20 DECEMBER 1940, Page 2

Colonial Co-operation

Already before the war there was a great revival of interest among public-spirited people in the condition of the colonies, and there is every reason now why even more attention should be given to them during the period of crisis. The Colonial Office is not neglecting the great opportunity which presents itself of promoting co-operation between the colonies of Great Britain, Belgium and the Netherlands and those con- trolled by Free France. In the House of Lords on Tuesday Lord Lloyd gave an account of the constructive economic policy which is being pursued both in the British and Allied colonial territories. In all cases the difficulty is that of finding an adequate market for their products and of supplying them with all the imports necessary for maintaining their standard of life. Where particular colonies have relied upon crops which have become unsaleable the Government have devised special means of tiding them over. Of special interest is the situation which has developed in our relationship with the Allied colonies. There again it is the Government's intention to do all in its power to maintain their economic structure, and this can be done both by buying their products or arrang- ing for their sale, and providing necessary imports in return. Economic agreements have been negotiated with the Free French Colonies and the Belgian Congo, and there are frequent discussions between the Governor of the Straits Settlements and the Netherland East India authorities about British and Dutch colonial matters of common interest. Co-operation such as this is likely to bear fruit not only under war condi- tions, but in the future, when colonial questions will.be part of the wider problem of international reconstruction.