HC Deb 15 March 1945 vol 409 cc386-8
48. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware of the apprehensions in this country that whilst the Dumbarton Oaks and the Crimea Conferences envisaged action by the new General International Organisation to prevent aggression by any of the smaller Powers, it is not clear that similar machinery can be invoked to prevent aggression by the great Powers; and will he ensure that His Majesty's Government delegates to the San Francisco Conference bear this in mind and see to it that great and small aggressive Powers shall be treated alike.

The Prime Minister

I have nothing to add to the statements made by the various speakers on behalf of the Government on this subject.

Mr. Davies

Are we not entitled to ask man clarify the point that the Dumbarton Oaks proposals assume that, if a small Power were guilty of aggression, it could be dealt with, but when a great Power is guilty of the same kind of aggression there is no method of dealing with it at all?

The Prime Minister

I am sorry that there should be a high degree of axiomatic truth in the fact stated by the hon. Member. We must always remember that in the world into which we are moving our opinions will not be the only ones which will have to be regarded.

Mr. Davies

Are we not entitled to ask therefore that our delegates at the San Francisco Conference will bear this important point in mind when discussing the problems so as to secure equality of treatment for great and small Powers alike?

The Prune Minister

We have made a perfectly voluntary agreement with the other two Great Powers gathered at Yalta, and it prescribes a differentiation between the greatest and the smallest Powers. We may deplore, if we choose, the fact that there is a difference between great and small, between the strong and the weak in the world, but there undoubtedly is such a difference, and it would be foolish to upset good arrangements which are proceeding on a broad front for the sake of trying to obtain immediately what is a hopeless ideal.

Sir Percy Harris

Will there not be free discussion at San Francisco, and will not our delegates be authorised to listen to sweet reason and argument?

The Prime Minister

I have not taken an intimate and direct part in the arrangements for the procedure at San Francisco. That will fall to others. But I should have thought it would be quite absurd if we were not to take note of the quite definite opinions which have been expressed, and which were focused in the decisions at Yalta.

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