The Prime Minister took part in this debate in his capacity as Minister of Justice. Though harrassed by numerous interjections. Adv. Vorster explained the basic principles underlying this Amendment Bill. He unambiguously stated the reasons which necessitated this legislation. He stated quite clearly that everyone was aware of the fact that the Bill would not stamp out immorality completely, but that measures concerning immorality should not be neglected for that reason. Another interesting aspect brought to light during this debate was the fact that no Non-White had ever lodged an objection to the Immorality Act.
I have listened attentively to the attitude of the hon. member for Houghton 1 and I want to say at once that I have not heard a single argument from the hon. member which induces me to adopt the attitude that this Act, or any of its provisions, should be repealed. On the contrary, every argument advanced by the hon. member is in my opinion a further reason as to why this Act should remain unchanged. I shall come back to that later on.
I am, of course, not surprised at the attitude adopted by the hon. member. In taking this stand she is simply being faithful to the philosophy which underlies her views. In the nature of things one is not liberal in respect of one matter only. Liberalism is a philosophy which permeates the whole of one's life and determines one's attitude in all spheres of life. I am therefore not surprised at the attitude of the hon. member for Houghton. Viewed in the light other political beliefs and views, it is a consistent attitude.
Although I have said this about the hon. member for Houghton, I cannot say it of the United Party unfortunately, because I am not sure what the party's attitude is. I am never sure how long the United Party will adopt a certain attitude before discarding it for another. I am being perfectly honest when I say that if I have to reduce the arguments advanced by the hon. member for South Coast 2 to their logical conclusion, then it simply amounts to this that we on this side are correct in retaining this Act because he says he does not want miscegenation, but in the same breath he says that the hon. member for Houghton is correct in introducing this Bill for the repeal of this Act. That is what his standpoint amounted to. The hon. member tried to make political capital out of quotations which he read out from speeches made by my hon. colleagues in the past. Why does the hon. member not tell the House that in 1950 the third reading of the then Bill was passed by this House without any discussion and without any dissentient vote? Why does he not mention that?
But let us go further. This Act was very radically amended in 1957. Hon. members will recall - just to link up with the history that the hon. member for Houghton has given here - that in 1927 actual carnal intercourse between a White person and a Bantu - only between a White person and a Bantu - constituted an offence, and it applied to actual carnal intercourse only. In 1950 the word "Bantu" was simply deleted from the Act and "non-White person" was substituted for "Bantu". That is the only material change that was brought about in 1950. Now I come to the change in 1957, that is to say, in Section 16 to which the hon. member for Houghton referred. Section 16 provided that "any White person (l) who has unlawful carnal intercourse with a non-White female person shall be guilty of an offence". That is as far as the 1950 Act went. The 1957 Act added the words "or attempts". But it also added three subsections: "Commits or attempts to commit with a Coloured female person any immoral or indecent act; or entices, solicits or importunes any Coloured female person to have unlawful carnal intercourse with him; or entices, solicits or importunes any Coloured female person to the commission of any immoral or indecent act." All this was added in 1957. On that occasion the hon. the Minister of Immigration 3 again spoke on behalf of the United Party. And has it slipped the memory of the hon. member for South Coast that as a result of the attitude adopted by the hon. member, the second reading of this Act, the repeal of which is now being advocated, was accepted without a division and with only one speaker taking part in the debate, namely the hon. member who now sits on this side? It was accepted without any division. No division was even called for and the united Party endorsed that attitude without a murmur. What was interesting in the 1957 debate was the fact that the attitude which the hon. member for Houghton now adopts, was adopted by the then member, Mr. Stanford, and that the hon. the Minister who now sits on this side strenuously repudiated him, and so did the whole of the United Party.
Mrs. Suzman: May I ask the hon. the Minister a question? Is it not true that the then member for Benoni, Mr. LoveII, wished to ask for a division but that Mr. Speaker ruled that no new principle was being introduced and a division was therefore not called for?
No that is only a half-truth as far as this matter is concerned. Many clauses were inserted and the whole House was certainly at liberty to vote against those clauses and therefore against the Bill. Nobody could be compelled to vote for it. That does not in any way alter the fact therefore that there was no division on the second reading, in spite of this new principle that was being introduced. But the point I want to make is that the hon. the Minister repudiated Mr. Stanford, and at that time Mr. Stanford adopted more or less the attitude that the hon. member for Houghton now adopts, and the hon. the Minister repudiated him on behalf of the United Party. But to-day, the hon. member for South Coast allows himself to be taken in tow by the hon. member for Houghton. That is the difference between the stand then taken by the hon. member and the attitude which he adopts now.
I would therefore respectfully make this submission to the hon. member for South Coast for his consideration: He is trying in vain to shield behind the attitude which the Ministers concerned adopted in this House at the time in an attempt to conceal his party's lack of policy. He will not succeed, and just to show you how hot and cold the United Party is blowing in regard to this measure and this very serious principle that we are dealing with today, let me point out how cynically the United Party views this principle. Take the attitude of the hon. member for Durban (Central) 4. On the one hand he tells us with great verbosity that "there is no such thing as a pure race". He has said that on more than one occasion in this House. And then in the next breath he says, "We are deadly against miscegenation." If it is true that there is no such thing as a pure race, why is he against miscegenation? Surely then one does not have the elementary right to be against miscegenation in principle. After all, they are two conflicting principles, and even if one wishes to do so one cannot reconcile them.
But before I deal further with the arguments of those hon. members, you will permit me to deal in the first instance with the arguments of the hon. member for Houghton. The hon. member herself, apparently because she realizes the untenability of the point of view which she tried to state here, touched upon a point which to my mind is a very serious one. Let me say in the first instance that it is of no importance to me what the hon. member said and what she wished to do with her Bill which is now before the House; what is of importance to me is what the hon. member does not want to do. It strikes me as strange that the hon. member should come here and ask in all seriousness that the provisions which form the very basis of the Immorality Act should be repealed but does not ask that the Mixed Marriages Act should be repealed. Towards the end of her speech the hon. member herself realized that she was placing herself in an untenable position. The question that occurs to me is this: If one is in earnest in connection with this type of racial relationship, why not begin by asking that the Mixed Marriages Act be repealed? Because what is the essence of the hon. member's request? Let us assume that we conceded that she was right, that we took her at her word and accepted and disposed of all the stages of this Bill to-day without further ado. What would the result of that be? The result would be that this House would be placing its stamp of approval on the conduct of unmarried people, who give free rein to their carnal pleasures while denying the right to people to live together in decency as married couples. That in essence is what the hon. member asks for in this Bill .
Mrs. Suzman: I am prepared to repeal the other one too.
That is in fact what the hon. member should ask us to do. She now realizes what she is up against, and now she says that if we pass the Bill to-day, she will repeal the Mixed Marriages Act next week. If the hon. member were in earnest she would first have tried to get the other Act repealed. Let me say to the hon. member that it is firstly a question of philosophy - and I do not hold this against her - it is the liberal philosophy that causes one to advocate the extreme step which the hon. member seeks to take here. But in the second instance