50 YEARS AGO – 1946

The following appeared in Issue 55 (Sept 1996)

The main topic of debate in the press towards the end of 1946 was the status of Tanganyika. Was it to become a territory under the Trusteeship of the newly founded United Nations or was it to become a British Colony? The other matter of considerable interest at the time was a proposal to grow groundnuts on a large scale. The following are extracts from the ‘Tanganyika Standard’ in 1946.

An ‘Open Letter’ to the British people was published on July 13 from the ‘British Association of Tanganyika’ in which reference was made to the joint efforts of all the people during the recently concluded war and begging Britain not to allow the country to become a UN trusteeship but to become instead a British colony. In 1922 the League of Nations had assumed mandates over a number of territories (including Tanganyika) which had been ‘deemed not yet ready to stand by themselves in the strenuous conditions of the modern world’.

A reader describing himself as an ‘Innocent African’ wrote next day that, of course Africans liked the British in preference to the Germans, but they only liked them when they acted as fathers and not as ‘suckers’. ‘As long as the British Empire is infected with such harmful elements as the Arusha Settlers and Company, within a decade there will be no such thing as the once proud and powerful empire’, he wrote. ‘The Tanganyika African Association should cable immediately to His Majesty’s Government a vote of thanks for its consent to place the country under a trusteeship’.

A few days later the Indian Association, after a long debate, concluded that the members supported trusteeship but wanted it to be under British administration.


In July a 3-man team of experts (the ‘Groundnuts Enquiry Mission’) which was in the country for about five weeks, expressed themselves as ‘not dissatisfied with the results of their investigations’. They added that it was the distribution rather than the quantity of rainfall which was the limiting factor as regards possible groundnut production in some districts.

In early November concern was expressed in Britain because the ‘groundnut report’ was apparently being considered as ‘confidential’ and was not to be published.

On November 29 British Food Minister John Strachey announced that the United Africa Company was to start work immediately on a scheme to grow groundnuts in Tanganyika but that the government would commit itself to only one year of support. Studies began on the comparative suitability of Kilwa Kivinji and Lindi as ports for the export of the groundnuts.

‘A new anti-malarial drug called Paludrine is to be tested in field trials in Tanganyika. It might prove even more valuable than mepacrine and quinine’ (July 27 1946).

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