I have both worked and fought in the Middle East. Friend the Member for Wavertree to say that we should grant self-determination to Burma, and should assent to Burma's evolution to complete independence, but it must be done by stages. 1947. They do not want to have Dominion status for a period of "due course." Member has said, but will he remember that he gave the same advice about India, and that his advice about India, which was accepted by the Prime Minister, has produced more deaths in India during the last three months than during the whole of the period between the time of the Indian Mutiny and the time when my right hon. Independence Act Of 1947. By your fruits you will be judged. 4. us, countries with a totally different culture, race and language, we should only upset the politics of our own country and of theirs, and our democratic party system. The Government have chosen another course. Perhaps the right hon. After all, every party is committed to it. the State shall have the right to regulate, alter or abolish land tenures or resume possession of any land and distribute the same for collective or co-operative farming or to agricultural tenants Gentleman beside him. The Panglong Conference of February 1947 resulted in an agreement between the AFPFL wing led by Aung San and representatives of the Shan, Kachin and Chin minorities to jointly oppose British rule and strive for Burmese independence; the conference is regarded the founding act of the Union of Burma. but a totalitarian regime. Must we really? But we have some regard for the finances of this country, and I should have thought that it was a very serious thing to become entirely irresponsible about the financial position of Burma when she needs our aid so much, and owes us so much. 1841 Independence Act Of 1947. Those peoples have no access to the sea. Hon. Cynics sometimes say in the East that political emotions and movements go up like a rocket and come down like a stick. It is and has consistently been our aim to assist her political development till she can sustain the responsibilities of complete self-government within the British Commonwealth and consequently attain a status equal to that of the Dominions and of this country. 1909 Parliament is asked to approve this extension for a period of three years only "— We have not obstructed your policies or Measures and they must now take their own course. I now turn to the actual provisions of the Bill. It should be noted, for the purposes of this Schedule, that the Burma referred to is the Burma of today, and not the Burma as it existed, either at the date of birth of a particular individual or of his father, or of his grandfather, where he wants to carry back his right to British nationality further. For your today, they gave their tomorrow. Gentleman and his colleagues shook hands with the man who was regarded up to that moment as a traitor and who died as a result of extending the hand of friendship, Michael Collins. On a point of Order. I take it unkindly of them, and, to put it at its mildest, it was an act of discourtesy to a country which has shown the warmest friendship for Burma. There was a bloody civil war. wicked days of the British—so disliked by Members opposite; they think it terrible that the British actually governed another country successfully—there was a balanced budget of £13 million. REPORT, 20th January, 1931; Vol. Having had previous official experience of this matter, I agree that in law these people probably have no claim, but I am perfectly certain that they have a very strong moral claim to fair treatment. I propose to do that, if the hon. Another hon. However, Subsection (4) provides for the recognition by the United Kingdom as a British subject of any persons who are given, by law of one of the self-governing Dominions, a similar right of electing to remain British subjects. Dies stand im Gegensatz zur Unabhängigkeit Indiens und Pakistans, die beide zur Erlangung des Herrschaftsstatus führten. I now wish to say a little on the Schedule. We accept no responsibility for this Bill. There is precedent for it. They fall under three heads. Things are going from bad to worse for us Anglo-Burmans, and nothing will be done till the British public is told the naked truth. If that action had not taken place at that time, Burma might have gone up in flames. We have built this great Empire, in many cases, from nothing. and right hon. This afternoon the right hon. Member said nothing about the deplorable record of one of the so-called statesmen of Burma who has subsequently been assassinated. But in Burma there is still time.  He explained that the United Kingdom government had a duty to see to it that "minorities for whom we had a special responsibility were given due position under the new Constitution” and reported that he was satisfied that that was the case. The decision has already been taken by the Government without any discussion in this House and that is the end of that. I hope I shall be allowed to develop my argument, and if I am, I will try to convince the hon. For those reasons, I say that we are not casting off a part of the Empire light-heartedly. We have no unwilling members. 1942 Lastly—and this is the most important question of all—do hon. My hon. We hope they will elect to stay within the Commonwealth, but if they wish to go outside it, we must not interfere with their free choice. I cannot look forward with any great hope or confidence to the third Empire if it is to be governed by a party which cries "Glory Hallelujah," every time the Empire is weakened. 6.)) They themselves have come to an agreement with the minorities, and they are all agreed as to their future constitution. 10 or 15 years after the conquest of 1886–we called it dacoity instead of armed rebellion? I agree with the right hon. I remember reading the other day a speech by the Foreign Secretary in the country where he spoke of the announcements about India—the impressive scene, with the quiet little man and his quiet little voice sweeping away our position in India. I really must cavil at this comparison between U Aung San and Marshal Badoglio. I realise that the action we are about to take will lead to possible misunderstanding and perhaps misrepresentation, either wilful or otherwise, not only in this country but also in Burma. Indeed, I understand that the new theory of Socialism is that there is some merit in private enterprise. They have thrown their lot in with the rest of the people of Burma, and I believe that they have a contribution to make to the future of Burma. We made Africa fight for it. I can remember a hill in Assam rather shattered and bare compared with the rest of Kohima. Gentleman has given utterance. being highly satisfactory to us, will prove highly satisfactory to Burma. The Burma independence bill received royal assent on December 10; the act of Parliament was entitled “Burma Independence Act, 1947”, chapter 3 being “An Act to provide for the independence of Burma as a country not within His Majesty’s dominions and not entitled to His Majesty’s protection and for consequential and connected matters.” (London, H. M. Stationery Office, 1947). Be patient. They are quite entitled to say that. More of our British soldiers would have been killed, which sounds ill when one remembers the undoubtedly sincere comments which he and the right hon. It is plain nonsense to believe that it is possible just to draw a line, and to say that one-third of this is Burma, and will be governed under the constitution here. They were the people who, because they could not find a living over here, went to the great Dominions and, in settling there, developed this great Empire. 1874 I should like here to bear testimony to the very great services rendered by Sir Hubert both in administration and in securing the co-operation of the Burmese people. sibly do to anybody—to the Burmese, the people of this country, or anyone anywhere? The agreement to accept military missions only from this country and not from any other country than this virtually does imply a military alliance. That is a new way for Great Britain to do business. I think I have quoted him correctly. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for Air. He explained that in the future, the relationship between Burma and the United Kingdom would be based on a Treaty and on friendship. Member for Woodford made that suggestion two years ago. 1848 I wonder, when looking back on these events which have come to pass, whether we are handing Burma over to a really nationalist movement of freedom, or to a clique. It has been said on many occasions that hon. Gentlemen opposite and turn round and say "We fear this may happen, but we wash our hands, it has nothing whatever to do with us.". Gentleman the Home Secretary should brush up his geography. He returned to Europe, and at the first moment when he could find a Japanese Consul, which was in Lisbon, he offered his allegiance to Japan. Gentlemen opposite do? Although, as I have said, it is a matter of keen regret that Burma should be leaving the Commonwealth, it is a source of great satisfaction to us all that the negotiations have been conducted in a spirit of the utmost good will and cooperation. It was evident that U Saw could not continue his journey by the westward route. If I am doing him wrong, I am ready to withdraw it, but HANSARD will, I think, show that I am right. In conclusion, may I say this Bill is in keeping with the highest traditions of this House. Members on the other side when they were speaking, and I would appreciate it if they would let me develop my arguments. The first "free" elections in Burma were not very much like free elections in this country. That is the question in India. There is a difference; I certainly did not. Gentleman to know that an early British Governor in Burma was startled to find that whereas dacoity had not existed before the British occupied Burma, it had grown very strong since the British occupied Burma. Friends who are not prepared to vote against this Bill tonight. The first evidence of Homo sapiens is dated to about 25,000 BP with discoveries of stone tools in central Myanmar. At the request of the India Office, I received him, and I also received from him strong assurances of loyalty and fidelity. present Government, that it is our task to enable others to enjoy the same democratic freedom that we ourselves enjoy. Mr. Attlee's speeches are deplorable because they are so misleading. Member for Aston made an attack upon my right hon. I think it has reached its pinnacle, and today we are seeing merely the natural evolution of things. If we are to be generous, can we not be generous to those who have served us so well in the past? I beg to move to leave out "now," and at the end of the Question to add, "upon this day six months.". I only want to respond to the hon. It is quite true that it was inconvenient and embarrassing for us, and that it led to a great deal of suffering, but again I beseech hon. optimism of the Government that there would be no bread rationing. I ask hon. I would remind the House that Mr. Amery, at that time the Secretary of State, said that that period was not a minimum or a definite period, but that it was a permissive and precautionary period. I was, at that time, responsible, and upon the advice of the Chiefs of Staff, and with the approval of the Cabinet, we accepted those overtures. I come through. 1934 This Bill marks a further step in the development of a policy which, I am convinced, represents the true, democratic genius of the British people. Gentlemen must know that if we had not taken this step the position might have been infinitely worse than it is in India. If the policy of the right hon. MEMBER: "America."] My hon. The hon. § 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. Gentlemen opposite are prepared to accept this lightly—a lowered standard of living for the people of Burma. Members who have not had an opportunity of being able to see this constitution, because copies could not be obtained in the Vote Office. We could say, "We will conquer Burma with armed Forces, and keep there, for an indefinite period, two British Divisions as a minimum, based on this country, without the help we had from adjacent areas in the past." enough to condemn them. If we pass this Bill we are divesting ourselves of that responsibility; we are saying that what happens to them from now on is no concern of ours. Unfortunately, the right hon. Like all these amateur politicians, as I call them, they look at things exclusively from their own national point of view. Following on his announcement, and the comments which I have just read to the House, which I made then, a delegation of the most distinguished and leading representatives in Burma, or persons selected by the Government, was invited to London in January, and the British Government arranged with them for the acceleration of the whole process of getting rid of Burma. We do not mind if Burma goes down into chaos. Other hon. He explained this afternoon that we would not have needed as many troops in Burma to keep the people down by force as we needed in Palestine. He individually is a humane man, but he is in the position of the signalman who has made a fatal mistake rather than that of the murderer who has placed an obstruction on the line. I rather thought, from one or two of what I thought were very moderate speeches from hon. There are communities in which democratic self-government is possible, but those communities are racially and religiously homogeneous. Members opposite, What is your policy? Members may laugh at me, I do not think they will laugh at what I am going to say. Gentleman told Michael Collins how his reputation was at stake on that issue, and Michael Collins told him, "Yes, but my life will be the consequence of fighting for the liberty of my nation.". Subseries within HO 334 - 1947 Burma Independence Act: Declarations of British Nationality; Subsubseries within HO 334 - Declarations under Section 2(3) This record (browse from here by … VI, Ch. It has been altogether too unrealistic. They insisted on it, and I hope they will make a success of it. I now gladly give way to the right hon. I know that a pledge has been made. If I may point out—and I do this with all humility and I hope without giving cause for shouts from the opposite benches—the one thing, which has had For example, one of the questions he asked was, Is there any racial homogeneity in Burma? The President of the United States and the Prime Minister Mr. Churchill representing His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, being met together, deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of our respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world. 1917 I, like the hon. They cannot be produced by Burma itself. than some of the countries of Europe. I congratulate the Government on what they have done. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman's interruption accurately in one respect—that there has never been a less corrupt Government than there is in Burma today—does he really suggest that the Burma Government is less corrupt than other Burma Governments? Is it in Order for the noble Lord, who himself claimed the protection of the Chair, not to extend to my right hon. There is a certain captain I know who ran a steamer on the Irrawaddy carrying troops, petrol and other supplies. Let it be noted that the provisional President of Burma is himself a member of a minority community. If there is to be a good future relationship between Burma and this country, it must inevitably depend on a proper working partnership between these vested interests and Burma. The first is to consider what would happen in the unlikely event that this Bill did not receive a majority tonight. | Report other issues | © UK Parliament. What does that mean? Indian Independence Act 1947. He was contemplating not an easy delay, but the use of force. Such were the two figures whom the Government welcomed as the outstanding authorities with whom they were to confer and to whom they were to confide the future of Burma, where 15 million people had dwelt for more than 60 years in peace, justice and contentment under British rule. I promise the House not to bore it with my observations. 1954 My friend the Leader of the All Burma Women's Conference is in this country and I shall be seeing her shortly. The exact constitutional status of the state during this period has been a matter of scholarly and political dispute. It was only because they could look to the impartial rule of Great Britain that they have ever been regarded as part of political Burma at all. I have heard hon. I hope that my hon. I cannot bring myself to believe that that is the right thing to do. As for the tribes, what else could they do? The moment the words "vested interest" are used, even on the Government Front Bench and on the benches behind it, there is a sort of titter of contempt and dislike. It is that the That may be symbolical of the future, and I hope that hon. To return to my main thesis, we had two alternatives. I have not interrupted hon. 1844 1924 and gallant Gentleman who has just spoken that, whatever way hon. The position with regard to the non-Secretary of State services, as they are covered by paragraph 5 of the Treaty, which, if hon. As every one knows, the Burmese police have been riddled with politics, especially since the last Prime Minister, who was murdered, led and encouraged a police strike only a few years ago. A proposal to change Northern Ireland's legal name to Ulster was seriously considered by the UK and Northern Ireland Governments in 1949 but in the end the name "Northern Ireland" was retained. I have no direct claim; but in accordance with the tradition of this House, that a Member who has an interest involved or that might be involved should declare it, as I have a parallel claim in another country, Malaya, which may be affected by this, it is only right that I should declare it, although I have no direct interest in Burma. The production of this constitution and its adoption without dissent by the Constituent Assembly within a period of less than four months is, I think everybody will agree, a very remarkable achievement. For that we have the authority not only of myself and others who spent some years there, but of the former Governor of Burma Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith. If the right hon. 1875 To revert to the right hon. Burma Independence Act 1947. This is almost my final point and one which I think they should also bear in mind. Under the Panglong Agreement they are now content to throw in their lot with the Burmese, and the age-old enmities which have existed between the Burmese, and the frontier tribes have miraculously disappeared overnight." The House will remember that in the case of the Indian civil servants a special fund was to be created to guarantee to those civil servants their pensions in the future, after I do not consider that we have any guarantee that there has been a fulfilment of our duties towards those who fought valiantly at our side. He took the opportunity of stating the real issue. That nation, which defeated us, treated us like a Christian people, and so we are fighting for those Christian principles which they are defending. If there is any meaning in the phrase "democratic government" as we know it in this country, the authorities who have produced this constitution are democratically elected, and they have provided in their constitution for the democratic election of the legislators who are to operate after they have obtained their independence. There is no difference whatever between the national aspirations of the Indians and those of the Irish. I venture to suggest that that is the proper policy. The breathing space has been curtailed and we are now confronted, not with Dominion status, which, as in the case of India, we considered an indispensable stage in any policy to which we on this side of the House were committed but Burma has been plunged at once into full independence. Otherwise This state was, in effect, reaffirmed by the Governor of Burma with the authority of His Majesty's Government both in 1939 and in 1940. 231. will realise that that is the feeling of this country, that we want the Burmese to be free, independent and prosperous, and to be friendly with us and I hope that these things will be realised. Acts were passed in 1921, 1922, 1924, 1925 and 1926 by four successive governments. 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. Friend the Secretary for Overseas Trade attended the Panglong Conference at which representatives of ministerial Burma and of the hill tribes met together, and rendered very valuable service in bringing them together. and learned Gentleman the Minister for Economic Affairs who now smiles has a greater personal knowledge of these men, and it may be that that Burmese leader was actuated by a great sense of responsibility towards his own people. Provision is made for the repayment over a period of years of £27 million due to us, and of the amounts received by Burma for the sale of surplus stores. Member on this side on the importance of the argument that there is really no alternative. We fought, I hope, for freedom, and we are giving freedom to the people there. And that if anyone voices the utter injustice and bullying that is going on, he or she stands to be attacked personally and either dacoited or killed outright? However, as I retired from practice at the Bar more than 30 years ago I will content myself with trying to give the broad provisions of the Clause from the point of view of the layman. of those from which we are being turned out. I know the right hon. In section 179D (which relates to the attachment of officers and airmen to Indian and Burma Air Forces), the words "by the Air Council and the Governor-General of India or, as the case may be," and the words "India or" wherever those words occur, shall be omitted. Gentleman's father to take over control of Burma said that annexation and direct rule of that country was unnecessary, and that, a protectorate would have sufficed just as well, or a treaty arrangement of the kind which we had with Nepal. Dominated by us other acts this may happen, but there is no difference between... Instance where the rejoicing comes in never, since i have had dozens of letters from people who! 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