From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris

by James Hennessy
From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
The Sani Pass
On the 4th October, 2016, Lesotho celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence from British rule. It was not an event that hit the headlines here in Britain, but for me it brought back many memories. In particular the memory of that voyage I had undertaken with the Regent Paramount Chief of Basutoland and her Advisers to London in 1957 to present a Petition to the British Government.

The visit, which lasted six weeks, and took us to Edinburgh, Paris and Rome as well as London, was pronounced a great success. It had been key to the subsequent independence of Basutoland. Re-reading the Report I made at the time made me wonder what had happened to the country in the 50 years since independence and whether independence had realised the hopes of those who had worked so hard to bring it about. Or whether incorporation into the Republic of South Africa - which had been the fear of the Basuto in 1957 and which had been the reason for the Regent's Petition - would not after all have been the better option. It was with these thoughts in mind that I began to write this story.

I had been appointed to the Colonial Administrative Service in 1946, after serving four years as an officer in the Royal Indian (Field) Artillery, part of which time I had spent in Tribal Territory in Waziristan. There I had come to admire the work of the Indian Political Service. It was work which attracted me greatly and caused me to think about joining the LC.S. when the War was over. But with Indian independence on the horizon I realised I would not have a career there, so I turned instead to the Colonial Administrative Service.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Drakensberg Mountains
Accepted for an appointment in 1946 I was asked by the Colonial Office to express a preference for my first posting. I opted for Kenya - and was assigned to Nigeria! There followed a year at Cambridge University, during which time my posting was changed to Basutoland. Never having heard of the country - the Colony was for historical reasons (the possibility of incorporation into the Union of South Africa) administered by the Commonwealth Relations Office, and did not therefore figure in the recruitment literature. I rather apprehensively looked for the country in an atlas. And was most pleasantly surprised.

Lying well within the boundaries of South Africa on the western side of the Drakensberg Mountains, between 5,000 and 11,000 feet, it had a good climate, wonderful mountain scenery, no tropical diseases and no tribal rivalries. With a University and many Mission Schools the general level of education was comparable with the most advanced colonies in Africa at the time. Moreover, the history of Basutoland's incorporation into the British Empire, which had resulted from the pleas of the great Basuto Chief, Moshesh, for protection from the advancing Boers of South Africa, meant that there were none of the usual colonial fears that the British might want to stay and settle in the country - indeed the British Government in 1868 was most reluctant to take on the responsibility of governing the country, and when it did it passed a law ensuring that no non-Basuto would be allowed to stay once they had ceased working there.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Looking forward to my posting, therefore, my wife and I left war tom England on a cold January day in 1948 arriving a fortnight later, on a Union-Castle vessel, in sunny Cape Town. After spending a week in the Cape Peninsula being shown around by Geoffrey Chaplin of the High Commissioner's Office (the future Resident Commissioner), we took the 'Orange Express' train to Maseru, the capital of Basutoland, arriving two days later. There I took up the post of Assistant Secretary in the Government Secretariat.

The following year, having edited the Basutoland Annual Report for 1948 on the Territory, I moved to Mafeteng as District Officer, and spent the next five years in different Districts holding Court, going on trek on horseback in the mountains for up to three weeks at a time, living in a tent; and doing administrative work in the office. It was an enjoyable experience.

In 1954, after a short stint as Judicial Commissioner taking appeals from the Basuto Courts, I was appointed District Commissioner Mokhotlong, the District lying over 7,000 ft. up in the Drakensberg mountains, where horseback was the only means of communication and temperatures drop to minus 5°C. in winter. The one fire in our house relied on dried cattle dung for fuel, while supplies had to come up the Sani Pass (over 9,000 ft.) on the backs of mules from Underberg in the Natal Province of South Africa.
From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Basuto Horses

After two years there my wife and three children were not sorry when I was posted back to Maseru in 1957. There I began work with the Chieftainship Committee on constitutional reform. Later that year, when the National Council passed the Resolution requiring the Regent Paramount Chief and a Delegation to present a Petition to the Secretary of State I was appointed Conducting Officer to the Delegation.

On our return to Basutoland I was appointed Joint Secretary of the Constitutional Reform Committee. It was hard work interspersed with trips (with the Government Secretary, the other Joint Secretary) to Cape Town to consult the High Commissioner and our legal adviser, Professor D.Y. Cowen of the University of Cape Town. The latter enjoyed showing us something of the city, taking us climbing up Table Mountain and making occasional trips to one of the city's many beaches.

Cowen was a consummate lawyer and advocate and was able to weld the differing views on the Committee into a form which commended itself to all. Our Report recommended the formation of a Legislative and Executive Council. The recommendations were in due course approved by the Government and the Secretary of State.

My next job was to organise a General Election - something entirely new to Basutoland at that time. The problems were numerous and there were no precedents so I was grateful to be given six weeks to travel to our East and Central African Colonies to see how they had tackled similar problems.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Basuto Store
My recommendation for a new system of voting, based on what I had seen, resulted in a new Electoral Law. I was then appointed Supervisor of Elections and given the unenviable task of actually organising the Election. Once they were over, and before the new Legislative Council sat, I was asked to draw up plans for an Executive Council (the forerunner of the Cabinet) on the lines of the ones I had seen in East Africa. When it was in place I became its Secretary for a short time until in 1961 I was seconded to the office of the High Commissioner/Ambassador to South Africa.

Given diplomatic rank it was an interesting and enjoyable three years based in two attractive cities, as the office moved every six months from Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa, to Pretoria, the administrative capital, some 1,000 miles or so north. This enabled the Parliamentarians to spend the summer months by the beaches of Cape Town and the cold wet Cape winter months in the warm sunny climate of Pretoria on the high veld.

On my return to Basutoland in 1964 I was appointed Commissioner for Local Government, with a seat in the Legislative Council. The following year, with the introduction of internal self-government I became the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry.

Following independence in October 1966 I was appointed by the Prime Minister to act as Cabinet Secretary for three months. It was a revealing experience observing how Basuto Cabinet Ministers, no doubt like Cabinet Ministers elsewhere, discussed all sorts of things not on the agenda for the meeting, but of vital political importance to the governing party and to their own interests.

My next appointment as Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister's Office, a virtual gatekeeper to the P.M., was equally interesting but I soon roused the suspicion of Ministers, and so in 1967 I was moved to the Office of Internal and External Affairs, the busiest Ministry in the Government, and one of the busiest periods of my life. I lasted a year, leaving Basutoland for good in 1968, after 20 years service. It had been a good life. Nothing I have done since has compared with it in the formation of lasting friendships.

Looking back as I now do, some 50 years after independence and the birth of Lesotho, the question is: was it all worth it? Have events since independence shown that the Basuto were right to reject the possibility of incorporation in the Republic of South Africa? Or were those early administrators wiser in their attempts to keep the question open?

It is a question I have tried to answer in the following account.

Part I: Introduction
From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
In October 1956 the Basutoland National Council passed a Resolution recommending that the Regent Paramount Chief accompanied by certain leading members of the Council should visit the United Kingdom to present a Petition to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.

The purpose of the petition was to obtain an assurance from the Secretary of State that in future:-

(a) no South African born citizen should be appointed to a senior post in the Basutoland Administration and

(b) there would be no question of the British Colony of Basutoland being handed back for incorporation into what was then the Union of South Africa, the country which surrounds Basutoland.

The Petition read as follows:-

    'My Lord,

    May it please Your Lordship to give careful consideration to this petition of the Basutoland Council and myself on behalf of the Basotho Nation with regard to the appointment of Her Majesty's representatives in Basutoland.

    As Your Lordship is aware, I and my people have been greatly disturbed about Her Majesty's Government's policy in connection with the appointment of senior officers in Basutoland which has been followed in the posting of the present Resident Commissioner. It is because of this question of policy that I am before Your Lordship today.

    There were two things that greatly troubled me and my people when we read the history of the discussions between Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and Her Majesty's Government in South Africa about the transfer to the Union of South Africa of the three High Commission Territories, Basutoland, Bechuanaland and Swaziland.

    The first was that neither my father nor the nation were asked express our views during these discussions. The second was the letter to the Secretary of State dated the 29th September, 1937, in which General Hertzog writes among other things:-

    "I would suggest the desirability of filling future official vacancies in the Territories after consultation with Her Majesty's Government in the Union. I refer to the correspondence which recently passed between us in this connection and would also draw attention to the fact that the post of Resident Commissioner for Bechuanaland which recently became vacant has now been filled by the appointment of an official from Nigeria, whereas the vacancy might perhaps have been filled by an official more conversant with South African problems.... if every effort were made on the part of officials in the Territories to counteract any attempt to prejudice the minds of the native inhabitants against the Union and actively to do their duty to inculcate friendly feelings on the part of the inhabitants towards the Union and sympathy towards the idea of transfer, positive results would become apparent within a very short time.... "

    What frightens us is that whenever a South African is appointed as Resident Commissioner it may be in implementation of this policy. Yet such a policy as that advocated by General Hertzog is in direct conflict with Chief Moshoeshoe's prayer when he asked for the protection of Her Majesty's Government during the time when the Government of the Orange Free State wanted to take his country. His wish was that he should be protected so that it should never come to pass that at any time in the future his people should be ruled directly or indirectly by the Government of the Orange Free State or the present Government known as the Union of South Africa. It was for this reason that in his letter dated the 6th December, 1861, Chief Moshoeshoe asked to be given a person who would be the ear and the eye of Her Majesty's Government in the affairs between him and the Government of South Africa.

    After publication of General Hertzog's letter referred to above that same request was re-affirmed by the Basutoland Council in 1949, when a resolution was passed in the following terms:-

    "That Government should give us officials from England and not those who have been born and brought up in the Union of South Africa."

    I, as head of the Basotho Nation, agreed entirely with this resolution, and I personally put it before Mr. Gordon Walker, who was then Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations on the occasion of his visit to Basutoland, 1951. In the case of the present appointment, Your Lordship said in your reply which was sent to me under cover of a letter from the High Commissioner dated 20th September, 1956:-

    From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
    Basuto Village
    "I cannot agree that the place of birth can be regarded as a bar to the appointment of anyone qualified for appointment to a post under Her Majesty's Government." But because of the policy advocated by General Hertzog, Your Lordship should understand why I am unhappy about this reply, and because of our great fears I pray with all humility that Her Majesty s Government should recognise the fact that we are a nation and should in future give due consideration to our views in matters which affect us closely".

    Your Lordship, the present appointment has now been made, and I am happy to give an assurance that I will continue to make every effort to work in full co-operation with the Resident Commissioner as he is the representative of Her Majesty's Government. Where any difference of opinion arises it should be appreciated that we cannot share the same views every day.

    I am grateful for Your Lordship's reply to resolution No. 9 of September 1955, Session of the Basutoland Council. This too was sent to me with the High Commissioner's letter of the 20th September, 1956, and was later announced to the Basutoland Council in September, 1956. It read as follows:-

    "As you know well Her Majesty s Government have repeatedly stated that the transfer of the Government of Basutoland, the Bechuanaland Protectorate or Swaziland to the Union of South Africa should not take place until the wishes of the inhabitants have been considered and the United Kingdom Parliament had been given an opportunity to express its views. The firm and clear assurances must be accepted, and the Basuto Nation must rest upon them in the spirit of conifidence proper to the relations between them and the Government which is responsible for them."

    I humbly ask Your Lordship for a further assurance that in future there will be no secret discussions with the Union Government about the transfer of Basutoland from which I am excluded.

    Your Lordship is well aware that we have great fears with regard to the Government of South Africa, because their policies have the effect of oppressing Africans in all spheres of life. We, the Basotho, like all Africans in South Africa, are worried about the implications of the Bantu Education Act which has recently been enacted in the Union of South Africa. We are truly grateful for the funds hitherto granted to us to assist us in the building of Secondary Schools and Teacher Training Institutions; but we humbly pray that we be given more money to enable us to provide for higher education which our children can no longer obtain in the Union of South Africa. We pray also that Her Majesty's Government wiII be able to devise some means of providing alternative examinations for our children if, as we fear, they are to be debarred from writing the South African Matriculation examination which they have hitherto taken, or if changes that may be made to syllabuses lower the present standard of the examination.

    My Lord, our nation is progressing and we feel that the time is ripe or almost over-ripe for the potential mineral wealth of this country to be thoroughly investigated by experts. It is a current belief that our country lacks mineral resources and that its future depends on agricultural and livestock improvement only; but on the strength of the results from prospecting by Colonel Jack Scott for precious stones we believe that if a thorough investigation is carried out other precious minerals may be found which will contribute to the wealth of Basutoland and its inhabitants.

    From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
    We pray that Your Lordship wiII not forget the implementation of the Orange River Scheme, because it is now a long time since we have heard of any progress with this project. We also hope that the Ox-Bow Dam on the 'Malibamatso River wiII come to fruition. We fully realise that the development of this country depends very greatly on its water resources, because as Your Lordship knows, Basutoland is called the sponge of South Africa. We can use our waters for irrigation purposes, to establish hydro-electric power and other industries; and we can sell the surplus.

    I think your Lordship has already been informed that I and the Basutoland Council were not happy about the reply which we received during the September, 1956, Session of Council to our request for law-making powers, because it said that we should make laws for the Basuto only. This power I already have. The Council therefore appointed a Constitutional and a Chieftainship Committee to consider this and other matters affecting the government of Basutoland. The Committees have worked very hard and are now drafting their reports which will be presented to the Basutoland Council early in 1958. The reports and the decision of Council will be presented to you, and I pray in advance that our request for a legislature be given careful and sympathetic consideration.

    In conclusion, My Lord, it is my duty and pleasure to inform Your Lordship that the Basutoland Council, the Chiefs and I on behalf of the Basotho Nation re-affirm our unswerving loyalty to the Queen's gracious person and to Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. '

At the time that the Resolution - recommending that the Regent should present the Petition to the Secretary of State - was passed, the recently appointed head of the Colonial Government, the Resident Commissioner, was Geoffrey Chaplin. Chaplin, although a member of Her Majesty's Colonial Service, was a South African citizen. He was born in a part of South Africa close to the Basutoland border and, like a number of his contemporaries, had originally been recruited as a clerk, to the Basutoland Police Service, and later to the Colonial Administration as a District Officer. While Her Majesty's Government's policy of recruiting some South African citizens to the Basutoland Government Service had been accepted by the Basuto prior to 1948, their attitude changed after the South African election of that year. The 1948 election had resulted in the fall of the Smuts United Party Government and the election of an Afrikaans Nationalist Government whose policy of 'apartheid' (keeping black citizens apart from white citizens, leading eventually to Bantustans) was felt to be much more oppressive.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
The Basuto were also aware that certain senior officers in the Basutoland Administration, who were South African citizens, still regarded it as their duty to ensure that no political or constitutional change should be made in Basutoland if it was likely to inhibit the future incorporation of the Territory into the Union of South Africa. This view stemmed from the provisions of section 4 of the Schedule to the South African Act of Union - 1910, which provided for such incorporation in future, a possibility that successive South African Governments had kept alive by constantly urging the British Government to do everything it could to encourage the Basuto to look favourably on the idea of incorporation. It was what had had led to the Regent's first visit to England in 1951 when she made known to the British Government the Basuto wish that in future recruitment to the Basutoland Administration should be from among British citizens only.

The second main request in the Petition of 1957, viz, that the Basuto should be given an assurance by Her Majesty's Government that Basutoland would never be given back to the South African Government for incorporation into the Union of South Africa without the consent of the Basuto people, followed from the fact that in the past Her Majesty's Government's response to these requests had always been that the Government had no plans to hand the Colony back to South Africa, and the Basuto could be assured that if ever the situation changed they would be consulted first. This assurance, of course, did not mean that the Colony would not be handed over one day, merely that the Basuto would be consulted. And the appointment in 1956 of a South African citizen as Resident Commissioner had only added to their fears of eventual incorporation.

The importance of the Regent's mission to the United Kingdom was, therefore, in Basuto eyes, considerable. There was a lot riding on it. 1957 had been a seminal year in the constitutional development of the Colony. Until then it had been directly governed by officials of the British Administration: laws were made by Proclamation; the Basutoland National Council had only advisory powers, while the Basuto Courts were confined to administering customary law, from which appeals could be taken to the Court of the Judicial Commissioner, a legally qualified British official.

1957, however, had seen the setting up of two Committees of Council: first the Chieftainship Committee and later the Constitutional Committee (soon to be amalgamated) which were required to make proposals for constitutional reform - reform which, it was hoped, would lead to an elected Legislature with an Executive Council and eventually perhaps to cabinet government and an independent State. However, movement towards an independent State would not of course, have been possible unless an assurance could be obtained from the British Government that the country would not be handed back to the Union of South Africa without the consent of the Basuto people. That was the priority.

Constitutional development it was realised, would not alone be sufficient. Economic development was equally important. In 1957 the Basuto economy was largely dependent on subsistence farming, with maize, sorghum, wool and cattle being the main exports. The income from these exports was nothing like sufficient to balance the budget, the deficit being largely made up by remittances from the large number of young Basuto men (some 50% in 1957) working on the South African gold mines, together with substantial Grants-in-Aid from the British Government. Hence the emphasis placed in the Petition on further economic development as a corollary of constitutional development.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Basuto Thatched Hut
When arranging the programme for the Regent's visit to the United Kingdom the British Government, therefore, included visits to some of the best examples of British industry, farming, local government and culture, in the belief that it would result in a much greater awareness by the Basuto of the Colonial Power's achievements in the world and what might be possible in their own country with British help.

The Delegation (Details on Sidebar) that was to present the Petition to the Secretary of State consisted of the Regent herself and some of the country's Principal Chiefs and leading members of the National Council, all of whom were destined to play a prominent part in the first elected government on Independence. It included Chief Leabua Jonathan, the first Prime Minister, and a number of other Chiefs and Council Members who became Ministers in the first elected Government.

The Resident Commissioner appointed me to conduct the Delegation to the United Kingdom.

The Visit To The UK, Paris And Rome
From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
This is my original Report to the Resident Commissioner written in 1957 as the Conducting Officer of the Delegation.

1. En route to Cape Town.

The party travelled comfortably to Cape Town on Tuesday 13th August 1957 in a special coach put at the disposal of the Government by the South African Railways. Throughout the journey the railway staff were extremely courteous, providing excellent beds for the two nights on board and doing all they could to be of assistance by bringing meals to the compartments and always being on call.

At Cape Town we were met by a representative of the Rhodesian Chartered Agency. After a short interview with the Press we were conducted to waiting cars, which took us to the Docks where we boarded the "Dunnottar Castle".

In the afternoon the Paramount Chief and her party went into Cape Town to buy an umbrella and hat box. In the course of half an hour or so about 150 umbrellas in Stuttafords were inspected one by one, but none proved suitable. Determined, in spite of the pouring rain, to look further afield the entourage trailed into "O.K. Bazaars", but there too drew a blank (this, did we but know it, was a portent of things to come).

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Dunnottar Castle
However, the afternoon was not altogether wasted since the party met, in Stuttafords Store, an old friend in Mr. R. P. Fawcus (Government Secretary, later Resident Commissioner of the Bechuanaland Protectorate) who was travelling with his family to the United Kingdom on leave. It was he who told us that the mail boat the "Winchester Castle" was half empty.

As the "Dunnottar Castle" was now so delayed that it would not have reached the United Kingdom until some five days after the official tour was due to begin the whole party transferred, after some anxious staff work, to the "Winchester Castle". We found the new ship quite as comfortable as the one we had left. After numerous goodbyes - and some swallowing of Avomine - the boat sailed at 4p.m. on Friday, 16th August 1957.

2. The Voyage.

It was not long before the party had settled down to the routine of shipboard life, with much time spent in playing deck games and eating. Two of the party tried hard to beat the scales in the gymnasium and pass the 300lbs mark, but never quite succeeded. The rest were content to remain somewhere near the average of 250lbs.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Winchester Castle
With the co-operation of the Captain special tours were organised for the party to the Bridge, Radio Room, Kitchens and Storage Rooms. The ship's officers concerned made these visits extremely interesting and entertaining. Much to everyone's delight the Paramount Chief herself took the wheel of the "Winchester Castle" for a short spell. The general organisation and running of a large passenger and cargo vessel is not something a landlocked race like the Basuto know much about, so that a great deal of value was learnt.

The time at sea passed very quickly, with every day something new to be sampled. Four of the party played in the cricket match versus the ship's officers and put up a good show. One member of the party was a volunteer "victim" in the crossing the line ceremony and received the biggest cheer of the day when he was eventually thrown into the pool. Four members of the party won the kitty at Tombola. One of the party, thinking it time he learned to swim, one day suddenly hurled himself into the swimming pool, to the great alarm of the instructor who immediately dived in fully clothed to rescue him. Thereafter they remained great friends and by the end of the voyage the novice had learnt to swim. The majority entered for the deck games competitions and some prizes were won. The cinema - not often seen in Basutoland - also proved most popular.

3. Shipboard Relations.

These entertainments and diversions, instructive though they were, were not what made the voyage so valuable. Nor was it merely in the provision of a breathing space between the rush and frantic bustle of departure - which had left all completely exhausted when they embarked - and the even more strenuous and exhausting tour which lay ahead. The interval gave us time to gather strength; slowly the party was knit into a whole, with an organisation for meeting most eventualities and a procedure for tackling difficulties. This proved most useful later in the trip. But the real value of the voyage and what proved its worth beyond any doubt, lay in the slow building up of a satisfactory relationship between the blacks in the party and the whites with whom they associated on board.

Until that moment in their lives their relationship with the white man outside their own country was not always pleasant. One of the Paramount Chief's Advisers once related how, while travelling in the Union of South Africa with a white man, a hotel commissionaire summoned him sharply, saying "Boy, fetch the Boss's hat over there!" The Adviser did not think it worth arguing, nor was he anything but polite. But like many Africans before him he wore a mask thereafter in his dealings with white men. On board ship it was good to see these masks gradually removed. At first all on board were treated by the Basuto with the same polite reserve. The waiter, when he brought the menu, would ask, "Will you have the fish, Sir?" and the reply would be, "If it is possible I would like the meat, please, Sir". And the "Sirs" would be bandied back and forth while the menu was discussed.

It was not long, however, before they learnt to discriminate and their relations with their fellow passengers became extremely cordial. Much of this was due to the example set by the Captain, a forceful personality and a strict disciplinarian. The day after we sailed he gave a cocktail party for the passengers in the lounge. At first he was reluctant to ask the Basuto as he said he had had experience of the difficulties that arise between black and white passengers when he took Khosana Bereng (the heir apparent and first King of Lesotho) and his party to the United Kingdom in 1953. It would, he felt, not be pleasant for either side if trouble brewed. Such social apartheid however would not have made too auspicious a start to the voyage; the Basuto would naturally have been on the defensive and the other passengers would probably have felt that if the Captain cut the blacks that was part of the protocol. It was building up trouble for the future. This the Captain was not slow in seeing. The Basuto were duly asked to the cocktail party and the Paramount Chief, followed by her two ladies in waiting and a file of vast, impressive looking black gentlemen, soberly attired, arrived in tremendous state after all the other passengers had assembled. In dead silence they were introduced to the Captain, and then before anyone knew what was happening, the Captain and all his officers had each made for one of the party and started talking rapidly. Very soon everyone had joined in and the tone was set for the rest of the voyage.

Captain Lloyd gave one or two more cosy little parties for the Basuto in his cabin and before we reached Southampton the Paramount Chief formally presented him with a Basuto hat in remembrance of a very pleasant trip. He had himself photographed in this hat and presented signed copies to each member of the party, much to their delight. When we met him again quite by chance in Oxford he was given a warm welcome.

4. Comportment.

It is, perhaps, worth mentioning that although the party very soon felt quite at home on board, playing games with the other passengers, chatting with them over a cup of coffee after dinner, ordering tea, snacks and drinks as they felt inclined, they always behaved with the utmost propriety and never on any occasion, either at sea, in England or on the continent, had anything like too much to drink, although often hard put to refuse an embarrassing measure of hospitality. People everywhere were most impressed by this and often went out of their way to say so.

In the matter of clothing, too, they behaved with the utmost discretion. Although without dinner jackets on the voyage the men all bought black bow ties which they wore with their black suits and white shirts, so that it was hard to tell the difference. Nevertheless in England some of them had themselves measured for dinner suits (nothing off the peg, of course, would fit!) and bought striped trousers. The latter, worn with their bowlers, looked most distinguished when they strolled down Piccadilly twirling their sticks.

5. Las Palmas.

On Monday, 26th August, the ship berthed at Puerto de la Luz, the port of Grand Canary, where the party undertook an organised tour of the island, under the auspices of the C.Y.R.A.S.A. Agency, who put a guide and interpreter at our disposal and arranged three modern cars and a minibus for our transport.

From the harbour the party passed through Las Palmas, the capital of the island, where 165,000 of the total population of 330,000 live, and thence up through banana plantations to the mountains, following a winding road to the pretty village of Santa Brigida. Then by a most spectacular road - reminiscent of a tarred Sani Pass - to the top of the extinct volcano of Bandama, 6,000 feet high, from which a magnificent view of the island was obtained. At the higher levels the country, with its bare soil of volcanic origin, looked very like Basutoland, but everywhere there was an abundance of agricultural produce, chiefly in the shape of potatoes, tomatoes and bananas, but also apples, peaches, maize and, in the Angostura valley, (where we saw people living in caves in the hill side) oranges and lemons and other tropical fruits. In spite of a low annual rainfall these crops flourish since irrigation is practiced on a very wide scale. Water conduits were in evidence everywhere and made a deep impression on the party. Later in the tour, near Rome, they were reminded of what could be done in this field by seeing many miles of ancient Roman aqueducts standing high above the countryside.

On the return trip the party made a short stop in Las Palmas to do some shopping. No one was caught by the vendors of imitation Parker 51's at £1 apiece, but all had some fun out of them. Spanish jewellery on the other hand proved very popular.

After leaving Grand Canary we spent the next two or three days preparing for our arrival in England. A quantity of British Travel Association literature was absorbed, bags were packed and labelled, cameras loaded, accounts paid, landing cards collected, tips handed out, passports checked and, finally, goodbyes were said and addresses exchanged. The ship docked in Southampton very early on the morning of Friday, August 30th.

6. Arrival.

The day began at Southampton at 5.30a.m. with the arrival of mail from the Commonwealth Relations Office giving us the first inkling of our destination in England and subsequent itinerary. After absorbing this quickly, together with various press briefs, the baggage was dealt with and then Immigration. A hurried breakfast was followed by a Press Conference at 7.30 a.m.

Between 20 and 30 newspapermen and photographers representing the English national and provincial press created a furore when we arrived in the lounge. After they had been brought under control the photographers were given ten minutes to do their worst, while the Paramount Chief (notoriously sensitive about flash bulbs) was encouraged to smile and keep her temper until it was over. Then the reporters had their turn: self-government, the installation of Bereng as Paramount Chief and the incorporation of Basutoland into South Africa - subjects which had received publicity in the South African press - were all very live issues, with each newspaperman looking for an angle which he could use to advantage in a sensational headline. Here our preliminary work came in useful and there were few questions that took the party completely by surprise. The Paramount Chief answered the first general questions herself and then handed over to one of the advisers for the rest of the conference. We usually managed to adhere to this procedure during the rest of the tour and, with the preliminary briefing, it paid dividends. Throughout, all members of the party were keenly aware of the necessity for handling questions concerning their relations with the Union of South Africa with the greatest care and never succumbed to the great temptation of appealing to mass sentiment in England - this in spite of leading questions by journalists and visits from people like the Reverend Michael Scott. Even the Paramount Chief by the end of the tour was getting public relations minded and instead of the usual glum look and consequent bad write-up that she received in Cape Town, was treating photographers to beaming smiles and waving to the crowds much in the manner of the Queen Mother. Mostly it was a question of emphasising that the party could not look upon themselves as a collection of individuals on holiday, for whatever they did they would be treated as a delegation representative of Basutoland. If they cared for the good name of Basutoland and wished the British people to continue to take an interest in them and their affairs it was obvious that they had to treat the press and public bodies with respect.

After the Press Conference on the ship the party went ashore with their hand luggage, through Customs and boarded the specially reserved coach on the boat train - followed throughout by photographers. The journey to Waterloo was spent in conference preparing for the next meeting with the press and analysing the last.

At Waterloo the party was met by Messrs. D.W.S. Hunt (later Ambassador to Brazil - and Brain of Britain) and M.P. Fairlie of the Commonwealth Relations Office and Mr P.C. Cooke, of the Central Office of Information. There was the usual crowd of photographers and four newsreel men. We left for Jermyn Street in magnificent Daimlers from the government car pool.

7. London.

The Overseas League Annexe in Jermyn Street, which was to be our headquarters in London, proved most suitable. It contained a series of very comfortable suites on different floors, consisting of bedroom, sitting room and bathroom, with telephones. We were all made Honorary members of the Overseas League for the duration of our stay in England and the facilities in the Headquarters building, where we ate our lunches and dinners, proved extremely useful.

On arrival in Jermyn Street there was a short Press Conference, with correspondents ranging from the London Times to a newspaper in Melbourne and a ladies journal in Hamburg. This was followed by lunch and, immediately afterwards, a B.B.C. television interview in the Paramount Chief's sitting room. By the time all the lights had been set up and the tape-recorder tested everyone was in such a state of nervous tension that for once even the usual Basuto flow of oratory had dried up. The excerpt we saw on the television news later that night was certainly not very impressive.

After this there was a conference with the Central office of Information on the tour itinerary, where an effort was made to reduce the number of engagements. This continued until 6 p.m. when there was a large reception at the Overseas League. At about 3 a.m. that night when the last bag was being unpacked, some of us wondered whether three weeks in England was not rather a long time!

8. Royal Ballet.

Saturday, 31st August, our second day in England, was spent sight-seeing around London in the special coach put at the disposal of the party for the duration of our stay in England. That night we paid a visit to the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden. The party was received by Major Collins, the House Manager at the Royal Opera House, who had served during the war with the Basuto. He conducted us to the Royal Box. The House was packed and the performance, which was the final one of the season, was quite magnificent. During the interval the party was served with a chicken champagne supper in the King's smoking room.

On Sunday, 1st September the Paramount Chief and her party attended the impressive High Mass at Westminster Cathedral and later were conducted round the building. In the afternoon Mr Fairlie of the Commonwealth Relations office took some of the party sightseeing.

The following morning the party went to Madame Tussauds and in the afternoon we were received by Sir Gilbert Laithwaite, Permanent Under Secretary of State at the Commonwealth Relations Office. Amongst those at the reception were Sir Ian Fraser (the blind M.P. who owned the Fraser Group of Trading Stores in Basutoland and was Chairman of St Dunstans.) and Lady Irene Fraser, Mr. Justice and Mrs. Elyan, Mr. and Mrs. D.M. Wilson, Mr. R.P. Fawcus (Commissioner of Bechuanaland), the Abbot of Ampleforth and Father Bernard Boya and various members of the Office.

9. Farnborough.

On Tuesday the party went to the Farnborough Air Display by coach and there saw an exhibition worthy of Britain's might and skill. At least five aircraft that had never been publicly shown before, two world record holders and the latest versions of some of Britain's successful turbine and piston engined airliners, were features of the display. There were three aircraft capable of speeds in excess of 1,000 m.p.h. In addition there was a static exhibition of guided missiles and rockets which, even in the pre-sputnik era, proved awesome. We walked around the inside of a Beverley Transport Plane - as big as a house, and the party was invited by the President of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors to the V.I.P. enclosure, packed with highly coloured, be-medalled foreign delegations and high-ranking British officers, including Lord Mountbatten and the Chief of the Air Staff. We sat in the first row, close to the runway which crossed our front, with a magnificent view.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
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Windsor Castle
The show began with three Westland Whirlwind helicopters dancing a ballet in the air just over the runway; then, every minute or so, a new plane took off and landed or performed corkscrew runs at near sonic speeds in front of us, shooting vertically into the clouds and out of sight in a matter of seconds. The organisation of the display, which must have required jet planes to rendezvous somewhere over Ireland for their run-in, was brilliant. Among them we were interested to see a performance by the Twin Pioneer, which may be in service in Basutoland next year. Its ability to land in a matter of yards was quite staggering and almost unbelievable when contrasted with a Valiant jet bomber, taking up almost a mile of runway, which came roaring in immediately afterwards. As was to be expected it was the super-sonic planes that really stole the show. Slipping in over the horizon in a hushed silence the tiny dot was suddenly and miraculously abreast, exploding with a breath catching roar of living sound that could be felt pushing us backwards out of our chairs. It made a tremendous impression on the Basuto who felt proud to be associated with the nation that produced such marvels. On the return from Farnborough the party had a brief look at another kind of English marvel - Windsor Castle - so vast it could have contained all Matsieng (the H.Q. of the Paramount Chief where he lives and has his offices) and still had room to spare.

10. Sir Ian Fraser.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
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London Zoo
On Thursday, September 4th, Sir Ian and Lady Fraser entertained the party to luncheon, at the Fellows Room in the Zoological Gardens. Also invited were Mr. D.W.S. Hunt, Miss Emery and Mr. Fairlie of the Commonwealth Relations Office, Mr. and Mrs. D.M. Wilson and Miss Fraser. After lunch Sir Ian took the party round the Zoo and tried to persuade the Paramount Chief to ride an elephant with him. The press, television photographers and the crowd were most disappointed when she refused, but later she pleased everyone by feeding the sea lions. At 4 p.m. Lady Fraser entertained us to tea at her beautiful home in Regents Park where Sir Ian presented the ladies with a Basuto blanket each and the men with a shooting stick each. He also promised the men any blanket of their choice when they returned to Basutoland.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
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Basuto blanket
In his speech Sir Ian referred to the long association of the House of Fraser with Basutoland and hoped that in spite of impending constitutional changes this association would continue and prosper. Chief Leshoboro Majara, replying on behalf of the Paramount Chief thanked Sir Ian and Lady Fraser for their hospitality and gifts and said he was sure it was the wish of all the Basuto that the long standing friendship that existed between Frasers and the Basuto people should continue to flourish.

11. Grassland Research Institute.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
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Grassland Research Institute
The party left their London base by coach on the morning of Thursday, 5th September, for a tour of the provinces and Scotland, which was to last nearly a fortnight. A luncheon stop was made at Skindles, a beautiful riverside hotel at Maidenhead, and at 3 p.m. the party was received at the Grassland Research Institute, Hurley, by the Director, Dr. William Davies and his staff. After explaining the work of the Institute in the conference room the party was taken round some of the experimental plots. We returned for tea with the Director and his staff and left again at about 5.30 p.m. It was a most interesting and profitable tour. (A further note on the work of the Institute is available in here).

12. Oxford.

From Hurley the party continued by coach to the Randolph Hotel, Oxford, where we were met for dinner by Mr. W.O.H. Collins, who had been a senior official in the Basutoland government, and his wife.

The next morning the men in the party were taken on a conducted tour of Oxford University by Mr. W.H. Voigt of the Central Office of Information. The history and organisation of the University were of great interest to all.

13. Corpus Christi College.

At noon we were received at Corpus Christi College by Mr. W.F.A. Hardie, the President, and Mrs. Hardie, Mr. Frank Lepper, Senior Tutor, Brig. G.O.M. Jameson, C.B.E., Bursar, and Mr. M.G. Brock, Tutor in Modern History. We were then taken around the College and shown Khosana Bereng's rooms. At the reception in the President's Lodgings before luncheon Mr. D.W.S. Hunt of the Commonwealth Relations Office, Sir Douglas Veale, Registrar of the University, Mr. J.G. Mouldon, Dean, and some of the dons and their wives joined the party. Luncheon was taken in the Hall and followed by coffee in the Senior Combination room, where certain of the College treasures were on view.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
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Corpus Christi.
As Chief Nkuebe Mitchell, speaking on behalf of the Paramount Chief, said in his speech of thanks, it could not have been a more delightful and entertaining visit. The Paramount Chief presented to the President, the Registrar and the Senor Tutor traditional Basuto hats and these were received with many expressions of appreciation.

From Corpus the party went almost directly to the Institute of Commonwealth Studies where the Director, Mrs. E.M. Chilver, entertained us to tea with senior members of the University and others, including Anthony Andrews, M.B.E., M.A., Wykeham, Professor of Ancient History and Fellow of New College, and Mrs. Andrews, Max Beloff, B.Litt, M.A. F.R. Hist.S. Gladstone Professor of Government and Public Administration, Lady Bourdillon, Sir Andrew Cohen, United Kingdom representative to the United Nations, Mr. and Mrs. W.O.H. Collins (lately of the Basutoland Administration), Dr. G.F. Dawes, Director of the Nuffield Institute of Medical Research and Mrs. Dawes, Mr. R.A. Frost, O.B.E., Mr. E.M. Hugh-Jones, M.A., Keble College, and Mrs. Jones, Dr. J.B. Kelly, Research Officer, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Mrs. Proudfoot, B.Litt, Somerville and St Hughes Colleges, Miss Margery Perham, C.B.E., Fellow oflmperial Government, Nuffield College, Mr. E.L. Stahl, M.A. Christ Church and Wadham Colleges and Mrs. Stahl.

The party had some interesting discussions with the various distinguished guests at the reception, but were more than ready for their dinner at the end of this rather exhausting day. After dinner the men in the party saw a play by Jean-Paul Sartre at the New Theatre.

14. Stratford.

The party rose early on Saturday, September 7th to pack and then left Oxford by coach soon after breakfast for Stratford-on-Avon. On arrival we were received by the Manager of the luxurious Welcombe Hotel and with due ceremony shown to our very comfortable rooms.

Almost immediately we left again to attend a reception given by the Mayor at the Town Hall in Stratford-on-Avon. There we were entertained to tea and shown the civic regalia, and banqueting rooms, signed the Visitors Book, had press photographs taken and, after the usual speeches, returned to the hotel for lunch with the County and District Advisory Officers of the Ministry of Agriculture, together with the Midland Regional representative of the Central office of Information.

After lunch the Paramount Chief retired with the ladies while the men in the party had a most interesting tour of farms in the Stratford district in the company of Ministry of Agriculture officials. We returned at about 6 p.m.

The next day, Sunday, September 8th, the Paramount Chief and some of the party attended Mass in Stratford in the morning. She was received ceremonially at the church and conducted to a special pew at the front.

In the afternoon more farms in the Evesham area were visited.

15. Stoneleigh Abbey.

The party left Stratford early on the morning of Monday, September 9th, for Stoneleigh Abbey, Kenilworth, the headquarters of the Massey-Harris-Ferguson Farm Training School. Over a cup of coffee in the ancient Abbey the Resident Director, Captain Duncan Hill, explained the work of the school and its general organisation. Later we were conducted round the farm, examined the various farm implements produced by the Company, inspected the school and saw an interesting demonstration of contour ploughing, deep cultivation, and their implements in use.

We were then taken by coach to Coventry where the Directors of the Company entertained the party to a magnificent lunch in the most modern hotel in England, the Leofric. The hotel, and the square in which it is situated, lie in the centre of Coventry, an area that was completely devastated during the war and that has only recently been rebuilt. It is now a fine example of modern architecture, planning and development, probably unique in England, and as such proved of great interest to the party.

After lunch the party left by coach for Nottingham, which we reached about 6 p.m. We were met by Mr. D.M. Guilfoyle, Chief Regional Officer of the Central Office of Information and also the local representative of the Royal Empire Society. Members of the press interviewed some of the party.

16. School of Agriculture. Nottingham.

After breakfast the following day the party paid a visit to the University of Nottingham School of Agriculture, situated at Sutton Bonington, eleven miles from the University centre. We were met by Professor E.G. Hallsworth, Dean of the Faculty and Dr. J.T. Morgan, Senior Tutor, who explained the work and general organisation of the School. Afterwards the party was conducted on a most interesting and profitable tour of the 500 acre estate - 300 acres of which are arable - lying in rolling country in the valley of the River Soar. The estate includes a modern fruit plantation, a market garden, and three quarters of an acre of horticultural glass houses, three of which are designed for general work on plant nutrition and plant physiology and one fly proof glass house for entymology. There is also a commercial farm. We saw the dairy and milk products laboratory, the chicken houses, both deep litter and battery systems, a flock of ewes on which various experiments were being done, the herd of large white pigs kept in a modern piggery designed for individual feeding, a herd of identical twin heifers and steers, various field and crop experiments, a modern grain drying plant combined with storing, milling, mixing and bagging machines, all joined on a kind of conveyor belt system, so that from the time the crop was cut in the field until it came out as a bag of flour or feed, it was not touched by hand. These and many other things were of the greatest interest to the party and we left the School convinced that in the field of agriculture it would be difficult to improve it.

The party returned to Nottingham for lunch, after which we packed again preparatory to our departure for York. Before leaving we proceeded to the Mansion House where the Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress and various local dignitaries received us ceremoniously and gave us tea, after which the press took photographs. We signed the Visitors Book and had a quick look at the Mansion House. The Paramount Chief presented the Lady Mayoress with a traditional Basuto hat before we left.

We reached York after the long coach drive in time for a late dinner. The Manager of the Royal Station Hotel gave us a warm welcome and soon made the tired party comfortable.

17. Doncaster - St. Leger.

We left York by coach after breakfast the following morning for Doncaster, which we reached at noon. There we were received by the Mayor and his lady and other dignitaries in ceremonial robes at the Mansion House. The street canopy and red carpet had been laid out for our arrival, which was conducted with great pomp.

At luncheon, which was taken in the Mansion House as guests of the Mayor, we met some of the leading citizens of Doncaster and representatives of the Race Course Committee. After the speeches the Paramount Chief presented the Mayoress with a traditional Basuto hat.

From the Mansion House we proceeded with a police escort to the race course, accompanied by the Mayor, and were there received by the Chairman of the Race Committee, who showed us to our Box. In spite of the rain the meeting was most enjoyable and two members of the party managed to back the winner of the St. Leger. After the racing the party was entertained to tea by the Committee and we then returned rather tired to York for a late dinner.

18. York.

After breakfast the next day the Central Office of Information representative took the party for a sight-seeing tour of York. At the Minster we were received by the Dean and then shown round this memorable church by the Verger.

The party returned to the hotel in time for an official luncheon party at which the Sheriff of York and his lady were the guests of honour, together with Messrs. Wormald, Walker and Senior, Directors of the Dewsbury firm which makes blankets for the Basutoland market. The director presented gifts of blankets to each member of the party.

19. Ampleforth.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
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Ampleforth College
After lunch we left by coach for Ampleforth College where Khosana Bereng, the heir apparent, had recently been a pupil. We met with a great reception by the Abbot and masters. Following a tour of the College buildings the Headmaster entertained us to tea in his rooms and in a warm speech of welcome presented the Paramount Chief with various gifts. In the course of her speech of thanks the Paramount Chief presented the Headmaster with a traditional Basuto hat.

After tea we visited the college farm and then Gilling Castle, the fine old preparatory school for Ampleforth. We returned to York in time for dinner.

20. Edinburgh.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
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The party rose early the next day to pack again, leaving York after breakfast on the 9.51 a.m. train for Edinburgh, which was reached soon after lunch. At 4 p.m. there was a reception at the Victoria League.

The following day the party left the hotel after breakfast for the Centre of Rural Economy at the Burk and Dryden Estate, six miles south of Edinburgh. The livestock were, as always, most interesting.

Luncheon was taken at the George Hotel and then the party proceeded to Sir Alick Buchanan-Smith's farm at Balerno, where they were wannly received by Sir Alick and his son, who entertained us to tea and showed us his magnificent herd of Ayrshire cattle.

The party spent Sunday on a scenic coach drive to the Trossachs and Loch Lomond.

On Monday morning the party left for Pitlochry where, after lunch, a visit was paid to the Forestry Training School at Faskally. This was a most instructive afternoon and all returned confirmed men of the trees.

21. Visit to Secretary of State.

Tuesday, September 17th, was the day set aside for the visit to the Secretary of State. The party left Edinburgh in the morning for Castlemains, the home of the Earl and Countess of Home. Our hitherto fairly good record of punctuality for important occasions was on this occasion broken, but not through the fault of any member of the party. The guide lost the way and we arrived about twenty minutes late. As there had been some domestic difficulty at Castlemains that morning this was perhaps not the disaster it might have been; in any case the complete absence of formality and genuine warmth of the welcome extended by the Secretary of State quickly removed any embarrassment there might have been. Other guests at lunch, which was served by the Earl of Rome's children and their friends, were the Duchess of Roxburghe, Major Monteith, Mr. Butterwick and Miss Emery from the Commonwealth Relations Office.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
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Lord and Lady Home
After lunch we assembled for the conference with the Secretary of State. The meeting was extremely cordial throughout and all members of the party spoke well, never overstating their case and never making immoderate demands. There is little doubt that such personal contacts are extremely valuable on both sides and it would be difficult to believe that the meeting did not result in much greater understanding, confidence and respect.

After tea Chief Leshoboro Majara thanked the Secretary of State on behalf of the Paramount Chief for his hospitality and expressed the general feeling of pleasure which the meeting had engendered. The Paramount Chief then presented the Earl and Countess of Home with traditional Basuto hats and the Earl of Home presented the Paramount Chef with a rug of Douglas tartan. Before leaving Castlemains the Earl of Home took the men around the Estate to see the ruined family Castle. It was with genuine regret that we finally left.

After dinner in Edinburgh the party packed for their departure on the night train to London. Mr. and Mrs F.G. Muirhead and Mr H.M.L. Shearer came to see the party off. The Earl of Wemyss also called at the hotel after dinner to greet the Paramount Chief and renew old acquaintances. We left Edinburgh at 10.40 p.m. and arrived in London at 7 a.m. the following morning.

22. Return to London.

After the long and tiring tour of the provinces the party were glad to get back to their base in Jermyn Street, with the thought of a few consecutive nights in the same bed. The day was spent quietly sorting and unpacking and doing some shopping. In the evening we were taken to a performance of cinerama at the London Casino. The three dimensional effect produced by the three cameras on a wide screen, coupled with stereophonic sound, was most realistic and the opening sequences of the film, in which one felt oneself actually sitting in an aeroplane flying low through the jagged snow covered peaks of the Alps, was at times unbearably real.

23. Croydon.

The next morning the party paid a visit to Croydon, the largest County Borough in England, to see something of the work of a local Authority.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
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The Mayor of Croydon
As we approached the Town Hall large crowds of people lining the road cheered and waved a welcome; the Mayor and Mayoress, Sheriff, Town Clerk and Beadle dressed in their ceremonial robes of office, were waiting on the steps to receive us. After the introductions the Mayor led us up the red-carpeted grand stairway, flanked with masses of flowers, to his Parlour where refreshments were served and the press and one or two leading citizens were introduced. The Mayor then read his address of welcome and introduced local manufacturers who presented the Paramount Chief with gifts of chocolates, a casket of perfumes, a gold watch, a portable battery radio and some Christmas crackers. He ended his address by saying on behalf of the people of Croydon, "May your feet go softly and may you and your people ever be sheltered under the Queen's blanket".

After the reception the party returned to their cars and proceeded with the Mayor and other officials, under a police motor-cycle escort, to the new Addington Estate. On leaving the Town Hall the Paramount Chief acknowledged the cheers of the crowds who were still present and stopped to talk with one or two of the small children.

24. Fairchildes School.

New Addington is a satellite town of Croydon with a population of about 18,000 people all housed on the Estate (built by the Local Authority) which has its own shopping centre, community centre and schools. We stopped first at the Fairchildes Secondary Modern School for Boys, which was opened in 1951 and now has 450 pupils aged between 11 and 16 years. The Headmaster conducted the party round the school, which is modern, with plenty of space, light and air.

What most impressed the party was the activities of the Young Farmers Club, which demands and receives the attention of pupils in term and holiday time alike. There is in fact no lack of volunteers for the task of tending the garden and greenhouses and feeding and watering the livestock over the week-end and during the holidays.

Thanks to the inspiration and vision of the Headmaster coupled with the enthusiasm of the staff (which latter contains both agricultural and horticultural specialists) these town children living on the edge of the country have developed a real and burning love for the land and its associations. This love of the country and living things has made itself felt in a remarkable way on the estate with the result that, unlike many another such area damage to plants and trees and near-by crops is practically nil. An enlightened Parks Department has fostered this love of the children for the things of the earth by allowing them to plant the trees in the road in which they live. It is intended that, at some later date, the trees should be labelled with the names of the children responsible for the planting.

In common with the majority of new schools Fairchildes has grass surrounds to the buildings; these are kept in perfect condition by the pupils, who are also responsible for the rock garden and floral display. The school has two green-houses, one heated, the brickwork of which was done by the pupils in the handicraft class. The propagating and potting sheds are scenes of great activity. Beekeeping is an important feature of the overall plan and the livestock kept includes goats, rabbits and poultry. Much experimental work is carried out by the pupils in the form of grass trials, experiments in crop rotation and demonstrations both indoors and outdoors of the effect of weed-killers. With this emphasis on horticulture it is not surprising to find that a great many of the pupils take rural science as a subject in the General Certificate of Education. Many pupils go on to Merrist Wood Farm Institute, before which, thanks to the co-operation of a local farmer, they do a year's practical work on a farm.

Since 1951 an annual flower show and fete has been held at the school when both children and parents combine to put on a first class display. The feminine influence is found in the arts and crafts and domestic sections which form an important part of the show. Generous help is given by firms in the matter of prizes. The Young Farmer's Club is a regular exhibitor at shows and exhibited at the Royal Show at Windsor in 1954. It has its own office in the school with a sales department and duly audited books. Out-of-school activities in connection with the Club, in which both boys and girls participate, include cooking, basket work and wood-work, with the teachers in both of the schools willingly co-operating and freely giving of their leisure time.

The visit to Fairchildes was a refreshing experience; a shining example of what can be accomplished when staff and pupils readily co-operate in something worthwhile.

The whole school lined up to see the party off and having been given a half-holiday in honour of the visit chanted "Will ye no come back again?" as the coach moved off.

A visit was then made to one of the houses on the Estate and to the Community Centre after which, still with our police escort, we proceeded to the Shirley Park Hotel for an excellent luncheon with the Mayor and Mayoress and Town Clerk. In our speeches we thanked the Mayor for his hospitality and great feats of organisation and expressed our desire to follow the schoolboys injunction to come back again. We returned to London later in the day, replete, after this most interesting and successful visit to Croydon.

25. House of Commons.

The following morning the party visited the Houses of Parliament and was shown over the building by Mr. Bernard Braine, MP., who managed to combine a sight-seeing visit with a fascinating lecture on constitutional history. We enjoyed every minute of the tour and were not sure at the end of it whether our coach driver in York was right when he pointed to a house and said "There lived the only man to go to Parliament with the right intentions - Guy Fawkes!"

26. Commonwealth Relations Office Press Conference.

In the afternoon the party attended a reception at the C.R.O. to which certain foreign editors and other press correspondents known to have an interest in Africa had been invited. Chief Leshoboro Majara addressed the gathering on behalf of the Paramount Chief and then, while tea was served, editors and correspondents mingled informally with the party. This manner of meeting the Press did nothing but good.

27. Football.

The following afternoon, a Saturday, the Directors of Tottenham Hotspurs Football Club welcomed the party to their ground and box. All enjoyed the ensuing first class match against Sheffield Wednesday. Unfortunately the Paramount Chief, who was intended to "kick-off' was not able to be present.

28. "Son et Lumiere".

In the evening some of the party were taken by Miss Emery of the C.R.O. to a "Son et Lumiere" at Greenwich. This is a new form of Masque, which entails no live actors, but lights and recorded music and voices and, especially architecture. In the words of Patrick O'Donovan, "The result is unforgettable and yet curiously difficult to describe. The setting is the wide empty amphitheatre in the park behind the Palace. The buildings are dark. The circle of great trees is silent. London is only a distant noise of traffic. Then a burst of music and then an explosion of light and the Queen's House, restrained, noble, as satisfactory a house as ever sheltered a sovereign, stands up white and shining. Its long colonnades on either side and the plain pavilions at either end are lit up from an invisible source: the trees are a brilliant green and flowers make a line of scarlet the length of the building. The setting is vast enough for the eye to take in at once the whole panorama of Britain's finest series of linked buildings. The masque becomes a chronicle of Greenwich. Sir Lawrence Olivier has recorded the voice of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who in 1433 built his palace of Bellacourt here and he sustains the narrative. There, marvellously, are the voices of Kings and Queens clear and undistorted over the air. Sometimes they come from one wing, sometimes from the other. Sometimes they come from the Queen's House at the centre and sometimes they fill the whole area. When they talk of danger, there are a pair of low lights splashed against the facade that throb in time with the insistent music. When there is talk of bloody executions and civil war, the colonnades run red with light. When Elizabeth is born here, the lights on the upper floor flash on. When the King visits, all the windows shine. When the plague comes, the lights turn a sort of deadly green. The script is frankly a proud one and towards the end, when there is talk of ships and of Nelson, the great range of Wren's Naval Hospital behind is brought in. First the two domed towers, then the long line of sober wings. It lasts barely an hour and is unique in England". It made a great impression.

Sunday, September 22nd, was our last day in England, a day of frantic packing and preparations for departure.

29. Paris.

Early on Monday, September 23rd, we left Jermyn Street in a flurry of bags, passports and labels and caught the plane for Paris at 9.00 a.m. The flight in a B.E.A. Viscount was extremely comfortable and quick, getting us to Le Bourget in a little over an hour. There, with the help of the Reverend Father Quirion, O.M.I., who was to accompany the Paramount Chief to Lourdes, we successfully negotiated the customs and took the coach to the Hotel Continental. As our rooms had not yet been vacated we went straight to Notre Dame, where Father Quirion conducted us round the cathedral. It was here, in the precincts of this sacred church, after we had been on French soil only an hour or two that the party had their first experience of sellers of French post cards!

After lunch in a nearby restaurant the Paramount Chief and the ladies went shopping with Father Quirion while the rest of the party continued their sight-seeing tour of Paris. The Reverend Ellenberger, who was a missionary in Basutoland for many years and was actually born in the cave house at Masite, together with his son Professor F. Ellenberger, the geologist, who came to Basutoland to inspect the recent dinosaur discoveries, met the party at the hotel and took Chief Leshoboro Majara to Versailles.

In the evening after dinner the Paramount Chief and three others, accompanied by Father Quirion, left by train for Lourdes. They arrived there the following morning and thanks to Father Quirion's excellent arrangements were well received, heard Mass in the grotto, and the Paramount Chief bathed in the waters. That night they took the return train to Paris, arriving the following morning in time for breakfast before catching the plane for Rome.

The remainder of the party, while the Paramount Chief was in Lourdes, spent the morning in Paris sight-seeing and in the afternoon visited Versailles.

30. Geneva.

We left Orly Airport, Paris, at 11.50 a.m. on Monday in a T.W.A. Constellation. It was a fairly clear day and we had a good view of the snow covered Alps, making a short stop at Geneva. The party felt that the most striking difference between the real Switzerland and the Switzerland of South Africa was the incredible greenness and lush forests they saw in Europe.

As soon as we were airborne again lunch was served, a magnificent meal in the American manner; everything on the tray at once, including chewing gum, half a bottle of vintage wine, a miniature bottle of cognac and cigarettes; all, cutlery included, hygienically wrapped in cellophane. This was quite different to the meals we had in France, where the continental breakfast was not too popular. Soon we were sampling "pasta" and chianti.

31. Rome.

We landed at Ciampino Airport, Rome, at about 4 p.m. where we found ourselves being televised. Mr. MacDermot, Head of the Chancery at the Vatican Legation, met us on behalf of the Minister. He took us through the customs and immigration with the minimum of delay to our inevitable coach. This very presentable vehicle caused some raised eyebrows amongst the airport officials - without saying anything they made it obvious that they had been expecting at least a fleet of Rolls Royces.

We went straight to the Grand Hotel, one of the best in Rome, where the manager was waiting to greet the Paramount Chief and present a bouquet. He conducted her to a vast suite, recently occupied by Royalty, where she found flowers and champagne on ice waiting for her. Even the bedrooms in this hotel were air conditioned, much to our relief, as the weather was warm after England.

That evening the Reverend Father P. Butelezi O.M.I., a Zulu who had studied for a number of years in Basutoland and then gone to Rome to study for the priesthood, came to the hotel to discuss plans for our stay in the city. He, together with the Reverend Brothers Mohlatisi and Motanyane, all Oblates who had spent some years in Basutoland and knew the language well, performed invaluable work while we were in Rome in conducting the party on sight-seeing trips and ensuring that they learnt as much as possible of the history and importance of what they saw in the short time that was available.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
The next day the party were up early to hear Mass at the tomb of St. Peter. They spent the rest of the morning examining the Basilicas and monuments of ancient Rome. If anything could put the history and development of Basutoland into proper perspective it was this visit to Rome, the place from which so much of our Western Christian heritage stems. There they saw the Forum, the Coliseum, Pantheon and many other buildings of great historical significance, hundreds and even thousands of years old.

In the afternoon the party attended a reception at the house of the Oblate Missionaries, where they met many church dignitaries concerned with Basutoland affairs and also the Minister to the Holy See. When it was over in the cool of the evening, Father Butelezi took the Paramount Chief shopping while the rest of the party sauntered around the streets gazing into shop windows and observing the nocturnal promenade of the Roman citizenry.

32. Papal Audience.

The following day the party rose very early to make their preparations for the visit to His Holiness the Pope. Clad in black suits, dresses and veils the party proceeded by coach along the ancient Via Appia to Castel Gondolfo, a pretty village in the Alban hills, and the site of the Pope's summer palace.

Here Her Majesty's Minister, Sir Marcus Cheke, received us and conducted us with great pomp and ceremony past various guards and through innumerable reception rooms until eventually we reached the ante-chamber, where sundry scurrying secretaries took over.

Promptly at 9.30 a.m. the Paramount Chief alone was taken by a senior prelate to greet His Holiness. After a short talk with the Pope at which His Holiness assured the Paramount Chief of the great interest which the Church took in Basutoland, saying she could rely on him for assistance in any of the projects undertaken by the Church in Basutoland, they emerged into the Audience Chamber.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Pope Pius XII
His Holiness first blessed the party and then ascended his throne and read an Address in English. Then he rose and presented each member of the party with a souvenir of the visit and chatted informally for a time. Before leaving a photographer was summoned to take a picture of His Holiness with the party. The poor man hastily adjusted his camera, got everyone ready, pressed the trigger - and there was a dull click! The flashbulb had failed to ignite. Under the Cardinal-Secretary's fiery eye the wretched man hastily unscrewed the offending bulb and replaced it with another, while we all composed ourselves again. This time it worked but, lest there should be any mistake, His Holiness with a benign gesture beckoned the man to take another picture quickly. Again we all looked pious and once again there was a dull click! This was almost too much for the photographer, now a bundle of nerves, twitching fingers and running perspiration. But the 82 year old Pontiff calmly stood in the midst of the group, quite unperturbed, until all was over and then bade us farewell.

The Paramount Chief was then taken to visit the head of the propaganda Fide College, (the foreign affairs Department of the Secretariat of State) an ageing Cardinal, who again assured the Paramount Chief of all his support for Basutoland affairs.

From Castel Gondolfo the party proceeded by coach via the Alban lakes and Frascati to Tivoli, where we had lunch at a charming restaurant overlooking the gorge and waterfalls. We also paid a visit to the enchanting Villa d'Este with its beautiful hanging gardens and hundreds of fountains. We returned to Rome again in time for tea and a bath before going to a reception at the residence of Her Majesty's Minister, Sir Marcus Cheke, on the outskirts of Rome.

For our last night in Europe, the Minister gave us an excellent party (including pate de foie gras) at which we met some most interesting people - amongst whom were His Excellency Monsignor P. Sigismondi, Secretary of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide and Monsignor Thomas Ryan, a senior official in the Secretariat.

33. Departure.

Saturday, 28th September, was our last day in Rome. We spent the morning seeing as much as possible of the Vatican Museum, (not an easy task as the building has over 1,000 rooms) and St. Peters.

After lunch the party packed up for the last time, settled accounts in various currencies and were seen off by the frock-coated Manager and staff of the hotel. On the way out to the airport we stopped at the Fontana di Trevi, in the middle of one of the busiest streets in Rome, and all got out to thrown coins in the waters of the fountain - to ensure our return one day. It was a curious spectacle for the Romans, who are not as used to black men as the British and French, but at least we were not on this occasion, as happened on our entry into the city, greeted by shouts of "Mau Mau".

At the airport, with typical Italian courtesy, we were driven to a specially set aside waiting room for V.I.P. 's where tea was served. The customs and immigration people did not worry us at all. Eventually as the sun was setting, the Britannia flew in from London, two hours late, and after saying goodbye to the representative from the Legation, we climbed aboard on the last lap of our journey.

34. Khartoum.

At about 2 a.m. we came down for our first stop at Khartoum. Although it was an unusually comfortable plane everyone was glad of an opportunity to get out and stretch his legs. Even at that hour it was hot and it was good to be able to sit under the stars sipping iced limejuice. The crocodile-skin bags were popular, as one would expect of the people of the crocodile, and it was interesting to see our first big airport run by black men.

Next morning we had breakfast in Nairobi, which made a poor showing for an international airport. The Paramount Chief had to wait so long for her food that she nearly missed it altogether

35. Johannesburg.

There was one more stop at Salisbury before we arrived in Johannesburg at about 4 p.m. After what the party had become accustomed to in Europe, the return to South Africa proved a depressing experience when they found themselves treated once more as a non-descript bunch of Natives. However, after much trouble everything was eventually organised and the party comfortably installed in the train for Bloemfontein.

36. Home.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Basuto Hut
We arrived in Bloemfontein early on the morning of September 30th, and there transferred to cars which had been sent to meet us. All were soon back in Basutoland after an absence of a little over six weeks, six long weeks that seemed more like six months or six years, so much did we pack into each day.

Thus ended a memorable tour, a tour in which many people and many organisations played their part. It would be an invidious task to pick out anyone person for special mention, but no record of this tour would be complete without an expression of the great debt of gratitude that the party owes to all who made it possible and so enjoyable.

The 1957 Evaluation
It is difficult to assess the worth of this tour to the country as a whole because the results are in so many ways intangible. Nevertheless the expenditure of several thousand pounds of public money demands at least an attempt at an evaluation.

On the economic front, it was perhaps in the field of agriculture that the most positive benefits were obtained. The results of centuries of good farming practice are obvious all over England and the trained eye of the Basuto farmers missed very little; young, fat stock, and animals bred for a particular purpose: strength in the Percheron, speed in the race-horse, wool or meat in sheep, milk or meat in cattle; animals suited to their environment, be it the bare, cold hills of Scotland or the lush, mild downs of the South. Pigs at six months, twice the weight of a full grown Basuto pig after several years. Cattle ready for the abattoirs in eighteen months, and so on.

Fields, all enclosed, with grass such as they had never seen; crops with yields they could hardly credit and trees, trees everywhere, of every variety, for building, furniture, industry or ornament. And then the British farmer himself, quietly getting down to work with one or two assistants to tackle his many acres, obviously immersed in his job and making a good living. Something of a mechanic too, with his many machines, for milking, ploughing, sowing, harrowing, manuring, drying and bagging. But always his own master able, within certain well understood limits, to do as he pleased with his farm: put up more fences, sell a few trees, raise a loan on his crop, buy more land and, eventually, when he was old and tired, hand it on to his son or, if he had not one, sell it and live comfortably on the proceeds.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Basuto Cattle
The impossibility of achieving such a position in Basutoland in present circumstances did not pass unnoticed. On the contrary it was often commented on and, in endless discussions, possible courses of action were debated.

Visits to places like the Grassland Research Institute, the School of Agriculture at Nottingham, the Centre of Rural Economy and the Forestry Training School, impressed on the party that England had not achieved such an advanced agricultural economy purely by chance.

Thus they came to realise what could be achieved and how it could be achieved. The plans of the Agricultural Department in Basutoland at last made sense. Previously when an Agricultural Officer had advised them to get rid of their scrub stock and concentrate instead on a few high quality cattle they had thought to themselves how ignorant these Europeans were and how little they realised the value of cattle. Now they saw the point, they had a picture in their minds and a burning enthusiasm to see that picture materialise in Basutoland.

Being people of a certain position and influence they were listened to in Basutoland; and being Basuto what they said counted with their fellow men. Whereas European advice could be written off as coming from well intentioned men who unfortunately did not always understand the reason for the Basuto way of doing things, advice from the delegation was different. They knew the Basuto and had similar aspirations.

This was something of real value: a suspicious group of men not only became a little more knowledgeable, but began to lose their suspicion of their teachers, and caught something of the latter's ideals.

It happened not only in the field of agriculture, but in every sphere of life. After the visit to Croydon, local government and what it could achieve made sense; they had met dozens of mayors in all parts of England, they liked and trusted them, coming as they did from all walks of life, and they found that local English problems and politics were not basically so very different from their own. But the English seemed to have discovered a workable way of dealing with these problems and the result was local schools like Fairchildes and housing estates like the New Addington.

The visit to the Houses of Parliament left them having learnt a slice of constitutional history which few Basuto were aware of.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Basuto Goats
And after the visit to the Secretary of State they could see that he was, after all, a human being, a man like they were and not some remote creature out of touch with reality - a man who lived simply with his family, who appeared trustworthy and sympathetic to them. They would not be so quick to suspect the motives for his decisions in the future.

The visit to the Farnborough Air Show gave them some idea of what British industry could achieve. They saw the delegates of many foreign nations queuing up to see and buy the best in the world. It made them a little proud, vis-a-vis these foreigners, to feel that they had a connection with this mighty power whose vast resources and skill could be called upon to advise them in their affairs.

They came away from England realising the enormous amount of goodwill that existed towards them and other colonial peoples; they came away staggered at the wealth, industry and knowhow of the British nation. It taught them humility.

Later, after their visits to Paris, Geneva and Rome, they began to have some idea of what Europe meant. Western civilisation conjured up a picture instead of remaining an abstract form of words: a picture that had been in the making for many centuries. It was a desirable picture, something they hoped they would one day see in Basutoland, a Basutoland that now seemed somewhat remote and perhaps a bit smaller than it used to be. Basutoland in perspective, with local politicians fading rather into insignificance.

This then was the chief value of the tour around England. It brought to those concerned - and through them a slowly growing body of the people - a change in outlook that might otherwise have taken many years to achieve. A change which could not have been bought, a change which may well smooth the path of the Administration and remove many misconceptions in the difficult years ahead. A change which could well bring into being many of the reforms in agriculture, the land and the administration of the country.

Notes For Future Tours
No-one would pretend that the Paramount Chief's 1957 overseas tour was the last word in planning and organisation, but considering the short time available for preparation, the uncertainty that prevailed until the very last moment and the difficulties attendant on a visit of so large a part of this nature to the continent, it is surprising that everything went as smoothly as it did. Nevertheless it would be foolish not to learn the lessons of experience for the profit of future expenditure. It is with this in mind that the following notes are set down:-
  • (a) Planning.
    • No genius is required to see that the value of a tour of this nature is enormously enhanced if the people concerned enjoy themselves and see and do things of some interest to themselves. Another way of saying this is to ensure that all time-wasting and unnecessary engagements are cut out. Obviously if the planners do not get a very full brief this is an impossible task. It is important, therefore, that as full a statement as possible be sent to London well in advance of the tour setting out in detail what is required. Time should then be allowed for a draft itinerary to be examined. It should be realised that very little can be changed or arranged ad hoc for a large party once they have arrived in London during the season.
  • (b) Composition of Party.
    • Obviously the composition of the party is generally dictated by the purpose of the visit, but, other things being equal, anything in the nature of an official delegation should, if possible:
      • (i) be representative of the Chieftainship and of the people;
      • (ii) contain a diarist or, better still, an official Basuto correspondent, if one is available, to report the tour direct to Basutoland. His despatches, if they are any good, should pay for his expenses;
      • (iii) be all English speaking.
  • (c) Press Relations.
    • Once abroad the importance of press relations cannot be overestimated. A bad write-up in a national paper can do untold harm whereas a good write-up, or at any rate the co-operation of the Press, can, as the Paramount Chief's party found, be a powerful ally. It is important, therefore, that the party are made press conscious and aware of the technique of press interviews before departure. One member of the party should be deputed official press liaison officer. As regards the nature and the object of the tour itself it will probably be found of value to take the press into confidence beforehand - political difficulties can often be ironed out with responsible editors, whereas cub reporters are usually a source of embarrassment.
  • (d) Timing.
    • Any tour which is divided into phases, each being the responsibility of a different individual, tends to be planned to a split-second schedule for the duration of the phase, with no account being taken of such mundane but vital matters as laundry, valeting, letter-writing, essential purchases, financial arrangements, etc. For short periods this may not matter but over a long time it can lead to utter exhaustion and frustration, nullifying any benefits which ought to derive from the tour. Travel, too, can over a long period of daily packing and unpacking be an excruciating experience. Finally, if the tour is to be of lasting benefit, it is important that individuals have time set aside for reflection and the recording of notes. A too full schedule quickly leads to mental constipation. On this tour memories of pyjama-clad conferences around a nylon-filled wash tub in the early hours of the morning; unpacking at 2 a.m.; doing accounts at the same hour; changing from day wear to formal night wear in a matter of minutes, are exciting memories not to be too frequently repeated!
  • (e) Administration.
    • The administration involved in handling a large party with language and other difficulties while travelling abroad through different customs, currency and immigration areas is not light. Much depends on the technique and routines evolved to meet different situations. These in turn depend for their effectiveness on mutual understanding and confidence plus a certain amount of practice. All this takes time and can be best achieved on an overseas trip by boat travel to the destination. To pitchfork a Basuto party into a tight-scheduled foreign tour 24 hours after leaving home would be asking for trouble. The full use of travel agencies and, in foreign countries, of embassy assistance can considerably lighten the load. In England, of course the help of the Central Office of Information is invaluable.

James Hennessy
December, 1957.

Part III - Conclusion

Meeting with the Secretary of State

The meeting with the Secretary of State, referred to in Part 11, took place at Lord Home's residence, Castlemains. The Delegation was seated on one side of the dining table and the Secretary of State on the other, with his official advisers from the Commonwealth Relations Office on his left. At Lord Home's request I sat on his right.

After welcoming the Delegation the Secretary of State opened the meeting by asking the Delegation spokesman to present the Petition. The first request that, no more South African citizens should be appointed to the Basuto Administration, was quickly dealt with. In recruiting officers into Her Majesty's Colonial Service, Lord Home said that Her Majesty's Government did not discriminate on grounds of birthplace.

When the second request was made - an assurance that Basutoland would never be handed over to the Government of the Union of South Africa without the consent of the Basuto - the Secretary of State paused before replying. To grant the request would mean a major change in Her Majesty's Government policy over the previous 50 years, viz., that the Basuto would only be consulted before any change was made.

Before answering, therefore, Lord Home turned to me and whispered "Do you think I can give this assurance?" I had no hesitation (if no authority) in saying "Yes". What his official advisers thought I did not know, but the Secretary of State then gave the assurance the Basuto had asked for. It was a momentous occasion for the Basuto; one could almost hear the cheers. And so, from the Basuto point of view, the visit had been more than worthwhile - a distinct success. The requests for further political and economic development were also accepted by the Secretary of State.

Constitutional Development - The Legislative Council

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Constitutional Committee.
Once the Delegation was back in Basutoland work quickly resumed on the political front. The agreement reached with the Secretary of State meant that the Chieftainship and Constitutional Committees could resume their work, free now to recommend the replacement of the Basutoland Advisory Council with a Legislative Council. The two Committees were therefore amalgamated and early in the following year, 1958, recommended the setting up of a Legislative Council and an Executive Council. The recommendations were forwarded by the High Commissioner to the Secretary of State and eventually approved in 1959.

The next step was to elect Members to the new Legislative Council. The traditional system in which many members would be chosen at public Pitsos was clearly unsuitable. Equally, secret ballots - requiring voters to scrutinise a list of candidates, and then put a cross against the name of their chosen candidate - would have posed considerable difficulties for a population that was largely illiterate and widely scattered throughout the mountainous Kingdom.

I was therefore deputed to conduct research in other East and Central African territories and eventually found a system that could be adapted to conditions in Basutoland. An electoral law to take account of the new system was then drafted and promulgated and I was appointed Supervisor of Elections. District Commissioners were briefed and electoral officers engaged.The first General Election ever held in Basutoland then took place the following year, in April 1960.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Chief Leabua Jonathan
The Conservative party of Chief Leabua Jonathan (on the Delegation) won the election and he and Chief Kelebone Nkuebe (also on the Delegation) became the first unofficial Members of the Executive Council, the forerunner of the Cabinet.

Economic Development

On the economic front two of the possible developments mentioned by the Regent in the Petition were soon followed up. The first, concerning diamond prospecting, resulted in Colonel Jack Scott, the Rand millionaire, being sold a concession in 1957. And in December of that year Peter Nixon, a young geologist on Scott's staff, discovered a "pipe" (kimberlite) at Letseng laTerai, some 10,000 ft. up in the Maluti mountains and 27 kms from the Mokhotlong District HQ. (Read Professor Nixon's Account of that discovery here.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Maluti Mountains
By 1965 1,200 diggers (soon to be expanded to 6,000) were working at the site. One of them, a Mrs Ramaboa, discovered the world's 11th largest gem diamond, weighing over 600 carats. It looked like the beginning of an industry. Since then the 'pipe' has produced four large, beautiful, white diamonds, weighing around 500 carats each, which are among the world's top 20 gem diamonds. And in 2006 a diamond weighing 603 carats was discovered. It has been cut into 26 flawless diamonds mounted on a necklace (called the "Lesotho Promise") with a 76 carat pendant - worth millions.

However, there are difficulties. The cost of extracting the diamonds is extremely high since it takes, on average, 100 tonnes of ore to produce 2.5 carats (i.e. half a gram) of diamonds. This could put the whole future of the industry in doubt.

The second development, mentioned by the Regent in the Petition, referred to the building of dams in the Maluti mountains. Surveys were carried out by the government, and the site settled on for the first Dam was on the Malimabatso river near the source of the Orange river, one of the three great rivers in South Africa that have their source in Lesotho.

The dam was eventually built and it now provides water and hydroelectric power, both of which are sold to South Africa to supply the needs of industry in the Johannesburg area. It was hoped that in future the Dam would also become a tourist attraction as more roads were built in the high, scenic Maluti mountains and down the Sani Pass. The former bridle path down the Pass, fit only for mules, was therefore upgraded to a metalled road which could be used by tourists as well as for trade purposes with Natal, the Eastern Province of South Africa.

Internal Self-Government

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
King Bereng Seeiso
In 1962 a Constitutional Commission was set up to review the workings of the 1959 Constitution. After touring the country taking evidence it proposed that there should be a new National Assembly of 60 elected members, and a Senate, with delaying powers, consisting of the 22 Principal and Ward Chiefs and 11 nominees of the Paramount Chief. The Paramount Chief would become a constitutional Monarch. These proposals were approved by the Legislative Council whereupon the British Government agreed that following the election scheduled for 1964, there would be a period of internal self-government, lasting a year, during which time defence, internal security and finance would remain the responsibility of the Resident Commissioner. At the end of the year the country would become independent, if it was asked for.

The election was eventually held in April 1965. Leabua Jonathan's party, the National Party, again won the election but this time with a majority of only two. At the independence conference in London in June 1966 he asked that the country should become independent. The date agreed was 4th October 1966.

In summary, it can be said therefore, that the visit by the Regent to the United Kingdom in 1957 laid the foundations for the constitutional and economic development of Basutoland which led eventually to Independence and the birth of the State ofLesotho in 1966 - a State with a constitutional monarch, King Bereng Seeiso, and a member of the Commonwealth.

Part IV: Epilogue
From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Basuto Grain Storage
The hopes that were engendered by independence in 1966, and a democratic constitution, were not, however, to be fulfilled. Leabua Jonathan, the Prime Minister, and his conservative party remained in office until the next election in 1970. This election was won by the Opposition Congress Party led by Ntsu Mokhehle, the firebrand politician who had been such a thorn in the side of the British Administration.

Following allegations of widespread corruption the Prime Minister was persuaded by his fellow ministers to declare a State of Emergency. He then continued to rule by decree until he was toppled in a military coup in 1986. The country then reverted to a military dictatorship and the King went into exile in England. Democracy was not restored until 1993 when Ntsu Mokhehle again won the election. He died soon afterwards and at the 1998 election his successor, Mosisili, won the election. But once again there were widespread allegations of corruption and the country became ungovernable. Mosisli called for military help from South Africa, which was given. There followed a period of violence and destruction, such as had never been known in the Kingdom before.

At the last election, in February 2015, a coalition of all the political parties formed a government, led by Mosisili. It describes itself as a constitutional parliamentary democracy with King Letsie III (son of the first King) as the constitutional monarch.

On 4th October 2016 the country celebrated 50 years of independence.

From Maseru To Rome Via London, Edinburgh & Paris: The Story Of
The 1957 Petition and Constitutional Development in Basutoland
Basuto Boy
How will it all end? Some observers think it would have been better if Basutoland had been incorporated in the Republic of South Africa as originally envisaged in the 1910 Act of Union.

They believe Lesotho's economy will never be strong enough to support its growing population, now over two million, with nearly half living in great poverty. While this might at one time have made sense, it is clearly not politically possible any longer. Moreover, South Africa, with its present government and tribal divisions, would not be a comfortable home for the Basuto. Allegations of bribery and corruption are rife. However, there might well be a case for a South African Community on the lines of the European Community, incorporating Namibia, Botswanaland, Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa.

Meanwhile Lesotho, the so-called Switzerland of South Africa, might do better to emulate its European namesake. With the considerable help the country is now getting from the World Bank:, the Department of Overseas Development and other Aid organisations (as well as Prince Harry's charity, Sentebale) industries, eg textiles, hydro-electric power, and tourism, especially in the scenic Maluti mountains bordering on the Drakensburg National Park, could be developed and could transform the economy.

Aid will be the key. And while many in the United Kingdom are now uneasy about the size of Britain's aid programme, it should be remembered that, as a recent article in The Times put it, 'We owe you' - a reference to the generosity of Basutoland during World War II when hundreds of Basuto volunteered to serve in the British Army and the Basuto people raised over £100,000, enough money to supply Britain with 24 spitfires, which flew as No. 72 (Basutoland) Squadron.

But aid and development will depend on political stability and the elimination of corruption - a big 'but'.

Basutoland Map
1955 Map of Basutoland
Colony Profile
The visit of the Regent Paramount Chief of the fonner British Colony of Basutoland to the United Kingdom in 1957 to present a Petition to the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations proved to be a key event in the constitutional development of the country. The account that follows is divided into four parts:-

The introduction describes the reasons why the Basutoland National Council felt it necessary to pass a Resolution recommending that the Regent, together with her principal Advisers, should present a Petition to the British government calling for an end to the recruitment of South African citizens and the possibility of incorporation into the Union of South Africa.

My official report as Conducting Officer of the Delegation, on the places visited by the Delegation in the United Kingdom, Paris and Rome. It was completed in December 1957. My comments on the value of the visit, as I saw it at the time, follows the report itself.

The Conclusion provides an account of the meeting with the Secretary of State and what followed from it in the years leading up to the Independence of Basutoland and the birth of the new nation of Lesotho.

The Epilogue describes briefly what happened after independence, with some thoughts on the future.

Biographical Notes On Members Of The Paramount Chief's Party
MANTSEBO AMELIA SEEISO, O.B.E. Born 1903. Regent Paramount Chief of Basutoland. Direct descendant of Chief Moshoeshoe and sister of Chief Qefate Sempe the present Chief of Quthing. Widow of Paramount Chief Seeiso Griffith. She visited the United Kingdom in 1951. Since her accession as Regent Paramount Chief in 1940, Basutoland has seen many constitutional changes including the inception of a Basuto National Treasury staffed purely by Basuto and also the revision of the Basuto Court system. She is a Roman Catholic, a keen farmer and great patron of sport. The Regent does not speak English.

CHIEF NKUEBE MITCHELL PEETE, M.B.E. Born 1903. Descendant of a younger brother of Chief Moshoeshoe. Chief Adviser to the Paramount Chief since August, 1951, member of the Berea District Council and a long standing member of the Basutoland Council. Member of the Berea District Finance Committee and Central Finance Committee of the Basutoland National Council. Interested in farming and breeds Jersey cows. He speaks English.

CHIEF LEABUA JONATHAN. Born 1914. A direct descendant of Chief Moshoeshoe through the house of Molapo. Adviser to the Paramount Chief and member ofLeribe District Council and leading member of the Basutoland National Council. Has been Court President and Assessor to the Judicial Commissioner. One of the most flourishing farmers of Basutoland. An enthusiastic reader. Speaks English. At present serving on the Chieftainship and Constitutional Committee of the Basutoland National Council.

CHIEF D. LESHOBORO MAJARA. Born 1914. One of the twenty two Principal and Ward Chiefs. Direct descendant of Chief Moshoeshoe. Educated at Loveda1e in the Cape Province. Adviser to the Paramount Chief. Member of the Berea District Council and Basuto1and National Council. Now serving on the Chieftainship Committee of the Basutoland Council. Visited the United Kingdom with the Paramount Chief in 1951. He has served on several commissions in Basuto1and. Owns race horses and patronises sports. Speaks English.

ClllEF PATRICK 'MOTA. Born 1908. Adviser to the Paramount Chief. Member of Be rea District Council and Basutoland National Council. Married to the daughter of Chief Mako Molapo, a descendant of Moshoeshoe. He was educated at Roma College in Basutoland, Lovedale and Fort Hare University College where he qualified in medical aid. A businessman. Speaks English.

ClllEFTAlNESS AGATHA GRIFFITH. Born 1916. Widow of Paramount Chief Griffith Lerotholi. Attended school at St Louis Mission at Matsieng. A soccer patron. Speaks English.

MR. GABRIEL C. MANYELI. Born 1911. Member of Maseru District Council and a leading member of Basutoland National Council. By profession a teacher. Educated at Roma College in Maseru district. Practices journalism and has translated several English books into the Sesuto language. A sports organiser who is also interested in scouting. A member of the Constitutional Committee of the Basutoland Council. At present in charge of the Roma Cathedral Church Choir. Speaks English.

CHlEF KELEBONE NKUEBE. Born 1902. Regent Paramount Chief's paternal uncle. Court President and Chief in Quthing District. A member of Quthing District Council and a leading member of the Basutoland National Council. Now serving on Chieftainship Committee. Educated at Lovedale in the Cape Province. Accompanied the Regent Paramount Chief to the United Kingdom in 1951. He has had a varied and distinguished career in the public life ofBasuto1and. He has been Assessor to the Judicial Commissioner. One time President of the Paramount Chief's Central Appeal Court. Has acted as Paramount Chief and has served on many Commissions appointed in Basutoland. A champion of reforms in the Basuto Courts system as well as the Administration as a whole. A soccer fan.

MRS. JEANETTE S. MEFANE. Born 1922. Married to an employee of the Basuto National Treasury and has four children. By profession a trained nurse, and midwife at the Queen Elizabeth 11 Hospital in Maseru. She was educated at Moroka Missionary Institution in Thaba Nchu, Orange Free State. Trained as a General Nurse at the General Hospital, Johannesburg, and as a midwife at the Maseru Hospital. She was awarded a scholarship in 1954 tenable for six months in the United Kingdom by the National Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis and took a course in nursing T.B. patients. Served for some time at Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg before coming to Maseru. Speaks English.

MR. MOSES T. TLEBERE. Born 1922. Matriculated at the Basutoland High School in Maseru and took B.A. degree at Fort Hare University College in the Cape Province. Civil servant. Interested in Basuto studies, golf and soccer. Has represented Basutoland at Soccer on several occasions. Captained the Basutoland High School XI in 1944 and 1945. Represented Fort Hare University in its 1948 soccer tour of South Africa. Served on the Executive Committee of the Basutoland Sports Association for six years and Chairman of the Basutoland Sports Association for the last three years in succession. Secretary of the Board of Trustees, Basutoland National Stadium and Social Club and Vice-Chairman of same organisation. Serves on numerous other Committees.

Further Reading
The Last of the Queen's Men
by Peter Sanders
The Grassland Research Institute
1968 Film


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