I wish to make my position clear. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), spoke against the right hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken that, whatever way hon. 1861 Every hon. Member is as entitled to express an opinion as I am. He calls for a bowl of water, washes his hands, and then dries them on a paper constitution, But what hon. Just as I realised in regard to the settlement of India, so do I realise in regard to this problem that we now have a solution which I thought would never come in my day, and I am grateful to our Government for having produced it. I do not think it is such. Gentleman used during the war period, that most inspiring language, and contrast it with his utterance today, his tragical utterance today, I really do not know how to express my regret and astonishment. After the first and the second principles, the third states: Each of those will have exclusive legislative and executive authority over a substantial field, and they will enjoy certain sources of revenue. Whether the hon. Members opposite think that the people of this country will approve of our taking troops from Palestine and sending them into Burma to try to keep down the Burmese and to prevent them from gaining their independence, I think they are sadly mistaken. In the course of time, there were further developments, and we brought them up to such a height of civilisation that the people were able to look after their own affairs and to govern themselves, and the time came when we had to take a decision either to remain there by force or come out as good friends of those territories. I will withdraw then. It is true, as the Prime Minister said, that lawlessness and crime have always been fairly widespread in Burma, but I do not think they have ever been more widespread than they are today. I was not surprised when the hon. That is not the case. The same thing is also effected with reference to Orders in Council. That is my answer to the hon. It is much more likely that Burma will be divided between one or other of her two most powerful neighbours, unless Russia jumps the claim of both of them. As a result the new constitution has been approved by the representatives of these various communities, and it provides for a generous degree of autonomy. What is the right hon. The second Empire began with the inclusion of India, and it is now ending with the changing status of India and the loss of Burma. It was evident that U Saw could not continue his journey by the westward route. Naturally, we are sorry that Burma is not going to be a member of the British Commonwealth. We made that clear in the White Paper of 1945. Januar 1948 gemäß dem Burma Independence Act von 1947 eingeführt wurde. Now the hon. I beg the right hon. Why should he be regarded as having special affinities or ties with this country demanding his allegiance, not having been particularly helped by the right hon. He pointed out that the aim outlined in the United Kingdom government White Paper of May, 1945 was for Burma to attain Dominion status, subject to its prior attainment of certain political milestones. Surely, that is something about which to rejoice, and I do rejoice in the fact that the Burmese people are now a free people who have been made free, not by acts of violence between themselves and ourselves, but by the culmination of a process of reason and good will. Members opposite is terrible to see in action—the optimism that there would be no cold weather last winter, the Friends, say, "We do not mind what happens. I feel, however, that hon. I myself did not oppose the Government when they granted Dominion status to India and to Pakistan. The British Commonwealth of Nations is a free association of peoples, not a collection of subject nations. of those from which we are being turned out. We do not mind if Burma goes down into chaos. They might have made difficulties about it, but they have not done so. [Interruption.] It is not poppycock. Before I turn to the provisions of the Bill, I should like to give a very short survey of the course of events which have led up to it. In the Prime Minister's speech this afternoon, we did not hear one word to show that that promise had been carried out. Either he was a traitor to Burma when he helped the Japanese to come in, or he was a traitor to the Japanese when he deserted them to join the British. In so far as it is possible to obtain their views, we can only do so through the Anglo-Burman council, which for some years and before the war was recognised as the official body speaking on their behalf, and they have made it clear in pronouncements that they believe that their future lies in Burma. They are quite entitled to say that. So much for that. Can he give any guarantee that that is so? But the Burmese problem is a world problem. It is a matter of great regret and great sorrow that these people should have decided to leave the Commonwealth in January next year. We are giving self-government to Burma, but we are not giving democratic self-government to Burma. 1847 Otherwise We could have ensured that they passed by stages towards the final stage of independence. What does the right hon. It was introduced by Arthur Balfour, then Chief Secretary for Ireland, to deal with the Plan of Campaign, an increase in illegal activity associated with the Land War. It is quite true that there are many difficulties and problems ahead for the Burmese Government. I was afraid at that time that in that country we were speeding the pace towards complete independence too fast without that background which alone can make democracy work. I hope and believe that by what we are engaged in doing tonight we shall create a new relationship between the peoples of the British Commonwealth, of Nations and of Burma that will be based on the solid foundation of mutual friendship, trust and respect, and one which will have lasting strength, because its roots are firmly implanted in the charter of freedom which we are considering tonight. Burma will be needing a great deal of help in capital equipment and technicians in the years to come. There is no difference whatever between the national aspirations of the Indians and those of the Irish. Is he complaining at the desire of the people to rule themselves in the way they wish? What does that mean? These repeals are set out in the Second Schedule of the Bill. The constitution has been described to me by experienced constitutional lawyers as being a remarkably able document. In any case the Japanese invaded Burma because that was part of the Japanese policy of attack against this country and her allies. Gentleman had been in office today he knows perfectly well that if he had resisted the Burmese demands he would have enraged the whole people and would have created the maximum bitterness and discontent. I think the right hon. I trust they will be found more fortunate in the new men with whom they have now to deal. Member for Aston. That is very true, and I would like them to think that, at any rate, the majority of us in this House tonight, and on the other side as well as here, reciprocate that view. Some hon. Facts and … They lead the country in home affairs as well as foreign affairs to the brink of disaster, and then they turn round and say, "What is your constructive alternative?" I expect in Burma murder, battle and sudden death; but I have to face the fact that they want their independence. claims, amounting to nearly £100 million which have to be met and considered. Subsection (2) provides that persons who come under the provisions of Subsection (1), but are domiciled or ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom or any of its Dependencies, may, within two years, exercise an option to remain British citizens. I can never enter into any game of skill or chance with the hon. Does he know how Burma is to protect itself? To return to my main thesis, we had two alternatives. Therefore, I do ask the Government, even at this late hour, to do what they can—and I shall make a definite appeal at the end of my speech—effectively to look after the interests of the Anglo-Burman community. Rather would he do what most of us do, appreciate that the American people, although they have a variety of races within their confines, are people who are equal with ourselves and therefore need to be in friendship with us on every possible plane. Members opposite. Previous to the rise of the British Empire, there were two great Empires in Europe, the Spanish and Portuguese. 1855 It is very remarkable that the right hon. He explained that in the future, the relationship between Burma and the United Kingdom would be based on a Treaty and on friendship. The question is this: should a part of the Empire, hurriedly, and in the excited aftermath of war, be able to claim an unchallengeable right to walk out of the Empire and sever all communications with us, even though we believe that that action will lead to internal strife, economic misery, inability to defend itself, and the setting up of a form of Government which will be the absolute negation of all we regard as democracy? They had so committed themselves in their propaganda to the idea of complete independence and the complete removal of the British from Burma, that they could not go back on it. Gentlemen opposite to attack my right hon. But here we have slipshod haste, and almost frantic determination to shed responsibility at whatever cost. Gentlemen are not entitled to say, and what nobody has said, and what the right hon. The right hon. of capital owned by their citizens. Holding those views, it is only because I have the gravest misgiving as to what will happen that I cannot support the Government. I therefore ask them to cast their minds forward to that date. These were concluded in London in January 1947, when the British agreed to Burma’s independence. I was merely suggesting that the hon. There is no assurance that the power of the new Government will be sufficient to maintain internal order, or, I might add, national independence against far larger and far more powerful neighbours. That is the excuse of a man driving a motor lorry into a brick wall, and smashing it up, then turning round and saying, "What can I do now except sell this thing for scrap?" 4 January 1948 ... as a separatist movement insisting on the government honouring the right to secession in 10 years provided for by the 1947 Constitution. When we deserted the people who were our best friends in the war, what else could they do but make friends with those like some of the Burmese statesmen, friends of Members opposite, who were the friends of the Japanese in the war, and who made termas with them when the enemy were within their gates? The speeches of hon. Share Description. Secondly, history repeats itself in regard to the troubles we have- had all over the world, and I think that the policy of the Government is absolutely right. Significant differences in political views between unionists and Irish nationalists are reflected in the variations of names they use for the region. I have always been conscious, since first I went to Burma for a short time last winter and began to study the whole history of Burma and the policy which we were pursuing there, that the flood of nationalist feeling was growing so great that we would find it impossible before world opinion to delay the granting of self-government in the form in which that country wished it, however much we might think it to her advantage that she should take some other course. 1892 That may be symbolical of the future, and I hope that hon. What are the Governments of this country committed to for years? On this occasion if they think sincerely they will realise that they make their task of persuading others that the British Commonwealth itself has independence plus rights and privileges not independence minus rights and privileges more difficult, much more difficult, by what they have said before. As it was, they had special safeguards and special forms of constitution. We on this side of the House have no power to prevent what the Government intend to do, but we have to consider what our own attitude must be on an occasion of this kind. when public interest so requires. They gave increased impetus to the already strong urge of the peoples of Asia for self determination that had been growing ever since, in fact, the Russo-Japanese War. The Burma Independence Act 1947 (1947, 11 Geo. It finished by saying: South Asian history is an ancient history with its roots going as far back as 5000 BC. shall be exploited and developed by the Union Friend, and the main gist of the attacks has been that he has taken the opportunity to make a provocative speech at a time when Burman independence is drawing near to a conclusion. I believe in Empire in the right sense. Friends will realise that that is a sincere conviction on my part. Share Description. The Indian Independence Act 1947 partitioned British India into the two new independent dominions of India and Pakistan. Burma - which had been making increasing demands for independence since their occupation by Japan in World War II - became an independent republic in early 1948, followed shortly by Ceylon. It would seem to me a little premature, if that is so, when we are now debating here the Second Reading of the Bill to give that independence. We and the Government have done our best to get the Indian people together in a federal constitution. Then, indeed, the conception of Empire is changing very rapidly. changed the places of them, and has given a wrong meaning different from what he intended. is more likely that that will be done now than when the country was being exploited for private interests. If I may carry the war into the enemy's camp—and I hope I did not catch the right hon. Member said nothing about the deplorable record of one of the so-called statesmen of Burma who has subsequently been assassinated. We all remember the tragedy of Ireland, but the right hon. because what he was saying was not relatively accurate. Member for Aston (Mr. Wyatt), who spoke after him, never attempted to answer, namely, that the White Paper of 1941 said that certain things could not be done Gentleman says, "Thank you very much. No one can say, least of all the hon. Surely this is the culmination of the policy that this country has always desired to pursue, namely, that we would welcome the day when we could say to those people, "Now we have played our part. His Majesty's Government are greatly to be congratulated that they have reached a conclusion so amicably. and learned Gentleman one or two questions. I hope that the right hon. Metacritic. British Empire. All we can do is to carry out what we and all parties have pledged ourselves to do—to meet the wish of the Burmese, and put the responsibility on them. It is because I am convinced that we are giving to Burma not freedom but anarchy, a lowered standard of living, and the probable extinction of independence that I shall feel compelled to go into the Lobby against him tonight. In May, 1945, a statement of policy was issued by His Majesty's Government. The hon. Are we not glad that the Burmese people have not only Not until Socialist Governments appeared in New Zealand and Australia did the attitude of the Party opposite change. It must be realised how we did that. It is the unanimous, or almost the unanimous, expressed opinion of the British community in Burma—and of every section of it—that this Bill should go through. They are seen all over India in the dusty squares of the cities. Members of this House may view that possibility with complete equanimity. I would also like to echo the compliment paid by the Prime Minister to Sir Hubert Rance for the tact and wisdom with which he guided Burma through the period of transition. Great cruelties were perpetrated by his army. conferring democracy upon a community like Burma they are giving democracy to a handful of not too scrupulous politicians, supported by some of the worst examples of private enterprise. It is the transitional provisions pending the conclusion of a trade treaty. It is that, as in the cases of India and Burma, when we know the people are demanding their freedom, we enter into negotiation with them and help them to make their constitution. 1929 The hon. I do not suppose I should be called that today. I shall be only too happy to associate myself with the tribute which he has paid to them tonight. The right hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) once making a statement which stuck in my mind. In a case like this there is no use in abusing the Government for their policy and putting forward no alternative policy. Those conditions have occurred. The right hon. I turn to the broad provisions of the Treaty. Pictures From History/Newscom; Britain’s Parliament passed in July 1947 the Indian Independence Act.It ordered that the dominions of India and Pakistan be demarcated by midnight of August 14–15, 1947, and that the assets of the world’s largest empire—which had been integrated in countless ways for more than a century—be divided within a single month. Secondly, can he tell us whether there is any real racial homogeneity in what we call Burma? Ne Win’s stated purpose was to make Burma a truly socialist state. Gentleman has just said. Eastern countries do not stand still any more than Western countries. They do not seem able to allow their children to stand on their own feet. The Spanish lost every one of their territories in America, because they would not give them any form of development or government of their own, whereas the Portuguese gave to the Brazilians, first of all, co-partnership, and then independence, and the result has been that Brazil has always remained the greatest friend of Portugal, whereas the South Americans have always been hostile to the Spanish. Will the hon. Friend the Member for Wavertree (Mr. Raikes). It had been a much more acrimonious Debate than we have had here, and he made a fine fighting speech, breathing the very essence of Liberalism with a small "1." We have no right to sacrifice the lives and blood of the manhood of our nation on further conquests. There is a mighty population there—China, India, and now a separate Burma. Gentleman's speech? He was known as a revolutionary, nationalist, and as the founder of the Tatmadaw, and is considered as the Father of the Nation of modern-day Myanmar. a good deal of time considering the position and prospects in Burma. Certainly the women have done magnificent work. Burma entschied sich dafür, nach der Unabhängigkeit eine vollständig unabhängige Republik und kein britisches Dominion zu werden . But the intervening stage was to give them the chance of exercising free option. Must we really make of such a man a great patriot? I still hold the view that I have always held, which is my reason for voting against this Bill tonight, that the stages of self-government both for India and Burma should be gradual, constitutional and proper. Member for Aston or any hon. We are, of course, a very careless, happy-go-lucky people, but in wartime some pains are taken. Indian Independence Act 1947. I am glad, for my part, that we on this side of the House do not share it. 1923 His wife had to walk out of Burma into Assam, and he escaped later to Imphal. He concluded his remarks by remarking that he believed the future of Burma "should be bright". The hon. If it had not been for the policy followed by the party opposite before the war, it might well have been that Burma would now voluntarily become a member of the British Commonwealth. I say that we can accept no responsibility for this Bill, and I do not think it should be settled merely on questions of oil companies or vested interests. [An HON. Are we to show no gratitude to those who put their trust in us in our moment of danger, or must we always wait and chill towards those who fought by our side? Gentleman's statement that he and his friends could not support the Another hon. Gentleman has used the words "exploit" and "develop," but I think he That has been worked for for some years, the difference being on the question of whether or not for a period of time, Burma should or should not be within the Empire. Are we not glad that peoples who were conquered by us are at last liberated, not in a spirit of rancour but of good will? The solidity of that Defence Agreement, a great deal In fact I may find myself in the Government Lobby this evening, but I resent as keenly as anyone this charge of irresponsibility that is levelled against them. Secondly, we should have restored law and order. Should we cheer if these things proved true? We should pay a little more attention to the question of these much despised vested interests. The subsequent occasion on which action by the right hon. Today we are confronted with the result of complete independence and the cutting of Burma out of the British Empire and out of the protection of the Friend the Leader of the Opposition may be right, and because I do not feel we are doing everything possible to keep Burma in the Empire, I cannot vote for this Measure tonight. Hon. Once before we did not understand the mentality of a sister land across the water, which was really at our very doorstep and could have helped us materially. Most countries in the world, even in Europe, have made a mess of democracy and cannot work it. I believe that the strength of the British Commonwealth in the past and in the future lies in the fact that its self-governing nations wish to remain inside and have the power if they like to get out when they want. This agreement was come to between ourselves as two equal States. Like all these amateur politicians, as I call them, they look at things exclusively from their own national point of view. 1862 Member for Hornsey (Mr. Gammans)—. I have never, since I have been here, interrupted any Member; I never give way to any Member. If the right hon. Members of this House have any commercial interests in Burma, but if so, in my opinion they might as well write them right off, because they will never see their money back again. Friends who have said that the Burmese have made a mistake in not being satisfied with Dominion status. that is, till December, 1948– (1) Any person, who under sub-sections (i), (ii) and (iii) of'sec­ One cannot help remembering all those sailors, soldiers and airmen, who in 1942, fought to defend Burma from the invading Japanese, and one cannot help thinking of the sailors, soldiers and airmen who, under the gallant leadership of General Alexander, General Wingate and General Slim, among others, fought and gave their lives in very large numbers to recapture Burma in 1944–45. I have not interrupted hon. will have exactly the same type of government that all Asiatic countries have always had, except when ruled by European nations …. We are now beginning a third phase, which may take many forms. That is only one of the cases which I am going to develop in a moment or two. Friends to abstain from voting tonight. Member on this side on the importance of the argument that there is really no alternative. I, like the hon. I should add here, as I know some hon. Rightly or wrongly, they believe that U Aung San and others followed a policy which they hoped would lead them to ultimate liberty. I would like to pay a tribute to the hundreds of thousands of British and loyal Indians and Burmese—several of them were subsequently tortured by their "great statesman," the man who was murdered a short time ago, for being loyal to us—who died to save Burma in, the war. The evidence has not only appeared in the newspapers but in the official histories of the war, and it has been borne out by every sort of factual observation. I merely cite that particular question to illustrate that the questions which the noble Lord has just addressed would have been just as relevant if we had been discussing the grant of Dominion status. I want to bring to an end what I wish to say. 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