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Accommodating Imperialism: the Compromise of the Settler State in Southern Rhodesia, 1923–1929

  • Ian Phimister (a1)

Extract

Although Southern Rhodesia's settler minority won responsible government from Britain in 1923, it was on terms circumscribed by the interests of metropolitan accumulation. As the dependent partner, Southern Rhodesia was obliged to accept constitutional provisions seeking to guard against initiatives which might disturb that process. Consequently, the settler state found itself hamstrung when it tried to gain some say over how the railway system operated. It was even less successful when it turned its attention to base mineral mining, where a handful of large companies did pretty much as they pleased. Efforts to find overseas markets for cattle and tobacco were also unsatisfactory. Neither the state nor settler producers could obtain the terms they wanted. Accumulation proceeded on terrain designed and dominated by imperialism.

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1 Loney, M., Rhodesia: White Racism and Imperial Response (Harmondsworth, 1975).

2 Utete, C., The Road to Zimbabwe: The Political Economy of Settler Colonialism, National Liberation and Foreign Intervention (Washington, 1979), 3. See the similar conclusions by McBride, R., ‘Race, class and national liberation in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa: a review of recent studies’, Insurgent Sociologist, X, ii (1980), 105; and Astrow, A., Zimbabwe: A Revolution that lost its way? (London, 1983), 6.

3 Murray, D.J., The Governmental System in Southern Rhodesia (Oxford, 1970); Mosley, P., The Settler Economies: Studies in the Economic History of Kenya and Southern Rhodesia 1900–1963 (Cambridge, 1983).

4 Arrighi, G., The Political Economy of Rhodesia (The Hague, 1967), 30.

5 Lee, E., ‘Politics and pressure groups in Southern Rhodesia, 1898–1923’ (Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 1974), 232234.

6 H. Mss. FY 4/1/1, Memorandum re the new political situation in Southern Rhodesia’, by Macdonald, J. G., 20 July 1923. All manuscript and file references are to the National Archives, Zimbabwe.

7 Lee, , ‘Politics and pressure groups’, 244.

8 Murray, , Governmental System, 207, 125.

9 Palley, C., The Constitutional History and Law of Southern Rhodesia, 1888–1965 (Oxford, 1966), 236237.

10 Murray, , Governmental System, 3.

11 Ibid. 4; Palley, , Constitutional History and Law of Southern Rhodesia, 224225.

12 Wallis, J. P., One Man's Hand (London, 1950), 200.

13 Southern Rhodesia Legislative Council Debates, 25 May 1922, col. 771.

14 Gann, L. H. and Gelfand, M., Huggins of Rhodesia (London, 1964), 62.

15 Ibid. 68.

16 Round Table, December 1923.

17 Paragraph based on S881/277/947, ‘Principal shareholders: Wankie Colliery Co. Ltd’, 15 Dec. 1925; A3/17/10, Edmund Davis to Secretary, BSAC, London, 11 Feb. 1915; Phimister, I. R., ‘The structure and development of the Southern Rhodesian base mineral industry, 1907–Great Depression’, Rhodesian Journal of Economics, IX, ii (1975), 7988; S881/1353, ‘Rhodesian ranching developments’, 15 July 1926; Potter, E., The Press as Opposition: The Political Role of South African Newspapers (London, 1975), 3839; and Gale, W. D., The Rhodesian Press (Salisbury, 1962), 129. See also Lee, , ‘Politics and pressure groups’, Appendix III, ‘The Rhodesian press’.

18 Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly Debates, 14 Mar. 1935, col. 91.

19 Murray, , Governmental System, 138.

20 East Africa and Rhodesia, 23 Feb. 1939. See also Galbraith, J. S., Crown and Charter (Berkeley, 1974), 4886.

21 Murray, , Governmental System, 138.

22 Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly Debates, 21 Mar. 1930, col. 144.

23 See Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly Debates, 30 May 1924, col. 8, and related debates in subsequent years.

24 The Reform Movement in Rhodesia (Salisbury, 1903), 4748.

25 Southern Rhodesia Legislative Council Debates, 26 May 1921, col. 1190.

26 Report by Brigadier-General F. D. Hammond… on the Railway System of Southern Rhodesia, 1926, 3 vols. For Coghlan's threat of ‘war to the knife between the Government and the Railways’, see H. MSS NE 1/1/1, Coghlan to Newton, 13 Dec. 1924. See also Hummel, H. C., ‘Sir Charles Coghlan: the premiership, 1923–1927’, Historical Association of Zimbabwe Local Series 35 (Salisbury, 1979), 1416.

27 H. MSS NE 1/1/1, ‘Rhodesian Railways Bill. Explanatory Memorandum’, n.d.

28 Gibbons, E. G., ‘The background to the Rhodesian Railway Act 1926’ (unpub. M.A. thesis, University of Rhodesia, 1975), 6066.

29 See H. MSS LE 3/1/1, ‘Hammond Report’, Downie to Moffat, II Jan. 1926.

30 New Rhodesia, 26 Nov. 1932. For wider discussion see Phimister, I. R., ‘Towards a history of Zimbabwe's Rhodesia Railways: an essay review’, Zimbabwean History (forthcoming).

31 Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly Debates, 5 June 1929, col. 1636.

32 Ibid., 24 Mar. 1937, col. 542.

33 H. MSS NE 1/1/2, Downie to Newton, 25 Nov. 1928.

34 H. MSS LE 3/1/1, ‘For discussion at Cabinet Meeting’, Minister of Mines and Public Works, to the Hon. the Premier, II Jan. 1929.

35 Paragraph based on A 3/17/12/1, B.S.A. Company, London, to Wankie Colliery Company, 26 Apr. 1923; S 881/277/947, ‘Principal shareholders: Wankie Colliery Co. Ltd’, 15 Dec. 1925; ZCB 2/2/1, ‘Capital history of the Wankie Colliery Company Ltd from 1899 to 1948’, 29 Mar. 1949; Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly Debates, 25 May 1938, col. 1167 onwards. The colliery also signed a price-fixing agreement in 1923 with the railways and mines, in both of which the B.S.A. Company was more or less interested; see Thompson, C. H. and Woodruff, H. W., Economic Development in Rhodesia and Nyasaland (London, 1954), 115.

36 A 3/17/18, Chairman, Charterland and General Exploration and Finance Company Ltd to H. U. Moffat, 27 Mar. 1917.

37 Hadley, A. E., Willoughby's Consolidated Co. Ltd: 1894–1944 (London, n.d.), 17; Report of the Secretary, Department of Mines and Public Works, on Mines, for the year 1926, 3.

38 Paragraph, including direct quotation, drawn from Rhodesian Mining Journal, Dec. 1931, 707709; H. MSS LE 3/1/1, E. Davis to H. U. Moffat, 21 Jan. 1925; and Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly Debates, 24 Apr. 1930, col. 1281. See also S 254, E. Davis to J. W. Downie, 8 June 1931.

39 M 3/3/91, Secretary, Bechuanaland Exploration Company, to Secretary, B.S.A. Company, 1 June 1906.

40 A 3/17/10, E. Davis to Secretary, B.S.A. Company, II Feb. 1915.

41 A 3/17/8.

42 For further discussion, see Phimister, , ‘Southern Rhodesian base mineral industry’ (cited in n. 17).

43 Southern Rhodesia Legislative Assembly Debates, 17 Apr. 1931, col. 737.

44 For sources used and wider discussion of the theme treated in the following section, see Phimister, I. R., ‘Meat and monopolies: beef cattle in Southern Rhodesia, 1890–1938’, J. Afr. Hist., XIX, iii (1978), 391414.

45 Quoted ibid., 402.

46 Quoted ibid., 402.

47 Quoted ibid., 413.

48 Quoted ibid., 408.

49 Rey, Sir Charles, ‘“Monarch of all I survey”: Bechuanaland Diaries 1929–1937’, ed. Parsons, Q. N. (unpublished).

50 Rhodesia Agr. J., XXII (1925), 40.

51 Clements, F. and Harben, E., Leaf of Gold (London, 1962), 9697.

52 H. MSS NE 1/1/6, Leggate to Newton, 18 June 1926.

53 Clements, and Harben, , Leaf of Gold, 98; S 1180/4 (14), Imperial Economic Committee, Tobacco Enquiry, 9 May 1928, Summary of Discussion on the Marketing of Southern Rhodesian Tobacco.

54 Clements, and Harben, , Leaf of Gold, 102.

55 Report of the Secretary, Department of Agriculture, for the year 1927, 41.

56 S 881/663/3379, ‘Report as the result of a visit of Mr O. Siemssen and Mr A. V. Maunder’, 9 Aug. 1928.

57 H. MSS NE 1/1/7, Downie to Moffat, 19 June 1928; S 1180/4 (8), H. Hopkins to Minister for Mines and Public Works, 5 Sept. 1928, and attached reports. See also Clements, and Harben, , Leaf of Gold, 100108.

58 S 1180/4 (8) (2), H. Hopkins, Report No. 14, 4 Jan. 1929.

59 Clements, and Harben, , Leaf of Gold, 101.

60 Davies, W. T., Fifty Years of Progress: An Account of the African Organisation of the Imperial Tobacco Company 1907–1957 (London, n.d.), 910.

61 Corina, M., Trust in Tobacco: The Anglo-American Struggle for Power (London, 1975), chapters 7 and 8.

62 Paragraph, including direct quotation, based on S 1180/4(1), ‘Copy of telegram from the United Tobacco Company, Cape Town, to the Hon. Leggate, Minister of Agriculture, Salisbury’, and attached correspondence. See also S 1193/T 3, Leggate to Downie, 3 Nov. 1926; and Clements, and Harben, , Leaf of Gold, 6696.

63 H. MSS NE 1/1/2, Downie to Newton, 24 Oct. 1927.

64 H. MSS NE 7/1/1, Moffat to Newton, 12 Dec. 1927.

65 H. MSS NE 1/1/7, Downie to Moffat, 19 June 1928.

66 Ibid.

67 H. MSS NE 7/1/1, Moffat to Newton, 5 Dec. 1927.

68 S 1180/7 (19A), Fletcher to Kemp, 13 Dec. 1929.

69 Ibid.

70 Lonsdale, J. and Berman, B., ‘Coping with the contradictions: the development of the colonial state in Kenya, 1895–1914’, J. Afr. Hist., XX, iv (1979), 487505.

Accommodating Imperialism: the Compromise of the Settler State in Southern Rhodesia, 1923–1929

  • Ian Phimister (a1)

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