Cabinet Secretaries' notebooks (CAB 195/20): Federation of Rhodesia & Nyasland
Agreed last time we must reach concln. D.S. to consult R.W. on
proposal tht. we shd. either have 4% + Asian seat or 12½%
entailing abolition of A. seat. D.S. persuaded him tht. difft
standard of hurdle for Eur. & African was not defensible -
out of tune with present circs. R.W. prepd to accept
equalisation at 4% or 12½%; but not willing to accept
abolition of Asian seat.
Discussions with R.W. widened out into future of Fedn. Later
realised tht. almost any variant of N.Rh. constitution will
produce Govts. wh. are anti-Federation. This, coupled with
prospect tht. new Nyasaland Govt. will insist on secession,
opens up whole future of Fedn. Tho' N. not economic asset, its
departure may pave the way for secession of other constituent
Possibility of entirely new arrangement - but no ques. of its being a
proposal: mere aide-memoire of discn.
R.W. seeking now to hold up any N.Rh. constitution until we have
discussed larger issue. Suggest therefore we discuss that issue
first: then consider wtr. we can p'pone N.Rh. issue in hope of
reconciling it w'in wider framework. Recall Fed. Review concln
tht. progress must be made in constituent territies before we can
review future of Fedn.
R.W. said he was arriving to-morrow. Told H. Commr. stiffly tht. this
wd. do no good. He has now decided not to leave to-night.
3 connected issues - i) constn of N.Rh: ii) N.'s demand to secede:
iii) future of Fedn.
i) In Salisbury sought to clarify i) first. We had assumed tht., if he
preferred 12½%, he wd. not want Asian seat retained. But he
continues to attach importce to it esp. as he had conceded in
return addn of 500 Africans to upper roll. Referred back to Cab.
Decided to defer decn until my return. He also asked for 6 vice 4
racial reservation out of 7 seats. He wd. take 10% of votes cast.
Thus, he will agree to abolition of numerical alternative if
equality given at 10% of votes cast - plus Asian seat & 6 vice 4.
But he now wants radical review of future of Fedn - and puts that fwd.
as reason for p'poning constitn for N.Rh.
ii) R.W. urges we must hold N. in Fedn by force. I expld no future in that,
at the end secession wd. still be inevitable. Saw this eventually
& said ready to accept N.'s secession if satisfied it wd. not lead
to secession of N.R.
iii) Vague ideas of extending franchise & surrendering powers to
territories. Whitehead's idea: hold together multi-racial kernel
i.e. S.Rh. plus Copper Belt and line of rail. N.Rh. wd. be
divided into Barotseland (wh. wants separation), n.e. areas
inhabited by Africans, central area incldg. all economic life &
most of Europeans and Asians. Hold S.R. + centre of N.R., and
allow remainder to secede but to join in a looser economic
Existg. Fedn - regarded as imposed, design to perpetuate Europn
domination, identified with R.W. to whom Africans are
implacably hostile. Any new deal must be by voluntary action.
R.W. unwilling to concede right of secession even to S.Rh., with
its Eur. majority. At end we agreed to differ.
Problem of N. will be on our laps v. soon. B. comes Ldn. Apl. to ask
for secession. He wants principle accepted: recognises much
techn. work wd. then have to be done, possibly 9 mos. work - so
no actual separation for about a year. If we rejected principles,
B. wd. w'draw. from govt: we wd. have to resume direct rule
and serious security sitn wd. arise. Hope Cab. will agree no
future in trying to "fight it out" with B. in N. If Fedl Govt.
accepted principle, no gt. diffy. If R.W. decides to fight it, we
face diff. choices. We cd. i) join him in doing so; ii) give
self-govt. to N. at once & leave R.W. to fight it alone, with
police on B.'s side. This wd. be repd as betrayal. iii) Legn here
in oppn to Salisbury's wishes. We must therefore do utmost to
carry R.W. with us in conceding principle of secession.
Delay of N.Rh. constitution because new regime will restrict
manoeuvre on Fedn. Accept R.W.'s view on this: with new
constitn Fedn will disintegrate. But maybe it's doomed,
irrespective of what we do on N.Rh. as a pol. association. A year
ago, there mght. have bn. a chance. But it's only now tht. R.W.
has bn. willing to consider wider issue. I believe it's not
practicable to throw all into melting pot again. We must
therefore announce decn on N.Rh.
Concln: go ahead on N.R; try to get R.W. to co-operate in conceding
principle of secession to N.
x Agree can't delay N.Rh.
R.W., if co-operative on N., wd. seek unacceptable condns on
N.Rh. No hope of central Rh. plan with consent of N.Rh.
If Fedn is doomed, what will happen when S.R. is alone?
They will try to stand as independent state - few wd. want union with
S.A. tho' ties wd. be made closer.
Two dangers in Africa. i) Afr. revolt because impatient.
ii) Eur., if driven, mght. re-act - eventually
union of Angola, Katanga, Rhodesia. Dread effect on multi-
x Can't p'pone decn on N.Rh. constitn.
Future of fedn depends on Fedl Govt. conceding right to secede.
But rapid secession of N. will mean chaotic transfer & slum on our
hands. If he has bn. given right to seceded, we cd. deal with
revolt if any. Shd we not revert to Monckton. Orderly transfer of
power to territies; and thereafter right to secede. B. cd. hardly
excite support for opposn to that p'mme. Wd take 2/3 yrs. to
transfer the powers: longer prs. for N.Rh. With that delay they
mght. choose some form of continuing assocn. Cd we not make
decln on these lines?
This underestimates Afr. detestn of Salisbury & R.W. personally.
Only hope for a Fedn is to give B. right at once & sufficient
gesture to N.Rh.
Mght. have done this, if we had moved to Monckton at once. Now it
is too late.
Line of rail plan is not practicable - obvious gift of all econ. value to
Announce N.Rh. Take few wks. to work out plan for N.
Right of consent of Fedl Govt. before right of secession granted?
No: we are only Parlt. that can do it. Tho' violent row.
We cd. secure secession of N. - Fedl Govt. wd. not actively
resist. Sooner we give N. added responsibility more likely they
are to consider some form of economic association.
My plan would give us longer over N.Rh.
B. will say tht. his electorate has decided already in favour of
What R.W. really mean by c. Rh. plan is not what Monckton meant.
What they mean is - N. shd. secede: Barotseland go off alone
with appropriate African constitn: central N.Rh. (where racial
ratio is same as S.Rh.) shd. have same kind of constitn as in
S.Rh. - essentially multi-racial: then all 5 cd. join economic
Other view: if we can get 8 yrs. for N.Rh., Fedl Govt. cd. bind them in.
[Murmurs of dissent]
No moral basis now for central African alliance plan.
Any alternative arrangemt. must be discussed by conference and
secured by consent. E.W. contemplates action by existing Govts.
Cd accept it as decn of self-governing Govts.
That is not what E.W. wants.
On N. can't we find via media between R.M. and H.'s view - which
we cd. persuade R.W. to accept. We can't carry Party in forcing
this v. unwilling R.W.
We are powerless. Cdn't govern N. by force for long. Cdn't restrain
Europeans fr. seizing Copper Belt.
Can't avoid now an early decn on N.Rh. constitution?
x/ Indications of general agreement.
Hopeful sign in all this is that R.W. and E.W. have come to think
Fedn can't last. They may now become more practical.
Better now to lean on E.W. than on R.W. - who is much more widely
Agree to x/ as we can't settle future of Fedn until we have elected
Given decn on x/. we must consider N.Rh. ques. - what do we do?
has accepted equal hurdle for each: when shd. it be put?
African Parties won't co-operate unless they have a chance of winning.
They oppose both numerical alternative and Asian seat.
Equality of %age is necessary & I favour high figure of 12½%.
With that Africans wd. co-operate if Asian seat abolished. Can't
now defend it: Asians don't want it: awkward to m'tain it in
face of their disclaimer.
Can't hold revolt unless it appears we have offered reasonable
Even under this constitn - govt. will only be advisory to Governor.
500 Afr. on upper roll?
Tho' conceded in exchange for Asian seat v. diff. to w'draw it now.
This plan gives Africans a good chance.
Choice of %age is between 10% and 12½%. I prefer 10% of votes
This choice raises no ques. of principle.
Asian seat. Recall history.
R.W.'s main pre-occupn was 12½% or 400. But in last resort he
suggd Asian seat & we had no reason to think Africans wd.
dislike it. We made bargain with R.W. adding this in return
for 500 Africans on upper roll.
Concession on %age - equalisation - is the bull point. For Africans
much more important than Asian seat. And there was a bargain.
If we abolished it, we wd. have to remove the 500 Africans. Can't
really contemplate that.
Cd you retain it for one Parlt. only? It wd. be 2nd class status.
We cdn't possibly w'draw the 500. Hope we can leave Asian seat.
In reply to ques: R.W. wd. accept with protest 10% plus m'tenance
of Asian seat.
Cd we not buy acquiescence under protest by both sides by
retaining Asian seat.
Why not try I.M.'s temporary idea.
If we drop Asian seat, we shall be attacked by both sides.
But how can I defend it to H/C. knowing tht. no-one in N.Rh. wants
it & its only reason was to prevent them voting R.W. in
Bound to come out tht. there was a bargain. Will cause big row.
Both = minimum requd to secure African co-opn.
We have to weigh these considns:-
A. i) Avoid boycott. ii) Avoid revolt.
Two concessions wd. clearly be better than one. Obviously
better fr. R.M.'s angle.
B. European mood: faced with end of Fedn. Risk of exposing
ourselves to charge from them, in that mood, of breakg. bargain. C. Posn of U.K. Govt. & attitude of Party.
We cdn't prevent a Boston tea-party: & under pressure fr. Eur.
we made concessions in June. Not wholly bound because circs.
change: but it was a bargain. We shd. be accused of
dishonourable act: I'm not prepared to be so accused. Our
reputation wd. be tarnished. And at beginning of this road to
secession of N., N.Rh. and break-down of Fedn.
Let R.M. consider how it could be presented.
Cab. wd. wish R.M. to let Asian seat stand. Many cdn't reconcile
its retention w'out removing the 500. How wd. that be