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Title: The constitutional problem in Kenya
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Title: The constitutional problem in Kenya
Physical Description: 1 l., 31 p. : ; 22 cm.
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Publication Date: 1933?]
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    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Cust Foundation lectures
    The constitutional problem in Kenya
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Full Text


3. g5-. 3i

Henry John Cokayne Cust, born in 1861, was the
elder son of Major H. F. Cokayne Cust of Cokayne
Hatley, Bedfordshire, and heir-presumptive to the
Barony of Brownlow. He was educated at Eton and
at Trinity College, Cambridge, of which foundation he
was a Major Scholar. Called to the Bar in Paris, he
was also a Bar student in London. In 1890, after a
period of travel which laid the foundation of his close
and continuing interest in Imperial matters, he entered
politics as a Conservative, representing successively the
Stamford Division of Lincolnshire (1890-5) and the
London Borough of Bermondsey (1901-6). In 1892 he
was invited by Mr W. Waldorf (later Viscount) Astor to
edit the Pall Mall Gazette and proved a brilliant
successor to Greenwood and Morley. For his arduous
and unsparing work as founder and Chairman of the
Central Committee for National Patriotic Organisations
during the early years of the 1914-19 war he was pub-
licly thanked by Mr Asquith in the House of Commons.
He married Emmeline, the only daughter of Sir William
Welby-Gregory of Denton Manor, Grantham. He died
in London in March 1917.

One of the most arresting personalities of his time
and an assiduous traveller from his youth upwards, he
spoke fully and authoritatively from a personal know-
ledge of men, books and things and with deep practical
insight into national and international politics.

.. .. .:..
... .....". : ... .
.* : 1 ': -:=-
ee eee . i

Cust Foundation Lectures

1921' Oar East African Territories: Their
Development and Commercial Value
1922* TWith Henry Gust and Cecil Rhodes
in South Africa
1923* The West Indies
1924 The Imperial Conferences with special
reference to Commerce and Trade
1925 India: the Need of Faith
1926 The Food Supply of the Empire
1927 The Development of our Empire in
the Tropics
1928 Empire Migration
1329 England and Egypt
1930 India : the Political Problem
1931 The Problem of the Mandate in
P.C., G.C.S.I., G.C.I.E.
1932 Great Britain in the Near and 3[,/./.',
East .
S * .
S' iI...RO .kLy &t'0iR,,.'.GMf.G., C.B.E.
:*. : : *N:t..p b,, s.
.* :* ** Not published. '', '

The Constitutional Problem
in Kenya

THE Cust Foundation Lecture, which I feel
much honoured in being invited to deliver
to-day, commemorates a man of brilliant parts,
who gave much time and study to Imperial affairs.
Though he died but sixteenyears ago, the Empire has
undergone an extraordinary transformation since
his death. Four older Dominion Governments
and one new one, the Irish Free State, have
established a status of complete equality with the
Government of this country as constitutional
advisers of the Sovereign. The system of govern-
ment in India has changed considerably, and is
about to change still more. One great territory,
Rhodesia, created and long administered by a
Chartered Company, has become in part a self-
governing and in part a Crown Colony. One
Crown Colony, Ceylon, has been equipped with a
constitution of a very novel kind, the future of
which it is not easy to foretell. Several great
Mandated Territories have been added to the
Empire's administrative system. In one, Irak,
the mandatory period has already come to an end.
Elsewhere, in one of our oldest self-governing
Colonies, we are actually reversing the process and
taking control back to Whitehall. Everywhere
new forces and new conceptions are moving.
We live then in a period of rapid and radical
change. History seems to turn its pages quicker,
as we ourselves travel faster, in all parts of the
world. There is no section of humanity over
which there is not sweeping, like wind upon the
corn, the breath of new ideas. Central Africa, the
dark continent, may seem isolated still; but in

fact it is not. We are already confronted there
with the first stirring of an old constitutional
problem, and we should, I think, strive to tackle
it betimes with new constructive thought. In the
now self-governing parts of the Empire we have
pursued everywhere our traditional course towards
Parliamentary self-government. In India we are
committed to an experiment on roughly similar
lines. But in Central Africa we have the oppor-
tunity of trying some other method of constitu-
tional development, and I hope to show that for
such innovation there is pressing need. At present
the Crown Colony system of government is
universal; but it has already shown great weak-
ness in Kenya, and it is certain to exhibit the same
defects elsewhere as soon as an educated and
determined political minority begins to challenge
its autocratic method of rule. Kenya will be the
test-case, because it will demand the first decisions.
That, and my close familiarity with its conditions,
are my reasons for choosing it as the subject of
this address today. But since our action there
must create a decisive precedent, which will
influence development throughout the rest of the
African dependencies, I do not propose to treat it
as an isolated or peculiar problem.
Crown Colony government is an autocratic
system of administration conducted by a Governor
and an irremovable Civil Service under the orders
of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. All
history proves that when once there comes into
existence an educated and active body of local
opinion, this autocratic system must find room for
the participation of local representatives, more
particularly in the fixing of taxation and expendi-
ture. How can such participation best be provided
for, and can it be provided for at all without

rapidly undermining, in Africa as elsewhere, the
supreme authority of the Imperial Parliament ?
We have hitherto acted on the assumption, derived
from our own constitutional history, that the only
direction which this evolution can take is towards
Parliamentary institutions-in other words, to-
wards the establishment of a representative
legislature from which the executive is formed and
to which it is responsible. There is only one
result to development on those lines. We know
that at an early stage conflict inevitably develops
between a representative local legislature and an
executive responsible in any measure to another
Parliament, and that in a comparatively short
time the local legislature begins to demand com-
plete control. How then are we to harmonize the
local growth of representative institutions in Africa
with the arbitral and guiding functions which we
desire to preserve for our own central legislature at
Westminster ? Must the Imperial Parliament and
the great Civil Service which it controls gradually
surrender their arbitral position in relation to the
different racial communities as local representative
government develops, or can we reconcile
the one with the other? That is the funda-
mental issue in the constitutional problem
already presented by Kenya and rapidly emerging
The answer, I suggest, is not to be found in
Africa alone; it must be sought not only there
but also here at home. If Imperial authority is to
be preserved, it must be wisely exercised. It must
be armed with adequate knowledge; it must be
guarded against rapid fluctuations and lack of
continuity in the policy which it pursues; it must
be assured of willing cooperation from active
political opinion on the spot. I think this will be

clear from a very brief survey of the reactions of
our own constitution on the Crown Colony system
of government.

Kenya, but for the coastal strip, is a Crown
Colony, with a theoretically all-powerful Governor
at the apex of an irremovable Civil Service; but
these public servants of the Crown are under the
orders of the Secretary of State for the Colonies,
who is himself responsible to Parliament. In
simple terms therefore the Government is a local
autocracy subject to a distant democracy. The
distant democracy may change its rulers as it
pleases at shorter or longer intervals for reasons
(such for instance as the relief of unemployment)
which have no connexion with the Colonial
Empire, and the whole of that Empire may then
undergo a change of policy. The local autocracies
which rule that Empire are thus autocracies of
strictly local scope. Whatever they may think
themselves on the problems with which they deal,
they are in duty bound to obey the orders and
reflect the moods of a remote and busy Parliament,
elected as a rule on issues which are entirely
irrelevant to those problems. Bureaucracy is not,
in this century, a popular system of government,
but its difficulties are obviously aggravated when
it is subject to the accusation of representing a
remote, inaccessible and (as local critics allege)
ill-instructed power instead of governing on the
merits as its own officers with all their local
knowledge see them.
The Colonial. Service itself never expresses an
opinion on this aspect of its task; its lips are
sealed. But public men like myself, who have had
occasion to appreciate the loyalty and capacity of
that great Service, are entitled to speak of its work.

I say then without hesitation that the task of the
Colonial Service, which must always grow more
difficult as territories progress, is very seriously
aggravated by the fact that our Parliamentary
system is, in its present form, so ill-adapted to a
sound, far-seeing and continuous discharge of our
Imperial responsibilities. By this I intend no
disparagement of the House of Commons. Parlia-
ment, I admit, has little time to devote to the
serious discussion of Colonial policy, and it is true
that Colonial questions receive much less attention
than a thousand lesser questions of purely domestic
or even parochial importance. The Colonial Office
vote, whicl gives Parliament its main annual
opportunity for a general review of the Colonial
Empire, was disposed of this summer between
11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on a Friday. The discussion
jumped like a Chinese cracker from one subject to
another, from Hongkong to Honduras, from Malta
to Malaya, from world's end to world's end and
back again, and many Members with studied views
and real experience were unable to speak at all.
This is certainly unsatisfactory. But I am a
House of Commons man, and I think it right to
observe that time is always found at Westminster
for a debate on any Colonial subject which is
agitating public opinion in any important quarter.
The real trouble is that our treatment of Colonial
questions is necessarily superficial and spasmodic,
and that our most effective Parliamentary speakers
are not, for the most part, men who have made it
their business to know what they are talking about
in the Colonial sphere. A Colonial debate is not
therefore as a rule, an inspiring affair. It usually
arises out of some agitation which the Government
has not been able to repress. The searchlight of
Parliament is focused for a brief moment upon

one detached issue, which stands out in glaring
relief without context or perspective. In that
light, blocking out all but the object on which it is
thrown, the Parliamentary debate begins. The
Oppositions expostulate, the Government explains,
the Whips fill the appropriate lobbies, and punc-
tually to its programme the searchlight swings on
its course. It is true, I think, that we never touch
the long-range problems except in this extremely
inadequate way. But that is not the fault of the
House; it is the fault of the system, which from
the standpoint of the Colonial Empire has two
signal defects.
The first of these is the almost universal
unfamiliarity of men of Ministerial rank with
Colonial questions. British Governments rise and
fall on issues which have seldom any connexion
with our specifically Colonial responsibilities. That
is only natural. Politics, like charity, begin at
home; and the uncertain but decisive element in
our vast electorate is swung from right to left, or
from left to right, mainly by its feeling on domestic
questions. It is equally natural that our Govern-
ments should reflect this bent of mind and that
they should be composed more and more of men
knowing much of Great Britain and the questions
which divide it but little of the outer Empire. I
have looked through the roll of our Cabinet
Ministers since the war. From the election of
1919 we have had seven administrations, including
the present one. To those seven Cabinets well
over 150 appointments were made, and although
of course many were re-appointments of the same
individual, the number of individuals who have
served as Cabinet Ministers is well over 100. Of
these only four-who shall be nameless-can
be said to have made any detailed study of

Colonial problems. This is not a satisfactory
percentage in view of our vast Colonial responsi-
bilities. It is strange, and indeed disquieting,
that Administrations so composed should control
the destiny of trustful millions in tropical and
sub-tropical Africa, to say nothing of the rest of
the Colonial Empire. But it is the natural result
of our present over-centralised system of govern-
The second defect of the system is in some ways
even more disquieting. Lack of knowledge is
never, in politics, a deterrent to the formation and
expression of strong opinion. It is moreover one
of our abiding virtues, always growing in strength,
that we have a deep sense of responsibility for the
backward peoples which our Parliament indirectly
governs. This conscience for the most part gropes
blindly in the dark; like much devoted support of
overseas missions, it is inspired not by knowledge
but by feeling and faith. Policies on the most
searching Colonial problems are accordingly formed
and promulgated with a most curious mixture of
responsibility and irresponsibility by bodies, such
as the Trade Union Congress, which are singularly
ill-fitted for the task. The main feature of these
pronouncements is in most cases a blind applica-
tion of European or even strictly British political
ideas to Asia and Africa. They can usually be
traced to a few people of fanatical conviction, not
one of whom has as a rule played any responsible
part in the world of Colonial administration.
Opinion thus shaped may not seem formidable
when first formulated at a political congress or
some other party reunion; but it ends by swinging
Governments which owe their opportunity of power
in the Colonial sphere to the movement of British
opinion on purely domestic issues. Nor is this all.

We are now told that the Trade Union Congress
will not only determine Imperial policy but will
also appoint the Prime Minister and the Cabinet
who are to carry it out. I have a great respect for
the Trade Union Congress in its own sphere; but
that sphere is not the government of African or
other primitive dependencies, and it is really time
to consider whither our constitutional development
at home may carry us in the Colonial field. Mr
Baldwin has recently pointed out that adult
suffrage makes for rapid and far-reaching swings
of the pendulum. We do not yet know how this
will affect our own social and economic welfare;
but we already have evidence that it may produce
a disastrous lack of continuity in Imperial affairs
and make hazy sentiment the master of policy at
points where justice and wisdom cannot be served
without knowledge and a clear grasp of complex
facts. Little wonder that distant subjects of this
system of government become anxious and restless
under its vagaries.
The fluctuations of Imperial statesmanship
which result from these two defects are vividly
illustrated in the history of Kenya. They make a
far from impressive record. At least twice since
the war the Imperial Government has been obliged
to withdraw or modify momentous and solemn
declarations with regard to Kenya because they
proved unacceptable to local European opinion.
The first case was in 1922, when a common voting-
roll for Europeans and Indians was decided on by
the Imperial Government in execution of an
understanding between the Secretaries of State for
India and the Colonies known as the Wood-
Winterton Agreement. The local European
population declared an implacable opposition to
this decision, and in due course, after much had

happened which had much better not have
happened, it was withdrawn. This first capitula-
tion was signed and sealed in the 1923 White
Paper. Not ten years later the last Socialist
Government issued two W-hite Papers in which
they were understood to prescribe, amongst other
things, that the interests of the European popula-
tion in Kenya should be subordinated to those of
the African population wherever the two might be
supposed to conflict. The phrase which aroused
most controversy, the paramountcyy of native
interests," was in fact taken from the 1923 White
Paper; but the Socialist Government was held to
be straining it unfairly. Once again a strong
agitation broke out, and the offending Papers were
in due course explained away by a Joint Select
Committee, which poured oil on the troubled
waters. The Papers themselves, which stirred
European feeling in Africa to its depths, were
never submitted to Parliament and remained
therefore the obiter dicta of a minority Government
without Parliamentary ratification. Yet again in
the present year the Secretary of State has found
reason to cancel the imposition of an Income Tax
to which the Kenya Government was committed.
There is of course a great deal to be said in
palliation of these undignified episodes, and I have
been careful to express no opinion on the merits of
any of the questions which produced them. All
that I am here concerned with is their bearing on
the preservation of Imperial authority in Kenya.
The moral to which they point was indeed drawn
with admirable clarity by the Hilton Young
Commission which visited the East African terri-
tories early in 1928 and reported at the end of that
year .

"Local opinion," they wrote,* "when it comes into
conflict with a distant authority has always the advantage
of more direct and immediate contact with reality. When
it comes to a real struggle, opinions derived from the
reading of books and despatches have little power to
withstand those formed by contact with life, and the
Imperial Government tends in consequence to surrender
in the end to the more full-blooded convictions of those
on the spot.
The remoteness of the controlling authority has also the
effect of making Colonial opinion more suspicious and
distrustful. Mention has already been made of the fear
which is always present in communities settled overseas
lest unknown and incalculable influences at home should
deflect the course of Imperial policy in a direction adverse
to their interests. The danger that 'some hidden spring
may be put in motion in the Colonial Office in England'
is one to which, as Lord Durham recognized,) communi-
ties settled overseas are peculiarly sensitive. We were
told by the European elected members in Kenya that
they felt that under the present system we run great
danger of having the continuity of our policy completely
broken by changes of circumstances in another country,
in which the people live in complete ignorance of our
It follows very clearly that if Imperial authority is
to be maintained, Imperial policy should not be
formulated without close and sympathetic attention
to opinion, both official and unofficial, on the spot.
But that is not all. The more fundamental
necessity is that both Governments and Parlia-
ments here at home should be better equipped for
the handling of Colonial problems.

How are these objects to be secured? I see no
way short of some redistribution of the functions
of-government in this country of such a kind as to
give us a central Administration and Parliament
free and qualified- to handle our major responsibili-
ties without other cares. The great- range of
*Hilton Young Report, page 87.
tLord Durham's Report. Vol. II, pp. 192-3.

questions arising out of Imperial and foreign
policy, production, trade, defence and the other
main activities of national life is surely wide and
complicated enough to deserve the care of an
Administration unburdened by responsibility for
the subjects which in a federal system are normally
entrusted to provincial governments. I am not at
this moment concerned to argue the purely British
case for the devolution of some of the Imperial
Parliament's present functions to subordinate
authorities or to discuss the forms which such
devolution might take, though I believe that Great
Britain alone stands to profit greatly by constitu-
tional reorganization on such lines. What I here
maintain is that we cannot long preserve the
essential authority of the Imperial Parliament in
the Imperial field if that Parliament is also to deal
with practically every local issue in the British
Isles and to change its character, as also that of
the Ministry responsible to it, with every change
of feeling in a vast electorate on purely domestic
questions. I also maintain with deep conviction
that to continue much longer attempting to govern
an immensely complex and rapidly .changing
Empire through a constitutional system of that
kind is to trifle with our vast responsibilities
towards other races whose future is in our hands.
I now come to the constitutional problem in
Kenya itself. The difficulty and doubt which all
responsible people feel when they approach that
problem are due, I believe, to moral perplexity
upon the principles to be applied and the aims to
be pursued. There is probably no Member-of
Parliament in either House, whatever his party
label, who would not agree that the welfare-of the
African peoples is one of the principal objects to be
pursued-is indeed a sine qua non, a touchstone by

which all policy should be tried. In what line of
development does the welfare of the African people
lie ? Some would say in keeping Africa African, in
setting a Chinese wall about it, in preserving tribal
institutions, primitive though, they may be, and in
forbidding all development, such as the quest of
gold, which impinges on the native reserves of land
and disturbs African society. I do not believe that
to be possible.
The African himself is changing rapidly,
and no administrative system can arrest
the march of ideas. He is already demanding
services of many kinds, educational, medical and
agricultural, as well as improved communications
and public works. All this requires revenue and
consequently the steady development of the poten-
tial wealth which these territories contain. The
younger generation of Africans moreover will not
be content without opportunities for evolution on
European lines. They mean for instance to speak
English, whatever our educationists may say, and
there is no dynamite more subversive of primitive
political institutions than the English language
and the world of ideas to which it is the key. I
agree to the full that we should build so far as
possible on African institutions, and strive so to
guide the processes of change as to prevent them
from demoralizing the African without fitting him
for a life more like our own. But let us face the
fact that the African himself will insist with
growing determination on freedom to shape his
future on lines similar to those which we, his self-
imposed tutors, have pursued.
I do not see on what grounds we can seek to
deny him that freedom. Nor on the other hand
do I believe that it is either right or practicable to

arrest the development of the wealth of Africa in
all the forms which the modern world requires.
"It will be the high task of all my Governments,"
said King George in the proclamation which he
made on his accession to the Throne, to superin-
tend and assist the development of these countries
. for the benefit of the inhabitants and
the general welfare of mankind." The latter con-
sideration is not to be ignored, and I do not believe
that there is any real or necessary antagonism
between the interests of civilisation as a whole and
the interests of the primitive peoples for whose
welfare the civilising Powers have made themselves
trustees. Imperialism in the sense often but
improperly given to it, the exploitation of the more
backward for the benefit of the more advanced, is
now an abandoned creed. But there is equal
injustice and unwisdom in the opposite extreme,
the sacrifice of the interests of civilization as a
whole to what are conceived to be the interests of
primitive tribes. All progressive modern states-
manship is striving to give expression to the idea
that there is a human interest-an interest, that
is, common to all races of men-which is above
the interest of any single political system or race
or community. It is for that idea, which combines
our interest with those of primitive Africa in a
larger whole, that we ought, I believe, to regard
ourselves as trustees. Our paramount duty then
is not to set white interests above black interests
or black above white but to harmonize the interests
of the two.
The danger of course is that we must ourselves
be the arbiters of what civilization can rightly
demand, that we adjudicate in our own cause.
That duty cannot in my opinion be entrusted
without guidance to men and women of our race

who have made Africa their home.: We need their
cooperation, for they have just claims which all
history shows that we cannot ignore, and their
interests are part of those which we must endeavour
to serve. We should also seek the cooperation of
the African, as his horizon enlarges and his capaci-
ty grows. But the supreme authority, the ultimate
arbitral power, should in my opinion long remain
with the Imperial Government and the officers
whom it appoints. I take this necessity as
axiomatic if our duty is to be fairly discharged and
peaceful development secured. White civilization
will not be able to survive in Africa, however it
may be strengthened by settlement and natural
growth, without the moral support of white
civilization elsewhere; and such support will never
be steadily maintained unless the broad lines of
development to be followed are laid down and
supervised by an authority with broader vision
than any small European community settled in
Africa, whatever .its character, can at present
possess. At the same time the representation of
Imperial authority must be such as to command
the confidence of all races in Africa, and not least
of our own.
It is in the light of this principle that I would
ask you to approach the problem of constitutional
progress. I will speak only of Kenya, but on the
clear understanding that the policy pursued in
Kenya must be suited for application throughout
tropical and sub-tropical Africa, as the need for
representative institutions makes itself felt ; for no
policy will stand the test of time in Kenya alone
which cannot be applied to the whole range of our
dependencies in the central belt of that continent.
People are apt to suppose that the presence of a
white settled population in Kenya makes the pro-

blem there a peculiar and isolated one. ; I do not
believe this to be the case. The white population
complicates the problem in certain ways, and ren-
ders a solution more urgent; but I do not think
that the objections to admitting an educated local
minority to participation in the responsibilities of
the Imperial Government, although in some ways
aggravated by the fact that in Kenya that minority
is of our. own race, are rendered insuperable by it.
The process has its drawbacks; they are patent in
India today. But where we are dealing with an
educated minority reared in our own political
tradition, we can rely, if we are wise, on much in-
stinctive cooperation towards overcoming the
inherent difficulties of the case. The point that
matters most about political minorities is their
character and capacity, not their colour or their
The present composition of the population in
Kenya has no exact parallel elsewhere. In round
figures there are three million Africans, twenty-five
thousand Asiatics, mainly Indian, and fifteen thou-
sand Europeans, almost entirely British. The
indigenous population contains a very small per-
centage of Arabs and Somalis, the latter being
largely of Arab descent on the father's side, and,
in addition to these Arabs and Somalis, a few
Mahomedan tribesmen in the Northern Frontier
Province. The Arabs have their distinctive place
in the constitution, and I feel that we owe them
special regard; but they do not in themselves add
any serious complication to an already complex
problem, and I shall not refer to them again in
this paper. The great mass of the African popula-
tion is in the tribal stage of development, and
primitively pagan in religion. The two largest
tribes, the Kavirondo and Kikuyu, who between

them number nearly two millions out of the three,
are becoming increasingly agricultural in character.
The remaining million are largely pastoral; the
strongest fighting tribe, the Masai, who number
only fifty thousand but who nevertheless dominated
the country before our advent, is still entirely so.
Here then is a curious association of races. The
Africans, primitive and divided by many differ-
ences of language as well as of tribe, outnumber
the Europeans by 200 to 1. The Asiatics, who,
apart from a professional element of lawyers, mer-
chants and contractors, are mainly little trades-
men or artizans, outnumber the Europeans by 2
to 1. The Europeans are, as to one third, in
the service of the Government or of the State
Railway. The remainder are, as to one half,
dependent on farming and, as to the other half, on
business and the professions. They are mostly of
what we used to call the upper and middle classes
in England. They come, that is, of educated
stock, and are accustomed to a comfortable stand-
ard of living, with servants and other such modest
luxuries. Nearly eighty per cent. of the settlers
are officers retired from one or other of the Ser-
vices of the Crown. There are now, I am told,
more than two thousand European youths, young
women and children born in the colony and edu-
cated there. This is a new indigenous population.
Vital statistics are still in a primitive stage, and
it is extremely difficult to determine whether the
African population is increasing. On the whole I
believe that it is, but only slowly; and I doubt, for
various reasons with which I need not detain you,
any great increase in the present generation. The
Asiatic population is about stationary, and since it
has now come into competition with Africans in

the trades by which it earns its living, it is, I
think, more likely to decline than to increase in
numbers. The European population increased
very rapidly in the first three years after the war,
when land was offered by the Imperial Govern-
ment to ex-Service men who were willing to take
it up. There was a further slow but steady
increase in the nine or ten years following. Since
the fall in prices settlement has been at a stand-
I am not going today into the economic
aspects of settlement; but two short observations
on its political aspect are germane to the constitu-
tional issue which we are discussing. The first
is that the white population should be either
steadily reinforced or else removed and compen-
sated. These are the only two moral courses that
we can pursue. The second should be faced, if the
economic and other objections to further settle-
ment are held to outweigh all other considerations.
I do not myself believe that such objections can
be sustained. Further settlement must be care-
fully supervised, but on that condition the argu-
ments in favour of it seem to me overwhelming.
In any case we must choose, not drift. So small
a settled population is bound to deteriorate if not
reinforced, and nothing-I say with emphasis,
nothing-could be more disastrous to the civilising
mission we have in hand. The present settlers
were for the most part established in Kenya by
the deliberate act of the Imperial Government;
and I can conceive no betrayal of its responsibili-
ties by a great civilizing power more blind or more
base than this-to plant an outpost of its own
stock like hostages in a primitive continent and
then to deny them reinforcement, comfort and
moral support. These observations, I need hardly

say, are not intended to apply to settlers with
sufficient means to choose whether they remain in
Kenya or not, though many of these have done
splendid work for the Colony and are devoted to
it. Still less do they apply to that small section
of Kenya society which provides so much highly
coloured material for the society columns of the
newspapers. This is happily a very small section,
and the Empire owes it nothing but the converse
of obligation. My remarks are directed to that
true body of colonists whose whole capital, such as
it is, is buried in the country, whose children are
being educated in the country's own schools, and
whose future, not only as individuals but as
families, is irrevocably fixed in it. The Ormsby-
Gore Commission, which consisted of a Conserva-
tive, a Liberal and a Labour Member of Parliament,
describes the position of these settlers at the time
of its visit nearly ten years ago :
No one who has seen the conditions under which the
European settlers are living and working in districts such
as the Trans-Nzoia and Uasin-Gishu can feel anything
but admiration for the efforts they are making. They are
nearly all ex-soldiers or ex-sailors who have sunk such
capital as they possess in the Colony. They are living
'rough,' very often in mud shanties, and are working
hard on their farms. They are breaking soil which has
never been tilled before, and facing all the uncertainties of
climate in a new country. They have to resist the
encroachment of game and overcome all the difficulties
that confront pioneers. Few of them have much capital,
and most of them will sink or swim in accordance with
whether they can make a living or not out of their
I would only add that the conditions with which
many of these settlers are now still most gallantly
contending have been greatly aggravated by the
fall in prices which has smitten agriculture all
over the world. That these settlers, who hold

Imperial assurances of support, constitute an acute
political problem is no reason for breaking faith
with them and denying them as a community the
elements of healthy growth. The constitutional
issue should be tackled without further delay for
this, if for no other reason-that our shaken
Imperial authority cannot long survive a policy of
indifference, often barbed with hostility, towards a
process of colonization for which it is itself respon-
sible, for this policy kills the spirit of cooperation
and drives local opinion to extreme views and
I will not labour this argument because I think
it must be clear from the episodes which I have
briefly described that the Imperial authority must
find increasing difficulty in imposing its will on the
white population of Kenya when any deep-seated
opposition is aroused. Surely then the cooperation
of the white community should be won, since
policies pursued in opposition to it produce but
one result-the further surrender of authority to
local opinion, whenever the latter is stirred.
Nothing however is done to win that opinion
over, because action halts between two sharply
contrasted schools, each of which, as the Hilton
Young Commission very truly said,* derives its
strength from concentration on one of the main
factors in the problem to the exclusion of the rest.
The one view is that self-government on Parlia-
mentary lines should be gradually conferred on
the white inhabitants alone, so that these would
become the political masters of African fellow-sub-
jects who must always outnumber them by at
least ten to one. The other is that Crown Colony
administration through an autocratic Civil Service
must continue until such time as the African
*Hilton Young Report, page 86.

population can take an effectual representative
share in the Government.
In so far as the white population demands merely
a voice in the determination of policy, particularly
in regard to taxation which bears on themselves,
they have, I believe, an unanswerable case. They
and their children are committed to the country
for ever; Civil Servants and their children are not.
They do not represent a smaller percentage of the
total population than the educated part of the
Indian population which has made the continuance
of autocratic Civil Service government not only
undesirable but impossible in India; and there is
nothing in the difference of conditions between
Kenya and India which can justify the denial to
men and women of our own race in Kenya what
we are steadily conceding to men and women of
other races elsewhere. On the other hand it is
incontestable that advance in that direction upon
the lines now advocated must lead inevitably and
at a comparatively early date to responsible
government on the British Parliamentary model,
and I believe that such a constitutional system is
incompatible with the true interests of any of the
races, including our own, in tropical Africa.
This dilemma was the main factor in the problem
laid six years ago before the Hilton Young Com-
mission. Their terms of reference were set out in
a Command Paper* entitled "Future Policy in
regard to Eastern Africa," which directed them,
amongst other duties, to "make recommendations
in regard to possible changes in the powers and
composition of the various Legislative Councils of
the several territories so as to associate
more closely in the responsibilities and trusteeship
*Command Paper 2904, 1927.

of Government the immigrant communities domi-
ciled in the country." The constitution of Kenya,
to which in particular this passage referred,
consisted at the time, and still consists, of a
Legislative Council containing elected representa-
tives of the European, Indian and Arab
communities. The African population was then,
and is still, represented in it by the official
members, who include at least three officers
directly responsible for native administration and
constitute an over-riding official majority. There
is also one unofficial representative of native
interests, usually a Missionary. In addition the
Governor is advised by an Executive Council con-
taining, besides the official Heads of the chief
Departments, four unofficial members, of whom
one is an Indian. Both the Executive and Legis-
lative Councils can discuss any subject affecting
the government of the Colony, including of course
taxation and expenditure. But the Governor can
over-ride the Executive Council by declaring that
such is his pleasure and reporting his action to the
Secretary of State, and also the unofficial section
of the Legislative Council by using his official
majority, known locally as the steam roller."
The demand of the settlers was, and is, that the
elected European members of the Legislative
Council, who already constitute a large minority,
should be increased in numbers so as to constitute
an elected European majority. This is indeed the
normal line of progress hitherto followed in the
constitutional development of other parts of the
Empire. If it is not to be followed in Kenya, what
is the alternative ?
The Hilton Young Commission had no doubts
about the negative part of this proposition, but
hardly faced the problem of finding a satisfactory

alternative. I endorse their negative, but with
this remark-that whether the old line of constitu-
tional development be sound in Kenya or not, it
will in fact be followed, and that at no distant
date, if our reserves of statesmanship prove
incapable of discovering another solution. To
follow it would to my mind be nothing short of
disastrous. The Hilton Young Commission
elaborates with great cogency the argument against
putting a small white oligarchy in complete
political and economic control of a more backward
race which vastly outnumbers it, and I need not
repeat their argument. What I may add however
is that such a system of government, if ever
attempted, would be of very short duration. It
would lead without escape to a demand for the
franchise not only from the Indian community,
which is already pressing for complete equality
with the European community, but from the
African community also, since the latter will soon
produce an active and politically minded intelli-
gentsia. Parliamentary government is undergoing
considerable vicissitudes in Europe itself; indeed
it now survives only in two of the five principal
European countries. It is profoundly unsuited to
a country of mixed races at different stages of
progress-more particularly because dependence on
such an electorate tends to put power within too
easy a reach of men of low principle and thus
produces an incompetent, if not a corrupt, execu-
tive. I have not lost faith in Parliamentary
institutions-far from it-in such countries as
this; but I cannot conceive anything less suited to
an African territory in which peace and orderly
development, resting as they do on the moral
authority of our civilization, rest therefore on the
maintenance of a strong executive able to hold the

scales between races and partizans without fear or
Yes-but what is the alternative ? Does wis-
dom lie in the tenets of the other school, which
demands the maintenance of undiluted Crown
Colony government in Kenya until such time as
the African population can share supreme responsi-
bility ? I doubt it profoundly. This school, like
the other, seems wedded to the idea of establishing
Parliamentary self-government in Africa, though
only at some future date, when it can be conferred
on the African population. Both schools are in
this respect the same, and the same arguments
seem to me destructive of both their programmes.
But even if it be true, as the second school
apparently believes, that Parliamentary self-govern-
ment will serve Africa better when dominated by
an African electorate than when limited to an
oligarchy of our own countrymen, what is to hap-
pen in Kenya pending the political education of
the African ? Strong, far-sighted government is
needed there, in the interest of all races, and it
will not be found, without considerable change, in
the system of Crown Colony administration. That
is after all intelligible. Autocracy in the modern
world depends not merely on the possession of
force but on the suppression of opinion. That is
is a feature common to all three European dicta-
torships; they would collapse without it. But we
cannot set about controlling all the organs of
opinion-schools, newspapers, wireless, public
meetings and so on-and suppressing every breath
of criticism against the government. We have
not attempted it with Indian opinion in India;
and we are hardly likely to attempt it with British
opinion in Kenya. We have therefore to find
some means of making a strong and independent

executive acceptable to our own people in Kenya,
and to find those means in a form which can in
due course be extended to the African population
not only in Kenya but in other African colonies.
How to reconcile a strong political intelligentsia,
which forms a small minority of the population,
with the maintenance of a firm and impartial
administration ? That is ths problem in Kenya,
and it will soon be the problem elsewhere in tropi-
cal Africa. I suggest that the second school
answers it no better than the first, and also that it
remained unanswered by the Hilton Young Com-
mission. They made some valuable recommenda-
tions, such as the appointment of a High Commis-
sioner to represent the supreme Imperial authority
in all three East African Territories. Whatever
else may be done, this will, I am convinced, be
found indispensable if Imperial authority is to be
preserved. They also proposed some tentative
modifications of the Kenya constitution, the
Chairman on this point taking a more advanced
view than his colleagues. But they did not to my
mind suggest any line of escape from the dilemma
between responsible and Crown Colony govern-
I shall not pretend to have found a road without
stiff gradients and obstacles of many sorts; but
there is one which seems to me, despite many diffi-
culties, to deserve a thorough reconnaissance.
Human political experience is broadening very
rapidly, and new theories of political organization
are being canvassed everywhere. Amongst these I
confess myself impressed and attracted by some
which Signor Mussolini has applied in Italy. The
Duce appears to me to be pursuing there two
objectives at least which are germane to our Crown
Colony problem. He is striving, in the first place,

to combine the maintenance of a strong central
executive, not created out of nor responsible to a
legislature, with a representative system in which
all forms of national opinion can help to shape
policy within certain functional limits. His cor-
porations provide such a system, and there is no
question that each of them carries great weight
with the Government in the sphere to which it
belongs. Men of capacity in each sphere are thus
enabled to influence and even guide the Govern-
ment in those matters which constitute their
special province; and there is no need in Italy for
that class of political busybodies, or Universal
Aunts, to which I now belong, known still with
some shreds of distinction in this country as Mem-
bers of Parliament. I am not suggesting thatrour
own country could do without us; far be such
heresy from me. But I do most firmly hold that
political busybodies, who at their worst become
professional politicians, are inimical: to good
government in a Crown Colony, and that we must
strive like Signor Mussolini-to find some system
of representation in our Crown Colonies which is
not dependent on their services.
So long as the representation of all unofficial
opinion is concentrated in a single central legisla-
ture, so long must we have them with us. In a
young colony the best men cannot spare time from
their normal avocations. The good farmers, the
good engineers, the good professional or business
men have too much work on their hands, with the
result that representation of all their interests is
too frequently left to men who have nothing better
to do. It is most important to correct this
tendency, if correction is possible without stifling
the play of responsible Qpiwaion, upon the activities
of Governmeintga'.a'iat'-CrbwrC. C~iy. Governments
.t .. .. : ..- -.-:..
..- -.. ...... .* ..

S... .'. ". .

need is not sweeping political criticism, nor the
time-honoured battery of the Outs upon the Ins
which leads inevitably to a demand by the Outs to
take over the whole business of government, but
the advice, criticism and direction of the men best
qualified to supply those commodities in each
sphere of the country's activities. Such a system,
apart from the fact that it would side-track purely
political activities, seems to me to promise two
advantages which in a Colony like Kenya would
be invaluable. It would in the first place enable
the men who knew most about, say farming, to
advise and guide the Government with regard to
farming without abandoning their own farms and
becoming politicians-and that I believe to be
what reasonable men really desire. But further-
more it would throw up men to whom the
Government could in time entrust the control of
Departments, such for instance as the Agricultural
Department,instead of confining those key-positions
to Civil Servants.
The functional organization of a Colony like
Kenya should not present any serious difficulty.
An agricultural, a business and a professional
corporation, each with its representative committee
or board, would be easy to create; in a rudimentary
form they already exist. There would also, I think,
be need for Boards to assist in guiding certain
functions of the Government, such as a Railway
Board, a Customs Board, a Board of Roads and
Public Works, a Board of Education, a Board of
Medical and Sanitary Services, and a Native Affairs
Board. I should recommend a Board of Taxation
too. Such Boards could, I think, draw on the best
men for their several purposes without encroaching
too much upon their .time. 'TL.ey would secure for
the Government* "'ar*'vicem;'rn .'of .information
:....: '.
.4. ... ........
... .... .. '
.. : ", :..

and advice than can be concentrated in a single
legislative assembly, and without encouraging
purely political activity they would keep the
Government in closer touch with all important
bodies of opinion. I suggest this with confidence
because in Kenya one or two such Boards already
exist. I would mention in particular the Railway
Board, consisting of official and unofficial repre-
sentatives from both Kenya and Uganda. It
contained no official majority; but it worked in my
experience with perfect smoothness, and it gave
me as High Commissioner for Transport invaluable
support and advice. During my time in Kenya,
Lord Passfield, who was Secretary of State for the
Colonies in the last Labour Government, sanctioned
the establishment of a Board of Agriculture. I did
not see eye to eye with Lord Passfield in all things,
but in this at least I thought him far-seeing and
wise. I trust a rumour which has reached me that
the Board of Agriculture no longer enjoys official
favour is incorrect.
I have still to deal with the second leit-motif of
Signor Mussolini's corporations, which is the desire
to put an end to political and economic divisions
based solely on class. In Africa race divisions
take the place of class divisions, and I should like
to see the system of functional organization tried
in Kenya, not only for the reasons I have already
given, but because it seems to me to point the only
way of escape from political divisions based on
race. Many Indians for instance are already
members of the Chambers of Commerce in East
Africa; they would therefore take their place quite
naturally in a Business Corporation, if such were
formed. Africans are deeply interested in agricul-
ture, and they would play a natural and growing
part in an Agricultural Corporation. The terri-

trial system of representation is always bound to
emphasize divisions of race; the communal system
must do likewise; and when these systems of
representation are concentrated upon a single legis-
lative council, which deals with all subjects, there
must inevitably develop a struggle between races
for stronger representation in it and the fruits of
power. I have never been able to see how, in ter-
ritories like Kenya, Parliamentary development
can steer clear of that morass. Why not then
study the functional system of organization, which
brings the races together in the pursuit of common
interests, rather than the territorial or communal
system, which seems bound to accentuate their
divisions and breed political strife ?
I cannot pursue this argument any further to-
day. Your patience-already, I fear, severely
strained-would be exhausted long before the end
were in sight. These suggestions are in any case
purely tentative; they are intended to indicate a
line of enquiry, not to present a rigid constitutional
plan. Let me then very briefly summarise what I
have in mind.
My main idea is that the Crown Colony system
might be modified by the establishment of corpora-
tions representing the economic life of the territory
concerned and Boards dealing with the main
activities of its government. The corporations
would be open to men of all races, and each cor-
poration would form its own representative Board.
The members of the other Boards would be chosen
by the Governor, with the assistance of a panel
submitted by the Corporations. At present the
Annual Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure
are framed by the Government and then submitted
to the Legislative Council. Under the new system

each Board would be taken into consultation on
that part of the Estimates which specially con-
cerns it, while the Estimates were being framed and
before they were submitted to the Legislative Coun-
cil. Legislation would in the same manner be
discussed with the appropriate Board before pre-
sentation to the Council. The Council would pre-
serve its legislative functions; but I think it
might with advantage and economy be reduced in
numbers. Its ultimate relation to the Boards
would be for future decision, as the system
developed. This is the barest outline of the con-
stitutional enquiry which I have in mind, but I
hope I have sketched it with sufficient clearness to
indicate what I regard as its most promising
features. The first is the opportunity which it
would provide for representative opinion in all
branches of the Colony's activities to influence
government policy in its own sphere before that
policy is formulated. The second is that it would
bring the official Heads of all Departments into
close and constant touch with a really representa-
tive body of advisers. The third is that it would
enable the best men in agriculture and business
to exercise an influence proportionate to their
ability without having to sacrifice their time to a
life of wide political activity. The fourth-and to
this I attach special importance-is that the
Government should in this way be enabled to pick
out highly qualified local men (not politicians) for
appointment to suitable posts in its own services,
including the headship of certain Departments. It
is not impossible, I think, that such a modification
of the Crown Colony system might serve to bring
it into close and sympathetic cooperation with the
representatives of local opinion without endanger-
ing, as Parliamentary development must, the

strength and impartiality of the executive and also
without leading the Colony towards that normal
consummation of political development which it
seems to me necessary at all costs to avoid in
Africa-namely, an executive created out of a
legislature and responsible to it.
Remember however that no constitutional sys-
tem which preserves an independent and irremov-
able Executive will work successfully in rapidly
changing Colonies without understanding guidance,
sympathetic handling and continuity of policy here
in England, the headquarters of the Colonial Em-
pire and the heart of our civilization. I return
therefore in conclusion to the theme with which I
began, and I plead for some reform of system which
will make both for steadier and for more imagina-
tive treatment of Colonial policy here at home. So
far as continuity is concerned, we owe all that we
have to the Civil Services, at Whitehall and in the
Colonies; I have the greatest admiration for their
work in both spheres. But Civil Servants are con-
cerned with administration, not with policy : they
are not equipped with the instinct which political
rather than administrative experience confers;
they have neither time nor scope for constructive
political thought, and they are bound by loyalty,
which never fails, to their changing political chiefs.
We need therefore a system of Government which
will itself provide for closer attention in the politi-
cal sphere to Colonial affairs, and which will give
the Colonial Empire some better assurance of
understanding and continuity in the power by
which it is ruled. We also need, at least in the
East African territories, some higher Imperial
officer to co-ordinate policy on the spot, to give
local opinion confidence in Imperial authority, to
explain our feelings to them and theirs to us. No

constitutional devices such as I have sketched will
prevent a further weakening of Imperial authority
.in Kenya, if that authority swings from one policy
to another or ignores local opinion or pursues one-
sided aims. If our people there are goaded into
further political agitation, they will win. Our
colonists always have, and they always will. Let
us at all costs then, while there is yet time,
avoid the folly, so often perpetrated elsewhere,
of driving them to extremes; for Africa is not
America or Australasia, and our civilization there
will not, for any time we need consider, be able
to stand alone. In Africa, if anywhere, extremes
are dangerous. European Governments in all
parts of that continent are dealing with inter-
racial relations in their most testing form; and
no Englishman who understands the magnitude
of that problem can look to the future with con-
fidence, if our own people there pursue the line
of conflict rather than cooperation with the
Imperial power. For on that power, in the last
resort, the peace of Africa depends.

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