April 14, 1961 Speech by Dr. Verwoerd in Parliament

On this occasion the Prime Minister took part in the debate and put forward the policy of separate development. An excerpt of the speech follows here.

I say therefore that the United Party’s policy is an iniquitous policy. Apart from all the arguments I have mentioned, it is based on the bias of permanent discrimination and permanent domination by the Whites, because the Hon. member himself said: “Who says that we do not want to discriminate?” Their policy of racial federation, as it has been explained to us this morning, implies deliberate permanent discrimination and permanent domination.

The Hon. member for Parktown has said that discrimination and domination are the soul of this whole debate and the situation in which we find ourselves. It is the soul. And the government is trying with its policy to escape from this dilemma. During the transition period we may still have to apply certain forms of discrimination, and during this period there may be White domination. But the basis of our policy is to try to get away from it. That is why we adopt the policy that the Bantu, wherever he may live in various areas of his own, must be given political control and domination or dominion over his own areas and people. 

 Just as the Italians in France retain their vote in Italy, so the Bantu, who are living temporarily in our urban areas, must have a say in their homelands. They should be able to get it up to the highest level and we want to help them to attain that position. After all, there cannot be domination by Whites over Blacks where there are two neighbouring states, the White state and the Black state. We are also trying to solve the problem of the Coloured and of the Indian by accepting the principle of a state within a state so that within the borders of one territory for these two groups, each will be given the fullest opportunity to control its own interests. I admit the difficulties in that connection, and I have always admitted them. 

 But I have said that when one finds oneself in that dilemma, one has to choose between these three alternatives: the United Party’s stand of perpetual discrimination and domination; absolute equality and Black domination; or apartheid. To a large extent discrimination is also inherent in the Progressive Party’s stand if they want permanent White leadership to be retained.

As far as the United Party is concerned, its policy theoretically therefore includes a form of perpetual domination and discrimination by the Whites, even though I do not believe that that will remain the position. They will lose against the powers that they are letting loose. The same applies to the Progressive Party unless they accept Black rule as a further aim. The inevitable result of such a democracy in a country with a mixed population, as in a country without a mixed population, must be majority rule. 

 That is the only true democracy in a mixed fatherland. Any form of mutual arrangement whereby, by means of a constitution, one seeks to deprive a majority group of its rights by limiting its rights to lesser representation (even though it is by members of its own race) so that another group which is smaller, although more skilled or civilised, can retain an equal or a major say, is and still remains discrimination. In due course at least it must disappear as the other advances in civilisation. The moment you say, “I want to give equality; I do not want any domination” (which is the same) then you cannot claim that by legislation you can give a group of 10,000,000 Bantu equal rights with the White group of 3,000,000 and equal rights to a group of 1,500,000 Coloureds and equal rights to a group of 750,000 Indians. 

 It simply cannot be described as equal rights. The consequence of an attitude of “no discrimination” and “no domination” and “absolute democracy” in a “mixed fatherland” is “one man one vote”. That is the only consequence. If you do not accept that but a sort of so-called rigid constitution in which you place each group in separate compartments and lay down the limits within which each group can acquire authority however civilised these people may become, with the object of being able to say, “I am protecting the equality or the supremacy of the Whites”, then there is still discrimination and domination.

This is why I say to the Hon. member for Parktown that he and his party are in precisely the same difficulty as the United Party and that they are faced with the same dilemma. One should try however, to get out of this dilemma. The only alternative is our way, and that is to see that every group is given complete control over its own interests. When members of one group come into the other man’s area, or on to the other man’s terrain in the case of the Coloureds and the Indians, they must be prepared to accept that they are guests there. If the White man goes into the Bantu areas he cannot expect to be given joint control there. And this is what I believe to be a mistake in Britain’s handling of Basutoland, and it may become her mistake also in the handling of Swaziland. 

 The former cannot become a multi-racial state. As far as the latter is concerned an attempt is apparently being made, instead of sharing it and giving the White man and the Black man each full authority over that portion which he occupies or which is his, to create a multi-racial authority and then to try by means of all sorts of legal provisions and measures, to see that the Black man does not get sole control. I see only one road, however difficult it may be and whatever further consideration it may require as one progresses from step to step, and that is the policy of separate areas.

Then the leaders of the various racial groups can meet, as is done at a Prime Ministers’ Conference or when different nations meet, on a basis of absolute equality in a consultative body to discuss matters of common interest. That is why I said I foresee that the eventual outcome of this policy will be no discrimination and no domination. Each group will look after its own interests, and they will then meet in a consultative body where they can sit together to eliminate as far as possible all points of friction and difficulties by means of discussions and negotiations.

That is the only way, and Hon. members who have tried to ridicule this, as the Hon. the Leader of the Opposition has also tried to do, are being superficial. What they themselves propose has been proved to be completely ridiculous. Every argument of ridicule, every criticism that the Hon. Leader of the Opposition and other members have tried to put forward in respect of our policy can be applied to their policy, as has been done here today. For the umpteenth time therefore I say that no solution has been put forward by the Opposition. 

 Along the road which we are following, we are squarely facing all the essential differences which confront us; there is no bluff; this road offers protection to the White man because along this road we recognise the fact that there must be differentiation. The minute you refuse to recognise and to accept the necessity for differentiation, and you make equality the basis of your policy, you find yourself in the difficulty and the trouble that I have outlined. Whether you want it or not, there will ultimately be Black domination. I do not want to pursue that any further.

… In many of these [other] countries there is still discrimination, including those which say that they are the enemies of discrimination. Amongst those countries where the position is really bad, our accusers are in the forefront. In India, that is true for various groups; some of them have already been mentioned in public. The Nagas are the youngest section, but there are also others like the Sikhs. In Ceylon there is discrimination against the Tamils. 

 In Malaya there is discrimination against the Indian section of the population, and even to some extent against the Chinese there. Britain also is not guiltless of still practising domination, as e.g. in the Protectorates. Australia is not guiltless of ruling over others. It is the guardian over the population of Papua in New Guinea. Canada is not guiltless of discrimination in its behaviour towards the Indians and the Eskimos. All these countries say: Yes, that is true, but it is not the policy of our Government; it is only characteristic of a transition period. Now my standpoint this morning was that the Government in fact tries to find a policy whereby, whatever might happen in the transition period (just as in other countries), it is the object and the motive to evolve a method as a result of which eventually there need not be discrimination or domination.  
That is just as much a motive of the Government here as there is a motive of any of the other countries in the world, inter alia, those I mentioned. However, those countries do not want to view our policy in that light. They want to view our policy in the way they interpret it: that we want to dominate and oppress for ever.

All of us are co-responsible for this wrong impression, all the parties here, and I do not exclude my own party, nor do I exclude myself personally. The fact is that previously we spoke a lot about domination. We used words like that. As we developed our policy and put our case more clearly, having regard to the latest world developments, we arrived at this clear standpoint that discrimination must be eliminated by carrying separation far enough. 

 That is an attitude I put forward at a very early stage (something for which I have often been reproached by the Opposition), namely, when I stated on the occasion of the dissolution of the Natives’ Representative Council, “Our policy of parallel development is aimed at domination for you in your areas, just as we want domination for ourselves in our areas”. Therefore at a very early stage I indicated that our moral basis was that we were trying to give everyone his full rights for his own people. That is the goal we are striving for- just as other countries which, like us, are still in a transition period – say they are doing, I tried to emphasise clearly again this morning, and I do not propose to go into it again, that our idea of four kinds of parallel groups of authority eventually, is that you then actually follow a method whereby the one racial group will not permanently rule the other, but that every racial group will be given self-rule of its own people, in an area of its own, where possible.

Hon. members may differ from me on the practicability of our policy, and they may differ from me on the possibility of the application of some part of the policy. But they cannot continue to proclaim to the world that we are being dishonest in saying that that is our motive. They have no right to do so. At this stage I cannot enlarge further upon our attitude. I simply wanted to explain this point.