§ 3.31 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Macmillan (Bromley)
During the lifetime of this Parliament, there has been a steady and progressive deterioration in the international situation, very similar to that of the years preceding the war and following Hitler's assumption of power. Hitlerite Germany represented all the worst aspects of German nationalism, combined with the vulgar and nauseating characteristics of Nazism and Fascism.
§ Mr. Macmillan
I understand that the hon. Gentleman will find nearly all this Debate rather painful to him. I therefore trust that he will get his interruptions over, clock in and report to his masters.
I was saying that, in the same way, the policy of the Kremlin today seems to unite into a single aggressive movement both the expansionist traditions of Russian imperialism and the subversive aims of international Communism.
§ Mr. Macmillan
What is true can always be re-stated. I suggest that, perhaps, those hon. Gentlemen who seem to regard this as very comic may realise, before the summer is out, that it is a very tragic affair.
§ Mr. Platts-Mills (Finsbury)
Where are you going to start the war? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman is in the same category. Silly threats.
§ Mr. Macmillan
I ask the hon. Gentleman to contain himself while we debate these grave matters. If he is in disagree- 376 ment, he will no doubt have an opportunity of expressing his views.
§ Mr. Platts-Mills
On a point of Order. The right hon. Gentleman has made a very grave threat, and has said that there is a danger of something that I gather means war this summer. Will he develop that and tell us what he means?
§ Mr. Macmillan
I shall try to develop it, if the hon. Gentleman will listen to me. Hitler relied mainly upon militarist aggression, although, of course he had his careful propaganda put out by his own movement—
§ Mr. Macmillan
Moscow relies on a skilful form of the "putsch," which gives the appearance of a genuine internal movement to the revolutionary processes which have turned one country after another into her satellites. Thus, in many ways, the Russian method is modelled more upon the Napoleonic than upon the Hitlerite model. The revolution is represented as meaning social freedom, but it becomes in fact the path to national servitude. While Moscow has been mainly concerned with the creation of a ring of satellite States, we must not forget how immense have been her territorial gains since the outbreak of the Second World War. While the British Empire has been in partial liquidation—I believe that is the orthodox phrase—the Czar's Empire has been almost wholly reconstituted and even extended. The Baltic states, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, have all been reabsorbed—
§ Mr. Gallacher
On a point of Order. You have ruled on several occasions in this House, Mr. Speaker, that offensive remarks about a friendly nation are not desirable. I know that my hon. Friend behind me has been pulled up once or twice. Is it not most offensive on the part of the right hon. Gentleman deliberately to go out of his way in order to introduce his own old friend the Czar and his rotten clique as having any association with Russia?
§ Mr. Speaker
I understand that the right hon. Gentleman was saying nothing offensive. I gathered that he was stating the facts.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Further to that point of Order. There is no fact whatever concerning the existence of the Czar or Czarism in Russia. This is a deliberate attempt to make a case. The Czar was the right hon. Gentleman's own old friend.
§ Mr. Macmillan
The trouble about history and truth is that too often they are somewhat offensive to those who do not like them. I was discussing the Baltic states, and I was saying that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have all been reabsorbed, with all the attendant horrors of the prison camps and the liquidation of the middle classes. Part of Finland, including Viipuri, with 400,000 inhabitants, has been taken over since the outbreak of the Second World War. Quite apart from the new aggression, we must remember the immense growth of the Russian Empire as it has been reconstituted.
§ Mr. Macmillan
The provinces of Bessarabia and Bukovina in Roumania have been annexed, along with Moldavia and the Carpatho-Ukraine, and Koenigsberg on the one sea and Petsamo on the other have been seized. Since 1939, it is true to say that 70,000 square miles of territory and 24 million people have been added to the Russia Empire without any attempt, or even the colour of an attempt, to consult the people as to their wishes.
This constituted the first wave of aggression. The second wave is more recent, more spectacular and even more treacherous. It has involved the use—
§ Mr. Platts-Mills
On a point of Order. Is it in Order for the right hon. Gentleman in speaking about a friendly country to suggest that there has been treachery in the conduct of her affairs? Is it not right that the right hon. Gentleman should be called upon to justify that?
§ Mr. Speaker
I get a little tired of these phrases being bandied about when statements are made with which some hon. Members do not agree. Hon Members are entitled to state their own views, and all hon. Members should be ready to listen to the other side.
§ Mr. Macmillan
I say that these matters are better known to us because they involve countries with whom many hon. Members have had the closest associations and friendships dating back a long way; for instance, Czechoslovakia and Poland. This new menace now has under its control ex-enemy countries which, like Poland and Czechoslovakia, have looked to the Western tradition in religion and history, namely, Hungary and Roumania.
During the whole of this period of this seemingly irresistible advance we in Britain found ourselves going through a process of disillusionment and awakening which vividly recalls the pre-war years. At first we could scarcely believe it to be true; we could not believe that the genuine friendship, which we had honestly held out to our Russian Allies, could be so scornfully rejected. Never in history was such a fund of good will so rapidly accumulated or so recklessly squandered. We looked for the reason—we almost searched for excuses rather than face the harsh truth. His Majesty's Government have shown great patience, almost the patience of Job. They would not believe—they could not believe—that after the joint effort of war the alliance would fall so soon asunder.
For a time, as the House will remember, they toyed with the idea of playing the role of honest broker, of umpire, as it were, between Russia and America. They pretended to themselves that Marxist teaching was no longer dominant, that Lenin's theories and even Stalin's books did not mean what they plainly said. In the same way, pre-war statesmen either did not read or could not bring themselves to believe "Mein Kampf." Yet it must be admitted that neither the Nazis nor the Communists have ever disguised their purposes. Perhaps the deceit has been in this very shamelessness, for ordinary decent folk like our British people could hardly bring themselves to believe that what was set down in those books and writings was really meant in cold blood.
Now by a curious, and, perhaps, a unique repetition of history in each period of growing danger, it has fallen to one man to be the first to sense its menace and to proclaim fearlessly the remedy, and twice in a single lifetime to assume the role both of prophet and 379 patriot. I mean my right hon. Friend the Leader of His Majesty's Opposition. The remedy is the same today as it was then, as it has always been throughout all ages in our struggles for the defence of freedom. It is the great design, the grand alliance, collective security, call it what you will. Three years have passed almost to a day since the Fulton Speech. It is strange to recall the reception of that speech—
§ Mr. Macmillan
—both in Great Britain and in the United States. There were some who thought that the call to Anglo-American co-partnership in the defence of freedom was revolutionary, if not indecent. In Britain, opinion was much divided. The Government, especially the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary, ignored the speech out of deliberate policy. When questioned in the House, the Prime Minister replied that he was not called upon to express any opinion on a speech delivered in another country by a private individual.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
Would the right hon. Gentleman give us the date of the Fulton speech and tell us whether it took place before or after the deterioration in our relations with Russia which he said he was reluctant to believe?
§ Mr. Macmillan
I think that the hon. Member is in danger of getting on the fellow travellers' bus. I thought he had got out of that.
§ Mr. Silverman
After that sneer, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will now answer the question I asked him. I do not know what the right hon. Gentleman means by a "fellow traveller"—it is a term more often used than defined—but if he means that I am the sort of person, like so many of those behind him, who sides with his country's enemies during the war, he is mistaken.
§ Mr. Macmillan
I had already said that it was exactly three years ago, or practically three years ago, since that speech was made. A simple calculation would lead the hon. Gentleman to suppose that the speech was made some time in the month of March, 1946.
380 I say that the Government of the day were very reticent of that matter. But the Socialist Party was not reticent, and 80 members of the party in the House of Commons placed a Motion on the Order Paper—the terms of which I have before me—condemning the speech in the strongest terms. If they had had their way, my right hon. Friend would have been exorcised by bell, book and candle. And yet, three years later, the Government have come to precisely the policy which he laid down at that time. I hope that it will 'prove less than three years for the implementation of the Zurich speech and the effective working of the Council of Europe and the European Assembly.
We have recently debated for four days—with the Defence Debate itself—the question of defence in all its various aspects; in other words, the methods by which we seek to create sufficient force to prevent a shooting war. But although, thank heavens, we are not engaged in a hot war, we are engaged in a cold war, and today the real subject of Debate is the progress of the cold war. How do we stand? What are the prospects? Can we hold the present position? Can we recapture lost ground? Where are the danger spots? What are the weaknesses of the enemy's position, and how can we maintain our own?
In so wide a field, I think we must select two or three special points like a scientist in a laboratory, and the two points to which I wish to draw the attention of the House—the two points where Communist aggression has found its most dynamic expression touching most closely the interests of the Western Powers—are Germany and Greece. I should like to say a word about both. There are, of course, other points of equal danger in the Middle East and Near East, but it is to these two aspects that I want to confine what I have to say. These are the advanced posts where the Communist patrols and vedettes have established contact with their enemy. Behind this outpost screen are the forward but well-entrenched lines of the satellite States, but before we can deal with those we must engage and drive in the outposts.
First, Germany. The Berlin airlift began on 28th June, 1948. It has been, as we are fond of saying—and it is certainly true—a miracle of improvisation 381 on the part of the Services, and the statesmen owe a great debt to the Services because they really had no policy and the Services have saved them. But we have begun to accept the airlift as if it were a kind of permanent feature of our international life. It runs very well with a great precision, rather like a train on the Underground, overloaded, but remarkably accurate and punctual, considering the difficulties. But although it is a technical marvel, I must say quite frankly that, in my view, it is essentially an act of political appeasement.
Can the lift be prolonged indefinitely? I am not wondering about it in terms of money; its cost is very small compared with the cost of anything else. Although it is a great burden on the Air Force itself and on its machines and personnel, I am more concerned at a short-term expedient being allowed to crystallise into a sort of permanent existence. It certainly keeps the beseiged city of Berlin alive, but it does not keep it functioning. Before June, when the blockade was imposed, the estimate was that Berlin required about 320,000 tons monthly. According to the best figures that I can get, it is receiving now about 125,000 tons monthly. What, therefore, are we and the United States going to do about the blockade?
I remember when the Russians began the blockade they put forward a lot of technical reasons. They said, "It is very unfortunate, but the railway has broken and the signals are out of order." Then they said, "You cannot go by the road because the bridges are broken." Then they said, "As for the canal, the locks are not in working order." In other words, they made a smoke screen of excuses, meaning to retire behind them if they were pressed too hard. When they saw that the Allies did not intend to force the issue and did not intend to stand on their legal and contractual rights, all these excuses were swept away; they were no longer necessary. It became no longer "You cannot pass," but "You may not pass." It is true that we got over this by hopping over the top, but have we solved the problem? I often wonder what history will say of that decision in June last year. Were we right or wrong? Would we have done better to face the issue squarely then? [An HON. MEMBER: "War."] I 382 do not think there would have been war. I think there would have been a Russian retirement. At any rate, if we had decided not to enforce our rights, could we not then have taken some stronger counter-measures such as the economic boycott of the Eastern zone? That has been very slow in getting under way.
We wasted month after month in interminable and quibbling negotiations about the currency, and everybody knew that the currency was not the real cause of the dispute. The currency was merely the excuse for the dispute. It was a trial of wills between the Russians and ourselves—[An HON. MEMBER: "And the Americans."]—the Russians and the Allies. The recent decision to operate the Western mark after eight months is of course a recognition of this truth that there is no hope of settling the question of the currency as such. In February of this year, a month ago, the embargo was extended, but it was very late in the day. It was extended to all remaining road transport and all the normal exports from the West. That is very effective because steel, industrial spare parts and all kinds of other things are much needed in the Eastern zone, especially after the stripping of Eastern Germany by the Russians at the earlier stage.
§ Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)
In point of fact, is that not hurting the Germans rather than the Russians?
§ Mr. Macmillan
I am coming to that. I think it is not. I think the embargo is very effective. It is preventing the two-year plan and the rebuilding of Eastern Germany, and of the satellite States to some extent, for the purpose of strengthening the military power of Russia. But, of course, the embargo is much weakened because at the same time as we apply the embargo to the Eastern zone of Germany we have allowed ourselves to make a large number of trade agreements with the satellite States. That means that the same goods which we do not allow to go direct to Eastern Germany pass round the corner and come back from the satellite States to Russian control. Therefore, we have defeated the very purpose of the embargo.
At the same time, we are continuing to make reparations deliveries from Germany to Russia. Part of the Krupps plant—largely a military plant—is now 383 being taken to Russia and to Czechoslovakia. Of course, I know I shall be told, as we have been told before, that it was allocated by the reparations agreement of the Control Council. But when?—in 1945. Quite a lot has happened since 1945. I know I shall be told that there have been no further allocations since the beginning of the blockade in June, 1948. But why deliver the balance of what has already been allocated? Why should Russia, or Czechoslovakia under the control of Russia, receive this equipment? I remember that we used to talk about the wickedness of sending stuff to Japan and Italy before the war.
§ Mr. Macmillan
Certainly, but why do we repeat the same mistake now? Surely, we should have learned this lesson. Surely, we should still have some resources of diplomatic obstruction and evasion. Is there no technical hitch which can make it difficult to deliver the rest of these reparations and plants? We often speculate today on what Russia will do. What is the meaning of the recent changes? What Russia will do will always be uncertain and unpredictable, and I shall not speculate about the precise meaning of these changes—whether Mr. Molotov has been dismissed or promoted, whether he has become a kind of Lord President of the Council or whether he has become merely a kind of Chancellor of the Duchy. I do not even know what is the meaning of the promotion of Mr. Vyshinsky—that versatile Galician, ci-devant aristocrat, gifted lawyer, first-class chess player who was my agreeable companion in many wanderings in Italy during the war.
§ Mr. Macmillan
I have no knowledge of these things, but I venture to prophecy what may happen. There is a very serious danger. It is not impossible that a kind of fake appeasement policy will be launched, especially in relation to Germany. I think this will take the form of offering to conclude a treaty with Germany involving the ending of the joint occupation by all the Powers. On the face of it, it is very attractive. It is very attractive to British opinion, 384 because we have to supply troops and spend large quantities of money. It is very attractive to American opinion, because they have to supply more troops and still more money. It would be very difficult for German opinion to resist, especially the statesmen who are now in the rather equivocal position in which German politicians find themselves in present conditions. Yet it is a fatal snare. It is, in my view, the kiss of death.
What would be the result? The result might well be that the gangster forces which have been built up during the last year in Eastern Germany under the officers and men of General von Paulus's army would do in Germany exactly what they have done in Czechoslovakia. At one single blow the Communist menace, both military and propaganda, would be on the Rhine. All the advantages which the Stalin-Ribbentrop pact momentarily gave those two Governments would be restored, and then we would have lost almost overnight the whole results of six years of war. The Ruhr itself, that great arsenal of power, would pass into enemy hands. This, above all, must be avoided. It is a trick which we cannot allow to be played upon us.
This leads me to the question of the Ruhr about which I wish to say a word. Under the trusteeship law the future ownership of the Ruhr industries is to be decided by the future German Government. I think we all feel that to be right. It is for the German people to say what form of ownership they want. But I shall say frankly that whether the industry is in private hands or in public hands is not really the problem. The problem is: what kind of German Government is going to be operated? If there is a nationalist government in Germany the industry will be just as much in their possession whether it is in private hands or in socialised hands. Therefore, some guarantees must be given. If we leave Germany, what guarantees are worth the paper on which they are written? What guarantees can the French and the other countries trust? There is no guarantee except to win over the soul of the German people to the side of Western Christian civilisation. That is the only guarantee.
If Germany enters the Western European system as a free and equal member, then the Ruhr can be subjected 385 to control, but not an invidious control imposed upon Germany alone, but exactly the same system of regulations as to planning, as to quantity and character of production as that which other countries would enter—Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, France, Italy, and even Britain. In these vital products, the very life-blood of war, we must internationalise the control. This is necessary and can be defended on economic grounds, but it is absolutely essential on security grounds. In my view it is only in the principle of United Europe and by its immediate objective of Western Union that this solution becomes both politically practicable and lasting. The Atlantic Pact is a guarantee against aggression, but a United Europe is an essential and complementary part of this great system of the alliance for freedom.
While on the subject of Germany there are one or two other questions which I should like to put and to which, no doubt, the right hon. Gentleman will be able to reply. There are many baffling, immediate questions. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would tell us something about the German shipbuilding industry. Is it intended to maintain a permanent embargo on German shipbuilding? I realise the immense arguments on both sides of this problem. Again, I say that in terms of a nationalistic Europe they are insoluble. The only solution lies in a United Europe and a single economic plan.
In the same way, I hope we may be told something of the growth of the German constitution and the occupation statute. Why was Western Berlin not allowed to send representatives to Bonn? Have the three Powers been able yet to reach any agreement? I think the French have made great concessions, but they can make no more concessions unless the German problem is handled as a whole and as part of Europe and not piecemeal. There are some people who see a grave danger to the peace of the world in a revival of Nazi Germany. There are others who see perhaps an even greater danger in the forces of Communist Russia. But I think we would all agree that the gravest danger of all would be the combination of the two. Peace and safety can only be won by winning Germany to the West; only so can French, Dutch and Belgian fears be allayed. Just as 386 the policy which was proclaimed at Fulton was the foundation of peace and security, so the policy laid down at Zurich was the next stage in the building. For modern Europe, like ancient Greece, must achieve unity or perish.
I now pass to the second point which I have chosen in my attempt at this analysis—the Greek point; the Greek civil war. Here we have something really more than a cold war because it is a civil war, an armed war; it is an international war, something of the Spanish model where the protagonists are content for the moment to act as prompters behind the scenes and to leave the chief parts to the secondary characters in the drama. I regard the Greek position as very serious indeed, almost desperate. Much as I love Greece and great as is the regard which I have for many Greek friends, I feel it my duty to issue this solemn warning. It is the only way in which I can help to repay the debt which I personally and I think the whole British nation owes to the Greek people—the most lively, the toughest, the most gallant, occasionally the most exasperating, but always the most attractive people in Europe.
Greece has a population of about 7 million. In the last 10 years about 700,000 men of military age have died in battle or of famine. Nearly a million peasants have been driven from the villages and are living on relief. A very large number of children have been abducted by the rebels. At the moment the Greek Army takes about 200,000 men of military age out of industry, commerce and agriculture and still is not strong enough to end the war. If it were raised to 300,000 I still do not think it would end the war this summer. The rebels number about 25,000. In addition they have about 75,000 conscripted civilians. What a toll from the manhood of a small people! What an effect upon the economy of the country are the figures which I have given! Imagine them applied to our own country.
The war has dragged on year after year and the Army has not yet been able to finish it. The Greek Air Force has 40 Spitfires and a few reconnaissance planes which, I think, we have given them. They should have more. We sell jet engines to Russia and the satellite countries; I would rather give them to the Greeks. 387 We promised 30 Spitfires, in addition, to the Greeks. That was four months ago. They have not yet arrived. Why this delay? Do not Ministers realise that it is speed which is the absolutely essential thing today if we are to avoid disaster? In addition to Spitfires we should send them some light bombers. The Government have sold them to doubtful customers when we might just as well have given them to our Greek friends.
I must say this frankly, although it may offend some of my friends: there is no real co-ordination between the British and the Americans in Greece. There is very great goodwill and close consultation, but the system is absolutely wrong. I do not know whether the House knows what is the system. We maintain a British Military Mission which is responsible for the training of the Army. The Americans have a Military Mission which is responsible for the equipment and for what are called the logistics of the Army. They also advise upon operational tactics. What a hopeless and foolish dualism! That was not the way we recaptured Africa or organised A.F.H.Q. and S.H.A.E.F.—with two separate missions without a single command. Yet even with more equipment and even with a more intelligent Allied system I do not believe the Greek Army can succeed in clearing the country so long as the northern frontiers cannot be closed. It is the frontier problem which has baffled the Greeks over and over again.
§ Mr. Macmillan
If I may give an analogy which I hope will not be misunderstood by my own countrymen, it is something like this. It would be like imagining the Duke of Cumberland after the '45 trying to secure the Hanoverian dynasty in Scotland and yet not being allowed to cross the Highland line. That is what the Greek Army is trying to do and it cannot be done.
If the Greek civil war is not ended this summer the Greek morale and the Greek Government may well collapse. If Greece collapses and goes behind the Iron Curtain two immediate results will follow. About the first, I wish the House to be careful. In the first place, Tito will be liquidated and Yugoslavia, which is now something of a running sore in 388 Moscow's side, will be made, from the Moscow point of view, healthy again and will become an asset to them and not a liability. Secondly, if Greece falls the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean flank is turned; the route to the Middle East through Suez becomes untenable and the effect on Turkey and Persia incalculable. In fact, we are back, strategically speaking, to the autumn of 1940. Therefore, Greece is really very important.
To be frank, both the British and American Governments have buried their heads in the sands during the last three years. We have deluded ourselves into thinking that we were not interfering in Greek affairs, but at the same time we have maintained troops there and poured out money in economic and military help. If that is not intervention I do not know what is. Because we did not help in the very first need in Greece, in the building of a sound administration and the rebuilding of the maximum international agreement, much of our effort has been wasted. Immediately after the revolution of the winter of 1944 we tried to add political advice and guidance to military and economic help. All our weight was thrown towards a policy of moderation and conciliation to units all non-Communist Greeks and to win over the waverers. That policy has been abandoned by this Government which succeeded us, and I believe that that has been a great error for which we shall have to pay a very heavy price.
The immediate need is to avoid disaster this summer. What can we do? One thing we can do with skill and imagination, and that is exploit the Yugoslavian situation. Moscow is exercising a double pressure on Belgrade, partly economic and partly political. We ought to give immediate economic assistance to Tito, but on two conditions. We can give him a lot which he must have if he is to survive—oil, capital plant, and so forth. He must do two things in return. I do not care very much whether his Communism is orthodox or schismatic. What I want him to do is close the Greek frontier. He must close the frontier. And he must bring pressure on Albania that defies us—Albania about whom we go to the International Court at The Hague, although Hoxha goes to Moscow this week, I see. The Yugoslavian hand 389 must be played firmly and with finesse, but, above all, swiftly, for time is not on our side.
Apart from this economic pressure, I believe that Moscow plans a political coup quite shortly which could ultimately destroy Tito's opposition and destroy Greece, and that is a plot to create the so-called Macedonian Federation under Bulgarian leadership. I think that is, perhaps, the reason why some of the Communists who are still loyal Greeks have turned against the movement. It may even be the reason for the disappearance of General Markos. In any event, this scheme, if successful, would achieve at a single blow three objects—the liquidation of Tito, the collapse of Greece, and the discomfiture of Britain and America. The Bulgarians, as the right hon. Gentleman told us the other day, are openly flouting the terms of the Peace Treaty. They have disregarded all the obligations imposed upon them. They are giving support to the Greek rebels. The British and American Governments should now issue a solemn warning that they will not tolerate any further Bulgarian interference in Greek affairs, whether concealed or overt, and the Russians should be warned that they will be held responsible for Bulgaria's actions.
There remains the last point I wish to raise, of which I gave the right hon. Gentleman notice—the problem of our trade relations with the satellite countries. However, the House has been so patient with me; and I must thank hon. Members who, I quite understand, find many of these things wounding to their views, for listening with patience; and so I shall not go into the details of this matter after all, but shall leave them for hon. Friends of mine who follow in the Debate. I content myself with saying that I do not believe that we can cajole or wheedle the present Governments of those satellite countries by economic benefits. With Communists, we cannot say it with flowers.
§ Mr. Macmillan
What we have to do is to judge whether in these agreements we gain more in our own strength by what we receive or whether we give more to theirs than we gain in return. That is what we must judge. Since we give 390 almost entirely capital goods—and some of them goods of great potential military value—and since we take in return almost entirely consumer goods, I say, Be careful. Do not give away guns in order to get butter. Go elsewhere. Go to the Dominions. Go to the Empire. Go to the Colonies. Go to Western Europe. Make the world on our side of the Iron Curtain a demonstrably better place to live in, and then ultimately the news of this success will filter through. Then, when the time is ripe, the forces of resistance may yet come into play. I suppose that we have not forgotten all that we knew about the art of resistance, to the development of which during the war we directed so much skill and so much valour. But let us warn our friends in those countries against treachery. Let them not be tricked into a false move. I hope that the Government have that always in mind.
To sum up. The cold war must be fought with as much energy and single-mindedness; as the shooting war. The danger spots must be watched and dealt with. All the resources at our disposal must be used. Above all, the political structures must be created in the non-Communist world, either through the Atlantic Pact or United Europe, in the Old World and in the New, which will organise resistance by organising unity. But let us not despair, for the forces against us will, in my view, prove, if challenged with courage, to be less formidable than they appear on the surface. We cannot believe in anything except the final triumph of democracy and freedom. I congratulate the Foreign Secretary on the great forward step of the Atlantic Pact. If he has been a little petty and ungenerous towards my right hon. Friend, we certainly do not propose to return it.
§ Mr. Macmillan
The right hon. Gentleman was not in his place when I developed this matter earlier, so it is of no use for him to say "nonsense" now.
§ Mr. Macmillan
The right hon. Gentleman was not here before, and did not hear what I was saying, and I do not 391 propose to withdraw. We welcome what the right hon. Gentleman has done. While we may differ on many points of internal politics and on points of methods, with very few exceptions in this House we remain united in purpose. Above all, therefore, let there be no weakness, no hesitation, no appeasement. Step by step the cold war must be won. If the way be long and weary, let us have courage and faith. For this is no ordinary journey that we must travel together. It is a pilgrimage. It is, perhaps, the last Crusade.
§ 4.17 p.m.
The Minister of State (Mr. McNeil)
It may perhaps be for the convenience of the House if I intervene now to deal with some of the points that have been made. Dealing first with Germany, I think it may be tidier to leave the major points concerning the statute and the conversations at Bonn to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State at the close of the Debate. I should like to say to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan), in defence of my right hon. Friend, that the right hon. Gentleman is rhetorical and unjust when he suggests that the Secretary of State has behaved in any petty fashion towards the Leader of the Opposition.
§ Mr. H. Macmillan
May I, then, ask the right hon. Gentleman two simple questions? Why were not the Government represented at The Hague Conference? And why was it that, at the opening of the meeting of the United Europe Congress, every ambassador, including the Papal Nuncio, was in his place except the British Ambassador.
I thought that the right hon. Gentleman was complaining in the body of his speech rather that we did not give full weight to the declarations made at Fulton and Zurich. I thought he was claiming for the Leader of the Opposition full credit for the stage we have now arrived at, and criticising the Government for their action. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer the questions."] I shall attempt to answer in my own way. The right hon. Gentleman now shakes his head, but he did say that. He attempted to obtain full credit for this position.
It is true that we were cautious about Berlin; it is true that we were cautious 392 when the Fulton speech was made; but is it to be counted an offence that we sought to exploit every means which diplomacy and international conferences afforded before we came to the regretful conclusion that co-operation was not being offered to us? What should we have done in Berlin? The right hon. Gentleman criticised our attitude. He complained that we wrangled about the currency when everyone knew that currency was merely an excuse and not a reason. Naturally His Majesty's Government knew that. If any Power wanted to discuss this subject with the United Nations in the hope that a settlement might be reached, we surely had an obligation to accept that opportunity, to offer plans and to examine plans proposed by other countries.
The right hon. Gentleman said that he wondered if it would be decided afterwards that we were right to institute the air lift in mid-summer of last year. The inference was quite plain. He said—I think in an aside—that he thought that there would not have been war if we had adopted other methods. I am sure that he will not claim that any Government have a right to base their policy upon the speculation of what the other fellow on the other side will do. [HON. MEMBERS: "What else can one do?"] Hon. Gentlemen opposite ask "What does one do?"
§ Mr. Molson (The High Peak)
What else can one do but base one's policy on speculation on what the other fellow will do?
One attempts to base one's policy on the fullest intelligence available to one. One attempts to exhaust every other method before one commits oneself to a method from which there is no withdrawal. Is 1938 offered as an example of how a Government should conduct its policy? The difference between 1938 and the present day is that we do not ask anyone else to carry the burdens that are properly our own. [Interruption.] I made it plain that I was indebted to the right hon. Gentleman for the care with which he addressed himself to almost every aspect of his speech. In these circumstances, we are reluctant to enter into a party Debate on the subject; but if the right hon. Gentleman or any of his hon. Friend seek to taunt us too far, there are replies 393 that we can properly make, and we might make them if we were not so careful of our responsibilities. [HON. MEMBERS: "What does that mean?"] I think that a little thought will convince hon. Gentlemen that the meaning is not ambiguous.
I want to address myself to some of the points which the right hon. Gentleman made about Greece, about our trading policy, and about the position of the satellite countries in relation to the conduct of the cold war. The right hon. Gentleman advised us that we must play our hand firmly but with finesse in relation to Yugoslavia. I am sure that that is very good advice. I am not certain, however, that we would be displaying our finesse or, perhaps, not even much justice towards Yugoslavia, if we adopted the methods that he commended to us. The position of Tito is, of course, of great importance to us. The right hon. Gentleman may be assured that we will look carefully at each nuance in this situation; but we should not obviously at any time place additional embarrassment in the way of the Yugoslav Government in their present situation. I am not quarrelling with the objective here, but I am suggesting—
I think that the hon. Member is quite right. He is fully entitled to make that interruption, and the proof that Tito is not for sale lies in the fact that he stood up to those who sought to be his economic masters.
If my Scottish colleague the right hon. Member for Dumbarton Burghs (Mr. Kirkwood) will forgive me for not looking round, may I say that I was not at all surprised at his interruption? It is true that the most ruthless economic methods have been employed against Tito by the Soviet Government, by the Government of Poland and by the Government of Albania, such as it may be. In a time of expanding trade, the volume of trade between Russia and Yugoslavia has been cut to one-tenth in the current period, the trade between Poland and Yugoslavia cut to one-quarter in the same period, and the bombastic bleating of Albania 394 has attempted to prove that in her economic behaviour she has more righteousness than any other member of the Cominform. It is precisely because Tito is not for sale, that we must be very careful in our attitude towards him or the pressures which we may seek to place upon him.
I would not disagree with the general estimation that the right hon. Gentleman has made of the Greek situation. It is grave indeed, but there is some evidence of recovery, which I should be most careful not to exaggerate, but which I think should be noted. At a time when Greece is confronted with a systematic, foreign-sponsored, foreign-aided rebellion against her, some recovery is taking place in that country. We give some assistance, but, of course, the maximum credit should go to the Government of the United States for the material and technical help which is making this possible at this time; at a time, when, as the right hon. Gentleman explained, perhaps one million refugees in addition to the Armed Forces are being driven out of the Greek economy.
I wondered if I could pick out instances of this recovery, because it is not at all easy to measure recovery when the Greek currency is grossly inflated and continues to vary almost from day to day. But over the last six months 60 railway bridges have been built, the reconstruction of the Aegean port of Volos has been completed, and I was particularly struck by the increase in merchant tonnage, which in December, 1946, stood at about 500,000 tons, and which today is 1,300,000 tons, and a comparable tonnage, Greek-owned but under foreign flags, should be added to get a complete picture.
This recovery is taking place, not only in the face of the adverse military and economic factors to which the right hon. Gentleman drew our attention, but when part of the rebel force is being systematically deployed against the raw materials of recovery. When I hear this almost negligible minority who, in this House and elsewhere, pose as the saviours of the Greek people, I often want them to try to explain away the type of operation that these rebel forces undertake. I noticed that in a recent attack on Karpenisi the rebels, of course, looted food, bank notes and clothing; all that one can 395 understand, even if one does not justify the attack. But when one also finds that quite clearly sectors of the force had been told off to deal with reconstruction offices, with timber saw-mills, and even with raw materials assembled to provide elementary housing for refugees, one can appreciate just how magnificent is this effort of Greek recovery in the face of these factors. I make it plain that I must take care not to magnify the physical proportions of these evidences of recovery; but there is an effort which is substantial from the psychological and the political viewpoint.
Naturally, the general situation will continue to depend primarily upon the success of the Greek Government in retaining the confidence of their people and proceeding against the foreign-aided rebel forces. Here again I think the House can take a little comfort. I thought that the right hon. Gentleman was a little unjust in suggesting that there was disharmony between the different missions. There is a co-ordination of these missions. I think he made a good point, though; I do not deny that there is not as close co-ordination as between the missions which he himself saw at work, perhaps even in that area; but we have little evidence of conflict. Indeed, a year ago, not on our initiative, there was consideration of whether there could be more effective co-operation. But at present, as he said, the United Kingdom Mission is responsible for training and organisation, while the United States Mission is responsible for equipment and operational advice. It is not an illogical arrangement, and it has been working adequately up to the present.
I want to say that at present the Government are having some success in their operations against the rebels. The new Commander-in-Chief, General Papagos, who, as many hon. Members will remember, distinguished himself in the Albanian campaign, has brought a quality of leadership to his forces, and is reconstructing discipline. There seems to be no tenderness about the politics of the soldier. We have seen recently one well-known Royalist figure subjected to exactly the same processes of discipline as men drawn from the other parties. Of the Pelopponese we have just had a report which suggests that this operation has 396 been a very considerable success. We are told that there are now in that area only some 300 bandits in small gangs, and that within a reasonable time the struggle will be reduced to police operations.
I also want to draw attention to a feature about which the right hon. Gentleman spoke: the rift in the rebel ranks between the Communists who remember that they are Greeks and the other Communists who take their directions exclusively from outside Greece. It has, of course, given great encouragement to the people of Greece, and I should think to their friends everywhere. The directive issued on 1st March defining this grouping of the three Macedonian areas under Bulgarian sponsorship discloses starkly what we have always contended: that the primary aim of this rebellion was not on behalf of any section of the Greek people at all but was directed primarily to the weakening and eventually, the dismemberment of Greece. It reveals just how hypocritical the Cominform propaganda has been, and hon. Gentlemen who are moved by, and no doubt react sincerely to, some of these Cominform statements, should keep this kind of hypocritical contradiction firmly in mind when they come to make judgments upon other aspects of the same propaganda policy.
I have no doubt that, as the right hon. Gentleman said, it was resistance to this same theme that brought about the disappearance of Markos. I think that for the first time since he occupied the post he displayed independent thought, and possibly for the first time displayed the kind of thinking that I know the right hon. Gentleman would expect from his Greek friends, and for that reason Markos was no longer of any use to these foreign-directed forces, and he disappeared.
The contradiction's in Communist thinking, and this disregard of realities that we might describe as nationalist feeling, are not new. We have seen these contradictions in other facets of Cominform propaganda—the contradiction between the directives to Communists in Italy and Yugoslavia, and between the directives to those in France and Germany. The general conclusion that we must derive from all these circumstances is that, wherever the loyalties of 397 a classical Communist are in conflict between the Cominform and his home, between the Cominform and his Church, between the Cominform and his union, between the Cominform and his nation, or between the Cominform and any loyalty or obligation he may previously have accepted, his loyalty to the Cominform must prevail or he is discarded and repudiated. This strange piece of gaucherie in Cominform propaganda has been exploited. A number of Greek Communists of a fair degree of prominence have recanted, and their recantations have been made use of by the Greek people and the Greek propaganda instrument in their appeals to the doubters that obviously exist inside the rebel ranks.
If I draw attention to these minor successes, I do not want in any way to detract from the importance of the picture the right hon. Gentleman drew, nor attempt to diminish the gravity of the situation. He did not ask precisely what our plans were in the rôle we occupy in relation to the Greek Government and their treatment of these rebel forces. I want to say to the House, however, that if I were in possession of details it would be improper for me to give them. But the House may be assured that the campaign against these foreign-sponsored rebel forces will not be diminished nor confined to the methods that have been previously employed. My right hon. Friend has this as one of the subjects upon the agenda for his conversations with Mr. Dean Acheson in Washington.
The right hon. Gentleman went to some lengths to display an apparent contradiction between our diplomatic attitude and our trade policy towards the Eastern zone of Germany and countries of Eastern Europe. I do not think that that is strictly accurate. For Governments and politicians, as the right hon. Gentleman very well knows, there are rarely simple blacks and whites; there are more often competing necessities and competing obligations.
No. Our attitude in regard to Spain is quite plain. We have an overriding obligation as a member of the 398 United Nations. We have sought to influence the United Nations against the course they subsequently adopted, but, the decision having been made, we have tried to discharge our part of that decision.
§ Vice-Admiral Taylor (Paddington, South)
Are we interfering with the internal affairs of foreign nations?
The hon. and gallant Member should not be so excited. We have not done so. We have taken our part in discharging the resolution of the United Nations. If the hon. and gallant Member can prove that the decision of the United Nations is ultra vires or incompetent, perhaps he will display that to us.
That is a different question which I am prepared to discuss. I would not necessarily disagree with the hon. and gallant Member, but there is a resolution to which we have acceded.
To return to the subject of trade, we have, for example, an almost over-riding obligation as a Member of O.E.E.C. The right hon. Gentleman has displayed his concern for the re-development, integration and unification of Europe. Here is one instrument that is really at work which does a little more than speeches about the re-development and unity of Europe. As a member of that organisation we have to discharge our part in the four-year plan, an essential element of which is the development of East-West trade as a primary factor in economic recovery.
The right hon. Gentleman advised us to go to the Commonwealth countries and to our Colonies in an attempt to get alternative sources of supply. I am very grateful for the advice. It is a great pity that his own party did not listen much earlier to the right hon. Gentleman on this subject. I concede that the right hon. Gentleman has been consistent in this subject, but his party has not always displayed such consistency. We do what we can in the Colonies and in the Commonwealth, and our policy in relation to Eastern Europe does not prejudice any commercial trade relationships we have with our Commonwealth countries. The advantages of this development of East-West trade are so plain that they scarcely 399 need stating. I do not pretend that we have no restrictions to our East-West trade. I should not expect the House to forgive us if we did not take into account such considerations as security and strategy. We have an export licence system, and my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade told the House on 15th February that we should shortly be bringing under control a new range of goods of potential strategic value. That we must do to discharge one of our primary obligations in relation to security. We are satisfied that this will not conflict with our obligations as a member of O.E.E.C. or stifle our trade with Eastern Europe.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler (Saffron Walden)
The announcement was made on 15th February. Has it now come into force?
I am doubtful about my law. I know that a list has been prepared, but since it comes under a delegated instrument, I should hesitate to give a reply off-hand as to whether it is operative or not. The right hon. Gentleman can be assured that if there is any delay it is a delay due to adjustments of detail and not to any deviation from the principle announced. Members, particularly Members of the minority which I occasionally find behind me and far to my right, must not confuse strategic and security considerations with using trade weapons for political discrimination. We do not do that. The right hon. Gentleman offered us some advice on the subject. He said that each case should be considered on its merits, and that if one decided there was more to be got out of it from a trade point of view, then it should be accepted. That is our attitude, subject to the qualifications I have made. We do not employ that as a political weapon. If we wanted to have models of how to employ trade discrimination as a political weapon, we have the example to which I have already drawn the attention of the House, but which did not seem fully to absorb the attention of those Members I find to my right and behind me.
I except completely my hon. Friend. I was trying to make the point rather laboriously that some of the 400 people who attach labels to themselves, like "ultra-Leftists," are frequently the people who are most reactionary in their attitude to the methods used by other Governments.
One other suggestion I should like to try to dismiss is that there is a conflict between that policy and our attitude to the satellite countries in relation to the Peace Treaties. I do not think there is a contradiction; I think the trade policy was explained and justified in the terms which the right hon. Gentleman opposite used. It ought to be plain to the House that our attitude to these Peace Treaties is quite justifiable, and not in contradiction. I sometimes regret that it is made to appear as if we sought to exert rights in relation to these Peace Treaties. It is not rights that we seek; we seek rather to discharge our obligation as signatories to the treaties.
The clauses in the treaties relating to human rights and to military restrictions were not idly written into the treaties. They were written in by a conference, which included Soviet Russia, because the Powers considered that they were essential to the maintenance of international understanding and to the creation of conditions of peace. Such rights as equal rights in the courts of justice, the defence and toleration of an opposition, tolerance of differing viewpoints and the establishment and maintenance of a free Press—these, we thought, were factors essential to cordial relations and to international understanding.
We have the continued obligation to seek to honour our signature by invoking the relevant parts of these treaties. I do not pretend that the conception of publicity is completely absent from our behaviour in relation to these treaties. Why should I? Why should I apologise? Why should it be a complete "write-off" of our efforts to suggest that there is an attempt at propaganda in our attitude? We have a duty to encourage groups of men and women who struggle, in their countries, to keep alive the very thought of liberty, even an obligation to persuade miserable and mistaken Governments that the conscience of the world on these subjects is still awake and that public opinion, at any rate, will not tolerate such abuses without protest. Perhaps irrelevantly, may I be permitted to draw the attention of the House to a most extraordinary statement said to have been 401 made this week by Madame Kuzmenko, a Russian woman touring Great Britain. I am certain that we are all delighted to see her. I wish we had reciprocal rights of this kind to visit Soviet Russia. If we had, my hopes would rise. But this woman is reported to have said:The Government is elected by the people and prisons do exist to re-educate people and make them understand that they are wrong to go against the people's Government.One can see a steady deterioration in the statement, but the most surprising thing is yet to come:Those who are against the majority, of course we must punish.That is so completely alien to our thinking that one does not know whether to burst out laughing or to be horrified, yet I have scarcely any doubt that, if this lady has been correctly reported, that is what she did mean.
I should be upset if I had to differ from my dear and hon. Friend on this subject, but what I am trying to say is that so long as this kind of thinking is permitted undisturbed and unprotected against, it is a danger.
I suggest that even my hon. Friend, with all his legal capacity, is confused. He is now associating sedition with punishing those who are against the majority.
§ Mr. Silverman
My right hon. Friend's statement is, I think, clear and defensible, but is he not making heavy weather, in a diplomatic argument of this kind, out of a casual reply by a non-professional person in a language which is not her own?
I can assure my hon. Friend that I am not trying to make a party point. If I thought that that was an isolated case, I would scarcely have bothered to quote it. But my belief is that when I meet representatives of some of the Governments with whom I have to attempt to deal, this actually represents their sincere thinking. Moreover—and this is a disturbing element; I hope my hon. Friend will believe me— 402 they are absolutely surprised that anyone should react in any other way than by agreement. This is a danger to world peace—no, perhaps that is an exaggeration, but it is certainly a great impediment to cordial relations between the Western and Eastern nations today, apart from active governmental action. We find ourselves not only talking a different language, but thinking on a different plane and in different terms.
I have been asked what further steps we should take. I have tried to explain to the House the new devices in the treaties which are open to us. I do not want to pretend that these weapons are fierce or formidable. They are, in many ways, rather frail things, but I believe that if His Majesty's Government can continue to direct attention to these abuses, to these indignities, to these injustices, to these breaches of the treaties, we shall be doing international peace a service. Even those Governments must eventually be persuaded that their actions and statements should be re-examined if they find that almost the whole world recoils, if not in repugnance then in bewilderment, at their activities and statements. We shall, at any rate, continue to do everything that lies in our power to see that these essential elements in the treaties are observed as thoroughly as we have power to make them be observed.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Fitzroy Maclean (Lancaster)
I have listened with great interest to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. I was particularly glad to hear that, whatever some of his hon. Friends may think, he at any rate is not in favour of punishing those who happen to be against the majority. That is most reassuring. I was also glad to hear his sympathetic references to the Greek Government and his disapproving references to the Greek Communist guerrillas. But I still could not help wondering if he had paid quite sufficient heed to the most eloquent appeal of my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan), who opened the Debate, and whether he is really aware of the extreme urgency of the situation in Greece.
I have given a certain amount of thought during the past six years or so to the situation in the Balkans, and I have never known a moment when it 403 seemed more critical. There are two reasons for urgency. One in Greece it-self. As my right hon. Friend pointed out, war of one kind or another has been raging in that unfortunate country for nearly 10 years. Its effects have been disastrous both economically and politically and it is hard to see how, if it goes on much longer, there will be any hope left of recovery or of achieving political stability. If we do not hurry there will be nothing left to save. The other reason for urgency is the situation in the Balkans as a whole. At the present moment, if one looks at the map of the Balkans—and people are inclined not to look at maps as much as they might—it will be seen that democracy still has very considerable assets there.
Greece can still be regarded as an asset. On the south-east there is Turkey, a loyal ally of the West. On the Adriatic side, we should be justified in putting at any rate a question mark on Yugoslavia. My former associate, Marshal Tito, is not, on the whole, a very popular figure. He has lost some of his friends, and I do not know that he has yet made many new ones. In fact, I do not know at the moment who dislikes him most, some of my hon. Friends on this side or the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher). But the question of whether one likes him or not, or agrees with his system of government, is neither here nor there. For the purpose of our political map, the important question is whether a country is bound hand and foot to Moscow or whether it is showing some degree of independence.
Now, it may be argued that Tito is a Communist, and, of course, nobody is more insistent on that than the Marshal himself. He keeps on saying that in his little dispute with the Kremlin he is right and the Kremlin is wrong. But that in itself gives the whole show away. Because when a Communist starts saying that he is right and the Kremlin is wrong then he ceases to be a proper Communist. For instance, if the hon. Member for West Fife were to start saying that sort of thing, I should begin to feel that even he was showing signs of deviation.
§ Mr. Gallacher
It is quite possible that the Member for West Fife could have differences with the people at the Kremlin, but he would never make 404 divisions in the face of the capitalist enemy either in this country or in America. He will stand by his fellow workers in whatever country against the capitalists. There will never be any question of that, so far as the hon. Member for West Fife is concerned.
§ Mr. Maclean
I am very glad to be reassured. I was afraid that the hon. Member was going to let himself be led into making a diversionist statement of some kind or another.
To continue my argument, the decision as to whether someone is or is not a Communist does not rest with that person. It rests with one authority only, and that is the Kremlin. And the Kremlin keep on saying that Marshal Tito is not a Communist but a Turkish grandee, which is an extremely wounding expression.
§ Mr. Gallacher
I did not want to interrupt the hon. Gentleman earlier and so upset his argument, but I should like now to say that he was talking about how disappointed he was that the Minister of State had not said something definite about assisting Greece. Is he aware that the Minister of State has put in writing—I have it here—that if the Greeks get arms, it will not be from Britain?
§ Mr. Gallacher
Very well.For this purpose he"—that is Plastiras—needs 40 divisions. Where they will come from I do not know, but I do know one place from which arms will not come—Britain.That is not the "Daily Worker" speaking, but the Minister of State.
§ Mr. Maclean
To return to Yugoslavia, I still feel that in spite of the interesting remarks of the hon. Member for West Fife the only authority which can decide whether he or anybody else is a Communist is the Kremlin, and in the present case the Kremlin have decided that Marshal Tito, for whom they have no longer any liking, is not a Communist.
Now, we in this country are not as fussy as the Kremlin about the internal affairs of other countries. We do not care very much whether they are ruled 405 by Turkish grandees or not. Of course, we should be delighted to see Yugoslavia enjoying the blessings of a political system exactly like our own, with a smoking room and a Members' dining room which costs the taxpayers ten or twenty thousand pounds a year, but I do not think that would be easy. The old Yugoslav Parliament had to be closed down some 20 years ago because there was so much shooting across the floor of the House.
But we do not insist, as the Kremlin insists, on absolute conformity to a certain type of government. We do not insist that a country should take orders from us. All we ask is that they should not take orders on every point from some other country; all we ask is that they should show some degree of independence. And that is exactly what Tito is doing at the present moment. He is showing some degree of independence, and so long as he continues to do that we shall be justified in putting at any rate a question mark on the map of Yugoslavia. But the question is how long shall we be justified in doing that? How long will it last? How long will Tito last? How long will Greece last?
Those two questions are very closely linked. Until recently Tito may have thought that it was in his interest to see Greece a Soviet satellite. Now it is quite certainly not in his interest. If he goes on helping the Soviet-controlled guerrillas on his southern border then he will be doing himself a great disservice, because one of the duties of those guerrillas, if ever they can establish themselves in power, will be to add pressure to that which is already being exerted on Yugoslavia from two other sides.
Already the Soviet plans for thus changing the position in Moscow's favour are, as my right hon. Friend pointed out, taking shape. They are in the capable hands of no less a person than the former Secretary-General of the Communist International, Mr. Dimitrov, and they take the form of a so-called independent State of Macedonia, which will be established under Bulgarian, or rather under Soviet, control. This would, of course, serve as a base for Soviet operations on as large a scale as necessary against Greece and Yugoslavia, which would end, if they were successful, with the liquidation of Tito. What is more, such a base 406 would be linked with the existing Soviet base in Albania, and would greatly strengthen it. A glance at the map shows what a great difference it would make to the whole situation in the Balkans if an independent Macedonia were established stretching from Skolpje in Yugoslavia down to Salonika, and bordering on Albania.
Now, if we let that happen it will not be very long before instead of having half the Balkans potentially on our side we find the whole of the Balkans welded into a solid Soviet-dominated bloc, bitterly hostile to us. Then, as my right hon. Friend said, we should be back to 1940. It would be a serious defeat in the cold war. And all that is likely to happen within the next few months. Already we hear of a meeting of the National Liberation Front of Macedonia this month. The Russians are evidently determined not to waste any time.
What we must do to avoid this disaster is to clear up the situation in Greece once and for all without delay. I personally should be glad to see the Western Powers afford actual armed assistance to the Greek Government. After all, the situation in Greece is the kind foreseen under Article 4 of the Atlantic Pact, and we have got to get accustomed to the idea of giving effective help to small countries which are subjected to that kind of pressure, and goodness knows Greece has been subjected to that kind of pressure long enough. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite recently made a great fuss because a Greek decoration had been awarded to a British N.C.O. I should like to see more opportunities afforded to British N.C.O.s to win Greek decorations.
§ Mr. Maclean
The Greek Government, it appears, are short of aircraft. We are doing very little to help them in that respect. I know to my cost what a devastating effect aircraft can have on irregular troops. If the R.A.F. have any aircraft, even out-dated types, let them send them to Greece. It is better than selling them to Soviet satellites; it is better than selling them to bogus cinema companies or leaving them about for people to steal.
§ Mr. Zilliacus (Gateshead)
Is the hon. Member's proposal that we should send conscripts from this country to take part in the war in Greece?
§ Mr. Maclean
I think it would be preferable to send Regular troops, but if we have not enough Regular troops we should send conscripts. That would be better than sending no troops at all, and letting events take their course.
Another thing which I would like to see us do is to afford economic assistance to Marshall Tito to help him to resist the pressure to which he is now being subjected by his former allies. But, if we are to help him, and I am all for doing so, let us make it a condition that he maintains at any rate strict neutrality as regards Greece. I quite agree with the Minister of State that Tito's position is not an easy one, but he will not make it any easier by building up a potential enemy on his southern border. I know Marshal Tito well, and I have no hesitation in saying that he is enough of a realist to know that.
Finally, following upon what my right hon. Friend said, I would like to see some kind of action—blockade or whatever may be most convenient—taken against Albania as retaliation for the lives of 40 British sailors blown up by the Albanians, and for their constant intervention in Greece. But, if increased help is to do any good it must be given at once. We cannot afford to wait. If it is given at once, it will save Greece while there is still something left to save. It will show Tito that we mean business, and encourage him to maintain his all too precarious independence. And it will also show the Russians and their Communist hangers-on that we mean business both in Eastern Europe and everywhere else.
§ 5.20 p.m.
§ Mr. S. N. Evans (Wednesbury)
From the discussion we have had upon Marshal Tito this afternoon, we can be sure that Marshal Tito now knows that Russia treats her satellites, as the 16th century Spaniards treated the Incas of Peru. Having just completed a 36 days' joust on the Iron and Steel Committee with the right hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. Macmillan) and the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), I should very much like to continue the process because 408 I have got into form, but this is not the occasion to do so. We are the trustees of a thousand years of history mainly because in times of crisis, Britain and her leaders have always chosen to be Britons first and politicians afterwards.
Before I come to my general argument, I would recall that the Foreign Secretary is leaving for America this week. I should like to pay a tribute to him as the principal European architect of Marshall Aid, Western Union, and the Atlantic Defence Pact. The right hon. Gentleman had assured himself of an honourable place in working-class archives before he came to this House. In my view, his work for humanity and for the common man over the past three and a half years now assures him of a great historical future. For three and a half years, the Foreign Secretary's faith in the people he serves has stood out in challenge to a Europe threatened by moral acrobats, who seek to prove that autocracy is a higher form of democracy and political murder a necessary incident in the evolution of human freedom.
I suggest that the present religious persecution in Europe presents one undeniable feature, and that is that under totalitarianism the more things change, the more they remain as they were. Just as there is more tyranny and less freedom in Russia today than there were in the days of the Czars so, in Russia's new European protectorates there is more brutality and more treachery than there were in the days of the Nazis. Marshal Tito can now testify how Russia treats her satellites. I have to add that, behind the Iron Curtain, culture, science, and the humanities have to bow the knee to the needs of totalitarian propaganda. Darkness at noon now threatens from Vladivostock to Le Havre, and it has to be said that the assurance of Canterbury's perambulating prelate that Stalin is photogenic, does nothing to make the police State appear less evil. It is the crowning indictment of Russian imperialism that the political standards of Europe today, that is in 1949, are immensely lower than they were in 1849. The rule of Francis Joseph even at its worst was moderate compared with what is happening all over the former Austrian Empire at this moment. This is in some ways an ironical situation because to 95 per cent. of those who march behind 409 Communist bands and banners in Budapest, Prague and Warsaw the finest sight in all the world would be the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour.
A word of warning should be utttered. Those Poles, Czechs and Hungarians will one day burst forth in violent fury and we shall then see, not a fifth column in Europe, but the other four columns, all on the side of freedom. If anybody wants to know what I mean by freedom, let me say that I mean freedom for the man who differs from me. It may be a poor consolation to those who are exiled from their homeland but it remains true that it is an ill wind that blows nobody good. There can be no doubt that it was the rape of Czechoslovakia which galvanised the free world into action. There is a lesson to he learned from this for a Western civilisation based on Christianity and the principles of the Atlantic Charter. Czechoslovakia could have been saved, but a heavy price had to be paid. That price was 1,500 dead in the streets of Prague. I make no criticism, because we in this House, in the five years that preceded the recent war, had much to be ashamed of. We said that the price that had to be paid was excessive.
The important lesson that the whole world must learn from the tragic episode of Czechoslovakia is that Social Democrats cannot do a deal with Communist hierarchies because they greet you with one hand and strangle you with the other. Freedom has spoken down the ages in many languages; there can be no doubt that the one she knows best today is English, and that, of course, is something that Germany and Western Europe are rapidly coming to understand. Just as America grew to manhood under the watchful and benevolent eye of the British Navy, so today Britain and Western Europe are being enabled to recover their economic and political sea-legs because of the assistance that is crossing the Atlantic—because of American support. It is very important that all hon. Members on these benches should understand that without that support, Britain had no chance of restoring her financial independence and self-respect. It is due to America that we should make that acknowledgment.
Marshall Aid, Western Union, and the Atlantic Defence Pact herald the twilight 410 of Communism in Western Europe and a resurgence of Social Democracy. There can be no doubt that the one thing that would have tempted the Russians to further aggression—let us not forget that their troops manned nine-tenths of Czechoslovakia's frontiers and that that was the dominating factor in the Czechoslovakian episode—was the belief that Western Europe as a whole was as unready and unwilling to resist as the non-Communist parties were in Czechoslovakia. Happily that belief can no longer exist. Russian policy, malignantly inspired and malevolent in operation, now comes up against the hard rock of Western determination. It is as well to recognise that restraint on Russian action comes not from any humanitarian motive—far from it—but from the Politburo's realisation that aggression means atomic war. That is the only thing keeping the peace of Europe at this moment. The price of that war would, of course, be particularly heavy for the Russians.
I promised not to be too long, but I must touch upon the subject of Germany. There must now be a policy of reconciliation with defeated Germany. Seventy million people cannot be held responsible for the misdeeds of a few men. I have never accepted the concept of a guilty nation, and I never shall. I have fought against the Germans, I have worked with the Germans and I have played with the Germans, and I have never been able to see any difference between the Black Country foundry worker and his Dusseldorf counterpart other than that of language, or any difference between the Ruhr coalminer and his South Wales or Northumberland counterpart other than that of language. I do not accept the concept of a guilty nation, and I say that the time is over-ripe for reconciliation. Within Western Union, Western Germany has a very important rôle to fulfil, and I believe that the time has come to bury the dead past.
Despite the deplorable condition of international relationships, happily there is nothing with which we need reproach ourselves. Never before in history have senior partners in a war coalition made such sacrifices to the end that that wartime co-operation between allies should be carried over into the peace. Never before in history have war-time partners together made such sacrifices as Britain and America have done.
§ Mr. Evans
That is one for the book. I suggest to the House and to the country that only one construction can be put on the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), with his birth, his breeding, his knowledge of history, his knowledge of the needs of British foreign policy and with the Marlborough tradition in him, agreed to the nonsensical Berlin arrangement whereby we can neither feed and clothe our occupying Armed Forces nor feed and sustain 2,500,000 Berliners without traversing an 120-mile corridor dominated on both sides by always potentially hostile forces. The only explanation of which it is capable is that Britain and America were determined to lean over backwards in order to convince the Russians that there was nothing to be feared from them, and, indeed, that we deliberately and of set policy placed ourselves in the position of hostages.
Lots of things are said from these benches about the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford. No one could differ from him more than I do on home affairs and on British economic and financial policy, but in other matters the right hon. Gentleman needs no defence from me. It is quite clear that the right hon. Gentleman and his American counterpart were determined to go to almost any lengths in order to convince the Russians that there was nothing to be feared from us and that the one thing we wanted above everything else was that the war-time collaboration should continue in peace. I believe that is why we put ourselves in the position of hostages in Berlin.
Unhappily, "whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad," and appeasement was taken for weakness. We wanted peace in 1939, but not at the price of Hitler's kind of world. We want peace now, but not at the price of Molotov's kind of world. As Molotov repeatedly proclaims that his kind of world is imcompatible with the survival of our kind, 412 a choice had to be made. One Munich in a lifetime is sufficient. If I read the signs aright, Britain, Western Europe and the United States have now decided that it is better to die fighting for freedom than to live by obsequious poltroonery.
§ 5.38 p.m.
§ Sir Arthur Salter (Oxford University)
I found a great deal to admire in the speech of the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans) and very little indeed with which I should want to quarrel, although I should perhaps have used one or two qualifying phrases with regard to some parts of his speech.
I ought, perhaps, to apologise to the House if I rather break the course of the Debate by talking about a subject which is less controversial than any which has yet been discussed This subject is, however, of great importance and, if not properly handled, it may frustrate many of our policies in Germany. It is the position of the refugees in West Germany. I do not know whether the House realises the full magnitude of the problem. In the American and British zones at present the total population is about 35 million, and of that total somewhere between eight million and 10 million are refugees. This means that one in four are refugees.
That is not all. Among these refugees there is an undue proportion of old people, orphaned children and invalids. Moreover, the refugees are unequally distributed between the zones, the French zone having practically none, and they are unequally distributed within the zones between the different areas, the regions near the frontier having an altogether disproportionate number. This terrific burden of one refugee in four of the population falls on a country where almost all of the great cities have been devastated. They are heaps of rubble alternating with burned out shells of buildings hastily patched up and repaired.
I do not think there has ever been in the history of the world any precedent for a refugee problem on this scale and of this complexity. I remember indeed one case here the proportion of refugees to the total population was approximately the same. A quarter of a century ago over a million Greeks fled in disorder from Smyrna after their great defeat by the Turks. There, again, there was a quite disproportionate number of old men 413 and women and orphan children. In that case, with the aid of the League of Nations, the refugees were so successfully established in the country to which they had returned, Greece, that in a few years, instead of being a great and intolerable economic burden, they were actually an asset to the country. But the scale was very different although the proportion was the same; there were only a million or a million and a quarter refugees in that case. Moreover, many Turks had left Greece and there were the large, vacant, and potentially fertile plains in Macedonia in which we were able to establish a great proportion of the refugees. Besides, there was nothing comparable in any devastation of the cities of Greece with that of the devastation of the cities of Germany.
I came back a few weeks ago from seeing some of these West German refugees, some of the British authorities and some of the German authorities in the British zone, and I would like to say something about what this problem is as it concerns the Land Government of, for example, Lower Saxony, where about a third of the population consists of refugees. Some of them are from the lost lands of Germany, Pomerania, East Prussia, and Silesia. Some of them are Sudeten-Deutsche expelled from Czechoslovakia, some are Volks-Deutsche from South-Eastern Europe, people who had been there for generations and have now been expelled. In addition there is a daily inflow varying between 500 and 1,000 a day, sometimes exceeding 1,000, across from the Russian zone.
These people have somehow or other to be dealt with. They have to be compulsorily quartered upon the inadequate housing accommodation of the native inhabitants, and it can easily be understood that, since, although they are racially Germans, they are in many respects alien in culture and in habits and compulsorily quartered in this way, they tend to be unpopular with the native inhabitants. It will also be easily understood that in large numbers of this kind they are politically extremely dangerous. They are combustible material for any extreme party. They are inclined to look back upon the lands from which they have been excluded and to start irredentist movements, and to follow any political party which may bid for their 414 support by advocating an extreme policy.
In those circumstances it is not unnatural that the Land Government of Lower Saxony should do its best to reduce the number of those still coming in. They issue rather strict instructions to allow in only those who have special reasons, such as political persecution, if the refugees can prove it, or joining relatives already in the Western zone, if they can prove that they have such. I went to a reception camp and watched the application of those rules. I thought the local German inspectors were intelligent, humane and patient, but the application of rules of that kind was necessarily inhuman and, indeed, tragic in many cases.
Moreover, the policy, however natural and intelligible, was quite ineffective because, although the majority of those who sought admission were refused, and some were pushed back across the frontier, as far as I could find out, only about 10 per cent. really went back and stayed back in the Russian zone; the rest disappeared into the underground life of the province and added to all its economic, its black market and political dangers. This is the more inevitable because a not equally severe policy is followed in another province, Schleswig-Holstein, so that a great number of these people rotate and come back into another part of Western Germany.
If we think of the total effect—political, economic, social and human—of this terrific proportion and number—one in four, and in many regions one in three—amounting in total to somewhere between eight million and 10 million, the House will realise that the recovery of Germany to anything like a sound and stable political or social position is almost impossible unless some remedy is found.
§ Earl Winterton (Horsham)
As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I have a long connection, longer than anyone in this House or in the Government, with refugees. It is only fair to point out that this is no new question in Germany, and that before the war there were a large number of refugees, mostly of the Jewish race, and neither the German people nor their government gave the slightest help to the Inter-Governmental Committee. If ever a country met with its just deserts, Germany has today in the matter of these refugees.
§ Sir A. Salter
This problem is new, at least in scale. A great deal of the responsibility for dealing with it must rest, as it does, upon the German authorities. But if only because of the origins of these refugees, who stem partly from Potsdam and, to a large extent, reflect the current issues of policy between ourselves and Russia, I do not think that on grounds of justice, any more than those of practical expediency, we can expect the German authorities to deal with this problem unaided.
What can be done? I suppose it will occur to many of us that emigration offers the best solution. It may be that in the last resort the problem cannot be solved without considerable emigration. But that offers no solution, or even relief, for the difficulties of the next few years. In the first place, with the present restricted opportunities of migration in the world, the displaced persons of allied nationality still remaining in the displaced persons' camps have an indisputably prior claim. In the second place, even if emigration were possible for these refugees, it would obviously be a selective emigration of precisely those who are in the prime of life and the best productive workers, and that would increase the burden of supporting the rest, which is of the magnitude I have suggested.
There are, however, one or two things by which the policy of this Government might help to some extent, indirectly if not directly. For example, we could help to clear the displaced persons' camps and thereby open a few more opportunities for migration to other forms of refugees as general opportunities of migration expand. I will mention one small instance. The Foreign Office has been concerned to give facilities to employers of domestic servants in this country to take, if they will, some of the displaced persons who may be suitable, with their children. I know there are employers who would be willing to do that. But the present Foreign Office plans have not been carried through to a conclusion because there has been opposition from the Ministry of Labour on the ground that English women and children are available for domestic work. There may be English domestic servants available for work on the books of the Ministry of Labour. But I wonder whether the officials who rule out the employment of 416 domestic servants of other nationalities on that ground consider who, what and where those nominally available English domestic servants are? I feel quite sure that if the Foreign Office would press a little harder—this is not a very big matter—they would be able to get over that particular difficulty in the way of the successful prosecution of a scheme which they started and with which they made some progress.
While speaking of displaced persons, I should like to say to the noble Lord, that I hope some attention will be given to the position of those who still remain when I.R.O. comes to an end.
§ Sir A. Salter
I understand it is intended that it should come to an end at no very distant date. For some time to come there will be a terminating but tragic remnant of people who cannot possibly be dealt with by any except charitable means. Apart from those, there are already a considerable number of productive workers for whom migration facilities might, and I hope will, he found.
I come back to the West German refugees themselves, which is my main subject this evening. I should like to make, very shortly, a few suggestions to the Government. I hope they will make the economic absorption of these refugees easier by going rather further and rather more quickly with the modification of their dismantling programme, which they have already begun. There is no doubt that the original conception that underlay the Morgenthau plan was a very disastrous conception. It is being corrected, but much too slowly and disastrously slowly. The American policy in this matter is now much more liberal than ours. Although the Government would be right to make some modifications I think they would find a very useful guide to action in the careful and able American Humphrey Report on this subject.
Secondly, I hope the Governments will go further than is proposed in the plans of the bizonal authorities to O.E.E.C. for the development of light industries. The plans are there and financial provision is proposed. But there is no financial provision for housing. That is a matter which I wish to urge strongly 417 upon the Government. I believe that the most urgent and most immediately valuable contribution towards the refugee problem in Western Germany would be to improvise very quickly, perhaps by prefabricated methods, hutment and housing accommodation in the regions where industry has been, or is being, expanded. This would be a very suitable addition to the Marshall Aid provisions, because without such living accommodation all the plans which are being included in Marshall Aid are likely to be frustrated if there is nowhere near the new industries where these people can possibly live.
Thirdly, I hope that there will be some improvement as regards the reception and sifting-out arrangements. It is very important that there should be secondary camps to which people who need further consideration and examination than can be given in the 10 minutes or a quarter of an hour that alone is possible in the first transit camp can go to have their cases properly considered. Lastly, I hope that before complete responsibility for the government of Western Germany is passed over to a Western German authority, the allied Governments will do something to secure a better redistribution of the refugees as between the different Zones and Laender. It will be an additional and extremely difficult burden and problem upon the new German authorities if this aid is not given.
I should like, in conclusion, to take a rather longer view into the future. I have said that I do not think emigration can offer any substantial relief to the difficulties of the next few years. But I do not believe that the problem can be ultimately solved—and, indeed, I do not think the problem of the recovery of Europe can be ultimately solved—unless the world will arrange for a vast increase of migration in the years ahead. When we consider not only this category of refugees, but all the other refugees in Europe—the million or so refugees in Greece, the 800,000 refugee Arabs, the Jews who are seeking refuge in Palestine—and when, outside of the refugees altogether, we think of the other local surpluses of population—for example, the excess of population in Italy and the constant increase in that excess—it is very difficult to think that Europe can be politically, economically or socially on a 418 sound foundation unless somehow or other the world will arrange for a new era of emigration comparable to that which so greatly relieved the population tensions and stresses of the 19th Century.
§ Sir A. Salter
And prevented wars, as the noble Lord says. As the House will remember, in North America alone at the turn of the century something like a million people a year were coming from Europe. It is not to be expected that the same numbers can go to the same places at this moment, but vast possibilities still exist in the world. The British Dominions—Canada, South Africa and Australia, for instance—all have opportunities for very considerable development. There are enormous opportunities in South America—Paraguay, Brazil, the Argentine and elsewhere. I would refer hon. Members to an interesting book by Mr. R. W. Thompson, an able traveller and observer, whose work has received too little attention. There are vast opportunities if the Governments of those countries are prepared actively to promote and facilitate their development with the aid of immigrants; the kind of migration that was so immensely beneficial to America at the time when her most rapid development was taking place.
I trust, therefore, that if we must think of this problem in terms other than emigration in the next few years, we shall on a longer view do whatever we can to encourage the countries upon whom the burden of action mainly lies to promote and facilitate a large-scale emigration from Europe. I cannot conceive anything more valuable for the future soundness and stability of Europe than that there should be another great new era of migration as a supplement and a sequel to the European Recovery Programme.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
I am sure the House will appreciate the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the senior Burgess for Oxford University (Sir A. Salter) for introducing this particular subject into the Debate. A realistic approach to the problems of Germany and Eastern Europe could hardly be possible without, at least, taking notice of this tremendous 419 refugee problem, although we may have reservations about some of the suggestions which the right hon. Gentleman has made, most of which, have certainly already been thoroughly examined by the Government. The only thing I should like to say in connection with his speech is that it must not be overlooked that this country has a record second to none in the contribution we have made towards relieving this problem.
I prefer, however, to turn to the wider aspects of today's Debate which were raised in the very striking speech by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan). In the course of his remarks, the right hon. Gentleman took credit for his party, through the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), for having taken the initiative in creating the movement towards the unification of Europe. I am quite sure that a number of my hon. Friends on this side of the House would agree with quite a lot of what the right hon. Member for Bromley said, particularly his remarks concerning Germany; but I do not think anything could have better stated the difference in motives which inspire us in uttering these common sentiments and supporting common policy than the initiative of the right hon. Member for Woodford on the question of a united Europe.
The fact is that, while we are all enthusiastic in support of particular stated policies, the motives are quite different and the motives of the Conservative Party in supporting the idea of a united Europe have been to restrict the unity of Europe to three points, first, the close collaboration of the Chiefs of Staff, second, a clear statement on the rights of man and, third, closer economic co-operation. I do not think any hon. or right hon. Member opposite would differ from me on that. Their attitude is restrictive, whereas I think the Foreign Secretary can claim credit for having laid the foundations—firm foundations—of a very much wider and more effective co-operation over the face of Europe, leading, as I am quite sure he would agree, towards what would probably be accepted as his shorter term policy, a federation of Europe leading 420 again, as he hopes, to a much wider federation, possibly covering the whole globe.
Now that I have indicated the difference in motive, which inspires us to welcome the steps for the unification of Europe, the Atlantic Pact and other measures we have had to accept, unfortunately, as a second best, I wish to refer in particular to the problem which faces us in Germany at present. I want to lay particular stress on my continued disappointment with the shifting policy which marks the developments in Germany. When I say shifting policy, I am referring to quadrupartite policy, or at the moment tripartite policy. Our position in Germany has evolved from the Morgenthau position of total destruction of German heavy industry and the isolation of Germany from the community of civilised nations, to the modern conception of a Germany within the Marshall Plan.
On the question of what I mean by the shifting positions, I do not think anything could be clearer than the remark of the Foreign Secretary in reply to an intervention I made last year, when I suggested that Germany should be brought within the Marshall Plan as a full partner. He said that there was nothing more calculated to wreck the Marshall Plan than bringing Germany within its scope. Then, within a few months, it was brought in. It is like the permitted level of industry policy. When that policy was being settled in March, 1946, the proposition from our three allies was that Germany should have a permitted level of industry based on 4,500,000 tons to 5,500,000 tons of steel. We proposed 10,500,000 tons to 11 million tons and were faced with the charge that we were clearly aiming at the rearmament of Germany, because anything more than 5,500,000 tons steel capacity for Germany could only be used for creating another German war machine. But we dug in our heels and the negotiations broke down. Subsequently, the Russians and others asked us to come into negotiations with them and first a limit of 7,500,000 tons and subsequently 10,500,000 tons to 11 million tons was established, and even now that is not regarded as sufficient.
There has, therefore, been a complete change in the attitude regarding Germany's requirements in steel and, presumably, in her requirements in the level 421 of industry, but, so far as I can understand, we are still maintaining a rigid enforcement of the level of industry which prevents Germany building any kind of merchant ships, or fishing vessels over a certain tonnage, thus preventing her from fishing beyond the overcrowded North Sea in more distant and easier waters, and so hampering the recovery of Germany's economic balance. We are preventing Germany from indulging in certain industries, which we admit are essential, such as the production of synthetic oil and rubber, roller bearings, abrasives and so on. That is precisely the wrong policy in my view and we have to consider the effect on the Germans of this constant modification, or promised modification.
If the Germans are convinced, as I think they must become convinced if they are not already, that the more resistance they put up and the more protests they make the more concessions they will get, there will be no end to it. I would much prefer to see a complete review of the whole conception of the level of industry and I suggest to the Government that they seriously consider what I suggested before, that we should ask the Germans to produce their plan for the utilisation of the resources they have. If they proposed in their plan to produce 22 million tons of steel for the purpose of making battleships, or a fantastic amount of cement for gun emplacements and so on, we would not agree and could veto such a plan, but, of course, they would not do that. If we are to get the Germans to co-operate and operate their own industries in the interests of European economy, the only way to do it is by getting the Germans to prepare a plan and agreeing on such modifications as may be really essential in the interests of security, and then letting them get on with the job.
This level of industry scheme was adopted at Potsdam under an entirely different set of conditions than obtain today. It was a temporary measure during the first period of occupation on the assumption that there would be established a central German administration controlling a centralised German economy. To get on with that policy and to reach that very desirable situation it was admissible for the British Government, or any other single Government, to make concessions for the sake of unity. 422 But that situation has gone and there is no unity among the allies and no central German economy. Three and a half years have gone by and these things have not been achieved and Germany is already overcrowded to a desperate extent, as the right hon. Member for Oxford University pointed out. Germans are huddled into subhuman accommodation standards and are further overcrowded by refugees from all over Eastern Europe. A vital part of their Eastern economic area has already been taken from them, the Saar has been taken out of their economy and the Ruhr put under foreign domination in regard to the distribution of its products. I think we would take a small risk in allowing the Germans to go ahead with what is left in the rest of Germany.
What is even more important to me than these economic considerations is the effects this would have upon such elements of Germany as we might be prepared to regard as democratic. My hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans) drew attention to the fact that possibly there are still very many democrats. During the war the right hon. Member for Woodford made a very courageous reference to the fact that inside Germany there were millions of good democratic people whose voices were silenced, but that one day we would deliver them. Those were not his exact words, but that was the effect of them. The Lord President of the Council made an equally bold statement at that time when he said that there was more in common between the British workers and German workers than between British workers and British capitalists or between German workers and German capitalists. Hon. Members opposite may not agree, but the sentiments are the same. The common links that bind people throughout the world are not links of nationality or tongue, but links of common interest and common status.
§ Mr. Gallacher
In view of the fact that the hon. Member presents the common links in that form, how is it that the Socialists found a common interest with the big multi-millionaire capitalists of America?
§ Mr. Hynd
In the same way as we have to link our economy with other countries which may not be of the same political opinion as ourselves. We have to link up our economy in this Particular 423 case with those countries most democratically prepared to work with us. I should be only too happy to link up with Russia, but the simple fact is that Russia will not link up with us, and that is the problem with which we are faced today. I will not come back at the hon. Member and ask what there was in common between Stalin and Hitler.
§ Mr. Hynd
The German democratic parties have been established and have been encouraged as a deliberate act of policy on our part. I suggest that these German democratic parties are put in an impossible position by the Potsdam policy. Under present conditions, what is a German democratic party to do? In the face of protests made on behalf of the German people by the Communist Party and neo-Nazi organisations that are springing up, are they to become the stooges of the occupying Power or the apologists for a policy about which the Germans cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be expected to show any enthusiasm?
The annexation of the Saar and Silesia are not things which the Germans are likely to be enthusiastic about. But if they have democratic rights they are entitled to express an opinion, and if their opinion is not enthusiastic they must be expected to criticise. Immediately they criticise any measure, such as the demolition of a particular factory, they are charged with being nationalists. I have written to the Foreign Office within the last two or three days about a particular factory where some 600 Sudeten refugees are producing the fancy goods of their own country with the plant in that factory. They now find themselves in the position that that plant is to be dismantled for reparations, and they will presumably be thrown out of work altogether, although their work is an entirely peace-time production.
If they suggest, as they are entitled to suggest, that the Silesian question is not yet settled—and it is not—they are charged with being revisionists. A Question was asked the other day in this House as to what steps the Government proposed to take against certain well-known Social Democrat in Germany 424 who had made public reference to the annexation of Silesia, and had expressed the hope that it would be returned to Germany. The Government were asked what action was to be taken against that revisionist agitation. It is not revisionist, because the question of Silesia is not yet settled. I cannot see how Germans can be prevented from making some reference to it or expressing a hope that it will yet be returned to Germany. While discussing the question of reviving German nationalism, I would draw attention to the remarks of Dr. Schumacher, who said:It is utterly absurd to think that Germany has a special political mission to act as go-between and bridge between the East and the West. It will be a very difficult and painstaking task to transform the present geographical and historical entity of Germany into an actual political reality. The illusion of Germany's missionary rôle which has replaced the mad German craving for world domination only serves to frustrate any attempts at solving this great problem.When the leading spokesman of a great political party in Germany can refer to Germany's previous mad craving for world domination and suggest specifically that what his party would choose is closer co-operation with the rest of the world, or the nations of Europe which are prepared to co-operate, it is difficult to see how these people can be charged with excessive nationalism.
Similarly with the West German constitution. I understand that that has been framed after long discussions by the German political parties at Bonn and agreement has been reached between the Socialist element and the equivalent of the Conservative element in Germany. I believe it is to be referred back, not because it is anti-democratic but because it is not federal enough. What I cannot understand is why, immediately the Social Democrats in Germany suggest there should be central control of finance or even of major taxes or that a Central or West German Government should have the right to socialise one of the major industries, that kind of thing should be called "undue concentration of economic power," when the charge is being made by our own Government which bases its own policy upon the maximum concentration of economic power in accordance with modern conceptions of economy.
§ Mr. Hynd
I have already told hon. Members the reason, from the Front Bench. There were other national interests—not American—which had to be considered in drafting the scheme. Other things have intervened since, but the fact remains that within recent weeks Questions have been asked whether or not the American statements that this was a matter to be settled by the German people means that it was to be settled by the Laender Governments, or, when subsequently it was made clear that it was not to be settled by the Laender Governments but by a central administration, whether the Western German Government would he regarded as the competent administration. There was a long answer given, which still leaves it uncertain whether that Government is to have the authority.
It is difficult to know what kind of economic policy that government will be able to carry out in those conditions, not only from the point of view of reviving German economy and European economy but of building up a democratic front in Western Europe. The whole situation points to the urgent necessity of the Government, along with its colleagues—because I realise that this is not a question of a unilateral policy but of getting agreement with other parties—initiating discussions and for a complete review of that policy to be undertaken at once.
So far as nationalism is concerned, it is certainly a menace to the peace of Europe in the future; but the question of whether Europe is to be nationalist or international is not in the hands of the Germans, but in our hands, the Germans have had it taken from their hands. I am certain from the declaration of policy from German political parties that their choice is a policy of unification of Europe, which would be a truly international policy—not a policy of unification of all except Germany and the internationalisation of only German industry. I therefore suggest that the question for us to decide 426 is how far we are going back to a Europe based on separate nationalisms, or how quickly we are going forward with the elimination of nationalism within Europe and its replacement by internationalism. That is a question for us to decide, and decide quickly.
It will not be done on the basis of the Ruhr Statute. That statute is an unjust proposition as it stands. It is nothing more nor less than foreign domination of a single country's industry—domination by countries whose industries are in direct competition. We cannot complain, although I have protested very often and tried to explain it to the Germans, if they interpret that as an effort to give us an advantage in the competition which will inevitably develop throughout Europe in the future. I am sure they are wrong. That was not the intention, and I am sure that it is not the intention now.
Nevertheless, I suggest that we stop complaining when they put that interpretation on it, because it lends itself to that interpretation. The whole attitude towards the democratisation of Germany and the encouragement of Western Germany to realise that its future lies in real co-operation with the Western democracies must be reviewed. I consider that our present approach is wrong.
It is wrong not only in Germany but also in Austria. It has been declared so often in this House that as far as the British Government are concerned Austria is a free country and that the Austrian Government is an independent Government with power to operate its own constitution. We are told that the only thing that prevents us from withdrawing our troops from Austria is the fact that we cannot get agreement with Russia on the terms of withdrawal and the signing of a treaty.
Yet even now, three years after the establishment of this democratic Austrian Government, we are still vetoing political parties in Austria which even the Russians are prepared to allow. They are democratic political parties which have previously operated in Austria and which are permitted by the Austrian constitution. But the Western Allies' policy in this case—we will get no credit from the Austrians; the Russians will get any credit that is going—is to refuse to allow 427 this part of the Austrian constitution to operate and to prevent these elements from organising themselves and seeking the votes of the people as political parties. We are told that probably within a few weeks or months we may get agreement. But the Austrian elections will be held in the early autumn of this year, and if the agreement is held up for another three months we shall be far too late. The purpose behind the holding up of the sanction of these parties will be interpreted according to the lights of the Austrian people and not according to ours.
I would say that I am satisfied that the only hope of building up the democratic front in Western Europe is by the establishment of a real unity of purpose and policy between the Western democracies. By that I mean something more than the Conservative conception of a linking up of chiefs of staffs and closer economic operation. I mean the more rapid building up of the policy founded by the Foreign Secretary—the real integration of our economies and the linking up of all the activities already taking place through O.E.E.C. and all the other organisations that already exist, towards the final establishment of a political authority which will enable that linked economy to operate effectively. That should be done on a world scale and it should be done through the United Nations organisation. That was the purpose for which it was set up. The Economic and Social Council was one of the key organisation intended for that purpose. But three and a half years have gone and we have failed to achieve it, not through any lack of effort on our part but through the veto which has been applied at every stage.
If we cannot achieve this purpose through the United Nations, whether on the economic, the political, the social or on the defence plane, then obviously we have no alternative but to try to do it within the limits of the democratic nations who are prepared and capable, because of their common conceptions, of co-operation to operate such a system. If we accept that the democratic nations must link up on these planes for their own defence and for the building up of their own prosperity, then this must either include or exclude Germany.
428 Whether it includes or excludes Germany is not a question for the Germans to decide. It is a question for us to decide and we can decide it, now through the review of our policy which I have urged. If that review is undertaken wisely, we may succeed. If it is not, then I am satisfied that the issue within Germany will become democrats versus anti-democrats and that by the very operation of our policy we shall tie the hands of our own potential allies in Germany. We shall make their position impossible and, as a result, we shall hand over Germany lock, stock and barrel to a totalitarian regime once again.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Nigel Birch (Flint)
It is very remarkable what a radical reformation has taken place in the hon. Gentleman the Member for Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) since he descended from the Front Bench and ascended to the back benches—
§ Mr. Birch
Since he has been speaking from the back benches I have rarely disagreed with him, whereas I never once agreed with him when he spoke from the Front Bench. If only going to the back benches can do that, perhaps he will change which side of the House he sits on and then he might get off without a stain on his character.
I too wish to speak about Germany, and I would agree very largely with what the hon. Gentleman has said. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan) said that what was now going on was a struggle for the soul of Germany. I believe that to be profoundly true. If the iron curtain is pushed forward to the Western frontiers of Germany, if all the lands to the East of the Rhine are to be on the dark side of the moon, then I do not think that there is any hope for the preservation of Western civilisation in Europe. The battle will be over if that happens. That the iron curtain should be pushed forward to the Rhine is the Russian policy consistently though clumsily pursued. The talk going on from Russian sources about a new Rapallo is part of the plan. We do well, I think, to fear Russia's military power, but Russia's military 429 power combined with the potential military power of Germany would be the most terrible menace that the world had ever had to face.
This is, as I believe, the vital ground in Western Germany. What has been the policy of His Majesty's Government throughout these past years? It is very difficult to find out. As the hon. Member for Attercliffe has said, it has been a shifting policy, a policy which has been far from clear at any time. I do not think that the hon. Member for Attercliffe can altogether absolve himself from some blame here, because the remarks he made when he was directing policy in Germany were. I thought, not always very clear. I should like to make one quotation from what he said at that time. According to the "Manchester Guardian" the hon. Gentleman used these words when defending his administration in Germany:Provided encouragement is given to the democratic elements in Germany with a proper chance to take root and develop I see no reason why the same transformation should not take place there that turned the aggressor of the early nineteenth century against whom peace-loving Germany fought at the side of England into the peace-loving France of our time.It is a remarkable statement if one can penetrate through the protective fog of Socialist phrases. What was Germany at the time of the Napoleonic Wars? Was Marshal Blucher a representative peace-lover? Presumably, we made France democratic by restoring the Bourbons. Though the statement made by the hon. Gentleman itself means very little, I think the ideas behind it can be discerned. There have been two ideas. The first idea has been that the methods and actions we have undertaken in Germany have been the right ones to change their character. Secondly—and this is the important point which lies behind everything we have done—there has been the idea that Germany is not only a military menace but the military menace. All the original policy was based upon that idea. I want to discuss the question of Germany as a military menace. I think, Mr. Speaker, you would agree that, in this House—