JUBA CONFERENCE 1947
EP/SCR/1.A.5/1 Juba, 21st June 1947
Bahr El Ghazal Area, Wau
All District Commissioners /STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL/
I send you herewith a record of the Conference held at Juba on the 12th
and 13th June 1947 to consider the recommendations of the Report of the
Sudan Administration Conference.
2. The nature of this Conference is explained by the Civil Secretary at the
opening of the second days discussion (page 12 of the record). It is no way
a continuation of the Administration Conference, but as stated in my remarks
in the cenultimate paragraph, was called at my request by the Civil
Secretary in order that he should guage Southern reactions to and feelings
about the recommendations, before the Report was considered by the Central
3. The record is not being published nor is it being communicated to the
press, nor are copies being given to all who were present. It is a
confidential document summarizing the discussions; primarily an side mamoire
to the Chairman and not" agreed minutes", since members have not been shown
the record before compilation.
4. Full use can, or should, be made of it in discussion with British and
Sudanese Staff who may read it but it should not be distributed.
5. The reasons are important; the main consideration is that the Sudan,
though a vast country in area, is small in wealth and population, and if the
Sudan is ever really to become self-governing and self-dependent it must not
be divided up into small weak units. Those who prepared the report believe
that the sooner Southern and Northern Sudanese come together and work
together, the sooner they will begin to coalese and cooperate in the
advancement of their country. This belief is sincerely and genuinely held by
many Northern Sudanese, and they hope that by including Southern Sudanese in
the future Assembly, the process of unification will be hastended. I am
confident that their recommendations are based on the very highest motives,
and think they do not seek opportunities of exploiting backward tribes in
6. The Conference in Khartoum did not include Southern representatives, but
I invited the Governors to attend in order that they should know what was
The Juba Conference June 1947 2
being proposed, and should be able to inform the Conference of conditions
and feelings in the South. This they did.
7. Now that the report of the Conference has been submitted to the Sudan
Government and action on it is expected, I have summoned this meeting here
of men both from the North and the South, in order to consider the
unification of the two parts of the country. I should like to explain to you
present Government policy in regard to the South. The policy was defined in
1945 as follows:-
"It is only economic and educational development that these peoples can be
equipped to stand up for themselves in the future, whether their lot be
eventually cast with the Northern Sudan or with East Africa, or partly with
Since 1945 there have been development both economically and
educationally in the South, and it has begun to be clear, I think, that the
Southern Sudan, by its history and by the accidents of geography, river
transport and so on, must turn more to the North rather than to Uganda or
the Congo, and I believe that our policy regarding these areas should be
restated as follows:-
"The policy of the Sudan Government regarding the Southern Sudan is to
act upon the facts that the peoples of Southern Sudan are distinctly African
and Negroid, but that geography and economics combine (so far as can be
forseen at the present time) to render them inextricably bound for future
development to the Middle East and Arabs of the Northern Sudan and therefore
to ensure that they shall be educational and economic developments be
equipped to take their places in the future as socially and economically the
equals of their partners of the Northern Sudan in the Sudan of the future".
"If this is to be the Government's policy regarding the Southern Sudan I
should like the views of this meeting one or two points of immediate
You have all received copies of a Memorandum giving the terms of
reference of this meeting and I think have already had opportunity to
discuss them and form your opinions".
GOVERNOR OF EQUATORIA
The Juba Conference June 1947 3
PROCEEDINGS OF THE JUBA CONFERENCE ON THE POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE SOUTHERN SUDAN - JUNE 1947.
The following were present:
J.W. Robertson, Esq., M.B.E. Civil Secretary, Chairman
F.D. Kingdon Esq. Governor Upper Nile
B.V. Marwood Rsq. Governor Equatoria
G.H. Barter Esq. Director of Establishment
M.F.A. Keen Esq. Assistant Civil Secretary (Councils)
T.R.H. Owen Esq. Deputy Governor Bahr El Ghazal
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti
Ibrahim Eff Badri
Sgt. Major Philomon Majok
Chief Cir Rehan
Chief Gir Kiro
Pastor Anderea Apaya
Chief Ukuma Bazin
Chief Lolik Lado
Father Guido Akou
Chief Luath Ajak
Hassan Eff. Ahmed Osman
Dr. Habib Abdalla
Sheikh Serur Mohd. Ramli
The meeting opened at 9.30 a.m. on Thursday 12th June. The Chairman in
his opening speech said:-
I should first of all like to say how glad I am to see you all here
today, and on behalf of us who are visitors I wish to thank the Governor,
Mr. Marwood, and the other residents in Juba, who have welcomed us so
hospitably and generously.
The origin of this meeting lies in the recent developments of
administration and policy in the Northern Sudan. Last year, the
The Juba Conference June 1947 4
Governor-General, Sir Hubert Huddloston, set up a Conference in the North to
seek ways and means of associating the Sudanese more closely with the
government of their country. As you know, there has been in the Northern
Sudan for the last three years, an Advisory Council, and one of the
recommendations made by the Conferenence is to develop the Advisory Council
into a more authoritative and responsible body, with the power of making
laws and to some extent, of controlling the work of the administration.
The Advisory Council has not had power to concern itself with the two
Southern Provinces of Equatoria and the Upper Nile and there are therefore
no Southern Sudanese on the Advisory Council. The report of the Conference
however, which has just been published, recommends that the Southern Sudan
should send representatives to the new Assembly which it is proposed should
be set up, and in paragraphs 12 and 13 of this report you will find its
recommendations and the reasons for them.
The Sudan Administration Conference in paragraphs 12 and 13 of its report
dealing with the future closer association of the Sudanese with the Central
Government has made certain recommendations about the Southern Sudan.
In order to study the implications of these recommendations about which I
shall have to advise His Excellency the Governor-General, I have decided to
hold a meeting in the Southern Sudan at which I wish to discuss the
proposals with Southern Sudanese and with officials, who have Southern
experience, both British and Sudanese. I have therefore arranged for a
meeting toi be held at Juba on 11.6.47 at which I hope representatives from
Equatoria and the Upper Nile Provinces will attend.
The terms of reference of the meeting will be:-
(1) to consider the recommendations of the Sudan Administration Conference
about the Southern Sudan.,
(2) to discuss the advisability of the Southern Sudanese being represented
in the proposed Assembly and if it is decided to be advisable to decide how
such representation can best be obtained in the present circumstances; and
whether the representation proposed by the Sudan Administration Conference
(3) to discuss whether safeguards can be introduced into the forthcoming
legislation setting up the new Assembly, to ensure that the Southern Sudan
with its differenc in race, tradition, language, customs and outlook is not
hindered in its social and political advancement;
(4) to discuss whether or not an Advisory Council for the Southern Sudan
should be set up to deal with Southern affairs from which representatives
might be appointed to sit on the assembly, as representatives of the Southern Sudan;
The Juba Conference June 1947 5
(5) to consider the recommendations of the Sudan Administration Conference
in paragraph 13 of their report which deals with matters not strictly
relevant to the political development of the Sudan, which the Conference
recommended as essential if the unification of the Sudanese peoples is to be
Chief Ukuma Bazia then laid before the meeting a set of written answers
to the points raised in the Civil Secretary's Memorandum:-
MINUTES IF THE PRELIMINARY MEETING OF THE MEMBERS REFERING TO CIVIL SECRETARY'S MEMORANDUM.
(2) No, but to send people who will sit and merely study.
(3) To leave the matter of race tradition; language customs and outlook die
by itself, through education and civilisation. More safeguards to be added.
(4) We agree to set up our Advisory Council in the South but in link with
the North. Before passing laws for the whole Sudan the Legislative Council
in the North should consult the Advisory Council here until such time when
the South will be capable to send representatives to voice for itself. Since
we consented in para 2 we also welcome people from the North to attend our
meetings and advise us. People to be sent should be of legal respect.
(5) Permits to trade order 1928 to be cancelled on the following
(1) Only the people with good capitals should be admitted,
(2) That these capitalists should build their shops in red bricks and corrugated
iron sheets in places permitted by this Council,
(3) That Southern Sudanese should be encouraged to trade and the only way of
doing this is by employing agents from the South,
(a) One educational policy to be adopted for North and South. The teaching
of language should bé in bush schools. English and Arabic in Elementary to
(b) The improvement of communications between the two parts, encouragement
of transfers, the unification of the system of establishment should be the
same and should be started NOW.
Mohamed Saleh Eff. Shingeiti referring to answer number 2 asked if the
Southerners could explain why the South should be unable to send
representatives to the Central Lehislative Assembly just as the other
outlying tribes and areas of the North, for instance the Beja, the Kababish
etc. If Southerners were going to attend the Assembly why should they not
The Juba Conference June 1947 6
take part in it, and speak for their own people? Since the more distant
tribes of the Northern Sudan were to be represented in the proposed assembly
why should not the South?
Kumyangi Ababa replied that Southerners were like recruits compared with
old soldiers and the Southerners wanted more training before they could take
part in an assembly with Northerners. The other tribes which the last
speaker mentioned had already had some experience in the Advisory Council
which Southerners had not had. They did not wish to close the door to
Southern representation in the Legislative Assembly but the time was not yet
The Chairman referred the meeting to the basic question as to whether
they considered that the South was essentially to be one with the North.
James Tembura said that education had not advanced far enough in the
South to allow for full representations.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti returned to the point that many of the
Northern tribes were as backward as anyone in the South and had not
previously had Councils of their own. We suggested that there should
Province Councils in each of the Southern Provinces which should send
Chief Ukuma Bazia asked why the South had not been included in the
Mr. Kingdon said that Sir Douglas Newbold had answered that question at
the time when the Advisory Council was first started. He said Southerners
had not reached a standard of education which would enable them to represent
their compatriots in such a Council.
Chief Ukuma Bazia asked if, when Sir Douglas Newbold gave this
explanation, the Northern Sudanese were satisfied with it.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti replied emphatically that the Northern
Sudanese were not satisfied.
Sgt. Major Philemon stated that the Southerners were like children in
their relations with the grown up Northerners and that, as children must
drink milk before they eat kisra, so the Southerners must first study
self-government before participating in governing.
Chief Cir Rehan said that the South was distinct from the North. If he
went to the North, would the Northerners listen to his words as the representative of the Southern
The Juba Conference June 1947 7
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti said they would.
Chief Cir Rehan replied that the Southerners should go on learning under
their British Administrators and in due course they would acquire
understanding. He could not see that at the present time, Northerners could
understand the needs of Southerners.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti said that he was understanding them now and
that if they came to the North then the Northerners and the Southerners
would have the opportunity of understanding each other even better.
Chieg Cir Rehan was still dissatisfied and said that the Southerners must
have training in Councils before they could represent their people.
Dr. Habid Abdalla remarked that in his opinion all the Southerners
present were labouring under the misconception that all Northerners have
great training and experience in matters of government. The difference
between Northerners and Southerners was much less than they though, in fact
it was negligible. The Southerners should not be afraid of being at
disadvantage vis a vis the Northerners in matters of self-government.
Sgt. Major Philemon admitted that was in fact what he was afraid of, amd
could not see why the Northerners should not simply invite them North to
enable them first of all to observe the procedure. He added that the
Southerners could not ignore pas history.
Hassan Fertak replying to Judge Shingeiti said that everything had to
have a beginning. The North had its Advisory Council for four years and was
now ready for the next steps, a Legislative Assembly. They were like pupils
who had been through class 1 and now were going into class II. The South had
not yet been through class I and it would be absurd to put them straight
into class II.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti explained that members of the Advisory Council
had not all been at the same stage, some were advanced than others and the
less advanced has learnt a lot from the more advanced.
Hassan Fertak pointed out that the less advanced had any rate many
contacts and much in common with the more advanced members.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti drew attention to the fact that the Conference
in which they were engaged was very similar to a meeting of the Advisory
Council, and if Southerners could speak for themselves in this Conference
The Juba Conference June 1947 8
why should they not do so in a Legislative Assembly?.
Mr. Marwood stressed the difference between an Advisory Council and a
Legislative Assembly which would have powers to make laws and would have
some control over the administration. Judge Shingeiti had not yet given any
convincing reason why the first step of an Advisory Council which had been
found necessary in the North should not be equally necessary in the South.
Sheik Serur Mohd. Ramli wished to return to the basic point of whether
the Sudan was to be a single united nation. Before details of representation
were discussed it was necessary to have that point settled.
Mr. Marwood nominated a speaker to reply but objection was taken to this
by Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti who said that if anybody wanted to speak they
shoulddo so without prompting from the Governor.
The Chairman asked whether anybody present had any objections to the
Unity of the Sudan.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti complained that this was outside the meeting's
terms of reference but the Civil Secretary refused to admit this. The Civil
Secretary again addressed the meeting and said that if nobody spoke on this
subject then they would assume agreement on the principle of the Unity of
Chief Lapponya stated that the principle of unity could only be decided
later when the Southerners were grown up, by which time they would be in a
position to decide whether to join the North or go to the Belgian Congo or
The Chairman explained that people could not get up and go where they
like just like that.
Mr. Owen addressed the Northern Sudanese and explained that they were
still suffering from the sins of Zubeir Pasha and the slavers. "The sins of
the Fathers shall be vested upon their children even unto the third and
fourth generation". He said that the South had not forgotten the days of
oppression even if the North had done so, and even today the Southerners
view was dominated by fear and suspicion. He concluded that the Southerners
would never willingly join the North until the latter should prove by their
acts, not merely by their words, that they had undergone a change of heart.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti stressed that Northerners had no desire to
dominate the South. They maintained that the country as one and the policy
of this country was made in Khartoum, so the Northerners wanted the
The Juba Conference June 1947 9
Southerners to join with them in the formation of policy for a whole
Mr. Owen had referred to the slave trade which they could not but be feld
bound to point out that the British had in their time been the biggest slave
traders in history. The West Indies were populated by Africans who had been
enslaved in the past by the British but with the growth of public opinion
the British had come to realise the evils of the slave trade. What had
happened in England had now happened in the Northern Sudan where it was
fully realised that slavery was barbaric and harmful. It had happened that,
under this Government, slaves had been introduced into the Sudan from
Abyssinia. He had himself been a Sub-Mamur in the White Nile at that time
and had personally taken part in the freeing of these slaves. This trade had
been discovered by the vigilance of Sudanese Officials. Northerners had no
evil intentions towards the South. If they had they would not have been
prepared to put up the money for the Zande Scheme.
Chief Lapponya said that when British and Northerners had first come to
their country in 1914, the Northerners had despised and insulted
Southerners. Southerners were also envious of the Northerners because they
were paid at higher rates.
Chief Gir Kiro admitted that the Sudan was a single country, but said
that this was the first time they had ever taken part in a conference of
this kind how could they be expected to send representatives to an assembly
in Khartoum? The Northerners were their elder brothers and were inviting
them to swim across the river with the Northerners.
Chief Cir Rehan said that he and Chief Gir Kiro were answerable to their
people and must speak for them. At the Gogrial and Tonj Councils their
people had said they had no objection to live as brothers with the
Northerners but they wanted to wait and learn before joing them. That is
what he and Chief Gir Kiro were saying now.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti said that the Southerners could best learn in
the course of the work they would do in the Province and District Councils.
The Chairman summed up at this point and said that so far the discussion
boiled down to two facts. Firstly, that most Southerners present (Shingeiti
Eff. "All of them":) were agreed that the Sudan was one country. Secondly,
that the Southerners were not yet advanced enough to take part in the
Legislative Assembly but would in their opinion be able to participate after
a period of educational training in Southern Councils.
The meeting then adjourned for 15 minutes.
The Juba Conference June 1947 10
The Chairman referred to note 2 of the Minutes of the Preliminary
Meeting. If it was proposed to send people to the Legislative Assembly as
learners, how many would they wish to send and how would they be chosen.
The Administration Conference had recommended that there should be 13
representatives from the South.
Chief Ukuma Bazia said that this point had not been discussed as they
did not know if the suggestion would be accepted. They would certainly wish
to select them themselves rather than that they should be appointed by the
Siricio Iro said that they would wish at first to send a large number
probably more than the 15 suggested.
Mr. Kingdon asked what language or languages would be used in the
Legislative Assembly?. If there were too many it would cayse serious delay
in the proceedings.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti said that the proceedings would be in English
and Arabic, but there would be no difficulty in having them translated into
the language of any member who did not understand either of these.
Mr. Kingdon pointed out that the absence of a large number of the leading
personalities for prolonged periods would cause a serious delay in the
advance of local government.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti said that the government of the people must be
represented and that the foundation of Representative Government lay in the
Town, Rural District, and Province Councils. Thus he considered that in the
South there should be Town Councils in places like Juba, and Wau. Rural
Councils in the Districts, and a Province Council formed from the leaders of
the Town and Rural Councils. This he considered could be achieved in one
year in the South. Some three or four of the Southern representatives of the
Legislative Assembly could be chosen from the Province Council. The Province
Governor could nominate others, being guided only by the interests of the
Province. In due course these nominated members to the Legislative Assembly
would be replaced by members selected or elected from the Province Council,
which in the normal course of its deliberations would automatically effect
the necessary training and education of its members. All this had already
taken place in the North, and he saw no reason why the same should not
happen in the South.
Clement Mboro asked what would happen if the Legislative Assembly were to
The Juba Conference June 1947 11
meet bore these Province Councils are set up?
The Chairmnan pointed out that if was hoped that the Legislative Assembly
would be set up farily soon, but there might be some delay.
Mohd. Saleh Eff. Shingeiti presumed that Governors would nominate
representatives in that case, but emphasised that Southern representation
was essential or the North would have everything its own way.
Clement Mboro though that considerably more than 13 should be sent from
the South, even though they did not take part in the debates, in order to
study the art of government.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti pointed out that the places to learn the art of
government was in Local Government.
Clement Mboro pleaded for patience till the Southerners were sufficiently
advanced to play their part in the Assembly.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti said that the North could not wait until the
South caught up. If Southerners could take part in an Advisory Council they
could take part in a Legislative Assembly.
Clement Mboro again stressed the essential difference between an Advisory
Council and a Legislative Assembly. The number of representatives to be sent
to the North should be more than 13. When asked by the Chairman to explain
his reasons for this, he said it would form a wider field for selection when
the time came to appoint the 13 members to the Legislative Assembly proper.
Mr. Owen asked Clement Mboro if these Southerners would go to the North
to study the Legislative Assembly only, or would they have to report back to
a Southern Advisory Council.
Clement Mboro said they would have to report back to the Southern
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti protested that the Conference was useless as
long as Southern Members present came with fixed ideas which they had
conceived before the Conference began.
The Chairman replied that the Conference was quite open and that what was
taking place now was an elucidation of the Southerner's reasons for the
various decisions they had come to.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti repeated that the Southerner's ideas had
The Juba Conference June 1947 12
already been fixed and that therefore the Conference was fruitless.
The Chairman summed up the previous discussion as follows: Firstly, that
the Southerners were agreed to send a number of representatives to the North
in order to observe the process of Government, to broaden their minds, and
to report back to the Southern Advisory Council. Secondly, that no fixed
numbers had been agreed upon but that more than 13 should go. He went on to
ask how these representatives were to be selected.
Clement Mboro replied that the Government should begin now with Local
Councils which in due course would be able to send representatives, but in
the mean time the Government should nominate representatives.
Dr. Habib Abdulla deprecated the separatist tendency that would be
fostered by any proposals to treat the Southern Sudan on a different footing
from the North.
Father Guido Akou said that the North wanted immediate Southern
representation in an Assembly which would legislate for the whole Sudan.
Southerners were afraid of this because they felt that through lack of
understanding, their representatives might agree to laws which would prove
Edward Adhok considered that there was no-one from Upper Nile capable of
representging his people in such an Assembly. The Shilluk Council had not
been a success so far owing to lack of experience of members. He himself did
not feel qualified to represent his own prople or take the responsibility of
committing them to laws which, owing to a lack of understanding on his part,
might not be for the benefit of his peoples.
Ibrahim Eff. Bedri said that when a man thinks he is backward it is
difficult to persuade him that he is not, and that the Northern Sudanese
must appreciate this difficulty.
Chief Lolik Lado regretted that he was not ready for these discussions as
he had not been able to consult his people before coming to Juba. He said
however, that a girl who has been asked to marry a young man usually wants
time to hear reports of that young man from other people before consenting
likewise before coming to any fixed decisions about their relations with the
Northerners. The ancestors of the Northern Sudanese were not peace-loving
and domesticated like cows. The younger generation claim that they mean no
harm, but time would show what they would in fact do. He agreed to
unification with the North but insisted on the Southerner's need for
protection and for further time to consider the matter in conference with
the elders of the people. An immediate decision could not be taken now.
The Juba Conference June 1947 13
Sheikh Sorur Mohd Ramli thought that Southerners need have nor fear laws
which interferred with their customs for they could be administered with
discretion. He quoted the law against pharaonic circumcision which had been
passed by the Sudan Government at the request of the Advisory Council. This
law was only enforced on the express direction of the Governor who took into
account all the circumstances. Any laws passed by the Legislative Assembly
which ran counter to Southern customs could doubtless make similar
Chief Tete said that Northerners still despised and frequently insulted
Southerners. A child must be brought up gradually and Southerners must learn
to walk before they try to run.
The Chairman then referred to para 3 of the Memorandum and the minute of
the preliminary meeting, and asked what safeguards the Southerners had in
Chief Ukuma Bazia instanced the customs of his people to draw their teeth
and feared that Northerners who think this a barbarous custom might try to
stop it by law.
Dr. Habib Abdalla said that the best safeguard that Southerners should
members of the Legislative Assembly.
Chief Buth Diu said that Northerners claim to have no desire to dominate
the South, but this was not enough and there must be safeguards. There
should be no settlement by Northerners on land in the South without
permission. Secondly there must be no interference from the North in Local
Government in the South. Thirdly there should be a law to prevent a
Northerner calling a Southerner a slave.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti pointed out that such an insult was in fact
punishable under the Penal Code.
James Tembura said, on the subject of safeguards, that they must ensure
that Northerners who have children by Southerner women must not desert them
when they go back to the North.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti replied that this was to the Government's
fault since the government bids these wives and children to go North.
James Tembura in reply to a question by the Chairman assented that he was
referring to cases where Northerners were properly married to Southern women
by local custom and by Moslem law.
The Juba Conference June 1947 14
Dr. Habib Abdulla thought that the reason for these cases of desertion
were to be found in the variety of laws governing marriage in the Sudan, and
that this could be rectified by future legislation.
The Chairman thought that further discussion on this point would not be
profitable as it had little to do with the safeguards they were at present
Mr. Marwood said that one sort of safeguards he had in mind was that laws
affecting local customs could only be enforced at the discretion of the
The Chairman then referred to the suggestion to set up an Advisory
Council for the Southern Sudan, and the Minute from the Preliminary Meeting
on this point. In particular he asked what was meant by the expression
"people of legal respect".
Clement Mboro said that they had intended by this phrase men who had
experience of Local Government and of the working of Councils and people who
know and sympathises with Southerners.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti asked how long such Advisory Council would
Clement Mboro thought that it would be like the Advisory Council for the
Northern Sudan and last a few years only, but that it might possibly be
necessary to keep it in existence after Southern representatives had taken
their places in the Legislative Assembly.
Hassan Eff. Ahmed Osman felt that this would mean separation of North and
The Chairman deplored the tendency to regard any suggestion that Southern
problems should be treated in a different manner from those in the North as
a conspiracy to divide North from the South.
Dr. Habib Abdulla thought that there would be some delay in setting up
the Legislative Assembly and that if in the mean while real progerss should
be made with the advancement of Local Government and Local Councils,
Southerners might feel that a suitable form of representation could be
worked out by them in which they could have confidence.
Hassan Fertak thought that a Southern Advisory Council would have the
merit of providing a reserve of potential representatives to the Legislative Assembly.
The Juba Conference June 1947 15
The Chairman pointed out in reply that this could equally well be done by
Province Councils once they started.
Shiekh Serur Mohd Ramli considered that the differences between North and
South would no longer present any difficulty once Local Governments
developed in the South.
The meeting then adjourned until 9.30 a.m. on 13th June 1947.
The Conference reopened at 9.30 a.m. on Friday the 13th June 1947.
The Chairman explained that the nature of the Conference was exploratory
and that no decisions were being taken. They were all there to learn each
other's ideas. The decisions, if any would be taken later by the Central
Government. He deplored the mutual suspicion which aconed to exist between
Northerners and Southerners. The Northerners on the one hand were suspecting
the Southerners of wanting to separate from the North (and the Government of
desiring this separation). The Southerners on the other hand were suspecting
that the Northerners wished to dominate them. It was essential to get away
from these suspicions so that they would all talk together.
Summing up the discussion of the day before the Chairman said that the
following conclusions had been arrived at: -
Firstly that the Southerners want a Unified Sudan;
Secondly, that they want to participate in the proposed Legislative
Assembly, but that,
Thirdly, they were not sufficiently advanced to do so immediately,
Fourthly, it was important to hasten the establishment and the
development of Local Government in the South,
Fifthly, that at first Southerners should attend the Legislative
Assembly as observers. These should be more than the 13 eventual members.
Questions were asked about safeguards but they had been misunderstood.
Southern spokesman had referred to these specific hurts they wished to be
defended from rather than the general method to be adopted to protect them
from these hurts.
The Chairman referred to para 4 the Southerners answers to the questions
The Juba Conference June 1947 16
put in his Memorandum. Some reference had been made to it the day before,
but the discussion had not been complete. He personally thought that a
Southern Advisory Council was unnecessary, and that Province Councils would
be adequate. In Province Councils there would be great opportunity for more
people to meet and discuss and thereby learn the art of Government. He also
thought that this would be more agreeable to the people of the North. The
Chairman invited comments on this subject.
Dr. Habib Abdullah referred to the differences of opinion and suspicions
between the North and South which had been mentioned by the Chairman, and
asked permission to go over the ground of yesterday's debate to bring out
certain important points. There were certain essential things, which must be
agreed before other matters could be discussed. Secondly, there was no
reason why laws made for the Sudan as a whole should be harmful to one part
of it. There were two kinds of laws. Laws which protected person and
properly which were welcome to everybody, and laws relating to taxation etc.
which nobody liked. Reference had frequently been made to political
Backwardness of Southerners in the Sudan each with its own customs and
conditions. They were all of the same economic standard for they were all
poor and in need of economic advance.
Religion might differ, but each had his own. There was no reason to say
that any one section was more backward that another. It was true that some
Southerners went naked, but some Northerners never wash. No one wished to
upset the Government. The Government wished to teach the Sudanese to govern
themselves and told them they could not learn to do so without taking
responsibility. Finally he wished to know why the Southern members had asked
for an Advisory Council for the South.
The Chairman pointed out this had been answered the previous day when the
Southerners had said that the North had practiced in Advisory Council for
four years that a baby had to drink milk before it could eat kisra. This
appeared to be a full answer to the question. The point now before the
meeting was whether there should not be Province Councils instead of a
single Advisory Council.
Siricio Iro thought that Province Councils would be a good thing and that
Southern Members to the Legislative Assembly could later be drawn from these
Councils. There was no wonder or mystery about these Councils, it was a
matter of common sense and the Councils would be comparable to the present
Chief's Courts. The experience gained in these Councils would assist the
Southerners in their deliberation with the Northerners.
Kamuyengi Ababa referred to the difference between Northern and Southern
rates of pay for work, which was, in effect, the same, and to the reasons
The Juba Conference June 1947 17
given for this by his District Commissioner, that is to say, lack of
education in the South, and lower rates of taxation in the South. He
referred to the higher standard of housing enjoyed by Northern Officials,
and concluded that although they were the sons of one father it seemed to
him that father was treating his brother better than himself.
Clement Mboro stated that since the Conference of the day before he had
fundamentally changed his mind and now considered that the best way in
which the Southerners could protect themselves would be to go to Khartoum
now to legislate together with the Northerners. Any Councils formed in the
South would be defenseless before the Legislative Assembly. An Advisory
Council was advisory only and its advice could easily be rejected by the
Legislative Assembly or similar body. It was best for the Southerners to go
and legislate now in spite of their backwardness, since the Southerners
could speak for themselves in the present Conference, there was no reason
why they should could not speak for themselves in a Legislative Assembly. If
any law was proposed which was not agreeable to the South they could stand
up and object. The Southerners must defend themselves and speak and think
Mr. Owen asked Clement Mboro what his safeguard would be if in spite of
the Southern objections in the Legislative Assembly a law was passed which
was against the interests of the Southerners?
Clement Mboro replied that the Government would protect them.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti protested against Mr. Owen's question. His
protest was over-ruled.
Clement Mboro went on to say that if the Government could not protect
them there must be rules and legislations in the Legislative Assembly which
would do so. Mean time, the Government must press on without delay with the
Establishment of Province, District, and Town Councils in the South.
Chief Cir Rehan in their country they had originally been given courts,
and when they had learnt to use them the Government had set up a Council of
about 40 men with three for the chest. They had found this very different
from the Court work and had it not been for the help of the D.C. they could
not have made it work at all. They had found this Conference different
again. When they discussed amongst themselves the first day they took five
hours to reach their decisions. He was certain that Northerners would have
completed the business in one hour (laughtor). What they had said yesterday
was not their own opinion only but that of their people. They had agreed to
join the North in a Government for the whole Sudan only if they were given
time. Was he to go back and tell his people that the Northerners insisted on
The Juba Conference June 1947 18
their coming in at once or not at all? He did not feel that is showed a
brotherly feeling to try and force them.
James Tembura said that he agreed emphatically with what Clement Mboro
had said with regard to immediate representation in the Legislative
The Chairman asked him why he had changed his mind since the previous
James Tembura replied that Judge Shingeiti had said that if they did not
do so they would have no say in the future Government of the Sudan, and he
had thought this over very carefully the previous night after considering
what had been said during the day.
Chief Tete said he wanted to study in the South until he was clver enough
to go to the North. One could not begin to do work which one did not
Sgt. Major Philermon Majok said that they were speaking on behalf of
their people and that they, as spokesmen, could see more clearly than the
people. He thought that if the Southerners adopted a "go slow" policy now
they would never reach the required level. The Southerners could speak their
mind in a Legislative Assembly just as a Chief could speak to Chief's Court
or as a Major Court Member could speak to D.C. presiding. In a Legislative
Assembly there would be somebody to defend them and guide them. In spite of
his statement the day before he now thought that there was no danger in
sending Southerners to the North to join in the Legislative Assembly as soon
as it was formed.
Chief Lolik Lado said that the day before they had spoken for their
people and could not change their words today. The Southerners wanted to
send representatives to the North but so far they had found nobody to send.
The Government would later select the right people to go to speak on their
Chief Lapponya thought that if representativesa were to be sent to a
Legislative Assembly they should have had previous experience in the
Councils of their own. It was impossible to send untrained recruits into
battle. When the Governor thought they were sufficiently trained he would
send them into the firing line.
Hassan Fertak said that they were all, or nearly all, agreed that the
Sudan was one country and that was the most important decision that had to
be made. They were also agreed that Province Councils should be formed. He
The Juba Conference June 1947 19
wanted to know when the Legislative Assembly was like to be set up.
The Chairman said they hoped it would be very soon, but he could not say
Hassan Fertak could see no reason why their representatives should not,
for the time being, watch the proceedings in order to learn, without being
full voting members.
The Chairman said that there seemed to have been a change of mind among
some of the Southern members, but that discussion had been a useful one. He
would now like to return to the question he asked at the beginning of the
session.Did they wish to have one Advisory Council for the South or a
Province Council for each Province? From what had been said, it apeared that
they favoured Province Councils, and that these Councils should send
representatives to the Legislative Assembly. There was some difference of
opinion whether these representatives should be full voting members from the
start, or whether they should at first watch the proceedings until they had
some experience of procedure.
Buth Diu thought that the Southerners shouyld send representatives to the
North not only to study, but to participate in legislation, finance, and
administration. He referred to para 2 of the Civil Secretary's Memorandum,
and thought that the best way of representing the South would be to send
people who had been attached to outstations for three or four years, and
also those who had served a long time with the Government. The Government
should appoint the best representatives, four representatives from Upper
Nile Province were enough. Of the 10 members to be nominated by the
Governor-General, 2 could be from Upper Nile Province. An Advisory Council
for the South would be the first step towards seperation. It was much better
to have Province Councils. Laws m,ade by the Legislative Assembly should not
be enforced without the consent of the Governor or the Governor-General.
The Chairman explained that in any case according to the report of the
Administration Conference all laws made by the Legislative Assembly would be
referred to the Governor-General for his comments.
Chief Luoth Ajak agreed with Buth Diu.
The meeting adjourned for 15 minutes.
When the Conference reopened the Chairman referred the Members to para 5
of his Memorandum, and said that some of the subject matter therein had
already been discussued by the Southerners at their own meeting held prior
to the opening of the present Conference. With regard to Permits to Trade
The Juba Conference June 1947 20
the Southerners had expressed their opinion in their para 5, sub para 1, 2 &
3. The Council referred to in para 5, sub para 2 was presumablý a Local
Council, District or Province.
Shiekh Serur Mohd Ramli said that if the conditions stipulated by the
Southerners were necessary it would be a matter for the Local Council to
The Chairman asked whether the conditions laid down by the Southerners
had reference to Northern traders only or to all non-Southern traders.
Chief Ukuma Bazia and others explained that they referred to all
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti explained that the licensing authority would
probably be the Local Council who would have to attach what conditions they
liked to the licence. It was not necessary to define these conditions now.
If the Local Councils were given adequate power the conditions attached, to
traders licences could safely be left to them.
The Chairman asked Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti if he was speaking on behalf
f the Legal Secretary for for himself only.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti said that he was speaking for himself only.
The Chairman explained that his reason for asking that question was that
the Legal Secretary adhered firmly to the view that licences should be
bought over the Merkaz Counter and that there should be no restrictions.
Mr. Marwood pointed out that the Local Government Authorities were not,
in law, the issuing authority for Trader's Licences. If Judge Shingeiti's
proposal to hand over this authority to Local Government's and to enable
them to impose what conditions they liked were adopted, it would presumably
apply in the North as well as in the South.
Mohd Saleh Eff. Shingeiti said that in the North there were no
restrictions (apart from certain temporary restrictions resulting from the
war) attached to the issue of traders licences. It was open to the
Conference, however, to recommend that Local Authorities be empowered to
make such restrictions.
The Chairman explained that in the South there were two licences which a
non-Southern trader had to take out. One was the ordinary trader's licence
without restrictions, and the other a special licence under the Permits to
Trade Order. The reason for this was that in the past many Gallaba with
The Juba Conference June 1947 21
little ´capital and a tendency to exploit the unsophisticated came to the
South and the Permits Order was brought in to protect the tribesmen from
this type of traders. If the Permits to Trader Order was cancelled, how was
the South to be protected from a possible influx of such people?.
Chief Buth Diu said that at the preliminary meeting they had decided to
recommend that the Permits to Trade Order be cancelled under certain
conditions. The reason for this was that the Sudan Administration Conference
had feld strongly that the Permits to Trade Order was a hinderance to the
unification of the South. The majority at the meeting were against the
cancellation of this Order, but the minority had persuaded the majority to
agree, provided certain conditionbs were laid down.
Chief Leuith Ajak emphasied the fear of the Southerners that a crowd of
hungry Gallaba would invade the South and swamp them and cheat the people.
James Tembura said that the feeling at the preliminary meeting was that
rich traders from the North and elsewhere should be restricted to the big
towns, leaving the bush shops for Southerners who wished to learn
Mr. Owen asked James Tembura if he thought there were enough Southerners
who wanted to open bush shops, as in his experience there were
disappointingly few who wished to do so.
James Tembura replied that he thought that there were enough.
Chief Lolik Lado was sure that many Southerners wanted to open shops.
Chief Tete agreed and added that many ex-soldiers wanted to open shops
with their gratuities.
The Chairman thought that what the Southerners wanted was a safeguard
that Northerners should not come and open shops in the villages, but that
village shops should reserved for Southerners. He asked Mohd Saleh Eff.
Shingeiti if the Legal Secretary would agree to that. Mohd Saleh Eff.
Shingeiti thought the he would.
The Chairman though there was little difference between this and the old
permits to Trade Order.
Hassan Eff Ahmed Osman thought that the difference lay in this: that
although Local Authorities should have power to refuse a licence
disappointed applicants would still have the right of appeal against their
The Juba Conference June 1947 22
Mr. Marwood thought that present legislation in the Sudan was deficient.
A permit to trade was merely a piece of financial machinery, but there was
no Ordinance governing the proper conduct or trade in the Sudan. Some
legislation was necessary to ernsure the proper conduct of trade, and this
legislation should apply to the whole of the Sudan. The proposed Legislative
Assembly might consider this in due course.
Clement Mboro exlplained thatwhat the Southerners had intended was that
adequate opportunity should be left to the Southerner to become a trader.
Mohd Saleh Eff Shingeiti explained Mr. Marwood's point that before
conditions could be attached to the issue or a trader's licence a law must
be enacted to that affect.
The Chairman said this seemed to imply a permit to Trade Order for the
whole Sudan in fact (laughter).
Chief Ukuma Bazia though that 1928 Order should stand until they heard
that the Legislative Assembly had to say about it.
Hassan Eff Ahmed Osman thought that there was noi basic difference of
opinion between Northerners and Southerners with regard to the need for
protecting villagers against adventurers og whatever nationality.
The Chairman considered that was what the Permits to Trade Order was, in
effect, doing at present. There was a good deal of muddled thinking about
this Order in the North.
Mohd Saleh Eff Shingeiti agreed that this may be so, but explained that
the Northerners considered that the Permit to Trade Order was being applied
in such a way as to hinder economic development in the South. The best
remedy lay in ensuring that disappointed applicants should have right of
appeal to a Court of Justice.
Mr. Marwood thought there was a common misconceptionb that his office was
full of rejected applications from people outside the Province. In the past
three or four months only one or two had come in. In one of these cases he
had asked the trader where he wanted to trade, and what capital he had to
build shops and buy lorries for trfansport etc. He awaited his reply. The
permits to Trade Order had been interpreted exactly as this meeting would
have like it to be interpreted. Small traders with a capital of only Ls10 or
so were not wanted. Responsible traders with capital are wanted. The last
thing he wanted to do was to hinder economic development.
The Juba Conference June 1947 23
The Chairman summed up and thought they were all agreed that it was
necessary to improve trade and that merchants with capital were wanted to
improve and develop the country, and that people should be protected against
adventurers and exploitors. He thought that the Southerners wanted to stress
that there should be enough places left in the villages to give Southerners
the opportunity to set up as traders and in due course build up bigger
businesses of their own. When they returned to Khartoum they would consider
the recommendation of this meeting.
The next point for discussion was the question of unification of
educational policy in the North and South, and the teaching of Arabic.
Mr. Owen asked for a clarification of the phrase "one educational
Mr. Kingdon thought that the reply to this question by the preliminary
meeting of the Southerners in their minute 5 (a) was self contradictory.
Hassan Eff Ahmed Osman thought that this meant merely that the curricula
in Northern and Southern Schools should be the same. He did not find any
contradiction in the recommendation that education in bush Schools should be
in vernacular and that English and Arabic should be taught in Elementary and
James Tembura said that the Southerners felt srongly that a boy should
first learn to read and write in his own language and could later go on to
Mohd Saleh Eff Shingeiti felt that it should be left to the
educationalist to say if a boy could learn two foreign languages in the
The Chairman pointed out that the essential difference in practice
between North and South was that in the North a boy learnt in Arabic to the
end of the elementary and did not start to learn a foreign language before
then. The meeting felt that Arabic should be taught as soon as the boy was
able to learn it, but that is should be left to the educationalist to say
when this stage was reached.
Pastor Anderea Apaia asked if the introduction of Arabic would apply to
The Chairman thought that this was the general opinion of the meeting.
Dr. Habib Abdalla thought that Southerners were still thinking of education in terms of
The Juba Conference June 1947 24
preparation for government service, an idea still held
by many Northerners, and he though that the reasons Southeners were so
anxious for the same education as the Northerners was to strengthen their
claim to receive the same rates of pay as the Northeners.
The Chairman referred to the great shortage of teachers in the North and
doubted if Northerners would be prepared to restrict their educational
expansion to send Arabic teachers to the South.
Mohd Saleh Eff Shingeiti felt that the available teachers should be
equally distributed between North and South, and even more generously to the
South to help them catch up. If the Northerners were not willing to do this
they should not claim that the Sudan was a single country.
Buth Diu thought that there must be no delay in the introiduction of
Arabic to Schools to enable them to catch up with the North.
Chief Lolik Lado thought that there might be some difficulties caused by
introduction of Arabic. He had found that Catholics and Protestants did not
readily co-operate, and he feared that this would be a new complication.
Pastor Anderea Apaya said that both English and Arabic were difficult
languages and doubted if boys at the elementary stage could assimilate both.
He was not against the introduction of Arabic, and in fact welcomed it, but
doubted if it was feasible at that stage.
The Chairman felt that it must be left to the Director of Education to
say at what stage a pupil could start learning a second foreign language.
Father Guido Akou asked for an explanation of the phrase "single
Mohd Saleh Eff Shingeiti thought that it meant firstly that the standards
of equivalent schools should be roughly equal, and secondly that a boy
leaving a Southern Intermediate School should be able to go straight to a
Northern Secondary School. In addition pupils of both parts of the country
should have a similarity of outlook.
Father Guido Akou asked if this unification of policy was to be
implemented at once.
The Chairman thought that there was a misunderstanding in the use of this
phrase, in that the bush schools corresponded to Sub-Grade Schools in the
North, Elementary Schools in both are as were in the same footing, and so
were Intermediate Schools and from this point of view educational policy was
The Juba Conference June 1947 25
in fact the same in North and South.
Mr. Marwood said that for the last ten years the education Department had
been exercising more and more supervision in Mission Schools and the
Inspector had devoted much time and energy to working with the Mission
Schools authorities to ensure that curricula and standards should approach
those of the North as closely and quickly as possible.
Hassan Eff Ahmed Osman was grateful to Mr. Marwood for dispelling much of
the misunderstanding which existed on the question of unified education. He
thought it not irrelevant to request that the sending of Southerners boys to
Uganda should be discontinued. The medium of instruction in the North is
English in Higher and Secondary education, and Arabic was studied only as a
subject. Southern boys should therefore go North for Higher and Secondary
The Chairman said that the sending of boys to Uganda had been a temporary
expedient since the Schools in the North were too full to take them. In due
course there would be a Secondary School for the South and Southerners would
go to Gordon College for Higher education.
The Chairman then raised the question of improvement of communications.
The meeting was generally in favour of an improvement of communications
between North South.
The Chairman went to consider the question of the transfer of officials,
and thought that this could be best discussed in a small committee with the
Director of Establishment as it did not concern all the Members present.
Mr. Marwood thought that the Chiefs were concerned in so far as the
proposed Local Council would require eduacted staff and must find money to
pay this staff. In the Northg he believed that at present most Local
Councils employed seconded government officials on government rates of pay,
but that the time will come the Council would employ staff independently of
the government. In the South the Local Councils would have to decide how
much they could afford to pay for their staff, and choose between a highly
paid government official and local boy requiring lesser remuneration.
The Chairman wanted to know what the Southerners meant by the term
"encouragement of transfers". A transfer was a transfer and brooked no
discussion. He referred to instances where some Northerners had attempted to
evade service in the South on medical grounds.
Mohd Saleh Eff Shingeiti admitted that much instances had occured, but
said that most Northerners who came South wanted to stay on there.
The Juba Conference June 1947 26
Buth Diu thought that Northerners were unwilling to come South noy only
because they were afraid of loosing their children through malaria, but also
because they were afraid of lions. He suggested that better housing would
remove this unwillingness. The Southerners on the other hand were unwilling
to go North because of the extensive use of Arabic in offices.
Clement Mboro referred to paras 5, Sub para (b) of the minute of the
Southerners preliminary meeting, and he said he wished to stress how
strongly they adhered to the unification of the system of establishment.
This must be decided in this Conference. And not in seperate committee.
Refusal to unify establishments was in his opinion the greatest obstacle in
the way of a unified Sudan.
The Chairman considered that it was easy to discuss such an intricate
matter at this Conference. He noted the Southerners view. But thought a
small committee was best fitted to consider the matter in detail.
Mohd Saleh Eff Shingeiti asked if they could not agree on the broad
The Chairman replied that the Southern members present were already
agreed on the broad lines.
The Chairman in the closing the Conference thanked the members for coming
and felt that the deliberations has been of considerable value to
Southerners, to Northerners, and to the Government. He could not promise
that every suggestion would be carried out, nor when it would be carried
out, but he thanked them for their advise and recommendations which were of
Mr. Marwood said that this was the first opportunity that Southerners had
had to come together from all over the Southern Provinces to discuss these
things. He himself had felt, after the report of the Sudan Administration
Conference, that it was essential that Northern Sudanese and members of the
Central Government should hear from their own lips what Southerners felt
about these proposals. He was very grateful to the Civil Secretary and the
other mnembers who had come from the North for affording them this
Mohd Saleh Eff Shingeiti on behalf of the Northern Sudanese Members
thanked the Civil Secretary and the two Governors. The Civil Secretary as
Chairman had given everyone complete freedom to speak his mind. This was an
essential feature of such Conference. He thanked Mr. Marwood for giving them
this opportunity to meet the Southerners and hear their point of view. He
The Juba Conference June 1947 27
had been much impressed with what the Southerners had said and the way they
had said it, and wished them every success in their Local Councils so that
they would be able to send representatives to take a full part in the
Government of the Sudan.B.F.Bankie
Sudan Sensitisation Project (SSP)