing to be the only man who is in step; it is a terrible thing to be misunderstood but sometimes, Sir, in the name of God I beseech the Government: Think sometimes that you may be wrong. This sort of attitude of placing the blame somewhere else gets us nowhere, Sir. It does not lead to any appreciation of our situation to-day; it does not lead to any self-examination. It is the easy way out. It is the way of eternally looking for a scapegoat. It does not lead to any reformation. To what are all our problems and troubles due? Not to what we have done these 13 years. Oh no! All the abuse, the suspicion and the desperation with which the outside world regards us is too easily written off ai the fault of the Opposition and the Press. That is absolute nonsense. But the appalling thing is that there are very responsible members on that side who sit back and say: It is all the fault of the Opposition. This attitude leads us nowhere. It entails no self-examination; it is so easy to say: It is the fault of the Opposition. Sir, that is the mind of the dictator, the totalitarian. And I hope my hon. friend will not again come to this House and make the sort of speech which he has just made.
Mr. Speaker, may I deal for a moment with the hon. member for Kimberley (North) (Mr. H. T. van G. Bekker) who spoke about the Government’s defence policy. Let me say immediately that I do want to pay tribute—and I hope it is not the kiss of death—to the hon. the Minister of Defence for what he has done in the course of his ministerial responsibility for his Department. At least he has not concerned himself largely with designing new uniforms; at least he has not concerned himself largely with penalizing people for the fact that they are not good Nationalists. He has applied his mind to the improvement of our defence system within the limits set by financial and other considerations. Instead of designing new uniforms he has at least changed the obsolescent .303 rifle for an automatic weapon whose ammunition is standard pattern throughout the Western world. He has done that. He has considered the use of guided missiles as a form of defence for our large cities. At least he has taken steps to improve our naval defences, and as I say I want to pay tribute to him for that.
He has a very good misguided missile in the Prime Minister.
Order! The hon. member must not interject, and if he does he should be relevant.
What I deprecate, Sir, is the fact that that hon. member, the member for Kimberley (North) is so out of touch with the thinking of his hon. Minister in regard to defence matters, so out of touch with the thinking and the practice of the Defence Department. As I say I want to pay tribute to this hon. Minister. He has brought about a large number of improvements within the limit of his capacity and he is doing well. You see, Sir, my hon. friend from Kimberley (North) makes statements of this kind. He says if we were a big country with a big population then we could have a big defence force. Surely it is not the fault of members on this side that we have not got a big population— it is not our fault. If the policy of the late General Smuts in regard to immigration had been followed and consistently pursued, then we would have had a big population and then many of our troubles would not have arisen. The hon. member went on and, without any reference to the re-organization of the Defence Force which this hon. Minister is attempting to bring about, he talked in boastful and meaningless terms of the predecessor of this hon. Minister of Defence. He said proudly: We have modern aircraft. Sir, does he want to make us a laughing stock in the eyes of the world? Does he suggest that the Sabre jets that we have to-day are modern aircraft? Does he not know that they are obsolescent? That they are only used as trainers anywhere else in the Western world? And then he speaks proudly of our anti-aircraft demonstration the other day. I do not want to divulge any secrets, Sir, but if he read the object of that exercise carefully he would have seen that the object was not to demonstrate efficacy at all. I would recommend to the hon. member that he does his homework.
The situation in which we find ourselves on this day in this House is a grave one. It appears that that situation is not appreciated on the other side of the House. There have been three kinds of speeches, Sir. The one category of speakers was obviously the category that was whistling in the cemetery. We can quite appreciate what they are afraid of. They were whistling loudly in order to dispel the dangers which it thought might beset them. I have some sympathy with those people; it means at least that they have some sort of perception. The other category consisted of those who did not appear to have the perception or the understanding to realize how grave this moment is. Sir, this is not the time for political speeches.
What are you doing?
I am certainly not making a political speech. This is not the time to pretend that nothing is wrong. I think the hon. the Prime Minister indicated in his speech this afternoon that there were many things that gave him cause for concern. Heaven knows, Sir, if the hon. the Prime Minister has cause for concern, then we and South Africa certainly have cause for concern. This second category believes that you can deal with a problem by disregarding it; that simply ignoring the existence of a problem dispenses with it and its effect.
The third category of speakers was those who expressed genuine concern about our economic and our political and our international position. I want to say to those hon. members who did show this concern in their speeches, that I am grateful to them for it. We on these benches are grateful that some people are trying to assess this position.
Sir, I do not regard this as a flippant occasion, I regard this as a very grave occasion for our country and for our people. The state of the galleries this afternoon has shown that, Sir. I have never seen more interest on the part of the public in any situation. This is an occasion for serious debate, Sir, and not the time for the speech which we have had from the hon. member for Wakkerstroom.
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 24 March.
The House adjourned at