19 MAY 1923, Page 14


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]

SIR,—In Africa south of the Equator we have the Union, South-West Africa, several Protectorates, Southern and Northern Rhodesia, Portuguese Colonies, Belgian and French Colonies, and Crown Colonies. If a census was taken of all people south of the Equator it would probably be found that the natives outnumber the whites by about thirty to one. With this in view, it seems to me vitally necessary that there should be a conference of the heads of the Native Affairs Departments of each of the Powers or Governments concerned, so as to be able to devise a uniform Native Policy throughout the whole of Southern Africa.

To us here in the Union, the most serious matter seems to be the recruiting of natives as soldiers by the Belgians and French. It is essential that this policy should be very drastically curtailed. The Bolshevik propaganda amongst the natives in the Union, as brought to light by the Martial Law Commission's findings in the recent Rand revolt, has certainly opened our eyes. Now, as the Union has a few Bolshevists, France and Belgium will also have some ; hence we say that the making of native soldiers has to be limited and governed by certain rules which will safeguard the white population of Southern Africa. At present the natives are recruited for three years' service, whereas it should be for twenty years' service. Owing to climatic conditions it is essential that there should be native troops in parts of Africa. These forces should, however, be cut down to the irreducible minimum, and should only be used in the Colonies where they were recruited.—I am, Sir, &c.,