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Thursday, 13 April 1961

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) .- The thing that counts is not a man's colour but his character, and that appeared to be the underlying theme of the speech made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Menzies). With that, one must agree. If we look at the constructive figures in Africa to-day we see a constant factor. In Si Bekkai, Masmoudi President Bourguiba of Tunisia and Namdi Azikiwe, the Governor-General of Nigeria, we see men who have decided that they will not be motivated by hate. In the lives of some of them, particularly Dr. Azikiwe, that was a struggle. Dr. Azikiwe had at one stage determined to launch Mau Mau in Nigeria, but he came to be dedicated to the proposition that what was needed was a hate-free, fear-free and greedfree Africa, peopled by free men and women, and he saw that that could not be achieved on the basis of racial hate. He saw that if he lent himself to racial hate he would play into the hands of forces which sought to use Africa as a means to world power.

I think that that is the question of substance which has underlain the British dilemma in Africa. The position is that if Africa, through race war, is led to communism, then Europe will be surrounded on the east and the south. Anybody who looks at the world realistically to-day will know that communism is not advancing by Marxist theories, but is advancing primarily by race war. It is advancing in some areas by propounding class war, but more often by saying, as in Africa, that class war is race war. Quite clearly, if we look at the history of Europe and the recent history of Africa we can see two things. They are that the class war was waged downwards long before it was waged upwards, and that the race war was waged downwards on the coloured people before somebody began to preach that it should be waged upwards. I feel that the true situation of Britain is that if she does not disentangle herself, in the minds of the Nigerians, the Ghanians the Indians, the Pakistanis and the people of Ceylon, quite clearly from apartheid, she will drive them towards the Eastern camp, away from the West, and endanger the whole of Europe. Frankly, I feel that the first inadequacy of the Prime Minister's thinking has been a failure to realize that; the second inadequacy of his thinking is his failure to recognize that Dr. Verwoerd has been moving to the position of converting Africa to apartheid. Let me explain myself carefully. The highest definition given by Dr. Verwoerd to apartheid is "separate destiny of the races ". If the Africans accept that - and many of them have begun to accept it - it clearly means in their minds: " That is right. We believe in a separate destiny too. The Europeans must get out. Africa is for the Africans." I believe that the 3,000,000 Europeans in South Africa to-day, controlling all the weapons, the police and the armed forces, can hold on, but by heightening racial tension throughout Africa they have made the position of the Europeans in Rhodesia, Nyasaland and Kenya almost untenable. Whether or not Dr. Verwoerd chooses to call apartheid a domestic issue, it is in fact having effects all the way round the world.

Of course, there were some statesmen in Africa who also decided to renounce hate. One of them was Jan Christiaan Smuts. Smuts's wife had relatives who died in British concentration camps. The great Kitchener rounded up 150,000 Boer women and children. He forgot to think out the problems of supplies, and 26,000 of them starved to death or died from diseases. That has never been forgotten. lt is quite foolish to talk in this House, as has been done persistently, as though the mental outlook of the Afrikaaners towards the British Empire and its successor, the British Commonwealth of Nations, is identical with this country's outlook. Had the British, by inadvertence or inefficiency, or in any other way, done to death 26,000 Australians, we would be considerably less enthusiastic for the British Commonwealth. Smuts's most distinguished biographer tells how Smuts used to shake his finger at his wife and say: " God will punish you for your hatred of the English. All your daughters will marry Englishmen." All of them, except one, did marry Englishmen. Mrs. Smuts also became a great constructive figure because she renounced hate. That was not our deserving. It was our good fortune, just as we have had the good fortune to encounter a good many people who sometimes have sought to limit the effects of our blunders. In common with most other nations, we need to have some humility in that respect.

I do not forget that in 1951, when the South African delegation came to Australia for our jubilee celebrations, the leader of the delegation, with flashing eyes, said that he had always wanted to come to see where

Australians came from because in his village, when the people looked at the town hall clock they remembered Australians because the clock was full of bullet holes. The Australians had come into the village, shot all the men, all the women, and all the children, and when there was nothing left to shoot they shot the town hall clock. I do not know whether or not that is true, but if that is the Afrikaaner thinking on the Boer war and its history, we can understand quite clearly why they got rid of the national anthem, the flag and the monarchy and why there has been a history of unenthusiasm for the British Commonwealth.

The gravamen of the Prime Minister's charges against Dr. Evatt, as Minister for External Affairs, was always that Dr. Evatt mistook questions of substance for questions of procedure. I believe that when the Prime Minister said that had he been Dr. Verwoerd he would have left the conference a couple of rounds earlier, he himself was mistaking questions of substance for questions of procedure. If the Prime Minister had attempted to walk Australia out of the British Commonwealth he would have walked himself out of the Prime Ministership, but backing Dr. Verwoerd's action in walking South Africa out of the British Commonwealth there is a powerful strand of Afrikaaner sentiment and that is the question of substance. South Africa has not left the Commonwealth just because Dr. Verwoerd felt that he was offended at the Prime Ministers' Conference. It has left the Commonwealth because in substance there was a powerful strand of sentiment that always favoured that course.

The British Broadcasting Corporation took a microphone around Cape Town and interviewed Afrikaaner nationalists, who said, "We have been trekking for years to get away from the British and now we have done it ". Surely, if we are realists we must realize that there is that sentiment among the Afrikaaners. I am not standing in judgment on them, pointing the finger at them or saying that they shoud have risen above the hatreds of the Boer war. Their outlook is inadequate, but it is understandable. I do not intend to justify either side in the Boer war, but it is still a factor in South African politics.

That Marquess of Salisbury, who was Disraeli's Foreign Minister and later Prime

Minister of Great Britain in the late nineteenth century, said -

Home policy is like navigating a ship out on the ocean. You can turn in any direction you choose. Foreign policy is like navigating a ship down the river. You may not turn as you choose. You must take account of the embankments. The embankments are the interests, the power, the sentiments and the sensibilities of other nations.

We may contrast the speech of the Prime Minister in opening this debate with his speech when foreshadowing the Suez expedition, in which he advocated force and said that the policy would be what he called " enlightened self-interest ". Dulles and Eisenhower said, " We will not shoot our way through the canal. For that policy to succeed it had to have American support." It is of no moment to me to try to prove whether the Prime Minister was right and Dulles and Eisenhower were wrong. The embankments were the sensibilities, the sentiments and the power of the United States which would not support the policy. So, the boat rammed the embankment and the course chosen had to be abandoned.

It is equally true that the sensibilities of Nigeria, Ghana, Ceylon, India and Pakistan must be taken into account on a matter such as apartheid. The boat has again rammed the embankment and the policy has had to be changed to the new attitude which the Government is taking in making it quite clear at the United Nations that it do;:, not support apartheid. However, if thc Government had not suspected that its pievious policy had given rise to that misunderstanding, it would not have been necesary for it to make it so clear to-day that it does not support apartheid.

I come back to the other proposition on domestic matters. This is something which is constantly changing. Holland said that her relations with Indonesia were a domestic matter, but that argument was swept aside. France repeatedly said that her relations with Tunisia and Morocco were domestic matters, and she now says that her relations with Algeria is a domestic matter. In the first two cases that argument has been swept aside, and in the case of Algeria it is ir the process of being swept aside. At one stage when Greece was raising the Cyprus question, Britain said that it was a domestic matter and then ceased to take that stand. When Dr. Evatt was chairman of the Security Council he permitted a debate on the slave labour camps in the Soviet Union although that country said that it was a domestic matter. At that time certain aborigines were chained in the north-west of Western Australia and within 24 hours Molotov was using that in the United Nations and we were saying, " Our aboriginal policy is a domestic matter ".

If the situation arises that Ghana tells us in the British Commonwealth of Nations - I do not think this will be so because I give the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) credit for very great advances in our aboriginal policy - that our aboriginal policy is wrong and a disgrace, will we say that it is a domestic matter or will we have the courage to say: " Come and have a look at it and tell us_what you think is wrong. If we believe that you are correct about what is wrong, we will put it right." It is much better to cure a disease than to plead that it should not be discussed because it is a domestic matter. That has been really one of the tragedies throughout this discussion of apartheid.

Gandhi made his name fighting in South Africa for the rights of Indians. He went to see Paul Kruger before the beginning of this century and Kruger said to him -

You are a descendant of Ham; we are descendants of Shem and Japheth. You are destined to be the hewers of wood and the drawers of water for us until the end of time.

Ghandi was fascinated by the frankness ot that statement and he said that he felt that the British in South Africa really thought that way but did not have the courage to articulate it in the way that Kruger did. That shows that the issue was alive then. One of the ostensible causes of the Boer war was the treatment of the Uitlanders - the treatment by the Boer republic of people from outside. If the British went to war with the Afrikaaner states over the treat ment of their nationals, do we think that India, with about 400,000 Indians in South Africa, would stand aside unconcerned all the time and say, "Well, it is a domestic matter ". It is an unreal approach that wmake.

In 1940, 1941 and 1942 Gandhi and Nehru were going in and out of prison in India. The spokesman of India at that time was not an Indian but the Viceroy, the Marquis of Linlithgow. But such was the sentiment in India at that time that the Marquis of Linlithgow said -

The sympathy of India, deep and burning, is with the maltreated Indians of South Africa.

That was not said when Dr. Malan was in power. That was not said when Dr. Verwoerd was in power. That was said when Jan Christiaan Smuts was the Prime Minister of South Africa. It was an Englishman who spoke on behalf of India at that time. How much more must we expect that India to-day would entertain the same sentiments?

The tragedy of the situation in South Africa is the way in which the Englishspeaking South Africans have constantly surrendered their values. Before this century began there were black members of Parliament in Cape Province and a franchise for the natives of South Africa. When, after the Boer War, the British Cabinet directed that the four provinces should negotiate terms of union, the delegates - not all British, but some Afrikaaners - from the Cape Province went to advocate an extension of the franchise. Smuts, Hertzog and Steyn who represented the Transvaal and the Orange Free State said that they would not accept that. Their actual words were, " Our republics are dedicated to the proposition that there is no equality between black and white in church or State ". The British gave way and Africans ceased to be members of Parliament but they entrenched the Cape franchise and said, " This must not be removed except by a two-thirds majority ". Dr. Malan removed that franchise. His first legislation doing so was declared invalid in court. Then, with new powers under the Statute of Westminster, he altered the constitution and got rid of the Cape franchise.

The Prime Minister gave us the fiction taught in schools that the 1909 settlement was a great settlement of the Liberals in Britain. But from 1901 to 1909 Milner, who was the Administrator of South Africa, warned that if Britain granted what the Transvaal and the Orange Free State were asking, the interests of 80 per cent, of the population would be sacrificed. He said that it might last for 50 years but after that it must break. This is the point to which we are coming. The British govern ment of the day was warned. Milner said that the solution was not a close union in which Afrikaaner nationalism would triumph over the English-speaking viewpoint, but a loose federation in which the Cape could maintain its franchise and in which the franchise would be extended to Natal and inevitably, if the natives were really participating in government, would spread farther.

Because the British abandoned the native participation in the government, the Afrikaaner nationalist viewpoint spread and that is the tragedy of the settlement of 1909 which the Prime Minister commended. But having sold out on that, the British Government could not bring itself to sell out further. The British had and still have to-day, surrounded by South African territory, the High Commission territories of Bechuanaland, Basutoland and Swaziland. They will not hand the natives of those territories over to South African administration. They could not face such a thing to-day.

Although the Prime Minister rather accepted the viewpoint of Dr. Verwoerd that apartheid is a domestic issue, it always has had international implications whether you go right back to the very early days when Gandhi was making his name or to more recent events. I feel that the Prime Minister asked Dr. Verwoerd the wrong question. He asked Dr. Verwoerd, "Will it work? ". Obviously the only reply for Dr. Verwoerd to make was " I think it will work ". That was really the end of the discussion. If the Prime Minister had said to Dr. Verwoerd, " Will your policy answer the hate and fear that is tearing Africa to pieces at the present time? ", and Dr. Verwoerd had said, " Yes ", in his own mind Dr. Verwoerd would have known that apartheid does not do that. If it does not do that it is clearly the wrong policy for Africa. That would have faced Dr. Verwoerd with the real moral challenge with which his policy ought to be faced.

One thing which the Prime Minister said I cannot understand. He said, in effect, " I cannot understand why Dr. Verwoerd will not have diplomatic representatives from the other Commonwealth nations who are coloured ". Having started off with apartheid, from Dr. Verwoerd's point of view, that policy of no exchange of diplomatic representatives is the plainest common sense. An Indian High Commissioner in South Africa was ordered out of lifts, ordered off buses, and told to get out of restaurants. The South Africans did not recognize whether he was a local Indian or the Indian representative.

Imagine Ghanian or Nigerian diplomats entering quarters in which coloured peoples are not allowed to be and being pasted by police with bamboos as natives are under this policy when they are in the wrong quarters! There would be a diplomatic crisis every day as there was between India and South Africa when there was an Indian representative in the latter country. In coloured countries, South African embassies would never have their windows intact. If we are not prepared to accept people as human beings as the Minister for Territories (Mr. Hasluck) was asking us to, we cannot have any sort of relationship with them. You may pretend that a policy such as that pursued by South Africa is a local question but inevitably it has international effects.

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