FOR centuries the world has been confronted with interracial problems; it has witnessed the subjection of primitive peoples by those more advanced; it has seen the ascendence of primitive peoples into power. We have been most familiar with these problems upon the continent of Asia, in Russia and in Turkey. But the same forces are contending with each other upon the continent of Africa today, and they are creating a conflict between the will of the European invaders and the needs of the natives which is in some respects unique in the history of mankind.
Africa is as large as North America and Europe combined. The greater part of it lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn -- the tepid region of the world. It is the home of the black man, but with the exception of Liberia and Abyssinia it all is under white rule. So far the negro has been at the complete mercy of the European, who has governed the continent with an absolute hand and according to his own desires.
While Africa lies in the tropical region, its geography, upon which climate partly depends, is uneven. The west coast of Africa has a hot, muggy climate which has made life so disagreeable to the officials, missionaries and traders that they periodically return to Europe for a leave, usually of six months, after a stay of two or three years. Until the discovery of the causes of malaria that disease produced a high mortality among Europeans; this was particularly so on the west coast, which even today has the reputation, no longer deserved, of the "White Man's Grave." Vast areas of South and East Africa have a different climate. A plateau, averaging about 4,000 feet in elevation, stretches from the Karoo country of South Africa across the Rhodesias into Tanganyika, Kenya, and parts of Uganda and the Belgian Congo. Throughout a large part of this plateau the climate is semi-temperate and relatively healthy, rain is abundant enough for agricultural enterprise, and the land is fertile. Large incomes may be made in the cultivation of coffee, maize, sisal and tea, and cattle raising is profitable.
Attracted by these fertile and equable areas, European colonists have taken up their residence not only in South Africa but in the territories further east and north. A million and a half Britishers and Boers have settled in South Africa, which now is a self-governing Dominion and probably the most nationalistic part of the British Empire. To the north lies Southern Rhodesia, with a European population of 35,000. About 12,000 Europeans have taken up their abode in Kenya, a colony stretching from Lake Victoria Nyanza to the Indian Ocean. A few thousand others are scattered in Uganda, Tanganyika, Northern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland.
So far, however, fear and dislike of the climate have kept colonists away from the west coast. While a certain number of Europeans have asked the government to grant them concessions to start plantations, the pressure has not been nearly as great as for land grants for settlement purposes in South and East Africa. Partly because of the absence of this pressure, the British Government on the west coast has followed the policy of ruling the natives through their own chiefs and of encouraging them to retain and develop their own institutions and laws. The government recognizes that the land belongs to the natives. As a result European plantations such as are found in East and South Africa have been excluded and the native has not been forced or urged to leave his village to become a wage-earner on a white man's farm. He remains a peasant tilling his patch of land for food-crops and export produce. The foundations of native life are not shaken; families remain intact, tribes hold together, and individuals prosper. Europeans are present in West Africa not as colonists but as officials, traders and missionaries. In other words, the spirit of the administration is to develop a native society so that eventually it may stand on its own feet and so that European control may be relinquished. It is an ideal which the League of Nations has enshrined in the Mandate system.
In those areas of South and East Africa which are under its control the British Government has followed an opposite policy -- the policy of White Settlement. It has not only tolerated but encouraged the entrance of European settlers, with a view of building up new and permanent European communities such as have been established in Australia and New Zealand. So far the movement for the White Settlement of East and South Africa has acquired importance only in the Union, in Rhodesia, and in Kenya. While the Rhodesias and the Union are neighbors and may therefore look to each other for support against the possible opposition of the blacks, Kenya Colony, lying between the feudal kingdom of Abyssinia on the north, the native states of Uganda on the west, and the mandate of Tanganyika on the south, is, so to speak, isolated. And the settlers of Kenya Colony feel that if white settlement in East Africa is to succeed it must be extended down through the highlands of Tanganyika until a continuous link between East Africa and South Africa is established. The settlers of Kenya, backed by strong support in England, are aiming to create a new Dominion stretching from the Zambesi to the Nile. At a Saint Andrew's X Dinner at Nakuru, Lord Delamere, the leader of the white settlement group, said recently: "We must give up thinking of Kenya as an isolated unit. We must believe that our safety as a civilized entity depends on the extension of our influence southward and that any wavering in our attitude toward an inter-colonial policy may have the most disastrous effect on our future." Sir Edward Grigg, the Governor of Kenya, recently made this declaration: "We are deeply anxious that the policy of European settlement . . . should not be an isolated policy."
While parts of Uganda are mountainous, the White Settlement school in Kenya does not hope to bring Uganda under its control. The system of native government and of native production, similar to that found on the West Coast, is too strongly entrenched. But it does hope to extend the system of white settlement throughout Tanganyika, where policy is not yet definitely moulded, Northern Rhodesia and even Nyasaland. For all practical purposes, however, the East Africa question limits itself to the colony of Kenya and to its southern neighbor, Tanganyika Territory.
The campaign now being waged in East Africa is taking three forms. The first plank calls for the settlement of the highlands of East Africa with white settlers. The second plank demands some form of self-government for the white settlers in each of these territories, beginning with Kenya; as a first step, the Kenya settlers demand an elected European majority on the Legislative Council. The third plank demands the coördination of the different colonies, particularly of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika, with a view to the eventual establishment of a self-governing federation patterned after that set up in South Africa in 1910. In other words, this campaign looks to the establishment of a Dominion of East Africa -- to the addition of another star in the Imperial Crown.
In order to give strength to the white settlement movement, Lord Delamere convened a conference of settlers from all the East Africa territories at Tukuyu, Tanganyika, in October, 1925, which passed resolutions encouraging European colonization of the East Africa Highlands and discouraging native agriculture in European areas. The next year another conference was held for the same purpose at Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia; and it is proposed to hold such conferences annually. Kenya settlers are already applying for land grants in Tanganyika and elsewhere.
The attitude of the British Government at home has wavered. For a time the hopes of Lord Delamere and his followers were dashed by the famous White Paper of 1923 which declared that His Majesty's Government "could not but regard the grant of responsible self-government as out of the question within any period of time which need now be taken into consideration." The Government would not even contemplate the possibility of an unofficial majority on the Legislative Council. But in 1926 Sir Edward Grigg, the governor of Kenya, intimated that a legislative council should be established containing an unofficial majority of representatives of the European, Indian and native communities. On July 19, 1927, Mr. Amery declared to the House of Commons that "the day will come, when, with the growth of a large settled community no government in this House can ultimately resist the demand for self-government."
Despite Mr. Amery's imperial sympathies, the present British Government realizes that any step toward European self-government and federation in East Africa involves very serious racial questions. And it was in order to determine how the goal of self-government may be reconciled with the protection of native interests that the British Government appointed a Royal Commission, which sailed for East Africa in December, 1927.
While it is perfectly natural for the European settlers in East Africa to agitate for self-government, for the expansion of colonization, and for the establishment of a new Dominion, and while from the standpoint of administration, economies and imperial pride such a development may have advantages, it also possesses some serious disadvantages from the standpoint of the native population. So far the European population of East Africa (less than 25,000 souls) is tiny in comparison with the 10,000,000
natives, who show no signs of disappearing. The situation is further complicated by the presence of an Indian population which outnumbers the Europeans two to one.
Leaders of the white settlement school assert that the European colonization of the habitable parts of Africa is as much justified as was the colonization of the United States and Canada. Had the North American continent been locked up indefinitely for the benefit of the Red Indian, the world would have suffered a great material and spiritual loss. Consequently, they argue, Africa should be thrown open to European colonization regardless of the native population.
But this analogy between North America and Africa is far from perfect. In the first place, the continent of North America was virtually unoccupied at the arrival of the Pilgram Fathers. According to the best estimates, there were never more than several hundred thousand Indians in what is now the United States. On the other hand, Africa south of the Sahara has a native population of well over a hundred million. In the second place, the American settler was a brawny man who worked with his hands; he did not rely upon the Indian for labor. But throughout South and East Africa today the European settler relies almost wholly upon the black man for his labor supply. This reliance of a European system of production upon primitive labor is a matter of fundamental importance in considering the wisdom of promoting European settlement in the East Africa Highlands or the eventual establishment of a new Dominion.
In South Africa the results of white settlement are almost universally recognized as harmful to the natives, who outnumber the whites nearly four to one. Color bar legislation there excludes natives from jobs which in the Belgian Congo and the West Coast of Africa they are able to fill. Wages are kept artificially low; the natives on the South Africa mines receive lower wages, in shillings, today than they did in 1896. White settlement in South Africa has meant the accumulation of thousands of de-tribalized natives in cities and labor centers, resulting in many cases in the deterioration of native morality and the increase of crime and disease. To prevent desertion, South Africa (and her example has been followed by Southern Rhodesia, Tanganyika and Kenya) has enacted legislation embodying the penal sanction in labor contracts, and has introduced elaborate pass laws and finger print systems to restrict native movements. Native strikes and native labor unions are virtually illegal. In general there has developed the racial tension which seems always to arise, unconsciously at least, whenever a European community finds itself surrounded by another race of inferior civilization and standards of living. In this atmosphere of fear men are driven to action that, isolated or separated from the racial environment, they would not take. White settlement also raises perplexing problems, connected with miscegnation and the creation of a poor white class, which are reduced to a minimum in territories where the West Coast policy is followed.
If the white man is to build himself a home as well as a fortune in the semi-temperate parts of Africa, he must have land and he must have native labor. Pressed by this demand for land, the governments in South and East Africa have followed a land policy directly contrary to that followed in most parts of West Africa. Instead of regarding the land as belonging to the native population, the governments of the Union, of the Rhodesias, and of Kenya have declared all land in these respective territories the property of the Crown which may be alienated at pleasure.
Despite the establishment of native reserves, many natives in these territories [i] have been deprived of the land traditionally occupied by their family or tribe and others actually do not have enough land to grow food in sufficient quantities to feed themselves and to pay their taxes. As a result of this policy the natives of South Africa hold only nine percent of the land in the Union; the natives in parts of Nyasaland are over-crowded; the natives in Kenya have likewise been deprived of land which belonged to them under native law and of which they are already in need. Between 1900 and 1920, the Kenya Government alienated to Europeans portions of the land belonging to and occupied by the Kikuyu, Kamba, Nandi and Wanyika peoples, without granting the latter any compensation. After questionable negotiations, the government moved the Masai out of the Rift Valley in order to make way for incoming settlers. In 1926 the Kenya Government finally published the boundaries of the Kenya native reserves. These may not hereafter be changed without the consent of the Secretary of State for the Colonies, who is in London and supposedly removed from local pressure. Nevertheless a number of settlers in Kenya still agitate against the native reserves on the ground that the native does not properly cultivate the soil, that he would be "better off" working as a wage-earner on a European farm, and that these lands could be more profitabily utilized by Europeans.
As a result of the gazetting of the Kenya reserves natives have obtained a security of tenure which they lacked in the past. But the government does not intend to increase the size of these reserves in the future and many of them are already over-crowded. Excluding the barren and sparsely populated Masai area, the population density of the Kenya reserve is 8.2 per square mile, in comparison with a density of 5.6 in South Africa. A Kenya official testified in 1919 that in part of the Kikuyu reserve the density was from five to seven times as great as in South Africa. It seems certain that if the present native population increases normally (and with European medical assistance the rate of increase will be faster) it will only be a matter of a few years before the Kenya reserves will be as inadequate for native needs as they are in South Africa, where the shortage of native land is generally admitted.[ii] Despite these facts, the governor of Kenya, Sir Edward Grigg, declared in a recent speech at Falmouth, England, that the reserves in Kenya are "ample in area for future native needs." Surely the governor has been grossly misinformed.
In Uganda and Tanganyika, comparatively little land has so far been alienated. Consequently, the native may gradually expand the area of the land which he uses in proportion to the increase of population. But the native in Kenya may not do this. The land outside the reserves is held by the white man or the white man's government. Sooner or later, the Kenya native will be forced out of the reserves into European employment.
In the mean time, however, this indirect process does not produce the labor supply which European settlers demand. A labor shortage has existed constantly, not only in Kenya but in Southern Rhodesia and the Union -- in fact wherever the European estate system has been introduced. This shortage became especially acute in Kenya in 1919 following the arrival of a large number of ex-soldiers to whom the government had given farms. To meet their needs the local government, under General Northey, instructed officials "to exercise every possible lawful influence to induce able-bodied male natives to go into the labor field." In the eyes of many Englishmen this circular authorized a system of indirect forced labor. Its publication led to a storm of protest in England and eventually the Colonial Office was forced to withdraw the instructions.
For several years thereafter the Government followed a policy of neutrality in labor recruiting. But new coffee acreage began to come under bearing, which increased the demand for labor; and the settlers soon set up another cry for compulsory measures. This finally led the Kenya Government again to modify its policy. In February, 1926, a Conference of East Africa governors met at Narobi, the Capital of Kenya, where they adopted a resolution stating that officials must give natives to understand that natives must work either for themselves or for European settlers; and that where in the absence of transport the native cannot profitably work for himself, he should work for a European -- a resolution which would seem to violate the compulsory labor provisions in the Tanganyika mandate, where it is now being applied. The adoption of these resolutions was followed by an address of Governor Grigg in October, 1926, to the Convention of Associations, the settlers' organization, in which he said that "if government gives encouragement and advice . . . thousands of natives will cheerfully go out" to work, but if government is "indifferent, thousands will equally cheerfully stay at home." This new labor doctrine seems to be almost identical to the one which was adopted in 1919 but withdrawn. If the instructions are literally applied, they will result in a regime of compulsory labor for private purposes. Even if they are not literally applied they will serve as a bad example which other colonizing powers may adopt and enforce more literally.
A few months ago the British public became greatly agitated over the decision of a court revealing the existence of a mild form of domestic slavery in the colony of Sierra Leone. But so far it seemed almost indifferent to the system in Kenya under which a large proportion of the male population is virtually compelled to seek European employment, whether they wish to do so or not. The effect of this migratory labor has been described by the Kenya Missionary Council as follows: "The absence from home of contract labor is in large numbers of cases detrimental to the health and well-being of that labor . . . Diseases such as malaria are being increased in some Reserves as the result of the return of labor travelling to and from their homes to infected labor camps. The conditions of life away from their women folk, even though the morality is not yet high in the Reserves, is not such as to conduce to the well-being of the laborer while at work, and his return to the Reserve may cause the spread of syphilis and other diseases acquired outside. Further, the necessity for married men, especially the younger men, spending long periods of time away from home is not for the well-being of that home or of the wife and children left behind."
As a result of these labor policies, the number of natives under European employment in Kenya increased from 12,000 in 1912 to about 185,000 in 1927. At present 33.8 percent of the native male population is thus engaged -- a larger percentage than in any other territory in Equatorial Africa. Out of a total population of 2,500,000, Kenya has 185,000 native wage-earners, in comparison with 300,000 in the Belgian Congo, the total population of which is 10,500,000. An Official Belgian Commission, studying the labor situation in the Congo, recently declared that not more than 10 percent of the native men should be away from their native villages because of the grave physical and moral injury which such migration does to native life. Government regulations have been enacted carrying this recommendation into effect. In other words, the Belgians are slowing up industrial development so as to correspond to native needs. But in Kenya 34 percent of the total male population are working for Europeans, and in the case of the most intelligent native men (such as the Kikuyu in the Kyambu-Nairobi district) 72.28 percent are away from their homes in European employ. Despite this excessive number, Sir Edward Grigg has recently stated that "What this colony needs is settlement, more and more settlement," and with the support of the Colonial Office the Kenya Government is now increasing the number of settlers as quickly as possible. This will intensify the demand for native labor; and it is simply not forthcoming. European settlers who have invested their fortunes in a country at the invitation of the British Government cannot be blamed for demanding native labor. But the world should hold the British Government strictly responsible if, having before it the tragic example of South Africa, it should blindly encourage European immigration and the alienation of land, thus bankrupting existing European enterprise and still further impairing the interests of the native population.
Despite the depressing social results of white settlement upon the native population, its extension is now being vigorously supported in East Africa and in England upon ethical as well as material grounds.
The first argument is that the native will benefit from "contact" with the white man. The Governor of Kenya has recently stated that the "best school for the African is a good European estate." If this theory were valid the negroes of South Africa who have lived in close proximity with a white population of a million and a half people should be superior to the natives of West Africa, where the white population is small and consists only of officials, missionaries and traders. But while the South African native may have a better knowledge of the English language than his brother farther north, the negro of Central and West Africa appears to be far ahead in matters of industrial, commercial and agricultural knowledge. The visitor does not meet in South Africa the trained medical dispensers, the mechanics, or the traders he meets in West Africa. Whatever benefits the whites in South Africa or the United States have conferred upon the blacks have so far been more than outweighed by the disabilities imposed. Channels of advancement open to natives in the parts of Africa devoted to the native state policy are closed to the South Africa negro, just as channels of political and social advancement have been closed to the negro in the United States.
The second argument advanced in favor of the white settlement of East Africa is economic in character. Spokesmen of the school declare that the native population of East Africa is too sparse to develop these resources and that therefore white settlement is necessary if this part of the world is to be developed for European needs. If the white farmers of East Africa provided their own labor supply the argument might have some weight. But all of them depend upon native labor. Increased white settlement therefore means that natives now engaged or who might become engaged in native agriculture will be diverted into European employment, in many cases against their consent, and will receive wages much below the returns they would receive working for themselves. As a matter of fact the cost of general administration per hundred inhabitants in Kenya, a white settlement territory, is twice that of Uganda, a native state. The exports of Uganda in 1925 were nearly twice the exports of Kenya. 87.5 percent of the value of exports in Kenya is consumed in government expenditures in comparison with only 25.5 percent in Uganda. There is no evidence so far supporting the contention that white settlement in the tropics is more productive than native enterprise. In fact there are many reasons for believing that the native small-farm system, subject to European assistance, is economically the most productive. Under the white settlement policy, a relatively small number of European settlers may garner profits which under the native state policy would go to native producers, and Europeans may derive gains from a speculative rise in land values, which would not take place to so great an extent under a native system of production and of land tenure. But while a few Euopeans will obtain a larger share in the distribution of wealth, the total net production under the system of white settlement will probably be less than in a native state.
Inevitably, the black man in Africa will grow in strength and in racial self-consciousness as has the brown man of India and the yellow man of China. He will demand a country of his own. In a native state European control may gradually be relinquished in proportion as the natives are able to stand upon their own feet. In a white settlement territory the European resident has no intention ever of relinquishing his control. His aim is to establish and maintain a new White Man's Dominion. Consequently, a racial struggle is more likely to occur and will be more determined in a white settlement colony than in a protectorate.
The official justification for following a different native policy in East Africa than in West Africa is climate. It is contended that while a white man and his family cannot live comfortably in West Africa they may do so in the Eastern Highlands, and that the British Government is therefore justified in encouraging European settement there. This distinction rests upon fragile grounds. Many scientists now assert that, with the elimination of disease, the white man can live in any part of the tropics. A committee appointed by the Australian Medical Congress recently reported that the white settlement of Tropical Australia was a sound proposal; and the Government Public Health Department has made a study showing that the second and third generations of white men in tropical Queensland have flourished on a tropical soil. The extent to which French and Belgian families are taking up their residence in West and in Central Africa would confirm these conclusions. It would seem to be only a matter of time before the white man, so far as the promotion of economic enterprise is concerned, can live as comfortably in West Africa as in East Africa. If, therefore, the government is justified in taking away native land and in thwarting native development in East Africa because of the climate, the introduction of the plantation system, which the British so far have rigorously excluded from West Africa, will also be justified. The logic of this position has already been noted by a native newspaper, The Gold Coast Leader, which recently declared, "We had always been told that British policy was based upon a sense of right, justice and fair play. . . . It is something quite new for us to learn that British policy has been entirely guided by climatic conditions . . . ."
There are no British officials who would consciously advocate a policy which would impose upon East Africa the insoluble problems which have arisen in the Union of South Africa. The British Government openly stated, in the famous White Paper of 1923, that "Primarily, Kenya is an African territory and His Majesty's Government think it necessary definitely to record their considered opinion that the interests of the African natives must be paramount, and that if, and when, those interests and the interests of the immigrant races should conflict, the former should prevail." In a White Paper issued in 1927 in regard to future policy in Eastern Africa, His Majesty's Government reiterated the principles defined in 1923. But in view of the insistent and voluble demands of the Kenya settlers and because there are undeveloped areas in East Africa the British Government has taken the position that the demand for white settlement can be satisfied without detriment to native interests, and that the interest of both Europeans and natives may be promoted side by side. This is called the policy of Dual Development.
Mr. Amery recently declared that East Africa was "neither West Africa nor South Africa." "It could never remain a purely black man's country," he said, "in the sense that West Africa was a black man's country. It could never become a white man's country in the sense that South Africa was a white man's country. It was a country where the native races would always form the predominant element of the population, in which their interests would be paramount."[iii] Mr. Amery apparently has overlooked the fact that the labor situation in Kenya today is more critical, from the social standpoint, than in any other territory in Equatorial Africa, and that the native reserves in Africa will soon be as inadequate as they are in the Union farther South.
Despite the land and labor situation in Kenya, the local government has made serious efforts to apply the policy of Dual Development in so far as medical work and education among the native population are concerned. But the government has done comparatively little to promote native agriculture and animal husbandry. Natives are barred from the cultivation of coffee by prohibitive licenses. The value of non-European production in Kenya for 1925 amounted only to 546,000 pounds in comparison with native production in Tanganyika of 1,700,000 pounds and in Uganda of 5,000,000 pounds. The settlers realize that if native agriculture is encouraged, as it is in Uganda, the European labor supply will fall off. To calm these fears, the government publicly states that the greater the production in the native reserves, the larger will be the number of natives who, having developed habits of industry, will want to work on the outside. The proposition is on its face illogical, and is contrary to the experience of the Transkei, Uganda, and the Gold Coast, where increased native production has automatically operated to keep the natives at home. One cannot conceive of the peasant of France making an annual migration to Italy for the purpose of working on estates six months out of the year. As at present applied, the policy of Dual Development means that natives under European employment will be well-cared for and treated. But it does not mean that natives will be allowed to live their own lives and work on their own farms as in other parts of Africa. As a result of the land and labor policies of the Kenya Government, more than a third of the men are away from home, under European employment. Whatever the theoretical position of the government as to compulsion may be, the fact is that many of these men have little choice, either because of the absence of adequate land or the pressure of recruiters. So far it is impossible to say that the interests of the African have been "paramount" in Kenya, or that the doctrine of trusteeship has really been applied. The native and Indian populations of both Uganda and Tanganyika feel that if a federation of East Africa, dominated by Kenya interests, should be established, non-European interests throughout the whole of these territories would similarly suffer.
This position seems logical. In demanding responsible government, the 12,000 Europeans in Kenya are demanding the right not only to govern themselves but to govern 2,500,000 natives. In demanding the establishment of a self-governing Dominion, 25,000 Europeans are demanding the right to govern 10,000,000 natives. The Europeans depend for their existence upon native labor, and many of them wish to acquire native land. Hitherto, the Colonial Office has served, if imperfectly, as an umpire between the parties. Responsible government would remove the umpire, and put the native in the complete control of the local European population.
There are those who believe that the native question in Africa will not be solved until full responsibility for the problem is squarely placed upon the local European population. This position has been admirably stated by the East African Standard, published in Nairobi, which says that the responsibility for trusteeship rests "upon the shoulders of every British man and woman who comes into Africa, a responsibility to respect the traditions and the ideals of justice, fair play, honesty and Christian spirit which have made the name of Britain honored in the world . . . We are convinced the immigrant communities in East Africa will prove to the satisfaction of the world that the faith has not been misplaced." This view is also held by Sir Edward Grigg and Mr. Amery, the Secretary of State. While undoubtedly there is some merit in the argument, experience shows that when a European community acquires complete control over a primitive people, its policies are liable to be dominated by what it regards as racial and economic self-interest rather than by humanitarian conceptions or by the interests of the primitive people.
A European candidate for the Kenya Legislative Council recently intimated that the labor problem would be "solved" only after the colony had been granted self-government; and at the annual meeting of the settlers' organization, the Convention of Associations in October, 1927, the Chairman, criticising the doctrine of Trusteeship, declared: "If the welfare of the natives under the rule of the European citizens of the colony is to rest on an altruistic ideal dependent on the ebb and flow of opinion, it will result in the long run on a very insecure foundation . . ."[iv]
The view of the present British Government is that in the long run the demand for self-government in East Africa cannot be successfully resisted. It is stated that if the home authorities should resist local demands a revolt would occur. But surely this position greatly exaggerates the power of 12,000 settlers, who could be easily reduced to submission by the blockade of Mombasa. The European population in Portuguese Africa, in the Belgian Congo, and in French West Africa is as large as that in Kenya. But the governments of these latter territories have no intention of turning them over to the mercies of the local European inhabitants.
In a number of instances, the Imperial Government has attempted to satisfy demands for self-government made by Europeans in inter-racial communities while at the same time attempting to retain control over native affairs. In granting responsible government to Natal, the Orange Free State and Transvaal, the Crown prohibited color bar legislation. It imposed certain restrictions upon the native policy of the South Africa Company in the administration of the Rhodesias. But in the first three cases these restrictions disappeared with the establishment of the Union in 1910, and in the case of the Rhodesias the Crown rarely if ever interferes with native administration. The Kenya constitution likewise prohibits color bar legislation and encroachment upon the native reserves without Imperial consent; but these guarantees are not of fundamental importance, as far as the improvement of the social conditions of the Kenya native is concerned. It is a remarkable fact that Kenya, a comparatively new colony under the control of the Crown, has adopted fewer guarantees of native development than have South Africa or Rhodesia -- much older territories, and both self-governing. Kenya has more severe squatter legislation than either of the latter territories. It has declined to follow their example in granting natives the right to purchase land in certain exclusive areas outside of the reserves. It has so far rejected the South Africa system of native administration, which provides for autonomous native communities removed from control of a European parliament, and which allocates a large share of the native taxes to definite native needs.
Whether or not because of the belief that such guarantees are inherently defective, Mr. Amery has rejected them on the ground that "this is not a practical form of dyarchy in a country like East Africa where white and black live indissolubly bound together," and where there was no aspect of self-government "which the white could exercise without touching at every moment on his relationship with the black." The only possible conclusion from this statement is that sooner or later the British Government intends to turn over the native population to the local European (and perhaps Indian) population, subject to no reservations and no safeguards.
In view of the growing tendency to establish external control over native policy in the backward parts of the world, of which the mandates system is the most successful example, this position of the Conservative Government in England is frankly disheartening. It is almost impossible to believe that, with the experience of the Orange Free State and of other mixed communities staring it in the face, the British Government should deliberately adopt a policy of eventually placing 10,000,000 blacks under the absolute control of 25,000 Europeans.
As a matter of fact there is no "East Africa Problem" today. There is the problem of Kenya and the problem of Tanganyika, each of them dissimilar and requiring a different solution. In Kenya 12,000 Europeans have taken up their residence at the invitation of the British Government and they cannot be removed. It may be desirable to grant them self-government in European matters, but only on condition that native interests be safeguarded, not so much by Imperial guarantee along abstract lines as by internal machinery which the European population may not control for its own purposes.
The British Government is pledged to the trusteeship principle in Kenya as elsewhere in Africa. To make this pledge effective, it must give the native an opportunity to develop until he can stand upon his own feet -- an opportunity given on the West Coast and in Uganda. Important as education and medical work are, development along these lines must necessarily rest upon a firm economic foundation. It will be impossible to develop a native society without land enough to support it and as long as nearly half of the men must periodically pass to and fro from the reserves to European farms. If the principle of trusteeship is really to be applied in Kenya, the natives must be allowed gradually to acquire land in quantities large enough to make them self-supporting. They must be guaranteed the right voluntarily to choose between staying at home upon their little farms and working for European farmers -- a choice which at present they do not have.
In order to meet the first of these needs, the Kenya Government would do well to study the proposals of the Southern Rhodesia Land Commission giving natives the exclusive right to purchase land in certain areas adjoining existing native reserves -- a proposal, adopted in a modified form, at the last session of the Union of South Africa Parliament. The Kenya Government could likewise profitably study the Transkei system in South Africa, under which a native reserve is given a budget of its own, financed by local native taxes, which supports, under the control of the Governor, a staff of European officers working exclusively for the promotion of native agriculture, animal husbandry, education and health. Outside the reserves, European administration supported by the customs revenue could care for European needs; inside the reserves, a separate set of Administrators would care for native needs. The power to legislate for the reserves should be transferred from the Legislative Council to the Governor, who should act only after consultation with the native councils -- a system also followed in the Transkei district of South Africa. The adoption of these measures would to a large extent remove the native population of Kenya from the pressure of European demands and it would give the natives an opportunity for group development which natives in other British colonies enjoy.
Were such guarantees adopted, the British Government with a clear conscience could eventually grant the European settlers self-government over non-native areas in Kenya, except for one overwhelming fact: the presence of an Indian population which throughout East Africa outnumbers the Europeans two to one. The Indians came to East Africa several centuries before the Englishmen, and at present they dominate petty trade and the crafts. Inspired by the swaraj movement in India, they feel that they are as much entitled to political recognition in East Africa as are the Europeans. There was a tremendous outburst among the Indian population in Kenya and throughout the whole of India in 1923 when the British Government finally decided to grant the Europeans eleven elective seats on the Kenya Legislative Council in comparison with five such seats for the Indians. Any proposal to grant self-government to the European communities in East Africa would at once raise the question of Indian participation. It is doubtful whether the Europeans would accept any Indian members in the government. But their exclusion might have serious if not fatal repercussions, not only upon the situation in East Africa but upon the relationship of India to the Empire as a whole.
In Kenya the British Government has encouraged the settlement of a British community -- it has brought about The Accomplished Fact. But in Tanganyika, a mandated territory which also has a vast highlands area, the slate is as yet comparatively clean. The government has it within its power to restrict or to promote white settlement. It is not necessary to restrict European immigration into Tanganyika. Native interests will be adequately protected if the Tanganyika Government restricts the alienation of land to those areas where there is a local labor supply available for European employment without detriment to native development, and if it follows a policy of promoting native agriculture and of rigid neutrality in the matter of labor recruiting.
In Tanganyika the British Government is pledged under the Treaty of Versailles and under a mandate from the League of Nations to advance the social progress of the native inhabitants. It is specifically pledged to respect native interests in the land and it is forbidden to resort to compulsory labor except for essential public services. For the fulfillment of such obligations, the British Colonial Office is responsible to Parliament; but it knows that no parliament will vote a ministry out of office upon a colonial issue. Consequently it is much easier to give in to an interested minority on the spot than to disinterested sentiment in England. The supervision of British obligations in Tanganyika rests, however, with another body -- the Mandates Commission of the League of Nations. Unlike a parliament with its multitudinous activities, this body has one job -- to see to it that the provisions of the Mandates are enforced. A Colonial Office debate in the British House of Commons seldom gets into a foreign newspaper, but when the Mandates Commission speaks, it speaks with a united voice upon a single issue and in a forum where the whole world may listen. The future of East Africa may therefore rest with the League of Nations.
[i] In Southern Rhodesia the land situation is not so acute.
[ii] A Kenya native cannot buy land outside of the reserves, and if he wishes to move on to a European farm he may do so only after signing a squatter's agreement promising to work for the landlord 180 days a year.
[iii] Colonial Office Debate, House of Commons, July 19, 1927, The Times, July 20, 1927, p. 8. He added, "But there were very considerable tracts in which the white man could not only stay for a few years, but in which he could live and bring up his family, and acquire a real patriotism in the country; and, in the course of time, a responsibility for the conduct of affairs of that country."
[iv] Supplement to the East African Standard, October 22, 1927 p. 3.