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Memo about a political manifesto published in South Africa in 1929
(Catalogue ref: CO 323/1034/8)

A remarkable Manifesto has been issued in South Africa, the signatures to which include the Rt. Rev. the Archbishop of Capetown, the Rt. Hon. Henry Burton, K.C., The Hon. J. W. Jagger, Sir Clarkson Tredgold, K.C., Sir J. Rose-Innes, K.C., until lately Chief Justice in the Transvaal, and Mr. P. Ross Frames, former Chairman of De Beers and Premier Companies.

The signatories, dealing with the question of native franchise, say:-

“The importance of this issue transcends all party considerations. Our appeal, therefore, is made in no party spirit, is untrammelled by party boundaries.”

and they proceed:-

“Equality before the law, freedom for any man to perform any work for which he is competent, and equality in the exercise of electoral powers by all who have satisfied a uniform standard – these have been the birthright of all men. Behind this stands the recognition of the basic fact that all sections of the population are integral parts of the whole, with common interests; that the welfare of the whole country, and not that of any single race or colour, is the true concern of all the people;.....”

“If they (the natives of South Africa) develop and full citizenship is denied them, there is bound in the end to be a clash. It would no doubt be possible for a time to keep them down by force; but force has never proved to be a lasting remedy – least of all in South Africa.”

“No greater question confronts mankind. The eyes of the world are upon us. We are in the front of the struggle of opposing policies; and the experience and accumulated wisdom of the world are on the side of the policy we advocate. Ultimately it must prevail; but if we depart from it now we shall be brought back to it through years of conflict, with increasing embitterment and estrangement.”

“We shudder to think of leaving such a legacy to the generations that are coming after us.”
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