§ 3.38 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Ernest Bevin)
I beg to move,That this House approves the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington on 4th April, 1949, relating to the promotion of stability and wellbeing in the North Atlantic area and to collective defence for the preservation of peace and security.It is now my duty to present to the House the Motion standing in the name of the Members of the Government asking for the approval of the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in Washington on 4th April by the Foreign Ministers of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States. I present this Motion on behalf of His Majesty's Government with complete confidence as to its acceptance, not only by the House but by the nation and, indeed, by all the peace-loving peoples of the world.
During, and at the end of the war we were active as a country in promoting the formation of the United Nations and other international machinery. We believed firmly that with the experience of the war it would be possible to put into use and develop co-operative machinery, so that these great problems of peace and stability might be dealt with on a basis of universality. In this connection we agreed to the special position given to the five great Powers within the Security Council, with the hope that co-operation between them might assist the world in this tremendous task. The House will be well aware, however, of the frustrations and disappointments due to the exercise of the veto and to other devices which we have experienced since San Francisco.
Notwithstanding the establishment of the United Nations and the conclusion of the peace treaties with Italy and the satellite countries, we were confronted with the grouping of nations in Eastern Europe which I submit was the first deliberate step taken to create a division in Europe. But while we went on trying to work through the machinery of the United Nations, we witnessed country after country being made absolutely subservient to Soviet Russia. In Poland the promise of free elections, made at Yalta and repeated at Potsdam, was treated with contempt. In Bulgaria, as late as 2012 December, 1945, there was a promise of proper treatment for the opposition parties, but it ended, I regret to say, in their leader being killed and Communist domination being made complete.
In Roumania the Government was wiped out and the new regime was established with a ruthlessness with which we are all familiar. In Hungary steps were taken to undermine the Smallholders Party, which had won the election, with the same final result. But perhaps the most ruthless act, which shook the world's conscience and which, I am certain, will echo and influence opinion for many years to come, was the coup in Czechoslovakia.
When we tried to handle the problem of the Danube by means of a conference, a conference in which the Soviet bloc had a majority, notwithstanding our rights—our historical rights—in that river, we were treated in a most shameful manner. We were told by Mr. Vyshinsky that the door was open, and that it was open to the Western Powers to leave. That is not a very good attitude to take up when negotiating an international settlement. It is no use disguising the fact that all the Western Powers were concerned as to what the outcome of all these moves would be. In Greece civil war was perpetuated by the outside influences of the Slav countries. The people of that nation have never been allowed since the war to settle down and live their own lives. The decisions of the United Nations were ignored and at the same time Turkey was subjected to a war of nerves. These moves were carried on month after month without respite.
The House will remember the efforts that were made to promote the next stage towards establishing a peace treaty for Germany, our efforts being directed to create order out of chaos, to introduce currency reform and to revive trade, and in this way to end the ill effects that the situation in Germany was having on the economic and political life of Europe. But we could not make any headway. Week after week we sat in those conferences, producing no result.
We were compelled in the end to work out plans for the economic and political organisation of our own zones in Western Germany. When we proceeded to take these very necessary steps we were suddenly confronted with the blockade of Berlin, an attempt to cut off two and a half million people with the view of 2013 driving the Western Allies out of Eastern Europe and to deny our rights which were a part of the Occupation Settlement. This blockade has happily been raised today, and I am convinced that the establishment of this closer link between the Atlantic nations has led to second thoughts about the tactics that had been followed regarding Germany, and particularly about Berlin.
The policy that has been followed by the Soviet Union seems to be to talk of peace and accuse others of being warmongers, but at the same time to carry on a policy of promoting unsettlement all round. I assert that this situation, if allowed to continue, would inevitably have led ultimately to war; for there would have come a moment when the rest of the world would have reacted violently to the tactics that were being pursued. A very dangerous situation existed in which those of us who had a good deal of responsibility tried to keep steady under the most provocative conditions.
We were driven to consider, in the light of these facts, how like-minded, neighbourly peoples, whose institutions had been marked down for destruction, could get together, not for the purpose of attack, but in sheer self-defence. We had to indicate to the world that if this totalitarian method of preaching peace and at the same time promoting disturbance and war was to be stopped, greater cohesion and understanding among the peace-loving peoples were absolutely necessary.
It must be remembered that from 1945 until the end of 1947 the three Western Powers were trying their hardest to settle the great problems left by the war. But while we have no personal feelings about the treatment meted out to us, I suggest that the provocative speeches and the general attitude of denunciation adopted at every meeting we attended were a symptom of aggressive intent. Meanwhile, everyone was concerned as to how we could bring order out of the economic chaos that existed in Europe and in other parts of the world as well.
We derived the greatest encouragement from the Marshall Aid offer, which was an indication of a great desire on the part of the United States to assist in healing the wounds of Europe and to put it back on its economic feet. In spite of the accusations about subservience to Ameri- 2014 can capitalism and aggrandisement which have been levelled at me and at others, I refused to be separated from the United States or to be dissociated from this great work. What happened was that our association with that offer to try to bring succour to starving people—starving by the millions—was shamefully denounced by Soviet Russia.
I can assure the House that at the time when the Marshall Aid plan was proposed things looked pretty bad. I shall not today go into the circumstances of the situation actually existing in Europe at that moment. There was, however, great nervousness, and Mr. Molotov's threat, made in Paris, when we decided to proceed with the Marshall Plan, was, we knew, no empty one. We knew it afterwards from events which followed in Italy, France and, even in this country, where there were attempts to influence the trade unions with the object of interrupting economic recovery. But it will be agreed, I think, that, owing to the steps which have been taken, these extreme and violent actions are now on the wane. The public, the men and women in the workshops, are now alive to the dangers. They can discern the difference between a dispute based on a legitimate grievance and one promoted on instructions from elsewhere.
At the same time, the Western Union Powers were compelled by these events to give serious attention to their defences. Most of the countries concerned had been over-run in the war. Their organisation for defence was in a weak state. In this country, in the belief that the United Nations would be a real basis of security, we were running our forces down to a bare minimum and directing the whole of our efforts to economic recovery. But it became necessary to give new consideration, in the light of these events, to the problem of defence and we, after consultation with our immediate neighbours, joined with them in the conclusion of the Brussels Treaty. At the time we signed that treaty, we had a very welcome statement from President Truman—I may say, unsolicited—who expressed warm approval of the action that had been taken in the provisions of that treaty. It was natural that we should turn to those of our neighbours and friends who we felt could come together and combine to produce greater security, for without that, there can be no recovery 2015 for anyone. I submit that if we had failed to do this we should not have done our duty to the nation or to the world. No one yet has submitted any effective alternative.
We then proceeded to discuss the question of a wider combination, which has now culminated in the Atlantic Pact. The accusation has been made that the Atlantic Pact is an aggressive thing and that it will bring war. My answer to that is that the absence of the Atlantic Pact did not stop war in 1914 or 1939, and I suggest that if a pact like this had existed and the potential aggressor had known what he would have to face, those wars might have been avoided. It is recorded that Goering, in talking to the United States ambassador at that time in his braggart way, boasting of what Germany could and would do, was reminded that if they precipitated this action it would inevitably bring in other powers and that they might be running the risk of involving the United States. His answer was that they could defeat their immediate enemies before the United States or the other countries would come in. It was the same gamble as that taken by the Kaiser.
In fact it is historically true that aggressors always make these calculations. They know that while a totalitarian State can talk peace in their propaganda, they can go on preparing for war without others knowing what is really happening or what is their ultimate intent. On the other hand, democracies have to face Parliaments. During peacetime there have been bitter debates on defence, great conflicts of opinion, and they arose because free people are naturally pacific. All these calculations are made by aggressors. They rely on possible hesitations and doubts, on criticism between the peace-loving countries themselves, on lack of understanding and even on differences between the administrators and military leaders. The aggressors generally come to the conclusion that by taking one nation at a time, they can pursue their way and work their will.
Having had to come through this twice in a generation, there is an absolute desire on the part of the peoples, including our own—and indeed they would hold this Government and Parliament itself responsible—to take steps to 2016 prevent any possible future aggressor being able to make these calculations and act upon them with impunity. In considering this problem of security, the traditional British conception is that the ocean is a link and not a barrier. Therefore treaties binding us to common action over such areas as that to which this Treaty relates are necessary for our mutual defences.
Another factor in this arrangement is that there is a common origin in the people living round the Atlantic Ocean, common moral and ethical standards and institutions derived from common origins and traditions. I would emphasise, therefore, that the real purpose of this pact is to act as a deterrent. Its object is to make aggression appear too risky to those who are making the calculations for they must realise before they start their nefarious game, that defeat is their certain end.
Aggression usually comes when one man, or a small number of men, start by getting complete control of their own country and then create an atmosphere of fear and mistrust among those around them. A fifth column is always a necessary part of their technique. But, the countries forming this Atlantic Pact are democratic countries. What is going on among them will be discussed in their Parliaments. It will be open to their Press; it will be known. The situation which we had in 1914 and 1939 and particularly 1940 and 1941, when we had to hold the fort waiting and wondering when other nations would realise the gravity of the aggressive menace, while at the same time we were using up and exhausting our resources—that situation should not be allowed to occur again. We have a common purpose to defend and what is more natural than that we should come together to defend it?
In the words of the Treaty, there will have to be an armed attack against any of us, or our territory, before we take action and, if that attack takes place, then we move together and not one at a time. We have always taken the view, since it was clear that the United Nations, for the time being at any rate, was not going to be allowed to work effectively, that the organisation of this group was essential. And we have believed that if it was established—and we have every 2017 reason to think it will work that way—its very existence would lead to confidence and to negotiation and the use of reason in the settlement of these very difficult problems.
In addition, these events which have led to the conclusion of the Atlantic Pact have given a great impulse to unity. The world has become very small from the point of view of communications, and correspondingly dangerous. Unity against aggression has therefore become more than ever important. This impulse has been shown to a great extent in the proposals for greater unity in Europe itself. The Atlantic Pact has greatly contributed to the confidence which has led to the establishment of the European Council, which sooner or later will grow into a very effective organism. I do not wish to discuss that subject today, but just to call attention to the influence of the pact on the confidence of the nations concerned by it.
We can therefore no longer be treated by others as a number of weak, divided nations. This new situation may well lead to a recognition of this fact and to a final settlement. It is not merely defence that we are concerned about. It is quite clear that as a result of the Atlantic Pact a general conception of closer unity and common planning has emerged which will make the whole of the Western world stronger and willing to contribute effectively to a basis for total world peace and stability. In my view it will be possible to work out that peace through the United Nations in such a way that our very strength will cause the Soviet bloc to recognise it and show a greater willingness to co-operate on a sensible and sound basis, and. I trust, relegate the old tactics to the limbo of the past.
It has been suggested that this Atlantic Pact abandons the idea of one world security system. It does nothing of the kind, neither is it intended to drive any one of us into isolation. It is essentially constructive and defensive. It is fully in conformity with the United Nations, and it is designed for no other purpose than to give security and peace to those who come within it, and to extend its help to those who are also struggling for the same ends. The pact is simple. It has no secret protocols. There is no loss of independence or sovereignty for the member nations.
2018 As to the question of arms, it is essential, after a war in which countries have been over-run and their arms destroyed, that their organisation for defence should be put right. I do not minimise the fact that that will cause some additional effort. But instead of the old method whereby each nation provided great and expensive services, the pact will allow us to consider this problem on a practical basis, rationalise it, and in the end provide for a reduction in the cost of armaments through comprehensive arrangements. The re-establishment of a proper organisation for defence in each country is, however, an essential preliminary. If, in the long run, a situation could be brought about that would make disarmament possible without endangering security, no one would welcome it more than the Atlantic Powers.
Turning to the actual clauses of the pact, they are explained very clearly in the White Paper, but I would draw the attention of the House to certain essential points. I reiterate, as the White Paper says, that we are joined together in a limited and close association based on Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. Some critics have suggested that the Treaty is not consistent with the Charter, and have argued in particular that since the Treaty is a regional arrangement within the meaning of Chapter VIII of the Charter, it contravenes Article 53 which lays down that:… no enforcement action shall be taken under regional arrangements or by regional agencies without the authorisation of the Security Council. …The answer to this criticism is plain and straightforward. The Treaty is not a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the Charter. The action which it envisages is not enforcement action in the sense of Article 53 at all. The Treaty is an arrangement between certain States for collective self-defence as foreseen by Article 51 of the Charter. It is designed to secure the parties against aggression from outside until such time as the Security Council has taken the necessary measures. Enforcement action by a regional group is something quite different. It means a regional group acting on behalf of the Security Council to enforce peace upon one of its own members, and as such would certainly require the consent 2019 of the Security Council. I think it is necessary to make a clear distinction between these two conceptions.
There is nothing whatever in the Charter of the United Nations which requires that measures of self-defence must be authorised by the Security Council before they can be taken, and it would be absurd if it were so. The whole point of such arrangements for collective self-defence is that they cover the period before the Security Council has taken any action. This is what the Atlantic Treaty does; and in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter, any measures that the signatories of the Treaty may take in the exercise of their right of self-defence will be immediately reported to the Security Council, and will stop as soon as the Security Council does what is necessary.
This is all provided for in Article V of the Treaty. It follows from this that no such arrangement as the North Atlantic Treaty would have been found necessary at all if the effectiveness of the Security Council as an instrument for ensuring the immediate defence of any member against aggression had not been undermined and destroyed by the Soviet use of the veto, and by other actions of the Soviet Government to which I have referred. That is why we have signed this Treaty; because we must have security and because we have learned by bitter experience that we cannot get it at present through the Security Council.
I shall go further than this. Now that we have set up this defensive machinery, can we not hope that better counsels will prevail and that the day may soon come when all members of the Security Council will see the advantages of making it a really effective instrument for peace? The association is a natural one. This community of interest has always existed, and will continue to exist, and it is right to organise it in order that our political and democratic systems with their freedoms can be maintained. The Treaty contains in the Preamble the declaration that we reaffirm our faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and that we desire to live in peace with all peoples and with all Governments. This is not put in the Treaty as propaganda; it is a firm declaration. But if it is to be effective, then others must accept the same 2020 principles; and fifth columnists and their devices, the promotion of civil wars, the overthrowing of elected governments, the seizure of the administration and the arming of people in the workshops for revolution, do not seem to us to demonstrate a faith in the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
With regard to Article 51, if I may return to it, the Charter clearly recognises the inherent right to individual or collective self-defence. It may be argued that the circumstances were not such as to cause us to take any measures to organise for self-defence. The evidence of recent events, of which I have already spoken, is so clear that this can well be left to the judgment of the House and the peoples of the countries taking part in this pact. We affirm the right of the parties under the Charter to settle any international dispute by peaceful means, and we pledge ourselves to refrain from the threat of the use of force in any matter inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations.
Then we have stated in the pact that we are determined to combine to strengthen our free institutions and to bring about a better understanding of the principles upon which these institutions are founded, to promote conditions of stability and well-being, and to encourage international economic policies and economic co-operation among ourselves. This in itself will remove a great deal of rivalry. We shall co-operate with others if they will do so with us. But it is facts and deeds and not propaganda which will determine our action. We are pledging ourselves by this pact to maintain and develop our individual and collective capacity to resist an armed attack, by two means, by self-help and by mutual aid. Therefore, we must have means to defend ourselves, and we shall seek to bring about collectively such mutual assistance as will make these defences efficient without jeopardising economic recovery as contemplated under the European Recovery Scheme.
We have agreed to consult one another whenever the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any one of us is threatened. This does not mean that every time we consult there will be military action. We hope to forestall attack. We have to let the world know 2021 the facts. We have to seek to promote a peaceful settlement. In other words, there is this powerful group of countries willing to act through the United Nations or in any other way to promote peaceful solutions wherever possible.
I would call attention to this special commitment under Article 5, which states:The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.The fact that these countries are now ratifying this Treaty and making this solemn pledge, we regard as a great and historic event. The constitutional rights of the individual Parliaments are preserved, for, as I have said, while we accept the condition that an attack on one of the parties constitutes an attack on all of them, we have to satisfy our Parliaments that that situation actually exists.
There is one other point which I should like to emphasise. This Treaty does not affect in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the United Nations of the parties which are members of the United Nations. It also declares that none of the other international agreements of the signatories conflicts with the Treaty, and from the point of view of the United Kingdom, we are satisfied that the Atlantic Pact is not in any way incompatible with the Anglo-Soviet Alliance. If both alliances can be operated correctly, there is hope that a state of universal peace may be produced. We have in this Treaty also provided machinery to give effect to it, and the House should note Article 9 which provides for the establishment of such subsidiary bodies as may be necessary, including the Defence Committee, to prepare the necessary measures under Articles 3 and 5. The provisions of this 2022 article give a practical turn to the Treaty. As will be seen, it provides a method to develop and expand as necessary, political and economic collaboration. The details of this machinery have yet to be worked out, and will be discussed and settled immediately the Treaty comes into force. We have also provided for the accession of other States.
As I stated in the House on a previous occasion, we believe that the conclusion of this pact will help to promote stability in other parts of the world. I have particularly referred to our special interest in the independence and integrity of Turkey and Greece, and in the area from Greece to Persia which includes many countries with whom we have special and long-standing relationships. Similar statements have been made by the United States Secretary of State regarding Turkey, Greece and Persia.
I therefore submit this Treaty to the judgment of the House, and I hope for its unanimous adoption. I am convinced that in it we have taken one of the greatest steps for peace. In co-operation with like-minded peoples, we shall act as custodians of peace and as determined opponents of aggression, and shall combine our great resources and great scientific and organisational ability, and use them to raise the standard of life for the masses of the people all over the world. We are determined, in order that this can be achieved, to create such conditions of peace and security that all will be undisturbed by the continuous threats of war which, if allowed to continue, would bring the best of human efforts to nought.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Churchill (Woodford)
The House will not be surprised if I begin by saying that I find myself in very general agreement with the sombre speech which the Foreign Secretary has just made. I am glad that the lifting by the Soviet Government of the blockade of Berlin has not been taken by him as an occasion for proclaiming that an important peace gesture has been made. Before the last war, I do remember how, every time Herr Hitler made some reassuring statement, such as "This is my last territorial demand," people came to me and said, "There, now, you see how wrong you have been; he says it is his last territorial demand"; but the bitter experience 2023 we have all gone through in so many countries, on this side and on the other side of the Atlantic, has made us more wary of these premature rejoicings upon mere words and gestures.
We give our cordial welcome to the Atlantic Pact. We give our thanks to the United States for the splendid part they are playing in the world. As I said when over there the other day,Many nations have risen to the summit of world affairs, but here is a great example where new-won supremacy has not been used for self-aggrandisement, but only further sacrifices.The sacrifices are very great. In addition to the enormous sums sent to Europe under Marshall Aid, the Atlantic Pact entails further subsidies for military supplies which are estimated at over 1,000 million dollars up to the year 1950. All this has to be raised by taxation from the annual production of the hard-working American people, who are not all Wall Street millionaires. Quite a number of them are not millionaires, but are living their lives in very different parts of the country from Wall Street. I say that nothing like this process of providing these enormous sums, very much more, I think, than the whole of the American revenue, for defence and assistance to Europe—nothing like this has ever been seen in all history. We acknowledge it with gratitude, and we must continue to play our part—I say continue to play our part—as we are doing in a worthy manner and to the best of our abilities.
Our differences with the Soviet Government began before the war ended. Their unfriendly attitude to the Western Allies was obvious before the end of 1945, and, at the meeting of the United Nations organisation in London in January, 1946, Anglo-Russian relations had already reached a point where the Foreign secretary had to give the word "lie" in open conference to Mr. Vyshinsky. I was impressed with that indication, which I read in the newspapers, and I was also very much impressed with the statements made at that time by Mr. Vandenberg, that great American statesman, as I will not hesitate to call him. His whole career in recent years has been to carry world security and righteous causes far above the level of the fierce and repeated American political contentions and elections.
2024 I have always myself looked forward to the fraternal association of the English-speaking world and also to the union of Europe. It is only in this way, in my view, that the peace and progress of mankind can be maintained. I gave expression to these views at Fulton in March, 1946, after the remarks to which I have referred had shown the differences which had arisen with Russia. Although what I said then reads very tamely today, and falls far short of what has actually been done, and far short of what the House actually has to vote at the present time, a Motion of Censure against me was placed on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Luton (Mr. Warbey) in the following terms:World Peace and Security.—That this House considers that proposals for a military alliance between the British Commonwealth and the United States of America for the purpose of combating the spread of Communism, such as were put forward in a speech at Fulton. Missouri, U.S.A., by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford are calculated to do injury to good relations between Great Britain, U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R., and are inimical to the cause of world peace.That is the operative part. It is quite unusual, when a Private Member is out of office, that a Motion of that kind should be placed upon the Order Paper with regard to a speech made on his own responsibility, but no fewer than 105 hon. Members of the party opposite put their names to it. I do not see them all here today; some of them are here, but, of course, I feel that there has been a large scale process of conversion, and, naturally, I welcome converts, and so do His Majesty's Government. They say that "there is more joy over one sinner who repenteth than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentence." Here, we have got about a hundred in a bunch, so far as I can make out, although some of them have emphasised the change of heart which they have gone through by a suitable act of penance by abstaining from attending this Debate.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne) rose—
§ Mr. Silverman
I was only going to say in all humility to the right hon. Gentleman that because a number of people are prepared to support the calling in of the fire brigade, that does not 2025 mean that they withdraw one word of censure from those who contributed to the setting of the house on fire.
§ Mr. Churchill
I did not expect that such a condemnation of the Soviet Government's policy would be forthcoming from the hon. Gentleman. For all these reasons, it is most certainly true that the occasion is not entirely unmingled with joy, for the country sees so many who have changed their courses, but I say that we are now asked to approve this Atlantic Pact, and the only opposition to it is expected from that small band of Communists, crypto-Communists and fellow-travellers whose dimensions have been very accurately ascertained in recent times.
In all this matter, the policy of the Foreign Secretary has been wise and prudent. We have given it our fullest support, and we shall continue to do so. There is, of course, a difference between what a private Member of Parliament may say, even if his words carry far, and what a Minister has to do. To perceive a path and to point it out is one thing, but to blaze the trail and labour to construct the path is a harder task, and, personally. I do not grudge the right hon. Gentleman any credit for the contribution which he has made to bringing about the Atlantic Pact. It entitles him, and the Government he represents, to the congratulations of the House which will be formally signified tonight by the passing of this Motion.
We must not, however, lose sight of the fact that the prime agent is the United States. I agree with what the Foreign Secretary said, that if the United States had acted in this way at an earlier period in their history—I am not quoting his exact words, but he implied that if they had they might well have averted the first world war, and could certainly, by sustaining the League of Nations from its birth, have warded off the second. The hope of mankind is that by their present valiant and self-sacrificing policy they will be the means of preventing a third world war. The future is, however, shrouded in obscurity.
As I have said on former occasions, we are dealing with absolutely incalculable factors in dealing with the present rulers of Russia. No one knows what action they will take, or to what internal pressures they will respond. He would be a bold, and, I think, an imprudent man who 2026 embarked upon detailed prophecies about what will be the future course of events. But it is absolutely certain that the strengthening by every means in our power of the growing ties which unite the signatories of the Atlantic Pact, of the Brussels Treaty, and the signatories of the Statute of the Council of Europe—on all of which there is overwhelming agreement in this House—is our surest guarantee of peace and safety. Now we must persevere faithfully and resolutely along these courses.
While I like the strong note which was struck by the Foreign Secretary in his speech this afternoon, we must persevere along these courses. It has been said that democracy suffers from the weakness of chopping and changing, that it can never pursue any course for any length of time, especially Parliamentary democracy. But I think that may prove to be a phase from which we are shaking ourselves free. At any rate, persistence at this time and a perseverance which is emphasised in the speech of the Foreign Secretary is, we on this side are quite certain, the safest course for us to follow and also the most right and honourable course for us to follow.
It has been said that the Atlantic Pact and the European Union are purely defensive conceptions. The Foreign Secretary has claimed that they are not aggressive in any way. How could they be? When we consider the great disparity of military strength on the Continent of Europe, no one can doubt that these measures are of a defensive and non-aggressive character. The military forces of the Soviet Union are at least three or four times as great as those which can be set against them on land. Besides this, they have their fifth column in many countries, waiting eagerly for the moment when they can play the quisling and pay off old scores against the rest of their fellow countrymen. Nothing that can be provided in the Atlantic Pact or the Western Union Agreement on land can make our position and policy other than purely defensive. It remains the first duty of all the signatory Powers to do their utmost to make Europe, and for us here to make Britain, self-supporting and independently secure. For this we must all labour.
I have only a word or two of detail to say upon the subject. It seems that our first duty is to put our own defences in 2027 order. I cannot feel—none of us can feel—that any adequate return in actual fighting power is being received for the vast sums of money and the very great numbers of men which Parliament is voting at the request of the Government. There seems, also, to be no close integration of military plans and forces on the Continent. There is no system comparable to that which was created at S.H.A.E.F., the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force. There, there was great unity under the wise guidance of General Eisenhower. But, according to unofficial reports which we hear, national considerations are playing far too great a part in the present discussions which are taking place.
Thirdly, in view of the inevitable delay in the ratification of the Treaty and the need for speed, I have heard the suggestion that it might be desirable to broaden the activities of the Western Union Military Committee by inviting representatives of the other Atlantic Treaty Powers, namely, the Italians, Portuguese, Danes, Norwegians and Icelanders, at any rate occasionally, to attend the Western Union Committee at Fontainebleau as observers. However, I should not wish to impede the precision of their work by the mere addition of numbers. Nevertheless, this might be an advantage.
The absence of Spain from the Atlantic Pact involves, of course, a serious gap in the strategic arrangements for Western Europe. I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman, not this afternoon, but the other day, express himself in a favourable sense to the return of ambassadors. I do not ask more than that at the present time. I think it is better to have ambassadors than to carry it all on through the back door, as it all has to be carried on—a sort of black market diplomacy. Also, I do not think it a good thing to appear to insult and to appear to treat with lack of ceremony a people so proud and haughty as the Spaniards, living in their stony peninsula, have always shown themselves to be.
The services rendered by Spain to us in the war were not all negative. First of all, we had a most fertile and serviceable trade with Spain which, in one way or another, the Germans did not dare to interfere with. Products of the greatest value, both to our armaments and to our nourishments, were brought in, but it was 2028 at the time of the landing in North Africa—Operation "Torch"—that the greatest forbearance was shown by Spain in allowing us to use, far beyond any treaty rights, the harbour of Algeciras and the neutral ground between Gibraltar and the mainland for our aeroplanes and for the gathering of our transports. It was a most anxious period for us because the whole of that great operation—the first great Anglo-American joint operation—would have been jeopardised if they had chosen, as they so easily could have done, to plant cannon on the hills overlooking the harbour, and fire them upon the shipping crowded therein.
I cannot feel at all that they did us harm in the war and I personally agree with what Senator Connally said in the American Senate the other day, that he could not see the sense of having relations with Soviet Russia and refusing to have any relations with Spain.
§ Mr. Skeffington-Lodge (Bedford) rose—
§ Mr. Churchill
As a matter of fact, the conditions under which people live in Spain give far greater freedom to the individual than those under which they live in Russia or, I may say, Bulgaria or Roumania or other countries which have fallen into the grip of—Yes, jump up now, if you like.
§ Mr. Skeffington-Lodge
The right hon. Gentleman said that he agrees with the expression of opinion of an American Senator. Does he also agree with the expression of opinion which appeared in "The Times" today and which comes from Mr. Acheson, the Secretary of State, in which Mr. Acheson says that the Franco Government was set up by Hitler and Mussolini and that it is patterned on Germany and Italy, and in which he adds that the judiciary is not independent in Spain today and habeas corpus is quite unknown?
§ Mr. Churchill
I should not like to live under the present Spanish regime, but I would rather live there than under the Governments of the various countries I have just mentioned, and I imagine that would be the opinion of almost every Member of this House who is not either blinded by fanaticism or sure he would get most favoured treatment in the circumstances which might arise.
2029 As I say, I am not suggesting that we should go further at all at the present time than to have the interchange of ambassadors. At the time of Potsdam, I agreed that Spain should not be a member of the United Nations organisation because I felt it was more important to gather together other elements, nor do we include Spain in our United Europe movement, but let us at least take the step of abandoning insult and boycott and exchange formal ambassadors with that country. I am sure that the attitude and policy which has been pursued in the last three years has been a great service to Franco and has enabled him to secure his hold, which might otherwise have been greatly mitigated.
Those are the only points of detail which I venture to mention. This may be an occasion for satisfaction, but it is not an occasion for triumph or for exultation. We are on the eve of the Four-Power Conference out of which we may hope a peace treaty with Germany may come. We must give that conference the best possible chance and be careful not to use language at this juncture which would hamper its discussions or compromise its chances of success. At the same time, I am glad that the Foreign Secretary is not under any illusions and that we shall not be deceived by gestures unaccompanied by action. It is deeds, not words, which are wanted. Any deed done by the Russian Soviet Government which really makes for the peaceful and friendly intercourse of mankind will have its immediate response, but mere manoeuvres must be watched with the utmost vigilance.
Moreover, there can be no assurance of permanent peace in Europe while Asia is on the Elbe or while so many ancient states and famous capitals of Eastern Europe are held in the grip of the 13 men who form the oligarchy of the Kremlin. The Communist gains in China and the disturbances, all springing from the same source, which are causing so much misery in South-East Asia, all bring home to us the magnitude of the great struggle for freedom which is going on under the conditions of what is called the "cold war." We are confronted with a mighty oligarchy disposing not only of vast armies and important armaments by sea and in the air, but which has a theme, almost a religion, in the Communist doc- 2030 trine and propaganda which claims its devotees in so many countries and makes them, over a large portion of the globe, the enemies of the lands of their birth.
There is this fear which the Soviet dictators have of a friendly intercourse with the Western democracies and their hitherto inflexible resolve to isolate the enormous populations they control. They even fear words on the broadcast. Everyone in this country is free to turn on to the Russian broadcasts at any hour of the day, and I am bound to say I am very glad that they should be free to do so. It would be a terrible thing if we were afraid of anything that might be said about us on the broadcasts. It is a woeful admission of a guilty conscience or a defective political system when you are afraid to let your people listen to what goes on abroad. We soon got used to "Lord Haw-Haw" during the war, and we never feared what he might have said about us. It is astonishing that there should be this terror in the hearts of these men, wielding such immense material and physical power, merely of words let out by our fairly harmless B.B.C. upon the ether. They must have very poor nerves to get alarmed by that. But the fact remains that there is this fear—fear of friendship and fear of words, and it acts upon men who wield the most terrible agencies of military force.
The situation is, therefore, from many points of view unprecedented and incalculable. Over the whole scene reigns the power of the atomic bomb, ever growing in the hands of the United States. It is this, in my view, and this alone that has given us time to take the measures of self-protection and to develop the units which make those measures possible, one of which is before us this afternoon. I have said that we must rise above that weakness of democratic and Parliamentary Governments, in not being able to pursue a steady policy for a long time, so as to get results. It is surely our plain duty to persevere steadfastly, irrespective of party feelings or national diversities, for only in this way have we good chances of securing that lasting world peace under a sovereign world instrument of security on which our hearts are set. We shall, therefore, support His Majesty's Government in the 2031 Motion which the right hon. Gentleman has just commended to us.
§ 4.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
This is a great day for the Foreign Secretary. It is the culmination of months—indeed, of years now—of persistent and consistent effort on behalf of the free peoples of the world and on behalf of democracy and democratic institutions. Today he comes to ask the House for its approval of an agreement which has been made between himself, on behalf of the Government and the people of this country, and 11 other countries. I hope—or rather I should say, I wish—that the House will give him unanimous approval. I am quite certain that the House will, by an overwhelming majority, approve of his agreement and ratify his signature. Not only will the House approve, but the free peoples, not only of this country but of the Commonwealth, will also approve.
I am convinced that war and the fear of war will not be abolished until all the States of the world, the Governments and the peoples, recognise and respect one rule of law, universal in its application, governing the strong as well as the weak, and without any qualification or exception; until there is in existence an equity tribunal commanding by its structure, its independence, and its impartiality, the confidence of all, to which may be referred disputes for peaceable settlement; finally until there is established an unchallengeable world international police force to deal effectively and immediately With any aggressor State or people. That, I believe, must be the ultimate aim. Selfishness, an egotistical attitude, and what I may call State snobbery, which begat isolationism and refusal to co-operate with others, has prevented, so far, the achievement of this aim.
But, in spite of or, perhaps, because of the two tremendous wars through which we have passed—those destructive and devastating world wars—various steps towards that ultimate goal have been taken. There was first, of course, before the two wars the Hague Conference of 1905; and then, after the First World War, the League of Nations, which failed largely because the United 2032 States of America decided to outlaw themselves from the League; and then the United Nations organisation, whose failure to achieve what we had all hoped it might have accomplished by this time is due to the right of veto, its use and abuse—to the fact, as we have seen, that we were not all, the weak as well as the strong, governed by one law, but that some were placed above the law.
I regard this Atlantic Pact as an historic step—one of the highest and most advanced steps—towards the goal of universal peace. Its development has arisen from the failure of the United Nations organisation to bring about that peace and understanding which every one of us desires. It is due, as I have already suggested, to the use and misuse of the veto, to the aggressive actions of Stalin and others at Moscow, and the Communists, not merely there but throughout the world, and those who would glorify war, destruction and devastation. Though this pact is consistent with the principles and the purposes of the Charter, it is, to my mind, even an advance, in one respect at any rate, on the Charter: there is no right of veto in this pact, no distinction between the strong and the weak. Luxembourg and Iceland are on the same footing with regard to rights and obligations as the United States of America and ourselves.
It is a purely defensive pact forcollective defence for the preservation of peace and security.Those are the dominant words in the pact. It must be, I suggest—and it was really suggested by the Foreign Secretary—well-nigh impossible for the Government of a free democracy, holding their position by the free, full suffrage of the people of their country, to wage an aggressive war. I would suggest that it is absolutely impossible for several Governments holding their positions by the full, free suffrage of their peoples, amounting to 330 million all told, to wage at any time a war of aggression. Free peoples will unite in a war of defence, but of defence only; not in a war of aggression. We are entitled and, in my view, we are in duty bound, to ourselves and to coming generations, to take all measures to safeguard our freedom, our common heritage, and our own form of civilisation, founded, as they are, upon principles of democracy, in- 2033 dividual liberty, and the rule of law. To me, life without liberty would be meaningless, and a useless form of existence. Slavery is a living death and the sacrifice of all human dignity upon the degrading altar of mere existence.
I hope and believe that this is the beginning of a new commonwealth. I hope it may grow in unity and in strength, and lead to even closer relationships, economically, politically and fraternally, between the peoples and governments who have agreed to sign this pact. I hope also that its area will be extended, so that gradually the principles will be extended over a far wider area, and accepted by all peoples. Article 10 provides the key whereby others, including, if ever they choose to accept the principles of the preamble, the Russian peoples, or any other peoples in Eastern Europe, may enter this new sanctuary.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)
Article 10 provides that that extension cannot be made unless made by unanimous agreement. Does that not mean that one nation—say, Iceland or Luxembourg—can bar the entrance of either Soviet Russia or any other country?
§ Mr. Davies
Surely, the whole object is common defence, according to the words of the preamble, and I would read Article 10 as meaning that anybody, in any part of Europe, who will assent to the principles laid down in the preamble, can make an application to the others for admission; and that would mean the opportunity to extend the area covered by his pact. The only persons who can object to the pact are those who see their own plans and their own ambitions frustrated, and who still hope by any means, however foul—by war, destruction, devastation, murder, torture, and imprisonment—to impose their will and their way of life upon all others. Naturally, they feel frustration, chagrin and anger, and their very anger provides the best evidence of the urgent need there was for such a pact. So long as there are criminally-minded men in the world in positions of power, then decent-minded people, who only desire to continue their ordinary and peaceful avocations in life, must agree to unite to defend their liberty, their heritage, and their own mode of life.
2034 None of the nations, not even the United States of America, can risk standing alone. The powers of aggression and darkness are too great and too threatening. The strength to defend peace—even to prevent war—lies in unity, and in unity alone. I agree with what was said by the Foreign Secretary, that if this pact had been made, the war of 4th August, 1914, would not have broken out. If this pact had been made early in 1939, the Second World War would not have broken out in September of that year. If this pact had been made some time before 1939, few of us would ever have heard even of Hitler—
§ Mr. Zilliacus (Gateshead)
Is it not a fact that the Triple Entente existed before 1914, and did not prevent a war?
§ Mr. Davies
That Entente was limited, as the hon. Member knows, to the few nations which composed it; America had not come in. If the Kaiser and Hitler had known that the United States would have come in, in defence of free democracy, I very much doubt whether either of those two wicked aggressors would have ventured to do what they did.
A mere survey of the manpower and industrial strength of the 12 Powers concerned in the pact is itself a warning to any would-be aggressor. Their tremendous potentiality is a guarantee of peace. The pact mobilises the forces of peace, for the first time before the outbreak of war, against the forces of aggression and exploitation. What could be better designed to avoid disputes and quarrels than Articles 1 and 2? Does anyone object to those articles? They provide not merely for negotiation, conciliation and arbitration but also for mutual aid, political as well as economic, so as to remove the causes of quarrels, envies and jealousies. I hope that Articles 3 and 4 will be used effectively. Supply should become a collective responsibility and information should be pooled. National pride should not be allowed to stand in the way of permitting the use of bases necessary to ensure prompt and effective co-operation and collective defence.
The Liberal Party, for whom I am speaking, have never been a war party; no one has ever accused us of being in favour of war.
§ Mr. Davies
We have always been in favour of peace. The accusation usually brought against us is that we have not been sufficiently active on the defence side in promoting large armaments. To us the paramount purpose of the agreement is the furtherance of peace, the prevention of war, and the collective security of the free peoples in defence of their form of democracy, their heritage and their way of life. On behalf of all Liberals, not only in this House, but everywhere, I welcome and support this pact.
§ 5.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Warbey (Luton)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) began by congratulating the Foreign Secretary on his day of triumph. This is, indeed, a day of triumph for my right hon. Friend in many respects. The ending of the Berlin blocade which, I think, we can rightly celebrate today as a great step forward in post-war development, is due, I believe, not so much to the so-called success of Allied diplomacy as is suggested in some quarters, but rather to the firmness, patience and common sense which was shown by the Foreign Secretary. What my right hon. Friend did in relation to the Berlin blockade was done in the face of provocation from hon. and right hon. Members opposite, who demanded the use of force, and in the face of hot-headed statements by American generals who wanted to make use of armed force. In the face of these demands the Foreign Secretary insisted upon following a patient and costly form of appeasement—for the air lift was a form of appeasement, and I supported it as an alternative to the use of armed force. We ought to pay tribute to the Foreign Secretary because he did not allow this country to be led into a course, last autumn in particular, which might have plunged the whole world into disaster.
I hope, however, that we shall not try to draw too far-reaching conclusions from the success of the air lift. Some people are suggesting that the Russians are now showing a greater disposition to be reasonable because of the display of Allied air might in and around Berlin. There are some—and I regret to say that they include the Foreign Secretary—who 2036 imagine that the North Atlantic Pact, and the assembly of military force with which it confronts the Soviet Union, is in itself the cause of the willingness of the Soviet Union to enter into discussions. We ought to have a rather clearer idea about the motives of Soviet policy if we are to come not only to a reasonable understanding with that country but are to grapple with the problems to which Russia gives rise in international affairs. The principal motive of Russian policy over the last 18 months has been to prevent a division of Germany into two halves, and the establishment of Western Germany under Allied control and the Ruhr under Western control as a possible bastion and spearhead against Russia and Eastern Europe. That is the great fear in the minds of the Russians which we ought to recognise.
It is to prevent the realisation of that fear that the Russians have now taken steps to bring about discussions which they hope will lead to the unity of Germany rather than its division. They tried to force us to give up the division of Germany and the creation of a Western German State by imposing a blockade. They failed in endeavouring to use coercion, but is there any reason why they should not now succeed by adopting a more reasonable attitude? I hope we shall co-operate with Russia in achieving a settlement for a united Germany. From the point of view of Russia, ourselves and the whole of the Western world there cannot be anything more disastrous for the peace of Europe than that Germany should finally be divided into two halves, that there should be competition between those halves for the favours of the rival victor Powers, a revival of nationalist claims in Germany and eventual competition in rearmament in the two halves by the respective sides in this conflict. That is the gravest danger which confronts Germany, and possibly the world, today.
It is because these dangers will be increased rather than diminished by this treaty that, unless we can have assurances given very clearly by the British Government, I shall not feel it possible to give it my support in the Lobby this evening. There are many aspects of this treaty which are causing uneasiness, at least to hon. Members on this side of the House and in the Labour movement in the country as well. It would take many hours to go into every aspect of this treaty which 2037 causes us concern. I would prefer to touch briefly on one or two of them before coming to what appear to me to be the main issues.
First, it must be clear to us that if we enter into this military alliance with the United States which, after all, is the essence of the thing, stripped of all verbiage, the United States will be the dominant partner. The United States, with its resources for the manufacture of atom bombs, with its industrial potential four times greater than ours, with its arms expenditure five times greater than ours, will be the dominant partner in this alliance. As a result, British defences, British strategic planning and British foreign policy will, quite inevitably, come more and more under the domination of those of the United States.
I hope that hon. Members will have observed that Article 3 of this treaty lays upon this country an obligation to increase our expenditure on armaments, because that article says that the parties to the treaty:will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack."Develop" means expansion, increase. Therefore, the warning already given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech is one which is amply justified by Article 3 of the treaty. We know what to expect—a further increase in the cost of living in this country and a possible reduction in social services if we are to carry out the obligations which will be laid upon us and pressed upon us from the American side in connection with this treaty. I say that because, with the usual paradox which we witness in capitalist economies, the American capitalist economy will continue to gain by increasing rearmament, and therefore they will press us to play our part as well in this collective enterprise and not be left behind in the race; but whereas rearmament will help to keep their crazy capitalist economy on its feet, rearmament in countries with planned economies like our own, can only mean reductions in standards of living.
One turns to the countries which are being invited to join this treaty. The inclusion of Italy makes nonsense of the geographical content of the treaty, and adds a liability rather than an asset to the Western bloc. Does anyone suppose 2038 that the Italian workers, or even any large proportion of the Italian peasants, will be prepared to fight for America against Russia if the issue arises? I do not think that hon. Members ought to be deceived on that matter. Anyone who knows Italy, knows that they will not fight if that conflict comes. That is demonstrated by the fact that we find in Italy against the Atlantic Pact, not only the Communists, not only the Nenni Socialists, the Left-Centre and Right, but also the Silone Socialists, half of the Saragat Socialists, and also Republican Democrats like Nitti and Orlando.
The inclusion of Portugal makes complete nonsense of the preamble to the North Atlantic Treaty, which speaks of the signatories beingdetermined to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.Democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law do not exist in Portugal. The fact that Portugal is included will make it impossible, in course of time, to refuse the inclusion of Franco Spain, which is already demanded by some hon. Members opposite. It was, in effect, demanded by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) today, because he said that he regarded the decision of my right hon. Friend to allow our Ambassador to return to Spain as a step in the right direction and sufficient for the time being. He knows very well that it is a step in the direction of the eventual inclusion of Franco Spain. How can it be refused if Portugal is included?
Then there is the inclusion of Norway. I have immense admiration for the courage of the Norwegians, but I believe that on this issue they have been foolhardy. The following authoritative comment on what the inclusion of Norway in the treaty really means was made by one who is hardly a fellow traveller, Mr. John Foster Dulles, when he said:Our fellowship with the peoples of Western Europe ought not to seem to bring United States military might directly to Russia's border.He went on to say that:it would involve a high tribute to Soviet leaders to assume … they would exercise more self-control than would our people under comparable circumstances, as for example, if the Soviet Union had military arrangements with a country at our border.2039 That brings me to the essence of the matter. I do not see how the Soviet leaders can possibly regard this treaty as anything other than provocative, and as a threat to their own continued peaceful existence. I do not see how they can, because I know very well that if a similar pact had been formed by the Soviet Union and another great Power, and we had been specifically named as the Power against whom they were aligned to defend themselves, we should have regarded their activities as aggressive and as threatening us and leading us to fear the worst in regard to the future.
§ Mr. Thomas Reid (Swindon)
Does my hon. Friend try to compare a country which has a Communist aggressive Government and a democratic Government like our own? Surely if the one Government has arms and the rest, it is a different matter from the other Government having them?
§ Mr. Warbey
My hon. Friend makes that usual over-simplification, for which we often blame our Communist friends, of just equating words. He speaks of "a Communist aggressive Government." It is very nice when one can slip out a word in that kind of way, as though the fact of "Communist" automatically implied that it was aggressive. That is just the kind of reasoning which is unfortunately followed by many people in Russia, who say that just because America is capitalist, it is therefore, ipso facto, aggressive. It is because we have both sides talking this utter nonsense and going on talking it, that the world is really faced with the danger of war.
There are people saying, as did the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) that this military alliance is purely defensive, that we do not intend aggression to anybody. On their side, the Russians say exactly the same, and what is to one side a defensive alliance, is to the other a potentially aggressive alliance—just as the American occupation of a military base in Iceland appears defensive to America but appears aggressive to Russia, and just as our Communist friends claim that the large Russian arms budget is purely defensive, whereas right hon. Members opposite claim that the even larger American arms budget is also purely de- 2040 fensive. The point is that they are both intended to be defensive, and they will both ultimately result in aggression if that kind of thing goes on. The same applies to the military alliances. They are intended to be defensive, and they will eventually result in world conflict if they continue.
The greatest fallacy of all is the one that was uttered by the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery, repeating my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, that peace will be preserved in the world because we are building up an overwhelming strength sufficient to deter any aggressor from breaking the peace. That fallacy is repeated in the White Paper bearing yesterday's date, which was issued presumably in an effort to calm the anxieties and doubts of hon. Members in some parts of the House. We have it said again in paragraph 5 of this White Paper. It says that the united strength of the parties to the Atlantic Treatyis so great that the final defeat of any aggressor is certain.When the parallel of the Triple Alliance before the 1914–18 war was quoted, it was said, "But at that time we did not have the United States in." Yes, but this time we may have on the other side far vaster Powers and areas of the world than there were on the other side in 1914–18.
If we build up a polarisation, a power bloc around Washington—because that is what it is—then we are encouraging similar polarisation in the other part of the world. The fact that the core of the Western Power bloc is Anglo-Saxon, the fact that the core consists of those countries which are colonial or were formerly colonial countries, will drive large parts of Asia into the arms of the Soviet bloc. One inevitable consequence of this Treaty and of the building up of a power bloc based on Britain and the United States is to lead to the building up of an even vaster power bloc on the other side of the world. Then where is that overwhelming strength which is going to ensure the inevitable defeat of our opponents? It is an illusion. It is the old illusion of military alliances and balances of power, which is being repeated on this occasion.
§ Mr. John Paton (Norwich)
I am very interested in this argument, and I should 2041 like to be clear about what the hon. Member's thesis actually is. Am I right in thinking that the thesis is that Russian policies always inevitably follow and are conditioned by the policies of the Western Powers?
§ Mr. Warbey
I think it is quite clear that the policies of all great Powers must be influenced by the policies of others. It is quite clear in this matter—and I shall say this for my right hon. Friend and for those hon. Members who will support him in the Lobby tonight, as many of them no doubt will—that what they are doing is a reaction to much that has been done and said by the Soviet Union in the last three or four years. I give that to them.
I can understand their reactions to some of the ways in which the Soviet Union has behaved in the last three years or so, but I say to them: You are allowing yourselves to be driven down a fatal course by Soviet and American policy; you have not an independent foreign policy of your own; you are allowing your foreign policy to be determined for you by other countries, by reacting sometimes in the way that they would like you to react; on the assumption that the Soviet Union wants to weaken democratic Socialism, which many of my hon. Friends believe, on the assumption that the Soviet Union wants to see democratic Socialism fail, you could not do anything better to help them than by joining in a military alliance with the United States, by engaging in competitive rearmament, by destroying the possibility of building up a really constructive Socialist European union, by poisoning it and by concentrating on military combinations and alliances. That is giving away the case to the Communists.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting as a corollary to his argument that the solution would be that all countries should disarm except the Soviet Union, leaving each country threatened and quite helpless, to be picked off like ripe plums one by one?
§ Mr. Warbey
I have never defended unilateral disarmament. I am not one of those who believe that the way in which to get peace is totally to disarm; nor am I one of those who accept the opposite fallacy of believing that the way to get peace is to prepare for war. Both 2042 are fallacies. Of course, we shall retain a reasonable defence, and I am in favour of pooling the defences of Western European countries in order to lighten the collective burden and make it possible to improve our economic and social progress. But I am not in favour of this military alliance with one of the two super-Powers, which will divide the world into two halves and lead to a fatal conflict. That is the policy which I am challenging and the policy which, I regret to say, appears to be enshrined in this Treaty.
I had hoped that it might have been possible for my right hon. Friend, when he replies tonight, to give us some assurances which would indicate that the Atlantic Treaty is not what some of us fear it to be, and that it has not those implications and dangers which some of us fear that it has. I have indicated some of them. No doubt, other hon. Members will indicate others. It may, of course, be said that we are entirely wrong, that our fears and suspicions are unjustified and that none of these dangers will flow from it. If that is the case, there is really a simple course open to the Government. My right hon. Friend when he replies tonight can give us the kind of assurances for which some of us have asked in the Amendments which have been put down on the Order Paper. We have asked, in effect, in those Amendments that the Government when ratifying this Treaty shall make a declaration which would go a very long way to remove the fears and doubts which we have about this Treaty.
If such a declaration could he made, I think we might then say that our fears were not entirely justified. But if it cannot be made, if we cannot have these assurances, if we can have no assurance that this is really a regional agreement within the United Nations, no assurance that we shall not allow the armed forces of other Powers to have bases in this country, no assurance that this will not lead to the competitive rearmament of Germany and the Germans, and the inclusion of Franco Spain and all the rest, then we must be led to the conclusion that what the right hon. Member for Woodford claimed this afternoon was right.
This North Atlantic Treaty is merely the concrete expression of what the right hon. Member for Woodford uttered in 2043 his speech at Fulton three years ago. In other words, what we are being asked to vote for is Fultonism; not, I think, as the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) has said Fultonism and water, but Fultonism unadulterated. If that is the case, I personally cannot go into the Lobby tonight with the right hon. Member for Woodford in order to help him celebrate his Roman triumph. We shall know, if these assurances cannot be given, that this Treaty is no more than an old-fashioned military alliance which can only lead to the division of the world into two power blocs and competitive arming. I do not believe that course is really necessary.
I believe that there is something else which the Government should and could do even at this late hour. We have within the next nine days the Foreign Ministers of the four great Powers coming together again. I believe that the British Foreign Minister has the opportunity at this critical moment in history to give a lead to an independent British foreign policy which can really save humanity from the disaster that is threatening. He could give a lead for a constructive and peaceful settlement of the problems which face us at the present time. He could go into that conference with a determination that it would lead not to a temporary patching up of differences but to a final settlement of the problems which are confronting the great Powers at the present time. He has that opportunity; but if he goes into that Conference with the American atom bomb monopoly in one hand and the revolver of the Atlantic Pact in the other, does he think that he will achieve a settlement which will be a basis for the kind of peace he really wants to see in the world? I do not believe that he will. All that he will get out of that is a five or ten years' breathing space, while the nations on either side prepare for an even more fatal conflict than we now envisage. That is what he will get out of it.
No doubt this military alliance—this show of force—will have its immediate effect, but what effect will it have as soon as the American atomic bomb monopoly has disappeared? Although we have driven the Russians back by force today, the time will come when all that we are seeking to achieve at this moment will be overthrown by the size of the force 2044 that we have built up against us. That is what will happen if we enter into this conference with force in our hands and relying on force in order to achieve a settlement. The whole situation could be altered if my right hon. Friend would announce tonight that the British Government had decided to postpone ratification of the Treaty until after the outcome of the Foreign Ministers' Conference and we had been given an opportunity to see whether or not he could get this lasting settlement which we desire. If he does that, instead of the outcome of that conference being a 10 years' postponement of Armageddon, it will be that peace of 200 years on which the Foreign Secretary has set his heart.
§ 5.35 p.m.
§ Brigadier Head (Carshalton)
I do not think that I shall be expected in any quarter of the House to echo the sentiments which have just been expressed. The hon. Member for Luton (Mr. Warbey) at least cannot be accused by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) of being in any way a penitent. I must admit that I am something of a Fultonian, and it does not fill me with grief that the hon. Gentleman considers that the Atlantic Pact springs from and resembles the sentiments expressed in the Fulton speech. I should like to follow the hon. Gentleman on one or two points which he made in his speech. I would suggest to him that had he made any study of our existing ill-developed defences he would not regard the word "development" in the Treaty as one indicating increased expenditure.
With regard to the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that the Foreign Secretaries should meet together once again in order to find a settlement, I think that the hon. Gentleman never referred once throughout his speech to the constant, repeated and determined obstruction and negatives which have been given by Soviet Russia throughout all these conferences. These have stultified every attempt by the Western Powers to reach a settlement. That is a precedent which makes it hard to believe that, at this stage, a further effort will achieve something which the entire good will of the Western World has been attempting to achieve since 1945.
§ Mr. Warbey
Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman really think that the 2045 calling-off of the Berlin blockade and counter blockade means nothing at all? Does he think that it is mere words and a gesture and not an action indicating a considerable change of attitude on the part of the Soviet Union?
§ Brigadier Head
I think that the hon. Gentleman may think that on these matters I have a dirty mind, but I am afraid that my opinion of the lifting of the Berlin blockade is this: That the methods of coercion having failed to bring about a Germany of the kind the Soviet wanted, now a different method should be employed. I do not think that the lifting of the Berlin blockade is a gesture purely dictated by a desire to improve Soviet and American British relations.
§ Mr. Gallacher
May I draw the attention of the hon. and gallant Gentleman to the fact that the Soviet Union proposes that there should be inspection of atomic material and simultaneous destruction of atomic weapons? That is the greatest proposal that was ever made, and it was turned down flat by Britain and America.
§ Brigadier Head
If the hon. Gentleman really believes that gesture was a sincere one, and that they would have allowed inspection by the Western Powers of atomic materials, then I must assume that he reads no publications except the "Daily Worker." I do not believe that was a sincere offer and a realistic attempt to try to outlaw atomic weapons.
May I turn from the hon. Gentleman's remarks to the two speeches which opened the Debate. I think that it is hard for one on the back benches to add very much to the sentiments and the general statements which were made by the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford. One thing at least I can do, which it was impossible for either of them to do, and that is to express the great debt that the House and the country owe to them both in the work which they have done in bringing about the Atlantic Treaty. It seems to me that in the life of my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford, which has been very full of achievement, this pact, which directly results from the Fulton speech, will be accounted by posterity to have been one of his greatest achievements for the Western world.
2046 The trouble with democracies in peace-time has been a predilection for pacts unsupported by strength. In some ways I wish that I shared the fear of the hon. Member for Luton that we were now about to build up overwhelming and considerable forces. I am afraid that my opinion which is based on history, is very much the reverse. My fear is that we shall once again relapse into the popular democratic peace-time sport of building up a fine imposing looking pack of committees, pieces of paper, generals and planners, but that we shall fail to get into our shirtsleeves and do the necessary work to achieve adequate strength as a deterrent to aggression. That is the difficult task which lies ahead, and when the Foreign Secretary came into the House to announce the signing of the Atlantic Pact I, for one, was sorry that in describing this event, he stated that in his opinion we had now put the roof on the structure which would bring security to Europe.
I cannot believe that the Foreign Secretary, in affirming that the roof was put on, had been paying sufficient attention to the state of the defences of the Western Powers, and especially our own. If the Foreign Secretary would like me to continue in the housing analogy which he chose, I would say that the situation today is that the Western Powers have agreed to build a house together; they have got as far as getting out the blueprints of how they propose to build it, and perhaps we can say that the foundations are laid; but not a brick has been built in the wall, and they must now get into their shirt-sleeves and build that house gradually, laboriously, and at times with great difficulty. That, as I see it, is the problem which lies before the Western Powers and that is the stage we have now reached.
The fear which I have, which is so different from that of the hon. Member for Luton, is that we shall fall back on that bad habit of trusting to outward trappings in these matters, rather than relying on the creation of adequate strength to deter a would be aggressor. That is the way in which the democratic countries have behaved before two previous world wars. There is in the insect world a little beetle which crawls most boldly about the grass and bushes, and if a potential foe or aggressor should appear, it makes no attempt whatever 2047 to seek safety, either in flight or concealment, but goes happily on chewing his leaf or basking in the sun. Now the dashing and forward policy of that little beetle is based on the fact that he wears on his body some very bold black and yellow stripes which closely resemble those of the wasp; and because of that resemblance and that wasp's very formidable and notorious armament it enjoys immunity in the insect world. But that policy of bogus but apparent strength, translated into the human sphere would be disastrous and I fear that if the Foreign Secretary were to go beetling round the chancelleries of Europe dressed only in the Atlantic Pact, it would end in disaster.
That is my fear. My hope is that we shall take adequate steps to make of this pact a reality and a deterrent against aggression—a deterrent which I do not believe anybody who has studied the history of the democracies can ever interpret as being aggressive in character. The problem, is: How will this be done? Many hon. Members will say: "Already we have voted vast quantities of men and money for defence; for heaven's sake what more do you require?" I think that is justified for hon. Members understandably, grudge this vast expenditure of men and money. I do not ask for additional expenditure, but we must realise that apart from the atomic bomb, there is in Western Europe today a complete power vacuum; there is practically nothing in the way of a Western European defence organisation or defence force which could at present give any security or safety to Western Europe.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman mean to say that we are spending £762 million this year on nothing?
§ Brigadier Head
I am not saying that we have no forces whatever, but I am saying that within Europe itself there is virtually a power vacuum. Now, there may be hon. Members who would like, and who would think it best, to retain that state of affairs. I do not believe that that is the way to get peace. When I advocate increased efficiency in rearmament, some hon. Gentlemen will probably call me a warmonger. To those hon. Members I should say that there are two theories about war. One is reflected by the hon. Member for Luton 2048 and others. I, on the other hand, believe in strength as a deterrent against aggression. To those who believe otherwise and call me a warmonger—assuming the word "warmonger" means one whose words, theories and policies are most likely to lead to war—I would say that history and experience before the last two wars suggest that not I but the hon. Member for Luton and those like him are the warmongers. I suggest that they should think very carefully on that and study the past to see whether they are not, probably sincerely, heading for another disaster through weakness, in the same way that it has been done twice before.
§ Mrs. Leah Manning (Epping)
We are very interested in what the hon. and gallant Gentleman is saying. Can he explain how it was that the best prepared army in the world, the German Army, met with such disaster?
§ Brigadier Head
What happened was that the best-prepared army in the world overwhelmed Poland, then left a period of a year in which we might have prepared and learned some lessons, and then proceeded to overwhelm France. It did it twice, with a long warning period in between. That, it seems to me, is a pretty remarkable achievement. Having done that, it then went right into Russia, where it was finally broken. For the hon. Lady to cite the defeat of Germany as an indication that we were prepared is, I think, very far-fetched.
The fear I have, which I have already expressed, is that we shall not become adequately strong. I fear lest we may spend our time talking, paying lip-service to the pact and setting up committees, but not doing the difficult and arduous work which will make of this pact a reality. If that happens it will be, in the long run, a disaster, and I shall try briefly to tell the House why. First, if we and Europe do not make wholehearted efforts to work our passage and erect a realistic defensive structure, then I believe that America will say: "They do not mean business. They are not really going to work their passage and put their backs into it. We cannot carry the whole thing on our shoulders. If war breaks out we must write off Europe; we must fight war, if war comes, from air bases outside Europe." The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) looks quite cheerful.
§ Brigadier Head
I shall tell the hon. Member where, if he wants me to go on for so long. Iceland is one place; the hon. Gentleman may have heard of the Azores, which is another; the Middle East is another. I shall not go on with my strategic geography but I have perhaps given the hon. Member at least enough material to send off a telegram.
I am saying that that situation strikes me as a possibility if we do not make a realistic attempt. If that happens, then I sincerely believe—and I suggest to those who wish well to the democratic world that there is something in this—that if Western Europe is overrun and subjected to a long occupation by Soviet Russia, not only will it lead to a very long and disastrous war, but any re-conquest of Western Europe will leave us with such a wreck in Western Europe as can never be put together again. I believe that even at the conclusion of that kind of victorious war, the object for which we were fighting, Western civilisation, would be dead and that military victory would bring ideological defeat.
The third reason why I believe this would be dangerous is because until we can get some kind of physical defence for Western Europe, we shall never get that stability, confidence and political continuity for which we are striving. What feeds the cold war is fear. I ask Members who have violent political views to consider how they would feel if they were living in the Eastern part of Western Europe and had nothing between them and Soviet Russia. If they got up and said the Communists were wicked people their names would be on the book and in the event of war, there would be nothing to defend their country from occupation. All these nations are living in a state of apprehension and fear. I believe that not only would adequate defences act as a deterrent to aggression, but also as a stabilising influence and a counter to the existing cold war which would be far more effective than anything we can do by propaganda and the B.B.C.
One of the problems in making this pact a reality lies in overcoming the inertia which always exists in translating policies and pacts into reality and physical action. I do not mean starting a war, but taking the necessary steps to create adequate defences. The point I 2050 put to the House, which I believe to be of some importance in the present situation, is that in this respect this country is placed in a position of leadership and example. As I have said before, the wholeheartedness of American cooperation and contribution to Western European defence will be much affected by the extent of the contributions made by Western Europe from her own resources. If Western Europe does not make that contribution, I do not believe she will get that full co-operation from America. Western Europe, in her turn, will be watching this country. Western Europe is not going to exert herself, with all the immense difficulties of economic recovery which face her, if this country is not taking this pact seriously, or is not preparing herself for assistance in the event of Western Europe being over-run.
I am not suggesting for one moment that we should produce a vast army, but I am suggesting that we could produce a small, effective and up-to-date army and a well-prepared air striking force. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is quite sure that when Western Europe looks at us she sees the kind of thing which will help her and convince her of our bona fides. Western Europe is primarily interested in the early phase of a war when she may be overrun, and therefore her keynote will be operational preparedness.
I ask therefore whether our present defence policy is in line with the commitments which our foreign policy has given us under the Atlantic Pact. I would say that our defence policy at the moment is to create a long-term force, a force which might be of considerable use at the later stages of a war whereas the requirement is for one which is operationally well prepared. What we want is, by our example, to provide the initial impetus in creating a European defence structure, and our policy should be aimed at getting our forces at a high state of readiness. I sincerely hope that if the Foreign Secretary is not satisfied in that respect—and I cannot as a student of this matter see that he can be—he will go into it and discuss it, to see that our present established foreign policy is matched by our defence policy.
I have confined my remarks purposely to the question of the defence of Western Europe, but it must be obvious that the 2051 Atlantic Pact cannot and will not be confined to that area. I do not want to discuss any other parts of the world in this Debate because it would make my remarks too long and too diffuse, but before I sit down I should like briefly to refer to one area which, I believe, forms part and parcel of Western defence, and that is the Mediterranean.
It seems ungracious, after this imaginative gesture on the part of America, to suggest an extension of this pact further beyond the continent of America, but I feel convinced that the Mediterranean, especially the Eastern Mediterranean, forms an intimate part of the defence of Western Europe. If our position in the Eastern Mediterranean deteriorates or is neglected, the whole of the most elaborate and efficient defence structure in Western Europe will be stultified and will expose itself to being ripped and torn up from Mediterranean bases. The Americans must find it very hard to believe that as far as defence is concerned, modern strategy, aircraft and weapons make the Middle West and the Middle East part of the same defensive system.
There are obviously hard and difficult times coming to this country and to Western Europe. I am convinced that in the next few years, whatever party is in power, they will be subjected to an ever-increasing clamour for a reduction in defence expenditure and an all-round reduction in such provisions as are required by this pact. If those in authority resist that clamour, hold fast and make a reality of this pact, they will gain little popularity and no votes. I can only hope that whoever is in power will hold fast and although he will gain little or no recognition, popularity or votes he will nevertheless be helping to build up strength which as a deterrent to aggression and a force for peace, may well earn him the unspoken gratitude of future generations.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Thomas Reid (Swindon)
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) called the speech of the Foreign Secretary sombre. I think it was a firm speech by a man who is now able to speak confidently, knowing the subject and all the facts. I do not think that the Foreign Secretary could have been so confident two or three 2052 years ago, but owing to the policy he has been mainly instrumental in bringing forward he can afford to be much more confident today.
The hon. Member for Luton (Mr. Warbey) suggested that the Atlantic Pact is provocative and that Russia thinks it is provocative. He suggested that it was not a good business and should be postponed, and he denied that Russia has an aggressive policy. Since I came into this House I have supported the Foreign Secretary in all these quarrels with the Communists, because from the word "go" I believed that Communist imperialism was aggressive. I studied this subject, and amongst other things I read a book called "The Problems of Leninism." That book is not a bit of propaganda from "Pravda" or fictitious falsehoods put out on the Russian wireless; it is a Communist text book of which 100 million copies or so have been sold, and it is for the edification and training of Soviet youth. If that book, published by the hundred thousand, asserts that Communist imperialism or Politbureau imperialism is aggressive, then we must assume it is so. I would like to reproduce one salient passage from that book, where it says:The aim is the consolidation of the dictatorship of the proletariat in one country as a point of support for the overthrow of imperialism in all countries … the revolution extends beyond the borders of one country and the epoch of world revolution has begun.Is that fiction? Is it peaceful policy or aggression?
§ Mr. Reid
It may be 1918, but my hon. Friend cannot get away with that. It may have been first published in 1918, but it has been reproduced several times, and I am quoting from an edition published as lately as 1945. My hon. Friend the Member for Luton asserts that the Russians acted as they did in Germany because they were afraid that the unity of Germany would be broken. If anyone tried to break the unity of Germany it was the Russians themselves, because from the very start—
§ Mr. Warbey
My hon. Friend keeps on misquoting what I said. What I said was that the Russians were afraid that Germany would remain divided permanently into two halves.
§ Mr. Reid
In other words, what my hon. Friend means is that the Russians, who broke up Germany, feared that this breaking of Germany into two halves, which under the Potsdam Agreement was meant to be administered as one country economically, at least by the Four Powers, would become permanent. I quite agree with my hon. Friend that the Russians do not like the partition of Germany. What they want is Germany to be united as a whole and to become a puppet of the Soviet Union. The facts prove it. As regards Norway, it is a small country inhabited by one of the finest races in the world. Though it has a small population it has given to civilisation out of all proportion to its small population. The Norwegians are taking a great risk in following the leadership of their Prime Minister, who was imprisoned by the Nazis, but being statesmen they realise the far greater risk which would follow standing out and remaining neutral. The hon. Member for Luton says that there is no danger from Russian aggression in spite of the policy which they have published. I wonder whether he has ever been across to the other side.
§ Mr. Reid
"The other side" means America. If my hon. Friend goes over there and along the south border of Canada, he will find not a single gun or pill box on a 3,000 miles frontier. Yet on one side are the American people, 140 million strong, and on the other side the beautiful country—well worth looting—of Canada, with a population of 12 million. The 140 million have atomic bombs, and yet every Canadian sleeps peacefully in his bed every night as we do here. If instead of the United States along the Canadian border, there was the Soviet Union, with the bomb and a Communist policy of aggression, would the Canadians sleep peacefully in their beds? It makes all the difference what is in the minds of men. War starts in the minds of men, and here is a people teaching their children aggression and liquidating 2054 country after country. Surely that is different from the United States.
§ Mr. Zilliacus
Suppose the Canadians were Communists, would they sleep peacefully in their beds with the United States as their neighbour?
§ Mr. Reid
If the Canadians were Communists, although they are smaller in population, the Americans would not sleep peacefully in their beds. I am going into this, because from the start in our party I have supported the policy of the Foreign Secretary. A certain number of people who have been duped by Communist propaganda—and I am sorry to say some of them in my own party—have at least been very friendly towards the Communist aggression that is obvious in Europe. My hon. Friend the Member for Luton says the Russians are not aggressive. Will he answer a few questions on that point? Why did they seize East Poland? They may have had an excuse for that, because it was not populated entirely by Polish people, but why did they seize the three Baltic States?
§ Mr. Reid
Even if we condoned it, they seized it. They are the culprits; we are not. Why did they seize the northern part of Poland and annex it? Why did they seize Manchuria and places like Port Arthur? Why did they give Japanese arms to the Chinese Communists? Are they aggressive? They are only carrying out the policy laid down in "The Problems of Leninism," and if anyone thinks otherwise, he must be blind.
One of their methods is by a fifth column in every country, and it is an excellent plan. I will give them full marks for studying revolution; they are first class at it. The Foreign Secretary is responsible for stopping the onward march of Communist imperialism in Europe and Greece. We kept our troops there, in spite of all the attempts made to get them out and let the Communists in. Because we stuck to our guns, our troops are still there. Then my right hon. Friend got American aid for Greece, and Communist imperialism and Marxism were stopped. If Greece had fallen, then Turkey would have gone the 2055 same way, and the Dardanelles would have been closed to us. Even Italy might have become Communist, and why some hon. Members on this side of the House support Russia through all these things passes my comprehension. Those who opposed the Foreign Secretary in our party are now scattered, and they do not represent the nation or the Labour Party.
Once in a Debate in this House I said that I regarded the Politbureau of Russia as probably the most incompetent in the world. They have proved it. Their object was to bludgeon their way through Europe and elsewhere, liquidating human nature itself, but their policy has resulted in something entirely opposite to what they hoped to get from it. They have done excellently in forcing the democratic countries of Europe to come together to defend themselves, their way of life and their democracy. They have forced these countries to adopt what would have stopped the First and Second World Wars—regional collective security. Collective security is on a firmer basis now than it ever was before. That was caused by Communist imperialism, and from it we have also got Western Union, O.E.E.C., the Brussels Pact and now the Atlantic Pact. I do not think our troubles are over; far from it. This Communist imperialism must go on, or it must die. It is a system based on force and not on morals and reason. It is an aggressive force, which must go on or perish, and in my opinion it will go on.
§ Mr. Warbey
Does my hon. Friend realise that the fundamental difference between Communism and Fascism is that whereas the Nazi system was based on aggression, the Communist system is not, and that is where the whole basis of his argument is completely false.
§ Mr. Reid
The whole basis of my argument is completely right. This Communist system is a revolt against morality and against reason. It is a foul irreligion, and it can only hope to go on by using force and by liquidating opponents. The countries of the world are alarmed, and America and ourselves are leading the way in taking steps to remedy this position. Those who have studied Marxism know that one of its plans is to produce revolution by increasing misery. The Communists have tried to carry out that plan by increasing the misery of Europe everywhere by turmoil 2056 and by fifth column activity, ever since the war was over.
America has stepped in, with great generosity, and instead of increasing misery, has set about increasing prosperity, with very great success up to this moment. The diplomatic and military resistance of the Western Powers has brought Russia to a standstill. That and the brilliant feats of our airmen over Berlin have raised the siege of Berlin. Nevertheless, there has been no change of heart in Communist imperialism. It seems that they realise that they have been beaten, but what they will do next remains to be seen. The third world war has probably been averted by the measures which have been taken, and especially by the North Atlantic Pact.
The hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head) informed us that we are beginning to build a house but it is not complete. I am inclined to agree with him. It is a difficult question. We are trying to build a formidable structure and we have only just begun it. The people concerned will have to reckon with the absolute sovereignty to which the nations of Europe still cling by the force of old habit. They will have to overcome that either by federation, which in my opinion would be premature at the present time, or by this Council of Europe which has just been set up, with its Assembly.
We have to tackle all the problems. The whole sphere of foreign affairs has been radically altered. In future, what we call foreign affairs will become more and more international affairs. It will need men with enormous constructive ability to adapt themselves to new conditions and to think of themselves as Europeans rather than as nationals of particular countries. The hon. Member for Luton has assured us that this Council of Europe and all the other institutions which are set up will be dominated by the United States of America. The United States will, of course, be the most powerful people there economically and militarily, but I have seen no sign of American domination. In fact, America does not want to dominate. What she wants is complete co-operation and unity among all the parties concerned.
There are many problems to be overcome. One of them is the co-ordination of military forces. That will be a tre- 2057 mendous subject. Are there to be national units, to be called together in an emergency, or is there to be an international force? How can we be certain that if an emergency occurs, all the Powers and units concerned will march? We all know what has happened before, particularly when Abyssinia was invaded by Mussolini. The people of Europe held back, at the time when a few ships would have stopped him. Mussolini got away with it, when a few ships would have stopped him getting through the Mediterranean. How can we ensure that that will not happen again?
There are places where fifth columns are strong. Will those Communists undermine the Council of Europe by gaining control of majorities in their own countries? That is a formidable problem. Again, who will join the scheme? A number of nations have joined. How many more will join? Are the Communist States to be invited in? They may suggest that they should come in, either because they have mended their ways or because they want to bore from within. That is another formidable problem. I do not pretend to know how to solve any of these problems. I believe that it is best to have first-class men from all the countries concerned and to leave the solution to them. The problems cannot be tackled by people outside. That has to be done by discussion and persuasion over a long period. I hope sincerely that no commonplace or second-class Ministers, diplomats or civil servants will be allowed to handle these enormously difficult problems.
I was very much impressed by the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton. I agree with what he said about the Middle East. Peace is indivisible and war is indivisible, and never more than now, when there is an attack by Communist imperialism upon the liberty and property of mankind. So far as I can see, there is a vacuum in the Middle East. What is there to defend the Middle East? The Foreign Secretary has told us that the pact shields Greece and Turkey. What is the use of that? Who will defend Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and other countries around Palestine, such as Transjordan? Let us consider Transjordan. We have a treaty of mutual defence with Transjordan. U.N.O., in its wisdom, has given four-fifths of Palestine 2058 to the Jews. There is one-fifth left and it is proposed to hand that fraction over to Transjordan. If it is added to the existing territory of Transjordan, will that new territory be covered by the Anglo-Transjordan Treaty? Are our boys to be sent out to defend the peace of that part of the world, if it or Jerusalem should be attacked by the Jews? Are we alone to be dragged into that problem?
Again, we have treaties of mutual defence with practically all the Arab States. Are we to defend them, if those Arab States, and Iran, are attacked by Communist imperialism? Are we, because we have treaties with some of them, bound to go to their rescue? Is this unfortunate little country, weighed down by taxation, to indulge in campaigns of that size? Will U.N.O. do anything? No, because the veto stops anything from being done. Is there not, therefore, a need for something like a Mediterranean Pact? Is the defence of those countries to be left to poor John Bull? I do not know who is to reply this evening and whether that Minister can answer these conundrums. They arc pressing. I agree with the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton that the defence of the West and of the Middle East are one and the same problem. In that part of the world, Israel claims to be remaining neutral. That remains to be seen. She occupies a key position on the coast, with the vital port of Haifa in her charge. How are we to decide whether she is eventually coming in with us, or with the other side?
Let us go across to India and Pakistan. They have the enemy on their borders. They have been worrying about Kashmir. I hope they will settle the Kashmir question peacefully. As a friend of both States, I can assure them that there are far more serious things lurking in the dark than the question of which gets Kashmir. The enemy is at hand. India has a strong Communist Party. I again wonder what pact or arrangement has been made with this country to defend the vital countries and the vital places which those Governments control. What about the Khyber Pass? It could easily be defended, but who will do so? What arrangements have we with India and Pakistan and Burma and Ceylon to defend those territories? War is indivisible, never more so than today, and the Atlantic Pact covers 2059 only a small part of the world. On 10th July, 1947, I said in this House:The statesmanship of the Labour Government in the management of this Indian problem has been superb."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th July, 1947; Vol. 439, c. 2508.]There were sardonic smiles on some sides of the House, but was I not right? We left India alone, gave her a free hand, and today she is coming into the Commonwealth and acknowledging the common symbol of the Crown. It was wise statesmanship, and everyone knows it. If the Prime Minister of Great Britain had never done anything else except to bring about this enormous achievement, his name would go down to history.
What is being done to prevent the spread of Communism in China? I do not know whether the Communism of China is linked with the Russian Politbureau or not, but I am glad that the Government refused the other day to interfere with the civil war in China and to back up one side or the other at the present moment. We have to wait and see how things develop. I am glad, too, that the Government have taken steps to defend Hong Kong.
We took over the post-war shambles in 1945 and, in my opinion and in the opinion of Americans who know what is going on, the people of this country, with a Labour Government at their head, have excited the admiration of the world over the handling of their internal affairs and attempts at economic recovery. I suggest that the Foreign Secretary likewise has done wonders in pulling this country through a period when we were often on the verge of war, and getting us into a position of strength, which we have never known before, owing to the creation of the Atlantic Pact and the other international agencies which he has taken a major part in developing. I am sorry that the Foreign Secretary is not in his place because I say, as I have said before, that he has done a great job. It must be a proud day in his life. Perhaps he has done a bigger work than even he can envisage today.
The foundations for world peace have been laid, but only the foundations. The Foreign Secretary, in his practical wisdom, told the House some months ago that he did not want to begin by putting on the roof before the foundations were laid. He has helped to lay those founda- 2060 tions, and I hope that a good building will be erected on them. I venture to hope today that, in spite of the enormous difficulties ahead to which I have referred, the world can hope in future for free and democratic peoples living in peace and prosperity, ruled not by dictators, not by tyrants, but by the people themselves by discussion, persuasion and consent, which is democracy.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Butcher (Holland with Boston)
The hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid), on the Motion to approve the Atlantic Pact, took us for a remarkable tour of the world, leaving us stranded at Hong Kong. I make no complaint at his doing so because, as he has said, both war and peace are indivisible. Listening to his exchanges with the hon. Members for Luton (Mr. Warbey) and Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus), I am inclined to doubt whether the adjective "indivisible" could be applied to the party of the hon. Members. However, doubtless they will be able to resolve their own difficulties within their party.
It is interesting that the day on which this House is approving the Atlantic Treaty should also be the first day in which proper and adequate communications have been restored with Berlin. There have been some suggestions as to why the Berlin blockade has been lifted. As the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head) said, the answer is that the Russians found that the continuance of the blockade was not working to their advantage. They found that their cold-blooded and deliberate effort to impose their policy on Europe through a calculated attempt to starve two and a half million people had been defeated by the courage and the ingenuity of the American and British Air Forces and—being realists—on realising that fact, they called it off.
I hope that in the Conference of Foreign Ministers which will be held shortly it will be possible to come to some agreement with the Russians. I rather deprecated the anti-Russian approach of the hon. Member for Swindon. My own feeling in these matters is that nations work very much in terms of what will advantage them at the present time and for the days that lie ahead. Therefore I believe that, just as in circumstances of the war it was possible to 2061 work with Russia, such a time may quite well come again, but only if we go into any conference on a basis of showing quite clearly that we do not intend to submit to the delays, the frustrations, the negative approach from which we have suffered for so long. I hope that before the right hon. Gentleman—I agree with the Foreign Secretary so much that I almost called him "my right hon. Friend"—leaves this country, he will indicate the day on which he intends to return and the minimum achievements that he will bring back with him.
Co-operation with Russia at the moment is really not the most important thing to the peace of the world. The most important thing at the moment is the consolidation of the Powers who are signatories to the Atlantic Treaty on all levels. Here I refer again to the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton, who spoke of the establishment of strategic headquarters. Certainly that is important, but perhaps equally important is a greater urgency in economic cooperation. Of course we must accustom the people of the nations who are signatories to this Treaty to the idea of living together. There must be a greater and more willing interchange of labour and capital, and the destruction of all the barriers which separate nation from nation.
Having said that I am willing to work with the Russians, I turn again and say that I am equally willing to work with Spain. In our dealings with Spain I believe we have committed much the same kind of mistake as the Russians over their blockade of Berlin. We thought that we might be able to achieve the aims in our minds by the withdrawal of our Ambassador, and that this might be followed by the fall or the weakening of the Franco Government. If that had happened, it would have been probably what is known as "a good thing." The fact is that the Franco Government is still as firmly established as it was, and we ought to recognise that the methods we have pursued has not produced the results for which we hoped. Therefore we ought to be prepared to reverse our policy. There is a place for co-operation between all the peoples of this world, and it is as easy to co-operate with Spaniards as with Russians. The sole principle we should have in our mind in dealing with 2062 a nation is, "Are we able to secure a good bargain with those people?" and by a good bargain I mean an accommodation mutually advantageous and mutually honourable.
Returning to the subject of the Atlantic Treaty, I am bound to address one or two questions to the Government. I notice that Italy is within the Treaty as one of the original signatory nations. That may be right and proper. We must, however, recognise that Italy is a liability to all the other signatories at the present time. She is restricted from re-arming and is in no economic position to make a contribution in terms of finance. If Italy is included as an original signatory to the Treaty, what is to be the eventual position of Germany? The boundaries of Germany as far as the Elbe are guaranteed under this Treaty. Yet the Germans themselves are making no contribution to the Treaty from which they will derive benefits as great as those derived by anybody else. After all, they are in the front line and we are guaranteeing them.
On the one hand, we allow Italy to come in as an early signatory and give her the benefit of a guarantee although she can make no contribution, while, on the other hand, Germany is excluded and has certain advantages in being excluded. None of the taxation of her people will go to the mutual aid of Western Europe and all her industrial production will be available either for export or for the re-equipping of her country. The very fact that Germany is excluded and kept in the position of an inferior compared with Italy, who was equally an enemy and a belligerent, causes a feeling of inferiority among the German people.
§ Mr. Zilliacus
Is it the purpose of the hon. Gentleman's argument to say that Germany should be included and be re-armed in order to join the Western Union alliance?
§ Mr. Butcher
I have not got as far as saying that; I have got as far as saying that Germany should make some contribution towards the Atlantic Treaty. That is as far as we can go at the moment.
§ Mr. Butcher
There should be a united Germany and that should be the ambition of the Foreign Ministers. When the Foreign Secretary goes to Paris, he should 2063 have as one of his minimum demands on which he is prepared to insist, that the united Germany shall have a constitution as democratic as that agreed at Bonn, and there should be no diminution from that. I appreciate the point of the hon. Member for Epping (Mrs. Manning) and I am glad she raised it. What is the position now? Germany is split right through the middle with appalling loss and misery to the people on both sides of the border. The Germans have seen things working on the scale of 12 inches to the foot. Which is the best system under which to live—the system of the signatories to the Atlantic Pact or the system of the Soviet Union? Why is it that such large numbers have crossed the borders into our areas? Can anyone point to a large area in Germany from which the inhabitants have fled because they were frightened of British control and felt they would be more secure in the Soviet zone? There are large townships in Soviet-occupied Germany which the people have left furtively, by night, in order to cross into the Western zones. Experience has decided them.
Let us face the fact that, sooner or later, Germany must be reunited as a full and proper partner inside the union of Western democracies. We ought to take steps towards that now. I urge that Germany should now be given sufficient trained men with such suitable equipment as may be necessary so that they may put down—I notice that the hon. Member for Gateshead is laughing; I repeat that I shall go so far as to say that Germany should be permitted sufficient trained men with the necessary hand arms to enable them to destroy Communist-inspired attempts at civil insurrection without bringing in foreign troops to do it.
§ Mr. Zilliacus
I permitted myself to smile when I thought of the impression which would be made in Paris by the proposal that the Nazis in Germany should re-arm to beat up the workers again.
§ Mr. Butcher
I have already said that my approach to these foreign affairs is solely practical. So far as I am concerned, such influence as I have is not so great in Paris as the influence of the hon. Member for Gateshead in the districts nearer Moscow. I speak as I 2064 feel. In this House the hon. Gentleman and I enjoy the liberty of saying what we think, a liberty which he and I both enjoy when we visit America.
§ Mr. Butcher
I am sorry about that but I suggest the reason is that the Americans have heard him speak over here. I believe he could get through on those terms—a pledge of silence, or even of short speeches. However, I sincerely believe that steps must be taken to restore Germany to the family of Western Europe and that the time is now ripe for it. I approve the steps which have been taken by the Foreign Secretary over a long period of time despite the hostility of people who sit behind him, such as the hon. Member for Gateshead and the hon. Member for Luton. Led by the Foreign Secretary, whose views are not so dissimilar from those of the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) in these matters, we can now move forward towards the building of a Western Europe which will give a better and happier life to the ordinary men and women of the world.
§ 6.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Rhys Davies (Westhoughton)
One of the speakers who always intrigues me is the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) the Leader of the Opposition. He rather boasted today that his Fulton speech was a prophecy and that that prophecy had now become true in the Atlantic Pact. I should have thought that he would have gone a little further back. I remember his saying once that it was an excellent thing that Hitler and Mussolini had emerged in Europe in order to throw a cordon sanitaire against Communism right across the Continent. He is now apparently back just where he was on that occasion.
It is very difficult for a peace-lover like me to enter into a Debate of this kind because I disagree in part with both sides in this contest of words. I wish I could feel that a pact like this could ensure peace as is claimed for it. I shall congratulate my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary if this pact ultimately brings peace to Europe. I would say, in passing, that he has, by his patience over the blockade of Berlin and what has happened there recently, brought joy to millions of people 2065 in this country and Germany who felt that something dreadful might happen if the Allies were to force their way through the blockade. It is pretty obvious to the un- initiated that the pact has brought about a change of heart among the Russian statesmen. I said, "to the uninitiated"; that is to say, the Russians have lifted the blockade of Berlin in part because they saw the Western Powers coming together in this fashion. However, I regard this pact as being in the nature of a treaty of retaliation. It is because the Soviets and their satellites gathered together a bloc among themselves in the East that the statesmen of the West, apparently, felt that there must be retaliation by forming another bloc like the Atlantic Pact.
§ Mr. Zilliacus
The difference surely is that the bilateral treaties concluded by the Soviet Union with their neighbours apply only in the case of an attack by Germany?
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
That is the trouble all along the line. In the 28 years I have been in this House every Government has been afraid of an attack from some other Government; they all base their defences upon a fear of the other fellow. In passing, I hate dictatorship with all my soul. I have preached against it many times, and the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) will forgive my telling him that I have never believed that a dictatorship of the proletariat is possible anywhere. To me, every dictatorship is the tyranny of the cunning over the simple, in whatever country it may exist.
Let us see whether the pact will bring us peace. It is clear to everybody that negotiation, compromise and reason have failed to bring peace between the Allies who fought the Germans. It is indeed a sad phase of our history that only the other day, as it were, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) was drinking champagne with Stalin. I doubt if he would drink vinegar with him today. But I do not believe that that change is indicative of the minds of the peoples of the countries those men represent. I travel about these islands probably as much as anybody else, and one thing of which I am certain is that our people would require to be whipped up by an enormous amount of propaganda of hatred before they would 2066 support a war by any Government just now. They are tired of war, and it would take a great deal to rouse them to engage in a war, not only against Russia but against any other power.
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
I cannot speak of America, although I have been there several times; but what I cannot understand about some of my colleagues who criticise America is this. They seem somehow or other to condone and even rejoice in Russian imperialism but they criticise at every turn both British and American imperialism. It is imperialism itself that offends me, and not the fact that it is of Russian, British or American origin. I deny the right of any nation to assume that it can govern other people better than those people can govern themselves. That applies to Russia, and to Britain and America too. I am sometimes a little offended, therefore, at some of the criticisms levelled by some of our people against American imperialism.
I have lived in Manchester for a long time. I have seen American troops walking the streets of that city in their spare time from their station outside Warrington. I do not like foreign troops on the soil of my country, but some of my colleagues, strangely enough—I hope I do not do them an injustice by saying so—detest American troops on British soil, but I am under the impression that they would welcome Russian troops here. I object to both.
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
I did apologise, of course, by saying that I hoped I was not doing hon. Members an injustice; but that is how they impress me. They give the impression that the only imperialism that is wrong is British and American. I object, as I stated, to all forms of imperialism, whatever their source. I have been at conferences of my party and I have had brushes with the hon. Member for Gateshead, as he knows. I cannot understand the attitude adopted by some people that British foreign policy towards Russia is always wrong and that the foreign policy of Russia towards us is always right.
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
I have never heard the hon. Gentleman criticising Russian foreign policy, but I have often heard him denouncing our own foreign policy. The difference between the two of us is this: I believe that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is sometimes right and that he is sometimes wrong; I believe the same thing about Vyshinsky and Molotov, too. I cannot believe that human nature has so deviated from its ancient course as to make a diplomat a perfect gentleman merely because he calls himself a Communist.
§ Mr. Zilliacus
I agree completely with the hon. Gentleman's view of mixed responsibilities, but it so happens that in this House we are responsible for the foreign policy of our own Government and not that of other Governments. That is the difference.
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
There is a great deal in that. My trouble, if the hon. Gentleman does not mind my saying so—I want to be as tolerant as I can, but I confess that I am a follower of Count Leo Tolstoi—
§ Mr. Rhys Davies
Yes, a pacifist at that. My impression is that that great pacifist had more liberty to preach peace under the Tsar than he would get under the present régime in Russia.
There is another thing I want to say about the pact. Hon. Gentlemen must have seen the report of Mr. Acheson's speech on the point as to whether if this country was attacked all the might of America would immediately come to our aid. He was asked a question about that; what would need to be the dimensions of the attack against this country before American aid came into operation. I think we ought to have some answer to that question from our own Government. His reply, in effect, was that if London was bombed a few times and the bombers went back again—apparently, to Russia; that is what they are all saying—America would not come in; that it would have to be a major attack on a large scale before American aid came to our rescue.
2068 The real reason however why I rose to speak is this. In spite of all the play with words about the Charter of the United Nations, that this pact does not violate article so and so of that Charter, the coming of this pact and what the Russians have done in the East to collect those smaller nations around them—the mere fact that the two sides have done that is dealing a severe blow to the existence of the United Nations organisation itself. What is the use of insulting the English language by using the word "united" when at the same time that very organisation is being wounded by the creation of these Eastern and Western blocs? I take a different line from most people and would say, "A plague on all your houses whether American, British or Russian for dividing the world in two." Surely that is a right line for a pacifist. I say a plague on all who bring miseries on the peoples of the world by preparing for and waging wars.
Some people ask me where do I stand on this issue. It is a very difficult thing to say where one stands on any international issue, because I find in this connection that we are not always called upon to decide between right and wrong; too often the choice is between two wrongs and, apparently, that is what the House of Commons is called upon to do today. I remember the formation of the League of Nations and the great hopes we had of peace then. That has passed into oblivion and now the United Nations organisation is not working very much better. I had hoped that at long last we had reached a state when the great Powers could work together through that new instrument.
This Atlantic Pact will most likely be used as a weapon in the negotiations of peace for Germany and Austria. Incidentally, I have visited Germany and, if a people could learn lessons from the destruction of war, then surely what has happened in Germany ought to condemn war in the eyes of everybody for all time. But I cannot understand the policy of Great Britain and America and France just now; they are still dismantling some of the factories there. I should have thought that that policy ought to have come to an end long ago. Germany must very soon come into the comity of nations. Some people argue that the Germans are Nazis by nature, but the Germans I have met are not like that. 2069 I have met decent Germans; indeed I have met good Russians as well. I have met decent people everywhere I have been. I trust that when our Foreign Minister goes to the Peace Conference he will do as he has done over the blockade of Berlin and will exercise patience His patience on the blockade has already saved this nation tens of millions of money up to now, and I trust that that virtue will continue. The attitude of statesmen on war, as a rule, is that they prefer victory to peace. I prefer peace to victory. Sir John Lubbock once said:Though not a peace-at-any-price man, I am not ashamed to say that I am a peace-at-almost-any-price man.I feel very much like that myself. My last word on this momentous occasion is this. I have lived too long to believe that pacts, printed instruments and written agreements by themselves can bring peace to mankind. I do not believe either that this Pact will prevent the spread of Communism anywhere. Nothing can prevent a foul idea from spreading but the putting of a better idea in its place. I believe that if our way of life in this country, of free speech and saying what we like—without being liquidated, by the way—can be shown to the world, the world will follow us in preference to the dictatorial type of government which has arisen in several parts of the world.
I have spoken on peace in this House on many occasions and I have wondered in travelling through this life whether I shall in due course, before I pass out, see mankind learning the hard lessons they ought to learn from wars. If they turn to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, they will find recorded there about 500 wars in history and nearly every one of those conflicts created more problems for the human race than they set out to solve. Here we are today, a few years after the most terrible war in history, faced with a problem that would never have occurred to anyone when that war began. Therefore, anything we say or do here that can prevent a third world war from occurring Members of all parties ought to do. We must save mankind from further carnage and destruction to which, if I read rightly, the two previous wars would be small by comparison. The weapons ready for use in a third world war are clearly beyond human comprehension.
§ 6.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Nutting (Melton)
I do not think anyone would expect me to follow, let alone answer, the speech made by the hon. Member for Westhoughton (Mr. Rhys Davies). I do not think he would expect me to decide on whose side he was throughout his speech. On many occasions he himself did not appear to know exactly whose side he was on. However, we all respect, and I sincerely respect, his views and his pacifist leanings, of which he has given vent with his usual deep sincerity.
I welcome this North Atlantic Pact, unlike the hon. Member for Westhoughton. I welcome it first because I have always felt that an arrangement of this kind was the essential prerequisite of British and Western European security and that the effective defence of Western Europe depends, at present, at any rate, on the backing and support of the United States of America. I have always felt that Western Union alone, unaided and unbacked by American help, could never be much more than a cultural, social and at best an economic "get-together." a view which I know is widely shared in France and, indeed, throughout many member States of Western Union.
I welcome the Pact, secondly, because it has brought in such countries as Norway. Iceland, Denmark, Portugal and Italy, all of whom are of obvious and vital importance to the defence of the Atlantic and of the Mediterranean. Indeed, perhaps it is not too much to hope that the combination of the proffered American support which is inherent in this Treaty with the increasing aggressive actions of the Soviet Government and the Communist parties throughout the world, has avoided what at one time appeared to be a real danger of Norway and Denmark reverting to that policy of neutrality, which served them so extremely ill in 1940. Perhaps at the same time it is not too much to hope that these two events have, temporarily at least, brought Italy and France together, to pull together and to forget their old enmities.
The third reason why I welcome this Atlantic Pact is that it has given a little much-needed moral support not only to the nations who are parties to it, but also to many other nations and peoples, outside the pact maybe, but nations who 2071 are direly and daily threatened by the advance of Communist aggression, such nations for instance, as India and Pakistan and the Far East in general. My final reason for welcoming this step is that it seems a step—not a very big one, but a step none the less—towards the democracies recapturing the initiative in the cold war, an initiative which, up to the present has been held indisputably and entirely by the Communists and by the Soviet Union ever since 1945.
The extent to which we can fully recapture that initiative depends, in my view, upon two things. First of all it depends upon whether we can extend our system of alliances, of which the Atlantic Pact is the beginning, to cover the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean; secondly, upon whether we can ensure that both the present Pact and any extensions of it which we may be able to make have the necessary force, both military, moral and economic, to defend each individual party to those arrangements.
On this second point I think the words of General Omar Bradley, the United States Chief of Staff, were by far the most encouraging news which we have received in Europe since General Marshall decided to back with deeds the American resolve to save the economy of Europe, and save Europe from Communism. General Bradley pointed out, and with truth, that in the final analysis Western Europe can be saved only by Western Europeans and that to save itself Western Europe must have the will and the means to resist. He continued:At present the balance of military power is centred in the United States, 3,000 miles from the heart of Europe. It must be perfectly apparent to the people of the United States that we cannot count on friends in Western Europe if our strategy in the event of war dictates that we shall first abandon them to the enemy with a promise of later liberation. … Not until we share our strength on a common defensive front can we hope to replace this temptation"—to the aggressor—with a real deterrent to war.I consider those to be extremely significant and extremely encouraging words, coming as they do from the highest officer in the American armed forces. But, so far, the main achievement of this North Atlantic Pact has been on the moral and political rather than on the military plane. 2072 So far such balance of strength as the Atlantic Powers possess remains, as General Bradley said, centred in the United States 3,000 miles from the heart of Europe. So far the Western European nations have not only not got any teeth, but, to my mind, they have not even a toothpick between them. We know of course in this House of Commons the dilemma in which Britain is placed—and indeed all the European nations are placed, particularly those nations who are a party to the Atlantic Treaty—we know the difficulties of reconciling rearmament and recovery.
But I sincerely and humbly submit to this House that so long as His Majesty's Government go on rearming in such a way as will not delay our economic recovery; just trying to balance themselves on the knife edge; trying to do the two things—recovering the economic position of the country and yet rearming a little bit on the side—so long as they follow that policy, so long in my humble opinion will they achieve precisely nothing whatsoever. And so long will they contribute little or nothing, to the strength, defence and security of Western Europe.
Either therefore we must face continued delays in our economic recovery, and the economic recovery of other European parties to the Atlantic Pact, or the United States of America must be asked to underwrite the vast majority of our rearmament programmes. Naturally we and our friends in Western Europe hope that we can achieve the latter alternative. I hope that discussions will take place soon between His Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States—if they have not already begun—to settle this problem. I hope that that will be done at a very early date, because until it is done, and until some settlement is reached, I cannot see that Britain, or the other European nations who have pledged themselves in this pact to withstand aggression and stand together in the defence of Western Europe and the Atlantic area, can possibly make a contribution to their real security or their real defence.
I have already referred to the need to extend the system of alliance begun with the Atlantic Pact. I have no time, nor would I be in order in going on a world tour along the lines which the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid) so tempt- 2073 ingly drew before me. But I should like to say that recently I have had the opportunity of visiting Australia, and many of the vital areas and territories that lie between that country and this; along what I think one might fairly describe as the life line of the British Empire. Everyone to whom I spoke agreed to the need to bring the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean into a similar arrangement to the North Atlantic Pact.
They feel as threatened as we do, and with reason. The people in Malaya feel even more threatened than we do, and with reason. They recognise that such strength and support as they have, such a halt as they may have been able to call to the advance of Communism, have been largely based on morale rather than on any military defence. But like us in Europe, they and particularly India and Pakistan have their economic problems as well, and any extension of this system of alliances across this part of the world would necesarily raise fresh problems of financing rearmament programmes.
To what extent the Middle Eastern nations, India, Pakistan and the British, Dutch and French possessions in the Far East, can be brought to a state of military preparedness in any way equal to that obviously enjoyed by the Soviet Union and her satellites is, I submit, one of the first problems which Britain and the Commonwealth and the United States of America must settle; now that we and they have been brought into formal alliance against war by the Atlantic Pact. In other words, the need is for another Marshall Plan, this time for military supplies, every bit as big and far-reaching as the European Recovery Programme. Naturally this cannot in any way be regarded by us, the recipient nations, as absolving us from our own special responsibilities to use this aid in the best interests of our defence services. All it means is that it must give to us that breathing space, which unaided we cannot have, to solve our economic and internal problems, while girding ourselves to play this vital role in the defence of civilisation.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Zilliacus (Gateshead)
The hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Nutting) has developed a theme that has run through most of the speeches on the other side 2074 —the theme that the Atlantic Pact is only a beginning. First, it has to be extended through the Mediterranean and the Middle East to the Far East; second, in order not to be merely a paper obligation, there must be intensive rearmament. We may think that a budget of £760 million is a heavy burden, but it is only a fleabite to what we are in for as the consequence of the policy on which we are now embarking. I compliment the hon. Member on his frankness in saying that we must choose between the standard of living and rearmament in earnest. Of course, like his party, he is in favour of sacrificing the standard of living in order to arm to the teeth.
§ Mr. Nutting
I really cannot let the hon. Gentleman get away with that. Perhaps his previous frequent interruptions have exhausted him so much that he was asleep during that part of my speech. If the hon. Gentleman had been awake and listening, he would have heard that I clearly said that the Americans should be asked—and discussions should take place forthwith—to underwrite our rearmament programme and the rearmament programmes of the other signatories to the Atlantic Pact.
§ Mr. Zilliacus
In that case I withdraw my congratulations on the hon. Gentleman's frankness and I merely marvel at his optimism. The idea that the United States, which is already paying 65 per cent. of its budget on the Marshall Plan and its own rearmament programme, will pay 85 per cent. or something of that sort in order to rearm Western Europe is a proposition which Congress seems extremely reluctant to entertain.
Another theme that ran through the statements of the party opposite is that, of course, we must include Franco. One hon. Gentleman wished to include Western Germany, although he seemed a little dubious when I pressed that point home. Of course, that again is perfectly logical. If we are really to prepare for a third world war, we must not be squeamish about whom we bring in. The French and Italians may be democratic, but they do not want to fight. Franco is not democratic, the Nazis in Western Germany are not democratic, but they are ready to fight. They are the only people in Western Europe really enthusiastic at the idea of a world war against Communism, so, of course, sooner or later they have to be pressed into service.
2075 Another point which hon. Gentlemen opposite have stressed is that this policy of the Atlantic Pact is the fruition of the policy first set forth by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) at Fulton in 1946. So it is. Honour where honour is due. There is no doubt at all that the present policy is the policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford. I have often accused the Government of pursuing what I called a "crypto-Fulton" policy. I now withdraw the "crypto" part of that accusation. The right hon. Gentleman himself quoted what was said in that Motion signed by 105 of my hon. Friends condemning the Fulton policy. I should like to quote what the "Keep-Left" pamphlet—a document of historic interest today—said on that very subject. The pamphlet pointed out that the right hon. Gentleman's policy was dictated by the belief that the United States:can be persuaded to bolster up the British Empire—and Europe as well—as a bulwark against Bolshevism … this was the real meaning of the famous Fulton speech in which Mr. Churchill first put forward the proposal of an Anglo-American Alliance in order to fend off the menace of Communism and to deter Russian aggression… The Fulton policy has now become the official foreign policy of the U.S.A. The American strategists are interested therefore to secure a system of forward defences against Russia, manned by non-American forces… They hope that Russia will be deterred from making war by the strength of these forward positions. If war does come, they will have to be evacuated after a fighting withdrawal and then liberated in the closing stages of the war.Liberated, of course, by atom bombs. That is what one might call post-mortem liberation. The pamphlet describes this policy as criminal folly and a policy of the United States fighting to the last Englishman and the last Western European—a policy that makes a mockery of the United Nations. The pamphlet condemns the idea that Britain and America should bring the West European nations into a grand alliance, and concludes:If America, supported by the Labour Government, organises 'collective security' against Russia and uses dollar loans to prop up anti-Communist régimes around her frontiers, the Communist leaders can draw only one conclusion. They will assume the worst and stand stubbornly on the defensive until their scientists have made sufficient atomic bombs to redress the balance of military power. This sort of 'collective security' is a counsel of despair. Its advocates assume an unbridgeable gulf between the Western and Eastern 2076 Powers and argue that the only way to stop Communism spreading is to organise the world against Russia. In the short term this means ruin for a Europe divided into rival spheres of influence: in the long run it means a third world war.I cannot think of a more prophetically accurate description of the policy embodied in the Atlantic Pact. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford was of the opinion that the 105 Members who had signed that Motion and the hundred odd Members who were associated with the Keep Left Group have suffered a conversion. My own belief is that they have taken some kind of anti-Pelman course which has induced a condition of political amnesia. Whatever the position is, at any rate they have lived to repeat the performance of the Merovingian chieftain who burned the things he adored and adored the things he burned. But he was converted from paganism to Christianity. My hon. Friends have been converted from the collective system to power politics. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not all."] No, not all.
I come now to the point about the relation between the Atlantic Pact and the Charter of the United Nations. The Charter of the United Nations and the Atlantic Pact are each based on a political assumption. I am not arguing whether the political assumption of one is better than the other. I merely say that their respective political assumptions are diametrically opposite. The Charter, as was pointed out by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in his first Annual Report to the General Assembly, is based on the assumption that the permanent members of the Security Council can always reach agreement in the end by peaceful means and that they will ultimately agree on major issues. In other words, that whereas they may disagree and even reach deadlock in their views, they can trust each other's will to peace.
The fundamental assumption of the Atlantic Pact, as was made quite clear by the Foreign Secretary in his speech, as has been made clear by the State Department White Paper on the subject and by His Majesty's Government's White Paper on the subject, is that the Soviet Union is potentially aggressive and we must organise force—Anglo-American and Western European force—so as to be able to contain the Soviet Union and generally to deal with that country in terms of power. The collective security 2077 system of the North Atlantic Treaty is based on this fundamental political assumption. Article 24 of the Charter accordingly confides the job of peacemaking to the Security Council, and within the Security Council the matter is left to the agreement of the Great Powers. The Charter allows partial exceptions to the sovereignty, the supremacy, of the Security Council, both for regional agreements and in the case of the exercise of the rights of self-defence. But it hedges and circumscribes and limits these exceptions so as to safeguard the principle of the supremacy of the Security Council.
I was frankly amazed at the argument of the Foreign Secretary about Article 53 of the Charter. That Article lays down that parties to regional agreements may not resort to enforcement action without the authorisation of the Security Council. Enforcement action is defined at the beginning of Chapter VII of the Charter as being "action with respect to threats to peace, breaches of the peace, or acts of aggression." Under Article 53, signatories to regional arrangements are not allowed to take action against acts of aggression without the authorisation of the Security Council, except against ex-enemy States.
§ The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker)
Will the hon. Gentleman say which Article he is quoting?
§ Mr. Zilliacus
It is the beginning of Chapter VII concerning enforcement action, which covers what I have just said.
§ Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)
May I ask my hon. Friend a question? Is he saying now that, under the Charter, a nation has no right to self-defence?
§ Mr. Zilliacus
I shall come to that in a moment.
There is no difference between "acts of aggression" and "armed attack," which is the expression used in the Atlantic Treaty. Therefore, it is not permissible to claim that action is allowed in the name of the right of self-defence under Article 51 which is expressly prohibited under Article 53, unless you take the view that the action not allowed under a regional agreement is permissible under a world-wide agreement. In such case, we would have to reverse the his- 2078 toric argument of the young lady, who pleaded that, as it was only a little one, it was therefore O.K. In this case, action becomes legitimate because it is on a world-wide scale.
Now I come to Article 51, which mentions that there is nothing in the Charter which is contrary to the inherent right of collective or individual self-defence. It goes on to circumscribe the exercise of that right, so as to safeguard the position of the Security Council. It has three provisos for safeguarding that position. The first is that measures taken in the exercise of the right of self-defence last only until the Security Council takes over; secondly, that such measures must be immediately reported to the Security Council; and third—and this is the crucial provision—that such measures shall not in any way affect the authority or responsibility of the Security Council in maintaining or restoring peace. That last proviso is crucial. It means that you must not, on the plea of self-defence, create an accomplished fact of such magnitude and gravity that the Security Council is not able to deal with the resulting situation, but that you must hold your hand.
§ Mr. Zilliacus
I am only dealing with what the Charter says; my right hon. Friend is making objections which are objections to the Charter itself. By doing so he admits that the Government have abandoned the Charter.
This crucial provision is not mentioned in the Atlantic Treaty, which talks about reporting measures to the Security Council, and about ending those measures when the Security Council has taken over, but says nothing about limiting the character of those measures so that they shall not affect the authority of the Security Council.
Article 5 of the treaty proposes that a world war shall be started on a self-judged view of self-defence and the belligerent Great Powers on both sides are then to meet in the non-existent Security Council in order to agree to tell 2079 each other and themselves to stop fighting. It is quite obvious that the action enjoined by Article 5 would not only affect the authority of the Security Council, but would destroy that body, shatter the United Nations, split the world, and plunge humanity into war. It is fantastic that that rigmarole should be put up as being in accordance with the Charter itself. The Atlantic Treaty is inconsistent with the purposes, principles and obligations of the Charter, as well as being contrary to Labour Party policy and the Labour Party's mandate to make peace.
Nevertheless, there may be a political justification for it. I want to look at the political arguments which have been put forward. They are three. There is the argument from necessity—that there was nothing else we could do; secondly, there is the argument from defence, which is twofold—that the Charter provides for the peaceful settlement of all disputes by the methods prescribed in the Charter, and that it is purely defensive, because it comes into operation only in the case of an armed attack; and, finally, there is the political argument from strength—that if we rearm we shall be in a more advantageous position for bargaining with the Soviet Union—power-political bargaining.
The argument from necessity depends for its validity on the view that every possible means of reaching agreement by the methods prescribed in the Charter has been exhausted, that the Soviet Union is solely to blame for the deadlocks, and, thirdly, that the Soviet Union has aggressive intentions. I cannot accept any one of these contentions. I do not believe that Soviet statesmanship has been any better inspired than our own; indeed, sometimes, it has been less well inspired. But I do not doubt the Soviet will to peace any more than I doubt that of the United States or of this country. One thing is certain, and that is that all the methods of reaching agreement have not been exhausted. Many have not even been attempted. On 9th December last I indicated what in my view was a possible approach to the solution of outstanding issues on lines consonant with the Labour Party's own policy. I think that on some such lines we could find a way out of the present situation.
2080 As for the argument from defence and the peaceful settlement of disputes, the one thing which the deliberations at Geneva—where my right hon. Friend the Minister for Commonwealth Relations was a comrade in arms, and which he knows as well as I do—made clear is that we cannot separate the compulsory peaceful settlement of disputes from collective security against aggression, or either of these things from the limitation of armaments. The Charter links these things together. It links security and the settlement of disputes so closely together that the Security Council cannot deal with disputes except in so far as their existence is a threat to peace. And so, by torpedoing the Council as a peacekeeping organ, we are also sinking it as a body for helping to get disputes settled without war. We can have either power-politics or the rule of law, a balance of power or the United Nations. But we cannot have both.
Another thing which was made perfectly clear at Geneva is that it is extremely difficult to arrive at a satisfactory definition of aggression, even within a collective system. It is quite impossible if we return to the balance of power to distinguish defence from aggression, because both mean readiness to back your own view of your rights by force, which in practice means imposing them on the other fellow. From your own point of view, it looks like self-defence, but, from the point of view of the other fellow, it looks like imposing your views on him by force. Once we get the balance of power and an arms race, we inevitably, sooner or later, get a war, in which both sides believe they are defending themselves and historians quarrel for decades as to who started it. This confusion is made worse confounded by the North Atlantic Treaty, because Article 4 has opened the door wide to intervention in the name of defence.
Secretary of State Dean Acheson said that, under Article 4 of the Atlantic Treaty, we should be justified in engaging in armed intervention in Greece, for instance. The views of hon. Gentlemen opposite have shown complete confusion between the Soviet Government and social unrest, which is labelled as Communism, anywhere in the world. This means that, from their point of view, defence under Article 4 of the Treaty means armed 2081 intervention wherever the workers begin to get really tough about the capitalist social order.
I have disposed of the first two political claims for the Treaty. The third, the argument from strength, is equally fallacious. There are two fatal objections to it. The first one is that referred to by Viscount Grey in his Memoirs. I will not quote them because I have done so before. But I can summarise them by saying that his argument was that the more we arm the more we increase fear and suspicion. The more we increase armaments, the less strong we feel ourselves and the more we fear the other fellow's strength. Nobody has written or spoken on that theme more eloquently than the right hon. Gentleman who is apparently going to reply to the Debate for the Government tonight, and who will now make a case for that balance of power, which for the years we spent together at Geneva he denounced so ably and vigorously.
§ Mr. Zilliacus
The second objection is that, in order to sustain the burden and sacrifice of the arms race, one has to foment and sustain a psychological condition in the peoples who are bearing that strain that unfits them for peacemaking. I shall give an extreme example because it is so very apposite. It is the recent declaration of Lieut.-General Doolittle of the American Air Force. Talking about the conditions that must accompany the policy of the North Atlantic Treaty, he said:We must prepare physically, mentally and morally to drop atom bombs on Russian centres of industry at the first sign of aggression. She must be made to realise that we will do so, and our own people must be conditioned to the necessity for this type of relations.That is the frame of mind which one has to sustain in people in order to make them put up with lowering their standard of living so that they may produce armaments, and get slaughtered and kill others.
So much for the Atlantic Pact. It scraps the Charter and returns to the balance of power. It commits us to a new arms race. Two practical consequences follow from the incompatibility of the Atlantic Treaty with the Charter of the United Nations. The first is the uncertain tenure of life of the Treaty itself. 2082 Of course, a Government cannot repudiate a treaty entered into by a predecessor. But, in this case, the Government of any signatory State, if the political balance of power within that State changes, can at any moment release itself from the obligations of the North Atlantic Treaty by simply working to rule, that is, by taking its stand on the Charter and genuinely and honestly interpreting Articles 5 and 6 of the North Atlantic Treaty in accordance with, and subject to, the obligations of Articles 51 and 53 of the Charter. In an amendment on the Order Paper I have shown how that could be done. That is the first point. Therefore, anybody who reckons on a long life for the North Atlantic Treaty is building his house on sand.
The second consequence is what the peoples of the signatory States may do. They may refuse to pay for the arms race by sacrificing their standard of living, and to pay for the balance of power by losing their lives. I believe that the third arms race has quite a chance—which the first and second did not have—of being halted by the masses who are against it, a fate which Sir Edward Grey predicted in 1912 about the first arms race. Unfortunately, that did not happen then. He was wrong then, but he may be right now. The American people are already showing considerable restiveness at the burdens imposed upon them. They voted for a social programme, as well as a civil liberties programme, and for peace. They are getting neither, and they are getting very restive at the prospect of having to pay vast sums of money for an arms race. They do not want to fight alone, and have no desire to foot more than a fraction of the bill for the rearmament of Western Europe.
As for France—Italy has already been commented on by the hon. Member for Luton (Mr. Warbey)—I happen to know what the French Home Office report says on that subject after the World Peace Congress rally. The conclusion reached in that report was, "How can one arm these people?" There is a massive and determined resistance in France to the idea of being dragged into another war. It is not confined only to the Communists, although they are one-third of France, including most of the working class—a formidable force. Resistance to war goes far outside that, and it is a very determined resistance indeed.
2083 What about this country? Are the present rulers of the United States right in assuming that Labour Britain, with Franco Spain, and a capitalist and partly re-Nazified Western Germany, are the only reliable bases, bastions and purveyors of cannon-fodder for American Century power politics and a counterrevolutionary war of intervention masquerading as the defence of democracy? Labour's own doctrine of war resistance may come into effect with devastating consequences if we press this issue too far. I beg the Government to find some way before it is too late to come back to the policy of the Charter of the United Nations, not to create an atmosphere and conditions in which it is impossible to follow up the small break in the clouds we have seen over Berlin, but to continue to be conciliatory and moderate in their attitude, not to be rushed or stampeded into recrimination, not to put their faith in armaments, but in a wise and conciliatory policy.
§ 7.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
The views of the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) are well known in this House, and are not, I think, widely held by other hon. Members. When he attempts to convince us that the Soviet Union is not a potential aggressor, I can only remind him that those who live in closer proximity to the Iron Curtain than we do take a very different view. They have seen aggression, not potential but actual. The hon. Member also spent some time in discussing the text of the United Nations' Charter, but it was not the fault of the Foreign Secretary or of any statesman of the United States or of the Western Powers that the Charter of the United Nations was never fully implemented. We did everything we could to make the United Nations organisation an effective instrument. The Soviet Union and the whole of her satellites have consistently done everything they could to wreck it as an instrument for world peace.
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
These are facts which anybody who has followed the proceedings at any United Nations' conference cannot possibly deny.
2084 The Atlantic Pact which we are debating this evening is certainly an historic landmark; it is a landmark because it marks an end of the period when the United States was isolationist. The Atlantic Ocean is no longer a barrier between the New World and the Old; the Atlantic Ocean now is the link by which the New World and the Old are united in their determination to remain free. It would indeed be churlish of us not to echo our congratulations to the Foreign Secretary, congratulations which have already been offered by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), for the part he has played in building up the structure of this pact. But I think that a warning should be uttered against any temptation to sit back and say that, merely because the pact has been signed, actual physical security has been brought any closer. Security depends on something a good deal sharper than the pen. The signature of the countries concerned has not brought a single warship, a single aircraft, or a single battalion to the physical defence of Western Europe. The pact can only be an effective instrument if all countries participating in it make their adequate contribution to a common pool.
I sometimes wonder whether the full implications of the participation of countries like Norway, Denmark, Holland and Belgium in this pact are altogether realised. Those countries were occupied during the war for varying periods by the Nazis. That was a very unpleasant experience, but an experience, not unlike a tea party in a vicarage when compared with occupation by Soviet troops. These countries have joined the Atlantic Pact because they realise that, left alone, they can be picked off one by one, for no one seriously supposes that the Soviet Union would respect any neutrality. If they all join together and pool their common resources there is some chance for them. There should, therefore, be some clear obligations on the part of all signatories to defend those territories once they are attacked. A strategy for the defence of Western Europe based in the early stages upon the Pyrenees is not very encouraging to those who live close to the Iron Curtain, even if His Majesty's Government can summon up enough courage to have any definite policy towards Spain at all.
2085 If we still enjoy, as I believe we do, the moral leadership of Western Europe, I think it is absolutely essential that our own contribution to the common defence of Western Europe should be really adequate, because our moral leadership depends, as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head) said, not so much on what we say as on what we do. It follows that once British Forces are earmarked for the defence of Western Europe they cannot be switched, in an emergency, to the Far East or to some other theatre which is threatened. Perhaps we can hear from the right hon. Gentleman, when he replies today—or if not this evening we might hear at some later date—what real progress has been made by Field-Marshal Montgomery with his Western Union Defence plans and the committee of which he is chairman.
We should also like to know whether, side by side with the plans for military defence, there are plans being worked out for what I might call economic defence. I have a shrewd suspicion that right hon. Gentlemen opposite are only just beginning to understand the technique of fighting the cold war. I believe economic weapons and military weapons should be wielded in the same hands and I should like to see some sort of economic defence committee set up of which the signatories to the Atlantic Pact would be members and the functions of which would be not altogether comparable to, but not very dissimilar from the functions of the Ministry of Economic Warfare.
I do not mean that I wish to see a complete barrier between East and, West, with no trade passing between; I do not mean that for a moment. What I say is that we must scrutinise a good deal more carefully in the future than we have scrutinised in the past the type of goods, and particularly capital equipment, which is flowing from West to East. I go further and say that years of scientific advantage have been lost to the Western Powers by the crazy sale of jet aircraft to the Soviet Union in 1946 and 1947. We should also like to know whether any kind of production plan is being worked out, by which certain countries produce certain types of weapons. In other words, what we want to hear from the right hon. Gentleman is a reply to this question: is the Atlantic Pact just a collection of signatures, how- 2086 ever well-intentioned, or is it yet backed by any sort of plan for the actual defence, military and economic, of Western Europe.
Even if progress in Western Europe is satisfactory, I agree with my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carshalton that the adjacent area, namely the Eastern Mediterranean, is also vital. I do not see how we can defend Western Europe while the Eastern Mediterranean remains insecure. After all, Italy herself is vitally concerned with the Eastern Mediterranean and it is of little use to bolt the front door while we leave the side door wide open. In this area, very urgent consideration should be given by His Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States to the position of Greece. I doubt very much whether the Greek Army is at the moment large enough to fulfil the many tasks which are simultaneously required of it. I do not believe that the Greek Army is big enough to seal off the frontiers, to garrison all the towns, to conduct an offensive against the guerrillas, to guard every reservoir, every railway bridge and every power station all at the same time. If, by misuse of the veto, no effective assistance from the United Nations can be forthcoming, some urgent action must be taken by the Government of the United States and by His Majesty's Government in Greece this summer. Further, such action, if it is to be effective, must be on a scale sufficient to achieve the desired objective, namely to preserve the independence of Greece, and it must be properly co-ordinated.
I recognise that it is useless for us to try to run before we can walk. We must build up our defences in any given region as our resources permit. But we must also recognise, at the same time, that the assault upon the free world by what I call the slave world is on a world-wide scale. It is not confined to the region covered by the Atlantic Pact; there is a global strategy about it, and I do not think the global strategy is very difficult to understand. The right claw rests upon Germany, with its vast industrial potential and its tremendous military ingenuity. The left claw rests upon China, with the almost unlimited manpower of the Far East. Were these two—the industrial potential and military ingenuity of Germany, on the one hand, and the un- 2087 limited manpower of the Far East, on the other—ever to be harnessed, one to the other, then the outlook would indeed be bleak.
It is for this reason that I deprecate very much the various optimistic statements which have been made, both in this House and outside, about the lifting of the blockade of Berlin. I do not believe it denotes any change on the part of the Soviet Government. I believe it is due to two reasons and to two causes only. The first is that the economic weapons which the Western Powers wield—and which, in my view, they might well have wielded very much sooner—were beginning to have a very considerable effect in the Soviet zone.
§ Mr. Gallacher
Is it not the fact that it was the Americans, through Dr. Jessup, who made the approach to Mr. Malik in order to discuss the raising of the blockade?
§ Mr. Mott-Radclyffe
I think a good many feelers were made to Dr. Jessup before negotiations reached anything like a stage where the actual lifting of the blockade was discussed. The hon. Member's interpretation of the methods of Soviet diplomacy do not, I think, need any explanation in this House.
I repeat, the first reason for the lifting of the blockade was that the economic weapons we were wielding were beginning to have a very considerable effect in the Eastern zone of Germany. The second reason was the Soviet desire, in view of the Atlantic Pact and a certain stiffening of the attitude of the Western Powers over Berlin, to be accommodating so that they could have time to complete their plans in the Far East. It is for these reasons that provisions similar to those contained in the Atlantic Pact must be negotiated with all haste to cover both the Mediterranean and the Far East, and it is in the Far East that the British Commonwealth must play an immensely important part. I do not believe the Atlantic Pact will ever become a really effective organisation against aggression unless it is aligned to and coordinated with the resources of the British Commonwealth.
It is useless to pretend that we, or any other country which values its freedom, can defend it in this turbulent world at 2088 no cost. Neither the Atlantic Pact nor any other regional defence pact is a sort of insurance company from which we can get all the benefits without paying any annual premium. We shall have to spend money on armaments which we should very much like to see go in other directions. Most of the things in life which are worth while, have only been acquired by considerable struggle and can only be preserved by some sacrifice. Western civilisation has brought us something deeper and more permanent than mere material benefits. The freedom which we have inherited carries obligations as well as benefits, and if we in this generation are unmindful of the obligations, then we shall also lose the benefits. If we lose our freedom, what shall we bequeath to our children? That is why I urge the Government to act with the speed and the realism which the circumstances demand.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Mr. M. Philips Price (Forest of Dean)
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe), like many other Members on that side of the House, has dwelt very much upon the military aspects of this Atlantic Pact. While not in the least degree wishing to minimise the vital importance of those aspects which will follow from the Atlantic Pact, and the need to build up the defence of Western Europe, I think it is necessary to bear in mind that the only real defence of Europe against Communism is a sound social economic system at home. The reason China has fallen to Communism is simply that China had a corrupt and inefficient Government and social inequalities. A sound economic system is the primary defence. I think there is far too much of the argument which tends to suggest that Communism is just like Hitlerism, relying mainly on military offensives. The Red Army, existing though it does in the background, has not played a very important rôle in some of the changes which have taken place in Eastern Europe, and, with the possible exception of those in Czechoslovakia, there would not have been those changes if there had not been social disequilibrium in those countries.
I have been for the greater part of my life trying to bring about an understanding with Russia. I did not agree at the time with the Fulton speech. I thought 2089 it premature. At the same time, I did not sign the Motion of protest against it. I thought that possibly it might become necessary to adopt that attitude later. I happen to be, I think, the only Member of this House who was in Russia at the time of the birth of the Russian Revolution in 1917. One of the first things I saw on the eve of the seizing of power by Lenin and Trotsky, when the German Army was breaking up, was the slogan "World revolution has begun."
That expressed, undoubtedly, the whole atmosphere in which that great revolt took place. The revolutionaries thought that was the beginning of a great crusade, and that they were going to carry the fiery cross to every corner of the world. However, gradually, after some years, there came a somewhat more realistic approach. Among the revolutionaries in Moscow there was the struggle between Trotsky and Stalin, and that was the outward sign of the beginning of a somewhat more realistic approach, but at the latter end of the twenties there was even more realism on the part of the Soviet Government. They did not, of course, say that the world revolution was at an end. They looked forward to it at the end of a five-year period, and then a 10-year period. The prospect was postponed. They said, "In the meantime, we may as well sign treaties of agreement with other countries."
One of the reasons why I thought the Fulton speech premature was that I had just been in Moscow, in 1945, and had met one person who held a position in the Government who certainly thought—he told me so—that it was possible for Russia to work with Western Europe. There were people then, not at the very top of affairs, but not far from the top, holding high positions, who took that view. Therefore, I thought, "Let us hold our hands. Let us not say anything which will in any way make it appear that we are prejudging the issue and regarding Russia as an enemy." Then, unfortunately, of course, the more dogmatic, aggressive zealots began to get control. Then for a while they were more realistic again because of drought and famine in 1946. Then we began to have our troubles here, the American Loan began to peter out, and we had the coal crisis, and so the Russians thought that the 2090 hour had struck when they might be able to interfere in the affairs of Western Europe.
If I could live my life again, I should do what I did in the early days of the Revolution—try to defend Russia against interference from the West, when the West was trying to re-establish the old Tsarist regime. But just as I took that line, and should take it again, I am just as strong in trying to stop Russia from interfering in the West, and trying to upset that old heritage of ours of civic liberty and justice, as we have them in this country, and which enables this House to be the great symbol of Parliamentary democracy in the world.
It cannot be too strongly stressed that this treaty is only part of the Charter of the United Nations. The Charter allowed for regional pacts. The only reason why it has happened that we must have this Atlantic Pact is that one great Power on the Security Council has adopted an attitude which makes the working of the United Nations impossible. I am afraid it is very difficult for us to envisage any alteration in the Russian attitude. The Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor the leopard his spots. The changes in Russian foreign policy do not alter the fundamental hostility of Russia to the West that she has felt in the whole course of her history. Sometimes the hostility that has been felt between Russia and the West has not been due to Russia's fault, and sometimes it has been her fault. This time it has been indeed her fault, because there never was a time in the history of the relations between Western and Eastern Europe when the West was more ready to receive Russia than it was at the end of the last war, during which the Russians' heroic defence appealed to us so much. Unfortunately, Russia's spiritual isolation, due to a whole lot of historic causes, has been intensified by her fanatical religious belief in the decline of the West and in the inevitable spread of Communism throughout the world.
This pact, it seems to me, merely puts into treaty form the old Roman saying, "Salus populi est suprema lex." Eleven nations and the great Republic of the West are doing now what the Romans did for their Republic. They are doing it in this case, when it is a question of the defence not of one republic, but the defence of the common heritage of the 2091 whole of Western civilisation. The question is whether, having signed this pact, we shall ever have to use it in a military sense, or whether it can be used as a means of securing Russia's co-operation. Under Article 10 it is possible for other Powers to accede to this. In that, hope may lie that Russia will make use of the opportunity.
§ Mr. Piratin (Mile End)
Article 10 suggests that the Powers who are already a party to the pact may invite another Power, not that another Power may accede without such invitation.
§ Mr. Philips Price
Other Powers will be glad to invite Russia if she will show that she is ready to participate with Western Europe.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
Article 10 says the parties "may, by unanimous agreement." There is a veto there.
§ Mr. Philips Price
I do not think it will be Lisbon that will be the trouble, but Moscow. It rests with her whether she will come in.
Although there have been signs that possibly Russia may be ready to adopt a somewhat different attitude, we must not be too optimistic about the raising of the blockade. It is probably only a change of tactics. But there are people in Russia now who, in spite of the intense campaign which has been going on to harness art and science for the use of Communism, have dared to doubt the wisdom of the theory that the United States will suffer a great economic collapse. For instance, Professor Varga has been getting himself into trouble, though I understand that he has not been sacked from all his appointments. He still holds one or two, which indicates that the Russian Communists are not prepared to burn all their bridges. There is, therefore, a little hope that we may still get Russia back into the comity of nations. I fear, however, that suspicion of the West is very ingrained in Russia, where periods of reasonableness are, unfortunately, only too often broken by periods of hostility and truculence, of which we have had the latter to a very high degree just lately.
This pact is an insurance policy which will enable Western Europe to carry on with reconstruction under the Marshall Aid plan. An insurance policy does not, 2092 of course, carry on the business; it is only there in case of an outbreak of fire. Our business is to carry on with the economic reconstruction of Europe. The hon. Member for Windsor (Mr. Mott-Radclyffe) said it was necessary that there should be close scrutiny of the type of economic exchange going on between Eastern and Western Europe. That is true, but on no account must there be any attempt to cut it down. Today, more than anything else, Europe is suffering from the failure of economic exchange between Eastern and Western Europe, that natural exchange of food and raw materials for the manufactured goods of the West. Although we may have to scrutinise the kind of things we send to Russia, there is, in the main, a large quantity of goods which can be sent, and which alone will help to re-establish the economy of Europe in such a way as to make the spread of Communism unlikely and, indeed, unnecessary.
Article 6 sets out the geographical limits of the pact, which raises the whole question of the Eastern Mediterranean. Should this pact be made to cover the Eastern Mediterranean? There is no doubt that Russia—she has dropped the matter at the moment, because she is interested elsewhere—has been interfering in the affairs of Greece, where she has been trying to establish Communism. Knowing that she cannot do so in Turkey, because there are no Communists there, she has tried to intimidate Turkey by cold war propaganda. That is one reason why the Turks and the people of the Eastern Mediterranean generally are, as I know, a little worried. They think they are being left out in the cold, and I think it is desirable that we should show them, in some way, that we are not unmindful of their interests, too.
Although I agree that we cannot extend the pact to cover the whole of the Mediterranean—and certainly not to cover the Arab countries or Israel, where there are conditions which make accession undesirable because of internal difficulties—there are, nevertheless, countries on the borders of Russia which do need that assurance. First and foremost is Turkey, a strong country internally and developing rapidly, a country which has been through a revolution quite as important as the Russian revolution, which swept away the old régime. That country is devoted to the Western way of life. I 2093 have been there several times in recent years, and I noted controversies in the Press and on the public platform which were reminiscent of the kind of life we lead in Western Europe. So, our alliance with Turkey, and the agreement which the United States has made with her for helping her economic reconstruction, may be the basis of an Eastern Mediterranean Pact affecting mainly the countries on the border of Russia. If we can see to that, this pact will be a great deterrent to aggression. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is indeed to be congratulated on the fruition of his foreign policy, a policy which is supported by the overwhelming majority of all parties in this House and the overwhelming opinion of people outside.
§ 8.9 p.m.
§ Lord John Hope (Midlothian and Peebles, Northern)
I want to do something which few Members in this interesting Debate have so far done, and that is make a short speech. I have been a little distressed to hear, more that once from the opposite benches and certainly once from this side, the note of hope in terms of the West being able effectively to co-operate with the Communist East. The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) said he had no belief in the will to war on the part of Russia. Earlier in the Debate, Stalin was quoted, and I want to give the House a further quotation which, I think, completely disproves the hopeful sentiments of the hon. Member for Gateshead. This will be familiar to the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Piratin). I am not certain if it is from one of the published speeches but it is up to date. This is what Stalin says.
§ Lord John Hope
I think 1947. He says:We cannot forget the saying of Lenin to the effect that a great deal in the matter of our construction depends not on whether we succeed in delaying war with the capitalist countries, which is inevitable but which may be delayed either until proletarian revolution ripens in Europe, or until the colonial revolution comes fully to a head, or finally until the capitalists fight among themselves over the division of the colonies. Therefore the maintenance of peaceful relations with capitalist countries is an obligatory task for us. The basis of our relations with capitalist countries consists in admitting the co-existence of two opposed systems.
§ Mr. Piratin
I did not interrupt the noble Lord when he made his first mistake in referring to a statement quoted by the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid) as having been made by Stalin. It was stated not by Stalin but by Lenin, in 1918. It was stated in 1918 but the book was published in 1947. It is like publishing Shakespeare today and saying that it relates to the 20th century.
§ Mr. Piratin
Is what the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) said in 1943 good enough for today?
§ Lord John Hope
Yes, and also what Gladstone said in 1883.
I was astonished to hear the hon. Member for Luton (Mr. Warbey) refer to the lifting of the Berlin blockade as a gesture towards peace by the Russians. I cannot see that that is so. I am delighted that the blockade has been raised, but how can anyone seriously attribute it to the Russians in such terms? One might as well say that the burglar who retreats in front of a successful counter-attack by the householder is making a gesture towards peace. I cannot agree with that argument of the hon. Member. I do not intend to go into the reasons for the lifting of the blockade, but I am certain that everyone in this House knows why the Russians agreed to lift it. What has happened in Berlin is simply that a battle has been won. It had been a bloodless battle, and to that extent we must be all profoundly grateful. A battle has been won in Berlin but it is only the first battle of many that will be fought for Berlin. It has been won by the West.
Before dealing with the forthcoming Soviet counter-attack in Paris, I should like briefly to underline what I believe to be the respective gains in this battle, because they are not all on one side. I hold it to be a good thing for the peaceful Powers of the West that the blockade has been lifted. It has given a chance, which might not otherwise have existed, of getting through this business one day. But there are also gains which accrue to the Communist cause. As I see the position, I believe, taking the Anglo-American gains first, that the victory of 2095 Berlin must undoubtedly have put great heart into the people of Europe. Secondly, it must have put considerable fear into the Russians in regard to any future aggression. Thirdly, it has given to the West, at least the possibility of a future reduction in the enormous cost which the upkeep of such a measure as the air lift has represented.
On the Soviet side I see three gains—certainly two definite gains and one potential gain. In relation to Germany, it has given the Russians a chance to discuss all Germany with the three other Occupation Powers, and of course they badly wish to block any further consideration of a Western German State. A gain to the Russians outside Germany—and this is a point which I do not think has so far been touched upon in this Debate—is that the Russians will be given, as is intended by them, time to deal with Tito, or to attempt to deal with him. Certainly no one who is in the least familiar with "Problems of Leninism" can doubt the supreme importance of Marshal Tito's deviation. The hon. Member for Mile End will recall that on page 14 of the 11th edition of 1945 we find these words:The tendency of practical workers to brush theory aside contradicts the whole spirit of Leninism and is pregnant with great dangers for the Cause.To Stalin, the present split in the Communist Party may well be of greater importance for the moment than the German problem.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
The noble Lord has given us these quotations. Could he tell us if he has ever read the whole book "Stalin on Leninism"?
§ Lord John Hope
All that I can say is that I have obviously read enough for it to be inconvenient to the hon. Member.
Any agreement which the Soviets may make while they are trying to deal with Tito can easily be broken by them when it is convenient for them to break it. The third Soviet gain is that they have now got a chance to work upon the anxieties of the American people, and they have their allies in that task in the United States. A great friend and fellow traveller with the hon. Member for Gateshead is Mr. Henry Wallace. I cannot pass on without recalling to the House the answer given by Mr. Wallace to a question he was asked by one of 2096 the Senators in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. Having said that he thought that the Czechoslovakian coup was a spontaneous Communist coup by the Czechs, Mr. Wallace was asked whether Mr. Vyshinski was not in Czechoslovakia at the time. "Yes." he replied, "I believe that he was there on a cure," to which a Senator, I think aptly, replied, "Yeah, he took the cure and gave it to the Czechs." Those are the kind of people whom the Russians will hope to influence to a growing degree by means of the pause which has been brought about by the lifting of the blockade. I should add that I do not for one moment think that the Russians will succeed in any way in unsteadying public opinion in America; I believe public opinion there to be thoroughly steady in this matter from coast to coast.
So far as Paris is concerned, my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford quite rightly gave it as his opinion that we should be careful in what we said in this Debate lest any embarrassment might be caused to the course of that conference. I do not think that any embarrassment can be caused simply by stressing one or two obvious facts. It is obvious that the Soviet will ask for at least three things—the unification of Germany, the withdrawal of Occupation Forces and a Peace Treaty on the basis of the first two demands. I sincerely trust that no accommodation whatever will be reached with the Soviet Government along those lines unless Russia and Poland surrender the territories which they have annexed and withdraw their troops not merely behind the Oder, but behind their own frontiers.
All I wish to say further about the battle of Berlin is that the air lift has taught the world that the Soviet Government will hesitate in the face of determined resistance. May that lesson never, never, be lost upon the West in the days and years to come. I think in that connection that somebody in this House should pay a tribute to General Clay for the firmness with which he is dealing with this extremely tricky and delicate situation. I should now like to quote some remarkable words spoken by General Marshall after the abortive London meeting in December, 1947. This is what he said: 2097The issue is really clear-cut, and I fear there can be no settlement until the coming months demonstrate whether or not the civilisation of Western Europe will prove vigorous enough to rise above the destructive efforts of the war and restore a healthy society. Officials of the Soviet Union and leaders of the Communist parties openly predict that this restoration will not take place. We, on the other hand, are confident in the rehabilitation of Western European civilisation with its freedoms.How has that prophecy been borne out? Magnificently, I think. It has been borne out largely by four great steps. First, we have had the progress of the European Recovery Programme; secondly, Western European Union; thirdly, the Council of Europe; and fourthly, the signing of the Atlantic Pact. I think that three further steps follow. Obviously the first is the ratification of the pact; secondly, consideration and formation of a West German State, and thirdly, so far as the United States are concerned, Senate approval of the huge American defence appropriation.
In conclusion, I want to make an appeal to the party opposite. Something on these lines has already been said in the Debate, but it cannot be said too often. There is going to be strong temptation in the future for politicians in this country, to accuse those who are opposed to them in politics, of wanting war. I must say that I wish we could find it in our hearts to have our political disputes in this country, without trying to persuade the electorate that anybody wants war. It simply cannot be true. It cannot be true of the most reactionary capitalist—if that is what some people like to call a capitalist—because no one stands to lose more by war than a man who possesses a great deal of capital. As for the human side, I wish to goodness that hon. Members opposite would understand that many of us on this side of the House know what war is, just as they do. We have fought in war; we have seen war. We know the miseries and unhappiness it brings, and we know the results economically as well as in any other way. Although we may be Tories, we do not want war. So let us have that idea dismissed from what is known as "Tom Driberg's column" and every other column.
I am not entirely pessimistic about the issue of this fight, which is a fight to the death between the free way of life and the Communist way of life. Although we 2098 may not have got one world, the fact that we have managed to reduce many different worlds to two, is a pretty good step in the right direction. Led by the revolution in American public opinion—and that is what it has been—I think it is just possible that the free West may win this war against Communism without organised bloodshed, but it will only win it if it becomes and remains strong and resolute, not only in the letter but in the spirit of the Atlantic Pact. That is why I welcome the chance to join with Members on both sides of the House in congratulating the Foreign Secretary upon his patience and determination. The maintenance of our strength may cause discomfort to us for a long time, but we may be sure that the alternative to our discomfort is our destruction.
§ 8.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Piratin (Mile End)
I am sure that the House is prepared to accept that the hon. Member for Northern Midlothian and Peebles (Lord John Hope), does not want war. I would, however, make two comments: first, that he goes a queer way about proving it, in view of what he has been saying in the last 15 minutes; and second, that we should recall what his leader, the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), said in October last at the Conservative Party Conference, that we should drop the atom bomb on Russia before they had it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] I will quote "The Times" if that is what hon. Members opposite wish.
§ Mr. Nutting
Will the hon. Member quote the words used by the Leader of the Opposition to prove his case? He cannot prove it.
§ Mr. Piratin
I shall do so. I shall bring the quotation in later. My next point is that the hon. Member for Northern Midlothian and Peebles, and the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. T. Reid), who I am glad to see in his place, should be a little more honest in their quotations. Both of them made quotations from books which, it may be—I do not know the publications they were referring to—were published in 1945 or 1947, but neither disclosed that the 2099 actual time when the statements were made was 1918.
§ Lord John Hope
Is the hon. Member suggesting that those books, which are now being circulated in their umpteenth editions to the tune of millions of copies, are not supposed to mean what they say was said in 1918?
§ Mr. Piratin
I shall develop the point. Earlier I asked the hon. Gentleman whether he stands by what his leader said in 1943; of course, he had no answer to that, and he wisecracked an answer. The right hon. Member for Woodford has been writing his own memoirs, which are being circulated today, and they disclose what he said in 1943, 1944 and 1945 about Russia, the Red Army and Stalin.
§ Mr. T. Reid rose—
§ Major Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. You have twice been told to behave yourself. Is that in Order?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)
I do not think the hon. Member was directing those remarks to me personally, but he might in future use more appropriate words.
§ Mr. Piratin
I think you appreciate that I was not referring to you, Major Milner, even though the hon. and gallant Member is not intelligent enough to appreciate that.
Hon. Members who make these remarks cannot have it both ways. On the one hand, when Stalin talks peace in the various statements which he has made since the end of the war, when he has spoken of peace in Western Europe, peace with Russia and peace with America, they say "You cannot trust him because while he talks of peace, others prepare for war." The capitalist Press has referred to a fictitious rift between Stalin and Molotov, or Stalin and somebody else, to show that there are two different policies working at the same time. So it is suggested that Stalin wants war, by going back to statements which were made in 1918 by Stalin or by Lenin, and then quoted accordingly. If we want to discuss politics today, let us say that 2100 the last war was a war in which we all learned our lessons. Let us start from that war—
§ Mr. T. Reid rose—
§ Mr. Piratin
No, I shall not give way. Let us start from that war and look at the statements made by leading statesmen in the Soviet Union and leading statesmen whether in Government or Opposition in this country and in America. I think that hon. Members should bear these things in mind in discussing how to achieve peace.
I want to come to some of my main points. The Motion before the House asks us to approve the Atlantic Treaty which, it is claimed, is concerned with the promotion of stability and well-being and with collective defence in order to preserve peace and security. The Foreign Secretary today and the White Paper which has been published avoid the questions of stability and well-being, but the Foreign Secretary made a fairly long statement this afternoon in which he tried to prove two things. First, that this is a collective defence and that there is no aggressive aim, and certainly no aggressive aim towards Russia.
The second thing which he tried to prove, without much enthusiasm and with little conviction, was that the Atlantic Treaty falls within the terms of the United Nations Charter. He stumbled over that several times. It is clear that when he made his statement today he had something in mind even more than expounding on the Atlantic Treaty which was his responsibility. Several Members on this side of the House, I am certain, will wonder why he had to speak with such feelings towards the Soviet Union, when something is taking place in these days which could be the basis of a change in international affairs. In a few days, the four Foreign Ministers, including the right hon. Gentleman himself, are to meet in Paris. Hon. Members opposite appear to be pessimistic about this event. Let us afford ourselves a little optimism. The Foreign Secretary today did not help very much in that respect in putting more logs on to the fire.
The right hon. Member for Woodford called for caution in our statements today in view of the need to prepare for whatever arises at the Paris conference. 2101 Hon. Gentlemen behind him did not take much heed of that, and one hon. Gentleman said, with regard to the forthcoming conference, we have now to prepare for the Russian counter-attack.
§ Mr. Piratin
In the White Paper published a few weeks ago there is a lot of "blah" about the Treaty, if I may use a colloquial term. There is a statement, for instance, in the preamble to the Treaty which reads as follows:They are determined"—that is the nations—to safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law.I was reminded in reading this of the fact that one of the nations participating in the Treaty is Portugal, and if Portugal is based on democratic principles, the word democracy has a very queer interpretation. When it speaks of "individual liberty and the rule of law" I was likewise reminded of the fact that in the Southern States of America the rule of lynch law operates. The preamble further states:They seek to promote stability and well-being in the North Atlantic area.I have no doubt that this refers to E.R.P., in which connection I should like to read an extract from a report of the Finance Commission of the Council of the French Republic, concerning the Marshall Plan, which says:This profound transformation of the objectives of our production is perhaps an international, political, or economical necessity. One can, however, underline that this new orientation presents a certain analogy with that assigned to us"—that is to France—during the first months of the occupation by the Nazis.The interpretation of the French Finance Commission is that the directives they are now receiving from Marshall Aid headquarters, are not unidentical with the directives they were receiving when France was occupied by the Nazis.
§ Mr. Piratin
Certainly they have the right to refuse Marshall Aid; that only reveals the degree of treachery on the part of the French Government who are 2102 accepting it while knowing this position. I have read out the view of the Finance Commission of the French Parliament.
A further factor concerning the Treaty which ought to be recorded is that there is misrepresentation. I trust that that misrepresentation is not deliberate, and that therefore it will be explained or corrected. In Paragraph 14 of the White Paper, the House can read an explanation of Article 4 of the Treaty. I should like to read Article 4, which is only one short sentence:The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.I should now like the House to follow me in reading the second sentence of Paragraph 14 of the White Paper, which is intended to elucidate this very obvious sentence. Paragraph 14 says:This means that each country, if it feels itself threatened, has the right to summon its partners to consultations.That is not true. Article 4 means that any one country may refer to all the others any incident which happens in any other country. That is my interpretation of Article 4, and I hope that whoever replies—I trust a note of what I am saying will be given to him—will deal with this question, because in this respect the White Paper is misrepresenting. I trust it is an accident, in which case it will be remedied. If, however, it is not an accident, it means that the White Paper is meant to mislead the people of this country who will read it or reports of it, so that they shall not understand the degree of intervention involved in this Treaty.
Article 4 permits deliberate interference in the affairs of another country. Something may happen in France, or Belgium which the American Government feel ought to be referred to the North Atlantic Treaty signatories, and they then decide, irrespective of what France or Belgium want, to go ahead and take action. That is intervention—and intervention which I should have thought this House could not accept. Some of the military intentions in the Treaty are quite clear. Most hon. Members on the other side of the House who have spoken have confined themselves to the military and so-called defensive aspects of the Treaty. It is evident that they are quite convinced as to what the Treaty is really about.
2103 As for the United Nations Charter, the Foreign Secretary may try to juggle with the wording of Articles 51 and 53 and chapter 8, but there is one thing with which he cannot juggle, and that is the clear-cut statement of Mr. Lester Pearson, who holds the position of Foreign Minister in the Canadian Government. After he signed the Treaty he said:The Western world no longer considers the United Nations seriously.Other statesmen have made similar statements and the House and country can judge as to what is now the Government's attitude to the United Nations Charter.
There is one question I should like to ask before I pass on, and that is: If the Atlantic Treaty is really based upon the United Nations' Charter how is it that Portugal and Italy are signatories? The United Nations Charter in every relevant Article insists that such regional organisations as are founded shall be established only by members of the United Nations Organisation. Portugal and Italy are not such members, and yet they are signatories to the Atlantic Treaty. Why does not the Foreign Secretary tell the House that he is not acting consistently with the Charter, and that he intends to pursue a different course from that which the Charter intended?
The Foreign Secretary this afternoon stated that the Atlantic Treaty was not inconsistent with the Anglo-Russian alliance. I know around me if not much further afield, a few hon. Members smiled when the right hon. Gentleman made that statement, and we wondered how he could use the word "alliance" as between Britain and Russia, for every other hon. Member in this House who speaks of Russia, speaks as though we were already at war with that country. The Foreign Secretary this afternoon made a violent attack upon Russia with whom we have an alliance, and yet according to him that is not inconsistent with this Treaty. He stated, and it has been said by others, that the Treaty is directed against nobody let alone Russia, but is merely to act as a deterrent. That is the opinion of many Members of this House who, perhaps, sincerely accept that that is so. However, let us face it.
Against whom is it directed? There are five great Powers recognised in the world since the war. Two are Russia and China, 2104 and the other three, Britain, America and France, are members of the Atlantic Treaty. Of whom are we afraid? Of a South American Republic? Of Siam? Obviously it is one of the great Powers. It is not China, for she is settling her own affairs very well. There is only Russia. Why is it not said in so many words? Why is it left to back benchers on both sides of the House to dot the i's and cross the t's of the Foreign Secretary's speech, and say that it is Russia?
The Foreign Secretary said that the Atlantic Treaty was for our defence, but the thing has been put bluntly by a statesman in the United States. The House will forgive me if I quote these words, which were said by Senator Cannon, who is Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the American Senate. He is not an unimportant individual in the United States, nor for that matter in international affairs. I am quoting from an American newspaper which reported him as saying this:Moscow and every other center in Russia, we must hit within one week after the war starts and it can be done only by land-based planes such as we now have. We will not necessarily have to send our land army over there. In the next war, as in the last war, let us equip soldiers from other nations and let them send their boys into the holocausts instead of sending our own boys.He went on:We will absolutely demoralise the enemy. We will destroy all his lines of communications. We will blast at the centers of operation and then let our allies send the army in—other boys, not our boys to hold the ground we win.Not only did this warmonger state quite deliberately against whom he is going to fight and against whom he appears to be keen to fight, but he had also got it nicely worked out. There may be some of us who say that it is not going to be like that, but he has got it worked out. The United States Government will give the orders and they will provide the material, or much of it, and the dollars, while we provide the cannon fodder as we did last time, as the senator himself says.
It would be invidious of me—I say this sincerely—to try to weigh up the contribution to the war by the amount of blood lost, but that is the way wars go. Far be it for me to suggest that anyone should sacrifice more blood. We did not make balance sheets of the last war. We shall all agree with that; but here it is this 2105 Senator Cannon, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, who is saying those things, and not I. No Englishman would say them, but this senator has said them. The Atlantic Treaty is placing us in the position of carrying out the orders of men like Senator Cannon, of America.
Any war which is contemplated by any Member of this House or elsewhere will not be directed or decided upon by this House or our own Government. It will be decided upon and directed by the United States. The Atlantic Treaty is aimed, therefore, not only at military intervention of the kind I have shown but, in the name of fighting the menace of Communism—and here I appeal particularly to my fellow-Members on this side of the House—it is trying to stem every progressive movement in the world. The Question was asked here a few weeks ago whether the Colonial Secretary accepted every report he receives from governors in the Colonies concerning Communist subversive activity. The Minister had to admit that in many cases, there was no question of Communist subversive activity and it was merely a matter of social unrest.
What the Atlantic Treaty can do is to achieve intervention everywhere, as it has been achieved in Greece. In Greece it is claimed that Communists are being fought by Government forces, but in fact it is not only Communists. Every decent trade unionist ends up in gaol and even faces the executioner. Liberals are persecuted. Socialists are imprisoned. In the name of fighting Communism, Americans and their leading statesmen regard Communism and Socialism as identical, and Communism and militant trade unionism as identical. Many trade union Members on this side of the House recognise the truth of my statement, after they have heard some of the American statesmen and have read their speeches. These things are to be perpetrated under the Atlantic Treaty. This is a terrible step to take, because the brunt of war will be on our shoulders.
We have United States troops stationed in England, not only in places like Lincolnshire and Lancashire, but within 10 miles of this House, at Northolt. A thousand United States troops are stationed there, and the United States Headquarters is stationed there. We have atom bomb planes now stationed in 2106 England, and the atom bomb planes will operate from England.
§ Mr. Piratin
The hon. and gallant Gentleman asked, "Why not?" and earlier another hon. Gentleman said that we all suffer equally in war. It is no reflection on any hon. Member in this House, but I say that that is not true. An hon. Gentleman earlier tried to suggest that the capitalists suffered more. That is not true. We stand to lose our lives or the lives of our children. The capitalists are very often able to give better protection to their families than the working-class families in East London had in the last war. Let there be no illusion about that. The hon. and gallant Member for South Paddington (Vice-Admiral Taylor) may laugh because American bombers are now based in this country and are able to use the atom bomb; the hon. and gallant Gentleman, who held a very important post in the British Navy, may be glad to know that foreign troops are occupying this country. All I can say is that that is a reflection on him and others who hold that kind of Conservative view point.
§ Vice-Admiral Taylor
In the event of any trouble occurring and war being declared on this country, we shall be very glad to have the United States Forces here to help us in the war.
§ Mr. Piratin
The hon. and gallant Gentleman says, "In the event of war being declared" we shall be glad to have them here. No war has been declared.
§ Mr. Piratin
Yes, but the hon. and gallant Gentleman is glad to have them here now. If another war comes—we hope it will not—it will be the United States which will give the orders and provide the bombers, and it will be our Forces and our young people and the young people of France and Italy who will be expected to provide the blood. The homes and industries of our countries will be sacrificed in another war.
Therefore, even at this stage I ask the Government to base its policy not on what is contained in the Atlantic Treaty but on the spirit of the United Nations 2107 Charter, and to take the opportunity of the meeting of the Foreign Ministers in Paris to see if a new alignment and understanding can be reached in international affairs. This opportunity should be seized. If the Foreign Secretary wants to do so, he can make an effort in that direction; if he does not want to do so, and fails to seize the opportunity, it is clear that we are headed for war by a pre-determined policy. The Atlantic Treaty is not in accord with the desires of the people for peace, and those in this House who really desire peace, will vote against it.
§ 8.54 p.m.
§ Mr. Lipson (Cheltenham)
I have no desire to be unfair to the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Piratin), but I cannot believe that much of what he has said is likely to contribute to the preservation of peace and the prevention of another war. After all, that is all we care about, and the purpose of the Debate is to discuss the North Atlantic Treaty from that point of view. I will confine what I have to say to the North Atlantic Treaty and will not say anything which is likely to make the task of the Foreign Secretary more difficult in the very delicate negotiations which will take place in the near future with Russia and the other Powers.
I welcome the pact wholeheartedly because I regard it as an instrument for peace, and nothing I have heard during the Debate has weakened my conviction. Twelve nations, comprising something like 330 million people, have created, as it were, a new family of nations, and their purpose reminds me very much of the British Commonwealth of Nations. These 12 nations have declared that they will not go to war with each other, but that they will settle their disputes by peaceful means and also that an attack upon one will be regarded as an attack upon all. Those are the very principles behind the British Commonwealth. I welcome therefore this North Atlantic Treaty because it very considerably extends an area of stability and of peace in the world.
The question has been asked whether the North Atlantic Treaty is helpful to the United Nations, or even compatible with the United Nations Charter. We have to recognise the political situation as it is. Something like a deadlock has 2108 arisen in the United Nations owing to the use by Russia of the veto, and the cold war which she has waged. The factors which were necessary to give the United Nations effective power to achieve its ends seem not to be possible at the moment and a very serious international situation has been created. Some way out of the deadlock had to be found. Things could not go on as they were and the answer to the deadlock is the North Atlantic Treaty, by which the peace-loving nations can say, "We shall not be held up in our efforts to try to settle international problems by reason of the fact that one of the great Powers is refusing to play the game by the United Nations." For that reason they have come together and, just as the air lift was the answer to the blockade of Berlin, so I believe the North Atlantic Treaty is the answer to the deadlock in the United Nations.
§ Mr. Lipson
The deadlock was having a serious effect on opinions everywhere. Those who were going up and down the country trying to get support for the United Nations found a lack of faith and a great apathy and that public opinion was being convinced that the United Nations was not going to work and achieve its purpose. I believe the North Atlantic Treaty, with the machinery it is setting up, so far from weakening the United Nations will, if it achieves its purpose, revive confidence in it, because those supporting the North Atlantic Treaty are agreed that it is their purpose ultimately to achieve universal security.
The best way to achieve universal security is to make sure that for the time being another war is prevented. It is obvious that that will take a long time. We all hope that Russia will be reasonable and willing to play her part in the comity of nations. During the intervening period there must be given to the nations of the world, particularly the small Powers, some kind of reassurance and some kind of security. If they get that security it will be much easier for their Governments to concentrate on their real job which is to restore the economic prosperity of their countries and to see to the well-being and happiness of their citizens. I believe that is the best way of preventing the spread of Communism throughout the world.
2109 I want to utter one or two words of warning. I hope that people will not say that now we have the North Atlantic Treaty there is no longer any need for the United Nations; because there are 12 nations only who are included at present in the North Atlantic Treaty, but there are 59 nations in the United Nations. Though, for the time being, we are not able to achieve universal security, we must still work for it, and recognise that the North Atlantic Treaty is only a second best. We must not lose our faith that in the end we shall be able to achieve that universal security, that complete freedom from war which no North Atlantic Treaty can by itself give us. The North Atlantic Treaty can only give us a breathing space.
To those who feel that there is any threat to Russia in the North Atlantic Treaty, the answer is obvious. Let Russia in the future play her part, as we all hoped she would have played it, in the United Nations, to make it a success, and to that extent the North Atlantic Treaty will cease to be necessary and operative. But until that happens we must have the strength and support that the North Atlantic Treaty can give by making the position of the peace-loving nations more secure in the world. Although it is a second best method, the purpose of the treaty is to prevent war by bringing home to any would-be aggressor the deterrent of overwhelming force. Ultimately, we shall only get world peace by agreement; we have to continue to work for that and I hope that we shall.
As an intermediate step I welcome the treaty and join with others in expressing my appreciation to the Foreign Secretary for the important part he has played in making it possible. After all, it has been no easy task to persuade the United States to make this almost complete break with her policy of isolation; and to persuade the Netherlands, Norway, Denmark and Iceland to abandon their policy of neutrality. But the Foreign Secretary has been able to do it, and having achieved success to that extent, we hope he will be able to achieve the greater success which he and all lovers of peace wish to see.
§ 9.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Skeffington-Lodge (Bedford)
I feel that a good many of the speeches made in this Debate have been too nega- 2110 tive in character. In particular, I wish that more stress had been put on the importance of the psychological factor in countering the spread of Communism in the world. Those people who think that Communism can be turned back by military means are barking up the wrong tree. Communism and its spread can be stopped only by putting something more positive and more appealing in its place. In relation to this particular point a good article recently appeared in the Free Church "British Weekly." Indeed, that was one of the few papers in the country which voiced constructive criticism of this North Atlantic Treaty. All the rest of the British Press seemed to be entirely in favour without stressing any of the vital points which my right hon. Friend would do well to bear in mind if this North Atlantic Treaty is really to be the instrument it was intended to be. This quotation from the "British Weekly" is well worth making. The paper says:For one thing the threat to our way of life is not only, and perhaps not chiefly, militaristic; and war preparations continued beyond a certain point must disrupt Western economy and create the wants and social discontent in which Communism flourishes as certainly as war itself.Those are words of wisdom. In the struggle with Soviet ideology, I do not believe that this pact means half as much as many people are assuming. Unless the free nations of the world can solve their economic problems—and not least the United States of America—in such a way that their wealth can jointly be released and made available to the depressed masses in the world, then I believe they will fail; and time, let me remind the House, is short.
There are two other points which I should like to make which are in line with the reasoned Amendment which appears on the Order Paper below my name and that of the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg). The first point is that I feel that the North Atlantic Treaty is likely to divert Soviet pressure eastwards. That, I should think, in the state of affairs in the Middle East and in the Far East, is a somewhat alarming proposition for those friends we have got in those parts of the world. Democracy in that area is a very weak plant. Indeed, in many parts it has not taken root at all. The West is much better placed to resist the infiltration of Communism 2111 than are the underfed, long-neglected people in those parts of the world which I have mentioned.
The other and last point I wish to stress is that the pact does not seem to make strategic sense without the inclusion of Spain and, I would add, Ireland also. To be associated with Franco Spain is anathema to me, and I know that it is the same in the case of a great many of my hon. Friends on this side of the House. In stating that the Spanish question is a European family matter, Mr. Acheson, the Secretary of State in the United States of America, has most accurately analysed the Franco Government for us. I should like to quote to the House his words which appear in "The Times" today. [HON. MEMBERS: "It has been done already."] I quoted part of them, but not all, in my interruption of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition when he was sliding over, as I thought, the feeling in the country which I know exists against our being associated with present-day Spain. Mr. Acheson, according to "The Times," speaking of the Franco Government, said:It was a Fascist Government and a dictatorship; it had been set up by Hitler and Mussolini and patterned on Germany and Italy. It did not recognise any of the rights which made up individual liberty. There was no religious freedom, trial by jury, or right of political association. The judiciary was not independent, and habeas corpus was unknown. There was nothing more fundamental in the preservation of human liberty than that ancient British tradition which was not incorporated in most of the procedures in the free world. Such rights did not exist in Spain.These sentiments, coming from such a quarter, are to me most encouraging, as also is the fact that when recently I was in the United States I found that isolation is more or less a dead letter. It is a gloomy thing to say in conclusion, but I believe that the one hope of the world of avoiding catastrophe lies in the negative assertion that nobody wants war. I urge my right hon. Friend to exploit this sentiment to the full, and to be alive to the dangers which I have mentioned in connection with the Atlantic Treaty. Unless he is so alive, I fear that this treaty may prove to have brought war nearer, rather than to have removed it from the world.
§ 9.10 p.m.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler (Saffron Walden)
We have had a very informative and useful Debate on this matter and it is now drawing to its end. We are here this evening to celebrate the vision of my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), the culmination of a life of negotiation of the Foreign Secretary himself, the wise statesmanship of Mr. St. Laurent in Canada, and the generous and unprecedented sense of duty of the United States of America. So I think we may feel united—or most of us, except for those Communists and fellow-travelling companions who are taking part in the Debate this evening—in support of a great step forward, not only in diplomatic history, but in the preservation of the peace of the world.
What I think we have to do now, or shortly, is to ratify this treaty, and the first question I would like to put to the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply to the Debate is whether he will tell us how many countries have so far ratified the treaty. I understand that we are among the first, and I hope that the House of Commons, by an overwhelming majority, will take this first active step, because if there is one lesson we must learn about the treaty, it is that, however much we admire its ideals and objectives, we must reinforce its contents and work out what it means in regard to our obligations under it, and be ready to fulfil them if called upon. That means a great deal more hard work for the Government and all who are involved in interpreting the treaty, and if this Debate can serve a useful purpose, apart from indicating our support of this treaty, it can serve the purpose of pushing the Government forward in the task of implementing the whole of what the treaty means and contains.
We should also have no doubt about the immense political and moral strength in the world which is gathered in support of this treaty and in support of peace, in spite of some of the speeches which have been made this evening. This political and moral strength is, I believe, more important than the physical strength which we may gather afterwards.
§ Mr. Butler
I am speaking quite sincerely in the remarks I am making. We have listened to a good many speeches 2113 from the friends of the hon. Gentleman, and he might do me the courtesy of listening in silence to mine.
I was about to say that this question of political and moral strength is just as important as the physical strength which we may be able to gather later, and this point was made in the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head). I congratulate him and also the hon. Member for Melton (Mr. Nutting) upon their important speeches. There is one other speech to which I should like to make reference, that made by the hon. Member for Holland with Boston (Mr. Butcher); and here I would like to reserve my position and that of many of my hon. and right hon. Friends in regard to the future arming of Germany. We believe that this is a subject of great danger and delicacy, which ought to be approached very cautiously, and, while I should be ready to support a great deal of what the hon. Gentleman said, at this early stage of my remarks I wish to make clear the attitude of many of my hon. Friends and myself on that very important and difficult subject.
The hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) used an expression of Viscount Grey's that the more one piled up armaments, the more one created the fear of war. I only wish myself that we had been able to get the Minister of Defence, who has been good enough to come here this evening, to pile up more armaments for the immense sums of money which we are now giving him for this purpose, and I encourage the Government to pile up more armaments. We are not at the moment in fear of an armaments race, but we have the need to mobilise our strength in support of the active diplomacy which is conducted by the Foreign Secretary.
I do not believe there is a fear of war being created by an armaments race; I believe it is very much more the other way, and that we should ask the Minister of Defence to continue his efforts to improve our armaments at this time. I am quite convinced that if we can show the world that we believe in our ideals, that the West has beliefs as deep and permeating as the Communist religion—if I may call it that—if we can persuade the world of that, and can back that with the strength necessary to preserve our position and keep the peace, then, indeed, we shall save the peace. At any rate, 2114 no doubts have been expressed on the Opposition side in the course of this Debate that that is our philosophy and what we believe.
I could, of course, spend a great deal of time in answering some of the points made in the Debate this evening by speakers opposite, but I want, first, simply to answer what I think has gained a certain currency in this Debate, and that is that the North Atlantic Treaty is inconsistent in some way with the ideal of collective security. I feel that this matter could be argued by learned lawyers until the cows come home, and that no doubt the Attorney-General, were he to do us the honour of replying to the Debate, could give us a very learned view on this subject. But I am not a lawyer, and, as a simple man, I have simply read the document.
I remember that when I first became a Minister many years ago at far too young an age to be healthy, I met the Attorney-General of the day, who gave me this advice. He said, "If you read the document ahead of the Debate, you will always find yourself in a stronger position than anyone else debating, except the lawyers, and you can always overcome that by saying, 'I am not a lawyer.' On that you can build your political career." I have always followed his advice, and, in this case, I have read the document carefully, and I must say that, to a simple man, it is quite easy to support the point of view of the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary, because if we read Article 7 we find that:This Treaty does not affect, and shall not be interpreted as affecting, in any way the rights and obligations under the Charter of the parties which are members of the United Nations, or the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security.Quite frankly, without going into legal arguments, that is good enough for me. The fact is that this pact is organised under the general aegis of Article 51 of the Charter, which I have here before me, and I think it is apposite to say that it must necessarily have been brought in under Chapter 8 of Article 52. I know that Article 52 of the Charter draws attention to the fact that:The members of the United Nations entering into such arrangements or constituting such agencies shall make every effort to achieve pacific settlement of local disputes through such regional arrangements or by such 2115 regional agencies before referring them to the Security Council.I anticipate that that is precisely the procedure which will be undertaken under this pact, and, therefore, I dismiss as being not worthy of further debate, the various legalistic approaches made by various hon. Members to this point, that this past is not consistent with the principle of collective security.
Now I come to a far more important matter which was raised by the Foreign Secretary himself, when he said that there was nothing inconsistent in this pact with the Anglo-Soviet Pact. If that be the case, I think it possible at the outset of our discussions to have before us the ideal that if—and this is a very large "if"—the Soviet Union are genuinely desirous of peace, here is the opportunity for a real structure to be created. The right hon. Gentleman, by exhibiting strength through the creation of this pact and the linking together of a variety of nations, has created one pillar. Another pillar exists in the shape of the Anglo-Soviet Pact, and it would he possible, were there absolute security on both sides, as may be the case already—it well may be—to build an arch over the two, and thus to create the real structure of international peace.
That is the ideal, I am sure, of all hon. Members on all sides of the House, and I should like to make it quite clear, in answer to the taunts of the hon. Member for Gateshead, who speaks with bitterness and with ignorance of the motives of other hon. Members who do not agree with him in politics, that it is not the aim of the Opposition simply to pile up armaments, to cut down the standard of living and to launch this country into another war. We all know that everything we believe in will be destroyed in the case of another war. We all know that all our efforts must be bent on the preservation of peace, and I have purposely drawn attention to this picture, which was lightly sketched, deliberately, in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, to indicate that we should bear before us the ideal of world peace, building on this structure within the United Nations and the structure of the Anglo-Soviet Pact.
Having before us this ideal, which I am sure all of us, especially those who 2116 have children who may be called upon to serve, must share very deeply at the present time, we must now examine the state of the world as it is. When we examine this pact against the history of the foreign policy of the variety of nations involved, we note first the definite change in the foreign policy of the United States of America and we are grateful to them for it. We have noted the statements of the Secretary of State on the subject of the prevailing force of the American Constitution—that is to say, there cannot be any automatic declaration of war on the side of the United States of America; and the provisions of the United States Constitution will continue to apply.
We have also noted the adherence of Canada to the pact, and I must say that on my recent visit to Canada I was impressed by the manner in which that country regards itself as the modern Belgium. We are, perhaps, conceited here. We think that wars will go exactly the same way as they did before, that armies will roll West; but in Canada they are fully aware of the modern and somewhat chilly conception that war may sweep upon them over the Arctic regions, and it is this new geo-political conception, if I may use long words, which we must keep in mind in approaching a pact of this sort. We have to revive the ancient conceptions of British foreign policy. Viscount Grey, who has been much quoted by the hon. Member for Gateshead, is almost out of date with his conception of the conduct of affairs, great man though he remains in history; we have to adapt ourselves—and I believe we are right in adapting ourselves through this pact—to the question of global security upon which our whole future must be based.
Looking at this pact in the world-wide aspect, what do we see? It may be that the ideal which I sketched at the opening of my remarks, namely, that diplomacy might link this pact with the Anglo-Soviet Pact, is incapable of achievement—and goodness knows, the story of the Soviet Union in the United Nations makes one doubt whether it can be achieved. There is, for instance, the use of the veto, which has made the use of this machinery necessary, and there is the difficulty we have had of working with the Soviet Union within the United Nations. It may well be therefore that the ideal cannot 2117 be achieved. If we look further afield, we find that, in fact, diplomacy has achieved security only in the Western sector or, if you like to call it so, the Atlantic sector, by the creation of this pact.
I should, therefore, like to direct the attention of the House for only a few minutes to the need for supplementing this pact by wider and broader arrangements. These wider and broader arrangements must flow first into the area of the Middle East because it is there, I am sure, that we have a danger point, partly due to the social unrest which exists in that area and to which I referred in previous speeches on foreign affairs, partly due to the strategic uncertainty, partly due to the position of Greece and partly due to the position of Turkey. I trust that we may have some assurance from the right hon. Gentleman who is to reply, that if we vote in favour of the ratification of this pact tonight, further unilateral action will be taken, with the support of the Government of the United States, to buttress the critical position in Greece, which may well be the weakest point in the whole diplomatic front at present, and to support the gallant determination of Turkey to stand up against any attack that may come her way.
Of course, I should like in the course of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, some little explanation of how this pact covers certain British territories. In paragraph 16, page 5 of the White Paper, which was very hurriedly produced just before the Debate, there is this phrase:In simple terms, the area covered"—that is, the area covered by the pact—is the metropolitan territory of each party, and the sea and air space between them. Overseas territories of the parties outside the North Atlantic area are excluded ….from the North Atlantic Pact. On the other hand, we find in Article 6 of the pact that the territories of any of the parties in Europe or North America is covered by the pact. It seems to me, in the short time we have had to compare these two documents, that there is some slight inconsistency between the two statements, and I should like to know whether the word "metropolitan," which is introduced in the covering White Paper, which was introduced only on 11th May, means that the territories of Gibraltar and Malta are covered by the 2118 pact, and whether they come under Article 6 as territory of any of the parties in Europe or North America. Perhaps, the right hon. Gentleman could give us an answer to that question, which is on the detailed interpretation of the pact itself.
Now we come to the vexed question of the inclusion of Spain. I really would not advise the House to devote very much further time to this question. The position, as I see it, is that we all agree with the analysis of Mr. Dean Acheson, which was read out with absolute and perfect accuracy by the hon. Member for Bedford (Mr. Skeffington-Lodge). I can say so because, for the sake of greater accuracy. I had obtained meanwhile a copy, knowing that this subject might be included in the Debate. The only thing the hon. Member did not read out in Mr. Dean Acheson's views of General Franco, with which in general I most warmly agree, was the concluding part of the telegram from Washington, datelined 11th May, from "The Times" correspondent. It says:Pressure for the resumption of diplomatic relations is growing stronger. The new Secretary of Defence. Mr. Louis Johnson, makes no secret of the fact that he considers the Atlantic Pact largely useless without Spain.That is the concluding part of "The Times" telegram, hitherto unrevealed to an unsuspecting House. It is considered that we should resume diplomatic negotiations. I believe it is worth resuming them, because I believe Spanish pride would be better served in that way, and I do not think we need, in that way, necessarily prejudice our own political or moral beliefs in the right sort of Government. Following upon that, it may be possible to reach some future agreement. Meanwhile I will say that the most vital area by far is the Middle East, and that the Franco problem is not so urgent as that when we are considering this question of the pact.
In the few minutes that remain to me, I want to consider the question of the variety of organisations which are created by this pact. When we come to think of it, all these countries belong to some club or another. The first four, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are Benelux countries and belong to the Brussels Treaty Powers; and the first six or seven belong to the United Nations organisation; nearly all are Marshall Plan members; and now 2119 we have under this treaty a new organisation or council set up.
It seems to me that if the Foreign Secretary or his representatives are to attend all the meetings of all the necessary councils set up under all the active diplomacy which has been undertaken in the last three years, we shall never have the honour of seeing them in this House, and that they will seldom be in the Foreign Office to conduct His Majesty's work in the way in which it ought to be conducted. I, therefore, ask whether in the political sphere the North Atlantic Treaty machinery will gradually eat up and take in the Brussels Pact, the Benelux and all the other organisations recently set up; whether in the sphere of economics the Government are going to concentrate on the O.E.E.C. machinery, and, perhaps most important, whether in the sphere of defence, we are going to enlarge the Western Chiefs of Staff Committee, or whatever it may be called, into the Atlantic Defence Council under Article 9 of the treaty.
It would seem to me that if the appropriations from the United States of America are to be of the size and importance which we hope, and which were referred to by more than one hon. Member on this side of the House this afternoon, then it is essential to organise and simplify the machinery so that we do not have duplication, and so that Ministers are not rushing from here to there but are really occupied with the jobs they ought to do. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will indicate that there is to be some simplification of the organisation, some fortification of defence and some organisation on the economic side, so that the whole machinery may be made to work.
My time is up, and I should like to summarise what I have said in a short compass in the following way. We have before us an historical pact which creates a complete development of the policies of the major nations involved. This pact is not yet more than an umbrella or covering. Underneath it we have to build a whole structure of security which will keep the peace which we all so ardently want and which we all must have. It is just possible that it will be possible to marry this pact with the agreement with the Soviet Union made for 2120 peace some years ago. What is, I am afraid, more probable is that the Foreign Secretary has before him one of the most difficult periods of British diplomacy.
I think that we should all make a great mistake if we were too optimistic tonight. We have been glad to welcome the lifting of the blockade and glad to notice the increase of strength that has come to us from the formulation of pacts. But the real testing time for this House and the nation lies ahead of us. If I may presage what is going to come, there may be disappointments unless we are very patient and very strong. I, therefore, appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to take with him tonight the message that the House is behind him; that they expect him to remain tough, they expect him to remain patient, and they expect him thus to win through to ultimate peace, which we have not yet gained.
§ 9.34 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker)
I think that my right hon. Friend would like me to begin by thanking right hon. and hon. Members in all quarters of the House for the congratulations which have been addressed to him this afternoon. If I may, I shall first answer three of the questions which have just been put to me by the right hon. Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler). He asked me about Greece and Turkey. If he will read my right hon. Friend's speech he will see that he referred especially to our great interest in the independence and integrity of Turkey and of Greece, and he will recall the declaration made recently by President Truman. I assure him that both those declarations stand.
He also asked me about Malta and Gibraltar. I confess that in the drafting of the White Paper a slight error has been made. The phrase which he quoted in simple terms should have read "broadly speaking" because technically, according to the language of the White Paper, Gibraltar and Malta should be excluded from operation of the pact, whereas in fact it is intended that they should be included. He asked about the multiplication of the international political and strategic machinery. Of course, it is becoming of great complexity. Nobody would deny that there 2121 is a danger, and a very evident danger, of overlapping. After all, this pact is not yet in force, and I have my right hon. Friend's authority to say that as soon as it is in operation, all these questions will be thoroughly considered, with a desire to cut out overlapping and to economise in time and money to the greatest possible extent; and I should like to give the right hon. Gentleman an assurance that the right thing will be done.
I now turn to the wider aspects of the Debate. The Leader of the Liberal Party, in his admirable speech, spoke of the Hague conferences, the League of Nations, and the United Nations. I think it is probably true to say that in times to come, when the historians discuss the first half of the 20th century, they will say that the outstanding feature was the repeated but unsuccessful attempts to organise a world community of States, and that the essential factor in that attempt was collective action to prevent or to restrain aggressive war. When people have thought that that was coming, all the rest of the international work has gone extremely well. When they thought it would fail, all the rest, in all the domains of human activity, has withered, perished or collapsed.
Now the Atlantic Pact is a measure of collective security. It is not what we hoped for when the San Francisco Charter was first signed. When the Coalition Government made the Charter, what were the hopes they had in view? They looked forward to long years of cordial co-operation among the great allies; they thought that the spirit of the war would survive into times of peace. They intended to carry out all the provisions of the Charter, which laid down that collective security should be organised, with military staff committees, national contingents, the beginning of an international air force, the organisation of economic sanctions, a system of control over international armaments, and a plan for the reduction of armaments in due course. All that is there, and they hoped and believed that that would be brought into actual fact before the veto was ever used. That was why the veto seemed tolerable at all, and we started to try to apply that system with full good will.
2122 The first job I had to do for this Government was in U.N.R.R.A. In U.N.R.R.A. we gave great help to the Soviet Union and to her allies; money—Dominion money and American money—poured in for their reconstruction, without political thought of any kind. We tried to solve the political problems. We offered treaties of peace based on the principles of the Atlantic Charter: no annexations, freedom for every nation to choose its own Government. We tried to deal with the great problems of war and peace. We asked the Soviet Union to sponsor, with us, the Atomic Energy Commission of the United Nations. The Americans put forward what I believe history will say was an astonishingly generous programme for the control of atomic energy—in fact, the greatest proposal of international public ownership, operation and control that the world has ever known.
Well, we know what followed. I spent long months working side by side with Molotov, Vyshinsky and Gromyko, and I think I know from my experience why all that ended in our bitter frustration—with the territorial annexations of the Soviet Union, the destruction of democratic institutions in the satellite States, and the international dictatorship to which those States were and still are subjected. There was Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Malaya, Greece, and the sabotaging of the Marshall Plan. That is the background and causation of the Atlantic Pact. The pact itself is a kind of phœnix—a symbol of buried hopes but hopes also that arise anew.
I want to deal primarily with the criticisms that have been made. I shall begin with criticism from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite about defence. They say that so little has been done that the signature on the pact is almost not worth while. I do not think they really meant that, though what they said sounded very like it. The pact is not ratified yet. This is not the time nor am I the Minister to debate defence. However, I shall say this in answer to what has been said—considering that it is only a few months since the Brussels Pact was ratified, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence and his Committee of Defence Ministers, together with Field-Marshal Montgomery and his colleagues, have made a great beginning. No European Power has shown any reluc- 2123 tance to come in and sign this pact with us, so that they must attach some importance to the pledges we have given.
I come now to criticisms of a different kind. My hon. Friend the Member for Luton (Mr. Warbey) asserted that the Russians were perfectly right to regard this as a pact against the Soviet Union.
§ Mr. Warbey
What I did say was that I could not see how they could avoid regarding it in that light.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I am very glad that the hon. Gentleman so regards it himself, but other people have misunderstood him in thinking what he said. I want to say with emphasis that this is not an old Power politics alliance against Russia, designed to encircle and in due course to crush her and her regime. That charge was made in January before the text of the pact was ever seen. The text of the pact is the complete and final answer. It is a pact against aggression and armed attack. The obligation arises when there has been an armed attack against a signatory. The phrase "armed attack" is taken from the Charter itself, which gives the right of self-defence. Unless there is an armed attack no obligation can arise. If a signatory itself started a war, then others would not go to the help of that attacker. There would be no obligation.
If anybody says that this is a pact directed against Russia it must be because they imply that Russia is contemplating, or may some day make an aggressive attack herself If my hon. Friend or anybody else has reached that conclusion, then their argument is not sound. Let anybody look at the list of signatories to the pact. Is it conceivable that Canada, Norway, or Denmark would have signed it, had it been with the intention of making an attack on Russia? Who is going to be the base for any aggressive attack against the Soviet Union? Denmark, Norway, who?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
No, because our people would never allow it. This pact is not a menace, and can never menace any nation that observes the peace. That is the answer to the contention that it violates the Anglo-Soviet Treaty of 1942. In that Treaty we bound ourselves not to join an alliance that was directed against the Soviet Union.
2124 If this Atlantic treaty were directed against the Soviet Union, we should have broken that Treaty. There were other things in that Treaty, amongst them things which we are entitled today to recall. Article 3 said that the high contracting parties declared that they would unite with other like-minded States to preserve and resist aggression in the postwar period. The signatories declared also that they would collaborate in the organisation of security and economic prosperity in Europe, and that they would act in accordance with the two principles of not seeking territorial aggrandisement and of non-interference in the internal affairs of other States. I would recall that my right hon. Friend said this afternoon that he hoped that some day we could recapture the spirit of 1942 and that some day we could start with that document and marry it to this new pact, and then, in my right hon. Friend's phrase, make a system of universal peace.
Some hon. Members, perhaps at least the hon. Member for Gateshead (Mr. Zilliacus) would argue that what I have said is really worthless, because once we make an agreement of this kind wars produce themselves, governments can camouflage aggression, and between wars attempts to define aggression always fail. The hon. Member for Gateshead has put those ideas into writing. In the old days when we worked together, I knew him as a stormy petrel, always demanding the blood of an aggressor and asking for sanctions against those who broke the Covenant of the League. I find it hard to recognise him today as the lonely lover of peace. He has used this argument about the difficulty of defining aggression. I am very sorry that he has, because he knows as well as I do, that it was always used by those who wanted to do nothing about aggression. It was always used by those who were against collective security pacts. The truth is that there never was the slightest doubt about an aggressor, from Corfu in 1923, to Pearl Harbour in 1941 or to Mussolini in Africa or Hitler in Austria, Czechoslovakia, or Poland. We always knew who was the aggressor and we always shall. I hope that my hon. Friend will abandon that argument.
I turn to his further argument, which was developed at length this afternoon, 2125 that the Atlantic Pact violates Articles 53 and 51 of the Charter. I do not want to be more controversial than I need to be, but I think that my hon. Friend has read the Charter completely wrongly. If I understood his argument, it is that Article 53 imposes an obligation on the signatories of regional agreements not to take collective action in self-defence before the Security Council has decided what measures it will take.
Firstly, this is not a regional agreement within the meaning of Chapter 8. Secondly, Article 53 does not take away the right of collective defence under Article 51 for members of a regional agreement. How could it? The argument which the hon. Member developed about Article 51 is equally ingenious and equally fallacious. Under the Charter, the Security Council is responsible for stopping aggression. It is its duty to do so by taking adequate, immediate and effective measures to bring it to an end. Every member, permanent or elected, is bound to fulfil that duty, in accordance with the Charter. They are not free agents to do what they like, any more than a judge in a court is free to disregard the law.
It has been foreseen that although the Council was of good faith, the Council might need time to decide upon its measures. In the meantime, the attack on the victim of aggression would be going on. Remember Hitler's onslaught on Poland, and remember that aggression in future will he far more swift and terrible than that. It is evident that the aggressor must be resisted. Article 51 permits resistance by individual or collective self-defence. That goes on until the Security Council has decided on the measures which are required. When the Council has decided, the action under Article 51 either ceases or is absorbed in the general measures, but until the Council has decided, the action must go on; and it must be effective because, unless it is, the aggressor will triumph and the victim of aggression will be crushed.
That action must go on even if the Council cannot make a decision because there has been a veto, and it must go on however long the veto may be maintained because, again, unless it does the victim of aggression will be crushed and the Council—this is the hon. Member's own argument—will be unable to fulfil 2126 its duty of stopping aggression because the aggressor will already have completed his fait accompli.
If I understand the hon. Member's argument, it is in contradiction to the view of every lawyer I have consulted. His interpretation is that the purpose of Article 51 is not to make it easier to curb the aggressor but to curb those who are engaged in self-defence. He seems to think that Article 51 limits what may be done in resistance to aggressive armed attack. If we tried to apply his doctrine the Security Council would become the aggressor's greatest friend. It would protect the aggressor while he was destroying his victims one by one. If I understand it, it would even have prevented the British Commonwealth from standing together in 1939.
He said—this was the conclusion of his argument—that we were breaking up the collective system, and he said that I was now prepared to separate off the compulsory peaceful settlement of disputes from measures of collective security and reduction of armaments. Not at all. Of course every line of the Charter stands. It is expressly reserved not only in the Preamble but in Article 7. Of course we are bound by the methods of the Charter for the settlements of disputes, exactly as our claim about our destroyers in the Corfu Channel was settled by the International Court the other day; hut if we did not conic under Article 51 and if we did not adopt the principle of the Atlantic Pact, we should have no collective security in the Charter at all because it might be completely destroyed by the veto. Advice to that effect was given by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General as long ago as 1946.
I deny that we are doing anything to break up the United Nations and I want to deny the statement made by the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Piratin) that Mr. Pearson, the very able and very distinguished Minister of External Affairs in Canada, said that Canada had given up belief in the United Nations. I am assured that that has no foundation. I know that Mr. St. Laurent and Mr. Pearson have both repeatedly declared that the pact is in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter and comes within the framework of Article 51, and that they have constantly said that it is their purpose through this pact to build up a system which will make 2127 the United Nations powerful and respected throughout the world.
My hon. Friend the Member for Luton asked me if I could give him some assurances about the pact. I cannot give him assurances that it is a regional agreement under Article 8 because it is not. I can give other assurances to him and to others of my hon. Friends. This pact is a stop-gap and a stop-gap only. As my right hon. Friend said again today, we want one world security system as soon as ever we can. We want it quite as ardently as any hon. Member here. We shall add other pacts to this one or merge it in a wider pact as the evolution of events may in due course permit. But we do believe that if we are having a collective pact at all, it should be as strong as possible in order that its restraining effect on the mind of the aggressor may be as great as possible.
We believe that our pact today will help us to abolish all war and that as we get security, so we shall be able also to reduce the burden of armaments under which the peoples groan. We have the same view of any future war and of the use of atomic weapons as that which hon. Members here today have expressed. The only way to be safe in war is to have no war; to stop it before it begins. We believe, as my right hon. Friend said,
§ that as a result of this pact, democracy is no longer a series of isolated units but a cohesive organism. But this, he said, is not the final end. We shall pursue with every endeavour and build up a truly universal United Nations. On that we agree very deeply with my hon. Friend the Member for the Forest of Dean (Mr. Philips Price) who argued that economic co-operation and the abolition of poverty are essential steps towards that end.
This is not, as the Leader of the Opposition said this afternoon, an occasion for triumph. We are not the victims of illusion. Peace can never be built on sham, but this is one step forward and it is not a sham. The right hon. Member for Saffron Walden began by asking how many of the signatories have ratified the pact. Ten days ago, with the support of the leaders of every party, Conservatives, Liberals and C.C.F., the Canadian Parliament ratified the Atlantic Pact. They were the first nation to do so. Tonight we shall be the second. I hope this may be symbolic of the part which the British Commonwealth will play in collective security, in the effort for a lasting peace and in the leadership of the nations of mankind.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 333; Noes, 6.2129
|Division No. 138.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Bramall, E. A.||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Brook, D. (Halifax)||Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)|
|Albu, A. H.||Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Davies, Edward (Burslem)|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Brown, George (Belper)||de Freitas, Geoffrey|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Delargy, H. J.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Diamond, J.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Digby, Simon Wingfield|
|Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)||Bullock, Capt. M.||Dodds, N. N|
|Attewell, H. C.||Burden, T. W.||Donovan, T.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Butcher, H. W.||Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Drayson, G. B.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)||Drewe, C.|
|Baird, J.||Byers, Frank||Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)|
|Baldwin, A. E||Callaghan, James||Dumpleton, C. W|
|Balfour, A.||Channon, H.||Duthie, W. S.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J||Chetwynd, G. R.||Dye, S.|
|Barton, C.||Cluse, W. S.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C|
|Battley, J. R.||Cobb, F A.||Edelman, M.|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V. H||Cocks, F. S.||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Collick, P.||Edwards, John (Blackburn)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F J.||Collindridge, F.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly)|
|Bennett, Sir P||Collins, V. J.||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)|
|Benson, G.||Cook, T. F.||Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)|
|Berry, H.||Cooper, G.||Evans, John (Ogmore)|
|Beswick, F.||Corbel, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)|
|Bevin, Rt. Hon. E. (Wandsworth, C.)||Corlett, Dr. J.||Ewart, R.|
|Binns, J.||Cove, W. G.||Farthing, W. J.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Crawley, A.||Field, Capt. W. J.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F C.||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Crowder, Capt. John E.||Fletcher, W. (Bury)|
|Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W.||Daggar, G.||Foot, M. M.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Daines, P.||Forman, J. C.|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Fox, Sir G||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A.|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||McAdam, W.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Fraser, T (Hamilton)||McAllister, G.||Sargood, R.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Scott-Elliot, W.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||McGovern, J.||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)||Sharp, Granville|
|Gilzean, A.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||McKinlay, A. S.||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Gooch, E. G.||McLeavy, F.||Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.|
|Goodrich, H. E.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Grenfell, D R.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Grey, C. F.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Snow, J. W.|
|Grierson, E.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Steele, T.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Mann, Mrs. J.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)||Stokes, R. R.|
|Gunter, R. J.||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Guy, W. H.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)|
|Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Mathers, Rt. Hon. George||Studholme, H. G.|
|Hale, Leslie||Maude, J. C.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Mellish, R. J.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Mitchison, G. R.||Symonds, A. L.|
|Hannan, W. (Maryhill)|
|Hardman, D. R.||Molson, A. H. E.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)|
|Moody, A. S.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Harris, H. Wilson (Cambridge Univ.)||Morgan, Dr, H. B.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville|
|Haworth, J.||Morley, R.||Teeling, William|
|Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Head, Brig. A. H|
|Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Morrison, Rt. Hn. H. (Lewisham, E)||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Kingswinford)||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Moyle, A.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P (Monmouth)|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Nally, W.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Hobson, C. R.||Naylor, T. E.||Timmons, J.|
|Hollis, M. C.||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Tolley, L.|
|Holman, P.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G|
|Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Ungoed-Thomas, L.|
|Hope, Lord J.||Nicholson, G.||Viant, S. P.|
|Horabin, T. L.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Wadsworth, G.|
|Houghton, A. L. N. D.||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||Walker, G. H.|
|Hubbard, T.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby)||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W)||Nutting, Anthony||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.||O'Brien, T.||Wallace, H. W (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Oliver, G. H.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Orr-Ewing, I. L.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Irvine, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Palling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||West, D. G.|
|Janner, B.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. J. T. (Edinb'gh, E.)|
|Jay, D. P. T.||Pargiter, G. A.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Parker, J.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Jenkins, R. H.||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B|
|Johnston, Douglas||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)||Pearson, A.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Peart, T. F.||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Pickthorn, K.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Keeling, E. H.||Ponsonby, Col. C E||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Keenan, W.||Popplewell, E.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Kenyon, C.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Williams, J. L. (Kelv'ngrove)|
|Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Price, M. Philips||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Procter, W. T.||Willis, E.|
|King, E. M.||Pursey, Comdr. H.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr E||Randall, H. E.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Kinley, J.||Ranger, J.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Rees-Williams, D. R.||Wise, Major F. J|
|Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.||Reeves, J.||Woods, G. S.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Reid, T. (Swindon)||Wyatt, W.|
|Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.||York, C.|
|Leslie, J. R.||Robens, A.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Levy, B. W.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)||Younger, Hon. Kenneth|
|Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N)|
|Lewis, J. (Bolton)||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Mr. William Whiteley and|
|Lipson, D. L.||Rogers, G. H. R.||Mr. R. J. Taylor.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Gallacher, W.||Pritt, D. N.||Mr. Emrys Hughes and|
|Piratin, P.||Zilliacus, K.||Mr. Ronald Chamberlain.|
Question put and agreed to
That this House approves the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington on 4th April, 1949, relating to the promotion of stability and wellbeing in the North Atlantic area and to collective defence for the preservation of peace and security.