Old Chancellors Cast Long Shadows

This is the cover of  Old Chancellors Cast Long Shadows, the booklet published by the Guild of Undergraduates in the first week of the summer term 1970. The booklet documents the results of research which examined Lord Salisbury’s political views and his business connections in Africa.  What follows is the full text of the publication.


  • Researched and compiled by Gerry Cordon, Ray Herman, Mick Walker.
  • Cover : Frank Milner.
  • Cartoon : Mike Keating.

Published by Liverpool University Guild of Undergraduates

We dedicate this booklet to the 10 students disciplined by the Liverpool University authorities and the students who occupied Senate House. To all opponents of racialism throughout the world.

“There are, of course, some extremely intelligent Africans …… but the great majority are still extremely primitive……”
– Lord Salisbury, 24th March, 1959.

‘You cannot involve the whole university in a personal emotion”.
-H.B. Chrimes, University Treasurer,on opposition to apartheid, 9th March,1970.

This document has grown out of the occupation of Senate House between 9th and 20th March this year. It attempts to analyse, in some greater depth, the facts behind the first two demands of the occupying students, namely:

  1. That the University disassociate itself from the racialist views of Lord Salisbury and that Council call for his immediate resignation as Chancellor.
  2. That the University reveal where its investments lie.

So the document will be concerned, firstly, with Salisbury as Chancellor – his politics and his actions, and their relevance to his position as figurehead of Liverpool University.  Secondly it will attempt to understand the way in which the university, as an institution interconnected with the higher political and economic echelons of society, can and does, through its investment policies and scholarship links, support and perpetuate racism in Africa.

1: Salisbury the man

It would be easy to see Lord Salisbury as a waning, once-powerful, aristocratic figure , a political hermit who has returned to his manorial cave. But behind him he has left the legacy of a lifetime’s support of white minority rule in Rhodesia and South Africa, with total opposition to African independence.

Born in 1893 and educated at Eton and Oxford, Salisbury’s life followed a predictable course for one in his position. He comes as the latest in a long line of political power stretching back to the reign of Elizabeth I. His ancestor, William Cecil, was Elizabeth I’s Lord Chancellor; his grandfather was Victoria’s Prime Minister in the 19th century. The Cecil family, like the Malboroughs and Norfolks, have been one of Britain’s ruling dynasties for centuries.

From Eton to Christchurch, Oxford, to the Grenadier Guards, to the Lords, he moved correctly through all the paces. In the Guardian, Geoffrey Moorhouse wrote of him, “no other man represents a moribund English species as completely as the fifth Lord Salisbury”. (1)

His political career is formidable. He has served both in the Commons and the Lords and has been responsible for Colonial and Dominion affairs, as well as being Leader of the House of Lords. He could well have been Prime Minister after Eden.

A member of the Conservative party who has served them in high office, Salisbury has not hesitated to break with the Party when the old imperialist ideals which he espouses have begun to founder. In 1957 he resigned from the Cabinet because he disagreed with the terms under which Archbishop Makarios was released from prison.

Harold Macmillan’s famous ‘wind of change’ speech in March 1961 again caused Salisbury to disassociate himself from new trends inside his own party: he would not accept the inevitability of African independence and resigned from his local constituency association. A Times leader on the occasion said, ‘the danger of his own policy is that it may encourage stubborn attitudes among African whites in his blind resistance to change’. (2) Hugh Fraser, Under Secretary of State for the Colonies was moved to comment : “Lord Salisbury has done nothing to drive out fear. To the ignorant he may have built an illusion that white extremism might be favoured by important people in this country”. (3)

S. J. Collett, Chairman of Hertfordshire Conservative Association commented on the resignation, ‘There must be some people who support Lord Salisbury’s view, but I have not come across any”. (4)

These brief facts concerning Lord Salisbury’s political career are important in an analysis of his politics because it is apparent that the principles of conservatism and traditional allegiance to the Crown are as much a part of his inheritance as his title.

Patriotism and the Empire resound through the Cecil family and with it a kind of moral absolute that links exploitation of the African in the colonies with Britain’s power and prosperity. To this end, the noble Lord has been an active campaigner in support of white rule in Africa. In constituency Conservative associations, through his links with the Tory right-wing Monday Club (he was one of the founders) , and, until recently through his presidency of the Anglo-Rhodesian Society, “an organization which exists to promote good relations between Great Britain and Rhodesia : and that, too, is my own aim which I have steadily pursued”.(5)

2: The politics of racialism?

Lord Salisbury is more, much more, than a moribund aristocrat. In almost every way possible Salisbury has helped preserve white government in Africa based on the paternalistic theory of the trusteeship of the white man. Both in his business and parliamentary connections he has sided consistently with the forces preserving racism and oppression in Africa.

To study the life of Lord Salisbury is to be involved in ideas that are as much a part of history as the British Empire. A devout believer that the strength of all that is British is inextricably linked with conservatism and the monarchy, he resigned from his presidency of the Anglo-Rhodesian Society in March 1970, angry at a situation that had brought his basic beliefs into conflict: the clash between the Monarch and one of her colonies was the ultimate tragedy in his eyes.

Since the war, Salisbury has spoken on several hundred occasions in Parliament and his preoccupation has been almost totally with stemming the tide of African self-government.

Somewhere in his arguments in favour of white rule, “exploitation” becomes ”trusteeship”, ‘oppression’ becomes “cultural differences”. As white minority rule increasingly becomes an indefensible political position, its supporters have taken to adopting a language of euphemism.

The basis upon which Salisbury has supported white rule in Rhodesia and South Africa, and opposed independence in Kenya, Nyasaland and elsewhere, has been that the civilised and advanced Europeans are being differentiated against in favour of a primitive and savage people.

The sole criterion raised is the evident prosperity of the central African countries under European rule, and the danger to that prosperity if the African peoples are allowed the power to guide their own futures.

“The Rhodesians, just like ourselves,” Salisbury argues, “are intensely proud of their British traditions. They regard themselves, as we do, as trustees for their fellow-African citizens. Make no mistake, were the British to abandon their trust in this part of the world, those countries would go straight back to the condition in which we found them, until they were gobbled up by others far less enlightened than ourselves. If political and social progress is to continue in these territories it will be through the guidance and leadership which men and women of British stock can give”. (6)

Always the insistence is that Africans have not reached the higher stage of human development that white Europeans have. In a debate on Kenyan independence in the Lords some years ago, Salisbury spoke against African independence:

‘That, my Lords, was the situation until a few years ago. And what is the position of the country now? As I already said earlier, the European population, who have been the backbone of Kenyan prosperity, are rapidly losing heart and hope. They know that they are likely to be handed over in one, two or three years at the most, to the tender mercies of men who are still only one generation removed from a savage state: men without any inherited understanding of our traditions of tolerance. Men still primitive, and many of them only avid for political power”. (7)

And again, brief and to the point: “There are, of course, some extremely intelligent Africans …. but the great majority are still extremely primitive”. (8)

Commenting on Salisbury’s appointment as Acting Foreign Secretary in 1953, the Observer wrote: “his realism forsakes him when confronted by the emergent nationalisms of the subordinate, or formerly subordinate, peoples …. Since returning to the government he has treated the opinions of all Africans in Central Africa as of negligible importance”. (9)

What Salisbury has never admitted is that he is determined to protect a power structure that excludes the African from any political, industrial or administrative representation whatever: to protect the prosperity of the minority controlling the economy. Underlying all of Lord Salisbury’s arguments is a fierce, blind determination to prevent the African people assuming power in their own countries.

His speeches are couched in terms of ”education” and ‘prosperity’, but their essence is to oppose any loss of the white minority’s power. The implication is always that Africans are unfit to govern their own affairs.

“My Lords, is it not a fact that one of the reasons for the present bloodbath in Nigeria is that the white government ceased to obtain and was succeeded entirely by a black government”. (10)

That was said in defence of the white government in Rhodesia during the 1968 sanctions debate. A month later he returned to the same, point:

“Would the noble Lords prefer the situation in Nigeria and Biafra, where the African people are in complete control, to what it was before the white man left?(11)

The culmination of Salisbury’s staunch support for the white minority in Africa came with his views on Rhodesia at the time of U.D.I. He termed Ian Smith a man ‘of outstanding rectitude and honesty’, and was totally opposed to the severance of any links with the government in Salisbury which was gradually, but perceptibly moving towards apartheid.

Being extensively involved in central African affairs all his life, Salisbury naturally became one of the foremost members of the Anglo-Rhodesian lobby in Parliament, a group consisting of high Tories, many with extensive business interests in central and southern Africa, who have campaigned actively for retaining connections with Rhodesia and South Africa.

Salisbury was, of course, already a member of the Monday Club and President of the Anglo-Rhodesian Society. The membership of these groups overlap with the Anglo-Rhodesian parliamentary lobby.

A measure of the accomplishment of Lord Salisbury’s abilities as a politician was highlighted in the confidence with which he refuted allegations of his support of apartheid.

“I am not, and never have been, (in favour of apartheid), and I challenge anyone to produce any evidence that I have ever supported it” (12) he told Guild Gazette after the February occupation of the Union to prevent him attending the Guild Ball.  The reply was born of a confident knowledge that he has rarely expressed himself on South African affairs. (His interests, too, both personal and financial, have always been centred mainly in Central Africa). But one thing is certain: he has never at any time explicitly condemned apartheid.

There are many instances of his giving tacit approval to the apartheid regime in South Africa. In 1961 he was bitterly opposed to excluding South Africa from the Commonwealth because of its racist policies. ln a Lords debate on the subject that year he said:

‘Some of us feel that, in a multi-racial state it is impossible to ignore the fact that some sections of the population are less advanced, less mature, than other sections, and that a period of education may be necessary before the more primitive sections can be regarded in all respects as entirely the equal of the other section. Frankly, I feel that myself”.(13).

“Frankly, I feel that myself”. Need more be said? But there is more: support for the apartheid regimes need not only be manifested through public statements. South Africa and Rhodesia live through trade and investment returns, and British industry still has the largest financial stake in this part of Africa (14). Through his own business connections with the area, Salisbury lends support to apartheid.

One can only judge Salisbury’s words on this occasion as a tacit approval of apartheid. For if there is any differentiation between these carefully-chosen words and the very philosophy upon which Verwoerd and Vorster have based their theories of white supremacy and apartheid, then it is not apparent. It is this veiled phraseology which illustrates how apparent reasonableness can be used to justify oppression and racism. Words directed to the uninformed and the ignorant using the same methods used byMosley and Powell.

There can be little doubt that, as well as his opinions on the African’s position in his own land, Salisbury shares the same views as Powell concerning coloured immigration to British shores. There are rumbles of Powellism in Salisbury’s speeches in 1958 after the Notting Hill riots. It was he who produced the now familiar argument that the solution to the racial problems of this country lay in the restriction of immigration.

“The British people”, he said at the time, ”are neither inhuman nor reactionary. I think they are probably the most tolerant and humane people in the world …. but if we delay too long we may be too late to avoid growing, quite gratuitously, a new and terrible problem, a problem which it may be impossible for those who come after us to entirely solve.

“In my view we have nothing to apologise for in our colonial record. Whatever other arguments may be produced in favour of unrestricted immigration, arguments, economic or other, I certainly feel that it wou|d be most unwise for us to base our future policies on this hypothetical moral debt (to Britain’s colonial subjects) which I believe is at least of doubtful validity”. ( 15)

3: Salisbury as Chancellor

Throughout the controversy that has simmered, and finally boiled over, in the past five years regarding Lord Salisbury’s position as Chance|lor of Liverpool University, there has been little defence of his views. The doubts were centred on whether his views were merely “personal” or whether they had to be seen in a political context. In his address to students on 9th March, 1970, the Vice-Chancellor, Trevor Thomas, objected to attacks on Lord Salisbury’s views, arguing that they were his own personal business, and that such attacks offended the principle that each man should be free to express his own political views. To many these arguments were inadequate.

It is not in dispute that the position of Chancellor does not carry any tangible power, and that it is merely a symbolic position. Whilst nobody has explained the purpose of even having a Chancellor it can be assumed, as it was by Lord Salisbury, that a Chancellor is chosen because he is “regarded as having a respectable reputation in some sphere of public life”. (16)

In defending the choice of Lord Salisbury, the Vice-Chancellor reiterated this point. It is a rejection of such standards – that see Salisbury as having a “respectable reputation” – upon which the opposition to the University is founded. That the Vice-Chancellor should find the opposition to Salisbury offensive because it appears to be a personal attack is a mistake born out of complacency. When there is widespread anger and opposition directed at the recognised symbol or figure-head of an institution, it can only be an attack on the administration which chose that symbol.

In unanimously choosing Lord Salisbury to head Liverpool University, Senate and Court manifested their ideas and attitudes with a positive clarity that is only just being grasped by those working in this institution. The University chose someone who in their eyes was “respectable”, yet they chose a man who has stood out against the end of colonialism, who has supported white rule in Africa with its attendant evils of oppression, racism and exploitation. They chose a man whose presence at the head of a University protesting multi-racial values is a betrayal of the concept of multi-raciaIism.

4: A  ‘respectable reputation’?

“Do not let us be ashamed of our record in Central Africa. There is no finer chapter in our whole history. We have brought to the primitive people of those parts a peace, justice and security that hitherto they have never known. Sometimes one hears in this country almost severe criticisms of Southern Rhodesian policy towards the Africans, often by people who have never been in Southern Rhodesia at all, and which seem quite incredible to those who have. The pictures these critics draw of racial antagonism and repressive government policy is a pure figment of their imagination”.
– Marquess of Salisbury,Lords, 2 July 1952

“When a person was arrested he was taken to some remote area and interrogated by as many as ten policemen. Several had lost their sense of hearing from the treatment they had received. Some were given electric shocks, and electric sticks were sometimes used .. . . Other methods were to strip the prisoners and drive pins through the penis and hold them down and beat the genitals in order to force them to sign statements prepared by the police. Another way of attempting to force them to give information was to tie them to a tree and light a stick of gelignite that had been fixed to it. Many had died rather than submit. “A number of resisters in the countryside had been rounded up and shot, having been taken to European farms by white-settler constables. Other prisoners were starved”.
– Account of Rhodesian methods of interrogating Africans by Mr. George Silundika of ZAPU, Report of UN Committee, June 24 1967

“Reduced to its simplest form the problem is nothing else than this: we want to keep South Africa White …. ‘Keeping it White’ can only mean one thing, namely, White domination: not ‘leadership’ not ‘guidance’ but control, ‘Supremacy’.
– Hendrik F. Verwoerd, former Prime Minister of South Africa. House of Assembly, 25 January 1963

One of Salisbury’s biggest arguments is that British rule has brought peace, justice and prosperity to the African. In a letter to the Times Salisbury speaks of ‘all that British colonial rule had done for the peoples of Central Africa, and equally all that has happened in those countries which the white man has abandoned”. (17)

A corollary to this argument is that the Africans still remaining under white rule – in Rhodesia and South Africa – are considerably better-off than they would be under black rule: “they are today protected by the law from intimidation and extortion. They are enjoying a steadily rising standard of life and their children can get a far better education than the children of people like themselves in the African-ruled countries”. (18)

What is Britain’s record in central Africa?  Have British settlers brought peace, justice and prosperity to the Africans? Is Salisbury right?

The aim of this section is to analyse the nature of Rhodesian and South African society today, consider the conditions under which the African exists, and examine the role of men like Liverpool University’s Chancellor, Lord Salisbury, and of white business investment in general in the economic and political development of Central and Southern Africa.

The facts will show that when Salisbury talks of peace in these areas he is talking of a calm produced by the brutal repression of any kind of social questioning. When he talks about justice he means justice for the white few, not the African millions. And when he speaks of prosperity he is talking of the undoubted wealth that the exploitation of Africa and the Africans has brought to big business in Britain and the white settler in Rhodesia and South Africa.

So we have as Chancellor of our University a man who has made more than most out of the oppression of black Africa and who actively campaigns for the continuance of the apartheid systems in Africa.

The Salisbury family has been active in Rhodesia since the first settler arrived; the motive force always profit and power rather than any kind of civilizing mission. Rhodesia has always had closer links with South Africa than the United Kingdom. The area was originally colonised by South African settlers pushing north to find more mineral wealth. The idea of a northward thrust was the brainchild of Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of Cape Province from 1890, President of De Beers’ gold mining monopoly, and one of the richest men in the world at the time. His dream was to see a “red route” of British possessions extending from Cairo to the Cape, and to begin this expansion he founded the British South Africa Company which eventually ruled Rhodesia from 1890 to 1923.

The rationale behind such imperialist expansion – to open up new markets and reduce the strains in the economic system at home – was expressed lucidly by Cecil Rhodes himself:

“I was in the East End of London yesterday and attended a meeting of the unemployed. Ilistened to the wild speeches, which were just a cry for “bread”, “bread”, and on my way home I pondered over the scene and I became more than ever convinced of the importance of imperialism …. My cherished idea is a solution of the social problems, i.e. in order to save the 40,000,000 inhabitants of the United Kingdom from bloody civil war, we colonial statesmen must acquire new lands to settle the surplus population, to provide new markets for the goods produced in the factories and the mines. The Empire, as I have always said, is a bread and butter question. If you want to avoid civil war, you must become imperialists”. (19)

The Salisburys were leading participants in the new company. In 1889 Queen Victoria granted a Royal Charter to the British South Africa Company after pressuring from her Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, grandfather of today’s Chancellor, and the man after whom the Rhodesian capital was named. The Charter gave the Company broad authority over an area including both Southern and Northern Rhodesia, as the new territories were to be designated in the late 1890s. The company was granted the right to promote trade, commerce, civilisation and good government in the area.

The company was, however, to be more than just a colonial mining concern – it was to form the government of Rhodesia for 33 years, with its own police and security forces. A Colonial Office minute of 1889 reads: “A cardinal principle shall be that the Company which is to enjoy the profits …. shall also discharge and bear all the responsibilities of government”.

The first settler, attracted by Rhodes’ promise of gold claims and 3,000 acres of land for each of them, established Fort Salisbury on 12 September 1890. The opposed interests of settlers and Africans soon became evident, and in 1893 a Company force clashed with a native army. The Europeans’ superior firepower brought victory in a few days.

An examination of the manner in which the country was governed during the period of the British South Africa Company’s rule reveals not an attempt to bring “peace and prosperity” to the region, as Lord Salisbury would have us believe, but a brutal system of exploitation by the white settlers – exploitation of the native African, and exploitation of the natural wealth of the area. Prosperity meant prosperity for one section of the population only – the white minority.

What kind of society were the white colonies introducing? From the very beginning Rhodesian society bore marked similarities to the South African discriminatory system. Rhodes had already introduced South Africa’s system of Roman Dutch Law, its Civil Service system, schooling and Native Administration systems – all inherently racialist. A South-African style pass system for Africans was introduced.

The franchise excluded Africans from power, the education system was based on racial discrimination, and the method of land division perpetuated economic inequality between the races.  All this was to achieve the white colonisers’ main objectives – cheap labour, white privilege – and profits.

Further evidence of the way men like Lord Salisbury regard developments in Africa was seen in the post-war movement for a Central African Federation. During the War copper was discovered in great quantities in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). After the War, therefore, the northern territory became a rich prize for the central African developers. The then Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, Sir Godfrey Huggins, backed by the northern Rhodesian settler leader, Roy Welensky, mounted a full-scale campaign for the federation of the two territories. They found ready allies in London, amongst them the present Lord Salisbury and his fellow-directors on the British South Africa Company board.

In 1951 Salisbury became Commonwealth Relations Minister, an influential post for a committed federation man. The proponents of federation made no secret of the ideology upon which it would be based. Huggins saw no place for African representation in his vision of a Federation government: “there are not enough civilized natives to justify one constituency”. He defined “racial partnership” (the principle upon which Federation was to be based) as “partnership between horse and riders”. (20)

In 1953 Southern Rhodesia voted for Federation: there were 46,000 white voters on the electoral roll and 380 Africans.

The course Rhodesia followed in the 1960’s had been charted long before. We have shown how the main concern of the business interests which opened up Rhodesia were mineral resources, cheap labour and a high rate of profits. The social system of segregation and exploitation was a necessary pre-requisite for the colonisers’ plans. The roots of UDI lay deep.In 1922 the white settlers held a referendum to decide whether to become the fifth province of the Union of South Africa or to accept “responsible government” under the Crown. They chose the latter – and this meant virtual complete control of the country, including its one million Africans, for though the British Government had the power of veto over Rhodesian legislation, that power was never used.

Yet the white Rhodesians used their virtual independence to build up a system Of racial oppression increasingly akin to South African apartheid. The Native Urban Area Accommodation Registration Act, which set up a pass system, and the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 gave the government effective control over every major aspect of an African’s life – where he should live, where he might work and for whom, whether he might travel, how his children should be educated. UDI was an unavoidable extension on the part of the ruling Rhodesian Front Party of their white supremacist policies. The Front needed formal independence and the freedom to achieve its objective – an apartheid-orientated political and military alliance with South Africa and Portugal.

The late fifties had seen a “wind of change” blowing through Africa. States gained independence and Africans took control. In South Africa there was a brief whiff of revolt – strangled at Sharpeville in 1960. In the Central African Federation there was mounting opposition to federation from the black African leadership in exile. The main attack on the Federation came from the Nyasaland African Congress who demanded that Nyasaland, the mostdeprived part of the Federation, should have the right to secede. The white minority found formidable allies in the Rhodesia/Katanga lobby in the British parliament. This consisted of a number of powerful Conservative members of the Commons and Lords either directly or indirectly connected with the complex of mining and financing companies operating in the northern Rhodesia and Katanga copper belts.  These included amongst their foremost spokesmen Lord Salisbury and Julian Amery of the British South Africa Company.

But by February 1963 Nyasaland had won the right to secede. The Federation was doomed and was dissolved before the year was out. White Rhodesia was now becoming increasingly isolated amongst independent black nations. Racist attitudes began to harden. ln Rhodesia the United Federal Party was replaced in power by the Rhodesian Front, opposed to UFP policy of concessions to multi-racialism, and aiming at an open alliance with South Africa. A mental frontier against black Africa had been drawn along the Zambesi.

In 1963 all African political parties were outlawed by the Front. Prominent black leaders like Joshua Nkoma have been in jail ever since. A State of Emergency has been in force since August 1964. This gives the Rhodesian government the power to arrest or detain without trial under the 1960 Emergency Powers Act.  Since UDI the Rhodesian Front government has increased its repressive legislation – full scale censorship is in force and the liberal 1961 Constitution has been revoked.

Smith’s latest plan for a Republican Constitution proposes two stages of constitutional change. The second stage, in about four years time, will bring about full, unashamed apartheid with racially separate legislatures.

”Behind all these incidents lies the fact that after 1960, when the rest of Africa set its course firmly in the direction of national independence on the basis of majority rule, the white minority regimes of the south found themselves increasingly drawn together to halt this process. They share similarities in political and economic systems and there is a high degree of actual economic integration”. (21)


Read more about Lord Salisbury and the role he played in 1952 as Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations in the notorious affair of the marriage of Seretse Khama, Botswanian statesman, here (thanks to Nev Bann for this).

His Wikipedia entry is here

5: Investments and racialism

One of the demands in the campaign which led up to the Senate occupation at Liverpool was that the administration should reveal its schedule of investments. The University has £6 million worth of investments and it was felt that it was not unlikely that the University was investing in firms with South African interests: an act of complicity in apartheid entirely at variance with the multi-racial principles upon which a University should be founded.

This section of the document will assess the exact role of capital investment in Rhodesia and South Africa and consider the way in which an institution like Liverpool University is involved.

A review of foreign investments in South Africa, issued by the UN, concludes that “foreign investment clearly plays an important role in the economy of South Africa”. (22)  This role is to

“make the largest possible profits. This is made possible, first, by the international monopolies’ rapacious exploitation of the natural resources in the colonial territories, secondly by their ruthless exploitation of the cheap labour of the indigenous peoples in these territories ; and finally, by the fact that laws of a discriminatorynature have been enacted by the Colonial powers to further the interests of the international monopolies”.

This is an extract from a report of the UN Committee on foreign economic interests and decolonization. (23) It continues:

“The economies of the colonial territories are dominated by foreign monopolies, and the local white minorities. Foreign capital is invested basically in mining and other industries which together produce almost all the exports of these territories and bring the highest possible profits. These profits are either taken out of the territories or remain in the hands of foreign settlers. They are, therefore, not used ….for the improvement of the economic and social conditions of the indigenous peoples … the indigenous African population remain in a state of impoverishment …. and is deprived of the right to take part in economic, commercial and other activities. Its destiny is exploitation….” (24)

The U.K. holds over 315 of all foreign investments in South Africa (25), the United States comes second with 13% of South African holdings. The value of direct private investment by British companies in South Africa amounts to £ 1,200 million and is 10% of total British investment overseas. (26)

The return on investments in South Africa is the highest in the world. In 1967 the UK-South Africa Trade Association in London stated that “the average return on investments in the Republic has been calculated to be about 15%” (27). An American calculation put the return as high as 26% (28).

It is, therefore, not surprising that the most active and enthusiastic lobbyists for the apartheid regimes in western capitals should be the business and finance groups. This is the major reason why Vorster and Smith remain in power:

“Just as in the 1890’s Rhodes found his allies in London, promising them seats on the boards of his companies and shares in the profits of exploitation, so today the forces of white supremacy in Rhodesia and South Africa find allies among the foreign investors who share with them the profits of cheap labour economies” (29)

The economic development of Rhodesia and South Africa resulted not only from the harnessing of the area’s bountiful mineral resources, but also from the exploitation and subjugation of millions of black Africans. The white minority has achieved a fantastic wealth at the expense of the African majority.

Today there are nearly 400 British companies with subsidiary or associated companies in South Africa, and more than 190 with subsidiaries in Rhodesia. Among them are household names like ICI, Courtaulds, Unilever, Shell, BP, Boots, British Leyland and Dunlop.

The governing body of Liverpool University – Council – is composed of leading figures from the local business community, many of them men who are the directors of companies who profit handsomely from the oppression of the black African.

Council members with South African business connections include: Viscount Leverhulme – director of Unilever, the giant Anglo-Dutch group which has an extensive stake in South Africa, D S Davies of ICI which has several Rhodesian and South African subsidiaries, including African Explosives and Chemicals Limited, which manufactures tear gas and small arms for internal use by the South African and Rhodesian armed forces.

M Conacher and G Tillotson are from Barclay’s Bank, whose subsidiary, Barclay’s DCO,  is one of the mainstays of the South African economy and one of South Africa’s biggest banks. It finances many of the big mining groups, like the British South Africa Company with which Lord Salisbury is associated.

L B Pilkington is managing director of Pilkington Brothers, the St. Helens glass firm which has extended considerably in South Africa in recent years. R W Johnson and R P Toosey are directors of Cammell Lairds, which has South African interests. Toosey is also connected with Barclays. (30)

Some of these companies operate directly through subsidiaries of the British company, but in other cases, “British companies operate in Rhodesia through subsidiaries of their South African subsidiaries, in others, British and South African minority shareholders are combined with local Rhodesian capital – sometimes in private companies and disguised as bank nominees”. (31)

British investment by these means in Rhodesia is estimated at £200 million: about £150 million of this in mines, farms and property. This is despite sanctions. Britain also supplies 30% of Rhodesia’s overseas purchases, valued at £40 million a year. (32) An authority on the area has written :

“Rather than a doctrine peculiar to Afrikaaner experience [apartheid’s] nationalist aspects can be de-mystified, revealing its organic connection with the operation of international capitalism. In South Africa the alliance between the white minority and international capitalism has seen the rapid industrialization of the country …. super-profits and white privilege depend upon the maintenance of white domination and the continued exploitation of black African labour” (33)

Big business and the Rhodesia/South Africa lobby in Parliament work closely together. Members of Parliament with directorships of South Africa-connected firms include Anthony Barber (Chairman of the Conservative Party), Nigel Birch, Cyril Black, Sir Arthur Vere-HaIvey, Quinton Hogg, Sir Gerald Nabarro and Geoffrey Rippon (35 ). All are supporters of a “negotiated settlement” with Rhodesia (34)

In the Lords are the two most outspoken and most deeply committed to white Rhodesia, two influential Conservatives connected with the British South Africa Company: Lord Salisbury, director of BSAC from 1957 to 1961 and still a large shareholder, and Julian Amery, a BSAC director at the time of its merger with Anglo-American, the giant South African mining company.

Of particular concern to us here in Liverpool are the activities of our Chancellor, Lord Salisbury. The Salisbury family has been deeply implicated in the exploitation of Rhodesia and South Africa since the foundation of the BSAC in 1889. Salisbury’s grandfather, Prime Minister at the time, accepted a place on the board of’ the Company and lobbied Queen Victoria for a Royal Charter for the Company.

Since then the family has retained a presence on the Company’s board, at least until the present Lord Salisbury’s resignation in 1961 to take up a post at Westminster Overseas Bank. Westminster Overseas acts as clients for many companies in South Africa, including Charter Consolidated, the group formed in 1965 through the merger of the British South Africa Company and the Anglo-American Corporation.

Today Salisbury remains a major shareholder in Charter Consolidated, which has 40% of its assets tied up in South African (35). Two subsidiaries whose interests are untraceable – Cecil Holdings and Cecil Investments – bear the family name. There is an extensive family estate wh ich includes two farms and a timber company in Rhodesia ( 36)

It is in the context of this financial involvement in apartheid that Salisbury’s public statements on Rhodesia, and his political activities in raising support for the regime must be viewed.

6: The system they defend

Cartoon by Mike Keating

lt is not the purpose of this document to present an exhaustive picture of conditions in Rhodesia and South Africa, but in this final section are presented some facts which undermine the validity of Salisbury’s case concerning the white man’s civilizing role in Africa.

The conditions under which Africans are forced to live have changed little since the white man first set foot in Rhodesia. In 1967 this description of segregated “locations” was given by an African petitioner before the United Nations Special Committee on the ending of colonialism:

“Both of the two main African locations outside Salisbury were surrounded by high fences topped with barbed wire. Each location had two main gates, and had become a virtual concentration camp. Africans leaning them to go to work had their hands stamped with indelible ink to identify them, and in return they had to approach with upraised hands to enable the police at the gates to see the mark”. (37)


The 1896 constitution of the Republic of South Africa declares: “the people will not permit the equalisation of coloured with white inhabitants”. This mentality derived both from the predelictions of the Afrikaaner Reformed Church, and from a cool business logic:

“The unexampled profits which slave labour yielded to slave master and investors in an expanding world trade between European power and their colonies, with the clamorous demand for more s|aves and more slave labour, initiated a wholesale invasion of the African coast and interior by slave-traders who seized thousands of Africans and flooded the slave market with slaves from Africa. The result was that ‘slave’ came to mean ‘Afiican slave’ and the black skin became the universal badge of slavery and inferiority”. (38)


Today there are 12% million Africans in South Africa, and 355 million whites. The white minority composes 19% of the total population. In Rhodesia the white settlers are in an even smaller minority. There are 4.5 million Africans to 241,000 Whites. That is, 94.4% as against 5.1% of the population.


In South Africa the white population owns 87% of the land and all the industrial wealth. All seats in the legislature are restricted to whites; the Africans have had since 1963 their own Transkei Legislative Assembly which has limited powers over the Bantustan (African area) and whose bills must receive the assent of the Republic’s Cabinet. In Rhodesia in 1965 only 255 Africans were eligible to vote under the new Republican constitution.


The average monthly wage for a white South African in manufacturing is £135. The average ANNUAL income for an urban African is £70-£75. An African living in a reserve earns only £18-£21 a year. Today the average day-shift wage for a white man in mining is £6.1 6.6d. for a black African a mere 8/10 in cash and food.

In Rhodesian, the average monthly wage for an African is £8. This compares with the average of £170 a month for a white. Only 697,000 out of a total black population of 4.9 million are employed. (39). The bulk of the adult African population are subsistence farmers. In 1965 the average annual cash income for African rural households was £10.0. 3d. (40)


In South Africa 9% of total education expenditure is spent of educating African school-children. 77% is spent on educating white children. That works out at £7 per African child, £75 per white child.

In Rhodesia 1% of African children complete secondary education, compared to 8 1% of white children. Average per capital expenditure on education in 1965-66 was £9.9.0. for Africans, £103.0.0. for Whites. (41)


Average life expectancy for a white South African male is 64.6 years, for an African 40 years. The rate of infant mortality is 13.69 per thousand amongst Whites, but 269.18 amongst Africans. Tuberculosis rates are 15 times higher amongst Africans than whites. (42).

63% of Rhodesian African schoolchildren suffer malnutrition compared to 3.2% of white schoolchildren. (43)

“Apartheid keeps African labour cheap. Cheap labour keeps Africans underfed. In the urban areas [of South Africa] four out of every five families are starving. The rate is higher in country areas. The result is that the African population is exposed to the ravages of diseases easily traceable to poverty” (44)


South Africa, and increasingly Rhodesia, are the armed camps of a white minority. Since the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 all meaningful methods of African non-violent struggles have been blocked by repressive legislation and the full political and military might of the state. South Africa budgets over £200 million for defence and police purposes. The total of political prisoners in South Africa may be as high as 10,000.

The U.N. has reported: “for opponents of apartheid, the apartheid laws and the treatment of political detainees and prisoners is turning or has turned the Republic of South Africa into a police state and the laws and methods in question increasingly resemble these adopted under Fascist regimes”. (45)


For  an insight into how the system of apartheid governed every aspect of life in South Africa from 1948 to 1991, explore this area of the BBC archive online: Life Under Apartheid. The programmes and documents illustrate what life was like for ordinary South Africans as well as revealing key moments in the struggle against this political system.


The implications of the University’s involvement in racialism, and of having Lord Salisbury as its figurehead are too enormous for criticism to be brushed off simply as “a personal emotion”. Yet this is how H. B. Chrimes, the Treasurer, reacted for the administration on 9th March. At some stage the University must make a decisive break and refuse to be complicit in any way – either through having a Chancellor with views like Lord Salisbury’s or having investments in companies which support apartheid – with any kind of racialism, either here or abroad. And if the University does not do this, the reason must be apparent:  it is an institution controlled by, and in the interests of, a business class which has everything to lose by severing connections with the racist regimes in Rhodesia and South Africa.


  1. Guardian, 13/10/65
  2. Times, 11/3/61
  3. Times, 11/3/61
  4. Observer, 12/3/61
  5. Lords, 21/6/67
  6. Lords,  2/7/70
  7. Lords,  3/12/62, debate on Kenyan independence, Hansard.
  8. Lords, 24/3/59, debate on unrest in Nyasaland, Hansard.
  9. Observer, 12/7/53
  10. Lords,  debate on Rhodesian Sanctions Order, 17/6/68. Hansard.
  11. Lords, 18/7/68, Hansard.
  12. Guild Gazette, 24/2/1970
  13. Lords, 23/3/61, debate on South Africa leaving Commonwealth, Hansard.
  14. ‘Foreign Investment in the Republic of South Africa’ (UN)
  15. Lords, 19/11/58. Debate on colour and violence, Hansard.
  16. Guild Gazette, 24/2/70
  17. Times, 15/6/66.
  18. Letter to the Times, 19/4/66.
  19. Cecil Rhodes, quoted in “Imperialism”, V. I. Lenin.
  20. ‘Rhodesia – Why Minority Rule Survives’, Christian Action Publications, London 1969.
  21. Ibid.
  22. ‘Foreign Investment in the Republic of South Africa’, (UN publications)
  23. ‘Foreign Economic Interests and Decolonization, a report’. (UN publications, 1969).
  24. Ibid.
  25. ‘Foreign Investment in the Republic of South Africa’ (UN publications)
  26. Ibid.
  27. “Purpose and Progress 1965-1967”, UK-South Africa Trade Association Ltd, 1967.
  28. BusinessWeek, March 1969.
  29. ‘Rhodesia – Why Minority Rule Survives’,
  30. Various sources: Who Owns Whom, Roskill; Who’s Who; Hambro’s Directory of Industrial Concerns; Who Controls Liverpool Industry?, Labour Research Department,1969
  31. Financial Times, 9/10/65.
  32. Ibid.
  33. G. Fasulo, “The powers behind apartheid”, African Research Group.
  34. Directory of Directors
  35. Hambro’s Directory.
  36. Lord Salisbury, Guild Gazette, 24/2/70.
  37. Quoted in “A principle in torment”, UN publications.
  38. “Apartheid – the Indictment”, Oliver Tambo, in ‘Sanctions against South Africa’ (Penguin).
  39. Report of Rhodesian Minister of Finance, Guardian, 21/4/70
  40. Financial Mail, 10/5/68.
  41. Annual survey of Race Relations 1967, p.266
  42. The Economist.
  43. Report of Secretary for Health 1967.
  44. O Tambo, “Apartheid – the Indictment”.
  45. Report of U.N. Ad hoc Working Group on treatment of prisoners in South Africa, 27/10/67.

5 thoughts on “Old Chancellors Cast Long Shadows”

  1. Quite superb! A simple, nicely written and well-illustrated summary of the cadaverous old racist’s life and times. Little wonder the stone-faced University bigots preferred to focus on the sit-in’s affront to their dignity rather than on Salisbury’s affront to humanity.

  2. Well that certainly answers the need for quotooeos to illustrate his unsuitability in any petition. Gerry, have a stiff drink so the nostalgia doesn’t overwhelm as you mine this treasure trove!

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